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1 Martin O Malley Governor Anthony G. Brown Lt. Governor Anwer Hasan Chairperson Danette G. Howard Secretary AGENDA ITEM SUMMARY SUBJECT: Proposed Guideline Revisions for the Nurse Support Program II, Hal and Jo Cohen Graduate Nursing Faculty Scholarship and Living Expenses Grant Program DATE OF COMMISSION MEETING: February 27, 2013 STAFF: Melinda Vann Pete Tyrell Peggy Daw Liz Urbanski SUMMARY: In 2005, the Health Services Cost Review Commission (HSCRC) contracted with the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) to administer the Nurse Support Program II (NSP II). The NSP II is funded through 0.1% of hospital regulated gross patient revenue. The purpose of the program is to increase nursing program educational capacity through increasing the number of nursing faculty and nursing program graduates. One component of the NSP II is the Hal and Jo Cohen Graduate Nursing Faculty Scholarship (GNF) and Living Expenses Grant (LEG) programs. MHEC reviewed and approved revisions to the GNF and LEG guidelines on 3/7/12. On 5/30/12, the Commission approved the name change to the Hal and Jo Cohen GNF and LEG program, as recommended by the HSCRC. In consultation with and at the request of the Office of Student Financial Assistance, additional revisions are recommended. These revisions provide more explicit language regarding eligibility requirements, awarding priority, and tuition and fee coverage that better address graduate nursing program structures and course taking patterns (e.g. non semester based programs, part-time enrollment by working adults). RECOMMENDATIONS: It is recommended that the Maryland Higher Education Commission approve the revisions to the Hal and Jo Cohen Graduate Nursing Faculty Scholarship and Living Expenses Grants Program Guidelines administered under the auspices of the Nurse Support Program II, established under the provisions of Section (e) of the Education Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland to increase nursing educational capacity. MARYLAND HIGHER EDUCATION COMMISSION 6 N. Liberty Street 10 th Floor Baltimore, MD T F TTY for the Deaf

2 Martin O Malley Governor Anthony G. Brown Lt. Governor Anwer Hasan Chairperson Danette G. Howard Secretary M E M O R A N D U M DATE: February 27, 2013 TO: Maryland Higher Education Commission FROM: Melinda Vann, Director Outreach and Grants Management Pete Tyrell, Director Student Financial Assistance STAFF: Peg Daw NSP II Coordinator Elizabeth Urbanski, Assoc. Director Student Financial Assistance SUBJECT: Proposed amendments to the NSP II Hal and Jo Cohen Graduate Nursing Faculty Scholarship and Living Expenses Grant Guidelines In 2005, the Health Services Cost Review Commission (HSCRC) contracted with the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) to administer the Nurse Support Program II (NSP II). The NSP II is funded through 0.1% of hospital regulated gross patient revenue for use in expanding the pool of nurses in the state by increasing the capacity of nursing programs in Maryland. NSP II includes a competitive grant program, as well as, statewide initiatives. The Hal and Jo Cohen Graduate Nursing Faculty Scholarship (GNF) and Living Expenses Grant (LEG), a statewide initiative, is a financial aid program designed to encourage enrollment in graduate nursing programs and subsequent employment as nursing faculty. Financial aid is awarded to nursing graduate students who agree to serve as nursing faculty in a Maryland public or independent higher education nursing program upon graduation. Two years of service or the equivalent are required for every year of financial aid provided. This financial aid program is administered by the Office of Student Financial Assistance (OFSA) in collaboration with the Office of Outreach and Grants Management. The HSCRC and MHEC reviewed and approved revisions to the GNF and LEG guidelines on March 7, The approved changes prioritized funding for the GNF to support full tuition and mandatory fees. On May 30, 2012, MHEC approved a program name change to the Hal and Jo Cohen GNF and LEG program, in accordance with a recommendation made by the HSCRC. At the request of the Office of Student Financial Assistance, additional changes are recommended. These changes will assist OFSA staff in administering the program by providing explicit definitions and clearer documentation for program auditing purposes. The recommended changes provide more detailed language to address the following: MARYLAND HIGHER EDUCATION COMMISSION 6 N. Liberty Street 10 th Floor Baltimore, MD T F TTY for the Deaf

