Cheapest and Most Affordable Online Colleges 2024

Searching for the cheapest online colleges? Our list takes an in-depth look at the most affordable online colleges with further information about each school to help your search.

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  • Eastern New Mexico University is the cheapest online college with an average net price of $4,994 for an online bachelor's degree.
  • Eastern Gateway Community College stands out for affordability with an average net price of $1,846 for Associate's degrees.
  • The UA System eVersity Online offers a yearly out-of-state tuition rate of $4,200 or $165 per credit hour.

Two decades ago, online courses were mostly limited to large, state-funded universities. Today, virtually every college or university has developed online programs or hybrid classes, 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. Online education's adaptability lets students balance their coursework with work commitments, travel when needed, or adjust their schedules—all while staying on track academically.

Lately, it's clear that the real MVP in education is technology, stepping up to keep our learning game strong when we need it most. Boosting how affordable and easy it is to get into higher education hinges on leveraging tech advancements.

With all the uncertainty in today's economy, it’s important to find a college that is affordable and allows for simultaneous income.

Popular Online Colleges

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

To ensure that as many people can find accessible and convenient degree programs, we have compiled a list of the cheapest online schools in the nation.

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 school.

You, seeking out this page shows that you are a smart investor looking for an inexpensive online degree to get the best value for your dollar. Researching tuition and net price is a great place to start your search.

Ranking Criteria

Our data team gathered the most recent data from the NCES College Navigator database [2024] to narrow down four-year colleges offering extremely inexpensive online degree programs with tuition under $23,000 per year.

  • Any schools charging substantially higher out-of-state tuition were removed from our list.
  • For-profit colleges without 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.

Schools are ranked and listed from lowest to highest average net price.

We compile and update our lists annually with the aim of helping online students to find the most economical online colleges offering the best likelihood of completing a college degree without hurting their wallets or incurring unneeded debt.

Cheapest and Most Affordable Online Colleges for 2024

Cheapest Online Bachelor's Degrees 2024

Eastern New Mexico University

#1 Cheapest and Most Affordable Online College

Portales, New Mexico

Average Net Price: $4,994

Affordable Online Degrees for Your Future from ENMU

  • Over 30 affordable, accredited online programs in various fields like business, education, nursing, and information systems.
  • Flexible and accessible for students worldwide to pursue academic and professional goals remotely.
  • Scholarships, financial aid, and small class sizes to support online learners.
  • Undergraduate programs include online bachelor's degrees in Accounting and Applied Economics and Finance.
  • Graduate programs include flexible online master's degrees for professional development.
  • Robust resources like Canvas and Mediasite ensure comparable support and engagement to campus-based students.

ENMU is the cheapest online college for 2024.

Florida International University

#2 Cheapest and Most Affordable Online College

Miami, Florida

Average Net Price: $6,232

FIU Online: Degrees, Certificates, & Career Advancement

  • Massive online learning: Wide range of degrees, certificates, and specializations for all levels.
  • Flexibility first: Pursue your education remotely without location restrictions.
  • Quality guaranteed: Online experience mirrors on-campus education with comprehensive support.
  • Career-focused: 100% online professional development courses to upskill or switch careers.
  • Graduate studies made easy: Flexible programs designed for busy professionals.
  • Easy course exploration: Search tool helps navigate the diverse program offerings.
  • Mission: Accessible, high-quality online education powered by modern technology.

FIU offers the second cheapest online degrees in 2024

Popular Online Bachelor's Degrees

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Florida Atlantic University

#3 Cheapest and Most Affordable Online College

Boca Raton, Florida

Average Net Price: $7,990

FAU Online: Top-Ranked Online Degrees & Support for Your Journey

  • Diverse online programs: Undergraduate, graduate, and professional development options.
  • Flexibility: Pursue your education remotely at your own pace.
  • Same quality, different setting: Get the same level of education and support as on-campus students.
  • Community focus: Interact with faculty and classmates for a connected learning experience.
  • Diverse disciplines: Find programs in various fields to match your interests and career goals.
  • Nationally recognized quality: Pursue rigorous coursework led by esteemed faculty.
  • Extensive support: Get dedicated advising, technical help, and library access.
  • Established experience: Benefit from FAU's long history in online education.
  • Top-ranked graduate programs: Gain advanced education through high-quality online options.
  • Advance your future: Upskill or change careers with convenient and accessible online learning

The University of Texas of the Permian Basin

#4 Cheapest and Most Affordable Online College

Odessa, Texas

Average Net Price: $8,106

Advance Your Career with UT Permian Basin's Affordable Online Degrees

  • Wide range of online programs: Undergraduate and graduate degrees in various fields.
  • Flexibility for all: Degrees designed for busy schedules, fitting around work and family.
  • Popular undergraduate options: BA in Communication, BS in Criminology, BA in English, and BAAS in Industrial Technology.
  • Career-focused graduate programs: Advance your skills and gain a competitive edge.
  • Affordable and convenient: 100% online, accessible from anywhere in the world.
  • Your success, our focus: Achieve your academic and career goals with UT Permian Basin Online.

