Most Affordable Nursing Schools in Minnesota

One of the current “hot” professions in the United States is that of a Registered Nurse (RN).

According to estimates by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there will be a 16% increase in demand for RNs in the country, between 2014 and 2024.

Part of that demand is due to initiatives to raise the minimum level of college education completed by RNs. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) is instrumental in one such initiative, aiming to double the number of RNs in the country (from 40% to 80%) who hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) by 2020.

As a result of the IOM’s recommendation, many government health agencies now require a BSN degree as the minimum education for RN positions. Private industry is following suit. Nursing schools are updating their programs and facilities as well, and some are offering multiple study track options to maximize the number of students who will complete their BSN.

What Are the Cheapest Nursing Degrees in Minnesota?

In the state of Minnesota, there are about 61,830 active RNs earning a mean hourly wage of $35.55 ($73,940/ year). The NCES (National Center for Education Statistics) database indicates that 19 nursing schools in Minnesota offered a BSN program in the last academic year. If you are looking for a BSN program from a nursing school in this state, the list below will get you started. It presents the 10 most affordable BSN programs based on in-state tuition. Some nursing schools or programs listed in NCES are either inactive or now defunct, which we’ve filtered out. The programs listed in this article have been verified as still active at time of publication.

1

Metropolitan State University

Average Tuition: $7,566

Program Website

Metropolitan State University (MSU) is a member of the public Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) System and gets its institutional accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Undergraduate nursing programs are offered through MSU’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences (CNHS) and are additionally accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The university has won several awards from local organizations, including for teaching and community service.

MSU offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) with two entry/ completion paths. One is a collaborative pre-licensure track for new undergraduates. The second track caters to Registered Nurses who have a diploma or associate’s degree in nursing (ADN).

Degrees and concentrations offered at this school include:

  • Nursing – MANE Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
  • Nursing (RN-BSN)

The MANE BSN program is a collaborative effort between MSU and the Minnesota Alliance for Nursing Education. The university partners with community colleges to increase access to BSN programs, thereby increasing the number of nurses with a baccalaureate degree. Students in either track can study at either MSU or a partnered community college. Traditional track graduates are eligible for the NCLEX-RN licensing exam, to obtain certification as a Registered Nurse. RN track students enhance their current skills and benefit from being able to work while taking a part-time study plan that has both on-campus and online courses. All BSN graduates from MSU qualify for Public Health Nurse registration in the state.

MSU’s BSN degree requires 120 credits for graduation. The prelicensure track is a traditional four-year program, other than the fact that it can be completed at seven community colleges instead of MSU’s main campus, if preferred. The RN track can be completed in 2-3 years at the main campus or with any of five partnered Minnesota community colleges, with the BSN granted by MSU.

Sample courses include:

  • Acute and Complex Care
  • Applied Pathophysiology for Nursing
  • Nursing Leadership
  • Nursing Care of the Family
  • Epidemiology for Nursing

Campus or HQ: Saint Paul, Minnesota.

2

Saint Cloud State University

Average Tuition: $7,814

Program Website

Saint Cloud State University (SCSU) is part of the public Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) System, receiving institutional accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Undergraduate nursing programs are additionally accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and are offered by the Department of Nursing (DON), which is part of SCSU’s School of Health and Human Services. St. Cloud, MN, where the campus is located, earned a #24 spot on Forbes magazine’s “Best Small Places for Businesses and Centers” ranking, and the university appears in several yearly editions of Forbes magazine’s “America’s Top Colleges” list. Other recognitions include: a “Military Friendly (r) School” designation from Victory Media (since 2009), who also ranked SCSU on the basis of public institutions and online programs; a HEED (Higher Education Excellence in Diversity) award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine; and various topical and regional rankings.

SCSU offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) with two entry/ completion paths. Students new to nursing apply to the traditional track. (Qualified transfer and second-degree students can also apply.) Those who have a current Registered Nurse license and an associate’s degree in nursing apply for the completion track.

