The MEPN program at UCD hasn't launched yet, but I'm a graduate of the MS program at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UCD and have taught at SMU, so I think I can provide a little perspective.
1) MEPN stands for Masters Entry Program in Nursing. It is designed for students with a bachelor's degree in another field. No bachelor's degree in nursing will be granted. Instead, students will graduate with an MSN. As I understand it, the program will not provide a direct pathway to an NP, CRNA, or other advanced nursing specialty.
2) SMU provides students with a very good education, albeit at a high cost. However, the Betty Irene Moore School is already recognized by US News and World Report as one of the nation's best graduate schools of nursing. The MSN degree will be granted by UC Davis, which has a sterling academic reputation. I cannot imagine that having an MSN from UC Davis would in any way serve as a bar to employment.
3) If you want to become a nurse practitioner, you will need to go through an additional master's level program. One such program is currently offered at Betty Irene Moore. Before pursuing NP studies, I strongly urge you to first work for a few years as an inpatient nurse at a large hospital. In my opinion, the best NPs come from a solid background in patient care.
4) For most hospitals, there is no difference in starting job category or salary between candidates with a BSN or MSN, although some employers prefer candidates with the higher degree. An MSN will prepare you to work as a registered nurse and will set the stage for a later move up to a leadership or teaching position. It takes a couple of years to start functioning at a journeyman level as an inpatient RN. Don't expect to move up before then.
Hope this helps.