The University of West Florida

#5 Cheapest and Most Affordable Online College

Pensacola, Florida

Average Net Price: $8,152

UWF Online: 600+ Courses, 50+ Degrees, Flexible & Affordable

  • Massive course selection: Over 600 online courses leading to diverse degrees and certificates.
  • 50+ degrees: Options for undergraduates, graduates, and career changers across various fields.
  • Career-focused certificates: Upskill in Business Analytics, Chemistry, and more.
  • Advanced degrees: Earn your M.Acc, M.S. in Data Science, or M.S. in Information Technology online.
  • Affordable and accessible: Designed for busy professionals and students with commitments.
  • Quality you trust: Cheap Online degrees mirror on-campus academic standards.
  • Established experience: Offering affordable online bachelor degrees since 2003-2004.
  • Rigorous and flexible: Balance academic excellence with your personal needs.
  • Boost your career: Gain in-demand skills and advance your professional goals.

University of Maine at Augusta

#6 Cheapest and Most Affordable Online College

Augusta, Maine

Average Net Price: $9,889

UMA Online: 41 Degrees, Flexible & Affordable

  • 41 Degrees, 28 Fully Online: Diverse programs in Accounting, Addiction Studies, Business, IT, and more.
  • For Everyone: Traditional students, working professionals, and career changers.
  • Flexible, Affordable, Quality: Accessible education to fit your needs.
  • Beyond Degrees: Non-credit courses in Healthcare, Business, IT, and more.
  • Top-Ranked Online Programs: Recognized for excellence in online education.
  • Supportive Learning Environment: Technology-driven, engaging, and effective.
  • Customize Your Learning: Choose online or in-person courses to fit your schedule.
  • Evolve Your Career: Gain the skills and knowledge you need to succeed.

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

#7 Cheapest and Most Affordable Online College

Greensboro, North Carolina

Average Net Price: $11,110

Earn Your Degree at Your Pace with UNC Greensboro Online (1,800+ Programs Available)

  • Diverse online degrees: Pursue your academic goals in Applied Statistics, Informatics & Analytics, Accounting, Applied Economics, and education (details not specified).
  • Fit your life: Learn remotely without traditional schedule constraints.
  • Nationally recognized: Ranked for bachelor's programs and philosophy specifically.
  • Prepare for success: Gain practical skills applicable to various careers.
  • Ranked School of Education: Potentially offering online education programs.
  • 1,800+ programs surveyed: Diverse and comprehensive online learning environment.
  • Regionally accredited: Quality and credibility you can trust.
  • Flexible path to your future: Ideal for working professionals and busy individuals.

Western Governors University

#8 Cheapest and Most Affordable Online College

Millcreek, Utah

Average Net Price: $11,835

WGU Online: Fast-Track Skills for Your Career (Flexible, Affordable, Competency-Based)

  • Bachelor's & Master's Degrees: Business, Education, IT, Healthcare & more.
  • Advance your career: Aligned with industry needs for skill development.
  • Flexible learning: Ideal for working professionals and busy individuals.
  • Business: BS degrees in Business Management & Business Administration.
  • Education: Accredited online programs for teacher licensure & careers.
  • IT: Bachelor's & Master's in IT, Data Analytics, Cybersecurity & Software Development.
  • Healthcare: Nursing & other programs for licensure & advanced practice.
  • Competency-based education: Progress by demonstrating mastery, not time spent.
  • Flexible pace: Tailor learning to your individual needs & accelerate graduation.
  • Reduced cost: Potential cost savings compared to traditional programs.

Colorado State University Global

#9 Cheapest and Most Affordable Online College

Aurora, Colorado

Average Net Price: $12,351

CSU Global: Public, Affordable Online Degrees for Your Busy Life

  • First & Only: 100% online, public, not-for-profit, regionally accredited state university.
  • Wide Range of Degrees: Undergraduate & graduate programs in Business, IT, Healthcare, Education, and more.
  • Flex Your Schedule: Learn online without sacrificing career or personal commitments.
  • Career-Focused Programs: Gain practical skills for success in today's workforce.
  • Advanced Degrees: Enhance your skills and advance your career with online Master's programs.
  • High-Quality Education: Accredited degrees respected by employers and institutions.
  • Accessible Choice: Affordable online education for diverse student needs.
  • Achieve Your Goals: Get the degree you need to succeed in your chosen field.

