JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville University has partnered with the city of Palm Coast to build a campus in Flagler County and begin offering health care graduate programs to Flagler and Volusia counties, Jacksonville University President Tim Cost and Palm Coast Mayor Milissa Holland announced Tuesday.
The new JU Palm Coast Campus and the school’s main campus in Jacksonville are two anchors of what the school expects to become an education corridor stretching through Northeast Florida.
“This partnership builds on Jacksonville University’s proven strategy of attracting top-notch students, educating and training them in cutting-edge fields, and connecting them with local employers so they stay in the region,” Cost said. “With demand for healthcare professionals expected to rise 14% in the next decade and a lack of local graduate programs devoted to educating advanced specialized healthcare professionals, this investment comes at a critical time.”
The Palm Coast Campus will offer several programs including a master of science in speech language pathology, master of science in clinical mental health counseling and three specialized tracks for a master of science in nursing (MSN), including clinical nurse educator, nursing leadership in healthcare systems and nursing informatics.
Future programs are expected to include an accelerated bachelor of science in nursing, an undergraduate nursing degree for those who already have a bachelor’s degree outside of nursing and specialized graduate nurse practitioner programs. These programs are not currently offered in the region or are offered but cannot meet projected demand and represent some of the fastest-growing healthcare occupations in the country.
“This partnership cements Palm Coast as a destination for high-quality healthcare: for students, for employers and for our residents, and builds on the existing degree pipeline from Flagler Palm Coast High School’s medical flagship and offerings at Daytona State College and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University,” Holland said. “Jacksonville University is an agile, market-responsive partner with a demonstrated track record of high-quality student applicants, student retention, strong employer relationships and integration with other educational partners in the region.”
The Palm Coast City Council approved a $1.5 million grant to Jacksonville University on Tuesday, designated for initial start-up costs and program launch as well as establishing the physical campus at the Palm Coast Town Center. The initial campus footprint, located in 4,000 to 6,000 square feet of space with classroom and healthcare training technology.
The City Council also approved a three-year, $1 million forgivable loan to offset ongoing program costs. JU is already developing and acquiring curriculum and seeking accreditation for the Palm Coast location and said it will make additional direct financial investments following the first year of operation.
JU’s Palm Coast Campus is expected to enroll up to 50 students for its first classes in fall 2021 and seeking a total enrollment between 100 and 150 students within 24 months. The campus will create between 20 and 30 new jobs, including both faculty and staff positions.
More information about student applications and employment opportunities will be available in the coming months.