Top 25 Most Affordable Online RN to BSN Programs for 2021


Many nurses pursuing their RN or BSN are looking for affordable nursing schools. There are many factors to take into consideration when deciding to go to nursing school. You will try to find the cheapest RN to BSN Online, then probably compare that to the cost of traditional schools.

There are many affordable nursing schools for those that want to go the traditional route. Still, the fastest and most affordable RN to BSN programs are online programs. There seem to be more and more affordable online RN to BSN programs popping up all the time.

According to Nurse Journal, the operating expense for online students are less than on-campus programs. Therefore, students can get a more affordable RN to BSN program if they choose to study online. The student saves even more money because there is no cost for transportation to get to school, plus they can learn when it is easiest for them. Working nursing students with families and limited time will find an online RN to BSN affordable and flexible.

Methodology: Ranking The Top 25 Most Affordable Online RN to BSN Programs 

For TopRNtoBSN’s ranking of the most affordable Registered Nurse (RN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) programs, editors focused on trusted, accredited programs across the US. Since students want to know the cost of the programs, we rank the programs according to the cost of tuition, the school’s reputation, and the program offerings. Data comes from the College Scorecard, the College Navigator, and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

1. University of Central Florida


The University of Central Florida Online RN to BSN degree is one of the most affordable programs available. Registered nurses can get up to 29 credits for previous classes they’ve taken. To be eligible applicants must have at least a 2.8 overall GPA. The convenient online format makes it easy for participants to complete their baccalaureate degrees while continuing to work.

This highly rated public university has 42,000 undergraduate students. Admission to the university is competitive, with only 44% of those applying receiving an acceptance letter. The University of Central Florida was founded in 1963 to support the U.S. space program. UCF is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The College of Nursing at UCF is a member of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and approved by the Florida Board of Nursing.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

2. Georgia Southern University

Another one of the most affordable programs is the Georgia Southern University online RN to BSN. This programs allows registered nurses to complete their undergraduate degree at an accelerated pace. Students can complete the program in two semesters or twelve months. Refer to as a bridge program, the RN to BSN program accepts credits for previously completed classes. Typically, nurses don’t have to complete clinical hours as part of this program. 

Georgia Southern University (GSU) has 19,000 undergraduate students and is based in Statesboro, Georgia. Just over half of applicants who apply are granted admission and students choose from hundreds of majors including liberal arts, biology and nursing. GSU ranks number three among the state’s top public universities.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

3. Fort Hays State University

At Fort Hays State University, registered nurses can complete one of the most affordable online RN to BSN programs. FHSU’s RN to BSN program can be completed 100% online. This allows working nurses to complete their bachelor’s of science in nursing within three semesters. Students can begin the program in the summer, spring or fall, and the program focuses on expanding leadership and critical thinking skills to help nurses advance in their field.

Fort Hays State has nearly 6,000 undergraduate students. This midsize school accepts more than nine out of ten students who apply, making it relatively easy to gain admission. The school has a number of majors including business support services and liberal arts. Fort Hays is the fifth ranked public university in Kansas.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

4. Fayetteville State University

The Fayetteville State University online RN to BSN program allows working nurses to complete their degree online. Typical students have their associate’s degree or diploma and an RN license but want to complete their baccalaureate degrees. This program builds upon the knowledge of working nurses to help them deepen their science-based learning. Participants learn about health assessments, community health and emergency care.

Fayetteville State is a historically black college and can be found in Fayetteville, NC. The college is committed to the advancement of black Americans and keeps enrollment small at just over 4,000 undergraduate students. Admission to the FSU is fairly competitive and just 69% of those who apply receive the green light from this historic university. At UNC-FSU, most students receive some form of financial aid, giving more students the opportunity to complete their degrees.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

5. University of Utah

Among the most affordable programs, the University of Utah online RN to BSN stands out for its flexible start dates. Students can begin in the spring, fall or summer. Part-time students can complete the program in four semesters, and full-time students can complete it in two to three semesters, based on their choice. The 100% online program gives students a lot of flexibility in how they wish to complete their degree. However, the geriatric concentration requires four semesters and has a fall start date only. Graduates can also apply for admittance into a masters in nursing program or return to the workforce if they’ve taken time off.

