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The Best Online RN to BSN Programs

online-rn-to-bsnRegistered nurses considering an online RN to BSN degree program have a range of appealing options. The online learning model has proven popular with professional nurses, particularly those who live far from campus or need to complete the RN to BSN transition on their own schedule.

Featured Online RN To BSN Programs

A recent report from the Institute of Medicine recommends that 80% of registered nurses earn their bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) by or before 2020. In this scenario, hospital patients will be in more capable hands for their nursing care, thus reducing mortality and morbidity rates. Nurses with higher levels of training can better become vocal in expressing needed healthcare improvements.

Out of approximately 100 colleges that offer RN to BSN degrees entirely online, the ones we include in this ranking are those we consider to be the best programs available. This ranking consists of schools that have flexible, well-organized opportunities for potential online BSN candidates.

In determining the order of this ranking, we awarded points based on well-rounded nursing curriculum that is in-step with industry (1-5 point range), awards or other noted recognition in the field (1-4 point range), accessibility of learning materials and other resources for online RN to BSN students (1-3 point range), tuition return-on-investment (1-3 points), and an additional point was awarded for features of particular distinction. In the event of a tie in points, the school with the lower tuition is ranked higher.

Tuition and enrollment data was sourced from College Navigator, and return-on-investment data from PayScale.com.

The following ranking is the 30 best online RN to BSN degree programs.

#30 – Rivier University

Online RN to BSN Program

Website

Points: 10
Total Enrollment: 16,825
Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $14,150

Founded in 1933, Rivier University is a Catholic non-profit school with over 50 academic programs to choose from. For registered nurses with associate’s degrees, there is an RN to BSN online opportunity that prepares nursing professionals for the next stage of their career; this online BSN degree covers pertinent health care giver field areas, among them being health care policy, biology, leadership management, human development. RN’s interested in earning their BSN are required to submit a professional portfolio and at least 60 credits of completed general education credits.

#29 – Indian River State College

Online RN to BSN Program

Website

Points: 10
Total Enrollment: 18,204
Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $10,201

Serving 18,000 students and growing, Indian River State College is a low-cost, high-quality education. This college has a generous admissions practice, working with all interested applicants who have passed the basic prerequisites. IRSC’s health care sciences department has an online RN to BSN program; this degree has the upper-level nursing courses that produce well-rounded nurses in the field. U.S. News and World Report has ranked this program among the best in the southeast region.

#28 – University of Southern Indiana

Online RN to BSN Program

Website

Points: 11
Total Enrollment: 10,671
Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $17,847

The University of Southern Indiana’s school of nursing consists of six distance learning programs, one of which is an online RN to BSN degree; this affordable option can be structured on a full or part-time basis, allowing for working nurses to take the time they need to complete the transition. In addition to liberal arts course requirements, RN to BSN students take courses in population-focused care, advanced nursing, global health, and other skill-building curriculum. USI offers multiple scholarships to make tuition even more attainable.

#27 – Purdue University-Calumet

Online RN to BSN Program

Website

Points: 11
Total Enrollment: 9,301
Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $16,896

The Calumet campus of Purdue University was established in 1946, and has since diversified into a complex of specialty colleges. One of Purdue’s specialty colleges holds an online RN to BSN degree, as part of its larger distance-learning program; this reputable online nursing bachelor’s strengthens skills in both health care delivery and work environment leadership. Purdue values a patient-centered nursing education that comprehensively factors in the cultural, psychological, and psychosocial elements of each situation. Graduates of Purdue’s RN to BSN online program can complete their degree in as little as fifteen months if enrolled full-time.

