Stipends Help Nursing Students
Nine nursing students admitted in January to the online cohort of the new "fast track" BSN program recently received stipends to offset the costs associated with their full-time pursuit of a bachelor’s degree.
Last August, NMU and Marquette General Hospital were awarded nearly $2 million in state grant money to accelerate the education and graduation of registered and practical nurses in response to a critical shortage of nurses and nursing faculty. NMU developed a program for students who had previously obtained a bachelor’s degree in another discipline and could now focus on core nursing courses.
The theoretical component of the curriculum is delivered online. The clinic experience is provided in a full-time format and involves direct mentoring by MGHS registered nurses overseen by an NMU nurse faculty member.
Kerri Schuiling (Nursing) successfully petitioned the state to increase the grant – with a 44 percent match by NMU – by about $90,000. This potentially gives each of the nine students up to $10,000 in stipends.
"When I decided to come to Northern, I knew I was taking a gamble," said student Ann Spang. "I had no way to pay for all of the schooling, so I was planning on working to make up for the difference. However, due to the fast-paced nature and demands of the accelerated program, it is difficult to even imagine a time when I could work. I am incredibly grateful for the stipend because it has given me the ability to focus my energy entirely on education and succeeding in the program. The grant not only reduces my financial need, it provides a peace of mind."
The funds will be disbursed on a semester-by-semester basis and will depend on successful completion of courses.
“The funding is a godsend for these students because the program is very time-intensive, requiring full-time attendance during the 15 months of the program’s duration," Schuiling said. "The commitment required makes it impossible for these students to work and attend school. Also, because the students are post-baccalaureate students, the only other financial support they may qualify for is loans."
The stipends provide support for any costs related with attending school such as tuition, books and child care. Students are not required to repay the stipends.
“The nursing shortage is getting worse," Schuiling added. "This program helps speed up the process of getting people into the profession to alleviate the crisis, but the accelerated aspect makes it demanding for those who choose to enroll. I’m just grateful that we now have the resources to make it easier for students to complete the program.”