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.


  • These online colleges offer affordable degree programs that won't break the bank.
  • Online education allows balancing school with work, family, and other commitments.
  • A college degree can significantly impact lifetime earnings and employability, making it worth the investment.

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. This allows students to have greater flexibility with work and mobility for those who need to travel or have variable schedules.

Online learning is not new, but its success and necessity in recent years show the importance of technology in increasing the affordability and accessibility of higher education. With all the uncertainty in today's economy, it’s important to find a college that is affordable and allows for simultaneous income.

Featured 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 this accessible and convenient degree program, EDsmart has 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 where they wish to obtain their undergraduate education. You seeking out this page shows that you are a smart investor looking for an inexpensive degree to get the best value for your dollar. researching tuition 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.

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

#1 Eastern New Mexico University

Portales, New Mexico

Tuition: $4,994

Eastern New Mexico University provides over 30 high-quality online degree programs through the Office of Distance Learning. Students worldwide can access experienced faculty and flexible academic opportunities. The online format enables interactive classrooms, collaborative projects, and personalized support. Students build connections despite physical distance.

Strategic partnerships expand academic resources and internship options. Online students receive the same rigor as on-campus learners. Programs equip graduates with career skills across fields like business, education, nursing and more. The Office of Distance Learning supports online learners with tutoring, advising, financial aid and technical assistance. User-friendly platforms create an engaging online experience. With accessible, career-focused online degrees taught by expert faculty, ENMU prepares graduates for success in their chosen fields.

ENMU is the cheapest online college for 2024.

#2 Florida International University

Miami, Florida

Tuition: $6,232

For over 20 years, Florida International University has been a leader in online education through its FIU Online program. FIU Online offers students much more than just a degree—it provides a comprehensive and supportive learning experience. With two decades of expertise in online delivery, FIU Online has perfected the art of creating engaging, effective virtual classrooms. Professors utilize cutting-edge technologies and pedagogies to connect with students across distances. The production value rivals that of major media companies, capturing dynamic lectures and immersive learning activities.

FIU Online offers over several online undergraduate and graduate degree programs across a diverse range of subjects. No matter your career goals or academic interests, you will find a program tailored to prepare you for success. Highly-ranked Colleges of Business, Engineering, Education, Nursing, Public Health, and more offer their prestigious programs online. Students receive personalized support services optimized for online learners. Dedicated enrollment coaches, academic advisors, tutors, and tech support experts ensure you have what's needed to thrive. FIU Online also provides access to extensive online libraries, databases, and research tools.

Popular Online Bachelor's Degrees

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

#3 Florida Atlantic University

Boca Raton, Florida

Tuition: $7,990

Florida Atlantic University offers award-winning online programs with an unparalleled student experience. FAU's commitment to quality ensures online students receive identical instruction to campus students. Courses are carefully designed and taught by acclaimed FAU research faculty utilizing best teaching practices.

FAU's online student support services portal replicates campus resources. Online students access award-winning tutorial support, academic advising, financial aid counseling, career services, and more. FAU sets trends in online learning and remains a leader in the field. Notably, FAU's online tuition rates are among the lowest in Florida. With a focus on instructional quality and comprehensive student services, FAU provides an exceptional online learning experience. Students benefit from acclaimed faculty and access to campus resources, all with low online tuition rates. FAU continues to innovate in online education and deliver award-winning programs.

#4 The University of Texas of the Permian Basin

Odessa, Texas

Tuition: $8,106

The University of Texas Permian Basin offers over 40 accredited online bachelor's and master's degrees that help students gain an edge in today’s competitive job market. With a focus on convenience, affordability and flexibility, UT Permian Basin designed high-quality online programs tailored for working adults and remote learners.

Courses start every 8 weeks, with 6 entry points per year, enabling accelerated progress. Students complete coursework fully online. Tuition rates are highly cost-effective. Online programs uphold the same academic rigor as on-campus degrees. Interactive classes are taught by dedicated faculty. Students gain applicable career skills and can customize degrees to professional goals. By prioritizing convenience, affordability and quality, UT Permian Basin empowers working adults to earn a respected degree online on their schedule.

