ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Maria College is seeing its biggest incoming class in almost 65 years this fall. The largest increases are said to be in the Maria College nursing program.

Maria College, a private Catholic college in Albany, has reported increases in every stage of the admissions process from interest to enrollment. The college is seeing increases in the Associate of Applied Science (AAS) Degree in Nursing program but also in the Online Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing Completion Program and Practical Nurse Certificate (LPN) program.

Maria College President Lynn Ortale, Ph.D., who began her role in July 2022, says the College’s growth is based on strategic new endeavors coupled with the Maria’s Mercy mission of providing opportunity education to all that may benefit. “During a time where so many colleges are struggling with enrollment, Maria College is proud to say that we have actually increased our incoming student population to historic levels,” said Ortale. “In addition to new programs and partnerships, we attribute this increase to the return on investment that students and family experience. For example, Maria is known for our high first-time pass rates on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN®). Maria’s commitment to excellence and innovation provides students a transformative experience within the context of a supportive learning community where faculty and staff are actively involved in supporting students’ academic and personal success.”   

Maria College offers various areas of study, but nursing continues to drive enrollment. Since 1958, Maria has graduated the most nurses in the Capital Region. Maria’s Nursing programs are up by 46.6 percent over Fall 2021. Maria College Dean of Nursing Colleen Carmody, EdD, RN, CNS says this is beneficial to the entire community. “As a leader in nursing education, we are providing career-relevant programs that result in caring and compassionate graduates ready to serve our community at a time when it is most needed,” said Dr. Carmody. “We are working directly with local healthcare organizations to forge partnerships that will both improve opportunities for students while helping to alleviate the nursing shortage.”

“Seeing the nursing shortage and everything with COVID has just made me want to go into nursing even more to help people,” said Smith. “The [Siena] program lets you choose between two nursing schools and I picked Maria because I’ve heard such great things. The staff has been great, especially with the tutoring.” 

Christina Smith is an incoming Nursing, AAS (RN) student at Maria College. She is part of the largest incoming class in the College’s 65-year history and says the nursing shortage is partly what prompted her to go to nursing school.

“I’ve always heard good things about Maria and I know many people in the program. Nursing is such a rewarding profession,” said Simmons. “Now that I am here doing real things in clinical, it just feels so exciting. I really love the staff at Maria and there are a lot of good resources.” 

Jordan Simmons is an incoming Nursing, AAS (RN) student at Maria College who comes to Maria through a partnership with Siena College. She is part of the largest incoming class in the College’s 65-year history.

Maria College is looking to further expand its enrollment through partnerships and moratoriums of understanding with other local organizations to provide discounted tuition for their employees, and in many cases, for their significant others and children. The College currently has partnerships like this with organizations such as Catholic Charities for Disabilities Services, Inc., Hope House, Northern Rivers Family Services, New York Oncology Hematology (NYOH), and New York State Industries for the Disabled. (NYSID). Maria reports additional partnerships will be announced over the next year.