By Gabrielle Kratsas
Not many would think that a profession as hands-on as nursing may be taught through online nursing programs, but for those of you who are looking for an affordable online RN to BSN program, you’ve come to the right place!
Not long ago, the Institute of Medicine released a study on The Future of Nursing, which calls for increasing the number of baccalaureate-prepared nurses in the workforce to 80 percent by 2020. In many of the programs listed below, these accredited online RN to BSN programs are easily obtainable, especially for those registered nurses with prior work experience. A few of these degrees are obtainable within just 12 months or less! So what are you waiting for? Check out these affordable educational opportunities that will greatly enhance your career.
Even better, most of these programs are available entirely online without having to make even one appearance on campus, and students are able to set their own study and program completion schedules to match their busy lifestyles. These schools understand that a registered nurse does not have an easy job, and they are willing to make your job as a student as simple and affordable as possible.
Our ranking was developed by consulting a number of well-researched rankings of RN to BSN programs online. From among the more than 60 highly regarded programs we found in these robust rankings (listed at the end of the article), we selected the 30 most affordable according to the average net price of undergraduate tuition, as reported by College Navigator. Since the cost of the nursing program can vary from the school’s overall tuition, please contact the school directly for the latest cost information. Additional information was gathered directly from program websites themselves.
Ranking the Top Affordable Online RN to BSN Programs
30. Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N.C.
Online RN to BSN Program
Net Price: $11,978
At Western Carolina University, the RN to BSN online degree program assists registered nurses in adding value to their education, broadening their perspectives of current clinical practice, enhancing their leadership abilities and preparing those who wish to go on to graduate study. Students have two years to complete 24 credit hours of core WCU RN to BSN courses and eight credit hours of upper division electives on a part-time basis. This school even offers a fully-online orientation for the 100 percent online coursework. Students are required to complete two clinical course rotations, but these requirements may be met in the student’s local area with approval from clinical instructors.
Western Carolina University made it to the No. 2 spot on the website Best College Reviews’ list of top RN to BSN online programs in the nation. WCU’s School of Nursing is approved by the North Carolina Board of Nursing, and the baccalaureate degree in nursing and master’s degree in nursing at Western Carolina University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
29. Youngstown State University in Youngstown, Ohio
Online BS in Nursing, RN-BSN Completion Program
Net Price: $11,943
Youngstown State University’s Department of Nursing within the Bitonte College of Health and Human Services offers a flexible distance education program for registered nurses to earn their baccalaureate degrees completely online. This online RN to BSN completion program provides timely coursework and faculty-led discussions, as well as connections to clinical practice. According to the program’s webpage, “Graduates are prepared to participate in evidence-based practice and research studies, community nursing, and leadership opportunities.”
The website Best Value Schools ranked Youngstown State No. 15 out of their top 30 colleges for the best online RN to BSN programs. This online BSN program is approved by the Ohio Board of Nursing and is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).
28. East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C.
Online RN to BSN Program
Net Price: $11,782
The curriculum plan for East Carolina University’s RN to BSN online degree program consists of all virtual courses, no placement examinations, feedback-based curriculum, practice experiences and more. At ECU, students have the opportunity to use their prior education and professional experiences to earn advanced placement status in the online RN to BSN program. Upon completing this program, each graduate will be able to integrate knowledge from nursing, social and natural sciences and humanities to provide professional nursing care across the healthcare continuum, as well as apply strategies to manage issues of professional nursing practice in a diverse and global healthcare environment, and much more.
Best College Reviews named ECU No. 11 out of their top 20 schools for online nursing programs. The baccalaureate and master’s programs at the ECU’s College of Nursing are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, and the school’s College of Nursing is approved by the North Carolina Board of Nursing.
27. University of Texas at Arlington in Arlington, Texas
Online RN to BSN Program
Net Price: $11,779
The online RN to BSN program option at the University of Texas, Arlington is designed for the working registered nurse who wishes to earn a baccalaureate degree without having to sacrifice work and personal life. This program is available full- or part-time, as well as on campus or online. UT Arlington’s College of Nursing designed this online nursing program to include all of the courses you would need to graduate with your BSN, including any general courses. According to the program’s webpage, “This unique online delivery format is the most cost-effective and efficient way to provide a BSN degree to nurses who hold an associate degree or a diploma.”
