The complaint has been investigated and
resolved to the customer's satisfaction
Excelsior CollegeClinical (CPNE) $ SCAM

I signed up for Excelsior College LVN to RN program with high hopes. I passed all 8 computer exams, which I feared most. Little did I know...after traveling to 3 different states (Nevada, Indiana, NY) to attend CPNE workshops and after purchasing everything and anything they offered, I traveled once again to Wisconsin to take my CPNE. (Mind you that I had a full wkshp. set up in my living room, after attending 3 wkshps., I could have taught the class) I was instructing a patient to deep breathe and cough and I was called out of the room by my instructor and she told me that I failed, because upon stating to the patient to breathe in I did not us the word "forcefully" when I instructed her to exhale. There were 7 students taking the CPNE that wknd. and all of us failed. CPNE #2, traveled to ? (can't even remember now) I was doing my abd. assessment and listened to bowel sounds in 4 quadrants and instructor continued let me finish exam, then called me out to hallway and told me that she thought my stethescope was not low enough in the right quadrant (although she also heard positive BS. When I left, there was still 1 person out of 6 left. All the others failed and I never found out if the person left passed or not. CPNE#3, I traveled to Plano, TX and there were 6 people in my group. AS you can imagine, I was VERY nervous by this point. During the classroom stations I was the last one to do my IM injection. I used my hnd for the landmarks. Gave the injection and the examiner asked me to not remove my needle. She then got a plastic stiff tranparency and attempted to lay it over the buttocks/hip. By now there were 2 ppl. involved, they removed my syringe, leavin the hub/needle in place. This was on the black line of their poor fittinbg transparency and hey agreed tht it was unacceptable location. I argued about everyones hand is a different size and the laminate/transparency does not curve to the correct "plane" of the buttocks. Failed, I burst into tears and tole them that I had spent $30, 000 on this program and 2 years. It is definitely a money scam. DO NOT SIGN UP FOR THIS PROGRAM. Today, after 2.5 years, I am still so bitter and hurt. I continue to work as an LVN and am having a difficult time deciding on going back to the classroom.


  • Bm
    BMaher Feb 15, 2016
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I have always been an excellent student (A's and B's). I too feel the CPNE is very subjective. I failed for a b/p the the ce first said she couldn't hear, I heard it perfectly fine. Took the b/p again 110/70 and 11 year old. Her baseline in her chart was 110/68-100/65, yet the ce said I saw it bounce at 80, so I got 110/80. I failed. She never even heard the b/p she said she saw it bounce at 80, funny the patient baseline was never even close to 80 diastolic in the chart. All I have to say is I feel so humiliated and RIPPED OFF!! I never should have gone to that second rate school. It took over a year to get into test. I know in my heart I would not of had a problem passing a traditional program. The biggest mistake of my life. Please if anyone thinks this is going to be an easy way to get your RN, think again because a huge percentage of students get nothing in the end.

    1 Votes
  • Ne
    NEWNURSE2013 Dec 23, 2012
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    You have ti stay focus what ever you do. Also be careful the words that come out your mouth... What you speak is what you receive... Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. ◄ Mark 11:24 ►While we like to think we have conscious control over what we attract, what we do in life, and how we behave, the truth is, the subconscious has most of the control. So when you aren't attracting what you want in life, it's an indication that unconsciously you have low expectations for yourself. Even if on a conscious level you make every effort to achieve something, unless your unconscious carries synergistic expectations, then it will be difficult to achieve.



    0 Votes
  • Im
    imashepherdgirl Dec 05, 2012
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I think I figured out why the CE's like to fail people. They probably get paid for the whole weekend and don't want to be there/have weekend plans and don't want to get up at 6am on Sunday. So no incentive for them to come back the next day. Then they look for the smallest thing to fail a person on, because NO ONE is perfect especially NOT the CE's who themselves made ridiculous mistakes! I have seen it first hand and was appalled that I'm paying this money to watch them argue over what was proper procedure. If you pass consider yourself fortunate, you had a CE who was decent and fair. They put on a good front but I think many of them look down on the test takers as "less than" them because they are not master's level and didn't go the traditional route. If a class action law suit is ever filed I think the payments of the CE's should be looked into to prove my theory right!!!

