Texas Woman’s University recently was awarded a $3 million grant to use for scholarships for undergraduate and graduate nursing students who come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
The grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration will award TWU $650,000 a year for four years for undergraduates. The university also will receive $100,000 a year for four years for graduate students.
The money comes from HRSA’s Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students.
“What this will do is help students who can’t afford the program without working or without loans,” said Richard Nicholas, vice president for student life at TWU.
It also will help TWU nursing students, who mostly attend classes at the Dallas and Houston campuses, graduate on time, he said.
Because of clinical work, it’s difficult for nursing students to keep a regular work schedule, Nicholas said.
“It’s good for students; it’s good for us,” he said.
Under the Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students program, grants are awarded to accredited schools of nursing, medicine, osteopathic medicine, dentistry, optometry, pharmacy and certain other medical professional programs.
The HRSA used to give one-year grants, which meant students didn’t know whether they would receive the scholarship the next year, Nicholas said. Over the course of three years, TWU has been awarded more than $4.8 million from HRSA for scholarships.
“It’s really helpful that it’s a four-year grant,” Nicholas said. It allows the students to continue receiving the scholarships unless their situation changes.
TWU’s undergraduate nursing program is a two-year program. The graduate program depends on whether the student is earning a master’s or a doctoral degree.
Applicants are eligible if they have a disadvantaged background, which is defined by the Department of Health and Human Services as coming from an environment that inhibited them from obtaining the “knowledge, skill and abilities required to enroll in and graduate from a health professions schools,” or if they come from a low-income household.
The fall scholarships have already been awarded, and TWU is in the process of awarding the scholarships for the spring semester.
“We’re very pleased to have it,” Nicholas said, adding that it helps students who may not be able to enroll otherwise.
RACHEL MEHLHAFF can be reached at 940-566-6889. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.