By BMSN Staff
Finding an affordable RN to BSN online program can provide greater upward mobility and increased employment opportunities for a registered nurse already in the medical field. Obtaining an advanced degree in nursing can allow the student to earn more over the span of their career and may increase their overall employability in the competitive healthcare job market. For students wondering how to become a nurse, choosing the right accelerated nursing program can provide a solid foundation for a career in this field.
A bachelor of science in nursing degree offers a wider range of leadership skills than a shorter program that leads to employment as a registered nurse. As a result, BSN salary ranges are typically higher than RN salary offers for positions in the same region.
To determine the top 30 online nursing programs under $15,000, we began with a pool of 55 colleges offering an accredited online nursing degree for $15,000 or less as listed on College Navigator, a site managed and maintained by the National Center for Education Statistics. From this data set, we sorted the schools by estimated in-state tuition to narrow down our list from 55 to 30 institutions. Because program costs can vary, always verify tuition and fees associated with your program of interest before applying.
Here are the 30 most affordable online programs for nurses interested in upgrading their RN job title to a BSN degree.
30. Thomas Edison State College
RN to BSN/MSN
Touted as one of the first universities designed specifically for adult learners, Thomas Edison State College is part of the New Jersey public university system and was founded in 1972. Among the nursing school requirements for students at this institution are the possession of a valid and current RN license and maintenance of adequate malpractice insurance. Nurses can potentially work toward their MSN degree simultaneously with their BSN studies, allowing them to qualify for higher-paying and more responsible positions in the professional healthcare environment. Required BSN courses for the Thomas Edison State College online school of nursing include health policy, health assessment and informatics.
29. Bellevue University
Nursing (RN to BSN) Degree
Bellevue University was founded in 1966 in Bellevue, Nebraska, and now boasts 15 locations in four U.S. states. Nursing scholarships and financial aid are available for deserving students at this not-for-profit university. Topics covered in the online curriculum include healthcare regulations, management strategies in the medical environment, informatics, collaborative techniques and population-based healthcare management. The program requires 127 total credit hours, many of which can be earned through transfer credits from previously completed RN programs. Core courses include fundamentals of professional nursing, informatics, leadership and management in the medical environment.
28. Grantham University
RN to BSN Degree Completion (Bachelor’s)
Grantham University was founded in 1951 by Donald Grantham, a veteran of World War II, who envisioned his institution as an educational option for other veterans. All courses offered at Grantham are online, making this one of the most convenient ways for working nurses to manage the transition from RN to BSN. Applicants must have an accredited associate’s degree in nursing and must have maintained a 2.5 grade point average in their previous studies. Additionally, these individuals must have a current RN license free of any encumbrances. Required courses include health assessment, leadership, community and public health practice and case management.
27. Wright State University-Lake Campus
RN-BSN Completion Program
For students looking for a cheap RN to BSN online degree option, the Wright State University RN-BSN Completion Program offers a fast track to professional nursing opportunities. Students must complete at least 30 credit hours in the program, which includes coursework in pathophysiology, research, evidence-based practice, genomics, holistic nursing, community health and policy issues. The program can be completed by some students in 15 months, making it one of the faster alternatives for nurses interested in expanding their employment options and moving up to positions of greater responsibility and leadership within the medical profession.
26. Minot State University
BSN Completion Program for the Registered Nurse
The nursing school at Minot State University in North Dakota is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc. and offers both a comprehensive Bachelor of Science in Nursing program and a BSN Completion program for students. The curriculum requires successful completion of 122 credit hours; however, most students can transfer already earned credits to fulfill these requirements. Coursework focuses on public health issues, professional nursing skills and research theory. A capstone project is required, and students must pass the NCLEX examination before earning their BSN from Minot State’s school of nursing.
25. Northwestern Oklahoma State University
Online RN-to-BSN Program
The RN to BSN program at Northwestern Oklahoma State University does not require traditional clinical hours, which distinguishes it from many of the other programs on this list. Students can achieve advanced standing in this program through credit given for existing RN experience and previous coursework. Topics covered include mental health evaluation and care, professional issues, pathophysiology, community health, pharmacology and leadership. Students can also earn credit for coursework in anatomy, human anatomy and family nursing care. Northwestern Oklahoma State University features continuous enrollment, allowing nurses to apply for admission at any time.
