The Florida State Board of Education gave its approval Tuesday, February 19 for Okaloosa-Walton College to expand its bachelor's degree offerings and to become the sole provider of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at the college's Niceville campus. A baccalaureate program in nursing has been operated jointly in Okaloosa County since 2004 by OWC and the University of West Florida with the BSN degree awarded by UWF. The presidents of both institutions requested that the state authorize OWC to offer the program as a stand-alone degree starting this coming fall term.
OWC President Dr. Bob Richburg called the state approval a "Wonderful expansion of our bachelor's degree offerings in this community" in a phoned statement following the board meeting in Tallahassee. "OWC is now fully approved for four separate bachelor's degree programs," said Richburg noting that OWC previously received state approval for two new bachelor's degrees in teacher education which also begin fall term and that the college has operated a successful bachelor's program in project management since 2004.
The Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree is a career ladder for current Registered Nurses and nursing graduates from two-year programs such as OWC's Associate in Nursing degree program which leads to state RN license. The OWC bachelors in nursing program will provide cost savings for both students and the state due to OWC's tuition rates which are significantly lower than fees for university based bachelor's programs and through the increased efficiencies of single program management. "For nursing students currently enrolled in the jointly-operated bachelor's program, there will be a seamless transition," said Dr. Jill White, OWC senior vice president for instruction. "They'll notice the cost savings, easy access to support services, and the convenience of dealing with only one institution, and will be able to progress in their degree program on schedule."
White noted that new students are invited to complete the interest form found on the OWC bachelor's website at www.owc.edu/bachelor. Potential students who are currently RNs may also request a transcript review and should apply for admission to OWC and have official transcripts of all college work and high school transcript sent to OWC's Office of Enrollment Services at 100 College Blvd in Niceville. Once transcripts are received potential BSN applicants may call for an appointment with OWC Counselor Dianne Avillion at 729-6922 to have transcripts officially reviewed for BSN general education requirements and State of FL BSN degree requirements. White advised interested students to also monitor the OWC web site for additional admissions information and information sessions.