The Trellis Foundation awarded a $100,000 grant to the Hunt School of Nursing at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso to support stipends for students in the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.
School officials say that the funds will be matched, dollar-for-dollar, by the Texas Workforce Commission’s Texas Industry Partnership program, administered through Workforce Solutions Borderplex.
The grant was awarded in April 2020 for a project called “Closing the Financial Gaps Between the Dream and the First Nursing Job.” The goal of the project is to support a registered nurse training program and alleviate the financial hardship students are experiencing.
“Supporting the Hunt School of Nursing’s efforts to effectively meet the health care needs in the region is the primary goal of this grant,” said Richard Rhodes, Ph.D., board president of the Trellis Foundation. “These educational partnerships show the commitment that the El Paso community has to ensure nursing students graduate on time so they can deliver quality care to those in need.”
This is the first time a stipend has been made available to students in the Accelerated B.S.N. program. It will be offered to at least 30 nursing students with financial needs who are in the final three semesters of the Accelerated B.S.N. program during the 2020-2021 academic year.
Applicants will be selected based upon academic rank, academic success and amount of financial need. The stipend program provides a reliable source of funds so students can focus on their studies instead of having to work extra hours in part-time or full-time jobs outside of school to make ends meet.
“We believe that these stipends will be a game changer for our students,” said Stephanie L. Woods, Ph.D., R.N., dean of the Hunt School of Nursing. “Students piece together financial aid, loans and part- to full-time work to make it through nursing school. Every dollar that doesn’t require time stolen from studying or adds to the additional debt is a gift to them. It’s just one more part of the safety net we’re weaving for them.”
TTUHSC El Paso and Workforce Solutions Borderplex are partnering to improve educational outcomes and shorten the time students spend attaining employment in the El Paso region.
The average undergraduate nursing student at the Hunt School of Nursing faces $5,500 per semester of financial need that’s not covered by federal or state financial aid. Students who can stay on track and graduate on time have an excellent opportunity to obtain a high-paying, high-demand job as a registered nurse.
“Too many students are facing mounting financial pressure to balance education and basic survival in an effort to break out of the economic sustainment strain and we are taking steps to change that structure,” said Leila Melendez, chief executive officer at Workforce Solutions Borderplex. “We hope this effort will provide relief and motivate prospective nursing students on the fence of setting educational goals from fear of the financial struggle.”
The Trellis Foundation is a public, charitable organization built on a 40-year heritage of supporting students and families in Texas who are pursuing their educational and career dreams. The organization focuses on improving attainment for low-to-moderate-income students who may not otherwise have an opportunity to earn a postsecondary credential or degree.