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06/29/2006
Sweeney Obtains $572,000 for Hudson Valley Community College
Federal funds will expand opportunities for local nursing students

For Immediate Release: Thursday, June 29, 2006
Contact: Melissa K. Carlson (202) 225-5614

Washington, DC - Rep. John E. Sweeney (R-Clifton Park) today announced that he has secured $572,000 for the Hudson Valley Community College Nursing Program in the Fiscal Year 2007 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Bill.

"I'm proud to deliver federal funding to help increase access to education and the quality of our health care," Congressman Sweeney said. "Hudson Valley Community College is a vital part of our community, providing students with an affordable education and the economy with an educated workforce of nurses, a field that faces increasing shortages. This federal funding will provide much needed relief to the demand for more nursing opportunities at the college."

Capital Region health care providers have been struggling with a nursing shortage in recent years, and have asked the college to expand its program. The college has been unable to expand the program, however, due to a shortage of funds.

"With the cost of curriculum for nursing far exceeding state aid levels and state-mandated tuition levels, any expansion of the program would have to be dependent on new funding sources," said Hudson Valley Community College President Andrew J. Matonak. "This has been a vexing issue for us and for our health-care partners. On the one hand, the college's Nursing program is continually at full capacity, and many qualified local students have been unable to gain immediate admission to the program. On the other hand, local hospitals have had to recruit nurses from other countries. We are so pleased that Congressman Sweeney has had the foresight ability to help us address the issue."

This infusion of federal funds allows the college to begin to address the revenue gap and add 32 more students to its program. President Matonak said he hopes the federal grant will act as seed money for further investment from the private sector. "If our health care partners continue to feel a pinch for nurses, we would like to be able to continue the program beyond four years and permanently expand the size of our Nursing program."

The Nursing program at Hudson Valley Community College, which currently graduates approximately 60 nurses per year, has a reputation for excellence and is accredited by the National League of Nursing Accrediting Commission. The Class of 2005 had a 93.4 percent pass rate on the New York State Licensing Examination for Registered nurses - one of the highest in the state. The state's average pass rate is 84 percent, while nationally only 86 percent of nursing students pass the licensing exam.