cheap online course

Sometimes the cost of something makes a difference–especially when the something in question is a bargain. The fifty online universities outlined below range widely in their locations and in the variety of programs offered. What they share, however, is the quality of excellence at a good price. Even if you have not considered an online education for yourself, you probably already know many people who have earned or are earning their college degree with a “distance education.” The value of taking classes at one’s own convenience cannot be overstated, and the diploma gained by online courses is every bit as genuine and useful in the working world as a degree obtained at a brick-and-mortar institution.

The schools reviewed below would most likely recommend their programs not to the recent high school graduate but to students who may have a semester or two of traditional college experience under their belts, simply so that the rigors of coursework are familiar. Online colleges even offer tests you can take to ascertain your readiness and the likelihood your online skills are adequate for the task. Appropriately enough, these tests are online. As a further nod to the more experienced students, schools welcome those who transfer in.

After reading the reviews of fifty affordable universities, you may come to the conclusion that the word “affordable” refers only to the price of tuition for a college education, which you may see as priceless.

Our assessments are based on faculty to student ratio, the number of bachelor’s offerings, USNEWS ranking, presence of associates degrees, per hour tuition rate, five points for regional accreditation.

US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT RANKING

  • Top 20 – 5 points
  • Top 50 – 4 points
  • Top 100 – 3 points
  • Top 150 – 2 points
  • Top 200 – 1 point

FACULTY-TO-STUDENT RATIO

    • 13:1 or fewer – 5 points
    • 17:1 or fewer – 4 points
    • 21:1 or fewer – 3 points
    • 27:1 or fewer – 2 points
    • 28 and above – 1 point

HOURLY TUITION RATE

    • Under $250 – 5 points
    • Under $400 – 4 points
    • Under $550 – 3 points
    • Under $700 – 2 points
    • Under $850 – 1 point

PAYSCALE.COM SALARY REPORT RANKING

    • Top 100 – 5 points
    • Top 350 – 4 points
    • Top 600 – 3 points
    • Top 800 – 2 points
    • Top 1200 – 1 point
    • Regional accreditation – 5 points

  •  

#50 – Kent State University

KENT, OHIO

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 20 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: NOT RANKED

PAYSCALE RANKING: 919TH

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 10

Website

With four associates and six bachelor’s including public health, and respiratory care, insurance studies–Kent State University has built up a competitive online academic setting and rates well among peer schools. The university charges those studying for their bachelor’s degrees online $825 per credit hour for those out of state. Kent State University online BA/BS is made available to full and part-time students and accepts students among a virtual student body fifteen years in the making. If considering graduate school, Kent State supplies equally well-rated programs, particularly in information science.

#49 – Bellevue University

BELLEVUE, NEBRASKA

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 40 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: NOT RANKED

PAYSCALE RANKING: 883RD

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 10

Website

Bellevue University features more than three dozen online bachelor’s options, from sustainability management to investigations. The $415 per credit tuition for online undergraduates affords the students an experience matching that of those in-person. The Bellevue University website clearly lays out how to approach online study that parallels live classes. For instance, the school utilizes its “Cyber-Active Online Classroom” to keep students in regular attendance, in interaction with student peers, and in contact with support services such as the Tutoring and Study Skills Center. Further, Bellevue’s online faculty have been prepared with rigorous distance-teaching training.

#48 – University of Houston Victoria

VICTORIA, TEXAS

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 16 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: NOT RANKED

PAYSCALE RANKING: NOT RANKED

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 11

Website

Though it began as a graduate-level school, the University of Houston Victoria now has twenty online bachelor’s options. Degrees offered range from general business to creative writing. Tuition at the university is $615.42 per credit for students from out of state. The University of Houston Victoria is part of the Student Pathways among other University of Houston colleges, thus the school is open to a range of in-city transfers. To get into an online program, students must complete the application and submit materials to the ApplyTexas.org site.

#47 – Purdue University Fort Wayne

FORT WAYNE, INDIANA

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 14 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: 173 (TIE)

PAYSCALE RANKING: NOT RANKED

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 12

Website

Purdue University Fort Wayne contains in its well-regarded programs six bachelor’s and three master’s degrees online, ranging from business management to information systems. Minors include women’s studies and information systems. $676.25 is what out state students pay per credit for tuition. Purdue University Fort Wayne has seen its 100% online degrees regularly ranked highly on lists of best distance learning programs. The school site emphasizes how well the programs work for veterans and service members at home and abroad. Other emphases for students in continuing studies include sharpening your skills, growing your business, and personal enrichment.

#46 – University of South Florida

TAMPA, FLORIDA

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 22 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: NOT RANKED

PAYSCALE RANKING: 483RD

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 12

Website

The University of South Florida has developed seven bachelor’s degree completion options. The school has a great array of customized degree or single-course options for those that need to be distance students. Also, the use of the Electronic Campus system more readily improves student services, including technical, financial, and academic advising. Recently seeing a vast size and breadth expansion of its online undergraduate degree programs, the University of South Florida charges $575.01 for out of state student tuition.

#45 – Chadron State College

CHADRON, NEBRASKA

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 18 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: NOT RANKED

PAYSCALE RANKING: NOT RANKED

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 12

Website

Chadron State College offers six fully online bachelor’s with a few other partially online options. There are four online master’s degrees. The school charges no out of state fees for anyone, only an affordable $289 per credit for its undergraduates. The graduate tuition rate is also reasonable at $361.24 per credit. For more than a hundred years, Chadron State College has been a modest-sized institution devoted to its undergraduates. Its online bachelor’s programs have been similarly thoughtful, offering its students 24/7 helplines and accelerated schedules designed specifically to help students get through a program efficiently.

#44 – University of North Carolina Greensboro

GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 18 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: NOT RANKED

PAYSCALE RANKING: 1277TH

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 12

Website

The University of North Carolina Greensboro program contains nine bachelor’s degrees, including supply chain management and integrated professional studies. The University of North Carolina Greensboro will cost online students a tuition of $340.89 per credit hour if out of state. The school emphasizes a faculty with serious real-world experience who advise accordingly, and produce a support system that regularly ranks among the most affordable online undergraduate programs in major college lists. Internationally, the school has developed its reputation as an online program that matches in-class rigor and study.

#43 – Western Governors University

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 41 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: NOT RANKED

PAYSCALE RANKING: 595TH

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 13

Website

With degrees in the fields of business, IT, teaching and health and nursing, Western Governors University charges an undergraduate tuition rate of $3,225 per six-month term. In that six month term you will complete a series of “competency units” (that are roughly equivalent to 3-hour courses) through studies and exams and however many “CU’s” you are able to complete in a term, this system puts you that much closer to graduation. Which can result in savings of time and money for an online student with the right skills at Western Governors University.

