Fairfield University’s School of Nursing has received a $17,285 federal grant to support its nurse anesthetist traineeship program.

First received in the 2008-09 academic year, the grant is awarded by the Health Resources and Services Administration based on the number of students in the program, the number of minority students and the number of students that intend to work in an underserved area.

Underserved areas are considered to be places that have health provider shortages, and according to Moriber, describe most major inner cities. The students do not have to work in these areas for a set period of time, but most of the students who do accept the aid choose to serve there.

Assistant professor Dr. Nancy Moriber said that the purpose of the $17K grant, which took her a week’s worth of work to apply for, is to support the students and decrease the amount of debt they have at graduation.

“Full-time students are living off federal aid with loans, and students take out loans even for living expenses,” Moriber said. “Anything we can give them to offset costs is great in that we can provide for our students.”

Considering that students are spending 40 hours a week with clinicals and taking classes during their last year of the program, it becomes tough for them to afford their education.

For Dr. Lynn Babington, dean of the School of Nursing, her “major goal as a dean is to provide funding support at a graduate and undergraduate level.”

“We are very pleased and very honored that we are awarded these very competitive scholarships,” said Babington. “We are committed to making our tuition affordable.”

In addition to the $17K grant received this year, the School of Nursing had also received a $700,000 grant, split up into two years, to decrease education costs for students, with this upcoming academic year being the second year of the grant.

This grant prepares students seeking careers as nurse practitioners, and it has provided scholarship support for more than 55 graduate students. The funds allow students who normally would not be able to complete the program, due to financial reasons, to graduate and go out into the workforce.

“Thank goodness for funding like this because it helps us attract the best and brightest students,” Associate Professor of Nursing Dr. Meredith Kazer said.

“It is really hard to go to grad school. There is not a lot of money available,” she added.

According to Kazer, Fairfield University’s School of Nursing is unique because of its faculty and student relationships.

“We have excellent faculty and what we are really known for is the graduate and adviser relationship at a graduate level. Graduate students work on research projects and present papers nationally along with our faculty,” she said. She also said that Fairfield provides students with “lifelong mentoring.”

Even though the grant only affects graduate students, the news is exciting for undergraduate students as well.

“That is great, especially for students like myself who plan to go on to a grad level in that program” said Shelby Meyer ’15. “It makes me worry less, knowing that there will be some financial help available when I get to that point and that it is bettering the community.”

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