Located in Salt Lake City, the University of Utah is well respected both regionally and nationally. This large school has 19,000 undergraduate students and a very competitive admissions process. Approximately three out of five students who apply receive an acceptance letter. Those who do choose to go to the school have a huge selection of majors, including kinesiology, psychology and nursing. The school graduates 70% of incoming freshmen, compared with a 49% national average. The University of Utah is the state’s top public university and carries brand recognition that can help students obtain better-paying jobs.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

6. West Texas A&M University

The West Texas A&M University online RN to BSN program is another one of the mort affordable programs available. The program focuses on advancing career opportunities of registered nurses who received their baccalaureate degrees. After completing the program, many students move into management positions or higher-paying healthcare jobs. Getting their bachelor’s degree gives many nurses an opportunity to compete for higher level positions and earn higher wages. Graduates with a BSN receive more diverse career opportunities such as risk management. This is also great preparation for students who intend to complete their master’s of science in nursing degrees.

At West Texas A&M, 88% of students say that their professors show a lot of effort in prepping for their courses. Additionally, eight out of 10 students say they feel confident they’ll find jobs after graduation. Additionally, 91% of surveyed graduates had found work within two years. West Texas A&M ranks 10th in the state’s top public universities, making it a great choice for registered nurses is looking for a valued degree.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

7. University of Louisiana – Monroe

The University of Louisiana – Monroe online RN to BSN program is affordable and fast. This accelerated program allows students to complete their courses online. That makes it easier to balance work and family life with completing their education. Participants learn about evidence-based nursing that concentrates on respecting the wishes of patients and their family members. Students also learn to use information and data to drive positive outcomes. The program includes pharmacological principles and the role of information management systems in modern nursing.

Louisiana – Monroe has a fairly high acceptance rate of 80%. This well-respected public university has fewer than 5,000 undergraduate students. However, students have the choice of a plethora of majors including humanities, nursing and psychology. Louisiana – Monroe is among the top 4 public universities in the state.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

8. University of Central Missouri

Students can find another one of the most affordable online RN to BSN programs at the University of Central Missouri. UCM has a caring nursing faculty build of professionals dedicated to student success. Students can get to know their instructors and enjoy mentorship through a faculty honors project, community service and peer mentoring. Students also receive hands-on experience through clinicals.

As an award-winning university, UCM offer students challenging academic experiences and exceptional student life at its campus in Warrensburg, Missouri. The school has 10,000 undergraduate students and more than 100,000 alumni. Founded in 1871, UCM provides students with the confidence and knowledge they need to succeed in their various job roles. As well as being an affordable school, UCM offers student aid to 94% of its student body.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

9. Lamar University

Lamar University has one of the most affordable online RN to BSN programs. This program can be taken fully online, giving students the flexibility to study where they want when they want. The program prepares graduates for a variety of nursing roles and gives them the credentials needed to advance to a higher level in their careers. Courses include community nursing, holistic health, and evidence-based nursing practice. Students also take management courses to help them succeed as leaders in the field.

As a public university in Beaumont TX, this midsize school has over 5,000 undergraduate students. The school has a fairly liberal admissions process and 84% of those who apply get the opportunity to attend the school. Among its many majors, liberal arts and humanities, and business are among the most popular. Approximately 82% of students receive some form of financial aid, making a degree at Lamar University even more affordable.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

10. Southeast Missouri State University

Some students choose Southeast Missouri State University online RN to BSN programs because it’s one of the most affordable in the Midwest. This baccalaureate program requires a financial and time commitment from its students, but the benefits of this degree propel graduates into roles of increasing responsibility. With an advanced degree, registered nurses become more well-rounded and can better meet the needs of an ever-changing medical industry. A bachelor’s degree will position nurses to better market their skill set and expertise.

With just over 7,000 undergraduate students, this midsize university has a generous acceptance rate of 86%. That means that nearly nine out of 10 students who apply receive an acceptance letter and can choose from popular majors that include biology and business. Nearly every student at Southeast Missouri State University receives some sort of financial aid. The school allocates student aid to 96% of students.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

11. Western Illinois University

The Western Illinois University online RN to BSN program is one of the most affordable in the nation. This online RN-BSN program facilitates the schedules of working nurses who have their diploma or associates in nursing as well as their nursing license. Successful applicants first complete their general education courses and prerequisites for the program. However, they can complete their other requirements while pursuing their nursing degrees.

