Nurses interested in furthering their education often struggle to find an accredited, flexible online degree program that is also reasonably priced. The online Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) program at Youngstown State University (YSU) is an affordable option for both in-state and out-of-state students.
Is BSN Affordability a Barrier to Success?
Although many ADN-prepared RNs have been able to advance their education, others have found these degree programs too costly. A 2014 study in the Journal for Nurses in Professional Development found that monetary concerns were preventing nurses from pursuing a BSN degree. Thirty percent said that their current personal financial situation was a deterrent, while 16% said that they would not receive additional compensation from an employer by earning a BSN.
The affordability of continuing education likely became a more prominent issue following the 2010 report titled The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. As part of an initiative to address forthcoming challenges in nursing, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) — now known as the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) — released a report recommending that at least 80% of the nursing workforce achieve baccalaureate-level education by 2020. This was intended to ensure nurses have the foundational knowledge and skills to provide increasingly complex care for the growing Baby Boomer population as well as a more diverse patient population overall.
The IOM report resulted in more employers hiring BSN-prepared nurses or obtaining a commitment from new hires that they would complete an RN to BSN program within five years. According to 2018 data from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), 45.6% of employers require a BSN as a condition of employment and 88.4% express a strong preference for the degree.
Are There Affordable RN to BSN Programs?
Online degree programs are known for their flexible schedules, though finding a budget-friendly option often proves more challenging. YSU offers an affordable, accredited online RN to BSN program for Ohio residents as well as out-of-state students. The convenient format allows nurses to earn their BSN in as few as 12 months while also remaining gainfully employed and retaining access to employer-sponsored tuition reimbursement. When combined with a variety of scholarships and loan forgiveness options, such as those through the Ohio Nurses Foundation and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the required investment can be substantially reduced.
BSN-prepared nurses typically benefit from higher salaries along with more advancement opportunities, which cushion the long-term financial impact as well. According to PayScale (August 2019), nurses with an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) earn an average annual salary of $68,000 while nurses with a BSN earn $82,000.
Tuition costs frequently prevent nurses from pursuing a bachelor’s degree, which can diminish future job prospects and salary increases. An online RN to BSN program, like the one at YSU, provides both in-state and out-of-state residents with an affordable pathway to advance their careers without jeopardizing financial security. Tuition reimbursement programs, scholarships and loan forgiveness options can further reduce expenses as well.
Learn more about Youngstown State University’s online RN to BSN program.