Most Affordable Online MSN Programs

Explore affordable online MSN programs from top schools that can help you take the next leap in your nursing career for less.

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Last Updated: 10/04/2021
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If you’re a nurse who wants to advance your career—whether you want to take a supervisory role at a healthcare facility, become an educator, or provide advanced care as a nurse practitioner—you can get the training you need while continuing to work through one of many quality online MSN programs. Finding ways to keep costs low is important, so before you choose a program, you’ll want to review this roundup of the 50 most affordable MSN programs, as well as tips on other ways to save money on your nursing grad education.

50 Most Affordable Online MSN Programs in 2021

Although you’ll want to consider many factors when choosing an MSN program—such as accreditation, specializations, and the experience of faculty members—there’s no denying that affordability is one of the most important. To help you choose a school that has been vetted for its quality and affordability, we compiled the following list of online nursing master’s degree programs using the latest data from IPEDS (Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System). For more information about how these rankings were calculated, click on the “About the ranking” button.

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About the ranking

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Methodology for EduMed’s 2021 Most Affordable Rankings

1. Create List of Eligible Schools and Programs

To be eligible for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on government data provided by The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

  • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • At least one program in subject area offered partially or fully online.

 

2. Assign Weightings

After creating the list of eligible schools, EduMed data scientists assigned weights and ranked schools based on a mix of affordability, support services, and online program availability metrics. Affordability metrics received the heaviest weightings.

Affordability

  • Cost Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on tuition and fees per academic year.
  • Students w/ Institutional Aid Percentage of students who receive financial aid from the school itself.

Support Services

  • Academic Counseling Existence of this service on campus or online.
  • Career Placement Existence of this service on campus or online.

Online Program Availability

  • Number of online programs in subject area reported by school to the U.S. Department of Education.

 

About Our Data

EduMed’s rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: July 2021

# School Name Type Cost Online Programs More Details School Information Online Students Academic Counseling Career Placement Students w/Institutional Aid Median Earnings 10yrs After Entry Accreditation
1 Morningside CollegeSioux City, IA Private, Not-for-Profit $ 3

The Nylen School of Nursing at Morningside University offers a master of science in nursing that allows students to concentrate their studies on one of three areas: clinical nurse leader, family primary care nurse practitioner, or adult gerontology primary care nurse practitioner.

Those in the clinical nurse leader concentration learn the skills to take a managerial role in a nursing department, as well as work as an educator, systems analyst, or patient advocate. The coursework covers healthcare policy and economics, management of clinical outcomes, and evidence-based research.

Students who want to become an advanced-practice nurse enroll in the school's family primary care nurse practitioner program, where they learn high-level strategies for conducting assessments, diagnosing and treating patients, and educating patients with chronic illness about handling their condition. Similarly, the adult gerontology primary care nurse practitioner concentration is for those who want to provide primary care to aging patients, so the program focuses on how to apply advanced nursing practices to this population.

Morningside University’s MSN program is offered entirely online, however students are expected to attend a three-day skills lab and a one-day presentation on campus.

Program Highlights:

Master of Science in Nursing

  • Credits: 38-47, depending on your track
  • Length: Two years
  • Cost: $570/credit
  • Mode: Partially-Online
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC) (school); Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
100%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
2 Midwestern State UniversityWichita Falls, TX Public $$ 2

Midwestern State University (MSU) offers an online master's degree in nursing that takes two years to complete. To be admitted into the program, applicants are expected to have a BSN degree with at least a 3.0 GPA and a current nursing license, plus participate in an interview with the department's graduate program coordinator.

When students are admitted, they choose a family nurse practitioner or psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner concentration. Students in the family nurse practitioner track focus on the advanced knowledge and skills needed to provide family care to patients at different ages. Students take coursework that covers health assessments, population health, advanced pharmacotherapeutics, and the role of an advanced nurse practitioner. In addition, students are expected to complete an advanced practicum and evidenced-based project.

Those who enroll in the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner program learn the clinical skills needed to provide psychiatric care at outpatient or inpatient facilities, as well as private practices. Required classes include nursing research, mental disorder diagnostics, and health assessment. Students in this program also complete a project and practicum to graduate.

While academic courses are fully online, clinical courses are conducted at facilities near MSU. In addition, some courses require on-campus sessions as well, so you’ll want to make sure you can access the campus as needed.

Program Highlights:

Master of Science in Nursing

  • Credits: 48
  • Length: Two years
  • Cost: $450/credit
  • Mode: Partially-Online
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and School Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) (school); CCNE (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
69%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
3 Union UniversityJackson, TN Private, Not-for-Profit $$ 2

The Union University master’s degree program is designed to prepare nurses to provide care in communities with diverse patients, as well as position them to earn a doctorate to train for a research, education, or administration career. The program offers administration and education tracks that are conducted completely online, as well as a hybrid nurse practitioner program with family nurse practitioner and psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner options. Those who are interested in combining nursing skills with business acumen can also enroll in the school’s MSN/MBA dual degree option that is delivered entirely online.

