Top 30 Affordable Nursing Programs in the Southwest

Deciding where to go to nursing school for your Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing can be tough. There are so many factors you have to consider. How good is the program? Will it actually prepare you for life as a nurse? How much does it cost? Is it worth the price?

While we may not be able to answer all your questions, we can at least give you a good place to start. Our team analyzed over a hundred nursing schools in the southwest region of the United States and have come up with a ranking of the top 30 best affordable nursing programs in the area.

How We Calculated the Rankings
To rank each school, we studied three factors: graduation rate, NCLEX pass rate, and, of course, tuition. Each factor was assigned a value based on how it compares to other schools.

Just What is an Affordable School?
Paying for college in the US is one of the most expensive things most of us will ever do, aside from having children. It’s hard to know just how much you should pay for your degree, especially if you’re the first in your family to attend university. For reference, here’s some data from usnews.com on the average cost of American Universities.

So, looking at the data, a good deal on a school is one that costs less than around $10,000 per year.

How to Get the Most Value Out of Your School
Going in-state automatically increases how far your money can go. If you can go in-state and live at home or in cheaper housing, you can get a great education for a lot less. We looked at in-state tuition for the schools on this list for that reason.

So without further ado, here is the Mometrix 2022 list of the top 30 affordable nursing programs in the Southwest.
Map of the Southwest showing the locations of the most affordable schools

ARIZONA

Chamberlain University

  • Location: Phoenix, AZ
  • NCLEX Pass Rate: 92%
  • Tuition (12 hrs): $8,388.00
  • Nursing Degrees Offered: RN to BSN, BSN

Chamberlain’s Phoenix nursing school offers an accredited university with no waitlist or prerequisites. You can earn your BSN degree in as few as three years of year-round study or your RN to BSN in as few as three semesters. More than 90% of Chamberlain students receive financial aid such as federal and private loans, grants, or scholarships. With online options available, there are sure to be classes that fit your schedule. Chamberlain University has a 130-year history of preparing outstanding nursing graduates and healthcare professionals.

Grand Canyon University

  • Location: Phoenix, AZ
  • NCLEX Pass Rate: 98%
  • Tuition (12-18 hrs): $8,250.00
  • Nursing Degrees Offered: RN to BSN, BSN

Grand Canyon University is located in Phoenix, Arizona and has an NCLEX pass rate of 98%. This nursing school provides a standard tuition rate of $8,250.00 (in the range of 12-18 hours per semester) for students both in state and out of state. As part of Grand Canyon University’s commitment to providing affordable education, the school offers institutional scholarships and has not increased campus tuition since 2009. This tuition freeze stems from their belief in the importance of a quality, attainable education for all.

NEW MEXICO

New Mexico State University

  • Location: Las Cruces, NM
  • NCLEX Pass Rate: 92%
  • Tuition (12 hrs): $3,648.00
  • Nursing Degrees Offered: RN to BSN, BSN

New Mexico State University has an outstanding nursing program located in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The Las Cruces campus is close to both El Paso, Texas and the Mexican border, giving students many opportunities for multicultural experiences. The university offers an affordable education for both residents and non-residents. Their BSN program even has a “Roadrunner” option that lets qualified students graduate in only 19 months.

University of New Mexico

  • Location: Albuquerque, NM
  • NCLEX Pass Rate: 93%
  • Tuition (Yearly): $9,228.00
  • Nursing Degrees Offered: RN to BSN, BSN

One of the more expensive schools on our list, the University of New Mexico, located in Albuquerque, has been recognized by many organizations for its high research activity and ethnic diversity. Tuition and fees for the 2021-2022 academic year are an estimated $9,228, and the University of New Mexico gives away around $70 million in scholarships each year. Their BSN program has a 93% pass rate for licensure. This school’s stellar credentials make it well worth the cost of attendance.

