Cohen Scholars (formerly Hal and Jo Cohen GNF)
The Cohen Scholars program honors Dr. Hal Cohen and Mrs. Jo Cohen
Dr. Hal Cohen was the first Executive Director of the Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission (HSCRC) from 1971 to 1987. As an economist, he was quick to understand the importance of nurses and their impact on the health systems quality and cost of care. He had a talent for compromise and a high level of political acumen. He is credited with controlling hospital costs, demonstrating decades of cooperation between industry and government. His distinguished service to Maryland was recognized by Senator Ben Cardin when he said that Dr. Cohen "was a public servant of the highest caliber". He considered the interests of hospitals, insurance companies and patients in a fair and equitable process. NSP II honors Dr. Cohen for his long, distinguished career in healthcare and his wife, Jo, as a nurse who advocated for her profession. He was a staunch advocate for nurses and started the first Nurse Education Support Program in 1986 at the HSCRC. In the April 2012 revisions to the Nurse Support Program II Graduate Nurse Faculty (GNF) Scholarship, it was renamed to honor Dr. Hal Cohen and his wife Jo. In Spring 2020, the GNF was transitioned to the Cohen Scholars program under the NSP II staff oversight.
The Nurse Support Program II provides funding for Cohen Scholars to complete the graduate degrees (MS, MSN, DNP, PhD, EdD) and core education coursework, including post-master's teaching certificates, necessary to prepare to become a nurse educator, nurse faculty, clinical educator in one of Maryland’s nursing degree programs, professional development specialist, nurse residency specialist or other nurse educator in hospital education roles. Maryland institutions with nursing degree programs may nominate a limited number of new Cohen Scholars each academic year. The Cohen Scholars are recognized as the next generation of nurse educators to fill the positions needed now and in the future. The program is administered through the NSP II with grants across participating nursing programs to award Cohen Scholars. The Cohen Scholars will serve as new nursing faculty and clinical educators to produce the additional nursing graduates required by Maryland’s hospitals and health systems.
Awards: Funding will be provided to higher education institutions for distribution to their selected recipients of the Cohen Scholars. The maximum amount of the award is equal to all tuition and mandatory fees for courses in the approved nursing plan of study at Maryland public and independent colleges and universities. Once awarded, grants are individualized according to the student plan of study to cover two to four years, assuming continuous performance at the expected level and completion of all requirements to maintain the award. If awarded, recipients are required to complete an annual NSP II Faculty Award Survey each Fall for five years to support program evaluation. There is a program limit to one Cohen Scholars award to a single student at one Maryland nursing program for a graduate degree to prepare to teach nursing students.
Scholarships are not awarded and the tuition and fee payments are cancelled and/or retracted if the student declines to complete requirements.
1. Monthly session with mentor
2. Complete 9 semester hours of education coursework
3. Complete all requirements of the mentoring plan
The NSP II Faculty Workgroup made provisions for current graduate students to be "grandfathered" into the new requirements if graduating in Academic Year 2020-2021. There will be a year of transition and personalized mentoring plans for current students to meet the new requirements through their nursing contact at the school.
The current minimum GPA requirement for 3.0 will be acceptable as we grandfather the current students graduating in the next AY- by Spring 2021. All new students and those going forward after AY 2020-2021 are required to meet the minimum 3.25 GPA.
Education Coursework: 9 semester hours requirement
If a student already completed the 9 semester hours of education coursework in a prior program they have met the requirements.
The expectation is that graduates will pursue a faculty role and the NLN's Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) credential or if they pursue a hospital educator role they would complete the ANCC Nursing Professional Development Certification (NPD-BC).
Students who are already employed as full-time Maryland nurse faculty would meet this requirement with 5 or more years of full-time teaching service in a Maryland nursing program. To complete the waiver process, students must submit a letter addressed to their Cohen Scholars Nursing Program contact detailing their educational experience, CNE credentials, employer provided academic orientation and teaching assignments. They may still complete the coursework at no additional cost, if they personally identify areas that could be strengthened ie: online course delivery, etc.
Students may use the FAMI-MD (Faculty Academy and Mentorship Initiative for Maryland) program in lieu of 3 semester hours of education credit this Academic Year.
