The Board of Commissioners approved a revision to POLICY #20 COMPLAINTS AGAINST AN ACCREDITED PROGRAM. Pursuant to Commission Policy #11, proposed policy changes are submitted to accredited programs for review and comment prior to implementation.

Please provide any comments by email to Yovanka Heyburn at no later than April 16, 2014. The Commissioners will consider these comments prior to implementation of the policy.

Thank you for reviewing this policy change. We appreciate your interest and support of the accreditation process.


The ACEN reviews any complaint it receives against an accredited program that is related to the ACEN Standards, Criteria, or policies, and resolves the complaint in a timely, fair, and equitable manner using established timelines for each step of the complaint procedure.

A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction about something or someone that is the cause or subject of protest. The ACEN will only act on complaints about program quality that may, if substantiated, indicate areas of non-compliance with Accreditation Standards and Criteria. As a formal allegation against a party, program, nursing education unit, or governing organization, a complaint is expressed as a written, signed statement by the complainant. It may be concerned with the rights of an individual, program, nursing education unit, and/or governing organization; or the interpretation or application of rules, regulations, or policies of an accredited program. In addition, it may include concerns from recognized state or federal agencies.

In addressing a complaint, the ACEN does not serve as arbitrator or mediator of internal disputes within nursing programs or between nursing programs. It will not intervene on behalf of an individual complainant regarding such matters as admission, progression, grades, appointment, promotion, or dismissal of faculty members or students. The ACEN’s role is to ensure that the policies and procedures of an institution and/or a nursing program regarding complaints are implemented fairly and as written, or if policies are not present, to make certain that such policies and procedures of a program, nursing education unit, or governing organization are developed and implemented. A potential complainant should use all available appeal or grievance means at the program, nursing education unit, or governing organization before filing a complaint with the ACEN.

A complaint may be filed by any of the following representatives of ACEN communities of interest including:

  • Student(s) currently enrolled in an accredited nursing program, nursing education unit, or governing organization;
  • Applicant(s) to an accredited nursing program or nursing education unit; and/or
  • Other interested parties.