Columbia Southern University

#10 Cheapest and Most Affordable Online College

Orange Beach, Alabama

Average Net Price: $12,474

Columbia Southern University Online: Degrees & Certificates for Busy Adults

  • Comprehensive online programs: Associate, bachelor's, master's, and even doctoral degrees.
  • Fields for all interests: Information Technology, Business, Healthcare, Criminal Justice, and more.
  • Designed for busy adults: Flexible learning options to balance career and studies.
  • Career-focused bachelor's: Business Administration, IT, Occupational Safety & Health, Criminal Justice.
  • Advanced degrees: Master's in MBA, Emergency Services Management, Healthcare Administration.
  • Doctoral programs available: Reach the pinnacle of your field with online learning.
  • Specialized certificates: Upskill in specific areas without a full degree commitment.
  • Flexible & affordable: Accessible education for busy professionals.
  • Quality education: Prepare for future challenges and opportunities in today's workforce.

University of Houston-Downtown

#11 Cheapest and Most Affordable Online College

Houston, Texas

Average Net Price: $13,100

Earn Your Degree at Your Pace with UH-Downtown Online (Affordable & Engaging)

  • 15+ bachelor's & 5+ graduate degrees online: Complete your degree remotely with convenience.
  • High-quality education: Balance studies with work & life thanks to online access.
  • Engaging learning: Interactive courses include field trips, presentations, and projects adapted for online delivery.
  • Practical skills focus: Gain relevant knowledge applicable to your chosen field.
  • Beyond degrees: Certificates and continuing education courses for career advancement.
  • Wide range of areas: CAD Programs, Healthcare, IT, Engineering Technology, and more.
  • #22 for adult learners: Recognized for supporting returning students.
  • Visit UHD website or contact admissions for details.

Western New Mexico University

#12 Cheapest and Most Affordable Online College

Silver City, New Mexico

Average Net Price: $14,023

WNMU Online: 200+ Degrees & Courses, Flexible & Affordable (Graduate & Undergraduate)

  • 200+ online courses: Wide selection for graduate and undergraduate studies.
  • Flexible learning: Fits your schedule and preferences, ideal for working adults.
  • Advanced degrees: Master's and graduate certificates in Education, Social Work, and more.
  • Career-focused certificates: Border Security Studies, Chemical Dependency, Criminal Justice, and more.
  • Quality education: Recognized as one of the best online programs in the state.
  • Expert instructors: Get the same level of education as traditional classrooms.
  • Lower-division to specialized graduate courses: Supports students at all stages.
  • Visit WNMU website or contact them directly for details.

University of New Hampshire College of Professional Studies

#13 Cheapest and Most Affordable Online College

Manchester, New Hampshire

Average Net Price: $16,665

UNH CPS Online: Top-Ranked Degrees & Courses for Career Advancement (Flexible, Affordable)

  • Online degrees & courses: Advance your career with flexible options.
  • Quality & recognized: Top-ranked online bachelor's programs.
  • Supporting adults: Tailored for busy professionals and career changers.
  • Fully online & hybrid options: Choose what fits your needs.
  • Bachelor's & master's degrees, certificates: Diverse programs in high-demand fields.
  • Affordable & accessible: Respecting prior learning and experiences.
  • Graduate all online: No need to relocate for advanced studies.
  • Individual online courses: Upskill in specific areas without a full degree commitment.
  • Visit UNH CPS website or contact them directly for details.

Central Methodist University-College of Graduate and Extended Studies

#14 Cheapest and Most Affordable Online College

Fayette, Missouri

Average Net Price: $17,143

CMU Online: Degrees & Certificates for Career Changers & Busy Professionals

  • Wide range of online programs: Undergraduate & graduate degrees, certificates.
  • For career changers & busy professionals: Advance your career or start new.
  • Quality education, flexible format: Balance studies with other commitments.
  • Rigorous academics: Same standards as on-campus, recognized education.
  • Master's degrees: Education, Music Education, and more.
  • Undergraduate programs: Middle School Education, various concentrations.
  • Accessible & convenient: No need for campus visits.
  • Visit CMU website or contact CGES for details: Programs, costs, requirements.

