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OU College of Nursing Continues Record-Level Enrollment, Expands Educational Reach

OU College of Nursing Continues Record-Level Enrollment, Expands Educational Reach

Published: Friday, January 12, 2024

In an ongoing effort to address the growing demand for registered nurses in the state, the Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing at the University of Oklahoma plans to accept all qualified applicants to the baccalaureate nursing (BSN) program for the third consecutive enrollment cycle.

Historically, the College of Nursing accepted approximately 20% of all qualified applicants; however, after working with university leaders and state legislators, the college began admitting all qualified applicants beginning with the incoming Fall 2022 class, nearly doubling traditional enrollment numbers.

“The Fran and Earl Zigler College of Nursing is leading the way in addressing the evolving needs in health care, particularly in the field of nursing and workforce development,” said Julie Hoff, Ph.D., M.P.H., RN, dean of the college. “Yet, I want to emphasize that we have been able to successfully increase enrollment without compromising our standards. Our commitment to excellence and innovation is what drives us forward, empowering the next generation of health care professionals.”

In 2021, the OU College of Nursing took a significant step to address the growing demand for nurses in the workforce. By partnering with Norman Regional Health System and Duncan Regional Hospital, the college expanded its BSN program. This initiative adds to existing BSN program locations at OU Health Sciences in Oklahoma City, the OU-Tulsa Schusterman Center, and Cameron University in Lawton.

In 2023, the college extended its educational footprint even further. Partnering with the University of Sciences & Arts of Oklahoma and Murray State College, the college created an exciting opportunity for six qualified undergraduate nursing students. These students now have a guaranteed admission to pursue their BSN degree at the OU College of Nursing’s educational sites at Cameron University in Lawton and Duncan Regional Hospital.

Also in 2023, the College of Nursing was awarded two federal grants from the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. These grants were specifically designed to alleviate Oklahoma’s critical nursing shortage by providing essential funds for scholarships nurse practitioner and clinical nurse specialist graduate programs and faculty loan repayment.

Growth at the OU College of Nursing is not limited to student enrollment. Driven by increased student enrollment, the number of faculty members at the college has increased significantly, from 75 in 2021 to an impressive 102 in 2023. Further, this increase in student enrollment necessitated a planned strategic response from the college, leading to substantial investments in cutting-edge facilities and equipment and in student success and engagement programming.

The second floor of the College of Nursing building in Oklahoma City underwent a transformative remodel, resulting in the creation of a state-of-the-art simulation center spanning 14,200 square feet. This expansion, in addition to simulation lab updates in Tulsa, Lawton and Duncan, aligns with the college’s dedication to providing students with hands-on, experiential learning opportunities, preparing them for the dynamic challenges of the health care industry.

Additionally, the university renovated a 25,000-square-foot space located in its Research Park on its Oklahoma City campus to accommodate students. This investment not only addresses the spatial needs arising from the expanding student body but also ensures a comprehensive and modern learning experience for all students.

“The faculty and staff of the College of Nursing are to be commended for rising to the challenge and leading the way in preparing the next generation of nursing professionals at all levels to meet the critical workforce needs of our state,” said Gary Raskob, Ph.D., Senior Vice President and Provost of OU Health Sciences. “The impactful work of the college not only benefits our students but also has a far-reaching impact, contributing to the overall health and well-being of communities throughout Oklahoma.”

Prospective students interested in applying for admission at the Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing are encouraged to take note of important application deadlines. Applicants with a bachelor’s degree in another field are encouraged to apply to the Accelerated BSN (ABSN) program by Jan. 15, while students with two or more years of college are encouraged to apply to the Traditional BSN (TBSN) program by Feb. 1. Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and associate degree prepared registered nurses are encouraged to apply to the BSN degree completion program by April 1. Please contact OU College of Nursing Student Affairs for more details at


By Megan Louk, Lisa Macias