Nurses are at the forefront of healthcare delivery in America's increasingly complex healthcare system, and the demand for qualified nurses is on the rise. A 2010 report by the Health Resources and Services Administration found that a large proportion of nurses are working in the late stages of their careers. As these professionals begin entering retirement, new nurses will be needed to fill their roles in the coming years. Job prospects are strong for students currently pursuing a degree in nursing; the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the employment of registered nurses (RNs) will grow around 16% between 2014 and 2024.
What are the most affordable RN to BSN programs of 2020? Here are our top 10:
|1||University of South Florida||Tampa, FL|
|2||University of Florida||Gainesville, FL|
|3||Indiana University Bloomington||Bloomington, IN|
|4||University of Wisconsin-Madison||Madison, WI|
|5||California State University, Stanislaus||Turlock, CA|
|6||University of North Florida||Jacksonville, FL|
|7||University of Utah||Salt Lake City, UT|
|8||Appalachian State University||Boone, NC|
|9||University of Illinois at Chicago||Chicago, IL|
|10||Florida International University||Miami, FL|
The most common way to earn RN credentials is to pursue an associate degree in nursing (ADN) at a community college. However, obtaining a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) is invaluable for upward mobility and increased earnings in the profession. BSN degree-holders typically work in hospitals, areas of research, and community healthcare centers.
An increasing number of nursing students are now choosing to pursue their BSN degrees online. Not only is an online degree more affordable, but the distance format allows nursing students to complete their schooling and advance their careers while they work. With hundreds of cheap online RN to BSN programs available, finding the right one may seem like an overwhelming task. At BestColleges.com, we use our unique College Affordability Score to make the process easier. By weighing factors such as return on investment (ROI), the amount of financial aid given to students, and loan default rates among students, we've created a list that ranks schools based on their overall value, rather than just a cheap tuition up-front. Each school included in the ranking offers students a quality, affordable online RN to BSN degree program that is guaranteed to pay off in the long run.
Affordable Online RN-to-BSN Programs
University of South Florida
|Tampa, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 73%||
USF's affordable RN-to-BSN program offers registered nurses a flexible way to advance their careers. The 30-credit curriculum emphasizes nursing as a profession, the essentials of healthcare leadership and management, and population health. Online learners can complete the program in 3-5 semesters.
More than 80% of USF's nursing alumni either received a promotion or found a new job. Students can prepare for career advancement by accessing the university's informational videos, which discuss job search best practices and potential employers.
USF admits new learners in the summer, fall, and spring semesters. Admission requirements include undergraduate transcripts and an active nursing license. Florida residents receive a significant tuition discount. USF determines institutional financial aid by considering each incoming student's GPA and FAFSA results.
University of Florida
|Gainesville, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 54%||
UF's affordable RN-to-BSN program features online coursework in genetics, professional nursing, and inquiry in professional nursing. Students in the program must maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA to remain in good standing.
The university's career center offers distance learners career coaches, an action plan, and a resource library. These services help nearly 100% of UF's nursing alumni find a full-time or part-time job soon after graduating.
Applicants must have a minimum 2.8 undergraduate GPA, a Florida nursing license, and an associate degree in nursing. Online students pay a lower per-credit tuition rate than on-campus learners. Incoming students can apply for institutional aid by submitting their FAFSA results. UF's RN-to-BSN program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
Indiana University Bloomington
|Bloomington, IN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 78%||
Registered nurses from all over the country choose IU's affordable RN-to-BSN program. The curriculum requires online coursework in pharmacology, gerontological nursing, and the art and science of complementary health. Most learners graduate in 1-2 years.
Approximately 80% of IU alumni experience a positive career outcome within six months of graduating. The university's career center supports each student's job search by providing career coaching sessions and links to top networking websites.
Admission requirements include a minimum 2.5 undergraduate GPA, an active nursing license, and a criminal background check. Indiana nurses save approximately 33% on tuition compared to other U.S. degree-seekers. Incoming students can submit FAFSA results to apply for all IU financial aid programs.
University of Wisconsin-Madison
|Madison, WI||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 87%||
UW oversees an affordable RN-to-BSN program that can be completed online. Known as BSN@Home, this program allows working nurses to earn a bachelor's degree without having to disrupt their careers. Required courses include the foundations of professional nursing practice, leadership and management, and community health nursing. Program graduates can apply nursing leadership principles in their workplaces.