#26 – The University of Arkansas

Online RN to BSN Program

Website

Points: 11
Total Enrollment: 30,844
Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $12,704
University of Arkansas
The University of Arkansas is known for its faculty expertise, top-notch career services, and flexible online programs for students who require a degree at their own pace. UA’s RN to BSN online degree has no residence requirement, and all registered nurses with 1,000 hours of clinical experience are welcome to apply. Most RN’s can complete their BSN within one year, completing clinical requirements in their region of choice. Online RN to BSN graduates have the advantage of earning nine credit hours toward their master of science in nursing, should they decide to take their studies further.

#25 – Minnesota State University

Online RN to BSN Program

Website

Points: 12
Total Enrollment: 17,508
Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $23,178

Minnesota State University is an institution that prides itself on cutting-edge research, seasoned faculty, and academic excellence. Among this college’s distance-learning opportunities is an online RN to BSN; this 30-credit program is 100% online and can be completed in one year on a full-time course schedule. For working RN’s who require more flexibility, this BSN degree can be earned in multiple schedule formats. MSU’s school of nursing offers all students (online or on-campus) a dedicated advisor to guide you through the RN to BSN degree process.

#24 – Loyola University New Orleans

Online RN to BSN Program

Website

Points: 13
Enrollment: 4,087
Out-of-State-Tuition: $37,830
Loyola University New Orleans
If you are looking to elevate your nursing degree, Loyola University has a competitive, comprehensive online RN to BSN program. Nursing professionals benefit from Loyola’s seasoned faculty, challenging curriculum, and course track flexibility. In order to enroll in this top online RN to BSN degree, one must already have an associate’s degree or diploma in nursing. Loyola nursing students take courses that include nursing leadership, spirituality in health and illness, nursing research, evidence-based practice, and patient care technology.

#23 – Middle Tennessee State University

Online RN to BSN Program

Website

Points: 13
Total Enrollment: 25,511
Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $25,416

Enrolling over 21,000 students every year, Middle Tennessee State University has over 240 academic programs to choose from. MTSU’s school of nursing has higher admission standards than many others, requiring a minimum 3.0 GPA in previous upper-level nursing courses. This university’s RN to BSN online is a rigorous degree program that can be completed in three full-time semesters. MTSU uses an experiential, hands-on approach to learning, placing emphasis on both academics and interpersonal relationship-building. For the clinical portion of the RN to BSN track, students are permitted to conduct it in their location of choice.

#22 – The University of Iowa

Online RN to BSN Program

Website

Points: 13
Total Enrollment: 30,844
Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $12,704
The University of Iowa
Widely considered a leader in nursing education, the University of Iowa has an RN to BSN degree that exists entirely online. To be eligible for this top online nursing program, applicants must have earned general education credits including speech, composition, literary arts, society and diversity courses, among others; if applicants are uncertain their prerequisites are relevant, the college has a user-friendly search portal for verification. UI’s online RN to BSN program can be completed in three or five semesters, depending on the degree track that best suits your schedule.

#21 – Western Carolina University

Online RN to BSN Program

Website

Points: 14
Total Enrollment: 10,340
Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $17,130
Consistently ranked among U.S. News & World Report’s best southern universities, Western Carolina University combines rigorous academics with a mentor-based approach to learning. WCU’s online degree programs include an affordable RN to BSN degree that is completed over two years; this degree includes two supervised clinical course rotations, both of which can be located in the student’s choice of region. WCU’s RN to BSN degree keeps its courses current with the ever-changing healthcare industry. Additionally, some credits earned in the RN to BSN program can be applied toward a master’s degree.

#20 – Indiana University – South Bend

Online RN to BSN Program

Website

Points: 14
Total Enrollment: 10,340
Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $17,130
Indiana University South Bend
For over 100 years, Indiana University at South Bend has maintained the highest of standards for its educational offerings. This college has both on and off-campus learning options, and the center for online learning brings all possible benefits as in the classroom. For nurses seeking to advance their degree, IU South Bend has a flexibly-designed online RN to BSN program; this degree can be earned in 12, 18, or 24 months depending on the student’s individual needs. Enrolled RN to BSN candidates are given curriculum considered highly marketable in the job market; some of this curriculum includes research, statistics, sociology, among others.

