When it comes to earning a bachelor's, figuring out how to pay for it is often a primary concern. Registered nurses (RNs) report that cost is a barrier to earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), but with a BSN becoming the standard in nursing, it's more important than ever for RNs to earn a bachelor's degree. The good news is that online programs can be an affordable solution.
The University of Louisiana Monroe (ULM), for example, offers an online RN to BSN program with total tuition under $9,000. RNs can earn their BSN in as few as 14 months, ready to advance their careers without getting buried by student debt.
5 Cost-Saving Benefits
As Nurse Journal points out, the true cost of nursing school is often more than just tuition. Students need to consider expenses such as housing, fees and books. Take a look at five ways online RN to BSN programs can save money on everything from tuition to transportation.
- Affordable Tuition
Nurse.com reports that nursing students graduate with an average debt of $30,000. By comparison, students can graduate from ULM's accredited RN to BSN program for less than a third of that amount.
The program does not charge any extra fees, such as mandatory health insurance and student government fees. Other than a $20 application fee, ULM's tuition breakdown is just one number for in-state and out-of-state students: $8,750.
- No Lost Wages
Taking time off from work to attend traditional on-campus classes is not an option for most RNs. ULM's online RN to BSN is designed for working professionals. There is no need to put a career on hold and sacrifice salary and benefits. Some employers even reimburse tuition costs.
- Savings on Books and Supplies
College Board estimates the yearly cost of books and supplies at $1,298. A single textbook can cost over $100. Online programs often provide access to digital course materials, so students can do their coursework from anywhere without having to carry books around.
- No Need to Relocate
Online programs eliminate the cost of moving for campus-based programs. Students can complete coursework wherever they have internet access -- whether on a break at work, in a coffee shop or at home.
- No Commuting Costs
Even when campus-based programs are an easy commute, there are costs that come with getting there. For example, commuting students need to pay for gas, parking fees, tolls, and wear and tear on the car. Public transportation costs can also add up.
The time students save by not commuting means more time to work, study or even spend time with friends and family. By eliminating the need to actually be in a classroom, RNs with childcare needs may also be able to reduce or eliminate those expenses.
Earning a BSN prepares RNs to deliver higher levels of care. A BSN also opens the door to advanced roles in nursing. For example, Magnet hospitals require a BSN or higher for leadership roles such as nurse manager.
Plus, a BSN paves the way to a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or higher, which is required for some of the best-paying nursing roles such as nurse practitioner (NP). As of May 2017, NPs earned a median salary of $110,930 per year and more than $180,460 at the top end.
From improved patient outcomes to professional growth, there are numerous benefits to earning a BSN. ULM's RN to BSN program makes it affordable for RNs to take their education and career to new levels.
Learn more about ULM's online RN to BSN program.
Sources:U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners
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