Waldorf University

#15 Cheapest and Most Affordable Online College

Forest City, Iowa

Average Net Price: $21,604

Waldorf Online: Affordable Degrees, High-Quality Education Delivered On Your Schedule

  • Wide range of programs: Associate, Bachelor's, Master's in many fields.
  • Traditional & non-traditional students: Fits working adults & more.
  • Complete online: Start to finish, adjust to your schedule.
  • Business, Criminal Justice, Fire Protection & more: Find your field.
  • Knowledge & skills for success: Prepare for your career.
  • Quality education, flexible pacing: Learn at your own speed.
  • Interactive learning & support: Connect & get help when needed.
  • Visit Waldorf website for details: Programs, costs, requirements & how to apply.

Southern New Hampshire University Online

#16 Cheapest and Most Affordable Online College


Average Net Price: $22,873

Top-Ranked Education at an Affordable Price: Discover SNHU's Cheap Online Degree Programs

  • 200+ Career-Focused Programs: Associate, Bachelor's, Master's, Certificates.
  • For Everyone: Working professionals, traditional students, flexible learners.
  • Level Up: Associate Degrees for starting or transferring.
  • Broad Choice: 150+ Bachelor's in Business, STEM, Liberal Arts, and more.
  • Fast-Track Masters: MBA and others in as little as 1 year.
  • Upskill with Certificates: Gain specialized knowledge for new opportunities.
  • Learn on Your Schedule: Flexible online courses fit your life.
  • Affordable Education: Among the lowest online tuition rates nationally.
  • Supportive System: Academic advisors, career services, online resources.
  • Explore Programs: SNHU website has details, courses, costs, and how to apply.

Cheapest Online Associate's Degrees 2024

1. Eastern Gateway Community College

Average Net Price: $1,846

Eastern Gateway Community College provides several affordable online associate degree options focused on high-demand career fields.

  • High-Demand Fields: Business, IT, Criminal Justice, Early Childhood Ed, Healthcare Admin, Nursing.
  • Fast & Affordable: 8-week courses, $1,800/year tuition, complete in 2 years or less.
  • Career-Focused: Develop entry-level skills for the job market.
  • Personalized Support: Small cohorts with dedicated faculty.
  • High School Diploma Required: Start your journey today.
  • Graduate with Expertise: Qualify for in-demand roles in your chosen field.
  • Value for Your Money: Affordable education with practical skills for real jobs.

EGCC is the cheapest online college for associate's degrees.

2. Luna Community College

Average Net Price: $3,900

Luna CC Online: Fast Track to In-Demand Careers for Adults

  • Focus on Popular Fields: Business, IT, Criminal Justice, Early Childhood Ed, Medical Assistant, Nursing.
  • Quick & Affordable: 8-week sessions, flexible format, low tuition costs.
  • 2-Year Completion: Earn your degree in less time.
  • Asynchronous Learning: Fit studies around your life.
  • Entry-Level Expertise: Gain industry-specific skills.
  • Supportive Faculty: Dedicated instructors, online resources.
  • Accredited Programs: Recognized quality, transferrable credits.
  • High School Diploma/GED Entry: Start your journey today.
  • Career-Ready Graduates: Qualify for jobs in your chosen field.

Popular Online Associate's Degrees

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

3. Clovis Community College

Average Net Price: $3,927

Clovis Community College: Affordable Online Degrees with Personal Touch

  • 8 Online Associate's Degrees: Behavioral Science, Business, IT, Criminal Justice, General Studies, Paralegal, Liberal Arts.
  • Small Class Sizes: Personalized attention from professors.
  • Flexible Learning: Earn your degree online from anywhere.
  • Strong Faculty Support: Individual connections & resources.
  • Ranked #5 in New Mexico ( Recognized for quality & affordability.
  • Note: Low location score doesn't reflect online program benefits.

4. Georgia Northwestern Technical College

Average Net Price: $4,038

GNTC Online: Fast Track to Careers, Affordable & Flexible

  • In-Demand Skills: Business, Criminal Justice, Early Childhood Ed, Healthcare Management, IT.
  • Quick & Affordable: 5-week terms, flexible format, low tuition costs.
  • 2-Year Completion: Earn your degree in less time.
  • Self-Paced Learning: Fit studies around your life with asynchronous courses.
  • Industry-Specific Skills: Developed through each focused program.
  • Experienced Faculty Support: Mentorship and guidance throughout your journey.
  • High School Diploma/GED Entry: Start your journey today.
  • Career-Ready Graduates: Apply your knowledge to real-world roles.

