CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – The West Virginia Nursing Scholarship Program will begin accepting applications for the 2021-22 academic year beginning Thursday, April 15.
The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission says the scholarship program provides awards to students in Licensed Practical Nursing, Registered Nursing, graduate and LPN teaching certificate programs in exchange for service working in the Mountain State.
“Building up our state’s nursing workforce is one of the best ways we can support our nurses working every day, right now, on the front lines to care for those in our communities. And it’s one of the best ways we can improve public health across the Mountain State,” said Dr. Sarah Armstrong Tucker, West Virginia’s Chancellor for Higher Education. “This scholarship is a direct path to one of the most critical and rewarding careers in West Virginia.”
To qualify for a scholarship, the WV HEPC says the nursing student must be a West Virginia resident, must be enrolled in an accredited nursing program in the state and must meet specific GPA requirements. The organization also say RN and LPN students must also be at least halfway through their degree program prior to being awarded.
Officials say the recipients must agree to fulfill an service obligation, which can be met through more than one form of employment. All service obligations must be verifued through the West Virginia Center for Nursing.
The service obligation varies based on the type of nursing program:
- LPN: Students are required to work full-time in West Virginia one year for every year they receive an award;
- RN: Students are required to work full-time in West Virginia two years for every year they receive an award;
- Graduate: Students are required to work full-time as a nursing educator at a West Virginia school of nursing two years for every year they receive an award; and,
- LPN teaching certificate: Students are required to work full-time as an LPN instructor one year for every year they receive an award.
“The West Virginia Nursing Scholarship Program is one of the best retention tools West Virginia currently has to ensure that nurses completing their education in our state continue to work in the state following graduation,” said Gerald Bragg, Chair of the West Virginia Center for Nursing. “An analysis of the program since 2016 found that 88.7% of completers still maintain an active nursing license in West Virginia.”
WV Center for Nursing and HEPC say this year applicants also have the option to answer additional questions on the application to evaluate if they may qualify for WorkForce West Virginia training dollars. The three organizations say this new partnership will lead to more training support available for nursing students throughout the state.
The West Virginia Center for Nursing and the HEPC administer the program and ask applicants to review the eligibility requirements for their specific nursing programs. Applications are available online through June 1, 2021.