BARRIE -- College nursing programs across the province will soon change with a new education policy.

The Ontario government announced its 24 colleges will offer four-year registered nursing degrees rather than having to partner with a university.

Georgian College President and CEO MaryLynn West-Moynes said this would mean their nursing students could avoid two years at York University in Toronto.

"We understand that being a student, and commuting that distance, adds an added expense. Most of our students can't afford to move into the city to finish their program."

Officials said the new model would also "create a diverse nursing workforce."

Colleges are expected to roll out the new nursing stand-alone degrees by 2022.