5. Tallahassee Community College

Average Net Price: $4,136

TCC Online: Affordable, Flexible Degrees for In-Demand Careers

  • Fast Track: 8-week courses, 2-year completion.
  • Flexible Learning: Asynchronous courses fit your schedule.
  • Affordable: Cost-effective option for adults.
  • Career-Focused: Business, Criminal Justice, Early Childhood Ed, Health Services, Nursing.
  • Industry-Specific Skills: Gain practical knowledge for your chosen field.
  • Expert Faculty Support: Guidance and resources throughout your journey.
  • High School Diploma/GED Entry: Start your journey today.
  • Career-Ready: Apply your expertise to real-world jobs.

6. Cuyahoga Community College District

Average Net Price: $5,296

Cuyahoga CCD Online: Fast Track to Careers, Affordable & Personalized

  • Focused Degrees: Business, IT, Criminal Justice, Early Childhood Ed, Human Services, Nursing.
  • Quick & Affordable: 5-week terms, 2-year completion, flexible for adults.
  • Industry-Ready Skills: Develop expertise tailored to your chosen field.
  • Self-Paced Learning: Asynchronous courses fit your schedule.
  • Individualized Support: Experienced faculty provide mentoring.
  • High School Diploma/GED Entry: Start your journey today.
  • Real-World Focus: Apply your skills to in-demand career opportunities.

7. Wake Technical Community College

Average Net Price: $5,609

Wake Tech Online: Wide Range, Affordable Online Degrees for Busy Adults

  • 100+ Online Programs: Associate & certificate options in various fields.
  • Unmatched Flexibility: Asynchronous courses, complete on your schedule.
  • Career Focus: Business, IT, Healthcare, Public Safety, Early Childhood Ed, and more.
  • Industry-Ready Skills: Gain practical knowledge for in-demand careers.
  • 2-Year Completion: Most programs finish quickly, fit your life.
  • Affordable Tuition: Cost-effective option for adult learners.
  • High School Diploma/GED Entry: Start your journey today.
  • Shape Your Education: Choose a program that matches your goals.
  • Prepare for Success: Gain relevant skills for top fields with flexibility.

8. Laramie County Community College

Average Net Price: $5,717

LCCC Online: Diverse Degrees, Flexible Learning for Career Growth

  • 50+ Online Programs: Bachelor's, Associate's, Certificates in diverse fields.
  • Unmatched Flexibility: Learn on your schedule with asynchronous courses.
  • Advance Your Career: Management, Healthcare Administration, Business, IT, Education, and more.
  • Specializations: Cybersecurity, Data Analytics, Medical, Paralegal & more.
  • 2-Year Completion: Most programs finish quickly, fit your life.
  • Affordable Tuition: Cost-effective option for adult learners.
  • High School Diploma Entry: Start your journey today.
  • Specialize & Focus: Choose a program that matches your goals.
  • Gain In-Demand Skills: Prepare for success in today's workforce.

9. Ivy Tech Community College

Average Net Price: $6,685

Ivy Tech Online: Flexibility, Quality, & Success at Your Pace

  • Complete your degree online: Balance life with studies from anywhere.
  • High-quality education: Indiana's largest public college system.
  • Support & resources: One-on-one guidance, tutoring, and career development.
  • Connect with diverse peers: Statewide, national, and international perspectives.
  • Independent learning skills: Showcase your ability to employers.
  • 500+ online courses: Find your perfect program with 23 options.
  • Credits transfer easily: Advance your education smoothly.
  • Real-world skills & knowledge: Get prepared for career success.
  • Discover the Ivy Tech difference: Lead the way in online education.

10. Great Basin College

Average Net Price: $7,758

The second Nevada school on this list, Great Basin College, is located in Elko and was formerly known as Northern Nevada State College.

  • 3,800+ Students: Traditional, online & hybrid options.
  • Small Class Sizes: 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio.
  • 17 Online Associate Degrees: Social science, land surveying, graphic communications, early childhood education & more.
  • Several Online Bachelor's Degrees: Complete your four-year degree online.
  • Technical Certificates: Upskill in specific areas.
  • Explore Programs: Find your perfect fit at GBC.

11. Alvin Community College

Average Net Price: $8,235

Alvin CC: Dive into Psychology or Sociology Online (Affordable & Flexible)

  • Earn your Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree online: Psychology or Sociology.
  • Ideal for working adults: Affordable and flexible format, learn on your schedule.
  • Psychology: Explore human behavior, personality, development, and more.
  • Sociology: Analyze social institutions, culture, change, and inequality.
  • Asynchronous courses: Learn at your own pace, no set class times.
  • Dedicated faculty support: Get help and guidance throughout your journey.
  • 2-year completion: Earn your degree quickly.
  • Transferable credits: Pursue bachelor's degrees and career advancement.
  • Grow your understanding of individuals and societies: Gain valuable insights.