#19 – Montana Tech of the University of Montana

Online RN to BSN Program

Website

Points: 15
Total Enrollment: 2,130
Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $19,984

Montana Tech is a small, reputable college that operates under the auspices of the University of Montana. It has a relatively more selective admissions process. Nurses who wish to apply for the BN to RSN online program must have a 3.0 GPA minimum in their previous studies; this 48-credit degree is typically completed in two years, and it combines curriculum in biostatistics, nursing leadership, advanced health assessment, and many other well-designed courses. Prospective online RN to BSN students are welcome to apply twice a year, in November and April.

#18 – Lewis-Clark State College

Online RN to BSN Program

Website

Points: 15
Total Enrollment: 3,633
Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $17,620

Established in 1893, Lewis-Clark State College consists of academic, technical education, and community programs. While a public school, many have described LCSU as having the personal attention and quality of a private school. Among the distance-learning degrees is the online RN to BSN; this program was designed to create nursing professionals who may succeed in both care provider and coordinator of care roles. LCSC’s nursing curriculum covers liberal arts skill-building, healthcare policies, diversity training, physiology, and many other progressive course topics.

#17 – Delta State University

Online RN to BSN Program

Website

Points: 15
Total Enrollment: 30,844
Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $12,704
Delta-State-University
Highly affordable with a strong academic reputation, Delta State University is a college with over 40 areas of study. Delta’s RN to BSN online degree is a rigorous program with both full and part time track options; enrolled BSN candidates engage in curriculum such as comprehensive health assessment, health policy, ethical decision making, nursing research, and many other relevant course topics. DSU is attentive to online students, making certain they have access to the same resources as residential students. This institution has an average 100% pass rate for the National Council of State Boards of Nursing test.

#16 – The University of Alabama

Online RN to BSN Program

Website

Points: 16
Total Enrollment: 37,098
Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $26,950

Recognized as the “Capstone of Higher Education”, the University of Alabama has the highest of standards for its degree programs. One of this institution’s most popular courses of study is its RN mobility program; this online RN to BSN is covered over three semesters, and students have the option to complete this on a part-time degree track if necessary. Online RN to BSN students are admitted with a minimum 2.5 GPA in lower division coursework and 2.0 GPA in science courses. The University of Alabama awards generous scholarship opportunities for qualified candidates.

#15 – University of Memphis

Online RN to BSN Program

Website

Points: 16
Total Enrollment: 20,585
Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $20,837

The University of Memphis was founded in 1912 and has become a foremost leader in research, education, and innovation. UM continues to expand its enrollment, now welcoming over 20,000 students on campus and online. This college’s expansion includes its Loewenberg school of nursing, which has recently revamped its teaching resources to serve its students in a more thorough manner. UM’s RN to BSN online is open to all state-registered nurses who have also earned a two-year nursing degree; this 31-hour BSN program includes upper-division nursing courses that typically span between two and four semesters. The University of Memphis has an impressive range of nursing scholarships available, making tuition even more attainable to qualified applicants.

#14 – University of Toledo

Online RN to BSN Program

Website

Points: 16
Total Enrollment: 28,776
Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $7,992
University-of-Toledo
One of fourteen state universities in Ohio, University of Toledo has an impressively long list of nationally ranked programs. UT’s College of Nursing was the first in Ohio to offer a bachelor’s degree and has since expanded its academic offerings. This college’s RN to BSN online is a distance-learning degree with no campus residency requirement; this 30-hour track includes upper-division nursing curriculum that prepares one for a diverse range of health care settings. RN’s earning their BSN learn of collaborative practice, applied health assessment, research methods, pharmacology, and much more.