At Western Illinois University, students receive an excellent education and over 96% of classes are taught by full-time professors with tenure or on the way to earning tenure. Face-to-face meetings are available for online and hybrid students as well as on-campus students. Western Illinois University is the sixth ranking top public school in the state.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

12. Fitchburg State University

At the Fitchburg State University online RN to BSN program, the students can attend one of the most affordable RN to BSN programs. This program has received CCNE accreditation and prepares registered nurses to complete their baccalaureate degrees. The program focuses on community health care in numerous settings and gives students a foundation in the ethical, legal and professional standards that govern the industry. The school is committed to developing well-rounded nurses and has an evidence-based nursing curriculum. Topics of study include advocacy and social justice delivered in an accelerated format.

Fitchburg State is a small school with just over 3,100 undergraduate students. Located in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, the school offers numerous majors including liberal arts and humanities. The school accepts 80% of applicants and 91% of students receive some form of financial aid.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

13. Oakland University

Oakland University’s online RN to BSN program is one of the most affordable online RN to BSN programs available. With a curriculum based in science and relevant to modern nursing, the school prepares students for leadership roles and gives them the credentials needed to make positive career changes.

This respected university lies in the Detroit area and has more than 12,000 undergraduate students. The school has a generous acceptance policy and more than eight out of 10 students who apply receive the nod to attend the school. Students can choose from dozens of majors in science, humanities and other disciplines. As well as having affordable tuition rates, Oakland University offers 94% of students some form of financial assistance.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

14. Mayville State University

One of the most affordable programs in the country is the online RN to BSN at Mayville State University. The school offers a bachelor’s of science in nursing for registered nurses who already have their license and career experience. The program builds on students’ previous nursing education and offers two different tracks for RNs.

Mayville State has more than 80 majors and minors and also offers various certificate programs to students in different disciplines. All classes are taught by expert faculty members who have the highest academic credentials available. This allows students to form mentoring relationships with professors and obtain advice on career paths. Up to 94% of students receive some form of financial aid at this affordable school.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

15. American Public University System

The American Public University System online RN to BSN program combines quality and affordability. Students receive a solid foundation in modern nursing, including the latest technology available. This is a great refresher course for working nurses who have been out of school for some time. After completing the program, graduates sometimes go on to earn their masters of science in nursing or seek out more challenging work opportunities.

American Public University System (APUS) is a higher learning institution composed of the American Military University (AMU) and the American Public University (APU). APUS offers associate’s degrees, bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, doctoral degrees, and certificate programs. The private school is not part of the U.S. government or the U.S. military but is a good fit for individuals in the armed forces. Around half of the school’s students are active duty or veterans.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

16. Wichita State University

The Wichita State University online RN to BSN degree is another of the most affordable online programs. Graduates receive a bachelor of science in nursing and can use their new credentials to become highly qualified candidates for better paying positions or leadership roles. This online program allows students to finish their BSN in as little as three semesters. All classes are available online and students gain valuable leadership skills as part of the coursework. Students can transfer up to 30 credit hours from other programs and build a foundation for their master’s degree if they choose to pursue one.

Wichita State has 9,000 undergraduate students. The school’s acceptance rate of 92% gives most students who want to attend a chance to do so. Students can choose from dozens of available degrees or work with their advisors to customize a degree that meets their career goals. Within 92% acceptance rate and 89% of students receiving some kind of financial aid, Wichita State provides accessible learning opportunities to many students.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

17. Northwestern College 

Northwestern College in Iowa also provides an attractive incentive in the form of affordable tuition rates and it’s one of the most affordable online RN to BSN programs. Registered nurses who have already completed their diploma or associate’s degree can complete their baccalaureate degree as part of this program. This fully online track allows students to log on and complete their work around their own schedules.

Northwestern – Iowa is physically based in Orange City, Iowa. It has fewer than 1,000 undergraduate students and accepts seven out of 10 students who apply. The school has a graduation rate of 68%, which is much higher than the national average of 49%. Northwestern College Iowa ranks number seven among the state’s best value colleges, a ranking that underscores the value of attending this school.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

18. University of Arkansas

The University of Arkansas online RN to BSN program is affordable and flexible.  Applications are accepted year round and there are five start options each year. This program has received accreditation by the CCNE and offers flexible degree programs for registered nurses seeking their baccalaureate degrees. Students build upon their existing experience in the field to strengthen their critical reasoning and analytical thinking abilities. Getting a baccalaureate degree increases earning potential and establishes an academic foundation for graduate programs. Graduates emerge with the skills needed to perform clinical reasoning and analytical tasks. For nurses who want to broaden their practice, this degree also provides a strong foundation of cultural, social and economic issues that impact health care.

