The Hal and Jo Cohen Graduate Nursing Faculty Scholarship (GNF)

In May 2005 the Health Service Cost Review Commission (HSCRC) approved the funding of 0.1% of regulated patient revenue for the use in expanding the pool of nurses in the State by increasing the capacity of nursing schools in Maryland. Funding for the Hal and Jo Cohen Graduate Nursing Faculty Scholarship (referred to hereafter as Graduate Nursing Faculty Scholarship) is provided by the Nurse Support Program (NSP II).

A. PURPOSE

The purpose of the NSP II is to increase the number of qualified bedside nurses in Maryland hospitals through Statewide Initiatives administered by the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) on behalf of HSCRC. The Graduate Nursing Faculty Scholarship, a Statewide Initiative, supports this goal by increasing the number of Masters and Doctoral prepared nursing faculty at Maryland higher education institutions. Recipients of the Graduate Nursing Faculty Scholarship are required to sign a service obligation and promissory note agreeing to serve as a nurse educator in academic clinical and classroom settings.

B. ELIGIBILITY

An individual must be a Maryland resident and be fully admitted and enrolled at a Maryland college or university as a full-time or part-time graduate student in a Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN, MS) program, post-graduate certificate program in nursing education, Doctorate (PhD, DNP, EdD) program or another graduate-level nursing program required to prepare individuals to become nursing faculty. Students who are conditionally admitted to a program of nursing or with an entering grade point average (GPA) of less than 3.0 on a 4.0 scale are not eligible until such time as they are fully admitted and have established a 3.0 GPA. For purposes of this graduate nursing financial aid 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.

A former Hal and Jo Cohen Graduate Nurse Scholarship (GNF) recipient may continue to receive scholarship funding to complete a higher degree for faculty preparation or after joining a nursing program as a faculty member. Example: Completing MS in Nursing with GNF scholarship and later returning to school for Doctoral degree with GNF scholarship funding. Each event is separate and requires an additional service obligation commitment of one year tuition support for one year of service.

C. AWARD AMOUNT

The Graduate Nursing Faculty Scholarship 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.

Grant awards are subject to the availability of funds and not all eligible applicants may receive an award.

D. APPLICATION PROCEDURES

An applicant must complete and submit the application for the Graduate Nursing Faculty Scholarship and Living Expenses Grant and all required documentation to OSFA prior to the start of the semester.

All applicants must provide:

1. a completed Graduate Nursing Faculty Scholarship application;

2. an official transcript from all institutions which the applicant attended for any registered nursing programs and graduate nursing programs;

3. a sponsorship form signed by the dean or director of the Maryland nursing school sponsoring the applicant; and

E. SELECTION OF RECIPIENTS

Priority will be given to recipients who are: 1) participating in NSP II Competitive Institutional Grant projects, or 2) enrolled in accelerated programs and programs that prepare faculty for positions that have historically been difficult to fill or are deemed critical to nursing faculty infrastructure at Maryland nursing programs. To produce nursing faculty as expeditiously as possible, preference will be given to students pursuing full-time graduate study in both priority areas above. Applicants who do not fall into one of the two priority areas will be ranked by grade point average (GPA) and awarded as long as funds remain available.

F. PAYMENT

The Graduate Nursing Faculty Scholarship award amount on the award letter is an estimate based on the reported enrollment plan from the student’s application. The award will be adjusted by the recipient’s institution to reflect the actual dollar amount of tuition and mandatory fees per semester.

G. RENEWAL AND CONTINUATION

The Graduate Nursing Faculty Scholarship award is given priority and automatically renewed for up to three additional years if the recipient meets the following criteria:

1. is a Maryland resident;

2. remains enrolled in an eligible nursing program;

3. maintains a 3.0 annual grade point average on a 4.0 grade point average scale (includes Fall and Spring grades for previous academic year);

4. maintains satisfactory academic progress according to the institution's standards

Scholarship awards are automatically renewed for the full term of approved study provided all eligibility requirements are fulfilled.

