Wednesday, August 12, 2009

HHS Announces $13.4 Million in Financial Assistance to Support Nurses

HHS Deputy Secretary Bill Corr today announced the release of $13.4 million for loan repayments to nurses who agree to practice in facilities with critical shortages and for schools of nursing to provide loans to students who will become nurse faculty. The funds were made
available by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), signed Feb. 17, 2009, by President Obama.

"The need for more nurses is great. Over the next decade, nurse retirements and an aging U.S. population, among other factors, will create the need for hundreds of thousands of new nurses," Deputy Secretary Corr said. "The awards from these two HRSA programs will help us meet projected demand for their services."

The awards come from two programs administered by HHS' Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA): the Nurse Education Loan Repayment Program and the Nurse Faculty Loan Program.

* Funding announced today under the Nurse Education Loan Repayment Program (NELRP) totals $8.1 million. Those funds, awarded competitively, will help 100 registered nurses pay their nursing education debts. The program repays 60 percent of the loan balance of registered nurses in exchange for two years of service at facilities with a critical shortage of nurses. (For a list of facilities employing the first 100 NELRP award winners from ARRA funds, see the attached
table.) Participants may be eligible to work a third year and receive additional repayment assistance.

* Funds announced today under the Nurse Faculty Loan Program (NFLP) total $5.3 million. Those funds go to schools of nursing to support the training of 500 masters and doctoral nursing students who plan to become nurse faculty after completing their education. Following graduation, loan recipients may cancel up to 85 percent of the loan principal and interest in exchange for four years of service as a full-time nursing faculty at a school of nursing. (For a list of universities that received NFLP funds, see the attached table.)

Approximately 50,000 individuals interested in going to nursing school are turned away due to insufficient capacity at schools of nursing. The two main factors limiting the ability to train more nurses are a faculty shortage and insufficient clinical training sites.

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