The College of Nursing at Marquette University is the recipient of a Scholarship for Disadvantaged Students from the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Bureau of Health Workforce and the Division of Health Careers and Financial Support.

The Marquette University College of Nursing will receive more than $3 million over five years in Scholarship for Disadvantaged Students funds. (Submitted photo)

The Scholarship for Disadvantaged Students (SDS) award, totaling more than $3 million over the course of five years, will provide scholarships to full-time nursing students from educationally and/or environmentally disadvantaged backgrounds who demonstrate a financial need, particularly students who are part of Project BEYOND-2 — a mentoring program that supports nursing students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds. SDS funds are awarded to schools with ongoing diversity projects, like Project BEYOND-2, that provide substantive programming in the areas of academics, mentoring, professionalism and leadership.

Dr. Terrie Garcia, Project BEYOND-2 coordinator, said the program had nearly 100 active nursing student members during the 2019–20 school year, and is projected to have more than 130 starting this fall — nearly 25 percent of the total expected undergraduate College of Nursing enrollment for the 2020–21 academic year. Many of the program’s past students, Garcia said, received scholarships through previous SDS awards, and project participants will continue to benefit from the latest round of funding.

“The SDS funds are crucial to the profession of nursing as we increase the number of diverse students in the college who will enter and help diversify the future nursing workforce,” Garcia said. “The Marquette nurse is committed to addressing health disparities, meeting all persons where they are at, and working toward health equity for all. With these scholarships, more students are able to afford a quality nursing education at Marquette. The much-needed scholarships decrease students’ stress levels, so they can focus on academics rather than financial constraints.”

Dr. Janet Wessel Krejci, dean of the College of Nursing, said past SDS funds have proven to be transformative for the college, and the impact this funding will have on students, the college and the nursing profession as a whole is vital in order to create the workforce we need to mirror the population we serve.

“The SDS grants are extremely competitive and the college’s success in this area speaks to Dr. Garcia’s leadership, passion and commitment to create the diverse workforce needed,” Wessel Krejci said. “We are proud of these ongoing efforts to create more scholarships through private funding and other means — and more is needed as we look to the future to create a more diverse nursing workforce and address the needs of the community.”