#5 The University of West Florida

Pensacola, Florida

Tuition: $8,152

The University of West Florida provides affordable, high-quality online education to empower future innovators and leaders. UWF offers over 50 undergraduate and graduate degrees in diverse fields, making top programs accessible. Online students get UWF's renowned academic excellence and rigor. Interactive courses connect them with faculty experts.

Programs equip graduates with career and leadership skills. Students can pursue degrees from cybersecurity to public health. UWF prioritizes online learner support services and flexibility. Affordable tuition paired with academic excellence helps UWF Online cultivate tomorrow's thinkers and leaders.

#6 University of Maine at Augusta

Augusta, Maine

Tuition: $9,889

The University of Maine at Augusta provides quality, affordable online education with over 28 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in high-demand fields. UMA makes earning a degree accessible with reasonable tuition rates and scholarships. User-friendly online platforms enable interactive learning. Students receive specialized support services.

UMA online programs uphold the academic rigor of on-campus degrees. Experienced faculty adapt engaging courses for the online format. Students gain career-advancing skills and knowledge. Offerings include online bachelor's degrees in business, cybersecurity and healthcare administration. Graduate students can pursue masters in instructional technology, justice administration and more. With its commitment to inclusive online education, UMA empowers students in Maine and beyond to achieve their academic and professional goals through flexible, affordable programs.

#7 University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Greensboro, North Carolina

Tuition: $11,110

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNC Greensboro) offers online degree programs that provide students flexibility to earn their degrees on their own schedules. UNC Greensboro's online programs are consistently recognized for academic excellence and affordability, earning top rankings for best online, bachelor's, and master's programs. These honors reflect UNC Greensboro's ongoing commitment to student success.

Online students at all stages, whether first-time undergraduates or working professionals seeking career advancement, can achieve their goals through UNC Greensboro's accredited online curriculums and support. The world-class faculty ensure the online programs uphold the university's standards of excellence. Students receive the same level of support as on-campus learners. With flexible scheduling and renowned academic quality, UNC Greensboro empowers online students to earn respected degrees and advance their careers on their own terms. By providing excellence in online education, UNC Greensboro remains dedicated to helping online learners of all backgrounds meet their goals.

#8 Western Governors University

Millcreek, Utah

Tuition: $11,835

Western Governors University is an accredited online university designed to meet the needs of working adults seeking career advancement. WGU offers flexible bachelor's and master's degrees in high-demand fields like IT, teaching, business and healthcare.

The competency-based model allows students to advance through material at their own pace based on acquired skills and knowledge. This accommodates students balancing studies with full-time jobs and families. Programs align with industry certifications and requirements. WGU provides optimized online support services like enrollment counselors, academic mentors, tutoring and scholarships. The flexible, self-paced model removes barriers faced by busy adults earning a degree. WGU enables students to graduate faster and obtain degrees tailored for in-demand jobs on schedules manageable with their lifestyles.

#9 Colorado State University Global

Aurora, Colorado

Tuition: $12,351

Colorado State University Global offers accredited online degree programs that enable students to advance their careers through flexible, affordable higher education. CSU Global provides over 35 online bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fields like business, IT, healthcare and leadership. Programs are taught by faculty focused on adult online learners.

Students can start courses every four weeks, with multiple enrollment periods per year, allowing accelerated progress. Tuition rates are reduced for online students, improving accessibility. Programs are tailored for working professionals, integrating career experience and real-world skills relevant to advancing in their industries. With career-focused curriculums, flexible enrollment, and affordable tuition, CSU Global empowers working adults to earn respected degrees online on their schedules.

#10 Columbia Southern University

Orange Beach, Alabama

Tuition: $12,474

Columbia Southern University provides convenient, flexible online degree programs that students can complete from home. CSU offers 9 online undergraduate and graduate degrees in career-advancing fields like business, fire administration, healthcare, criminal justice and more.

Experienced faculty teach engaging, job-relevant online courses. Small class sizes ensure personalized support. Students access career resources for resume help, interview prep and networking. Earning an accredited CSU online degree opens doors to new career opportunities without campus visits. The flexible format suits working professionals. With customized resources empowering online learners, CSU provides accessible, career-focused education to transform lives and fulfill student potential.

