Bucks County Community College has received a $22,559 award from the Independence Blue Cross Foundation’s Nurses for Tomorrow scholarship program to support eligible students in its associate degree nursing and practical nursing programs for the 2020-21 academic year.
The award represents a significant increase over last year’s grant, which will help more students cover tuition in the high-demand programs.
“Even though our tuition is lower than other institutions, our students still struggle with covering the cost of tuition and fees,” said Dr. Constance Corrigan, dean of the college’s Health Sciences department. “They often work in addition to going to school to support their family. The increase in the award this year means even more students will get some assistance.”
The Nurses for Tomorrow grant program awards grants to nursing schools in southeastern Pennsylvania to fund scholarships for undergraduate, graduate and doctoral nursing students. To date, the Foundation has awarded more than $13 million in Nurses for Tomorrow grants to 24 nursing schools which provided scholarships to nearly 3,000 nursing students.
Dr. Patricia Smallacombe, director of grants at Bucks County Community College, said the grant award is even more needed because the COVID-19 pandemic has strained students’ income while increasing the need for more nurses.
“We expect to have more students apply for scholarships because of the profound effect the pandemic has had on the economy,” said Smallacombe. “Job layoffs, business closures, and the like are affecting students’ employment outside of school. Additionally, some students receive financial support from family members who are also likely to be impacted by the current situation, and may not be in a position to offer this support in the coming academic year.”
Bucks currently has 168 students enrolled in its associate degree nursing program, which began in 1970. Successful graduates take the state licensing exam to become registered nurses. The college’s one-year practical nursing program, launched in 2002, currently has 42 students enrolled. Upon completion, they will be eligible to take the state exam to become licensed practical nurses. Visit bucks.edu/healthsciences to learn more.