Most Affordable Accredited Online RN to BSN Programs for 2015

Degree Finder For Nurses

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During more than 40 years that I have worked as an RN with a BSN degree, I have come to realize that perhaps the most relevant gift I received as a student was the incentive to be a passionate learner. Rather than learning a set of skills that were drilled into the unoccupied spaces in our brains, we students were challenged to understand why those skills were relevant, and thus be able to plan our approach accordingly. Being a passionate learner is the polar opposite of being a robot-care-giver.

Hopefully you too will take those nudges, either from self, colleagues, or even your need for more income, to be indicators of your passion for learning. But consider your future carefully. Given that you are considering moving beyond the basics might be an indication of an untapped potential within you. Choosing the least expensive, fastest tract and most flexible RN to BSN option might be appealing, but is that really what you want for the long haul?


Obtaining your BSN is like opening a door, not just a window, into the world of nursing opportunities. A listing of 50 career options here is evidence of that fact. As you scroll through this ranking, remember, we didn’t even bother listing schools/universities that were NOT accredited–why study and invest time and effort for a degree that no one will recognize? But we will help you make your further education choices by providing the basics in each option: the costs, time involved, accreditation, and point out what experience has taught us to be valuable for future planning.

As you check out the different options presented here, remember that as an RN you have many credits that you can transfer in from another accredited school. Total credits required include liberal arts courses required as part of the degree; by knowing what you can transfer, and validate, you can come up with a basic amount required based on cost/credit hour. We ranked from the least expensive/credit hour, to the most expensive.

One final point of reference related to virtual reality. Rarely do the images accompanying this listing show you stately halls of learning, or groups of students. Unless your choice is a well-established university that now offers online options as well as classroom settings, your imagination of what an ideal classroom looks like is probably a valid one and one you may want to visit–in your imagination and study time. Be passionate about life, and learning, as you begin to explore your new career options starting now.

1. Fort Hayes State University

Ft Hayes State University
Fort Hays State University has an established reputation as one of the top online universities around. Their online RN to BSN program has the added bonus of being the most affordable we could find. If you choose FHSU, you’ll be joining over 13,000 other students getting a great education value.

Time commitment:

Depends on the student; can be very part time, allowing you to continue employment, or full-time to finish more quickly. Total including credit hours required: 125 credit hours, but probably at least half can be transferred in.

Cost:

$186.50/credit hour

Accreditation:

Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE); Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

Strong points:

Ranked among “Best Online Programs 2014” by U.S. News & World Report. Enthusiastic support for persons uncertain about online programs. Experienced: had first graduates in 2000. Completely flexible in time frame; completely online. Advanced placement via credit transfers for fraction of cost less than $10/credit hour). Very user-friendly website.

2. Ohio University

Ohio U S of N
According to Ohio University‘s homepage, OU is an “institution consistently ranked in the top 2% of American public universities and recognized for academic quality and value. Built on a solid academic foundation, the (BSN) program helps students build on past nursing education to achieve their educational goals.”

Time commitment:

Depends on transferable credit hours; 120 total required, 31 nursing credit hours required, 30 credits must be from Ohio.

Cost:

$240-$243/credit hour in state/out of state.

Accreditation:

Higher Learning Commission North Central Association of Colleges and Schools; Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Strong Points:

Five week courses; eight start dates; no scheduled check in times, assignments may be done anywhere, anytime. School of nursing is 40 years old. Consideration granted for international course work.

3. University of North Alabama

UNA logo
Think about this statement (from UNA’s home page): The University of North Alabama is the oldest state-chartered institution in Alabama, & we are still thriving. Sounds inviting!

Time commitment:

Professional course work may be completed in one year

Cost:

$244/credit hour

Accreditation:

Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE); Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

Strong Points:

Clinical practice may be done in home community; completely web-based allowing maximum flexibility; advanced standing, with 30 hours credit for nursing credits; online students pay instate tuition; general education course work may be completed at the same time as professional courses

4. University of Texas Arlington

UTA logo
Energy is an important commodity. UTA says, we are “a growing research powerhouse committed to life-enhancing discovery, innovative instruction, and caring community engagement.” Empowering!

