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2021 Best Value Nursing Master's Degree Schools

Identifying Quality Schools at More Affordable Prices

581 Colleges
$7,001 Avg Tuition & Fees*
$97,473 Avg Salary

Finding the Best Nursing Master's Degree School for You

Nursing is the most popular major in the United States with 305,309 degrees and certificates handed out in 2018-2019.

It's not easy to decide which nursing program to enroll in when you have so many options available. With more and more schools offering online options, you could even register for a great program on the other side of the country. On top of that, there are a considerable number of trade schools that offer fast-track entry to many fields.

To assist you in seeing some of the education options that are available to you, Nursing Degree Search has created its Best Value Nursing Master's Degree Schools ranking. This report analyzed 581 schools in the United States to see which ones offered the best value master's degree programs for nursing students. The goal was to highlight schools with more affordable prices than others offering similar quality experiences.

Our ranking of value is based on the quality of a program as defined in our per sticker price dollar. More specifically, we discount our quality score by the published tuition and fees charged by a school. This gives the cost per unit of quality for each college. The value is determined by how much quality your dollar buys.

In our regional and nationwide rankings, out-of-state tution and fees are used in our calculations. Average in-state tuition and fees are used for our statewide rankings.

2021 Best Value Nursing Master’s Degree Schools in the United States

The colleges and universities below are the best value schools for nursing majors pursuing a master's degree.

Top 25 Best Schools for Affordable Quality for a Master's in Nursing

#1

Otterbein University

Westerville, OH

Our analysis found Otterbein University to be the best value school for nursing students who want to pursue a master’s degree in the United States. Located in the large suburb of Westerville, Otterbein is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population.

Otterbein graduate students pay an average of $945 in tuition and fees each year. After completing their Master's Degree, nursing graduates from Otterbein carry an average student debtload of $66,510. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $714.

Otterbein excels when it comes to quality. It’s ranked in the top 15% of all schools on our Best Nursing Master’s Degree Schools list.

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You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around you if you attend Denver College of Nursing. The school came in at #2 on this year’s Best Value Nursing Master’s Degree Schools list. Located in the city of Denver, Denver College of Nursing is a private for-profit college with a small student population.

The average tuition and fees for an out-of-state graduate students at Denver College of Nursing are $1,806 a year.

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The excellent master’s degree programs at Nebraska Wesleyan University helped the school earn the #3 place on this year’s ranking of the best value nursing schools in the United States. Located in the city of Lincoln, NWU is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population.

The average tuition and fees for an out-of-state graduate students at NWU are $5,093 a year. While working on their Master's Degree, nursing majors at NWU accumulate an average of around $23,489 in student debt.

NWU also claimed a spot on our Best Nursing Master’s Degree Schools list. It’s in the top 10% of all schools in this category.

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#4

Mount Marty University

Yankton, SD

Out of the 581 schools in the United States that were part of this year’s ranking, Mount Marty University landed the # 4 spot on the list. Located in the town of Yankton, Mount Marty is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population.

Mount Marty graduate students pay an average of $8,100 in tuition and fees each year. While working on their Master's Degree, nursing majors at Mount Marty accumulate an average of around $100,628 in student debt. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $1,339.

In addition to its great value ranking, Mount Marty is in the top 5% of all schools on our Best Nursing Master’s Degree Schools list.

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The excellent master’s degree programs at Inter American University of Puerto Rico - Arecibo helped the school earn the #5 place on this year’s ranking of the best value nursing schools in the United States. Inter American University of Puerto Rico - Arecibo is a small private not-for-profit school located in the small city of Arecibo.

The average tuition and fees for an out-of-state graduate students at Inter American University of Puerto Rico - Arecibo are $4,146 a year. The average amount in student loans that nursing majors at Inter American University of Puerto Rico - Arecibo take out while working on their Master's Degree is $46,036. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $592, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#6

Fitchburg State University

Fitchburg, MA

With a ranking of #6, Fitchburg State University did quite well on this year’s best value schools for nursing students working on their master’s degree. Fitchburg State is a moderately-sized public school located in the midsize suburb of Fitchburg.

The average tuition and fees for an out-of-state graduate students at Fitchburg State are $5,742 a year.

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#7

Worcester State University

Worcester, MA

With a ranking of #7, Worcester State University did quite well on this year’s best value schools for nursing students working on their master’s degree. Worcester State is a moderately-sized public school located in the medium-sized city of Worcester.

