Computing has changed the face of industry. Every part of the economy depends upon computers and the demand for skilled computer scientists is only expected to grow over the coming decade. Such demand means the ready availability of good jobs with excellent pay. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median pay for a computer and information research scientist for 2015 was $110,610. Colleges and universities have responded to this demand for computer scientists through, among other things, the creation of online computer science degree programs. For those pursuing a bachelor’s degree in computer science and hoping to get the most for their money, the following degree programs stand out for their low out of pocket tuition costs.
Fort Hays State University
The university with the most affordable online Bachelor’s in Computer Science is Fort Hays State University, a public university with a student population of about 14,000 located in Fort Hays, Kansas. FHSU has earned a number of recognitions from US News and World Report over the past three years, including two top 25 listings for 2016 in the categories of ‘Best Online Bachelor’s Programs’ and ‘Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans’. Their 120 credit hour program is broken into three parts: 55 credits of general education requirements with foundational classes in computer literacy and mathematics, 39 credits of major-specific courses, and 24 credits of an emphasis track.
Students have two options for an emphasis track. Those hoping to go into business for themselves can take a business emphasis track that includes courses in accounting, finance, and marketing. Those uninterested in running their own business can take the networking emphasis track which focuses on all aspects of computer networking. Fort Hays State University has been regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Baker College is a private, not-for-profit college with a focus on career and professional development. Their flagship campus is in Flint, Michigan, but they have thirteen additional campuses spread throughout the state of Michigan. Baker’s online Bachelor’s in Computer Science is designed with consultation from industry professionals and is periodically reviewed to ensure that course content is maximally responsive to employment needs within the field of computer science.
The programs are focused on demonstrating proficiency in a number of essential skills- not just those specific to computer science but also personal skills essential to employment such as establishing rapport with professional colleagues, functioning well under stress, and developing time management skills. Students at Baker will also have access to their Lifetime Employment Services program, which assists students in writing resumes, job interview training, and also the budgeting and planning necessary for any relocation to find employment. Baker has been regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Granite State College
Granite State College is part of the University System of New Hampshire and is located in the city of Concord. The majority of its 2200 students are pursuing undergraduate degrees, one of which is their BS in Computer Science Innovation which can be taken entirely online, hybrid, or through weekend intensive classes. Their degree program is project based and requires students to apply what they learn in the online classroom at a worksite- either through a current employer or as a volunteer.
Granite State’s program prepares students to enter the workforce as software engineers, database designers, medical engineers, mobile application designers, game designers, and more. Their degree programs have been regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
Troy University is a mostly undergraduate public university whose flagship campus is located in Troy, Alabama. The Troy University System also has three other campuses spread throughout the state. Troy’s online BS in Computer Science is focused on individual and team projects in areas such as game design, cell phone applications, and web applications. This makes their program appealing for those hoping to use their degree to enter the field of entertainment and gaming.
The classes at Troy cover topics such as programming languages, database systems, software engineering, object-oriented programming, artificial intelligence, and computer security. Students at Troy can also participate in the campus’ computer science club as well as weekly seminars that cover a broad array of topics in the field. Troy University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Southern University and A&M College
Southern University and A&M College is a historically black public university located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. SU’s campus, where the majority of its 6300 students attend lectures, is located on the banks of the Mississippi River. Southern’s Department of Computer Science has partnered with the Raytheon Corporation for a mentoring program that pairs students with Raytheon employees, making SU’s BS in Computer Engineering a good choice for someone hoping to use their degree in the aeronautics and defense industries.
Their degree is designed both for those who hope to enter the job market after the completion of their bachelor’s as well as those who want to go on for a graduate degree. Some of the skills taught in their degree program are software engineering, database systems, and management information systems. Southern University and A&M College has been regionally accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
University of Illinois at Springfield
The University of Illinois at Springfield is a public university and member school of the University of Illinois System. In addition to a number of other awards for its online programs, UIS ranked in the top 30 in US News and World Report’s “Best Online Bachelor’s Programs” for 2016.
For those attending community college in the state of Illinois, UI-Springfield’s computer science department has affiliated with several community colleges in that state, allowing students at those schools to fulfill credits toward their online bachelor’s degree while taking classes at the community college level, thereby lessening the number of credits they need to fulfill when they transfer to UIS. The degree program is focused on a solid set of core requirements that make up 24 of the required 120 credit units. These include courses in algorithms, operating systems, programming languages, and a capstone project focused on software engineering. The University of Illinois at Springfield is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Trident University International
Trident University International is a private, for profit, and online only university based in Cypress, California. The school has a particularly strong connection with the military and military members make up a significant portion of its roughly 6100 students. The coursework in their BS in Computer Science is structured according to the Trident Learning Model, which emphasizes case-based problem solving rather than standardized testing, an approach particularly well suited to the field of computer science.
Students also have the opportunity to concentrate their computer science degree in cyber security, which emphasizes network security, cryptography, and digital forensics. The computer science department at TUI is a member of Cyber Watch West, a program that disseminates and standardizes best practices in cyber security among member schools. Trident University has been regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
Regent University is well known for being founded by Pat Robertson, televangelist and host of The 700 Club. It is a private, not-for-profit Christian university located in Virginia Beach and has a student population of 5,914, a larger than usual percentage of whom are graduate students and distance learners. Given its predominantly Christian and conservative orientation, the school will not appeal to everyone, but its online programs have earned it some academic recognition, including a top twenty spot in US News and World Report’s list of “Best Online Bachelor’s Programs” for 2016.
Regent’s online Bachelor’s in Computer Science is a 120 credit program: 54 credits in computer science, 49 credits of general education, and 17 elective credits. It is designed to help prepare students for careers in network administration, data mining, software engineering, systems analysis, information security, and web development. Regent has been regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Dakota State University
Dakota State University is a public university with a student population of 3047 and is located in Madison, South Dakota. In its degree programs Dakota State emphasizes computing and technology and has gained three different recognitions from the National Security Agency, making it an attractive option for those who want to apply their degree in a security or defense setting. DSU’s online classes are presented simultaneously with their on-campus classes and professors are encouraged to design collaborative projects that involve both groups of students.
Dakota State’s online Bachelor’s of Computer Science also offers an accelerated 4+1 program that enables their undergraduate students to get an earlier start on requirements for a Master’s of Science in Applied Computer Science, saving valuable time and money for those hoping to continue on to a graduate degree in the field. DSU has been regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Located in Denver, Colorado, Regis University is a Catholic college in the Jesuit tradition with a student body of about 9,200. Their College of Computer and Information Sciences offers the only online BS in Computer Science in the country that has been accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), one of the premier accrediting bodies in the field.
For those hoping to go on to a Master’s of Science in Computer Science after their graduation, Regis offers a combined bachelor’s and master’s program that allows students to graduate sooner and therefore with less out of pocket tuition expenses. With the addition to 12 extra credit hours to their required 128 credit hours, students can also achieve a minor in mathematics, the purpose of which is to familiarize students with the algorithmic principles that are the foundation of computer science. Regis has been regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.