12. Lone Star College System

Average Net Price: $8,654

Lone Star Online: Diverse Programs, Affordable & Flexible Learning

  • Texas' Largest Community College System: Extensive online program catalog.
  • Advance Your Skills: Degrees & certificates in healthcare, business, IT, criminal justice & more.
  • Learn on Your Schedule: Asynchronous courses offer flexibility.
  • 2-Year Completion: Most programs finish quickly, fit your life.
  • Personalized Support: Dedicated faculty guide your learning journey.
  • Lowest Tuition in Region: Affordable option for all learners.
  • Shape Your Education: Find programs that match your interests & goals.
  • Success Starts Here: Gain the skills you need for your chosen career.

13. Broward College

Average Net Price: $14,577

Broward College Online: Diverse Skills, Flexible Learning, Your Success

  • Florida's Largest & Diverse College: Extensive online program options.
  • Top Fields: Healthcare, Business, IT, Supply Chain, Education & more.
  • Learn on Your Schedule: Asynchronous courses fit your life.
  • 2-Year Completion: Earn your degree quickly.
  • Experienced Faculty Support: Interactive tools & resources guide you.
  • Upskill or Change Careers: Find the program for your goals.
  • Nationally Recognized: Broward's online excellence awaits.
  • Advance Your Future: Discover the student-focused approach.

14. Rio Grande Valley College

Average Net Price: $21,601

Rio Grande Valley College Online: Fast Track to Career Skills (Flexible & Affordable)

  • Career-Ready Skills: Business, Criminal Justice, Early Childhood Ed, Healthcare Admin, IT & more.
  • 8-Week Sessions: Flexible learning format, complete programs quickly.
  • Learn on Your Schedule: Complete assignments & access support on your own time.
  • Dedicated Faculty: Get personalized mentorship & guidance.
  • 2-Year Completion: Earn your degree or certificate fast.
  • Affordable Tuition: Accessible option for career advancement.
  • Over 5,000 Online Students: Join a thriving learning community.
  • Shape Your Success: Find the program that fits your goals & interests.
  • South Texas & Beyond: Advance your career, wherever you are.

People Say

Reddit Users Say: Seeking the Cheapest Online College Options

In a comprehensive discussion on r/Adulting, Redditors opened up about their journeys and advised on the quest for the most affordable online college options in the U.S., especially under tricky financial circumstances. Here are some highlighted comments that resonated with the community:

  • Community College as a Stepping Stone: A now-deleted user proposed starting with "remote classes at your local community college." This advice, echoed by Limit-Crafty, underlines the benefits of tapping into in-state rates and part-time studies at local colleges, which often come with work-study options to further reduce costs. Limit-Crafty also shared a link to appeal for independent status on FAFSA applications for those who might face hurdles due to parental support issues.
  • SUU Speedway Program: Head-Owl5672 brought attention to Southern Utah University’s Speedway program, a remarkably affordable path to a bachelor's degree, costing around $9k total or $75 per credit. This option was highlighted as notably cost-effective, particularly for students who qualify for the Pell grant, making it a strategy not just to earn a degree with minimal debt but potentially to come out ahead financially.
  • Exploring Employment Benefits and Technical Certifications: LilJourney and Aggressive_World_658 suggest looking into employers that offer education benefits or focusing on technical certifications as cost-effective alternatives to traditional degrees. Such strategies may open up immediate employment opportunities with the potential for education benefits down the line.
  • Online and Accelerated Options: Several users pointed towards programs like WGU (Western Governors University) or mentioned platforms like Sophia.Org for accelerated course completion at a monthly rate, showcasing the diversity of online education options tailored to different learning paces and budget constraints.
  • Dependency Status for Financial Aid: Users, including IatrogenicBlonde and TootsNYC, discussed strategies for declaring independence or waiting until the age exemption kicks in for FAFSA to maximize eligibility for financial aid without relying on parental income information.

These varied recommendations underline a common theme: the journey to higher education need not be a straight, financially burdensome path. From leveraging local community college resources to navigating the specifics of financial aid and uncovering hidden gems like the SUU Speedway program, Reddit’s community showcases a wealth of strategies for making higher education more accessible and affordable.

