Aug 15, 2015

Growing Role of Proprietary Nursing Programs


  • Concern about the quality and the fraudulent use of Federal student loans has plagued the growing for–profit college industry.
  • The absence of a central regulatory body has meant that there is no reliable data on either the number or the quality of nursing programs offered by proprietary colleges.
  • In all states and territories, except Florida, Mississippi, and New York, nursing programs must be approved by the State Pre-licensure Board of Nursing.
  • In order to estimate the number and quality of proprietary nursing programs, we surveyed the 59 (some states have more than one) Pre-licensure Boards.
Key Findings:
Based on responses from 41 of the 59 Pre-licensure Boards, we found:
  • There is wide variation in the number of for-profit nursing programs across states. Four boards reported 0 and one (Florida) reported 73 programs.
  • Thirty-four boards reported increases in numbers of proprietary programs in the several years.
  • Eight of the 41 boards reported high turnover of proprietary programs (some have opened, while others have closed).
  • Eighteen boards reported instances in which proprietary programs that did not meet standards were placed on probation, given conditional approval, or approval was rescinded and programs were closed.
  • Problems in quality that were reported include: lack of sites for clinical placements, poorly planned clinical experiences and curricula, and a lack of qualified administrators and faculty. In addition, there have been cases of “lack of integrity”, identified in a number of ways, including threats to the board of nursing, presentation of false documents, and questionable recruiting that included accepting students who did not meet standards.
  • Eight boards reported objections by legislators or others after denying approval. In most of these cases the boards were forced to ultimately approve the programs.