#13 – University of Utah

Online RN to BSN Program

Website

Points: 17
Total Enrollment: 10,872
Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $27,039

The University of Utah is considered a national model for top academics and research innovation. Within the college’s wide spectrum of majors is an online RN to BSN program, open to all nurses who have an associate’s degree in nursing and state credentialing. The U’s BSN online program can be completed in two, three, or four semesters, depending on your ideal pace of study. Every enrolled nursing student is assigned a dedicated RN to BSN program and manager to assist in personalizing your degree. Before earning a BSN, students are required a 32 hour shadowing experience, which can be done where you currently work.

#12 – University of Illinois at Chicago

Online RN to BSN Program

Website

Points: 17
Total Enrollment: 29,048
Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $23,664

The University of Illinois at Chicago is a large, top-tier institution that values diversity and community-centric learning While UIC is the school of choice for nearly 30,000 students, the administration steadily maintains an 18:1 student-to-faculty ratio. UIC’s RN to BSN online degree is part of the college nursing program and among UIC’s strongest programs. Online nursing students have seamless access to libraries and multiple platforms to collaborate with classmates. UIC is considered to have an exceptional return on investment, thanks to a low-tuition degree that competes well in the job market.

#11 – University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Online RN to BSN Program

Website

Points: 17
Total Enrollment: 31,592
Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $23,178

A thriving academic community, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette values the importance of personalized learning. One of this college’s world-renowned programs is its online RN to BSN degree, which has produced some of healthcare’s leading nurses in the field. UL Lafayette’s College of Nursing was among only four schools to earn the “Center of Excellence Designation in Nursing Education” from the National League for Nursing. UL Lafayette’s nursing students benefit from interdisciplinary collaboration, which provides a strong foundation for communicating with other types of health professionals. The University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Alumni have reported great success stories beyond graduation, indicating a high return-on-investment.

#10 – Georgia College and State University

Online RN to BSN Program

Website

Points: 17
Total Enrollment: 30,844
Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $12,704

Since its humble beginnings as a small education center, Georgia College and State University has earned increasing praise for its outstanding quality of education. This college earns especially high marks for its individual academic programs, low student debt, and hireability of graduates. Georgia College’s online RN to BSN degree has an excellent reputation in the field, and courses are led by doctorally-prepared educators; online nursing students can earn their BSN degree in just twelve months, and 100% of recent graduates find gainful employment in the field.

#9 – West Virginia University

Online RN to BSN Program

Website

Points: 18
Total Enrollment: 28,776
Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $7,992

A pioneer in academia, West Virginia University has been home to 25 Rhodes scholars and nineteen Carnegie Foundation Professors of the Year. Additionally, WVU has the 9th most affordable tuition among the nation’s flagship schools. This institution’s college of nursing has an online RN to BSN that is designed to be completed over the course of three semesters full-time or six semesters part-time; this 28-credit degree includes a community service requirement in addition to clinical supervision. For all RN to BSN degree-seekers, WVU generously keeps tuition at in-state rate, regardless of residency.

#8 – Kent State University at Kent

Online RN to BSN Program

Website

Points: 18
Total Enrollment: 30,067
Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $22,086
Kent State University
Kent State University at Kent is known for its scholar-level faculty, diverse student body, and rigorous standards in higher education. Among its strongest programs, KSU’s College of Nursing was named a “Center of Excellence” by the National League for Nursing. Among the distance-learning opportunities is the online RN to BSN, which has been hailed by graduates as both an affordable and flexible choice. The majority of KSU’s nursing faculty have doctorates in their field, and most courses have fewer than twenty students.

#7 – Francis Marion University

Online RN to BSN Program

Website

Points: 18
Total Enrollment: 3,947
Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $20,308

Named after the Revolutionary War hero, Francis Marion University was founded in 1970. The educators who established FMU had great ambitions for its learning facilities, as demonstrated by its high achieving staff and several specialized schools. Nursing students have flocked to this college, enrolling in the RN to BSN program online; this competitive degree encourages RN’s to be critical thinkers and confident leaders. The online RN to BSN has 30 required credit hours that are typically completed in eleven months if attending full-time.

