UnitedHealthcare Community & State of North Carolina presented East Carolina University’s College of Nursing with $25,000 on Friday, Feb. 12 to fund scholarships for students enrolled in the Regionally Increasing Baccalaureate Nurses (RIBN) program.
The RIBN program helps students, especially those in rural parts of the state, earn both an associate’s degree and a bachelor’s degree in nursing. The program operates through an innovative partnership with seven local community colleges and ECU. The scholarships funded by UnitedHealthcare will support access to education for aspiring nurses and allow them to better serve the health care needs of North Carolinians.
“The goal of the RIBN program is to help provide a pipeline of baccalaureate nurses to underserved and rural parts of the state by making it easier and more affordable for students from those communities to obtain their BSN,” Dr. Sylvia Brown, dean of ECU’s College of Nursing. “Through our partnership with UnitedHealthcare, we will be able to support the educational attainment of these aspiring nurses by helping them overcome economic barriers they may face.”
The community colleges participating in the RIBN program are Beaufort County Community College, Carteret Community College, College of the Albemarle, Craven Community College, Lenoir Community College, Pitt Community College and Roanoke-Chowan Community College.
Students in the RIBN program spend the first two years of their coursework at a community college campus while completing at least one online course per semester through ECU. They receive an associate degree in nursing at the end of their third year, and after passing the state licensure exam, they progress to the program’s fourth year with online coursework at ECU in preparation for their bachelor’s degree in nursing.
“By collaborating with partners like ECU’s College of Nursing, we hope to help increase access to quality healthcare throughout North Carolina, particularly in rural communities where there is a dire need,” said UnitedHealthcare Community & State of North Carolina CEO Anita Bachmann. “This program provides quality training to prepare a much-needed nursing workforce to meet the needs of the residents of North Carolina.”
Students may apply for the scholarships online at AcademicWorks.com, and recipients will be announced in mid-April. The UnitedHealthcare RIBN Scholarships will cover the 2018-2019 school year. This scholarship program financially assists seniors in the RIBN program as the last year is the most expensive for these students. Preference will be given to students who excel academically, demonstrate financial need, and wish to begin or continue to work in rural underserved areas.
For more information on the RIBN program, visit ecu.edu/cs-dhs/nursing/ribn.cfm