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AACN Supports Increases in Funding for Nursing Education Proposed in the President's FY 2003 Budget

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Press Release
For Immediate Release
 

AACN Supports Increases in Funding for Nursing Education
Proposed in the President's FY 2003 Budget

AACN Concerned about the Impact of Proposed Budget Cuts
on Health Professions Programs, SDS, AHRQ

WASHINGTON, DC, February 20, 2002 - Today, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) announced its support for the $99 million in funding for nursing programs included in President Bush's FY 2003 proposed budget. The association, however, does call for more federal support to address the nursing shortage and is deeply concerned about cuts in the health professions programs.

"We applaud the President and the Congress as they take their first steps toward addressing our nation's serious shortage of nurses," said AACN President Carolyn A. Williams. "With federal attention focused on the nursing crisis, the time is right for the President to act decisively and work with Congress to enact The Nurse Reinvestment Act."

The FY 2003 budget proposal includes increases in nursing programs administered by the Department of Health and Human Services including an additional $5 million for the Nurse Education Loan Repayment Program (NELRP) and an additional $44 million for the National Health Services Corps (NHSC). The NELRP is a loan program created to recruit and retain registered nurses to work in communities with acute nursing shortages. The NHSC provides scholarships for health care providers who agree to work in underserved rural and urban areas.

Also proposed in the President's budget is a $27.3 billion request for the National Institutes of Health which includes a $10 million increase for the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR). AACN applauds this increase, but will advocate for an additional $25 million in funding to extend NINR's efforts to provide pre- and post-doctoral research opportunities for nurses.

Though nursing programs received level funding, other health professions programs (Title VII of the Public Health Service Act) were totally eliminated. Health professions programs were funded at $278 million in FY 2002 and slated for a drastic cut to $110 million in FY 2003. AACN is concerned that these cuts will diminish the health care workforce and impact the delivery of care to diverse, uninsured populations.

AACN is also disappointed to see the recommended cuts in the Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students (SDS) program, from $46.2 million in FY 2002 to $10 million in FY 2003, and a $49 million funding decrease for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). "Any cuts that negatively impact health care delivery to our nation's neediest people, interferes with access to education, or compromises patient safety should be reassessed," added Dr. Williams.

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The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is the national voice for university and four-year college education programs in nursing. Representing more than 580 member schools of nursing at public and private institutions nationwide, AACN's educational, research, governmental advocacy, data collection, publications, and other programs work to establish quality standards for bachelor's- and graduate-degree nursing education, assist deans and directors to implement those standards, influence the nursing profession to improve health care, and promote public support of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education, research, and practice. www.aacn.nche.edu.

CONTACT:

Robert Rosseter, 202-463-6930, ext. 231
rrosseter@aacn.nche.edu