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Aspen University surrenders nursing program license

Aspen University will be surrounding its nursing program license

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Aspen University informed the Arizona State Board of Nursing that it will be surrendering its nursing program license since it will not meet the state’s minimum exam pass rate for 2022. 

The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) needs to have a pass rate of 80%, but the university came under heavy scrutiny for its low scores on the NCLEX

Aspen University provost Joanne Weiss mentioned that the institution’s 2021 NCLEX first-time pass rate was 58%, with only 65 out of 112 students passing on their first try. 

“After considerable discussion, and expressions of concern about how to best mitigate potential harm to students, the Board voted to offer AU a consent agreement for a 36 month stayed revocation probation on its provisional approval,” A portion of a statement given to 12 News by the Arizona State Board of Nursing said.

The sad reality is that if students are unable to pass the NCLEX, they will have financial debt without the ability to pay it off or become licensed as a nurse. 

A statement from Aspen University's President, Dr. Cheri St. Arnauld was posted Thursday on the university's Facebook page. Here's the full statement:

“Aspen University is working with the Arizona Board of Nursing to remedy our mutual concerns as quickly and expeditiously as possible. We all recognize that the COVID pandemic has damaged the ability of nearly all academic institutions to meet minimum standards, much less excel. We intend to continue to work with the Board to ensure our program meets and exceeds the standards set by the State of Arizona. 

Aspen began our program in Phoenix three and a half years ago, and our initial cohort graduated in 2020 meeting all State standards. Clearly, we failed to meet those standards in 2021. We adopted numerous changes throughout 2021 increasing the program rigor which are already showing results as we expected. In the first calendar quarter of 2022, we have an 85% pass rate as of 2/10/22.

Aspen was provided the Nursing Board’s consent agreement earlier this week. We are reviewing that presently. We will not, though, sign any agreement that jeopardizes our currently enrolled student’s ability to continue to work within our academic institution to finish their degree. Our most recent test scores indicate our commitment to improvement.  It is our hope that the Board of Nursing will recognize our improvements and not choose to diminish our ability to provide a pathway to meet the increasing demand for nurses in Arizona with qualified professionally registered nurses.”

Higher ED Dive reports “Aspen can apply for its nursing program’s reinstatement beginning two years after its closure in 2024.” 
 

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