Out-of-state tuition fees for graduate students at Worcester State are $5,796 per year.

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#8

Morningside College

Sioux City, IA

Morningside College did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best places for nursing students to get a master’s degree. It came in at #8 on the list. Morningside is a small private not-for-profit school located in the small city of Sioux City.

The average tuition and fees for an out-of-state graduate students at Morningside are $5,040 a year.

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Kentucky Christian University landed the #9 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best value master’s degree nursing programs. Located in the distant town of Grayson, Kentucky Christian University is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population.

Out-of-state tuition fees for graduate students at Kentucky Christian University are $5,200 per year.

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American Sentinel University landed the #10 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best value master’s degree nursing programs. Located in the large city of Aurora, American Sentinel University is a private for-profit school with a small student population.

American Sentinel University graduate students pay an average of $6,840 in tuition and fees each year. While working on their Master's Degree, nursing majors at American Sentinel University accumulate an average of around $25,793 in student debt. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $260.

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With a ranking of #11, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota did quite well on this year’s best value schools for nursing students working on their master’s degree. Located in the distant town of Winona, SMU MN is a private not-for-profit school with a moderately-sized student population.

The average tuition and fees for an out-of-state graduate students at SMU MN are $9,180 a year. While working on their Master's Degree, nursing majors at SMU MN accumulate an average of around $63,628 in student debt. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $705.

SMU MN excels when it comes to quality. It’s ranked in the top 5% of all schools on our Best Nursing Master’s Degree Schools list.

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Central Methodist University - College of Graduate & Extended Studies did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best places for nursing students to get a master’s degree. It came in at #12 on the list. Located in the town of Fayette, CMU CGES is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population.

CMU CGES graduate students pay an average of $6,300 in tuition and fees each year. Nursing majors at CMU CGES take out an average of $23,007 in student loans while working on their Master's Degree.

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#13

Grantham University

Lenexa, KS

With a ranking of #13, Grantham University did quite well on this year’s best value schools for nursing students working on their master’s degree. Located in the city of Lenexa, Grantham University is a private for-profit school with a medium-sized student population.

Grantham University graduate students pay an average of $4,800 in tuition and fees each year. The average amount in student loans that nursing majors at Grantham University take out while working on their Master's Degree is $33,070. When it comes time to repay the loan, graduates who are on a 10-year repayment plan pay an average monthly payment of $418.

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Minnesota State University - Mankato came in at #14 in this year’s edition of the Best Value Nursing Master’s Degree Schools ranking. Located in the city of Mankato, Minnesota State Mankato is a public college with a large student population.

Minnesota State Mankato graduate students pay an average of $8,474 in tuition and fees each year. While working on their Master's Degree, nursing majors at Minnesota State Mankato accumulate an average of around $32,025 in student debt.

As a testament to the quality of education it offers, Minnesota State Mankato also is in the top 20% of our Best Nursing Master’s Degree Schools ranking.

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Southwest Baptist University came in at #15 in this year’s edition of the Best Value Nursing Master’s Degree Schools ranking. Southwest Baptist University is a small private not-for-profit school located in the distant town of Bolivar.

Out-of-state tuition fees for graduate students at Southwest Baptist University are $5,339 per year. The average amount in student loans that nursing majors at Southwest Baptist University take out while working on their Master's Degree is $24,682.

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#16

Stevenson University

Stevenson, MD

Stevenson University landed the #16 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best value master’s degree nursing programs. Located in the rural area of Stevenson, Stevenson is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population.

Stevenson graduate students pay an average of $8,040 in tuition and fees each year. While working on their Master's Degree, nursing majors at Stevenson accumulate an average of around $32,012 in student debt. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $388.

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#17

Saint Vincent College

Latrobe, PA

Saint Vincent College landed the #17 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best value master’s degree nursing programs. Saint Vincent is a small private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of Latrobe.

Saint Vincent graduate students pay an average of $13,890 in tuition and fees each year. Nursing majors at Saint Vincent take out an average of $113,186 in student loans while working on their Master's Degree. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $1,339.

Saint Vincent also took the #5 spot in our Best Nursing Master’s Degree Schools rankings.

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#18

Spring Arbor University

Spring Arbor, MI

Spring Arbor University came in at #18 in this year’s edition of the Best Value Nursing Master’s Degree Schools ranking. Located in the suburb of Spring Arbor, Spring Arbor is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population.