Western New Mexico University

  • Location: Silver City, NM
  • NCLEX Pass Rate: 94.5%
  • Tuition (12 hrs): $3,279.00
  • Nursing Degrees Offered: LVN, AS, RN to BSN, BSN

Western New Mexico University offers small class sizes and a great student-to-faculty ratio. In addition to its in-person classes, this university offers online courses to meet your scheduling needs. The 80-acre campus includes 40 buildings with 4 residence halls, a large Fine Arts Center Theater, a swimming pool, and a football field. Students also have access to a dedicated fitness center and an on-campus movie theater!

OKLAHOMA

Langston University

  • Location: Langston, OK; Tulsa, OK; Oklahoma City, OK; Ardmore, OK
  • NCLEX Pass Rate: 73% (Tulsa) 89% (OKC)
  • Tuition (12-18 hrs): $3,250.00
  • Nursing Degrees Offered: BSN, RN to BSN, LPN to BSN

Langston University, founded in Langston, Oklahoma in 1897, is the only historically black university in Oklahoma. Langston has University Centers offering nursing degrees in Tulsa (at the same campus as the OSU-Tulsa facility), Oklahoma City, and a nursing program that opened in 2019 in Ardmore. With a student-to-faculty ratio of 17 to 1, multiple convenient campuses, and an affordable tuition of only $3,250 a semester, this school is one to look into.

Northwestern Oklahoma State University

  • Location: Alva, OK
  • NCLEX Pass Rate: 88.46%
  • Tuition (12 hrs): $2,985.00
  • Nursing Degrees Offered: BSN, RN to BSN

Northwestern Oklahoma State University’s Charles Morton Share Trust Nursing program is among the top in the state with an NCLEX pass rate of 88.46%. Located near both the Kansas and Texas borders, Northwestern Oklahoma State University’s nursing program was established in 1981 and provides a very affordable education for both residents and non-residents.

Oklahoma Wesleyan University

  • Location: Bartlesville, Oklahoma
  • NCLEX Pass Rate: 92%
  • Tuition (12 hrs): $5,760.00
  • Nursing Degrees Offered: BSN, LPN to BSN, RN to BSN

Oklahoma Wesleyan University was founded by the Wesleyan Church to provide higher education in a Christian environment. Located just north of Tulsa, Oklahoma, this university is also close to the borders of Kansas, Missouri, and Arkansas. Both residents and non-residents have identical affordable tuition at this university. This university requires students to have values consistent with the theology of the Wesleyan Church.

Rogers State University

  • Location: Claremore, OK
  • NCLEX Pass Rate: 87.5%
  • Tuition (12 hrs): $3,228.00
  • Nursing Degrees Offered: BSN, LPN to BSN, RN to BSN

Rogers State University offers a very personal experience for students in Oklahoma. With small classes and an affordable tuition, this university is conveniently located northeast of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Rogers State University has all the opportunities found at the biggest schools, in an environment focused on the individual. The university has been graduating top-notch nurses for over 40 years.

Southwestern Oklahoma State University

  • Location: Weatherford, OK
  • NCLEX Pass Rate: 88%
  • Tuition (12 hrs): $4,080.00
  • Nursing Degrees Offered: BSN, LPN to BSN, RN to BSN

Southwestern Oklahoma State University is located west of Oklahoma City. Their nursing program was established in 1976. They meet the national average NCLEX pass rate of 88%. Southwestern Oklahoma State University offers three types of nursing undergraduate degrees and also offers online courses. Affordable tuition and a low student-to-faculty ratio make this university an appealing choice.

University of Central Oklahoma

  • Location: Edmond, OK
  • NCLEX Pass Rate: 91%
  • Tuition (12 hrs): $3,456.00
  • Nursing Degrees Offered: BSN, RN to BSN

The University of Central Oklahoma is based in Edmond, Oklahoma, a location that is a northeast suburb of Oklahoma City. The first nursing class from the nursing department at the University of Central Oklahoma graduated in 1972. Since then, more than 3,500 nurses have graduated from their program and successfully found a position. The university also offers a Fast Track program for those with existing degrees to quickly make their way in the nursing field.