Degrees and concentrations offered at this school include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (pre-licensure)
  • RN Baccalaureate Completion

This BSN program places an emphasis on holistic nursing concepts, as well as on health advocacy, alternative healing methods and culturally appropriate care. The Human Patient Simulation Lab has five simulated hospital rooms, 19 beds, a homecare simulation room, several adult and child Manikins, video streaming, and other technology that aids students in developing practical skills. The DON is also partnered with healthcare agencies in the state, with whom nursing students can gain clinical experience. Prelicensure students can write the NCLEX-RN licensing exam post-graduation, and enjoy a 95% first-time pass rate. Graduates of this BSN at SCSU enjoy a 100% employment placement rate. Note: graduates are eligible to apply for public health nursing and school nursing certification. Ask an academic advisor about study-abroad opportunities in Chile or South Africa. Paid internships at a local/ regional healthcare agency is also a possibility.

The traditional track requires 68 credits of nursing courses beyond elective and prerequisite courses. Full-time timeline is four years, or less for students with a non-nursing associate’s or bachelor’s degree. The RN track consists of 40 credits — 30 of which are in nursing, and 10 in elective courses (require advisor approval).

Sample courses include:

  • Pharmacology in Nursing
  • Health, Healing, Harmony: Professional Nursing Practice
  • Holistic Health Assessment
  • Professional Nursing Skills
  • Nursing Law and Ethics

Campus or HQ: Saint Cloud, Minnesota.

3

Minnesota State University-Mankato

Average Tuition: $7,836

Program Website

Minnesota State University-Mankato (MSU) is a public member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) System. It gets institutional accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. MSU’s College of Allied Health and Nursing (CAHN) is home to the School of Nursing (SON), the department that offers undergraduate nursing programs, which are additionally accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Recognition for MSU includes spots on college rankings: U.S. News & World Report (America’s Best Colleges: Best Value Midwest; most international students); Victory Media (Military Friendly (r) School) and others. Additional topical rankings come from list publishers such as Princeton Review.

MSU offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) with two entry/ completion paths. One is a traditional pre-licensure track for new nursing students. The other is a completion track for currently licensed Registered Nurses who have an associate’s degree in nursing.

Degrees and concentrations offered at this school include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BS, Basic Nursing Program)
  • RN Baccalaureate Completion Program

Students in the Basic track of this BSN program will supplement classroom and lab learning with clinical experiences in nearby rural and urban areas. Upon graduation from this track, students are eligible to write the NCLEX-RN licensing exam. RN track students have the flexibility of online courses and the choice of full-time or part-time study, to suit their working schedule.

MSU’s BSN degree requires 120 credits for graduation. Students in the basic track will complete 59 credits of nursing courses at all levels, with the remaining credits divided between nursing prerequisites and general education courses. This is a 4-year program on a full-time basis. Transfer students may require less time. The RN track requires 30 credits of nursing (100% online) and any outstanding prerequisite courses. Full-time students can complete the track in one year; part-timers finish in 4-5 semesters. Courses are 8- or 16-week sessions in fall and spring, and 10-week in summer semesters.

Sample courses include:

  • Pathophysiology for Healthcare Professionals
  • Pharmacology for Healthcare Professionals
  • Relationship-based Care in Nursing Practice
  • Physiologic Integrity
  • Family and Societal Nursing Inquiry

Campus or HQ: Mankato, Minnesota.

4

Minnesota State University Moorhead

Average Tuition: $8,096

Program Website

Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM) is a public member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) System, with institutional accreditation granted by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Undergraduate nursing programs have additional accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and are offered through the School of Nursing and Healthcare Leadership (SNHL). Nursing is one of MSUM’s top five largest majors. The university itself has recognition in various forms including college ranking from U.S. News & World Report (Best Online Programs – graduate, bachelor’s). The campus has an overall sustainability rating of Silver from AASHE/ STARS.

MSUM offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) with one entry/ completion path. This is a completion track for Registered Nurses who have an associate’s degree in nursing.

Degrees and concentrations offered at this school include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing — RN to BSN

-This BSN program combines the concepts of nursing with the sciences, as well as arts and humanities. Students have the flexibility to study course materials at any time, as suits their work schedule, and at a personally convenient pace. The outcome is to add new skills and open up new career opportunities in care and nursing leadership.

