Most Affordable Online DNP Programs

Explore affordable online DNP programs from accredited universities and see why you don’t need to overpay for a quality doctoral nursing degree.

Written by

PhDs.me Staff

Last updated

Jul 28, 2022

This page provides an inside look at the top-45 most affordable online DNP programs for 2021, including those in areas like advanced practice nursing, gerontology, acute care, psychiatric mental health, leadership, and more. Doctoral degrees can be expensive, so doing your homework and finding an online DNP program that fits both your career goals and budget is essential. From admission requirements and curriculum details to tuition expenses and funding options, this ranking provides the essential information you need to find a quality online DNP program at an affordable price.

45 Most Affordable Online DNP Programs for 2022

or
1
Type: Public
Cost: $

As you might expect from a quality, fully-accredited public school, Fort Hays State University offers its Doctor of Nursing Practice program with one of the most affordable tuition rates available. The four-year BSN to DNP option features coursework completed almost entirely online with only a few, brief campus visits required. Students also complete substantial practice hours in-person at program-approved clinical sites in Kansas. Admission requirements include a current RN license and BSN degree earned with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Current RNs with nursing masters can opt for the MSN to DNP program. Most coursework is completed online with no required preceptored clinicals. The program does require a one-day visit to campus each year.  Along with affordable tuition rates, FHSU offers several financial aid opportunities, including Nursing Department Scholarships and a forgivable loan program

Program Highlights:

  • Tuition: $400/credit
  • Credits: 75 (BSN to DNP); 30 to 33 (MSN to DNP)

Online Doctoral and PhD Programs

  • BSN to DNP (Partially-online)
  • MSN to DNP (Fully-online coursework with one required campus visit annually and in-person clinical hours)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
77%
AccreditationHLC
2
Type: Public
Cost: $$

Northwestern Oklahoma State University’s DNP program prepares graduates for advanced nursing practice as FNPs in underserved rural communities. Current RNs entering the program with a BSN degree and patient care experience complete 73 credit hours over three years of full-time or five years of part-time study. Didactic coursework is completed online, but students must attend a six-day residency on NOSU’s Alva campus before the start of their 1,020 clinical practicum hours. Current RNs holding an MSN Family Nurse Practitioner degree and certification in an advanced practice specialty may be admitted with advanced placement status allowing them to earn their DNPs with 37 to 39 credit hours of coursework. All DNP students return to campus at the end of their programs for the oral defense of their DNP scholarly projects. 

Program Highlights:

  • Tuition: $388.50/credit (in-state); $642.50/credit (out-of-state)
  • Credits: 73 (37-39 for Advance Placement students)

Online Doctoral and PhD Programs

Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
79%
AccreditationHLC
3
Type: Public
Cost: $$

New Mexico State University offers three Doctor of Nursing options with coursework accessed and completed entirely online. Current RNs with a nursing bachelor’s degree choose between BSN to DNP Family Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric Mental Health Practitioner tracks. Both tracks require three years of full-time study that culminate in the completion and defense of a DNP scholarly project. The MSN to DNP program allows nursing master’s degree holders to earn their DNP degree with two years of full-time study, also culminating in a DNP scholarly project. All didactic coursework is completely online in a combination of synchronous and asynchronous formats. DNP students must also complete 1,000 hours of supervised clinical practice typically attended at program-approved sites in their local communities.  Along with exceptionally competitive tuition rates, DNP students may be eligible for a range of financial aid opportunities, including scholarships, grants, student loans, and work-study.

Program Highlights:

  • Tuition: $436/credit
  • Credits: 74 (BSN to DNP); 36-45 (MSN to DNP)

Online Doctoral and PhD Programs

Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
65%
AccreditationHLC
4
Type: Public
Cost: $$

Online Doctoral and PhD Programs

Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
44%
AccreditationNWCCU
5
Type: Public
Cost: $$

Online Doctoral and PhD Programs

Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
32%
AccreditationNWCCU
6
Type: Public
Cost: $$

Online Doctoral and PhD Programs

Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
59%
AccreditationHLC
7
Type: Public
Cost: $$

Online Doctoral and PhD Programs

Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
60%
AccreditationHLC
8
Ashland University Ashland, OH
Type: Private, Not-for-Profit
Cost: $$

Ashland University, a private Christian institution located in Ashland, Ohio, offers six doctoral degree options featuring online study. Current RNs with a nursing bachelor’s degree choose one of two BSN to DNP concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner or Health Systems Leadership. Students with a nursing master’s and RN licensure complete either the Advanced Practice or Health Systems Leadership MSN to DNP program. Along with online coursework, all DNP students complete substantial in-person residencies at clinics, hospitals, or other healthcare facilities in their local areas. 

Students in Ashland’s Executive Doctorate in Leadership Studies program complete core coursework over four semesters through a combination of online and face-to-face classes followed by the writing and defense dissertations. Ashland’s hybrid-formatted Doctor of Ministry degree program takes three to six years and combines core religion, research, and writing courses with coursework in a specialization track: Transformational Leadership, Black Church Studies, or Chaplaincy.  Students can also choose the Independent Design track that allows them to focus on their own unique academic interests.  

