2021 Best Nursing Colleges for Non-Traditional Students

640 Colleges
154,540 Bachelor's Degrees
$32,234 Avg Cost*

Finding the Best Nursing Schools for Non-Traditional Students

Best Nursing Colleges for Non-Traditional StudentsNursing is one of the most popular majors in the nation, ranking 2nd of all the majors we analyze. In 2018-2019, 154,540 bachelor's degrees were awarded to students with this major.

This year's Best Nursing Colleges for Non-Traditional Students ranking looked at 640 colleges that offer a bachelor's in nursing. Not only do the schools that top this list have excellent nursing programs, but they also offer a lot of support to non-traditional students.

To come up with these rankings, we looked at factors such as affordability, and overall quality of the nursing program at the school. See our ranking methodology to learn more.

One Size Does Not Fit All

When choosing the right school for you, it's important to arm yourself with all the facts you can. To that end, we've created a number of major-specific rankings, including this Best Nursing Schools for Non-Traditional Students list to help you make the college decision.

In addition to our rankings, you can take two colleges and compare them based on the criteria that matters most to you in our unique tool, College Combat. Go ahead and give it a try, or bookmark the link so you can check it out later.

2021 Best Nursing Schools for Non-Traditional Students in the United States

Check out the nursing programs at these schools if you want to see which ones are the best for non-traditional students.

Top 25 Nursing Schools for Non-Traditional Students

#1

Walden University

Minneapolis, MN

Walden University has taken the #1 spot in this year's nursing ranking for non-traditional students. Located in the large city of Minneapolis, Walden University is a private for-profit school with a fairly large student population.

The student loan default rate at Walden University is lower than is typical, just 6.9% of students default in three years. All 50,360 students take classes exclusively online at Walden University. There are roughly 29,283 part time students in attendance at Walden University. Walden University does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

Full Nursing at Walden University Report

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#2

University of Providence

Great Falls, MT

University of Providence landed the #2 spot in our 2021 best nursing schools for non-traditional students. Located in the city of Great Falls, University of Providence is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly small student population. University of Providence also claimed a spot on our Best Colleges for Nursing list. It's in the top 10% of all schools in this category.

The student loan default rate at University of Providence is lower than is typical, just 7.4% of students default in three years. 466 students at University of Providence are exclusively online. About 521 of the students at University of Providence are attending part time. University of Providence does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

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#3

Molloy College

Rockville Centre, NY

Molloy College landed the #3 spot in our 2021 best nursing schools for non-traditional students. Molloy is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school located in the large suburb of Rockville Centre. In addition to being on our best for non-traditional students list, Molloy has also earned the #1 rank in our Best Colleges for Nursing ranking.

The school has a low student loan default rate of 2.8%. There are approximately 818 students at Molloy that take at least one class online. 1,834 students are part time. Molloy does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

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#4

Capella University

Minneapolis, MN

Capella University earned the #4 spot in our 2021 rankings. Capella University is a fairly large private for-profit school located in the large city of Minneapolis.

The school has a low student loan default rate of 6.8%. All 37,171 students take classes exclusively online at Capella University. 33,962 of Capella University students are attending part time. Eligible students may be able to receive credit for their military training.

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#5

Thomas Jefferson University

Philadelphia, PA

Thomas Jefferson University landed the #5 spot in our 2021 best nursing schools for non-traditional students. Thomas Jefferson University is a moderately-sized private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Philadelphia. Thomas Jefferson University did well in our major quality rankings, too. It placed #9 on our Best Colleges for Nursing list.

About 3.3% of Thomas Jefferson University students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. Approximately 1,380 students take at least one class online at Thomas Jefferson University. About 2,033 of the students at Thomas Jefferson University are attending part time.

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#6

Grand Canyon University

Phoenix, AZ

The #6 spot in this year's ranking belongs to Grand Canyon University. Grand Canyon University is a very large private for-profit school located in the large city of Phoenix.

The student loan default rate at Grand Canyon University is lower than is typical, just 5.6% of students default in three years. 70,295 students at Grand Canyon University are exclusively online. 72,917 students are part time. Eligible students may be able to receive credit for their military training.

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#7

Western Governors University

Salt Lake City, UT

Western Governors University earned the #7 spot in our 2021 rankings. WGU is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the large suburb of Salt Lake City.