Ex: Fall 2020 graduates need 3 semester hours (or FAMI), Spring 2021 graduates need 6 semester hours (FAMI and 3 semester hours or 6 semester hours total).
As of Fall 2021 all Cohen Scholars are required to complete 9 semester hours of education credits to receive the scholarship. Discuss the FAMI with your mentor to see if it is still an option to complete 3 of the 9 credits.
If chosen, FAMI is free to the student to prepare for the clinical educator role. Please review the virtual 30 contact hour program and reach out to Dr. Seldomridge. She can be contacted at email@example.com.
Financial Literacy Requirement
The financial literacy requirement can be met several ways. The Faculty workgroup included a recommendation to fund all students to use a course like the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University (FPU) online program for ~~$120-$130 along with their full tuition and fees. There is also a Foundations in Personal Finance college level course online with a textbook.
If the student has a formal Finance Course in the existing graduate degree plan of study or completed one previously on their transcript in a previous program, or a Health Finance course may be part of the MS/DNP plan of study; therefore, these formal courses would satisfy the financial literacy requirement.
Graduate Programs contacts:
-Bowie State University: Dr. Euwanna Heard, firstname.lastname@example.org
-Coppin State University: Dr. Tracey Murray, email@example.com and Dr. Joan Tilghman, firstname.lastname@example.org
-Frostburg State University: Dr. Stefanie Hay, email@example.com
-Johns Hopkins School of Nursing: Dr. Rita D'Aoust, firstname.lastname@example.org and Dr. Pamela Smith, email@example.com
-Morgan State University: Dr. Maija Anderson, firstname.lastname@example.org
-Notre Dame of Maryland University: Dr. Sabita Persaud, email@example.com and Dr. Kathleen Wisser, firstname.lastname@example.org
-Salisbury University: Dr. Jeffrey Willey, email@example.com
-Stevenson University: Dr. Diane Lehmann, firstname.lastname@example.org
-Towson University: Dr. Hayley Mark, email@example.com and Dr. Kathy Ogle, firstname.lastname@example.org
-University of Maryland School of Nursing: Dr. Carol O'Neil, email@example.com and Dr. Sandra Lucci, firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact email for general questions for the Cohen Scholars (formerly Hal and Jo Cohen GNF): Dr. Peg Daw, email@example.com or Kimberly Ford, firstname.lastname@example.org
Eligibility: New nominees will be selected by the Dean or Director of nursing graduate degree programs, reviewed and recommended by faculty committees at each participating school, with Cohen Scholars mentoring plans completed. Current GNF students transitioning to Cohen Scholars cohorts must maintain eligibility through the agreed upon mentoring plan and individualized outline for preparation to teach upon graduation. The funding support is provided for the graduate student to complete the educational preparation necessary for their chosen career path as nurse faculty or clinical nurse educators. Nominees must be a U.S. citizen and a legal resident of Maryland to be nominated for this scholarship. Nominees should be enrolled at a Maryland college or university as a graduate student in a Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) program, post-graduate certificate program in nursing education, Doctorate (PhD, DNP, EdD) program or another graduate-level program required to advance the nursing educator career path. There is a program limit to one Cohen Scholars award to a single student at one Maryland nursing program for a graduate degree to prepare to teach nursing students. Grant awards have a service obligation component and are by nomination only, subject to the availability of funds and not all eligible applicants may receive an award. To be eligible, nominees must agree to the plan of study, core educational coursework, mentoring plan and maintain a 3.25 GPA. Those who have received this award in a prior year will continue to be eligible for the full program of study if they meet the requirements, follow the mentoring plan and continue to make good progress in the program.
A recipient who is academically ineligible, fails a course, drops out for a semester, decides against a faculty career path or who is not making satisfactory progress will not continue to be funded as a Cohen Scholar. Once awarded, grants are individualized according to the student plan of study to cover two to four years, assuming continuous performance at the expected level and completion of all requirements to maintain the award. All new students and those going forward after AY 2020-2021 are required to meet the minimum 3.25 GPA. NSP II does not pay for students to repeat any courses--the student becomes ineligible if they must repeat a course. It is understood that Cohen Scholarships are not awarded and the tuition and fee payments are cancelled and/or retracted if the student declines to complete requirements. 1. Monthly session with mentor, 2. Complete 9 SH of education coursework, 3. Complete all requirements of the mentoring plan, 4. Mandatory information and group sessions, and 5. Maintain 3.25 GPA each semester. Those who have received this award in a prior year will continue to be eligible for the full program of study if they meet the requirements, follow the mentoring plan and continue to make good progress in the program.
