More than $1 million in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is helping disadvantaged students at Northern Arizona University complete their education in high demand health professions fields.

The funding, awarded by the Health Resources and Services Administration, provided scholarships to 68 nursing and dental hygiene students from economically or educationally disadvantaged backgrounds.

“The scholarships help eliminate financial barriers for so many of our students, but equally important are the opportunities this education funding brings to the underserved populations in our region,” said Denise Helm, associate dean of the college and author of the grant. “Many of our students come to NAU from outlying areas that are medically underserved. They not only train in these communities, but our graduates often return there to live and work, helping meet the health care needs of rural Arizonans.”

This is the fifth year the college has received federal funding to provide scholarships. More than 470 health professions students who likely could not have afforded higher education have benefitted.