Florida Invests $125 Million Into Nurses and Nursing Education

4 Min Read Published April 3, 2023
Florida Invests $125 Million Into Nurses and Nursing Education

Source: Governor DeSantis’s Facebook

Florida recently made headlines when the Justice Department charged 25 defendants with involvement in the fake nursing diploma scam. But now, the state is getting positive press, thanks to a “historic” investment in nursing education. Florida has allocated over $125 million for nursing education, salary, and recruitment incentives. 

“There has long been a need for nurses in Florida,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said in a news release. “Especially as our state is growing, and we want to continue to support these front-line heroes.” 

Governor DeSantis has spoken favorably of nurses. Notably, his mother worked as a nurse. “Coming from a family where my mother did it for 40 years, you will make a huge impact on a lot of people,” DeSantis praised students at a press conference at Seminole State College in Sanford.

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Nursing Education in the Fastest-Growing State

After decades of rapid growth, Florida has topped the list as the fastest-growing state in the US. That’s remarkable, considering it’s also the third most populous state. A jump to the #1 spot required significant gains. 

As the population has risen, so has the nursing shortage. A report by the Florida Hospital Association predicts Florida will face a shortage of more than 59,000 nurses by 2035.

Some say the problem is not the number of nursing programs available in the state. Rather, it is the quality of nursing education. According to a report by the Florida Center for Nursing, the 2022 NCLEX pass rate tended to fall below the national average in many parts of the state. 

Source: Governor DeSantis’s Facebook

Florida’s Million Dollar Investments in Nurses and Nursing Students

Governor DeSantis has approved a state budget that allocates $125 million to support students and nursing programs. The two major vehicles for funding are:

  • Prepping Institutions, Programs, Employers, and Learners through Incentives for Nursing Education (PIPELINE) program ($100 million allocated) - offers financial incentives to colleges and universities with nursing programs based on student success.

  • Linking Industry to Nursing Education (LINE) program ($25 million allocated) - funding for schools to recruit nursing faculty and clinical preceptors for their programs.

These funds are established by law in Senate Bill 2524

“These awards will meet a critical need of our state by ensuring we continue to have high-quality nursing graduates and by creating new opportunities for Floridians interested in healthcare,” DeSantis said of the funding. 


The purpose of the PIPELINE fund is to reward excellence and performance among Florida’s nursing programs. Funds for the 2022-2023 academic year are awarded based on the following:

  • The number of program graduates by program

  • First-time NCLEX pass rate by program

  • The excellence among programs with an average first-time NCLEX pass rate above the national average. 

So far, $60 million has been distributed, of which $20 million has gone to schools with Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) programs and $40 million to schools with LPN and Registered Nursing (RN) programs. 

LINE Funding

The LINE fund is a competitive grant program that matches funds, dollar-for-dollar, with educational institutions that partner with a hospital or healthcare provider in recruitment efforts. 

Notable awards have gone to the following:

  • University of Miami – $75,000

  • Jacksonville University – $350,000

  • Nova Southeastern University – $1,762,621

  • AdventHealth University – $574,445

Funds can be used to recruit faculty or clinical preceptors to increase capacity at high-quality nursing education programs.

Source: Broward College Nursing Club’s Facebook

How FL Investments are Helping Current Nursing Students and Nurses

Much of the funding has already been disbursed, impacting current nursing students and nurses in the state. One example is Florida’s Broward College, which received $1.6 million from the PIPELINE fund.

Awards for Nursing Students

At Broward, money from PIPELINE is helping nursing students pay for their education. 

The Nursing Administrator of Broward College, Sara Turpel, told a local news outlet that the school has been able to award grants for nursing students of up to $250. Those awards, she explained, “will help students get over hurdles that are keeping them from completing the program. Maybe their car broke down, or they need a new tire.”

New Technology

In addition to giving money directly to students, schools are using funds to invest in technology. The college reportedly plans to buy a virtual reality cadaver to help students master anatomy and physiology.

Incentives for Nursing Educators

Broward College has also been able to invest in nursing educators. Current full-time nursing professors are receiving additional pay for teaching workshops to help students pass courses — like nursing math for dosage calculations. 

Faculty shortages are hindering enrollment at many US nursing schools. According to a recent report by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), US nursing schools turned away over 91,000 qualified applications from bachelor’s and graduate nursing programs in 2021 due partly to an insufficient number of faculty and clinical preceptors.

Nursing students and educators in the state are already feeling the impact of this funding. Florida’s investment is a positive sign that the state is moving in the right direction to address the nursing shortage and ensure that it will continue to provide high-quality care to its growing population.


Sarah Falcone
Sarah Falcone
Nurse.org Contributor

Sarah S. Falcone, BSN, RN, is a nurse and health content writer in Fort Worth, TX. She has worked in various settings, including Med-Surg and L&D, but home health has her heart. Sarah is a passionate advocate for moving advanced levels of care to the home, where her clients can safely receive medical treatments they need, with greater satisfaction and comfort. She focuses on patient experience, outcomes, and advancing clinical models using innovative technology to serve patients better. Sarah draws from 15 years of practicing patient care and nursing leadership, to share her own nursing experiences and expertise online. Connect with her on LinkedIn!

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