Most Affordable Online MSN Programs 2022

Updated November 14, 2022

An online MSN program is a great way to earn a higher degree. Here, we outline top affordable MSN programs online.

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Cheapest Master of Science in Nursing Degrees

Earning a master of science in nursing (MSN) helps nurses enhance their careers and increase their earnings. Entry to online MSN programs requires a bachelor's in nursing or a similar field. Prospective students may also need work experience in the field before they apply.

MSN graduates can become nurse practitioners (NPs). These nurses see patients independently without physician supervision. Other MSN degree-holders become midwives, occupational therapists, or health services managers.

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Questions About MSN Programs

  • How long is an MSN program?

    The length of online MSN programs varies. Some take under a year to complete, while more specialized programs take up to three years.

  • What is an MSN salary?

    According to Jan. 2022 Payscale data, MSN degree-holders make $97,000 per year on average.

  • How much does an MSN degree cost?

    MSN costs vary by school and by students' needs and merit. See below for a breakdown of factors that affect the price. Also, review the list of the most affordable MSN programs offered online.

Why Get an MSN Degree?

Experienced nurses get many benefits from enrolling in MSN programs online. Completing an online MSN program lets them pursue new nursing jobs. These jobs include roles with more independence and responsibility, such as NPs and midwives. Other nurses use their MSN to step into leadership or management roles at healthcare facilities.

Earning an MSN degree online can increase nurses' earning potential. Generally, jobs that require an MSN pay more than those that do not. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that NPs earn a $117,670 median annual salary. Registered nurses (RNs) earn $75,330.

Many schools offer MSN programs online. The flexibility of an online MSN program lets nurses continue working while earning their degree. Many programs use an asynchronous format, letting students take classes at their convenience. This flexibility appeals to nurses, who often work busy, complex schedules.

How Much Does an MSN Degree Cost?

A master's degree in science averaged $62,340 in 2021, according to the Education Data Initiative. Public schools typically offer more affordable MSN programs than private schools. Students often save money by earning their MSN degree online.

Students should expect to earn their degree in 1-3 years. Online MSN programs offer different tracks and specializations, some of which take longer than others. Part-time students often take longer than students taking classes full time.

Prospective students can find many MSN programs online and in person. Online nursing schools often feature the most affordable MSN programs. However, they often require students to complete an in-person practicum during their studies.

Additional Online Student Fees

Online MSN programs may save students money over in-person programs. But, sometimes they come with added costs. These costs include reliable technology, such as a computer and a stable internet connection.

Enrollees need to buy learning materials, such as books and software. MSN programs usually require an in-person component in a healthcare setting. Degree-seekers should consider transportation costs.

Learners may also need to pay graduation fees. Licensure for healthcare positions includes exam fees not covered by tuition.

How Much Do MSN Graduates Make?

MSN degree-holders pursue many nursing and healthcare roles. High-paying jobs for MSN graduates include nurse anesthetist and occupational therapist. Nurse anesthetists earn a median of $183,580 per year, while occupational therapists earn $86,280. Graduates can also pursue healthcare management positions. Medical and health services managers earn a $104,280 median annual salary.

Earning an MSN degree can boost nurses' earning potential. NPs, who need an MSN, earn a median annual salary of $42,340 higher than RNs, who only need a bachelor's.

Courses in an MSN Program

In an online MSN program, students learn management, patient diagnosis, and pharmacology skills. Some schools offer specialized degrees, like MSNs in health system leadership. Other specializations include nursing education and public health nursing.

Some students take specialized nursing classes. Courses cover managerial topics like organizational leadership and fiscal management. Others explore more ethics-related topics, such as the legal healthcare system and quality improvement.

The class descriptions below provide an overview of courses offered by MSN programs online. Note that these courses only represent a sample curriculum. Not all schools offer these specific options.

