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This guide covers important information about online bachelor's programs, including how to choose the right online college, the value of an accredited degree, and scholarship opportunities for online learners.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), professionals with a bachelor's degree earn $337 more per week than those with an associate degree and $461 more than those with a high school diploma, translating into an additional $17,000-$24,000 per year.

By choosing an online bachelor's degree from an affordable online college, prospective students can increase their earning potential without incurring large amounts of debt. An online bachelor's program offers a flexible learning format that lets students balance their studies with professional and personal obligations. Accredited online schools offer the same diplomas and meet the same academic standards as traditional, on-campus programs.

The Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s Programs 2020

Most Affordable Online Bachelor's Degrees

1
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4

University of Houston-Downtown 

Houston, TX

About this school

A comprehensive four-year university, UHD hosts students on its downtown campus, at satellite locations, and online. Founded in 1974, the school offers more than 40 study areas, including 15 online bachelor's programs.

Online bachelor's degrees offered:

Undergraduate in-state tuition: $2,772/12-credit semester

Undergraduate out-of-state tuition: $7,836/12-credit semester

Accreditation

The University of Houston-Downtown is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

Graduation Rate
20%
Percent Receiving Loans
21%
5

Florida Atlantic University 

Boca Raton, FL

About this school

Established in 1961, FAU enrolls more than 29,000 students across six campuses and online. Online learners can choose from more than 10 online degrees, which feature flexible, asynchronous formats.

Online bachelor's degrees offered:

Undergraduate in-state tuition: $105/credit hour

Undergraduate out-of-state tuition: $105/credit hour

Accreditation

Florida Atlantic University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

Graduation Rate
52%
Percent Receiving Loans
38%
6

University of Louisiana at Monroe 

Monroe, LA

About this school

ULM enrolls more than 9,000 students each year who can choose from over 90 majors and minors. The public university offers more than 35 online programs, including 15 online bachelor's degrees.

Online bachelor's degrees offered:

Undergraduate in-state tuition: $4,800/semester

Undergraduate out-of-state tuition: $4,800/semester

Accreditation

University of Louisiana at Monroe is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

Graduation Rate
44%
Percent Receiving Loans
49%
7

University of Florida-Online 

Gainesville, FL

About this school

Founded in 1858, UF hosts more than 55,000 students each year. In 2014, the institution introduced online learning to accommodate distance learners. Online students can choose from more than 20 fully online undergraduate degrees.

Online bachelor's degrees offered:

Undergraduate in-state tuition: $129/credit hour

Undergraduate out-of-state tuition: $553/credit hour

Accreditation

University of Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

Graduation Rate
54%
Percent Receiving Loans
18%
8

Fayetteville State University 

Fayetteville, NC

About this school

A historically black college and university and one of the oldest public institutions in the state, FSU enrolls more than 6,500 students each year. The school offers over 60 degrees, including flexible online programs. Online learners can choose from 12 programs, including 10 bachelor's degrees.

Online bachelor's degrees offered:

Undergraduate in-state tuition: $101/credit hour

Undergraduate out-of-state tuition: $252/credit hour

Accreditation

Fayetteville State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

Graduation Rate
35%
Percent Receiving Loans
72%
9

Southeastern Oklahoma State University 

Durant, OK

About this school

Established in 1909, Southeastern hosts nearly 5,000 students each year. In addition to on-campus programs, the school offers a variety of online programs, which offer flexible schedules and multiple yearly start dates.

Online bachelor's degrees offered:

Undergraduate in-state tuition: From $275/credit hour

Undergraduate out-of-state tuition: $563/credit hour

Accreditation

Southeastern Oklahoma State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Graduation Rate
33%
Percent Receiving Loans
49%
10

Bellevue University 

Bellevue, NE

About this school

Founded in 1966, BU hosts more than 9,000 students through over 80 programs. The private university offers more than 75 online degrees, including 50 bachelor's degrees.

Online bachelor's degrees offered:

Undergraduate in-state tuition: $425/credit hour

Undergraduate out-of-state tuition: $425/credit hour

Accreditation

Bellevue University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Percent Receiving Loans
34%
11

Missouri State University-Springfield 

Springfield, MO

About this school

Missouri State, a public university founded in 1905, enrolls more than 23,000 students in over 170 programs each year. The institution offers a variety of online degrees, certificates, and minors, including 11 online bachelor's degrees.

