Nursing is one profession in the U.S. that has had an ongoing shortage of skilled professionals for decades.

Most Affordable Nursing Schools in Massachusetts

Now, with a recently launched initiative by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the demand may be greater. The initiative seeks to double how many Registered Nurses (RN) in the country have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) — with the goal being 80% by 2020, from the start level of 40%.

Nursing schools are actively trying to realign their bachelor’s offerings to cater to both new nursing students and those who are already licensed and working RNs. They are providing great options, including affordable online options. In the state of Massachusetts, there are about 85,140 active RNs, earning a mean hourly wage of $42.82 ($89,060/year).

The changes are partly to meet an expected 16% growth in RN jobs alone, in the entire country, between 2014 and 2024. This is according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

What are the cheapest nursing degrees in Massachusetts?

Should you be looking for bachelor’s nursing programs in Massachusetts, to simplify your college search, we’ve produced a list of the 10 most affordable BSN programs by in-state tuition. The NCES (National Center for Education Statistics) has 23 nursing schools listed as offering a BSN in the past academic year, which we’ve sorted, and filtered out inactive/ defunct programs or schools. Programs listed here were verified active at time of publication.

1

Framingham State University

Average Tuition: $8,700

Program Website

Framingham State University (FSU) receives institutional accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. The Department of Nursing in the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics offers undergraduate nursing programs, which are additionally accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). FSU’s awards and accolades include ranking spots on various publishers’ college review lists, including Princeton Review (Greenest Colleges). The university recently appeared here on CollegeChoice at #15 in a list of best colleges in the state.

FSU offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) with one entry/ completion path: an upper-division degree completion program for currently-licensed RNs (Registered Nurses) having an associate’s degree or diploma in nursing.

Degrees and concentrations offered at this school include:

  • Bachelor of Science with a Major in Nursing (RN-BSN)

This BSN program focuses on upper division nursing courses, building on skills that incoming RN students have gained from both work experience and prior nursing coursework. The curriculum focuses on wellness through primary, secondary and tertiary concepts of prevention. Graduates will gain a range of skills allowing them to practice nursing as generalists.

There are eight upper division nursing courses in the RN track major, which can be completed in a minimum three semesters. Up to 28 credits will be awarded for previous nursing coursework based on competency exams. See site for details on transfer credits. Additional general education courses may be necessary to earn the BSN degree.

Sample courses include:

  • Professional Nursing Perspectives
  • Professional Nursing Perspectives
  • Professional Nursing Perspectives
  • Nursing Theory
  • Secondary Prevention

Campus or HQ: Framingham, Massachusetts.

2

Westfield State University

Average Tuition: $8,815

Program Website

Westfield State University (WSU) receives institutional accreditation by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. Undergraduate nursing programs are offered through WSU’s Nursing and Allied Health Department, and are additionally accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The university has ranked in the “Best Universities – North” college review list (years 2012 through 2017), published by US News & World Report (USNWR). Other rankings include Best Online Degree Programs (USNWR), Military Friendly School (GI Jobs magazine) and several other general and topical lists.

WSU offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) with two entry/ completion paths. The first track is for new nursing students (prelicensure). The second track is for current Registered Nurses with an associate’s degree in nursing. As of Fall 2017, WSU has a provision for the latter track that allows it to be taken at Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) while enrolled in WSU.

Degrees and concentrations offered at this school include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing – RN to BSN

Students in this BSN program prepare for roles in caregiving to both patients and their families in many healthcare settings, and to take on leadership roles, as well as graduate studies, if desired. In addition to course work, students have access to a simulation lab which includes high-tech mannequins that can simulate various symptoms and illnesses. To broaden caregiving perspectives, students may have opportunities for study-abroad trips — many of which are humanitarian missions. Traditional track students are eligible to write the NCLEX-RN professional licensing exam after graduation. Graduates of this program have found employment in numerous healthcare environments, including: acute care hospitals, end-of-life facilities, long term care facilities, nursing homes, out-patient health clinics, psychiatric settings, public health agencies, rehabilitation settings.

Traditional track Students take a limited number of nursing courses in freshman and sophomore years, with the bulk taken as upper division courses. RN track takes 12, 15 or 24 months to complete while the RN STCC option takes 15 or 24 months. RN course delivery is hybrid (combination of online and in-person). WSU will grant up to 90 transfer credits to RN track students, for qualifying source colleges and universities.