#42 – Southern Utah University

CEDAR CITY, UTAH

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 19 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: NOT RANKED

PAYSCALE RANKING: 793RD

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 13

Website

Also a regular among the most affordable colleges lists, Southern Utah University’s seven bachelor’s degree programs–from accounting to nursing–and two associates. Southern Utah University charges $465 per credit hour for online undergraduate student tuition. Emphatically the school offers “caring personal advisors” at any time. In the realm of financial advice and assistance, the school Freshman Scholarships are available to those that apply. If you are a transfer student, you may have available scholarships as well as helpful transfer policies.

#41 – East New Mexico University

PORTALES, NEW MEXICO

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 17 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: NOT RANKED

PAYSCALE RANKING: NOT RANKED

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 13

Website

East New Mexico University offers a fairly developed twenty-six online bachelor’s degrees – from Spanish to hospitality management. The university offers special support for online students, services including an online writing lab run specifically for distance students. East New Mexico University requires online students pay a fair tuition of $338.66 per credit hour. Similarly, the school’s online library provides distance students access to streamed class materials via the Mediasite and Blackboard.

#40 – Indiana University East

RICHMOND, INDIANA

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 14 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: NOT RANKED

PAYSCALE RANKING: NOT RANKED

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 13

Website

Indiana University East highlights degree completion, offering fourteen online bachelor’s degree completion programs. Areas of study include informatics and political science. The university charges $321.34 per credit for online undergraduates online that are out of state. Indiana University East focuses particularly on veterans by pointing them in the direction of counseling and VA benefits. To bridge Ivy Tech students and this university, “Pathways” has been arranged to make transition into four-year programs as smooth as possible. Recent additions to the curriculum include an honors program just for online students.

#39 – University of Maine Augusta

AUGUSTA, MAINE

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 15 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: NOT RANKED

PAYSCALE RANKING: NOT RANKED

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 13

Website

The University of Maine Augusta has thoroughly developed bachelor’s degree programs with more than twenty online bachelor’s degree options. You may opt for areas such as governmental accounting and public administration. The school asks $291 per credit hour for out of state online students. The University of Maine Augusta has arranged the development of multiple centers throughout the state to take care of the necessities of distance-learning, especially in a weather-challenged (that is, snowy) school like the Augusta campus. To take exams, submit materials, or use computers in labs, eight of these centers are located throughout the area.

#38 – University of North Alabama

FLORENCE, ALABAMA

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 18 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: 183

PAYSCALE RANKING: 1209TH

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 13

Website

The University of North Alabama now includes nine online bachelor’s degrees. Included among the specialized resources for distance students: a writing center with spring, fall, June & July sessions available; a library that aligns online and in-person academic support; Canvas resources; and advising services. The University of North Alabama asks online students, in-state or not, to pay a tuition of $277. To keep up to date in its techniques and missions as a distance-learning institution, the school maintains membership in the electronic campus.

#37 – Marshall University

HUNTINGTON, WEST VIRGINIA

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 19 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: NOT RANKED

PAYSCALE RANKING: 1010TH

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 13

Website

Marshall University’s four bachelor’s all-online degrees feature: geography, medical laboratory science, nursing, and the regents’ degree, the latter of which is designed specifically for adult learners that have academic or work requirements to meet. Marshall University requires tuition of $254.25 per credit hour, which is among the most affordable on this list. The school offers academic and technical services tailored to the needs of online students. The Writing Center, for instance, offers tutoring and staff connections to university librarians. Of course, advising for study and financial aid are constantly available for distance learners.

#36 – Kennesaw State University

KENNESAW, GEORGIA

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 21 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: NOT RANKED

PAYSCALE RANKING: NOT RANKED

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 13

Website

Kennesaw State University’s sixteen online bachelor’s degrees draw upon the same faculty online and in-person design to deliver these courses, using learning software called Desire2Learn (D2L) Brightspace. Kennesaw State University asks a very reasonable tuition rate of $232 per semester hour for online students. For this rate, the university provides online education from a widely acknowledged leader in online bachelor’s degree programs. Attention to student needs is thanks to flexible scheduling, the preparation students get for transferring, and using D2L to maintain a familiar 16 week fall and spring with an 8 week summer course length.

#35 – Valley City State University

VALLEY CITY, NORTH DAKOTA

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 13 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: 173 (TIE)

PAYSCALE RANKING: NOT RANKED

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 14

Website

Valley City State University features eleven bachelors options from business education to technical education to music. To aid students in making the transition into distance learning and maintaining it, the school hosts a learning center with tutors online and off, counseling services to cope with pressures, the technical services desk that provides a “one-stop” crossroads into the systems, and further student services related to financial aid and other necessities. Valley City State University charges its online undergraduates $540.24 per credit hour for tuition.

#34 – University of Alabama

TUSCALOOSA, ALABAMA

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 23 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: NOT RANKED

PAYSCALE RANKING: 418TH

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 14

Website

Responding to jumping demand for distance learning, the University of Alabama has developed fifteen online bachelor’s degrees. These degrees range from applied health science to nursing to Spanish. The University of Alabama charges $364 for online tuition, even for out-of-state students. From the main page of the BamaByDistance homepage, you can grow deeply informed about your typical daily technical and academic needs, and you can also find out how to get more fully involved in specific areas of research or conference work. Of course, the university has extensive graduate degree programs offered online and parallel to live courses, the same way undergraduate degree programs are run.

#33 – University of Alaska Southeast

JUNEAU, ALASKA

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 10 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: NOT RANKED

PAYSCALE RANKING: NOT RANKED

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 14

Website

The University of Alaska Southeast has produced highly rated online academic programs, including five associates and five bachelor’s degrees. Special education and social science are two of these options. The school charges a reasonable $302 per credit hour for those out of state. The University of Alaska Southeast emphasizes its consistency among live and online undergraduate learning experience. Of course, location necessitates well-structured and reliable system for online students. The school’s “Getting Ahead” section clarifies most of what you need to know as a future online student, featuring methods of e-learning delivery such as audio conference and satellite (UATV); specific financial aid advice for distance learners; and further tips regarding how to best acclimate to e-learning.

#32 – Minot State University

MINOT, NORTH DAKOTA

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 12 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: NOT RANKED

PAYSCALE RANKING: NOT RANKED

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 14

With a well-developed and growing online curriculum, Minot State University has nine online bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice and human services. Students can take advantage of concentrations such as health management science and international marketing. Beyond undergraduate online degrees, the school also features one associates and ten master’s. A tuition of $294.32 per undergraduate credit is offered, with no out of state fees charged. Minot State University avails future students three start dates a year and has a helpful “Getting Started” page that can connect you to your future faculty and advisors. That page notes that you will need $35 for the application, ACT scores, a college prep course report form, among other detailed necessities.

