The Richard and Lucille DeWitt School of Nursing at Stephen F. Austin State University recently was awarded a $25,000 grant for its exceptional performance in producing initial licensure registered nurses.

Of the nearly 100 nursing programs in the state, three grants were awarded by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to higher education institutions in the State of Texas. These schools met graduation and licensure rates of at least 85 percent and demonstrated a best practice in achieving these rates.

The grant will be used to develop a detailed business plan that other institutions may use in similar programs. Any additional funds will be used to further increase enrollment in the SFA nursing program.

The awarding of this grant is one of many recent accomplishments for the Dewitt School of Nursing, which will move into its new facility in January 2010. Fall 2008 graduates of the program achieved a 100-percent passing rate for the state licensing exam, and the program currently is utilizing funds from a previous THECB grant to address the need for more registered nurses in Texas.

"We are extremely pleased to be honored by the Higher Education Coordinating Board," said Dr. Glenda Walker, director of the DeWitt School of Nursing. "It is truly the faculty and students of the School of Nursing who make our program a diamond in nursing education in Texas."