State Rep. Julie Harhart (R-Lehigh/Northampton) announced more than $174,000 in grants for four local schools from the Pennsylvania Higher Education Foundation's (PHEF) Nursing Education Grant Program for the 2010-11 academic year.

The grants are primarily used for the creation and retention of new nursing students and were awarded as follows:

*DeSales University-$36,454

*Lehigh Carbon Community College-$34,718

*Northampton Community College-$71,607

*Saint Margaret Hospital School of Nursing-UPMC-$31,246

"This non-taxpayer supported funding will go a long way toward providing tuition scholarships for nursing students," said Harhart. "We are always in need of caring, qualified nurses, and these grants will help our schools attract and retain those interested in a nursing career. We are fortunate that out of the 124 eligible nursing programs across the state, we had four local institutions selected to receive funding."

PHEF is a non-government, nonprofit organization working to create and expand affordable options for postsecondary education for students, families and schools.