Thirteen nursing students from South Puget Sound Community College (SPSCC) are the first group of community college graduates to move directly into year four at a university with an Associate in Nursing Direct Transfer Agreement (DTA) degree.
The nursing DTA, announced in 2014 by the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, allows students to earn an Associate in Nursing at a community college and then transfer to a university in Washington State for one more year to complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. The DTA streamlines the path to a higher degree by way of community college.
SPSCC’s nursing program graduated twenty-six students on June 17, and they all have plans to transfer to a university or begin working. Thirteen graduates plan to continue their education through either an RN-Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree or an RN-Master of Nursing degree. Graduates plan to attend Saint Martin’s University, University of Washington – Tacoma, or Washington State University – Vancouver to complete their advanced degrees. Ten graduates have already accepted job offers and are beginning work this summer.
The twenty-six SPSCC nursing graduates are a representation of the diverse Thurston County community who are seeking a pathway to higher education. Associate Dean of Nursing, Laurie Choate, stated that, “While some students are from the Olympia area, many students have moved here from other parts of the world—Thailand, Vietnam, Russia, and Ethiopia.”
She added, “Many have families, young children, jobs outside of school, and other challenges to overcome. Their tenacity and graduation with this degree is impressive.”
SPSCC is the first of several Washington State community and technical colleges that have implemented the Associate in Nursing DTA program. The next group of students is set to graduate in spring 2017.