Out-of-state tuition fees for graduate students at Spring Arbor are $8,176 per year.

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Concordia University, Irvine did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best places for nursing students to get a master’s degree. It came in at #18 on the list. Located in the large city of Irvine, Concordia University, Irvine is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population.

The average tuition and fees for an out-of-state graduate students at Concordia University, Irvine are $7,953 a year.

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#20

MSU Texas

Wichita Falls, TX

MSU Texas did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best places for nursing students to get a master’s degree. It came in at #20 on the list. Located in the city of Wichita Falls, MSU Texas is a public college with a medium-sized student population.

MSU Texas graduate students pay an average of $7,779 in tuition and fees each year. On average, nursing graduates from MSU Texas take out $54,775 in student loans while working on their Master's Degree. When it comes time to repay the loan, graduates who are on a 10-year repayment plan pay an average monthly payment of $626.

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#21

Western Governors University

Salt Lake City, UT

Western Governors University came in at #21 in this year’s edition of the Best Value Nursing Master’s Degree Schools ranking. WGU is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the large suburb of Salt Lake City.

Out-of-state tuition fees for graduate students at WGU are $7,790 per year. Nursing majors at WGU take out an average of $13,035 in student loans while working on their Master's Degree. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $126.

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#22

United States University

San Diego, CA

United States University ranked #22 on this year’s Best Value Nursing Master’s Degree Schools list. Located in the city of San Diego, USU is a private for-profit school with a small student population.

The average tuition and fees for an out-of-state graduate students at USU are $7,365 a year. On average, nursing graduates from USU take out $39,576 in student loans while working on their Master's Degree. When it comes time to repay the loan, graduates who are on a 10-year repayment plan pay an average monthly payment of $478.

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Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing landed the #23 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best value master’s degree nursing programs. Located in the medium-sized city of Peoria, St. Francis Medical Center College of Nursing is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population.

Out-of-state tuition fees for graduate students at St. Francis Medical Center College of Nursing are $8,568 per year. Nursing majors at St. Francis Medical Center College of Nursing take out an average of $45,305 in student loans while working on their Master's Degree. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $425, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#24

Newman University

Wichita, KS

With a ranking of #24, Newman University did quite well on this year’s best value schools for nursing students working on their master’s degree. Newman University is a small private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Wichita.

The average tuition and fees for an out-of-state graduate students at Newman University are $11,004 a year. The average amount in student loans that nursing majors at Newman University take out while working on their Master's Degree is $93,977. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $1,305, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

In addition to its great value ranking, Newman University is in the top 10% of all schools on our Best Nursing Master’s Degree Schools list.

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#25

Clarkson College

Omaha, NE

With a ranking of #25, Clarkson College did quite well on this year’s best value schools for nursing students working on their master’s degree. Located in the city of Omaha, Clarkson College is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population.

Out-of-state tuition fees for graduate students at Clarkson College are $11,658 per year. Nursing majors at Clarkson College take out an average of $50,058 in student loans while working on their Master's Degree. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $528.

On top of its placing in our value ranking, Clarkson College also did well on our Best Nursing Master’s Degree Schools list. It’s in the top 10% of all schools reviewed in this analysis.

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Rest of the Top 50 Best Value Nursing Master's Degree Schools

#26

Holy Family University

Philadelphia, PA
#27

Universidad del Turabo

Gurabo, PR
#28

University of Scranton

Scranton, PA
#29

Cumberland University

Lebanon, TN
#30

Wilson College

Chambersburg, PA
#32

Ferris State University

Big Rapids, MI
#33

Mount Saint Mary's University

Los Angeles, CA
#40

Research College of Nursing

Kansas City, MO
#42

Salve Regina University

Newport, RI
#44

Union University

Jackson, TN
#47

McKendree University

Lebanon, IL
#49

Endicott College

Beverly, MA

Remaining Award Winners

This list represents the remainder of the schools awarded a Best Value Nursing Master's Degree Schools badge. Showing in this list means the school was ranked in the top 15% of the 581 different United States nursing schools we analyzed.