    1 Votes
  • Ma
    Maximus1999 Nov 12, 2012

    I am sick of reading about people saying that if we fail then we did not prepare. Well, let me tell you something. I studied for 6 months straight and everyday. I was failed because these so-called examiners could not hear the blood pressure right and I told her to get the automatic and compare ours and she refused and got mad. Well, everything was perfect, so how could I fail, well guess what...magically a new check mark appears on my Kardex that was not there in the beginning and oops you forgot, you fail. That is bull%$% and you know it. Also, failed me for holding my pt's hand which put me 4 minutes over my 2.5 hours and she said I went over on time, FAIL!!! coincidence? I think they are racist, biased, and jealous. I have never been so disrespected in my life. I am appealing as we speak. I will have those examiner's jobs when I finish.

    -1 Votes
  • Rd
    rdoc1234 Jun 25, 2012

    I passed my CPNE last year (2011). Yes, The CPNE is a pain.
    I am a single parent with seven children and I passed the first time. I had to repeat only one patient and it was my stupidity.
    My CPNE was located in Texas and there were 6 of us. 1 person failed, we all knew she would. There was other person who was repeating the CPNE for the second time. This person forgot to do something and failed his first patient, so he left and never returned.
    The rest of us passed. It can be done.

    -1 Votes
  • Bj
    BJTRN Jun 20, 2012

    graduated excelsior college in 2005, best investment i have ever made, hardest thing i have ever completed. Passed cpne 1st time, i studied my butt off for over six months. If you didnt pass you didnt prepare. And personally I wouldnt want someone that could not pass the cpne caring for me, it is a test of the basic fundamentals of nursing practice. If you cant committ to learning the basics then maybe nursing isnt for you. Oh yeah and in case you didn't know nursing can be very stressful, you managing your stress during the cpne is part of the exam.. I have worked MS/ICU/CTICU have managed a short term rehab facility and am currently a nursing supervisor. Without excelsior college and their scam of a nursing program i'd be doing menial labor right now. I don't work for them, but i would in a heart beat (originating from the atrial depolarization of the sa node), you'd know that if you studied your cardiology content. Maybe it wasn't even excelsior setting you up, maybe the patient you were caring for did it to you., ... Take some accountability... let the comments roll..

    0 Votes
  • Rn
    RNAlyssa 2012 Feb 01, 2012

    tgLPN, sorry for your failure. Wish things would have turned out different for you. I know it is difficult to pay that much money and have nothing to show at the end, especially after we study for such an incredible amount of time.
    Regarding your intervention failure, the CPNE study guide says interventions are to help a patient achieve an outcome that will move a patient to a resolution of a problem. Obtaining a blood pressure wouldn't help a patient achieve an outcome. I really don't understand the "left leg weakness" as a related to problem. What was the NCP that you used?
    Please share...

    0 Votes
  • Tg
    tgLPN Feb 01, 2012

    Excelsior is a scam! I just finished taking it for the second time. The CA told me that I was a clinically competent nurse (have worked on pcu for 5 years). But, they failed me because I used "obtain a blood pressure" as an intervention in my planning phase care plan which they said was "monitoring" And then, for using "left leg weakness" as a related to. Everything was else was perfect! But they failed me anyway. $2025 out the window, plus the cost of hotel and travel. The Mosby's nursing diagnosis book lists these phrases as acceptable. If it's acceptable to nursing, why isn't accetable to Excelsior? I believe they have to fail so many students and pass few. I know people who have passed this and lucky for them-they weren't the ones chosen to be failed. Also the CE told me "I could never have done this program" Oh really? Then why are you participating in the rip off?????!!! I'm filing complaints with the board of nursing, U.S. department of Education, and Excelsior's Dean of Nursing.

