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College of Nursing to award scholarships to students pursuing advanced practice degrees

The South Dakota State University College of Nursing again received funding for scholarships through the Advanced Educating Nursing Traineeship program from the Health Resources and Services Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

As a result of these funds, the college will award 15 scholarships of almost $22,000 each during the 2015-16 academic year to full-time students pursuing advanced practice degrees.

South Dakota State received funding for approximately 15 scholarships in the 2014-15 academic year. Of those scholarships, 14 went to students pursuing doctor of nursing practice degrees with the other scholarship to a student pursuing a master's degree. In addition, three DNP students received funds for summer classes.

"It was extremely helpful financially to be awarded the scholarship," said Cindy Stocks, who graduated in August with her DNP. "Thanks to the scholarship, I was able to concentrate fully on completing the last year of school and not worry about finances during the process."

According to Mary Minton, associate dean for graduate nursing, the college focused last year on giving the scholarships to students who were in their last year or were near that point in their education.

"We are trying to make an impact on rural primary care access," Minton said. "South Dakota consists of both medically underserved areas and health professional shortage areas, both of which have a need for primary care providers. Our goal is to have 50 percent or more of our scholarship recipients be DNP graduates who will serve our rural populations."

Including the upcoming August ceremony, South Dakota State had 23 students graduate with a DNP in 2014-15.