A $100,000 grant from the Trellis Foundation will help support stipends for students in the accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program at the Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing (GGHSON) at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at El Paso (TTUHSC). These funds will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the Texas Workforce Commission’s Texas Industry Partnership (TIP) program, administered through Workforce Solutions Borderplex.
According to TTUHSC El Paso, the average undergraduate nursing student in the accelerated program has over $5,000 per semester in costs that are not covered by federal or state financial aid. The stipends provided through this grant will help address this need, allowing students to reduce work time outside of class, to graduate on time with less debt, and to obtain a high-paying, high-demand job as a registered nurse.
“With the perspective that has come from addressing the current pandemic, what stood out as a particular strength of this program is its reliance on community-wide partnership,” said Kristin Boyer, executive director for Trellis Foundation. “The strong start provided through educational partners in the region’s Early College High Schools and EPCC, the mentoring and connections students receive from Project ARRIBA, and the links to employment through the healthcare providers and Workforce Solutions Borderplex all speak to the commitment of the El Paso community to invest in the future.”
Students who are in the final three semesters of their program will be eligible for the new stipends beginning this summer. TTUHSC El Paso will monitor students’ progress and completion rates with the goal of securing additional funding to continue the program beyond the 2021 academic year.
“We believe that these stipends will be a game-changer for our students,” said Dr. Stephanie Woods, Dean of the GGHSON. “Students piece together financial aid, loans, and part- to full-time work to make it through nursing school. Every dollar that does not require time stolen from studying or adds to additional debt is a gift to them. It’s just one more part of the safety net we are weaving for them.”
Ms. Achilles joined Trellis Foundation (then Trellis Company/TG) in 2013 with nearly a decade of higher education service in various capacities, including student affairs and study abroad advising. Ms. Achilles serves on the Central Texas Education Funders Network steering committee and as co-chair for the Grantmakers for Education Data Impact Group. She previously served on the Membership Committee for the National Scholarship Providers Association from 2015-2017. She also leads the board of directors for a nonprofit dance and wellness studio in Austin.
She earned a bachelor’s of science in communication from Lamar University and master’s degrees from the University of Texas at Austin in journalism and public policy, with a focus on nonprofit studies.