SCSU’s Accelerated Nursing program took off this August at full capacity with 30 students and $100,000 in grants, thanks to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The university is offering an ACE (Accelerated Career Entry) program in nursing for the fourth consecutive year. Students who already have a degree can apply for the 12-month program, which will provide them with the necessary training to take the Registered Nurse Licensure Exam.
The response for this competitive program has been positive so far. The economic downturn and the growing shortage of nurses in Connecticut have created more demand for this type of degree, said Lisa Rebeschi, chair of the nursing department at SCSU.
According to Rebeschi, 123 students applied for the 2010-2011 session, from which 30 were accepted. This is the maximum capacity of the program.
“A highly qualified group of individuals get into the program,” she said.“[The program] has grown
significantly. Our first year we only took 14 students.”
Rebeschi said the competitive nature of the ACE program serves as good advertisement for the nursing department and has had a positive impact.
“Ninety-seven percent of students pass their [Registered Nurse Licensure] exam on their first attempt,” Rebeschi said.
Another perk of this program is the $100,000 available for scholarships, thanks to a grant by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, through its “New Careers in Nursing” program.
According to the foundation’s official website, “The program seeks to increase the number of underrepresented groups in nursing by funding scholarships for accelerated bachelor’s or master’s degree programs for students who already have a degree in a discipline other than nursing and as non-first-time students typically are ineligible for federal aid programs.”
“The underrepresented include men, different ethnic groups, older professionals and the financially disadvantaged,” said Rebeschi. “Some students got up to $10,000.”
The cost of tuition is $15,031, according to the SCSU Bursar’s Office website. Other local universities offer an ACE program as well, but the cost of tuition is much higher. Quinnipiac University, for example, is offering it at a cost of $58,000, according to their Tuition and Fees section on the Quinnipiac website.
Tina Nyren, an art major who has been at SCSU for six years, said she is considering the ACE program.
“I have been in school for so long,” said Nyren, “and I don’t think I have a lot of career options.”
Nyren said she wanted to apply to the traditional nursing program at SCSU, but her GPA at the time didn’t allow her.
“Now I have a better GPA and I am closer to graduation, so I will try to get in, although I hear it is very difficult,” said Nyren.
Students can find more information about the program on the Nursing department’s website at http://www.southernct.edu/nursing/. Dr. Maryann Glendon is a contact for the program and has been conducting information sessions for those interested.