The UCF College of Nursing has been awarded a second gift from the Helene Fuld Health Trust, the nation’s largest funder devoted exclusively to nursing students and nursing education. The college will receive a grant for $600,000 over the next three years to support second degree nursing students.

With the grant, the college will be able to offer for the first time a continuous scholarship for new second degree bachelor’s in nursing (BSN) students. Previously, scholarships were not available to these students until their third semester. In summer 2016, the Helene Fuld Health Trust Scholarship will be awarded to six students in the amount of $6,250 split among the first two semesters. This will cover a majority of tuition and fees. Students will then be able to apply for additional scholarships to help pay for their third and fourth semesters.

“Second degree seeking nursing students are not eligible for many types of financial aid and often struggle with funding their degree, especially since they are encouraged not to work during our 15-month accelerated program,” said Katie Korkosz, director of development for the UCF College of Nursing. “We hope that this funding encourages more students who are considering a second career in health care, but may not be able to afford it otherwise, to apply and pursue a degree in nursing.”

“At a time when there is a national demand for more nurses with baccalaureate degrees or higher, we want to make it both accessible and affordable for those seeking a BSN,” said Mary Lou Sole, dean of the UCF College of Nursing. “Scholarship support, such as this grant, is critical and funding continues to be a top priority for the college.”

UCF ranks among the top four percent of 778 BSN programs nationwide, with 98 percent of BSN graduates passing the NCLEX-RN on the first attempt. The second degree BSN program is designed for students with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree or higher seeking a new career in nursing. The competitive program is offered on UCF’s Orlando campus.

UCF is one of only 10 schools nationwide to receive funding from the Helene Fuld Health Trust this year. It will use half of the grant to offer scholarships immediately, with six scholarships being offered for summer 2016 and more than $130,000 in scholarship funds to award in both summer 2017 and 2018. The college will invest the remaining funds into an endowment to support second degree nursing students beyond summer 2018. In 2006, UCF was awarded $500,000 from the trust to support second degree BSN students. Those funds have been used to provide 61 students with scholarship support during their third and fourth semesters in the program.

The new scholarships will be awarded to incoming students beginning summer 2016. Individuals interested in the second degree BSN program will apply for the scholarship when they apply to the program. Applications for the second degree BSN program are due Feb. 1, 2016, and the scholarship application is due Feb. 14. All students admitted to the second degree BSN program for summer 2016 are eligible to apply for the scholarships.