University of Oklahoma

  • Location: Oklahoma City, OK
  • NCLEX Pass Rate: 93.8%
  • Tuition (12 hrs): $6,825.00
  • Nursing Degrees Offered: BSN, RN to BSN, LVN to BSN

The University of Oklahoma Health Science Center, located in Oklahoma City, is the core of a wider complex known as the Oklahoma Health Center. The university was founded in 1890, 17 years before Oklahoma’s statehood. The university has a 93.8% NCLEX pass rate. The scholarships and financial aid available make it well worth looking into for Oklahoma residents. The Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing offers bachelor’s-, master’s-, and doctoral-level programs.

TEXAS

Angelo State University

  • Location: San Angelo, TX
  • NCLEX Pass Rate: 92%
  • Tuition (12 hrs): $4,093.00
  • Nursing Degrees Offered: BSN

Angelo State University bases its education on five core values: Integrity, Diversity and Inclusion, Significance, Community, and Commitment. These values shape Angelo State’s award-winning nursing program with a 92% NCLEX pass rate. Affordable tuition at $4,093.00 for 12 credit hours and a location in the center of Texas make this university a great choice to complete your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).

Galen College of Nursing

  • Location: San Antonio, TX
  • NCLEX Pass Rate: 90%
  • Tuition (12 hrs): $5,160.00
  • Nursing Degrees Offered: BSN, RN to BSN, LVN, LVN to ADN

The Galen College of Nursing is a convenient place to earn your BSN, RN to BSN, LVN, or LVN to ADN. Located in San Antonio, Texas, this college is conveniently located near many beautiful places, such as the historic San Antonio River Walk. Galen College sports an 82% on-time graduation rate for their BSN program. With a 1 to 12 student faculty ratio and over 35,000 successful alumni, this school is one to take a look at.

Lamar University

  • Location: Beaumont, TX
  • NCLEX Pass Rate: 80%
  • Tuition (12 hrs): $4,547.00
  • Nursing Degrees Offered: BSN, RN to BSN

Lamar University, located in the Southeast Texas area not far from Louisiana, offers a highly rated nursing school at an affordable price. The JoAnne Gay Dishman School of Nursing has both an RN to BSN track and a BSN track to get you the degree you need. Lamar University’s nursing program partners with over 90 clinical agencies to provide quality learning experiences in a variety of healthcare organizations. The Dishman School of Nursing also provides innovative learning experiences for students using high-tech simulation equipment and a 90% on-time graduation rate.

Midwestern State University

  • Location: Flower Mound, TX; Wichita Falls, TX
  • NCLEX Pass Rate: 88%
  • Tuition (12 hrs): $3,634.00
  • Nursing Degrees Offered: BSN, RN to BSN

Midwestern State University has two locations: one just outside of Dallas, TX and one near the Oklahoma/Texas border. This is a great choice for your BSN or RN to BSN degree. Eighty-nine percent of Midwestern State students graduate from their BSN program in just 36 months. Midwestern is a state university whose campus consists of 255 acres and 70 buildings, bringing in a wide array of students with different interests. Their 88% NCLEX pass rate matches the national average, and the tuition for in-state residents is affordably low.

Sam Houston State University

  • Location: Huntsville, TX
  • NCLEX Pass Rate: 99%
  • Tuition (12 hrs): $5,334.80
  • Nursing Degrees Offered: BSN, LPN to BSN, RN to BSN

With a location just north of Houston, Texas, Sam Houston State University was founded in 1879. Though on the pricier side of our list, tuition is reasonable for Texas residents, and the university enrolls more than 20,000 students. Sitting on 316 acres of land, the university has a teaching and research farm, a rodeo arena, a planetarium, an observatory, a body farm, and an 18-hole golf course. With all those features, plus an astounding 99% NCLEX pass rate, this school should definitely be on your list!