Applicants eligible for renewal will be mailed an enrollment survey requiring them to report enrollment plans for the next academic year to allow OSFA to accurately estimate renewal funding. An annual update on the mentoring plan should include program progress and any change in the plan of study is required at the completion of each academic year.

A recipient who is academically ineligible will forfeit the Graduate Nursing Faculty Scholarship. If funds are available, the scholarship and grant may be reinstated upon proof that the recipient achieved a 3.0 grade point average in the fall or spring semesters in the academic year following the cancellation of the award. Courses taken in summer school may be considered in calculating annual grade point average.

H. SERVICE OBLIGATION

A recipient must sign a promissory note affirming that the recipient will serve as a nurse faculty at a Maryland institution with nursing degree programs 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 or a clinical instruction contract for less than 12 contact hours or combination of less than 12 academic credit and/or contact hours per semester.

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 Graduate Nursing Faculty award must be repaid with interest. If the scholarship is held with any other award requiring a service obligation, the service must be performed in consecutive years.

I. REPAYMENT

A recipient will be required to repay the Graduate Nursing Faculty Scholarship if the recipient:

1. has the award revoked;

2. fails to receive the appropriate degree, diploma or certificate at program completion;

3. fails to become licensed or certified as required;

4. has a license or certification revoked during the period of service obligation;

5. fails to complete the annual questionnaire on performance of service obligation;

6. fails to perform the required service for the required amount of time; or

7. 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 OSFA, and payment must be completed within 6 years after repayment begins.

J. DEFERMENT OF THE SERVICE OBLIGATION AND REPAYMENT

A recipient is required to seek employment aggressively in all regions of the State in which eligible employment opportunities exist in the eligible fields.

A recipient may receive a deferment during the time the recipient is:

1. on a temporary leave of absence approved by the employer or OSFA from full-time employment in the required employment field;

2. temporarily totally disabled, for a period not to exceed three years;

3. unable to secure employment for a period not to exceed twelve months by reason of the care required by a spouse or child who is disabled;

4. seeking and unable to find full-time employment for a single period not to exceed twelve months;

5. an individual assigned military duty outside of the State, not to exceed three years without filing an appeal; or

6. the spouse of an individual assigned military duty outside of the State, not to exceed three years without filing an appeal.

7. completing additional approved educational programs or post-doctoral fellowships

To qualify for any of the deferments a recipient shall notify OSFA and the Central Collection Unit if the repayment period has begun, of the recipient's claim for the deferment and provide supporting documentation. Such documentation shall consist of:

1. certification by the employer that the recipient is on a temporary approved leave of absence from the required employment;

2. a sworn affidavit of a qualified physician that the recipient is temporarily totally disabled;

3. a sworn affidavit of a qualified physician if the recipient is unable to find employment by reason of the care required by spouse or child who is disabled;

4. a certified statement including a list of possible employers with their addresses and telephone numbers to which application for employment has been made if the recipient is seeking and unable to find full-time employment;

5. a copy of military orders; or

6. documentation of approved educational programs or post-doctoral fellowships.

OSFA shall review all documentation to determine whether the deferment conditions have been met and, if so, for what time periods. Before a deferment based on inability to find employment in the eligible field is granted, OSFA will review the submitted documentation and any other information available for evidence that the recipient has sought employment aggressively in all regions of the State in which eligible employment opportunities exist in the eligible fields.

OSFA shall review appeals on a case-by-case basis from individuals assigned military duty outside the State, or the spouse of an individual assigned military duty outside the State that exceeds the three year deferral limit. Appeals must be in writing and include a copy of the military orders.

During the time a recipient qualifies for any of the deferments described, the recipient need not make the scholarship repayments and the interest does not accrue.

K. WAIVER OF THE SERVICE OBLIGATION AND REPAYMENT

OSFA shall waive a recipient's grant repayment obligations if it determines:

1. on the basis of a sworn affidavit of a qualified physician, that the recipient is unable to perform the service obligation on a full-time basis because of an 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 the recipient has died.

Please see the MHEC website for the online application for this academic year.