Admission and graduation rates from U.S. nursing schools increased in 2006, according to an annual survey by the National League of Nursing. The poll of diploma- and degree-granting institutions revealed a 5% hike in new students and 8.5% rise in degrees granted.

Student interest in nursing schools has been on the rise over the last few years, with some enrollment numbers dampened only by a lack of qualified instructors, experts say.

While interest in starting nursing school remained high, overall enrollment numbers faltered in some instances, researchers said. Diploma-program admissions rose 9%, but overall enrollment fell 2.6% and graduations dipped 3%. Baccalaureate programs saw jumps of 12% in admissions, 4.2% in enrollments and 20% in graduations.

Regarding programs for an associate degree, the most common degree held, admissions rose 8%, while overall enrollment remained flat and graduations grew by 3%.

The National League’s Web-based survey elicited responses from about half of U.S. nursing schools.