Oregon community colleges could offer traditional BSN degrees, but some groups are wary

A bill passed in Oregon in 2019 may soon make it so community colleges can offer four-year traditional baccalaureate degrees, including a Bachelor of Science in nursing — but despite a national nursing shortage, some are not sure this effort is worthwhile or will be effective.

According to Oregon Public Broadcasting, the Oregon Alliance of Independent Colleges and Universities, a group of leaders from the state's nonprofit private institutions, "does not think giving the community colleges the ability to award BSNs will address the nursing shortage." 

Others, including John Wykoff, the deputy director of the Oregon Community College Association, told OPB that while this may draw some concerns from state public and private four-year institutions, overall this will likely not affect them too much.

"Whether it's the cost of a four-year degree or the fact that they're more comfortable in the community college atmosphere where you're going to have smaller courses and a lot of wraparound supports — a lot of students will do better in these programs, and it really gives them an educational pathway to higher earnings and more lifelong career opportunities," Mr. Wykoff told OPB.

OPB said the Oregon Legislature is set to have further talks about the option for community colleges to issue BSNs via Senate Bill 523, but there currently are not any set hearings scheduled to do so.

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