#11 University of Houston-Downtown

Houston, Texas

Tuition: $13,100

The University of Houston-Downtown provides pathways for students to complete their degrees online through transfer-friendly upper-level programs. UHD offers 15 online bachelor's degree completion programs and 4 online graduate degrees tailored for transfer students from community colleges or other universities.

UHD's online courses deliver flexibility along with an interactive learning experience identical in quality and rigor to on-campus classes. Students engage with faculty and peers through discussion boards, live chats, video lectures and other digital tools promoting active participation. Credits earned online fully transfer to UHD degree plans. Curriculums align with on-campus programs to facilitate seamless degree progression after transferring.

#12 Western New Mexico University

Silver City, New Mexico

Tuition: $14,023

Western New Mexico University (WNMU) provides flexible pathways for students to earn their degree online. WNMU offers over 40 accredited online undergraduate and graduate programs in career-oriented fields. With affordable tuition rates and multiple start dates per year, WNMU's online programs accommodate working professionals and non-traditional students seeking to advance their careers.

Courses use interactive platforms with multimedia content, discussions, and collaboration tools to engage learners. WNMU’s online degrees uphold the academic standards and rigor of on-campus programs. Experienced faculty train students in skills applicable to in-demand jobs. Offerings span fields like business, education, nursing, computer science, and more at the bachelor’s and master's levels.

#13 University of New Hampshire College of Professional Studies

Manchester, New Hampshire

Tuition: $16,665

Over 50 years ago, the University System of New Hampshire established a mission to provide higher education access for all motivated learners. As the College for Lifelong Learning and later Granite State College, it pioneered flexible pathways for working adults. In 2023, Granite State College merged into the University of New Hampshire as the UNH College of Professional Studies, uniting values of access with innovation. The College focuses on empowering students and workforce needs.

The College offers career-oriented associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fields like business, education, healthcare and technology. Classes blend online and on-campus formats to accommodate working students. With affordable tuition and strong student support, the College makes earning a degree achievable. Staying true to its mission, the UNH College of Professional Studies delivers flexible, career-focused education to transform lives.

#14 Central Methodist University-College of Graduate and Extended Studies

Fayette, Missouri

Tuition: $17,143

Central Michigan University provides over 80 accredited online programs with the flexibility and convenience busy learners need. Students can complete bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees fully online across diverse academic fields. Online students get CMU’s renowned academic rigor and quality instruction.

Interactive online courses connect students with faculty experts. Programs align with in-demand jobs. Optimized resources provide advising, tutoring, libraries and tech support. Affordable tuition makes earning a respected CMU degree achievable. With excellence in online education and support services, CMU Online empowers career-focused adults to earn credentials fitting their lifestyles.

#15 Waldorf University

Forest City, Iowa

Tuition: $21,604

With over 100 years of teaching expertise, Waldorf University provides a wide selection of online associate's, bachelor's and master's degrees spanning over 20 in-demand majors. Online offerings include programs in business, criminal justice, education, healthcare, homeland security, human resources, psychology and other fields. Experienced faculty teach engaging online courses that uphold Waldorf's academic excellence.

Students access comprehensive support services and career counseling online. Waldorf's affordable online programs deliver the rigorous career preparation the university is known for. Leveraging its longstanding education experience and diverse online offerings, Waldorf empowers learners to earn their degree online and pursue purposeful careers improving their communities.

#16 Southern New Hampshire University Online


Tuition: $22,873

With over 200 online degree programs focused on flexibility and affordability, Southern New Hampshire University provides pathways for students to achieve career success and personal fulfillment. As an accredited, nonprofit online university, SNHU aims to make higher education accessible to all motivated learners. The university offers online associate's, bachelor's and master's degrees spanning diverse academic disciplines, with some of the lowest tuition rates nationwide.

SNHU's career-focused online programs equip graduates with the knowledge, hands-on skills and professional connections for advancement. Courses deliver engaging learning experiences using interactive technologies and multimedia tools. Student support services are optimized for online learners, including academic advising, tutoring, libraries and tech support. Experienced faculty provide mentorship and feedback facilitating academic and personal growth.

