ORONO — The University of Maine School of Nursing received a $550,000 grant from the Helene Fuld Health Trust for scholarships to support students enrolled in the Master of Science in Nursing program, the largest gift that the UMaine School of Nursing has ever received.
Established in 1951, the Helene Fuld Health Trust aims to support and promote the health, welfare and education of student nurses, primarily through financial aid to nursing students in the MSN program. In the first year, $50,000 will be immediately available for scholarship support and $200,000 will establish the endowment. In the second and third years, $30,000 will be awarded to students and another $120,000 each year will be added to the endowment.
“This award from the Helene Fuld Health Trust is vitally important to the future of the UMaine School of Nursing because the Trust is providing both short-term and long-term support for nursing students,” says Jeff Mills, University of Maine Foundation president and CEO. “Immediate scholarships over the next three academic years will be available for master’s students who will, upon graduation, be qualified to teach future nursing students. Because more than $400,000 of the award will be endowed at the University of Maine Foundation, distributions from that endowment will provide scholarships in perpetuity for future students in the master of science in nursing program.”
The UMaine School of Nursing offers one of the university’s most sought-after degree programs, receiving upward of 1,400 applications for approximately 80 seats available in the fall semesters of the past five years. Meanwhile, Maine faces a severe shortfall of registered nurses, aggravated by the fact that only 8.7 percent of Registered Nurses in the state have earned a master of science in nursing at a time when advanced practice nurses are in high demand.
All 15 of Maine’s Schools of Nursing need master’s-prepared nurses to provide didactic, clinical, and laboratory instruction to nursing students. The critical shortage of qualified faculty further limits their ability to produce nurses for Maine’s workforce.
“The need for nurses is increasing at an alarming rate, and this funding will enable our School of Nursing to accelerate the number of master’s-prepared nurses. This will help address the critical nursing faculty shortage Maine is experiencing,” says Kathryn Robinson, associate director and assistant professor of the UMaine School of Nursing.