The website RN to BNS Online Programs included UT Arlington among their top schools for online RN to BSN programs. The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award bachelor’s, masters, and doctoral degrees, and the school’s College of Nursing is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
26. University of Illinois at Chicago in Chicago, Ill.
Online RN to BSN Degree Completion Program
Net Price: $11,645
According to the University of Illinois at Chicago’s website, “a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from the College of Nursing at the University of Illinois at Chicago offers you an outstanding nursing credential, one you’ll be proud of throughout your career.” This program is 100 percent online, but the courses still feature the high academic standards set by the UIC College of Nursing; the only difference is that students are able to work flexibly at their own pace while juggling their careers and personal lives.
The Best Colleges ranked UIC No. 5 out of their top 10 RN to BSN degree programs in the nation. Plus, this school is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and The Higher Learning Commission.
25. University of Wisconsin System in Milwaukee, Wis.
Online BSN, RN to BSN Degree Completion
Net Price: $11,565
The University of Wisconsin System’s flexible option online RN to BSN program is completely self-paced and competency-based, for nurses with associates degrees who would like to earn their BSN while still having time for work and family. Students are required to complete a total of 124 degree credits, but the school will review prior college transcripts to give students credit for “college parallel classes,” as well as up to 60 credits for nursing courses from their associate degree in nursing program. Courses within this curriculum include foundation of professional nursing practice, community health nursing, chronic care management and more.
The website Top RN to BSN rated the University of Wisconsin’s RN to BSN program No. 2 on its list of top 20 online nursing programs in the nation. The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s RN to BSN program is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of North Central Association of Schools and Colleges.
24. University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyo.
RN/BSN Completion Program Online
Net Price: $11,484
The University of Wyoming’s RN/BSN completion program is designed for the associate degree or diploma program graduate, and it is delivered nationwide online without any on-campus time required. Within the nursing major component of this program, students will take courses such as health care, health assessment for the RN, public/community health nursing, nursing leadership and more.
Both Best Value Schools and Best College Reviews ranked UWYO’s RN to BSN degree program No. 27 and No. 4 respectively. Plus, all programs offered by the University of Wyoming Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and approved by the Wyoming State Board of Nursing.
23. Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, Mo.
RN to BSN Online
Net Price: $11,330
Southeast Missouri State University allows students to earn their BSN at home or anywhere they have computer access because it is 100 percent online with no campus visits required. Students are only required to complete six nursing courses in addition to any unmet university studies and support course requirements. Plus, they are given the chance to have field experiences in their own regions.
Best Value Schools placed SEMO’s RN to BSN 29th out of 30 on their list of top programs in the nation. The school’s nursing programs are accredited by Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
22. Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kan.
Online RN-to-BSN Program
Net Price: $11,207
The College of Health & Life Sciences at Fort Hays State University offers a fully online RN to BSN program that is meant to be completed on the student’s schedule, rather than the school’s. Students are able to choose the number of classes they want to take at a time, and they can even sit out a semester or two without any penalty. Students are simply asked to follow a few weekly deadlines. This program, educating successful graduates since 2000, offers high-quality and challenging courses. Plus, students are assigned personal advisors to help them set up and monitor their program.
Best Value Schools and Best College Reviews ranked Fort Hays at No. 17 and No. 9 respectively, and according to the school’s site, they take special pride in making higher education affordable and accessible to everyone. All of Fort Hays nursing programs are approved by the state of Kansas and fully accredited by the Collegiate Commission on Nursing Education.
21. Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Ind.
Nursing (RN to BS) Bachelor Degree Completion Program Online
Net Price: $11,151
The nursing faculty within Indiana State University’s College of Nursing, Health and Human Services developed the baccalaureate track for registered nurses, which consists of 35 credit hours within the nursing major. Students must complete the university’s foundational studies program in addition to the nursing major requirements. This school’s program is unique in that students have the opportunity to earn up to 10 credit hours through a “professional portfolio evaluation,” which provides working nurses the chance to demonstrate successful attainment of specific objectives from their work experience. While all required courses are offered online, clinical courses are arranged in the student’s community.
The Best Colleges rated Indiana State No. 7 out of their top 10 RN to BSN online degree programs. Indiana State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. In addition, the Nursing Program is approved by the Indiana State Board of Nursing and accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc. (ACEN).
The Top 20 Affordable RN to BSN Online Programs
20. West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas
Nursing (RN to BSN) Online
Net Price: $11,106
By graduating from West Texas A&M University’s RN to BSN nursing program students will experience various career benefits, such as advancement into management and other healthcare leadership positions, opportunities for higher wages and higher-level nursing positions, more potential for employment across the nation and more. Students can complete their program’s courses within just one academic year or longer, depending on the kind of the commitment they are able to give their studies. Plus, students are allowed to begin their coursework before the start of every semester.
