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A small group of medical students are seen sitting at desks in a classroom during a lesson. They are each wearing scrubs and paying close attention.

Starting May 2025, students at Beloit College can pursue a nursing degree as part of a new 3+1-year dual-degree program.

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Starting next summer, Beloit College students can complete a 3+1-year dual degree program to earn their Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science in nursing, completed with support from Edgewood College.

The partnership aims to bridge local Wisconsin workforce needs for health care professionals and provide students with the life skills and liberal arts background they need to succeed after college, partnered with technical nursing skills.

The background: Despite the college’s lack of formal training for nursing, there’s been a constant student pipeline (between five to eight students annually) from Beloit into the field, prompting leaders to evaluate the feasibility of a new program.

Students from Beloit who pursued nursing would often turn to Edgewood College’s accelerated post-baccalaureate program to complete their BSN, making the partnership a natural fit because Edgewood leaders are familiar with Beloit grads.

The city of Beloit and the surrounding area desperately need nurses, explains Rachel Bergstrom, biology professor and director of the School of Health Sciences. “The shortage is acute, but it’s also expected to grow over time, and so our local health system is really interested in investing in this program.”

The partnership allowed Beloit to start up the program quickly with less infrastructure and new faculty, instead drawing on the expertise of Edgewood’s history to educate students.

The logistics: The nursing program will kick off at Beloit in May 2025 for all currently enrolled and incoming students. Students who have completed 24 units of classes at Beloit are eligible to begin their nursing program, which lasts for 12 months.

Edgewood College faculty members will teach the nursing-specific programs on Beloit’s campus, which makes the program unique. Beloit is building out its facilities to have the infrastructure to offer simulations and will utilize local clinical partnerships to place students.

“That was one of the things that really made it easy for us to say, ‘Yes, this seems like a good thing for us,’ because we are, through Impact Beloit, interested in connecting more students to the Beloit community,” Bergstrom says.

To enter the program, current students who meet GPA and prerequisites can apply for admission into the nursing program. Incoming students can opt for guaranteed or provisional admission upon enrollment. To maintain eligibility, students must maintain a 3.3 GPA in nursing prerequisites and their cumulative GPA.

Students will pay a special $45,000 tuition rate for the 12-month program—which adds up to around two years of tuition—and will be eligible for financial aid through Edgewood College, Bergstrom says. Nursing students will live on campus in residence halls throughout that time, possibly in a cohort model.

Upon completion, students will hold two degrees from Beloit—a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science in nursing, which they can apply to a nursing career after earning their nursing credential.

What’s different: The college hopes the program will interest students who want to pursue nursing but want a secondary, complimentary degree in a different field such as history or Spanish, which will benefit their overall career development.

Students will receive personalized advising and institutional guidance on their degree pathway to ensure they’re meeting the necessary courses, Bergstrom says.

Over the past year, Beloit has emphasized its career pathway model, combining a liberal arts education with focused professional development, and this nursing program is another example of that.

“We’re preparing people to navigate the topsy-turvy world that they’re encountering upon graduation,” explains Beloit president Eric Boynton.

The breadth of curriculum offered at Beloit helps students explore careers, not just within a major, but also to identify their vocation and the dual-degree program is one way to complement nursing skill with liberal arts-minded questioning and curiosity, Boynton says.

What’s next: The partnership was first announced in April and the colleges are geared up for a launch in 2025. The two institutions are formalizing their articulation agreement to specify which Beloit prerequisites will fulfill Edgewood’s 57-credit BSN program.

For the first year, Beloit leaders hope to enroll seven or 14 students in the nursing program, but can accommodate between 21 to 28 for “steady state.” In the future, Beloit is considering a graduate-level nursing degree partnership with Edgewood, as well.

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