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. With accelerated 8-week courses and tuition around $1,800 annually, students can complete these flexible programs in 2 years or less. Available career-oriented online associate degrees include Business Administration, Computer Information Systems, Criminal Justice, Early Childhood Education, Healthcare Administration, and Nursing. The curriculum for each program aims to develop entry-level skills tailored to the corresponding industry or occupation.

Students complete assignments and engage in discussions as part of intimate cohorts overseen by dedicated faculty members. This facilitates personalized support and collaboration. Admission requires a high school diploma or equivalent. Upon graduating, students will have gained the expertise to qualify for in-demand roles related to their field of study. With its affordable tuition and career-focused majors, EGCC’s online associate degree options provide accessible, practical higher education with value for today’s job market.

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

2. Luna Community College

Average Net Price: $3,900

Luna Community College offers several online associate degree options focused on high-demand career fields. With affordable tuition and asynchronous courses in 8-week sessions, adult learners can gain relevant skills flexibly and within 2 years. The online associate degrees available at LCC include Business Administration, Computer Information Systems, Criminal Justice, Early Childhood Education, Medical Assistant, and Nursing. Each program aims to develop entry-level expertise tailored to the corresponding industry.

Students learn through assignments, discussions, and projects with support from dedicated faculty members. The accredited programs require a high school diploma or GED for admission. By providing focused online associate degrees aligned to in-demand jobs, Luna CC empowers adult learners to gain career skills affordably and on a flexible schedule. Students complete their chosen degree pathway prepared to enter roles related to their field of study.

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 in New Mexico provides students with a fantastic opportunity to gain an invaluable higher education. They offer seven fully online degree programs: Behavioral Science, business administration, computer information systems, criminal justice, general studies, paralegal studies, and liberal arts.

Clovis’ low-class sizes and professor-pupil ratio are frequently cited as 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. ranks the school as the 5th best community college in New Mexico and gives it an overall 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.

4. Georgia Northwestern Technical College

Average Net Price: $4,038

Georgia Northwestern Technical College offers several online associate degree options focused on preparing students for today’s in-demand careers. With affordable tuition and asynchronous courses in accelerated 5-week terms, adults can gain relevant skills flexibly within 2 years. Available career-oriented online associate degrees at GNTC include Business Management, Criminal Justice, Early Childhood Care and Education, Healthcare Management, and Information Technology. Each program aims to cultivate specific skills tailored to the corresponding industry or occupation.

Experienced faculty serve as mentors and guides through the curriculum. A high school diploma or GED is required for admission. By aligning its online associate degree offerings with high-demand job fields, GNTC provides an accessible pathway for adult learners to gain skills applicable to real-world roles. Students graduate ready to apply their focused knowledge.

5. Tallahassee Community College

Average Net Price: $4,136

Tallahassee Community College offers several online associate degree options focused on preparing students for growing career fields. With accelerated 8-week courses and asynchronous delivery, adults can gain relevant skills affordably and on a flexible schedule, completing their degree within 2 years. TCC’s career-oriented online associate degree options include Business Administration, Criminal Justice Technology, Early Childhood Education, Health Services Management, and Nursing. Each program aims to develop knowledge and skills tailored to the corresponding industry or occupation.

Experienced faculty provide guidance and support as students progress through the curriculum. A high school diploma or GED is required for admission. By aligning its online degrees with in-demand fields, TCC enables working adults to gain specialized skills applicable to real-world roles. Graduates complete their program ready to apply their focused expertise.

6. Cuyahoga Community College District

Average Net Price: $5,296

Cuyahoga Community College offers several focused online associate degrees designed to prepare adult learners for today's in-demand careers in an affordable and flexible format. Available career-oriented online associate degree options at Tri-C include Business Management, Computer Information Systems, Criminal Justice, Early Childhood Education, Human Services, and Nursing. Each program aims to build specific skills tailored to the relevant industry or occupation.

With asynchronous courses delivered in accelerated 5-week terms, working adults can complete an accredited online degree from Tri-C within 2 years. Experienced faculty provide individualized mentoring along the way. A high school diploma or equivalent is required for admission. By aligning programs to growing fields, Tri-C enables learners to gain specialized skills and knowledge applicable to real-world roles on a schedule that fits their life.

