Top Low-Cost Online RN to BSN Programs

rn to bsn online programs

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic shook the world, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that careers for RNs would grow by nearly 222,000 jobs between 2019-2029. While job opportunities for RNs should grow, job applicants holding a BSN degree are more competitive and generally earn larger salaries.

While it may seem abundantly clear that an individual’s level of education directly correlates with earning potential, labor statistics can lend credence to this assumption. The difference in median pay between an individual with an associate degree versus one with a bachelor’s degree is $361 per week or nearly $19,000 per year.

For nurses, the simple fact is that earning a BSN degree can expand career opportunities while significantly boosting earning potential. As some states begin mandating that RNs earn a bachelor’s degree to ensure professional development, the job market will inevitably favor nurses with BSN degrees.

The following ranking briefly examines schools that offer flexible and affordable online RN-to-BSN programs. Keep reading to see who stands out and what these programs offer to expand career opportunities for working nurses.

Featured Programs


To develop this ranking of the most affordable online RN to BSN programs, we began with an initial pool of 99 colleges and universities currently offering this type of program. We then applied a tuition filter, eliminating programs with net costs of more than $25,000. Next, we filtered the pool by return on investment, considering only those schools with ROI rankings of 1300 or better, according to Finally, we utilized using additional data from College Navigator as well as each school’s website. The resulting list represents our picks for the best online RN to BSN degree programs.

The Most Affordable Online RN to BSN Programs

#1 — University of Southern Mississippi

Hattiesburg, MS

  • Tuition: $384/credit
  • Delivery Format: Asynchronous

Located in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, the University of Southern Mississippi offers a fully online RN-to-BSN program that students can complete in just three semesters. This program holds accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and allows learners to finish their undergraduate degree while juggling personal and professional obligations.

Completing required coursework independently, students choose flexible semester lengths of eight, ten, or sixteen weeks. Standard nursing courses include psychiatric nursing, healthcare systems, and population health nursing theory. Applicants must hold an active and unrestricted Mississippi nursing license.

#2 — Indiana University

South Bend, IN

  • Tuition: $350 (in-state) or $455 (out of state)/credit
  • Delivery Format: Asynchronous

Designed to provide working nurses with the flexibility they need to complete a BSN degree, Indiana University offers a fully online RN-to-BSN program that students often complete in just one year. Degree-seekers can transfer up to 64 credits from an associate degree and 90 credits from a four-year institution.

Core nursing courses include topics such as health policy, applied healthcare ethics, and nursing management. Before tackling other required nursing classes, students prepare for this program by completing a transition to baccalaureate nursing practice course. In addition to anticipated online work, three classes require a hands-on clinical component.

#3 — Ball State University

Muncie, IN

  • Tuition: $339 (in-state) or $551 (out of state)/credit
  • Delivery Format: Asynchronous

Students transferring a large portion of general education requirements can complete Ball State University’s 100% online RN-to-BSN program in just three semesters. Boasting a flexible, asynchronous framework, practicing RNs have the opportunity to keep working while completing their coursework. Core nursing classes include research in nursing, community health, and management and leadership.

Prospective learners must hold a current, unencumbered state RN license in addition to having graduated from an accredited ASN program. Before admission, students must complete all nursing prerequisites and core curriculum requirements. Applicants must provide official transcripts showing a minimum 2.75 GPA and pass a criminal background check.

#4 — Mount Carmel College of Nursing

Columbus, OH

  • Tuition: $333/credit
  • Delivery Format: Asynchronous

Columbus, Ohio’s Mount Carmel College of Nursing supplies working RNs with a flexible academic track towards earning their BSN degree. Boasting a low student to faculty ratio and eight annual academic start dates, students often complete this entirely online degree in just eight months. This online RN-to-BSN program holds accreditation from both the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and the CCNE.

Through an asynchronous curriculum consisting of 27 credits, degree-seekers complete core nursing classes including conceptual foundations of nursing, healthcare quality and safety, and nursing informatics. Students also complete an introduction to online learning. Applicants for Mount Carmel’s online RN-to-BSN program must hold an active RN license.

