50 Best Value Colleges For A Nursing Degree

Updated November 22, 2022

By Iris Stone Healthcare as a whole is a burgeoning industry in the United States, and nursing especially is an increasingly in-demand field. Nursing school is notoriously difficult, and graduates earn little glory in their professional lives. Doctors may be the diagnostic heavyweights, but nurses are the ones on the front lines of unexpected crises, ...

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Best Schools For Nursing

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By Iris Stone

Healthcare as a whole is a burgeoning industry in the United States, and nursing especially is an increasingly in-demand field. Nursing school is notoriously difficult, and graduates earn little glory in their professional lives. Doctors may be the diagnostic heavyweights, but nurses are the ones on the front lines of unexpected crises, saving patients daily for half the salary.

If you think you have what it takes to become a registered nurse - commitment, dedication, focus, and compassion - you might want to consider one of the colleges listed below. Although nursing programs come in numerous forms (RN to BSN, BSN to MSN, BSN to DSN, etc. ) high school students and those without a background in healthcare should opt for a traditional, four-year BSN. The programs listed below focus on this last category.

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Best Value Colleges for Nursing Degrees

#1 Berea College Berea, KY
#2 CUNY Lehman College Bronx, NY
#3 Texas A & M International University Laredo, TX
#4 California State University-Fullerton Fullerton, CA
#5 CUNY York College Jamaica, NY
#6 University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Pine Bluff, AR
#7 California State University-Long Beach Long Beach, CA
#8 CUNY Hunter College New York, NY
#9 Farmingdale State College Farmingdale, NY
#10 Prairie View A & M University Prairie View, TX


These best nursing schools represent some of the most affordable programs available. From our initial list of selective schools, we sorted them by net price, defined on College Navigator as a value "generated by subtracting the average amount of federal, state/local government, or institutional grant or scholarship aid from the total cost of attendance. Total cost of attendance is the sum of published tuition and required fees (lower of in-district or in-state), books and supplies, and the weighted average for room and board and other expenses."

At the end, we had 50 schools with low costs but high selectivity (an acceptance rate of 50% or less). And yet, each of these colleges has something unique to offer, so it's worth exploring your options and doing the research to make the best choice for you.

  1. Berea College

    Berea, KY



    Berea College's mission is an admirable one: to educate and train students with few economic resources but great academic potential. The school's nursing program can put students well on their way to a life of professional practice, as well as future graduate school study. The curriculum covers pharmacology, pediatrics, research, community health, nursing leadership, and more. You can even take independent study classes with an option to include "active learning experience" for credit. And as one of the most affordable best colleges for nursing, BC has no shortage of special learning courses; another option is "team initiated study," which gives creative students the opportunity to explore an area of unique interest while collaborating with department faculty.
    Net Price: $1,990/yr

  2. CUNY Lehman College

    Bronx, NY



    Lehman College has several distinct nursing degree options that cater to every type of incoming student. In addition to an online RN-BSN option and an on-campus B.S. for Registered Nurses, Lehman also hosts a generic, four-year nursing program for students with no previous experience (an accelerated, one-year option is available for students who already have a bachelor's degree in another discipline). Finally, you might consider the Professional Nursing program, which welcomes both non-nurses and RN's and prepares upper-level students to take the NCLEX. To ensure that all its graduates are well qualified, CUNY Lehman College requires all nursing students to maintain at least a C average in their science and major-specific courses.
    Net Price: $2,327

  3. Texas A & M International University

    Laredo, TX



    Students looking for a four-year nursing program can turn to the Basic Nursing Program at Texas A&M International. The curriculum plan addresses every useful topic in the book, from nutrition and pharmacology to childbearing and global health. Senior nursing students also complete a final laboratory/seminar course that will lead them through the in-depth diagnostic process and push them to think critically. In addition, fourth-year students engage in a concentrated clinical practicum that pushes their problem-solving, critical thinking, and clinical judgment abilities into high gear - adeptly preparing them for life in the fast lane of nursing.
    Net Price: $4,639/yr

  4. California State University-Fullerton

    Fullerton, CA



    CSU Fullerton's School of Nursing supports a comprehensive array of degree programs across the baccalaureate and graduate levels. In addition to LVN-BSN and RN-BSN options, CSU houses a traditional, four-year BSN for students without any previous nursing experience. The degree accepts both entry-level freshmen and other CSUF students who would like to transfer into the nursing program. And like many of the best undergraduate nursing schools, the university also supports a top graduate program and makes it easy for students to apply for advanced study. Master's programs include Women's Healthcare, Leadership, Nurse Anesthesia, or Nurse Education.
    Net Price: $5,542/yr

  5. CUNY York College

    Jamaica, NY



    Admission to the nursing degree program at CUNY York College is competitive; applicants must currently possess a Basic Life Support Certificate, a passing score on the pre-admission RN Exam (PAX-RN), and a minimum 3.0 GPA in several specific prerequisite courses. To succeed at York you should be a serious student who is prepared to attend school full time, as the curriculum demands students' full attention. You will take classes in Nursing Care of Children, Management and Leadership, Deviations in Physiological Functions, and Adult Health, among others. By the end of the program, you will also have to take at least one research and writing course, which can help you develop the skills to communicate well in a scientific, professional environment - a skill that too many people in healthcare lack!
    Net Price: $5,856/yr

  6. University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

    Pine Bluff, AR



    Like many of the schools on this list, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff provides both an RN-BSN completion and full BSN track for nursing students. The full BSN will give you access to all the upper division coursework you need to pass the NCLEX with flying colors and secure a great job in healthcare. More specifically, classes you could take include Medical Surgical Nursing Care, Care of the Childbearing Family, Nursing Care of the Older Adult, and Nursing Care of Communities and Populations. Many of the courses include both theory and practicum elements, combining principles and practice in a blend that produces UAPB grads who are both book smart and capable.
    Net Price: $7,452/yr

  7. California State University-Long Beach

    Long Beach, CA



    The BSN program at CSU Long Beach targets two distinct types of students: traditional undergraduates who have no healthcare experience, and registered nurses who need additional study to take their nursing knowledge to the BSN level. But regardless of where you start, all students at Cal State Long Beach end up graduating at the same level, and all are eligible to take the NCLEX. Speaking of the NCLEX, there's at least one clear reason this university is one of the best undergraduate nursing schools available - in the past decade, nearly every graduating class has reported a 100% pass rate on the exam. Not only that, but the lowest pass rate CSU Long Beach has reported since 2004 is a 97%!
    Net Price: $7,672/yr

  8. CUNY Hunter College

    New York, NY



    There are several CUNY colleges on this list, but Hunter College - specifically the Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing - is the flagship nursing program within the City of New York system. As one of the best colleges for nursing in the region, Hunter brings nursing students into contact with professionals at the VA Hospital, Bellevue Hospital, and NYU Medical Center. Students complete all the professional coursework they'll need to take the NCLEX-RN exam and/or apply for graduate school. Although Hunter's program is large (100 students admitted annually) it is quite selective; to officially be selected for admission, students need to maintain a minimum 3.2 GPA, achieve a top score on the NLN Pre-RN exam, and be capable of attending classes full-time.
    Net Price: $8,129/yr

  9. Farmingdale State College

    Farmingdale, NY



    Farmingdale State College is one of the best nursing schools for students who value the social side of healthcare as much as the scientific. In addition to courses in Medical Microbiology and Health Assessment, you'll also take classes in The Art of Nursing, Care of Individuals Experiencing Acute Health Challenges, and Nursing Care of Children and the Child Bearing Family. You can even take classes in health promotion and advocacy and change, preparing you for volunteer, nonprofit, and policy positions related to healthcare as well as for traditional clinical nursing. And for students who need a break from the classroom, the Chi Gamma Nursing Honors Society offers socialization and networking opportunities, plus events like the annual Founders' Day Celebration.
    Net Price: $8,146/yr

  10. Prairie View A & M University

    Prairie View, TX



    To gain entry into Prairie View's Generic BSN Program, students first need to complete all undergraduate prerequisite requirements - either at the university or through another college before transferring. Once admitted to upper division coursework, students will apply their curiosity to topics such as family health, mental health, leadership and management, and community health. They complete a total of four practicums during the program, starting as early as the second semester of their junior year. Alternatively, Prairie View A&M University offers an LVN-BSN track for students who already have some professional experience in nursing but have not yet earned a bachelor's degree.
    Net Price: $8,628/yr

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About the Author:
Iris Stone began her writing career when she started working as a freelance writer and researcher in 2011. Her freelance business soon took off and she now owns and operates a writing and editing firm that works with clients all across the country. Despite the time it takes to run a business she still does much of the writing herself, and her work has included a variety of content related to education policy, colleges and universities, academic programs, and graduates' careers. Her interests actually span far beyond writing, and she is currently studying to be a physicist! Check out her Google+ Profile.

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