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Education Reference Desk | Online Education Resources for Students and Teachers

Most Affordable Online Colleges for DNP Programs

most_affordable_online_dnp_programsWith a DNP, or Doctorate of Nursing Practice, your career options in the health care field are virtually endless. You can become a health care executive, advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), nurse faculty educator, clinical researcher, health care lobbyist, and so much more. Individuals within this specialty are at the forefront of pharmaceutical research, pushing the boundaries of health services, and advancing medical policies within the U.S. and throughout the world.

Earning a DNP is a daunting task in and of itself, so if you are the kind of person that values their time, takes on multiple responsibilities, and always runs a busy schedule, then online school is definitely the route to follow. Remote programs are just as comprehensive as in-person learning options, if not more so. These formats are designed to accommodate your schedule and meet your specific learning requirements, meaning they’re the ideal way to ensure your academic success.

It’s no mystery that college-hunting can be one of the most stressful and overwhelming aspects of one’s academic journey, but not to worry. Below, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most affordable online DNP programs out there, organized by comprehensiveness, value, and overall quality. With these in mind, you’ll be able to make informed decisions about your educational and professional pursuits.


All schools considered for these rankings

  • Are regionally or nationally accredited
  • Offer at least one fully online DNP program (with no more than two weeks of required in-person work)
  • Were collected from official accrediting agency websites.

Schools are ranked solely by the average net price as released in the most recent IPEDs database collected in July of 2020.

2021 Most Affordable Colleges for DNP Programs

Rank School Average Net Price
#1 Texas Woman’s University $9,830
#2 New Mexico State University $9,930
#3 Jacksonville State University $10,689
#4 University of North Georgia $10,730
#5 Murray State University $11,512
#6 Fort Hays State University $12,108
#7 Delta State University $12,593
#8 Arkansas State University $13,281
#9 University of Southern Indiana $13,360
#10 University of South Alabama $13,624
#11 Wichita State University $13,849
#12 The University of Tennessee – Chattanooga $13,927
#13 University of Central Arkansas $14,796
#14 Northern Michigan University $15,201
#15 University of Missouri $15,850
#16 Missouri State University $16,134
#17 University of Nevada – Reno $16,253
#18 University of Arkansas $16,263
#19 West Chester University of Pennsylvania $19,348
#20 University of Alabama $20,623
#21 Georgia College & State University $20,823

10 Best Affordable Colleges for DNP Programs

1. Texas Woman’s University

Average Net Price: $ 9,830

School Type: Non-Profit

School Accreditation: SACS COC

Acceptance Rate: 86%


Texas Woman’s University has its headquarters in Denton and offers the Doctor of Nursing Practice program to students who have already qualified as licensed practice nurses and are seeking to advance their practice to become clinicians. The course takes the approach of integrating evidence-based practices in acute and primary care settings. The curriculum aims at preparing the students for the demands of the healthcare system by equipping them with the necessary skills needed to practice clinical duties. It also includes healthcare informatics and application of scientific advances in nursing. Students must complete 46 hours of the course which happens either through online platforms or in class. A further 500 hours of clinical contact in the chosen field of specialization are needed before the student is cleared for graduation. Certifications needed before a student is admitted for the DNP program in this college include NP, CRNA, CNM, or CNS certifications, Current U.S. RN and APRN license number, and a Master’s degree with a nursing major from a nationally accredited program.

2. New Mexico State University

Average Net Price: $ 9,930

School Type: Non-Profit

School Accreditation: HLC

Acceptance Rate: 64%


The DNP program in New Mexico State University is offered under the College of Health and Social Services. Applicants who have attained the highest level of Nursing practice are welcome to apply for the course which is offered both online and in a class environment. This program helps nurses currently in practice to adhere to the set regulations by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, who have proposed to set it as an entry requirement for advanced practice nurses beginning in 2020. Course content covers various aspects of the health industry from Nurse informatics and improvement of healthcare. Students need a total of 29 to 31 credits for them to qualify for the course. This college makes it convenient for nurses who want to learn their DNP online. Students who study in this college have the benefit of interacting with a diverse student population and first-hand practice at community-based nursing.


3. Jacksonville State University

Average Net Price: $ 10,689

School Type: Non-Profit

School Accreditation: SACS COC

Acceptance Rate: 54%


Jacksonville State University is situated at 700 Pelham Rd N in Jacksonville and opens admission to its DNP program to nurses who want to advance their nursing career. The University offers students three choices of Nursing Graduate Programs in the DNP program. These are Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP) options for BSN-DNP, and Post-Master’s DNP. Nurses who attend this college benefit a lot from the extensive course work which covers integral areas that are key in making them all round nurses. This being with advanced clinical practice, leadership, and nursing informatics and technology. Students also get tips that help them step out into practice knowing how to achieve improved outcomes. Qualifications needed for one to qualify in the DNP program in this university include a BSN qualification, valid RN license practice number, three professional references, and an oral interview. New students also need to write a satisfactory writing sample before being admitted.


4. University of North Georgia

Average Net Price: $ 10,730

School Type: Non-Profit

School Accreditation: SACS COC

Acceptance Rate: 78%


The University Of North Georgia helps students with basic nursing practice skills to build on their skills and attain the highest level of nursing certifications attainable. Students taking this course graduate with hands-on skills that give them direct access to opportunities they can employ to improve healthcare in the state of Georgia as well as the entire country. The recent advancements have enabled the University to avail the course material online so that students can enjoy full-time access and study from the comfort of their homes. Before students join the DNP program in this college, they must have completed 1000 hours in baccalaureate practice. The University, however, allows some to come with 500 hours of practice and proceed with the rest 500 hours when they are pursuing the course at the university. The university also accepts students who want to transfer from other accredited universities so long as they meet the criteria for transfer. The university board and DNP Program Coordinator are responsible for reviewing any transfer requests.


