By Iris Stone
Healthcare as a whole is a burgeoning industry in the United States, and nursing especially is an increasingly in-demand field. Nursing school is notoriously difficult, and graduates earn little glory in their professional lives. Doctors may be the diagnostic heavyweights, but nurses are the ones on the front lines of unexpected crises, saving patients daily for half the salary.
If you think you have what it takes to become a registered nurse – commitment, dedication, focus, and compassion – you might want to consider one of the colleges listed below. Although nursing programs come in numerous forms (RN to BSN, LPN to BSN, etc.) high school students and those without a background in healthcare should opt for a traditional, four-year BSN. The programs listed below focus on this last category.
These best nursing schools represent some of the most affordable programs available. From our initial list of selective schools, we sorted them by net price, defined on College Navigator as a value “generated by subtracting the average amount of federal, state/local government, or institutional grant or scholarship aid from the total cost of attendance. Total cost of attendance is the sum of published tuition and required fees (lower of in-district or in-state), books and supplies, and the weighted average for room and board and other expenses.”
At the end, we had 50 schools with low costs but high selectivity (an acceptance rate of 50% or less). And yet, each of these colleges has something unique to offer, so it’s worth exploring your options and doing the research to make the best choice for you.
50. Southwestern Adventist University
Bachelor of Science with a Major in Nursing
At Southwestern Adventist University, students can earn a four-year Bachelor of Science degree with a major in nursing and concentration tracks for Registered Nursing (RN) and Licensed Vocational Nursing (LVN). Rigorous coursework in pharmacology, pathology, pediatric nursing, gerontology and more makes SWAU graduates eligible to write National Council Licensing Examinations (NCLEX-RN) for professional licensure. And being fully approved by the Texas Board of Nursing and accredited with the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, SWAU’s nursing program prepares graduates for meaningful careers in hospitals, private practices, and home-care. SWAU’s “Nurse’s Lounge” also provides mentorship and career networking for students seeking advantages outside of the classroom.
Net Price: $18,116/yr
49. Graceland University Lamoni
Whether you are just beginning your journey through higher education or you are looking to use your credits towards an accelerated degree program, Graceland University Lamoni’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) to RN Program is a great investment in your future. Graceland has one of the best nursing schools in the state, with accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Offered on two separate campus locations at Independence, Missouri, and Lamoni, Iowa, Graceland’s BSN program requires 65 credit-hours to enroll and features a range of coursework in healthcare fundamentals, maternal and newborn care, critical care nursing, and more.
Net Price: $17,969/yr
48. Pfeiffer University
With a combination of classroom and clinical learning opportunities, Pfeiffer University prepares nursing students to provide the highest quality patient care wherever they go. This Christian university is a great resource for students of faith looking to acquire their BSN. Even if they are already a registered nurse (RN), students can benefit from Pfeiffer’s RN to BSN degree completion program. In both the accelerated and standard programs, the study of the natural and behavioral sciences is accompanied by an emphasis of clinical practice through coursework such as Community Health Nursing, Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing, and Introduction to Nursing Research. Pfeiffer graduates are also eligible to apply to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination, which opens the door to a range of meaningful careers in hospitals, clinics, hospices, and more.
Net Price: $17,611/yr
47. Alderson Broaddus University
With accreditation from the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission and approval from the West Virginia State Board of Examiners for Registered Professional Nurses, Alderson Broaddus University is one of the best undergraduate nursing schools in West Virginia. ABU prepares students for a variety of promising careers in community health, general hospital care, emergency care, and intensive care through challenging coursework and required clinical field experience conducted in hospitals in Morgantown, Clarksburg, Elkins, and Weston. Exciting course offerings include classes in nutrition, pharmacology, pediatric care, and nursing management to provide comprehensive coverage of the profession.
Net Price: $17,421/yr
46. Washington Adventist University
Takoma Park, MD
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
At Washington Adventist University, students of faith can pursue a meaningful healthcare career at one of the best nursing schools for the price. Spirituality, professionalism, and critical thinking are three of the cornerstones of this integrated program, which combines theoretical and clinical experience to prepare students for all the diverse career opportunities that nursing has to offer. With a nursing degree from WAU, students can begin a future in community health agencies, health maintenance organizations, private industry, educational institutions, mission and foreign services, and more, including graduate nursing education.
Net Price: $17,055/yr
45. University of Texas at Austin
The School of Nursing at The University of Texas at Austin offers all the features of the best colleges for nursing at a great price. In this competitive, four-year program, students complete a dynamic course of study that marries theoretical approaches with hands-on clinical instruction. From Nursing Research and Communication in Health Care Settings to Pharmacology and Public Health, UTA’s curriculum provides a comprehensive foundation for graduates’ future careers in a variety of clinical settings, as well as subsequent doctoral studies and research. Top performing students with a GPA of 3.45 or above by the second semester of their freshman year are also eligible for an honors program, which features faculty mentorship for research, exclusive high-level courses, and more.
Net Price: $16,832/yr
44. Western Connecticut State University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
With small class sizes, attentive faculty, and one of the highest pass rates for the NCLEX in Connecticut, Western Connecticut State University is one of the best colleges for nursing in the state. In just four years, nursing students at WCSU develop a range of essential skills for modern nursing, including research methods, management and communications, and health-teaching strategies, alongside a traditional liberal arts core and nursing fundamentals. And with affiliations with many health care agencies in the greater Danbury, Waterbury and New Haven areas, WCSU is committed to placing graduates in promising careers even before they earn their degrees.
Net Price: $16,625/yr
43. Missouri Valley College
Students looking for a rigorous, competitive nursing program for a low price would do well to consider the School of Nursing at Missouri Valley College. MVC’s stated mission is to produce nurses who can provide safe, evidence-based, and compassionate care in a variety of clinical settings. Through high academic standards and required clinical training in local hospitals and other community health agencies, MVC prepares students for dynamic and meaningful healthcare careers. The MVC BSN program is also nationally accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and is equipped to provide an education that prepares graduates to sit for the NCLEX licensure examination and earn licensure.
Net Price: $16,066/yr
42. University of Michigan Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor, MI
Balancing a humanistic core with a nursing curriculum that includes social and natural sciences, the Traditional BSN program at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor emphasizes academic excellence to prepare students for challenging and rewarding careers in healthcare. In addition to rigorous and stimulating coursework that includes Structure and Function of the Human Body, Pathophysiology, and Mental Health and Illness Across the Lifespan, UM nursing students receive all the advantages of this prestigious “public ivy,” which range from world-class libraries, study abroad programs, and Division I sports. All of this makes UM’s BSN program rank among the best nursing schools at any price.
Net Price: $15,850/yr
41. Rochester College
Rochester Hills, MI
BS in Nursing
With the field of nursing expanding as the healthcare system grows, a BSN degree is more valuable to your career than ever before. Among the best nursing schools for the price is Rochester College, which provides a rigorous introduction to the fundamentals of professional nursing through the lens of Christian integrity and service. Students looking to take advantage of the growing future of nursing can acquire invaluable insights into its procedural and administrative elements through classes such as Innovative Pharmacology and Leadership and Informatics. Even Registered Nurses can benefit from Rochester’s BSN program, as RNs with bachelor’s degrees are more attractive to employers and receive better pay than their peers without degrees.
Net Price: $15,807/yr
40. University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program
Hospitals and clinics around the country are seeking Registered Nurses with a BSN to meet the evolving demands of healthcare technology and administration. To acquire a coveted position alongside today’s dedicated healthcare professionals, students should seek the best nursing school they can afford. University of Minnesota Twin Cities meets both criteria, with a rigorous but low-cost curriculum that has helped over 80% of graduates pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Whether you are a high school student, currently in college, or have already received your degree, University of Minnesota Twin Cities is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education to prepare you for your future nursing career.
Net Price: $15,589/yr
39. SUNY at Binghamton
With a graduate NCLEX-RN pass-rate “well above the state and national average,” SUNY at Binghamton is the best nursing school for students looking to launch their nursing career in New York. Graduates of SUNY at Binghamton owe their overwhelming success to a diverse core curriculum grounded in the liberal arts and sciences, as well as hands-on, technical nursing coursework. To graduate from the Decker School of Nursing, students are required to complete a total of 128 credit hours in general education requirements—which include mathematics, history, and writing composition— as well as electives and nursing courses that cover everything from anatomy and pathology to communications and administrative coursework.
Net Price: $15,572/yr
38. Dillard University
New Orleans, LA
As the first baccalaureate nursing program in Louisiana, the Dillard University School of Nursing has been producing leaders in healthcare for over 75 years. And as the demand for Registered Nurses with BSN degrees grows in hospitals and clinics around the country, Dillard is prepared to help students meet the needs of the infirm by providing a cutting-edge introduction into this challenging field. Courses in Human Development, Nursing Informatics, and Nursing Research are just a few among many opportunities for practical and theoretical education available to students at one of the best undergraduate nursing schools in the state.
Net Price: $14,872/yr
37. University of Florida
Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing
Offering traditional BSN, accelerated BSN, and RN to BSN programs, the College of Nursing at the University of Florida is a great resource for anyone looking to advance their career in one of the most high-demand healthcare professions in the industry. In fact, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) even recognizes a BSN as the “minimum educational requirement for professional nursing practice.” UF features the best nursing college in the state, providing a comprehensive technical foundation for aspiring nurses that includes unique coursework such as Genetics and Genomics in Nursing Practice, Pharmacology for Nursing, Psychopathology, and more.
Net Price: $14,786/yr
36. Grace University
Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing
At Grace University’s Nursing Program, Christian values of faith and service couple with technical training in healthcare research to produce effective leaders in healing. Merging the theological resources of Grace University with the nursing education available at Clarkson College, students have ample resources to develop their faith alongside their promising nursing careers. Theological studies, general liberal education, and hands-on vocational training are the cornerstones of the curriculum at Grace, encouraging students to broaden their knowledge base and grow as individuals as well as professionals.
Net Price: $14,758/yr
35. University of Central Florida
Owing to its exemplary NCLEX-RN pass-rate, top career placement for graduates, and resources for veterans, the University of Central Florida’s graduate nursing program is one of the top choices in the state, according to U.S. News. Since 1979, UCF has featured one of the best nursing schools available at such an affordable rate, helping students from all backgrounds acquire the technical knowledge and hands-on experience to take their nursing careers into their own hands. This nationally accredited program prepares students for diverse roles in healthcare—from clinical work to teaching and research—through a comprehensive curriculum covering the latest procedures and technology in modern medicine.
Net Price: $14,745/yr
34. University of South Carolina
With a four-year nursing track as well as an accelerated RN-to-BSN track, the University of South Carolina is perfect for students of all levels looking to advance their nursing career. In addition to a comprehensive nursing curriculum, USC provides ample resources for students and graduates, including their Simulation Center for Teaching Excellence, Upstate Student Nurses Association chapter, and Mu Rho Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing. In this way, USC prepares students for the NCLEX-RN while also providing career development and networking resources to help students penetrate this competitive field.
Net Price: $14,597/yr
33. College of the Ozarks
Point Lookout, MO
Combining a Christ-centered approach to learning and leadership alongside cutting-edge simulation technology, the College of the Ozarks prepares students to meet the demands of modern nursing with character and responsibility. C of O’s curriculum follows the Florence Nightingale “model and theory”-based curriculum to develop competent and confident healthcare professionals. Developed in the 19th century and updated for the 21st, this dynamic education model combines a broad liberal arts education with hands-on clinical practice in local hospitals and community health centers. This not only prepares C of O nursing students to sit for their NCLEX-RN examinations, but also encourages them to grow as ethical, spiritual leaders in their communities.
Net Price: $14,152/yr
32. University of Virginia
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
At the University of Virginia, world-class faculty, small class sizes, clinical experience, and inter-professional studies with medical students make for the best college for nursing in the state. This prestigious BSN program prepares students for the demands of modern nursing with a robust curriculum that covers physiology and anatomy, pathology, and medical administration and procedures. BSN students are also able to take advantage of all the undergraduate courses and student resources at UVA, one of the premiere colleges in the nation. After graduation, students are eligible to sit for NCLEX-RN examination and pursue nursing careers in hospitals and clinics, research, community health centers, and more.
Net Price: $14,069/yr
31. University of West Georgia
Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program (Pre-Licensure)
Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and approved by the Georgia Board of Nursing, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program at the University of West Georgia should be a top choice for any prospective nursing student. A comprehensive range of practical coursework, ranging from Clinical Practice and Holistic Health Assessment to NCLEX Prep, prepares UWS students for diverse roles in healthcare, from clinical practice and research to teaching and human services. Combined with flexible scheduling to accommodate professionals and families, this commitment to personalized education makes UWS one of the best undergraduate nursing schools on this list.
Net Price: $13,988/yr
30. SUNY College at Plattsburgh
Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Nursing
Prepare to take the NCLEX-RN and move onto graduate school or a successful career through SUNY’s College at Plattsburgh. A registered program with the New York State Education Department and an accredited member of the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, this undergraduate nursing degree meets every standard of quality. It even holds additional membership with the American Association College of Nursing and the Council of Deans of Nursing of Senior Colleges and Universities in New York. Nursing students at Plattsburgh enjoy well-kept facilities, including the Damianos Nursing Skills Lab, which puts students into a simulated environment where they can work with mannequins to develop their skills.
Net Price: $13,975/yr
29. SUNY College at Brockport
The State University of New York is the source of multiple of the best nursing schools in the region, including the College at Brockport. The college’s BSN program is CCNE-accredited, while the RN-BSN program is ranked in the top twenty in the entire country. Admission to the traditional BSN degree is not guaranteed, and eligible students will need to distinguish themselves academically in order to earn entry. Brockport also offers a “second degree” BSN option for older students who already have a bachelor’s degree in another area. Regardless of which track you choose, you will be able to join the Sigma Theta Tau Omicron Beta Chapter and the Virtual Nursing Alumni Association, as well as take advantage of top-notch facilities on campus.
Net Price: $13,813/yr
28. Stony Brook University
Stony Brook University, NY
Basic Baccalaureate Nursing Program
As if there weren’t already enough choices from New York on this list, Stony Brook serves up yet another great option for nursing students. The Basic Baccalaureate Program is open to students who have already completed two years of general education and are confident in their decision to become professional nurses. You must also have at least a 2.8 cumulative GPA to be eligible for admission to this selective nursing program. Once admitted, students have access to classes such as Psychosocial Mental Health Nursing, Child and Adolescent Health Nursing, and Maternal and Newborn Health Nursing. As part of their clinical requirement, fourth-year students also participate in a final capstone/practicum to solidify their practical knowledge.
Net Price: $13,352/yr
27. Western Carolina University
Western Carolina University describes its School of Nursing as a “unique challenge,” where experienced faculty provide personal attention to students as they select courses, complete clinical rotations, and prepare for the “real world.” Faculty mentors can also point you in the direction of unique opportunities and student organizations, such as the Health Occupations Students of America group and the Pre-Health Professional Club. The School of Nursing also provides a certification in Primary Care and an RN-BSN option specifically focused on rural areas. Outside of the classroom, you can participate in activities like the NN-CAT Nurse Mentoring Program, which helps minority and rural undergraduates have a successful experience in school.
Net Price: $12,916/yr
26. University of New Mexico
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Traditional students who need a four-year degree have two options at the University of New Mexico – a Basic Entry and a Dual Degree program. The Basic BSN provides the broadest, most comprehensive education possible across nursing, the liberal arts, and the sciences, and is perfect for students with a limited professional background. The dual option is actually a collaboration between multiple community colleges and UNM, allowing students to earn their associate’s and bachelor’s concurrently and to prepare for the NCLEX-RN without ever leaving home. Lastly, UNM is instituting a new curriculum for 2015 that improves students’ ability to get the most out of their education and absorb advanced nursing topics more easily.
Net Price: $12,840/yr
25. Delaware State University
Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing
The goal of the nursing program at Delaware State is to give future nurses an education that will open up endless career opportunities for them. The program emphasizes hands-on learning and face-to-face interactions, putting students into well equipped “smart classrooms” to facilitate lectures. Students also have access to simulations labs that feature electronic medication carts, high-tech monitors, and plenty of other equipment that you’d see in the best hospitals across the country. Like many of the other best undergraduate nursing schools, DSU pushes students to get involved in the community and flex their “real world” skills; you’ll work in clinics, assisted living facilities, and other health organizations before even graduating.
Net Price: $12,603/yr
24. University of California Los Angeles
Los Angeles, CA
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
The pre-licensure program in nursing at UCLA has been operating for about a decade, leading students toward eligibility to take the NCLEX-RN exam. The conceptual nature of the program leads students through the study of illness prevention, individualized care, and community-based health problems. Students evaluate healthcare systems through research, consider treatment methods at both the individual and community levels, and develop collaboration and communication skills that will serve them well in team-oriented healthcare settings. UCLA distinguishes itself from some of the other best nursing schools with its Summer Research Program, which invites qualified undergraduates to participate in an eight-week, research-intensive project with nursing faculty.
Net Price: $12,510/yr
23. University of Memphis
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
In just five semesters, you can be well on your way to a career in nursing – if you decide to attend the University of Memphis. The program is only for full-time students and does not include summer terms, although students who already have another bachelor’s degree can opt for an accelerated, four-semester version. Other degree options at Memphis consist of an RN-BSN and an Executive MSN. As hands-on education is such an important aspect of the best colleges for nursing, the University of Memphis has developed a long list of partnerships with local organizations; students can use these connections to find internships and field work at the Memphis Regional Medical Center, Delta Medical, Methodist University Hospital, and other reputable clinical sites.
Net Price: $12,369/yr
22. Brigham Young University Provo
Undergraduate Nursing Program
Gain all the general knowledge you need to be a nurse from this state-approved degree program at Brigham Young University. The religious school combines spiritual education with humanities and science topics to give students a “broad array of learning experiences.” If you choose BYU, you should be able to attend school full-time – which could mean as many as 16 credits per semester. As such, BYU does not recommend students work while they are in school, and if so to limit their work to no more than 10-12 hours a week. Remember that you will also be expected to complete regular practicums, which could require an additional weekly time commitment of 12 or more hours.
Net Price: $12,335/yr
21. Albany State University
Albany State University offers no shortage of options for nursing students at all levels. Applicants can go for the RN-BSN, traditional BSN, RN to MSN (Family Nurse Practitioner), or the RN to MSN (Education). The BSN option is heavy on clinical learning, as its primary goal is to prepare students for the NCLEX and for professional practice. Students work along side ASU faculty members to complete all their clinical requirements and receive the supervised training they need. As far as classroom experiences go, program members explore all the most relevant nursing topics through courses such as Pediatric Nursing, Pathophysiology, Mental Health Nursing, and Leadership/Management.
Net Price: $12,303/yr
20. Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University has been in the business of nursing education for over a century, and in fact was the first college in the state to offer a baccalaureate option for future nurses. Although this BSN program is designed to include four years of full-time study, students at Florida A&M have the flexibility to complete the first two years at another university. Faculty members who have extensive professional experience lead students through the full scope of nursing principles, from introductory treatment methods to advanced clinical practice. The university’s ideal location gives nursing majors easy access to fieldwork in large hospitals, small community clinics, and everywhere in between.
Net Price: $12,075/yr
19. University of California Irvine
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
One of the best nursing schools around, the University of California at Irvine welcomes “outstanding undergraduates” into its classrooms to study all the essential theories and practices of healthcare. Undergraduate students learn to think critically and apply their knowledge to innovative areas of research; graduates can be all-stars in professional practice or continue on to advanced study, becoming family nurse practitioners or adult gerontological primary care nurses in regional clinics. Of course, for undergraduates the initial goal is to pass the NCLEX, and most UC Irvine students do just that; in 2014, of the 50 students who took the exam nearly 80% passed successfully.
Net Price: $12,072/yr
18. Clayton State University
Basic Licensure BSN Track
Becoming a registered nurse is no easy task, and Clayton State University expects its students to stay focused and committed while attending its rigorous program. Students must be available days, evenings, and weekends during the duration of the degree course, as clinical experiences and practicums can often be very time-intensive. You may have to travel as far as 50 miles from campus to attend certain hospitals and medical facilities, so be prepared to make a significant investment if you want to complete the program successfully. But life at CSU isn’t all work and no play; the school has one of the most diverse student bodies in the country and offers plenty of chances for students to socialize and network with their peers – and potentially future coworkers!
Net Price: $10,898/yr
17. University of West Florida
Whether you want to work in a clinic or as a nursing administrator, go to graduate school for nursing or another healthcare profession, the University of West Florida can serve as a useful stepping-stone. This “limited access” program is certainly selective, and students will need a minimum 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale, at least a 73% score on the TEAS entrance exam, and at least a C grade on all nursing prerequisite courses to have a chance to be admitted to the program. On the other hand, if you are already a registered nurse but still need class credit to earn a BSN degree, West Florida provides an online track that can earn you the same credential.
Net Price: $10,759/yr
16. Chicago State University
B.S. in Nursing
Chicago State University supports a nursing program that considers the entire health of the individual, from biological and psychological concerns to those that nourish the spirit, culture, and social relationships. CSU sees nursing as both a science and an applied art, and it offers an extensive range of classes to fully prepare future nurses for the workforce. You’ll take classes in Health Promotion, Nutrition, Psychosocial Concepts, Biostatistics, and Nursing Procedures – and that’s just the start. Mental health, community health, adult health, adolescent health…you’ll gain information in every possible area to prepare you to best serve any population you could encounter as a nurse.
Net Price: $10,610/yr
15. Troy University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
If you enter Troy University as a freshman with no previous educational experience, you can graduate with a BSN in just four and a half years. Although many students earn their associate’s or RN degree first, Troy can take you from A to Z – or rather, from A to BSN. The pre-licensure program helps prepare students to take the NCLEX-RN exam and apply for professional nursing jobs. The curriculum includes foundational science courses, such as microbiology, nutrition, anatomy and physiology, and pathophysiology, as well as targeted nursing coursework in Health Assessment, Perspectives of Professional Nursing, and Nursing Concepts.
Net Price: $10,112/yr
14. San Diego State University
San Diego, CA
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Students who complete the four-year BSN at San Diego State University earn eligibility to practice as a registered nurse in California and earn certification as a public health nurse. The intensive, interdisciplinary curriculum blends science and compassion, focusing on the technical while also cultivating students’ genuine concern for others. SDSU supports a chapter of the Signma Theta Tau Honors Society for Nursing and strong on-campus facilities, including the Media Lab, Nursing Fundamental Skills Lab, Health Assessment Lab, and the Sharp Healthcare Human Patient Simulation Center. And plenty of sources agree that San Diego State is one of the best nursing schools; “Value Colleges” has named the university as the 6th top nursing program in the country.
Net Price: $10,085/yr
13. North Carolina Central University
For North Carolina Central University, 13 may turn out to be a lucky number after all. Qualified high school graduates, transfer students, and current licensed practical nurses can all take advantage of this best value BSN, which is selective but rewarding. The department offers a broad enough base of skills that many graduates pursue advanced study or choose a career outside of clinical healthcare. More specifically, other career options for graduates include food scientists, pharmacists, science technicians, chemists, or biological scientists. And just in case you already work as a registered nurse, NCCU has something for you, too: an RN-to-BSN that you can take online or at a local community college.
