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May 31, 2023

SVSU partners with U.P. College to address critical nursing workforce issue

Bay College, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and Saginaw Valley State University have established a new partnership to expand nursing education opportunities and grow the talent pool of nurses in the U.P. and northern Michigan through a collaboration supported by a grant from the State of Michigan.

Bay College will receive a $2 million grant to administer a program in collaboration with SVSU for nurses to complete their bachelor's degrees. Under the agreement, students who complete an Associate Degree of Nursing (ADN) at Bay College can earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from SVSU's fully accredited program.

“Bay College is very pleased to partner with Saginaw Valley State University to bring a BSN credential to the Bay College students”, said Bay College’s President Dr. Laura Coleman.  “There is a huge healthcare workforce need in the Upper Peninsula that includes BSN credentialed nurses.  SVSU will begin offering the BSN curriculum in our communities beginning in the Fall of 2023.  We would like to thank Governor Whitmer, Senator McBroom, and all those who supported developing these partnerships”.

The SVSU-Bay partnership will streamline the pathway to a bachelor's degree in nursing by empowering students in Bay College’s associate degree program to work concurrently toward a bachelor's degree from SVSU.

“This partnership allows our students to achieve their educational goals at a highly recognized BSN program for degree advancement,” said Bay College’s Dean of Allied Health, Evelyn Norkoli. “With the increasing shortage of nurses nationwide, this partnership will certainly help initiatives directed to relieve these shortages and also helps to recognize both Bay College and Saginaw Valleys commitment to excellence in nursing. It opens the opportunity for our students to receive highly qualified instruction in the community in which they live and work.”

“This partnership is an exciting opportunity for Bay College and SVSU to provide expanded nursing education for students in the U.P.," said Marcia Mastracci Ditmyer, dean of SVSU's College of Health and Human Services. "We're pleased to build on Bay College's strong ADN program to educate nurses who will fill critical roles in delivering high-quality health care in their communities.”

SVSU and Bay College are among many Michigan institutions participating in this program to expand nursing education opportunities throughout the state. Under the $56 million initiative, which is included in the fiscal year 2023 state budget, community colleges can receive funding to partner with a four-year college or university. This collaboration will include input from local employers and workforce development agencies. The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity will administer the grant.

Megan Rule, SVSU's RN to BSN program coordinator, said attainment of a bachelor's degree offers benefits for nurses and patients.

“Students completing a BSN receive a comprehensive, holistic professional education that focuses on best practice, community health, leadership and process improvement as it relates to patient safety and quality care,” Rule said.

“We are eager to work with Bay College’s ADN student nurse population so they can earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from SVSU's fully accredited and community-minded program, while maximizing transfer credits to SVSU at their home campus.”

Health care providers recognize a growing need for highly prepared nurses.

Scott Blixt, chief nursing officer at Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital in Manistique, said, “I love the direction Bay College is going with recent partnership agreements that allow our students to remain local to achieve their educational goals. Through this effort, I am hopeful that our students will also stay local for nursing work after achieving their BSN.”

Bay College nursing student Tristan Kuntze is one of the many students who are interested in the collaborative ADN-BSN program. Kuntze believes that SVSU’s program will benefit all current and future Bay College nursing students who want to further their education while staying close to home.

Bay College and SVSU expect to begin enrolling students through the new partnership for the coming fall semester, starting classes in August 2023. For more information, contact Bay College’s Allied Health Department at 906-217-4090 or Megan Rule, SVSU’s RN to BSN Coordinator, at 989-964-4184. Or visit