#31 – Great Basin College

ELKO, NEVADA

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 16 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: NOT RANKED

PAYSCALE RANKING: NOT RANKED

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 14

Website

Great Basin College has developed 7 bachelor’s degrees, including RN to BSN and land surveying/geomatics. The school also has an array of 19 associates options including early childhood education and graphic communication. Students are charged a very reasonable $248.25 per credit for upper division coursework if the online students are from out of state. Great Basin College has regularly made it onto great bargain schools’ lists for its affordability and for its range of degrees from science and applied science to liberal arts.

#30 – Georgia Southwest State University

AMERICUS, GEORGIA

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 17 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: NOT RANKED

PAYSCALE RANKING: NOT RANKED

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 14

Website

Georgia Southwest State University has four online schools: nursing; computing & mathematics; business administration; and arts & sciences. Georgia Southwest State University asks for the exceedingly affordable tuition of $199 per credit hour, online with no out of state penalty or rate increase. Via the school’s Registration and Academic Information Network (RAIN), students have access to crucial course information, including charts with text and materials costs. Students get advisement in-person, if possible, with the larger plan to maintain a parallel track to graduation with all traditional students.

#29 – University of the Cumberlands

WILLIAMSBURG, KENTUCKY

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 17 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: NOT RANKED

PAYSCALE RANKING: NOT RANKED

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 14

Website

Online bachelor’s study at the University of the Cumberlands has grown to fifteen bachelor’s options, with great variety in business degrees, but with a number of religious and information technology programs as well. Academic support includes off-campus, or online, tutoring through the resource office. Hagen Memorial Library offers chats, ask-a-librarian modes, and a “UC Megasearch” that gives students access to nearly all databases in a single search. The University of the Cumberlands asks online undergraduates to pay a tuition of $199 per credit hour, which is among the most affordable here.

#28 – Appalachian State University

BOONE, NORTH CAROLINA

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 16 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: 93

PAYSCALE RANKING: 884TH

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 15

Website

Appalachian State University now has eleven bachelor’s degrees online, including middle grades education and communication studies among them. A tuition of $643.50 per unit is charged for students online and out of state. If you choose, say, a BS in middle grades education, you can opt for a range of concentrations such as science and social studies or science and language arts. Appalachian State University has been widely recognized for its robust online education due to its supportive services, including full or part-time flexibility as well as fairly accelerated programs, such as the bachelor of science noted above, which can be completed in 2.5 years.

#27 – Northern Illinois University

DEKALB, ILLINOIS

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 16 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: NOT RANKED

PAYSCALE RANKING: 394TH

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 15

Website

Northern Illinois University features seven bachelor’s programs, including political science and marketing. As a few other online schools do, this university offers sample online class experience as a sort of pre-orientation. Each degree has its own requirements, but using the bachelor’s of science in marketing as an example: strict attention is paid to the parallel qualities of live classes and online; further, the acknowledgement of student time constraints and the balance of work, academics, and home life are abundantly addressed. Tuition at Northern Illinois University is $504.84 per unit of online credit .

#26 – Columbus State University

COLUMBUS, GEORGIA

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 17 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: NOT RANKED

PAYSCALE RANKING: 846TH

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 15

Website

With nine bachelor’s, Columbus State University has established a strong online community that supports those that need advising, transfer assistance, and other forms of guidance, mostly in a virtual setting. Tuition is $243 per semester hour, which among the most affordable on this list. Online study at Columbus State University grows more student-friendly and maintains a technological edge to keep support viable. For instance, the school has established “SmarterMeasure Assessment,” which tests strengths and tendencies among future undergraduates. From this basic courses, “eCore,” were derived and provide further structure to distance learners.

#25 – Northeastern University

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 14 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: NOT RANKED

PAYSCALE RANKING: 175TH

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 16

Website

Northeastern University has ten 100 percent online bachelor’s degree options, like health management and professional communication for a reasonable tuition rate of just $530 per credit hour. Northeastern University, with over 80 programs, states that university faculty has been specially trained to be sensitive to the needs of online students. Further, Northeastern has developed a program, the “Experiential Network,” that has been designed to align students with real companies in virtual, briefer-term projects that allow undergraduates to experience team-building, project design, meeting deadlines, among other crucial and relevant experience.

#24 – Thomas Edison State University

TRENTON, NEW JERSEY

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 15 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: NOT RANKED

PAYSCALE RANKING: 104TH

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 16

Website

Thomas Edison State University offers more than thirty bachelor’s options with associates, master’s, and a doctor of nursing practice also available fully online. Tuition starts at $499 per hour for digital undergraduate coursework. The schools also confers a number of undergraduate and graduate certificates through the online arena. Thomas Edison State University, from its inception in 1972 to its early application of technology to support adult education to its current regular spot among the best online bachelor’s degrees, has reflected an ethos of supporting adult and non-traditional students who require flexible offerings and scheduling.

#23 – University of North Texas

DENTON, TEXAS

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 26 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: 69

PAYSCALE RANKING: 557TH

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 16

Website

The University of North Texas has grown rapidly in its graduate online programs, but has recently developed four undergraduate degree options in areas such as rehabilitation studies, applied arts and sciences, and information science. Out of state online students at the University of North Texas will be charged a tuition of $465 per credit hour. For those with military backgrounds, the university offers a range of resources, including scholarships, advising, and tips regarding transferring and how to pay for college.

#22 – University of Minnesota Twin Cities

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 17 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: NOT RANKED

PAYSCALE RANKING: 240TH

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 16

Website

The University of Minnesota Twin Cities has nineteen online bachelor’s degrees. The school charges an hourly rate of tuition of $445.47 per credit, whether or not you come from out of state. Students can follow their own interdisciplinary paths with significant coursework that includes information technology and entrepreneurship. The University of Minnesota Twin Cities flexibly keeps options of full or hybrid or primarily online study, depending upon your need. You will most likely need a brief in-person classroom experience to graduate from this program.

#21 – University of Louisiana Monroe

MONROE, LOUISIANA

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 19 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: NOT RANKED

PAYSCALE RANKING: 144TH

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 16

Website

The University of Louisiana Monroe features fifteen online bachelor’s degrees, from dental hygiene to medical laboratory science. Regardless of whether you are in or out of state, tuition of $400 per credit hour is charged. The online undergraduate bachelor’s degrees offered at the University of Louisiana Monroe are designed with enough flexibility to allow students to fulfill conventional 120-125 hour course loads and expectations while also providing multiple accelerated course options. Potential transfer students should be aware of English and mathematics minimum requirements.

