MSU Denver Establishes Dual Enrollment Nursing Partnership with Arapahoe Community College and Front Range Community College
Contact: Tim Carroll, Office 303-556-5136, Cell 303-870-7705
Posted: September 19, 2013
(Denver) — In an effort to establish new cost-effective education alternatives for Colorado nursing students, Metropolitan State University of Denver has partnered with Arapahoe Community College (ACC) and Front Range Community College (FRCC) to offer a dual-enrollment option that enables students to graduate in four years with a bachelor of science degree in nursing (BSN).
“Employers are showing a hiring preference for graduates who have a BSN degree,” says Linda Stroup, associate chair of the MSU Denver Department of Nursing. “This initiative provides students with one of the most efficient and cost-effective pathways in the metro area for securing a bachelor’s degree in nursing.”
In 2010, the Institute of Medicine issued a report recommending that the proportion of nurses with baccalaureate degrees increase from 50 to 80 percent by 2020. Based on projected nursing retirements and current graduation rates from Colorado universities, there is work to be done to address that goal, Stroup says.
The RN-BSN dual-enrollment initiative will allow students to complete certain BSN elective credits at MSU Denver while finishing the required prerequisite courses from the nursing programs at their designated home school―ACC or FRCC. Once students complete their associate degrees in nursing and have accumulated 79 combined prerequisite credits, they will transition to MSU Denver to complete their BSN coursework.
“We are excited about the partnership with MSU Denver and the pathway we are creating for ACC nursing students to achieve a BSN degree,” says Geri Rush, ACC director of nursing. “South metro area hospitals such as Sky Ridge Medical Center and Littleton Adventist Hospital have expressed great enthusiasm for the program and potential for clinical placements in these hospitals.”
One unique advantage of the dual-enrollment program is the ability for students to secure financial aid toward classes taken at both the community college and MSU Denver. The home school will disburse financial aid for both institutions simultaneously. Previously under other similar arrangements, federal financial aid rules dictated aid could be applied only to a student’s home school coursework.
“This creates a seamless transfer for our students, especially those on financial aid,” said Sandy Veltri, FRCC associate vice president for student and academic services. “Together with our current associate-to-bachelor’s degree partnership with MSU Denver, this new initiative creates even more opportunities for students.”
“There is a national focus to help students better ensure academic credit transfers and we want to give students as many options as possible to obtain their degree in an efficient and cost-effective manner,” says Eric Dunker, MSU Denver Extended Campus director. “We have more than 100 courses to meet BSN general studies requirements, with classes available at multiple campuses, online or hybrid alternatives to meet each student’s needs.”
MSU Denver will provide students with academic advisors to help them choose electives that will allow for degree completion in four years. Current students can access the program immediately, and the official rollout for new students will begin in Spring 2014. In addition to taking classes at MSU Denver’s primary downtown Denver campus, the University offers students satellite campus locations in Greenwood Village and Northglenn. For more information about the program visit http://www.msudenver.edu/nursing/programinformation/dualenrollment/
This program complements MSU Denver’s existing baccalaureate-level nursing program in the Department of Health Professions, which also houses academic programs in gerontology, heath care management, human nutrition and dietetics, integrative therapies and recreation professions. MSU Denver’s baccalaureate nursing program has received full reaccreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), formerly the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC). At its July 2013 meeting, the Board of Commissioners granted continuing accreditation to the program for eight years, the maximum time allowed.
The first post-baccalaureate students graduated from MSU Denver’s medical laboratory science program in June 2013. The program was previously operated by the Colorado Health Foundation and is now managed by MSU Denver’s Extended Campus.
About Arapahoe Community College
Founded in 1965, ACC was the first community college to open in the Denver area. What began as Arapahoe Junior College, with 550 students, has grown into a vibrant community college consisting of ACC Littleton Campus, ACC Parker Campus and ACC Castle Rock Campus, serving more than 21,000 credit and non-credit students yearly. The College now offers nearly 100 degree and certificate programs. ACC is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
About Front Range Community College
FRCC, the largest community college in Colorado, serving more than 30,000 students annually, offers nearly 100 degree and certificate programs from locations in Boulder County, Larimer County, Westminster, Brighton and online. FRCC’s nursing programs are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing Inc. (ACEN).
About Metropolitan State University of Denver
MSU Denver is the leader in educating undergraduate Coloradans and enrolls the highest number of students of color among the state’s four-year colleges. The University currently has more than 22,000 students and offers 55 majors, plus master’s degrees in accounting, teaching and social work. It boasts more than 75,000 alumni, the bulk of whom remain in Colorado after graduation.