    1 Votes
  • Rn
    RNAlyssa 2012 Jan 19, 2012

    I just passed CPNE this weekend. It is very doable. You have to know your stuff inside and out! Excelsior is not a scam. They have set guidelines you must adhere to, or, you don't pass. I saw absolutely no prejudice, nor favoritism. I studied for 6 months solid and do well under stress. CPNE is no other than a HESI exit exam. If they let everyone pass with out being able to see them work, what would happen to nursing as a profession? Oh, I am just an LVN from Texas who succeeded at the CPNE. I don't work for, nor have I ever been employed by Excelsior.

    0 Votes
  • Lp
    LPN in PA Aug 17, 2011

    I was just given a presentation by a rep from College Network and when I asked him the percentage of people passing the clinical, he told me 61%. I told him I would not comit to the program without a 90% passing rate. I told him I would not throw my money on a gambeling table with those odds. I talked to a friend who did the program and he told me out of 8 people in his clinical group, he was the only one that passed, BTW he is now a MSN now. Then I got on this site, OMG, Im so glad I did not spend the money on their program!! Thanks

    2 Votes
  • Ch
    christyroy Jun 18, 2011

    There are people on here from Excelsior pretending to be former students who passed the CPNE. No wonder California will not accept this program. The California Board of Nursing knows this program is a scam and that the failure rate is very high. I thought about doing Excelsior but every time I go to some forum about it, there is always negative entries from others who have tried and failed several times to pass that stupid CPNE. Very rarely do I ever see a positive comment or any remarks about someone passing. I am desperate to get my RN in California but all of the schools are very impacted. I would love to be able to do something like Excelsior but I wouldn't waste my time. I would rather stay an LVN than put up with scammers. I hope each and every one of my fellow LVN's recognize how important you are to our profession. Despite what the idiot RN's think, we are just as competent and capable nurses (yes we are nurses...) as they are. Good luck to all of you and I hope you find a way to get your RN. I am still looking around but I know one day my time will come.

    3 Votes
  • Rn
    RNBSN Mar 30, 2011

    I just LOVE the way some of the commenters come on here pretending to be nurses-praising the school and making comments "Not all nurses should be RN's". What a bunch of BULL. Comments must have been made by a Excelsior employee! Why else would someone who passed and is happy be on a complaint board? These nurses are failing for stupid crap that don't amount to a hill of beans-and the nurses that are instructors should be ashamed of themselves for participating. I find it hard to believe Excelsior could be paying you so much as to completely dishonor your profession. I am thinking you can't cut it in a hospital setting-so sold out!
    Someone who fails for taking a blood pressure over a patients thin gown is ridiculous! LPN's working in the health care setting for years do as much as an RN does-sometimes more when you have a power hungrey RN. And No, I have never been an LPN, just worked side by side with excellent LPN's for years. Bottom line: Excelsior is a fraud and should be stopped!

    2 Votes
  • Pa
    Patricia Kelly Jan 03, 2011

    I have been an LPN for over 30 years. I am convinced that Excelsior is a money making scam. I knew what I was doing in every PCS and yet the examiners were ruthless. They scourered my documentation for over 45 minutes until they could find something that I had omitted. (I forgot to mention "no edema present".) They are dishonest and lied while looking me in the eye. They are prejudice and discriminitory. I think this organization should be shut down for fraud. $25, 000 and 3 years of my life and I walk away with nothing to show for it. I believe in Karma and one of these days all these hustlers will get what they have coming to them.

    0 Votes
  • Do
    Donald J. Sep 29, 2010
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Please don't blame the school for your own failure to properly prepare for the CPNE. Presently, the first-time pass rate for the CPNE is 64%. That doesn't mean you have a 64% chance to pass. It means that 64% of first-timers have properly prepared. If you did not pass, it means you were one of the 36% who did not properly prepare.

