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July 2009

Release Date: July 7, 2009ASU Logo

ASU Nursing Department Wins Grant to Continue Loan Program

Angelo State University’s Department of Nursing has received a $46,425 grant from the U.S. Department of Health – Health Resources and Services Administration to continue the department’s Nursing Faculty Loan Program (NFLP).

The NFLP awards low-interest loans to selected ASU graduate students to pay for tuition, fees, books and supplies as they work towards master’s degrees in nursing with a nurse educator focus. Another attractive aspect of the program is that once a student graduates and is hired by a school of nursing, 85 percent of the loan is forgiven over a four-year period as long as the recipient remains on faculty.

“Also, what a lot of nursing schools are doing if they want to attract faculty that have come through this program, they will pick up the remaining 15 percent of the loan,” said Dr. Leslie Mayrand, dean of the ASU College of Nursing and Allied Health. “So, those people will have basically earned their master’s degrees free and clear.”

The ASU Nursing Department has been funded for the NFLP since 2003 and this year’s grant total is the largest ever awarded to ASU. Students already in the program get first priority and part-time students are now also eligible for the program.

“Almost all of the nurses that are graduate students work full-time,” Mayrand said. “It was difficult for them to take advantage of the program because they had to be full-time students. I think we will see a huge number of students we can help, especially on the part-time basis.”

Since ASU’s nurse educator master’s program is offered totally online, it also has statewide and national appeal since the NFLP will also pay out-of-state tuition.

The loan program is particularly important as the entire U.S. faces a drastic shortage of nursing faculty. According to a 2007-08 report by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), more than 40,000 qualified nursing school applicants were turned away due to a shortage of faculty to teach them. Retirement is also expected to claim a large percentage of current nursing faculty over the next 15 years.

“This program was developed to help address that,” said Dr. Susan Wilkinson, head of the ASU Nursing Department. “It will cover the expenses for a student to get a master’s degree in nursing education, so it is a win-win situation.”

For more information on the NFLP, call the ASU Nursing Department at 942-2224.

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