7. Wake Technical Community College

Average Net Price: $5,609

With an expansive catalog of over 100 online associate and certificate programs, Wake Technical Community College offers unmatched variety and flexibility for adult learners to gain career skills affordably. Wake Tech provides one of the most extensive selections of online offerings available, spanning diverse career fields such as Business Administration, Computer Technologies, Healthcare, Public Safety, Early Childhood Education, Hospitality and Culinary Arts, Arts and Humanities, Science and Engineering, and much more.

By using asynchronous course delivery, students can progress through curriculum on their own schedule. With a high school diploma or GED, most programs can be completed fully online within 2 years or less. Wake Tech stands out with its exceptional range of career-focused online programs tailored to adults' professional interests and goals. With abundant options, affordable tuition, and accessible online access, Wake Tech gives learners an ideal opportunity to obtain relevant skills for today's top fields while shaping their education around their life. Students can prepare for in-demand careers with flexibility and focus.

8. Laramie County Community College

Average Net Price: $5,717

Laramie County Community College offers unparalleled variety and flexibility for adult learners with over 50 online degree and certificate options to gain career skills affordably. LCCC provides one of the most robust catalogs of online programs available. Offerings span fields such as Bachelor's degrees in high-demand areas like Management and Healthcare Administration, Associate degrees in Business, Accounting, Computer Science, Criminal Justice, Education, Engineering, IT, Psychology, and targeted certificates in Cybersecurity, Data Analytics, Network Administration, Medical, Paralegal, and more.

The asynchronous course delivery allows working students to progress on their own schedule. With just a high school diploma, most programs can be completed fully online within 2 years. LCCC's immense selection of career-focused online programs tailored to adults' interests gives learners unmatched opportunity to advance their career on their own terms. With abundant specialized choices, affordable tuition, and flexible access, LCCC enables professional growth and focus for today's in-demand fields.

9. Ivy Tech Community College

Average Net Price: $6,685

At Ivy Tech Community College, our online degrees provide exceptional flexibility paired with the high-quality education that has made us Indiana's largest public college system. As an Ivy Tech online student, you can complete your coursework on your own schedule from the comfort of home. Our online classes give you full access to Ivy Tech's academic resources and supportive services. You'll receive one-on-one guidance from instructors, connect to tutoring and advising, and leverage career development tools - all virtually.

Our online students form diverse, statewide perspectives by collaborating with peers from across Indiana, the country, and the world. The skills you build through self-directed online learning will showcase to employers your ability to work independently leveraging technology. With over 500 online courses available each term spanning 23 fully online academic programs, you're sure to find options matching your interests. Your online credits seamlessly transfer to other Indiana colleges and universities as you advance your education. At Ivy Tech, our student-centered online degrees empower you with the real-world skills and knowledge to advance your career, while offering flexibility to fit learning around your life. Discover the Ivy Tech difference as Indiana's leader 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. It has approximately 3,800 enrollees, including traditional, online, and hybrid students, and the ratio of students to faculty at GBC is 15:1.

GBC offers 17 online associate 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.

11. Alvin Community College

Average Net Price: $8,235

Alvin Community College provides online pathways to earning an Associate of Arts degree in Psychology or Sociology. These affordable and flexible programs allow working adults to advance their knowledge from anywhere. The online Psychology degree covers concepts such as human growth and development, theories of personality, abnormal psychology, research methods, and more. Students gain insight into human behaviors and relationships.

The online Sociology degree explores areas including social institutions, cultural diversity, social change and movements, inequality, and behavioral analysis. Learners understand society's organizations, functions, and issues. Both programs use asynchronous online course delivery so students can progress on their schedule. Dedicated faculty provide support. Within 2 years, an accredited associate degree can be earned fully online. Alvin CC's online AA degrees in Psychology and Sociology provide adult learners an accessible way to grow their understanding of human interactions and societies. Graduates gain transferable credits to pursue bachelor's degrees and advance their careers.

