Higher Learning Commission Approves Innovative Capella University Pathway for RN-to-BSN Degree

September 28, 2015

The Online University’s Competency-Based FlexPath Nursing Program Option Responds to Mounting Demand; Helps Experienced Nurses Advance Their Career

MINNEAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Capella University announced approval from the Higher Learning Commission today to provide an RN-to-BSN degree pathway through its revolutionary FlexPath model. The self-paced FlexPath model will allow registered nurses to complete their Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing in as little as 12 to 18 months by leveraging the knowledge and skills gained during their professional practice and allowing them to focus on the new competencies they need to practice at the top of their profession. The opportunity to move at a flexible pace through the program and potentially experience significant cost savings is especially meaningful for registered nurses balancing professional and personal responsibilities.

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, nearly half of hospitals and other healthcare providers require a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) for new hires. Recent estimates suggest that over the next decade, demands for nursing will grow by approximately 19 percent*. Meanwhile, both the Institute of Medicine and the American Nurses Association have recommended that 80 percent of all nurses be BSN-educated by the year 2020.

To address this need, Capella University will begin offering its CCNE** accredited BSN program via FlexPath, a direct assessment option. This unique RN-to-BSN program option enables experienced nurses to leverage their existing knowledge base and know-how to accelerate coursework in certain areas, while ensuring that they receive a deeper level of mastery in new competencies. While standard degree programs require a specific number of hours to complete a course, Capella has received approval from the Higher Learning Commission to decouple from the credit hour, which allows students to progress through their courses as they demonstrate competencies to the faculty through rigorous, authentic assessments of their knowledge, skills, and abilities.

“A highly educated nursing workforce is a key driver of patient safety and quality outcomes,” said Capella University School of Nursing and Health Sciences Dean F. Patrick Robinson, PhD, RN, FAAN. “Our new RN-to-BSN FlexPath degree pathway provides experienced registered nurses the most direct path to a BSN, thus allowing them to meet their educational and career goals in a highly efficient and affordable manner.”

The Capella FlexPath option for the RN-to-BSN program eliminates preset class times and deadlines, giving nurses a more flexible educational experience. The program offers a flat tuition rate for every 12-week session and is comprised of 11 courses. During each 12-week session, students can be concurrently enrolled in two courses at one time and upon completion can enroll in additional courses—providing the potential to significantly reduce the cost of a degree.

The next step for Capella is to seek approval by the U.S. Department of Education to offer federal financial aid for the RN-to-BSN FlexPath option.

Courses begin January 2016. For more information, please call 1.888.CAPELLA (227.3552) or email info@capella.edu.

*Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics job outlook data, 2012-2022.

** The BSN degree program at Capella University is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 530, Washington, D.C. 20036, (202) 887-6791 http://www.aacn.nche.edu/ccne-accreditation.

About Capella University

Capella University (www.capella.edu) is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Founded in 1993, the university is dedicated to providing flexible, professionally aligned online degree programs designed to help working adults advance in their careers. As of June 30, 2015, more than 37,000 students were enrolled in Capella’s bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and certificate programs, with more than 70 percent in its graduate programs. Known for its commitment to learner success, academic quality and innovations in online education, Capella pioneered competency-based direct assessment programs allowing students to learn at their own pace. Capella University is a wholly owned subsidiary of Capella Education Company (NASDAQ: CPLA).