Southwestern Adventist University

  • Location: Keene, TX
  • NCLEX Pass Rate: 92%
  • Tuition (12 hrs): $3,000.00
  • Nursing Degrees Offered: BSN, LPN to BSN, RN to BSN

Located just south of Fort Worth, Texas, Southwestern Adventist University was founded and is owned by Seventh-day Adventists. The university is located in the largest Adventist community in the Southwestern Union, which includes Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and New Mexico. The university has around 800 students on a 150-acre campus. Southwestern Adventist University has a standard low tuition rate for both residents and non-residents and a great NCLEX pass rate of 92%.

Stephen F. Austin State University

  • Location: Nacogdoches, TX
  • NCLEX Pass Rate: 97.25%
  • Tuition (12 hrs): $5,300.00
  • Nursing Degrees Offered: BSN, RN to BSN

Located in the eastern Piney Woods region of Texas, close to the northern Louisiana border, Stephen F. Austin State University boasts an incredible 97.25% NCLEX pass rate. The rural school has a lively campus and a great student-to-teacher ratio. The lumberjack, the school mascot, represents the university’s location in the dense forest of eastern Texas. Stephen F. Austin State University’s nurses are so highly regarded that the majority of their students secure positions before they graduate.

Tarleton State University

  • Location: Fort Worth, TX
  • NCLEX Pass Rate: 84%
  • Tuition (12 hrs): $3,983.00
  • Nursing Degrees Offered: BSN, LPN to BSN, RN to BSN

With a student-to-faculty ratio of 19 to 1, Tarleton State University offers small class sizes and personal attention. Their RN to BSN program can be completed in just 10 to 15 months! Their BSN program has an emphasis on community health and family care, and 90% of successful graduates have a nursing job within three months of graduation. Upper-level course electives include exciting topics such as genetics, virology, histology, child development, criminology, forensic science, food and culture, sports nutrition, transcultural nursing, rural sociology, and gender in society.

Texas A&M University – Commerce

  • Location: Commerce, TX
  • NCLEX Pass Rate: 93%
  • Tuition (12 hrs): $4,231.00
  • Nursing Degrees Offered: BSN, RN to BSN

Located just northeast of Dallas, Texas, the Texas A&M branch in Commerce has an outstanding nursing program at an affordable price. Founded in 1889, the university has an enrollment of over 12,000 students. In addition to having an NCLEX pass rate of 93%, well above the national average, this university offers 50%-80% of its courses online to give you the flexibility you need.

Texas State University

  • Location: San Marcos, TX
  • NCLEX Pass Rate: 100%
  • Tuition (12 hrs): $4,851.00
  • Nursing Degrees Offered: BSN, RN to BSN

Located right between San Antonio and Austin, Texas, you couldn’t find a more scenic and accessible university. The beautiful San Marcos river runs through the Texas Hill Country and is a popular site for tubing, river rafting, and more great outdoor activities. To accommodate the enrollment of over 38,500 students, Texas State University has ten colleges and fifty schools and departments consisting of 245 buildings on 492 riverside acres. And to round all the wonderful benefits of Texas State, they boast an average NCLEX pass rate of 100%!

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso

  • Location: El Paso, TX
  • NCLEX Pass Rate: 87%
  • Tuition (12 hrs): $5,410.00
  • Nursing Degrees Offered: RN to BSN, BSN

Located at the westernmost corner of Texas, and intersecting with both Mexico and New Mexico, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso offers unique challenges and opportunities for nurses. The Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing (GGHSON) was established to counteract a long-term shortage of nurses and provide high quality care to El Paso’s medically underserved area. This university offers flexible semesters and hours to meet your scheduling needs.

