Barry University’s nursing program within the College or Nursing and Health Sciences has received a $2.3 million grant to help address the national nursing faculty shortage.
The grant comes from the Nurse Faculty Loan Program (NFLP) — a federal government-sponsored loan program from the Health Resources and Services Administration created to address the nurse faculty shortage. During 2016-2017, over 64,000 qualified nursing students were refused admission due to insufficient faculty, clinical sites, classroom space, clinical preceptors and budget constraints.
A recent study by the National League for Nursing (NLN) revealed the primary reason for turning away students was the lack of qualified faculty. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) found a national nurse faculty vacancy rate of almost 8 percent, with most of these vacancies (93 percent) requiring or preferring a doctoral degree.
“It is not a secret that the need for compassionate, professional, registered nurses and advanced practice nurses continues. Faculty shortages has been one barrier to keeping up with this demand,” said Dr. John McFadden, dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences. “Barry University has a long history of receiving this grant. Together with our use of distance learning technology, we’re able to address the faculty shortage issue directly and broadly.”
Without these faculty, schools of nursing — not only in Florida but across the country — must limit their admissions. Thousands of prospective nurses are turned away each year from schools of nursing simply because there are not enough qualified faculty. The NFLP started 10 years ago to provide an incentive to nurses to become nurse faculty. These loans offset the tuition costs and make this career selection more attractive.
Each year, participants in the loan program can "borrow" up to $35,00 per year in exchange for the promise to teach four years upon graduation. Each of the four years of teaching cancels a percentage of the loan — in all, 85 percent of loan funds are cancelled, leaving these nurse faculty graduates with the repayment of only 15 percent of the total loan funds borrowed. Additional funds are secured annually as needed to support all interested students. An additional $1.7 million was added for the 2018-19 academic year.
Barry University has received funding for the past 10 years and since that time has produced 96 graduates who, in exchange for loans, teach for at least four years in a school of nursing. The funding can be requested yearly, and Barry continues to provide these scholarships to future nursing faculty.