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Alabama Passes Bill for Nurse Scholarships

Publish Date: 5/23/2012

Senate Bill 44 was signed by Alabama Governor, Robert Bentley on April 30, 2012. SB 44 provides up to $10,000 in scholarships to Alabama nurses who are seeking master’s or doctorate degrees in nursing or doctorate degrees in education if the applicant already holds a graduate degree in nursing. The number of scholarships given out will be equal to 5% of the total enrollment in graduate nursing programs in Alabama and will be rewarded by the Alabama Board of Nursing. The Board of Nursing will also decide the criteria for the selection of recipients and awarding of the scholarships; however, preference will be given to applicants pursuing a career in nursing education.

In order to be eligible to receive a scholarship, the applicant must: (1) be a resident of Alabama for at least one year before applying for a scholarship; (2) have an active professional nursing license in Alabama; (3) be accepted into an Alabama graduate program; (4) and agree to practice professional nursing or become a nursing instructor in Alabama for at least 2 years after completing the graduate degree. The scholarship for future years will be contingent upon legislative funding.

This Alabama bill is a good example of a state working to address a shortage of nurse faculty and funding for nurse education through legislation. The initiative is in line with the recent Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Institute of Medicine which calls for 80% of nurses to hold baccalaureate degrees by 2020. 

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