Quora Users Recommend Nexford University for Affordable, Credible Online Education

Quora users highly recommend Nexford University for those seeking an affordable and credible online college experience. According to Nagham Abuissa, a BBA graduate from Nexford University in 2023, Nexford excels in offering an economical education solution. Abuissa emphasizes the university's cost-effectiveness compared to traditional institutions, highlighting its transparent pricing and absence of hidden fees.

Several key benefits of Nexford University have been highlighted by its users on Quora:

  1. Global Accreditation Abuissa points out, "Nexford's accreditation by recognized bodies ensures that degrees hold value and are recognized globally, including in the USA, UK, and beyond."
  2. Quality Education The curriculum at Nexford is designed with input from industry experts, ensuring it is relevant and prepares students effectively for the modern workforce.
  3. Flexibility Nexford provides flexible learning options that help students balance their studies with work or other commitments.
  4. Innovative Learning The university integrates technology and innovative learning platforms to make the educational experience engaging and effective.
  5. Practical Skills Maruf Hossain, another top-voted contributor on Quora, states, "Nexford University prioritizes the development of next-generation skills that are crucial in today's global economy. Its competency-based approach ensures that graduates are equipped with the latest skills demanded by employers."
  6. Support Services Nexford offers robust support services, including access to academic advisors, career services, and an online community that fosters networking and collaboration.

Overall, Quora users strongly endorse Nexford University for its blend of affordability, credibility, and career-focused online education. Hossain elaborates, "What sets Nexford apart is its affordability without compromising on quality. Additionally, the university provides flexible payment options and various financial aid opportunities to support students in reaching their academic aspirations."

Guide to Cheapest Online Colleges

Many students are drawn to the flexibility and convenience of online learning, but tuition concerns can be a major barrier. We'll focus on uncovering the cheapest online colleges and equip you with strategies to maximize your affordability:

Unveiling the Most Budget-Friendly Options:

  • Community Colleges & In-State Public Universities: These institutions typically offer the lowest tuition rates, especially for in-state residents. Consider attending a community college for core courses and then transferring to a public university to complete your degree.
  • Private, Non-Profit Colleges with Generous Aid: Some private colleges offer significant financial aid packages, making them surprisingly affordable. Research colleges known for their scholarship generosity and grants specific to online students.
  • Hidden Gems: Explore lesser-known online colleges with competitive tuition fees and strong academic programs. Use resources like the College Board's BigFuture College Search to compare costs and programs across institutions.

Financial Aid: Your Ally in Affordability:

  • FAFSA is Your Key: Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is crucial to unlock various federal grants, work-study programs, and loan options. Submit your FAFSA on time (ideally October 1st) to maximize your eligibility.
  • State and Institutional Aid: Don't overlook state and institutional grants, which can often provide additional financial support. Research aid opportunities offered by your state and potential schools.
  • Work-Study: Earn money while learning through federal work-study programs. Combine this with other aid options to further reduce your out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Employer Tuition Reimbursement: Check if your employer offers tuition reimbursement programs to help cover online education costs. This can be a significant financial boost.

Beyond Financial Aid: Smart Saving Strategies:

  • Minimize Living Expenses: Consider shared housing or staying with family to reduce accommodation costs. Look for affordable transportation options or utilize online learning from the comfort of your home.
  • Textbook Savvy: Opt for used textbooks, rentals, or digital versions instead of buying new ones. Explore library resources and open educational resources (OERs) for free learning materials.
  • Scholarship Search: Don't underestimate the power of scholarships! Research scholarships specific to your field of study, academic merit, and online learners. Every bit counts!

Paying for Your Affordable Online Degree

Securing an affordable online degree can be daunting, especially for budget-conscious students.

FAFSA and Financial Aid

Starting with the FAFSA is crucial for accessing financial aid like scholarships, loans, and work-study options. It helps determine your eligibility for federal and merit-based scholarships.

Employer Tuition Reimbursement

A significant number of online students benefit from employer tuition reimbursement. A 2018 survey by Aslanian Market Research and Learning House revealed that 23% of online undergraduate and 32% of graduate students used this benefit. It’s advisable to inquire about such opportunities within your company’s HR department.

Scholarships & Grants for Online Students

Online students often qualify for the same scholarships as on-campus students.

Resources for Online Scholarships:

Cheapest Online Colleges FAQ

What is the Cheapest Online University in the US?

Per our 2024 assessment, the cheapest online college in the US is Eastern New Mexico University with an average net price of $4,994.

The top three cheapest online universities in the US are:

1. Eastern New Mexico University: $4,994
2. Florida International University: $6,232
3. Florida Atlantic University Online: $7,990

Is Online College Cheaper?

