Figures from UCAS show that the number of student nurses recruited this year in Scotland is around 1,000 short of target.
4,837 nurse and midwife places are funded for 2022-23, though only 2,850 students have been accepted.
The Royal College of Nursing Scotland (RCN) said it was concerned the shortfall would add to the current workforce crisis.
Eileen McKenna, associate director for nursing, policy and professional practice, said: "Fundamental to encouraging people into the profession is how nursing is viewed, valued and respected by governments and the wider population."
"Current rates of pay simply do not reflect the fact that nursing is a graduate profession with significant levels of clinical skill and expertise.
"Registered nurses are critical to patient safety and this should be evident in their pay."
The latest data from the NHS shows that in June, Scotland had 6,010 nursing and midwifery vacancies.
Scottish Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: "The clearing process is ongoing and final numbers will not be known until the end of cycle in December.
"However, it's welcome that compared to 2019, today's UCAS figures show there has been an increase of over 5 per cent in the number of acceptances for nursing places and over 7 per cent in midwifery places in Scotland."