What Is The Cost Of Nursing School? (2024)

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Attending nursing school can be a powerful investment in your future. When choosing a school and degree program, prospective nursing students must consider the cost of nursing school so they can anticipate when their investment might pay off.

This article overviews the average cost of nursing school at each degree level. We also outline a few key financial aid resources to help alleviate costs. Finally, we discuss the potential return on investment for degrees in nursing.


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How Much Does Nursing School Cost?

The cost of nursing school can vary significantly depending on several factors, including the degree you choose, whether you attend part or full time, whether you attend an in-state or out-of-state institution and whether you enroll in a private or public school.

Associate degrees in nursing (ADNs) tend to cost less, with some programs totaling as little as $3,000, while more advanced degrees can cost up to $100,000 if you attend a private school.

Cost of Nursing School by Degree

The cost of nursing school can vary considerably depending on the school and degree level you choose. Below we break down typical nursing school costs for each degree level, ranging from an ADN to a doctorate of nursing practice (DNP).

Associate Degree in Nursing

Aspiring nursing students looking for a time- and cost-effective avenue into nursing may consider an associate degree in nursing. ADN programs typically last two years and are generally among the most affordable educational options for nursing students. With that said, tuition and program costs can vary considerably by school.

Several factors can impact the cost of an ADN degree, including whether you choose to attend an institution in or out of state and whether it’s a public or private university. Enrolling in an out-of-state public program can cost over double the tuition of an in-state public program.

Generally, the cost of ADN programs at public universities can range from $3,000 to $10,000 per year. Since most ADNs are two-year degrees, this amounts to $6,000 to $20,000 in total. Private universities generally charge higher tuition rates; private school students can spend more than $40,000 for their ADN.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)

On average, a bachelor of science in nursing takes four years of full-time study to complete and typically comprises 120 credits. Like with an ADN, the total cost of a BSN degree varies widely depending on whether it’s a public or private university and whether you attend in or out of state. Students can pay between $20,000 to over $100,000 in total for a BSN degree.

In most cases, out-of-state tuition costs significantly more than in-state tuition. For example, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reported that the average undergraduate tuition and required fees for full-time students in the 2020-21 school year were $9,375 at in-state institutions and $27,091 at out-of-state institutions.

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

MSN programs take one to two years to complete. The total cost of a master’s in nursing ranges between $24,000 and $80,000 depending on similar factors to those affecting ADN and BSN costs. Some MSN programs, including out-of-state and private universities or colleges, can cost $100,000 or more.

Program length also impacts the cost of an MSN, and the number of required credits varies considerably by program. Students may need to complete anywhere between 30 and 70 credit hours depending on the program they choose.

An MSN typically costs more for part-time students since part-time enrollment often increases overall program length. Students who attend out-of-state or private universities often pay more as well.

Doctor of Nursing Practice

The total cost of a DNP degree can vary significantly depending on several factors, including your highest education level since this impacts program length. If your highest degree is a bachelor’s, you can expect a BSN-to-DNP program to take three to four years. Alternatively, an MSN-to-DNP program takes around two years to complete.

DNP programs can range in cost from around $10,000 to over $100,000. Attending part time or enrolling in a private university can raise your costs.

Additional Nursing School Expenses

Aside from tuition and fees, prospective nursing students should consider additional nursing school expenses when determining the total cost of nursing school. These expenses can include the following:

  • Background checks
  • Childcare for students with families
  • Immunizations, drug tests and lab tests
  • Lab supplies
  • Lost or reduced wages for students who quit their jobs or reduce their working hours
  • National licensure exam prep and registration
  • Physical exams
  • Scrubs
  • Textbooks
  • Transportation costs and parking fees for commuters

NCLEX Prep and Fees

To obtain licensure and begin practicing, nursing students must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). Candidates seeking to practice in the U.S. must pay a $200 registration fee to take the NCLEX.

Once you pay the registration fee and schedule your exam, you can look into prep courses and other resources to start preparing. NCLEX prep courses can cost anywhere from $25 to over $500. Students can browse various prep materials and courses to choose one that suits their budget, learning style and scheduling needs.

How to Pay for Nursing School

Students must submit the FAFSA to qualify for federal student aid, including loans. For more information, check out our guides explaining what the FAFSA is and how to apply for financial aid using the FAFSA.

Nursing students can look into scholarships, grants and tuition reimbursement programs to help reduce the cost of nursing school. The American Association of Colleges and Nursing updates a list of aid resources for nursing students. Below we explore various means of financial aid to help offset and alleviate nursing school costs.


Scholarships are often awarded to students based on academic achievement or financial need. Scholarships are available through both public and private resources, and they do not need to be repaid. For example, Johnson & Johnson and the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration offer scholarships to nursing students.


