Welcome to the next article in our series of cheap online degrees: Top 30 Cheap Online RN to BSN Degree Programs.
The healthcare industry is a burgeoning field that will demand the assistance of thousands more workers in the coming years. In fact, the need for registered nurses is expected to grow by 19% over the coming decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is much faster than the industry average, and advanced degrees will look even more attractive to employers. Those with a master’s degree in nursing (such as Nurse Practitioners) can enjoy job prospects expected to increase by a whopping 31% over the same time period. If this isn’t evidence enough to go back to school, we don’t know what is!
If you’re a registered nurse and are looking for ways to make yourself more marketable and/or climb the corporate ladder, consider earning a bachelor’s degree in nursing. This is very easy to do through an RN-BSN bridge program, which incorporates all your prior learning through transfer credits and usually only takes a year and a half to two years to complete. Because the vast majority of students returning to school to earn a BSN already have full-time jobs, many schools now offer these degrees online.
The demand for online college RN-BSN programs is so great there there are now more than 200 accredited schools that offer such degrees. We took the time to research and document every single one of them, and then sorted them by average tuition price to bring you a selection of the 30 cheapest. These schools are so affordable that even the most expensive (listed first) costs less than $15,000 a year for out-of-state students, while the cheapest school (listed last) costs just a small fraction of that. While they are all affordable, many also have much to offer in the way of quality, from small class sizes to knowledgeable professors. Peruse the list of cheap online RN to BSN degree programs at your leisure to discover the perfect school for your goals – and your wallet!
Note: This article contains sponsored links. These are designed to help you connect with programs easily.
Cheap Online RN to BSN Degree Program Ranking
30. Miami University of Ohio
RN-BSN Completion Program Online
Miami University is a popular private college that, contrary to popular assumption, is actually located in Ohio. The school offers an online college through its regional campuses that includes an RN-BSN completion program. Online RN to BSN degree students can proceed at whatever pace best matches their schedule, and there are only 12 required courses that they must take. Of these two are clinical courses, and the department will help aspiring nurses to arrange a collaboration with local healthcare facilities. Students then have the freedom to arrange the schedule for their clinical rotations with preceptors at the workplace they have chosen. Miami is considered a “public Ivy” and currently places 2nd in the nation for undergraduate teaching, behind only Princeton; this makes it the ideal choice for students who want to attend college online.
Tuition: $5,072/yr (In-state) $14,165/yr (Out-of-state)
29. Southeast Missouri State University
RN to BSN Online
Southeast Missouri State University’s online college offers an RN-BSN programa that comes with a host of benefits. For starters, the degree is 100% online, meaning that students don’t have to make a single campus visit during the course of their studies. In addition, there are only six required nursing courses, and students can complete field experiences close to home. SMSU is also a fully accredited online college with approval from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Admission to the accredited online RN to BSN degree program is competitive and requires a background check as well as a minimum 2.8 GPA. U.S. News has awarded SMSU several top rankings, including the #32 spot for public institutions and #65 for best online colleges (bachelor’s programs).
Tuition: $6,836/yr (In-state) $12,195/yr (Out-of-state)
28. Washburn University
RN to BSN Online
Working RNs with a full time schedule can still earn their bachelor’s degree, thanks to Washburn’s completely online college program. It’s flexible, cost-effective, and is only 11 months long (for full-time students). Even part-time learners can complete the entire degree in just over a year. The curriculum includes courses like “Applied Pharmacology,” “Pathophysiology,” and “Evidence-based Nursing,” and also prepares students to take on leadership roles. One of the best features of this top online college is the Leadership Capstone Seminar, which helps students synthesize all their knowledge while also challenging them in new ways. U.S. News has recognized Washburn’s commitment to excellence and currently lists it on its ranking of top Midwestern universities.
Tuition: $5,774/yr (In-state) $12,926/yr (Out-of-state)
27. University of Wyoming
Online RN/BSN Completion Program
Anyone with an associate’s degree in Nursing who wants to further his or her career can apply for the University of Wyoming’s RN-BSN program. Because of the online college format, the degree is available nationwide. And in fact, it appeals to many distance learners who want to attend a reputable, accredited online college – UW’s affordable online RN to BSN degree program is approved by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Students complete a number of nursing courses as well as a Capstone class that encourages near-graduates to analyze a documented public health issue of local or national importance. According to College Prowler, part of what makes UW a top online college is its knowledgeable professors, affordability, and highly satisfied students.