MSUM’s BSN degree requires a minimum 120 credits for graduation. Courses in this program are fully online, with clinical experiences taking place in a student’s home region (with board of education approval). Completion for the BSN requires 31 credits of upper division nursing courses, plus any outstanding upper division electives or liberal arts courses as necessary. The university has a minimum 40-credit residency requirement, meaning students will need to complete at least nine credits of additional upper division courses. Students will earn some credits for prior nursing and non-nursing coursework.

Sample courses include:

  • Family Health Nursing
  • Care of Diverse Populations
  • Public Health Nursing
  • Nursing Research and Evidence-based Practice
  • Gerontological Nursing to Promote Successful Aging

Campus or HQ: Moorhead, Minnesota.

5

Southwest Minnesota State University

Average Tuition: $8,336

Program Website

Southwest Minnesota State University (SMSU) is part of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) System and gets institutional accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. SMSU’s Department of Nursing (DON) offers undergraduate nursing programs, which get special accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Awards and recognition for SMSU include college rankings from Victory Media (#5 Military Friendly (r) School in 2016), U.S. News & World Report (#4 of colleges with the lowest out-of-state tuition)

SMSU offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) with one entry/ completion path. This is a completion track for Registered Nurses with an associate’s degree or diploma in nursing

Degrees and concentrations offered at this school include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing — RN to BSN

This BSN program combines courses covering topics in nursing and healthcare, science, liberal arts, as well as leadership and management, to produce graduates who can practice as generalist who can perform nursing roles in various healthcare environments, for patients and families, as well as communities. Graduates of the program are eligible for Public Health Nurse certification in the state.

This RN track requires 30 credits of upper division nursing courses (including one elective) and one course (three credits) in statistics. Students will receive credit for prior learning, towards the total credit requirements.

Sample courses include:

  • Transcultural Nursing
  • Chronic Illness in Rural Settings
  • Healthcare Policy and Informatics
  • Pathophysiology
  • Prevention and Popular Health.

Campus or HQ: Marshall, Minnesota.

6

Bemidji State University

Average Tuition: $8,366

Program Website

Bemidji State University (BSU) is a public member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) System. Institutional accreditation is provided by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Undergraduate nursing programs are offered through BSU’s School of Nursing (SON) and are additionally accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Recognition for BSU includes appearances on several college rankings: National Collegiate Fitness Index (most supportive campuses for physical fitness), U.S. News & World Report (America’s Best Colleges: top public, top regional Midwest); Princeton Review (Guide to Green Colleges), Victory Media (Military Friendly (r) Schools) and others. The campus is located near Lake Bemidji, a popular Minnesota tourist destination.

BSU offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) with two entry/ completion paths. One is a prelicensure track for new nursing students. The other is a post-licensure track for Registered Nurses holding a diploma or associate’s degree in nursing (ADN).

Degrees and concentrations offered at this school include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing – Four-Year
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing – RN to BS

This BSN program prepares nurses who can provide care to people in different healthcare environments by providing a broad experience in nursing education. Simulation resources include interactive Manikins, software and other technology, to aid students in developing practical skills. Clinical experiences round out program. The curriculum includes focuses on technology, rural health, family health, cultural awareness and palliative care. Students graduating from either track are eligible for Public Health Nurse (PHN) certification in the state. Prelicensure track students are also eligible to write the NCLEX-RN professional licensing exam.

The basic track of this BSN requires 88 credits for completion and takes five semesters or longer, on campus. Students must have completed thirty or more lower division courses (at BSU or elsewhere) to be eligible. RN track courses are blended format (combination of on-campus and online) and can be taken at BSU and five partnered community colleges. Students can choose between full- or part-time studies and need to complete 36 credits of upper division nursing and 40 credits in total, plus any other outstanding prerequisites.

Sample courses include:

  • Elements of ScholarlyPractice
  • Adult/ Gerian Health
  • Transcultural Nursing
  • The Childbearing Family
  • Child/ Adolescent Health

Campus or HQ: Bemidji, Minnesota.

