Release Date: January 28, 2021
BUFFALO, N.Y. – The University at Buffalo School of Nursing’s online bachelor’s degree program continues to get top reviews from the prestigious U.S. News & World Report, ranking No. 8 in the nation for the second time in three years in the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs category.
The category rates online programs across disciplines available to undergraduate students nationwide.
The School of Nursing’s RN to BS program was the only undergraduate online UB program to be rated in the annual rankings, which were released this week. The continuing high score is significant, according to school officials, given the New York State legislation passed in December 2017 that requires registered nurses to earn a bachelor’s degree within 10 years of receiving their license.
Also, in his 2021 State of the State address, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced legislation that would provide nurses in New York with priority access to State University of New York programs and City University of New York programs to fulfill the baccalaureate requirement.
The UB School of Nursing has developed and expanded its RN to BS program, tripling enrollment in the last year despite obstacles resulting by the COVID-19 pandemic. There are now three entry points during the year, with applications accepted on a rolling basis.
“Registered nurses are heroes who are helping to lead our nation during the worst health crisis of our lifetime,” says Marsha L. Lewis, professor and dean of the School of Nursing. “They have always been and continue to be the heart of health care.
“It is our honor and duty to provide these nurses with a first-rate education in a supportive environment that helps them continue to grow and thrive as professionals and individuals.”
This is the sixth consecutive year the School of Nursing’s RN to BS program has ranked in the U.S. News’ top 100 online programs in the nation, consistently rising from its No. 86 rank in 2016. The school’s rating jumped dramatically in 2019 when its online RN to BS ranking went from No. 60 in 2018 to No. 8 in 2019.
The school’s ranking again made a significant jump this year when the school’s ranking went from No. 23 in 2020 to again reach No. 8.
The U.S. News online rankings are based on five categories: engagement, services and technology, faculty credentials and training, expert opinion, and student excellence. The school RN to BS program experienced increases in all categories, with the most significant rise occurring in the services and technology category, which measures technological access and infrastructure, and financial and academic support available to students.
This year, the school is tied with CUNY School of Professional Studies for No. 8 in the nation.
“University at Buffalo – SUNY, a public institution, has been offering online bachelor's degree programs (specifically, the RN to BS program) since 2012-2013,” according to the U.S. News rankings. “All of the online classes are recorded and archived so students can access lecture material at their convenience.”
The study’s rankings credit institutions for having implemented best practices such as making use of certified instructional designers and listing specific instructor office hours.
“Programs also perform well in the rankings for offering technologies and services catered toward remote learners,” according to U.S. News, “such as incorporating learning analytics platforms and adaptive learning, as well as providing remote access to admissions counseling, resume writing and career placement support.
“In other words, programs that score the highest are those designed and scaled for distance learning.”
UB School of Nursing’s RN to BS program is designed to accommodate working nurses, providing asynchronous learning in both full- and part-time formats, with access to the exceptional faculty and resources at UB. The program builds on their knowledge and experience, preparing them to take the lead in advancing the quality of care, patient safety and health services in a rapidly evolving health care landscape.
“The critical role nurses play in our current COVID-19 pandemic demonstrate the importance of continued education to positively impact patients across the world, says Jennifer Guay, RN to BS program coordinator. “Nurses comprise the largest portion of the health care workforce. It is vital that we provide our registered nurses with the support and resources they need to continue to grow in the profession.
“Through this support, and through collaboration and teamwork, we make a difference in our patients’ lives and help to safeguard the health and wellness of our local and global communities.”