    I'm sorry, but not everyone that wants to be an RN is meant to be an RN. Just because you paid a ton of money, it does not entitle you to pass the CPNE. It takes a lot of hard work and persistence. If you think you've already put in a lot of hard work and persistence, then you need to put in more. It can be done. It is done every weekend by students who are preparing the right way. I did it on my first try with ZERO repeats, despite the fact that I wanted to throw up the whole weekend and my heart was trying to rip through my chest every second.

    You can say the examiners were unfair. They were rude. They were overbearing nazis. 100% of the time, when someone makes these statements, it's a person that has failed the CPNE. Coincidence? I think not.

    Stop externalizing. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Stop feeling like you were bullied or cheated or ripped off. The CPNE did not fail you. You failed the CPNE. Suck it up. Prepare right for it the next time. Go back and kick the CPNE's [censor].

    -1 Votes
  • Ky
    Kyle DeFrain Apr 19, 2010

    I too was a victim of a program designed to fail many students in order to maintain a profitable bottom line. After many months of self evaluation and soul serching, I have decided I can get other letters after my name that have nothing to do with RN. For example, currently I am studying to be certified in wound care. And because I not only hold an LPN, I also hold a class CA license in cosmotology I have maintained for 25 years. I plan also in attending some courses in Aestetics and learn Botox, Dermafills and surface vein treatment. This allows me the luxury of being a nurse but working in the beauty industry as well. Something I miss. I just decided to be a little more creative with my time and money. Excelsior is an experience I will never forget and taught me that no matter what field you pursue, there will be wolves waiting at the door. Be careful and do your research. Did you know women who loose their breasts to cancer have reconstruction and tattooed areolas? Cool! It makes me feel good to help women feel beautiful again. Why work with bitter old women? So, wipe your tears away, and go for every ounce of learning you can in the beautiful world of nursing. Good luck to you all.

    1 Votes
  • Eq
    Equusz Jan 29, 2010

    Pass-to-fail ratio is documented on their website and confirmed by the NLN. The majority (62%) of first time CPNE takers PASS.

    Yes it's a hard test, yes you have to know your critical elements, and YES, you can pass. I've been a paramedic for years and had no nursing experience. I did a workshops, studied extra materials, and passed my first attempt last month with no retakes at all. It CAN be done.

    People need to accept the fact that this test is simply setup differently. When you sign up for Excelsior, you accept the fact that YOU are responsible for gaining all the learning on your own. It is NOT a teaching program. It is an ASSESSMENT program. All Excelsior does is tell you what you need to know, and YOU are responsible for learning it.

    Of course the CPNE is going to be harder than traditional nursing programs, because traditional programs have all their clinical testing spread throughout the year. Excelsior's CPNE is a one-shot deal, all clinical skills assessed at one time. You accept this when you decide to do your nursing in a non-traditional manner. In return, you get to work at your own pace, pay a lot less (I did), and have guaranteed acceptance on your own schedule, instead of waiting for months or years to get accepted into a busy community college.

    The CPNE is hard, but it IS doable. If you feel you were unfairly failed, stand up for yourself at the CPNE. It makes a big difference. And if that doesn't work, use the appeal process.

    0 Votes
  • Bi
    Bishoprm Dec 22, 2009

    Need to find out the pass to fail ration for the CPNE. The way the test is set up as is, it seems like a scam.

    2 Votes
  • Ma
    mari l Dec 04, 2009

    I too have failed 3x please have anyone e-mail me that has failed 3x. Please e-mail [email protected]

    Maybe we can help people in the future not to waste their time and money.

    4 Votes
  • Ka
    Kathleen Dailey Dec 03, 2009

    If you want to form a group then please email me. We should get together and speak out, and maybe we need a class action lawsuit.

