– The College of St. Scholastica has been awarded nearly $4 million in grants, the largest sum in the school’s history.

The School of Nursing picked up a $2.79 million federal grant that will boost the Advanced Nurse Education Workforce initiative. Doctor of nursing practice students will work with Essentia Health nurse practitioners in clinical settings around the region, and “the ultimate goal of the project is to recruit and retain nurse practitioner graduates who are doctorally-prepared in rural and medically underserved communities,” the school said in a news release.

The private, St. Paul-based Manitou Fund is also giving $1.125 million for “major renovations to the nursing department’s learning spaces, creating state-of-the-art, hands-on educational experiences for students,” the college said. The upgrades will be complete by 2021.

Health care is the College of St. Scholastica’s largest area of focus, and in the 2017-2018 school year 403 registered nursing bachelor’s degrees were awarded, according to federal data.

The Benedictine college was founded in Duluth in 1912 and has branch locations around the state.