Rank College Location
51 Wheeling Jesuit University Wheeling, WV
52 Winona State University Winona, MN
52 Midway University Midway, KY
54 Marian University Fond Du Lac, WI
55 University of Saint Francis - Fort Wayne Fort Wayne, IN
56 Augsburg University Minneapolis, MN
56 Point Loma Nazarene University San Diego, CA
58 Bethel University Minnesota Saint Paul, MN
59 Cedarville University Cedarville, OH
60 Immaculata University Immaculata, PA
61 Texas Wesleyan University Fort Worth, TX
61 American International College Springfield, MA
63 Northwest Nazarene University Nampa, ID
64 Villanova University Villanova, PA
65 Chamberlain University - Illinois Addison, IL
65 Rivier University Nashua, NH
67 Mount Carmel College of Nursing Columbus, OH
68 Wilmington University New Castle, DE
69 Gardner - Webb University Boiling Springs, NC
70 Mount Mercy University Cedar Rapids, IA
71 Youngstown State University Youngstown, OH
72 Alverno College Milwaukee, WI
73 Charleston Southern University Charleston, SC
74 Indiana Wesleyan University - National & Global Marion, IN
75 Lenoir - Rhyne University Hickory, NC
75 Northern Illinois University Dekalb, IL
77 Alcorn State University Alcorn State, MS
78 Purdue University Northwest Hammond, IN
78 American Public University System Charles Town, WV
80 Gwynedd Mercy University Gwynedd Valley, PA
81 Le Moyne College Syracuse, NY
82 Dewey University - Hato Rey Hato Rey, PR
83 University of St Francis Joliet, IL
83 Concordia University, Wisconsin Mequon, WI
85 The University of Tampa Tampa, FL
86 Valparaiso University Valparaiso, IN
87 Bellarmine University Louisville, KY

Additional Noteworthy Schools

These are some additional schools worth mentioning that are also great but just didn't quite make the cut to earn our top Best Value Nursing Master's Degree Schools award.

Rank College Location
88 Barton College Wilson, NC
88 Arkansas State University - Main Campus Jonesboro, AR
90 Anderson University South Carolina Anderson, SC
91 Nicholls State University Thibodaux, LA
92 Salem State University Salem, MA
92 Notre Dame of Maryland University Baltimore, MD
92 Bluefield College Bluefield, VA
95 Baker University Baldwin City, KS
95 University of Saint Mary Leavenworth, KS
97 Tusculum College Greeneville, TN
97 Gonzaga University Spokane, WA
99 Carson - Newman University Jefferson City, TN
99 Fort Hays State University Hays, KS
101 York College of Pennsylvania York, PA
102 University of Central Arkansas Conway, AR
102 Harding University Searcy, AR
104 Palm Beach Atlantic University West Palm Beach, FL
105 Frostburg State University Frostburg, MD
106 Xavier University Cincinnati, OH
106 Grand Canyon University Phoenix, AZ
106 Fairfield University Fairfield, CT
109 The University of Texas Medical Branch Galveston, TX
110 Bryan College of Health Sciences Lincoln, NE
110 Maryville University of Saint Louis Saint Louis, MO
112 Walsh University North Canton, OH
112 Briar Cliff University Sioux City, IA
114 Hampton University Hampton, VA
115 University of Lynchburg Lynchburg, VA
115 The Sage Colleges Troy, NY

Nursing by Region

View the Best Value Nursing Master's Degree Schools for a specific region near you.

Region
Southeast
New England
Rocky Mountains
Plains States
Middle Atlantic
Far Western US
Southwest
Great Lakes

Nursing Focus Areas

Major Annual Graduates
Registered Nursing 251,279
Family Practice Nurse/Nursing 15,536
Nursing Administration 9,071
Other Registered Nursing, Nursing Administration, Nursing Research and Clinical Nursing 6,319
Nursing Practice 6,250
Nursing Science 4,704
Nurse Anesthetist 2,031
Adult Health Nurse/Nursing 2,012
Nursing Education 1,991
Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse/Nursing 1,266
Public Health/Community Nurse/Nursing 1,022
Critical Care Nursing 643
Clinical Nurse Leader 527
School Nursing 523
Nurse Midwife/Nursing Midwifery 475
Geriatric Nurse/Nursing 464
Clinical Nurse Specialist 428
Perioperative/Operating Room and Surgical Nurse/Nursing 236
Maternal/Child Health and Neonatal Nurse/Nursing 211
Emergency Room/Trauma Nursing 37
Occupational and Environmental Health Nursing 35
Palliative Care Nursing 23

Related Major Annual Graduates
Practical Nursing & Nursing Assistants 93,192

Notes and References

*These averages are for the top 25 schools only.

  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of the rest of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Credit for the banner image above goes to Aleksahgabrielle.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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