Yale School of Nursing Receives Historic Gift for Scholarships

October 17, 2023

Dean Emami announced the historic $11.1 million gift at the Centennial kickoff. President Salovey shared that the university will match the amount.

The school has announced the largest single gift in its 100-year history, supporting YSN Community Scholars.

Yale School of Nursing (YSN) has received a landmark gift—the largest single donation in the school’s history. The $11.1 million gift from a generous anonymous donor was announced on September 21 by YSN dean Azita Emami at an event kicking off the school’s yearlong centennial celebration (September 2023–May 2024). 

This endowed gift will support the YSN Community Scholars program, providing full-tuition scholarships to six students each year in the Master of Science in Nursing (RN-MSN) program for experienced nurses or the Graduate Entry Pre-Specialty in Nursing (GEPN) program designed for college graduates with non-nursing backgrounds. 

Community Scholars are selected with consideration for both academic achievement and financial need, as well as a commitment to working with underserved communities and reducing health disparities among them. 

“This unprecedented commitment will have a direct impact on students now and well into the future,” says Dean Emami. “YSN’s mission is better health for all people, and the Community Scholars Program is a signature effort toward making health equity a reality for all the populations we serve. Our students, our faculty, and our school refuse to accept that the status quo of longstanding and shameful health disparities is inevitable and unchangeable. This remarkable gift can put Yale within reach for applicants who show great promise as future nursing leaders but who might not otherwise afford a YSN education. Community Scholars will act as multipliers anywhere they choose to practice, advancing the goal of making healthcare more accessible for everyone.”

Dean Emami also hailed the Community Scholars Program as helping to address a national nursing shortage and an effort to incorporate YSN programs as part of the solution. She pointed out that currently, the cost of an advanced practice nursing course of study is a prohibitive factor, especially for students from historically underserved communities or who are looking to practice in those areas. Currently, Yale nurses graduate with six figures of debt, a burden that makes it more difficult to build a career in areas that cannot afford to pay higher salaries. YSN aims to eventually offer a debt-free education for all students with financial need, and the record-setting gift brings the school closer to that goal.

“As Yale School of Nursing marks its hundredth anniversary, this wonderful gift supports a top priority for the school—becoming more affordable to students from all backgrounds,” says Yale President Peter Salovey ’86 PhD. “YSN was the first school within a university to offer nurses a full educational experience rather than an apprenticeship program, and it has continued in that groundbreaking spirit for the century since, shaping nursing in the United States. By ensuring the most talented students can afford to attend and graduate without significant debt, YSN will continue to be a leader in educating nurses and midwives who can meet the demands of the next century.” 

The gift will be met with an equal contribution from the university, for a total of $22.2 million, as part of a fundraising challenge within the For Humanity campaign. For every endowed gift made to the School of Nursing, the university will contribute an equal amount to the school’s general endowment, up to $50 million. Similar incentives for endowed gifts exist at Yale School of Medicine and Yale School of Public Health.

Within the $7 billion For Humanity campaign, Yale has set a goal to raise $1.2 billion for scholarships and fellowships across the university. Since the launch of the campaign in fall 2021, alumni, parents, and friends have given more than $800 million toward that goal.