Florida A&M will receive nearly $1.2 million in federal stimulus funds, which will be used to train and educate additional healthcare professionals.
The funds have been made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, signed into law in February by President Obama.
Some of the provisions of this act include health coverage tax credits, deductions for new vehicle purchases, energy efficiency/renewable energy incentives and enhanced benefits for college savings plans.
“The funding announced last week for FAMU is part of the $500 million total for the state of Florida, with the specific goal of expanding the training of healthcare professionals,” said Melanie Morris, chief of staff for Congressman Allen Boyd, one of the major supporters for the stimulus package.
“Health and education are our nation’s greatest capital assets, and this funding will help us to continue to provide quality healthcare and education for North Florida residents,” Congressman Boyd said in a statement.
Over the long term, these funds will help train and produce more healthcare workers, in order to address the workforce shortages in North Florida and elsewhere in the state, said Boyd.
The funds will be used primarily for scholarships for students interested in the public health, toxicology, biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental health, nutrition, or maternal and child health fields.
The stimulus funds raise the scholarship budget for these programs $1.2 million allotted to $2.4 million.
“The most exciting thing is that we can now double scholarships for students this year,” said Henry Lewis, dean of the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.
The College of Pharmacy’s total scholarship budget at the beginning of the year was $650,000, said Lewis.
“These scholarships are available for disadvantaged students in the colleges of Pharmacy, Nursing and Allied Health Services,” Lewis said. “In the school of Pharmacy alone, there are 140 students eligible for the scholarships.”
Lewis added that $1.2 million will be split among the three colleges.
“It’ll keep people from having to scramble to get scholarship money once their scholarships run out,” said Tariq Muhammad, 17, a pre-pharmacy student from Houston.
Pharmacy is a six-year program, and most scholarships only renew for four years.
According to the honors department, a large percentage of students relying on scholarships are pharmacy students. Many of the scholarships expire for students after the first year.
However, that same problem may persist with the funds awarded this year.
“Stimulus funds are awarded one year at a time, meaning we may or may not receive these funds for the next school year,” Lewis said.
“I think it’s great that we got the money,” said Jaslyn Adams, 19, a second-year pre-pharmacy student from Valdosta, Ga. “I just hope it gets applied to the necessary areas and not just to say we have more money.”