Your legal rights are drastically different when appying for school vs applying for a job or licensure.
In many nursing programs (such as mine), the school has a policy that admission practices for one program cannot be different from another. In other words, if you do background checks for nursing, you would have to do it for education, etc. Therefore, they do not.
The law changed the year I graduated, nursing students are now required to have background checks because the surrounding hospitals required it of all students before attending clinical experiences.
To me, if you have been convicted of ANY crime, you need to do a substantial amount of research before you choose a profession that a background check is pretty much guaranteed before you are offered a job. It is not the school's responsibility, it is that of a student's. Its not like they "forgot" that they went to court and got a conviction....cracks me up every time I hear someone make that claim.
However, recent past behavior is a good indicator of future behavior. We had a girl in my class that actually got a felony removed from her record FOR THE PURPOSE of being able to attend nursing school by the court. However, she had an issue with anger management and got into another fight, therefore, another conviction, during nursing school. That pretty much sealed her fate with regards to my school. To me, she got what she deserved.