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South Carolina offers $10M in state funding to combat nursing shortage

Christina Lee Knauss //August 22, 2023//

South Carolina offers $10M in state funding to combat nursing shortage

Christina Lee Knauss //August 22, 2023//

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The South Carolina Commission on Higher Education is partnering with the South Carolina Student Loan Corporation to make $10 million in financial assistance available to students in graduate level nurse educator programs who are willing to become nursing faculty after graduation.

The new program is an effort to address the state’s nursing shortage, according to a news release.

The General Assembly has allocated $10 million for fiscal years 2022-23 and 2023-24 in general appropriations bills to address the shortage, the release said. The bill specified that half of the funding should be used to supplement nursing faculty salaries at public institutions, while the second half would be used for financial assistance.

The assistance will come in the form of tuition reimbursement and will cover up to $30,000 per academic year per student pursuing a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree or Ph.D programs at public colleges and universities for up to three years, with a maximum amount of $90,000, the release said.

The program is based on the Student Loan Corporation’s BOLD (Better Outcomes, Less Debt) tuition reimbursement model, which was designed to better integrate the application, education and employment processes. Standard BOLD repayment terms will apply to recipients who fail to fulfill the terms of the agreement.

 “This is a win in every aspect,” said Rusty Monhollon, president and executive director of the Commission on Higher Education, in the release.  “Students who take advantage of this program will be eligible for a life-changing amount of financial assistance, our state will grow our pool of qualified nursing faculty, and the partnership with the South Carolina Student Loan Corporation will leverage their expertise and systems to quickly and effectively administer the funding while minimizing overhead costs. We believe that this program will have a very positive and significant long-term impact in our state.”

In fall 2022, the Commission formed a working group to address the nursing shortage that included public and private institutions offering nursing programs, the South Carolina Hospital Association, the South Carolina Technical College System, South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities and the Student Loan Corp., according to the release. The group was charged with analyzing current data and developing plans to distribute the funds from the General Assembly. The funds also included $5 million to supplement the salaries of nursing faculty at public universities, colleges and technical colleges with accredited nursing programs.

Planning for the disbursement of the 2023-24 $5 million salary supplements is currently underway.

“Our partnership with the Commission on Higher Education to increase nursing faculty creates a needed pathway to education, and we are excited to improve access and outcomes to South Carolina higher education,” said Ray Jones, Vice President of Loan Programs at SCSLC.

Additional information on the tuition reimbursement and salary supplement allocations is available on the CHE’s Nursing Initiative page.

Students can begin the application process online.