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We received the final report from the staff of the U.S. Department of Education on June 3, and I am disappointed to have to tell you that their recommendation to the National Advisory Commiteee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) was to withdraw NLN's recognition as an accrediting agency. NLN respectfully disagreed with this staff recommendation at a hearing before the NACIQI on June 19. At the hearing, we presented testimony that we expected to convince the NACIQI to make a different recommendation to the Secretary of Education, who will make the final decision. NACIQI made a negative recommendation to the Secretary and NLN will immediately appeal the decision. NLN's own recognition as an accrediting agency continues throughout any appeal process.
NLN will continue to review programs
NLN will continue to review programs and determine accreditation status throughout the next months. If your program is scheduled for a visit, please continue in your planning to be reviewed by the NLN on schedule. Boards of review will meet to review programs, progress reports and special requests; and the accreditation committees will continue to define and develop criteria.
It is our position that contrary to the conclusions of the DOE staff, NLN has in fact met the requirements of the U.S. Secretary of Education such as to warrant continued recognition. Moreover, it is NLN's contention that the staff findings themselves do not support their conclusion but rather support a conclusion of continued recognition with monitoring. Both the reasons presented by the staff and NLN's response to them are discussed in the section to follow subtitled "Primary Concerns of the DOE Staff."
NLN in good faith
On February 1, 1996, the Secretary of Education deferred consideration of NLN's petition for renewal of recognition to permit NLN to demonstrate how it has begun to bring itself into compliance with specific areas of concern under the recognition regulations. The Secretary's letter to NLN stated that the NLN must provide evidence that "it is putting forth serious effort and acting in good faith to come into compliance." It is NLN's position that we have met the Secretary's requirements.
Since September 1995, the NLN Board of Governors and other standing committees have held 15 special meetings to address earlier DOE Staff Report recommendations. The work of the NLN Special Task Force on Accreditation was particularly vital to the creation of the independent National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC). The creation of NLNAC will assure NLN's …