North Carolina is considering allowing it's network of two-year community colleges to offer four-year nursing degrees in an effort to counteract a chronic shortage of nurses.

The state's community college board is contemplating launching a feasibility study into the pros and cons of four-year degrees. Almost half the states in the country offer advanced nursing education at community colleges.

The committee said an in-depth study is needed because community colleges accredited to offer four-year nursing degrees could then offer bachelor's degrees in other fields, blurring the line between those institutions and universities.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the U.S. will need another 440,000 registered nurses by 2024.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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