Grants are need-based awards typically issued by companies, organizations, foundations and government organizations. Like scholarships, grants do not require repayment. Several government and private agencies offer grants for nursing students. For example, the California Department of Health Care Access and Information provides grants to nursing students who commit to practicing in underserved areas.

Student Loans

Program applicants may also seek student loans to pay for nursing school. Unlike scholarships and grants, students must repay loans. Nursing students can choose from two primary loan types: federal loans and private loans. For suggestions, check out our list of the best nursing school loans.

To apply for federal financial aid, including federal loans, students must submit the FAFSA. Generally, federal loans incur less interest than private loans. There are three main types of federal loans students can apply for:

  • Direct subsidized loans
  • Direct unsubsidized loans
  • Direct PLUS loans

Federal loans come with annual borrowing caps. For example, direct subsidized loans are capped at $5,500 to $12,500 per year. Students who max out their federal loan offers and need additional financial assistance may need to look into private loans.

Student loan forgiveness programs are available to nursing graduates and offer a chance to eliminate student loan debt. For more information, see our guide on the different ways to get student loan forgiveness for nurses.

Make sure you thoroughly understand the specifications, requirements and terms of a prospective loan program before accepting a loan or loan forgiveness.

Tuition Reimbursement Programs

Employers often offer tuition reimbursement programs, which are becoming increasingly common in the health care industry to address the national shortage of nurses in hospitals and healthcare facilities. A tuition reimbursement program may look like an employer reimbursing a portion, or the total, of a graduate’s tuition as long as the graduate commits to working as a nurse in a specific place or for a certain number of years.

Common reimbursement programs may include the following conditions:

  • Successful completion of the degree program
  • Maintaining a specified grade point average
  • Agreeing to work for a specific hospital or another healthcare facility for a specified amount of time
  • Agreeing to work in a specific geographic area, such as a rural region

For example, the federal Nursing Education Loan Repayment Program repays student loans for qualifying nurses who commit to working in nonprofit clinics or hospitals.

Nursing School Return on Investment

The return on investment is the profit you’ve earned on your investment (in this case, your salary after finishing nursing school) divided by the cost of your investment (the cost of nursing school), multiplied by 100 to give you a percentage.

Let’s say you spend $50,000 earning a BSN, and you go on to become a registered nurse (RN). According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, RNs earn a median annual salary of $77,600 per year, meaning you would recoup your investment (and then some) within one year of working as an RN. Let’s break it down:

$77,600 / $50,000 x 100 = 155.2

After one year of working as an RN, you could see an ROI of 155.2%.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About the Cost of Nursing School

How much is the tuition for nursing?

Tuition rates for nursing school vary considerably depending on your desired degree level and the school you choose. Looking at ADN, BSN, MSN and DNP programs, nursing school can range in cost from around $3,000 to over $100,000.

Is becoming a nurse worth it?

Yes, for many people, nursing is a worthwhile career. Nursing can be physically and emotionally demanding and generally entails long working hours. On the other hand, nursing offers opportunities to engage in meaningful work that provides essential care and support to others. Nursing provides job security, boasts a high earning potential and can offer variety in your day-to-day work. After one year of work as an RN, you could recoup more than 100% of your investment in nursing school.

What Is The Cost Of Nursing School? (2024)


What Is The Cost Of Nursing School? ›

A four-year BSN program at a public school can range from $40,000 - $80,000, while attending a private school could cost anywhere between $60,000 to $120,000. Overall costs can substantially increase for out-of-state students.

How much is nursing school fees? ›

A four-year BSN program at a public school can range from $40,000 - $80,000, while attending a private school could cost anywhere between $60,000 to $120,000. Overall costs can substantially increase for out-of-state students.

How much is student loan for nursing? ›

The average cost of a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) is between $8,000 and $55,000. The average student loan debt for a BSN is $23,711.

How much does it cost to become RN in Texas? ›

Nursing education costs range between $2,560 and $58,880 on tuition, books, supplies, and fees if you're training to become an LVN at a two-year state program to $16,270 to $122,990 if you're completing a four-year nursing baccalaureate at a public or private university in the Lone Star State.

What was the hardest class in nursing school? ›

Hardest Nursing School Classes
  • Pathophysiology. In this course, students learn how different anatomical systems work and how diseases or injuries affect these systems. ...
  • Pharmacology. ...
  • Medical Surgical 1 (also known as Adult Health 1) ...
  • Evidence-Based Practice.

Where is the cheapest to study nursing? ›

Norway. Norway comes in first as the cheapest in the world to pursue a nursing degree since most Norwegian public institutions do charge tuition fees. The best part? All international students qualify for this benefit.

How much is the cheapest nursing school in the USA? ›

10 Most Affordable Traditional Nursing Degree Programs
  1. Lamar University. Tuition – $3,120 per semester. ...
  2. Stony Brook University. Tuition – $2,785 per semester. ...
  3. University of Nevada at Las Vegas. ...
  4. University of Michigan Flint. ...
  5. Northwestern Michigan College. ...
  6. Indiana State University. ...
  7. East Carolina University. ...
  8. Clarkson College.

