An affordable BSN program can make the difference between getting ahead in your nursing career, and getting stuck in a lower-paying position. Many Bachelor’s of Nursing students are paying their own way, so it makes sense to search for the easiest and cheapest BSN program, as there are wide variances in price from one program to another. Small colleges and public universities often offer some of the cheapest BSN programs that are still rigorous, high quality, and well respected.
When searching for the easiest and cheapest BSN program, be sure to choose a program that’s accredited by ACEN or CCNE. Both of these accreditations will help you rest assured that the cheapest BSN programs you’re considering will be accepted as legitimate by future employers, and ensure that you’re receiving the education you need to best serve your future patients.
Methodology: Ranking the Most Affordable BSN Programs in America
For the most affordable BSN ranking, Bachelor’s Degree Center editors present programs in order of tuition rate, according to current IPEDS data. However, to make sure students can count on their degree to pay off, we feature only accredited programs recognized for quality.
1. University of Washington
The University of Washington’s School of Nursing offers two of the most affordable BSN programs in the nation with its Bachelor of Science degree (BSN) in Nursing and its accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree programs. US News has ranked the University of Washington’s BSN degree as the second-best program offered by a public higher learning institution. In addition, one of Seattle’s most affordable nursing schools provides an early entry into a doctoral nursing program for students entering the accelerated BSN degree from the University of Washington.
Founded in the 1860s before the state joined the Union, the University of Washington is the flagship school for the state. In addition, UW is a space, land, and sea-grant institution of higher education with multiple campuses in Washington serving a student enrollment that exceeds 47,350 each year.
What We Like: The University of Washington holds the distinction of being one of the oldest schools on the west coast.
Degree: BSN and Accelerated BSN
2. University of North Carolina at Greensboro
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro School of Nursing is recognized among the state’s most affordable nursing schools offering several baccalaureate nursing programs. In addition to a BSN – a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (as a second degree), the University of North Carolina offers a pre-licensure BSN degree for students entering the nursing field. These most affordable BSN programs include a prelicensure degree that can be completed in four years comprised of four academic components – a core, a nursing cognate, upper-division classes, and electives for a total of 120 bachelors level semester hours.
The University of North Carolina’s Greensboro campus was founded in the 1890s as a state-run school for teachers and industrial education. The urban campus in Greensboro is home to nearly 20,000 students and the Weatherspoon Art Museum, with one of the nation’s modern American art collections.
What We Like: UNCG began as an all-women’s college offering teaching, domestic science, and business programs.
Degree: BSN Pre-Licensure
3. University of New Mexico
The University of New Mexico’s College of Nursing is one of the state’s most affordable nursing schools, with a CCNE-accredited pre-licensure Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program – ranked first in New Mexico. The University of New Mexico’s most affordable BSN programs offering a path to prelicensure includes two campus locations (Albuquerque or Rio Rancho), a dual BSN degree (associate and bachelor’s degrees), and a direct entry program for first-year students. Each of these BSN program options offers students a skills lab and a state-of-the-art simulation center to gain hands-on experience.
The University of New Mexico is a space-grant school and the flagship campus of New Mexico’s higher education system.
What We Like: Founded in the 1880s, UMN now operates as a multi-campus university that serves more than 25,150 students on its campuses in Albuquerque, Los Alamos, Taos, Los Lunas Rio Ranchos, and Gallup.
Degree: Pre-Licensure BSN
4. University of Utah
The University of Utah College of Nursing offers one of Utah’s best and most affordable BSN programs with its Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program (BSN) offered as a prelicensure track, an early assurance to degree entrance, and an RN to BSN track that can be completed entirely online. In addition, as one of Utah’s state’s most affordable nursing schools, the university offers an RN to BS express program. U of U’s world-renowned nursing center offers CCNE accredited programs and is the only Ph.D. program in the state.
The University of Utah (U of U) is a public, space-grant school that operates as the state’s flagship campus. Founded in the 1850s – before Utah became a state, U of U now serves nearly 33,000 students each year.
What We Like: The University of Utah holds the distinction of being Utah’s oldest school.
