Joliet, Ill. – The University of St. Francis (USF) Leach College of Nursing (LCON) is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a $100,000 Nursing School Grant through the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE). The grant will be used to address equity gaps in enrollment and course completion for USF nursing students in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and BSN Completion programs, of which approximately half are African American, Latinx, low-income, first-generation, from rural communities, and/or working adults. With the grant funding, LCON will purchase equipment, including a medication dispensing system and simulation cart, and increase 24 additional hours per week of simulation labs for BSN students to accommodate working students and remediation on evenings and weekends to reinforce preparation our students for clinical practice; the LCON expects increasing the retention rate of students. As a result, highly competent and well-prepared students maximize their employment opportunities while benefitting patients in Illinois. The expected outcomes of the grant-funded objectives also align with the Leach College of Nursing’s goals for 2019-2024, which include strengthening communities of learning to provide all members a sense of belonging, and increasing completion and graduation rate in all programs. “We are very grateful for this IBHE Nursing School Grant, which will allow our nursing students to spend more time and build trust with faculty, have more engagement in their learning by attending additional SIM and skills labs, and optimize their use of available resources. In addition, achieving our proposed outcomes will help to address health equity in our community by fostering a more diverse nursing workforce,” said USF Leach College of Nursing Dean Yeijin Yeom, Ph.D., RN, CNE. : : The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 4,000 students nationwide and offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 53,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose. # # #