We believe in providing students with all the information possible to make the right choice when selecting a nursing program. With this in mind, we aim to achieve this goal by studying nursing programs to analyze what makes them stand out against the pack.

Data Sources

  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)
  • National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
  • U.S. Department of Education's Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE)
  • The Council for Community and Economic Research

Methodology

Our methodology began with building a database of nursing programs for all degree levels and specializations across the entire U.S., through various means, including making a number of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

Once this data was obtained, we filtered out the programs with the following characteristics:

  • Programs that have closed or will be closing at the time of data collection
  • Programs with no enrollment information via IPEDS

Once non-qualifying programs had been filtered, our rankings process used a points distribution as described below.

Points Distribution

Schools were ranked in order of total points. The points breakdown is as follows:

Graduate Programs

  1. If the institution is accredited (5 Points)
  2. If the institution offers online programs (10 Points)
  3. The number & variety of different types of nursing programs offered by the institution, sorted from higher to lower (25 Points)
  4. Ratio of total nurse program completions vs. total program completions awarded by the institution, sorted from higher to lower ratios (20 Points)
  5. Annual tuition and fees adjusted for each county's cost of living, sorted by lowest to highest (20 Points)
  6. Ratio of instructional faculty that are tenured (5 Points)
  7. Acceptance rate percentage for the College/University (5 Points)
  8. Graduate rate at 150% of normal time (10 points)

Undergraduate Programs

  1. If the institution is accredited (5 Points)
  2. If the institution offers online programs (20 Points)
  3. Ratio of total nurse program completions vs. total program completions awarded by the institution, sorted from higher to lower ratios (25 Points)
  4. Annual tuition and fees adjusted for each county's cost of living, sorted by lowest to highest (25 Points)
  5. Ratio of instructional faculty that are tenured (5 Points)
  6. Acceptance rate percentage for the College/University (10 Points)
  7. Graduate rate at 150% of normal time (10 points)

Once all the points were totaled, we ranked the schools from highest to lowest total points.

Concerns, Questions, and Corrections

We understand there can be much more involved in deciding which school best supports students on their path to becoming registered nurses. In providing our rankings information, we strive to give students a tool to help them decide which school to attend. Our recommendation would be to use our rankings in addition to other factors to find the right school.

Please send comments, questions, or corrections to us via our contact form

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