IC receives major grant investment for online MSN program


Illinois College has been awarded a $330,000 grant to support the establishment of the online Master of Science in nursing program.

The grant was made possible through federal Community Project Funding sponsored by Congressman Darin LaHood and will help fund new equipment, create scholarships, and provide staffing to support the creation and growth of the MSN program, which offers concentrations in education and leadership/administration. The grant funding will be administered by the Fund for the Improvement of Post-secondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education.

The new, fully online graduate degree is among the programs Illinois College has added in recent years to meet demand for nursing education and growing healthcare needs nationwide. The College announced the addition of a four-year clinical nursing degree program in April 2020 and currently there are more than 70 students enrolled in the on-campus program. IC also offers a fully online RN to BSN program.

The online MSN program is available to working RNs wanting a flexible and affordable option to further their education and career. The new degree option will support workforce development and enhanced training by addressing the need for master’s-prepared nurses who can teach in undergraduate RN programs at both the associate and baccalaureate levels or serve in leadership roles across healthcare settings.

“Illinois College is dedicated to nursing education and ending the critical nursing shortage in this region. One of the ways we meet this need is to train up the next generation of nurse educators,” said Stephanie Chipman, vice president of external relations. “With the tremendous growth we’ve seen in our current nursing programs and the success of our nursing graduates, the addition of the Master of Science in Nursing degree ensures that Illinois College continues to meet the needs of Jacksonville and surrounding communities.”

The College’s partners for the project include Jacksonville Memorial Hospital, Memorial Health, Illini Community Hospital, the City of Jacksonville, Morgan County, Jacksonville Regional Economic Development Corporation and Two Rivers Economic Development District.

Rep. LaHood, who represents Illinois's 18th Congressional District, announced the grant at an event held Thursday at Illinois College, saying the addition of the new MSN program is significant and “a great thing for the community.”

“Announcing that money here today is going to be a win for the College; it’s going to be a win for the community here in Jacksonville, and it’s going to be a win for the country in terms of educating and getting more nurses into our communities to help serve our communities,” he added.

President Barbara A. Farley spoke on the new MSN program and thanked Congressman LaHood for his support of higher education. 

“Illinois College’s ability to expand Nursing education in this region has benefitted from your support, not only through the $330,000 award just announced, but also through the 2021 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration for over $237,000,” she said.

Farley also thanked other local partners for their support and commitment to education and for helping IC steadily grow their Nursing program offerings.

Dr. Scott Boston, president and CEO of Jacksonville Memorial Hospital, noted, “We are very happy and very excited that this master’s program will be available locally from a very high quality institution providing a very high quality education so that we’ll have nurses that are ready to move into these roles and continue to improve our ability to provide access to healthcare in this local environment.”

Illinois College is invested in promoting racial, ethnic and socioeconomic diversity among the nation’s healthcare workforce, and is dedicated to ensuring students achieve their educational and career goals. The College is committed to providing an environment in which all members of the college community will find support for their individual growth and development, striving to develop a pluralistic community that directly supports our commitment “to the highest standards of scholarship and integrity in the liberal arts” and to developing in our students “qualities of mind and character needed for fulfilling lives of leadership and service.”

Illinois College Online began offering the master’s in nursing degree program at the beginning of May and additionally offers an RN to BSN degree completion track. To learn more about Illinois College’s online programs, visit

About Illinois College

Founded in 1829, Illinois College is a residential liberal arts college fostering academic excellence rooted in opportunities for experiential learning while preparing students for lifelong success. The college is located in Jacksonville, Illinois. With an enrollment of more than 1,000 students, the college offers over 50 undergraduate programs. In 1932, the society of Phi Beta Kappa established a chapter at Illinois College, and it remains one of only 11 in the state.

Illinois College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.

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