Sample courses include:

  • Nursing Research
  • Community Health Nursing
  • Psychiatric Nursing
  • Nursing Care of Women and Children
  • Nursing Care of Women and Children

Campus or HQ: Westfield, Massachusetts.

3

Worcester State University

Average Tuition: $8,857

Program Website

Worcester State University (WSU) is a member of the Higher Education Consortium of Central Massachusetts. Institutional accreditation is provided by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. Undergraduate nursing programs are offered by the Dr. Lillian R. Goodman Nursing Department, which is part of the School of Education, Health, and Natural Sciences. These programs are additionally accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). WSU has earned ranking listings in several college review lists published by Princeton Review (Best Northeastern College; Best Value College: Public; Most Environmentally Responsible), U.S. News & World Report (Best Regional University: 1st Tier North), President’s Community Service Honor Roll, Worcester Magazine and others.

WSU offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) with three entry/ completion paths. One track is for new prelicensure students (traditional). A second track is for currently-licensed RNs (Registered Nurses) having an associate’s degree or diploma in nursing. The third track is for current LPNs (Licensed Practical Nurses) with a diploma in nursing.

Degrees and concentrations offered at this school include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Traditional-Track I)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-to-BS-Track II)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (LPN-to-BS-Track III)

This BSN program puts an emphasis on overall social responsibility and an understanding and respect for diversity, in the frame of professional nursing practice and caregiving. The RN track is on-campus, with an extra option for the more flexible, part-time blended learning variation that is a collaboration between WSU and UMass Memorial Medical Center. This extra option is more suited to working nurses. The LPN track is also flexible and can be taken part-time. Clinicals for all tracks are conducted at various healthcare facilities in the region. Pre-RN-licensure tracks prepare students for the NCLEX-RN professional certification post-graduation.

This BSN degree requires a minimum of 120 credits for graduation. Traditional track students complete 60 credits of nursing courses (13), including clinicals and a Capstone. The RN track has a choice of an on-campus study option (part-time, one day per week) or a collaborative program option with UMass Memorial Medical Center (blended delivery). A total of 31 credits of nursing courses are required, plus other outstanding requirements. Prior coursework (nursing and non-nursing) may be eligible for transfer credits (max 72). Similarly, LPN track students may have eligible transfer credits for previous course work. Contact an admissions advisor to discuss.

Sample courses include:

  • Introduction to Professional Nursing
  • Principles of Pathophysiology & Pharmacology
  • Nursing Science
  • Leadership in Nursing
  • Group Communication Seminar

Campus or HQ: Worcester, Massachusetts.

4

Salem State University

Average Tuition: $9,246

Program Website

Institutional accreditation for Salem State University (SSU) is provided by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) provides specialized accreditation for the undergraduate nursing programs offered by the School of Nursing (SON), within the College of Health and Human Services. The university is designated as a top producer of Fulbright Scholars by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (part of the U.S. Department of State). This honor was awarded for 2017 and 2011. SSU has also earned ranking spots on several topical college review lists published U.S. News & World Report, and has enjoyed a 15% increase in graduation rate for the period 2007 to 2016, for bachelor’s level students.

SSU offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) with four entry/ completion paths. Three tracks are for new pre-RN licensure nursing students, with one for first-degree bachelor’s students, another for second-degree students, and a third for current Licensed Practical Nurses (with a diploma in nursing). The fourth track is for currently licensed Registered Nurses (with an associate’s degree or diploma in nursing).

Degrees and concentrations offered at this school include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN, traditional)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing – LPN to BSN
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing – RN to BSN
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing – Accelerated Second Degree BSN (ABSN)

Students in this BSN program get a grounding in nursing skills required for various healthcare environments, including caregiving to children and adults. Learning is gained from a combination of courses and clinical practicums, and students in all tracks except RN will be positioned to write the NCLEX-RN professional licensing exam. RN track students build upon their existing nursing skills.

SSU’s BSN degree requires 120-135 credits for graduation. Traditional track students take 65 credits in the major (15 courses) and 45 credits of support courses. Students in all other tracks will be eligible for some transfer credits (nursing and non-nursing courses, as appropriate). Some of these tracks allow part-time studies, although the ABSN is a 15-month accelerated program and students are recommended not to work while enrolled. RN track students will complete 65 credits in the Major (plus outstanding support courses), and will receive up to 35 credits for prior course work and RN licensure. This track is online and can be completed part-time in two years.

