Appeal from the Order of the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency in case of In the Matter of: Appeal of Hospital Schools of Nursing from Denial of Institutional Assistance Grants.
James H. Stewart, Jr., with him Nauman, Smith, Shissler & Hall, for appellant.
John D. Killian, with him Robert W. Barton, and Killian & Gephart, for appellees.
G. Thomas Miller, with him F. Murray Bryan, and McNees, Wallace & Nurick, for intervening appellee.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Judge Kramer did not participate. Opinion by Judge Mencer.
[ 24 Pa. Commw. Page 354]
Abington Memorial Hospital and 50 other hospitals providing nursing school programs in this Commonwealth (appellants) appeal to this Court from an order of the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) which denied to appellants financial assistance benefits provided by the terms of The Institutional Assistance Grants Act (Act), Act of July 18, 1974, P.L. 483, as amended, 24 P.S. § 5181 et seq.*fn1
Our scope of review in this appeal is prescribed by Section 44 of the Administrative Agency Law, Act of June 4, 1945, P.L. 1388, as amended, 71 P.S. § 1710.44. Therefore, the adjudication of PHEAA must be affirmed unless it is not in accordance with law or unless it constitutes an arbitrary, capricious, or unreasonable determination due to the absence of substantial evidence to support its findings.
Initially, appellants contend that PHEAA committed an error of law when it concluded that hospitals providing nursing programs do not conform to the restrictions imposed upon institutions seeking the benefits of the grant program. With this we cannot agree.
Section 5 of the Act, 24 P.S. § 5185, clearly limits the allotment of assistance grants to eligible institutions as defined in Section 3, 24 P.S. § 5183. Section 3 sets forth the definition for an eligible institution as follows:
"'Eligible institution' shall mean an independent institution of higher education located in and chartered by, the Commonwealth, which is neither a
[ 24 Pa. Commw. Page 355]
State-owned institution, State-related institution nor a community college, which is operated not for profit, which is determined by the agency not to be a theological seminary or school of theology or a sectarian and denominational institution and which is approved by the ...