7

Winona State University

Average Tuition: $9,047

Program Website

Winona State University (WSU) is part of the public Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) System. It receives institutional accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Undergraduate nursing programs are offered by the Department of Nursing (DON), within WSU’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences (CNHS), and are additionally accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Recognition for the university includes appearances in several college rankings, including for multiple years: Princeton Review (Guide to Green Colleges; Best in the Midwest); Victory Media (Military Friendly (r) School); U.S. News & World Report (Best Colleges – public, Minnesota) and others.

WSU offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) with two entry/ completion path. One track is designed for new nursing students, the other for current Registered Nurses with an associate’s degree in nursing.

Degrees and concentrations offered at this school include:

  • Pre-licensure 4 year Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • RN-BS Completion

This program focuses on producing nurses with a breadth of knowledge in health care in general, as well as the skills to provide care for patients during times of illness, at any age. Students have access to the DON’s Simulation Space and Designated Education Unit (DEU) to develop their practical skills in multiple areas of nursing: community health, geriatric, medical/ surgical, obstetrical, pediatric, public health. The DON partners with regional healthcare agencies, in order for students to have a variety of clinical experiences. This includes public health departments and schools. Graduates of the prelicensure track are eligible to write the NCLEX-RN professional licensing exam for Registered Nurse certification. Past grads can claim a high first-time pass rate in the NCLEX test that at or above the national average. Job placement for all BSN grads was 96% for 2012-13. BSN grads are qualified to apply for Public Health Nursing (PHN) certification in the state.

Prelicensure track students apply for the nursing major around fourth semester, starting by completing all general education/ pre-nursing course requirements before gaining admission to the nursing major (59 credits, four additional semesters). RN track students have a range of study plan choices, from one year (full-time) up to four years (part-time). Courses are online or blended/ hybrid. Both tracks have a choice of campuses.

Sample courses include:

  • Leadership in Basic Nursing Practice
  • Caring for the Older Adult
  • Leadership in Research and Evidence-Based Practice
  • Psychosocial Adaption
  • Nursing of Childbearing Families

Campus or HQ: Winona, Minnesota.

8

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Average Tuition: $13,790

Program Website

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (UMN) is a public member of the University of Minnesota system, with institutional accreditation granted by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Undergraduate nursing programs are additionally accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and offered through the School of Nursing (TC-SoN). The TC-SoN claims the honor of being the first nursing in the U.S. to offer DNP programs in anesthesia, informatics and innovation/ leadership. Its programs have ranked in college review lists by U.S. News & World Report (grad nursing schools; nursing informatics; nursing midwifery). Several of UMN’s non-nursing academic programs have also ranked highly in college review lists, including Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Forbes, Victory Media (Military Friendly (r) School); Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (Innovation & Economic Prosperity Awards) and others. The university has appeared on ranking lists here at CollegeChoice as well. Current and former faculty have won prestigious awards, including the Nobel Prize, Guggenheim Fellowship and others.

UMN offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) with one entry/ completion path: a traditional prelicensure track for new nursing students.

Degrees and concentrations offered at this school include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing

In addition to being highly ranked for graduate nursing programs, the 100-plus-year-old TC-SoN awarded scholarships of over $1M in the past academic year. Twenty members of the faculty are receiving honors as Fellows in the American Academy of Nursing. For this BSN program, students have a choice of location – main campus (Minneapolis) or Rochester. (Students taking the Freshman Nursing Guarantee option study at the main campus.) A recently open simulation and teaching environment, the Bentson Center, boasts 38 cameras to record simulations and exercises, simulated environments, electronic health records, mobile record systems, telehealth technology and more. Simulations include acute care, ambulatory care, critical care, home care, surgical care. Graduates of this program are eligible both for the NCLEX-RN professional licensing exam for certification as a Registered Nurse, as well as for certification as a Public Health Nurse (PHN) in the state.