Time commitment:

With maximum number of credits transferred, and full time, a BSN can be completed in just over a year

Cost:

$257/credit hour or about $8,995 for the program based on number of credits transferable

Accreditation:

Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE); Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

Strong points:

Immediate application is possible regardless of non-nursing courses completed. The College of Nursing seeks to prepare highest quality nurses by way of educational, scholastic, and service excellence. The program builds on skills that nurses already have in leadership and practice, and then encourages systematic assessment of persons, families and communities or groups by taking into account the “big picture” including physiological, psychosocial, cultural and spiritual beliefs. A very good FAQ website is helpful as is other information regarding options.

5. Western Governors University

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If you want to be loved, consider WGU, the homepage declares: “98% of employers love our grads, and we won’t stop till it’s 100%!” Be valued!

Time commitment:

Standard completion time is 18 months

Cost:

Tuition is charged flat rate for 6 month terms: $3250 plus $145/term resource fee.

Accreditation:

Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education; Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Strong points:

Community health is stressed, and student must complete 90 hours mentored clinic experience. Learning to work to achieve “evidence-based practice, patient safety, and technology integration, as well as healthcare systems and policies” is an essential part of the WGU RN to BSN program.

6. State University of New York Delhi Online

Delhi U logo
Collegechoice.com says that “SUNY Delhi ranks number one in the nation among the colleges and universities offering BSN programs online.” That sounds like a good place to be!

Time commitment:

120 credit hours required, but up to 80 may be transferred in; if full time, less than two years

Cost:

$277/credit hour

Accreditation:

Middle States Commission on Higher Education; Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)

Strong Points:

Website is very user friendly and information readily available. University is number one in the nation for online bachelor’s programs (U.S. News & World Report); Provides educational mobility; planned for working RNs; practicums can be done in RN’s home area; critical thinking and management skills emphasized to deal with changes in nursing; classes are seven weeks long, so up to four/semester may be completed;

7. Lamar University

Lamar University
The largest graduate education college in the state of Texas? According to the home page, it’s Lamar University!

Time commitment:

Course work may be completed in 13 months

Cost:

$283/credit hour; 30 nursing course hours

Accreditation:

Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN); Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

Strong points:

Lamar expects their graduates to be thinking analytically, synthesizing information, and responding whatever needs in whatever location they find themselves. Unrealistic? Hardly! A solid BSN program must provide all of the above if graduates expect to continue climbing their professional ladder. Non-nursing credits may be transferred from other schools, although some must be taken at Lamar.

8. Kaplan University

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Still lacking motivation: Kaplan University asks (on the homepage), “Isn’t it time to finish what you’ve started?” Hope that helps!

Time commitment:

Full-time 18 months, varies based on transferable credits, state requirements. Part time is an option.

Cost:

$315/credit hour; 90 credit hours required; discounts apply for military personnel (both active and past); the highest discount is for active duty personnel.

Accreditation:

Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education; The Higher Leaning Commission North Central Association

Strong points:

Professional Leadership preparation is important for Kaplan University as is health promotion. Having an in depth understanding of both of these areas is vital for any future career in nursing. A BSN is not a specialty, but rather an early step in the journey, so look for these in any serious program because they are vital to your future advancement.

9. Walden University

Walden logo
So why study? Walden University answers, “a higher degree, a higher purpose.” Worth thinking about!

Time commitment:

45 quarter credit hours

Cost:

Costs vary per individual; technology fees range from$120-$160; If all possible credits are transferred, 45 quarter credit hours remain at $320/quarter credit hour or $14,880, includes technology fee.

Accreditation:

Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education; The Higher Learning Commission and North Central Association.

