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HB 1749 may allow colleges to offer 4-year degrees

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Navarro College may offer bacculaureate nursing degrees

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AUSTIN–State Representative John Wray filed legislation that would remove an unnecessary restriction preventing community colleges from offering a baccalaureate degree.
The bill, HB 1749, would prevent the taxable value of a community college taxing district from being a sole determining factor in whether a community college is approved to offer baccalaureate degrees, such as a bachelor’s of science in nursing.
“Due to the work we did in the past legislative session, community colleges who exhibit exemplary financial, instructional and other requirements are approved to offer these higher-level degrees. However, our local college, Navarro College, was excluded due to something they have no control over, the size of their taxing district. We are removing that provision and are confident that the rigorous process by which the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing approve these programs is more than adequate for preserving Texas’ higher education credibility and reputation,” said Wray.
Navarro College has long offered an excellent nursing program in Ellis County. This growing area is home to two new hospitals and a third on the way. With a booming area population, larger hospitals are looking for management-level nursing staff, requiring bachelor-level nursing degrees.
“We have entered into conversations with area 4-year nursing programs and are evaluating how to incorporate them into our career-readiness pathways. But we don't think that a community college with a strong track record like Navarro College should be denied the opportunity that the majority of Texas community colleges already have to offer these bachelor degree programs. Our community has asked for this and our students have asked for this. And we are ready to prove that we are up to the task. However, without Representative Wray’s legislation, we cannot even begin the process,” said Navarro College President Dr. Kevin Fegan.
“With a growing demand for bachelor-level nurses in Texas, it is time to enable our well-equipped higher-education institutions to take steps to address the problem. We’ve seen reporting of flat enrollment rates of BSN programs in the state.
If we need more nursing program capacity, then thoroughly-vetted community colleges will step up to the plate. This bill will allow for hospitals in House District 10 who require a BSN for employment not to be under-staffed,” Wray said.

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