  • Advanced Health Assessment

    Advanced health assessment classes prepare nurses to provide primary care to patients from all populations. Students collect quantitative and qualitative patient data. They use this data to analyze patients' current health, future risks, and means for preventative care. Nurses use these skills on the job no matter their specialty.
  • Health Promotion in Families and Communities

    This course covers specific health risks in certain communities and families. Students learn about risk appraisal and how to prevent risks in families, communities, and individuals. Nurses use these analytical skills when treating diverse populations.
  • Leadership and Management in Complex Health Systems

    This course prepares enrollees to take on more responsibility in their healthcare roles. They learn strategy and leadership skills and how to manage a team and monitor organizational performance. Nurses use organizational and leadership skills even when not in management roles.

Licensure for Nursing

Most MSN graduates already hold RN status with state certification. After earning an MSN and completing necessary work experience, students need certification to work in their preferred field.

Nurse anesthetists in all states must take the National Certification Exam. Administered by the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists, the exam costs $995.

Individual states license nurse practitioners. Some states let NPs practice without physician supervision, while others do not. Most states require that applicants already hold national certification, which several certification boards offer.

Some boards offer national certification for NP specialties, such as family nurse practitioner or women's health nurse practitioner. Certification typically costs a few hundred dollars.

State certification costs also vary. Maryland charges a $50 application fee for general NPs, while Illinois charges $125.

Most Affordable Online MSN Programs 2022

#1 Most Affordable Online MSN Programs 2022

McNeese State University

  • Lake Charles, LA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Online degree programs provide flexibility for learners from all walks of life. McNeese State University's online master of science in nursing program is an attractive option for learners seeking accommodating study.

The college provides online degree options for 10 programs, reaching 4,070 remote students. Upon enrolling, students join a robust online learning community, connecting with peers and faculty across the nursing program. Depending on their academic and career goals, students can partake in faculty-led research projects, internships, and other experiential learning opportunities. Degree-seekers complete general education courses and advanced courses throughout their program, with the option to select electives and adjust coursework as needed. Students hoping to modify their course schedule can discuss class options and electives with their academic advisors.

Students interested in the nursing program must have earned a bachelor's degree prior to enrollment. Eligible students can access internal scholarships and fellowships, as well as federal financial aid through the college.

Average Tuition
In-state
$5,147
Out-of-state
$13,185
Retention Rate
70%
Admission Rate
81%
Students Enrolled
7,295
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
56% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#2 Most Affordable Online MSN Programs 2022

Southwestern Oklahoma State University

  • Weatherford, OK
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Learners from all walks of life will benefit from a graduate education from Southwestern Oklahoma State University. Located in Weatherford, this public, four-year college offers 15 master's programs across multiple modalities. Students can also explore possibilities for online learning through 11 online program offerings.

The online nursing program connects students with an impressive academic community. Students gain access to premier faculty, experiential learning opportunities, and institutional resources. Faculty mentorship can provide students opportunities for research, internships, and other experiential learning opportunities. The MSN program allows for flexible learning, making it an attractive option for working professionals and busy students.

Most students are eligible for numerous funding opportunities, such as internal scholarships and external financial aid. Of all attendees, 93% receive some form of financial aid, whether internal or external to the institution.

Average Tuition
In-state
$6,150
Out-of-state
$13,050
Retention Rate
67%
Admission Rate
91%
Students Enrolled
4,961
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
53% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#3 Most Affordable Online MSN Programs 2022

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

  • Edinburg, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Students looking for a premier graduate education in nursing should consider The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Its main campus in Edinburg supports learners across dual modalities. Students can choose from 55 master's programs or pursue online learning in 17 programs.

Enrollees benefit from access to a top-tier, supportive academic community. Students gain access to premier faculty, experiential learning opportunities, and institutional resources. Enrollees can also connect with faculty members to pursue nursing-specific research and access experiential learning opportunities, such as internships. Students can choose between full-time or part-time enrollment, based on their preferred educational track.