Tuition: $4,404/yr (In-state) $14,124/yr (Out-of-state)
26. Governors State University
Online RN to BSN Completion Program
The RN-BSN Completion program at Governors State University is completely up to date, and the department heads consistently ensure that the curriculum meets the recommendations set forth by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Students of the program benefit not just from interactive online classes, but also from one-on-one advising that can help them stay on track and achieve their academic goals. Online college learners may attend full or part time and can conveniently choose from three application dates. Unlike some other cheap online colleges, GSU maintains a high level of quality, with stellar programs and faculty – more than 90% of whom have the highest degree in their field.
Tuition: $6,120/yr (In-state) $12,240/yr (Out-of-state)
25. Weber State University
RN to BSN Online
Weber State’s RN-BSN program is designed to help current nursing professionals capitalize on past academic and work experience. Once admitted, online RN to BSN degree students don’t just complete clinical courses, but also learn to think critically, use complex therapies, promote research, and engage ethical management practices. Although in many cases the program utilizes a hybrid format that combines online college learning with face-to-face sessions, qualifying students can complete the degree entirely online. Also, those who want to attend a top online college for graduate school can get the preparation they need with WSU’s comprehensive curriculum and advising resources. The college ranks highly for both undergraduate and graduate degrees; U.S. News named it the 24th best public school in the nation and the 127th best nursing graduate program.
Tuition: $4,990/yr (In-state) $13,311/yr (Out-of-state)
24. University of South Dakota
RN to Bachelor in Science in Nursing Online
The RN-BSN program at the University of South Dakota is a complete bachelor’s degree that requires 120 credits to graduate. Students may transfer an ample number of these credits from an associate’s degree program and can continue to work full-time while studying. The typical format for this online college degree requires enrollees to join a cohort in the fall and take two classes at a time. Unlike some programs, USD actually mandates that students get involved in specific hands-on experiences, including clinical practices. Distance learners not currently working can “Fast Track” their studies and graduate in just two semesters. USD is one of the accredited online colleges honored with approval from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. It has also been honored with top rankings from Forbes, including being named #183 and #116 in the “Research Universities” and “Midwest” categories, respectively.
Tuition: $8,022/yr (In-state) $10,104/yr (Out-of-state)
23. Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing
RN to BSN Online
Bon Secours is a specialized college of nursing with a program of such high caliber that it currently boasts the #1 national ranking on the NCLEX-RN licensure exam. Even students who have already earned their RN title can benefit from the online college’s excellent nursing courses by earning a BSN. Students enjoy small class sizes, individualized attention, and a high job placement rates. Bon Secours also helps students secure clinical experiences with award-winning facilities and magnate hospitals. In between clinical rotations, online RN to BSN degree students can log-in to the online portal 24/7 and complete assignments, video chat with classmates, and even attend virtual office hours with professors. This accredited online college program also offers financial aid opportunities to qualifying applicants.
22. Southern Arkansas University
RN-BSN Online Completion
The RN-BSN online college completion program at Southern Arkansas University equips nurses with the skills they need to care for individuals, families, and community populations. After completing all their general education requirements, members of this program can take classes in Informatics, Evidence-based Practice, The Business of Healthcare, Community Health, Nursing Research, and more. Graduates enter the workforce with the critical thinking, analysis, and leadership skills to find work not just as highly qualified nurses, but also as healthcare managers and administrators. This accredited online college has full certification from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, and 82% of students say they’d attend the university again if they had to return to school.
Tuition: $7,466/yr (In-state) $10,616/yr (Out-of-state)
21. Brandman University
Online RN to BSN: Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Brandman University’s RN-BSN program builds on the associate’s of nursing degree by offering instruction in technology, leadership, evidence-based practices, and patient care. Students who come out the other end of the program can find jobs as nurses, office administrators, or in other related areas of healthcare. Graduates of this affordable online college are also in a great position to move on to a doctoral program – and conveniently, Brandman offers one that can be completed in four years. Students can also take the opportunity to bolster their knowledge of IT, finance, and healthcare regulations while completing requisite liberal arts courses. Brandman’s recognitions include “Best Online College Programs” by U.S. News, a 2014 “Leadership Excellence Award,” and a label as a “Military Friendly School” by Victory Media.
20. South Dakota State University
Online RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
Students who need to advance their career while also maintaining a career and family life will find the solution they need at South Dakota State. The main goals of this online college program include helping nurses become leaders in the industry and enhancing their ability to deliver high-quality patient care. There are also some subjects that are of particular interest to South Dakota residents, such as how to treat rural populations. To qualify for this cheap online RN to BSN degree program, applicants should have completed all but two non-nursing courses so that they can spend the remainder of the degree program focusing on nursing classes. This top online college is part of a great public university; SDSU has a 95% placement rate and awards 93% of students some level of financial aid.
