Direct Loan Will Help Address Maine’s Nursing Shortfall
At its March 16, 2017 monthly board meeting, the members of the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) approved direct loan financing of $400,000 for Beal Education, LLC (“Beal College”) of Bangor for working capital and equipment purchases to help the institution establish a new school of nursing. FAME’s actions are expected to help create six new jobs and retain an additional thirty-five jobs.
Beal College’s new nursing program seeks to address the expected workforce shortage of nurses in Maine in the coming years. According to labor statistics, forty-three percent of Maine’s nursing workforce is at or approaching retirement age, to the point where the state will lose approximately 3,000 nurses from its workforce within the next eight years. One solution is to train new nurses to help fill this gap. The college plans to begin offering Registered Nurse Associate’s Degree classes in the Fall of 2017. Beal College has entered into a strategic partnership with Eastern Maine Medical Center. The Bangor-area hospital will donate the equipment necessary to set up a nursing lab at the school, and will provide clinical rotations for students and classroom space as needed.
Founded in 1891 as the Bangor Business College, Beal College is a licensed and accredited junior college located in Bangor. It offers a unique twelve-month school year with six individual terms. The current student population is approximately 320, the majority of which is enrolled in health care and social services degree programs.
“FAME is pleased to assist Beal College’s plans to establish a nursing degree program in order to address the expected shortage of nurses in the state, thereby helping to meet the workforce training and educational needs of Maine students and our economy,” stated FAME CEO Bruce Wagner. “We wish the school all the best with its future plans for continued success.”
For the past ten years, Beal College has been a leader in its efforts to promote financial education and debt management. Beal has participated in FAME’s Salt® program for the past five years. The Salt program is a web and counseling-based tool that instructs students and graduates on strategies to manage money and student debt. Beal College is an ardent supporter of the program. Beal students engage in the Salt curriculum at a rate nearly four times the national average. FAME’s assistance with establishing the nursing program further extends their dedication and support of Beal College.
“We are grateful for FAME’s assistance with establishing our new nursing program,” said Sheryl DeWalt, CPA and Beal College President. “This financing will help us address a critical nursing workforce shortage in order to meet the higher education and workforce needs of Mainers.”
The FAME Direct Loan helps new or existing businesses with flexible gap financing. Offered for maximum terms of five years at an interest rate of Prime plus 2%, the loans range from less than $500,000 up to $1 million dollars for projects involving substantial public benefit.