Join the Nursing Field with an Affordable Online BSN Degree
Nursing has been called the toughest job you’ll ever love for good reason: the hours can be long and the work strenuous, but the rewards are incalculable.
And recently, the demand for highly qualified nurses has been burgeoning due to both demographic realities like an aging population, as well as the changing role of nurses themselves .[footnote]http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/24/education/changing-requirements-send-nurses-back-to-school.html?_r=0[/footnote]
This demand has led to a huge increase in the number of Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs available, many delivered exclusively digitally, in fact affordable online learning may be a perfect fit for you!
Of course, you don’t need to have a BSN degree to be a nurse, but there are several good reasons for investing your time and money in the qualification:
- Nurses with a BSN are eligible for higher salaries. [footnote]http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Degree=Bachelor_of_Science_in_Nursing_(BSN)/Salary[/footnote]
- A BSN is necessary for leadership positions, graduate education, or nurse practitioner programs.
- Hospitals with Magnet Recognition prefer to hire nurses with a BSN. [footnote]http://nursejournal.org/bsn-degree/top-9-advantages-of-a-bsn-degree/[/footnote]
Top 10 Most Affordable Online BSN Degrees
||Georgia Southern University
||Fort Hays State University
||Georgia College and State University
||Western Illinois University
||University of North Georgia
||Colorado Technical University
||Colorado Springs, CO
||SUNY College of Technology at Delhi
||Governors State University
||University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
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Recommended Online Programs
The BSN is becoming so prominent that the American Association of Colleges of Nursing recommends it as minimal preparation for professional practice.[footnote]http://www.aacn.nche.edu/publications/position/bacc-degree-prep[/footnote]
In the future, the degree may well be mandatory for practicing nurses. Luckily, schools are designing online RN-to-BSN programs for working nurses, with flexible scheduling and affordable tuition.
The sheer volume of available online RN to BSN programs makes the task of wading through program websites a time-consuming and daunting task, though, so we at College Choice have done it for you. Our ranking features 20 of the cheapest RN to BSN programs available. It is important to note that the tuition rates we’ve listed are based on out-of-state per-credit tuition. Before you apply to a program be sure to look carefully at any additional fees the school may charge – these vary widely from school to school. There may also be face-to-face or practicum requirements that necessitate travel, so be sure to look into that before applying.
It is important to note that the tuition rates we’ve listed are based on out-of-state per-credit tuition. Before you apply to a program be sure to look carefully at any additional fees the school may charge—these vary widely from school to school. There may also be face-to-face or practicum requirements that necessitate travel, so be sure to look into that before applying.
While online education tends to be cheaper than its traditional class-based counterpart, it is still a hefty investment of both time and resources.
Therefore, paying attention to accreditation is imperative. We have only listed programs at schools with regional accreditation, and all programs have further credentials from either the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (NNCE).
We hope this ranking helps you find the BSN program that is right for you!
See our rankings methodology page.
Georgia Southern University
Classified as a doctoral/research institution, Georgia Southern University is a member of the Georgia university system located in Statesboro, GA. Founded in 1906, the school has developed a robust online program which has recently been ranked among the best in the nation by US News and World Report.
Georgia Southern’s College of Health and Human Sciences offers an affordable CCNE accredited RN to BSN for individuals who are currently Registered Nurses. The program is flexible, and students can enroll part-time or full-time to fulfill course requirements. Coursework is both synchronous (occurring at scheduled times) and asynchronous (on students’ own time), and students generally complete the program in 3-4 semesters. Student learning outcomes include:
- Incorporate caring, compassion, and empathy in all aspects of nursing practice.
- Develop collaborative partnerships to promote, maintain, and restore health.
- Apply leadership principles in nursing practice.
Students take a total of 8 nursing courses, which total 28 hours, and can take advantage of a variety of supports for online learning. Georgia Southern’s online RN-BSN Program is a participant in the Georgia RN-BSN Articulation Model for registered nurses returning for the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree.
Fort Hays State University
Located on the plains of western Kansas, Fort Hays State University is a public institution that was founded in 1902. The school is regarded as a leader in online learning and was nationally ranked as having one of the best online bachelor’s programs in 2016 by U.S. News and World Report.
