NLNAC supports the interests of nursing education, nursing practice, and the public by the functions of accreditation.  Accreditation is a voluntary, self-regulatory process by which non-governmental associations recognize educational institutions or programs that have been found to meet or exceed standards and criteria for educational quality.  Accreditation also assists in the further improvement of the institutions or programs as related to resources invested, processes followed, and results achieved.  The monitoring of certificate, diploma, and degree offerings is tied closely to state examination and licensing rules, and to the oversight of preparation for work in the profession.

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NLNAC is the entity that is responsible for the specialized accreditation of nursing education programs, both post-secondary and higher degree, which offer either a certificate, a diploma, or a recognized professional degree (Clinical Doctorate, Masterís/Post-Master's, Baccalaureate, Associate Degree, Diploma, and Practical Nursing). 

The Commission has authority and accountability inherent in the application of standards and criteria, accreditation processes, and the affairs, management, policy making, and general administration of the NLNAC.

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  • Promulgate a common core of standards and criteria for the accreditation of nursing programs found to meet those standards and criteria.

  • Strengthen educational quality through assistance to associated programs and schools, and evaluation processes, functions, publications, and research.

  • Advocate self-regulation in nursing education.

  • Promote peer review.

  • Foster educational equity, access, opportunity, and mobility, and preparation for employment based upon type of nursing education.

  • Serve as gatekeeper to Title IV-HEA programs for which NLNAC is the accrediting agency. These include some practical nursing and all hospital diploma programs eligible to participate in programs administered by the DOE or other federal agencies. 

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    The National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission is recognized as the accrediting body for all types of nursing education programs by: 

    Regional and specialized accreditors that provide oversight in regard to federal funding eligibility must be reviewed by the U.S. Department of Education to insure that the accrediting body meets specific standards established by Congress.  The U.S. Secretary of Education is charged with review of accrediting bodies and providing recognition to those accrediting agencies that meet the Secretaryís criteria.  Students in institutions or programs accredited by a DOE recognized agency are eligible for federal financial aid assistance and other needed resources.  NLNAC also meets the recognition standards of The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).  CHEA, a non-governmental organization, recognizes regional, specialized, national, and professional accrediting bodies to ensure quality, accountability, and improvement in higher education.

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    Accreditation, presently organized by region, profession, and type of institution, is ideally grounded in collegiality and the voluntary search for quality improvement.  Specialized accreditation is usually applied to fields in which there is a recognized professional degree and where health, welfare, safety, and professional competence are matters of academic, professional, and public concern.  Accreditation: 

    1.   Provides recognition that the program or school has been evaluated and periodically re-evaluated by a qualified, independent group of respected and competent peers who have found it to be meeting appropriate post-secondary, baccalaureate and higher educational purposes in a satisfactory manner. 

    2.   Offers professional development opportunity and validation for faculty. 

    3.   Is a gateway to licensure and eligibility for entitlement programs. 

    4.   Heightens faculty and system awareness and responsiveness to areas needing improvement. 

    5.   Fosters on-going, self-examination, re-evaluation, and focus on the future. 

    6.   Aids in student recruitment. 

    7.   Assists employers seeking graduates who are competent practitioners. 

    8.   Provides useful information for career and education decision making. 

    9.   Facilitates the transfer of credit using the following considerations:

              the educational quality of the institution from which the student transfers;

              the comparability of the nature, content, and level of credit earned from 
          the programs offered by the receiving college or program; and

        the appropriateness and applicability of the credit earned from the programs 
          offered by the receiving college in light of the studentís educational goals.

    10.   Enables student eligibility for funding support from federal and state agencies, 
     and foundations for those programs that do not have regional accreditation.

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    The NLNAC accreditation program is founded on the belief that specialized accreditation contributes to the centrality of nursing for the public good and provides for the maintenance and enhancement of educational quality; continuous self assessment, planning, and improvement.  Achievement of accreditation indicates to the general public and to the educational community that a nursing program has clear and appropriate educational objectives and is working to achieve these objectives. Emphasis is placed upon the total nursing program and its compliance with established standards and criteria in the context of current practice and anticipated future directions. 

    NLNAC supports the continuation and strengthening of voluntary specialized accreditation by peers as a principal means of public accountability and ongoing improvement.  Specialized accreditation sets standards for programs and insures, through the self-study process and accreditation review, the promotion of effective educationand program improvement.  The nursing education unit analysis is closely related to the institution itself. The responsibility of the institution lies with its faculty, administration, and governing board, such that they must consider the overall well-being of the institution, not just a specific part or unit.  Therefore, whenever possible, NLNAC activities will be coordinated with other officially recognized regional and specialized accrediting bodies. 