Best College Reviews rated West Texas A&M’s program No. 6 out of their top 20 RN to BSN degree programs. According to the college’s website, “WTAMU provides a quality RN to B.S.N. Nursing Program, which is fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The program is approved through the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the Texas Board of Nursing.”
19. Minot State University in Minot, N.D.
BSN Completion Program for the Registered Nurse Online
Net Price: $10,928
The Minot State University BSN completion program requires a total of 122 credit hours, which must meet the university’s and the Department of Nursing’s requirements. This online nursing program is available in a flexible, completely-virtual format with one designated clinical course, which can be arranged to be completed in your local area under the direction of qualified faculty or a clinical mentor. Students can enroll part- or full-time; the latter allows students to complete the program within a minimum of 15 to 18 months. Every course of this program is designed to provide the RN with new additional knowledge that will build upon his or her prior learning and working experiences.
Minot State’s BSN completion program made it to the No. 5 spot of Best Value Schools’ list of top online RN to BSN programs in the nation. The school’s Department of Nursing Program has full approval of the North Dakota Board of Nursing. In addition, the nursing program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc. Finally, Minot State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
18. Washburn University in Topeka, Kan.
Net Price: $10,815
Washburn University’s RN to BSN program is exclusively online, with no expiration date on academic credit. It also utilizes a cohort model so that students can build relationships and network with their peers. According to the program’s website, “Washburn University offers an innovative, integrative curriculum designed for the busy working professional nurse.” Students have two choices when deciding how to complete the program: part-time, within 18 months or full-time, within just 12 months.
This RN to BSN program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Additionally, Best Value Schools ranked Washburn No. 28 as a top college for its RN to BSN degree program.
17. Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Ky.
RN to BSN Cohort Program Online
Net Price: $10,597
Within Western Kentucky University’s School of Nursing, students can take all of the necessary nursing courses completely online with the RN to BSN Cohort Program. This program is possible through a partnership with Owensboro Health, and with it, students will expand their knowledge base in areas such as leadership and management, teaching and learning, critical thinking, health promotion and wellness, research, ethics, informatics and more. While the courses are all online, the program does require a few limited on-campus meetings. However, the program allows students to challenge three different nursing courses to use their previous work and education experience for a total of nine credit hours.
WKU made it to the No. 10 place on Best College Reviews’ top list of RN to BSN online programs, and this program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
16. State College of Florida, Manatee—Sarasota, Fla.
BS in Nursing Degree (RN-BSN) Online
Net Price: $10,461
State College of Florida’s RN to BSN online degree program is designed to incorporate prior nursing education and experience with advanced nursing practice, theory, concepts and leadership skills. This program began at SCF recently in 2009, and to provide additional access to education for working RN’s, the school just began offering the online format of the program in the 2011-12 academic year. This online nursing program’s curriculum addresses topics related to leadership and management, informatics, community and public health, nursing theory and research. Students also have the option to blend their online classes with on-campus course options.
Best Value Schools placed SCF at the No. 10 spot on their list of top RN to BSN programs. All SCF Nursing Programs are approved by the Florida Board of Nursing and accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).
15. Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford, Okla.
Degree Completion RN to BSN Online
Net Price: $10,242
All of the RN to BSN professional courses at Southwestern Oklahoma State University are delivered in an online format, but not all of the school’s general education courses are offered online. This program allows the RN student to receive advanced standing articulation credits of up to 31 credit hours, and the BSN curriculum builds upon previous nursing and general education coursework. If prospective students don’t already possess a registered nursing license, they are given the time to obtain one within their first semester of coursework in this program. Once admitted into SWOSU’s program, you are assigned a faculty advisor who will help you develop a tailored plan of study to complete the program.
This online BSN program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, and Best Value Schools ranked SWOSU No. 18 on their list of top RN to BSN online programs.
14. Weber State University in Ogden, Utah
Online RN to BSN Program
Net Price: $10,209
Although Weber State University’s RN to BSN online program is reserved for those who live in Utah, the affordability of the program makes it very worthwhile for state residents. This program is specifically designed to help students utilize their past work and academic experience as an RN during their career of obtaining their BSN. Weber follows a hybrid approach in their online learning and requires students to come to campus five times per semester for face-to-face classes. However, if the student qualifies, they may complete the program completely online.
The WSU undergraduate and graduate nursing programs are fully accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). Best Value Schools included Weber State in their list at No. 25.