#6 – Rutgers University – Newark

Online RN to BSN Program

Website

Points: 18
Total Enrollment: 16,825
Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $18,630
Rutgers University-Newark
One of the country’s most esteemed public research colleges, Rutgers University-Newark celebrates diversity in student body, faculty, and academics. Rutgers school of mursing is the largest in the state, and aspiring health professionals earn bachelor’s, graduate, and doctorate degrees; this school’s online RN to BSN degree is open to nurses with an incoming GPA of 3.2 or higher. Rutgers’ BSN program strives to increase knowledge in health care technology, evidence-based practice, management leadership, and population health. RN to BSN distance learners have the option to apply twelve credits toward future graduate work.

#5 – Ball State University

Online RN to BSN Program

Website

Points: 19
Total Enrollment: 21,196
Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $25,428
ball-state-university
Another Indiana-based college on our list, Ball State University’s academics are celebrated both nationally and abroad. The school of nursing is one of BSU’s best offerings and is one of only 20 schools with the National League for Nursing’s “Center of Excellence in Nursing Education” designation. Ball State’s online RN to BSN is considered especially marketable in the job search; this top-ranked degree is well-rounded, flexible, and focused on professional development. Ball State’s affordable tuition gives the BSN degree a particularly strong return-on-investment.

#4 – Western Kentucky University

Online RN to BSN Program

Website

Points: 19
Total Enrollment: 20,063
Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $24,792

Western Kentucky University’s mission is to be a “leading American university with international outreach.” This renowned college draws faculty at the top of their field, spanning studies in liberal arts, science, business, and more. WKU’s nursing program has high standards of its applicants, welcoming one part-time and one full-time cohort per calendar year. The RN to BSN online program has no residency requirement, and all registered nurses, regardless of location, are welcome to apply. Post graduation, WKU boasts a 95% pass-rate for the subsequent NCLEX licensing exam.

#3 – University of Miami

Online RN to BSN Program

Website

Points: 19
Total Enrollment: 16,825
Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $23,870
University of Miami
Comprised of eleven specialized schools and colleges, University of Miami offers over 180 courses of study. UM’s nursing program is considered among the best in the nation, working with top clinical affiliates and major medical centers. This college’s online RN to BSN is a distance-learning experience that provides all benefits of campus students; this nursing degree curriculum includes topics in evidence-based practice, health assessment, genetics, and population-focused nursing. For further incentive, University of Miami has fifteen nursing-related scholarships for qualified applicants.

#2 – Boise State University

Online RN to BSN Program

Website

Points: 19
Total Enrollment: 3,947
Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $12,160
Boise-State-University
Ranked among the best regional universities by U.S. News and World Report, Boise State University is committed to working with every student as an individual. Over the past 50 years, BSU’s school of nursing has expanded and diversified in its offering on campus and online. The online RN to BSN completion program is open to all registered nurses with state credentials. Boise State additionally offers a dual enrollment option, where nurses can overlap their associate degree in nursing while applying credits toward a BSN. Boise State does not have an out-of-state tuition for this program; it is one affordable flat rate.

#1 – Penn State University

Online RN to BSN Program

Website

Points: 20
Total Enrollment: 47,307
Program Tuition (Out-of-State): $20,216

Ranked among the best colleges in the nation, Penn State University at University Park is one of its twenty-four campuses. Penn State online is home to an RN to BSN program that has no campus residency requirement; this 120-credit degree can be taken at a part-time, full-time, or accelerated pace. The RN to BSN includes curriculum in chemistry, anatomy, human development, data management, and much more. PSU’s nursing programs are considered highly relevant in the job market, and graduates of Penn’s online RN to BSN have reported great success in their subsequent nursing career.

The preceding is a ranking of the 30 best online RN to BSN degree programs.

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Updated May 2017