Tuition: $7,713/yr (In-state) $9,795/yr (Out-of-state)
19. Northwestern Oklahoma State University
Online RN-to-BSN Program
Northwestern Oklahoma State University is easily one of the best online college programs available to nursing students. In fact, CollegeAtlas.org recently named it one of the top nursing schools in the nation. Enrollment is conveniently open every semester and allows students to take their entire courseload online, without a single campus visit necessary. The innovative curriculum allows learners to proceed through the degree in cohorts as a way to build a sense of community and enjoy a more close-knit school experience. This fully accredited online college program (approved by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing) is competitive and rigorous; applicants must have at least a 2.5 GPA to be accepted and must maintain at least that grade point average in order to graduate.
Tuition: $5,642/yr (In-state) $11,764/yr (Out-of-state)
18. Southwestern Oklahoma State University
Online Degree Completion R.N. to B.S.N.
Southwestern Oklahoma State University (sometimes abbreviated as just SWOSU) has a reputable BSN completion program available to currently registered nurses. The program is fully accredited and requires applicants to have an ASN from another accredited online college or traditonal university. Specifically, the admissions board looks for students who have completed academic credits from an institution approved by ACEN (formerly NLNAC). Professional coursework includes classes in “Nursing Research and Evidence-Based Practice,” “Contemporary Nursing Leadership,” and “Wellness through Health Promotion.” Students who want to attend college online are often attracted to SWOSU’s standing as a “Tier 1” university on U.S. News’ list of top schools in the West.
Tuition: $5,460/yr (In-state) $11,820/yr (Out-of-state)
17. Fort Hays State University
Online RN-to-BSN Program
Becoming an RN is a great start to anyone’s nursing career. But turning that knowledge into a Bachelor’s in Nursing can provide avenues for better pay, leadership roles, and more job flexibility. Fort Hays’ online college program in Nursing is perfect for ambitious students who still need to maintain their own schedule. Students can take as many or as few classes at a time as they want, or can even sit out an entire semester without penalty. FHSU has created an integrative virtual learning environment that includes real-time discussions and a supportive network of student resources. For these reasons and more, the university has achieved status as a fully accredited online college. It also holds the prestigious #16 spot on U.S. News & World Report’s list of top online colleges for bachelor’s programs, as well as a top 250 ranking for its graduate degree in nursing.
Tuition: $4,358/yr (In-state) $12,821/yr (Out-of-state)
16. Vincennes University
With a curriculum entirely guided by both the American Associate of Colleges of Nursing Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice and the Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN) Competencies, Vincennes University’s RN-BSN is a top online college program. Applicants should note that although 99% of the program is online, students are required to attend class on campus one day a semester, making Vincennes ideal only for Indiana residents. Clinical instructors help learners collaborate with local health facilities to complete their rotations, and professors communicate regularly with students through online college portals such as Blackboard. College Prowler reviewers recognize Vincennes for its affordable tuition, knowledgeable professors, manageable courseload, and valuable education.
Tuition: $5,019/yr (In-state) $11,867/yr (Out-of-state)
15. Youngstown State University
Online Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-BSN Completion Program)
The Youngstown State Bitonte College of Health and Human Services offers an RN-BSN program that is fully approved by the Ohio Board of Nursing and accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). This completely online college program includes in-depth, web-based discussions lead by faculty members, clinical experiences, and research into evidence-based practices. The four semester program includes classes such as “Nursing Informatics,” “Pathophysiology and Pharmacology,” and “Community Health Nursing for RNs.” As an accredited online college committed to providing a superior education, YSU employs only qualified professors to teach classes, not graduate students. And graduates who move on to the school’s graduate program in nursing will benefit from a degree highly ranked by U.S. News.
Tuition: $8,129/yr (In-state) $8,358/yr (Out-of-state)
14. University of North Georgia
Online Registered Nurse (RN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
The RN-BSN program at the University of North Georgia is a truly comprehensive degree that prepares students for work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, and outpatient facilities. Graduates enter the job market with the skills they need to care for individuals, families, or entire communities. UNG has designed a curriculum that is highly flexible and can be taken entirely through the online college. Students who plan to study entirely through distance education are encouraged to take the “Smarter Measure” assessment of readiness before enrolling. UNG is one of the best online colleges available to nursing students because of its connection with the main university, which has top 100 ratings from U.S. News on the “Regional Universities,” “Top Public Schools,” and “Best Colleges for Veterans” lists.