    3 Votes
  • Ra
    rachelgee Oct 26, 2009


    i completely feel your pain. i'm not a nurse but have spent years starting and stopping my education because of financial reasons. once i moved to nacogdoches, texas i wanted to resume my education yet again. i looked at the university in town and some community colleges in neighboring towns, then someone suggested excelsior. the community college evaluated my transcript and said i would have to re-take the basic nursing class b/c i didn't have enough clinical hours and then i would have to sit out a couple of semesters and then return and take the advanced class. that would take about 2 years. i decided on excelsior b/c i could decide when to take my exams and finish sooner. well, i was surely wrong!!! the computer tests i finished quickly. then came the cpne. i waited for 7 months to be placed in wisconsin (i can't stand flying). i also took the workshop (more $$$$$$) and studied everyday for 2 months. i couldn't have studied more. i failed for supid reasons. the first 2 days i did very well. i fell apart the last day. by the way, that exam had 6 students, only 2 of us were left that sunday. my first pcs that day had 2 examiners b/c one was training the other. they failed me for a 3-fold reason: 1. incorrect placement of the stethescope on the upper lobes of the lungs 2. incorrect placement of my fingers for pedal pulses. mind you i heard the breath sounds and i palpated the pulses. 3. i didn't put her call bell in her hand when i left the room. she was ambulatory and sitting in a chair and the call bell was on her bed, within reach!!! the second pcs that afternoon i forgot to use the incentive spirometer and reassessed after the couging and deep breathing. i remembered the incentive spirometer when i reassessed, but it was too late. i was already out of sequence. goodbye $3000 (travel expense + test itself)

    cpne number 2 just completed this weekend (october 23rd thru 25th) in plano. i faled 1st pcs b/c i completely forgot the rationale for the nursing diagnosis i chose in my careplan evaluation. failed 2nd pcs b/c my 2nd intervention was "nurse-centered" with no patient response. goodbye $2500!!! oh, i almost forgot, they gave me some sort of "exit interview" after my 2nd failure to ask me if i was treated fairly and if they were professional and how a studied, and yadda, yadda, yadda. then they gave me a letter to be filled out "at a later time when i'm not so emotional" to mail to the director. the envelope is self-addressed but NO STAMP!!! now that really p______s me off! the money they made off me and they want to stamp their return letter? puh-lease! they can read about it here.

    here's my final thought: i think my first pcs failure back in wisconsin was un-fair. the rest were my fault. everyone at the test sites were nice and professional. i believe it is the test structure itself. i cannot take the pressure and the stress. these failures i experienced were not knowledge or skill based, they were stupid omissions on my part. the test is very un-forgiving. and once you fail something, you're under even more stress. i will not take this test a 3rd time. i owe for another yearly "building fee" plus i would have to pay another 2 grand for the test plus i here there's some sort of "graduation fee" to get my diploma. i should have just finished my education at the community college, where it was cheaper and just as long.

    some people do pass. i've actually seen and met them. are they better nurses? i don't know that. i do think this college prepares for the nclex better than some of the other schools, but that god-awful clinical is a nightmare/trainwreck/bloodbath. i think i just buckle under that kind of pressure. if someone asks me my opinion, i would ask that person this: if you handle pressure very well and for a prolonged period of time you may be able to take this test and pass. and yeah, i do think there's a scam element going on.

    2 Votes

Post your comment

    By clicking Submit you are agreeing to the Complaints Board’s Terms and Conditions



    Unhappy consumers gather online at and have already logged thousands of complaints.
    If you see dozens of complaints about a certain company on ComplaintsBoard, walk away.
    One of the largest consumer sites online. Posting here your concerns means good exposure for your issues.
    A consumer site aimed at exposing unethical companies and business practices.
    ComplaintsBoard is a good source for product and company gripes from especially dissatisfied people.
    You'll definitely get some directions on how customer service can best solve your problem.
    Do a little research on the seller. Visit consumer complaint websites like ComplaintsBoard.