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Cal State Fullerton’s Nursing Program to Boost O.C. Workforce With $5 Million Grant from CalOptima Health

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More nursing students can complete their undergraduate training at Cal State Fullerton each year thanks to a five-year, $5 million grant from CalOptima Health supporting the university’s nursing programs.

CalOptima Health’s funding increases the number of students with associate degrees in nursing who can complete their Bachelor of Science in Nursing at CSUF, through School of Nursing programs like Jump Start and Concurrent Enrollment.

CalOptima Health was on campus this week to celebrate the partnership in Cal State Fullerton’s state-of-the-art simulation lab. The university plans to award $10,000 stipends to 50 nursing students each year to complete their BSN, a total of 250 students across the five-year program.

The grant also supports the expansion of Jump Start and Concurrent Enrollment program courses, as well as administrative management of the stipends.

“The CalOptima Health grant will assist community college nursing students and graduates enrolled here at Cal State Fullerton with critical financial support that will speed their acquisition of the baccalaureate in nursing,” said Penny Weismuller, director of CSUF’s School of Nursing. “Increasing the numbers of our Fullerton BSN graduates will benefit the nursing workforce in Orange County.”

John Jadia, CSUF nursing student and Class of 2024 graduate, says the stipends will provide much needed help to future nursing students.

“Nursing is a very demanding degree,” Jadia said. “Any help to allow students to concentrate on studies is huge. This grant will alleviate some stress and allow students to focus on accomplishing their goals.”

The grant is part of the five-year, $50 million CalOptima Health Provider Workforce Development Initiative designed to close gaps and shortages in Orange County’s health care workforce. In addition to Cal State Fullerton, CalOptima Health’s initiative will aid nursing programs at six other area educational institutions or groups: UC Irvine, Concordia University, Chapman University, Coast Community College District, Santiago Canyon College, and Orange County United Way.

CSUF’s Jump Start and Concurrent Enrollment programs are longstanding partnerships with local community colleges that enable Associate Degree in Nursing graduates to take courses that count toward their bachelor’s degree, thus shortening the time to earn their Cal State Fullerton degree and enter the workforce. In 2019, CSUF approved an agreement with Cal State San Bernardino and Riverside City College formalizing a plan for a dual-enrollment cohort program.