Aspen University in Phoenix surrenders nursing program license, failing to meet NCLEX first-time pass rate

Aspen University in Phoenix is surrendering its nursing program license as it cannot meet the minimum required first-time pass rate percentage on the national exam to become a nurse, says a document provided by the Arizona State Board of Nursing.

The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) needs to have a pass rate of 80%, and the university doesn't see itself meeting that requirement in the near future.

"As of today, the year-to-date pass rate is 69.4%. Ninety-three out of the 134 students who have passed," said Dr. David Hrabe, education program administrator of the Arizona State Board of Nursing, at a July 29 board meeting.

The license was surrendered on Sept. 20 and the university agreed to a "teach out," meaning it's agreed to offer "instruction for its existing nursing students for up to two years, so that they may complete their degrees or seek other options."

Passing the national test, the NCLEX, is a requirement in the U.S. to become a nurse.

"At the end of this teach out period, the nursing program's provisional approval will automatically be surrendered. Aspen University will not be eligible to apply for reissuance of its approval for a period of two years," a news release from the Arizona State Board of Nursing said.

Students will also have the option to transfer their credits to another school, if applicable.

The university released a statement saying, in part, "Aspen had suspended admissions to its Arizona program in January 2022. Under the terms of the Consent Agreement, Aspen will continue its current Arizona nursing program for all current students and provide regular reports to the Board of Nursing about the program. It remains accountable to the Board to ensure that its current students receive expected instruction and learning opportunities. Once all currently enrolled students in the program have either completed the program or ceased enrollment, or within two years, whichever is sooner, Aspen’s program approval will be automatically voluntarily surrendered for a minimum period of two years."

Aspen University nursing students in other states will also be impacted.

"Aspen will suspend new enrollments and complete instruction of its program for currently enrolled Core nursing students in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Texas," the school said.

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