HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) is seeking $112 million in state funding to train students in six in-demand, high-growth jobs, including nurses and physician assistants.

According to PAASHE, a recent survey shows vacancy rates of 32% for certified registered nurse practitioners and nursing staff.

As part of their plan, $12.5 million would be used for PASSHE universities to create a stronger pipeline of nurses and physician assistants from the classroom to the workforce.

An additional $7 million would provide direct financial aid to nursing and physician assistant students. To expand the high-cost nursing programs the universities would use the remaining $5.5 million.

“Lowering the cost to get a degree is a vital step to enabling more people to start their education to become nurses and physician assistants,” says PASSHE. “Affordability is especially important for rural and urban students to have the opportunity to work at hospitals and healthcare facilities and easing the industry’s significant labor shortages.”

PASSHE is also requesting $573.5 million to enable the Board of Governors to consider freezing in-state undergraduate tuition for a fifth consecutive year.

Among PASSHE’s universities, 11,000 students, including 4,680 nursing and physician assistant students, make up the third largest academic program, healthcare.

Visit the Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education website for more information.