Top 100 Best Affordable RN to BSN Schools

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Nursing is a fantastic profession. These healthcare heroes help patients heal and return to their lives in the best shape possible. This level of responsibility necessarily requires that all nurses undergo rigorous training to earn licenses. The training doesn't end there, since states require their RNs to continue their education in order to maintain licensure. Thus, if an RN has only an associate degree in nursing, or another non-bachelor's degree or certificate, they can opt for an RN to BSN degree program that will satisfy their state's requirements for continuing education while simultaneously elevating their professional status.

Since there are many online RN to BSN degree programs available, nurses don't even have to stop work in order to continue learning. Then, once they have graduated, they can pursue specialty certifications so they can work with the specific populations that intrigue them the most. A BSN degree also allows RNs to enter a master's degree program and thereby become nurse practitioners.

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Top 100 Affordable RN to BSN College Rankings

Some of the factors we consider in our Rankings include:

  • Loan Default Rate:
    When most students are reported to be actively paying off their student loans, applicants can have confidence in the long-term earnings potential possible with a degree. After all, students want to attend a program where graduates have a positive reputation.
  • Online Programs:
    RN to BSN programs that offer an online option are particularly attractive to many working nurses. Not only do they offer flexibility in terms of scheduling a course, but students can attend programs from hundreds of miles away without ever having to move.
  • Graduating Salary:
    While most RNs earn terrific salaries upon graduation, we track this number to assure students that they will indeed be able to earn wages that allow them to thrive.
  • Retention Rate:
    This educational statistic tracks the number of first-time, full-time students who return for a second year in an academic program. A high retention rate indicates a high rate of student success.
  • Admission Rate:
    This is a number that students and educational researchers like to see remain low. That's because a low rate of admission indicates a program that is highly selective. These competitive programs tend to yield terrific statistics in other areas such as graduation and retention rates.

Florida State College at Jacksonville

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $2,878
    • Out-of-state: $9,992
  • Net Price: $3,306
  • Retention Rate: NA
  • Total Enrollment: 24,605
  • Undergrad Students: 24,605
  • Graduate Students: 0
  • Graduation Rate: 37%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 99
  • Florida State College at Jacksonville

Pensacola State College

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $2,364
    • Out-of-state: $9,470
  • Net Price: $3,351
  • Retention Rate: NA
  • Total Enrollment: 9,713
  • Undergrad Students: 9,713
  • Graduate Students: 0
  • Graduation Rate: 28%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 45
  • Pensacola State College

Eastern Florida State College

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $2,496
    • Out-of-state: $9,739
  • Net Price: $3,445
  • Retention Rate: NA
  • Total Enrollment: 15,352
  • Undergrad Students: 15,352
  • Graduate Students: 0
  • Graduation Rate: 45%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 15
  • Eastern Florida State College

Chipola College

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $3,120
    • Out-of-state: $8,950
  • Net Price: $3,554
  • Retention Rate: NA
  • Total Enrollment: 1,939
  • Undergrad Students: 1,939
  • Graduate Students: 0
  • Graduation Rate: 48%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 27
  • Chipola College

California State University-Los Angeles

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $6,781
    • Out-of-state: $18,661
  • Net Price: $3,859
  • Retention Rate: 81%
  • Total Enrollment: 26,671
  • Undergrad Students: 22,797
  • Graduate Students: 3,874
  • Graduation Rate: 52%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 171
  • California State University-Los Angeles

CUNY Lehman College

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $7,410
    • Out-of-state: $15,360
  • Net Price: $3,913
  • Retention Rate: 83%
  • Total Enrollment: 15,143
  • Undergrad Students: 13,002
  • Graduate Students: 2,141
  • Graduation Rate: 53%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 197
  • CUNY Lehman College

CUNY Hunter College

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $7,382
    • Out-of-state: $15,332
  • Net Price: $4,014
  • Retention Rate: 81%
  • Total Enrollment: 23,193
  • Undergrad Students: 17,121
  • Graduate Students: 6,072
  • Graduation Rate: 57%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 179
  • CUNY Hunter College

Texas A&M International University

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $7,683
    • Out-of-state: $18,983
  • Net Price: $4,165
  • Retention Rate: 79%
  • Total Enrollment: 8,305
  • Undergrad Students: 7,220
  • Graduate Students: 1,085
  • Graduation Rate: 47%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 85
  • Texas A&M International University

South Florida State College

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $3,165
    • Out-of-state: $11,859
  • Net Price: $4,228
  • Retention Rate: NA
  • Total Enrollment: 2,809
  • Undergrad Students: 2,809
  • Graduate Students: 0
  • Graduation Rate: 49%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 15
  • South Florida State College

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $8,917
    • Out-of-state: $18,733
  • Net Price: $4,419
  • Retention Rate: 76%
  • Total Enrollment: 29,113
  • Undergrad Students: 24,965
  • Graduate Students: 4,148
  • Graduation Rate: 46%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 138
  • The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
Full Ranking Report

Why a Degree from an Affordable RN to BSN School?

