66,000 qualified nursing applications turned down amid faculty shortages: AACN

From 2022-23, four-year colleges and universities turned down 65,766 qualified applications — not applicants, as people may apply to more than one program — which likely resulted in thousands of applicants being turned away, according to a new report from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. 

Every year, the AACN conducts a national survey of nursing schools with baccalaureate and higher degrees. The latest data was published April 15 and is based on findings from the survey conducted in the fall 2023, for which 975 schools provided responses. 

Among the qualified applications turned down, more than 55,000 were for entry-level baccalaureate programs, 703 were for RN to BSN completion programs, 5,491 were for master's programs, 4,225 were for DNP programs and 236 were for PhD programs. The AACN emphasized that students submitting applications may have been accepted and enrolled elsewhere, though it remains concerned that thousands of applicants were turned away. 

"The primary barriers to accepting all qualified students at nursing schools continue to be insufficient clinical placement sites, faculty, preceptors and classroom space, as well as budget cuts," the AACN said in the report. "Nearly 10,000 applications were turned away from graduate programs, which may further limit the pool of potential nurse educators." 

Last year, U.S. nursing programs turned away more than 78,000 qualified applications. 

Read more about enrollment trends from 2022 to 2023 here

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