Because of the nursing shortage and a demand for maximum enrollment, a group of five baccalaureate and seven associate degree nursing programs in West Texas first met in 2007 to form the West Texas Nursing Education Consortium (WTNEC). To emphasize the importance of scale and distance, the West Texas region is larger than all of the northeastern states combined. The founding group agreed that the first mission of WTNEC should be to pool resources in order to increase admission and graduation rates for WTNEC schools. Two years later, this mission is being accomplished by the implementation of a plan designed to increase participating schools' admissions, retention, and graduation rates. A grant proposal was written and funded to develop a central regionalization of the application process for entry into WTNEC generic programs (associates degree in nursing and bachelor of science in nursing), with the goal of decreasing and possibly eliminating student vacancy rates in member schools and perhaps reducing the resources needed by each school for the admission process. The implemented centralized application system allowed prospective students to apply online to the centralized admission portal. Students maintained the freedom to choose the nursing program(s) they wanted to attend, but they were also made aware of possible openings in other participating schools. The admission portal also saved potential students time and money by submitting one centralized application, resulting in consolidation of the nursing school application process. Eleven of the 12 consortium schools participated in the centralized application system.
- Centralized Application System
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