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Nurse Faculty Loan Program Guidance

I. Funding Opportunity Description

Purpose
The purpose of the Nurse Faculty Loan Program (NFLP) is to increase the number of qualified nursing faculty by providing loans to students enrolled in an advanced education nursing program. Eligible entities are schools of nursing that offer advanced education nursing programs to prepare graduates to serve as faculty in a school of nursing.

Background
The Nurse Faculty Loan Program (NFLP) is authorized under the Title VIII of the Public Health Service Act, Section 846A (42 U.S.C. 297n-1) to increase the number of qualified nursing faculty.

Institutions apply for NFLP funds from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). HHS, acting through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is authorized to enter into an agreement with the institution (hereafter referred to as “the school”) and make a grant award to the school in the form of a Federal Capital Contribution (FCC). The school must use the FCC to establish a distinct account called the NFLP fund.

The NFLP fund is used to provide loans to students enrolled in an eligible advanced degree program in nursing (master’s or doctoral) at the school. After graduation from the advanced education nursing degree program, loan recipients may cancel up to 85 percent of the NFLP loan over a consecutive 4-year period while serving as full-time nurse faculty at a school of nursing (i.e. baccalaureate or higher degree, associate degree or diploma schools of nursing).

Eligible applicants are accredited collegiate schools of nursing that offer “eligible” nursing education programs that prepare qualified nurse faculty. Applicants must submit documentation of program accreditation and all approvals for new programs (i.e., new tracks/specialties or doctoral programs) with the application. Failure to provide documentation of accreditation and approvals with the application will result in the application being deemed non-responsive to the program guidance and the application will not be considered for funding.

Program Changes

The NFLP has broadened the program scope for student eligibility. As of fiscal year 2008, NFLP student eligibility includes support for part-time enrollment. In previous years, the NFLP did not support students who were enrolled part-time.

II. Award Information  

1. Type of Award
The grant award to the school will be provided in the form of a Federal Capital Contribution (FCC). The FCC award is used to establish a NFLP fund or to deposit the award into an existing NFLP fund.

The NFLP applicant must apply annually for additional funding.

2. Summary of Funding
For fiscal year 2008, approximately $7,860,000 is available to fund an estimated 150 NFLP schools. Funding beyond this fiscal year is dependent upon the availability of appropriated funds for NFLP, the school’s satisfactory performance, and a decision that continued funding is in the best interest of the Federal government.

The NFLP is a formula-based program. The award amount to each school is determined by calculating the school’s tuition and fees multiplied by the number of continuing NFLP students committed for support plus a select number of new students. New students are those that never received NFLP support.

III. Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants
Eligible applicants are accredited collegiate schools of nursing. Another department within the institution, such as a Graduate School of Arts and Sciences that offers an eligible advanced nursing education program, may submit an NFLP application. The graduate degree must be in nursing.

The school of nursing must offer a master’s and/or doctoral degree program in nursing. The advanced education nursing program(s) must include an education component to prepare graduates to serve as faculty in a school of nursing. The education component may consist of education courses, preceptor and/or supervised teaching practica identified within the curriculum. The school may offer the education component for graduate credit through a formal collaboration.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Post-Nursing Master’s Certificate programs are not eligible.

The school must be located in a State in the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa or the Trust Territory of the Pacific.

Eligible applicants are collegiate schools of nursing. Any program of nurse education must be accredited by a national nurse education accrediting agency or State approval agency recognized by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education. For FY 2008, these agencies include the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC), Iowa Board of Nursing, Maryland Board of Nursing, Missouri Board of Nursing, Montana Board of Nursing, North Dakota Board of Nursing or New York Board of Nursing, the Division of Accreditation of the American College of Nurse-Midwives, and the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Programs of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists. All nursing programs and consortium partners (if applicable) associated with the project must be accredited for the purpose of nursing education. Applicants must submit documentation providing proof of accreditation (e.g., an accreditation letter from the accrediting agency or a copy of the certificate of accreditation) with the application. Failure to provide the proof of accreditation with the HRSA program application will render the application non-responsive and the application will not be considered for funding under this announcement.

Accreditation for Newly Established Graduate Program of Nursing: A new graduate program of nursing that has not received accreditation because of an insufficient period of operation, shall be deemed accredited for the purposes of this title if the Secretary of Education provides reasonable assurance that the program will be able to achieve accreditation. The applicant is requested to obtain the information listed below from their intended accrediting body. The accrediting body must be identified for this purpose and scope by the Department of Education. The applicant then provides the information to the Department of Education contact listed below. The applicant requests that the Department of Education provide them a letter of reasonable assurance (meaning that, in the Department of Education’s assessment of the information, the applicant will be able to receive accreditation.

