Nursing Students to Benefit From Grants Totaling $136,000

Published 10.01.2004

Student News

From left, are Lauren B. Vanderlin of Montoursville, a nursing student who received grant funds last year%3B Paul H. Rooney Jr., a member of the Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania Board of Directors and the Penn College Foundation Board%3B John Comerford, western region director for Blue Cross%3B Pamela L. Starcher, director of nursing at Penn College%3B and nursing student Leann M. Wetzel of Williamsport.For the second consecutive year, Pennsylvania College of Technology's Nursing Program has received a grant from the Pennsylvania Higher Education Foundation to help students pay for college expenses.

The program was awarded $54,000 last year, and it received $100,000 from PHEF this year. From the $100,000 pool, the Nursing Program will award grants to eligible students whose other financial aid does not cover all schooling costs.

"The whole purpose is to prevent attrition related to economic problems," said Pamela L. Starcher, director of nursing at Penn College.

In addition to the $100,000 provided by PHEF, Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania provided more than $36,000 to be distributed in the same manner to Penn College Nursing students from Bradford, Carbon, Clinton, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Lycoming, Monroe, Pike, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Wayne and Wyoming counties.

"We worked closely with PHEAA and Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania to create and fund a program that specifically addresses the needs of nursing students," said PHEF President and Chief Executive Officer Michael H. Hershock. "With the average student-loan debt of a nursing student exceeding $18,000, cost can be a huge deterrent to students as they are choosing a career path. Pennsylvania needs qualified nursing care, and this program is working to create that."

The funds are available to students in all three of Penn College's Nursing majors, which include Practical Nursing, Registered Nurse Preparation and a bachelor-of-science Nursing major for already-licensed registered nurses.

Recipients are chosen based on financial need, and they may use the funds for any required college expense, whether it's paying for tuition or purchasing their cap and gown from The College Store, Starcher said.

"There's a close relationship between nurses and patient outcomes," said Denise S. Cesare, president and CEO of Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania. "Financially supporting future caregivers helps ensure a strong future for our community's health-care organizations and positive outcomes for the people they serve."

To be eligible for a grant, applicants must qualify for financial aid, maintain at least a 2.0 grade-point average and may not be in default on any student loans. Students whose expenses are already covered by grants and students who are related to a person who serves on the selection committee are not eligible.

If any funds from the $136,000 appropriation are left, students may apply for more aid to cover the fee for their nursing license exam, which costs $270.

For more information about the academic programs offered at the School of Health Sciences at Penn College, call (570) 327-4519, send e-mail or visit on the Web.