#5 — Florida Atlantic University

Boca Raton, FL

  • Tuition: $203 (in-state) or $722 (out of state)/credit
  • Delivery Format: Asynchronous

Florida Atlantic University’s online RN-to-BSN program holds accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). Designed for professional nurses working in the field, applicants for this flexible BSN completion program must hold an unencumbered RN license in their state of residence. Before graduation, FAU nursing students must complete 30 hours of upper-division coursework.

Before admission into this BSN completion track, students must complete 60 credits of general education requirements with a minimum GPA of 2.5. Applicants must also hold an ASN degree from an ACEN accredited institution. Upon admission, students have 30 days to complete a drug screen and document all necessary immunizations.

#6 — West Virginia University

Morgantown, WV

  • Tuition: $502/credit
  • Delivery Format: Asynchronous

West Virginia University’s nursing school offers an online RN-to-BSN program designed for licensed registered nurses currently working in the field. In addition to the inherent flexibility of asynchronous online coursework, all enrolled students pay in-state tuition. WVU structures this program so working students can complete their required 28 credits in just three semesters.

Accredited by both HLC and CCNE, this online curriculum includes classes such as foundations of nursing practice, clinical nursing pharmacology, and ethics in nursing. Applicants must complete an ASN or nursing diploma before enrolling. Recent ASN or diploma graduates not holding an active nursing license can gain provisional admission on the condition that they earn RN licensure during the first half of their first semester.

#7 — University of Utah

Salt Lake City, UT

  • Tuition: $321/credit
  • Delivery Format: Both

The University of Utah’s online RN-to-BSN program offers a flexible learning framework. In addition to the standard asynchronous coursework, degree-seekers participate in group assignments, contribute to online forums, and engage in a peer-review process. This online track also provides multiple pathways for learners to communicate with instructors.

Required courses include evidence-based practice in nursing, global health nursing, and public health nursing for RNs. During their final semester, students also complete a hands-on clinical capstone. Applicants must have a 3.0 GPA in all prior coursework, including all previous nursing and prerequisite classes.

#8 — Eastern Kentucky University

Richmond, KY

  • Tuition: $460/credit ($250/credit for active-duty military)
  • Delivery Format: Asynchronous

Eastern Kentucky University’s CCNE-accredited RN-to-BSN program allows working RNs to complete their undergraduate degree while maintaining personal and professional obligations. Through a traditional or accelerated academic path, degree-seekers can complete their bachelor’s in two years or 18 months, respectively.

Students enrolling with the maximum number of transferable credits need as few as 29 additional credits to graduate. Core nursing requirements at EKU include public health nursing, complex client care, and nursing leadership and management. EKU applicants must have an ASN degree from a regionally accredited program accompanied by a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5.

#9 — University of Arkansas

Fayetteville, AR

  • Tuition: $302/credit
  • Delivery Format: Asynchronous

Dedicated to training the next generation of nurses, the University of Arkansas aims to produce culturally sensitive, competent nurses. Through a completely online curriculum, students typically complete this program in 3-5 semesters. Along with no on-campus requirements, degree-seekers can satisfy clinical requirements in their geographic area.

Core nursing coursework includes pharmacology in nursing, foundations of professional practice, and therapeutic and interprofessional communication. In addition to online coursework, students complete 75 hours of hands-on clinical work. This academic path is available for both current RNs and recent graduates from ADN and diploma programs.

#10 — Ohio State University

Columbus, OH

  • Tuition: $13,268 for three semesters
  • Delivery Format: Asynchronous

A relatively inexpensive and accessible academic path, Ohio State University supplies working RNs with an entirely online RN-to-BSN program that students often complete in three semesters. While flexible and affordable, OSU instructors use university-supplied resources and open courseware; as a result, students pay no additional money for the traditionally expensive textbooks.

Completing this online RN-to-BSN requires 120 credits, and up to 90 of those can come from credits earned at other institutions. Core nursing courses at OSU include concepts in community health nursing, cultural competence in healthcare, and healthcare informatics. Prospective students must hold an ADN degree or nursing diploma along with a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA.

