Nursing Students Will Not Receive Federal Financial Aid
Fifty-two students enrolled in an accelerated four-semester program to earn nursing credentials at San Francisco State University on Thursday were told that they are now ineligible to receive federal loans for the classes, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The students were told as late as their class orientation on May 1 that they would be eligible for federal subsidized loans to help pay for the program, but campus administrators said that the state's budget deficit and expected funding cuts forced them to shift the nursing program from the university's regular curriculum to its self-supporting adult education branch, the College of Extended Learning, in which students are not eligible for federal aid. In addition to removing the option of federal financial aid, the switch doubled the cost of the program to $4,000 per semester, the Chronicle reports. The accelerated nursing program allows students to first receive nursing credentials followed by masters' degrees in science. When students enter the master's degree stage of the program, they will be shifted to the regular university and will qualify for federal aid, the Chronicle reports. The nursing program begins June 8.
Barbara Hubler, financial aid director at SFSU, said that the financial aid office did not learn that the students would not qualify for federal aid until last week. Beatrice Yorker, director of the School of Nursing at SFSU, said that the university was forced to choose between shutting down the nursing program and shifting it to the College of Extended Learning, adding that taxpayers should not have to subsidize professional credential programs when the state is facing a large budget deficit. Yorker said that students can apply for private loans or forgivable loans offered by hospitals that need nurses. "This is not a terrible hardship to not be able to get federal financial aid," Yorker said, adding, "There may be a handful of people who drop out, and that is unfortunate for them. But there are so many people who have been wanting to get into nursing school for years who can just write a check right now" (Schevitz, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/25).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.