... but they're worth much more than the $9.00 an hour my one friend is getting paid.
Yes LVNs are. Your friend is WAAAAAAY underpaid! $9.00/hr is around and even less than a CNA's salary. The average for an LVN is $20 and typically ranges anywhere from $15 to $25. During my job hunting, I was generally offered around $15 at doctors' offices, and $18 at most SNFs, day programs, and assisted living, but that varies also. Right now I get paid $18, $20, and $22 at each of my on call SNF positions. I have friends that make $23 and $25/hr in home health.
And as an update to your original post, Mt SAC for sure will no longer be using lottery once they start accepting applications again. This is from their website:
"Beginning January 1st, 2013, due to changes in legislation, a new method for determining eligibility for entrance to the Associate Degree Nursing Program will be implemented. Admission to the program includes the use of a multi-criteria screening tool including, but not limited to, pre-requisite course GPA, HESI A2 scores, degrees, work experience, life experiences, and second language proficiency"
Nor will Golden West College, as this is what is stated on their applicant selection page:
"Complete applications to the Basic Associate Degree Nursing Program that are submitted by the deadline are evaluated using a mathematical formula that is a combination of overall GPA, core science GPA, English GPA and any documented repetition (failures or withdrawals) of core science classes."
There's even a little calculator on GWC's site that evaluates your competitiveness by computing and weighting your science and english GPAs.
Los Angeles Harbor College still states that their selection criteria is based off of lottery, but they may have just not updated their site.
Assuming this legislation will affect all CA community college nursing programs, you may want to begin planning for an alternative to entering a lottery program should lottery programs become obsolete altogether.
IMO, the LVN-ADN route sounds a lot better than the private college route if you take it at an adult school/ROP program. They are definitely competitive, but they typically don't take pre-req GPA into consideration, just how well you do on their admissions test and their Pre-LVN classes. You may not be able to work as an LVN due to the difficulty in finding a job, but you'll still be able to bridge at some places (other schools like Cerritos and Citrus require you have 1yr LVN work experience before bridging).