13. New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas, N.M.
Department of Nursing RN-BSN Online Program
Net Price: $10,109
The Department of Nursing at New Mexico Highlands University offers an accredited RN to BSN online program designed to prepare graduates for higher-level nursing positions and positions of leadership in the nursing profession. This school’s nursing department also has strong partnerships with various associate degree nursing programs, such as that at Luna Community College, which ease the transitioning process for students. With this program, students have the choice between full- and part-time attendance options, and all of the classes are offered through online instruction.
Best Value Schools name New Mexico Highlands No. 1 out of their top 30 schools for RN to BSN online degree programs. This school is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
12. Western Governors University in Salt Lake City, Utah
Bachelor of Science Nursing (RN to BSN) Online
Net Price: $10,058
The RN to BSN online degree program at Western Governors University requires a minimum of 90 hours of mentor-guided clinical experience in a qualified community health services setting. The program aims to expand students’ knowledge and skills beyond the clinical aspects of nursing to provide students the background in evidence-based practice, patient safety, technology integration, healthcare systems and policies. Students will take courses such as care of the older adult, nutrition for contemporary society and leadership and professional image.
Both RN to BSN Online Programs and Best Value Schools featured WGU’s RN to BSN program on their lists of top online nursing schools. The bachelor’s and master’s nursing degree programs at WGU are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, and WGU is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
11. Vincennes University in Vincennes, Ind.
RN to BSN Completion Option for Registered Nurses Online
Net Price: $9,805
Vincennes University’s RN to BSN completion program is offered in a hybrid format, allowing students to take the classes on campus or online. This program’s curriculum is guided by the American Associate of Colleges of Nursing Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice and the Quality Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN) Competencies. The program will help RNs enhance their bedside nursing practice, improve leadership skills and prepare for continuing education at the graduate level.
Best Value Schools ranked Vincennes No. 16 out of the 30 schools on their list of online nursing schools. This program is accredited by the Indiana State Board of Nursing and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).
The Top 10 Affordable RN to BSN Online Programs
10. Bellevue University in Bellevue, Neb.
Nursing (RN to BSN) Degree Online
Net Price: $9,370
At Bellevue College, students are able to include their past work experience in the 60 credit hours they receive for holding a valid RN license. This program’s curriculum is delivered completely online, and through it, students will have the opportunity to also complete portions of the nationally-recognized Nurse Manager Certification from Sigma Theta Tai, the international honor society for nurses. Once graduated, students can choose to complete the final credit hours toward their certification on their own. This degree will prepare graduates for a broadened role in healthcare through decision making, management and health promotion.
The website Top RN to BSN ranked Bellevue No. 4 out of 20 online nursing schools for this program. Bellevue is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS), but, according to Top RN to BSN, the process for accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education is still in progress.
9. American Public University System in Charles Town, W.V.
Online RN to BSN for Registered Nurses
Net Price: $8,839
The RN to BSN online degree program at American Public University focuses on the development of the professional nursing role as a practitioner, scientist and leader. The program’s curriculum is designed to reflect the current nursing practice and the Institute of Medicine recommendations for nursing education. Faculty of the program help students implement and evaluate individual development plans to improve critical thinking, clinical reasoning, oral and written communication comprehension of publishes research and knowledgeable, skillful participation in organizational, community and global health issues.
Best Value Schools ranked APU’s online RN to BSN degree program No. 6 out of their top 30 programs. This program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
8. Broward College in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Bachelor of Science in Nursing Online
Net Price: $8,174
Broward College’s RN to BSN program can be completed through combined face-to-face classes that are offered once a week, or completely online. The fully-online classes are offered in a synchronous and asynchronous format, and students achieve their BSN within about three semesters or between 12 to 16 months. The instruction and training in this program allows students to apply what they already know while adding new skill sets and valuable experience.
Broward made it to the No. 3 spot on Best Value Schools’ list of top RN to BSN online degree programs online. Also, this RN-BSN program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges(SACS-COC).
7. Northwestern State University of Louisiana in Natchitoches, La.
RN to BSN Completion Program Online
Net Price: $7,950
At Northwestern State University of Louisiana, all required nursing courses and all of the required general education courses are offered online, which allows registered and working nurse students to complete theory and clinical degree requirements in their own communities. The course objectives and clinical experiences are designed to meet the various needs and interests of registered nurse students. Students will take courses like gerontology for RNs, dimensions of professional nursing, and informatics for RN.
