UAMS College of Nursing Sees Impact of Scholarship for New BSN Students

By Chris Carmody

The $2,000 scholarship will be available in the 2023-24 academic year for newly admitted students in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and Accelerated BSN programs. It will be paid out in $1,000 increments in the fall 2023 and spring 2024 semesters.

Money for the scholarship will come from the College of Nursing’s general funds.

Ava Coleman, assistant director of student services in the College of Nursing, noted the difficulty of balancing a BSN program and a full-time job. She said she hopes the scholarship will relieve some of the financial stress for students who are paying their way through college.

“We believe in supporting our students in every aspect, making sure that they grow not only professionally in their nursing careers but also socially and emotionally so they can be good providers for others,” she said.

The traditional BSN program, which mostly consists of students entering their junior year of college, begins in the fall and runs for 22 months. The program strives to prepare future nurses for service in a variety of health care settings and to provide a foundation for graduate studies.

Fermin Renteria, DNP, APRN, assistant professor in the College of Nursing and director of the BSN program, said the scholarship will have a significant effect on the incoming students.

“Many of our students come to the College of Nursing with loan debt from previous degree programs or prerequisite coursework,” he said. “This scholarship will decrease the amount of financial assistance that these students need.”

The Accelerated BSN program, which launched last year at the UAMS Northwest Regional Campus in Fayetteville, is open to students who have already obtained an undergraduate degree. The program begins in May and takes 15 months to complete.

Lauren Haggard-Duff, Ph.D., RN, director of the Accelerated BSN program, said students who have a bachelor’s degree often have trouble qualifying for additional financial aid, and the academically rigorous program doesn’t leave much time for them to hold jobs.

“We have students who experience food insecurity and are in need of gas money and other basic necessities because they’re not able to work,” she said. “These students are so dedicated to making a difference in the health care field, and we want to help them in any way that we can.”

Coleman said the College of Nursing has a variety of additional scholarships that are awarded based on financial need, academic excellence and other criteria, and she encouraged students to pursue those opportunities as well.

The application period for BSN and Accelerated BSN programs runs through March 1. To submit an application or learn more about the programs, click here.