Fort Hays State University is a leader in nursing education and offers an affordable, CCNE accredited online RN to BSN degree which is flexible enough to meet the needs of working professionals. Students may complete this innovative program in as little as a year after all pre-requisite and general education requirements have been met. The course work is 100% online and is designed to:
- Prepare students for graduate nursing study
- Create opportunities for better career options
- Open doors to additional management responsibilities
With this program, students can receive credit for prior educational experience, and attend the clinical course in their local area. Fort Hays has been offering online courses since 2000, and with tuition in the lowest 2% in the U.S, they also demonstrate their commitment to keeping education accessible.
Georgia College and State University
Georgia’s designated public liberal arts university, Georgia College and State University (known colloquially as Georgia College or GCSU) is situated in the city of Milledgeville, GA. The school has a relatively small student population but ranks highly among regional colleges in the south, and its online programs have garnered national acclaim as well (US News and World Report 2016).
Georgia College’s School of Nursing offers an affordable, ACEN accredited RN to BSN designed for practicing registered professional nurses holding an associate degree or diploma degree in nursing. In line with their liberal arts ethos, the School of Nursing of Georgia College is committed to:
- Forming nurse leader that engage in evidence-based practice and civic participation
- The development of clinical reasoning and professional nursing skills and values
Students may complete the program in three semesters (or longer if needed), with program start dates in the fall and spring semesters. Of the 23 credit hours that students will complete as part of the program, three courses include clinical practice experience components that are facilitated by a mentor and supervised and evaluated by the course faculty.
Situated in the Appalachian town of Athens, OH, Ohio University is a public institution that has ranked highly as a national university (US News and World Report). Originally founded in 1804, the school currently has a strong online presence which makes their high-quality programs accessible to non-traditional students nationally.
The College of Health Sciences and Professions at Ohio University offers an affordable, CCNE accredited RN to BSN program that combines rigorous standards with flexible delivery. The program has eight start dates throughout the year, and most classes are five weeks long. Of the total 31 credits that students complete, courses offered include:
- Leadership in Nursing
- Evidence-based Nursing Practice
- Health Assessment and Promotion
The program was designed for individuals with an active nursing license and builds on a foundation of previous nursing experience. Students in the program benefit from a variety of learning supports, including the RN to BSN Nursing Knowledge Center which provides a nexus of support for online students. Students will also receive daily support from a facilitator.
Western Illinois University
Founded in 1899 in the town of Macomb, IL, Western Illinois University is a public institution that has ranked highly among regional schools in the Midwest. Their robust online presence has extended the reach of their programs, and the school was recently ranked among the top 100 online Bachelor’s programs in the country (US News and World Report 2016).
Western Illinois University School of Arts and Sciences offers an affordable, CCNE accredited RN to BSN degree. The program is designed for working nurses who have either an Associate degree or diploma in nursing and who are currently licensed to practice nursing. Of the 36 required program credits, coursework includes:
- Genetics and Healthcare
- Nursing and Community
- Transcultural Nursing
Western Illinois’ online RN to BSN takes two years to complete (this is not an accelerated program) and requires that students complete all general education and nursing support course work before starting nursing courses. Additionally, prospective students should note that, while all courses are in an online format, clinical practice/project is a requirement for the community health course.
University of North Georgia
Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the University of North Georgia is a public institution with a history that reaches back to 1873. Designated as the Military College of Georgia, the school ranks highly as a regional university (US News and World Report) and has an online presence that is making its high-quality programs available nationally.
The Nursing Department at UNG offers an affordable, ACEN accredited RN to BSN program for current registered nurses who desire to further their career with a BSN. The program is designed for students to complete over three semesters with a total of 27 credits of coursework. Graduates will be ready for:
- Professional nursing practice in primary, secondary and tertiary settings
- Care for individuals, families, and communities as clients
Unlike many RN to BSN programs, UNG’s program allows students the option of either taking core courses along with required RN-BSN nursing courses or following completion of the nursing course work. Like many programs, there is a clinical component to this degree program. Prospective students should also be aware that some face-to-face time is a requirement for online classes.
Colorado Technical University
Colorado Springs, CO
Founded in 1965 in Colorado Springs, CO, Colorado Technical University is one of a few regionally accredited, for-profit universities whose high-quality programs have been garnering recognition in the educational world. With an initial focus on training former military personnel, Colorado Technical University has recently earned particular acclaim for their Online Bachelor’s Programs (US News and World Report).
