ST. CLOUD -- A shortage of nurses continues to plague rural areas in Minnesota.

As the states population continues to age, the number of rural nurses available are beginning to shrink.

Carolyn Olson is the Dean of Nursing and Health at the St. Cloud Technical and Community College. She says the health care given to patients today are keeping the elderly living longer.

As the baby boomer generation moves into retirement age the number of elderly statewide continues to grow.

To help bring more nurses into rural areas a new grant has been set up for some MnSCU nursing students starting this year.

The Margaret A. Cargill Foundation has made a $1.9 million grant to pay for classes, internships and work bonuses to nursing students at Ecumen sites.

Olson says while the St. Cloud colleges are not eligible for the grant, it's nice to know that the state in looking into where nurses are going to be hired in the future.

The number of people 65 and older will be the fastest growing population in Minnesota for the next 15 years.