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Online Nursing Advancing in New University Partnership

Multimillion-dollar investment and program innovation anticipated through
public-private partnership with global leader in technology-enabled higher education

AUGUSTA, MAINE — The University of Maine System announced today that it has signed an Online Education Services Agreement with Academic Partnerships that will immediately advance 6 online nursing programs over the next two years.   The agreement is expected to leverage a multimillion dollar investment and program innovations to help provide every Maine healthcare professional with affordable, online access to RN to BSN and graduate nursing education.

The advancement of online nursing education is part of the Maine University Nursing Workforce Plan announced last month by the University of Maine System to help address a nursing workforce shortage expected to grow to 3,200 vacancies by 2025.

The plan also includes an expansion of nursing education into rural Maine communities where nearly half of the nursing workforce is over the age of 55 and more than $12 million in investments in nursing simulation, classrooms, and student support improvements pending voter approval of Question 4, the University Workforce Bond on the November ballot.

“Maine’s public universities are committed to increasing the size of the state’s nursing workforce and helping existing professionals advance their Maine nursing careers,” said James H. Page, Chancellor of the University of Maine System.  “Innovations like online nursing, our program expansion plans, and the investments included in a University Workforce Bond that will be decided by voters this November will double nursing enrollment and bring nursing education to high-need rural regions of the state.”

Affordable, online access to career-advancing nursing education will help Maine healthcare providers meet their need for Bachelor of Science in Nursing graduates.  Maine also needs more highly qualified, graduate-prepared professionals to care for clinically complex patients and to become workforce leaders and educators.

The University of Maine System is proceeding immediately with 6 online nursing programs that will address the state need for more BSN-prepared nurses and help produce more nursing workforce leaders and educators for Maine.   The University and its nursing faculty will engage with their state healthcare partners to consider future program expansions based on student and workforce needs. A complete list of online nursing programs expected to begin launching in the Fall of 2019 can be found at the end of this release.

“Healthcare provider partnership and program innovation are essential to overcoming Maine’s nursing workforce crisis,” said Dr. Krista Meinersmann, a Registered Nurse and Director of the University of Southern Maine School of Nursing. “Our faculty is helping to lead the University response to the nursing shortage and we are eager to develop new opportunities to expand access to our high quality graduate nursing education programs for Maine health professionals.”

“Providers and patients across Maine need access to more BSN-prepared nurses,” said Dr. Erin Soucy, a Registered Nurse and Dean of Undergraduate Nursing at the University of Maine at Fort Kent. “Leveraging the resources and expertise of a global leader in online education services and solutions will help us deliver an outstanding RN to BSN curriculum that Maine health professionals can complete while maintaining their commitments to family, work, and community.”

Academic Partnerships is a global leader in utilizing the transformative power of technology-enabled higher education to provide universal access to life changing academic programs.  Under the agreement the nursing faculty and academic leaders at the University of Southern Maine and the University of Maine at Fort Kent will continue to control program curriculum and oversee instruction while working with online program specialists from Academic Partnerships to introduce best practices for the delivery of online programs.

Innovations, Student Recruitment and Support, and Financial Aid

Innovations in the online programs will include time-condensed courses, frequent start dates, enrollment assistance, advanced outreach, and high touch student support services that are proven to help busy adults achieve program success.

Academic Partnerships will market and promote the University programs in Maine and beyond, employing enrollment specialist representatives to serve as an additional point of contact for potential students and to deliver student support and retention services to program participants. It is anticipated that more than $4 million will be invested in program innovations as well as student recruitment and support across the online nursing programs and other online offerings delivered with Academic Partnerships.

Students participating in the online nursing will have similar eligibility for financial aid as campus-based students.

Online Nursing Programs Advancing Immediately with Academic Partnerships


Program Institution Projected

Start Date

RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing UMFK Fall 2019
Master of Science in Nursing — Education USM Fall 2019
RN to Master of Science in Nursing — Education USM Fall 2019
Master of Science in Nursing — Administration USM Fall 2019
RN to Master of Science in Nursing — Administration USM Fall 2019
Doctor of Nursing Practice USM Fall 2020