Colorado Tech offers a very affordable, CCNE accredited online RN to BSN program that students can complete in as little as nine months. The program has a flexible delivery format (with eight different start dates) and features an innovative curriculum and student-centered teaching. The BSN prepares students to:
- Care for complex needs of patients in a variety of healthcare settings
- Be a leader in the profession of nursing
This is a focused, rigorous program that is built on a foundation of general education and core coursework, covering topics like Healthcare Ethics and Innovation in Nursing. The program then culminates in a capstone project that synthesizes and applies learning.
Of the 180 credits required for the BSN, Colorado Tech accepts up to 90 quarter credits as transfer credit with the required incoming Associate Degree in Nursing, Diploma Registered Nurse, or an educational transition program preparing students to become licensed as an RN.
SUNY College of Technology at Delhi
Founded in rural New York State in 1913, SUNY College of Technology at Delhi is a public institution that focuses on providing a seamless, technology- based education. The school has earned both state and national reputations for their innovative, high-quality programs and US News and World Report currently lists their online Bachelor’s program as one of the top in the country.
SUNY Delhi’s School of Nursing offers a flexible, affordable, ACEN accredited RN to BSN degree that is specifically designed to be manageable for working nurses. The program’s emphasis is on attaining the critical thinking and practice skills necessary for clinical management of patients within a constantly changing healthcare environment. Of the 61 credits required for this program, coursework includes:
- Ethics in Healthcare
- Principles of Nursing Research and Evidence-Based Practice
- Leadership & Management
Students in the RN to BSN program at SUNY Delhi are required to complete three practicum courses consisting of 45 hours in practicum-related activities. Students typically complete these hours at a hospital or agency near their hometown. Students also have the option of taking courses on a full-time or part-time basis, beginning in the Fall or Spring semesters.
Governors State University
Established near Chicago as one of the original “universities without walls”, Governors State University has had innovation and accessibility at the center of its ethos since its inception. In recent years the school has been awarded with the AACSU’s Student Success and College Achievement award, as well as the 2010 Governor’s Sustainability Award.
Governors State’s College of Health and Human Services offers an affordable, ACEN accredited RN to BSN that promises to expand your knowledge of the art, science and practice of nursing. This program is for nurses with an Associate Degree or Diploma in Nursing and an active RN license, and students can complete it on either a full or part-time basis. The program will address:
- Local, regional, national and global healthcare reform
- Providing quality, holistic care
- Creating healing environments and building caring communities
Governors State’s RN to BSN Completion Program is compatible with the needs of the working nurse – nursing courses begin in Fall and Spring semesters and students can complete the entire program in three terms. In addition, two program study plan options are available for those who have completed all pre-requisites, and those who have pre-requisites outstanding.
University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
Created from a recent merger of two schools: the University of Texas at Brownsville, and the University of Texas–Pan American, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) aims to become a research and education powerhouse in the South Texas Region. Currently, the school has a robust online presence, expanding the reach of its programs.
The School of Nursing at UT Rio Grande Valley offers an affordable, CCNE accredited RN to BSN program that is geared towards practicing nurses who want to take their careers to the next level. This is an accelerated, online, 27 credit program that students can complete in as little as 12 months. Students in the program will:
- Learn nursing leadership theories, organizational structures, and health-care management
- Advance their professional nursing practice
- Prepare for graduate study
This flexible program offers two start dates in January and March. And for a limited time, students have the opportunity to receive a $1,000 nursing scholarship, which will be pro-rated over the duration of the program.
Southern Arkansas University
Founded in 1909 in Magnolia, AR, Southern Arkansas University is a public institution that offers high-quality education through its five colleges. The school has a small student body but has expanded its reach through online programs – some of which have met national acclaim. US News and World Report listed their online Bachelor’s program among the best in the nation in 2016.
The Department of Nursing at Southern Arkansas University offers an affordable, ACEN accredited online BSN to RSN degree which prepares graduates for entry into professional practice as a generalist, caring for individuals, family groups and communities in a variety of healthcare settings. The program is designed for registered nurses with an associate degree and will provide students with:
- Opportunities for intellectual growth
- Cultivation of skills for critical thinking
- Communication and skill development for career preparation in a global environment
The mission of the Department of Nursing at Southern Arkansas is to meet regional health care needs by preparing graduates who demonstrate competency as health-care practitioners. To be admitted to the program, students must have graduated from an NLNAC accredited associate degree program or diploma program.