The school has a low student loan default rate of 4.2%. All 121,437 students take classes exclusively online at WGU. WGU does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

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California State University - Sacramento earned the #8 spot in our 2021 rankings. Sac State is a fairly large public school located in the city of Sacramento. On top of its placing in our non-traditional rankings, Sac State also did well on our Best Colleges for Nursing list. It's in the top 15% of all schools reviewed in that analysis.

The student loan default rate at Sac State is lower than is typical, just 4.7% of students default in three years. Approximately 12,655 students take at least one class online at Sac State. About 6,435 of the students at Sac State are attending part time. Eligible students may be able to receive credit for their military training.

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#9

Gwynedd Mercy University

Gwynedd Valley, PA

Gwynedd Mercy University earned the #9 spot in our 2021 rankings. Located in the large suburb of Gwynedd Valley, Gwynedd - Mercy is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population. In addition to being on our bet for non-traditional students list, Gwynedd - Mercy is in the top 10% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Nursing list.

The school has a low student loan default rate of 4.6%. 887 of Gwynedd - Mercy students are exclusively distance learners. 402 of Gwynedd - Mercy students are attending part time. Students may be able to receive credit for their military training, depending on their background.

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Azusa Pacific University earned the #10 spot in our 2021 rankings. Located in the suburb of Azusa, Azusa Pacific is a private not-for-profit college with a moderately-sized student population. Azusa Pacific also made our Best Colleges for Nursing list, coming in at #5.

About 3.0% of Azusa Pacific students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. 2,345 students at Azusa Pacific are exclusively online. 2,901 students are part time. Students may be able to receive credit for their military training, depending on their background.

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#11

College of Saint Elizabeth

Morristown, NJ

College of Saint Elizabeth landed the #11 spot in our 2021 best nursing schools for non-traditional students. Located in the suburb of Morristown, CSE is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population. CSE excels when it comes to major quality. It's ranked in the top 20% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Nursing list.

The school has a low student loan default rate of 8.6%. There are approximately 203 students at CSE that take at least one class online. There are roughly 469 part time students in attendance at CSE. Students may be able to receive credit for their military training, depending on their background.

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The #12 spot in this year's ranking belongs to California State University - East Bay. Cal State East Bay is a fairly large public school located in the suburb of Hayward.

The school has a low student loan default rate of 5.4%. There are approximately 6,927 students at Cal State East Bay that take at least one class online. 3,742 of Cal State East Bay students are attending part time. Cal State East Bay does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

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The University of Texas at Arlington comes in at #13 in this year's ranking. Located in the city of Arlington, UT Arlington is a public college with a very large student population. On top of its placing in our non-traditional rankings, UT Arlington also did well on our Best Colleges for Nursing list. It's in the top 15% of all schools reviewed in that analysis.

The school has a low student loan default rate of 5.8%. 18,425 students at UT Arlington are exclusively online. 24,029 of UT Arlington students are attending part time. Eligible students may be able to receive credit for their military training.

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#14

Adelphi University

Garden City, NY

Adelphi University landed the #14 spot in our 2021 best nursing schools for non-traditional students. Located in the suburb of Garden City, Adelphi is a private not-for-profit college with a medium-sized student population. Adelphi also took the #4 spot in our Best Colleges for Nursing rankings.

The student loan default rate at Adelphi is lower than is typical, just 4.2% of students default in three years. Approximately 1,314 students take at least one class online at Adelphi. There are roughly 1,584 part time students in attendance at Adelphi. Students may be able to receive credit for their military training, depending on their background.

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#15

Holy Family University

Philadelphia, PA

Our rankings recognize Holy Family University as the #15 school in this year's rankings. Holy Family is a small private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Philadelphia. Holy Family excels when it comes to major quality. It's ranked in the top 15% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Nursing list.

About 5.7% of Holy Family students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. 486 students at Holy Family are exclusively online. 1,461 of Holy Family students are attending part time. Students may be able to receive credit for their military training, depending on their background.

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#16

Sonoma State University

Rohnert Park, CA

Sonoma State University earned the #16 spot in our 2021 rankings. Located in the suburb of Rohnert Park, SSU is a public college with a moderately-sized student population. In addition to being on our bet for non-traditional students list, SSU is in the top 10% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Nursing list.

About 3.5% of SSU students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. There are approximately 1,268 students at SSU that take at least one class online. 1,167 of SSU students are attending part time. Eligible students may be able to receive credit for their military training.

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#17

Rivier University

Nashua, NH

Rivier University comes in at #17 in this year's ranking. Rivier is a small private not-for-profit school located in the small city of Nashua.