#11 — George Mason University

Fairfax, VA

  • Tuition: $396 (in-state) or $1,374 (out of state)/credit
  • Delivery Format: Asynchronous

In addition to offering a traditional RN-to-BSN track, George Mason University is home to a co-enrollment program that allows students to complete their BSN while simultaneously finishing an associate degree in nursing. For eligible students, this academic path requires the completion of just ten courses, and they can complete their BSN degree in just one year.

Following the completion of prerequisites, GMU nursing students enroll in various nursing classes, including comprehensive health assessment, vulnerable populations, and community health and epidemiology. Degree-seekers complete courses through successive 7-week terms and highlight research, leadership, and practical nursing skills throughout their time at GMU.

#12 — University of Florida

Gainesville, FL

  • Tuition: $112 (in-state) or $500 (out of state)/credit
  • Delivery Format: Asynchronous

Designed for working nurses wanting to pursue their BSN, the University of Florida offers an affordable and practical way for RNs to boost career options and earning potential. Highlighting the information management and analytical skills essential to modern nursing, degree-seekers engage with a 100% online curriculum over five semesters.

After completing all prerequisites, RN-to-BSN students tackle core nursing classes, including legal and ethical issues in nursing, inquiry and evidence in nursing practice, and genetics and genomics in healthcare. Along with online classes, two courses–health assessment and public health–require clinical components. Applicants holding an ASN degree must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.8.

#13 — Fort Hays State University

Hays, KS

  • Tuition: $227/credit
  • Delivery Format: Asynchronous

Fort Hays State University offers an HLC and CCNE-accredited RN-to-BSN program that students can complete 100% online. While attending FHSU, degree-seekers must maintain an active RN license and earn at least a C in all nursing courses. Additionally, students finishing their RN program may enroll in FHSU courses concurrently.

Core requirements include professional roles for the RN, community-focused care for the RN, and trends facing healthcare. Along with online classes, the required nursing leadership course consists of a hands-on practicum experience at an approved clinical site. Applicants must have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 and provide FHSU with a background check, drug test, and immunization records within 30 days of admission.

#14 — University of Central Florida

Orlando, FL

  • Tuition: $212 (in-state) or $749 (out of state)/credit
  • Delivery Format: Asynchronous

The University of Central Florida offers a flexible and affordable RN-to-BSN program that full-time students can complete in five semesters. Over those five semesters, working students can keep up with their professional nursing obligations while taking two classes per semester.

Core nursing courses include dimensions of professional practice, pathophysiology for nursing practice, and public and community health nursing. While students complete all coursework online, they also participate in a public health practicum during their final semester. Applicants must hold an active RN license before enrolling.

#15 — West Texas A&M University

Canyon, TX

  • Tuition: $94 (in-state) or $502 (out of state)/credit
  • Delivery Format: Asynchronous

Providing working RNs with an accessible, affordable, and flexible path towards a bachelor’s degree, West Texas A&M University’s online RN-to-BSN strives to expand career opportunities while also offering a practical track towards an MSN degree. Working nurses can choose between full-time or part-time enrollment, creating a customized academic plan accommodating their personal and professional needs.

Following the completion of prerequisite courses, BSN degree-seekers take 30 credits in core nursing classes. Required nursing coursework includes integration into professional nursing, cultural competence for health promotion, and issues in healthcare delivery. While a relatively inexpensive option for in-state students, WTAMU also highlights a special scholarship for all required RN-to-BSN classes.

About Online RN to BSN Programs

RN to BSN (Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing) programs are convenient degree completion programs that allow registered nurses with an associate degree in nursing to earn their bachelor’s degree. Increasingly, colleges and universities are offering these programs via distance education to maximize their convenience and flexibility. Many full-time working nurses find these programs ideal as they can keep their day jobs while advancing in their roles as health professionals.

While it’s still possible to gain employment as a registered nurse with just an associate degree, there are many incentives for nurses to earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Among the most compelling are opportunities for specialized positions in nursing as well as a higher salary. Moreover, many health care employers prefer applicants with a bachelor’s degree, particularly hospitals and larger health care facilities.

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