10 Most Affordable Online Colleges for Bachelor's Degrees
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Online education offers many benefits, often including a more affordable path to a college degree. Earning a cheap bachelor's degree online can prepare you for graduate school or a career without the burden of student debt.
The most popular online colleges offer degrees in an array of subjects and require the same academic rigor as traditional on-campus programs.
Most Affordable Online Colleges for Bachelor's Degrees
These rankings include
#1 10 Most Affordable Online Colleges for Bachelor’s Degrees
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
- 4 years
- Online + Campus
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) caters to working learners with flexible online programs. The adaptability of online programs allows enrollees to pursue college degrees while keeping their full-time jobs.
The school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and serves more than 26,000 distance learners. Online students can choose from 54 programs.
Applicants can generally expect a 79% admission rate. This rate can vary by program. Enrollees receive an advanced education employers value. They can also access professional development through departments such as career services.
#2 10 Most Affordable Online Colleges for Bachelor’s Degrees
- 4 years
- Online + Campus
A private university in Amherst, New York, Daemen College develops programs that let learners pursue a college education while continuing to work. The school is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Enrollees benefit from flexible scheduling and rigorous curricular content.
The school's online platform serves 1,609 distance learners. Online students can access support services like academic advising and financial aid counseling. Enrollees study in an environment that provides both academic and professional development opportunities.
Daemen College accepts about 62% of applicants, but this number varies by program. In-state and out-of-state enrollees pay the same tuition price of $23,928 per year.
#3 10 Most Affordable Online Colleges for Bachelor’s Degrees
- 4 years
- Online + Campus
Campbellsville University delivers flexible programs for working students. The university's 70 online programs provide both undergraduate and graduate students with challenging, career-relevant degrees.
Located in Kentucky, this private Christian university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The school educates about 9,300 online enrollees.
Various departments may post their own acceptance rates, but the school's average admission rate is 78%. Enrollees study in an adaptable environment designed to promote academic excellence and professional development.
#4 10 Most Affordable Online Colleges for Bachelor’s Degrees
- 4 years
- Online + Campus
Marquette University offers online and face-to-face programs from its campus in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Learners with full-time jobs benefit from the adaptability of online programs.
This private Catholic school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, attesting to the high quality of its programs. The school’s online infrastructure provides a flexible, rigorous, and supportive remote classroom environment for its 9,612 distance learners.
With an 82% admission rate, Marquette accepts most of its applicants. However, this rate may vary by program. Students pay about $21,690 in annual tuition regardless of residency. Marquette's career services, academic advising, and financial aid offices support degree-seekers throughout their studies.
#5 10 Most Affordable Online Colleges for Bachelor’s Degrees
- 4 years
- Online + Campus
Liberty University, a private Christian institution, designs its online programs so that learners can pursue a college degree while they continue to work. Both flexible and rigorous, Liberty's online degrees serve students with diverse needs and backgrounds.
Located in Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Many of the university's 174 total online programs also hold relevant programmatic accreditation. The school invests heavily in its remote learning opportunities, which serve over 86,000 learners from across the globe.
About 50% of Liberty applicants are admitted to the college. However, acceptance rates may differ by program. Enrollees can access institutional resources focused on student success. For example, the school's career services office helps learners shape their academic paths to their professional goals.
How We Chose These Schools
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Learn more about how our formula works on our ranking methodology page.
Why Earn a Bachelor's Degree?
A bachelor's degree can lead to new careers and higher salaries. Many entry-level careers require a bachelor's degree. In fields like business, healthcare, and education, bachelor's degree holders can qualify for many roles.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), bachelor's degree holders earn 68% more annually than those with just a high school diploma and 42% more than those with an associate degree.
Earning a degree online provides flexibility, accessibility, and affordability. Accredited online degrees meet the same high academic standards as in-person degrees.
How Much Does an Online Bachelor's Degree Cost?
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the cost of an online bachelor's degree from a public university is around $54,000, which is about $31,000 cheaper than an in-person degree.
However, many factors can influence how much you spend, including your school type and your residency status. In-state, public colleges typically offer the lowest tuition costs, whereas private and out-of-state schools usually charge more.
One benefit of earning a bachelor's degree online is that you can do it from the comfort of your home — you don't need to relocate or commute to attend the college of your choice. This can help you save thousands of dollars on housing and transportation costs.
In addition to tuition, you must budget for other expenses as an online student. These may include books and supplies, as well as distance learning or technology fees. Undergraduates spent an average of $1,215 on books and supplies in 2022, according to BestColleges.com.
How to Pay for Online College
You have several options when it comes to paying for an online degree. By choosing an accredited college, you can apply for federal student aid by submitting the FAFSA. Federal programs include the Pell Grant and student loan options.
States, colleges, and private organizations also use the FAFSA to determine financial aid eligibility. You can also apply for scholarships and grants to cover your costs. And many online students work while in school to help pay for college.
Finding the Right Online Bachelor’s Degree for You
Earning an online bachelor’s degree can open new doors. College graduates qualify for higher-paying jobs. And you’ll need a bachelor’s degree if you want to go to graduate school. But how can you find the right program for your unique needs?
First, make sure to choose an accredited institution. Accredited degrees meet high standards for academic quality, and many employers prefer to hire graduates from accredited schools. Next, consider your interests, strengths, and career goals. Learn more about popular online bachelor’s degrees below.