Yes, online college is generally cheaper than traditional in-person education. Research indicates significant cost savings with online degrees compared to their on-campus counterparts.

For instance, at public four-year colleges, the average cost for an online degree is about $54,183, while an in-person degree averages at $85,348, making online education $31,165 less expensive. Similarly, private institutions charge an average of $60,593 for an online degree compared to $185,252 for in-person, reflecting even more substantial savings.

Furthermore, online students avoid several costs associated with on-campus education, such as transportation, which can add approximately $1,360 per year, and higher meal plan costs, which can be about $600 more annually than meals prepared at home.

Additionally, the per-credit-hour cost also tends to be lower for online courses; for example, the average per-credit-hour rate at public U.S. universities is $333 for online instruction versus $711 for in-person. These financial considerations make online college a more affordable option for many students, enhancing its attractiveness and accessibility.

What Is the Cheapest Online University in the World?

Amongst our assessment and others, the most affordable online university in the world is Eastern New Mexico University.

Are Online Degrees Respected?

Yes, online degrees are respected, particularly as perceptions around virtual education have evolved significantly over recent years. According to the information provided on the Northeastern University website, several key points highlight the respect and credibility online degrees have garnered:

- Employers see them as valuable (61% say equal or better quality to traditional degrees).
- Many companies hire online grads (71%).
- Online students can perform just as well, or even better (research shows).
- Reputable online programs from established universities are well-regarded by employers (83% value them the same as on-campus degrees).
- Online learning offers flexibility and opens doors to a wider audience.
- Employers believe online education is the future (52% say most advanced degrees will be online) and may even surpass traditional methods in quality (33% believe this)

What is the Cheapest Online Degree You Can Get?

There is no single degree that is the cheapest. University of the People (UoP) offers cheap online associate and bachelor's degrees. UoP also provides scholarships to cover any fees they charge.

ENMU offers more than 30 accredited online programs in business, education, nursing, information systems, and more.

What is the Cheapest College Degree You Can Get?

- Associate Degree in Health-related fields
- Bachelor's Degree in Education
- Associate Degree in Information Technology (IT)
- Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration

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 who 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 most young, aspiring individuals. A smart student knows how to allocate resources and find the best deals on school supplies like textbooks. Buying secondhand, renting, reselling, and even getting a library card are great ways to save a few bucks.

How do I minimize my overall college 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.

How do I complete a FAFSA?

Completing the FAFSA process requires having the necessary financial documents, registering with a federal student ID, reading all guidelines on, and submitting your application on time for the designated year. For more information, visit

What does it mean when an online school is “accredited”?

A college's accreditation can be either regional or national. All accredited universities offer career-building opportunities and high-quality educational programs, although the extent of the options available and the quality of the coursework may depend on the type of accreditation. Accredited degree programs are often more highly regarded by employers than non-accredited degrees.

Does Free Online College Exist?

Some schools are free tuition online colleges. Most schools offer "free tuition" through financial aid programs. These schools offer benefits such as covering housing costs or other expenses if one's family income can't cover them.

For example, Antioch College in Ohio helps with housing needs when the FAFSA shows that a student’s family income or estimated contribution won’t be able to handle housing costs. Barclay College provides scholarships that cover the whole cost of tuition.

Statistics: College Costs

  • Published or Sticker Prices (2023-24)
    • Public four-year in-state: $11,260 (up $270 or 2.5% from 2022-23)
    • Public four-year out-of-state: $29,150 (up $850 or 3.0% from 2022-23)
    • Public two-year in-district: $3,990 (up $100 or 2.6% from 2022-23)
    • Private nonprofit four-year: $41,540 (up $1,600 or 4.0% from 2022-23)
  • Variability in College Prices
    • Wide variation in published college prices based on institution type and location.
    • 2023-24 public two-year in-district tuition and fees range from $1,440 in California to $8,660 in Vermont.
    • 2023-24 public four-year in-state tuition and fees range from $6,360 in Florida to $17,180 in Vermont.
  • Net Prices
    • Most full-time undergraduates receive grant aid.
    • Since 2009-10, public two-year college students have typically received enough grant aid to cover tuition and fees.
    • Average net tuition and fee price for public four-year in-state students was $4,230 in 2012-13 (peak) and is estimated at $2,730 in 2023-24.
    • Average net tuition and fee price for private nonprofit four-year students was $18,820 in 2006-07 and is estimated at $15,910 in 2023-24.

Further Resources

Best Online Colleges
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

Featured Online Colleges

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Take the next step toward your future with online learning.

Discover schools with the programs and courses you’re interested in, and start learning today.