Nurses who want to start a career with the strongest possible foundation should consider augmenting their credentials and working life with an affordable RN to BSN program or nursing school. With this approach, students are set for long-term success and a more streamlined rise in their career. This is because, once they have a full nursing bachelor's degree, RNs can use their academic background to apply for a master's degree program. This way, nurses can gain experience in the field and then return for a master's degree and then become nurse practitioners if they so choose.

While nursing students should be mindful of their upfront net costs for tuition, books, supplies, and room/board, they should also keep a long-term view. That is, they should consider the value of an RN to BSN nursing degree program and how that will help them earn more in the long-term. In fact, a full RN to BSN program opens up a wide range of careers.

This is because, with a full bachelor's degree in nursing, healthcare professionals will be able to build on their education in many different ways. If, for instance, a nurse decides that they wish to pursue some other field, their bachelor's degree will open those doors. Some decide to enter the world of medical equipment sales, for instance, and a college degree will certainly help land an interview in that field. BSN degree holders might also find it easier to move into healthcare administration. They will also find that they have most, if not all, of the coursework necessary to enroll in an MHA degree program. Thus, a RN to BSN program will prove to be valuable in the long-term.

Choosing an Affordable RN to BSN College

Choosing the right RN to BSN degree program is not an easy thing. There are many options available, and students have many variables in play that complicate the decision-making process. Essentially, students are faced with a litany of personal and practical factors that they must weigh when determining which BSN degree program will be the best for them, providing long-term success and happiness. Some of the personal factors can include their location and how far they are willing to travel for school, but students also look at things like campus amenities, sports teams, and even whether their friends or family members are there.

Our research covers the more practical factors. We look at each RN to BSN program's educational statistics, the gross and net price, as well as other important features. Included in the educational statistics is each school's retention rate. That number shows how many first-time, full-time students return for a second year. Researchers consider a high retention rate an indication that students and their families are happy with the school's curriculum, faculty, campus resources, and more. A high retention rate also tells students that the cohort they meet in the freshman dorms is likely to remain into their second year. This statistic then can be compared with the graduation rate and the transfer-out rate. When a high retention rate is found along with a high graduation rate, students can be assured of a cohesive college experience. The transfer out might seem negative, but it can indicate that students are prepared by that school to gain admission in a more competitive school from which they will likely graduate.

We also look at factors that impact students and their families in a direct way. Tuition rates, for instance, are a huge concern for most families. We address in-state and out-of-state costs both in terms of the gross price and the average net sums. For this reason, we also look at whether schools offer online nursing degree programs. Online programs can sometimes be cheaper, and they certainly bring far-flung programs to every student's laptop.

Online Options

Nearly every school in the nation has adopted online education for at least some of their courses. The COVID pandemic made this an imperative, and these programs will likely expand and grow as a result. In fact, prior to the pandemic some schools required that students take a certain number of credits online. Yet there are 100% online degree programs for RN to BSN students.

After all, many RN to BSN students will have already started their careers and thus will prefer to continue working. An online RN to BSN degree program allows students to fit coursework into their hectic schedules. For working registered nurses, this option might be the only feasible way to complete a degree. After all, nurses frequently find that their work schedules change with little or no notice. Thus, where students in traditional classroom courses would have to skip class to accommodate problems at work, online BSN degree students can fit their degree in around the changes.

Online education also means more opportunities to attend programs that may be hundreds of miles away. For instance, Ohio University offers an online RN to BSN program which students in, say, Oregon would find inaccessible except for the online option. There many such programs nationwide that are now opening their virtual doors to students everywhere. Therefore, students can thus complete their basic RN training in a local community college or nursing institute, start working, and complete their BSN through an online RN to BSN degree program.

Are RN to BSN Programs in High Demand?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the registered nursing employment sector is growing at a good clip. The BLS is projecting a 7% rate of growth through 2029. They note that this is faster than average. Though they don't delineate RNs who hold a BSN from those without, the BLS does track nurse practitioners, who must hold a bachelor's degree as a prerequisite before they earn their status.