How long do nurses pay off student loans? ›

Experts expect students who graduated in 2021 to pay off their student loans between 8-19 years while paying $669 per month. Ultimately, how long it takes to pay off nursing school loans depends on the amount of money borrowed, the interest rate, and repayment habits.

How do you pay for living while in nursing school? ›

Federal student loans also offer low-interest rates, various repayment plans, and forgiveness options. You could also use federal student loans to cover living expenses. For example, if you need to pay rent for an apartment while you're attending nursing school, a federal student loan can help cover those expenses.

Do nurses get student loans paid off? ›

Registered nurses who work at least 32 hours a week at a qualified facility can get 60% of their student loans paid off over two years of employment. Borrowers have the option of getting an additional 25% of their loans paid off by the Nurse Corps program for a third year. Applications are only accepted once a year.

How much does a 2 year RN earn in Texas? ›

Salaries by years of experience in Texas
Years of experiencePer hour
Less than 1 year$34.52
1 to 2 years$37.10
3 to 5 years$38.94
6 to 9 years$40.35
1 more row

How much does a 2 year nursing degree pay in Texas? ›

How much does an Associate RN make in Texas? As of Apr 7, 2023, the average annual pay for an Associate RN in Texas is $65,301 a year. Just in case you need a simple salary calculator, that works out to be approximately $31.40 an hour.

What degree is best for nursing? ›

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)

The minimum requirement for many nursing positions these days is a BSN. The BSN is the best degree for those who want to prepare for future higher education and career advancement opportunities and launch a career as a: Registered Nurse.

What is the hardest exam for nurses? ›

Preparing to take the NCLEX is enough to make just about anyone nervous. It's a difficult exam, and a major stepping stone in your career as a registered nurse. Remember that most people pass the NCLEX on the first try. However, preparation and confidence are key to passing.

Which nurse is the hardest? ›

The most stressful nursing jobs include ICU nurse, ER nurse, and NICU nurse. In these roles, nurses work in an intense environment with high stakes. They manage emergency situations and care for critically ill patients. Other stressful nursing jobs include OR nursing, oncology nursing, and psychiatric nursing.

What is the easiest level of nursing? ›

The easiest role you can have as a nurse is that of a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or licensed vocational nurse (LVN). LPNs and LVNs work under registered nurses (RNs), providing basic nursing care.

What is the lowest GPA for nursing? ›

While most nursing schools set their minimum GPA requirements at 3.0, there are accelerated nursing programs out there that accept students with 2.7 and 2.8 GPAs. Keep in mind that this doesn't mean you'd receive a lesser nursing education with these programs.

Why is nursing degree so expensive? ›

Reasons Why Nursing School is So Expensive

Expanding campus amenities. Growing college administrations. Higher demand for a college education. Increases in the cost of living.

Where is it easiest to become a nurse? ›

Let's dive right into the list!
  • South Dakota State University. South Dakota State University has been educating nurses at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels for over 80 years. ...
  • Cox College. ...
  • Illinois State University. ...
  • Regis university. ...
  • Drexel university.
Jan 11, 2023

How much does a 2 year nursing degree pay in USA? ›

Licensed practical nurse average salary

According to Indeed's salary information, the national average salary for LPNs in the United States comes in at $23.81 per hour , which can amount to just under $50,000 per year, assuming a 40-hour workweek.

What is the average salary for a nurse in the US? ›

In the United States overall, the average registered nurse salary is $82,750 and the median (50th percentile) is $77,600. California, with RN salaries averaging $124,000, is the highest-paying state for nurses as of May 2021 (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics).

How much is RN per hour in USA? ›

Salaries by years of experience in the United States
Years of experiencePer hour
1 to 2 years$42.21
3 to 5 years$44.31
6 to 9 years$45.90
More than 10 years$51.33
1 more row

Do hospitals pay off student loans? ›

Some hospitals and other employers will offer student-loan repayment in an effort to recruit physicians. This can be a substantial benefit for a resident with significant residual medical education debt.

Is the government going to forgive nurses student loans? ›

After the 120-month repayment period, the federal government will forgive any remaining loan balances. The forgiven balance will not be taxed. Eligible nurses who have both federal and private loans can have their federal loans forgiven through PSLF, but not their private loans.

Do nurses get tuition forgiveness? ›

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program offers student loan forgiveness for nurses who are working full time for a government or nonprofit organization by paying off the remainder of their loans after the first 120 payments.

Do nurses live paycheck to paycheck? ›

An article from Forbes revealed that 78% of workers live paycheck to paycheck, including nurses. However, the nursing profession entails unique strengths with lots of potential to help us live a debt-free life.