The University of Arkansas is located in Fayetteville and has over 21,000 undergraduate students. Since admissions is somewhat competitive, students should ensure that their applications are well-thought-out and represent their best work. Just 77% of those who apply receive an acceptance letter. The University of Arkansas is the top public university in the state.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

19. Florida International University

The Florida International University online RN to BSN is one of the most affordable online RN to BSN programs in the nation. For registered nurses who want to complete their bachelor’s degree, FIU provides an experienced faculty with real-world skill sets. With a bachelor’s degree in nursing, RNs can take a leap in their careers. FIU’s online format allows nurses to complete their baccalaureate degrees without quitting their jobs. Courses in the program include wellness, health and care for a diverse patient community. The program is firmly rooted in science but includes the importance of compassionate care.

Located in Miami, FL, Florida International University is a large school of 20,000 undergraduate students. The college also offers graduate degrees and accepts just 58% of students who apply. FIU is a public university committed to high-quality education at every level. Florida International University has been ranked the second-best online college in America.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

20. South Dakota State University

The South Dakota State University online RN to BSN program is affordable. Nurses can use this program to level up their careers and complete their bachelor’s of science in nursing. Building on their current experience and knowledge, students learn the latest techniques in integrated care and how to provide holistic care for their patients. The program focuses on reducing health care disparities and helping nurses to understand and appreciate diversity in those they treat.

South Dakota accepts nine out of 10 students who apply. This public university has just under 8,000 undergraduate students and offers a plethora of majors to those who decide to attend. South Dakota State University ranks number three among the state’s top value universities.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

21. University of Louisville

Students who choose the University of Louisville online RN to BSN may appreciate the work-life-education balance offered by the school’s eight-week terms. As one of the most affordable online RN to BSN programs, this accelerated track requires just 31 credit hours to complete. This means that students can graduate within 20 months if attending full-time. Students can complete their coursework online and have 24-hour access to educational tools for their assignments. The program encourages learners to develop a supportive community.

Approximately 98% of Louisville students receive some kind of student aid. This public university has approximately 12,000 undergraduate students and there is fierce competition for placement at the university, which accepts just 69% of applicants. The University of Louisville is ranked number one among the state’s best colleges.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

22. Murray State University

One of the most affordable online RN to BSN programs can be found at Murray State University. The school offers an RN to BSN program that learners can take 100% online. It consists of 20 credit hours designed to help nurses complete their baccalaureate degrees. The program does not place geographic or time restrictions on when students can complete their work. Therefore, this flexible program makes it easier for nurses working in remote areas or with busy schedules to advance their careers with a BSN degree.

Murray State is a public university that anyone can apply to. It’s located in Murray, Kentucky. With over 6,000 undergraduate students, it’s considered a midsize institution. The school offers many majors in a variety of disciplines including sciences, liberal arts and humanities, and degrees designed by students and their advisors to meet their unique career goals. The school accepts just 82% of students who apply. Murray State is a well-respected college and ranks among Kentucky’s top three public universities.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

23. Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania

Students can attend one of the most affordable online RN to BSN programs at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania. This online RN to BSN program meets the needs of registered nurses who have not yet earned their bachelor’s degrees. Learners focus on critical thinking skills in order to make better clinical decisions for their patients. Students can complete their work from home or any remote location, and learning resources are available around the clock. Flexible 8-week sessions make it easier for students to take time off when they need a break or have to take care of personal matters. The accelerated program helps students complete their degrees quickly if attending full-time. Students received top-notch education from faculty members who are also professionals in the field. Elearners can build a solid foundation to advance their clinical or private duty careers. Also, the program focuses on team skills and collaboration to produce graduates who can help improve the healthcare industry.

