School of Nursing receives $900,000 grant

By David Barnstone


The University of Massachusetts’ School of Nursing received an $892,559 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Bureau of Health Professions to help fund a three-year long program to draw in new, underprivileged students from minority backgrounds.

Jean Swinney, a UMass professor and interim director of the School of Nursing, is in charge of the project that aims to equip students from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds to complete a four-year nursing degree as well as retain current students, according to a UMass press release.

Swinney said the two major goals of the program are to “increase the number of ethnic minority and disadvantaged high school students who choose and successfully prepare for careers in nursing” as well as reform existing structures in order to retain and help current minority nursing students graduate and find a job in the nursing field, according the release.

Data from the National League for Nursing shows that minority students make up 33 percent of those enrolled in a registered nurse (RN) baccalaureate program. Swinney said she will try to increase that number by providing qualified minority students with financial assistance and academic support.
The grant will be used to fund need-based scholarships up to $5,000, according to

Prospective high school students will benefit from the grant as well. Some of the money will be spent on tutoring and mentoring programs for motivated students who may need help bringing up their grades.

Swinney said she wants minority nursing students to serve as role models for their peers in Springfield area public schools, where UMass has created “Nursing Clubs.” The goal is to enroll at least 26 students from the Springfield area into the UMass School of Nursing B.S. with “pre-entry preparation support,” she said in the press release.

The grant is part of a program called “Achieving Diversity: A Comprehensive Approach to Nursing Workforce Diversity.”

David Barnstone can be reached at [email protected]