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Robert Rosseter
AACN Chief Communications Officer
(202) 463-6930 ext. 231



About the American Association of Colleges of Nursing
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is the national voice for academic nursing representing more than 850 schools of nursing nationwide. AACN establishes quality standards for nursing education, influences the nursing profession to improve health care, and promotes public support of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education, research, and practice. 



AACN Announces New Scholarship for GNSA Members

Published August 26, 2014

AACN & CertifiedBackground Create New Scholarship 
Exclusively for Graduate Nursing Student Academy Members

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 26, 2014 – The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is pleased to announce that CertifiedBackground has committed $50,000 over the next five years to providing scholarships to members of the Graduate Nursing Student Academy (GNSA).  This new funding will support master’s and doctoral nursing students who are working to advance the profession through a commitment to innovation, leadership, and/or mentoring. Since 2005, AACN has partnered with CertifiedBackground to provide background screening and compliance management solutions to AACN member schools.

“AACN applauds CertifiedBackground for helping to develop the next generation of nursing leaders through their generous support of this new scholarship offered exclusively for GNSA members,” said AACN President Eileen T. Breslin. "Given the nation’s great need more highly educated nurses, we hope this new program will serve as a model for other businesses and agencies looking to join with AACN to actively support graduate nursing students working to complete their education.”

In addition to commencing this new program, CertifiedBackground also has committed $200,000 to extending an existing scholarship program with AACN that awards funding to outstanding students in baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral nursing programs. The partnering organizations have agreed to rename this scholarship in honor of Dr. Geraldine “Polly” Bednash, who recently retired as AACN’s Chief Executive Officer following 28 years of distinguished service to the organization.

“CertifiedBackground is pleased to support AACN and its mission to ensure excellence in the future of healthcare and professional nursing practice,” said Joe Finley, President of CastleBranch, Inc., the corporate parent for the CertifiedBackground brand. “These scholarship programs are a significant part of our support of this mission.  We are very proud of our long-term relationship with AACN. And, we are honored to provide our expertise to AACN members as they navigate the evolving world of compliance management as it relates to student screening in preparation for program enrollment and the clinical experience.”

With the first awards presented this fall, four $2,500 scholarships will be available to GNSA members each year (two disbursed in the fall and two in the spring).  Interested applicants must complete an application form found on the AACN website, which includes submitting a 500-word essay and one academic or professional reference. Winners will be selected based on their academic standing and on the basis of their essay, which must address their commitment and/or contribution to nursing innovation, leadership, and/or peer mentoring. Funding from the CertifiedBackground-GNSA scholarship may be used to cover academic and/or life expenses. For complete details, see the scholarship page.

AACN launched the Graduate Nursing Student Academy in 2012 to provide high-value programs, services, and resources to nursing students enrolled in master’s and doctoral programs. With more than 8,000 members enrolled, the GNSA serves the professional development needs of graduate nursing students as they prepare for future careers as faculty members, researchers, advanced practice registered nurses, policy experts, healthcare administrators, and other roles in nursing leadership. GNSA members have access to many benefits, including a free Webinar series on topics of particular interest to graduate students, funding opportunity announcements, multiple networking platforms, and a graduate nursing career board among others. Membership in the GNSA is free to all graduate nursing students enrolled in AACN member schools. To find out more about joining the GNSA, see the GNSA page.

AACN actively seeks opportunities to partner with corporate sponsors and other stakeholders to offer scholarship programs for nursing students in baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral programs.  Programs currently available include the Johnson & Johnson Campaign for Nursing’s Future-AACN Minority Faculty Scholarship, the AfterCollege-AACN Scholarship, and the Hurst Reviews-AACN Scholarship. For more details on these programs, see Those interested in establishing a scholarship program and/or partnering with AACN are encouraged to contact Robert Rosseter, Chief Communications Officer, at or 202-463-6930, ext. 231.


CertifiedBackground is the leading background screening and compliance management resource for colleges and universities nationwide providing background screening, drug testing, immunization record management, document tracking and other related compliance management solutions to over half of the nation's college and universities.  CertifiedBackground is a brand in the CastleBranch Corporation portfolio. CastleBranch is a top ten U.S. background screening and compliance management company.  The company is based in Wilmington, NC and has been in business for almost two decades. Learn more at