Webster University Receives Over $1 Million in Federal Funds for Nursing and STEM Programs

Webster UniversityST. LOUIS – Webster University was awarded $1.025 million in federal funds to increase the accessibility to its nationally ranked master’s programs in Nursing and Counseling, its Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice, and its bachelor’s programs in Chemistry, Biology, Nursing and Psychology. The funding was part of the $1.7 trillion funding bill passed by Congress and signed by President Biden on Friday.

Webster will use the funds to upgrade technology used by students who currently work in nursing or other STEM fields and are pursuing advanced degrees or are students in STEM programs who live in rural areas of Missouri. The government is helping fund the technological upgrades in order to address a critical shortage of nurses and employees with science backgrounds in the region.

"This grant enables Webster to prepare more of the state's residents for roles essential to Missouri's economic health and prosperity,” said Webster University Chancellor Elizabeth (Beth) J. Stroble. “As Webster has strengthened our academic programs in STEM fields and health professions, we are eager to expand access to students across the state. The technological resources offered through this funding will create opportunities for Webster students, especially those who live in rural areas where high-speed internet can be difficult to access, or those who have full-time jobs and families, to pursue advanced degrees that will benefit their futures and their communities.”

The Missouri Economic Research Information Center (MERIC) forecasts that demand for those with training in health, physical and social science occupations in Missouri will increase by 6.3%. Healthcare practitioner and med-tech occupations are expected to increase by 13% overall, with the demand for registered nurses increasing by 16.2%, and nurse Anesthetist growing by 17.4%. MERIC also forecasts that the demand for those with healthcare and social assistance training will grow by 16%, with psychiatric and substance abuse counseling expanding by 12.8%, and residential mental health facilities growing by 19.2%. Currently, the growth in employees with training in those subjects is far below the expected demand.

“One of the lessons learned from the pandemic is that access to our online programs offered either synchronously or asynchronously is only as good as the technology that is available to our students. In order to attract more students into health-related programs, we must make it easier for those students to participate, regardless of where they live or work,” said Webster University President Julian Z. Schuster. “In line with the University’s history of offering education to those who normally encounter barriers to participating in degree programs, the funding provided by the Federal Government will greatly improve access and create paths to the technology and resources our students require to succeed in their educational pursuits.”

Webster University will use the funding to:

·       Expand its virtual servers, thus allowing more students to log in virtual classrooms and access necessary educational materials.

·       Purchase licenses needed to offer students access to specific programs.

·       Build a virtual library with reference materials for students.

·       Build a health record system to address the mental health of students throughout the University.

·       Purchase laptops for use by remote-learning students.

·       Purchase mobile hotspots to increase wireless stability and faster access to virtual classrooms.

·       Expand parts of Webster’s IT department that support remote learning.

To learn more about Webster’s nursing and STEM programs, visit https://www.webster.edu/science-health/.

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