Governor Mike Dunleavy today announced that $2.1 million from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Funds have been awarded to the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) College of Health to increase the school’s capacity to train registered nurses.
Alaska was experiencing a nursing shortage even before the COVID-19 pandemic. The field of health education is highly competitive. This grant will help UAA attract qualified instructors and keep faculty at the school, allowing the UAA College of Health to enroll more nursing students who will be qualified to serve communities throughout Alaska.
“Alaska’s health care system depends on qualified, highly trained nurses providing skilled and compassionate care each and every day, and that requires the highest caliber instructors we can find,” said Governor Dunleavy. “Graduates from the UAA nursing program are highly regarded medical professionals, the more of them we can train here in Alaska, the stronger our health care system will be.”
“Thank you to Governor Dunleavy for recognizing the critically important role that UAA plays in educating health and behavioral health professionals for Alaska, ” said UAA Chancellor Sean Parnell. “This investment in recruitment and retention packages will provide a mechanism to attract and retain qualified faculty in these essential fields in Alaska now and for the future.”
The grant includes $875,000 for hiring bonuses and relocation allowances for up to 23 new faculty members or current faculty relocating to areas of high need. The grant also includes $900,000 for loan repayment of up to 15 new faculty members and 10 current faculty members. $125,000 will be used for tuition assistance for up to five bachelor’s prepared clinical instructors to receive a master’s degree required by the Board of Nursing to qualify for a full faculty appointment. The grant also includes $200,000 to hire a search firm with nursing faculty recruitment experience to facilitate the searches.
The grant is funded by the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER II), a component of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act, 2021.