Sample courses include:

  • Explorations of the Professional Nursing Role
  • Health Assessment Across the Life Span
  • Nursing Research
  • Health Care Issues, Policy, and Economics
  • Art and Science of Nursing: Management and Leadership in Nursing

Campus or HQ: Salem, Massachusetts.

5

Fitchburg State University

Average Tuition: $9,935

Program Website

Fitchburg State University (FSU) has institutional accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education, while undergraduate nursing programs are additionally accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), and administered by the university’s Nursing Department. Fitchburg enjoys a ranking spot on the “Best Online Bachelor’s Programs” published by U.S. News & World Report, which includes the online RN to BSN program mentioned here.

FSU offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) with four entry/ completion paths. One track is for traditional four-year nursing students. Another track is for currently-licensed RNs holding an associate’s degree or diploma in nursing. The remaining two tracks are also completion programs — both for Licensed Practical Nurses with a diploma in nursing. One is a regular LPN to BSN, while the other is a special Military LPN track that launches in Fall 2017.

Degrees and concentrations offered at this school include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • LPN to BS in Nursing Bridge Program
  • Military LPN to BS in Nursing
  • RN to BS in Nursing

Students in this BSN program have access to a health assessment lab, clinical skills/ simulation lab, home care setting lab, mannequins (adult and baby) that aid students in decision-making. Skills and knowledge gained lead to professional roles in nursing in various healthcare settings, including community health centers, hospitals, long-term care facilities and more. Graduates of the traditional and LPN tracks are readied for the NCLEX-RN professional licensing exam once they complete their degree. RN track students are in a competitive program which builds upon their existing nursing skills. Potential careers include nurse manager, staff nurse and many more, with leadership role opportunities increasing with experience. Graduates may also choose to go on to advanced nursing studies, such as an MSN.

FSU’s BSN degree requires 120 credits for graduation. Traditional track students have a four-year full-time curriculum. LPN track students take much the same curriculum as traditional track students, and may acquire transfer credits for previous coursework completed through successfully taking the CLEP (College Level Examination Program (CLEP). The RN track is fully online. Its students complete a total of 62 nursing courses at all levels, with a maximum 30 credits earned as transfer credits from prior coursework (upon successfully completing an ACE II test).

Sample courses include:

  • Concepts of Nursing
  • Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing
  • Community Health Nursing
  • Nursing in a Global Community
  • End of Life Care

Campus or HQ: Fitchburg, Massachusetts.

6

University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth

Average Tuition: $12,588

Program Website

University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth (UMassD) is part of the public University of Massachusetts System and gets institutional accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. Undergraduate nursing programs, offered through UMassD’s College of Nursing (CON), are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). It is the only college or university in Southeastern Massachusetts that offers a BSN program. An option, a Diversity Nursing program, exists that assists students falling into one of three categories, including under-represented ethnic and cultural groups. The university has previously ranked here at CollegeChoice for online BSN programs (top 50) and for affordable online colleges (#7). U.S. News & World Report ranked UMassD on three lists covering online bachelor’s programs, with the university ranking at #4 in the state, #6 in the New England area and #70 in the U.S.

UMassD offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) with three entry/ completion paths. Two tracks are for new nursing students — one for first-degree bachelor’s students and the other for second-degree students. The third track is for currently licensed Registered Nurses (RNs) having an associate’s degree in nursing.

Degrees and concentrations offered at this school include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing – RN-BS (online)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: Second Degree Accelerated BS in Nursing

Traditional track students in this BSN program take nursing courses from freshman year, and have clinical placements in years 2-3 with regional partnered health care facilities. In the senior year, a licensed RN is paired with each student, allowing the latter to learn about caregiving to real patients. The RN track builds on current knowledge and skills, and is “individually planned” with an academic advisor. Students have access to a lab with modern tools and equipment, including mannequins and other simulation resources, and software to manage complex care. Career opportunities for BSN graduates include nursing roles in the areas of specialized care, management and education, amongst others.

UMassD’s BSN degree requires 122 credits for graduation. Traditional track students complete 71 credits of nursing courses. RN track courses total 31 credits (28cr nursing; 3cr elective) and are taken online. 2nd Degree students first take seven prerequisite courses (plus any outstanding non-nursing courses) and then 59 additional credits (online courses) for graduation. Full-time, this hybrid track takes 17 months. It combines coursework with lab and clinical experiences.

