Understanding the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

Nursing education is an essential aspect of healthcare, and the quality of education offered to nursing students significantly impacts the competency of nurses in their profession. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) was established to ensure that nursing education programs meet specific standards that adequately prepare students for their careers.

Understanding the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

What is CCNE?

CCNE is an autonomous body that evaluates and accredits nursing education programs at the baccalaureate, graduate, and residency levels. It was founded in 1998 as an arm of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), a professional organization that represents over 840 schools offering nursing degrees.

The primary objective of CCNE is to improve nursing education by setting and enforcing high-quality standards for academic programs. Its accreditation process relies on self-assessment by each program, peer review by nurse educators, and regular evaluation cycles to ensure continuous improvement.

Why is CCNE important?

Accreditation from CCNE provides many benefits to institutions offering nursing degrees. These benefits include:

  1. Accreditation facilitates federal financial aid eligibility for students pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees in nursing.

  2. Institutions accredited by CCNE are eligible for Title VIII funding from the U.S government provided under the Public Health Services Act, which supports advanced nursing education programs.

  3. Accreditation by CCNE indicates that educational institutions meet high standards set forth by a respected professional organization.

  4. Employers prefer graduates from accredited programs because they are assured of their competencies and skills.

  5. Students receive a quality education that prepares them successfully for employment as a nurse practitioner or nurse educator.

  6. Consistent with its mission, accreditation from CCNE assures stakeholders such as faculty members, parents/guardians, alumni associations, regulatory agencies, and employers that graduates not only have completed rigorous coursework but also perform well subsequently in clinical practice settings

How does CCNE accreditation work?

CCNE uses a rigorous and extensive process to accredit nursing programs at various levels, including baccalaureate, graduate, and residency. Institutions seeking accreditation from CCNE must provide evidence of compliance with established criteria that evaluate the program’s quality in terms of meeting the needs of students and stakeholders.

The evaluation criteria include:

  1. Mission and governance

  2. Institutional commitment and resources

  3. Curriculum and teaching-learning practices

  4. Faculty qualifications and responsibilities

  5. Student support services

  6. Assessment measures used for the program

  7. Program outcomes; i.e., performance data relating to student completion rates, employment after graduation, licensure examination passage rates, employer satisfaction surveys etc.

Once an institution submits its self-study report evaluating its nursing program in line with the criteria listed above, a team of peer evaluators visits the institution to conduct an on-site review examining various aspects of the program’s delivery using defined protocols provided by CCNE.

After the site review is completed, evaluators submit their report to CCNE’s Accreditation Review Committee (ARC), which determines whether or not accreditation status should be granted based on all evidence gathered from both internal assessments (i.e., self-study) as well as external reviews (peer evaluations).

What are the benefits of being accredited by CCNE?

CCNE’s accreditation provides several benefits for nursing programs that meet its high standards:

  1. Accreditation ensures that academic institutions meet high-quality educational standards set forth by a respected professional organization.

  2. Graduates from accredited programs have better employment opportunities because employers prefer candidates who have demonstrated competency across core competencies evaluated during site visits.

  3. Students benefit from quality education that prepares them successfully for their future roles in advanced practice or academia.

  4. Consistent with its mission, accreditation from CCNE assures stakeholders such as faculty members, parents/guardians, alumni associations, regulatory agencies, and employers that graduates not only perform well academically but also possess the skills and knowledge necessary to provide high-quality patient care


CCNE plays a significant role in ensuring that nursing education programs meet high standards of quality. Accreditation by CCNE is essential for institutions offering nursing degrees as it provides many benefits, including federal financial aid eligibility, access to Title VIII funding from the U.S government, higher employment opportunities for graduates, and quality education for students interested in pursuing careers in nursing. Nursing professionals can trust CCNE accreditation as a reliable benchmark of program excellence.


What is the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)?

The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) is an autonomous accrediting agency that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education for the accreditation of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education programs.

Why was CCNE established?

CCNE was established with the objective of ensuring the quality and integrity of nursing education programs in colleges and universities that offer them.

Who benefits from CCNE accreditation?

Accreditation by CCNE benefits nursing schools, students, employers, and patients by ensuring that graduates have attained the highest standards of nursing education.

How does CCNE evaluate nursing programs?

CCNE evaluates nursing programs based on their compliance with a set of rigorous standards that cover various aspects of nursing education including program outcomes, curriculum design, faculty qualifications, and student performance.

What are some advantages of attending a CCNE-accredited program?

Attending a CCNE-accredited program can enhance job prospects for graduates as employers often look for this accreditation before hiring nurses. Moreover, students who attend accredited programs are assured they are receiving a quality education that meets nationally accepted standards.

How frequently does CCNE review accredited programs?

CCNE reviews accredited programs every ten years to ensure ongoing compliance with its standards. However, it may also conduct interim reviews if it has concerns about a particular program’s compliance or if there are significant changes to the program’s structure or curriculum.

Can schools appeal a decision made by CCNE regarding accreditation?

Yes, schools can appeal any adverse decision made by CCNE regarding accreditation within 30 days of receiving such notification via its appeals process which includes filing an Appeal Request Form and providing additional information to support its position.

What is the purpose of CCNE’s public comment process?

The public comment process allows stakeholders such as students, faculty, employers, and consumers to provide feedback on nursing programs undergoing review for accreditation or re-accreditation by CCNE. This feedback helps facilitate continuous improvement of nursing education programs.

How does CCNE ensure that its accreditation standards remain relevant?

CCNE continuously evaluates its accreditation standards by considering input from various stakeholders including nursing educators, practitioners, and organizations as well as changes in healthcare trends and policies at the local and national levels.

How can one learn more about CCNE accreditation?

One can visit CCNE’s website to learn more about its accreditation standards, processes, and practices. Additionally, prospective students can research a particular school’s accreditation status to determine if it has been accredited by CCNE or any other recognized accrediting agency.

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