Prepare for your future and avoid the pitfalls of college debt by studying at one of the most affordable online colleges!
College can be expensive for online undergraduate students. The expense associated with a college education is one of the main reasons many people don’t get a bachelor’s degree.
When we’re young, we sometimes take opportunities for granted, like going to college. But as we age, many understand the value of education. Getting an education makes it more likely to get a good-paying job and make more money. Having a higher education can also be a satisfying personal achievement.
Maybe you’re looking for a career change. Do you want to go back to school and take some online courses to get the necessary skills to make that change?
Or perhaps you just graduated high school and are ready to explore what college has for you. Do you want to save money during the first couple of years of school by taking online classes?
You might be among the many non-traditional students who went to work after getting their school diplomas. You may have always wanted to go to college to get your degree. Looking for affordable online colleges makes sense for making your educational dreams come true without busting your budget with college expenses.
No matter your situation, it makes sense for online students like you to save money while taking steps toward achieving your goals. Fortunately, you can do this by pursuing a higher education with one of the cheapest online colleges we profile here. Save time and money with no commuting! Try these cheap tuition online colleges.
Cheapest Online Colleges
What’s considered low tuition colleges online for one person may not be the cheapest online school to other online learners.
Some college students think that $10,000 per year in tuition and fees for online programs is a steep price. Others view it as a bargain. Some students might think that online tuition rates of $1,000 per credit is a great bargain, while others might feel like $500 is pretty expensive. It just depends on your situation and your view of finances.
To help prospective students like you who want a good education without a huge tuition bill, we created a list of top low tuition colleges online. This being the case, you can assume that these colleges and universities are the most cost-effective to earn college credits at the undergraduate level. There are also some master’s programs and doctoral degree programs listed.
The number one choice of online degrees on our list is the most affordable option for online learning. As you read on, the cost of tuition progressively increases for your college degree. The online degree cost for all the programs on our list are low relative to other undergraduate programs.
Higher education has gotten increasingly expensive. This is true if you’re an online student or one who attends classes on campus. This makes the search for a cheaper college option all the more important, especially because not all schools offer flat tuition rates.
Much of this increase in tuition at colleges and universities is related to the incentives that the federal government and college administrations have created. So, is getting a college degree worth it?
Whether you are looking at social services, liberal arts degree, general education, or cybersecurity, distance education may be the way to go.
How Much Can You Earn?
How much online college students earn as bachelor’s degree holders depends on several factors:
- the type of online degree earned
- your age
- the specific job you have
There’s been research conducted on this very question. One study cites that millennials with an undergraduate degree earn, on average, more than $17,500 per year more than millennials who do not have a college degree!
As important as income might be, the fact remains that college graduates are more likely to have a job than high school graduates.
In fact, according to the study linked above, high school graduates are three times more likely to be unemployed than college graduates. So, as an online student, this is more than a question of how much you can earn. Instead, it relates to your employability as well.
By this, we mean that bachelor’s degree holders (and even associate degree holders) tend to be better suited for more jobs than people without a college education. The additional knowledge and skills you learn in college can be desirable for employers. But the knowledge and skills you gain regarding your specific major are even more valuable to you in your job search.
This is true not just of people that pursue an academic degree. Students that go to a technical or a trade school emerge with valuable skills. These skills help you find a job more quickly than someone who doesn’t have the same level of training. Finding cheap tuition online colleges may help you in your job search.
What’s Required for Online College?
Many of the cheapest online schools have the same requirements for admission for online learners as they do for their on-campus students.
So, prospective students like you who want to earn a bachelor’s degree will likely need to submit your high school transcripts. A complete application packet and ACT or SAT scores should be included. Note that other requirements might be in place for online undergraduate students.
For example, the best online colleges might require you to write a personal statement or a statement of purpose as an online student. These documents give admissions committees more insight into you as a person. They also help admissions staff learn about you as a student. It helps them understand your educational goals better.
Some of the best online colleges might ask that you submit letters of recommendation from past teachers. The letters of recommendation you submit might need to be from high school teachers. This would be most appropriate if you are just starting your college career.
However, if you’ve taken some college classes, submitting letters of recommendation from past college professors might be more appropriate. If you’re a high school student that has taken college courses, a mixture of letters from high school teachers and college professors might be best.
As an online student, you might also be asked to submit letters of recommendation from people that know you personally. The purpose of asking for these letters is to help evaluate who you are as a person outside of the classroom. Personal letters of recommendation should come from people that know you well. This might include family friends or people for whom you work. Avoid asking relatives for these letters.
Suppose you’re continuing your college education and applying for a master’s degree. In that case, you might need to submit Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) or Graduate Management Admissions Test scores (which is common for graduate students). Some graduate programs waive this requirement for applicants with a certain amount of work experience.
Ultimately, using resource guides like this helps you prepare for college. You’ll get information about private institutions and public schools. There’s information about tuition for in state students and out of state students. Different programs are highlighted as well, like business management and elementary education. You can also find information about services for nontraditional students. Doing your due diligence by consulting articles like this gives you the details you need to make an informed decision.
Public schools and private ones alike offer many benefits once you fulfill the admissions requirements. You’ll have experiential learning opportunities allowing students like you to get real-world experience in your area of study. Schools offer support services, too, so you won’t have to be your own enrollment counselor. Options like tutoring, educational leadership opportunities, and departmental scholarships are available.
Whether you want to work on your communication skills in online college, study consumer sciences, computer science, or sports management, you might find the right program on this list for lowest tuition online colleges.
Likewise, if you want to study nursing practice, sports and health sciences, or human resource management, this is a good place to start. If foreign language education, political science, or health sciences, are your cup of tea, you’ll find options here. You can also study:
- aviation science
- early childhood education
- criminal justice
- organizational management
Likewise, you can prepare for a master’s or doctoral program. The degrees in our rankings can help you get there!
While these rankings are for undergraduate programs, online master degrees and doctoral programs are mentioned when applicable. Note that these programs have different requirements for admission.
What are the Most Affordable Online Colleges?
OSR uses six data points. This helps you evaluate the online learning opportunities at the cheapest online colleges. There are three school-wide criteria and three program-specific criteria.
For school-wide criteria, OSR uses:
- Student satisfaction
- Admission rates
- The number of programs the school offers online
For program-specific higher education, OSR checks:
- The median debt of graduates with undergraduate degrees from that program
- How many degrees are offered within that program’s umbrella department
- What percentage of college students at that school graduated from that department
The six statistics are displayed by each school. They clearly show the online program’s rankings. The sliding bar under each statistic represents how that school compares to other US institutions. This allows you to quickly see how programs compare. “Not reported” means a school did not release that information to the US Department of Education.
You get a complete view of each school by considering the school-wide and program-specific criteria.
When you’re considering which schools you’d like to attend, it’s important to have as much information as possible. The six criteria in our rankings will help you do just that.
For example, examining the student satisfaction levels for a college or university gives you insight into the student experience.
Student satisfaction reports should be taken with a grain of salt. Some students might leave poor feedback because of a perceived slight by a professor. Likewise, some students might be overly positive about their experience for fear that more honest feedback might hurt a professor’s feelings.
Still, suppose a college or university has excellent ratings from many, many students. In that case, it’s probably safe to say that getting undergraduate degrees or graduate programs at that school is a good experience. However, if a college has consistently poor ratings from students, you might think twice about applying to that school.
This is just one example of how our methodology might be used to help you make a decision. A more detailed description of the OSR process can be found on the methodology page.
Let’s start your school search for online learning opportunities! Our school rankings of cheap online colleges offers many options to explore as a step toward a successful college career.