PEORIA, Ill. — Illinois Central College and Illinois State University’s Mennonite College of Nursing signed a memorandum of understanding to support collaboration efforts on Friday.
The memorandum is designed to advance the educational preparation of all nurses, locally, statewide and nationwide.
It should also help nursing students save money while receiving their education; Students can essentially get dual credit for both ICC and ISU online nursing classes and then work in the healthcare field in the area come graduation.
Judy Neubrander, Dean of ISU’s Mennonite College of Nursing says students can get free tuition while working at other healthcare facilities simultaneously.
“Many of the hospitals here locally even have said if a student comes to Illinois State and they’re employed at their hospital, they’ll pay up to one hundred percent of the tuition at Illinois State,” Neubrander said.
ICC’s VP of Academic Affairs Emmanuel Awauh says affordability and accessibility are the focus of this new deal.
“All the credits they earn and pay at ICC rate, all those credits are transferring straight into the BSN program. That’s why on-time completion of the degree, predictable within four years, is guaranteed,” Awauh said.
Another goal of this agreement is to bring more nursing students to the area, which in turn will add more nurses to central Illinois’ workforce.
“The dual enrollment partnership actually the students take classes at Illinois State while they’re taking classes at the community college. Those classes are online as well also. So they’re earning two degrees at the same time essentially,” Neubrander said.
“Hospitals in the region are really looking for that Baccalaureate degree in nursing for their magnet status. It gives these students an opportunity to know they’re going to get that bachelor degree, but it also makes it very affordable for them,” Neubrander added.
Awauh says nurses are vital for the welfare of any community.
“A well-educated nurse impacts patients and improves the safety and health of the community. We believe the more education the nurse receives, the better it is for the community,” Awauh said.
“Through these partnerships, we are going to increase the nurses we graduate within the community who will be able to support the healthcare institutions that we have,” Awauh added.
Leaders say nursing students can get both degrees done in four years.