12. Lone Star College System

Average Net Price: $8,654

With several online degree and certificate programs, Lone Star College System provides exceptional variety and flexibility for students to advance their education and careers affordably. Lone Star stands out as one of the largest community college systems in the state of Texas. Across its multiple campuses, Lone Star offers one of the most extensive online learning catalogs available. Programs span diverse academic and technical fields, from general education to healthcare, business, computer science, criminal justice, and much more.

By leveraging asynchronous courses, students can complete curriculum on their schedule. Most programs take 2 years or less to finish with full online flexibility. Dedicated faculty provide support through virtual tools fostering engaging, personalized learning. Lone Star prioritizes access and opportunity for all learners. With abundant online program options paired with the lowest tuition cost in the region, Lone Star enables students to shape their education around their lives and interests.

13. Broward College

Average Net Price: $14,577

With an array of options for online associate and certificate programs, Broward College provides exceptional flexibility and variety for students to gain career skills affordably and on their schedule. Broward stands out as one of Florida’s largest, most diverse community colleges, recognized nationally for online excellence. Across its campuses, Broward offers one of the most extensive online learning catalogs in the state. Programs align with many of today's top fields like healthcare, business, computer science, supply chain, education, and more.

By leveraging intuitive course platforms and asynchronous schedules, students can balance school with other responsibilities. Most programs take just 2 years or less to complete fully online. Experienced faculty mentor students through interactive online tools and resources. Whether upskilling for a promotion, changing industries, or seeking foundational credits to transfer and further your studies, Broward has an online program option to meet your needs. Discover the Broward difference and let their student-focused approach advance your future.

14. Rio Grande Valley College

Average Net Price: $21,601

At Rio Grande Valley College, we provide online degree and certificate programs that equip students with career-focused skills tailored to today's in-demand fields. Our online offerings span a wide range of areas including business administration, criminal justice, early childhood education, healthcare administration, information technology, and more. Programs are designed in 8-week sessions for flexibility.

By studying online at Rio Grande Valley College, students can complete assignments and access student support services on their own time. Dedicated faculty provide mentorship through interactive online tools. Most programs can be fully completed online in just 2 years or less. With affordable tuition rates and accessible online delivery, we empower students to advance their education and careers on their terms. Join the over 5,000 online students at Rio Grande Valley College gaining relevant skills for the modern job market. With personalized support and practical online programs tied to growing industries, we help students in South Texas and beyond shape their own path to success.

Financial Aid for Online Students: Your Guide to Paying for Online Classes

Taking online classes is a great way to reach your educational goals without commuting but you should be aware of the financial implications of enrolling beforehand. Consider how the investment of school may affect your budget before signing up. Fortunately, many schools offer flexible payment options and scholarships that can help make the cost of online classes more manageable for you. There are various student financial aid options available for those studying online. This guide intends to give a thorough breakdown of different career prospects and how to successfully apply for them. Consequently, it is essential that you put in the effort to analyze and comprehend the different opportunities accessible.

Federal Aid for Online College: Grants and Loans

Financially challenged students can turn to the federal government for help and support. Grants like the Federal Pell Grant, give a great opportunity to pursue online classes without accruing debt as they do not have to be paid back. In order to stay eligible, students need to maintain a satisfactory academic performance. The maximum award amount for the 2023-24 academic year is $7,395.

Federal loans, including subsidized loans, can be used by learners to cover their college expenses. Subsidized loans only incur interest once students graduate. Hence, students are able to attend university without the concern of building interest during their studies.

State Aid for Online College: Grants, Scholarships, and Tuition-Free Community College

Numerous states have various grants and loan options, including virtual classes to aid students in their college expenses. Eight states use a state lottery to fund merit-based scholarships or provide students with tuition-free community college. Eligibility requirements vary by state, so learners should research what options are available in their state.

Scholarships for Online College: Awards Based on Merit

Scholarships are another great resource for students to help cover the cost of their online schooling. Scholarships provide an opportunity to finance the costs associated with taking online classes. They're essentially free money that can alleviate some of the financial burdens associated with higher education. Colleges and private institutions award scholarships, and scholarship committees consider applicants' GPAs and extracurricular activities. Deadlines and application materials vary by scholarship, and recipients do not have to pay the scholarship back as long as they make sufficient academic progress.

