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About $4 million in scholarship money still available for Nebraska nursing students from ARPA funds

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OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Can you commit to two years of nursing in Nebraska after completing your nursing program in the state? That's just one of the requirements for the 'Nursing Incentives Scholarship Program', but it's not for all nursing degrees.

"Any opportunity to be able to assist those students financially, to be able to enter into a program and overcome that barrier. I see it as a positive," said Lepaine Sharp-McHenry, dean of the College of Nursing at UNMC.

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) granted $5 million dollars to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, (DHHS) but only a little over a million of that has been used.

"In our college of nursing, 30 students received this scholarship in the spring. And we have about 32 students that are receiving it this summer," Sharp-McHenry said.

Dean Sharp-McHenry said she has seen an increase in enrollment in their 12-month Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Program, with this scholarship available.

"With these funds available we want to make sure that we get the word out so that people are aware, across the entire state, what's available to them to help support them to go back and get their nursing degree," Sharp-McHenry said.

But it's not only for the Accelerated BSN program. Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and Associate Degree of Nursing (ADN) programs qualify too.

According to DHHS, those eligible could receive up to $2,500 per semester for one to four-semester programs until the program is complete or the ARPA funds are spent.

With nearly $4 million of the funding still available to students, 3 News Now Reporter Molly Hudson asked Dean Sharp-McHenry if she thinks the scholarship should be opened up to four-year nursing programs.

"Any type of initiative, that would help us increase the nursing workforce in Nebraska. I think that would be something we should consider," Dean Sharp-McHenry said.

DHHS said the program has until December 2024 to allocate all funds. Any leftover money will be returned to the federal government.

The deadline to apply for the Fall 2023 semester is July 31.For qualifications and the application, click here.

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