The student loan default rate at Rivier is lower than is typical, just 4.2% of students default in three years. 750 students at Rivier are exclusively online. 1,211 of Rivier students are attending part time. Rivier does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

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California State University - Fullerton earned the #18 spot in our 2021 rankings. Located in the large suburb of Fullerton, Cal State Fullerton is a public school with a very large student population. Cal State Fullerton excels when it comes to major quality. It's ranked in the top 10% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Nursing list.

The student loan default rate at Cal State Fullerton is lower than is typical, just 2.6% of students default in three years. Approximately 12,133 students take at least one class online at Cal State Fullerton. There are roughly 9,948 part time students in attendance at Cal State Fullerton. Cal State Fullerton does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

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University of Phoenix - Arizona landed the #19 spot in our 2021 best nursing schools for non-traditional students. UOPX - Arizona is a fairly large private for-profit school located in the large city of Tempe.

94,472 students at UOPX - Arizona are exclusively online. UOPX - Arizona does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

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Thomas Edison State University earned the #20 spot in our 2021 rankings. Located in the city of Trenton, TESU is a public college with a large student population.

About 7.1% of TESU students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. 10,836 of TESU students are exclusively distance learners. 10,836 students are part time. Students may be able to receive credit for their military training, depending on their background.

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#21

Wilmington University

New Castle, DE

Our rankings recognize Wilmington University as the #21 school in this year's rankings. Wilmington University is a large private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of New Castle.

About 8.1% of Wilmington University students default on their loans in three years, which is lower than average. 7,750 of Wilmington University students are exclusively distance learners. 9,802 of Wilmington University students are attending part time.

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#22

Felician University

Lodi, NJ

The #22 spot in this year's ranking belongs to Felician University. Felician is a small private not-for-profit school located in the large suburb of Lodi.

Approximately 707 students take at least one class online at Felician. About 460 of the students at Felician are attending part time. Felician does offer credit for military training for eligible students.

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#23

University of Saint Joseph

West Hartford, CT

University of Saint Joseph landed the #23 spot in our 2021 best nursing schools for non-traditional students. USJ is a small private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of West Hartford. On top of its placing in our non-traditional rankings, USJ also did well on our Best Colleges for Nursing list. It's in the top 5% of all schools reviewed in that analysis.

The school has a low student loan default rate of 2.5%. Approximately 342 students take at least one class online at USJ. About 1,127 of the students at USJ are attending part time. Students may be able to receive credit for their military training, depending on their background.

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Florida National University - Main Campus landed the #24 spot in our 2021 best nursing schools for non-traditional students. Located in the suburb of Hialeah, Florida National University - Main Campus is a private for-profit school with a small student population.

The student loan default rate at Florida National University - Main Campus is lower than is typical, just 7.1% of students default in three years. Approximately 1,791 students take at least one class online at Florida National University - Main Campus. About 1,357 of the students at Florida National University - Main Campus are attending part time.

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#25

Immaculata University

Immaculata, PA

The #25 spot in this year's ranking belongs to Immaculata University. Immaculata is a small private not-for-profit school located in the large suburb of Immaculata. Immaculata excels when it comes to major quality. It's ranked in the top 15% of all schools on our Best Colleges for Nursing list.

The school has a low student loan default rate of 5.2%. Approximately 566 students take at least one class online at Immaculata. 1,430 students are part time. Eligible students may be able to receive credit for their military training.

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Rest of the Top 50 Schools for Best Nursing Colleges for Non-Traditional Students

#26

Pace University - New York

New York, NY
#27

Excelsior College

Albany, NY
#28

New York University

New York, NY
#29

Jacksonville University

Jacksonville, FL
#31

Simmons University

Boston, MA

#33

Drexel University

Philadelphia, PA

#34

D'Youville College

Buffalo, NY
#35

SUNY Empire State College

Saratoga Springs, NY
#36

Simpson University

Redding, CA
#38

University of San Francisco

San Francisco, CA
#40

Viterbo University

La Crosse, WI
#41

Mount Saint Mary College

Newburgh, NY

#42

Elms College

Chicopee, MA

#43

St Catherine University

Saint Paul, MN
#45

San Jose State University

San Jose, CA
#47

Creighton University

Omaha, NE
#48

United States University

San Diego, CA
#49

Daemen College

Amherst, NY
#50

Carlow University

Pittsburgh, PA

Remaining Award Winners

This list represents the rest of the colleges awarded a Best Nursing Colleges for Non-Traditional Students badge. Showing in this list means the school was ranked in the top 15% of the 640 different United States nursing schools we analyzed.

Rank College Location
51 Quinnipiac University Hamden, CT
52 California Baptist University Riverside, CA
53 MidAmerica Nazarene University Olathe, KS
54 San Francisco State University San Francisco, CA
55 Wilkes University Wilkes-Barre, PA
56 Mount Saint Mary’s University Los Angeles, CA
57 Concordia University, Irvine Irvine, CA
58 SUNY Delhi Delhi, NY
59 Chatham University Pittsburgh, PA
60 Texas Woman’s University Denton, TX
61 California State University - San Marcos San Marcos, CA
62 Dominican College of Blauvelt Orangeburg, NY
63 Maryville University of Saint Louis Saint Louis, MO
64 Regis University Denver, CO
65 Gonzaga University Spokane, WA
66 Marymount University Arlington, VA
67 Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale, FL
68 National University La Jolla, CA
69 Metropolitan State University Saint Paul, MN
70 California State University - Fresno Fresno, CA
71 California State University - Chico Chico, CA
72 California State University - Long Beach Long Beach, CA
73 University of Illinois at Chicago Chicago, IL
74 Pacific Union College Angwin, CA
75 Notre Dame of Maryland University Baltimore, MD
76 Ursuline College Pepper Pike, OH
77 Villanova University Villanova, PA
78 The University of Texas at Tyler Tyler, TX
79 Graceland University - Lamoni Lamoni, IA
80 Stony Brook University Stony Brook, NY
81 Sacred Heart University Fairfield, CT
82 Curry College Milton, MA
83 George Washington University Washington, DC
84 Mercy College Dobbs Ferry, NY
85 Duquesne University Pittsburgh, PA
86 Edgewood College Madison, WI
87 Concordia University - Portland Portland, OR
88 Washington State University Pullman, WA
89 Union University Jackson, TN
90 Misericordia University Dallas, PA
91 University of South Florida - Main Campus Tampa, FL
92 University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN
93 Lewis University Romeoville, IL
94 Point Loma Nazarene University San Diego, CA
95 University of California - Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA
96 Eastern Mennonite University Harrisonburg, VA

Additional Noteworthy Schools

Here are some additional great schools for non-traditional students studying Nursing that almost earned our Best Nursing Colleges for Non-Traditional Students award.

Rank College Location
97 Utica College Utica, NY
98 George Mason University Fairfax, VA
99 University of Alabama at Birmingham Birmingham, AL
100 Spring Arbor University Spring Arbor, MI
101 San Diego State University San Diego, CA
102 The Sage Colleges Troy, NY
103 Marian University Fond Du Lac, WI
104 California State University - Channel Islands Camarillo, CA
105 Winona State University Winona, MN
106 Kean University Union, NJ
107 Mississippi University for Women Columbus, MS
108 Augusta University Augusta, GA
109 University of North Carolina at Wilmington Wilmington, NC
110 University of Washington - Seattle Campus Seattle, WA
111 Ohio University - Athens Campus Athens, OH
112 Endicott College Beverly, MA
113 Emory University Atlanta, GA
114 California State University - Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA
115 University of Massachusetts Amherst Amherst, MA
116 Barry University Miami, FL
117 Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH
118 California University of Pennsylvania California, PA
119 Gardner - Webb University Boiling Springs, NC
120 Farmingdale State College Farmingdale, NY
121 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC
122 University of Connecticut Storrs, CT
123 University of Saint Francis - Fort Wayne Fort Wayne, IN
124 Bay State College Boston, MA
125 LIU Post Brookville, NY
126 Widener University Chester, PA
127 University of Virginia - Main Campus Charlottesville, VA
128 Keiser University - Ft Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale, FL

Nursing by Region

View the best for non-traditional students Nursing schools in a specific region near you.

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

Nursing is one of 34 different types of Health Professions programs to choose from.

Related Major Annual Graduates
Allied Health Professions 50,338
Health & Medical Administrative Services 48,644
Public Health 34,192
Allied Health & Medical Assisting Services 30,460
Rehabilitation & Therapeutic Professions 27,972

View All Nursing Related Majors >

Notes and References

Footnotes

*Avg Cost is for the top 25 schools only.

References

  • 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).
  • Veteran-specific data can be found at the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.
  • Credit for the banner image above goes to Aleksahgabrielle.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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