Sample courses include:

  • Selected Mechanisms of Disease and Related Pharmacology
  • Professional Nursing
  • Holistic Health Assessment
  • Community Health Nursing
  • Nursing Care of Persons with Chronic Illness

Campus or HQ: North Dartmouth, Massachusetts.

7

University of Massachusetts-Boston

Average Tuition: $12,682

Program Website

University of Massachusetts-Boston (UMassB) is a member of the public University of Massachusetts System. It has institutional accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. Undergraduate nursing programs are offered by the Nursing department of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences (CNHS) and are additionally accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Some of the university’s graduate nursing programs (MSN and DNP) have ranked in the top 60 of U.S. News & World Report (USNWR) college review lists. Other rankings for UMassB include a spot on USNWR’s 2017 list of Best Online Programs (including for nursing), amongst other awards.

UMassB offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) with three entry/ completion paths. The traditional track is open to eligible freshman (or transfer) nursing students. Anyone with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree should apply to the accelerated BSN track. FInally, the RN completion track is for qualified students with an associate’s degree and current Registered Nurse licensure.

Degrees and concentrations offered at this school include:

  • Traditional BS in Nursing
  • Accelerated BS in Nursing
  • RN-BS in Nursing (online)

For clinical experience, BSN students have access to top hospitals and medical centers in Greater Boston. This plus coursework, labs and practicums contribute toward preparing (traditional track) students for the NCLEX professional licensure exam. UMassB’s NCLEX-RN exam pass rate (first-time test takers) has been 90% or higher in recent years, and graduates typically secure employment in one year or less after passing the exam.

Students will complete 123 credits to earn the UMassB BSN degree, with some credits awarded for previous nursing and non-nursing coursework for the RN and Accelerated tracks, as appropriate. The Traditional track requires four years (eight semesters) full-time. The Accelerated track has a 15-month timeline and combines three delivery modes: on-campus, online and blended. The RN track can be completed in 3-5 semesters full-time, or taken on a part-time basis. (An in-person option is available at the Cape Cod Community College.)

Sample courses include:

  • Lifespan Growth and Development
  • Health Promotion and Teaching
  • Pathophysiology
  • Health Assessment
  • Pharmacology

Campus or HQ: Boston, Massachusetts.

8

University of Massachusetts-Lowell

Average Tuition: $13,427

Program Website

University of Massachusetts-Lowell (UMassL) is part of the public University of Massachusetts System, with institutional accreditation granted by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. Undergraduate nursing programs are additionally accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and delivered by the School of Nursing (SON) within UMassL’s College of Health Sciences (COHS). The SON boasts a number of firsts, including having the oldest Family Health Nursing Program in the New England region, as well as being the first institution in the country to offer a master’s in Gerontological Nursing. The Carnegie Foundation awarded the SON a prestigious designation of Doctoral Universities R1, indicating an institution with the highest level of research activity and a minimum of 20 doctoral degrees awarded in the given academic year.

UMassL offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) with two entry/ completion paths. Freshmen / prelicensure students can apply to the traditional BSN track. Students holding an associate’s degree in nursing and who have current licensure as a Registered Nurse should apply to the RN completion track.

Degrees and concentrations offered at this school include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • RN to BS (Degree Completion)

This program prepares students for nursing roles as generalist. Students have a wide range of clinics and healthcare facilities (over 250) where their clinical experiences can take place, and benefit from small clinical student-faculty ratios of 10-to-1 or less. Post-graduation, students are eligible to write the NCLEX-RN professional licensing exam, for which traditional track graduates achieved a first-time pass rate of 89% (compared to the national average of 84.5%).

The BSN degree at UMassL requires 120 credits for graduation. The traditional track has two timeline options: 3.5 years or four years. The RN track is blended and combines on-campus and online courses. Students take 37 credits of nursing courses (11, including practicums), plus other outstanding requirements. Speak to an admissions advisor at UMassL regarding transfer credit.

Sample courses include:

  • Research Nursing and Health Care
  • Nursing Assessment and Skills
  • Intro to Nursing Practice
  • Health Promotion and Risk Reduction of Families
  • Acute Care Nursing

Campus or HQ: Lowell, Massachusetts.

