Our Opinion: Riverland right to expand degreesPublished 9:38am Monday, March 3, 2014
Riverland Community College is offering area students an easier path to a bachelor’s degree in nursing through its latest initiative, the Minnesota Alliance for Nursing Education. That’s a great opportunity for students, and we urge Riverland to continue its plans to expand its ties to bachelor’s degree programs.
Over the past few years, Riverland officials have partnered with other Minnesota State Colleges and Universities schools through its 2+2 programs, whether through nursing or elementary education. We congratulated Riverland then for making partnerships hundreds, if not thousands of students could take advantage of to get at least some of those bachelor-level classes at a Riverland campus in Austin, Albert Lea or Owatonna.
We salute Riverland now for the MANE program it and six other community colleges have formed with Metropolitan State University, which will allow nursing students to take all classes necessary for a bachelor’s degree in an Austin classroom.
This is a revolutionary way to get a college education. Area students can pay community college tuition for a university education. Students will save money, and Riverland’s student enrollment and retention rises because of the increased opportunities. Most of all, students will get a degree that opens a lot of doors in the area.
Thankfully, Riverland is planning to continue seeking bachelor-level partnerships with other schools, in areas like engineering and agriculture, and eventually arts and other humanities. This is a boon to area residents and a boon to Riverland, which has seen a decline in student enrollment in recent years like other community and technical colleges across the country. It’s an initiative that could prove a strong foundation to build up our community and we hope Riverland is successful at bringing more programs like it to our area.