Oklahoma City University nursing admissions policy draws many out-of-state applicants

Unlike other nursing programs nationwide, Oklahoma City University's Kramer School of Nursing doesn't place applicants on a wait list. Due in part to that policy, the school sees a high percentage of students from outside Oklahoma.
BY SILAS ALLEN sallen@opubco.com Published: January 27, 2012

With time running out on her student visa, Indira Ulaan, a native of Indonesia, wanted a nursing degree. But she didn't have the luxury of waiting for her name to come to the top of the waiting lists to get into nursing school.

Ulaan, 28, found her solution in Oklahoma City University's Kramer School of Nursing, which accepts all applicants who meet admission requirements. That policy attracts students from around the country and around the world.

“I liked the fact that I didn't have to wait around,” she said.

Ulaan, who graduated in December with a master of science degree in nursing and a master of business administration, said she hopes to find work in Oklahoma or elsewhere in the United States.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average pay for registered nurses is $67,720. According to the bureau, nurses remain in high demand because of an aging population of registered nurses and a high turnover rate. Still, qualified applicants to nursing schools are finding themselves being turned away or placed on waiting lists because of a shortage of nursing faculty.

Marvel Williamson, dean of the Kramer School of Nursing, said the university has made a concerted effort to avoid waiting lists. The school accepts all applicants who meet the program's admissions requirements and doesn't limit enrollment numbers.

That policy means the school typically doesn't know what its enrollment levels will be until all the applications are processed.

The university has to bring in new faculty members to keep up with enrollment growth, she said.

At some point, Williamson said, the university may have to curtail that enrollment growth. But school officials most likely would do that by raising the admissions requirements rather than capping enrollment at a certain level, she said.

OCU's policy differs from other universities in Oklahoma and nationwide. For example, the University of Oklahoma's College of Nursing has a waiting list for admittance, said academic adviser Rosalyn Alexander. Applicants who are on the list must reapply every year, she said.