FSCJ, Jacksonville University lose state grants for nursing programs

Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed nearly $6 million intended to expand health care education.

  • By Max Marbut
  • | 4:57 p.m. June 14, 2024
  • | 4 Free Articles Remaining!
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
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Among the about $960 million of line items in the Legislature-approved state budget that were vetoed June 12 by Gov. Ron DeSantis were two grants totaling nearly $6 million intended to enhance nursing education at Florida State College at Jacksonville and Jacksonville University.

Despite the loss of resources, both institutions plan to continue enhancing health care education.

A $2.8 million grant that would have allowed FSCJ to expand its program facilities was eliminated.

The money would have been used for the renovation, modernization and expansion of the college’s classroom facilities to allow more students to receive nursing and health care-related degrees and certificates, FSCJ spokeswoman Jill Johnson said.

“As the largest producer of trained nurses in Northeast Florida,  FSCJ will remain steadfast in our commitment to find ways to meet the nursing shortage in Northeast Florida, as our research has identified health care as a top priority for our area,” Johnson said.

Plans to expand facilities do not end with the veto.

“As we work to expand our nursing facilities to meet the growing demand for healthcare workers, we will explore additional funding opportunities, including grant funding, other state funding sources and private donations,” Johnson said.

Jacksonville University’s Graduate Retain and Optimize a Workforce of Florida Nurses program lost a $2.9 million grant that was removed from the budget.

The GROW curriculum is JU’s signature approach to growing the nursing and health care workforce to address psychiatric, rehabilitative and palliative care as the state’s population increases and ages, said university spokesman Matthew Harris.

He said nearly 25% of students enrolled at the private university are pursuing a degree in nursing.

“Jacksonville University remains steadfast in its commitment to graduating exceptional, job-ready professionals in a way that rapidly addresses the ever-increasing need for qualified nurses in Northeast Florida. We will continue to invest in local partnerships with premier health care organizations to help ensure our students receive the exceptional, hands-on education necessary to prepare them for their nursing careers,” Harris said.

The budget DeSantis signed into law for 2024-25 is $116.5 billion, about $1 billion less than the 2023-24 state spending plan.



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