#20 – West Virginia University

MORGANTOWN, WEST VIRGINIA

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 20 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: NOT RANKED

PAYSCALE RANKING: 294TH

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 16

Website

With an established distance-learning reputation, West Virginia University features five bachelor’s degrees, from RN to BSN to child development and family studies. West Virginia University keeps tuition affordable at $314 per credit hour, regardless of whether you are out of state online student. As an R1-ranked university, WVU also provides a number of nationally-ranked online programs. The school advertises its balance of technical and academic support, program size, and fully trained faculty. The direct support comes in the form of enrollment coaches and academic advising.

#19 – Valdosta State University

VALDOSTA, GEORGIA

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 20 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: 137

PAYSCALE RANKING: 1002ND

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 16

Website

On more and more best schools lists, Valdosta State University has 11 100% online bachelor’s degrees available in 2019. Valdosta State University asks only $226 per credit hour tuition for its online students in the bachelor’s degree programs. The university uses what it call the “SmartPath Core” to properly direct students to complete their work. Further evidence of the school’s flexibility is the use of a “YOU Succeed” program that helps students accommodate school and work. A range of other sources complement online student need, particularly if you are non-native speaker, a veteran, or just need a little more academic support.

#18 – University of Florida

GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 65 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: 5

PAYSCALE RANKING: 228TH

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 17

Website

The University of Florida has developed its 100% online bachelor’s degree programs by aligning its extensive online-friendly faculty resources. Out of state undergraduates pay $552.62 per credit hour for online tuition. These students can choose among 19 majors including sport management and education sciences. On top of the online bachelor’s degree value, the University of Florida also boasts more than 70 master’s degrees and appears on a number of affordable quality online graduate programs lists.

#17 – West Texas A&M University

CANYON, TEXAS

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 20 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: 18

PAYSCALE RANKING: 820TH

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 17

Website

West Texas A&M University has twelve fully online bachelor’s in the fields of management, and health sciences. As for graduate-level programs the university features 16 fully online master’s and one doctorate. If you happen to be an out of state student, your tuition will be $465 per credit hour. Regularly featured on top affordable schools lists, West Texas A&M University has developed multiple paths to the degree: 100% online; fully (86-99%) online; or hybrid (51-85% online) blend of coursework and experience.

#16 – New Mexico State University

LAS CRUCES, NEW MEXICO

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 17 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: NOT RANKED

PAYSCALE RANKING: 349TH

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 17

Website

New Mexico State University features ten 100% online bachelor’s, including criminal justice and geomatics. Very inexpensive at $348.25 per online credit with no additional charges for being out of state. New Mexico State University has innovated in its delivery and student-centered virtual students–for instance, the university’s technology has kept up-to-the-minute to support distance students via Interactive Television, faculty exchange, weekend classes, and maintenance of off-site classes. For these efforts the school has ranked highly on multiple college lists.

#15 – Troy University

TROY, ALABAMA

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 14 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: 173 (TIE)

PAYSCALE RANKING: 483RD

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 17

Website

As a long-time military-friendly school, Troy University has origins in meeting nontraditional student needs, particularly from overseas. Thus, the school has developed more than 25 bachelor’s options in areas such as human services and interdisciplinary studies. Troy University’s reasonable tuition of $338 per credit hour with no additional fees and other factors regularly keep the school on affordable education lists. The school has established an international reputation that is as sensitive to the needs of non-native students as to those that need to transfer smoothly.

#14 – University of Texas Permian Basin

ODESSA, TEXAS

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 20 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: 173 (TIE)

PAYSCALE RANKING: NOT RANKED

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 17

Website

Offering both traditional and accelerated options for more than a dozen bachelor’s degrees, like psychology and sociology, as well as ten master’s programs, the University of Texas Permian Basin charges an online tuition rate of just $303.71 per unit of instruction with no out of state fees. Students familiar with Canvas will be happy to learn that it is the system the school uses.
The University of Texas Permian Basin also has transfer agreements with other schools in the University of Texas Online Consortium.

#13 – Missouri State University

SPRINGFIELD, MISSOURI

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 21 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: 76

PAYSCALE RANKING: 687TH

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 17

Website

Missouri State University makes available ten 100% online bachelor’s options, which, the school emphasizes, are exactly parallel with the real-world classrooms in terms of quality and faculty attention to student need. With a range from finance to health services to professional writing, the school boasts a breadth of study and opportunity for interdisciplinary academic opportunities, just as the in-person school does. Missouri State University requires students to pay a low tuition cost of $295 per credit hour. Missouri State’s online advising also mirrors live career counseling, financial aid advising, and important information for transfer students.

#12 – Ohio University

ATHENS, OHIO

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 17 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: NOT RANKED

PAYSCALE RANKING: 421ST

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 17

Website

Ohio University has ten bachelor’s degrees on offer, from customer service leadership to integrated healthcare studies and six online associates. Notably, inexpensive tuition is at $243 per credit hour for online students who reside out of state. Ohio University has developed a widely recognized “eCampus” for advising, tutoring, veteran concerns, and other support services, designed specifically with distance learners in mind. The school also sponsors an office of instructional innovation, which administers online teaching and online learning, drawing regularly on changing needs, faculty training, and curricula.

#11 – University of Missouri

COLUMBIA, MISSOURI

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 18 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: 114

PAYSCALE RANKING: 294TH

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 18

Website

The University of Missouri features 17 online bachelor’s degrees include undergraduate programs such as RN to BSN and interdisciplinary studies. A competitive tuition rate of $369.70 per credit hour is available to out of state students. The University of Missouri maintains that the school offers over one hundred online degrees and certificate possibilities, as well as more than a thousand distinct online courses offered overall. As online study tends toward the international, study needs of non-native speakers grow more acute and possibly underserved–Mizzou, in its own right, has been attending to these needs through its curriculum. Thus if you have non-native student need, or you want to study toward helping them, the university has been lauded for strides made in the relevant education curriculum.

#10 – Colorado State University

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, COLORADO

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 31 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: 8

PAYSCALE RANKING: 373RD

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 18

Website

Colorado State University has now developed twelve 100% online bachelor’s options, including criminal justice and human services. Once accepted, you will be required to pay a reasonable $350 per credit hour in tuition. In other student-friendly news, application fee waiver codes often are available as pop-ups on the website. Colorado State University emphasizes openness to online transfers, allowing up to 90 credits for bachelor’s students. Further, the school advertises accelerated courses, monthly class starts, and other distance-learning friendly features.

