Last spring the first distribution of funds from the Harding University Nursing Alumni and Friends Scholarship took place. The scholarship, started by Jeremy Garner and his wife Karen who both graduated form the Harding’s College of Nursing, is set up to help students going through nursing school who are struggling financially.
“There is such a shortage of nurses just for general patients in the hospital,” Jeremy Garner said. “I want to help people get their degree in nursing and not have to worry about paying for it with as many loans as possible. I want somebody, when I hand my patents over to a different nurse, who is focused on the patient, not worried about their personal finances. I don’t want them to have a free ride per se, but I want them to not have their student loan debt holding them back.”
Garner’s long term goal for the scholarship is to be able to fund a student’s junior and senior years through the Bachelor of Science and Nursing (BSN) program.
“There are approximately 15,000 students that have graduated from the school of nursing at Harding,” Garner said. “If they all gave, on average, $25, that’s $37,000 that would be donated. If that was done every year, in 10 or 15 years that’d be half a million dollars and we’d be able to fund one student, or maybe two, for their whole junior and senior year.”
Jeanne Castleberry, the Director of Admissions for Harding’s nursing program, said that a lot of the time nursing students graduate in 4 ½ to five years and most scholarships end at four years so scholarships like this can be the deciding factor for some students as to whether or not they finish their degree.
“I had a student that was wanting to be a health missions minor and go to either Guatemala or Haiti,” Castleberry said. “They were going to go but they have to take a one hour class to get the minor. I knew that this student was going over seas but they weren’t adding the minor, so I asked why and she told me she couldn’t afford it. So I talked with Dr. Kehl and I got it where she could use some of the scholarship to take the class and that way she got to go one the trip and add the minor. If it hadn’t have been for this scholarship she wouldn’t have been able to do that.”
In a letter Garner sent out to faculty, alumni, and friends, he requested these things,
“Please be in prayer for the continued success of the scholarship. Please consider donating to this worthy cause. No dollar amount is too small. Make sure to designate that your donation is for the Harding University Nursing Alumni and Friends Scholarship. And please spread the word about the scholarship and encourage fellow alumni to give.”
Applications for the scholarship were due on March 2, and the next round of distributions will be taking place soon.
If you would like to contribute to the scholarship you can go to www.harding.edu/giving or contact the Advancement office at 501-279-4312.