Depending on eligibility and other requirements, students can access external and internal funding opportunities through the college. Interested students should speak with the financial aid office to determine if they are one of the 90% of attendees to be awarded aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$6,664
Out-of-state
$16,792
Retention Rate
76%
Admission Rate
80%
Students Enrolled
29,113
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
51% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#4 Most Affordable Online MSN Programs 2022

The University of Texas at Tyler

  • Tyler, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The University of Texas at Tyler's online nursing administration MSN is a wise choice for students interested in advancing in the nursing field. The public, four-year institution boasts 15 online programs reaching 5,951 students across the country. Nursing administration students benefit from a supportive academic community and access to a variety of institutional resources.

Upon enrolling, students connect and collaborate with colleagues and faculty members through virtual classrooms. The program offers both broad and focused courses to strengthen baseline knowledge in nursing administration and enable students to pursue courses that complement their career path. Students can work with their faculty and academic advisors to customize their coursework.

To support the cost of a graduate degree, students can explore internal and external funding opportunities available through the college. The school's accreditation status allows students access to federal financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$6,540
Out-of-state
$20,760
Retention Rate
71%
Admission Rate
83%
Students Enrolled
9,617
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
62% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#5 Most Affordable Online MSN Programs 2022

Kennesaw State University

  • Kennesaw, GA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Located in Georgia, Kennesaw State University boasts a first-class online master's program in leadership in nursing. The public, four-year college offers 43 master's programs across multiple modalities. Students can choose from on-campus options or pursue online studies in one of 20 programs.

The online master's in nursing leadership connects students with a robust academic community. Students join their peers in online classrooms, collaborating with faculty members on research and experiential learning opportunities. Students can pursue research and internships in consultation with their faculty advisor and other faculty members. Students can choose between full-time and part-time enrollment, depending on their preferred educational track.

Students should speak with the financial aid office to explore funding opportunities, such as internal scholarships and external federal financial aid. The college reports that of all enrollees, 92% receive some form of aid towards their education.

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,450
Out-of-state
$15,704
Retention Rate
80%
Admission Rate
75%
Students Enrolled
37,807
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
49% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#6 Most Affordable Online MSN Programs 2022

Texas Woman's University

  • Denton, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

For students seeking a flexible, accessible degree in nursing, the online family nurse practitioner MSN program at Texas Woman's University is an attractive choice. The college's impressive master's programs extend to remote study, throughout 10 programs, such as the nurse practitioner program.

Upon enrolling, students are connected with a strong online community of 9,457 students across many locations, backgrounds, and employment statuses. Students can connect with faculty members and collaborate on research or opt for experiential learning opportunities, like internships, in preparation for the nursing field. The college prioritizes institutional connections, boasting a 17-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio.

Most students can apply for financial aid opportunities, such as internal scholarships and fellowships or external federal aid. The financial aid office can connect eligible students with funding opportunities. Of all students, 93% receive some form of aid, with the average student paying $9,830 after receiving aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$5,430
Out-of-state
$15,559
Retention Rate
73%
Admission Rate
93%
Students Enrolled
15,886
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
60% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#7 Most Affordable Online MSN Programs 2022

The University of Texas at El Paso

  • El Paso, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Looking to earn a degree without sacrificing your schedule? Consider a flexible online degree from The University of Texas at El Paso. The university offers a variety of online master's degree programs, providing accommodating study for learners from all walks of life.

The college provides online degree options for 14 programs, reaching 10,039 remote students. Students in the nursing administration program benefit from a top-tier online learning community, connecting with colleagues, faculty, and competitive funding opportunities. Students also work with their faculty advisor to explore experiential learning opportunities, such as internships, research, and other collaborative projects. Students in the nursing program complete general education and advanced coursework, equipping them with the knowledge needed to succeed in the nursing administration field. Students can speak with their faculty and academic advisors to discuss course modifications and other electives.