    Accrediting agencies share responsibility with practitioners and faculty for the development of accreditation standards, criteria, policies and procedures for participation in accreditation, and for review of accreditation processes and changing them as needed. 

    Standards and criteria for accreditation, indicators that document compliance, and policies and procedures are based on principles widely accepted and tested in general and professional education.  All those involved in the process must be alert to current developments in education and nursing; the effectiveness of the current standards, criteria, policies, and procedures; and to the evidence of need for change.  A systematic ongoing review of all components of the accreditation process is essential to insure an up-to-date, reliable, and valid accrediting program. 

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    The American Society of Superintendents of Training Schools for Nurses, forerunner of the National League for Nursing, was founded for the purpose of establishing and maintaining a universal standard of training for nurses.


    National League of Nursing Education published Standard Curriculum for Schools of Nursing.


    Accrediting activities in nursing education were begun by many different organizations.


    National League of Nursing Education published A Curriculum Guide for Schools of Nursing, the last of its type by the organization.


    National League of Nursing Education initiated accreditation for programs of nursing education for registered nursing.


    The formation of National Nursing Accrediting Service unifying accreditation activities in nursing.  It was discontinued in 1952 when accreditation activities were consolidated under the National League for Nursing.


    The National Organization for Public Health Nursing and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Nursing merged with the National League of Nursing Education to form the National League for Nursing (NLN).  Accreditation of nursing education became the function of the NLN Division of Nursing Education.

    The U.S. Department of Education recognized the National League for Nursing and included it on the initial list of recognized accrediting agencies.  NLN (later NLNAC), has been continually recognized by the U.S Department of Education since this date.


    The NLN Board of Directors established a policy charging each educational council with the responsibility for developing its own accreditation program.  The program was conducted through the NLN three membership units:  the Council of Baccalaureate and Higher Degree Programs; the Council of Diploma and Associate Degree Programs; (the Diploma and Associate Degree Programs separated into two councils in l965), and the Council of Practical Nursing Programs (1966). The accreditation program and services were administered by NLN professional staff.


    A significant feature of the Nurse Training Act of l964 was the public recognition it gave to national accreditation standards. Accreditation by NLN, or assurance of meeting accreditation standards within a reasonable time, was a condition of eligibility for funds dispensed under the act. 

    Federal funding for nursing education under the Nurse Training Act was contingent upon the compliance of schools of nursing with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of l964.


    Council on Post-secondary Accreditation (COPA) recognized the NLN Accreditation Program.


    Outcome criteria were incorporated into Standards and Criteria for all accredited programs.


    NLN Board of Governors approved the recommendation of the NLN Accreditation Committee to institute core standards and criteria.


    NLN Board of Governors approved establishment of an independent entity within in the organization to be known as the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC).


    January, the NLNAC began operations with sole authority and accountability for carrying out the responsibilities inherent in the accreditation processes.

    Fifteen Commissioners were appointed: nine nurse educators, three nursing service executives, and three public members.  The Commissioners assumed responsibilities for the management, financial decisions, policy making, and general administration of the NLNAC. 

    The peer review process was strengthened with the formation of program specific Evaluation Review Panels.


    NLNAC continued collaborative work with specialty organizations to strengthen application of standards for advanced practice nursing programs.  Advanced practice nurses were invited to serve as program evaluators.


    January, the U.S. Department of Education Secretary renewed NLNAC recognition as a nationally recognized accrediting agency for nursing education.



    January, NLNAC received continuing recognition by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).



    NLNAC was incorporated as a subsidiary of the National League for Nursing.



    U.S. Department of Education renewed NLNAC recognition as a nationally recognized accrediting agency for nursing education.


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    NLNAC STAFF     





    Chief Executive Officer

    Associate Director

    Associate Director

    Professional Staff

    Associate Director

    Sharon J. Tanner, EdD, RN

    Nell Ard, PhD, RN, CNE, ANEF
    Abigail Gerding, PhD, RN

    Cheryl Kish, EdD, RN, WHNP-BC
    Cordia Starling, EdD, RN







    Director of Business Operations and Information Systems

    Manager of Accreditation Services

    Director of Operations

    Executive Assistant

    Joe Luis Ortiz

    Patricia Barlow

    Alex Mariquit

    Yovanka Heyburn






    Operations Assistant

    Administrative Assistant
    for Accreditation Services

    Operations Specialist

    Assistant to the Office of the CEO

    Administrative Assistant for Accreditation Support

    Accounting Specialist

    Administrative Assistant to the Professional Staff

    Operations Analyst


    Jessica Dermody

    Katherine Little

    Carla Haynes

    Justin Jerome

    Todd Oesterle

    Jocelyn Pineda

    Robert Steinbruegge

    Zaid Toukan












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  • Site Visitors

  • Evaluation Review Panelists

  • Appeal Panelists  

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