Info about NDSU and issues in higher education
April 7, 2017
NDSU Nursing at Sanford Health FAQ
Is NDSU closing its nursing program in Bismarck?
No. Some recently proposed legislation would have required NDSU to close its nursing program in Bismarck. However, legislators later indicated that their intent was not to close the program. At this time, it is NDSU’s understanding that the proposed legislation will not be proceeding.
Why did NDSU acquire the Sanford School of Nursing?
In 2013, Sanford Health was notified that new accreditation rules required nursing schools to be separately incorporated from hospitals. After a thorough review, Sanford Health approached NDSU about transferring the school. Sanford Health chose NDSU because of the strength of its nursing program, including its highly ranked Doctor of Nursing Practice (38th in the nation according to US News and World Report) and its commitment to research.
NDSU was acutely aware of the shortage of nurses in the state, including Western North Dakota, and was amenable to this proposal if it could be done is a fiscally-responsible manner. This presented an opportunity to help alleviate the nursing shortage, which is consistent with NDSU’s land grant mission of serving the state.
Interim Chancellor Larry Skogen commented, at the time: “This is NDSU, with the approval of the Board, stepping up to the real crisis in western ND. Do North Dakotans really want its university system to walk away from this issue?”
Was the transfer a good deal for the State of North Dakota?
Yes. Here is what Sanford Health provided to NDSU for the nursing school:
- Sanford transferred all of its assets, faculty and students.
- Sanford paid $1.3 million in direct cash payment to NDSU.
- Sanford provided the facility, maintenance and utilities for 3 years, at no cost to NDSU. This was valued at more than $1.1 million.
Does NDSU Nursing at Sanford Health cost the State of North Dakota more money than programs in Fargo?
No. The only state funding NDSU receives for this program is through the funding formula, which compensates NDSU for completed credit hours. This formula applies to all students at all institutions across the University System. In other words, NDSU receives the same amount of state support per student regardless of location. No additional state funding is provided for the nursing program in Bismarck.
Did NDSU receive proper approval to enter this agreement?
Yes. The discussions and approvals were transparent and appropriate. The parties who reviewed or approved the transfer are:
- State Board of Higher Education.
- Sanford Bismarck Board of Directors.
- North Dakota Board of Nursing.
- Higher Learning Commission.
- Interim Higher Education Funding Committee of the North Dakota Legislature (meeting minutes).
Does Sanford Health have an exclusive arrangement for the placement of nurses who graduate from the nursing program in Bismarck?
No. In the transfer agreement, the parties agreed to preferential placement of students for clinical training opportunities. This is a significant benefit to the students because they have access to critical training opportunities. However, upon graduation, these students are eligible to work for any employer.
Sanford Health, like other health care employers, offers a program in which nursing students’ tuition is paid by Sanford in exchange for a commitment to work at their facility after graduation. This is a private arrangement between the student and Sanford Health.
Would it be better for a different state educational institution to be in Bismarck?
No. NDSU offers several benefits that other state institutions cannot offer:
- NDSU offers a nationally ranked Doctor of Nursing Practice program, which is now available in Bismarck. As of the fall of 2017, NDSU expects 17 students to be enrolled in the program in Bismarck. These students will be critical to helping Western North Dakota’s health care needs.
- Bismarck State College is a two-year institution and does not offer baccalaureate degrees or the Doctor of Nursing Practice degrees.
- The only funding that NDSU receives for its program in Bismarck is through the funding formula. The research universities have the lowest credit-hour reimbursement rate, so if another four-year institution were to acquire the program, it would cost the State of North Dakota more money.