SXU awarded nearly $1M to support nursing students

Nursing StudentsSaint Xavier University’s (SXU) School of Nursing (SON) and Office of Government, Corporate and Foundation Relations recently received notice of two federal grants to provide 65 undergraduate and graduate nursing students with substantial financial support in the 2015-2016 school year, totaling $988,194.

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), a division of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, has awarded SXU $343,194 from the Advanced Education Nurse Traineeship (AENT) program, which will fund 22 students in SON’s Family Nurse Practitioner program who have an interest in offering primary care to medically underserved communities.

The AENT program stems from a federal priority to increase the number of primary care family nurse practitioners working in medically underserved areas.

“We are delighted to provide an opportunity for nurses to pursue advanced practice degrees in order to serve, in particular, those living in areas lacking quality healthcare,” said Mary Haras, Ph.D., R.N., associate dean for Graduate Nursing Programs in the School of Nursing.

HRSA has also awarded SXU $645,000 from the Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students (SDS) program, which will be used to award scholarships to 43 undergraduate nursing students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

SON faculty have already seen a marked difference among students receiving SDS scholarships. “As we enter our fourth year in which the SON has received SDS funding, I have noticed a positive impact on our SDS award recipients who are now able to work fewer hours, borrow less money, and spend more time on their nursing coursework,” noted Peg Gallagher, Ed.D., R.N., C.N.E., associate dean of the Undergraduate Nursing Program. “Thus, receiving the SDS award helps students progress through the program in a more timely manner and graduate with less debt upon completion of their education.”

“We are pleased to pass along these scholarships to our deserving nursing students,” stated Sue Swisher, executive director of Financial Aid.

Gloria Jacobson, Ph.D., R.N., dean of the School of Nursing, added, “These awards allow the School of Nursing to expand its response to federally recognized health care priorities while providing significant financial support to our students as they pursue this important nursing education.”

SXU is one of four universities in Illinois to receive AENT funding and one of four universities in Illinois to receive SDS funding, but is the only university in Illinois to receive both AENT and SDS funding this year. “This speaks to our ability to provide both an excellent nursing education and to educate a diverse student population,” said Ruth Hansen, M.J., CFRE, associate director for Corporate, Government and Foundation Relations.

These awards help not only SXU’s nursing students, but the larger community as well. According to SXU President Christine Wiseman, J.D., “These grants recognize the ability of Saint Xavier’s School of Nursing to educate the students who will become the nurse leaders our country needs.”

Among its many other accolades, SXU’s School of Nursing was recently named No. 2 on U.S. News & World Report’s 2015 Best Online Graduate Nursing Degrees list. The program also ranks No. 2 on U.S. News & World Report’s 2015 Best Online Programs for Veterans list.

One hundred percent of the cost of Saint Xavier’s Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students awards and Advanced Education Nurse Traineeship awards is underwritten by HRSA; no non-governmental funds are used for the SDS or AENT programs.