Small university offers alternatives for health-care professionals

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A small university called D’ Youville has a student body of approximately 2400 full and part-time students, one-third of which are Canadian. Located in the border city of Buffalo, the university has the largest Canadian student population in the U.S. because of its unique programs, especially in nursing and teacher education.

D’Youville started their first four-year nursing program in 1942 and today has an international reputation as a quality, highly professional program. The programs offer a bachelor of science degree in nursing, a special five-year bachelor/master’s degree program, a completion program for registered nurses and those with a diploma and a master’s degree program in community health and nurse practitioner.

In addition, a full array of health care education majors, including health services administration, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, registered dietitian, physician assistant and graduate courses, including a new doctorate in health policy and health education, attract Ontario students for a number of reasons.

“D’Youville developed delivery services to accommodate the needs of the Canadian students,” says Ronald H. Dannecker, director of admissions at D’ Youville and one of the first college officials to recognize the Canadian market in education.

“We have financial aid for all health care programs highlighted by our Instant Scholarship Program that can provide up to $41,000 (US) for entering high school students,” he said. The scholarships are good for both four and five-year programs and applicants who are accepted and meet the criteria automatically receive these scholarships.

“For those in the ‘registered nurse to a bachelors degree in nursing program’ there is a 50 percent tuition discount and for the other health care programs there is a 20 percent tuition discount.”

On the service side, D’Youville developed accommodating features that help Canadians attend the university. A ‘Friday Only’ master’s degree program designed for the working adult has proven popular, and the Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science degree nurse program can be completed in two years, according to Dannecker. “This puts the student into the work force sooner and saves tuition dollars. Students in our RN to BSN completion program attend classes only two days a week allowing the individual to continue working while going to university.”

All of D’ Youville’s programs are designed for multi-entry either as a high school student or transfer student or with an existing undergraduate degree. The health care and teacher education programs meet or exceed the requirements for professional licensing in Ontario, Dannecker said. “In addition, an undergraduate student accepted into our bachelor/master’s degree program need not go through the expensive graduate application process.”

“With the ‘double cohort graduation’ many Canadian high school students are now looking at the D’ Youville programs in the health-care fields because they can earn an academic scholarship, up to 50 per cent off their tuition, 25 per cent off their total room and board, plus a 20 per cent Canadian discount,” he said.

Canadian students who attend D’ Youville find the small class size (14-1 teacher/student ratio) a definite asset on the intimate campus. The campus is two minutes from the Peace Bridge, another benefit for the students as it reduces driving time significantly making it easier to commute, and the personal attention by the faculty and administrators it always rated high in student surveys.

The university, chartered in 1908 and named after a Canadian saint, Marguerite d ‘ Youville, has agreements with Seneca, Niagara, and Humber colleges in Ontario for a number of other programs.

The D’ Youville option for Canadian students seeking a career in health care has already benefited a large number of individuals now working in Canada and offers a viable alternative for others.