As the nation struggles with a shortage of nurses, South Carolina policymakers have designated funding to support the recruitment and retention of nursing faculty at colleges and universities across the state. During the 2022 legislative session, the South Carolina General Assembly allocated a total of $10 million to the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education for a Nursing Initiative.
Half of the Nursing Initiative funds will be used to provide tuition reimbursement or scholarships for students who enroll in graduate-level nurse educator programs and agree to assume a faculty role in a state nursing program after graduation for a minimum of two years for each year they receive the scholarship. The other half of the Nursing Initiative funds is specifically designated as a temporary supplement to salaries of existing full-time faculty and the hourly rates of part time faculty, or the salaries of clinical nursing faculty.
Below is a listing of the state's public colleges and universities, including technical colleges, eligible to receive salary supplement funds along with the amount for each school. As directed by the legislature, the CHE identified those institutions with accredited nursing programs and calculated the amount for each school based on the number of students enrolled in nursing programs.
In addition, we have created a series of frequently asked questions and answers related to this initial allocation of funds to accredited nursing programs at South Carolina’s public colleges and universities.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Are these Nursing Initiative funds recurring or a one-time source of funds?
- The Nursing Initiative funds are one-time funds made available to the CHE from the Education Lottery Account as part of the General Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2022-2023.
- Please read here to see the full text for the bill. References to the Nursing Initiative are found in Section 3.
- Because the funds are not guaranteed in future years, all Nursing Initiative funds must be fully obligated during the current fiscal year (FY 2022-23).
- If this is one-time funding, how can schools comply with the provision to supplement salaries without using a one-time bonus?
- Schools should determine the specific mechanism or method that best meets the institutional goal of supplementing the salaries of existing full-time faculty and the hourly rates of part-time faculty, or the salaries of clinical nursing faculty.
- If an institution so chooses, Nursing Initiative funds may be used for a temporary salary increase and may return to the existing salary structure after the funds extinguish.
- The CHE does not endorse or mandate any particular method for distributing Nursing Initiative funds.
- Can an institution use Nursing Initiative funds to supplement salary for nursing faculty hired after June 30, 2022?
- All nursing faculty members (full-time, part-time or clinical) employed at an institution with an accredited nursing program as of June 30, 2022, should be considered eligible to receive a salary supplement using the Nursing Initiative funds.
- CHE interprets eligibility under the legislation language to include faculty on annual contracts, so long as the staff member worked at the same institution during the 2021-22 academic year.
- The salary supplement should be deemed assigned to the individual person specifically rather than the position generally based on the current language of the proviso.
- Can the FY 2022-23 Nursing Initiative funds be used to cover the new cost of additional fringe benefit expenses resulting from the salary supplement?
- In recognizing that additional fringe benefits only result from the new salary supplement, the CHE reiterates its strong stance that these Nursing Initiative funds be obligated and used for salary supplements.
- However, if an institution’s operating budget is constrained and lacks sufficient “wiggle room” to absorb these fringe benefit expenses, then Nursing Initiative funds may also be used for such additional fringe benefit expenses directly associated with the salary supplement if necessary.
- How did the CHE calculate the allocation for each institution?
- The CHE used IPEDS (Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System) reporting to calculate a rolling average of past three years for students enrolled in nursing programs with the four-digit code prefix 51.38.
- This data was cross referenced with the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) to identify accredited diploma and degree programs.
- The list of programs includes Diploma (LPN) and Associates degree programs at South Carolina technical colleges as well as Bachelors, Masters, Post Masters and Doctoral programs at public South Carolina comprehensive and research institutions.
- A breakdown of the student enrollment figures for each public college or university with an accredited nursing program as well as the Nursing Initiative dollars allocated to each such institution is available on the “Data and Reports” section of the CHE website.
When should schools expect to receive their Nursing Initiative allocations?
- Similar to other distributions to schools from the Lottery Expenditure Account, Nursing Initiative funds will be distributed to eligible institutions on a quarterly basis as the CHE receives the dollars.
- Eligible schools should expect to receive their first distribution of Nursing Initiative funds no later than November 1.
- The CHE reserves the right to ask for an accounting of Nursing Initiative funds from each participating institution and nursing program. Schools should maintain detailed records related to the receipt, obligation and expenditure of these funds in the case the agency asks for these records later.
- Why aren’t all South Carolina schools with nursing programs receiving Nursing Initiative funds?
- The official legislative language covering the Nursing Initiative funds specifically restricts allocations to the state's public colleges and universities, including technical colleges, that have accredited nursing programs.
- Nursing Initiative funds for FY 2022-2023 are limited to the eligible institutions identified on the CHE website.