USC Upstate increases opportunities for out-of-state online RN-BSN nursing students

Published 3:22 pm Thursday, January 11, 2018

The University of South Carolina Upstate’s decision to cut out-of-state tuition for students in the Palmetto College online RN-to-BSN nursing program marks a continuation of the institution’s commitment to quality health care in the Upstate and beyond.

During the University’s yearlong 50th Anniversary celebration, the move harkens back to USC Upstate’s founding in 1967 to avert a nursing shortage that was anticipated when Spartanburg Regional Hospital shuttered its nursing program.

The latest move means that online students enrolled in the popular RN-to-BSN program will pay a reduced Palmetto College in-state rate. A full-time out-of-state student’s tuition will drop from $11,184 per semester to $5,080 per semester, assuming a class load of 12-16 credit hours.

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According to Dr. Katharine Gibb, dean of the University’s Mary Black School of Nursing, the move will make it easier for registered nurses to receive the Bachelor of Science in nursing degrees that are increasingly becoming a requirement for a successful nursing careers in the constantly changing health care industry.

“In South Carolina, we have an abundance of excellent technical colleges and community colleges that only offer a two-year associate’s degree program,” she said. “USC Upstate’s Mary Black School of Nursing offers an excellent all-online opportunity for RNs to complete their BSN while remaining in their homes and continuing to work in their practice areas.

“Several of the hospitals in the Upstate and across the country are preferentially hiring BSNs,” Gibb continued. “Or they’ll hire someone with an associate’s degree who then signs a contract that within so many years, they’ll complete the BSN degree.”

The tuition change was approved in October by the school’s Board of Trustees, and is in effect for the Spring 2018 semester. Gibb said that already, two online students have signed up under the lowered rate, “and that’s without any advertising or marketing, just with our own internal recruiting,” she said.

“In South Carolina, we have the largest RN-BSN enrollment,” Gibb said. “And in the Upstate, I think I can safely say we’re the school of choice for the RN-to-BSN program. We’re very flexible in our admission policies. When students finish with an associate’s degree, many still need several prerequisite courses or general education hours, and we’re flexible about letting them take those in their community colleges and transfer to USC Upstate.”

– submitted by Tammy Whaley