Southeast Missouri State University
Cape Girardeau, MO
Situated in Cape Girardeau, MO, Southeast Missouri State University is a historic public university that has shown its commitment to twenty-first century needs with its highly acclaimed online programs. Many of their online programs have received national acclaim, and US News and World Report listed their online Bachelor’s program as one of the best in the nation in 2016.
The Department of Nursing at Southeast Missouri State offers an affordable, CCNE accredited online RN to BSN degree that is designed to be manageable for working nurses. The degree program is 100% online with no campus visits and field experiences that take place in the student’s region. The program teaches:
- Nursing assessment and research
- Care of the elderly
- Leadership and management
- Community health skills
- Personal/professional development skills
The program aims to produce well-rounded professionals capable of meeting the challenges of today’s medical industry. Students will gain marketability, and increase their advancement opportunities without breaking the bank. And the program requires students to complete only 6 nursing courses in addition to unmet University Studies and support course requirements.
California University of Pennsylvania
Founded in 1852, California University of Pennsylvania (colloquially known as Cal U) is a historic public institution located in California, PA. The school has greatly expanded its reach through its robust online programs and has one of the best online Bachelor’s programs in the nation (US News and World Report).
California University’s Department of Nursing offers an affordable, CCNE accredited online RN to BSN program which is intended for registered nurses who have already completed a diploma or associate degree in Nursing. The program promises to:
- Synthesize theories and research findings into the role of the professional nurse
- Build upon nursing competencies by providing increasingly complex experiences in a variety of settings
- Prepare graduates to assume a wide range of professional nursing roles in diverse health care environments.
The RN-BSN Program is now available in an accelerated format and is 100% online with new cohorts beginning each Fall and Spring. This accelerated option allows students who have met the general education requirements to complete the nursing courses full-time in three semesters and part-time in four semesters. With the part-time option, students take one 16-week course and two 8-week courses each semester.
Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Walden University is a regionally accredited (HLC), for-profit university which has been providing higher education for working students since 1970. Today the school enrolls over 51,000 students in all 50 states and over 114 countries.
Walden University offers an affordable, CCNE accredited RN to BSN degree for students who have a current, active nursing license and an associate degree or diploma in nursing. Walden University allows students to transfer up to 75% of their eligible credits (up to 135 credits) allowing students to complete the program in as little as 15 months. Core courses include:
- Role of the Nurse in Public and Global health
- Leadership Competencies in Nursing and Healthcare
In order to make the online learning experience more meaningful, Walden University utilizes Digital Learning Experience™ by Shadow Health®, an immersive virtual learning environment that allows students to hone their health assessment skills. And in addition to the RN to BSN, Walden University offers an RN to BSN to MSN for students who would like to pursue the advanced qualification.
University of South Dakota
Founded in 1862, the University of South Dakota is the oldest university in the state, and one of a growing list of rurally-based schools that are extending their reach through online academic programs. Located in Vermillion, SD, this public university prides itself on innovative technology combined with long-standing tradition.
The University of South Dakota’s School of Health Sciences offers an affordable, CCNE accredited online RN to BSN designed for licensed RNs who have either an associate degree or diploma in nursing. The program is designed to be manageable for working nurses and, as such, there are three different tracks available (from full time to 1 course per semester) depending on how much time a student can devote to the program. Core courses include:
- Nursing Practice in a Global Society
- Optimizing Health of Populations
- Leadership and Professionalism
As with most BSN programs, clinical experiences are also part of USD’s program – but USD allows these to be arranged where students are working or in the community where the student lives. The school also allows students to transfer up to 90 credits of coursework, as long as they complete a minimum of 30 credits at USD.
Founded in Topeka, KS in 1865, Washburn University is a public institution that offers liberal arts and professional programs to its student body. The school has ranked highly as a regional university in the Midwest (US News and World Report) and has a robust online presence that extends the reach of their programs.
