Samford University’s Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing has received a federal grant designed to help ease a national shortage of nursing educators. The $655,000 grant, awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, will provide loans for graduate and doctoral students pursuing an advanced degree with the intent to serve as faculty in a school of nursing.
The grant was announced July 1 by U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Samford is among the top seven institutions nationally in the amount of grant funds received.
The Nurse Faculty Loan Program (NFLP) addresses a critical need in health care, according to Jane S. Martin, associate dean of Samford’s Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing. Students who receive the loans for master’s or doctoral degree programs can have up to 85 percent of the loan forgiven in exchange for service as full-time nursing faculty members at an accredited school of nursing.
“There is a national shortage of nursing educators, and the NFLP provides a great incentive to pursue a career in education,” said Martin. “Without highly trained educators, we cannot adequately prepare the next generation of nurses.”
Currently, 55 Samford nursing graduate students receive funds from the loan program. Students can continue to receive loans as long as they maintain good academic standing, Martin explained.
The loan program was approved by Congress in 2002, and Samford was one of the first 55 nursing schools from across the U.S. to receive funds.
“Over the past eight years, Samford’s grant amount has increased each year as our nursing program has grown,” said Martin. “The 2010-11grant is exponentially larger than any of the previous years, and we are incredibly grateful.”
The nursing educator shortage impacts a school’s ability to admit qualified applicants, Martin explained.
“These federal dollars assist in the recruitment of high quality students for our graduate programs,” Martin said. “It is our hope that every nurse educator student will receive funds from this program in the coming year.”
In addition to the positive impact the loans have on students, they also provide an opportunity to further Samford’s mission, Martin noted. Many of the program’s graduates return to teach and work in underserved areas, such as Alabama’s historic Black Belt region. This aligns with the university’s commitment to community service and its Christian mission, she added.
To date, Samford has received more than $1.25 million in NFLP grants. For the 2010-11 academic year, 114 NFLP grants totaling $23.5 million were awarded to institutions across the U.S.