Durbin Announces $750,000 for National Louis University School of Nursing

CHICAGO – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today visited National Louis University (NLU) to discuss the $750,000 in federal funding he secured through Congressionally Directed Spending—more commonly known as an earmark—in the Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) omnibus appropriations bill to establish a new School of Nursing that will provide statewide capacity to educate more nurses and address the current nursing workforce shortage.

“As we confront the challenges posed by evolving health care needs, the significance of NLU’s new School of Nursing cannot be overstated,” said Durbin. “This new nursing school will increase our statewide capacity to educate and train the next generation of nurses, ensuring every patient receives the quality care they deserve.”

“We are grateful for Senator Durbin’s generous support and advocacy,” said NLU President Nivine Megahed. “This grant allows us to open doors foraspiring nurses from diverse backgrounds, equipping them with the knowledge and skills needed to become part of the solution to Illinois’ nursing shortage and the inequitable distribution of healthcare resources in underserved communities.”

Durbin authored a provision in the American Rescue Plan to invest $1 billion into the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) and Nurse Corps, which funds scholarships and loan repayment for new doctors, nurses, dentists, and behavioral health clinicians who commit to serve in rural and urban areas of need. Medical professionals can graduate with student debt of more than $200,000, which can discourage them from pursuing these careers in the first place, or lead to them choosing to practice in high-paying specialties or in more affluent and urban areas. The NHSC program helps build the pipeline of new health providers and surge them to shortage areas. Durbin and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) also introduced the Restoring America’s Health Care Workforce and Readiness Act to increase the annual NHSC mandatory funding level, and the FY24 appropriations minibus that passed earlier this month included a provision to increase this funding to $364 million (a $54 million increase).

Durbin and U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced the Nurse Faculty Shortage Reduction Act to address the pay gap between clinical and faculty nursing positions—which is the primary economic disincentive fueling the nursing shortage crisis across the country.