Students from 16 western states and territories will now be able to enroll in the WSU College of Nursing’s PhD and Master of Nursing programs and pay the in-state tuition rate, saving thousands of dollars per semester.

The change is made possible by the College of Nursing’s addition to the Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP), an alliance of public universities that offer select graduate programs to each other’s students for reduced tuition.

Adding the two WSU nursing programs helps the nursing profession, students and the college, said Anne Mason, associate dean for graduate programs at the College of Nursing.

Currently there’s a critical shortage of doctorally prepared nursing faculty nationwide, which limits the ability of nursing schools to expand enrollment and meet the demand for nurses.

“This is an opportunity for WSU to impact nursing education in a positive way,” Mason said.

Prospective graduate students will have more options for matching their academic interests with a program.

And the addition of the WSU PhD and MN-Population Health to the WRGP should also broaden WSU’s appeal to students regionally.

Previously, a student from another state would pay $16,419 per semester for the PhD or MN nursing programs at WSU, versus the $8,908 a student from Washington would pay. Now they’ll be charged the same rate.

The WRGP program does not apply to the Doctor of Nursing Practice program for aspiring nurse practitioners. While the PhD and MN-Population Health are offered almost entirely in a distance format, the DNP requires some clinical hours, which would be challenging to provide to students in multiple states, Mason said.

Joining the WRGP required multiple approvals across the university, but Mason said the effort was well worth it.

Mason, a Washington resident who attended the University of Colorado-Denver, noted she got her doctoral degree through the WRGP program: “It was a great benefit to me.”

More information on the Western Regional Graduate Program is available on the Graduate School website.

Qualifying states and territories:

Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, Guam, and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands.