By BCS Staff
More registered nurses than ever before are returning to school to earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees. While many of these nurses are looking to take advantage of opportunities that come with a national nurse shortage, others are encouraged by the fact the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 7% increase in nursing jobs between now and 2029. Whatever your reason for considering a fast-tracked B.S. in Nursing, known also as a BSN, there are some excellent online degree programs that busy nurses can complete quickly, on their own schedule, and from anywhere in the world. Even better, a great RN to BSN program doesn’t need to cost you an arm and a leg. Below, we’ve highlighted 15 of the best most affordable online RN to BSN Nursing Degree programs for 2021.
To come up with the most affordable RN to BSN online degree programs, we began by searching program rankings conducted by College Atlas, Nursing,com, U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, and the like. We assigned each institution one point for every time it appeared on a national ranking. Once we had completed our initial research, we identified the top 15 RN to BSN online degree programs which could be considered “the best,” based on points. Finally, we ranked the programs in descending order of estimated program cost, using each school’s official website for the most up-to-date information on tuition and required numbers of credits. The 15 best most affordable online RN to BSN degrees are highlighted below, ordered from least to most expensive.
Note: The Estimated Program Costs listed below are a reflection of the current tuition cost-per-credit multiplied by the number of credits required to complete the degree. Please refer to a program’s official website for the most up-to-date tuition and fees. All numbers listed below are accurate as of November 2020.
University of Wisconsin, Madison
RN to BSN Online
Estimated Program Cost: $13,560
University of Wisconsin, Madison offers an all-online RN to BSN degree program. The program is designed for working adults who have already completed an associate degree or diploma in the field of nursing. Students may complete the degree in as little as a year and a half.
Grand Canyon University
RN to BSN Online
Estimated Program Cost: $14,100
Grand Canyon University offers one of the most complete and respected online degree portals. The university’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) online degree program offers classes on a flexible schedule. This means busy, working students can complete the 120-credit degree program on their own time. Still, classes consist of online discussion with peers and instructors, so students don’t miss out the social aspect of pursuing a degree. Up to 90 credits may be transferring in. This degree can be completed in as few as 12 months.
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Online RN to BSN
Estimated Program Cost: $17,550
UMASS Amherst is one of the top public universities in the United States, and it offers one of the most comprehensive online selections of degrees available. The school has fully embraced online learning, and has been recognized by many organizations for their high quality programs. The RN to BSN program at UMASS ensures that students earning the degree will have the reputation of the school behind the diploma, as well as one of the best online educational experiences available.
Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis
RN to BSN Online
Estimated Program Cost: $30,690
The RN to BSN program offered online by IUPUI is a combined effort from the greater Indiana State University system. The goal is to provide the best courses the system has to offer online to students, ensuring the program’s quality while making it available to professional nurses all over the United States. The 33-credit degree is designed to accommodate working nurses who have already completed their associate’s degree in nursing. Students can graduate in anywhere from 12 months to two years.
George Mason University
Online RN to BSN Program
Estimated Program Cost: $46,080
The RN to BSN program at George Mason University is designed with flexibility in mind. Catering to the needs of professional nurses, the program is available in both full- and part-time programs, and nurses can transition between full and part time, semester by semester, as needed. The program accepts transfers of most general education credits, and will accept all nursing credits from the student’s previous degree upon entry into the program.
The Ohio State University is yet another major state university embracing online education. The nursing programs at OSU are among the best in the country. High profile universities like OSU embracing online education is the most convincing sign that online education is the future of higher education.
College Atlas Ranking: #31
The University of Nebraska Medical Center is one of the most highly regarded medical graduate schools in the United States. The nursing programs offered here are top notch, and the ability to earn the RN to BSN degree online means professional nurses don’t have to go through the stress of relocating and finding new employment, to attend one of the best nursing programs out there.
College Atlas Ranking: #36
The RN to BSN program at the University of Louisville is designed to help students adapt to the wide range of needs emerging in the nursing industry. Students will gain important insight that will help them specialize, and become more flexible, which can only be good for their nursing career.
College Atlas Ranking: #59
There are two primary RN to BSN tracks offered by the Oregon Health and Science University. The first is for students that graduated with an associate’s degree from an Oregon Consortium for Nursing Education school, the second is for students that graduated from a non-OCNE school. The primary difference is that students of non OCNE programs must take six transition credits to compensate. Other than that small difference, the programs are the same, and are available to students throughout the United States. This is also one of the top ranked programs by College Atlas that is offered online.
College Atlas Ranking: #8
The nursing program overall at UC–Denver is ranked in the top 20 by College Atlas. The online RN-BSN program maintains the high standards of the traditional programs, and offers students from around the country the opportunity to pursue the BSN program on their own terms.
College Atlas Ranking: #16
The University of Wisconsin Milwaukee is one of the best nursing programs in the country, especially among the schools that offer online programs. Students local to the university have the choice of taking some of the classes in a clinical setting. The school strives to cater to every possible need that working professional nurses may have in order to make the continuing of their education as smooth as possible.
College Atlas Ranking: #39
Texas Woman’s University: RN to BSN
Despite its name, Texas Woman’s University enrollment and employment is available to members of every gender. The program is designed for maximum flexibility, and students electing to take classes full time can complete the required upper division credits in as little as one year. Two of the classes may require participation in a clinical setting, contact the admissions office to learn the details of this requirement.
College Atlas Ranking: #58
The RN to BSN program at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock is described on its page in a testimonial as a program that empowers nurses to effect change change in their workplace. The program covers issues that many nurses encounter in their professional careers, and equips them with the tools to better interact with those issues which include: health assessment, wellness promotion, economics, research, legalities, leadership, and advocacy.
College Atlas Ranking: #41
The University of Texas Medical Branch boasts one of the top online nursing programs in the United States. In addition, tuition, even for out of state students, is very reasonable. The reasonable tuition, quality of the RN to BSN program, and prestige of a school within the Texas state university system are among the many reasons for nurses to consider this program.
College Atlas Ranking: #69
Penn State University has been offering distance learning courses since the late 19th century. The school was one of the first schools to offer distance courses online, and has continued to be a pioneer and innovator in the field of distance education. The online RN to BSN program is offered like most of Penn State’s many online programs, through the school’s World Campus, an entire digital campus devoted to distance learning.
College Atlas Ranking: #56