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Federal Grant to Support Underrepresented Students at MBSON


Mary Black School of Nursing photo
Mary Black School of Nursing (MBSON)

USC Upstate’s Mary Black School of Nursing (MBSON) has been awarded a four-year, $1.95 million grant from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) that will support MBSON’s Holistic Opportunities and Partnerships that Empower (HOPE) Nursing Success Project. The HOPE Project seeks to increase the percentage of lower division nursing students from underrepresented, ethnic and minority backgrounds who progress to upper division nursing and to increase the graduation percentage of upper division nursing students from those backgrounds.

“Many minority and disadvantaged students in lower division nursing encounter obstacles, such as financial barriers, academic difficulties and a lack of guidance and support that hinder them from progressing to upper division nursing,” said MBSON Dean Shirleatha Lee. “We are uniquely positioned to address this challenge while simultaneously addressing the nationwide nursing shortage.”

For the 2021-22 academic year, more than 30 scholarships will be awarded to freshmen and sophomores. “Our aim is to retain and graduate more of these students who are able to provide high-quality, culturally aligned care to our community and beyond,” Lee said.

Lee said MBSON will use evidence-based strategies to achieve its goals for the project, including development of a living/learning community, pre-immersion experiences, targeted education in rural health nursing, tutoring and remediation services, and peer and community nurse mentorships, among others.

Announcement of the grant comes on the heels of the school earning reaccreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), having met the industry’s highest standards. CCNE granted MBSON full reaccreditation through 2031.