Net Price: $9,701/yr
12. Coppin State University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Nursing is a complex field, and Coppin State doesn’t try to pretend otherwise. The school takes a multidisciplinary approach to the topic, organizing a traditional BSN program that helps prepare students to exercise clinical judgment, promote healthy ideals, and effectively treat illnesses in a professional setting. You will complete the majority of the core coursework for the major in your junior and senior years, only after completing all prerequisite science classes. Advanced nursing topics include Health Assessment, Pharmacology, Maternity and Woman Health, Nursing Informatics, and Leadership in Nursing, among other subjects. In their final semester, students also complete a final practicum to synthesize their knowledge in a hands-on setting.
Net Price: $9,407/yr
11. Bluefield State College
Bluefield State College earns the stamp of approval as a best undergraduate nursing school – at the very least through its accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The high quality curriculum includes courses in Complex Health Problems, Ethics and Issues in Nursing, Advanced Healthcare Assessment for RNs, and a final Senior Practicum, among other standard areas of study. But Bluefield also supports some unique options, such as the School Nursing Program. This specialized curriculum covers focused study in student health, school policies, community resources, and pediatric illnesses and is perfect for nurses who want to make the classroom their clinic.
Net Price: $8,748/yr
10. Prairie View A&M University
Prairie View, TX
To gain entry into Prairie View’s Generic BSN Program, students first need to complete all undergraduate prerequisite requirements – either at the university or through another college before transferring. Once admitted to upper division coursework, students will apply their curiosity to topics such as family health, mental health, leadership and management, and community health. They complete a total of four practicums during the program, starting as early as the second semester of their junior year. Alternatively, Prairie View A&M University offers an LVN-BSN track for students who already have some professional experience in nursing but have not yet earned a bachelor’s degree.
Net Price: $8,628/yr
9. Farmingdale State College
Bachelor of Nursing (BSN) Generic
Farmingdale State College is one of the best nursing schools for students who value the social side of healthcare as much as the scientific. In addition to courses in Medical Microbiology and Health Assessment, you’ll also take classes in The Art of Nursing, Care of Individuals Experiencing Acute Health Challenges, and Nursing Care of Children and the Child Bearing Family. You can even take classes in health promotion and advocacy and change, preparing you for volunteer, nonprofit, and policy positions related to healthcare as well as for traditional clinical nursing. And for students who need a break from the classroom, the Chi Gamma Nursing Honors Society offers socialization and networking opportunities, plus events like the annual Founders’ Day Celebration.
Net Price: $8,146/yr
8. CUNY Hunter College
New York, NY
Bachelor of Nursing (BSN) Generic Program
There are several CUNY colleges on this list, but Hunter College – specifically the Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing – is the flagship nursing program within the City of New York system. As one of the best colleges for nursing in the region, Hunter brings nursing students into contact with professionals at the VA Hospital, Bellevue Hospital, and NYU Medical Center. Students complete all the professional coursework they’ll need to take the NCLEX-RN exam and/or apply for graduate school. Although Hunter’s program is large (100 students admitted annually) it is quite selective; to officially be selected for admission, students need to maintain a minimum 3.2 GPA, achieve a top score on the NLN Pre-RN exam, and be capable of attending classes full-time.
Net Price: $8,129/yr
7. California State University Long Beach
Long Beach, NY
Bachelor of Nursing (BSN)
The BSN program at CSU Long Beach targets two distinct types of students: traditional undergraduates who have no healthcare experience, and registered nurses who need additional study to take their nursing knowledge to the BSN level. But regardless of where you start, all students at Cal State Long Beach end up graduating at the same level, and all are eligible to take the NCLEX. Speaking of the NCLEX, there’s at least one clear reason this university is one of the best undergraduate nursing schools available – in the past decade, nearly every graduating class has reported a 100% pass rate on the exam. Not only that, but the lowest pass rate CSU Long Beach has reported since 2004 is a 97%!