Loans for Online College: Private Lenders

Private lenders, including banks, offer student loans to help students pay for educational expenses. Private loans, unlike some federal loans, start accruing interest pre-graduation and may have a higher interest rate. Students ineligible for federal loans can turn to private loans, but loans can negatively impact learners' financial health. Students should use loans as a last resort.

Employer Assistance for Online Colleges: Tuition-Reimbursement Programs

Many employers offer employee tuition-reimbursement programs, which can be an excellent way for learners to get financial aid for online classes. Several elements may be taken into account when assessing eligibility for tuition reimbursement, including economic situation and academic achievement. Some employers may require employees to major in an approved subject or meet specific GPA requirements.

As stipulated in the agreement, recipients of financial aid for their studies usually need to remain employed for a certain duration after graduation as part of their commitment. This helps guarantee the funds were properly used and invested in beneficial ways. This helps ensure that the funds provided were not wasted and invested in a meaningful way. This helps ensure that the funds provided were not wasted and invested in a meaningful way. Employees who leave before this date may have liable for repayment of part or all of their tuition assistance.

Completing the FAFSA for Online School: Your First Step to Financial Aid

Remember to complete the FAFSA when applying for online college courses as it is an essential part of the financial aid process. Completing your FAFSA on time is critical in order to acquire all the required funding that you need. It's essential to ensure your form is filled out correctly and submitted promptly. This process helps assess students' eligibility & they need to submit necessary monetary data by the annual federal application deadline in order to be considered.

Eligibility for the FAFSA: American Citizens and Permanent Residents

Completing the FAFSA is essential if you need financial assistance to cover your educational costs. Submitting the form will make you eligible for federal student aid. Moreover, to remain eligible, recipients need to follow the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) criterion set by their schools.

Each college evaluates Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) differently so it is essential to know the criteria of your school. The requirements may include a specific GPA score or a certain number of credits taken each semester. Make sure you review your school's guidelines carefully.
Learners must submit the FAFSA each year, and students or their guardians must provide current financial information that affects aid amounts.

Application Process for the FAFSA: Register and Submit Required Financial Information

The FAFSA website outlines the application process in detail, including answers to 2022's most frequently asked questions. First, students must create an FSA ID to secure and access their account and information whenever needed.

For students who are dependents to be eligible, parents must share relevant financial documents such as their W-2s and other tax documents with the school. In some cases, other forms of verification may also be necessary to accurately report their income status.

Submitting Your FAFSA: How to Maximize Your Financial Aid Opportunities

Are you struggling to afford college? FAFSA has helped millions of students to reach their higher education goals. This free application makes it easy to access Federal Student Aid and make sure your journey to academic success is financially doable and to help you avoid compromising loans. Higher education institutions often use a thorough process to assess candidates' eligibility for grants, scholarships, work-study programs and student loans to help FAFSA determine each person's eligibility.

Critical Deadlines: Submit Your FAFSA Before the Priority Deadline

To get the most financial aid possible, submitting your FAFSA on time is crucial. The application opens on October 1 every year. Remember that these are federal deadlines, but many states have their deadlines, which can be earlier. Be sure to check with your school's financial aid department to determine the deadline for your state and institution.

Submitting Your FAFSA: Review Your SAR and Make Corrections

Following the submission of your FAFSA, you should expect a Student Aid Report, or SAR, within three to five days through an online filing. The SAR will show you the Expected Family Contribution, the amount your family is expected to contribute to your education. Colleges use this number to determine your financial aid eligibility.

It's important to review your SAR carefully to ensure all the information is accurate. You can log in to your FAFSA account and make changes if any mistakes are identified. It helps to inform the financial aid office at your school of alterations you make on the FAFSA website so that their records match.

Maximizing Your Financial Aid Opportunities: Tips for Success

Submitting your FAFSA on time and reviewing your SAR for accuracy are essential steps in maximizing your financial aid opportunities. To maximize your chances of getting aid, you can take the following additional steps which will help increase the possibility of receiving financial support.

Research your options: Students have access to plentiful financing from private organizations and businesses in the form of scholarships and grants for research.