The master’s programs at Union University all take about two years to complete. To be admitted, applicants are required to have a bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited school, a 3.0 GPA, and a current nursing license.

Program Highlights:

Master of Science in Nursing

  • Credits: 39-46
  • Length: Two years
  • Cost: $645/credit
  • Mode: Fully-Online or Partially-Online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school); CCNE (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
99%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
4 Oklahoma Baptist UniversityShawnee, OK Private, Not-for-Profit $$ 2

Oklahoma Baptist University (OBU) offers an MSN program designed to give nurses the training to provide advanced care to diverse populations and work in managerial jobs at healthcare facilities. Rooted in Judeo-Christian ideologies, this program can be completed in about 18 months. The program is 100% online, providing a flexible option for working nurses and intensive class sessions that help students maximize their time.

Students in OBU’s master's degree program choose to concentrate their studies on nursing education or global/public health. Students in the nursing education track take classes that familiarize them with nursing education strategies, curriculum design and evaluation, and advanced nursing practice. Students in the public health specialization learn how to use advanced nursing skills to provide care for patients from different cultures, as well as understand the relationship between global health and community development. Both concentrations require that students participate in a practicum to demonstrate their skills and knowledge.

Program Highlights:

Master of Science in Nursing

  • Credits: 35
  • Length: 18 months
  • Cost: $550/credit
  • Mode: Fully-Online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school); CCNE (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
100%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
5 Charleston Southern UniversityCharleston, SC Private, Not-for-Profit $$ 1

Nurses who want training to become leaders in the profession can enroll in Charleston Southern University’s MSN program, which has concentrations in nursing leadership and health care administration. The school offers five-week intensive online classes that provide the same curriculum and support that students on campus receive, making the program highly effective and convenient for working nurses. The curricula in both programs are designed to help students understand interdisciplinary research; apply knowledge of legal, ethical, political, spiritual, and social issues to the delivery of care; and provide care that prevents disease and promotes overall good health through evidence-based practices and theories.

To be admitted to Charleston Southern University, applicants should have a bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited college or university, a 3.0 minimum GPA, an active nursing license, and high GRE scores. Submit an essay describing your professional goals and how the program will help you achieve them, plus three letters of recommendation.

Program Highlights:

Master of Science in Nursing

  • Credits: 39
  • Length: 16-19 months
  • Cost: $625/credit
  • Mode: Fully-Online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school); Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
99%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
6 Southwestern Oklahoma State UniversityWeatherford, OK Public $$ 3
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
66%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
7 American Public University SystemCharles Town, WV Private, For-Profit $$ 1
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
52%
AccreditationDistance Education Accrediting Commission
8 Angelo State UniversitySan Angelo, TX Public $$ 2
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
60%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
9 Mount Marty CollegeYankton, SD Private, Not-for-Profit $$ 2
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
91%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
10 Saint Joseph’s College of MaineStandish, ME Private, Not-for-Profit $$ 2
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
98%
AccreditationNew England Commission of Higher Education
11 Stephen F Austin State UniversityNacogdoches, TX Public $$ 1
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
54%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
12 Winston-Salem State UniversityWinston-Salem, NC Public $$ 1
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
68%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
13 The University of Texas at TylerTyler, TX Public $$ 3
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
48%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
14 The University of Texas Rio Grande ValleyEdinburg, TX Public $$ 2
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
45%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
15 Texas A & M International UniversityLaredo, TX Public $$ 1
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
37%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
16 Midway UniversityMidway, KY Private, Not-for-Profit $$ 2
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
67%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
17 Cedarville UniversityCedarville, OH Private, Not-for-Profit $$ 3
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
99%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
18 Western Carolina UniversityCullowhee, NC Public $$ 1
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
68%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
19 Grantham UniversityLenexa, KS Private, For-Profit $ 4
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
17%
AccreditationDistance Education Accrediting Commission
20 Liberty UniversityLynchburg, VA Private, Not-for-Profit $$ 2
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
89%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
21 Cumberland UniversityLebanon, TN Private, Not-for-Profit $$ 1
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
49%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
22 Bethel UniversitySaint Paul, MN Private, Not-for-Profit $$ 2
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
99%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
23 The University of Texas at El PasoEl Paso, TX Public $$ 3
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
27%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
24 Texas Woman’s UniversityDenton, TX Public $$ 2
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
44%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
25 Baker UniversityBaldwin City, KS Private, Not-for-Profit $$$ 2
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
100%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
26 West Texas A & M UniversityCanyon, TX Public $$ 1
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
37%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
27 East Carolina UniversityGreenville, NC Public $$ 1
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
49%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
28 Southern Illinois University-EdwardsvilleEdwardsville, IL Public $$ 2
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
69%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
29 Northwest Nazarene UniversityNampa, ID Private, Not-for-Profit $$ 2
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
100%
AccreditationNorthwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
30 Bluefield UniversityBluefield, VA Private, Not-for-Profit $$ 2
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
95%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
31 University of North Carolina at CharlotteCharlotte, NC Public $$ 1
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
45%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
32 Briar Cliff UniversitySioux City, IA Private, Not-for-Profit $$ 4
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
97%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
33 Olivet Nazarene UniversityBourbonnais, IL Private, Not-for-Profit $$$ 3
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
100%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
34 Lenoir-Rhyne UniversityHickory, NC Private, Not-for-Profit $$$ 1
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
100%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
35 University of North GeorgiaDahlonega, GA Public $$ 1
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
9%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
36 Purdue University NorthwestHammond, IN Public $$ 1
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
32%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
37 Gwynedd Mercy UniversityGwynedd Valley, PA Private, Not-for-Profit $$$ 3
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
100%
AccreditationMiddle States Commission on Higher Education
38 University of North Carolina at GreensboroGreensboro, NC Public $$ 1
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
59%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
39 Wheeling Jesuit UniversityWheeling, WV Private, Not-for-Profit $$ 3
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
98%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
40 Texas A & M University-Corpus ChristiCorpus Christi, TX Public $$ 3
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
4%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
41 Grand Canyon UniversityPhoenix, AZ Private, Not-for-Profit $$$ 3
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
97%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
42 Wilson CollegeChambersburg, PA Private, Not-for-Profit $$ 1
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
98%
AccreditationMiddle States Commission on Higher Education
43 Marshall UniversityHuntington, WV Public $$ 1
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
63%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
44 Xavier UniversityCincinnati, OH Private, Not-for-Profit $$$ 4
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
99%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
45 The University of Texas at ArlingtonArlington, TX Public $$ 3
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
54%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
46 Ohio University-Main CampusAthens, OH Public $$ 1
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
83%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
47 Concordia University-WisconsinMequon, WI Private, Not-for-Profit $$$ 2
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
98%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
48 West Virginia UniversityMorgantown, WV Public $$ 1
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
68%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
49 Northern Arizona UniversityFlagstaff, AZ Public $$$ 2
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
83%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
50 South Dakota State UniversityBrookings, SD Public $$ 1
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
53%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission

What Makes an Online MSN Program Affordable?

An MSN program’s affordability is based on multiple factors. This section explores some of the variables that may affect the bottom-line cost of your MSN degree.

How much financial aid you can secure for your online MSN program

The amount of financial aid you get depends on several factors, such as if your school provides scholarships to nursing students and if your income level makes you eligible for certain grants. You may be able to receive financial aid from the federal and state government, as well as from your school and professional nursing organizations that want to help nurture people in the field.

If the MSN program has a class schedule that allows you to continue working

Many online MSN programs offer courses on an asynchronous basis, meaning you can access the classwork at your convenience. In addition schools may also have short semesters, allowing you to finish classes in weeks instead of months. These programs are made with busy nurses in mind, so you can continue making a living as you earn your degree.

Whether you live in-state or out-of-state

Attending a nursing school in-state or out-of-state can have a huge impact on your tuition bill. In fact, in-state tuition can range from $100 to $200 per credit hour depending on the school you attend, while out-of-state tuition can cost around $400 per credit.

How much of the MSN program coursework is offered online

The amount of MSN program coursework offered online depends on the school you attend. In many cases, you can take your entire curriculum online, except for any required practicum to get hands-on training. Some schools may expect you to travel to campus occasionally for laboratory work or special classes, but you’ll save money by not going to campus regularly.

How much it costs to apply

The cost of application fees may not be something you consider as you’re applying to MSN programs, but if you’re interested in several schools those fees can definitely add up. The fee to apply varies depending on the school, but generally you can expect to pay $25 to $100 per application.

If the nursing grad school is private or public

Choosing a private or public nursing school for your graduate studies can also make a huge difference in your tuition rates. Although it varies from one school to the next, in-state tuition costs at public institutions can be half the amount you’d pay at a private college or university.

How to Lower the Cost of Your Online MSN Degree

Public or private, in state or out of state—no matter which online nursing master’s degree program you choose, you’ll still have opportunities to save money on your tuition. Consider these three options for lowering the cost of your online MSN degree.

  1. Search for scholarships and grants designed specifically for MSN students.

Be sure to look for scholarships and grants that are specifically designed for nursing students, including funding from federal and state programs, school scholarships, and organizations that cater to the nursing industry. To find out what your options are, review our scholarships for nurse practitioner students and scholarships for nursing students pages for information on the different types of scholarships that are available.

  1. Find out if your employer offers a tuition reimbursement program.

You may work at a facility that invests in its employees by offering tuition reimbursement. Employers like Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital, the Mayo Clinic, and Texas Health Resources all have tuition reimbursement programs, so it’s worthwhile to find out if your employer offers this benefit.

  1. Explore student discounts.

From education costs to supplies, students can find various ways to save through discounts. For example, local medical supply stores may offer student discounts for scrubs and equipment. To find out more information about sources to help you save money, visit our nursing student discounts page.