EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Texas Tech University Health Science Center El Paso announced a $650,000 grant from the Helene Fuld Health Trust Monday that will establish the first endowment for the Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing.

The $650,000 grant will be used to support scholarships for students enrolled in the school’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) program. The grant is highly competitive among nursing schools from across the nation.

The Hunt School of Nursing is the only campus offing an accelerated B.S.N. program in the El Paso region and is the only school in the region to have ever received the Helene Fuld Health Trust grant.

“Just as we study how a student’s GPA and scores on exams can predict risk for failure, we must also study socioeconomic factors that impact a student’s success,” said Stephanie Woods, Ph.D., R.N., dean of the Hunt School of Nursing at TTUHSC El Paso. 

The grant includes $520,000 to establish the first scholarship endowment for students in the accelerated program and $35,000 in current use funds to support students with immediate financial needs.

“We know that unmet financial need is high for our students. We also know that when students work during our rigorous program their risk for academic failure increases. The Helene Fuld endowment allows us to extend students a financial lifeline. This endowment secures the future of scholarships for nursing. The Fuld endowment becomes the cornerstone to creating a safety net for our students to ensure they enter the workforce where they are critically needed,” Woods said.

The State of Texas is projected to experience a shortage of nearly 16,000 registered nurses by 2030, according to a 2017 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report. The baby boomer population will reach an age where additional healthcare needs will be required.

A majority of students rely on financial aid to complete nursing school, including Rachel Silver, a Hunt School of Nursing student in the Accelerated B.S.N. program, who received several scholarships throughout the program as well as an emergency grant at one point to help her stay on track toward graduating in May 2020.

“It would have been much more difficult for me to continue my studies without the funding because I would have had to find a job just to make ends meet,” Silver said. “Thanks to scholarships and grants, I am on track to graduate this May. I hope to make a difference as a nurse by bringing a little bit of light in someone’s day, just a small impact that can make them feel better and give hope when needed.”

The Helene Fuld Health Trust is the largest charitable trust in the nation devoted exclusively to supporting student nurses and nursing education.