For fiscal year 2008, there is no specific accreditation available through CCNE or NLNAC for doctoral programs. Applicants that are requesting a “substantive change” to an existing accredited graduate nursing education program do not contact the Department of Education.

The following process must be followed for new graduate program applicants just beginning the accreditation process who wish to establish eligibility based on the provisions above:

  • The applicant must contact a national nursing accrediting or State approval body recognized by the Secretary of the Department of Education and obtain a reasonable assurance letter. These agencies are listed above. The letter from the recognized body should state that the new program is an accrediting activity that falls within the scope of the Secretary’s recognition and that there is reasonable assurance that the new program will meet the accreditation/approval standards prior to the beginning of the academic year following the normal graduation date of students of the first entering class in such a program. The letter from the recognized body must report the following information:

    1. Is this program actively pursuing accreditation with your agency?
    2. Provide the date of each program’s pending application for accreditation and the date or approximate date when your decision-making body is likely to decide whether to grant or deny accreditation for this program.
    3. Are any other nursing education programs at this institution currently accredited by your agency, and are those programs in good standing with your agency?
    4. At this point in the pending application process, what stages of the accreditation process has this program completed, and what stages remain to be completed? Please summarize the kinds of materials already submitted in support of the program’s application and reviewed by your agency, as well as any on-site visits that have occurred.
    5. Based on your records, what will be the start date or approximate start date of the program’s academic year that immediately follows the expected graduation date for the students comprising the program’s first entering class?
    6. Based on your agency’s review of each program to date, do you have any reason to believe that the program will be unable to demonstrate compliance with your standards and requirements and gain accreditation by the beginning of the academic year following the normal graduation date of students of the first entering class in such a program? If so, why?

  • The applicant will submit the request for a letter of assurance along with attached copies of the letter from the recognized body and any supporting documentation regarding the accreditation or approval of the nursing program to:

    U.S. Department of Education
    Attn: Accreditation and State Liaison Unit
    1990 K Street, NW, Room 7126
    Washington, DC 20006-8509
    Telephone: (202) 219-7011
    Fax: (202) 219-7005
    Attn: Cathy Sheffield
    Or by email to: cathy.sheffield@ed.gov

  • To allow for processing time, at least 30 days prior to the HRSA application due date of May 13, 2008, applicants should submit to the Department of Education the above information, with their request for a letter documenting the Secretary’s determination that there is “reasonable assurance” the new program will meet the appropriate accreditation standards prior to the beginning of the academic year following the normal graduation date of students of the first entering class in such a program. The program will need to include a contact name(s), address(es), phone number(s), and email addresses with all correspondence sent to the Department of Education.

  • The Department of Education staff will review the documents submitted by the applicant, make a “reasonable assurance” determination, and send the applicant a letter documenting the Secretary’s determination.

    The applicant must include this letter from the Department of Education with the HRSA program application as ATTACHMENT 4. Failure to provide the Department of Education’s letter with the HRSA program application will render the application non-responsive and the application will not be considered for funding under this announcement.

2. Cost Sharing/Matching
In addition to the FCC grant award, the school must contribute an Institutional Capital Contribution (ICC) amount equal to at least one-ninth of the total FCC grant award. The ICC must be deposited and used as part of the NFLP fund.

3. Other
Advanced education nursing programs must meet all applicable Federal and national organization guidelines and competencies as appropriate and available in the field of study. The programs should prepare graduates to be eligible for national nursing certification at an advanced level. Indicate the guidelines and competencies used by the program(s) for which support is requested.

Recognized specialties for which certification may not be currently available, such as forensics and informatics, are eligible.

NFLP Specific Guidelines
The school may award NFLP loans to eligible nursing students enrolled full-time or part-time in a master’s or doctoral degree program in nursing that includes a nursing education component designed to prepare students as qualified nurse faculty.

Under Section IV, Application Format, x. Program Narrative (Work Plan) of the application, the applicant should identify the nurse educator competencies that students are expected to achieve upon completion of the program.

The overall programs may prepare nurses as nurse practitioners; nurse-midwives; nurse anesthetists; clinical nurse specialists; nurse administrators; nurse educators; public health nurses; clinical nurse leaders, or other nurse specialties determined by the HHS Secretary to require advanced education.

