Nursing Education Transfer
In 2012, Massachusetts received a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to advance the work of increasing the percentage of the RN workforce who hold a BSN or above. As part of this initiative, the Department of Higher Education established the Nursing Education Transfer Compact (NETC) Working Group to create a seamless, cost effective, timely and transparent pathway for students to progress from community college Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) programs to the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree at a state university or UMass. Their recommendations formed the Nursing Education Transfer Compact, which was approved by the Board of Higher Education in January 2014. After the one year implementation period of further refinement at the campus level, the following nursing education transfer policy was finalized in March 2015, with the expectation that full implementation should occur at all public institutions no later than Academic Year 2015-16:
- Create a seamless, cost effective, timely and transparent pathway for students to
progress from community college Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) programs to the
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree at a state university or UMass;
- Make the process of transferring credits from the ADN to the BSN transparent for
students and administrators and mitigate the need for inter-campus articulation
agreements between public two- and four-year nursing programs;
- Reduce the overall time for transfer students to complete the BSN;
- Eliminate any unnecessary duplication of coursework, thereby reducing costs for
- Rationalize curriculum pathways among the community colleges and state universities
and UMass to clarify course selection.
- BORN-approved ADN degree programs require a maximum of 72 credits;
- All courses earned as part of BORN-approved public ADN degree program will transfer, without time restriction*, as a body of knowledge and practical experience that is prerequisite to NCLEX licensure, to any upper-division nursing program at a state university or the University of Massachusetts;
- The 34-credit MassTransfer General Education Block may be completed at the community college and these credits will transfer to address the general education requirements of any upper-division nursing program at a state university or UMass;
- Community Colleges must indicate the completion status of the MassTransfer General Education Block on the transcripts of students seeking to enroll in an upper-division nursing program;
- At the discretion of the receiving institution, 6 additional credits may be required to fulfill the general education requirements;**
- A maximum total of 128 credits will be required to earn the RN-to-BSN degree, unless additional specific course work in the major is required of all RN-to-BSN students at the receiving institution;
- The post-transfer course work required for completion of the RN-to-BSN degree includes: upper-division Nursing courses, related major courses and any electives that may be needed to meet minimum degree and residency requirements of the receiving institution;
- The minimum GPA for admission to the BSN program is determined by each public higher education institution. Students who meet the institution’s minimum GPA and have a GPA of 2.75 or higher receive the following benefits:
- No application fee
- No application essay
- Preferential admission to the RN/BSN program based on availability;
- A prior bachelor’s degree earned from a regionally accredited public 4-year institution qualifies as meeting the general education requirements in a BSN program at a state university or UMass nursing program.
* Credits earned in a BORN-approved public ADN program offered at an institution of higher education will be transferred as a block, without a time restriction except for the 4-year public institution’s policy on time limits for specific courses, i.e. sciences.
** Baccalaureate institutions may also substitute their own general education requirements for the MassTransfer General Education Block, if doing so will facilitate a more timely completion of the BSN degree.
The Massachusetts public higher education institutions agree to share information about
participating students as set forth in this Section, to the extent permissible under appropriate
statutes, regulations and institutional policies regarding confidentiality of student records. This
exchange of information allows institutions to provide students with the broadest range of
academic choices and support services, thereby creating an environment conducive to
- To the extent permissible under applicable law, the Massachusetts community colleges,
upon request, agree to provide the state universities and the UMass campuses with
directory information, as defined by the respective community college, such as names,
addresses, and majors for participating students enrolled on their campuses.
- To the extent permissible under applicable law, the state universities and the UMass
campuses agree to provide non-identifying student information on nursing transfer
students such as graduation and retention rates, grade point averages, and academic
majors and degree programs upon request from the community colleges. Any release of
such information shall not, directly or indirectly, transmit personally identifying
information about any student who has not granted permission for participating
institutions to share such information.
- Each state university and University of Massachusetts campus agrees to provide
freshman applicants not offered admission with information on the nursing education
transfer system if the applicant is potentially suitable for participation. The state
universities and UMass campuses will provide the appropriate community college(s) with
names and addresses of all such applicants who grant permission for the release of this
In order to encourage students who are academically suspended, or who otherwise leave the
state university or University of Massachusetts campus while not in good academic standing to
consider educational opportunities at the community colleges, the state universities and UMass
campuses agree to undertake reasonable efforts to provide community colleges with the names,
addresses and other pertinent academic records of such students who grant permission for the
release of this information.
Notwithstanding any provision of this policy, the Nursing Education Transfer policy does not:
- Preclude community colleges or the state universities or the UMass campuses from
entering into similar agreements with other institutions of higher education.
- Prevent the state universities or UMass from admitting community college students
through existing admission processes.
- Limit a state university or UMass campus from eliminating a school, department or
Ensure eligibility for federal, state, or institutional financial assistance.
- Provide any guarantees or representations regarding tuition rates or fees at the
- Prohibit baccalaureate institutions from substituting their own general education
requirements for the MassTransfer General Education Block, if doing so will facilitate
more timely completion of the BSN degree.