Bachelor's in Accounting
An online bachelor's degree program in accounting prepares you to work as an accountant. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that these professionals earn a median salary exceeding $78,000 (BLS, 2022).
Other careers you can pursue with a bachelor's in accounting include cost estimator, financial analyst, and financial manager.
Featured Online Bachelor's in Accounting Programs
Bachelor's in Business
The cheapest bachelor's degrees in business may require finance, consulting, and accounting classes. The degree prepares you for business careers like advertising sales agent, benefits officer, and bookkeeper.
Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks earn a median salary of $45,860, with finance and insurance industry clerks making the most in this group (BLS, 2022).
Featured Online Bachelor's in Business Programs
Bachelor's in Computer Science
Computer programmers with a computer science degree earn a median salary of $97,800 (BLS, 2022). Other well-paying computer science careers include information security analyst and computer systems analyst.
The cheapest bachelor's degrees in computer science may require information systems, software engineering, and math classes. Work with your college's academic and career counselors to select electives that align with your career goals.
Featured Online Bachelor's in Computer Science Programs
Bachelor's in Education
You need a bachelor's in education and a teaching license to work as a public elementary or secondary school teacher. High school teachers earn a median salary of $62,360 (BLS, 2022). You may earn more working for a public school than you would for a private school.
The cheapest online bachelor's degrees in education may also qualify you for other education careers, such as library technician and preschool teacher.
Featured Online Bachelor's in Education Programs
Bachelor's in Finance
The cheapest online bachelor's degrees in finance may require classes focusing on the principles of accounting, investing, and financial management.
Well-paying finance careers include actuary, financial manager, and personal financial advisor. The median salary for actuaries exceeds $113,990 per year (BLS, 2022).
Some top-paying finance jobs may require you to have more than a bachelor's. Use your college's career center to learn whether you'll need an advanced degree or certification to qualify for your dream job in finance.
Featured Online Bachelor's in Finance Programs
Bachelor's in Information Technology (IT)
An affordable online bachelor's degree in information technology may let you specialize in mobile devices, cybersecurity, or cloud-based networking. A college degree opens up many IT careers, such as hardware engineer, database administrator, and information systems manager.
Computer hardware engineers take home a median annual salary exceeding $132,360 (BLS, 2022). You may earn significantly less as a recent graduate.
Featured Online Bachelor's in Information Technology Programs
Bachelor's in Marketing
You can explore many careers with a bachelor's in marketing, such as copywriting. These professionals earn a median salary of $79,960 (BLS, 2022). Other marketing career opportunities include sales engineer, marketing research analyst, and public relations specialist.
Your cheap bachelor's degree online program in marketing may require classes in consumer behavior and applied marketing management.
Featured Online Bachelor's in Marketing Programs
Bachelor's in Nursing
An online bachelor's in nursing can help you start or advance your career as a registered nurse (RN). RNs make a median annual salary of $81,220 (BLS, 2022). Your RN job may pay more if you work for a government agency.
An online bachelor's in nursing requires in-person clinical rotations and other hands-on experiences. Work with your academic counselors and professors to find placements near you.
Featured Online Bachelor's in Nursing Programs
Bachelor's in Psychology
An affordable online bachelor's degree in psychology challenges you with classes in addiction theories, the psychology of social media, and criminal psychology and behavior. You can use your degree to pursue a doctorate, which is required to become a licensed psychologist.
Some psychology-related careers, such as human resources manager, require only a bachelor's degree. These professionals earn a median salary of $130,000 (BLS, 2022).
Featured Online Bachelor's in Psychology Programs
Bachelor's in Social Work
An inexpensive bachelor's degree online program in social work may require coursework in diversity, human behavior, and social work research. You'll also have to complete n-person practicums in different social work settings.
One of the best social work jobs for graduates with a bachelor's degree is a health education specialist. These workers earn a median annual salary of $59,990 (BLS, 2022).
Featured Online Bachelor's in Social Work Programs
Frequently Asked Questions About Affordable Online Colleges
What is the fastest way to get a bachelor's degree online?
What is the cheapest way to get a bachelor’s degree?
The cheapest way to get a bachelor’s degree is usually to earn an associate degree and transfer to a four-year institution. That’s because community colleges typically charge the lowest tuition rates.
You can also save money by researching affordable online colleges. The cost of an online degree depends on the tuition rate and your transfer credits. By earning a degree online, you can save on tuition and other expenses. And by maximizing your transfer credits, you can save money.
Is online college cheaper?
Online college can save you money. That’s because you can choose a more affordable school and save on transportation and living expenses.
Data shows that online colleges are cheaper. Online students pay $321 per credit at public colleges and $505 per credit at private colleges, on average, according to Education Data. In comparison, in-person learners pay an average of $729 per credit for public college tuition and $1,598 per credit for private college tuition.
Can you get a bachelor's degree entirely online?
Many top-ranked colleges offer fully online bachelor's degrees. In an online program, you complete your degree requirements by taking classes and earning credits online.
Are online degrees respected by employers?
Employers make no distinction between campus-based and online bachelor's degrees. Accredited online degrees meet the same high standards as on-campus degrees. Your diploma also will not specify that you earned your degree online.
Note: The insights on this page — excluding school descriptions — were reviewed by an independent third party compensated for their time by TheBestSchools. Page last reviewed November 15, 2023.
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