The program guidelines below are requirements for the Advanced Education Nursing Program funded by HRSA. NFLP applicants should adhere to these guidelines for the programs in which NFLP students are enrolled.

  • Guidelines for Nurse Practitioner Programs
    Nurse practitioner programs must educate nurses to be qualified to effectively provide primary health care, including primary health care in homes and in ambulatory care facilities, long-term care facilities, acute care, and other health care settings.

  • Guidelines for Nurse-Midwifery Programs
    Nurse-midwifery programs must provide evidence of pre-accreditation or accreditation from the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM).

    Projects that enhance nurse practitioner and nurse-midwifery programs must meet the Federal Nurse Practitioner and Nurse-Midwifery Education Program Guidelines. Applicants can refer to the Federal Register Notice (FRN) published February 23, 2005 at FRN Volume 70, Number 35 for the Final Nurse Practitioner and Nurse-Midwifery Education Program Guidelines.

  • Guidelines for Nurse Anesthesia Programs
    Projects that enhance nurse anesthesia education must provide evidence of accreditation from the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists’ (AANA) Council on Accreditation (COA) of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs.

  • Guidelines for Clinical Nurse Specialist Programs
    Projects that enhance clinical nurse specialist programs must provide evidence of adherence to appropriate national nursing organization guidelines and competencies, if available, for the specialty.

    Indicate which national advanced nursing certification examination(s) or State certification(s) the graduate of the project-supported program will be eligible to take.

  • Guidelines for Nurse Administration Programs
    Projects that enhance nursing administration programs must provide evidence of adherence to national nursing organization guidelines and competencies, as available, and must indicate which national advanced nursing certification examination(s) graduates of the project will be eligible to take. Nursing administration programs must prepare nurse executives to function in increasingly complex health care systems. The nursing component is critical in the design, facilitation, and management of health care systems.

  • Guidelines for Nurse Educator Programs
    Projects that enhance the graduate nursing program by offering a nursing educator concentration must lead to a master’s degree or doctoral degree. Projects should provide evidence of adherence to national nursing organizational guidelines and competencies, if available, for the specialty. Programs to prepare nurse educators must prepare students to function in a complex educational environment to teach traditional as well as non-traditional learners using a variety of emerging technologies and methods.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: A nurse educator program should prepare the student for an advanced clinical practice specialty or an advanced level functional scope; therefore, NFLP applicants are encouraged to offer nurse educator programs that address competencies to prepare graduates for certification in a specialty or general scope of advanced clinical practice or advanced level functional practice (i.e., Nursing Administration or Nursing Informatics).
  • Guidelines for Public Health Nursing Programs
    Projects that enhance public health nursing education are to provide education in the public health sciences, interdisciplinary academic and nursing practice experiences, and assurance that public health nursing competencies are achieved. Projects should focus on preparing advanced practice nurses to meet population needs.

  • Guidelines for Clinical Nurse Leader Programs
    Clinical nurse leader programs should be consistent with the most current guidelines established by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN).

  • Guidelines for “Other” Advanced Education Nursing Programs
    “Other” advanced education nursing programs (i.e., informatics) are determined by the HHS Secretary. Programs in “other” advanced education nursing must provide evidence of adherence to national nursing organizational guidelines and competencies, as available in the field of study.

  • Doctoral Programs
    New doctoral programs must identify all steps in the approval process. Applicants must provide documentation of all approvals needed to initiate the program and enroll students. Acceptable forms of documentation include, but are not limited to, a letter or meeting minutes from: Nursing Faculty Committee. Institutional Committees/Boards, State bodies (State Boards of Nursing, Higher Education Finance Boards), and letters from national nursing accrediting bodies (CCNE, NLNAC) accepting substantive change(s) in the applicant’s graduate program.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: Failure to provide documentation of approvals with the application will result in the application being deemed non-responsive to the program guidance and the application will not be considered for funding.

    Doctoral program applications should be consistent with the most current Indicators for Doctoral Education, published by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). Doctor of Nursing Practice programs should be consistent with AACN guidelines and have the resources to carry out doctoral education.

More Information for Applicants
 

Applications due May 13, 2008

Program guidance (PDF - 662KB)

Application form SF 424 R&R-NFLP (Fillable PDF - 203KB)

Exhibit Forms (Word - 398KB)

Program Specific Attachments (Word - 176KB)

Applications submitted on paper (no on-line submissions) to:

Division of Nursing (NFLP)
Bureau of Health Professions
Health Resources and Services Administration
Parklawn Building, Room 9-36
5600 Fishers Lane
Rockville , MD 20857