10 Most Affordable Accredited Online Colleges

cheapest_accredited_online_colleges_EDsmartFinding the cheapest online colleges can be tricky. Therefore, EDsmart has once again dug through the data trenches to find the cheapest online schools in the nation for our readers. Not only do these schools charge the cheapest tuition, they have been vetted for quality factors such as student-faculty ratio, freshman retention, published rankings, graduation rate, reputation with employers, financial aid, and online technology.

Ranking Criteria

We gathered the most recent data from the NCES College Navigator database [2017] to narrow down four-year colleges offering extremely inexpensive online degree programs, with tuitions under $10,000 per year.

  1. Any schools charging substantially higher out-of-state tuitions were removed from our list.
  2. For-profit colleges that didn’t hold one of the six regional accreditations were also removed from our list.
  3. Only schools that offer 10+ online degrees were added to the list.

10 Most Affordable Accredited Online Colleges


Cheapest Accredited Online Colleges - 1 great basin college

TUITION: $2,805

Great Basin College is accredited by the NWCCU. This public, state-funded school is part of the Nevada System of Higher Education, which serves over 3,400 students. Great Basin Colleges has been named as a “Best Online College” by Niche.com and the number-one most affordable online college by the SR Education Group. Great Basin offers 13 associate degrees, 7 bachelor’s degrees, and 10 certificate programs to online students. Fully online programs include Associate degrees in Graphic communications and early childhood education, and bachelor’s degrees in land surveying and RN-BSN in nursing.

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Cheapest Online Colleges - 2 BYU-Idaho

Source: MormonHub.com

TUITION: $3,830

Brigham Young University-Idaho is located in Rexburg Idaho. Owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, this non-profit college educates over 17,500 students, LDS and non-LDS, in multiple locations throughout the world. BYU-Idaho was recently named the 10th best university by U.S. News & World Report and the number-two “Most Conservative College” by Niche.com. This school offers 6 associate degrees, 13 bachelor’s degrees and 13 certificate programs at a very affordable price. Some popular online programs include a bachelor’s degree in Business Management (entrepreneurship, marketing, supply-chain and operations management, and more), Public Health, and Marriage & Family Studies, and an associate’s in Family History Research, Web Design & Development, and a variety of other online offerings.

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Cheapest Accredited Online Colleges - 3 University of Texas Permian Basin

TUITION: $5,250

UT at Permian Basin is a fast-growing, public research institution established by oil enthusiast Bill Noël in 1973. This school is home to 6,050 students on the Odessa campus and online school. The University of Texas at Permian Basin was recently ranked the West’s 93rd best college, 37th best public school, and 92nd best online bachelor’s in the nation. The University of Texas Online Consortium (UTOC) offers 19 of the cheapest accelerated online degrees, some of which only last 8 weeks. Students can earn bachelor to master’s degrees in programs such as Psychology, Criminal Justice, Kinesiology, and Special Education.

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Cheap Online Colleges - 4 Western Governors University

TUITION: $6,070

WGU is a private, non-profit NWCCU-accredited college that offers online degree programs for over 76,200 students. This institution is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah with six affiliated schools. Western Governors was recently awarded the Ralph E. Gomory Award for Quality Online Education by Sloan Consortium and named the 33rd “Best Online College” in America, by Niche.com. according to GradReports.com, 81 percent of students reported a career improvement after earning a degree from Western Governors and 76 percent recommend this school. WGU offers a 100 percent admission rate and a very low tuition. Some of the more popular programs at Western Governors are bachelor’s degrees in Software Development and Marketing Management, and Master’s degrees in Nursing Education and Teaching Science.

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TUITION: $6,135

TESU is a public, state-funded higher education institution educating more than 18,500 students online and on-campus. In 2011, Thomas Edison earned the National University Technology Distance Education Innovation Award and currently has an overall grade of C+ on Niche.com. This school offers a 100% admissions acceptance rate and 55 online degrees in multiple areas of study, including Liberal Arts and Humanities, Accounting, Medical Assisting, Nursing, and Business Administration and Management, to name a few. Some popular programs at Thomas Edison State University are the associate’s in Nuclear Engineering Technology, bachelors in Homeland Security, masters in Hospitality Management, and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). This cheap online college is accredited by MSCHE.

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Cheapest Online Schools - 5 Chadron State College

TUITION: $6,220

Chadron State educates over 3,000 students on-campus and online. This public, co-educational college was founded in 1911 and located in one of Sports Afield magazine’s “Top 50 Outdoor Sports Towns.” This college is ranked as the 96th Best online College in America and 5th Top Public University in Nebraska by Niche.com. In previous years, CSC was awarded the #5 spot on Guide to Online School’s Best Online Colleges and Universities report. This affordable online school offers 20 online degrees. Popular degrees at Chadron State include bachelor’s degrees in Business Administration, Family and Consumer Sciences, and a Master of Organizational Management.

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Cheapest Online schools - 7 Minot State University

TUITION: $6,390

MSU is North Dakota’s 3rd largest public, co-educational Master’s I Institution. This school offers a 12:1 student-faculty ratio in an online and on-campus setting with over 3,348 students. U.S. News ranks Minot State at #180 for their Best Online Bachelor’s Programs and #75 for their Best Online Graduate Business Programs (Excluding MBA) in 2017. Niche.com ranks MSU as the #38 Best Online College in America. This school was ranked 976th on the 2013–2014 PayScale College Salary Report. MSU is fully accredited by HLC-NCA. MSU online offers 16 inexpensive online programs with popular programs in International Business, Special Education, Information Systems, and Human Services from Associate to Bachelor degrees.

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Cheapest Online schools - 8 American Public University

TUITION: $6,880

APU is a private, for-profit online college located in Charles Town, West Virginia, with six academic schools. American Public University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Home to more than 98,400 students, APU was recently rated one of the 30 Most Popular Online Colleges by TheBestSchools.org, and #92 on U.S. News’ Best Online Bachelor’s Programs rankings.. 84 percent of graduates reported an improved career after earning a degree from APU, according to GradReports.org. American Public University offers 100+ cheap online degrees in Military history, Reverse Logistics Management, Space Studies, Electric Engineering, and more.

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Cheapest Online Colleges - 9 Amridge University

TUITION: $6,900

Amridge University is “where traditional and online education merge.” This co-educational, private liberal arts college is affiliated with the Church of Christ and enrolls around 800 students in traditional and online degree programs. according to StartClass, the most popular majors at Amridge are Bible/Biblical Studies, Human Development and Family Studies, and Business/Corporate Communications. This school offers both very affordable tuition and net price at a 100% admissions acceptance rate. Online degree programs include an associate degree in Web Development, bachelor’s degree in Management, master’s degree in Old Testament Studies, and Doctor of Ministry in Family Therapy.

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Cheapest Online Colleges - 10 West Texas A&M University

TUITION: $7,041

West Texas A&M is a public, co-educational research institution with an enrollment of over 9,400 students in the Amarillo Metro, satellite campuses, and online. WTAMU has received multiple prestigious rankings including U.S. News Best Online Programs Rankings: #6 Best Online Bachelor’s Programs, #47 Best Online MBA Programs, and #26 Best Online Graduate Business Programs (Excluding MBA). Niche.com grades this school at a B with diversity, athletics, and value receiving the highest marks. WTAMU’s distance education division offers 19 online and hybrid programs through the SREB Electronic Campus. Affordable online degree programs include Economics, Criminal Justice, a Healthcare MBA, and Finance from associate to bachelor degrees. WTAMU is part of the Texas A&M University System.

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