What Does It Cost to Earn a DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice)?

We conducted a thorough examination of all colleges and universities across the U.S. offering the Doctor of Nursing Practice and found that a DNP will cost, on average, $561 per credit through a public institution ($968 per-credit for out-of-state-students) and $1,024 per credit through a private school.

With this in mind, earning a DNP will cost, on average, between $21,318 and $38,912 for a post master’s program (MSN-DNP) and between $40,953 and $74,752 for the longer post-bachelor’s option (BSN-DNP). Keep in mind that additional expenses, such as university fees, books and software, and travel expenses will add to the cost of earning your DNP.

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The DNP is an investment in your future, a personal and professional achievement, and an outstanding way to advance and enrich your career. But with most things in life, you always have to consider the cost.

In an effort to provide you with the most realistic numbers, we conducted a thorough examination of all colleges and universities in the country that offer the DNP. Here’s what we found:

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Choose a public school and you’ll pay, on average, $561 per credit. As an out-of-state student at a public school, this per-credit cost jumps to $968.

Private school tuition is more expensive across the board, at $1,024 per credit, on average.

Average Cost of Post-Master’s DNP Programs

We did a search of about a dozen schools and found that MSN-DNP programs tend to consist of between 32-40 credits, with an average of 38 credits. This puts the total average cost of an MSN-DNP program at:

  • Public institution, in-state: $21,318
  • Public institution, out-of-state: $36,784
  • Private institution: $38,912

Average Cost of Post-Bachelor’s DNP Programs

Our sample of BSN-DNP programs revealed that most programs consisted of 65-82 credits, with our average coming in at 73 credits. This puts the average cost of a BSN-DNP program at:

  • Public institution, in-state: $40,953
  • Public institution, out-of-state: $70,664
  • Private institution: $74,752

What Other Costs Can I Expect in a DNP Program?

It’s important to keep in mind that per-credit costs don’t paint the entire picture of what it will cost you to earn your DNP. Other expenses, usually charged per semester, are commonplace and often total between $300-$400.

  • Technology fee
  • Health fee
  • Student activity fee
  • Student services fee
  • Recreation fee

The cost of books and software can make up a large portion of your program expenses, with many schools averaging between $2,000-$3,000 per academic year. Other expenses to keep in mind include travel costs, living costs (particularly if you’re unable to continue working as much while completing the program), and the cost of purchasing a laptop and other technology supplies.

How Can I Lower the Cost of Earning a DNP?

It will benefit you to explore all your options, including scholarships, grants, and loans, in an effort to lower the cost of earning your DNP.

Some things to consider:

  • Your first step after being accepted into a program should be filling out a FAFSA form – your resource for any and all forms of federal aid.
  • While private schools tend to cost more than public schools, many of them offer attractive financial awards for students, and the big name schools are often able to offer a host of scholarships, thanks to generous endowments and donors. In other words, don’t rule out a private school based on cost alone; you may find the cost to be on par with state schools due after financial awards are considered.
  • Choose an in-state school and you may qualify for specific financial awards for being an in-state resident.
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