Community College Nursing Baccalaureate Legislation


Over the last decade or more, there have been several legislative attempts to amend the Community College Act to let colleges award select baccalaureate degrees. Most recently in 2012, the legislature amended the Act to let colleges offer baccalaureate degrees in four areas: Cement Technology, Culinary Arts, Energy Production and Maritime Technology. A nursing baccalaureate was also considered, but ultimately stripped out late in the legislative process. Since that time community colleges around the state have offered baccalaureate degrees, including Northwestern Michigan College, which has offered a bachelor’s degree in Maritime Technology since 2013.

Current Legislation

In August, Senator Aric Nesbitt introduced Senate Bill 1055, which would amend the Community College Act to let community colleges offer a bachelor of science in nursing degree. The legislation was referred to the Senate Regulatory Reform Committee and reported out to the full Senate on September 24, and is awaiting action on the Senate floor.

Key Points

  1. Need
    1. Now more than ever, healthcare providers need baccalaureate-prepared nurses to deliver care in our rural communities. According to the National Academy of Sciences Future of Nursing Report:
      1. By 2020, 80% of nurses should have their BSN.
      2. Currently, Munson Healthcare hospitals have between 50% and 60% of their nurses with a BSN.
  2. Accessibility
    1. There are 28 community colleges around Michigan providing local, accessible options for students seeking a BSN degree.
    2. Colleges in our rural communities in northern Michigan provide easy access for working students seeking a BSN to further their career, or as a requirement of employment. The distance from Traverse City to the nearest four-year university (Ferris State University) is almost 90 miles.
  3. Outcomes
    1. Clinical research has shown that BSN nurses provide for better patient outcomes.
    2. Research links a higher percentage of BSN-prepared nurses to lower patient morbidity and mortality rates. According to the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, a 10% increase in the proportion of nurses with BSNs was associated with a 7% decrease in patient deaths.
  4. Cost
    1. Community colleges offer an affordable option for students seeking a nursing baccalaureate degree and are typically half the cost or less of a university for in-district/in-state tuition. According to each institution's website, the per credit hour tuition is:
      1. NMC: in-district $109 / in-state $227
      2. Baker College: $415
      3. Ferris State University: $470
      4. Lake Superior State University: $519

Draft Letter

You can use the text below to reach out to your senator and express support for Senate Bill 1055, or download and edit the text in Microsoft Word or Rich Text Format:

Dear Senator (Name),

I am writing in strong support of the community college nursing baccalaureate legislation (SB 1055).

This legislation is needed now more than ever to address the regional need for nurses with BSNs. Our regional healthcare partner, Munson Healthcare, requires that all nurses have a BSN within five years of employment, making a local, affordable and accessible option for obtaining a BSN critically important.

Further, community colleges offer per-credit hour rates far below that of universities and four-year private colleges. For example, Northwestern Michigan College charges $227/credit hour for out-of-district nursing students compared to Lake Superior State University that charges $519 or Baker College in Cadillac that charges $415.

Clinical research shows that BSN nurses provide for better patient outcomes with a 7% decrease in patient deaths for every 10% more nurses with BSNs.

As the first college in Michigan to offer a baccalaureate degree, since 2013, NMC has proven that a community college can offer an affordable and accessible bachelors program that is fully accredited and meets the need of our industry partners.

Please vote in favor of allowing NMC to further our role as the community’s college and address the significant need for bachelors prepared nurses in northwest Lower Michigan.


Take Action Now

With the Michigan Senate poised to vote on this important legislation, now is the time to act. Please reach out to your State Senator listed below to state and use the key points listed here to voice your support for this bill:

State Senator Curt VanderWall

  • 35th District: Benzie, Crawford, Kalkaska, Lake, Leelanau, Manistee, Mason, Missaukee, Ogemaw, Osceloa, Roscommon and Wexford Counties
  • Address: 4500 Binsfeld Bldg, Post Office Box 30036, Lansing, MI 48909
  • Phone: (517) 373-1725
  • Email:
  • Social: @SenVanderWall

State Senator Jim Stamas

  • 36th District: Alcona, Alpena, Arenac, Gladwin, Iosco, Midland, Montmorency, Oscoda, Otsego and Presque Isle Counties
  • Address: S-324 Capitol Building, Post Office Box 30036, Lansing, MI 48909
  • Phone: (517) 373-7946
  • Email:
  • Social: @senjstamas

State Senator Wayne Schmidt

  • 37th District: Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Chippewa, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Luce and Mackinac Counties
  • Address: S-8 Capitol Building, Post Office Box 30036, Lansing, MI 48909
  • Phone: (517) 373-2413
  • Email:
  • Social: @wayneschmidt

In The News

NMC, Munson support BSN option at community colleges

Record-Eagle, Oct. 30, 2020

Legislation Would Allow Community Colleges To Offer Four-Year Degrees In Nursing

News/Talk/Sports 94.9 WSJM, Sept. 23, 2020

Senate committee approves Nesbitt legislation allowing community colleges to offer four-year nursing degrees

Michigan Senate Republicans, September 22, 2020