ST. JOSEPH -- First year students at the College of St. Benedict and Saint John's University wanting to major in nursing now have a greater chance of getting into the program.

Over the summer, CSB/SJU approved increasing the number of students accepted into the program, after years of making the difficult decision to turn away qualified students.

Dr. Julie Strelow is the associate professor and Chair of the Nursing Department. She says they usually see about 70-80 students apply for the nursing program each year, however this spring they received over 100 applications, which finally tipped the scale.

We found that the students are more qualified, there is greater competition to get into the program, we saw students repeat a course or two and apply again and so the pipeline was getting bigger and bigger.

The corhort size will jump from 54 to 72 - which is a 33% percent increase - effective this fall.

Professor of Nursing Carie Braun says even with the larger cohort size, students will still be expected to meet same accreditation standards.

We're excited about the change because it means we can take more students, which is what we've wanted to do for a long time. But we also be monitoring that the students that come are still getting the same quality of learning as students when we had a smaller cohort.

Back in 2015, CSB completed a $2.5 million renovation to give students a state-of-the-art facility to enhance the overall learning experience.

Braun says if the change is successful, they may consider offering a doctorate level graduate program in the future.

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