NURSES Program

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Nursing for Underserved Rural Students Seeking Educational Success

The NURSES program is funded by a $1.64 million Health Resources and Services Administration Nursing Workforce Diversity grant aimed at addressing the shortage of diverse nurses working in rural areas. Viterbo University hopes to address this shortage by training more nurses to tackle the unique health issues facing rural populations, with the goal of improving health outcomes in these underserved communities.

Through the NURSES program, eligible students may qualify for scholarships, summer immersion experiences, academic support, peer mentoring, student employment, rural clinical site placements, and other high impact experiences.

To be eligible for the NURSES program, an entering first year student will:
  • be enrolled in a high school within a 100 mile radius of La Crosse, in a county that meets the HRSA definition of rural. Not sure if you qualify? Search your school's address here.
  • be admitted to Viterbo for nursing on a direct admission, traditional admission, or pre-nursing track.
  • complete the FAFSA.
  • demonstrate financial need.

Preference will be given to an applicant who:

  • is a member of an underrepresented minority group.
  • has the greatest financial need.
  • articulates a career interest in rural health nursing.
To apply for the NURSES program you must:
  • submit a completed application to Viterbo University and be accepted for admission. Free online application at
  • complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at and send the FAFSA to Viterbo University using our federal school code: 003911.
  • submit the Viterbo University Scholarship Application which opens in October. Preference will be given to students who apply by Jan. 15 of each year. Students who apply after Jan. 15 will be accepted as space allows.
  • prior to selection, applicants will interview (in person or by phone) with a member of the NURSES team and an admission counselor. Part of the interview will ask the applicant to reflect on their interest in the nursing profession and rural health.
Rewards of being a Viterbo NURSES student
  • Scholarships – NURSES students will be awarded scholarship funds of up to $2,500 per semester ($5000 per academic year) based on need. Scholarships are renewable through the duration of the grant as long as the student remains in good standing in the nursing program.
  • Summer Immersion Program – Prior to the start of the academic year, NURSES students will participate in a four-night, five-day summer immersion program. The program will be focused on developing strategies for college success, exploring career opportunities in nursing, and participating in leadership and team building activities.
  • Stipends – stipends of $1000 per year per student will be provided to offset the costs of books, living expenses, and travel. Students will receive an additional stipend of $500 when they complete a clinical experience in a rural location in their sophomore, junior, or senior year to offset travel and/or living expenses.
  • Student Employment – NURSES students in their sophomore, junior, and senior year will have the option to serve as paid peer mentors, tutors, or student outreach ambassadors to the next cohort of students.
  • NURSES Success Courses – NURSES students will enroll in new courses developed for the program:
    • first year NURSES students complete a success course which includes study skills workshops, test debriefs, introductions to campus resources, job exploration, and other academic supports as needed, as well as sessions with peer mentors/tutors in math and sciences courses for individualized help.
    • second year NURSES students will complete a 15-week, one credit course designed to introduce students to diverse career options in the nursing field. The course will include guest lectures from employers or partner organizations, a job shadowing experience, and informational interviewing sessions with a minimum of three practicing nurses. Students in the course will be assigned a professional mentor with whom they will meet monthly for the semester.
    • third and fourth year NURSES students will be assigned to clinical sites located in rural communities or complete an immersion experience in a rural facility.
For more information about the NURSES program, contact:

Nicole Weydt, MA, RN
NURSES Project Coordinator


This project is/was supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number D19HP30864, Nursing Workforce Diversity for $1.64 million. This information or content and conclusions should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government.