#9 – Mississippi University For Women

COLUMBUS, MISSISSIPPI

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 14 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: NOT RANKED

PAYSCALE RANKING: 73RD

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 18

Website

Mississippi University for Women has evolved and grown in an online undergraduate program containing thirteen bachelor’s degree completion programs. The school’s origins as affordable public education continue online with tuition at $285 per digital credit hour. Mississippi University for Women is often featured on lists of affordable online and regional universities, having earned distinction through what the university site refers to as 24/7 support for students in need of technical help, as well as opportunities to transfer for future students.

#8 – University of Central Florida

ORLANDO, FLORIDA

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 30 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: 14

PAYSCALE RANKING: 392ND

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 18

Website

The University of Central Florida requires students to pay $383.86 per credit if these undergraduates are from out of state. The university makes thirty-four major options available in the bachelor’s, with coursework ranging from cognitive sciences to Judaic studies. The University of Central Florida, among the fastest-growing universities nationally, appears regularly in college rankings, particularly those of online schools. A sample program is the bachelor of science in nursing charges $179 per credit hour for in-state students.

#7 – Fort Hays State University

HAYS, KANSAS

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 18 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: 42

PAYSCALE RANKING: 606TH

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 19

Website

Fort Hays State University features more than three dozen online bachelor’s options, including political science/pre-law and finance/banking. The university tuition is $218.67 per credit undergrad, even if you are an out of state student. Fort Hays State University has built a reputation for quality, affordable education as well as support for veteran and military students. The university’s transfer guide states that students with an associate degree or 45 transferable hours will be efficiently facilitated in transferring.

#6 – Florida International University

MIAMI, FLORIDA

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 27 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: 58

PAYSCALE RANKING: 171ST

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 19

Website

For over two decades, Florida International University has developed an online curriculum that includes forty-three online bachelor’s degree offerings, including the internet of things and international relations. Tuition is an affordable $247.48 for online out of state undergraduates. Florida International University lives up to its world-relevant reputation as a first-rate research university, and it maintains quality levels online as well as in person. Growth has expanded the university to be among the largest and most well-organized in online undergraduate degrees.

#5 – Arizona State University

TEMPE, ARIZONA

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 20 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: 2

PAYSCALE RANKING: 285TH

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 20

Website

Arizona State University can boast of its 81 online bachelor’s options, including applied leadership and geographic information science. Cost varies by program, but hourly tuition starts at $520 for undergraduate work. Arizona State University has grown and led the development in the recent online education movement. Its exponential recent growth has resulted in a formidable online education featured among numerous rankings lists. Top research-level faculty for the school are available to the distance students as well as those the in-person.

#4 – University of Massachusetts Lowell

LOWELL, MASSACHUSETTS

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 17 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: 25

PAYSCALE RANKING: 42ND

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 20

Website

At the University of Massachusetts Lowell, you have eight bachelor’s options available. With a vast series of course offerings, the university has earned spots on multiple “best of” online college lists, due not only to its affordability but also to the flexible online, in-person balance available to students. The website lists with perfect clarity what degrees are on campus, mixed, and/or fully online. The school takes care to address international student need, especially regarding transfer credits, financial aid, and grading. The University of Massachusetts Lowell asks students to pay only $380 per credit for tuition.

#3 – Utah State University

LOGAN, UTAH

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 20 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: 15

PAYSCALE RANKING: 392ND

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 20

Website

Utah State University features eight online bachelor’s options such as family life studies and agribusiness. Graduates students will find fourteen master’s degrees, like rehabilitation counseling and natural resources. Over the past twenty years, Utah State University has grown into a significant online bachelors degree-offering school with 30 different 100% online degrees and a reasonable rate for undergraduate out of state students: $338 per credit. The university website is well-organized and helpful if you want to choose your likely degree path and if you need to figure out the math behind financing your education. Also emphasized are the particular needs of distance learning: support includes e-tutoring, IT remote help, advising, and much more to keep you advised.

#2 – Washington State University

PULLMAN, WASHINGTON

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 15 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: 20

PAYSCALE RANKING: 223RD

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 21

Website

Washington State University has fifteen online bachelor’s degree options, including data analytics and hospitality business management. Tuition is $565 per credit online out of state. You can apply as a freshman with no transfer credits necessary. Washington State University has styled its own “Global Connections” structured activities that resemble extra-curricular campus experience. Not the least of which is what the school claims is the “longest running” online student government. To keep students afresh on academic expectations and technical needs the school has developed online advising, direct faculty access, and 24/7 technical support.

#1 – North Carolina State University

RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA

FACULTY TO STUDENT RATIO: 13 TO 1

US NEWS RANKING: 58

PAYSCALE RANKING: 182ND

REGIONAL ACCREDITATION: YES

POINTS: 22

Website

North Carolina State University features five bachelor’s degree completion options. Now internationally recognized as a top online university, North Carolina State University has a tuition rate of $236.88 per credit for online students, with no out of state tuition charged. Among their degrees offered: leadership in the public sector; mechanical engineering systems concentration; and mechatronics engineering. Also, online students have a growing list of options for how to fit a degree into their lives; for instance, a 2+2 program in engineering gives non-Raleigh residents options in their North Carolina communities where students can take pre-engineering at an NC community college before transferring into North Carolina State.

10 Most Affordable Accredited Online Colleges

Two decades ago, online courses were mostly limited to large state universities. Today, virtually every college and university has developed some form of an online program, including continuing professional education classes for working adults who may not be able to attend traditional courses. Online learning opens the door to flexible courses for everyone, regardless of lifestyle needs. It can be particularly helpful to older adults who want to take classes but are not able to commute or have limited childcare options.

Online learning is not new, but its success is a testament to the power of technology to improve access to and affordability of a college education. During this time of economic uncertainty, it’s important to find a college that is affordable.

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

Studies show that most online students prioritize affordability over other factors when searching for a college to attend. The fact that you’re here on this page shows that you are a smart investor looking for an inexpensive degree in order to get the best value for your dollar. Looking at tuition is a great place to start your search. Another often overlooked factor is school accreditation.

The schools on our list of most affordable online colleges are all regionally accredited–which, in our opinion, offers the best outcomes with the greatest opportunities. These colleges also offer affordable in-state-tuitions of less than $8,000 and in-state-tuitions of less than $9,500. At the 10 colleges with affordable online degrees tuition costs come out to an average of $6,326 in-state tuition and $7,469 out-of-state tuition.

Of the 10 most affordable online colleges, two are in Texas, with the eight remaining schools located in Nevada, Idaho, Utah, West Virginia, Alabama, North Dakota, Nebraska, and New Jersey.

