Top 10 Cheap MSN Online Programs

Find your perfect value college is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.
cheap msn programs

With the American Nurses Association advocating for the BSN to become the standard for nursing jobs, many RNs are realizing they need to raise their status, and current BSN-holders find they need an MSN to continue to compete on the job market. So what’s the lowest cost you can pay to get an MSN degree online?

What do you call a value? Sometimes, as in the Value Colleges Best Value MSN list, it’s a complicated formula that takes a lot of factors into account. Sometimes, value just means cheap. That’s why, for those of you with small pockets and big plans, we have the Cheap List. Before you start your school search for a master’s degree, look here.

Featured Programs

These aren’t the absolute rock-bottom – these are the best of the cheap. Sure, you could find a cheaper school, but they’ll probably be worth what you pay. The schools on this list are worth more than the sticker price. Nearly all are accredited by the CCNE or ACEN, a basic minimum standard for quality.

The Cheapest Online MSN list is based on cost per credit gathered from each institution. Fees and higher prices for out-of-state residents may apply.


Fort Hays State University

Our cheapest online MSN goes to Fort Hays State University, at an absolutely astounding $251.38 per credit hour. Located in Hays, Kansas, the Fort Hays State Department of Nursing has a plan to spread high-quality nursing education across Kansas and beyond with their online nursing degrees. The online MSN degree features credentialed faculty and small class sizes, so students can develop relationships with one another and their faculty mentors similar to the experience in a residential program. Online students can concentrate in Nursing Administration or Nursing Education, non-clinical roles that remove the need for clinical practice. How does Fort Hays State do all that for such a low cost? Smarts – just like an investment in a low-cost MSN.


New Mexico State University

With a huge area to cover, with spread-out populations and deserts between, the public university system of New Mexico has their work cut out for them, as many western states do. To meet the educational needs of their diverse, scattered citizenry, New Mexico State University solves the problem of access with a highly developed online distance education program that they keep exceptionally cheap. NMSU’s School of Nursing offers an online MSN in Nursing Administration, with tuition as low as $274 per credit hour, for students with an RN and a BSN who want to move into administrative positions in the health care field. With a commitment to providing care to populations in need, and a strong faculty, NMSU is as high in quality as it is low in price.


Fitchburg State University

It may be a surprise to find the cheapest anything in Massachusetts, but Fitchburg State University, in Fitchburg, MA, has a surprisingly low price for their online MSN, only $304 per credit hour (including fees!). FSU’s online MSN has a specialization in Forensic Nursing, for those who are interested in doing nursing in law enforcement settings such as Legal Nurse Consultant, Forensic Mental Health Consultant, or Risk Management Specialist. If nursing and justice are your callings, Fitchburg State wants to hear from you.


Aspen University

Aspen University is a private, for-profit online university in Denver, CO, but don’t count them out – their prices are low, their programs are accredited, and they provide a quality education for their cost. At only $325 per credit hour, plus reasonable fees, students can earn an MSN degree in Nursing Administration & Management or Nursing Education, non-clinical nursing careers. This program is not accredited by the ACEN or CCNE, but by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, so they meet a Department of Education standard of quality.


Georgia College & State University

Georgia College & State University, in Milledgeville, GA (home of Flannery O’Connor), has a name that reflects its unusual status as a small, public liberal arts college and a part of the University System of Georgia. Online MSN students can choose from Family Nurse Practitioner or Nurse Educator, with the clinical portions of the FNP program handled by an approved preceptor in the student’s home area. With the individualized attention of a small college, and the affordability (priced at just $415 per credit hour) of a large public university, GCSU offers the best of both worlds for online MSN students.


University of Missouri, Kansas City

The University of Missouri in Kansas City is not just cheap, though it is that – at only $422 per credit hour, it’s pretty hard to beat. It’s also one of U.S. News & World Report’s top 20 online nursing schools, a universally-recognized indicator of quality. Unlike many public university programs, that charge much higher rates for out-of-state residents, UMKC offers part-time non-residents the same low online price (though it goes up for full-time), and Kansas residents in the KC area are treated as in-state residents. With concentrations in Psychiatric Mental Health NP, Family NP, and Nurse Educator, students have a minimal number of campus visits and an affordable degree from a leader in nursing.


Jacksonville State University

Jacksonville State University takes the mandate of a state university very seriously, providing education to as many of the people of Alabama and beyond as possible. They are also serious about affordability, tuition is priced at just $461 per credit hour. The College of Nursing’s online programs help spread quality nursing education and care across the south and nationwide for a more than reasonable cost. JSU’s online MSN in Community Health is a cutting-edge, forward-thinking program in which students learn methods of targeting health care issues in specific populations, regions, and groups for public health improvement. Student may further concentrate in Nursing Education or Emergency Management for a career focused on making the world a healthier place, not just one person at a time, but for everyone.


Old Dominion University

Norfolk, VA’s Old Dominion University is a perennial visitor to online college rankings, due to their unprecedented focus on building and promoting their online programs. As one of the first public universities to develop technology-driven distance education, ODU has one of the best, consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report. ODU’s School of Nursing offers several online concentrations in the MSN degree: Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist/Educator, Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Administrator, and Nurse Midwifery. With a low cost ($464 per credit hour) and a proven reputation, it’s better than cheap – it’s an investment.


Liberty University

Liberty University has made a unique reputation among private Christian liberal arts universities by developing a nationally-recognized online education system that is the envy of their rivals. As a Christian university, Liberty’s School of Nursing emphasizes ethics in health care and regards nursing as a lay person’s ministry, aiming to provide both physical and spiritual care. Online students can earn an MSN online in Nurse Educator and Nursing Administration concentrations, gaining the knowledge and skills necessary to lead other nurses into and through their careers. LU is affordably priced at just $520 per credit hour for all distance learners regardless of residence.


Western Governors University

Western Governors University, in Salt Lake City, UT, is a unique, experimental online university designed around an innovative competency-based model in which students earn credit for demonstrating skills rather than traditional grade-based courses. Founded by a group of western state governors to provide an educational alternative to their people of their states, WGU is a non-profit, private university that provides affordable online education nationwide ($541 per credit hour). WGU’s College of Health Professions offers two MSN concentrations (Education and Leadership & Management) with two different paths (for students with a BSN, or students with an RN).

Why Should I Get My MSN Online?

Online MSN programs are a great way to help you grow your career in nursing. They will provide you with all of the resources and support you need to be successful in your nursing career.

Online MSN programs are a great way to help you grow your career in nursing. They will provide you with all of the resources and support you need to be successful in your nursing career. These programs are flexible, affordable, and offer the same high-quality education as traditional on-campus programs.

  • An online MSN program is a good option for nurses who want to advance their career. It can also be a good option for nurses who are currently working in the field and want to specialize in a new area of nursing.
  • Online programs do not require much time or money and allow nurses to continue their work while studying. Affordable MSN programs are abundant online.
  • Online programs provide flexibility, convenience, and affordability for those looking to further their education.

The online MSN program is designed for RNs who have at least one year of clinical experience, but no degree or diploma from an accredited college or university. Online clinical practice facilitates learning by allowing students to work directly with patients under supervision and mentorship from experienced nurses and other health care professionals

What is an RN to MSN Program?

The RN to MSN program is a unique degree that prepares graduates for careers as registered nurses, nurse practitioners, and clinical nurse specialists. Graduates of the program will earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree.

The online MSN program is more flexible than a traditional MSN because it allows students to work on their coursework from anywhere that has an internet connection. The online experience also provides the same quality education as the traditional classroom setting.

How is an RN to MSN program is different from a traditional MSN? The first difference between the two programs is that the RN to MSN essentially offers one degree: you skip the BSN and go straight to the MSN. This means that you won’t get an undergraduate degree in nursing and then go on for your graduate studies within nursing like with a traditional two-degree program. But, it also means speeding up the process over traditional MSN programs.

The second difference between these two programs is that the online experience provides a way to get the degree while also working. Online MSN programs are designed specifically for working nurses who already have an associate degree and an RN license. That means if you have an non-nursing bachelor’s degree, you will not be eligible for an online MSN program at all.

What are Some Specializations for an Online Nursing Degree?

There are many specializations depending on where you want to take your career. Just a few of them include:

  • Advanced practice registered nurses (Advanced practice nurse or APRN)
  • Nursing Education
  • Nursing informatics
  • Nursing leadership
  • Nurse midwife
  • Clinical nurse leader
  • Nurse anesthetist
  • Nursing research
  • Women’s health nurse practitioner
  • Health promotion

Nursing students may find their nursing program limits them. Prospective students should know up front if the nursing degree programs they are considering have the specializations they want; not all nursing programs have all specializations. Some affordable online MSN programs will be more streamlined than others, which keeps their MSN degree cost down, but also cuts out some of your options.

You may also find that a dual program, such as nursing and health sciences, would be better for you.

Are Online Business Degree Programs as Affordable as MSN Online Programs?

Are online business degree programs as affordable as MSN online programs? Cheap online business degree programs are gaining popularity due to their cost-effectiveness. These programs offer a reputable education without the excessive financial burden. Students can pursue their business degree online at a fraction of the cost compared to traditional MSN online programs, making it a more affordable option for many.

Why is Accreditation So Important for an Online Master of Science in Nursing?

It’s pretty simple: only an accredited nursing school will get you the job you want, simply because you can’t be licensed in most states without a degree from an accredited program. For instance, you can never become a nurse educator, advanced practice registered nurse, or any other advanced nursing roles without an accredited degree. In fact, most professional nursing organizations have made it a requirement for certifications or membership.

Furthermore, you cannot get federal financial aid for an unaccredited program. That means you’ll be left with nothing but private loans, and good luck paying those back. Even MSN graduates are not protected from the student loan mafia.

So, if you intend to enter a nurse practitioner program or work in a serious healthcare facility, make sure your nursing degree program is accredited. Some of the cheapest online msn programs may not be.

The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) is one of the best-known accrediting agencies. They accredit both bachelor’s and graduate programs.

Related Rankings:

Featured Programs

Aya Andrews


Aya Andrews is a passionate educator and mother of two, with a diverse background that has shaped her approach to teaching and learning. Born in Metro Manila, she now calls San Diego home and is proud to be a Filipino-American. Aya earned her Masters degree in Education from San Diego State University, where she focused on developing innovative teaching methods to engage and inspire students.

Prior to her work in education, Aya spent several years as a continuing education consultant for KPMG, where she honed her skills in project management and client relations. She brings this same level of professionalism and expertise to her work as an educator, where she is committed to helping each of her students achieve their full potential.

In addition to her work as an educator, Aya is a devoted mother who is passionate about creating a nurturing and supportive home environment for her children. She is an active member of her community, volunteering her time and resources to support local schools and organizations. Aya is also an avid traveler, and loves to explore new cultures and cuisines with her family.

With a deep commitment to education and a passion for helping others succeed, Aya is a true inspiration to those around her. Her dedication to her craft, her community, and her family is a testament to her unwavering commitment to excellence in all aspects of her life.

Find your perfect value college is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Enter a search word or phrase