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UST Receives $3.25 Million Grant for Nursing

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded the University of St. Thomas in Houston a $3.25 million grant to increase the number of Hispanic and economically disadvantaged students through the development of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program.

The grant is part of the Education Strengthening Institutions – Hispanic Serving Institutions Program (Title V) grant which will support the University’s current efforts to expand the pipeline of nursing students and improve access for Hispanic and low-income students to a high-demand program.  In addition,  the grant provides for development of a state-of-the-art Nursing Simulation Center, as well as pilot a Nursing Success Center to ensure academic success for all nursing students. 

The University of St. Thomas has begun the planning to reopen the School of Nursing to address the growing shortage of nurses nationwide. Following approval by the Board of Directors and accreditation by the Texas Board of Nursing, the University expects to begin offering a BSN degree and enrolling the first class of nursing students in the fall of 2012. Hiring Dr. Poldi Tschirch as the director of Nursing Program Development was part of the University’s first phase of the a three-phase startup that includes plans to raise $25 million to build and endow the School, prepare for accreditation and begin faculty and student recruiting.

            Tschirch will also serve as Title V Program director. “This grant will provide University of St. Thomas with vital resources to help us reopen the nursing school,” Tschirch said.  “Our goal is to create an outstanding BSN degree program in Houston that will prepare graduates to meet the healthcare needs of the public in a rapidly changing healthcare system.”

            Title V Programs expand educational opportunities and improve the academic attainment of Hispanic students. These programs enhance the academic offerings, program quality and institutional stability of colleges and universities that are educating the majority of Hispanic college students.

“To receive a grant of this size in such a competitive area provides the University of St. Thomas with the capability to offer a quality nursing degree program and recognizes its impressive potential impact on our students and on the Houston community,” said St. Thomas President Dr. Robert Ivany. “Preparing our students for nursing as a healing ministry complements the University of St. Thomas’ unique mission. As a faith-based institution, located only minutes from the Texas Medical Center and other hospitals and clinics, we can provide the highly educated and inspired nurses who are in such great demand.”

Building on the mission of the University of St. Thomas and its founders, the Basilian Fathers, and nourished by the historic traditions of Catholic nursing education, the University of St. Thomas School of Nursing will educate nurses intellectually, morally, and spiritually in the art and science of nursing as a compassionate healing ministry.

The University of St. Thomas is Houston's first and only Catholic university. St. Thomas, dedicated to educating leaders of faith and character, is committed to the religious, ethical, and intellectual traditions of Catholic higher education and welcomes students of all faiths. UST is a designated Hispanic Serving Institution located in the Museum District in downtown Houston, less than two miles from the world renowned Texas Medical Center.

For more information on the Nursing Program, contact Dr. Poldi Tschirch at 713-525-6991. As the University continues to lay the foundation for the School of Nursing, we welcome inquiries from prospective nursing students. Please complete our inquiry form at to receive updates.