The business shutdowns and mandatory social distancing from the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic brought the country’s economy to the brink. Last week, the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act of 2019 was included as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act’s comprehensive, landmark legislation. The $2 trillion aid package was geared to promote public health and boost economic confidence.  

This is the third part of what is likely to be a multipronged policy to redirect health and the economy during the pandemic. As last-minute adjustments and clarification are made to the bill, the president urged the U.S. Congress to pass it immediately, which it did, and he signed the legislation into law on March 27, 2020.  

What Is Title VIII?  

The bipartisan legislation continues funding for nursing workforce development programs through 2024, which are the largest source of federal funding for nursing education, increasing the number of RNs practicing in underserved communities.  

ONS has championed Title VIII, supporting its passage in December through the U.S. House of Representatives and advocating for the bill’s advancement in the U.S. Senate.   

What It Includes  

  • Advanced nursing education for nurses in nursing schools, academic health centers, and other institutions who are pursuing master’s and post-master’s programs, including nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified nurse midwives, certified registered nurse anesthetists, nurse educators, nurse administrators, and public health nurses  

  • The National Nurse Service Corps nurse education loan repayment program for students who practice in a facility designated as having a critical nursing shortage  

  • Nurse education, practice, and retention grants that support nurses at the associate- and baccalaureate-degree levels in schools, centers, and facilities as well as hospitals and nonprofit entities  

  • A nurse faculty loan program for advanced-degree nursing students who teach at schools of nursing to receive loan forgiveness of up to 85% of their education 

Get ONS’s latest health policy news on topics such as the CARES Act at