How to survive nursing school with a full time job? ›

With these few simple tips it could help make your life attending nursing school while working full-time a little less stressful:
  1. Stay Organized. Staying organized is an essential part of balancing work, school and life. ...
  2. Incorporate Downtime. ...
  3. Get Active. ...
  4. Say “Yes” to Saying “No”

What state pays school nurses most? ›

The highest-paid school nurses work in California and Hawaii where the cost of living is respectively 50 percent higher and 77 percent higher than it is throughout the U.S. as a whole.

Who gets student loan forgiveness? ›

PSLF forgives the remaining balance on your Direct Loans after you have made 120 qualifying monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan while working full-time for a qualifying employer.

What is the federal nursing loan program? ›

You will receive 60% of your total outstanding, qualifying, nursing education loans over the course of two years. After your two-year service contract, you may be eligible for a third year and an additional 25% of your loans. These funds are not exempt from federal income and employment taxes.

Is a nursing student loan a federal loan? ›

Nursing Student Loans are low-interest federal loans offered to eligible nursing students (undergraduate third and fourth year and eligible graduate students) who have filed a FAFSA. Students must be enrolled for at least 6 credit hours and demonstrate financial need to be eligible.

What's the difference between a 2 year RN and a 4 year RN? ›

The main differences between ADN and BSN programs are the length of time needed to complete each and the number of credits required to graduate from the program. An ADN usually takes 2 years, while a BSN will take 4 years to complete (or sooner).

How much does a CNA make in Texas? ›

The average Certified Nursing Assistant salary in Texas is $34,175 as of March 28, 2023, but the range typically falls between $31,144 and $37,732.

What part of Texas pays nurses the most? ›

Highest paying cities in Texas for registered nurses

Texas nursing salaries vary from region to region across the state. The area where registered nurses are paid the highest is The Woodlands, where the average RNs salary is $83,890 and 54,540 registered nurses are currently employed.

How much do RN start off making in Texas? ›

How much does a New Graduate Registered Nurse make in Texas? The average New Graduate Registered Nurse salary in Texas is $66,680 as of March 28, 2023, but the range typically falls between $59,816 and $76,228.

How long is RN school in Texas? ›

How long does it take to become an RN in Texas? Expect to spend 2-4 years becoming a licensed nurse in Texas. Completing an ADN to prepare for the NCLEX-RN takes a minimum of two years; a BSN program typically takes at least four years.

How much do nurses make right out of school in Texas? ›

$56,283 is the 25th percentile. Salaries below this are outliers. $78,709 is the 75th percentile.

What is the fastest nursing degree? ›

The fastest way to become an RN is through an RN diploma program, which can be completed in as little as a year. While completing this program does not lead to a degree, it does make the individual eligible to take the NCLEX and earn their RN license.

What is the fastest degree to become a nurse? ›

An associate's degree in nursing (ADN) or a bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN) are the two most common fast track options. With each of these ways to receive nursing instruction, they require passing the NCLEX licensure examination.

How many times can you fail nursing exam? ›

If they fail, they'll need to wait 45 days before retesting. After failing three times, though, they'll need to complete a board-approved remediation program before the next retake. test-takers have six attempts to pass in total.

How many times can you fail RN test? ›

Though the vast majority of candidates pass the exam the first time, those who fail are permitted to retake it after 45 days from their original test date. Candidates may retest as many as 8 times in a year.

What happens if you fail your RN exam? ›

If you didn't pass the exam, you'll receive a NCLEX Candidate Performance Report (CPR). The CPR is an individualized document that shows how a candidate performed in each of the test plan content areas. Candidates who fail the exam can use the CPR as a guide to prepare them to retake the exam.

What is the most expensive nursing school? ›

The 5 Most Expensive Nursing Schools in the U.S.
  1. Columbia University.
  2. University of Washington. ...
  3. New York University. ...
  4. Vanderbilt University. ...
  5. Johns Hopkins University. Located in Baltimore, Maryland, JHU offers one of the most expensive nursing programs in the country. ...
Jan 15, 2015

How much does it cost to go to nursing school in California? ›

Most students from California spend an average of $6,520 in tuition per year, while students from other states pay about $17,680 per year for their degrees.

How much is Nursing in Lead City University? ›

All fees below are applicable to returning students only. Newly-admitted students should click here.
Nursing Science560,0001,500,000
Architectural Science650,000
Human Nutrition & Dietetics, Human Kinetics & Sports Science/PHE350,000
Education, Guidance & Counselling150,000350,000
Education (Sandwich Option)100,000150,000
25 more rows

What is the fees for nursing in USA for international students? ›

The average tuition fees for bsc nursing in the USA is between 12,930 USD to 51,156 USD. And a bsc nursing in USA for indian students fees is between 9 lakhs to 24.5 lakhs per year.

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