Best Options For Online Nursing Schools

A handful of CCNE-accredited online nursing degree programs are available for students seeking BSN, LPN, and MSN degrees. This article reviews some of the best options.

While hundreds of campus-based programs have received accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), only a handful of accredited nursing programs online are available for professional and nontraditional students who need the flexibility of distance learning.

However, weeding through the available online programs to find those which are truly valuable can be a bit challenging.

By using statistics from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and rankings from Nursing Online Education Database (NOEDb), this article presents some of the top online nursing schools students should consider.

The Best Online Nursing Schools – NIH Statistics-Based

Each year, NIH releases the level of funding it has given to universities, hospitals, and other organizations for medical research. This information is very valuable, as universities which have received large amounts of NIH funding for medical research have demonstrated to the stringent, peer-reviewed NIH funding board that they are effective and valuable medical institutions.

In years past, the NIH published university rankings, showing which schools had received the most medical research funding. While those rankings are no longer available, NIH now allows anyone to find the medical funding levels for any school or organization. Of those schools which have nursing programs online, the following two have received the most NIH funding:

  1. University of Cincinnati
  2. Drexel University

The University of Cincinnati, which received $99,922,853 of NIH funding through 239 research grants according to the latest data, offers a number of online nursing degree programs at the MSN level, including the following MSN concentrations:

  • Adult Nurse Practitioner
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist / Nurse Educator
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Nurse-Midwifery
  • Nursing Administration
  • Pediatric / Mental Health Nursing
  • Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner

Drexel University, which received $30,528,162 of NIH funding through 79 research grants according to the latest data, offers a number of online nursing degree programs, including:

  • BS in Health Services Administration
  • RN to BSN
  • RN to BSN to MSN (including a wide range of MSN concentrations)

At both Drexel University and the University of Cincinnati, students can complete their degrees fully online, as there are no required on-campus visits. Additionally, both schools offer courses on an asynchronous schedule, meaning students have the flexibility to attend classes and learn online whenever it is most convenient for them.

The Best Online Nursing Schools According to NOEDb

NOEDb ranks nursing programs online by using the following criteria: years accredited, student-faculty ratio, scholarly citations, retention rate, peer Web citations, graduation rate, financial aid, and acceptance rate.
According to its rankings, some of the best online nursing degree programs are:

  • Chamberlain College of Nursing (ADN, RN to BSN, & MSN degrees)
  • Grand Canyon University (BSN, RN to BSN, & MS degrees)
  • University of Phoenix (BSN, MSN, & PhD degrees)
  • Walden University (BSN & MSN degrees)

All of the above universities have CCNE-accredited programs, and give students some asynchronous course options, allowing students to balance work and school schedules.

Financial Aid for Online Nursing Schools

Online students are eligible to receive federal students loans through the Nursing Student Loan Program, which is available through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration. This program offers low-interest loans to students who demonstrate a financial need.

To be eligible, students must be enrolled at least half-time in a participating degree program that is accredited.

For more detailed information about eligibility requirements and the application process, reference “Nursing Loans and Nursing Loan Repayment.”

Benefits of Online Nursing Schools

Working health professionals and nontraditional students simply don’t have the time or logistical ability to attend a campus-based degree program. Fortunately, a number of accredited, quality online nursing degree programs exist for those who need the flexibility of online learning.

Accredited, online degrees are professionally valuable and recognized by employers. Nontraditional students unable to attend a brick-and-mortar school should consider a quality online degree.

For more information, reference the NIH or NOEDb’s rankings, from which the information for this article was gleaned.