Nursing Department at William Paterson University Awarded $650K Grant from Health Services and Resources Administration to Provide Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students

WP nursing students work in the simulation lab on campus

Through a grant from the Health Services and Resources Administration (HRSA), the William Paterson University Department of Nursing will provide $650,000 in scholarships to disadvantaged students this upcoming academic year. Through the grant—which will be available to WP students for the first time in the institution’s history—the University is eligible to receive future funding for up to five years.

The HRSA scholarship program aims to promote diversity in health care by providing awards to benefit students from disadvantaged backgrounds with demonstrated financial need, who are enrolled full-time in a nursing or health profession program. 

“This grant can be transformative, as it will immensely help us to provide scholarships to disadvantaged students, thereby providing an opportunity to them that both aligns with the focus of our University and the focus on our nursing program: building the overall capacity and character of the workforce in our region,” says Venkat Sharma, dean of WP’s College of Science and Health.

Sharma thanks the University’s HRSA grant team, which included nursing professors Nadine Aktan, Lydia Albuquerque, Joset Brown and Elizabeth Galetz, “for being committed to our many student successes and advocating effectively for our needs.”

“We were able to establish ourselves as a university that serves the medically underserved community because of our location in northern New Jersey and proximity to urban areas like the City of Paterson, and because many of our students come from those areas as well,” explains Elizabeth Galetz, assistant professor of nursing at WP and co-director of the HRSA grant.

Undergraduate nursing majors of any class year who meet certain academic and financial requirements, and show a demonstrated interest in working in medically underserved communities will be eligible for a scholarship, Galetz says. The nursing department hopes to use these scholarships, which are capped at $40,000, to bridge the gap between its students’ financial aid and educational costs—even covering the price of on-campus housing and books, she says.

“We truly want students to not have to worry about balancing school and work, which they sometimes have to pursue fulltime, so they can really focus on their academics and then hopefully give back to the community,” Galetz explains.

She and her colleagues will begin rolling out the process of awarding scholarships in the next two weeks, with plans to fund at least 10 nursing students per semester.

“There is a great need for more intentional funding and directed efforts, such as the HRSA grant, to eliminate the disproportionate percentage of disadvantaged students in our nation,” Sharma says. “I am proud of William Paterson University, and especially our dedicated faculty in the College of Science and Health, for our shared focus on finding ways to even playing the field for such students, who often face structural and geographic barriers on their road to academic success.”

For more information, email Professor Galetz at