I'm sorry to hear WSamsky has had such a bad experience at GCU. I hope that doesn't hold true for everyone.
I'm currently enrolled in GCU's fast track BSN program based at St Joseph's Hospital downtown. Though we may only be 3 months into it, my time here has been mostly positive.
This is the first time that two fast track programs (20 months long) start together. In May, 2 30-person cohorts start their degree, one at GCU's campus and one based at St Jo's hospital. (We have never had more than 30 students in a lecture, and have actually never seen the GCU campus group since the orientation day months ago. I don't know where the 1:10 ratio came from, but 30:1 has never felt overcrowded in lecture. Labs were usually 4:1 and clinicals are 1:1 in most places.) In the fall starts the John C Lincoln based fast track and the traditional on-campus groups.
I have very few complaints. Lectures are applicable, but sometimes dull (usually when they're powerpoint based). The instructors truly seem to care about getting us students through the program in one piece. I'd be curious to hear more about the 'lack of support' WSamsky mentioned. I haven't needed a tutor yet, but they have been advertised. A friend in the class regularly meets with her mentor, a 5th block student. Help is out there. Labs were fun, clinicals have been interesting and very interactive, and I've been paired up with some great nurses at both St Jo's and long term care.
My biggest issue is that financial aid has taken far too long to be paid out. This is an across the board problem for nursing students and is unacceptable. However, I feel it's due more to under-staffing/laziness than malicious intent from GCU.
At orientation I did see a bit of the 'thinning of the herd' that WSamsky pointed out. I'd be interested in knowing the failure/drop-out rates of other schools
offering nursing and fast-track programs. We had one student already drop out after the first 8 weeks due to personal issues. I truly believe that this is not an issue if you go into school expecting that it will be your life's focus for 20 months to 2 years, work very hard, ask a lot of questions, and have or can create a good support system. Another contributing factor to the drop outs is that GCU does not baby the nursing students. If your course grade is less than a 76, you fail the course and the cohort moves on without you. Also, you need to take some initiative. When I struggled with a topic and my test grade dropped quite a bit, the instructor did not pull me aside after class, and no one called or knocked on my door offering tutoring. But when you approach the instructors on your own, they delight in sharing their knowledge and experience.
Would I recommend GCU to those in the market for a nursing degree? While I cannot speak for the traditional program, I am quite enjoying my time at St Jo's and am very glad to be progressing toward my certification. There are far worse schools. ASU has great name recognition, but I hear their program doesn't offer as much clinical experience. In the end, no matter what school you choose, you'll only get out of it what you put into it.
Hope this helps. I'll try to update as I progress through the degree. Feel free to ask any questions; I always wished there was more information out there when I was shopping for schools.