Through the generosity of the Harper Family Foundation, College of Saint Mary (CSM) will provide a debt-free pathway to 100 new nursing students over the next four years.
The foundation furnished a $2 million challenge grant to CSM to launch the Josie Harper Nursing Scholarship to help financially disadvantaged students, including those who are first-generation, single parents, ethnic minority and/or Pell-eligible, who desire a nursing career. For the next four years, beginning this fall, 25 new nursing students will receive up to $29,000 annually.
Charles “Mike” Harper and his late wife, Joan “Josie” Harper, established the Harper Family Foundation to create a legacy of giving. Josie, a nurse, passed away from cancer. Their goal was to create lasting and impactful contributions.
From 2017 to 2020, 44% of CSM’s nursing graduates were financially challenged.
The purpose of the grant is to increase the number of nurses from underserved families and communities serving in the Nebraska workforce. It also would help address the nursing shortfall in the state and reduce racial/ethnic healthcare disparity. In 2020, Nebraska had more than 4,000 unfilled nursing positions, with the shortfall forecasted to increase to more than 5,400 by 2025. According to the Nebraska Center for Nursing, in the Omaha metro area, 93% of registered nurses are Caucasian; 7% are nurses of color.
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To be eligible, recipients must be accepted as a new student to the Practical Nursing Certificate program beginning in May 2022, the Pre-Nursing program or the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program beginning in August 2022. They must also demonstrate high financial need through Federal Pell Grant Eligibility or be eligible for a CSM Misericordia Scholarship and have at least the following criteria: first-generation, a person of color or a student parent.