Florida Funds $800,000 in Scholarships for Accelerated BSN Program Students

Florida is allocating $800,000 in scholarship funds to support nursing students in the University of Florida’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program. The initiative aims to assist students who are ineligible for traditional scholarships due to already holding a bachelor’s degree in another field.

The scholarships will benefit 40 students entering the ABSN program, which caters to individuals with prior bachelor’s degrees. Unlike traditional financial aid programs, these students do not qualify for assistance from sources such as the Florida Bright Futures Program or federal Pell grants, as they pursue a second bachelor’s degree.

Covering tuition and book expenses, the scholarships offer vital support to ABSN students embarking on a 15-month journey to become registered nurses. Dr. Erik Black, Associate Dean for Student Services at the UF College of Nursing, emphasized the significance of this financial aid for students transitioning into a new career, often with existing educational debt and family responsibilities.

Funded through the Linking Industry to Nursing Education (LINE) Fund, established by the Florida Legislature in 2022 to address the nursing shortage, the scholarships receive matching funds from partnering agencies. The University of Florida, eligible for a $400,000 grant, secured matching contributions from UF Health Shands and the UF Health Cancer Center, doubling the scholarship fund.

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Recipients of these scholarships commit to working as full-time registered nurses at a UF Health facility for two years post-graduation. Dr. Shakira Henderson, Dean of the UF College of Nursing, lauded the initiative for its role in supporting students pursuing a second career in nursing, acknowledging the challenges they face and the noble profession they aspire to join.

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