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Explore the Most Affordable Online Associate Nursing Programs

Cut costs, not quality by earning your ADN at one of the most affordable programs available today. Keep reading to learn about cost-effective programs, scholarships, and more.

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Are you interested in health and wellness? Do you want to contribute to your community in a meaningful way? Then nursing may be a good career path for you.

In light of the national nursing shortage, the profession could certainly use more people like you. Healthcare facilities project that this shortage will only worsen as Baby Boomers age and the need for care increases, meaning now is a great time to enter the field. Whether you’re training for your first career or considering a new one, an online associate degree in nursing (ADN) program can prepare you to land one of the 193,100 nursing jobs the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects will open each year over the next decade.

ADN programs are a key part of schools’ strategies for addressing the nursing shortage, and a great place to start your journey to a nursing career. But they don’t do you much good if you can’t afford to attend them. That’s where we come in.

On this page, we’ll highlight some of today’s top affordable online associate nursing programs that provide the training you need while keeping education costs down. Keep reading to learn more about these programs, the fees that increase the price of nursing education, and the cost-cutting measures you can take when you enroll.

Inside Affordable Online Associate Nursing Programs

Finding a cost-effective option for your nursing education may not be easy, but there are schools that offer affordable online associate nursing programs. Every student has different educational and financial needs, but the schools we’ve featured below make it their priority to ensure each of them can afford the cost of their nursing degree. Use our list to launch your search for the affordable online associate nursing program that’s right for you.

Excelsior University

Excelsior University has nursing associate degrees designed for both those with previous healthcare experience and those entering nursing education for the first time. The Associate in Applied Science in Nursing is a competency-based degree designed to help licensed practical and vocational nurses build on their experience and knowledge to acquire RN-level clinical skills.

The program’s format of eight-week classes — all offered entirely online — is designed to help students save money by allowing them to complete their studies quickly while working.

Similarly, the Associate in Science in Nursing provides coursework that trains students on nursing theories as well as the nuts and bolts of daily nursing practice. The school has a generous transfer policy, so students who have previously taken general education classes can save on their degree by transferring up to 27 credits.

Regardless of which program you’re interested in, Excelsior University’s admissions counselors will work with you to determine ways to make your education more affordable, from receiving prior learning credits, to applying to scholarships and grants.

Purdue Global

Purdue Global’s associate degree in nursing helps students save money in several ways. At $315 per credit, the tuition is much more affordable than other institutions. The program’s online format, abbreviated timeline (one and a half years), and smaller course load(15 to 18 hours per week) allows students to pursue their education while working full-time. The school also offers tuition assistance for those in the military.

But the savings don’t stop there. Students interested in continuing their education after earning an associate degree can enroll in Purdue’s RN-to-BSN program with a 20% tuition discount.

West Virginia Junior College

To address the nursing shortage in the state, West Virginia Junior College’s accelerated nursing associate degree allows students to complete their studies and enter the workforce quickly. This program has a direct admission model, so students don’t have to worry about paying for pre-nursing or general education courses — which goes a long way toward saving money.

Additionally, courses are delivered in a hybrid format, so students can view lectures online and then participate in face-to-face lab experiences through both traditional instruction and a mobile nursing lab. The latter brings hands-on training to learners directly and gives them access to high-fidelity simulators that prepare them for pediatric, geriatric, and obstetric nursing.

Students can take advantage of partnerships the school has formed with local healthcare facilities, such as Roane General Hospital, Greenbrier Valley Medical Center, and Logan Regional Medical Center to complete their clinical experiences at renowned facilities under the supervision of trained professionals.

A Closer Look at the Cost of Attendance of Online ADN Programs

When you think about the cost of affordable online associate nursing programs, you may not think about anything beyond the sticker price of tuition. However, there are some additional fees associated with pursuing an online degree, and it’s important to understand them before you enroll. Take a closer look at what you can expect to pay for below.

Credit Evaluation & Graduation Fees

If you completed coursework prior to enrolling in an affordable online associate nursing program, you may be able to receive credit for these classes. While this saves you money on tuition, there is an often-unexpected fee associated with evaluating those credits, which varies by the school. For example, Excelsior University charges $300 for credit evaluation.

Like credit evaluation fees, graduation fees can sneak up on you. Generally, these range from $25 to $250 and are used to help pay for students’ caps and gowns, as well as their diplomas. For example, students who graduate from Fayetteville Technical Community College’s nursing associate’s program are charged a $25 graduation fee, while graduates of the University of Nevada, Reno’s BSN program pay $95.

Technology Fees

Affordable online associate nursing programs can help students incorporate their education into tight budgets and busy lives filled with family obligations and full-time jobs. However, this convenience comes at a cost, namely technology fees. While they may not break the bank, these fees can add up. For example, students at Bryant & Stratton College pay a $65 technology fee per semester, while those enrolled at Excelsior University pay an additional $28 per credit.


