New Agreement Makes It Easier for Registered Nurses to Obtain Bachelor’s Degree at Mars Hill University

Registered nurses with an associate degree from a North Carolina community college may save time and money in earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at Mars Hill University and nine other private colleges because of a new agreement between the NC Community College System (NCCCS) and NC Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU).

The agreement describes a progression degree plan that includes required general education and nursing prerequisite courses acceptable to all participating R.N. to B.S.N. programs. Students who follow the plan and take those courses at community colleges will meet the entrance requirements for those R.N. to B.S.N. programs. Nurses may apply to any of the programs without taking duplicate courses.

“That, alone, will save time, money, and indecision on the part of potential students,” said Cathy Franklin-Griffin, dean of the Judge-McRae School of Nursing at Mars Hill University. “Timing is vital to meet community and healthcare needs for B.S.N.-prepared Registered Nurses.”

NCCCS Acting President Jennifer Haygood and NCICU President Hope Williams signed the articulation agreement in February.

“This agreement reduces barriers for registered nurses with associate degrees who want to continue their education,” Haygood said. “It also creates a more seamless and rational transfer process for community college nursing students.”

“The R.N. to B.S.N. articulation agreement is an important supplement to the Independent Comprehensive Articulation Agreement and an excellent example of the partnerships between NCICU and NCCCS, in this case benefiting thousands of R.N.s across the state who seek to advance their careers with Bachelor of Science degrees in Nursing,” Williams said. “NCICU and NCCCS are already beginning work on additional supplemental agreements that are discipline-specific.”

“Students will be able to plan with confidence that their community college courses will both transfer and satisfy requirements of participating NCICU campuses,” Haygood said.

Under the agreement, a student who completes an Associate in Applied Science degree in nursing with a grade point average of at least 2.0 and a grade of C or better in specified courses, and who holds a current unrestricted license as a Registered Nurse in North Carolina, will have fulfilled the lower-division general education requirements and nursing program entry requirements for the participating colleges and universities. Because nursing program admissions are competitive, students are not guaranteed admission to the program of their choice.

“The positive impact of the agreement is enormous for our associate degree Registered Nurses from North Carolina Community Colleges to seamlessly transition into our R.N. to B.S.N. Program,” said Franklin-Griffin.

The NCICU Board approved the agreement February 9, and the State Board of Community Colleges approved it on February 16.

As of February 15, the following NCICU campuses had signed the nursing articulation agreement:

  • Barton College
  • Cabarrus College of Health Sciences
  • Gardner-Webb University
  • Lees McRae College
  • Lenoir-Rhyne University
  • Mars Hill University
  • Pfeiffer University
  • Queens University of Charlotte
  • University of Mount Olive
  • Wingate University

Franklin-Griffin said, “The vision of presidents such as Mars Hill’s Dan Lunsford and academic vice presidents such as Carol Boggess, under the able collaborative leadership of Hope Williams of NCICU, and Renee Batts, NCCCS associate director of academic programs, led to the formation of the NCICU R.N. to B.S.N. Committee. It was a pleasure to be a member of that committee over the past months and to proudly participate with Jim Brown, assistant vice president and interim dean of the Adult & Graduate Studies program at Mars Hill, in the signing of the NCICU/NCCCS R.N. to B.S.N. Articulation Agreement.”

Related to the agreement, the NCICU announced plans to build an online portal to provide comprehensive information to community college students about course equivalencies with independent colleges. The portal will be funded by a $25,000 grant from the Council of Independent Colleges, with an additional $25,000 raised by NCICU.

About the Judge-McRae School of Nursing:

The Judge-McRae School of Nursing offers classes in the R.N. to B.S.N. program at Mars Hill’s Asheville Center for Adult and Graduate Studies. The pre-licensure BSN program is offered in the Ferguson Health Sciences Center on the main university campus. The baccalaureate degree in nursing at Mars Hill University (Judge-McRae School of Nursing) is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (