Affordable Online Colleges

Online school can be a great fit for all kinds of students. But what online colleges are the most affordable? Find out here.

Affordable Online Colleges

Are you ready to find your fit?

The most affordable online colleges attract applicants with a high school or GED diploma. Prospective students without either can enroll in GED-preparation classes or professional development classes. Undergrad degree-seekers take a mix of major, general education, and elective classes.

Career options for graduates vary by degree. Some students apply to bachelor's-completion or graduate programs. Others pursue professional certification.

The following sections answer questions about affordable online colleges. Read on to learn about tuition and to see some of the most popular online college programs. Learners should visit their prospective schools' websites for more information.

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Questions About Online College

Q. How much does online college usually cost?

The answer depends on the school and program, and a learners' enrollment status. Students who qualify for in-district or in-state status pay the most affordable tuition.

Q. Can I do all of college online?

Yes. Many programs run fully online with no in-person components. Hybrid programs require students to attend some campus classes or in-person internships.

Q. Is it cheaper to take college courses online?

Cheap online colleges often appeal to learners on a budget. An online format means students can save on commuting and parking costs. Some colleges charge online students the same tuition, regardless of residency.

Why Get an Online Degree?

Affordable online colleges help students increase their salary potential. Workers with a bachelor's earn about $27,250 more annually than high school graduates. Degree-holders also experience unemployment less often than high school graduates and college dropouts.

Online programs allow learners to continue working or raising children. Many programs feature flexible, asynchronous curriculum. Enrollees do not log in at scheduled times. Instead, they view lectures and complete assignments when convenient. Students can also attend cheap online colleges anywhere. They do not need to limit their search to local schools.

How Much Does an Online Degree Cost?

An online bachelor's degree costs an average of $51,091, according to Learners attending public in-state schools pay the most affordable tuition. These learners spend an average of $38,496 earning a bachelor's. Out-of-state students spend $54,183 on average. Online enrollees save money by not paying for campus housing or meal plans.

Additional Online Student Fees

Just like on-campus learners, online enrollees must buy class materials and books. Students can save money by buying used or digital books. Some programs charge technology and graduation fees. A school's student handbook explains these fees. However, keep in mind that fees may change without notice.

Students in hybrid programs should budget for commuting costs to campus or internship sites. Online learning also requires reliable technology. Degree-seekers may need to buy a new laptop or upgrade their internet. Students may also need to earn certification depending on their career path. Certification exams feature additional fees.

Available Online College Degrees

Affordable online colleges help learners develop research, writing, and communication skills. Associate and bachelor's degree-seekers can select from many online majors. Some majors offer one or more career-aligned concentrations. Students can also choose a minor or double major in a topic. Master's and doctoral programs offer less academic flexibility, as learners master knowledge of a specific field.

See below for common online bachelor's degrees. Please note that not all online colleges offer these programs. Learners should check with prospective schools on program offerings.

  • Biochemistry

    Aspiring educators, pharmacists, and physician assistants often pursue this degree. Learners study topics such as general biochemistry and biophysical chemistry. Online learners sometimes complete labs at home. Students need a minimum "C" grade in all major classes to remain in good academic standing.
  • Business — Global Leadership

    This 120-credit program includes classes in leading organizations and comparative politics. Another course is international political economy. Students develop the skills to lead multinational businesses or organizations. Graduates may work as general managers, human resources managers, or employee training managers.
  • Computer Information Systems

    Many business intelligence analysts and computer systems analysts hold a bachelor's in computer information systems. The specialized curriculum includes classes in business information system development and web technologies. Degree-seekers can customize their education by selecting business and computer science electives.
  • Early Childhood Studies

    This program explores how children five and younger develop. Core classes cover cognition and general knowledge. Degree-seekers also learn how to support dual-language learners. A typical early childhood studies degree does not qualify graduates for teacher licensure. Graduates may work as childcare workers or preschool teachers.
  • History

    Degree-seekers study topics such as global history to 1500 and European history. Learners can customize their degree through upper-division electives. The degree helps students develop transferable skills relevant to many careers. Graduates may work as intelligence officers, lawyers, or editors.

Most Affordable Online Colleges 2022

  1. University of Florida

    Gainesville, FL



    Located in Gainesville, UF Online offers a rich mix of bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, professional certifications, and a handful of doctorate options. Students take courses from a premier public university online with few to no residency requirements depending on their chosen degree.

    Bachelor's degree students choose from 25 degree tracks, many of which offer a graduate track. Undergraduate degrees include options in technology, education, business, and the arts. Online undergraduate students pay around $129 per credit for in-state students and $552 per credit for out-of-state students. Students can take courses full time or part time and in flexible formats.

    Students can choose from three start dates per year — spring, summer, and fall. UF Online accepts applications on a rolling basis and divides students based on the number of earned credits.

    UF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  2. Louisiana Tech University

    Ruston, LA



    Based in Ruston, Louisiana Tech's online extension offers students a bachelor's degree in health informatics and information management, six master's degrees, and six graduate certificates.

    Students can take certification series courses in business areas such as technical writing and communication or six sigma. Master's degree options cover areas like business administration, history, engineering, and English. Online courses happen asynchronously and offer flexible scheduling for working students or those who cannot relocate. In-state students pay around $300 per credit for undergraduate tuition and graduate tuition. Out-of-state students pay around $606 per credit.

    The school requires SAT or ACT scores for first-year applicants, and graduate students must supply GMAT or GRE scores. Current students may contact the dean to enroll in certificate programs, but non-enrolled students may apply as transfer students.

    Louisiana Tech is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  3. New Mexico State University

    Las Cruces, NM



    Located in Las Cruces, NMSU Online offers a variety of undergraduate degrees and graduate certificates. A handful of degrees require periodic in-person sessions, but students have several choices with no residency requirements.

    Online bachelor's degree programs cover subjects such as science, technology, hospitality, and business. Graduate certificates include public health, nursing, teaching, and technology. Students may also complete an associate degree in subjects that do not require further education, such as paralegal studies, allowing students to launch careers quickly and flexibly. All students pay just $380 per credit regardless of residency status, including certificate credits.

    Undergraduate students need a cumulative 2.75 GPA or ACT/SAT scores of 21 or 1080, respectively. Students who do not meet these requirements may apply for conditional admission. Transfer students need a cumulative GPA of 2.0.

    New Mexico State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  4. Louisiana State University and A&M College

    Baton Rouge, LA



    Based in Baton Rouge, LSU Online offers various associate, bachelor, and graduate degree and certificate programs covering topics such as education, engineering, communications, and technology.

    Students take online courses with flexible schedules and no need for residency requirements in most cases. Students mostly study asynchronously, creating their own schedules. LSU also offers cybercrime and coding bootcamps and microcredential programs online — 2-6-course programs designed to impart job-specific professional skills quickly.

    Notable degree tracks include a bachelor of general studies in emergency management and disaster preparedness, a master of science in analytics, and a master of arts in higher education administration. The school offers opportunities to receive credit for prior learning and military experience. Students pay $303 per credit with no in-state or out-of-state requirements.

    LSU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  5. Florida State University

    Tallahassee, FL



    Based in Tallahassee, DISTANCE@FSU offers five bachelor's degrees, 18 master's degrees, and three doctoral degrees online, plus certificate and specialized education options.

    Notable degrees include doctor of nursing practice, master of science in art education, master of science in systems engineering, and a bachelor of science in computer science. Students can also choose an interdisciplinary study bachelor's degree for flexibility.

    FSU does not require residency in most cases, and students take a flexible approach to education with asynchronous learning. In-state students pay $180 per credit for undergraduate and $444 per credit for graduate, with out-of-state students paying $688 and $1,077, respectively.

    FSU requires ACT or SAT scores for first-year applicants. Graduate programs list individual requirements, but many of them require advanced standardized exams like the GRE.

    FSU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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