Net Price: $7,672/yr
6. University of Arkansas Pine Bluff
Pine Bluff, AR
Bachelor of Nursing (BSN)
Like many of the schools on this list, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff provides both an RN-BSN completion and full BSN track for nursing students. The full BSN will give you access to all the upper division coursework you need to pass the NCLEX with flying colors and secure a great job in healthcare. More specifically, classes you could take include Medical Surgical Nursing Care, Care of the Childbearing Family, Nursing Care of the Older Adult, and Nursing Care of Communities and Populations. Many of the courses include both theory and practicum elements, combining principles and practice in a blend that produces UAPB grads who are both book smart and capable.
Net Price: $7,452/yr
5. CUNY York College
Nursing – Generic
Admission to the nursing degree program at CUNY York College is competitive; applicants must currently possess a Basic Life Support Certificate, a passing score on the pre-admission RN Exam (PAX-RN), and a minimum 3.0 GPA in several specific prerequisite courses. To succeed at York you should be a serious student who is prepared to attend school full time, as the curriculum demands students’ full attention. You will take classes in Nursing Care of Children, Management and Leadership, Deviations in Physiological Functions, and Adult Health, among others. By the end of the program, you will also have to take at least one research and writing course, which can help you develop the skills to communicate well in a scientific, professional environment – a skill that too many people in healthcare lack!
Net Price: $5,856/yr
4. California State University Fullerton
CSU Fullerton’s School of Nursing supports a comprehensive array of degree programs across the baccalaureate and graduate levels. In addition to LVN-BSN and RN-BSN options, CSU houses a traditional, four-year BSN for students without any previous nursing experience. The degree accepts both entry-level freshmen and other CSUF students who would like to transfer into the nursing program. And like many of the best undergraduate nursing schools, the university also supports a top graduate program and makes it easy for students to apply for advanced study. Master’s programs include Women’s Healthcare, Leadership, Nurse Anesthesia, or Nurse Education.
Net Price: $5,542/yr
3. Texas A&M International University
Basic Nursing Program
Students looking for a four-year nursing program can turn to the Basic Nursing Program at Texas A&M International. The curriculum plan addresses every useful topic in the book, from nutrition and pharmacology to childbearing and global health. Senior nursing students also complete a final laboratory/seminar course that will lead them through the in-depth diagnostic process and push them to think critically. In addition, fourth-year students engage in a concentrated clinical practicum that pushes their problem-solving, critical thinking, and clinical judgment abilities into high gear – adeptly preparing them for life in the fast lane of nursing.
Net Price: $4,639/yr
2. CUNY Lehman College
Lehman College has several distinct nursing degree options that cater to every type of incoming student. In addition to an online RN-BSN option and an on-campus B.S. for Registered Nurses, Lehman also hosts a generic, four-year nursing program for students with no previous experience (an accelerated, one-year option is available for students who already have a bachelor’s degree in another discipline). Finally, you might consider the Professional Nursing program, which welcomes both non-nurses and RN’s and prepares upper-level students to take the NCLEX. To ensure that all its graduates are well qualified, CUNY Lehman College requires all nursing students to maintain at least a C average in their science and major-specific courses.
Net Price: $2,327
1. Berea College
Berea College’s mission is an admirable one: to educate and train students with few economic resources but great academic potential. The school’s nursing program can put students well on their way to a life of professional practice, as well as future graduate school study. The curriculum covers pharmacology, pediatrics, research, community health, nursing leadership, and more. You can even take independent study classes with an option to include “active learning experience” for credit. And as one of the most affordable best colleges for nursing, BC has no shortage of special learning courses; another option is “team initiated study,” which gives creative students the opportunity to explore an area of unique interest while collaborating with department faculty.
Net Price: $1,990/yr
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.