Online bachelor's degrees offered:

Undergraduate in-state tuition: $295/credit hour

Undergraduate out-of-state tuition: $295/credit hour

Accreditation

Missouri State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Graduation Rate
54%
Percent Receiving Loans
57%
12

New Mexico State University 

Las Cruces, NM

About this school

Enrolling more than 15,000 students annually, NMSU hosts learners on five campuses and online. Online learners can choose from more than 500 courses and 60 degree programs, which offer asynchronous learning formats.

Online bachelor's degrees offered:

Undergraduate in-state tuition: $248/credit hour

Undergraduate out-of-state tuition: $819/credit hour

Accreditation

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

Graduation Rate
47%
Percent Receiving Loans
32%
13

Appalachian State University 

Boone, NC

About this school

One of the University of North Carolina System's 17 campuses, Appalachian hosts more than 19,000 students. Founded in 1899, the school offers a variety of online and hybrid study options for learners, including more than 150 majors.

Online bachelor's degrees offered:

Undergraduate in-state tuition: $163/credit hour

Undergraduate out-of-state tuition: $664/credit hour

Accreditation

Appalachian State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

Graduation Rate
72%
Percent Receiving Loans
51%
14

Northern Kentucky University 

Highland Heights, KY

About this school

A public university that enrolls more than 14,000 students annually, NKU offers over 70 majors. The school features a variety of online programs, including over 15 bachelor's degrees. Online learners can follow a traditional semester schedule or an accelerated schedule to expedite graduation.

Online bachelor's degrees offered:

Undergraduate in-state tuition: $448/credit hour

Undergraduate out-of-state tuition: $828/credit hour

Accreditation

Northern Kentucky University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

Graduation Rate
42%
Percent Receiving Loans
58%
15

The University of Texas of the Permian Basin 

Odessa, TX

About this school

Offering its first classes in 1973, UTPB became a public, four-year university in 1991. Today, UTPB enrolls more than 5,000 students annually. The institution offers over 50 degrees, including 12 online bachelor's degrees.

Online bachelor's degrees offered:

Undergraduate in-state tuition: $203/credit hour

Undergraduate out-of-state tuition: $288/credit hour

Accreditation

The University of Texas of the Permian Basin is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

Graduation Rate
41%
Percent Receiving Loans
40%
16

Minot State University 

Minot, ND

About this school

Founded in 1913, MSU is a public university that hosts more than 3,000 students and offers over 60 undergraduate majors. To accommodate students across the country, the institution introduced online programming, including 10 fully online, asynchronous bachelor's degrees.

Online bachelor's degrees offered:

Undergraduate in-state tuition: $316/credit hour

Undergraduate out-of-state tuition: $316/credit hour

Accreditation

Minot State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Graduation Rate
46%
Percent Receiving Loans
55%
17

University of Illinois at Springfield 

Springfield, IL

About this school

Established in 1969, UIS hosts more than 4,000 students annually. The public university offers diverse online programs, including over 1,400 majors and 52 full degrees. Learners can complete online programs asynchronously.

Online bachelor's degrees offered:

Undergraduate in-state tuition: $305/credit hour

Undergraduate out-of-state tuition: $305/credit hour

Accreditation

University of Illinois at Springfield is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Graduation Rate
51%
Percent Receiving Loans
49%
18

Indiana University-Bloomington 

Bloomington, IN

About this school

IU is a public research university that offers more than 550 majors and 200 research centers and institutions. Students can pursue a variety of online programs, including more than 125 degrees that follow a flexible, asynchronous format.

Online bachelor's degrees offered:

Undergraduate in-state tuition: $10,948/year

Undergraduate out-of-state tuition: $36,512/year

Accreditation

Indiana University-Bloomington is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Graduation Rate
78%
Percent Receiving Loans
35%
19

Northwestern State University of Louisiana 

Natchitoches, LA

About this school

Established in 1884, NSU is a public, four-year university that represents Louisiana's largest electronic campus, offering more than 40 online degrees. The school was the first in the state to offer online programming.

Online bachelor's degrees offered:

Undergraduate in-state tuition: $375/credit hour

Undergraduate out-of-state tuition: $375/credit hour

Accreditation

Northwestern State University of Louisiana is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

Graduation Rate
45%
Percent Receiving Loans
57%
20

University of Alaska Fairbanks 

Fairbanks, AK

About this school

Established in 1922, UAF became a four-year public university in 1935. Today, the school hosts over 8,500 students and offers nearly 150 degrees. Students can choose from more than 20 online degrees, which feature flexible schedules and small classes.