Slippery Rock is a public university that has a great reputation for producing high-quality graduates. This midsize school has approximately 7,000 undergraduate students. Applicants who wish to make a good impression with the admissions committee should plan on spending enough time to make their applications stand out. Slippery Rock accepts just 71% of students who apply. A wide variety of majors includes everything from nutrition and wellness to occupational safety. Slippery Rock graduates 68% of incoming freshmen, which compares favorably with the national average of 49%.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

24. Bowling Green State University

Bowling Green State University is one of the most affordable online RN to BSN programs in the country. There are many benefits to attending this program, including its 100% online format. The program boasts a practice experience that students can help design according to their preferences. The asynchronous format of online classes allows students to listen to course lectures and complete their assignments on their own schedule. The program requires three semesters to complete full-time but may take longer for students who attend part-time. Discussions, practice experience and other coursework is designed to help students learn to care for patients from different cultural, ethnic and social backgrounds. The talented faculty and staff all have graduate or doctorate degrees and are committed to enhancing the student experience.

Bowling Green is a public university located in the Toledo area of Ohio. Its undergraduate student body numbers 13,000 and applicants face stiff competition. The school accepts just 72% of those who apply but offers majors ranging from education to teaching to psychology. Bowling Green ranks among the top five Ohio universities.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

25. University of North Carolina – Wilmington

The University of North Carolina Wilmington online RN to BSN programs is one of the most affordable. This degree aims to prepare professionals who have not yet completed their baccalaureate degree but who do have their registered nursing license. Students learn to provide family-centered professional nursing care. The skills and knowledge gained can help them improve their job prospects as well. The program provides a firm foundation for successful graduates who want to move on to complete their graduate work in nursing. Additionally, the program also emphasizes material included in the most recent national licensing exams. This can help students update their knowledge and experience to enhance their on-the-job performance.

To find out if the University of North Carolina Wilmington is a good fit, students should compare it to other online programs. For example, North Carolina Wilmington received a B+ grade from students surveyed on criteria such as diversity, value for money, and academics. UNC Wilmington has 13,000 students enrolled in baccalaureate programs. This large public university values diversity and takes that into account when screening applicants. The school accepts 72% of those who apply. North Carolina Wilmington has an excellent retention rate and graduates 72% of incoming freshmen, which is more than 23% higher than the national average. The university ranks among the top four public universities in the state.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

How Long Does it Take to Complete one of the Most Affordable Online RN to BSN Programs? 

The amount of time it takes to complete the BSN depends on the program you choose and the amount of education you have already completed. The BSN is a bachelor’s degree program and typically takes four years to complete.

However, the RN-to-BSN is different. Most RN’s already have an associate’s degree, which means you likely have at least two years of college courses completed already. An associate’s degree is usually about 60 credits. If you enroll in a regular RN-to-BSN program, you will need to have a total of 120 credits for graduation.

If you want to get your degree faster, you can take a fast-track RN-to-BSN program. These programs take about 12 months on average to complete. A fast-track program is primarily for working RNs. The program lets you earn course credit based on your experience as an RN.


Why is it Essential For an Online RN to BSN Program to Be Accredited?

Choosing an accredited RN to BSN online program is a critical step in your nursing education. This choice can determine the types of jobs you can perform. Additionally, it can affect admission to other programs and your ability to qualify for financial aid. Both the nursing school and the nursing program you enroll in should be accredited. 

Students who completed an accredited nursing program are more likely to get hired. Furthermore, graduating from an accredited nursing program is usually a condition of employment in the nursing field. Accreditation is a way employers can make sure you received the required education for the job. Because accredited programs meet the minimum standards set by a U.S. Department of Education, employers know you have the proper instruction.

Only students who have completed an accredited nursing program can sit for the NCLEX exam. The NCLEX is the exam that you obtain nursing licensure through. So if you have not attended an accredited program, you will not be able to get a nursing license.

Enrolling in a non-accredited nursing program can also make it difficult to fund your education. Only accredited schools can receive financial aid from the US Government.

What is the Accreditation Body for Nursing Schools?

Those attending non-accredited schools often find themselves with credits they cannot transfer. They end up having to retake the same preliminary courses from an accredited university or online program before they can pursue a higher-level program. The following are the RN to BSN online programs accreditation governing boards:

  • Commission on College Nursing Education
  • The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
  • The Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools

To achieve your educational nursing goals in the fastest and most economical route, it is essential that your nursing program and school are both accredited. Choosing one of the Most Affordable Online RN to BSN Programs for the next step in your nursing career will put you on the path to success!

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