It's the way it is, and has been for a while now, and not just in public universities/colleges. Mainly, it boils down to two problematic issues that converge to make it so hard to be accepted:
1. Too few instructors/professors, meaning fewer slots for incoming students (the pay for these professionals is pitifully low, considering their vast experience and education, also many are retiring from teaching, or going back to patient care nursing, where the "money" is).
2. Too many applicants applying for what slots DO exist....(the economy and dot-com bust are very contributory---you have LOTS of 2nd and 3rd and beyond-career nursing students nowadays competing to get in).
These two issues together translate to the need for higher and more stringent requirements for entry to nursing school. (including rise in GPA requirements)
In 1995 when I was accepted, (after being rejected in 1994), one had to have all his/her prerequisite coursework done----and needed a pretty high GPA on all these classes, esp the pre-nursing ones, to even be CONSIDERED a viable candidate for nursing school. We also had to take the ACT and the score requirements were quite high, too.
Couple all that with a mini-essay and interview I had to do, discussing my future goals and aspirations as a nurse, and that made for stiff and unnerving entry requirements ; more than 100 applied, only 20 got in.
Things have only gotten tougher in 10 years, since. Unless and until more instructors and professors can be recruited in, and facilities available for clinical experiences ready, this is how it will be.
Good luck to you in achieving your dreams/goals in the nursing career field. Just keep plugging away, and if possible, do not put all your eggs on one basket. By that I mean, apply to as many schools of nursing as you can to increase your chances of being accepted by one of them.