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How to Find an Affordable RN to BSN Program

If you decide to further your nursing education, consider finding an affordable Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) program. Through research, you can discover a program that also meets your needs and fits your budget. The online RN to BSN program model offered by reputable institutions like the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) can be an especially good fit if you are a working nurse looking for an affordable, convenient and flexible path toward advancing your education and credentials.

Cost Benefits of Online Learning

By choosing an online degree program, you can experience a variety of benefits that make your learning experience more affordable.

Accelerated online programs give you the opportunity to complete degree requirements in a short amount of time. For instance, if you take two classes during each course cycle, you can complete UNCW’s online RN to BSN in as few as 12 months. Plus, you can progress through your studies online on your own schedule, all while maintaining work and family commitments.

In addition, you can complete online courses anywhere with internet access, making commuting costs virtually nonexistent. You can spend your time working and earning a salary or knocking out course commitments instead of wasting time on a long commute to class. This adds to opportunity cost savings, potentially leading to a quicker return on investment in your education.

Employer Preferences and Tuition Assistance

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), having a bachelor’s degree makes a difference in employers’ desire to hire new nurses. AACN reports that 25% of hospitals and other healthcare settings require new hires to have at least a bachelor’s degree, while nearly 70% express a “strong preference for BSN program graduates.” Many of the country’s top hospitals, including Magnet hospitals, require nurse leaders and managers to have at least a bachelor’s degree, meaning that a BSN is key to advancing a nursing career in these settings.

Managers of hospitals and healthcare facilities place a value on higher education, and they need incentives to improve hiring and retention outcomes during the persisting nursing shortage. Thus, following a broader trend toward education incentives for employees, many healthcare employers offer tuition assistance or reimbursement to employees pursuing a BSN. If you currently work as a nurse and would like to earn your BSN online, you should check with your supervisors and/or the human resources department to see if tuition assistance is available. These types of programs allow current employees to have some (or all) of their education expenses paid for or reimbursed by their company, provided employees adhere to certain requirements.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

Another way to make an RN to BSN program more affordable is to seek out scholarships and financial aid that may assist you in paying for your advanced education. By using research resources such as AACN’s Scholarships & Financial Aid website, you can find various outlets that offer scholarships, grants and financial aid to students who fit certain criteria.

However, you must also research RN to BSN programs to see if they meet scholarship, grant and loan program requirements. Many financial aid opportunities are only available to students attending accredited schools and programs. So, investigating accreditation is a crucial part of your RN to BSN program research. For example, UNCW’s online RN to BSN program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, one of the two main accrediting bodies for nursing programs in the U.S.

Being Prepared to Practice

Nurses who earn their BSN have the skills, experience and competitive edge needed to excel in the rapidly changing healthcare field. In fact, more than 70% of working RNs in the U.S. now hold at least a baccalaureate degree, according to the 2022 National Nursing Workforce Survey. Given this, earning your BSN is a virtual necessity to advance your career amidst a highly educated nursing workforce.

Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, you can enhance your nursing practice and contribute to improving healthcare as a whole by enrolling in and completing an online RN to BSN program.

Learn more about UNCW’s online RN to BSN program.

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