A second limited option for eligibility will be for the non-participating Cohen Scholars schools who do not have a defined annual number of current and future Cohen Scholars. It will be limited, based on the number of new nominees and administered by the Nurse Support Program II through a nomination process to include the same requirements, mentorship and service obligation components.
For purposes of this graduate nursing Cohen Scholars program, full-time is defined as nine or more graduate level credit hours per semester or recognized period as outlined by the approved nursing program of study (e.g. mini-mester, quarter, continuous year-round enrollment plan, accelerated course program); part-time is defined as any credit hours taken less than nine credit hours per semester or recognized period as outlined by the approved nursing program of study. Audited courses cannot be used to reach the credit hours required for full-time or part-time status.
Grant awards have a service obligation component and are by nomination only, subject to the availability of funds and not all eligible applicants may receive an award. Those who have received one of the other NSP II Faculty awards in previous years as a full-time faculty are not eligible because they must complete the first service obligation before being awarded a second award. Each award has a service obligation period attached. There cannot be duplication or cross over of the service time.
Nomination Process: All students must provide prior to the start of the semester:
1. the approved Cohen Scholars Nomination and Mentoring Form with signatures of dean or director of the Maryland nursing school, mentor and student;
2. an official transcript from all institutions which the applicant attended for any registered nursing programs and graduate nursing programs;
3. plan of study that includes 9 semester hours of education core coursework or description of prior completion on transcript. The nurse educator will include preparation in their plan of study to meet the National League for Nursing's Nurse Educator Competencies to ensure a smooth transition to employment in a nurse educator role.
Selection Method: Priority will be given to recipients who are: 1) employed as current faculty, adjuncts or clinical instructors in a nursing program, or 2) serving in a professional development position in a Maryland hospital. To produce nursing faculty and educators as expeditiously as possible, preference will be given to students pursuing full-time graduate study in the priority areas above. Applicants who do not fall into one of the priority areas will be ranked by grade point average (GPA) and awarded as long as funds remain available. Grant awards are by nomination only, subject to the availability of funds and not all eligible applicants may receive an award. There is a program limit to one Cohen Scholars award to a single student at one Maryland nursing program for a graduate degree to prepare to teach nursing students.
Selection Method: Priority will be given to recipients who are: 1) employed as current faculty, adjuncts or clinical instructors in a Maryland nursing program.
Renewal and Continuation: The Cohen Scholars awards are automatically renewed for the full term of approved plan of study provided all eligibility requirements are fulfilled.
An annual update on the mentoring plan should include program progress, any change in the plan of study and is required at the completion of each academic year.
A recipient who is not continuously enrolled in the program, academically ineligible, decides against a faculty career path, or who is not making satisfactory progress will not continue to be funded as a Cohen Scholar.
Service Obligation: A recipient must sign a promissory note affirming that the recipient will serve as a nurse educator at a Maryland institution with nursing degree programs or as a hospital nurse educator by doing the following:
1. work one year as a full-time nurse faculty member/hospital educator/ approved educational role for each academic year, or portion thereof, the award was received as a full-time or part-time student; or
2. as outlined in a recipient’s service obligation agreement and promissory note.
Individuals fulfilling their service obligations as a part-time nurse faculty member or hospital educator or approved educational role serving Maryland must work two years for each year of their full-time employment obligation. Full-time employment is defined as 35 or more hours per week or a contract for 12 or more academic credit hours per semester in didactic instruction. Part-time employment is defined as 20-34 hours per week or a contract for less than 12 academic credit hours in didactic instruction. Please sign up to receive information on job openings and use this tool to seek employment in nursing education with Lead Nursing Forward. Click here for Instructions on GNF/CS Priority Badge on LNF.
