Money set to boost nursing education in Florida

TALLAHASSEE – State higher-education officials are slated next week to discuss how universities plan to spend $40 million at bolstering the number of “high-quality” nursing graduates in Florida.

The Legislature this year approved spending $100 million to create what’s called the Prepping Institutions, Programs, Employers, and Learners through Incentives for Nursing Education fund, or PIPELINE.

Along with money for universities, the PIPELINE fund included $40 million for nursing programs at state colleges and $20 million for nursing education at career and technical centers.

Gov. Ron DeSantis touted the money as part of efforts to boost workforce education.

“There has long been a need for nurses in Florida, especially as our state is growing, and we want to continue to support these front-line heroes,” the governor said in a statement that accompanied a news release about the funding in May.

Ten of the state’s 12 universities will receive shares of the money because they have nursing programs.

The University of South Florida and the University of Central Florida will receive the most money, with each getting more than $6.9 million.

Money must be used on scholarships, recruiting and retaining faculty, purchasing or repairing equipment or creating or updating simulation centers.

About $28 million, or 70 percent, of the $40 million will be spent on recruiting and retaining faculty and staff, with all 10 universities that received money planning to spend it in that category, a report said.

Nearly $5 million is planned for equipment and learning resources, $2.8 million on student scholarships and support and $2.6 million on expanding or renovating education or office facilities.

The university system’s Board of Governors, which will discuss the program, will hold committee meetings and a board meeting Tuesday and Wednesday in Pensacola.