Program Highlights:

  • Tuition: $710-$965/credit
  • Credits: 32-77 (varies by program)

Online Doctoral and PhD Programs

Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
95%
AccreditationHLC
9
Type: Private, For-Profit
Cost: $$

Post online DNP students at Post University choose from programs in educational leadership, executive leadership, professional leadership, and informatics leadership. Since these programs are focused on nursing management, leadership, and technology, they do not require on-campus residencies. All requirements can be completed remotely except for the 1,000 clinical practice hours, and currently employed RNs can complete those hours at their place of employment.

All DNP tracks at Post require 42 credits for graduation, and most students complete their programs in two years. Core classes include health services research, health statistics, health policy, and quality management. Each track also requires the completion of two capstone project classes.  Post's programs feature flexible curriculums that allow students to tailor their degrees to fit their career needs.

Applications must include resumes, personal statements, and transcripts that reflect a 2.5 or higher GPA. You also need a master's degree in nursing or an outside field. Those with non-nursing masters may qualify for all tracks except for educational leadership. Incoming students can apply for several internal scholarships, some worth up to $10,000 per year.

Program Highlights:

Doctor of Nursing Practice

  • Credits: 42
  • Cost Per Credit: $770
  • Est. Total Tuition: $32,340
  • Length: 2 years
  • Format: Fully online coursework with in-person clinicals
  • Accreditation:  Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationDEAC
10
Type: Public
Cost: $$

Online Doctoral and PhD Programs

Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
4%
AccreditationSACSCOC
11
Type: Public
Cost: $$

Online Doctoral and PhD Programs

  • EdD in School Improvement (Fully-online coursework with annual summer face-to-face seminar)
  • PhD in Nursing (Fully-online coursework with week-long on-campus summer orientation and returning-student workshops)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
48%
AccreditationSACSCOC
12
Augusta University Augusta, GA
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
13%
AccreditationSACSCOC
13
Delta State University Cleveland, MS
Type: Public
Cost: $$

Online Doctoral and PhD Programs

Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
66%
AccreditationSACSCOC
14
Type: Public
Cost: $$

Online Doctoral and PhD Programs

Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
44%
AccreditationSACSCOC
15
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationHLC
16
Type: Public
Cost: $$

Online Doctoral and PhD Programs

Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
64%
AccreditationHLC
17
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
10%
AccreditationSACSCOC
18
Aspen University Denver, CO
Type: Private, For-Profit
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationDEAC
19
East Carolina University Greenville, NC
Type: Public
Cost: $$

Online Doctoral and PhD Programs

Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
49%
AccreditationSACSCOC
20
Indiana State University Terre Haute, IN
Type: Public
Cost: $$

Online Doctoral and PhD Programs

Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
64%
AccreditationHLC
21
Type: Public
Cost: $$

Online Doctoral and PhD Programs

Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
61%
AccreditationSACSCOC
22
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
49%
AccreditationHLC
23
University of Utah Salt Lake City, UT
Type: Public
Cost: $$

Online Doctoral and PhD Programs

Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
71%
AccreditationNWCCU
24
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
50%
AccreditationHLC
25
Type: Public
Cost: $$

Online Doctoral and PhD Programs

Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
74%
AccreditationSACSCOC
26
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
57%
AccreditationWSCUC
27
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
73%
AccreditationSACSCOC
28
Troy University Troy, AL
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
49%
AccreditationSACSCOC
29
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
65%
AccreditationSACSCOC
30
University of Arkansas Fayetteville, AR
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
41%
AccreditationHLC
31
Liberty University Lynchburg, VA
Type: Private, Not-for-Profit
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
89%
AccreditationSACSCOC
32
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
56%
AccreditationSACSCOC
33
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
41%
AccreditationSACSCOC
34
Idaho State University Pocatello, ID
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
69%
AccreditationNWCCU
35
Briar Cliff University Sioux City, IA
Type: Private, Not-for-Profit
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
97%
AccreditationHLC
36
West Virginia University Morgantown, WV
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
68%
AccreditationHLC
37
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
60%
AccreditationSACSCOC
38
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
55%
AccreditationHLC
39
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
57%
AccreditationSACSCOC
40
Purdue University-Main Campus West Lafayette, IN
Type: Public
Cost: $$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
43%
AccreditationHLC
41
Type: Public
Cost: $$$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
83%
AccreditationHLC
42
Clemson University Clemson, SC
Type: Public
Cost: $$$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
77%
AccreditationSACSCOC
43
McKendree University Lebanon, IL
Type: Private, Not-for-Profit
Cost: $$$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
97%
AccreditationHLC
44
Clarke University Dubuque, IA
Type: Private, Not-for-Profit
Cost: $$$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
95%
AccreditationHLC
45
Type: Private, Not-for-Profit
Cost: $$$
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
98%
AccreditationHLC

Rankings Methodology

The rankings methodology used to develop this list began with government data from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). To be eligible for this most affordable DNP ranking list, colleges needed the following characteristics:

  • Annual graduate tuition and fees under $15,000.
  • At least one DNP program offered partially or fully online.
  • Accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Eligible colleges received scores based on their performance in the following categories:  

  • Cost: Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list based on tuition and fees per academic year (heaviest weighting)
  • Institutional Aid: Percentage of students receiving financial aid from the school itself (second-heaviest weighting)
  • Online Program Availability: Number of fully-online or partially-online DNP programs reported.
  • Academic Counseling: Existence of this service on campus or online
  • Career Placement: Existence of this service on campus or online