Tuition: $4,219/yr (In-state) $12,133/yr (Out-of-state)
13. Baker College
Nursing – Post-Licensure BSN Online
Baker College is a popular, top online college with degree programs available to suit every interest. One of these is an RN-BSN completion program, which is meant to enhance the number of areas in which nurses can practice. Graduates often choose a specialized area of interest and find work in emergency services, extended care, gerontology, pediatrics, and other fields. During the online college program, students take a number of classes online while completing three main clinicals: a leadership practicum, a community health practicum, and a final nursing seminar.
12. Sentara College of Health Sciences
Online RN to BSN (for licensed RNs)
Sentara is a specialized school dedicated to the study of health sciences, and offers both bachelor’s degrees in nursing and associate’s degree programs for technicians. Sentara is an online college that offers convenient course delivery through the web. It is not only the most cost effective and affordable online college in the region, it also has an impressive 98% retention rate. Students can proceed through the program at their own pace (full time or part time basis) and can begin their studies in either August or January. All registered nurses who meet the requirements for the program receive 48 advanced placement credits upon admission to help them get a leg up in their pursuit of a bachelor’s degree. In addition to offering cheap tuition, Sentara also provides financial benefits to military members, veterans, and employees of the college.
11. St. Petersburg College
Online Bachelor of Science in Nursing
St. Petersburg College is an attractive online college for nurses who are looking to get ahead in the healthcare field. The school boasts an incredibly high placement rate; since 2006, 95% of graduates have been able to find work in their field, or have chosen to continue their education or join the military. The program builds upon RN training by offering additional instruction in management, leadership, research, theory, and community and public health. In just four short semesters, students attending the college online can complete all lecture courses and clinical practicums. Students also have the flexibility to complete their clinical requirements at the facility of their choosing, making it easy for learners to finish their education from anywhere in the country.
Tuition: $3,232/yr (In-state) $11,477/yr (Out-of-state)
10. State College of Florida
Online Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree (RN-BSN)
Registered nurses who reside in the state of Florida and want to complete their bachelor’s degree should consider the completion program offered by this university. Nurses living anywhere in the state can take advantage of the RN-BSN degree, thanks to its availability entirely through the accredited online college. Members of the program take on advanced concepts in nursing while also developing the leadership and management skills needed to help them rise through the ranks of the healthcare industry. This online RN to BSN degree degree is approved not only by the Florida State Board of Nursing, but also by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).
Tuition: $3,074/yr (In-state) $11,597/yr (Out-of-state)
9. University of Arkansas Fort Smith
RN to BSN Online Completion Track
This RN-BSN completion program is one that recognizes the various levels of preparation that the changing healthcare industry requires. The affordable online college degree is designed to produce highly competent nurses who can excel in challenging and dynamic environments. Professors combine advanced nursing training with the study of liberal arts to help learners exercise their critical thinking and decision making skills – abilities that will come in handy in emergency rooms, intensive care units, nursing homes, and other demanding settings. Students on College Prowler report in high majorities that UA’s education is valuable and that the experience is worth the money.
Tuition: $4,528/yr (In-state) $10,072/yr (Out-of-state)
8. Thomas Edison State College
RN to BSN/MSN Online
Convenience and flexibility are the name of the game at this online college, which targets adult learners. In fact, this RN-BSN program is so flexible that students can work at just about any pace they want, with the only requirement being that they complete at least 3 credits every 12 months. TESC also offers the maximum number of credits possible for prior learning and will even give qualified graduates the opportunity to earn an MSN. Although it’s low tuition price definitely makes TESC an affordable online college, the school also connects applicants with a host of nursing-specific scholarships to make educational costs even cheaper. This top online college has regularly received recognition for its excellence since the 1990s, and most recently was given the “Distance Education Innovation Award” by the National University Technology Network (NUTN) for its FlashTrack course delivery system.
Tuition: $5,700/yr (In-state) $8,395/yr (Out-of-state)
7. Delta State University
RN-BSN Completion Program – Online Program
The online college RN-BSN degree at Delta State University is designed to prepare ambitious nurses for management positions or advanced study. Students can proceed at a part-time or full-time pace, although those who opt for a full-time schedule can graduate in just two semesters. Attendees of the distance education program can finish all lecture courses online, as well as get helpful advising via the web. Those going to college online will have to make plans to complete their clinical hours at a facility local to their residence. According to U.S. News, DSU lands in the top 100 for “Top Public Schools,” “Best Schools for Veterans,” and “Top Regional Universities (South).” The publication also considers DSU one of the best online colleges, and included the school on its list of top online bachelor’s programs.
