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Southern Miss Awarded $1M Grant to Offer Accelerated Nursing Degree to Veterans

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 13:44pm | By: Charmaine Williams Schmermund

The University of Southern Mississippi announced today that a new three-year grant in excess of $1M will allow the university to offer an accelerated program for veterans with training as medics in the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, or as U.S. Navy corpsmen to earn their bachelor of science degree in nursing.

The program is supported in part by funds from the Division of Nursing, Bureaus of Health Professions, the Health Resources and Services Administration, and the Department of Health and Human Services.

The veterans' bachelor of science in nursing degree program, which may be completed in as little as four semesters, incorporates the military experience and training veterans previously received in the medical field with the coursework required to complete the program. While maintaining the highest academic standards, clinical quality, and National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) pass rates for nurses, the program is designed to shorten the time to degree completion.

“This program is exciting for The University of Southern Mississippi because it allows us to serve those who serve others—veterans who have sacrificed more than many of us will ever know,” said University President Rodney D. Bennett. “Our College of Nursing will deliver the highest quality education to men and women with great experience and allow them to pursue a four-year degree efficiently and effectively at our Gulf Park Campus.”

Prerequisites may be taken at an accredited college or university anywhere in the country and out-of-state tuition will be waived for students in the program. Students will also have the opportunity for military training and education credits.

“The access to USM's Center for Military Veterans, Service Members and Families and to our dedicated faculty will further alleviate barriers and provide the specialized resources and support that our veterans deserve,” said Dr. Katherine Nugent, dean for the College of Nursing at Southern Miss. “We are excited to have this opportunity and proud that the university's College of Nursing was chosen through a competitive grant application process and was one of nine nursing programs in the nation selected.”

With enrollment beginning in spring 2015, students will take courses on the university's Gulf Park campus in Long Beach, which is located near Keesler Air Force Base and the Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System, both in Biloxi, and the Naval Construction Battalion Center in Gulfport.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for our veterans who have served so honorably in defense of our nation, particularly those who have served in some of the most difficult positions in the military as medical service providers,” said Gen. Jeff Hammond, director of veteran and military student services at Southern Miss.

“It's a great match with what we have to offer with this program, because these young people will bring a sense of service from their military background into the nursing program, which is service-oriented as well. If I were a medical corpsman coming out of the military and looking to advance my career opportunities, the BSN program at the university's Gulf Park campus would be at the top of my list.”

For more information about the veterans' bachelor of science in nursing degree program, visit or email vbsnFREEMississippi.