Federal Grant Increases Nursing Scholarships

Saint Louis University will receive $2.1 million in federal funds over the next three and a half years for scholarships to future nurses who come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

“Our grant from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will help students who don’t have the financial means to pursue their dreams of becoming nurses,” says Joanne Langan, Ph.D., associate dean for undergraduate education at SLU School of Nursing.

nursing student on-the-job training

SLU nursing students learn by doing during their clinical rotations.

Langan says she sought the grant as a way to help bring to life SLU’s strategic plan of making its education more accessible and affordable by recruiting students from groups that historically have been underrepresented at the University.

SLU is the only nursing school in the metro area and one of two in Missouri to received federal funding from HRSA’s Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students program.  

Part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, HRSA is the primary federal agency for improving access to health care services for people who are geographically isolated and economically or medically vulnerable. It achieves its goal in part by strengthening the skills and diversity of the health work force and expanding the ability of health providers to see patients in underserved areas.

SLU’s proposal, which HRSA fully funded, calls for awarding scholarships to 10 incoming freshmen and 10 rising nursing sophomores for the 2016-17 academic year. Those who are eligible demonstrate financial need and include students who are members of racial and ethnic minority groups. Selected by the school’s scholarship committee, these students will be mentored and supported during their time at SLU to ensure their academic success.

Our goal is to add as many additional eligible nursing students to SLU as funding allows.”

Joanne Langan, Ph.D., associate dean for undergraduate education

Looking forward, in its second year of the grant, SLU will expand its recruitment team to specifically target high schools with a majority of disadvantaged students.

“Our recruitment team will speak to high school students about nursing as a career and highlight why it’s critical to have nurses in primary care and medically underserved areas,” Langan says. “Our goal is to add as many additional eligible nursing students to SLU as funding allows.”

Nursing students who earn the scholarships to SLU will serve their clinical nursing practice rotations in medically underserved areas in the region, with an eye on improving health care for the metro area.

SLU School of Nursing has qualified for other programs funded by HRSA and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that are aimed at broadening the pool of people who ultimately will become nurses.

“A more diverse workforce that mirrors the population we serve is better for our patients and better for our profession. Nurses from diverse backgrounds play a significant role in addressing health disparities, help everyone feel more included in our health care system and improve the health of our communities.”


Founded in 1928, Saint Louis University School of Nursing has achieved a national reputation for its innovative and pioneering programs. Offering bachelor's, master's, and doctoral nursing programs, its faculty members are nationally recognized for their teaching, research and clinical expertise.