By Shayna Hain, Staff Writer
In today’s world, nursing is a profession that’s in high demand. There are roughly three million nurses in the United States and they make up the majority of the healthcare industry. With a projected growth of 36% by the year 2020, nursing is one of the fastest-growing occupations in the country. Due to such a boom in this field, thousands of nursing schools and programs have emerged all over the country in recent years, and this is no exception for the tri-state area, including Stern College. So what has been done to accommodate Stern students who are interested in the nursing profession?
Stern does not have its own nursing school, but instead has established a joint program in nursing with New York University (this program has been around since 2010). Through this program, Stern students are required to spend five semesters at Stern and then start coursework at NYU in the spring semester of their senior year. Students spend 15 months in NYU’s intensive four-semester long nursing program and graduate with both a B.A. from Yeshiva University and a B.S.N. (Bachelor of Science and Nursing) from NYU.
While this program is beneficial for some Stern students, I would venture to say that for many it is not a viable option. There are many factors that prevent students from partaking in this program, with the biggest being the lack of financial aid. NYU charges a whopping $104,000 (which does not factor in dorm or food costs) for their accelerated 15-month program. Many students cannot afford this and are forced to seek an alternative option. Other nursing schools are much cheaper, like SUNY Downstate, which also has an accelerated 15-month program, but they charge approximately $25,000 for in-state residents, and double for non-residents. In a recent poll, Stern nursing students were asked whether they were enrolled or intended to enroll in the NYU joint-nursing program. Of those who responded, 69% of students answered “no” or “maybe” and stated that it was due to the costly tuition at NYU.
Additionally, shana bet and transfer students (students who have spent an extra semester studying abroad in Israel) are not allowed to participate in this program. This is because of Stern’s requirement for all NYU nursing students to take a minimum of 84 credits in-residence before starting the program. Shana bet and transfer students, however, are not able to accumulate enough credits by the start of this program to meet the requirement.
The question therein remains — what possibilities exist for students who cannot partake in this program? The most popular route for many students is to become a biology (or other science-related) major, and to apply to schools upon graduation that offer a B.A. to B.S.N. conversion program. These programs range from 15 months to two years. While this route gets the job done, it is far from efficient. These students have to attend two different schools, not to mention take dozens of unnecessary classes for the biology or other science-related major, simply to earn their B.S.N.
It would be in the best interest of both Yeshiva University and its students to create alternative options to the joint NYU nursing program. Perhaps Stern should consider partnering with another nursing school that is more cost-efficient for its students. Nursing students should have the option of enrolling in a more affordable program and the choice to start in both the fall and spring semesters, so that no students are excluded from this opportunity. As the demand for nurses continues to increase and this becomes a more viable career path, it is extremely important that we do not let this opportunity pass us by.
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American Association of Colleges of Nursing