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Press Release

Ellis Medicine and WGU Announce Educational Partnership

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — Ellis Medicine and nonprofit Western Governors University (WGU) have established a new educational partnership designed to help nurses throughout the healthcare system earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees with minimal costs.

Utilizing WGU’s online, competency-based, mentor-supported programs, Ellis Medicine nurses who are admitted to WGU can fit their higher education goals into their life schedules. Nurses looking to minimize their educational costs can apply Ellis Medicine’s generous tuition assistance benefit, up to $4,500 annually for full-time nurses, toward any WGU nursing program. Ellis Medicine’s part-time nurses are eligible for $2,250 in tuition assistance benefits per year.

WGU offers a low-cost, flat-rate tuition structure where the annual tuition expense for a bachelor’s in nursing degree comes to $6,450. Nurses are encouraged to explore WGU’s financial aid options, including the WGU Healthcare Partners Scholarship Program valued at up to $2,500 and disbursed as a $625 tuition credit per 6-month term.

“I have a great deal of respect for Ellis Medicine’s commitment to nursing education and professional development” said Chris Normile, WGU’s Strategic Partnerships Manager and longtime resident of Schenectady County. “Ellis sets high expectations for its nurses and is 100 percent dedicated to supporting them every step of the way. Its Nursing Award Program for Advancing Education, an award up to $15,000, is a great example of how it invests in its workforce and strives to remove the financial barriers to earning a degree.”

Competency-based learning allows students to earn their degrees by demonstrating what they know and can do (competency) rather than spending time in class to accumulate credit hours. 

Under its competency-based model, WGU awards degrees based on a student’s ability to demonstrate mastery of a series of competencies—skills and knowledge recognized by employers as crucial to career success. This approach to higher education is ideal for nontraditional students, who enroll in college with different levels of knowledge as well as a wide variety of learning styles, because it allows them to move quickly through material they already know so they can focus on what they need to learn. It also ensures that what they are learning along the way is workforce-relevant.

“Our goal at Ellis is that 50 percent of our direct care nurses have a bachelor of science degree in nursing or higher by 2022.  We are committed to meeting this objective, while helping our team avoid the unwanted stress that comes with excessive student loan debt,” said Nicole Krause, Director of Nursing Practice for Ellis Medicine.

Krause added: “Not only is continuing education a positive for our staff and their professional development, it instills a commitment to, and passion for, lifelong learning, which ultimately translates to continually improving the experiences of our patients.”

Nurses at Ellis Medicine have already shown interest in WGU’s programs, with several employees currently pursuing degrees with the university. Healthcare professionals at Ellis working in roles outside of direct patient care can also benefit from the partnership. WGU programs in healthcare management, health leadership, health information management, and health services coordination are well-positioned to enhance an employee’s ability to positively impact both patient experience and patient outcomes.

WGU will visit Ellis Medicine facilities on an on-going basis to ensure employees have an opportunity to speak with a WGU representative who can answer questions. Employees eager to get started in a degree program can learn more at or contact an enrollment counselor at 866.225.5948.

Ellis Medicine | Newsroom

Ellis Medicine Media Inquiries

Media inquiries should be directed to the Communications Department at Ellis Medicine. The Communications Department is open and staffed Monday through Friday, from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm. The department can be reached by phone at 518.232.9288. If you leave a message your call will typically be returned within 24 hours.

All official communications regarding Ellis Medicine are arranged through the Communications Department. We look forward to working with members of the public and media organizations to provide accurate, up-to-date information about Ellis Medicine.


Ellis Medicine
1101 Nott Street
Schenectady, NY 12308