FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - Francis Marion University announced on Monday the Health Sciences school had received two federal grants that total $2.3 million.
The awards were provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service's Health Resources and Services Administration.
According to a university press release, FMU's award is available through two distinct programs. Scholarships for disadvantaged students will provide $543,654 in director scholarship aid for tuition and other costs to students in FMU's Master of Science in Nursing Family Nurse Practitioner program this school year.
The other grant is for nursing educators who teach other nurses at colleges like FMU. The press release states "up to 85 percent of the loans can be forgiven if students serve as full-time faculty at an accredited nursing school for four years after graduation."
The grants will fund 24 students through the disadvantaged students grant and six future nurse educators.
"We have an ability to turn out more nurses and that meets a very critical need in this region, certainly in the state of South Carolina as well," said Tucker Mitchell, FMU's director of public affairs.
He added the grants are directed at South Carolina students to keep the knowledge and skills they learn in-state.
"That person is more likely to return back to their home communities and serve that community, which usually doesn't have any nurse practitioners, certainly not enough to serve the general needs of that population," Mitchell said.
What constitutes a disadvantaged students can range from economic background to the access of healthcare in the recipient's hometown.
The hope is the student will use the grant money given to them to return home as a nurse and add critically-needed skills to his or her community.
"What's neat about it is they meet a tremendous community need and at the same time will open the door to the dozens, hundreds eventually, we think, students to further their education and further their careers," Mitchell said.
The school will eventually have to reapply for the awards and plans too, Mitchell added.
Applications are open for future students and current freshman. They are being accepted online through FMU's website until Aug. 15.