The School of Nursing at Washburn University offers an innovative, affordable, CCNE accredited, online RN to BSN degree intended to help registered nurses take their potential to the next level. The program is remarkably flexible, with five possible start dates (most programs offer two), as well as the option of completing the degree on a part-time or full-time basis (with accelerated eight-week course sessions). Courses include:
- Leadership, Management, & Health Policy
- Evidence-Based Practice
- Applied Pharmacology for RNs
The Washburn RN to BSN curriculum is built on their students’ foundational knowledge as RNs and uses a cohort model so students can build relationships and professional networks of peers while they learn. This online degree has no on-campus residency requirement and there is no expiration date on earned academic credit.
University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
Situated in Oshkosh, WI, the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh is the third largest university in the state and a member of the University of Wisconsin system. The school ranks highly as a regional university in the Midwest, and in 2016 its online graduate nursing program ranked among the top programs in the country (US News and World Report).
The College of Nursing at UW Oshkosh offers an innovative, accelerated, online RN to BSN degree that allows RNs to achieve their BSN degree in just twelve months of intensive study. The accelerated option has three cohorts (beginning in February, May, and October) with students taking one course at a time and progressing through the curriculum together. Because this program demands a full-time commitment, nurses are encouraged not to work during the year that they are completing their degree. Students in this accelerated BSN program:
- Utilize innovative technology to experience unique immersion learning experiences.
- Participate in online discussions
- Exercise their clinical knowledge in virtual classrooms and laboratory settings.
It is also important to note that students have a total of three weeks of campus residency, during which they complete intensive skills and health assessment labs, the first clinical rotation, and a capstone experience.
University of Texas at Arlington
Situated in Arlington, Texas, the University of Texas at Arlington is the second largest University in the University of Texas system. The school is a research powerhouse with an impressive online presence and has ranked highly among online nursing programs (US News and World Report).
UTA’s highly acclaimed College of Nursing and Health Innovation offers an affordable, CCNE accredited, online RN to BSN program which students can complete in as little as 15 months. This innovative, accelerated program was designed to meet the need for fully qualified registered nurses in Texas. Individual courses in the program vary in length from 5 to 14 weeks and cover topics such as:
- Nursing Innovations
- Health Promotion and Illness Prevention across the Lifespan
Students in this accelerated program will complete 51 credits, in addition to the required 70-credit hours (22 courses) of coursework that students must have completed prior to starting the program. It is important to note that while course content is in an online format, this RN to BSN program includes required supervised clinical experiences at a clinical site located in one of the following Texas metropolitan areas: Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio (clinical locations for new students may vary each semester).
Purdue University Global
West Lafayette, IN
Purdue University Global, which is based in Fort Lauderdale, FL, may have a bit of a checkered history as a for-profit university, but in recent years, the school’s online programs have been garnering national respect, with programs listed in prestigious rankings such as the US News and World Report. In 2016, Purdue University Global’s online bachelor’s programs ranked among the top 150 in the country.
The Department of Nursing at Purdue University Global offers an affordable, CCNE accredited RN to BSN program which prepares nurses for the next level of professional opportunity. Purdue offers three start dates for added flexibility, courses are ten weeks long, and students in the advanced track can complete the degree in 18 months. The program combines:
- A strong focus on professional leadership
- An emphasis on health promotion and community health among other topics
The program has two tracks: the advanced track (students complete 90 credits) and the standard track (students complete 130 credits) depending on previous educational experience. A unique feature of Purdue’s online RN-BSN program is the development of a portfolio that allows students to demonstrate their professional and practical competencies. Students also create a comprehensive development plan that includes career planning.
Based in Minneapolis, MN, Capella University is a regionally accredited (HLC), for-profit institution that specializes in online learning for non-traditional students. The school prides itself on being competency-based, meaning that all coursework is directly applicable to professional and standards.
Capella University has designed a flexible, CCNE-accredited, online RN to BSN program which allows students to learn on a schedule that fits their professional and personal life. Students can finish the program in as little as 18 months, with the option to save time and money by applying prior learning for up to 75% of the program requirements. The program builds on students’ professional nursing experience, and focuses on evidence-based practice for high quality outcomes in a variety of healthcare settings. Students in Capella’s flexible program will:
- Acquire in-demand nursing skills
- Help improve patient care
- Advance their career
Capella’s RN to BSN program promises maximum flexibility by providing online courses with 24-hour access, and no prerequisites. Students can also choose between Capella’s two competency-based online learning formats—GuidedPath (in which students follow prescribed schedules and deadlines) and FlexPath (in which students set their own schedules and work at their own pace).
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