Apply for state aid: In addition to federal aid, many states offer their financial aid programs. You can check with your state's higher education agency for available programs.

Consider work-study: Work-study programs allow you to earn money while attending college. Investing your time in researching the financial aid options available at your school can prove beneficial.

Knowing the deadlines and qualifications for FAFSA can help you ensure that you maximize your use of available financial aid. Keeping track of this information will also allow you to plan your college expenses more effectively and efficiently manage your finances.

Cheapest Online Colleges FAQ

How much does an online college degree cost?

Choosing an online bachelor’s degree program can be a daunting task, and tuition fees are typically the number one factor students have to consider. Always compare the different options available before choosing a program to suit your needs and budget. For those with fewer means, community colleges, and in-state public institutions are designed to help people overcome hurdles.

Are online schools a cheaper option?

If you enroll in online schooling, typical traditional college costs such as housing, transportation, and fees won’t be a concern. It is often more affordable than campus-based learning and the convenience it offers can be invaluable. The wide variety of online degrees can make enrolling in an online program cheaper than on-campus.

What is the cheapest degree to 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.

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 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.

Which affordable online college has the lowest cost?

For many students, one of the best way to obtain affordable education is to look at local state and community colleges near you. Community colleges are highly likely to offer various options regarding foundational coursework in your field of interest.

According to EDsmart's 2023 Cheapest Accredited 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?

With the various funding options available, you can easily finance your education costs without any hassle. You can explore your options which includes federal grants, loans, work-study programs, and education tax credits or deductions which you can apply for. Grants and scholarships are the preferred mode of financial aid for most 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?

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.

Making Online College More Affordable

1. For many students, opting for a two-year local college such as a community or junior college to pursue higher education is a financially viable choice due to its affordability. According to the College Board, tuition & fees at such institutions were less than $4K in 2021-2022 - compared to public universities at almost $11K. Plus, you can earn credits or obtain an associates degree here. This means taking your first two years of college at an inexpensive local junior or technical institute could actually save you some money.

2. Participating in an Advanced Placement or IB program is highly suggested for those seeking an edge when applying to colleges. Such programs can give you the upper hand you need to land a spot at your desired university. It's an excellent way to get ready for the academic rigor of higher education institutions. It bridges the gap between secondary and college studies, helping them stay ahead of their classmates and build a strong base for university life. This is an outstanding way to get a head start in their university journey. 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. Moving to another state for residence can make sense to save money on your education expenses. Moving to a certain state can bring you many advantages, like being able to enjoy lower tuition fees as an in-state student. This can help you save money on college expenses.

4. Apply for the FAFSA - Annually, the U.S. Department of Education gives around $8,390 per pupil through scholarships and grants. This is enough to fund tuition costs for a two-year college and nearly cover it at public universities. Completing the FAFSA registration quickly is essential to get the most out of it as funds are limited.

From, "Most colleges send out financial aid award letters around the same time as admission offer letters. Submitting your FAFSA form early, and in accordance with the college’s accepted timeline, can increase your chances of receiving financial aid faster. However, the competition you are up against also has an effect on how soon you receive the aid. Taking all these factors into account is crucial when considering this matter.

5. Take 12-18 credits per semester - Some four-year institutions offer cost-saving flat tuition rates for students taking 12 to 18 credits per term. For example, students who are Michigan residents and meet certain criteria such as earning less than $65,000 per year, providing proof of grants or loans each year, and enrolling full-time during semesters, can receive scholarship funds from Michigan Higher Education Aid, which covers fees for lab space and equipment usage.

How to Pay for Your Online Degree

For students, finding the right degree program can be challenging—this is especially true for those on a tight budget.

If you’re looking for ways to minimize college costs. Completing the FAFSA is an essential step toward gaining access to available financial aid options like scholarships, loans, grants, and work-study programs.

Filling out a FAFSA will assist in determining your eligibility for them. Individuals can also apply for federal scholarships and field-specific or merit-based scholarships. The FAFSA is the place to start.

Employer Tuition Reimbursement

Many online students are using 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. Distance Learning Scholarships 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 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 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.


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.

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