Strong points:

All of the faculty members hold doctor’s degrees. In depth exploration of evidence based practice is key. Up to 50% of required credits may be transferred. New perspective gained via interaction online with nurses from across the country. Personalized technical and academic support provided.

10. Wilmington University

Wilmington logo
If reaching your goal is hard, consider Wilmington University‘s commitment (on the homepage): “Our focus is on making sure our students have the chance to reach their goals and become leaders in their professions.”

Time commitment:

Depends on courses transferred

Cost:

$338/credit hour

Accreditation:

Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE); Higher Education Commission Middle States Association

Strong Points:

seamless transition to graduate courses; may take one course, or be full-time (four or more courses); 100% online or hybrid (if local); critical thinking based; synthesis of knowledge from other disciplines; theory incorporated into practice; learning and practicing teaching; become more self-directed for life-long learning; effective communication skills taught and used.

11. University of Wyoming

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U of W aims high, according to the homepage, “the University of Wyoming provides quality undergraduate and graduate programs to 13,800 students from all 50 states and 94 countries.” That’s pretty awesome!

Time commitment:

Nursing courses may be completed in one year, but time for total hours (120) will vary depending on transfer credits and total completed/term.

Cost:

318 + $25/delivery fee = $343/credit hour (2015)

Accreditation:

Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education; Higher Learning Commission (since 1923)

Strong points:

Completely online, no campus time required.

12. Capella University

Capella_logo
“You made it from Point A to Point B, now reach your Point C”, Capella University calls out inviting. (homepage). Sounds like a great invitation to an RN considering a BSN!

Time commitment:

Based on number of credit hours/semester

Cost:

$315-$371/credit hour; 114 credit hours required including transfers allowed

Accreditation:

The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE); the Higher Learning Commission; North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA)

Strong points:

Focus is on holistic health, and assessment skills, nursing theory and practice. For careers that are practice oriented, these skills are crucial. Practicing high quality care, and being a true advocate of your clients is also important at Capella RN to BSN education.

13. University of Maryland School of Nursing

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If longevity gives you a podium, U of M School of Nursing gets one: “During its 125-year history, the University of Maryland School of Nursing has been a driving force, advancing the science of nursing through innovative research, practical learning, and an unwavering commitment to the community” (homepage).

Time commitment:

120 hours total; over half transferable; time varies by credits already earned

Cost:

348/credit hour

Accreditation:

Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE); Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools

Strong Points:

Use of nursing process for foundation of planning and implementation of care; combine information and knowledge from other disciplines; use research process for planning and delivering care; become personally accountable; use of ethics in delivering care; become an integral nurse through incorporation of values taught and practiced.

14. Liberty University

Liberty_University_Script_Logo
If spirituality is an important part of your life, Liberty might be a good fit: (At) Liberty University, you can achieve your career goals and reach new heights you never thought possible — all while strengthening your relationship with God” (homepage).

Time commitment:

Part time an option; full time requires at least 12 credit hours

Cost:

$360/credit hour; 120 required (including credits transferred)

Accreditation:

SACS – Southern Association of Colleges and Schools; the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

Strong points:

Liberty Online University values critical thinking and leadership skills. Most careers (and there are hundreds) in nursing require nurses to function independently and interdependently using these two skills. Without them, you can still be a good nurse, but advancing will be more difficult.

15. University of the Incarnate Word

UIW logo
UIW offers special programs for adults seeking to complete a degree, including RNs wanting a BSN—called “ADCaP” (homepage). Isn’t it time to add a cap (and gown) to your career?

Time commitment:

Depends on the number of courses taken, and transferred in. Credit is given for validated learning. Except for clinical practica, courses are online.

Cost:

$395/credit hour/minimum of 45 hours in residence

Accreditation:

The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE); Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Strong points:

UIW is not an opportunist university; it has been educating nurses for over 80 years. Terms are short (eight weeks), and online. Tuition is reduced for nurses. Credits can be earned by validation and transfer from regionally accredited schools, thus reducing time and costs.

