inPractice - Summer 2017 - 6

F E AT U R E S T O R Y

The Road to

BECOMING A COLLEGE
In 1998, the leadership of the Lancaster Institute of Health Education (LIHE)
began the process to become a degree-granting institution - a path far more
challenging than any anticipated. Read on for an overview of the process, as
told by President Simcox.

PENNSYLVANIA
DEPARTMENT
OF
EDUCATION

PENNSYLVANIA
STATE BOARD OF
NURSING

T

he College's journey began with the Pennsylvania
Department of Education. Before any plans for opening
as a College could be finalized, LIHE first had to be
approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education as a
degree-granting institution. "Even though it was tough while
we were going through it, looking back, the Department of
Education gave us lots of good advice. The woman we worked
with really knew her stuff and helped get us on the right track."
In addition to minimum requirements of an endowment of at
least $500,000 and eight full-time faculty members, candidates
must complete a thorough application detailing governance
structures, mission and objectives, quality metrics, financial
data, curriculum and courses, learner resources, facilities, and
more. A final site visit is also required for approval. The Board
of Education approved the institution as a college in 2001.

B
MIDDLE STATES
COMMISSION
ON HIGHER
EDUCATION

6 inPractice | SUMMER 2017

ecause accreditation by Middle States is
required for a college to receive federal
financial aid, accreditation approval
by the commission was essential for the
College's success. Before beginning to work
with the Department of Education, President
Simcox called Middle States to explain
her plans to open a college to see if that
was something Middle States might even
end up approving. "They asked if we had
Department of Ed. approval, and we said
'Not yet, but we don't want to start down that
road if you're not going to approve us in the
long run,' and they said to call back when we
had Department of Ed. approval and hung
up!" Even though it meant taking a huge risk
to proceed without the nod of agreement
from Middle States, the institution persisted
in its efforts to become a college.

E

ven though LIHE
had nearly as
many programs
and health specialties
as the College does
today, nursing was still
a huge component
of its education, so
approval by the State
Board of Nursing was
essential. While the
process for approval
was similar to the
Board of Education, at
that time, the Board of
Nursing did not have
a provision to approve
diploma-granting
institutions while they
were transitioning
to degree-granting
institutions. "They
actually said there
was nothing we could
do, and it would take
49 steps in seven
years to change the
regulations." Rather
than continue to fight
the Board of Nursing,
the College partnered
with the Hospital



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