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November 2008

Release Date: Nov. 10, 2008ASU Logo

ASU Nursing Department Wins Grant to Continue Loan Program

Angelo State University’s Department of Nursing has received a $32,784 grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Bureau of Health Professions 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. With money left over from 2008 and a contribution from the university, the money available for students in 2009 is actually $46,248. Students already in the program get first priority and part-time students will also be eligible for the program for the first time in 2009.

“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, which was really difficult. I think we will see a huge number of students we can help, especially on the part-time basis.”

With part-time students now eligible, ASU expects the number of students in its NFLP to jump from nine in 2008 to about 20 in 2009. Also, since ASU’s nurse educator master’s program is offered totally online, it 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.

“We have a huge shortage of nursing faculty, which is contributing to the ongoing shortage of nurses because there is no one to teach,” Mayrand said. “This program was developed to help address that. 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 Department of Nursing at 942-2224.