One of the main reasons nurses do not enroll in a Registered Nurse (RN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program is they fear that such programs are not affordable. However, with just a little research and investigation, those pursuing BSN programs are often surprised by the ease of scheduling and reasonable cost.
Although cost should not be a roadblock when investing in ourselves, we must be reasonable and prudent in how we spend our hard-earned money. But you must also remember that an investment in yourself is one of the best investments you can make.
A Look at Online RN to BSN Options
Most nurses looking for BSN completion programs will quickly discover affordable online RN to BSN programs. Among the benefits of completing a program online are the educational model’s convenience and flexibility, both advantageous for busy nurses. The online model also offers educational continuity and resilience to disruptions from external factors like the COVID-19 pandemic.
But, to many, the cost may be the most surprising element. A brick-and-mortar program comes with many expenses, not only for the institution but also for you, the student, in commuting to class and missing work to attend class. In addition, years of lost wages — an essential component of what’s known as opportunity cost — can add significantly to the financial burden of tuition and living expenses.
Students earning their RN to BSN online can continue working full time during the program, avoiding opportunity cost and other expenses. Plus, finding an affordable option may be easier than you think, with programs like Lamar University’s online RN to BSN program costing less than the average annual wage increase for earning a BSN.
What About Financial Aid?
Although many BSN completion programs are affordable, you should also consider other available funding sources. As more employers seek BSN-prepared staff, they offer incentives to assist their staff in completing their education. Many employers provide tuition reimbursement for nurses enrolled in BSN completion programs. For instance, Houston Methodist offers employees tuition assistance and reimbursement options.
Nurses may also pursue rewarding work with the Nurse Corps and take advantage of the Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program (LRP). In addition, military branches, like the U.S. Army, offer tuition assistance incentives for certain enlisted nurses seeking their BSN.
Other funding sources include scholarships, grants and even low-interest direct government loans. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) publishes a comprehensive list of scholarships and financial aid options. Many local professional nursing chapters and organizations prefer to give scholarships to local nurses to support their continued education.
Career Opportunities Can Boost Your ROI
The boost a BSN can give your career is another important factor when considering the return on investment (ROI) for going back to school. For example, ZipRecruiter data from March 2023 shows RNs making an average annual salary of $77,976, compared to the average BSN salary of $98,818, representing a significant potential pay bump. Plus, particular higher-level jobs like coveted nurse leader or nurse manager positions at top Magnet hospitals are only available to nurses with their BSN.
So, if you are interested in a BSN completion program, remember that affordable online RN to BSN programs are available. The fear of the cost of education shouldn’t be a roadblock to the greatest investment you can make for yourself, your family and your future.
Learn more about Lamar University’s online RN to BSN program.