COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA) — South Carolina lawmakers allocated $10 million in this year’s budget to help the state’s public colleges and universities recruit and retain more nursing faculty.

The General Assembly tasked the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education (CHE) with divvying out the funds from the 2022 Higher Education Nursing initiative.

Last week, CHE announced they’ll be using half of the money to supplement the salaries of nursing faculty at public universities, colleges and technical colleges with accredited nursing programs.

Workforce Development Manager Richard Davis said one of the known barriers to nursing education is a pay gap between nursing faculty positions and higher-paying clinical nursing positions.

According to Davis, the goal of the funding is to stimulate interest in nursing faculty positions and effectively broaden the state’s capacity to instruct more nursing students.

“This is really part of a public health issue,” Davis explained. “Ensuring we focus at least in the short term on faculty and making sure we have top-notch faculty, we’ll have top-notch graduates. And those top-notch graduates will be working for our loved ones, our parents and our children.”

South Carolina is in the midst of a nursing shortage. Davis said the investment will hopefully lead to more nurses in the workforce in the state.

CHE said the other half of the money will be used to provide tuition reimbursement or scholarships for students who enroll in graduate-level nurse educator programs and agree to work a faculty role in a state nursing program after graduation for a set amount of time. ​

Officials estimate there are about 12,000 students enrolled at accredited nursing programs at public South Carolina colleges and universities.

A breakdown of how much each school will receive for the salary supplements is below:

Source: CHE