Texas Woman’s University

  • Location: Houston, TX; Denton, TX; Dallas, TX
  • NCLEX Pass Rate: 94%
  • Tuition (12 hrs): $3,648.00
  • Nursing Degrees Offered: BSN, RN to BSN

The primary campus of Texas Woman’s University, which is open to both men and women, is located in the medical center and museum district of Houston, Texas. This cosmopolitan university also has branches in Denton and Dallas, Texas, making it an accessible school to accomplish your nursing degree goals. The university has a robust online presence as well, offering many classes at a variety of times. The Dallas campus also offers a night and weekends option, allowing mature students to move forward in a career change. With a 94% NCLEX pass rate, this is a university to consider.

UT Medical Branch at Galveston

  • Location: Galveston, TX
  • NCLEX Pass Rate: 99%
  • Tuition (12 hrs): $4,291.00
  • Nursing Degrees Offered: RN to BSN, BSN

The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston has a per-semester tuition of $4,291.00 for in-state students, making it under $9,000 per year. This school has a graduation rate of 93.20% and an NCLEX pass rate of 99%! Students who attend this school can be sure they are being well prepared to pass the NCLEX and start their careers as nurses, without breaking the bank.

UT Rio Grande Valley

  • Location: Brownsville, Edinburg, Harlingen, McAllen, Rio Grande City, South Padre Island, TX
  • NCLEX Pass Rate: 92.46%
  • Tuition (12 hrs): $4,770.00
  • Nursing Degrees Offered: RN to BSN, BSN

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley is actually a collection of smaller universities and colleges that have come together to support the students of southern Texas. Different campuses offer different programs, but a quality education is present throughout. The schools maintain an international, multicultural, and multilingual student body; amid this environment, you can learn to care for patients with diverse backgrounds.

UT Tyler

  • Location: Tyler, TX; Longview, TX; Palestine, TX
  • NCLEX Pass Rate: 95%
  • Tuition (12 hrs): $3,744.00
  • Nursing Degrees Offered: RN to BSN, BSN

The University of Texas at Tyler has a great student-to-faculty ratio of 19:1. With three campuses this University boasts a 95% NCLEX pass rate and an affordable tuition for Texas residents. 98% of their nursing graduates have a job at graduation. They also offer online classes so your schooling can work with your schedule. The combination of quality education plus affordable cost makes this school a must to check out for Texas residents.

University of Houston

  • Location: Houston, TX
  • NCLEX Pass Rate: 100%
  • Tuition (12 hrs): $5,295.00
  • Nursing Degrees Offered: AS, RN to BSN, BSN

The University of Houston has a perfect NCLEX pass rate of 100%! Located in the 4th most populous city in the United States, this University offers world-class health studies and opportunities for employment. The Medical Center is close to the campus, and nursing students will have real-world experiences in some of the top hospitals in the United States.

Wayland Baptist University

  • Location: Plainview, TX
  • NCLEX Pass Rate: 93%
  • Tuition (12 hrs): $3,144.00
  • Nursing Degrees Offered: LVN to BSN, BSN

Wayland Baptist University has a foundation in integrating faith and learning. Located in the Texas panhandle, this University has the same affordable tuition for both residents and non-residents. Wayland was the first four-year liberal arts college in the former Confederate states to integrate voluntarily, three years before the Supreme Court’s decision to ban school segregation. This university requires students to have values consistent with the theology of the Baptist General Convention of Texas. For students looking for an affordable, faith-centered college education, Wayland is a stellar option.

West Texas A&M University

  • Location: Canyon, TX
  • NCLEX Pass Rate: 97%
  • Tuition (15 hrs): $4,831.00
  • Nursing Degrees Offered: RN to BSN, BSN

Located just outside of Amarillo in Canyon, Texas, West Texas A&M University provides good quality at an affordable price. Fifteen credit hours will cost you about $4,831 in tuition and fees, putting this school below the national average and at a great deal for those who live nearby. This school’s NCLEX pass rate of 97%, coupled with its 18 to 1 student faculty ratio makes it a great place to get a good education for a reasonable price.