The employment sector that nurse practitioners inhabit is growing at a phenomenal rate. The BLS projects a 45% rate of growth through 2029. That growth rate is nearly unheard of anywhere in the economy. This necessarily places BSN programs in high demand, which would include RN to BSN programs. Nurse practitioners all need to hold at least a master's degree, and perhaps additional professional certifications on top of that. Thus, it would behoove all RNs to complete their undergraduate degrees via an RN to BSN degree program.

Additionally, nurses should consider the overall growth in the healthcare industry and how an RN to BSN degree program will help them take advantage of that growth. Those who have a proclivity for administration will be well-served by entering an RN to BSN degree program. This is because a full undergraduate degree will facilitate a promotion into hospital administration. A bachelor's degree can also help nurses enter any other career field they desire if they ever wish to make a change. Along those lines, a full undergraduate degree will help them when applying for a Master of Healthcare Administration degree, or other online master's degree programs.

What Can You Do with a BSN Degree?

A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree is a terrific option for registered nurses. For those who already hold a nursing license but have not yet completed a full undergraduate degree, RN to BSN degree programs are available. These programs can open up many doors that are not available for those who don't yet hold a bachelor's degree.

Perhaps most obviously, a full BSN degree will help nurses gain additional academic credentials. With an undergraduate degree in nursing, students can apply to a master's degree and become nurse practitioners. They can also use their undergraduate credentials to enter other master's degree programs, including those that represent a transition, such as a Master of Healthcare Administration.

A BSN might even become more of the norm within healthcare. Some states are considering rule changes that require all RNs to hold a full undergraduate degree. Thus, working nurses should consider an RN to BSN degree program in order to safeguard their licenses and even open up new opportunities. A BSN degree helps nurses rise through the ranks in their health systems. The additional training will look terrific on a resume.

A BSN degree will also help nurses become specialists in areas such as oncology, pediatrics, critical care, or hospice care, among many other options. Nurses may begin their specialty training while in their degree program or use their degree to apply for the additional training. Once a nurse has a special certification, they can pursue that passion. Furthermore, once they have a BSN degree, nurses can opt to change over into a new specialty area and thereby add new dimensions to their professional success.

In fact, once they hold special certifications, nurses may have an easier time entering a master's degree program to become a nurse practitioner. Admissions counselors in graduate degree programs will love seeing the added dedication to nursing.

BSN Graduates Earn More After College

One of the chief reasons to enter an RN to BSN degree program is to earn more after college. Nurses who have an RN license make a good salary but, once they have their BSN, they will find that they have an easier time earning raises and promotions. BSN degree holders can also pursue specialty certifications that will raise their credentials to a new level. For instance, hospitals and clinics are sure to reward nurses who maintain specialty credentials in fields such as oncology, psychiatry, assisted living, hematology, or informatics, among other nursing areas.

Currently, the website reports that BSN degree holders earn an average salary of over $86,000. This includes all nurses at all stages of their career, and in every state and town. They also note that a nursing director earns an average of over $97,000 and nursing managers are being hired for an average salary of $90,000 or more. These salary numbers don't include any bonuses, nor do they consider other benefits, including healthcare or tuition reimbursement.

Not only do BSN degree holders earn more than those RNs without a bachelor's degree, but they also have so many more opportunities than those with only an associate degree. Nurses with a BSN have the option of working towards a long list of specialty nursing fields and they are also eligible to apply for a master's degree program. Thus, a nurse with a BSN can soon find themselves enrolled in a degree program to become a nurse practitioner.


  • What type of students should consider online RN to BSN bridge programs?
    RNs who are currently working in a hospital or clinic should consider an RN to BSN degree program. That's because they can continue to work and gain experience while completing their bachelor of science degree in nursing.
  • Can I apply relevant learning, work, and life experiences toward credit?
    This will depend on the program, but there's a low likelihood that work experience will earn students credit in a BSN program. However, students who do have multiple years of experience as an RN may find that they have an easier time gaining admission to top RN to BSN programs.
  • How long will it take to complete a RN to BSN degree?
    Some programs list their total required credits at 120, which is equivalent to a full four-year degree program. However, students who have already completed an associate degree may transfer credits and reduce that number dramatically.
  • Why are clinical hours important for nurses?
    Clinical hours help nurses learn to apply their knowledge in a practical setting. Since so many nursing duties are performed under extreme duress, it’s vital to learn how to regulate one's emotions and focus despite overwhelming odds. This helps calm patients who are under even more stress.
  • What are the admission requirements for nursing students?
    Nursing students will need to provide full transcripts from every post-secondary institution they have attended. Most RN to BSN programs will require that applicants' transcripts reflect a GPA of at least 2.0, but some may have more stringent requirements. Nurses who have been in the field may also want to include their resume to demonstrate their experience level.

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