3 Purpose: Language is added to clarify the program goal of increasing the number of nursing faculty. Eligibility: Recommended changes to the eligibility section include: 1) A definition of part-time and full-time graduate student status that is aligned with School of Nursing graduate student definitions for non-need based aid; and 2) clarification that applicants with conditional admission and/or a GPA below 3.0 are ineligible until such time as they are fully admitted and the entering GPA is 3.0 or higher. Award Amount: Language is added to better clarify the GNF as priority funding over the LEG, describe the process and timing of awarding the LEG, and explain the potentially taxable status of the LEG. Furthermore, it is requested that these amendments, and in particular, the definition of part-time status be applied to awards made in Academic Year such that eligible part time nursing graduate students may be awarded. RECOMMENDATIONS: It is recommended that the Maryland Higher Education Commission approve these amendments for enhanced program administration under the auspices of the Nurse Support Program II, established under the provisions of Section (e) of the Education Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland to increase nursing educational capacity. MARYLAND HIGHER EDUCATION COMMISSION 6 N. Liberty Street 10 th Floor Baltimore, MD T F TTY for the Deaf

4 MARYLAND HIGHER EDUCATION COMMISSION 6 N. Liberty Street 10 th Floor Baltimore, MD T F TTY for the Deaf

5 MARYLAND HIGHER EDUCATION COMMISSION OFFICE OF STUDENT FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE GUIDELINES FOR THE HEALTH SERVICE COST REVIEW COMMISSION NURSE SUPPORT PROGRAM II Hal and Jo Cohen Graduate Nursing Faculty Scholarship and Living Expenses Grant Approved March 7, 2012 Amended February 27,

6 MARYLAND HIGHER EDUCATION COMMISSION Office of Student Financial Assistance Guidelines for the Hal and Jo Cohen Graduate Nursing Faculty Scholarship and Living Expenses Grant In May 2005 the Health Service Cost Review Commission (HSCRC) approved the funding of 0.1% of regulated patient revenue for the use in expanding the pool of nurses in the State by increasing the capacity of nursing schools in Maryland. Funding for the Hal and Jo Cohen Graduate Nursing Faculty Scholarship and Living Expenses Grant (referred to hereafter as Graduate Nursing Faculty Scholarship and Living Expenses Grant) is provided by the Nurse Support Program (NSP II). A. PURPOSE The purpose of the NSP II is to increase the number of qualified bedside nurses in Maryland hospitals through Statewide Initiatives administered by the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) on behalf of HSCRC. The Graduate Nursing Faculty Scholarship and Living Expenses Grant, a Statewide Initiative, supports this goal by increasing the number of Masters and Doctoral prepared nursing faculty at Maryland higher education institutions. Recipients of the Graduate Nursing Faculty Scholarship are required to sign a service obligation and promissory note agreeing to serve as a nurse educator in academic clinical and classroom settings. B. ELIGIBILITY An individual must be a Maryland resident and be fully admitted and enrolled at a Maryland college or university as a full-time or part-time graduate student in a Master s of Science in Nursing (MSN, MS) program, post-graduate certificate program in nursing education, Doctorate (PhD, DNP, EdD) program or another graduate-level nursing program required to prepare individuals to become nursing faculty. Students who are conditionally admitted to a program of nursing or with an entering grade point average (GPA) of less than 3.0 on a 4.0 scale are not eligible until such time as they are fully admitted and have established a 3.0 GPA. For purposes of this graduate nursing financial aid program, full-time is defined as nine or more graduate level credit hours per semester or recognized period as outlined by the approved nursing program of study (e.g. mini-mester, quarter, continuous year-round enrollment plan, accelerated course program); part-time is defined as any credit hours taken less than nine credit hours per semester or recognized period as outlined by the approved nursing program of study. Audited courses cannot be used to reach the credit hours required for full-time or part-time status. The Graduate Nursing Faculty Scholarship is not based on need. To be eligible for a Living Expenses Grant, an applicant must be offered and accept a Graduate Nursing Faculty Scholarship 2