The BSN Program is the first program in Louisiana to be accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission. The baccalaureate degree in nursing at Northwestern State University is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Best College Reviews placed NSULA at No. 17 on their list of top RN to BSN degree programs.
6. St. Petersburg College in Clearwater, Fla.
Bachelor of Science in Nursing Online
Net Price: $7,695
St. Petersburg College’s online nursing degree program provides students with a solid foundation for advancing their careers and improving their skills. This program gives you the option of taking classes completely online or in a classroom setting, and it can be completed within four semesters. It focuses on leadership, management, theory, research and public health. Students are also given the choice of where they want to complete their clinical practicums.
SPC’s RN to BSN completion program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Best Value Schools ranked SPC No. 11 out of their top 30 RN to BSN online degree programs.
5. Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia, Ark.
RN-BSN Online Completion Program
Net Price: $7,604
At Southern Arkansas University, registered nurses with an associates degree can advance their careers through the RN-BSN Online Completion Program. This program is meant to prepare students for entry into professional practice as a generalist who cares for individuals, members of family/groups and communities in structured and unstructured health care settings. In this online nursing program, students will take courses such as fundamentals of nursing, medical/surgical nursing and techniques of health assessment.
All programs in the Department of Nursing at SAU are approved by the Arkansas State Board of Nursing and Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). SAU’s RN to BSN program was also ranked No. 22 by Best Value Schools.
4. Northwestern Oklahoma State University in Alva, Okla.
Online RN-to-BSN Program
Net Price: $6,989
Northwestern Oklahoma State University’s nursing division has a lot to offer, including an RN to BSN online degree program that allows working students to complete their BSN degree in just 12 months once all of the general education and program prerequisites are satisfied. There are absolutely no traditional clinical hours required to complete this program, and the courses are flexible for a working student’s schedule.
Best Value Schools ranked this school No. 19, and the Board of Commissioners of the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc. (ACEN) has reaffirmed full accreditation status for Northwestern Oklahoma State University’s nursing program following a site review of the program in 2014. The NWOSU Nursing Program is also approved by the Oklahoma Board of Nursing.
3. University of Arkansas – Fort Smith in Fort Smith, Ark.
BSN – Nursing or BSN – Nursing RN-BSN Online Completion
Net Price: $6,351
Within the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith’s Carolyn McKelvey Moore School of Nursing, students can choose between the “BSN – Nursing” and the “BSN – Nursing RN-BSN Online Completion” degree plans. Each online nursing degree program at UAFS provides students with proper clinical preparation within health care systems located throughout the Fort Smith and surrounding community. At this school, students have the opportunity to also join various degree-related clubs and organizations like the Student Nurses Association (SNA) and the Nurses Christian Fellowship.
The Arkansas State Board of Nursing and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) serves as the accrediting agency for the School of Nursing programs at UAFS. Best Value Schools ranked this program No. 9 out of 30 online nursing schools.
2. Georgia Highlands College in Rome, Ga.
RN to BSN Completion Program Online
Net Price: $5,665
At Georgia Highlands College, the RN to BSN Completion Program is offered completely online, and students are able to complete it in as little as three consecutive semesters as full-time students or in four or more semesters for those who also work and cannot give a full-time commitment. It is Georgia Highlands’ mission to produce baccalaureate graduate nurses who “demonstrates professional, ethical and accountable behaviors, interpersonal communication, comprehensive assessment , clinical decision-making and collaboration skills, teaching and learning capabilities, and provides evidence-based practice and leadership in diverse and complex health care settings.”
Best Value Schools rated Georgia Highlands No. 2 out of the 30 online nursing schools on their list for top RN to BSN degree programs. This school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, as well as the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) to award associate degrees and the bachelor of science in nursing.
1. California State University, Dominguez Hills in Carson, Calif.
B.S. in Nursing Online
Net Price: $2,791
California State University, Dominguez Hills offers a BS in Nursing program that is mostly online in order to accommodate those registered nurses whose time, lifestyles and work schedules make is difficult to complete a traditional, on-campus course of study. Students of this RN to BSN program online are able to work toward their degree whenever and wherever is most convenient for them, as long as the courses are completed within the semester by their respective due dates. Just one course requires students to be present at a particular partner hospital for completion.
CSUDH’s School of Nursing is rated among U.S. News & World Report’s Best Online Programs for 2014, and Best College Reviews ranked the RN to BSN online degree program No. 12 on their list. The baccalaureate degree in nursing, master’s degree in nursing and post-graduate APRN certificate at California State University, Dominguez Hills are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
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This concludes our ranking of the top affordable online RN to BSN programs.