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Kaiser Significantly Increases Loan Repayment Gift for MSMU Nursing Students

Feb. 10, 2006 -- Kaiser Permanente, which pioneered a program in 2005 to help nursing students pay off student loans in exchange for a guaranteed pool of nurses for its hospitals, announced in January that it is significantly increasing its financial backing to nurses in training at Mount Saint Mary’s University (MSMU), Los Angeles.

Approximately 25 students in a one-year accelerated nursing program at MSMU will have up to 75 percent of their tuitions paid through an $850,000 gift from Kaiser Permanente in an effort to attract quality nurses quickly and ease a severe staffing shortage. Kaiser also applied for a nearly $250,000 state grant on behalf of Mount Saint Mary’s University for nursing student scholarships and faculty stipends. The money was recently awarded to the college.

In 2005, Kaiser gave MSMU $440,000 to implement a student loan repayment program, which covered part of the cost of tuition for 17 nursing students in a one-year accelerated nursing program. In exchange, students are working at Kaiser hospitals for two years.

“We are proud to be partners with the Kaiser Foundation,” said MSMU President Jacqueline Powers Doud. “Their generous financial assistance to our students will enable Mount St. Mary’s to prepare more nurses in a time of great need in our community.”

Maureen Casamiquela, regional program manager of the Kaiser Foundation Hospitals Patient Care Services, said Mount students will be embraced by Kaiser. “With the forgivable loan program, we are doing something totally unique to help students become Kaiser Permanente nurses,” she said. “It is one of the many innovative initiatives we have implemented to address the California nursing shortage, which is a huge crisis.”

According to the California Healthcare Association, California ranks 49th in the nation in terms of the number of RNs per capita – with 585 RNs per 100,000 population, compared to the national average of 798 RNs per 100,000 population. Only Nevada has fewer RNs per capita than California.

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