State Legislature Approves Package to Lower the Cost of Western’s RN to BSN Nursing Program by more than $5,000 a Year

Washington’s legislature has approved an annual financial package of $433,000 to reduce the cost for students enrolled in Western Washington University’s RN to BSN nursing program by more than $5,000 a year and to support the continued expansion of the program.

This critical funding makes access to the program more equitable and affordable.

“In the past, our program’s higher tuition was a real barrier for many nurses who wanted to continue their education.  This funding will really open Western’s doors for many more students” said William Lonneman, WWU associate professor and the program director for Western’s RN to BSN program.

With more than 200 graduates of the program already in healthcare settings across the region, this package is expected to boost enrollment substantially to add more of these much-needed professionals  into the state workforce.

Western’s nationally-accredited RN to BSN program accepts students who have earned their Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) from community and technical colleges and enables their completion of a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, opening pathways to leadership positions, higher education, and attainment of advanced practice degrees. In the past, many of the program’s eligible students declined to attend due to the high cost of tuition for the self-supported program, and income based financial aid programs like the Washington College Grant do not cover all tuition costs, which create significant barriers to low-income and first-generation students.

The program is structured with classes meeting one full day per week in order to allow working nurses to balance their continued professional education along with their work and personal responsibilities. The innovative four quarter program of full-time study (8 quarters part-time) prepares nurses with the professional competencies necessary for the increasing complexities of healthcare. It has been guided by national standards for nursing as well as Western’s vision and mission.

“We are very grateful to the WWU administration and trustees for initiating this process, and to the Governor, state legislators, and all of the people of our state for providing this funding.  Nursing education plays a critical role in improving healthcare; our program is now in a position to welcome all nurses and to contribute to the health of our state in a new, powerful way”, said Lonneman.

For more information about Western’s RN to BSN program, go to