UW's School of Nursing provides specialized career resources like advisors and workshops. As a result, 75% of graduates secure employment or join a master's program immediately after graduation.
Wisconsin residents and prospective students living in certain counties in Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, or Minnesota may apply. The program accepts up to 90 transfer credits. Incoming students may qualify for one of many institutional scholarships or grants.
California State University, Stanislaus
|Turlock, CA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 58%||
Registered nurses in California can enroll in Stan State's affordable RN-to-BSN program as online learners. The 26-credit major curriculum includes courses in professional nursing, advanced health assessment, and community health nursing. Students must maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA to remain in the program.
Stan State's career center offers distance learners virtual workshops on networking, exploring careers, and creating a LinkedIn profile. The university's CareerReadyU program connects learners with alumni mentors and potential employers.
In addition to a California nursing license, admission requirements include a minimum 2.75 undergraduate GPA. Prospective students must also have health insurance and pass a drug test.
University of North Florida
|Jacksonville, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 59%||
UNF's affordable RN-to-BSN program uses a cohort learning model and synchronous course delivery. The online curriculum includes required courses in lifespan development, microbiology, and human anatomy and physiology. The university caps cohorts at 25 students to ensure that each learner receives individualized attention from their professors.
In 2016, 100% of UNF's nursing alumni found a job within 90 days of graduating. Students can explore the latest job opportunities and the university's suggested career plan on UNF's website.
Applicants must have a minimum 2.8 undergraduate GPA. Florida residents receive a significant tuition discount. UNF's College of Health awards multiple scholarships and grants.
University of Utah
|Salt Lake City, UT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 70%||
The U's affordable RN-to-BSN program features part-time, full-time, and accelerated options, meaning that some students can graduate in two semesters. The online curriculum covers global health, health promotion, and evidence-based practice. Distance learners can complete clinical and practicum requirements at a job site in their own communities.
Almost 90% of the university's nursing alumni find a new job or advance within their current careers after graduating. Degree-seekers can learn how to stand out from other job applicants by talking with career coaches.
The program admits new learners three times a year. Admission requirements include a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA and professional references. The university does not charge online learners out-of-state tuition for this program. Incoming students can apply for departmental scholarships by submitting FAFSA results.
Appalachian State University
|Boone, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 72%||
Appalachian's affordable RN-to-BSN program includes a 30-credit major curriculum with courses in nursing care of communities, health assessment, and nursing research. Students must maintain a minimum 2.5 GPA to remain in good academic standing. The program does not include any on-campus requirements.
Alumni of this program enjoy a nearly 100% employment rate. The university promotes each learner's professional success by providing them with Handshake, Big Interview, and Focus 2 Career software. The university also offers virtual career advising sessions.
Applicants must hold a current nursing license in North Carolina or a state with licensure reciprocity. North Carolina residents pay the university's lowest tuition rate. Incoming students should check Appalachian's website to explore institutional scholarship opportunities.
University of Illinois at Chicago
|Chicago, IL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 59%||
UIC's affordable RN-to-BSN program includes a 30-credit curriculum and coursework in health assessment and communication, nursing care of populations, and issues in nursing practice. All online courses last eight weeks, which makes UIC's nursing program an attractive choice for learners interested in an accelerated program. Most degree-seekers can graduate in 16 months.
UIC's College of Nursing provides RN-to-BSN students with resources like career fairs, mock interviews with local employers, resume workshops, and an alumni mentorship program.
Admission requirements include an active nursing license and a minimum 2.5 undergraduate GPA. Out-of-state online students in this program pay in-state tuition. Additionally, the university awards automatic merit-based scholarships to qualifying learners.
Florida International University
|Miami, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 58%||
Florida registered nurses and nurses who live in a state with licensure reciprocity may be interested in FIU's affordable RN-to-BSN program. Core courses include adult psychology nursing, psychosocial nursing, and childrearing/childbearing. This online program allows degree-seekers to skip one or more courses by passing challenge exams.
The university provides degree-seekers with access to coaching sessions and new job postings through Handshake. Online learners can also read resume and cover letter guides, interviewing tips, and LinkedIn best practices.
Prospective students must hold an associate degree in nursing with a minimum 2.75 GPA. FIU also requires course prerequisites in nutrition, psychology, and statistics. The university's Our Opportunities website lists current institutional scholarships and provides application instructions.