Gov. Bob McDonnell has unveiled a new program intended to provide a faster path for nursing student pursuing bachelor’s degrees.
The program which will begin this academic year, involves a guaranteed admission agreement between Virginia’s Community Colleges (VCCS) and Western Governors University (WGU), an online university created by the governors of 19 states that now serves 34,000 students.
McDonnell says students who take advantage of the admission agreement, could earn a bachelor’s degree in three years at an estimated total cost of $17,000 in tuition and fees.
The program requires students to earn associate’s degrees in nursing at one of Virginia’s 23 community colleges and receive their licenses to practice as a Registered Nurse (RN). The students must also be working as a registered nurse to be accepted into WGU. Those students would then complete nine additional courses, for a total of 26 credit hours, through WGU online classes to earn their bachelor’s degree in nursing.
“We are excited to be working with Western Governors University to create an affordable pathway to a baccalaureate degree,” said Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges. “And we think this could be just the beginning of our relationship with WGU. This could be a blueprint for offering similar baccalaureate opportunities in other high-demand fields such as information technology, business, and other healthcare-related programs. Virginia’s Community Colleges were created to address Virginia’s unmet needs in higher education and workforce training. Higher education costs have become one of those needs and this agreement is an important part of the solution.”
The agreement with WGU represents the latest of more than 30 statewide guaranteed admissions agreements that the VCCS holds with public and private universities. This is the first agreement, however, created with a goal of keeping the total tuition and fees costs of a bachelor’s degree to less than $20,000.
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