10 Most Affordable Online Colleges for Bachelor’s Degrees

Genevieve Carlton, Ph.D.
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Updated April 12, 2024
Edited by
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Looking for the cheapest online college? Learn about the most affordable online colleges and how to save money on your bachelor’s degree.

Are you ready to discover your college program?

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.

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Most Affordable Online Colleges for Bachelor’s Degrees

#1 10 Most Affordable Online Colleges for Bachelor’s Degrees

University of Florida-Online

  • Location-markerGainesville, FL
  • 4 year
  • Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$3,358
  • Out-of-state$15,000
  • Retention Rate91%
  • Acceptance Rate66%
  • Students Enrolled5,168
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment0%
  • AccreditationYes
#2 10 Most Affordable Online Colleges for Bachelor’s Degrees

Southern New Hampshire University

  • Location-markerManchester, NH
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$15,000
  • Out-of-state$15,000
  • Retention Rate62%
  • Acceptance Rate92%
  • Students Enrolled145,533
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment96%
  • AccreditationYes
#3 10 Most Affordable Online Colleges for Bachelor’s Degrees

God's Bible School and College

  • Location-markerCincinnati, OH
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$6,500
  • Out-of-state$6,500
  • Retention Rate86%
  • Acceptance Rate65%
  • Students Enrolled348
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment86%
  • AccreditationYes
#4 10 Most Affordable Online Colleges for Bachelor’s Degrees

Florida International University

  • Location-markerMiami, FL
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$4,721
  • Out-of-state$16,529
  • Retention Rate90%
  • Acceptance Rate64%
  • Students Enrolled56,664
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment65%
  • AccreditationYes
#5 10 Most Affordable Online Colleges for Bachelor’s Degrees

Florida State College at Jacksonville

  • Location-markerJacksonville, FL
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$2,095
  • Out-of-state$7,947
  • Retention Rate0%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled20,717
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment78%
  • AccreditationYes
#6 10 Most Affordable Online Colleges for Bachelor’s Degrees

Texas A&M University-Central Texas

  • Location-markerKilleen, TX
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$6,593
  • Out-of-state$16,385
  • Retention Rate0%
  • Acceptance Rate96%
  • Students Enrolled2,219
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment90%
  • AccreditationYes
#7 10 Most Affordable Online Colleges for Bachelor’s Degrees

San Diego State University

  • Location-markerSan Diego, CA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$5,742
  • Out-of-state$17,622
  • Retention Rate90%
  • Acceptance Rate38%
  • Students Enrolled36,484
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment64%
  • AccreditationYes
#8 10 Most Affordable Online Colleges for Bachelor’s Degrees

Indian River State College

  • Location-markerFort Pierce, FL
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$2,496
  • Out-of-state$9,360
  • Retention Rate0%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled14,461
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment66%
  • AccreditationYes
#9 10 Most Affordable Online Colleges for Bachelor’s Degrees

Eastern New Mexico University

  • Location-markerPortales, NM
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$4,074
  • Out-of-state$6,114
  • Retention Rate59%
  • Acceptance Rate33%
  • Students Enrolled4,991
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment82%
  • AccreditationYes
#10 10 Most Affordable Online Colleges for Bachelor’s Degrees

Excelsior University

  • Location-markerAlbany, NY
  • 4 year
  • Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$0
  • Out-of-state$0
  • Retention Rate0%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled17,166
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment0%
  • AccreditationYes

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 Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 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, in-state undergraduates — both online and on-campus — at public universities paid an average of $9,596 in tuition and fees per year in 2021-2022. Undergrads at private institutions, meanwhile, paid a much higher average of $34,041 in 2021-2022.

Many factors can influence how much you spend on your online bachelor’s degree, 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 tend to 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.

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. These professionals earn a median salary exceeding $79,000 (BLS, 2023).

Other careers you can pursue with a bachelor’s in accounting include cost estimator, financial analyst, and financial manager.

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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 $47,440, with finance and insurance industry clerks making the most in this group (BLS, 2023).

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Bachelor’s in Computer Science

Computer programmers with a computer science degree earn a median salary of $99,700 (BLS, 2023). 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.

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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 $65,220 (BLS, 2023). 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.

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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 is $120,000 per year (BLS, 2023).

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.

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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 $138,080 (BLS, 2023). You may earn significantly less as a recent graduate.

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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 $80,050 (BLS, 2023). 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.

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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 $86,070 (BLS, 2023). 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.

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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 $136,350 (BLS, 2023).

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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 $63,770 (BLS, 2023).

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Frequently Asked Questions About Affordable Online Colleges

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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