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$3.6 million nursing program grants put UF on track to double enrollment by 2025

With $3.6 million in grants from the state, the University of Florida is hiring 20 faculty members at both the graduate and undergraduate levels to increase enrollment in its nursing programs.

The university expects to increase enrollment in its bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program at the UF Health Jacksonville campus by 50% next year — and plans to double enrollment there by 2025. UF aims to increase enrollment in nursing programs at its campus in Gainesville by more than 15%. The school also plans to upgrade equipment (including simulation technology) on both campuses as well as fund additional nursing scholarships with money from the state’s new Prepping Institutions, Programs, Employers and Learners through Incentives for Nursing Education (PIPELINE) fund created last legislative session.

Money from the $100-million PIPELINE fund is allocated to college and university nursing programs based on graduate rates and NCLEX (licensing exam) first-time pass rates. Lawmakers also created a $25-million Linking Industry to Nursing Education (LINE) program to provide incentives for collaborations between nursing education programs and health-care partners. Both programs are aimed at alleviating the state’s nursing deficit. Florida was more than 17,100 nurses short in 2019 and could face a deficit of 59,100 nurses by the year 2035, according to a 2021 report by the Florida Hospital Association and the Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida.