Our Rankings Methodology

Understanding our rankings methodology helps nursing students make informed decisions about college. We use data from national databases to rank schools objectively based on reputation, affordability, academics, and program offerings.

This methodology relies on impartial data from national databases created by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a federal agency run by the U.S. Department of Education that gathers and analyzes educational data. We never allow outside influence to affect our rankings.

Datasets on RN-to-BSN programs provide a clear picture of schools. We weigh subfactors, such as educational outcomes, online program offerings, and potential student loan debt, to rank schools. While we do not aim to provide exhaustive lists, our rankings help students compare different schools and determine the best program for their needs, educational pursuits, and budget.

Read more below to learn about how we create our rankings and which factors carry more influence than others.

About Our Data

Our 2021 rankings use NCES data from December 2020. Once we gather school data, our quality assurance team then assesses the information to determine how schools compare. To provide the most accurate information, colleges that lack important data do not appear in our rankings.

Since NCES provides this data free to the public on its website, students can also verify our calculations.

How We Calculate Our Rankings

To calculate our rankings, we weigh factors that differentiate each school. Primary factors, such as reputation, affordability, and academics, each account for 30% of our formula, while program offerings comprise 10%.

Subfactors also weigh into our calculations. Graduation rates and student-to-faculty ratios influence a school's academic outcomes. The average loan default rate and median debt for students heavily affects a school's affordability.

Admission rates and graduates' average earnings determine a school's reputation. The availability of online programs and the percentage of degrees awarded indicate a school's variety of programs.

Subfactors for Academics

  • Full-time retention rate
  • Graduation rate
  • Student-to-faculty ratio

Subfactors for Affordability

  • Average net price for students awarded grant or scholarship aid
  • Federal student aid default loan rate
  • Percentage of undergraduate students awarded federal student loans
  • Average amount of federal student loans awarded to undergraduate students
  • Percentage of full-time, first-time undergraduates awarded any financial aid

Subfactors for Reputation

  • Percent admitted total
  • Admissions yield total
  • Mean earnings of graduates six years after enrolling*

*Used for online rankings only

Subfactors for Program Offerings

  • Percent of students enrolled in online programs at specific level*
  • Percent of students enrolled online overall*
  • Percent of degrees offered at a specific level

*Used for online rankings only