24. American Public University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
The online RN BSN program at American Public University (APU) focuses primarily on preparing RNs for added responsibilities and increased autonomy in the medical field. As with other online college degrees, APU’s accelerated BSN programs offer exceptional flexibility for working nurses and provide a thorough grounding in the principles of leadership and management. Applicants must have a current RN license and must have completed an accredited diploma program or an associate’s degree in nursing. Students must also complete the Senior Seminar in Nursing course, which serves as a capstone project for this online degree program.
23. Lincoln University
A public institution of higher learning, Lincoln University was founded in 1866 and is a historically black college located in Jefferson City, Missouri. While all practical and theoretical coursework can be completed online, students are required to visit the university’s campus to participate in projects and other required elements of this degree program. Courses typically cover topics that include statistics, chemistry, health assessment, ethics and community nursing strategies. Nurses in this program may also be required to complete general education courses to qualify for the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at Lincoln University.
22. Western New Mexico University
RN to BSN Program
Founded in 1893, Western New Mexico University (WNMU) is a public institution of higher learning located in Silver City, New Mexico. The WNMU RN to BSN completion program is designed to allow students to complete their coursework in two years. At least 135 hours of community health nursing are required for graduation and can generally be completed in the student’s local community. Transfer credit is available for coursework completed in the pursuit of the RN degree and for other applicable classes; however, students must complete enough classes with the WNMU school of nursing to maintain resident credit status.
21. Missouri State University-Springfield
Online Bachelor of Science in Nursing Completion Program
The online degree program offered by Missouri State University (MSU) in Springfield, Missouri is designed to prepare nurses for advanced positions in the medical field. Students are required to complete 125 hours of coursework with at least 40 hours in upper-division classes. Credit may be given for previous coursework that applies toward this degree program. Classes focus on statistics, assessment, nursing practice and theory and leadership in the nursing profession. A capstone project is required and can be achieved through successful completion of the practicum in community health nursing offered by MSU.
20. The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
RN to BSN
One of the most affordable RN to BSN completion programs is available through the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Students must have and maintain a current, valid RN license throughout their tenure in the program and must achieve grades of C or better in core required courses, including Professional Mobility, Pharmacology, and Community Health. All elements of this degree program can be completed online, making it a preferred choice for working RNs in the modern medical field.
19. Ohio University
Online RN to BSN
When you find an affordable BSN completion program that offers the convenience and flexibility of online delivery, all while being backed by the assurance of quality that comes with CCNE accreditation, there’s no need to look any further. That’s exactly what you get with the Ohio University Online RN to BSN. This program was built from the ground up with working RNs in mind. And since Ohio University accepts students with RN licenses from 25 different states, it’s just as accessible to nursing students from around the country as it is for Ohio residents. You may be able to transfer in as many as 90 credits from an ADN, allowing you to earn the remaining 30 required to graduate from Ohio University with your BSN in less time than you may have thought.
18. Bluefield State College
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Students must complete a total of 120 credit hours to graduate from the online BSN program at Bluefield State College. The BSN to RN curriculum typically includes transfer credits from previous RN training and advanced courses in nursing. Only 72 of the required 120 credit hours can be transferred from community colleges. Anatomy, microbiology, health and wellness, statistics, ethics, management and community health practice are among the most important courses in the BSN curriculum. A senior practicum is required and can usually be performed at healthcare institutions located near the student’s current place of residence for added convenience.
17. University of Arkansas-Fort Smith
BSN-Nursing RN-BSN Online Completion
Students must complete 120 credit hours to graduate from the BSN-Nursing RN-BSN Online Completion program at the University of Arkansas. Many of these hours can be transferred from other colleges as part of the general education requirements necessary for all degrees conferred by the university; 35 credit hours are given for RN licensure and are held in escrow pending the successful completion of six core courses in nursing care, nursing skills, nutrition, general pharmacology and nursing care of the adult. Other required classes cover pathophysiology, research methods, health assessment and community health management to provide a solid grounding in all aspects of professional nursing.
16. Nevada State College
Registered Nurse (RN) to Nursing (BSN)
Nevada State College (NSC) was founded in 2002 and maintains two campuses in Henderson, Nevada. The RN to BSN program offered by NSC prepares students for careers in healthcare administration and leadership in the nursing profession. Coursework comprises a wide range of health-related courses that include human care nursing, informatics, cultural diversity in the medical field, pharmacology and pathophysiology. Students must complete 73 upper division nursing credits, 38 of which can be achieved through credits by examination. Nurses living near the Henderson area can also use the Clinical Simulation Center of Las Vegas to hone their skills in a safe and supervised environment.
15. Western Governors University
Nursing (RN to BSN)
One of the newer public online universities in the educational marketplace, the Western Governors University (WGU) system was founded in 1997 and maintains campuses in six U.S. states. Some of the primary subjects covered in the WGU bachelors in nursing program include nutrition, community health, geriatric studies, organizational studies and information management. Students must also complete at least 90 hours of practical experience in a public or community health setting under the supervision of a qualified mentor. The average length of time needed to complete the RN to BSN system is 18 months; this is thanks in part to the ability of students to transfer nursing prerequisites already completed during their RN training.
14. Southwestern Oklahoma State University
Degree Completion R.N. to B.S.N.
The online RN to BSN program offered by Southwestern Oklahoma State University (SWOSU) is open to students currently completing their last semester of an associate’s degree in nursing or those already in possession of an RN license and working in the medical field. SWOSU is a public university in the Regional University System of Oklahoma and serves 5,500 undergraduate students each year. Students must complete coursework in statistics, ethics, informatics, community nursing, assessment and wellness strategies. While all professional nursing classes are available online, some general education coursework may require campus attendance or transfer arrangements with another institution of higher learning.
13. University of North Georgia
Registered Nurse (RN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
The affordable RN to BSN online program offered by the University of North Georgia (UNG) is also available for students who prefer a brick-and-mortar classroom and for those who want a mix of online and in-person classes. Applicants must have completed an associate’s degree in nursing or a nursing diploma program before embarking on the RN to BSN program at UNG. Students can also complete an optional nursing research practicum that provides hands-on experience with real-world challenges in a supervised environment.
12. Eastern New Mexico University-Main Campus
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN Completion Program)
The BSN completion program offered by Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU) is one of the most affordable RN to BSN online programs in the U.S. and can be completed entirely through distance learning. Courses required for this program include the economics of nursing, pain management, ethics, health assessment, nursing leadership, evidence-based practices and research, cultural competencies and statistical methods. Most students complete the program in three years or less from their date of initial enrollment, allowing them to pursue advanced nursing positions more quickly and successfully.
11. New Mexico Highlands University
Department of Nursing RN-BSN Online Program
The online RN to BSN program offered by New Mexico Highlands University (NMHU) allows students to complete necessary clinical training at locations near their own homes, ensuring the greatest possible convenience for working nurses. Nursing prerequisites include an unencumbered and current RN license, a minimum 2.5 grade point average in previous college work and graduation from a diploma or associate’s degree program in the nursing field. NMHU also partners with local community colleges to ensure that students can apply their associate’s degree credits toward the RN-BSN online program.
10. Northeastern State University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Northeastern State University is part of the public university system of Oklahoma and was originally founded as the Cherokee National Female Seminary in 1851; it was acquired by the state of Oklahoma in 1909. The online nursing program is designed to cater to the needs of working RNs and provides a clear pathway to an advanced BSN degree. Required coursework includes classes in the fundamentals of nursing in both the community health and family practice settings, health assessments, leadership and research. Credit will be given for accredited and applicable courses taken during the course of completing RN diplomas or associate’s degrees in nursing.
9. Great Basin College
Online RN to BS in Nursing Program
The main campus of Great Basin College is located in Elko, Nevada. The college serves just under 3,500 students each year and offers two-year and four-year degrees in a wide array of disciplines. The RN to BSN program can be completed entirely online and does not require a clinical practicum component. Coursework is designed to provide students with the knowledge necessary to deliver top-quality care in rural and urban settings and for patients of all ages and from all backgrounds. Admission to the online RN to BSN program is limited and requires a minimum 3.0 grade point average in previous coursework.
