EVANSVILLE, Ind. (UE) - Beginning next year, the University of Evansville's Department of Nursing will create more scholarships - and expand its student capacity - in an attempt to help battle the nation's nursing shortage.

Enrollment in the 2009-10 freshman nursing class will be increased to 40 students, up from the current maximum of 25. And, thanks to the generosity of contributors to UE's U-Envision 2010 Campaign, each of those students (and each of the 40 students in classes to follow) will be eligible for new National Need for Nurses Scholarships that total up to $72,000 each over the course of four years

Linda White, president and CEO of Deaconess Health System, noted that, "With a nationwide nursing shortage that is expected to intensify as the need for health care continues to increase, our community should applaud the United Methodist-related University of Evansville in its quest to assist well-qualified students enrolling in its baccalaureate nursing program.

"Financial assistance for students who have a passion to be a nurse - what a fantastic reward for the community, the university, the students and most of all, our future patients!"

As the Baby Boomer generation ages, the need for qualified health care professionals, especially nurses, will only continue to increase. The expansion of UE's nursing program and the creation of these new scholarships are proactive attempts at creating a larger pool of qualified nurses for the Evansville area, for Indiana and for the nation as a whole.

For more information, call 812-488-2468, or e-mail admission@evansville.edu.

"Through recent investments in our nursing program, including the construction of a new, state-of-the-art simulation lab, the University of Evansville has demonstrated a commitment to educating quality nurses," said Lynn Penland, dean of UE's College of Education and Health Sciences.

"The decision to expand our student body and scholarship availability is our attempt to make that quality education both accessible and affordable to a larger population - and, in doing so, to bring more quality nurses into the health care system," she said.