The service obligation begins within six months after completion of your degree program, and cannot be fulfilled prior to completion. If you hold this scholarship with any other award requiring a service obligation, you must perform your service in consecutive years. A recipient must meet the service obligation at any Maryland institution granting nursing degrees and is not required to work at the sponsoring institution. If the service obligation is not met, the Cohen Scholars (formerly Hal and Jo Cohen GNF) award must be repaid with interest.
Teaching service is defined as a minimum of 2 full semesters that are required each year.
Repayment: A recipient will be required to complete the GNF/Cohen Scholars Repayment Request Form to repay the Cohen Scholars (formerly Hal and Jo Cohen GNF) if the recipient:
1. has the award revoked;
2. fails to meet the required GPA of 3.25;
3. fails to complete the 9 SH of education core coursework;
4. fails to complete the appropriate degree or certificate program;
5. fails to graduate or demonstrate professional behavior;
6. fails to become licensed or certified as required;
7. has a license or certification revoked during education or service;
8. fails to complete the Cohen Scholars mentoring plan with annual updates;
9. fails to complete the annual questionnaire on performance of service obligation;
10. fails to perform the required service for the required amount of time; or otherwise fails to carry out the obligations of the scholarship.
Interest charged on the funds advanced is at an interest rate equal to and matching the interest rate established by the United States Department of Education for the Federal Stafford Loan on the first day of July of each year, with interest not accruing prior to notification to the Commission of a recipient’s graduation or termination from an institution of higher education. The repayment schedule is established by MHEC, and payment must be completed within 3 years after repayment begins.
Deferment of Service Obligation:
Recipient shall not be considered in default of the Service Obligation and will not be required to make repayment nor shall interest accrue if Recipient receives a time- limited deferment based on a written appeal with defined circumstances that are determined by NSP II Staff to be deemed unavoidable and approved for a temporary reprieve in teaching service.
1. The NSP II office shall, on a case-by-case basis, review an appeal relating to military duty and the hardship of teaching in any capacity including online. An appeal must be in writing and include a copy of the military orders.
2. The NSP II office shall, on a case-by-case basis, review an appeal based on unique and unavoidable circumstances.
Waiver of the Service Obligation and Repayment:
A recipient's grant repayment obligations if Nurse Support Program II staff determines:
1. on the basis of a sworn affidavit of a qualified physician that Recipient is unable to perform the Service Obligation on a full-time or part-time basis because of impairment that is expected to continue indefinitely or result in death; or
2. on the basis of a death certificate or other evidence of death that is conclusive under State law that Recipient has died.
* NSP II Faculty Workgroup developed parameters for the Cohen Scholars guidelines during the transition from OSFA to NSP II in December, 2019 and proposals were submitted January, 2020. By the May 13, 2020 HSCRC meeting, the program was transitioned to NSP II and awarded at 9 graduate nursing degree programs with a defined approved funding for a specific numbers of Cohen Scholar awards for faculty or hospital educators. The Cohen Scholars Coalition meets monthly and reviews progress and issues that require a consistent approach. At the time of the transition from GNF to CS, all current GNF receipients were transferred to a Cohen Scholarship with the participating graduate degree granting institution.
**NSP II Faculty Workgroup recommendations for revisions to the Cohen Scholars Program were approved by the Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission at the May 12, 2021 HSCRC meeting in Recommendation #2, Pg. 48-49.
Staff Recommendation #2: Include all NSP I and II hospitals, health systems, and affiliated facilities as approved service agreement sites and grandfather all nurse educators into 1:1 service.
HSCRC and MHEC staff recommend the inclusion of all NSP I and NSP II hospitals, health systems and their affiliates as approved NSP II service agreement sites for nurse educators prepared through the Cohen Scholars. Any current recipient who is in the service period and not working in an eligible position will be advised of other opportunities and given a reasonable amount of time to enter one of the eligible educator positions. This will assist the MNRC and the TNRP programs in meeting educator needs.
In addition, the staff recommended approving the NSP II Faculty Workgroup recommendations for all past Hal and Jo Cohen Graduate Nurse Faculty Scholars to be grandfathered into the current 1:1 service agreement, for equitable, clear, and consistent guidance and administration of the Cohen Scholars program.
NSP II staff transitioned the service obligaiton follow up from OSFA to NSP II staff on April 6, 2021.