To Help Address Nursing Shortage, DU Provides Most Loans to Future Nurse-Educators in PA
A key factor in addressing the continued national nursing shortage is to prepare more nursing teachers to allow nursing schools to open their doors to larger numbers of students. The Duquesne University School of Nursing is doing its part by administering a high volume of low-interest loans to future nurse-educators through the Nurse Faculty Loan Program (NFLP), a federal program created to help address the nursing shortage.
The DU nursing school, in fact, is currently making more funds available to students through this program than any other nursing school in the state and ranks 11th nationwide in terms of total dollars provided through the program. In addition, the amount of money made available to its graduate students by Duquesne’s School of Nursing has increased steadily, to a total of $655,716 for the 2011-2012 academic year—15-fold since the school made its first NFLP loan.
Experts agree that qualified nurses are needed now and that the need for them will increase in coming decades. With the benefit of more nurse-educators in mind, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services began providing NFLP funding in 2003. Accredited nursing schools that offer master- or doctoral-degree programs apply for the loan funding, which they receive in one sum and then provide to their qualified students.
According to Leah Cunningham, assistant dean for student services in the nursing school, 88 graduate nursing students at Duquesne have received NFLP funds since 2003. A large percentage of the school’s doctoral students benefited from the program last year.
“Out of 96 doctoral students in the nursing school, 41 of them had their tuition fully funded by the program,” Cunningham explained. “The NFLP appears to be channeling prospects into nursing education quite effectively.”
Under the program’s attractive terms, students can be given loans for up to $35,500 each academic year for five years, and the loan can be used to pay for tuition or educational fees. Over a four-year period, 85 percent of the loan’s principal and interest will be forgiven if a graduate finds full-time employment as a faculty member at an accredited nursing school within nine months of graduation. Repayment of the remaining 15 percent of the loan can be postponed during those four years.
For more information available through the Duquesne School of Nursing programs, visitwww.duq.edu/nursing.