Another obstacle for many students is financial aid. The federal government has in the past couple of years sought to resolve this problem and has implemented different programs to do that. It’s an important field, especially with current politics, and they want to make this career path easier to follow so that more will go down that road. They offer many options for those who want to pursue nursing. One federally funded program—the Nursing Scholarship Program—aims to help students with financial need complete their nursing education. The program covers tuition, required fees, and additional expenses (books, lab gear, etc.) and offers a monthly stipend of about $1,300. In exchange for the scholarship, students after their graduation agree to work for two years at specific health care facilities that have a critical shortage of nurses. Such federal programs are developed to draw more people into nursing and eventually distribute them to targeted locations across the US.
State governments are also looking to address the problem of this shortage. They, too, are offering several programs for prospective nurses and nursing assistants. For example, in Illinois, grants through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity pay for training at no cost to the student. One such local program—the Step Up program—includes 127.5 hours of education in the classroom, lab and clinic that is completely paid for and supervised by a registered nurse. It is already seeing positive returns in local economies. Because of the Step Up program in Springfield, IL, the town has seen a 13.5% increase in healthcare jobs.
These efforts led by the federal and state governments have definitely addressed the nursing shortage dilemma. Educational capacity has increased by 66% since 2004. Furthermore, financial aid programs have enabled a number of people with great financial need to pursue nursing. In fact, many of these programs specifically target those who have zero Expected Family Contribution. The government is surely working to resolve this economic problem in the healthcare industry.