The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Nursing has received a $2.4 million federal grant to offer full scholarships to help diversify the nursing workforce.The program will assist 240 students who are underrepresented in nursing — men as well as those with African-American, Hispanic, Asian, American Indian or Alaskan native backgrounds.
Current and new Bachelor of Science nursing students are eligible to receive scholarships of $10,000 per year over a four-year period. The scholarships are grants, not loans.
The minority nursing workforce hasn’t kept up with the U.S. population. Minorities made up 34 percent of the population in 2007, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. But the minority nursing workforce is only 16.8 percent; and 6.2 percent of nurses were men, according to a 2008 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses.
Given the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ projected need for more than 1 million new and replacement registered nurses by 2016, breaking the cultural divide is increasingly important.
The grant, awarded in October by the Health Resources and Services Administration, also will address the growing financial need students are experiencing during the challenging economy.
Preference for the scholarships is also given to those with an educationally disadvantaged background, including those for whom English is a second language, first-generation college students and those from a county in which less than 50 percent of the residents have an education beyond high school.
Students must maintain a 2.75 grade point average or above to retain the scholarship.