16. Colorado Christian University

CCUCougars
So why CCU? CCU answers: CCU is unique because of a “passion for rigorous academics and (for) helping our students grow in their faith” (homepage).

Time commitment:

120 credit hours required; 83 may be transferred; if prerequisite requirements are met, nursing courses may be completed in one year

Cost:

$395 credit/hour

Accreditation:

Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE); Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association

Strong Points:

Seeks to “develop compassionate and competent nurse leaders who will help transform health care through Christ-inspired nursing practices” (Website); international immersion an option; courses are 5 weeks long, taken one at a time; evidence based curriculum; integration of faith into educational program

17. Kent State University

Kent-State-logo
KSU keeps it short and to the point: “Excellence in Action!” (homepage) Definitely a motivator!

Time commitment:

Full and part time options available; less than two years to complete

Cost:

$440/credit hour for Ohio residents; $450/credit for out of state; $100 application fee

Accreditation:

Higher Learning Commission North Central Association; Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Strong points:

Key components for success, are “individual advising, program planning and guidance by experienced faculty and staff” (KSU website). No “on campus” time is required. Of the 122 credit hours required, up to 92 may be transferred or validated. Courses are all 3 credit hour course and last 7 weeks. There are 6 start times/year providing maximum flexibility.

18. Herzing University

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Take into consideration these words from Herzing cares: “Career-focused, convenient, and caring — these ideas define an education from Herzing University” (homepage).

Time commitment:

32 months full time to complete about 60 credit hours that cannot be transferred in out of about 120 credit hours

Cost:

Full-time (12-15 credit hours) cost $6160 or about $450/credit hour

Accreditation:

Higher Learning Commission

Strong points:

Recognized by US News & World Report as one of top online bachelor’s programs. Depending on location you may be able to take classroom classes as well (located in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin 53051. Online classes provide maximum flexibility.

19. Jacksonville University

Jacksonville U logo
JU also has a short, but powerful, motivational call: “Realize your potential!” (homepage) What is holding you back?

Time commitment:

May complete required 120 credit hours in as little as 10 months depending on transferable credits which include 30 for RN license.

Cost:

$460 credit hour; $24,880 for 54 hours required

Accreditation:

Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE); Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

Strong Points:

Use what you know as an RN, and deal with ever more complexity, solving problems, delegating, using critical thinking and management skills; consider ethical and legal challenges—all of the above with colleagues online as you learn critical care, research, and community health.

20. Franklin University

Franklin U
Still not certain? Franklin University invites you to: “Discover programs dedicated to serving the diverse healthcare and public sector needs of individuals and communities around the world” (homepage).

Time commitment:

124 hours total; 38 nursing; three 15 week trimesters; to be determined according to transferred credits

Cost:

$464/credit hour

Accreditation:

The Higher Learning Commission of North Central Association of Colleges and Schools; Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

Strong Points:

Integrate theories and concepts; health promotion and disease prevention integrated into program; professional standards, assumption of leadership; knowledge and application of information management; integration of current knowledge; knowledge and use of policy formation and direction; insight from industry leaders integrated into learning; concepts and theories become reality and can become part of your career immediately.

21. Villanova University

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If you’re still asking if online learning is right for you, Villanova University has an answer, “With tens of thousands of enrollments, including leaders from top organizations, our programs have earned a reputation for excellence – making us the worldwide leader in professional education online” (homepage). Learn more about what to expect.

Time commitment:

Depends on number of credits transferable; 60 required from Villanova University

Cost:

Average tuition rate (based on transfers allowed) $470/credit hour

Accreditation:

Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools

Strong points:

Program is 100% online, available 24/7. Designated a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education by the National League for Nursing. Over 7000 graduates. Rigorous curriculum with the highest professional standards, including learning participation in policy setting; using clinic reasoning and assessment skills; demonstrating professional leadership and management—all an essential part of future career growth.