While tuition of $9,500 may seem out of reach for some, the benefits of attaining a degree outweigh the costs when taking into account that on average, bachelor’s degree holders earn $26,000 more per year than professionals with only a high school diploma. Beyond that, bachelor’s degree holders see lower unemployment rates than those with high school diplomas and no degree.

Ranking Criteria

We gathered the most recent data from the NCES College Navigator database [2021] to narrow down four-year colleges offering extremely inexpensive online degree programs, with tuitions under $10,000 per year.

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

This ranking is created and updated yearly to help online students find affordable online colleges that will give them the best chance to earn a college degree at a price they can afford.

10 Most Affordable Accredited Online Colleges


#1 GREAT BASIN COLLEGE

TUITION: $3,248

Cheapest Accredited Online Colleges - 1 great basin college

Great Basin College is a small community college located in Elko, Nevada. Great Basin College has a long history of serving the needs of the community and its economy. The school offers associate and bachelor’s degree programs.

Great Basin College is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. This public, state-funded school is part of the Nevada System of Higher Education, which serves over 4,000 students. GBC offers a 100% acceptance rate. In 2021, Great Basin College ranked #135 Safest College Campus in America, #302 Most Liberal College in America, and #429 Best College Campus in America by Niche.com. Great Basin offers 21 associate degrees, 10 bachelor’s degrees, and 19 certificate programs to online students.

GBC currently has about 4,000 students enrolled annually online. Popular majors include Liberal Arts, Nursing, Science Technologies, Teacher Education, and Electronics Engineering.

Fully online programs include associate degrees in Associates of Arts, Business, English, Social Science, Graphic Communications and Early Childhood Education, Associate of Applied Science degrees, and bachelor’s degrees including a BA in English, BA in Social Science, BSN in Nursing (RN to BSN), and BAS degrees in Digital Information Technology Emphasis, Human Services, Land Surveying/Geomatics Emphasis, and Management and Supervision. This school offers 19 certificate programs and fully online continuing education programs in HealthCare Training and Computing Technology. Popular majors include business, early childhood education, elementary education, nursing, and liberal arts and humanities. With the lowest tuition on our list, Great Basin College is the cheapest online college for 2021.


#2 BYU-IDAHO

TUITION: $4,300

Cheapest Online Colleges - 2 BYU-Idaho

Source: MormonHub.com

Brigham Young University-Idaho is located in Rexburg Idaho. Owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, this non-profit college educates over 49,000 students in multiple locations throughout the world. 15,000+ of those students are enrolled in online classes via BYU – Pathway Worldwide. Online degree programs are offered from BYU-Idaho and Ensign college. BYU-Idaho was recently named the 16th best university in Regional Colleges West, #23 in Top Performers on Social Mobility and #75 in Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs by U.S. News & World Report, and #3 in Most Conservative Colleges in America by Niche.com.

BYU-Idaho’s Pathway WorldWide offers nearly 52 online certificates and degrees; 7 associate degrees, 6 bachelor’s degrees, and 39 certificate programs at a very affordable price. Some popular online programs include a bachelor’s degree in Business Management (entrepreneurship, marketing, supply chain and operations management, and more), Public Health, and Marriage & Family Studies, and an associate’s in Family History Research, Web Design & Development, and a variety of other online class offerings. Popular majors include liberal arts and humanities, nursing, information science, business, and public health education BYU-Idaho provides a 20-year Net ROI of $534,000, according to Payscale.com in 2021.

PathwayConnect students can qualify for admission into BYU-Idaho’s online degree programs by successfully earning a “B” average in PathwayConnect and completing the first course of their chosen BYU-Idaho certificate.

Visit Brigham Young University – Idaho’s Accredited Online Programs


#3 UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS PERMIAN BASIN

TUITION: $4,837

Cheapest Accredited Online Colleges - 4 University of Texas Permian Basin

UT Permian Basin is a fast-growing, public research institution established by oil enthusiast Bill Noël in 1973. This school is home to over 5,000 students on the Odessa campus and online school. The University of Texas Permian Basin was recently ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the West’s 64th best college, 30th best public school, and 55th in Top Performers in Social Mobility in the nation in 2022. The University of Texas Online Consortium (UTOC), of which UTPB is a part, offers some of the cheapest online degrees and certificate programs (6 bachelor’s, 5 master’s, and 3 certificate and endorsement programs), some of which only last 8 weeks. Students can earn an online master’s degree, online bachelor’s program, and/or online certificate in programs such as Psychology, Business Administration, Communications, Sociology, Criminal Justice, Kinesiology, Special Education, and more.

As of 2022, this school received an overall grade of B- at Niche, UT Permian Basin was ranked #1 in our 2018 Most Affordable Online Colleges ranking.


#4 WESTERN GOVERNORS UNIVERSITY

TUITION: $6,670

Cheap Online Colleges - 3 Western Governors University

WGU is a private, non-profit NWCCU-accredited college that offers online degree programs for over 72,000 students. This institution is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah with six affiliated schools offering over 60-degree programs. For the 2022 year, WGU offers six bachelor’s and five master’s programs in business, four bachelor’s and eight master’s in health profession programs, seven bachelor’s and three masters in information technology programs, 10 bachelor’s and 19 master’s in education programs.

For many of WGU’s cheap online programs, many companies’ tuition reimbursement programs cover most or all educational costs for students. WGU offers a 100 percent admission rate and very low tuition.

Western Governors was recently awarded the Ralph E. Gomory Award for Quality Online Education by Sloan Consortium and named the #5 Best Value College in Utah in 2022, #812 of 1,572 Best Value College in America, #57 Best College for Nursing in America, and #3 Best College for Nursing in Utah by Niche.com. According to GradReports.com, 78 percent of students reported an improvement in career prospects after earning an online degree from Western Governors and 73 percent said they would recommend this school to others. Some of the more popular majors at Western Governors are nursing, business administration and management, elementary education, information technology, and computer information systems.

Visit Western Governors University’s Accredited Online Programs

#5 AMRIDGE UNIVERSITY

TUITION: $6,950

Cheapest Online Colleges - 6 Amridge University

Amridge University, located in Montgomery, Alabama, is “where traditional and online education merges.” This co-educational, private liberal arts college is affiliated with the Church of Christ and enrolls around 800 students in traditional and online degree programs. AU is Amridge University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate, baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral degrees. According to StartClass, the most popular majors at Amridge are Biblical Studies, Human Development and Family Studies, Business Administration & Management, Criminal Justice & Corrections, and Human Resource Management. This school offers both very affordable tuition and a great net price with a 100% admissions acceptance rate.

