Montana State University Billings will have a new baccalaureate nursing program next fall.  The Montana University System Board of Regents approved the proposal Thursday at City College.  The regents approved university budgets and projects for institutions across the state.

Called the RN to BSN Completion Program, it’s designed for students who complete the associate degree in nursing at City College to transition toward a Bachelor of Science in nursing through MSUB.  Chancellor Mark Nook said Tuesday at his annual convocation that MSUB is focusing on boosting student retention, which reached an 11-year low in 2013.  Nook called retention a symptom of the larger budgetary issue.

MSUB is in the second year of a $4.4 million budget reduction that came after a period of slumping enrollment. Much of the program and personnel cuts were made last year, but about $1.4 million is slated to be slashed by 2017.