BSN programs under 20k - CA resident looking OOS

Greeting CC community,

I have read over all posts I found relating to nursing programs. What a wealth of knowledge.

I am familiar with the different routes, LVN, AA, BSN (direct vs non direct)

Def looking at BSN. (open to non-direct but prefer direct entry)

Stats are

California student (know I need to get out of CA due to UC/Cal state impacted)
4.0 unweighted
4.52 weighted

lots of dual enrollment credit

Not eligible for needs based scholarships, only merit.

I would be grateful for any recommendations for programs that are 20K and under including room and board. (I know that’s a lot to ask)

Will apply to SDSU but that is even close to 30K including room/board.

Thanks in advance!

Also to add no SAT/ACT due to most schools being test blind.

Are you currently a junior? Will you be able to study for and take the SAT or ACT by early fall (Sept./Oct.)? You might try York College of Pennsylvania. List price with room and board is ~$34,000 but they do offer merit scholarships to top students. Pennsylvania has over 50 colleges/universities with direct entry programs, many of them not overly competitive for admission. I don’t know which if any offer substantial (full or nearly full tuition) scholarships, which is what you would need to keep costs under $20k.
You may want to check out the thread below. The last post was in January, and I’m sure some information is out of date, but you may want to look at the schools posted to see if they have nursing programs and whether they are still offering similar tuition and scholarships for out of state students.


Please try and take an SAT/ACT, you will be a stronger candidate with a strong score, especially for a direct admit program.

Can you live at home while attending SDSU?

You might consider doing an ADN, then transferring to complete your BSN…you will save money this way.

For OOS options, look into ASU, Northern Arizona, and U Utah to see what level of merit you would qualify for and if a test score is required to maximize merit.

Check University of New Mexico. You could qualify for the Amigo Scholarship…but please do take the SAT or ACT.

If you would go further away…University of Alabama could also be an affordable option for you.

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Another possibility is the University of Arizona, which awards out of state merit scholarships up to $35,000 (almost full tuition).

UA doesn’t have direct admit nursing though.

Yes, I know, but the OP said she preferred direct entry but was open to non-direct. I was trying to give her another possibly affordable option.

@kidzncatz Yes I am currently a junior. Thank you for that thread.

@Mwfan1921 Im about 3 hours North so I would not be able to live at home if I was accepted at SDSU.

The ADN programs near me are highly competitive and require many prerequisites which in effect would add an additional year. (so 3 years for an ADN)

I would consider ASU but I know the required GPA to stay in the direct admit program is quite high. Also not sure if I would get the college experience being on the Phoenix campus downtown. I will have to look at Northern Arizona. U of Utah is on my list. Unfortunately because I have more than 30 dual enrollment credits, I would not be eligible for direct admit. (per their website)They said that they get 250 applications for the pre-licensure program (not direct admit) Def will be applying there. I don’t hear much about U of Utahs nursing program here on CC. I see it occasionally mentioned due to being affordable but nothing about it being a solid program. The school gets good ratings on Niche but I haven’t found much about if their nursing program is solid. Im not one to take Niche too seriously. Admissions said that the average GPA for admitted nursing students is 3.3

@thumper1 I see the cost of U of NM is very low. Should I be concerned that overall graduation rate is 44%? My goal is to graduate with as little debt as possible but I also want a solid program. I also know that just because something is $$$ doesn’t mean its a solid program. Has anyone here done the U of NM program or have a kid that did?

@kidzncatz I will look into U of A. The reason that I say that I am open to non direct programs is because I am a very good student. (all A’s) I would think there has to be some good non direct programs that I could be successful at and progress into the nursing program without problems. Saying that, I understand that I would need to be very careful choosing that type of program. Many of the Cal States have non direct programs but I would not consider them because the acceptance rates are ridiculously low even for straight A students.

@WayOutWestMom any info about the nursing program at UNM?

UNM College of Nursing has a direct admit program. It requires a 2 stage admission process–first a student must be admitted to UNM, then a separate application for College of Nursing is required. Admission to the nursing program is competitive with 3.5 minimum GPA required.

Admitted students may defer entry into the program for up to a year.

Near the bottom of the page are details about the curriculum required and academic requirement to continue in the program.

UNM also accepts students into the nursing program after they complete their pre-licensure coursework. (End of sophomore year)

Although it says a minimum GPA of 2.75 is required to apply, admission is much more competitive than that. Neighbor’s D applied 3 times with 3.0 GPA and was never admitted. She eventually earned a RN elsewhere and never did complete her BSN.

UNM will offer you merit @VenturaCNA
At the very least, you’d qualify for the Amigo Scholarship which gives you in-state tuition & fees.

Tuition & fees at UNM is $8863/ year
The university does not add a surcharge for enrolling in the nursing program.

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Most of the direct admit programs we looked at for my D18 were in the Jesuit/catholic schools: University of Portland, USF, Univ of Portland, Gonzaga, Seattle U, Creighton, Marquette gave some merit aid, but not sure if any of these would get you below 20k. We were specifically looking for direct admit nursing and didn’t find many public schools on the West coast with that. We’re from Washington state. The best aid packages for us came from Creighton and U of Portland, bringing billed costs down to just under 25k per year. You do have better stats than my daughter, so it is possible your packages would be better.

The 44% graduation is for all majors, not the nursing school.

UNM accepts any instate applicant who graduates from high school with a GPA of 2.5 or better and the state pays 85% of their tuition & fees to attend college. (100% for Pell eligible applicants.) A lot of under qualified students enroll–and then drop out because they cannot hack college level work.

UNM also attracts a lot of adult students who are working their way through college. They drop in and drop out frequently.

Both of these item contribute to UNM’s low graduation rate.

Students who are academically able and motivated will graduate on time and find plenty of opportunities at UNM.

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Is UCI within commuting range? It has direct admission, and the weed-out GPA is not super-high (2.75 in upper division nursing courses, according to page 4 of ).

To get to $20k outside of commuting range, you need close to a full tuition scholarship.

@WayOutWestMom Thanks for the info. I will explore UNM further.

@mama2004 Will check out Creighton and U of P. Thanks!

@ucbalumnus UCI is not within commuting distance. CSUCI is commutable but without direct admission Im not willing to take the chance on admission. So it seems Im not really being realistic with my under 20k. Just trying to be responsible with my debt load. My parents can help some but I will also have to take out loans.