22. University of Louisville

U of Louisville
U of L offers you lots of options… RN to BSN is just one. “With a student population of over 22,000…U of L offers graduate, professional, baccalaureate, and associate degrees, as well as certificates, in over 170 fields of study…” (homepage).

Time commitment:

Total 123 hours, about half can be transferred; less than two years if full time

Cost:

$483/credit hour

Accreditation:

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools; Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

Strong Points:

All courses can be completed online; practicums can be done where convenient for you. Nurses are prepared to “be proficient in critical thinking, communication, political activism, case managements and the economics of health care.” (Website) Interaction with other students required; 24/7 IT support

23. University of Cincinnati

University_of_Cincinnati_logo
If being part of a crowd is important, “UC is a public research university with an enrollment of more than 43,000 students” (homepage).

Time commitment:

Part time 12 or 18 months

Cost:

$488/$503 credit hour part time –in state/out of state for 26 credit hours; full time less expensive

Accreditation:

Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE); Higher Learning Commission plus accreditation by programs such as CCNE

Strong Points:

Flexibility and affordability vital; expedite the transition to professional nurses from shorter terms; full and part time options possible; the school of nursing roots go back to 1889; most prerequisites met by RNs.

24. Notre Dame College

Notre Dame College logo
How about staying home? NDC is a “world class college in your own backyard” (homepage).

Time commitment:

depending on transferred credits may complete degree in 16-18 months.

Cost:

$520/credit hour

Accreditation:

Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE); The Higher Learning Commission North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

Strong Points:

may begin twice a year; may be full time (4 or more courses), or part time; learning to become an advocate important; develops nurses who “protect, promote and optimize health and well-being, prevent illness and injury, and alleviate suffering through proper diagnosis and treatment” (Website).

25. Arizona State University

ASU logo
Thinking about expanding your borders with more than a BSN? ASU offers “more than 250 study abroad programs in more than 55 countries” (homepage). Think big!

Time commitment:

15-18 months if full time and credits already earned are transferable

Cost:

$543/credit hour

Accreditation:

Higher Learning Commission, North Central Association of Schools and Colleges

Strong Points:

Learning evidence based practice; preparing nurses who demonstrate holistic, population-based perspectives, who are critical thinkers, and who can advocate for clients, as well as communicate effectively; 24/7 technical and research support.

26. Chamberlain College of Nursing

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Seeing beyond your own world? Chamberlain offers “a culture of care” by treating thousands of persons in other countries as part of the “International Nursing Service Project” (homepage).

Time commitment:

Possible to complete in as few as 3 semesters.

Cost:

Nursing courses $14,160; Liberal arts: $590/credit hour (many credits transferable)

Accreditation:

The Higher Learning Commission; North Central Association of Colleges and Schools; The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

Strong points:

Classes start every 8 weeks; Program is over 125 years old. Completely online with no mandatory login times. Up to 82 credits are transferrable. Application of already acquired nursing skills via online discussions. Emphasis on evidence based practice; community nursing, and collaborative health care, all crucial for maximum health realization in a community of any sort.

27. Drexel University

Drexel logo
Drexel did not just show up yesterday, “Founded in 1891 and offering online degrees since 1996, Drexel University has become renowned for innovative, Internet-based distance education programs for working professionals and corporations in the United States and abroad” (homepage).

Time commitment:

Depends on course load; 1-2 credits/quarter usual load

Cost:

$612/credit; cost locked in if completed in 3 years;

Accreditation:

Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE); Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Strong Points:

Action based learning and in depth clinic skills of graduates; minimal disruption from employment, opportunity to continue working and apply newly learned knowledge; up to 135 quarter credit hours/180 required can be transferred; critical thinking, leadership, communication skills valued; anytime, anywhere, 24/7 tech support; live chats required for increased interaction, but no on site requirement.