Prospective students must have a bachelor’s degree to enroll. Students interested in internal and external funding opportunities, like scholarships and fellowships, can speak with the financial aid office.

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,193
Out-of-state
$22,556
Retention Rate
75%
Admission Rate
100%
Students Enrolled
25,177
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
40% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#8 Most Affordable Online MSN Programs 2022

University of West Georgia

  • Carrollton, GA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The University of West Georgia, a public, four-year institution, offers an impressive selection of master's degree programs. The college supports 23 master's programs on its main campus in Carrollton, with the option for online learning for eight master's programs. The college offers 24 online programs, including the MSN program.

The MSN program connects students interested in the nursing field with a world-class education. Upon enrollment, online nursing students gain access to a supportive online learning community and institutional resources geared toward student success. Throughout the nursing program, students may pursue research opportunities and internships with the help of their faculty advisor and professors. The MSN program provides foundational courses to students, while also offering advanced courses that complement students' professional interests.

Consult with financial aid staff to determine what funding opportunities, such as internal and external scholarships, are available. The institution reports that of all enrollees, 94% are awarded some form of financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,371
Out-of-state
$15,426
Retention Rate
69%
Admission Rate
59%
Students Enrolled
13,238
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
63% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#9 Most Affordable Online MSN Programs 2022

Grantham University

  • Lenexa, KS
  • 4 years
  • Online

Online degree programs are a flexible option for students hoping to grow their knowledge at their own pace. Students hoping to advance in the nursing field will find Grantham University's online master's in nursing management and organizational leadership to be a wise choice.

In the nursing program, students connect with peers, faculty, and institutional resources through a robust online learning environment. Students interested in experiential learning opportunities can pursue internships and collaborate on research projects with faculty members. The nursing program curriculum consists of general education classes as well as advanced coursework, with optional electives relevant to the nursing-field. Students can work with academic advisors to personalize their coursework to suit their future or existing careers.

Prospective students will need to have earned a bachelor's degree before they can enroll in the nursing program. Typically, nursing students pay $295 per credit. Students can benefit from a variety of internal and external funding opportunities and should speak with the financial aid office to determine their eligibility.

Average Tuition
In-state
$7,080
Out-of-state
$7,080
Retention Rate
40%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
7,079
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Distance Education Accrediting Commission

#10 Most Affordable Online MSN Programs 2022

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi

  • Corpus Christi, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Looking to advance your career without sacrificing your schedule? Consider enrolling in Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi's online leadership in nursing systems program. The public, four-year college facilitates online learning through one of its nine online programs, reaching 3,783 students around the world. The institution boasts an impressive MSN program, giving students access to a robust online community.

Upon enrolling, nursing students connect with colleagues and faculty in a virtual classroom environment. Degree-seekers complete general education courses and advanced courses throughout their program, with the option to select electives and adjust coursework as needed. Students can modify the curriculum in consultation with faculty and academic advisors, to complement their career goals.

The college has numerous internal and external funding opportunities, such as scholarships and fellowships, available to defray the cost of education. The college's accreditation status allows students access to federal financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,719
Out-of-state
$14,695
Retention Rate
60%
Admission Rate
80%
Students Enrolled
11,452
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
33% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Accreditation for an MSN Program

Prospective nursing students should always choose an accredited online MSN program. Accredited programs meet the highest standards for training nurses. The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education grant accreditation to nursing programs. Both organizations provide databases of accredited MSN programs, including online programs.

Only accredited nursing programs meet the requirements for advanced practice nursing licenses and professional certifications. Choosing an accredited program will thus shape a nurse's career opportunities after graduation. As a result, applicants should carefully research a program's accreditation status before applying.

In addition to an accredited program, applicants should look for an accredited university. Regionally accredited universities follow the best practices for educating students. Additionally, only students at accredited schools qualify for federal financial aid, and many schools only accept degrees and transfer credits from accredited institutions. The U.S. Department of Education database lists accredited programs and schools.

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