7 and show need through submission of financial documents. Grant awards are subject to the availability of funds and not all eligible applicants may receive an award. An applicant must provide documentation of sponsorship by a nursing school in Maryland. The nursing school sponsoring the graduate nurse applicant is responsible for providing mentors and incorporating the graduate nurse applicant into its campus faculty culture. The sponsoring nursing school must also provide career counseling and assistance with placement as a faculty member at its institution or another nursing school in the State. A recipient of the Graduate Nursing Faculty Scholarship may hold any other State grant or scholarship issued by the Office of Student Financial Assistance as long as: 1. eligibility requirements are met for each scholarship and grant received; and 2. the total of all scholarships and grants, does not exceed the total cost of education as certified by the institution C. AWARD AMOUNT Priority funding shall be given to the Graduate Nursing Faculty Scholarship. The Graduate Nursing Faculty Scholarship is equal to all tuition and mandatory fees for courses in the approved nursing plan of study at Maryland public and independent colleges and universities. Living Expenses Grant awards are made after all Graduate Nursing Faculty Scholarships for the fall and spring semesters have been determined. Living Expenses Grant awards may be considered taxable income under IRS regulations. A 1099 form will be issued to all Living Expenses Grant recipients. Recipients should consult with their tax advisor for guidance. Living Expenses Grant award amounts will be based on need. Awards may not exceed the maximum of $25,000 per academic year ($12,500 per semester) for full-time recipients and will be prorated for part-time recipients. The maximum total award amount is $50,000 over four years. If a recipient is receiving any type of stipend, salary supplement, and/or other financial assistance for living expenses, it may be deducted from the grant award total. To qualify for the Living Expenses Grant award, an individual s annual gross income may not exceed $75,000. If the applicant is married, the applicant s annual gross income may not exceed $75,000 and the couple s combined annual gross income may not exceed $160,000. Grant awards are subject to the availability of funds and not all eligible applicants may receive an award. If a recipient s employment status changes as a result of accepting this award (the recipient discontinues working, or changes from full-time to part-time employment), the recipient may submit a status change form to request consideration for the Living Expenses Grant. 3

8 D. APPLICATION PROCEDURES An applicant must complete and submit the application for the Graduate Nursing Faculty Scholarship and Living Expenses Grant and all required documentation to OSFA prior to the start of the semester. All applicants must provide: 1. a completed Graduate Nursing Faculty Scholarship application; 2. an official transcript from all institutions which the applicant attended for any registered nursing programs and graduate nursing programs; 3. a sponsorship form signed by the dean or director of the Maryland nursing school sponsoring the applicant; and 4. a copy of the applicant s most recent Maryland tax return to be considered for the Living Expenses Grant. E. SELECTION OF RECIPIENTS Priority will be given to recipients who are: 1) participating in NSP II Competitive Institutional Grant projects, or 2) enrolled in accelerated programs and programs that prepare faculty for positions that have historically been difficult to fill or are deemed critical to nursing faculty infrastructure at Maryland nursing programs. To produce nursing faculty as expeditiously as possible, preference will be given to students pursuing full-time graduate study in both priority areas above. Applicants who do not fall into one of the two priority areas will be ranked by grade point average (GPA) and awarded as long as funds remain available. F. PAYMENT The Graduate Nursing Faculty Scholarship award amount on the award letter is an estimate based on the reported enrollment plan from the student s application. The award will be adjusted by the recipient s institution to reflect the actual dollar amount of tuition and mandatory fees per semester. The Living Expenses Grant awards will be distributed directly to the recipient after the institution has confirmed enrollment through the billing roster process and all scholarships are awarded. G. RENEWAL AND CONTINUATION The Graduate Nursing Faculty Scholarship award is given priority and automatically renewed for up to three additional years if the recipient meets the following criteria: 1. is a Maryland resident; 4

9 2. remains enrolled in an eligible nursing program; 3. maintains a 3.0 annual grade point average on a 4.0 grade point average scale (includes Fall and Spring grades for previous academic year); 4. maintains satisfactory academic progress according to the institution's standards Scholarship awards are automatically renewed for the full term of approved study provided all eligibility requirements are fulfilled. Renewal funding is contingent on available funds. Living Expenses Grant awards are made for one year and may be renewed for up to three additional years until the maximum total award limit of $50,000 is reached, provided the recipient continues to hold the Graduate Nursing Faculty Scholarship and continues to meet eligibility requirements. Award amounts are subject to change in accordance with available funds. Eligible applicants who are not funded initially will be placed on a waiting list. Funds may not be available to award all eligible students. Recipients eligible for renewal will be mailed an annual mentoring plan update request and an enrollment survey requiring them to report enrollment plans for the next academic year to allow OSFA to accurately estimate renewal funding. An annual update on the mentoring plan should include program progress and any change in the plan of study. It is required at the completion of each academic year. A recipient who is academically ineligible will forfeit the Graduate Nursing Faculty Scholarship and Living Expenses Grant award. If funds are available, the scholarship and grant may be reinstated upon proof that the recipient achieved a 3.0 grade point average in the fall or spring semesters in the academic year following the cancellation of the award. Courses taken in summer school may be considered in calculating annual grade point average. H. SERVICE OBLIGATION A recipient must sign a promissory note affirming that the recipient will serve as a nurse faculty at a Maryland institution with nursing degree programs by doing the following: 1. work two years as a full-time nurse faculty member for each year the award was received when enrolled full-time ; or 2. work one and one-half years as a full-time nurse faculty member for each year the award was received when enrolled part-time. Individuals fulfilling their service obligations as a part-time nurse faculty member must work two years for each year of their full-time employment obligation. Full-time employment is defined as 35 or more hours per week or a contract for 12 or more academic credit hours per semester in didactic instruction. Part-time employment is defined as hours per week or a contract for less than 12 academic credit hours in didactic instruction or a clinical instruction 5

