Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Pennsylvania Higher Education Foundation gave $12 million in Nursing Grants for 2008-2009

The Pennsylvania Higher Education Foundation (PHEF) Board of Directors today announced funding allocations for its Nursing Education Grants for the 2008-09 academic year. PHEF will distribute the grants to Pennsylvania nursing education schools statewide to assist in the creation and retention of new nursing students and nurse educators.

LPN and RN programs at 127 Pennsylvania Schools of Nursing will receive a total of $10.4 million while 35 Graduate Schools of Nursing will share $3 million in grant funding. The Nursing Education Grant awards for individual nursing schools will be announced in July.

“The Foundation has contributed more than $66 million through its various programs in support of Pennsylvania nursing students since 2003,” said Representative William Adolph, Foundation Board member. “It is vitally important that we continue assisting students and nursing schools because the health of our citizens is ultimately at stake.”

“The beauty of the Foundation's student aid programs is that they are privately-funded by generous donors from the healthcare community as well as private individuals,” noted Senator Sean Logan. “In today's difficult economic environment it would be extremely difficult for the State to fund these important programs that are so vital to the health of our citizens.”

The PHEF Nursing Education Grant Program was created to help reverse Pennsylvania's nursing shortage by generating non-taxpayer supported funding which otherwise is not available to schools of nursing. This funding, in turn, helps Pennsylvania schools increase the recruitment and retention rates of their nursing programs, providing more qualified nurses for the citizens of Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania nursing schools must submit an award proposal to PHEF to receive Nursing Education Grants. Once approved, the nursing schools administer and distribute the awards to their qualifying students based on their unique awarding criteria. Nursing students should contact their school's financial aid office or nursing department for eligibility information.

In addition to the funding for the Nursing Education Grants, the PHEF Board approved more than $1 million to provide awards through the Dr. Edna McKenzie Scholarship for Disadvantaged Students program. Ninety-seven Pennsylvania schools of nursing will each receive $10,310 in scholarship money. The scholarship is named for the late Dr. Edna McKenzie, a distinguished educator, long-time member of the PHEF Board, and noted African American historian.

PHEF was created five years ago and began offering financial support shortly thereafter to help students afford their nursing education. The Foundation currently offers numerous aid programs for students, including:

- Nursing Education Grants
- Nurse Scholars Program for graduate nursing students
- Low-income Nursing Students Tax Credit Program
- Graduate Nurse Education Grant
- Nursing Faculty Development Grants
- Dr. Edna B. McKenzie Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students
- The Foundation also supports the Big 33 Nursing Scholarship Program and the Pennsylvania Chapter of the Health Occupation Students of America (Penn Hosa) Scholarship Program

“Nursing students frequently tell me how important these awards are to them,” said Elinor Z. Taylor, PHEF Board Chairman. “Sometimes the Foundation's awards make the difference between continuing their program of study or dropping out. With the shortage of nurses we are experiencing, every nursing student that graduates is important.”

For more information on PHEF's student aid programs for nursing students, visit FuturesInNursing.org.

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