5. University of Illinois at Chicago
The University of Illinois at Chicago offers two of Chicago’s most affordable BSN programs offering a traditional Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing program, plus an RN to BSN completion program. As one of Chicago’s s most affordable nursing schools, UIC’s BSN requires applicants to have earned a minimum of 57 credit units to be eligible for this four-semester program that prepares students to sit for the NCLX-RN examination. Featured classes include foundations of nursing and concepts in pathophysiology and pharmacology, to name a few.
The University of Illinois’s Chicago campus was founded in the 1980s and now operates as a space-grant, multi-campus school that is recognized as an Asian-serving and Hispanic-serving institution of higher education.
What We Like: UIC is among Chicago’s largest schools with a student enrollment that exceeds 34,060 students.
Degree: BSN, RN to BSN
6. Purdue University
Purdue University offers two Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree programs that are considered among Indiana’s s most affordable BSN programs. A direct-admit and a 15-month second-degree BSN program are available from one of Indiana’s s most affordable nursing schools. Students enrolled in Purdue University’s BSN degree programs will have the option of clinical components from more than 200 agencies partnering with Purdue’s nursing program. Sample classes include nursing practice foundations leadership, and public health nursing, to name a few.
Purdue University is Indiana’s flagship school, founded in the late 1860s by John Purdue. In addition, Purdue is a land, sea, and space-grant university with a student population of about 49,450 undergraduate and postgraduate students.
What We Like: Purdue University’s alumni include more than two dozen astronauts and seven members of Congress, and three governors.
7. University of North Carolina at Charlotte
The University of North Carolina at Charlotte School of Nursing is one of North Carolina’s most affordable nursing schools, offering two Bachelors of Science degree in Nursing programs with its traditional BSN degree and a BSN to RN completion program. These most affordable BSN programs from UNC Charlotte require the completion of 120-semester credits in classes that include community health nursing research in nursing practice, human growth and development, health assessment, and application, plus a practicum, to name a few.
The University of North Carolina’s Charlotte campus is a public higher learning institution that was founded in the 1940s as an extension center for the university. UNC Charlotte serves more than 30,000 students on its three campuses located throughout the greater Charlotte region.
What We Like: The Charlotte campus is organized into nine schools offering programs in architecture, liberal arts, business, computing, education, engineering, health, and honors coursework.
8. Indiana University Bloomington
Indiana University Bloomington offers Indiana’s most affordable BSN programs with its Bachelor of Science degree (BSN) in Nursing, its RN to BSN program, and its accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing as a second-degree program option. The RN to BSN degree program, offered by one of Indiana’s most affordable nursing schools, is offered entirely online to meet working nurses’ need for flexibility and convenience. Featured coursework for these BSN degree options includes promoting health populations, comprehensive health assessments, and data analysis for practice, plus a practicum.
In Bloomington, Indiana University’s campus is the flagship campus of the state’s university system and is considered a ‘public ivy.’ This research higher learning institution is also a space-grant school that serves more than 45,100 students online and on the Bloomington campus.
What We Like: UI at Bloomington is organized into 16 schools.
Degree: BSN, Accelerated BSN, RN to BSN
9. Arizona State University
Arizona State University’s Edson College of Nursing & Health Innovation offers one of Arizona’s most affordable BSN programs with its Bachelor of Science degree (BSN) in Nursing that offers six nursing specializations. One of the state’s most affordable nursing schools offers these BSN programs and includes a traditional BSN, an accelerated BSN (as a second degree), and an RN to BSN degree program. Arizona State University’s RN to BSN program requires students to complete at least ten classes or 39 credit units.
Arizona State University is a multiple campus institution of higher education that was founded before Arizona became a state in 1885. Currently, there are more than 140,000 students attending classes online and on the school’s campuses.
What We Like: Arizona State University’s operations seek to become a national leader in sustainability.
Degree: BSN with 6 specializations
10. University of Wyoming
The University of Wyoming’s Whitney School of Nursing offers several of Wyoming’s most affordable BSN programs with its Bachelor of Science degree (BSN) in Nursing program, an accelerated BSN degree for those students who already hold a non-nursing bachelor’s degrees, and a BSN completion program. As one of Wyoming’s most affordable nursing schools, UW’s BSN completion program offers an online program and a program for those who hold an ADN degree or nursing diploma.