5. Murray State University

Average Net Price: $ 11,512

School Type: Non-Profit

School Accreditation: SACS COC

Acceptance Rate: 87%


Murray State University is located at Curris Center in Murray, Kentucky. This is their physical office and main campus. The university offers the DNP program under the school of nursing and health professions. Students access the course content through the University’s e-learning platform allowing practice nurses to advance their education to terminal levels. The benefits enjoyed by offering the course through DNP online classes is that the students are not limited to a single geographical location where they have to attend classes. They also get full-time access to the course content and they can review past as well as current content. The online DNP allows the university to offer the course all year round. Students get to complete the course within a short period of only 20 months. Apart from the regular requirements for admission to the DNP course at Murray State University, students are also required to attend an interview with the DNP faculty members. Upon a successful interview, they get incorporated into the university.


6. Fort Hays State University

Average Net Price: $ 12,108

School Type: Non-Profit

School Accreditation: HLC

Acceptance Rate: 89%


The Fort Hays State University has a physical location at 600 Park Street in Hays. The DNP program is offered in the school of nursing and provides practicing nurses with a chance to advance their skills and education to the topmost level. Graduates from this University have in the past assumed leadership roles after graduating. This is because the university’s approach to delivering the course content aims at enabling them to provide high-quality patient centered care and emphasizes collaborative evidence based practices. The department of nursing also offers BSN programs to students who would like to pursue careers as family Practitioner nurses. All their online DNP programs are available online to US students but not international students. The international students can only do on-campus courses. The comprehensive approach in putting together the course content allows the students who qualify in this course have a positive impact in advocating for policy formation in healthcare after they graduate.


7. Delta State University

Average Net Price: $ 12,593

School Type: Non-Profit

School Accreditation: SACS COC

Acceptance Rate: 87%


Delta State University is situated in Cleveland and avails the DNP program via its online e-learning platform. After acquiring DNP programs online, nurses can seek education eligibility and register for certification from the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. The certification allows them to practice as registered nurses offering primary and acute care for patients within their communities and the healthcare system as a whole. DNP online program options at Delta State University are either full or partial with options for RN to DNP with 107 Credit hours. BSN to DNP requires 80 credit hours while students who join the program with master’s degrees require 71 to 80 credit hours. For students who want to pursue the Family Practitioner Nurse option of the DNP programs, only 31 credit hours are required. When graduating from this University, DNP students are set to become leaders in healthcare. The course content equips them with skills to design, influence, and implement ethical healthcare policies that affect both finances and outcomes of the places they work in.


8. Arkansas State University

Average Net Price: $ 13,281

School Type: Non-Profit

School Accreditation: HLC

Acceptance Rate: 66%


This university has a physical location in Jonesboro, Arkansas, and offers the DNP program under the college of nursing and health Professions. The DNP program in this University is a little different from other online DNP programs because it offers students an on-campus immersion experience during the start of each semester. Application to this program is restricted to students who have already acquired a nursing master’s degree in the fields of Advanced nursing, clinical nurse specialist, or nurse anesthetist. Moreover, applicants must be in possession of a valid practicing license from APN or APRN regulating bodies. Students partake in this online DNP program for two and a half years of full-time studies. Throughout the program, they must complete a total of 41 credit hours and 11 courses where 3 of the courses are clinical internships. This program aims at equipping the students with leadership skills that give them the ability to design and implement policies in the healthcare industry. Graduates also get enough skills to practice direct and indirect care making it one of the best DNP programs online.


9. University of Southern Indiana

Average Net Price: $ 13,360

School Type: Non-Profit

School Accreditation: HLC

Acceptance Rate: 94%


The university has its physical location in Evansville Indiana and avails both BSN to DNP and Post MSN DNP program to qualified students. The program seeks to enable students to sharpen skills they can use to improve nursing and improve responsiveness in both regional and national healthcare needs. In addition, the students are prepared to assume multiple roles both as leaders and as healthcare policy influencers. The course materials are contingent on the education gained during the post graduate Nursing classes which mean only qualified and practicing nurses with a master’s degree are permitted to apply. DNP graduates from this University can integrate nursing knowledge with science to solve real-world problems in health care. They are also equipped to serve as leaders and assume key roles in the formulation and implementation of health policies within federal and inter-state health care systems. The program equips them with enough skills for them to employ advanced thinking and evidence-based care.


10. University of South Alabama

Average Net Price: $ 13,624

School Type: Non-Profit

School Accreditation: SACS COC

Acceptance Rate: 82%


The University of South Alabama gives students three paths they can follow to attain the DNP degree. These are MSN to DNP pathway, Master of Nursing to DNP Bridge Program for Clinical Nurse Leaders to Executive Nursing Administration Pathway, and BSN to DNP pathway. All the different options can be taken through online classes making this one of the most convenient online DNP programs. The content covered during the course covers various aspects that help the graduates assume leadership roles in the analysis and delivery of nursing care in the country. The theories, concepts, and analytical skills learned also come in handy when the students are presented with the chance to apply evidence to transform nursing healthcare systems. Graduates also come out ready to contribute to new policies and impact knowledge to young students who are starting out in the medical field. One twist that makes the DNP program in this university different from other DNP online programs is the mandatory drug test and background check for students seeking to be admitted. Costs for travel and the tests are covered by the aspiring students and are not part of the tuition or admission fees.