10 contract for less than 12 contact hours or combination of less than 12 academic credit and/or contact hours per semester. Service must begin within six months of graduation. A recipient must meet the recipient s service obligation at any Maryland institution granting nursing degrees and is not required to work at the sponsoring institution. If the service obligation is not met, the Graduate Nursing Faculty award must be repaid with interest. If the scholarship is held with any other award requiring a service obligation, the service must be performed in consecutive years. I. REPAYMENT A recipient will be required to repay the Graduate Nursing Faculty Scholarship if the recipient: 1. has the award revoked; 2. fails to receive the appropriate degree, diploma or certificate at program completion; 3. fails to become licensed or certified as required; 4. has a license or certification revoked during the period of service obligation; 5. fails to complete the annual questionnaire on performance of service obligation; 6. fails to perform the required service for the required amount of time; or 7. otherwise fails to carry out the obligations of the scholarship. Interest charged on the funds advanced is at an interest rate equal to and matching the interest rate established by the United States Department of Education for the Federal Stafford Loan on the first day of July of each year, with interest not accruing prior to notification to the Commission of a recipient s graduation or termination from an institution of higher education. The repayment schedule is established by OSFA, and payment must be completed within 6 years after repayment begins. J. DEFERMENT OF THE SERVICE OBLIGATION AND REPAYMENT A recipient is required to seek employment aggressively in all regions of the State in which eligible employment opportunities exist in the eligible fields. A recipient may receive a deferment during the time the recipient is: 1. on a temporary leave of absence approved by the employer or OSFA from full-time employment in the required employment field; 2. temporarily totally disabled, for a period not to exceed three years; 6

11 3. unable to secure employment for a period not to exceed twelve months by reason of the care required by a spouse or child who is disabled; 4. seeking and unable to find full-time employment for a single period not to exceed twelve months; 5. an individual assigned military duty outside of the State, not to exceed three years without filing an appeal; or 6. the spouse of an individual assigned military duty outside of the State, not to exceed three years without filing an appeal. 7. completing additional approved educational programs or post-doctoral fellowships To qualify for any of the deferments a recipient shall notify OSFA and the Central Collection Unit if the repayment period has begun, of the recipient' s claim for the deferment and provide supporting documentation. Such documentation shall consist of: 1. certification by the employer that the recipient is on a temporary approved leave of absence from the required employment; 2. a sworn affidavit of a qualified physician that the recipient is temporarily totally disabled; 3. a sworn affidavit of a qualified physician if the recipient is unable to find employment by reason of the care required by spouse or child who is disabled; 4. a certified statement including a list of possible employers with their addresses and telephone numbers to which application for employment has been made if the recipient is seeking and unable to find full-time employment; 5. a copy of military orders; or 6. documentation of approved educational programs or post-doctoral fellowships. OSFA shall review all documentation to determine whether the deferment conditions have been met and, if so, for what time periods. Before a deferment based on inability to find employment in the eligible field is granted, OSFA will review the submitted documentation and any other information available for evidence that the recipient has sought employment aggressively in all regions of the State in which eligible employment opportunities exist in the eligible fields. OSFA shall review appeals on a case-by-case basis from individuals assigned military duty outside the State, or the spouse of an individual assigned military duty outside the State that exceeds the three year deferral limit. Appeals must be in writing and include a copy of the military orders. During the time a recipient qualifies for any of the deferments described, the recipient need not 7

12 make the scholarship repayments and the interest does not accrue. K. WAIVER OF THE SERVICE OBLIGATION AND REPAYMENT OSFA shall waive a recipient's grant repayment obligations if it determines: 1. on the basis of a sworn affidavit of a qualified physician, that the recipient is unable to perform the service obligation on a full-time basis because of an impairment that is expected to continue indefinitely or result in death; or 2. on the basis of a death certificate or other evidence of death that is conclusive under State law that the recipient has died. 8

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