By AMELIA HAVANEC
Capital News Service
LANSING – A disputed education bill would allow Michigan’s community colleges to compete for the same nursing students who would otherwise enroll at a traditional four-year program in the state. The bill, stalled in the Senate for more than three months, would allow the state’s 28 community colleges to award four-year bachelor of science degrees in nursing, called BSNs. An associate degree in nursing takes two years to complete, but an increasing number of hospitals now require the BSN as an entry-level credential, said Michael Hansen, president of the Michigan Community College Association. The extra two years needed to earn a BSN are primarily classroom-focused in areas such as health policy and leadership. “It puts a lot of burden and pressure on students that maybe live in Alpena, Traverse City or Benton Harbor and don’t have access to a four-year provider and would like to get their BSN at a local community college for a quarter of the cost,” Hansen said.