9

University of Massachusetts-Amherst

Average Tuition: $14,356

Program Website

University of Massachusetts-Amherst (UMass) is the main institution in the public University of Massachusetts System. It receives institutional accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. Undergraduate nursing programs are offered through the College of Nursing and are additionally accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). UMass has achieved a number of ranking positions on general and topical college review lists, including some published by U.S. News & World Report (grad nursing; Best National Universities: Public; Best Colleges), Princeton Review, QS World University, Financial Times, etc.

UMass offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) with three entry/ completion paths. Two tracks are for students with no nursing background — one for first-time undergraduates, the other for students with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree. The third track is for currently licensed Registered Nurses seeking a BSN and have an associate’s degree in nursing. Additionally, a 17-credit undergrad Certificate for Spanish and Health program is available for students who expect to interact with Spanish speakers in caregiving roles.

Degrees and concentrations offered at this school include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN)
  • RN to BS in Nursing (on-campus or online)

Some goals of this BSN program are to prepare students for professional leadership roles in nursing, as well as for graduate studies, and ultimately, success in a nursing career. Students already RN-licensed gain additional expertise to supplement their current professional skills, and possibly explore new specialties. Pre-licensure students (traditional and ABSN tracks) are prepared for the NCLEX-RN licensing exam. RN online courses are taught by the same faculty as for on-campus nursing courses. RN track students choosing the on-campus study option take this at the UMass Springfield Center.

The UMass BSN degree requires a minimum of 120 credits for graduation. Traditional track students complete 63-64 credits of General Education and nursing pre-requisites (including some nurse courses), plus 57 credits of upper division nursing courses, including practicums. ABSN track students have a 17-month, full-time program consisting of 57 credits. Both RN and ABSN tracks grant some credits for prior coursework as appropriate. RN track students have two entry dates (Spring or Summer) and can complete their BSN degree in one year (minimum) while maintaining a full-time nursing job, or with two years part-time study. This track’s curriculum includes 30 upper-division nursing credit, a Capstone, and any outstanding requirements.

Sample courses include:

  • Introduction to Research in Nursing
  • Professional Role
  • Nursing Process – Families
  • Cultural Diversity in Health and Illness
  • Writing in Nursing Ethics

Campus or HQ: Amherst, Massachusetts.

10

Endicott College

Average Tuition: $30,492

Program Website

Endicott College (EC) is institutionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. Undergraduate nursing programs are additionally accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), and offered through Endicott’s School of Nursing (SON). The college enjoys rankings on over a dozen college review lists published by the likes of U.S. News & World Report (USNWR; 2017 Best University in the Northeast; Best Colleges for Veterans; best for internships/ co-ops; A+ Schools for B Students), and many other publishers. Endicott received two sustainability/ enivronmental footprint-related awards, from Princeton Review (Green School) and STARS/ AASHE (Silver Rating).The college has also previously been featured here at CollegeChoice as a top online college in Massachusetts. Students have the benefit of both seaside living and state-of-the-art facilities.

EC offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) with two entry/ completion paths. The traditional BSN track is designed for students fresh to nursing studies. Students holding an associate’s degree or diploma in nursing and who are currently licensed as a Registered Nurse can apply to the RN completion track.

Degrees and concentrations offered at this school include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • RN to BSN (hybrid, completion program)

Students in the traditional track are prepared for the NCLEX-RN professional licensing exam, as well as a career in nursing. In addition to internships (144 hours) and clinical experiences (920 practice hours), students benefit from small class sizes and get personalized interactions from faculty. Technology used in the program is state of the art and includes mannequins (including birthing mother and baby), medical record system, medication dispense system and more. Clinicals take place at different types of healthcare facilities. RN track students build on existing skills and have the benefit of course delivery options. Past BSN graduates have found employment in community health agencie, hospitals, long-term care facilities, schools and other healthcare settings.

The EC BSN degree requires 126-128 credits for graduation. Two Senior Thesis courses are part of the traditional track curriculum. RN track courses follow a hybrid delivery model, with courses that run 4-8 weeks, and some face-to-face meetings required. Transfer credits granted vary, but there is no time limit on them. Students receive up to 39 credits for prior nursing coursework and up to 85 credits for all types of previous coursework — with no time limit on them. (Consult with an Endicott academic advisor for details.)

Sample courses include:

  • Pharmacology
  • Nursing Research
  • Psychosocial Nursing
  • Care of Childbearing Families
  • Care of Childbearing Families

Campus or HQ: Beverly, Massachusetts.

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