Shenandoah University is trying to make its nursing program more diverse and now they have help from a nearly $3 million grant.
"This money will help students that may have a hard time affording college education," says Kathryn Ganske, dean of the School of Nursing.
It is funded fully by the SDS program, also known as the "Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students," and is made for undergraduates.
Ganske adds," They could be rural, they could be urban, they could come from disadvantaged areas or disadvantaged families."
Priority is now given to schools that carry a certain percentage of minorities and the university is currently at 15 percent.
"The nursing profession is pretty homogenous; it's a pretty white profession, although we're getting more and more people of color as we include and draw folks from those urban areas in the country that have more diversity. Really, what we want is the profession to reflect the people that it cares for," adds Ganske.
School officials say this grant is not only used to increase diversity but it is aimed for students who have limited financial resources.
Students can now graduate with a lower student loan debt by working less and focusing more on school.
"The goal of the grant is not just for diversity and need, but also to support students' study skills, and success skills throughout the program. We are offering and encouraging students as part of the agreement to participate in retention activities," says Janice Smith, Associate Dean of Student Affairs.
Full-year scholarships will be $15,000 and half-year will be $7,500. At least 43 scholarships have been awarded this school year and will continue for the next three years.