New York City, NY

New Scholarship Program Aims to Cover Tuition for a Thousand New York Nurses

J.M. Lesinski
A shot of the Highmark of Western New York building in downtown Buffalo, New York.Photo by J.M. Lesinski

In an effort to incentivize and reward healthcare workers during one of the most trying medical crises in our history, a new scholarship program entitled, “Nurses for Our Future,” is offering a hefty sum to those interested in becoming registered nurses (RNs). New York State Governor Kathy Hochul recently revealed the program’s existence and goals at a breakfast hosted by the Association for a Better New York.

"Just a year ago, we were celebrating our healthcare workers as the heroes they are, and the pandemic has shown us that we cannot afford a labor shortage in the healthcare industry," stated Hochul of the new scholarship program. "I'm proud to announce our new Nurses for Our Future Scholarship as an important step to train more nurses and bring them into our healthcare system. SUNY and CUNY scholarships move us toward a more prosperous and equal New York, by working to make sure every New Yorker has access to training programs, one-, two-, and four-year degrees, community college; SUNY and CUNY should be the pathway to the middle class."

The Nurses for Our Future Scholarship program, designed to recruit and retain nurses in New York state, aims to add a thousand additional students into SUNY and/or CUNY nursing programs by offering full coverage of tuition to each student. Additionally, the program promises to work with student schedules to provide flexibility and the student’s choice of part-time or full-time enrollment.

"With more than 70 nursing programs spanning every degree from LPN to BSN and that are found in every corner of New York State as well as online, SUNY stands ready to meet the growing demand for nurses who are the heartbeat of healthcare,” SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras remarked of the scholarship program. “We thank Governor Hochul for her leadership by offering this scholarship incentive to those aspiring to join this noble calling, and for including the option to attend college part time or full time, giving our students the flexibility to manage their education and life responsibilities. SUNY, the largest comprehensive system of higher education, is ready to meet the challenge."

Ever since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals across New York state have seen a massive influx of patients and a labor shortage unlike anyone had ever seen before. As of November 2021, just over nine thousand nursing jobs remain unfilled in New York state.

"The pandemic has put a sharp focus on the need to increase treatment capacity across our health care system, and expanding the pipeline of diverse, skilled registered nurses is a key component of that proposition,” noted CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez of the scholarship program. “This timely scholarship program will allow more New Yorkers to enroll in CUNY's quality nursing programs and build rewarding, well-paying careers in a field in which they are greatly needed. CUNY is committed to training the next generation of nursing professionals, and we thank Governor Hochul for her continued support."

The New York State Department of Labor also plans to do their part in the process by marketing new opportunities like entry-level nurse certifications including Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), and Nursing Home Aide (NHA) through regional SUNY Educational Opportunity Centers.

"Nobody has put more on the line than those of us on the front line during this pandemic, and Governor Hochul's visionary investment in helping us rebuild our nursing ranks is exactly the kind of support we need to keep delivering the care New Yorkers rely on,” New York State Nurses Association Executive Director Pat Kane, RN, said of the program. “Because the best care is also culturally responsive care, these 1,000 scholarships present an enormous opportunity for us to continue to recruit from all communities around the state, and by seeding them at SUNY and CUNY, they also strengthen our public higher education institutions, making it clear that Governor Hochul is prioritizing our healthcare workers and our young people - exactly the type of priorities we need to bring New York back."

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I have worked as a professional journalist for over five years now, covering the arts, music, food, politics, and culture up and down both coasts of the United States. I have a B.A. in English from SUNY Fredonia with minors in Psychology and Creative Writing, as well as an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from California State University, Fresno.

Buffalo, NY

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