Amridge University offers 40 total degrees and 22 undergraduate and graduate degree programs online. Affordable online college degrees are offered through the Turner School of Theology, School of Human Services, School of Continuing Ed, College of Business & Leadership as well as College of General Studies. This school is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

Visit Amridge University’s Accredited Online Programs

#6 THOMAS EDISON STATE UNIVERSITY

TUITION: $7,182

Affordable Online Colleges - 9 Thomas Edison State University

TESU is a public, state-funded higher education institution educating more than 17,200 students online and on-campus. In 2011, Thomas Edison earned the National University Technology Distance Education Innovation Award. This school offers a 100% admissions acceptance rate and 64 undergraduate and graduate online degrees in multiple areas of study, including Liberal Arts and Humanities, Accounting, Medical Assisting, Nursing, and Business Administration and Management, to name a few. Some popular programs at Thomas Edison State University are the associate’s in Nuclear Engineering Technology, Bachelor’s in Homeland Security, Master’s in Hospitality Management, and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).

TESU offers 13 online associate degree programs, 34 bachelor’s degree programs online, 17 online graduate degree programs, and multiple undergraduate and graduate certificate programs online. This cheap online college is accredited by MSCHE. TESU has an open admissions policy. TESU is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.


#7 AMERICAN PUBLIC UNIVERSITY

TUITION: $7,360

Cheapest Online schools - 8 American Public University


APU is a private, for-profit online college located in Charles Town, West Virginia, with six academic schools. American Public University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and received the Sloan Consortium Effective Practice Award. Home to more than 98,400 students, CollegeFactual places APU as the #1 Best Colleges in West Virginia, and #227 Best College in the Nation. 76 percent of graduates reported an improved career after earning a degree from APU, according to GradReports.org, while 69 percent of students said they’d recommend this school to others. Niche.com ranked the school #29 in Best Colleges for Information Technology in America, #203 in Best Colleges for Business in America, and #263 in Best Colleges for Criminal Justice in America.

American Public University offers 190+ cheap online degrees and certificate programs at the graduate and undergraduate levels including Military history, Reverse Logistics Management, Space Studies, Electric Engineering, Business, Criminal Justice, Health Sciences, Sports Management, and more. APU offers an open admissions policy and a 93% freshman retention rate.


#8 CHADRON STATE COLLEGE

TUITION: $7,634

Cheapest Online Schools - 8 Chadron State College

Chadron State educates over 2,500 students on-campus and online. This public, co-educational college was founded in 1911 and is accredited through the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of North Central Association of Colleges and Schools with specialized accreditation for some of its programs. This college is ranked as the #10 Best Value College in Nebraska, #183 in Most Conservative Colleges in America, and #458 in Best Colleges for Education in America according to Niche.com. Along with the rankings, Niche.com gave Chadron State College an overall grade rating of B-.

U.S. News ranks Chadron State at #75 in Top Performers on Social Mobility and #40-52 in Top Public Schools. This affordable online school offers 8 online degrees with no out-of-state tuition or add-ons. Popular degrees at Chadron State include bachelor’s degrees in Business Administration, Family and Consumer Sciences, and a Master of Organizational Management. Five Popular majors with the most graduates include Business, Elementary Education, Liberal Arts and Humanities, Criminal Justice Corrections, and Crop and Soil Sciences. Chadron State offers flat-rate tuition so in-state and out-of-state students pay the same tuition.

Visit Chadron State College’s Accredited Online Program

#9 MINOT STATE UNIVERSITY

TUITION: $7,896

Cheapest Online schools - 7 Minot State University

MSU is North Dakota’s 3rd largest public, co-educational Master’s I Institution. This school offers a 12:1 student-faculty ratio in an online and on-campus setting with over 2,832 undergraduate program students. U.S. News and World Report rank Minot State at #33 in Top Public Schools, #104 in Regional Universities West, and #155 in Top Performers on Social Mobility in 2022. Niche.com ranks MSU as the #182 in Top Public Universities in America, #211 Best Small College in America, #3 Top Public Universities in North Dakota, and #8 Best Value Colleges in North Dakota.

This school was ranked 1321st in-state and 1322nd out-of-state on the 2020-2021 PayScale College ROI Report with a $139,000 return on investment. MSU is fully accredited by HLC-NCA. MSU online offers 20 inexpensive online degree programs with popular programs in Business Administration & Management, Social Work, Special Education, Nursing, and Teacher Education.

Visit Minot State University’s Accredited Online Programs


#10 WEST TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY

TUITION: $8,456

Cheapest Online Colleges - 10 West Texas A&M University

West Texas A&M University is a public, co-educational research institution with an enrollment of over 9,400 students in the Amarillo, Texas Metro area, satellite campuses, and online. WTAMU has received many prestigious rankings including U.S. News and World Report Best Online Programs Rankings at #21 Best Online Bachelor’s Programs, #67 Best Online MBA Programs, #13 Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans, #17 Best Online Master’s in Education Programs for Veterans, #15 Best Online Master’s in Computer Information Technology Programs, to name a few. Niche.com ranks this school as the #38 Best Hispanic-Serving Institutions in America, #20 Best College in Texas, and #7 Top Public University in Texas.

WTAMU’s distance education division offers 14 undergraduate, 19 graduate, and 1 Doctoral program and hybrid program through the SREB Electronic Campus. A few of the most affordable online degree programs include Economics, Criminal Justice, a Healthcare MBA, and Finance from associate to bachelor degrees. WTAMU is part of the Texas A&M University System.


Make Online College More Affordable

1. Earn credits or an associates degree at a local two-year college – The College Board found that tuition and fees for public in-district two-year colleges (community and/or junior colleges) were $3,800 during the 2021-2022 school year – compared to $10,740 at a public four-year universities. This means taking your first two years of college at an inexpensive local junior or technical institute could actually save you some money.

2. Earn credits while in high school through IB programs – Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate (IB) coursework is an excellent way for students of all levels to earn college credits. Public high schools only charge a small fee when it comes time to take the associated AP/IB tests, which means that these exams won’t break your budget.

3. Establish residency in another state – It’s worth noting that in-state tuition varies. Sometimes, it may make sense to establish residency in a different state so you can pay less for your education by paying in-state instead of out-of-state tuition.

4. Apply for the FAFSA – The U.S Department of Education provides an estimated $46 billion annually in grants and scholarships, or approximately $8,390 per student–that’s well enough to cover the cost of two-year college tuition and almost enough to cover the average cost for tuition at public universities. Funds are given on a rolling basis, so students should complete their FAFSA as quickly as possible. From StudentAid.gov, “Most colleges send out financial aid award letters around the same time as admission offer letters. However, the timing can vary from college to college depending on factors such as the date that you submitted your FAFSA form and the number of FAFSA forms the college received.”