The cost of an associate degree in nursing varies from one school to the next. In some cases, like at Rasmussen University, you may be charged per credit. In others, schools may charge by the semester or year.

Another factor that affects the cost of tuition is your status as an in-state or out-of-state student. Generally, public colleges and universities charge different rates depending on a student’s classification, so it may be wise to choose a program close to home to capitalize on these savings. Northwood Technical College in Wisconsin, for example, charges $160.40 per credit for state residents and $233.50 per credit for out-of-state students.

How to Lower the Cost of Your Online ADN Program

We believe the cost of an ADN program shouldn’t stand between you and your professional aspirations. Whether your dream school offers an affordable online associate nursing program or one that stretches your budget, there are always ways to cut costs even lower. To help you do so, we’ve put together a list of strategies that can make all the difference.

Employer Tuition Reimbursement

Many organizations help their employees pay for their education because they recognize the value this adds to the workplace, as well as the way it boosts employees’ loyalty and morale. This is particularly true of healthcare facilities, which often offer tuition assistance programs to reduce employee turnover and fill gaps in nurse staffing. Even if your employer doesn’t currently offer an official tuition reimbursement program, you may be able to successfully make the case for receiving assistance in paying for your tuition.

Featured Funding Option: Bright Horizons Tuition Reimbursement

Bright Horizons, which advises healthcare organizations on recruitment strategies, provides tuition reimbursement programs designed to expand access to education opportunities and address nursing shortage issues. Funds are awarded based on the financial need of employees and the benefits packages they receive from their employer.

Scholarships & Grants

Scholarships and grants can significantly reduce the cost of education. Nursing-specific scholarships are available to ADN students through organizations like the Health Resources and Services Administration, B4 Brands, the National Black Nurses Association, and the National Association of Hispanic Nurses. you may also be able to receive funding directly through your school.

Featured Funding Option: Associate Degree Nursing Scholarship Program (ADNSP)

The Associate Degree Nursing Scholarship Program, which is offered by the California Department of Health Care Access and Information, provides awards of up to $8,000 to students who agree to serve a specific community in the state for 12 months after earning their degree.


If you need extra help paying for your education after exhausting other options, student loans can help you fill that gap. Loans are available through the government and private lenders alike. If you choose to receive your student loan from a bank, pay close attention to the terms, interest rates, and repayment requirements. In some cases, the terms of a loan may result in your education not being as affordable as you’d like.

Featured Funding Option: Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Loans

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) loans are provided to students training to enter a healthcare career. Through this program, both full-time and part-time students enrolled in affordable online associate nursing programs can receive funds.

Payment Plans

One of the ways you can pay for your nursing education is through a payment plan provided directly from the school. Schools that offer this option have different terms, so make sure you understand what is expected of you before signing on the dotted line.

Featured Funding Option: Liberty University’s Payment Plan Options

Liberty University not only offers flexible online degree programs, but also flexible options to help students pay for their education. These interest-free plans allow students to make one to five monthly payments each semester. To receive this benefit, students must also pay a $50 participation fee every semester.

Your FAQs About Affordable Online ADNs, Answered

Do you still have questions about affordable online associate nursing programs? We have the answers. We’ve collected some of the most frequently asked questions prospective students have as they consider ADNs and addressed them below.

Are there additional costs, such as uniforms or equipment, associated with ADN programs?

It depends on the program you enroll in. Some schools include expenses like uniforms in their tuition rates, while others may charge students separately for them. As you research ADN programs, be sure to find out how the schools you’re interested in handle these expenses. When in doubt, don’t be afraid to call the department and ask.

Can I work while pursuing my ADN online?

Yes. However, you should be mindful of the degree of flexibility your program provides. Programs recognize that it can be difficult to go to nursing school while working, so many allow you to take classes asynchronously and watch lectures when your schedule allows. Other schools offer multiple start dates for classes, accelerated courses, and summer sessions to accommodate the needs of working students.

Do clinical placements pay students?

Whether or not you’ll be paid for your clinical placement depends on the school you enroll in. Generally, clinicals are unpaid positions that are considered part of your education, just like the coursework you take. However, some schools do offer payment for clinicals. For example, the associate degree offered by Wallace Community College includes an apprentice program where students get paid for the clinical hours they work.

What is the average cost of an online ADN program?

The average cost of an ADN is between $6,000 and $40,000 for the entire program. Programs at public schools are the most affordable, ranging from $6,000 to $20,000, while those at private schools can approach, or even exceed, $40,000.

What features does my program need for me to be eligible for financial aid?

Your individual eligibility requirements may include income level, academic achievement, and enrollment status, however, as a general rule, you must be enrolled in a program at an accredited institution to be eligible for federal financial aid.