8. College of Coastal Georgia
Bachelor of Science in Nursing: RN to BSN
A current Georgia RN license is required for admittance into the RN to BSN program at the College of Coastal Georgia. A criminal background check may also be required for participation in clinical practicum coursework. All required courses can be completed online or on campus to ensure maximum convenience for working adults. The program can be configured to take between three and five semesters, allowing nurses to work at their own pace to complete their degrees. A grade point average of at least 2.0 is required for graduation with a BSN from this public university located in Brunswick, Georgia.
7. Fort Hays State University
Online RN-to-BSN Program
Originally established as the Western Branch of Kansas State Normal School in 1902, Fort Hays State University (FHSU) is a public university overseen by the Kansas Board of Regents. The RN to BSN program offered by FHSU offers exceptional flexibility even by online standards and allows students to take courses one at a time and to skip semesters when real-world obligations intervene. Combined with the low tuition required for online attendance at FHSU, this relaxed approach to higher education can help RNs manage the time constraints of family, full-time employment and online classwork more easily.
6. Broward College
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Established in 1960 as the Junior College of Broward County, Broward College serves a student population of 67,000 each year. The online RN-BSN program offered by this university can be completed in as few as three semesters. Admission is limited to students with a valid Florida RN license and a completed associate’s degree in nursing. A cumulative grade point average of 2.5 in all college coursework is also required for admission to this program. Topics covered include pharmacology, pathophysiology, nursing leadership and research methods. In-person classes are also available for students seeking a more personal approach to learning.
5. St. Petersburg College
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
St. Petersburg College (SPC) bears the distinction of being Florida’s first two-year institution of higher learning. Part of the Florida College System, SPC serves approximately 65,000 students annually. The SPC RN to BSN program can be completed online and is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Students must complete a number of nursing prerequisites that include human anatomy and physiology, statistics and microbiology. Coursework for this program includes evidence-based research methods, community health nursing theory and practicum, legal and ethical issues and classes in theoretical and practical leadership strategies.
4. Indian River State College
Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing (B.S.N.)
The Indian River State College (IRSC) Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree is designed to provide the experience and knowledge needed to succeed in the healthcare industry. Students must complete 31 credits in core nursing subjects that include community health nursing, diversity studies, pharmacology, ethical and legal issues, assessment, pathophysiology and health care economics and policy. A total of 121 credit hours are required for graduation; however, up to 54 hours can be transferred from the RN associate degree and 36 hours can be fulfilled through general education coursework completed at IRSC or other accredited institutions.
3. State College of Florida-Manatee-Sarasota
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-BSN)
Designed specifically for nurses who currently have an RN in Florida or are eligible for RN licensure in the state, the RN-BSN program at the State College of Florida-Manatee-Sarasota (SCF) is available as an online-only curriculum or as a combination of online and in-person classes. Students must complete a 45 hour practicum in the state of Florida, which essentially restricts this program to residents of the area. A 2.0 grade point average is required for all previous college coursework and for all classes taken in pursuit of the BSN degree at SCF.
2. Pensacola State College
Nursing (Bachelor of Science)
The affordable RN to BSN online program offered by Pensacola State College is currently under review for direct accreditation by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. This would further increase the value of this online degree, which already enjoys accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Along with general education requirements, students must complete core coursework in leadership, legal issues, development and lifespan issues and community health systems. All coursework for this program can be completed online, allowing nurses to manage work responsibilities while pursuing their educational goals.
1. Brigham Young University-Idaho
BS in Nursing RN to BSN
A private university affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Brigham Young University-Idaho serves more than 17,500 students each year. Along with core courses related to nursing, students must also take a number of religious and theological classes to complete their RN to BSN degree program. The curriculum is designed to take three or six semesters depending on the class load undertaken. Students are also required to complete a clinical practicum in a Senior Citizens Center, hospital setting or public health facility to graduate from this program.
Earning a BSN degree can open up new employment opportunities and can ensure the most financially rewarding careers for nursing professionals in the modern healthcare field. These 30 online degree options can provide added help for nurses looking for the most affordable RN to BSN online options in the U.S. educational marketplace.