Lincoln— Attorney General Peterson announced that he has filed a Complaint in the District Court of Sarpy County, Nebraska, against Bellevue University. The case relates to Bellevue University’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program specifically designed to assist current registered nurses in obtaining their baccalaureate or bachelor’s degree. Bellevue University referred to this program as its “RN to BSN” program. The Complaint alleges that Bellevue University made false, deceptive, and/or misleading statements to prospective and current students regarding the accreditation status of its RN to BSN program and the value of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from an unaccredited nursing program.
Although it is not a requirement that nursing programs be accredited to confer baccalaureate degrees, an unaccredited BSN is significantly less valuable than a BSN from a college or university with an accredited nursing program. Bellevue University was aware of this prior to enrolling the first class of students in its RN to BSN program. Nonetheless, Bellevue University used deceptive advertising and marketing materials, which, combined with its false and misleading representations and statements to current and prospective students, created a significant likelihood of confusion or misunderstanding as to whether Bellevue’s RN to BSN program was accredited, when it would achieve accreditation, and the importance of accreditation.
Students from Nebraska and elsewhere relied on Bellevue University’s misleading statements, incurred student debt or lost their hard-earned money as a result, and were left with unaccredited degrees and worthless credit hours as a result. Between 2012 and March 2017, approximately 179 students participated in Bellevue University’s RN to BSN program.
Attorney General Peterson stated, “The decision to invest in a college education is one with lifelong financial implications. Consumers are entitled to, and the law demands they be provided, accurate information when making these decisions. With today’s filing, we remind all educational institutions that they will be held accountable for the representations they make to current and prospective students.”