Contractor will allow CMU to add online nursing degrees

Colorado Mesa University will offer two nursing degree programs online starting next summer.

The university currently offers six online degree programs but plans to expand its offerings over the next few years. Colorado Mesa trustees voted unanimously Wednesday to sign a contract with Dallas-based online degree service Academic Partnerships, LLC, to help with that expansion.

While Colorado Mesa will remain in charge of admission, faculty, curriculum, and decisions about awarding course credit and grades for its online programming, Academic Partnerships will handle marketing to students and employers; assist Colorado Mesa staff with program planning and design; and oversee student recruitment, support and retention.

Academic Partnerships will focus its work on the two new online programs — a practical nurse to bachelor of science in nursing track, and an associate of applied science registered nurse to bachelor of science in nursing track — and research which programs Colorado Mesa should consider offering in the future. Colorado Mesa and Academic Partnerships will split 50-50 the tuition paid by students in the two new programs and any others developed.

The university estimates enrollment will increase in the two programs from 1,203 credit hours in 2014-15 to 15,116 in 2018-19, according to board of trustees documents. The university anticipates it will first start turning a profit on programs in 2017-18.

The two programs are offered on campus in a semester format but will be adapted for online use in a quicker format, giving students the option to start coursework every seven or eight weeks throughout the year. Colorado Mesa Executive Director of Marketing and Student Recruitment Rick Taggart said contracting with a company like Academic Partnerships will help the university expand its programming for non-traditional students who would otherwise have to leave their jobs to come to Grand Junction for a degree.

“To me, we’re not fulfilling in total in today’s world our mission if we don’t offer online degrees,” he said. “This is a good place for us to start because we have the most respected nursing program in the state.”


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