I"m just going to address the cutoff GPA part of your post. This is one that you cannot really put a solid number, or GPA, on I believe. This is probably why a school will not be upfront or put a do or die number on it w/ the exception of the bare minimum which is usually the 3.0. While you may have a historical GPA of 3.8 perhaps given, as used in your example, you don't really know the criteria they are using for that and there can be a lot of variances.
1) Is this an average or an actual confirmed GPA? From what I've seen on many published nursing school websites they either typically have a range or put down an average GPA or number. Again, using your example, 3.8 could be an average and you have 3.2's and 3.6's, 3.9, etc.. in the mix.
2)Did only everybody in the initial acceptance average into that GPA & that's how they came about that number? Or are the GPAs of those taken off the waitlist factored in there as well and that's the average GPA accepted? Also, it all can vary year to year, as we all know since one year you can have everybody going in w/ a 3.8 - 4.0 and the next year it may be less.
GPAs can be funny when it comes to schools. Many of the entry-level/2nd career tracks also take into consideration life experiences, where the GPA is definitely considered, but they like to see the diversity in backgrounds of the applicants and take other things into consideration and the GPA is just another thing in a long list of criteria they take into consideration.
I don't think it would be wise for a school to put out a cutoff GPA acceptance. Of course, they need to set the bar somewhere and 3.0 is where it's at. Besides, there is money to be made here and if they put out don't apply unless you're a 3.99, they wouldn't get extra $$ from all the application fees. Why would any school turn down extra income? It is a business after all.