An area nursing program just got a big extension.

Trinity Health and Minot State University’s partnership will last at least another five years.

This will cushion the school’s budget for nursing programs at MSU and Dakota College at Bottineau.

During this period, Trinity health will make available $1.7 million to the department.

MSU President Dr. Steve Shirley says the partnership helps maintain the quality of education students receive.

“It will help ensure quality education continues at MSU and DCB. The funds Trinity provides has helped both MSU and DCB grow our nursing program and educate and graduate additional nurses for our region,” said Shirley.

Trinity Health’s Vice President of Nursing, Karen Zimmerman commended the students for staying on as nurse trainees in spite of COVID-19 challenges.

Zimmerman says that makes the funding more meaningful.

“I’m so inspired that despite working and seeing what is happening with the pandemic you’re still accepting the call to be a nurse. And what this partnership has enabled us to do is to gather in one small way financially to be able to help support the faculty,” said Zimmerman.

The partnership between the two institutions dates back to 2011.