The University of Wyoming is a land and space-grant higher learning institution that was established in the 1880s, several years before Wyoming reached statehood. The university’s small-city campus serves approximately 12,150 students each year.
What We Like: The University of Wyoming’s campus is home to several museums celebrating anthropology, geology, and insects, among others.
Degree: BSN, BRAND, BSN Completion
How Much Can I Make with a BSN Degree?
Are you wondering, “How much do nurses make an hour starting out?” Nursing careers salary can vary widely, and the answer to the question, “how much does a nurse make a month?” can depend on many factors.
On average, a bachelor of science in nursing salary in the United States is $86,790 per year, according to ZipRecruiter. This answers the question of how much do nurses make an hour starting out: about $43.40 per hour. This also answers the question of how much does a nurse make a month: about $7,232 per month. A bachelors in nursing salary can depend on many factors, such as position, experience, and specialty area. Your grades in your BSN program may also factor into your initial salary offer, especially if you are a standout at the top of your class.
According to PayScale, there’s a large difference in RN vs BSN salary, as the bachelor of science in nursing salary is about $3 per hour more. While the difference in RN vs BSN salary may sound small on an hourly level, a bachelors in nursing salary adds up to more than $6,000 more per year. Over a 25-year career, a BSN’s nursing careers salary may amount to $150,000 more than the nursing careers salary of someone who does not have a BSN.
It’s also important to consider the difference in ADN vs BSN salary. An ADN is an associate’s degree in nursing. When considering an ADN vs BSN salary, it’s important to know that those with an ADN typically make about $71,000 per year. The difference is clear: getting a BSN is a smart money move.
These are matters to keep in mind. A nursing education doesn’t have to be expensive, but many a registered nurse has started their career with financial aid and student debt. Community college helps many full-time students start out with lower costs, and in-state tuition is usually cheaper than out-of-state. An online RN programs is also more affordable than in-person. Tuition costs are always going up, so finding a way to save on online classes helps a lot.
If you have transfer credits from an associate degree in nursing, you can complete your BSN in as little as one year, not counting clinical experiences. If you need prerequisites that you did not take, it may take longer. Look for accredited schools (for instance, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, CCNE). You cannot take the NCLEX-RN without accredited nursing courses.
What Kinds of Jobs Can I Get with a BSN?
It’s a good idea to learn more about bachelor of science in nursing jobs before moving forward with a BSN. There are many types of nursing careers, and the work environment of a nurse can vary greatly.
Some bachelor of science in nursing jobs include:
Nursing careers in hospitals — There are many types of nurses and salaries in a hospital environment. The different types of nurses and descriptions in a hospital can vary widely depending on specialty. Some of the jobs on the best nursing careers list that you’ll find in a hospital include emergency room nurse, pediatric nurse, geriatric nurse, intensive care nurse, and more.
Home care nurse —The types of nurses and salaries can also vary widely in a home care environment. Nursing career options are vast for nurses who want to provide home care. Types of nursing jobs and salaries may depend on whether a nurse is willing to travel during the day, taking on many patients at once. The work environment of a nurse in a home healthcare setting is different from the work environment for those who pursue nursing career options in a hospital setting.
Travel nurse — One of the newer types of nursing jobs and salaries is travel nursing, regarded as one of the best nursing careers by many. Travel nursing offers opportunities for many different types of nurses and descriptions. Travel nurses fill positions in lists of nursing fields that are in high demand. These types of nursing careers are typically highly paid.
Nursing careers in skilled nursing facilities — The list of nursing fields needed in skilled nursing facilities can include geriatric nurses, rehabilitation nurses, post-surgical nurses, and more. The nursing careers list available in skilled nursing facilities encompasses many specialties.
If you’re searching to learn more about the career options that will be available to you after you complete your BSN, be sure to do your research when choosing your specialty. In-demand nursing fields can change, and you’ll want to be sure to choose a specialty that will help you land your dream job after you complete your degree.
If you want to become a mental health nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, clinical nurse practitioner, or go into nursing leadership, you’ll need a master’s degree. An MSN online degree gives you options that the Bureau of Labor Statistics show as higher in pay.