UMN’s BSN degree requires a minimum of 120 credits for graduation. Students complete one year of prerequisites before entry into the major, which takes an additional three years (full-time fall and spring). Practicums can take place at any time or day of week and may require personal transportation for more remote clinical locations. Transfer students study at the UM-Rochester campus.

Sample courses include:

  • Informatics
  • Nurse as Collaborator
  • Ethical Sensitivity and Reasoning in Health Care
  • Stats for Clinical Research
  • Nursing Care of Families

Campus or HQ: Minneapolis, Minnesota.

9

Crown College

Average Tuition: $23,740

Program Website

Crown College (CC) is affiliated with the Christian and Missionary Alliance, receiving institutional accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Undergraduate nursing programs are offered by the college’s Nursing Department and are additionally accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Recognition for Crown College includes ranking spots in college review lists from U.S. News & World Report (Best Midwest Regional Colleges), MONEY Magazine (50 Colleges That Add the Most Value; Best Colleges) and others.

CC offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) with one entry/ completion path: a prelicensure track for new nursing students. The college is also planning to reopen their RN-BSN completion program in Fall 2017. Contact CC for status information.

Degrees and concentrations offered at this school include:

  • Bachelor of Science (BSN) Prelicensure

This BSN program incorporates education for Christian leadership compassion to be applied in a professional nursing career. The curriculum combines nursing with the arts and sciences, and students supplement coursework with labs and off-campus clinical experiences — at clinics, hospitals, public health agencies and other healthcare providers. Graduates are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN professional licensing exam for certification as a Registered Nurse. Previous graduates (2016) achieved a first-time NCLEX pass rate of 86.6%. Possible careers include: flight nurse for missionaries, government, schools, etc. Past graduates work at hospitals and clinics in the region.

CC’s BSN degree requires 132 credits for graduation and includes religious studies. Nursing courses start in the fourth semester under a 4-year plan, and take primarily nursing courses in upper division years. Students can also choose a 5-year plan.

Sample courses include:

  • Pathophysiology
  • Foundations of Professional Nursing
  • Physical Assessment
  • Pharmacology
  • Transcultural Concepts and Practice

Campus or HQ: Saint Bonifacius, Minnesota.

10

University of Northwestern-St Paul

Average Tuition: $28,730

Program Website

University of Northwestern-St Paul (UNWSP) is a nondenominational Christian organization. It’s institutional accreditation is provided by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. UNWSP’s School of Nursing (SON) provides undergraduate nursing programs, which are additionally accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Recognition for UNWSP includes a #40 spot in the 2017 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s top “Regional Universities Midwest” college rankings list.

UNWSP offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) with two entry/ completion paths. Both tracks are pre-licensure, for new nursing students. One is for new undergraduates (or transfer students), while the other is an accelerated track for students who have completed a non-nursing bachelor’s degree.

Degrees and concentrations offered at this school include:

  • Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN) – Traditional
  • Accelerated BSN (ABSN)

This BSN program integrates a Christ-centered perspective intended to teach about service from the aspect of professional nursing. There are three start dates yearly, but admissions are rolling. The occasional study-abroad trip is offered. (Past trips include Jamaica and Zimbabwe.) These are competitive programs with limited enrolment, so apply early. Students in either track are eligible upon graduation to write the NCLEX-RN professional licensing exam for certification as a Registered Nurse . Graduates in 2016 had a first-time NCLEX pass rate of 100%, compared to the national average of 84.57%.

UNWSP’s BSN degree requires 134-138 credits for graduation. Traditional track students start as pre-nursing majors, complete a number of prerequisite courses, then apply for admission into the BSN curriculum. Once they complete pre-nursing courses and are admitted to the nursing major, they take primarily nursing courses. ABSN track students follow essentially the same curriculum, but receive some credit for prior non-nursing courses, resulting in fewer general education and support courses to be completed. Nursing and support courses make up 58 credits in this track.

Sample courses include:

  • Professional Nursing: Called to Serve
  • Assessment and Communication Strategies for Service
  • Foundational Adult Care Services
  • Infant Child Family Care Services
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Care Services

Campus or HQ: Saint Paul, Minnesota.

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