6. American Public University
Nursing Online Bachelor’s Degree
The advantage of earning an RN-BSN degree at American Public University is that graduates can benefit from both an immediate pay off and long term development. By taking courses such as “Professional Transitions in Nursing,” “Caring for Today’s Veterans,” and “Emerging Scholarship and Trends in Healthcare,” students build a unique stronghold of knowledge that will put them a cut above other nurses in the industry. The school’s stellar quality has motivated the prestigious Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education to approve the curriculum of this accredited online college. Online college learners complete the degree by taking an integrative Capstone Course, and often go on to earn coveted management and leadership positions in healthcare.
5. Minot State University
Online BSN Completion Program for the Registered Nurse
Minot State University offers an RN-BSN completion program that is available to both part-time and full-time students. Attendees of the program can complete all courses through the online college, and full-time members can finish in as little as 15 months. The entire curriculum requires the completion of 122 credits, but a substantial number of these will be transferred from the RN’s previous academic training. The vast majority of the online bachelor’s degree in nursing courses are in a lecture format over the web, but students will have to participate in one clinical practicum, which the school will help them arrange with local mentors. And as far as quality is concerned, MSU is a top online school: U.S. News ranked it #102 for “Best Online Bachelor’s Programs” and also placed it in the top 40 for “Top Public Schools.”
Western Governors University is both a top educational option and an incredibly cheap online college. Among its quality programs is an RN-BSN completion program that goes beyond the clinical aspects of nursing. Students investigate patient safety, technology in healthcare settings, administrative policies, and evidence-based practices. To ensure that all online bachelor’s in nursing graduates are satisfactorally prepared for demanding nursing jobs, WGU requires all students to complete 90 hours of clinical time in community health centers, hospitals, public health departments, or similar environments. This accredited online college is certified by both NCATE and CCNE, and more than 90% of employers rate graduates’ preparation as “good” or “excellent.”
3. Broward College
Bachelor of Science in Nursing Online
Broward College invites all currently registered nurses to attend its convenient, flexible RN-BSN completion program. The degree typically takes three semesters to finish, although part-time students will understandably need more time. Designed for the professional nurse, this online college program includes a curriculum that centers on community nursing, global trends in the field, technology, effective leadership practices, and advanced assessment techniques. Armed with a BSN, nurses can enter the workforce with a resume and academic background practically guaranteed to land them a competitive job. 84% of students surveyed on College Prowler agree that the education offered by Broward is valuable, while 82% rate the professors as more than knowledgeable.
Tuition: $2,542/yr (In-state) $8,712/yr (Out-of-state)
2. Georgia Highlands College
Registered nurses can advance their career in a powerful way through Georgia Highlands’ online college degree program. The school’s learning outcomes include integrating liberal arts education with effective nursing care, applying leadership and management principles to healthcare outcomes, synthesizing reliable data and research to make practical decisions, and much more. The program is competitive and requires applicants to have at least a 2.5 in order to be admitted. In addition to being competitive, this top online college is known for its small class sizes, free online tutoring, and attractive study abroad programs. Surveys on College Prowler reveal that students especially love the flexible schedules, low-stress course load, and knowledgeable professors.
Tuition: $2,720/yr (In-state) $8,360/yr (Out-of-state)
1. New Mexico Highlands University
Department of Nursing RN-BSN Online Program
New Mexico Highlands University offers a convenient and affordable online college education for motivated nursing students. In reality, “affordable” is an understatement. Even out-of-state students can earn a degree for less than $6,500 a year, making NMHU a remarkably cheap online college option for students on a budget. The program includes dedicated nursing faculty, flexible scheduling for part-time students, and a curriculum designed for professional nurses. Subject areas include management, patient care, community health, and more. Despite being so low cost, NMHU still stands out in certain areas; the majority of students (according to College Prowler) report that the campus community is accepting and the career center is very helpful.
Tuition: $4,000/yr (In-state) $6,382/yr (Out-of-state)
U.S. News Ranking and Reviews
National University Technology Network
Bureau of Labor Statistics – Registered Nurses
Bureau of Labor Statistics – Nurse Practitioners
About the Author:
Iris Stone began her writing career when she started working as a freelance writer and researcher in 2011. Her freelance business soon took off and she now owns and operates a writing and editing firm that works with clients all across the country. Despite the time it takes to run a business she still does much of the writing herself, and her work has included a variety of content related to education policy, colleges and universities, academic programs, and graduates’ careers. Her interests actually span far beyond writing, and she is currently studying to be a physicist! Check out her Google+ Profile.