The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

State of Iowa provides $6.5 million to fund scholarships for high need majors

The program will help provide scholarships in nursing and education, two fields that urgently need workers.
Cody Blissett
State Board of Regents members lead a meeting in Iowa City on Wednesday, June 14, 2023.

Thousands of new nurses and teachers will need to enter the workforce each year across Iowa to improve an ongoing worker shortage. The University of Iowa is facing the shortages head-on with a new scholarship program aimed to incentivize majors that currently lead to low-demand jobs.

The state Board of Regents noted at its last meeting in September that education and nursing majors qualify as areas with a high need for job placement. The regents worked with the Iowa Workforce Development Agency to select which majors would be eligible for financial support.

The Iowa Legislature recently appropriated roughly $6.5 million in funds to provide scholarships for college students studying majors with high demand for jobs in their respective fields.

According to data from Iowa Workforce Development, there are roughly 2,215 job openings for nurses and 1,825 openings for teachers.

Money from the Iowa Workforce Grant and Incentive Program will go to the Iowa College Aid Commission before being distributed to students at the UI, Iowa State, and the University of Northern Iowa based on an application process. Students could qualify for up to $2,000 per semester for four semesters, with more potentially available upon graduation.

Regents Chief Academic Officer Rachel Boon said there’s a desire to assist students financially to promote completing degrees in these fields of need.

“They’re trying to incentivize students to go through the educational pathway that prepares them for these high-demand jobs,” she said.

Mark McDermott, UI associate dean for teacher education, said the education department looks forward to its students taking advantage of the scholarships and that teachers are not only high-need positions right now, but also positions that come with great responsibility.

“You have the opportunity to really impact lots of students in a really important way, and I think that’s important to remember,” he said.

Nurses are also greatly needed in Iowa and nationwide. The UI implemented a new nursing program in January of 2023, Master of Science in Nursing: Entry into Practice, to allow students with degrees in majors besides nursing to become practicing nurses.

The College of Nursing usually graduates roughly 160 students a year, and the new program should help about 48 more students graduate, as well. The UI’s nursing program was recently ranked fourth in the U.S. among public and private universities, making it the top public nursing program in the country.

“Scholarship support is crucial to students, and any support provided will help break down barriers to obtaining a higher education degree,” Dean of the College of Nursing Julie Zerwic wrote in an email to The Daily Iowan.

McDermott agreed that providing financial support for these students is valuable.

“The fact that this is one more avenue to providing support for people who want to be teachers is helpful,” he said.

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About the Contributors
Grace Olson
Grace Olson, News Reporter
Grace Olson is a first-year student at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass Communications. She's a news reporter for The DI, reporting primarily on local government. She is from Denver, Colorado and worked on the pirnt publication from her high school prior to her work in college.
Cody Blissett
Cody Blissett, Visuals Editor
Cody Blissett is a visual editor at The Daily Iowan. He is a third year student at the University of Iowa studying cinema and screenwriting. This is his first year working for The Daily Iowan.