Financial Woes for Nursing Students

The Michigan Nursing Scholarship, which provided up to $4,000 a year to eligible nursing students, was among the many programs eliminated from the State of Michigan Budget.

The program provided over 1,500 students with financial aid in the last fiscal year and its elimination adds additional financial concerns for many nursing students in Michigan.

The scholarship was a non-need based award that provided full time nursing students with up to $4,000 a year or part time students with up to $2,000 as long as they were looking to become a Licensed Practical Nurse, or obtain associate, bachelors, or masters degrees in nursing.

The scholarship requirements also stipulated that upon completion of the nursing program, recipients of the award must either work in a direct care nursing program or teach in a nursing program in the state for a certain period of time.

Dr. Julie Coon, Director of the School of Nursing, said that the state allowed each individual university to determine how the scholarship would be awarded to students.

At Ferris, the award was elected to be given to students entering their last years of the nursing program and was given based on GPA. While the scholarship was being offered, roughly 20 to 30 students received aid from the scholarship a year.

Coon added that many of the students at Ferris receiving money through the scholarship were in their final year of the program. This also meant that many had reached their limit on financial aid forcing them to look at other means of financial assistance.

“This probably means personal loans which will only add to their personal debt when they leave the program,” said Coon.

Justin Greenfield, a sophomore in the nursing program said that receiving the Michigan Nursing Scholarship would have been beneficial; however, not receiving it will not hinder his college experience nor affect graduating.

“It would be hard to be upset about not receiving the scholarship,” he said. “It would have been a gift and not something that I was planning on receiving.”

On a broader perspective, Coon said that the cutting of the scholarship would also result in more graduates of the Michigan nursing program leaving the state “because they will not have the obligation to work here for two years as a scholarship recipient.”