Georgia Southwestern receives nearly $900K in GEER II funding to support critical need for more nurses
Published 2:21 pm Friday, January 14, 2022
From Staff Reports
AMERICUS, GA (January 14, 2022) — Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) will receive $866,723 from the Governors Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER II), which will be used to cover the cost of all new state-of-the-art patient simulators and a complete biology lab renovation.
Georgia Governor Brian P. Kemp announced earlier this week a total of more than $47 million in emergency assistance funds would be earmarked to support K-12 and higher education entities as they continue to address the disruptions and challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kemp expressed that educators play a critical role in providing the workforce needed to combat the health and economic effects of the pandemic. He designated $3.1 million to the education-to-workforce pipeline for healthcare to “support the need for more nurses and additional training with a special emphasis on expanding educational opportunities to more areas of the state and providing hands-on learning experiences.”
Georgia Southwestern is one of only three University System of Georgia institutions to receive funding in this area, including Fort Valley State and Middle Georgia State.
“We are extremely pleased to be a recipient of this funding as GSW works to expand the existing nursing program and graduate more nurses,” said GSW President Neal Weaver, Ph.D. “Our local and regional health care partners, including long-term care and acute care institutions, have reported the need for more registered nurses with both associate’s and bachelor’s degrees, and we are working to make that happen.”
GSW’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences has doubled the size of its nursing program in the last two years by adding a new admissions cycle in the spring. Additionally, GSW will bring back an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) degree in Fall 2022. These combined efforts will help meet the demands of the regional and statewide nursing shortage.
The state’s funding, in addition to contributions from Phoebe Putney Health System and Magnolia Manor, will go towards three primary elements: a new biology lab space to accommodate the increase in students, a dedicated biology faculty member to address the unique needs of these pre-nursing students, and a simulation lab that provides an experience as close to that in the health care environment as possible.
GSW’s School of Nursing currently offers the traditional bachelor’s degree program, online RN-BSN, and online master’s degree, and graduates just over 100 nurses each year.
About GEER II
The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSA), was signed into law on December 27, 2020. This Act provides funding to supplement the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund awarded to each state under the previous CARES Act, creating a second GEER funding stream, GEER II. The funding was awarded for the purpose of providing local educational agencies, institutions of higher education, and other education-related entities with emergency assistance in response to COVID-19. The total available funding for GEER II for the state of Georgia was $47 million. The second round of GEER II funds will be awarded following the transfer of EANS funds from the Georgia -Department of Education and guidance from the US Department of Education.