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NursingCAS Reaches First Milestone with More Than 100 Schools Now Participating

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Press Release
For Immediate Release

Nursing’s Centralized Application Service Reaches First Milestone with More Than 100 Schools Nationwide Signed-On to Participate

NursingCAS serves as an important mechanism for addressing the nursing shortage and enhancing diversity in the nursing student population

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 18, 2011 – The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is pleased to announce that more than 100 schools of nursing are now affiliated with NursingCAS, the nation’s only centralized application service for students applying to registered nursing (RN) programs. Launched last year, 104 nursing schools in 36 states have signed on to use the NursingCAS service, including a mix of academic health centers, liberal arts-focused schools, public and private institutions, religiously affiliated schools, a community college, and a hospital-based RN program.


“Nursing schools nationwide are benefitting from the efficiencies gained by NursingCAS, which is helping to standardize the entry process into careers in nursing,” said AACN President Kathleen Potempa. “Nursing schools, even those inundated by applications, appreciate having real time access to prescreened, verified applicant data while reaching a diverse student applicant pool, which is essential to meeting annual recruitment goals.”


Through NursingCAS, prospective nursing students may apply to diploma, associate degree, baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral programs offered by participating schools. Similar to systems in place for medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, and the other health professions, NursingCAS offers students a convenient way to apply to multiple nursing schools with a single online application. Students pay a nominal fee to use this service, which reduces the burden of applying to multiple schools by eliminating the need for duplicate application data, letters of reference, and other admissions materials. Students can check the status of their application in real time and may access dedicated customer service support and guidance throughout the application process.


NursingCAS serves as an important mechanism for addressing the national shortage of nurses by helping school maximize enrollment in nursing programs. Each year, more than 14,000 vacant seats are available in schools offering baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs. Institutions using this online service are able to announce when program space is available at any point during the application cycle, which is key to accommodating more prospective nursing students. For those programs already at maximum capacity in terms of applications, NursingCAS provides some much-needed relief by offering a convenient way to verify transcript information while providing an array of online tools and customer support services needed to alleviate the administrative burdens faced by admission offices.


Schools participating in NursingCAS also enjoy access to a larger, more diverse applicant pool.

In NursingCAS’s first year of operation, 36% of applications were submitted by students from minority backgrounds, and 14.8% were from men. By comparison, minority RNs account for only 16.8% of the workforce, and only 6.6% of RNs are men. NursingCAS may be the key to bringing much needed diversity into the nursing student population.


“In our inaugural year using NursingCAS, the University of Toledo (UT) experienced first-hand the benefits of having more men and minority students applying to our programs,” said Timothy Gaspar, dean of UT’s nursing school and Chair of AACN’s NursingCAS Advisory Group. “I look forward to working with the expanded advisory group this year to continually improve the application service for students and participating schools.” The following individuals were recently recruited to the advisory group:

  • Hilda Abreu, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

  • Nanci Borg, University of Nebraska Medical Center

  • Joanne Davis, University of Kentucky

  • Angela Kerner, University of Michigan

  • Leslie McKeon, University of Tennessee Health Science Center

  • Vanessa McMasters, Camden County Community College

  • Elena Panaitescu, University of Pittsburgh

  • Mary Pascarella, University of Kansas

  • Lisa Rosenberg, Rush University

NursingCAS Service Innovations

Since the launch of NursingCAS in March 2010, several new features have been added to address requests and issues raised by participating schools. These innovations include the ability for applicants to enter a state or school specific unique identification number into the application; upload documents into the applicant portal; make notes on the applicant’s record; schedule, track, and assign applicant interviews; and contact in-progress and undelivered applicants. In an effort to increase transcript verification time, a new scanning system was implemented in September 2011 to accelerate the process and improve quality. In response to concerns about students needing to manually input coursework into the online application, a new fee-based service will be implemented in November 2011 for students wishing to have staff enter transcript information on their behalf. As a benefit for students applying through NursingCAS, applicants can now upload a copy of their CV or resume and submit school and program specific personal statements through the application to their designated programs. First-year applicants also have the ability to re-apply and carry their online application information over to the current cycle.

Participation in NursingCAS is free and voluntary to schools of nursing. Nursing schools looking to join the service are encouraged to visit AACN’s Web site for more information – – and contact NursingCAS Manager Caroline Allen to schedule a conference call (, 202-463-6930, ext. 258).


The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is the national voice for university and four-year college education programs in nursing. Representing more than 670 member schools of nursing at public and private institutions nationwide, AACN's educational, research, governmental advocacy, data collection, publications, and other programs work to establish quality standards for bachelor's- and graduate-degree nursing education, assist deans and directors to implement those standards, influence the nursing profession to improve health care, and promote public support of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education, research, and practice.


Robert Rosseter, 202-463-6930, ext. 231