5. Take 12-18 credits per semester – Some four-year institutions offer flat tuition rates for students who take 12 to 18 credits per term. This means that by taking the maximum amount of classes, you can get a lower cost and graduate more quickly. For Example, Michigan residents are able and eligible to receive scholarship funds from Michigan Higher Education Aid (MHEA) if they meet certain criteria like earning an annual income below $65K; providing proof of adequate financial aid award such as Pell Grants or loans each year; enrolling full-time status during semesters when courses are offered which covers fees associated with lab space/equipment usage).

How to Pay for Your Online Degree

For any prospective student, finding the right degree program can be difficult. This is especially true of those whose top priority is maintaining a budget. If you’re looking for ways to minimize college costs, simplify your postsecondary educational experience, and make the most of your time and money, you’ll need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This determines your eligibility for scholarships, loans, grants, and work-study. Federal scholarships and field-specific or merit-based scholarships are also available on an individual basis.

Current State of Online Learning

Because of COVID-19, many colleges shifted to offering online courses in 2020. Experts say that the shift will accelerate schools’ adaptation to and offerings of online degree programs. This growth is being seen across the nation.

cheap_online_colleges_school_offerings

“COVID-19 has been a paradigm-shifting moment for higher education, throwing online education into the spotlight like never before—but the need for accessible, affordable, blended, relevant, and high-quality online learning will extend far beyond the pandemic,” Chip Paucek, co-founder and CEO of the online higher education company 2U, wrote in an email to USNews.

More schools offering online or hybrid programs may drive down the cost, increasing affordable online college programs for students. Some online programs do not charge out-of-state tuitions, which can be significantly higher at some colleges and universities.

According to InsideHigherEd, there was a 93% increase in students that were enrolled in some type of online course between Fall 2019 and Fall 2020 from 3,016,944 to 5,825,723.

According to a BestColleges.com survey, the biggest challenges prospective students faced while searching for a college were estimating actual costs of enrolling in a program, finding a program that meets their needs and interests and applying for financial aid and identifying sufficient funding sources.

The survey also noted that the two main reasons for choosing online learning instead of campus-based programs were the COVID-19 pandemic and the convenience and flexibility that online programs can offer.

How to Make Online College More Affordable

Employer Tuition Reimbursement

Many online students are using an employer tuition reimbursement to pay for their education. In a 2018 survey by Aslanian Market Research and Learning House, 23% of all past or current online undergraduate program student respondents and 32% of online graduate student respondents said they used tuition reimbursement from their employer to pay for their online degree. Experts recommend students ask their company’s HR for tuition reimbursement opportunities.

Scholarships & Grants for Online Students

Scholarships that are available for on-campus students are often available to online students.

Here are some resources for finding scholarships for online students.

Scholarships.com: Distance Learning Scholarships

Scholarships.com offers a list of over 40 scholarships for online students. This site offers information on each scholarship including amounts and deadlines.

Visit: https://www.scholarships.com/financial-aid/college-scholarships/scholarships-by-type/distance-learning-scholarships/

Unigo: Online College Scholarships

Unigo.com offers a list of 58 scholarships for online students that includes information about each scholarship including award amounts, deadlines and links for applying.

Visit: https://www.unigo.com/scholarships/by-type/online-college-scholarships

GetEducated: Grants for Online College

GetEducated.com introduces the different types of grants for online college students and links to available grants. Types of grants include federal/public, state, private, institutional, need-based, merit-based, academic departmental, corporate and professional association grants. This site offers great information on grants for online students.

Visit: https://www.geteducated.com/free-college-scholarships/308-online-college-grant-and-free-money/

Cheapest Online Colleges FAQ

How much does an online college degree cost?

Tuition is one of the most important factors to consider when deciding whether or not an online bachelor’s degree program is right for you. Depending on a student’s residency status, living expenses, and other various costs, community colleges and in-state public institutions are your best bet.

Is online schooling a cheaper option?

If you decide to enroll in online schooling, any typical traditional college costs such as housing, transportation, and fees won’t be a concern. For out-of-state individuals, online schooling is not only generally cheaper than on-campus but convenient as well. The wide variety of online degrees can make enrolling in an online program cheaper than on-campus.

Can you use Pell Grants to pay for online schooling?

The Pell Grant Program is a federally-funded scholarship awarded to individuals in financial need that meet additional academic and annual income requirements. Any accredited college that awards federally recognized degrees will accept Pell Grant money to pay for any online course.

Where can I purchase cheap college textbooks online?

It’s no surprise that pinching pennies and pursuing an undergraduate degree go hand-in-hand for the majority of young, aspiring individuals. A smart student is one who knows how to allocate their resources and find the best deals on school supplies like textbooks. Buying secondhand, renting, reselling, and even getting a library card are all great ways to save yourself a couple of bucks.

Which affordable online college is the best?

In many cases, the best way to obtain affordable education is to start locally. Community colleges are highly likely to offer a variety of different options when it comes to foundational coursework in your field of interest, and at such a low cost, they are no doubt worth looking into. According to EDsmart’s 2021 cheapest online colleges ranking, Great Basin College is the best, affordable online college to offer a cheap online degree.

How do I minimize my overall costs?

A lot of college costs are the result of lifestyle choices, so really, it’s up to you. Depending on your housing situation, everyday expenses, and level of budget maintenance, you can minimize your college expenses by a significant amount.

What are the specific types of federal financial aid available to undergraduates?

Specifically, you can apply for federal grants, federal loans, work-study programs, and education tax credits or deductions. Grants and scholarships are the preferred mode of financial aid for the majority of college students because they don’t require a long-term repayment plan as federal loans do. Work-study programs enable students to actively pay for their college education through work with an organization, government agency, or on-campus position. The majority of students also qualify for education-related tax returns.

How do I complete a FAFSA?

To complete the FAFSA, you’ll need specific financial documents, create a federal student ID, follow all instructions on the FAFSA website, and submit your application for the designated year. More info can be found at studentaid.gov.

What does it mean when a school is “accredited”?

An accredited school provides its students with career-building opportunities and high-quality programs. Depending on whether a school’s accreditation is regional or national, the opportunities a school provides and the quality of its programs vary. Accredited degree programs are often more valuable to employers than non-accredited degrees.

Top 10 Cheapest Online Colleges

RankSchoolIn-State Tuition
1Great Basin College$3,248
2BYU-Idaho$4,300
3The University of Texas of the Permian Basin$4,837
4Western Governors University$6,670
5Amridge University$6,950
6Thomas Edison State University$7,182
7American Public University System$7,360
8Chadron State College$7,634
9Minot State University$7,896
10West Texas A & M University$8,456

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