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Grant from the Auen Foundation helps COD Nursing Students

A $50,000 grant from the Auen Foundation to College of the Desert (COD) is helping nursing students who would otherwise fall through the “gap” of financial aid. Through this grant, scholarships are being awarded to qualifying nursing students who fall in a gap of working poor yet still have too much income to receive state and federal assistance.

“The nursing program is so rigorous that students are discouraged from having even a part-time job while completing the program,” said Peter Sturgeon, College of the Desert Foundation. “Many students are above the income threshold, but are still struggling to pay for school and the cost of living. This is especially difficult for those people supporting more than just themselves. Many of our nursing students are single parents and veterans, looking to improve their lives and the financial security of their families.”

Last year, there were 33 single mothers, out of the 110 total enrolled in COD’s nursing program. Students in the program have already completed 2-3 years of prerequisites and are now faced with paying for the most costly program COD has to offer. Beyond textbooks, items including uniforms, nursing kits, supplies and immunizations cost about $5,000 more. Many of these students are low income but make just enough to disqualify for financial aid.

“The Auen Foundation believes in the importance of higher education in our community, and we want those degrees to be attainable for anyone who wants them,” said Catharine Reed, Senior Program Officer of the Auen Foundation.

Through an application and interview process, nursing students are provided with grants of up to $2,500 per calendar year to support immediate and short-term challenges that hinder individual success. Funding will be allocated on a case-by-case basis, but possible uses may include textbook and nursing supplies expenses, short-term transportation needs, support for household basics in extraordinary circumstances, or temporary childcare resources. The application period is open this summer with twenty scholarships to be awarded at the start of the fall semester.

College of the Desert is located at 43-500 Monterey Ave, Palm Desert.
For more information visit the college website or call (760) 346-8041.