New Directions Scholarship Provides an Accelerated Pathway to Nursing

CONCORD, N.C. – Cabarrus College of Health Sciences has launched the New Directions Scholarship, a scholarship designed to give students who have a previous bachelor’s degree an opportunity to pursue an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) degree. Full-time students (12 credit hours or more) with a 3.25 GPA or higher (from their most immediate previous bachelor’s degree) and demonstrated need of $6,000 or more, can receive up to $3,000 per academic year. The only thing that needs to be done by the student is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). There is no need for an application or essay. 

“We are delighted to offer the New Directions Scholarship as part of our financial aid package options as we continue working with students to minimize out-of-pocket costs,” said Dr. Cam Cruickshank, Cabarrus College President.

In recent years, the college noticed a growing trend of students who wanted to change their career paths into the nursing field. These students came from diverse backgrounds and disciplines, such as business, education, engineering, psychology, and more. They had a common desire to use their skills and knowledge to improve the health outcomes of individuals and populations.

Getting a second degree can offer many rewards and opportunities, but it also presents a significant challenge of how to pay for it. The cost of higher education is rising, and the financial aid options for students who already have a bachelor’s degree are limited. Federal and state aid, such as grants and loans, are often restricted or unavailable for second degree students. Scholarships and grants from other sources are also scarce and competitive.

This means that many second-degree students must rely on their own savings, family support, or private loans to pay for their education. This can create a heavy financial burden and stress for the students and their families. It can also deter some students from pursuing their dreams of becoming healthcare professionals.

“This scholarship is a way of investing in the future of healthcare and our community. It’s not only a financial aid, but also a source of inspiration, encouragement, and empowerment for second degree students,” said Dr. Cruickshank.

The ABSN program is designed to be flexible, rigorous, and relevant for second degree students. It offers hybrid options and can be completed in as little as four semesters. Students gain hands-on clinical experience starting as early as the first semester, enabling them to apply concepts they learned in class right away. The program also provides opportunities for interprofessional collaboration on an Atrium Health hospital-based campus.

Clinical experiences will be conducted in a variety of acute care and outpatient facilities. Supervised clinical experiences begin very early in the program and will allow students to work with clinical faculty and staff nurses to provide high-quality care for patients. The final semester will include a practicum experience designed to allow students to work with a nurse preceptor to manage care for a group of patients.

In addition to the New Directions Scholarship, Cabarrus College offers a Second Bachelor’s Degree Bridge Course Tuition Discount. This includes a 75 percent tuition discount that is awarded to new undergraduate students with a previous bachelor’s degree, who have applied to the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program at Cabarrus College. There must be a need to complete pre-requisite “bridge” courses to finalize their application. Students must enroll as a non-degree student in bridge courses necessary for admission consideration and there is a 16-credit limit.