Most Affordable Online Colleges
Searching for the cheapest online colleges? Here is a ranking of the most affordable online colleges to help you make an informed decision. This ranking includes costs, accreditations, and degree programs offered online.
Two decades ago, online courses were mostly limited to large state universities. Today, virtually every college and university has developed some form of an online program, including continuing professional education classes for working adults who may not be able to attend traditional courses.
Online learning opens the door to flexible courses for everyone, regardless of lifestyle needs. It can be particularly helpful to older adults who want to take classes but are not able to commute or have limited childcare options.
Online Programs That Might Interest YouLearn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
Online learning is not new, but its success is a testament to the power of technology to improve access to and affordability of a college education. During this time of economic uncertainty, it’s important to find a college that is affordable.
Most Affordable Accredited Online Colleges | Most Affordable Online Associate’s Degrees | Cheapest Online Bachelor’s Degrees | How-To Make Online College More Affordable | Cheapest Online Colleges FAQ
Finding the cheapest online college 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, but they have also been vetted for quality factors such as student-faculty ratio, freshman retention, published rankings, graduation rate, reputation with employers, financial aid, and online technology.
Studies show that most online students prioritize affordability over other factors when searching for a college to attend. The fact that you’re here on this page shows that you are a smart investor looking for an inexpensive degree in order to get the best value for your dollar. Looking at tuition is a great place to start your search. Another often overlooked factor is school accreditation.
The schools on our list of most affordable online colleges are all regionally accredited–which, in our opinion, offers the best outcomes with the greatest opportunities. These colleges also offer affordable in-state-tuitions of less than $8,000 and in-state-tuitions of less than $9,500. At the 10 colleges with affordable online degrees tuition costs come out to an average of $6,326 in-state tuition and $7,469 out-of-state tuition.
Of the 10 most affordable online colleges, two are in Texas, with the eight remaining schools located in Nevada, Idaho, Utah, West Virginia, Alabama, North Dakota, Nebraska, and New Jersey.
While tuition of $9,500 may seem out of reach for some, the benefits of attaining a degree outweigh the costs when taking into account that on average, bachelor’s degree holders earn $26,000 more per year than professionals with only a high school diploma. Beyond that, bachelor’s degree holders see lower unemployment rates than those with high school diplomas and no degree.
We gathered the most recent data from the NCES College Navigator database  to narrow down four-year colleges offering extremely inexpensive online degree programs, with tuitions under $10,000 per year.
- Any schools charging substantially higher out-of-state tuitions were removed from our list.
- For-profit colleges that didn’t hold one of the six regional accreditations were also removed from our list.
- Only schools that offer 10+ online degree programs were added to the list.
This ranking is created and updated bi-yearly to help online students find affordable online colleges that will give them the best chance to earn a college degree at a price they can afford.
10 Most Affordable Accredited Online Colleges for 2022
Our list includes the most affordable colleges offering associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral online degree programs.
#1 GREAT BASIN COLLEGE
Great Basin College is a small community college located in Elko, Nevada. Great Basin College has a long history of serving the needs of the community and its economy. The school offers the most affordable online associate and bachelor’s degree programs.
Great Basin College is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. This public, state-funded school is part of the Nevada System of Higher Education, which serves over 4,000 students. GBC offers a 100% acceptance rate. In 2021, Great Basin College ranked #135 Safest College Campus in America, #302 Most Liberal College in America, and #429 Best College Campus in America by Niche.com. Great Basin offers 21 associate degrees, 10 bachelor’s degrees, and 19 certificate programs to online students.
GBC currently has about 4,000 students enrolled annually online. Popular majors include Liberal Arts, Nursing, Science Technologies, Teacher Education, and Electronics Engineering.
Fully online programs include associate degrees in Associates of Arts, Business, English, Social Science, Graphic Communications and Early Childhood Education, Associate of Applied Science degrees, and online bachelor’s degree programs including a BA in English, BA in Social Science, BSN in Nursing (RN to BSN), and BAS degrees in Digital Information Technology Emphasis, Human Services, Land Surveying/Geomatics Emphasis, and Management and Supervision.
This school offers 19 certificate programs and fully online continuing education programs in HealthCare Training and Computing Technology. Popular majors include business, early childhood education, elementary education, nursing, and liberal arts and humanities. With the lowest tuition on our list, Great Basin College is the best cheap online college for 2022.
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 49,000 students in multiple locations throughout the world. 15,000+ of those students are enrolled in online classes via BYU – Pathway Worldwide. Online degree programs are offered at BYU-Idaho and Ensign college. BYU-Idaho was recently named the 16th best university in Regional Colleges West, #23 in Top Performers on Social Mobility and #75 in Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs by U.S. News & World Report, and #3 in Most Conservative Colleges in America by Niche.com.
BYU-Idaho’s Pathway WorldWide offers nearly 52 online certificates and degrees; 7 associate degrees, 6 bachelor’s degrees, and 39 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 class offerings.
Popular majors include liberal arts and humanities, nursing, information science, business, and public health education BYU-Idaho provides a 20-year Net ROI of $534,000, according to Payscale.com in 2021.
PathwayConnect students can qualify for admission into BYU-Idaho’s online degree programs by successfully earning a “B” average in PathwayConnect and completing the first course of their chosen BYU-Idaho certificate.
#3 UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS PERMIAN BASIN
UT Permian Basin is a fast-growing, public research institution established by oil enthusiast Bill Noël in 1973. This school is home to over 5,000 students on the Odessa campus and online school. The University of Texas Permian Basin was recently ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the West’s 64th best college, 30th best public school, and 55th in Top Performers in Social Mobility in the nation in 2022.
The University of Texas Online Consortium (UTOC), of which UTPB is a part, offers some of the cheapest online degrees and certificate programs (6 bachelor’s, 5 master’s, and 3 certificate and endorsement programs), some of which only last 8 weeks. Students can enroll in cheap online bachelor’s degree programs, online master’s degree programs, and/or online certificates in programs such as Psychology, Business Administration, Communications, Sociology, Criminal Justice, Kinesiology, Special Education, and more.
As of 2022, this school received an overall grade of B- at Niche, UT Permian Basin was ranked #1 in our 2018 Most Affordable Online Colleges ranking.
#4 WESTERN GOVERNORS UNIVERSITY
WGU is a private, non-profit NWCCU-accredited college that offers online degree programs for over 72,000 students. This institution is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah with six affiliated schools offering over 60-degree programs.
For the 2022 year, WGU offers six bachelor’s and five master’s programs in business, four bachelor’s and eight master’s in health profession programs, seven bachelor’s and three masters in information technology programs, 10 bachelor’s and 19 master’s in education programs.
For many of WGU’s cheap online degree programs, many companies’ tuition reimbursement programs cover most or all educational costs for students. WGU offers a 100 percent admission rate and very low tuition.
Western Governors was recently awarded the Ralph E. Gomory Award for Quality Online Education by Sloan Consortium and named the #5 Best Value College in Utah in 2022, #812 of 1,572 Best Value College in America, #57 Best College for Nursing in America, and #3 Best College for Nursing in Utah by Niche.com. According to GradReports.com, 78 percent of students reported an improvement in career prospects after earning an online degree from Western Governors and 73 percent said they would recommend this school to others. Some of the more popular majors at Western Governors are nursing, business administration and management, elementary education, information technology, and computer information systems.
#5 AMRIDGE UNIVERSITY
Amridge University, located in Montgomery, Alabama, is “where traditional and online education merges.” 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. AU is Amridge University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate, baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral degrees.
According to StartClass, the most popular majors at Amridge are Biblical Studies, Human Development and Family Studies, Business Administration & Management, Criminal Justice & Corrections, and Human Resource Management. This school offers both very affordable tuition and a great net price with a 100% admissions acceptance rate.
Amridge University offers 40 total degrees and 22 undergraduate and graduate degree programs online. Affordable online college degrees are offered through the Turner School of Theology, School of Human Services, School of Continuing Ed, College of Business & Leadership as well as College of General Studies. This school is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
#6 THOMAS EDISON STATE UNIVERSITY
TESU is a public, state-funded higher education institution educating more than 17,200 students online and on-campus. In 2011, Thomas Edison earned the National University Technology Distance Education Innovation Award.
This school offers a 100% admissions acceptance rate and 64 undergraduate and graduate 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, Bachelor’s in Homeland Security, Master’s in Hospitality Management, and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).
TESU offers 13 online associate degree programs, 34 cheap online bachelor’s degree programs, 17 online graduate degree programs, and multiple undergraduate and graduate certificate programs online. This cheap online college is accredited by MSCHE. TESU has an open admissions policy. TESU is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
#7 AMERICAN PUBLIC UNIVERSITY
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) and received the Sloan Consortium Effective Practice Award. Home to more than 98,400 students, CollegeFactual places APU as the #1 Best Colleges in West Virginia, and #227 Best College in the Nation. 76 percent of graduates reported an improved career after earning a degree from APU, according to GradReports.org, while 69 percent of students said they’d recommend this school to others.
Niche.com ranked the school #29 in Best Colleges for Information Technology in America, #203 in Best Colleges for Business in America, and #263 in Best Colleges for Criminal Justice in America.
American Public University offers 190+ cheap online degrees and certificate programs at the graduate and undergraduate levels including Military history, Reverse Logistics Management, Space Studies, Electric Engineering, Business, Criminal Justice, Health Sciences, Sports Management, and more. APU offers an open admissions policy and a 93% freshman retention rate.
#8 CHADRON STATE COLLEGE
Chadron State educates over 2,500 students on-campus and online. This public, co-educational college was founded in 1911 and is accredited through the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools with specialized accreditation for some of its programs. This college is ranked as the #10 Best Value College in Nebraska, #183 in Most Conservative Colleges in America, and #458 in Best Colleges for Education in America according to Niche.com. Along with the rankings, Niche.com gave Chadron State College an overall grade rating of B-.
U.S. News ranks Chadron State at #75 in Top Performers on Social Mobility and #40-52 in Top Public Schools. This affordable online school offers 8 online degrees with no out-of-state tuition or add-ons.
Popular cheap online degrees at Chadron State include bachelor’s degrees in Business Administration, Family and Consumer Sciences, and a Master’s of Organizational Management. Five Popular majors with the most graduates include Business, Elementary Education, Liberal Arts and Humanities, Criminal Justice Corrections, and Crop and Soil Sciences. Chadron State offers flat-rate tuition so in-state and out-of-state students pay the same tuition.
#9 MINOT STATE UNIVERSITY
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 2,832 undergraduate program students. U.S. News and World Report rank Minot State at #33 in Top Public Schools, #104 in Regional Universities West, and #155 in Top Performers on Social Mobility in 2022.
Niche.com ranks MSU as the #182 in Top Public Universities in America, #211 Best Small College in America, #3 Top Public Universities in North Dakota, and #8 Best Value Colleges in North Dakota.
This school was ranked 1321st in-state and 1322nd out-of-state on the 2020-2021 PayScale College ROI Report with a $139,000 return on investment. MSU is fully accredited by HLC-NCA. MSU online offers 20 inexpensive online degree programs with popular programs in Business Administration & Management, Social Work, Special Education, Nursing, and Teacher Education.
#10 WEST TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY
West Texas A&M University is a public, co-educational research institution with an enrollment of over 9,400 students in the Amarillo, Texas Metro area, satellite campuses, and online.
WTAMU has received many prestigious rankings including U.S. News and World Report Best Online Programs Rankings at #21 Best Online Bachelor’s Programs, #67 Best Online MBA Programs, #13 Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans, #17 Best Online Master’s in Education Programs for Veterans, #15 Best Online Master’s in Computer Information Technology Programs, to name a few. Niche.com ranks this school as the #38 Best Hispanic-Serving Institutions in America, #20 Best College in Texas, and #7 Top Public University in Texas.
WTAMU’s distance education division offers 24 cheap online degrees with 14 undergraduate, 19 graduate, and 1 Doctoral program and hybrid program through the SREB Electronic Campus. A few of the most 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.
25 Cheapest Online Associate’s Degrees for 2022
1. Washtenaw Community College
Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor Charter Township, Michigan, is the cheapest online associate’s degree for students and offers 137 courses, 45 of which can be completed completely online. The #1 online college in Michigan offers 200 courses that are available entirely on-demand, with fewer time restrictions, and over 500 that have a virtual element, but still require students to attend lectures at a certain time.
The school is also known for its diversity and boasts a large segment of students from foreign countries to study abroad. Of the over 18,000 students enrolled at Washtenaw Community College, over 1,000 have come from over 100 countries around the world. Many programs under the umbrella of Computer Science are available completely online, including C++, Computer Networking Academy, and Computer Software Applications. Other popular online majors offered include Criminal Justice, Construction Supervision, and Technical Communication.
Niche.com ranks Washtenaw Community College as the 2nd best two-year college in the state of Michigan and rates the school as a B- overall.
2. Copiah-Lincoln Community College
Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Wesson, Mississippi has an enrollment number of just over 2,000 full-time students, which can be good news for fans of smaller class sizes. They offer 33 fully online programs, including economics, speech pathology, and marketing.
Copiah-Lincoln has served the Mississippi area for over 100 years since its founding in 1915. It boasts a graduation rate of 59%, which is ten points higher than the national average, and 85% of those who have graduated are employed in their fields 2 years later, two points over the national average.
Niche.com rates the school as the third best school in Mississippi and gives it an overall rating of a B. Its highest individual ranking is an A+ for safety.
3. Arkansas Northeastern College
Arkansas Northeastern College is a public community college in Blytheville that was founded in 1972 and today serves over 1,500 students every year. They offer a variety of programs that are available completely online, including degrees in Business, Early Childhood Education, and teaching certificates. Additionally, they offer several degree programs that are available partially online, but do require certain classes to be taken on campus for a more hands-on approach, including Steel Industry Technology, Networking, and Criminal Justice.
Arkansas Northeastern College also offers an early college credit program, which allows high school students (typically seniors) to dual-enroll and take classes that satisfy high school graduation requirements, as well as counting for college credits towards a college degree. The school also offers a variety of financial assistance programs for students in need, above and beyond the standard grants and scholarships offered by most colleges.
Niche.com rates the school a C, although it should be noted that it received a C in location and a B- for student life, which would not be factors for most online students.
4. Clovis Community College
Clovis Community College is located in Clovis, New Mexico, and has approximately 750 full-time undergraduate students, in addition to the over 2,100 part-time students. They offer seven fully online degree programs: Behavioral Science, business administration, computer information systems, criminal justice, general studies, paralegal studies, and liberal arts.
Approximately one-third of undergraduate students at Clovis are over the age of 25, like many online degree-seekers. Clovis’ low class sizes and professor-pupil ratio are frequently cited as one of the top-selling points. Former students, professors, and promotional literature issued by the school itself highlight the importance of a one-on-one relationship between students and faculty, which can be critical in online learning environments where students can’t simply speak to the professor individually during open office hours.
Niche.com ranks the school as the 5th best community college in New Mexico and gives it an overall ranking of B-. Much like the previous school, however, it should be noted that Clovis received a low score for location, which brings down the weighted average and overall grade.
5. Houston Community College
Houston Community College has 4 campuses in Southeast Texas, in addition to their online presence. They are well-regarded for the large number of international students who attend classes (in most semesters, the number is over 5,000) and for the English as a Second Language (ESL) support staff around the school. They are one of the few American universities that does not have fluency in English as a base requirement for admission, which allows a great number of students to get an online associates degree.
Houston Community College offers 60 online degree programs for students looking for the cheapest associates degree, including Mexican-American/Latino studies, African-American studies, women and gender studies, accounting, fire science and safety, marketing, and real estate. Between online and traditional students, it is one of the largest community colleges in the country, with approximately 17,000 full-time and 39,000 part-time students being enrolled each semester.
Niche.com ranks the school as a C+, primarily owing to the lower graduation rate as compared to the national average. However, the argument could be made that the rate is adversely affected by the higher number of students enrolled at the school.
6. Western Nebraska Community College
Western Nebraska Community College is based out of Scottsbluff and claims almost 55% of its over 1,600 students as either exclusively or partially enrolled in online classes. It is another smaller school that emphasizes communication between students and professors, boasting a ratio of 13:1, which is lower than the national average.
Western Nebraska Community College offers 5 fully online associates degree programs, including accounting, business administration and management, medical records technology and computer information sciences. They also offer classes from other programs that may be taken independently or as electives towards a different degree, including Agricultural Sciences, Criminal Justice, and Psychology.
Niche.com ranks the school a B-, with the caveat that it received a C for location. They also rate the school as the 5th best community college in Nebraska, giving it high marks for diversity and a favorable ratio of faculty to students.
7. Carl Albert State University
Carl Albert State University is located in the city of Poteau, in the southeastern corner of Oklahoma. Between both full-time and part-time students, it has less than 2,000 undergraduate students and the ratio of student to faculty members is approximately 15:1, better than the national average. It was original named Poteau Junior College, but was renamed for then-US Speaker of the House Carl Albert.
Carl Albert State offers 12 online degree programs, including exercise science and personal training, history and political science, enterprise development, and occupational health and safety. All general education requirements are available to take online as well. 6 out of every 7 graduates are employed in their field with study within 2 years of graduation, equal to the national average.
Niche.com gives an overall grade of C, with professors at the school given a B- and B in diversity. Several reviews on the website emphasize the close relationships former students had with their professors, which they feel helped them achieve more than they normally would have, especially in subjects like history and math, which the students considered difficult.
8. College of Southern Nevada
The College of Southern Nevada is based in Clark County and has campuses in Charleston, North Las Vegas, and Henderson. Major League Baseball Superstar and former NL MVP Bryce Harper was drafted out of CSN with the first overall pick in the 2010 MLB Draft. The school is massive compared to some other community colleges, with approximately 10,000 full-time and 20,000 part-time students enrolled each semester.
CSN offers 20 courses for cheap online associates degrees, in such fields as casino management, hospitality management, communication, and special education. They are also one of the few universities to offer a handful of 4 year degrees completely online, should you consider exploring higher education. Despite the average cost being well-below most other 2-year institutions, CSN has 2 year employment rates and median income for graduates extremely close to the national average in those categories.
9. Cochise College
Cochise College in Sierra Vista, Arizona is a two-year public school that claims approximately 1,500 full-time and 4,000 part-time students per semester. The school has a sizable Hispanic population, as the city is 15 miles from the Mexican border. There are 15 students for every faculty member, which puts CC as lower than the national average. Their website also features free, non-credit classes that students may use for their personal enrichment.
Cochise offers 6 degree programs that can be completed entirely online, including business administration, computer information systems, intelligence operations studies, and social and behavioral sciences. The intelligence operations studies program is by far the most popular course offered here, as very few colleges offer the degree.
It is rated the #7 college in the state of Arizona by Niche.com and has an overall grade of B. The school’s diversity is listed among its highlights, in addition to its lower class sizes and outreach programs for Hispanic students.
10. Trinity Valley Community College
Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, Texas, is a medium-sized college with a total enrollment of just over 4,200 students per semester. It has a student to faculty ratio of 17 to 1 and 84% of graduates are employed in their field within 2 years, both of which are better than the national average in their respective categories. It was founded in 1946 as the Henderson County Junior College and was renamed in 1986 after the Trinity River, which flows directly through the region.
TVCC offers 19 cheap online associates degree programs in various fields, including pre-law, biomedical sciences, business and administration management, and Spanish. They also offer hybrid programs allowing students to take some classes through distance learning and complete the rest in-person, in areas such as drama, dance, and agriculture.
TVCC recently received the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Educational Fundraising Award for Overall Improvement after the school decided to revitalize itself in the past few years. They are well-known regionally for their liberal arts program, which is so popular that it has nearly 6 times the number of students as the second entry on that list, the welding program.
11. Great Basin College
The second Nevada school on this list, Great Basin College is located in the city of Elko and was formerly known as Northern Nevada State College. It has approximately 3,800 enrollees, including traditional, online and hybrid students and the ratio of students to faculty at GBC is 15:1. It was built in the late 1960’s, thanks in part to a $250,000 donation from famous reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes.
GBC offers 17 online degree programs, including social science, land surveying/geomatics, graphic communications, and infant/toddler education. They also offer several four year degrees completely online, as well as several two year technical certificate programs.
University HQ ranks Great Basin College as the #5 school in the country for Online Entrepreneurship Associates Colleges and #6 in Online Computer Programming Associates Colleges.
12. Allen County Community College
Allen County Community College in Iola, Kansas, celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2023 and approximately 2500 undergraduate students are enrolled in classes, either full or part-time, a much larger class than the 93 students who attended in the fall of 1923. It has a student to faculty ratio of 22 to 1 and 85% of students attending the school receive some form of financial aid, whether it be grants, loans, or scholarships.
13. Hutchinson Community College
ACCC offers over 100 courses online and multiple degree programs as well, including business administration, computer systems, and childcare services. 53% of students attending the school will go on to graduate from the institution, which is 4% higher than the national average. In 2019, 183 more women than men received diplomas from the school. The most popular degree program for women was nursing studies and the most popular for male students was business administration.
Hutchinson Community College in Hutchinson, Kansas, serves approximately 5,000 students per year and is one of the premiere community colleges in the state. Cordarrelle Patterson and Alvin Kamara, two of the top NFL star running backs in the game today, graduated and were drafted out of Hutchinson.
HCC offers over 250 classes and 15 degree programs online, including business administration, health information management, and paralegal studies. 56% of students enrolled end up graduating, which is several points above the national average. 95% of students attending the school receive some form of financial aid. Liberal Arts/Humanities is the most popular major at this school.
Niche.com gives HCCC a B overall and rates it the 8th best college in the state of Kansas and 159th out of 846 community colleges across the United States.
14. Central Community College
Central Community College in Grand Island, Nebraska, serves approximately 7,000 students per semester and is one of the largest community colleges in the state. It is one of the six Nebraska community college systems located regionally throughout the state and serves 25 of the state’s 93 counties. The school offers the Navy Tech Prep program in electronics in partnership with the United States military. At the time of its founding in 1966, Central was the only multi-vocational college in Nebraska to serve multiple counties.
CCC offers multiple degree programs online, in such fields as Criminal Justice, Environmental Health and Safety, Health Information Technology, and Business Technology. The most popular degrees at this school include Business, Automotive Technology and Liberal Arts and Humanities. Graduates tend to fare better than their counterparts at other schools, as both median income and employment rate 2 years after graduation are higher for Central Community alumni than the national average. In fact, 88% of students are employed in their fields 6 years after graduating.
15. Northeast Community College
Northeast Community College is, as the name suggests, in the northeast corner of Nebraska, and is the third member on our list of the Nebraska regional community college system. It serves approximately 2,000 full-time students and 3,200 part-time, while graduating 63% of students, well above the national average of 49%. The student to faculty ratio is 17 to 1, also slightly better than the national average.
NCC offers eight cheap associates degrees online in 19 fields, including agriculture, behavioral sciences, library and information sciences, and social science. The nursing and liberal arts programs produce the most graduates from this school.
It is ranked by Niche.com as the third best community college in the state of Nebraska. 92% of graduates are employed in their respective fields 2 years after graduation and earn a median income of $33,900, both of which are above the national average.
16. Barton County Community College
Barton County Community College is located in Great Bend, Kansas and serves approximately 4,300 students per year, with roughly 900 attending full-time. Olympic sprinters Tyson Gay, Tabarie Henry, and NBA star Kenny Williams all graduated from Barton. 48% of the school’s students attend classes fully online, with an additional 9% taking classes both online and in-person. It was founded in 1965 as Barton Junior College and changed its name sometime in the mid-1980’s.
BCCC offers 30 fully online programs, including Emergency Management/Homeland Security, Medical Coding, Wildlife Sciences, and Hazardous Materials Management. Liberal Arts and Health Sciences/Nursing are the two most popular online programs at this school, with welding as the most popular strictly in-person area of study.
Niche.com ranks Barton as the 14th best college in Kansas and gives it an overall rating of a B-. They also note that the 18:1 student to faculty ratio is exactly the national average, and 41% of students are varsity athletes.
17. Southeast Community College
The fourth Nebraska entry on our list is Southeast Community College, headquartered in Lincoln. It is a popular transfer spot for students looking for a cheap way to complete the first part of their degree program, as the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has a 1:1 transfer credit system with Southeast Community, meaning there is no risk of students taking a class that wouldn’t be counted for credit at the other institution.
SCC offers over 300 courses online, as well as many degree programs available either partially or fully online. These programs include Adult and Juvenile Services and Corrections, Business Communications, Dietary Manager, and Law Enforcement and Homeland Security. Many of the school’s Nursing programs have an online component as well, but require that some classes be taken on campus.
Niche ranks Southeast as the #1 Community College in Nebraska and #74 on their list of best community colleges across the country. With over 10,000 students attending at least part-time, it is considered a premiere destination as far as community colleges are concerned.
18. Baton Rouge Community College
Baton Rouge Community College is located in the heart of Louisiana’s capital city and is one of the newer community colleges on this list, having been established in 1995. It has a student to faculty ratio of 29 to 1, making it ideal for students who feel nervous about interacting with their professors too often or feel confident in the study materials and don’t need the extra help. It is one of only 850 colleges or universities in the United States that is a Space Grant Institution.
BRCC offers a variety of wholly online courses and degree programs, including Business Associate, Computer Science, General Science, and Liberal Arts. Over 9,000 students are enrolled here each semester and 89% of graduates work in their field 2 years after receiving their degree, which is 6% higher than the national average. 57% of the students at the school take at least one class via online delivery.
19. Moraine Park Technical College
Moraine Park Technical College is the cheapest member of the 16 Wisconsin Technical College System and has over 15,000 students each year. Established in 1912, it is one of the oldest institutes of higher learning still active in the state today and has a very popular Nursing Assistant program that provides a bulk of the school’s graduates.
MPTC offers night classes for students who work during the day, plus over 30 degrees, certificates, and technical programs available completely online, including Administrative Coordinator, Business Analyst, Leadership and Organizational Development, and Marketing and Social Media Management. 73% of enrollees go on to graduate from Moraine Park, placing it well above the national average of 49%. The median income for diploma recipients six years after graduation is $34,600 and 89% are still employed two years after graduation, both of which also beat the national average.
Niche.com rates MPTC as the 8th best technical college in the state of Wisconsin, giving it an overall rating of B. It also ranks as #60 out of 845 community colleges located across the United States.
20. Georgia State University-Perimeter College
Georgia State University-Perimeter College is located in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia and was founded in 1964 as an independent university, but in 2016 became part of the University of Georgia system of colleges. Famous alumni of GSUPC include rapper Gucci Mane, singer-songwriter Janelle Monáe, and professional wrestler Shad Gaspard. It is the first entry on this list whose acceptance rate is below 100% – only 69% of applicants are enrolled.
Perimeter is well-known for their online presence, with nearly 10,000 of the 17,000 enrolled students being strictly online and an additional 6,000 taking at least one class online. Nearly every program offered by the college is available at least majority online, with the exception of certain technical programs that require hands-on training, such as welding or nursing.
Niche.com rates Perimeter at GSU as the 6th best community college in the state of Georgia and #227 out of 845 nationwide.
21. Truckee Meadows Community College
Truckee Meadows Community College is a commuter college serving the area of Reno, Nevada, and recently celebrated its 50th year of classes in 2021. With 3,000 full-time and 8,200 undergraduate students enrolled, it is the fourth-most attended college of any type within the state of Nevada. It is also one of the roughly 20% of American schools to be a space-grant institution.
Of the 50 degree and certificate programs offered by the school, there are 12 associate degree programs that are available completely online, including Anthropology, Entrepreneurship, History and Criminal Justice. The Lab Technician Certificate Program, which is partially available online, is the most common diploma issued by TMCC. In 2015, the school was authorized to begin issuing Bachelor Degrees as well, in the fields of Logistics Operations Management, and Emergency Management and Homeland Security. These programs, available partially online, allow students to take their cheap associate’s degree and turn it into a cheap bachelor’s degree.
22. Pierce College in Puyallup
Pierce College in Puyallup, Washington, is very convenient for students living in the Pacific Northwest who wish to complete online classes, but may occasionally have need to visit the campus itself, as Puyallup is connected to the Seattle metropolitan area via Sounder Train and other forms of public transportation. Roughly 1,800 students attend classes full-time and a further 2,700 attend part-time. Only 49% of attendees use some form of financial aid, the lowest of any college on this list.
PC offers a variety of courses, degrees, and certificate programs, some of which are available online, including Art, Pre-Nursing, and Business. Pierce also operates a satellite school for military members, located 9 miles south of Tacoma near Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Owing to the varying length of military assignments, the school at JBLM is one of the few schools around the country that operates on a quarter-based system, as opposed to semesters.
The school is listed by niche.com as the #2 community college in the state of Washington and the 260th ranked in the United States. The 13 to 1 ratio of students to faculty is considered excellent for proponents of smaller class sizes.
23. Delgado Community College
Delgado Community College in New Orleans is one of the nine constituent members of the Louisiana Community and Technical Colleges program and serves over 19,000 students each year. It was founded in 1921 as Delgado Trades School and, after various reorganizations and name changes, was given its current name by the Louisiana State Legislature in 1980. Grammy Award winner Irma Thomas, commonly known as “The Soul Queen of New Orleans,” attended the school and is the namesake of Delgado’s Irma Thomas School For W.I.S.E Women (WISE being an acronym for “Women In Search of Excellence).
DCC offers a wide variety of degree and certificate programs fully online, including Real Estate, Hospitality Management, Logistics, and Marketing. Liberal Arts is by far the most popular degree available, with nearly 6 times as many graduates receiving that diploma than the number two most popular, Nursing. The school does have an extremely low graduation percentage of 11%, however this is due in large part to many attendees only attending for their first year, before transferring to another university in Louisiana.
24. Chippewa Valley Technical College
Chippewa Valley Technical College in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, is one of 16 community colleges in the state. Its total enrollment numbers are slightly above 7,500 students per year and has a student to faculty ratio of 14 to 1. It was established in 1912, making it one of the oldest community technical colleges in the United States. The school offers credit to students for past knowledge and, in certain circumstances, previous life experience.
CVTC has an extensive catalog of courses and degree programs available online, including Autism Technician, Digital Marketing, IT – Software Developer, Supply Chain Management, and Graphic Design. The most popular degrees are Nursing or Nursing Assistant, EMT Paramedic, and Computer Systems Technician.
Niche.com lists it as the 10th best community college in the state of Wisconsin and 92 out of 845 on their list of community colleges across the country. The school’s graduation rate, employment retention rate, and median income after graduation are all well above the national averages in their respective categories.
25. Albany State University
Albany State University is a historically black college in Albany, Georgia, and was the birthplace of the Albany Movement, an important group of Civil Rights protestors and activists in the 1960s. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. himself spoke at the school in 1961. It was founded in 1903 by Joseph Winthrop Holley, the son of two former slaves, and was originally named The Albany Bible and Manual Training Institute. In 1996, it officially joined the Georgia State University system.
Albany offers over 60 different degree and certificate programs, 8 of which are two-year degrees that can be completed entirely online. These include Psychology, Sociology, Criminal Justice, Health Information and Medical Laboratory Technician. It is one of the very few universities in the country to offer not only two and four-year degrees completely online, but also masters degrees. 92% of graduates will have a job within their field of study two years after graduation, 9 points higher than the national average.
Cheapest Online Bachelor’s Degrees
1. Florida State College at Jacksonville
Florida State College at Jacksonville, accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, offers the absolute cheapest online bachelor’s degree on this list. It was originally founded in 1965 as a junior college but has since expanded to offer a broad variety of educational opportunities to a diverse community. It was included among the shortlist of the Aspen’s Institute of eligible schools approved to compete for the $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, a coveted award signifying excellent ranking among American community colleges. In 2021 it was one of the winners of the Most PromisingPlaces to Work in Community Colleges award by the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development.
The American Culinary Federation Education Foundation’s Accrediting Commission recognized its Culinary Management Associate in Science (A.S.) degree program as “Exemplary” and accredited it through 2026. FSCJ offers several bachelor’s degrees: Computer Systems Networking, Information Technology Management, Public Safety Management, Supervision and Management, Business Administration, Early Childhood Education, Financial Services, Human Services, Nursing, and Logistics.
2. Fayetteville State University
Fayetteville State University in Fayetteville, North Carolina, was established by the local African American community in 1867 after a few years of struggling to create a school for their children. The name changed a few times but the school fared well and expanded its curriculum, eventually becoming one of the first normal colleges — designed specifically to educate teachers based on the French model of “ecole normal” — for adult African Americans in the south. It became a part of the University of North Carolina in 1972.
Today UNCSFU’s online program is ranked top among all historically black adult educational institutions and ranks third among all North Carolina institutions. Most recently, its MBA program was recognized by online aggregator College Consensus as among the top ten in the United States for 2022; College Consensus averages scores published by such sources as U.S. News & World Report, The Economist, Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, and The Financial Times. Online bachelor’s degree programs include Business Administration and Sociology, both among the cheapest bachelor’s degree programs available, especially in light of this school’s illustrious history.
3. Louisiana State University-Alexandria
Louisiana State University-Alexandria boasts one of the most affordable online bachelor’s degrees in Louisiana and the southern region; it comes with a comprehensive transfer policy as well. LSUA is Louisiana’s only state-funded undergraduate university and was launched in 1960 as part of LSU to offer two-year nursing degrees. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges but individual programs have additional accreditation from related approved organizations.
Online bachelor’s programs include Applied Arts and Sciences, Communication Studies, Communication Studies – Human Relationships, English, Religious Studies, Accounting, Business Administration, Business Administration – Entrepreneurship, Criminal Justice, Criminal Justice/Criminal Psychology, Health Professions/Medical Imaging, Health Professions/Health Care Administration, Medical Lab Science, Mathematics, Mathematics/Actuarial Science, Nursing (RN to BSN), Psychology, Psychology/Clinical Psychology, Psychology/Family and Community Dynamics, Psychology/Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Disaster Science and Emergency Management, Health Sciences, Humanities, Organizational Studies, and Social Sciences.
4. Louisiana State University-Shreveport
Louisiana State University-Shreveport has been in existence in northwestern Louisiana since 1967. Its survival is something of an accomplishment since government feasibility studies denied the need for a two-year college in that part of the state, but the community was steadfast and kept fighting. Today the school has four-year as well as post-graduate programs.
LSUS offers six online bachelor’s programs: Management and Administration, Finance, Marketing, General Business Administration, General Studies, and Mass Communication. The people in the Shreveport community are close-knit and rightfully proud of their school.
5. University of Missouri – Saint Louis
The University of Missouri at Saint Louis has a lot to be proud about. According to U.S. News & World Report, which ranks it #118 among public universities nationwide, it is a Tier 1 National Research University. They’ve also named UMSL as “#1 in Missouri for Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs.” INSIGHTS into Diversity Magazine has given it the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award five times. Based on student reports of what matters most to them, Forbes identifies the school as one of “America’s Best Colleges.” Business Insider says that UMSL is “#1 in Missouri for Affordability.” The amazing list of accolades goes on and on.
Online bachelor’s degree programs include Applied Psychology of Child Advocacy Studies, Business Administration, Chemistry, Communication, Computer Science, Computing Technology, Criminology & Criminal Justice, Cybersecurity: Computer Science, Cybersecurity: Information Systems & Technology, Educational Studies: Early Childhood, Educational Studies: Exercise Science & Wellness, Educational Studies: Park & Museum Studies, Educational Studies: Youth & Adult Development, Entrepreneurship, Finance, History, Information Systems, and Technology, International Business, Liberal Studies, Management, Marketing, Nursing (RN to BSN), Organizational Leadership, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Public Policy and Administration, Sociology, and Supply Chain Management.
6. Eastern New Mexico University-Main Campus
The Eastern New Mexico University-Main Campus has the most accessible online page of any school in this list because the tab appears first on the toolbar at the top of the page. The university is proud of its continuous accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission since 1947. The web page is easy to navigate. The College of Business offers online Bachelor’s Degrees in Business Administration specializing in Accounting, Applied Economics and Finance, General Business, Hospitality Management, Information Systems, Management, Marketing, and Personal Financial Planning.
The College of Education and Technology offers degrees in Career and Technical Education, Physical Education (Sport and Recreation Management), Early Childhood Education, with an emphasis on early childhood education Birth-PreK (non-licensure), and Early Childhood Education, with an emphasis on early childhood education birth-PreK (licensure). The College of Fine Arts offers a degree in Communication, emphasis on journalism.
The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences offers degrees in Communicative Disorders, Nursing (BSN), Social Work, Criminal Justice, History, Sociology, Psychology, Spanish, Computer Science, Electronics Engineering Technology, and Electronics Engineering Technology with Renewable Energy Emphasis.
7. Western Governors University
Western Governors University is an NWCCU-accredited school based in Salt Lake City, Utah. It offers a 100% admission rate, with over 75% of students reporting an improvement in career prospects after obtaining online bachelor’s degrees.
As aprivate nonprofit institution, it serves over 72,000 students in multiple online degree programs and comes with high recommendations by alumni. WGU recently received the Ralph E. Gomory Award for Quality Online Education by Sloan Consortium. It specializes in online bachelor’s degrees in IT, teaching, business, and healthcare.
8. University of North Carolina at Pembroke
The University of North Carolina at Pembroke is a public school located in Pembroke, North Carolina, about halfway between Charlotte and Wilmington. It was originally founded by Native Americans as a college specifically for the local indigenous populations. Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges, it offers six online bachelor’s degree programs: Criminal Justice, Sociology, Interdisciplinary Studies, Business Administration, RN-BSN, and Birth-Kindergarten Education and has a detailed as well as helpful Office of Online Learning page on the website.
UNCP also has online certificate and licensure programs available. Regarding other states’ reciprocity in distance education, this school is approved to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements. It is proud of being able to offer high-quality education at a low cost.
9. Columbia Southern University
Although Columbia Southern University is physically located in Orange Beach, Alabama, on the Gulf of Mexico coast, it is an online school. Affiliated with Columbia Southern Education Group, CSU has reached the second of the three steps involved in the accreditation process by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), having reached candidacy status late last year. Being a corporate citizen, CSU supports community and nonprofit activities involving local businesses, organizations, and institutions. The university offers a variety of programs ranging from specialty certificates to doctorate degrees.
Online bachelor programs include Business Administration (with concentrations in Finance, Hospitality and Tourism, Human Resource Management, Information Technology, International Management, Management, Marketing, Project Management, and Sport Management), Criminal Justice Administration (with concentrations in Arson Investigation and Forensics), Emergency Medical Services Administration, Fire Administration (with a concentration in Fire Investigation), Health Care Administration (with a concentration in Emergency Medical Services), Homeland Security, Human Resource Management, Information Systems, and Cyber Security (with a concentration in Homeland Security), Information Technology, Environmental Management, Occupational Safety and Health (with concentrations in Construction Safety, Fire Science, and Oil & Gas), and Psychology.
10. Clayton State University
Clayton State University is located in suburban Atlanta, starting out in 1969 as a junior college. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. CSU devotes an entire page of its website to its many Points of Pride, including being ranked by U.S. News & World Report in 2019 as a Best College of the top 141 best regional universities in the South. In 2019 it placed #4 with SR Education Group’s Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s Degree, with additional high placements as a Best Online College and Most Affordable College.
The list goes on and on. Online Bachelor’s Degree programs include Accounting, Administrative Management, Biology, Biology with Secondary Education Concentration, Chemistry, Communication, and Media Studies, Computer Science, Criminal Justice, Dental Hygiene, Elementary Education, English, English with Secondary Education Concentration, English, Combined Degree with MA Liberal Studies, Film Production, General Business, Health, and Fitness Management, Health Care Management, Health Sciences, History, History with Secondary Education Concentration, Information Technology, Integrative Studies, Legal Studies, Liberal Studies, Management, Marketing, Mathematics, Mathematics with Secondary Education Concentration, Middle-Level Education, Music Education, Music, Nursing, Nursing RN to BSN, Philosophy, Political Science and Government Studies, Psychology and Human Service, Sociology, Spanish, Supply Chain Management, Technology Management, and
11. Minot State University
Minot State University is one of the larger public institutions in North Dakota. Fully accredited by HLC-NCA, it offers 20 online degree programs including in fields such as Business Administration & Management, Social Work, Special Education, Nursing, and Teacher Education. MSU prides itself in offering affordable bachelor’s degrees, but also provides opportunities to earn online certificates and even graduate degrees. The website provides a tutorial to assist those who have never attended online classes.
This school is ranked #33 by U.S. News & World Report‘s Top Public Schools listing. According to Niche.com’s rankings, MSU is #3 in Top Public Universities in North Dakota, #8 Best Value Colleges in North Dakota, #182 in Top Public Universities in America, and #211 Best Small College in America.
12. Valley City State University
Average Net Price: $11,981
Valley City State University was just ranked by U.S. News and World Report as among the Best Online Programs for bachelor’s degrees, and second in North Dakota. VCSU has been recognized for 23 consecutive years for being an outstanding college. Located in the southeast region of the state, it was founded in 1890 as a “normal school” (teachers’ college). Today it is part of the North Dakota University System and accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Online Bachelor’s Degree majors include Business Education, Business Process Integration Management, Career and Technical Education, Communication, Elementary Education, English, English Education, History, History Education, Management, Mathematics Education, Music, Social Science, Social Science Education, and Technology Education. Online minors include Business Library Media, Marketing, Mathematics, Psychology, Teaching English Language Learners, Teaching English Language Learners ESL (Endorsement), and Technology Education.
13. Fort Hays State University
Average Net Price: $12,053
Fort Hays State University was founded in 1902 in west-central Kansas at the site of a former frontier military post. Originally planned as an agricultural school, it opened as a “normal school” (teachers’ college). This public university has maintained high ratings among the top midwestern centers of education and was recognized by U.S. News & World Report in 2022 as offering the Best Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs. FHSU is proud of its affordability and high quality of education.
The institution is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and several of its programs have individual accreditations. Online Bachelor’s Degree programs include Accounting, Agricultural Business, Agricultural Leadership, Business Education – Business Teacher Licensure, Business Education – Corporate Communication, Business Education – Talent Development, Communication Studies, Communication Science and Disorders, Computer Science, Criminal Justice, Education – Early Childhood Unified, Education – Elementary, Education – Elementary with Special Education Minor, Education – Spanish, Finance, Finance – concentration in Banking, General Studies (multiple concentrations available), Geography/GIS, Health Studies, History, Human Health and Performance, Information Networking & Telecommunications – Computer Networking and Telecommunications, Information Networking & Telecommunications – Cybersecurity, Information Networking & Telecommunications – Health Informatics, Information Networking & Telecommunications – Information Systems, Information Networking & Telecommunications – Web and Mobile Application Development, International Business and Economics, Management, Management – Concentration in Entrepreneurship, Management – Concentration in Human Resource Management, Management – Concentration in Operations Management, Management Information Systems, Marketing, Medical Diagnostic Imaging, Music, Nursing – RN to BSN, Organizational Leadership, Philosophy, Political Science – American Politics, Political Science – Democratic Engagement, Political Science – International Relations/Comparative Politics, Political Science – Political Theory, Political Science – Pre-Law, Political Science – Public Administration, Psychology, Social Work, Sociology, Sociology – Addictions Counseling, Spanish – Concentration in Foreign Language: Spanish for Specific Purposes, Spanish – Concentration in Foreign Language: Spanish (Teacher Ed), Technology Leadeship, Tourism and Hospitality Management.
14. Mississippi University for Women
Average Net Price: $12,054
The Mississippi University for Women, referred to as “the W,” opened in 1884 as the first public university for women in the United States. It opened to men over 30 years ago. Located in eastern Mississippi near the Alabama state line, the W is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. It openly provides ample information on the process.
Online Bachelor’s Degrees available include Early Childhood Development, Nursing, RN-to-BSN Advanced Placement Option, Public Health Education, Public Health Education, Business Administration with a Concentration in General Business, Business Administration with a Concentration in Health Care Management, Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resource Management, Business Administration with a Concentration in Legal Administration, Business Administration with a Concentration in Management, Business Administration with a Concentration in Management Information Systems, Business Administration with a Concentration in Culinary Management, Business Administration with a Concentration in General Business, Business Administration with a Concentration in Health Care Management, Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resource Management, Business Administration with a Concentration in Management, and Business Administration with a Concentration in Management Information Systems.
Several of the programs require two years of study at a community college combined with two years of online study for the degree to be awarded; a few of the programs offer residency arrangements — for more information, refer to the website or contact the school. Available online minors include General Business, Health Care Management, Human Geography, Human Resource Management, Legal Studies, Public Health Education, Management Information Systems, and Sexual Health.
15. Arkansas State University
Average Net Price: $13,406
Arkansas State University, known as “A-State,” was founded in 1909 as one of a few high schools intended to teach agriculture, horticulture, and textiles. After years of expansion, it has been continuously accredited since 1928 by The Higher Learning Commission. One thing that makes A-State notable is a downloadable ADA Checklist for Online Courses to ensure accessibility.
Online bachelor’s Degree programs include General Studies, Business Administration, Business Administration with an Area of Study in Business Law, Business Administration with an Area of Study in Economics, Business Administration with an Area of Study in Finance, Business Administration with an Area of Study in Financial Wellness, Business Administration with an Area of Study in Hospitality Management, Business Administration with an Area of Study in Human Resource Management, Business Administration with an Area of Study in Marketing, Business Administration with an Area of Study in Marketing Analytics, Business Administration with an Area of Study in Real Estate, Business Administration with an Area of Study in Sales, Health Promotion, RN to BSN, Organizational Supervision, Interdisciplinary Studies in Leadership Studies, Communication Studies, Creative Media Production with a Concentration in Corporate Media, Creative Media Production – Graphic Communication, Creative Media Production – Media Ministry, Strategic Communications – Social Media Management, Strategic Communication with PR and Advertising Certificate, Strategic Communication with Nonprofit Certificate, Criminology, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Digital Technology & Design with a Concentration in Game Design, Digital Technology & Design with a Concentration in Graphic Communications, Digital Technology & Design with a Concentration in Information Design, Digital Technology & Design with a Concentration in Mobile App Development, Digital Technology & Design with a Concentration in Social Media, Digital Technology & Design with a Concentration in Virtual Reality Production, Digital Technology & Design with a Concentration in Web Design, and Engineering Management Systems.
16. Western Carolina University
Average Net Price: $13,722
Western Carolina University is located in Asheville, North Carolina, home of the Biltmore Estate and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Part of the University of North Carolina system, it is recognized as one of the Top 10 public regional institutions in the South. The institution is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges but also has several programs that have been individually accredited.
WCU has online bachelor’s Degree programs that include Accounting Major/Minor, Anthropology Major/Minor, Art Education, Biology Major/Minor, Birth-Kindergarten Education, Business Administration and Law Major/Minor, Chemistry Major/Minor, Communication Major/Minor, Communication Sciences Disorders, Computer Information Systems Major/Minor, Computer Science Major/Minor, Construction Management Major/Minor, Criminal Justice Major/Minor, Electrical Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology, Elementary Education, Emergency Medical Care, Emergency and Disaster Management Major/Minor, Engineering, Engineering Technology, English Major/Minor, English Education, Entertainment Design and Technology, Entrepreneurship Major/Minor, Environmental Health Major/Minor, Environmental Science, Film and Television Production, Finance Major/Minor, Forensic Science, Geography Minor, Geology Major/Minor, Global Black Studies Minor, Graphic Design, Health and Physical Education, History Major/Minor, Hospitality and Tourism Management Major/Minor, Inclusive Education Major/Minor, Integrated Health Sciences, Interior Design, International Studies Major/Minor, Latinx Studies Minor, Management Major/Minor, Marketing Major/Minor, Mathematics Major/Minor, Mathematics Education, Middle Grades Education, Music Major/Minor, Music Education, Natural Resource Conservation and Management Major/Minor, B.S.Nursing, R.N. to B.S.N., Nutrition and Dietetics, Parks and Recreation Management Major/Minor, Philosophy Major/Minor, Political Science Major/Minor, Psychology Major/Minor, Recreational Therapy, Science Education, Social Sciences Education, Social Work, Sociology Major/Minor, Spanish, Sport Management Major/Minor, Stage and Screen, Studio Art Major/Minor, and Theatre.
17. Valdosta State University
Average Net Price: $13,969
Valdosta State University was founded in 1913 as a “normal school” (teachers’ college) for women in what was described as “a prosperous cotton city” near the Florida state line. As the school grew, it was made co-ed in 1950 but then became male-dominated. After a peaceful integration process in the early 1960s, it worked to diversify its student population more. Today VSU is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and has several departmental accreditations as well. U.S. News & World Report ranked it among the Best Online Programs in 2020. Locating the online degree programs on the website is challenging.
Online Bachelor’s Degree programs include Criminal Justice, French (Language and Culture Track), French (World Languages and Cultures Track), General Business, Management, Office Administration and Technology, Organizational Leadership, Psychology, Spanish (Language and Culture Track), Spanish (World Languages and Cultures Track), and Workforce Education and Development.
18. Southern Utah University
Average Net Price: $14,285
Southern Utah University, also called “The University of the Parks,” is located in southwestern Utah. It was hurriedly built-in in 1898 to train teachers for the emerging pioneer settlements. The institution has been continually accredited since 1933 by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Its awards in recent years include recognition for being one of the Best Regional Universities in the West, a College of Public Distinction, and a rank of #6 Most Affordable Online Colleges in the nation.
Online Bachelor’s Degree programs include Accounting, Aviation Administration & Leadership, Business Management, Communication, Criminal Justice, Elementary Education, Family Life & Human Development, Finance, General Studies, History, Interdisciplinary Studies, Marketing, Political Science, and RN – BSN Nursing.
19. University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
Average Net Price: $14,295
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay has had the trademarked name “ECO-U” since 1971 due to its green philosophy. Founded in 1965 to meet the need for a regional university, it is part of the University of Wisconsin system and is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Universities.
Online Bachelor’s Degree programs include Accounting, Business Administration, Finance, Health Information Management and Technology, Human Resources Management, Organizational Leadership, Management, Marketing, Nursing, Psychology, and Public Administration. The degree programs are described in helpful detail regarding the nature of the subject and career prospects.
20. Georgia Southern University
Average Net Price: $15,536
Georgia Southern University is located in Statesboro not far from Savannah. It was founded in 1906 to teach rural children agricultural and homemaking skills, later expanding to become a “normal school” to educate future teachers. It now has three local campuses. Its Points of Pride page is extensive, listing accolades such as a #1 ranking in the “Top 60 Most Affordable Online Colleges” by Intelligent.com, #1 for “Best Online Colleges in Georgia” by Learn.org, #1 in the “Best Education Options for Veterans” by Veterans News Report, a leading college among eco-friendly campuses in The Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges, including by the U.S. Department of Education on the prestigious Green Ribbon Schools list, and more.
GSU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges as well as maintains accreditation in specific department programs. Bachelor’s Degree programs include World Languages and Cultures with Concentrations in French, Interdisciplinary Studies, Information Technology, Criminal Justice and Criminology, and RN-BSN.
21. Kennesaw State University
Average Net Price: $17,221
Kennesaw State University is a member of the University of Georgia system and maintains two campuses in Atlanta. It holds a unique elite status among American schools as a Carnegie-designated research institution. U.S. News and World Report have ranked it among the top public universities and 20th nationally in “National Universities Where Most Accepted Students Enroll” as well as placing it among National Universities in “2022 Best Colleges.” In addition, it holds several rankings for various online programs. Diverse: Issues in Higher Education deems it #14th in bachelor’s degrees presented to African American students across all disciplines and among the top 75 in bachelor’s degrees conferred to all minority students in all disciplines. Recognition by other sources such as the Princeton Review, CEO Magazine, Fortune, BestColleges.com, and Intelligent.com are listed.
Affordable online bachelor’s degree programs include Business Administration with a major in Information Security & Assurance, Business Administration with a major in Management, Business Administration with a major in Marketing, Information Technology, Cybersecurity eMajor, Industrial Engineering Technology, Integrative Studies, Manufacturing Operations, Supply Chain Logistics, Geography, Criminal Justice, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Computer Game Design and Development, and Software Engineering.
22. Central Methodist University
Average Net Price: $21,082
Central Methodist University began its history as a small school in Fayette, Missouri, in 1823. Since then it has expanded into a private four-year liberal arts university supporting its Wesleyan heritage. The institution is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and several programs hold additional accreditations.
Cheap online bachelor’s Degree programs include Accounting, Applied Behavior Analysis, Management, Business, Child Development, Communication Studies, Computer Science, Criminal Justice, Cybersecurity, Early Childhood Education (Missouri Certification Only), Educational Studies, Elementary Education (Missouri Certification Only), English, Healthcare Administration, Health Science, Health Science – Associate to BHS, Interdisciplinary Studies, Mathematics, Middle School Education – Science, Language Arts, Mathematics, or Social Science concentration (Missouri Certification Only), Nursing – RN to BSN, Occupational Therapy Assistant – Post-Professional Completion, Professional Writing and Publications, Psychology, Secondary Education – Business, English, Mathematics, or Social Science (Missouri Certification Only), Sociology, Special Education (Missouri Certification Only), and Sports Management.
23. Ohio University-Main Campus
Average Net Price: $22,906
The Ohio University-Main Campus, located in Athens, Ohio, and not to be confused with Ohio State University, was discussed by early European settlers as early as 1786 in a tavern. Ohio became a state in 1803, and one year later the university was established. In 1828 it bestowed a degree on the third African American to graduate in the United States, granting a degree to a female student in 1873. The institution has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC, formerly the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education) since 1913 with over 30 programs accredited by specialized accrediting organizations. Today ranked Ohio University is ranked as the top college in the state for Online Education by onlinecolleges.com.
Completely online Bachelor’s Degree programs include Business, Communication, Psychology, Customer Service Leadership, Hospitality Management, Human Services, and Interior Architecture. Bachelor’s Completion Degrees for students who have acquired Associate’s or general education studies include Applied Management, Criminal Justice, Integrated Healthcare Studies, RN to BSN, Technical and Applied Studies, and Technical Operations Management.
Affordable Online Colleges Guide
How to Make Your Online College Education More Affordable
1. Earn credits or an associate’s degree at a local two-year college – The College Board found that tuition and fees for public in-district two-year colleges (community and/or junior colleges) were $3,800 during the 2021-2022 school year – compared to $10,740 at public four-year universities. This means taking your first two years of college at an inexpensive local junior or technical institute could actually save you some money. This is one of the best ways to create affordable online bachelor’s degrees.
2. Earn credits while in high school through IB programs – Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate (IB) coursework is an excellent way for students of all levels to earn college credits. Public high schools only charge a small fee when it comes time to take the associated AP/IB tests, which means that these exams won’t break your budget.
3. Establish residency in another state – It’s worth noting that in-state tuition varies. Sometimes, it may make sense to establish residency in a different state so you can pay less for your education by paying in-state instead of out-of-state tuition.
4. Apply for the FAFSA – The U.S Department of Education provides an estimated $46 billion annually in grants and scholarships, or approximately $8,390 per student–that’s well enough to cover the cost of two-year college tuition and almost enough to cover the average cost for tuition at public universities. Funds are given on a rolling basis, so students should complete their FAFSA as quickly as possible. From StudentAid.gov, “Most colleges send out financial aid award letters around the same time as admission offer letters. However, the timing can vary from college to college depending on factors such as the date that you submitted your FAFSA form and the number of FAFSA forms the college received.”
5. Take 12-18 credits per semester – Some four-year institutions offer flat tuition rates for students who take 12 to 18 credits per term. This means that by taking the maximum amount of classes, you can get a lower cost and graduate more quickly. For Example, Michigan residents are able and eligible to receive scholarship funds from Michigan Higher Education Aid (MHEA) if they meet certain criteria like earning an annual income below $65K; providing proof of adequate financial aid awards such as Pell Grants or loans each year; enrolling full-time status during semesters when courses are offered which covers fees associated with lab space/equipment usage).
Can Online Students Avoid Out-of-State Tuition Costs?
There are a few ways to avoid out-of-state tuition costs as an online student. One option is to attend a college in your state. Out-of-state public colleges typically cost more than in-state colleges, but there are some exceptions.
Not all colleges charge online students the same tuition. For example, Mayville State University charges the same in-state tuition to online students as they do to their on-site counterparts.
Some colleges offer tuition discounts for alumni or military members and their children. Students may also qualify for in-state tuition for having strong academic credentials.
How to Pay for Your Online Degree
For any prospective student, finding the right degree program can be difficult. This is especially true of those whose top priority is maintaining a budget. If you’re looking for ways to minimize college costs, simplify your postsecondary educational experience, and make the most of your time and money, you’ll need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This determines your eligibility for scholarships, loans, grants, and work-study. Federal scholarships and field-specific or merit-based scholarships are also available on an individual basis.
Current State of Online Education
Because of COVID-19, many colleges shifted to offering online courses in 2020. Experts say that the shift will accelerate schools’ adaptation to and offerings of online degree programs. This growth is being seen across the nation.
“COVID-19 has been a paradigm-shifting moment for higher education, throwing online education into the spotlight like never before—but the need for accessible, affordable, blended, relevant, and high-quality online learning will extend far beyond the pandemic,” Chip Paucek, co-founder and CEO of the online higher education company 2U, wrote in an email to USNews.
More schools offering online or hybrid programs may drive down the cost, increasing affordable online college programs for students. Some online programs do not charge out-of-state tuitions, which can be significantly higher at some colleges and universities.
According to InsideHigherEd, there was a 93% increase in students that were enrolled in some type of online course between Fall 2019 and Fall 2020 from 3,016,944 to 5,825,723.
According to a BestColleges.com survey, the biggest challenges prospective students faced while searching for a college were estimating actual costs of enrolling in a program, finding a program that meets their needs and interests and applying for financial aid and identifying sufficient funding sources.
The survey also noted that the two main reasons for choosing online learning instead of campus-based programs were the COVID-19 pandemic and the convenience and flexibility that online programs can offer.
How to Make Online College More Affordable
Employer Tuition Reimbursement
Many online students are using an employer tuition reimbursement to pay for their education. In a 2018 survey by Aslanian Market Research and Learning House, 23% of all past or current online undergraduate program student respondents and 32% of online graduate student respondents said they used tuition reimbursement from their employer to pay for their online degree. Experts recommend students ask their company’s HR for tuition reimbursement opportunities.
Scholarships & Grants for Online Students
Scholarships that are available for on-campus students are often available to online students.
Here are some resources for finding scholarships for online students.
Scholarships.com: Distance Learning Scholarships
Scholarships.com offers a list of over 40 scholarships for online students. This site offers information on each scholarship including amounts and deadlines.
Unigo: Online College Scholarships
Unigo.com offers a list of 58 scholarships for online students that includes information about each scholarship including award amounts, deadlines and links for applying.
GetEducated: Grants for Online College
GetEducated.com introduces the different types of grants for online college students and links to available grants. Types of grants include federal/public, state, private, institutional, need-based, merit-based, academic departmental, corporate and professional association grants. This site offers great information on grants for online students.
Cheapest Online Colleges FAQ
How much does an online college degree cost?
Tuition is one of the most important factors to consider when deciding whether or not a cheap online bachelor’s degree program is right for you. Depending on a student’s residency status, living expenses, and other various costs, community colleges and in-state public institutions are your best bet for cutting the costs of an online degree.
Is online schooling a cheaper option?
If you decide to enroll in online schooling, any typical traditional college costs such as housing, transportation, and fees won’t be a concern. For out-of-state individuals, online schooling is not only generally cheaper than on-campus but convenient as well. The wide variety of online degrees can make enrolling in an online program cheaper than on-campus.
Can you use Pell Grants to pay for online schooling?
The Pell Grant Program is a federally-funded scholarship awarded to individuals in financial need that meet additional academic and annual income requirements. Any accredited college that awards federally recognized degrees will accept Pell Grant money to pay for any online course.
Where can I purchase cheap college textbooks online?
It’s no surprise that pinching pennies and pursuing an undergraduate degree go hand-in-hand for the majority of young, aspiring individuals. A smart student is one who knows how to allocate their resources and find the best deals on school supplies like textbooks. Buying secondhand, renting, reselling, and even getting a library card are all great ways to save yourself a couple of bucks.
Which affordable online college is the best?
In many cases, the best way to obtain affordable education is to start locally. Community colleges are highly likely to offer a variety of different options when it comes to foundational coursework in your field of interest, and at such a low cost, they are no doubt worth looking into. According to EDsmart’s 2022 cheapest online colleges ranking, Great Basin College is the best, most affordable online college to offer a cheap online degree.
How do I minimize my overall costs?
A lot of college costs are the result of lifestyle choices, so really, it’s up to you. Depending on your housing situation, everyday expenses, and level of budget maintenance, you can minimize your college expenses by a significant amount.
What are the specific types of federal financial aid available to undergraduates?
Specifically, you can apply for federal grants, federal loans, work-study programs, and education tax credits or deductions. Grants and scholarships are the preferred mode of financial aid for the majority of college students because they don’t require a long-term repayment plan as federal loans do. Work-study programs enable students to actively pay for their college education through work with an organization, government agency, or on-campus position. The majority of students also qualify for education-related tax returns.
How do I complete a FAFSA?
To complete the FAFSA, you’ll need specific financial documents, create a federal student ID, follow all instructions on the FAFSA website, and submit your application for the designated year. More info can be found at studentaid.gov.
What does it mean when a school is “accredited”?
An accredited school provides its students with career-building opportunities and high-quality programs. Depending on whether a school’s accreditation is regional or national, the opportunities a school provides and the quality of its programs vary. Accredited degree programs are often more valuable to employers than non-accredited degrees. Our ranking includes some of the most affordable online colleges that have regional accreditation.
Top 10 Cheapest Online Colleges
|1||Great Basin College||$3,248|
|3||The University of Texas of the Permian Basin||$4,837|
|4||Western Governors University||$6,670|
|6||Thomas Edison State University||$7,182|
|7||American Public University System||$7,360|
|8||Chadron State College||$7,634|
|9||Minot State University||$7,896|
|10||West Texas A & M University||$8,456|
Most Affordable Colleges
Accelerated Online Degree Programs (Associates, Bachelors. Masters)
Cheapest Online PHD Programs and Online Doctoral Programs
Cheapest Online Master’s Degree Programs
Best Nationally Accredited Online Colleges
Cheapest Affordable Online MBA Programs
Online Medical Assistant Programs
Visit Great Basin College’s accredited online programs
Visit the University of Texas at Permian Basin’s Accredited Online Programs
Visit Thomas Edison State University’s Accredited Online Programs
Visit West Texas A&M University’s Accredited Online Programs
Visit American Public University’s Accredited Online Programs
Online Programs That Might Interest YouExplore your possibilities – find online schools with programs you’re interested in and clear a path for your future.