Online bachelor's degrees offered:

Undergraduate in-state tuition: $8,538-$9,978/year

Undergraduate out-of-state tuition: $26,208-$27,648/year

Accreditation

University of Alaska Fairbanks is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

Graduation Rate
32%
Percent Receiving Loans
31%
21

Lamar University 

Beaumont, TX

About this school

Founded in 1923, LU became a public, four-year university in 1953. The school now hosts more than 15,000 students, seven colleges, and nearly 140 degrees. Online learners can choose from 13 full degrees and several degree-completion options.

Online bachelor's degrees offered:

Undergraduate in-state tuition: $5,046/semester

Undergraduate out-of-state tuition: $11,315/semester

Accreditation

Lamar University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

Graduation Rate
27%
Percent Receiving Loans
52%
22

Eastern New Mexico University 

Portales, NM

About this school

A public university with more than 85 years of education experience, ENMU hosts more than 6,000 students through over 90 programs, including 30 online degree programs. Online courses run asynchronously, but learners can access live and on-demand courses in some programs.

Online bachelor's degrees offered:

Undergraduate in-state tuition: $1,998/semester

Undergraduate out-of-state tuition: $2,997/semester

Accreditation

Eastern New Mexico University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Graduation Rate
35%
Percent Receiving Loans
43%
23

University of New Mexico 

Albuquerque, NM

About this school

New Mexico's flagship university, UNM was founded in 1889 and enrolls more than 23,000 students. With more than 200 programs to choose from, UNM students enjoy plenty of study options, including 12 online bachelor's degrees.

Online bachelor's degrees offered:

Undergraduate in-state tuition: $2,793/semester

Undergraduate out-of-state tuition: $10,858/semester

Accreditation

University of New Mexico is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Graduation Rate
50%
Percent Receiving Loans
57%
24

University of Wisconsin-Whitewater 

Whitewater, WI

About this school

Founded in 1868, UWW has been a member of the University of Wisconsin System since 1971. Today, the school hosts more than 13,000 students through over 50 majors. Online students can choose from nine undergraduate degrees.

Online bachelor's degrees offered:

Undergraduate in-state tuition: $7,694/semester

Undergraduate out-of-state tuition: $16,416/semester

Accreditation

University of Wisconsin Whitewater is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Graduation Rate
58%
Percent Receiving Loans
65%
25

Ottawa University-Kansas City 

Overland Park, KS

About this school

Percent Receiving Loans
59%
25

Ottawa University-Online 

Ottawa, KS

About this school

Founded in 1865, ISU hosts more than 10,000 students annually. The school offers more than 100 programs, including 70 online programs. Online students can choose from 23 bachelor's degrees, which offer flexible schedules and delivery methods.

Online bachelor's degrees offered:

Undergraduate in-state tuition: $4,518/semester

Undergraduate out-of-state tuition: $5,828/semester

Accreditation

Indiana State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Percent Receiving Loans
59%
27

Indiana State University 

Terre Haute, IN

About this school

Graduation Rate
41%
Percent Receiving Loans
67%
28

Fort Hays State University 

Hays, KS

About this school

Founded in 1963, UCF is a public research institution that hosts nearly 70,000 students through 13 colleges. Students can choose from more than 20 online undergraduate degrees. Students who have completed the lower-level credits of these programs can complete their bachelor's degree online through UCF.

Online bachelor's degrees offered:

Undergraduate in-state tuition: $5,028/year

Undergraduate out-of-state tuition: $10,758/year

Accreditation

University of Central Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

Graduation Rate
44%
Percent Receiving Loans
59%
29

University of Central Florida 

Orlando, FL

About this school

Founded in 1879, SHSU is among the oldest universities in the state. The school hosts more than 21,000 students each year and offers 90 undergraduate programs, including a variety of online bachelor's degrees.

Online bachelor's degrees offered:

Undergraduate in-state tuition: $3,993/semester

Undergraduate out-of-state tuition: $3,993/semester

Accreditation

Sam Houston State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

Graduation Rate
73%
Percent Receiving Loans
34%
30

Sam Houston State University 

Huntsville, TX

About this school

Founded in 1873, SEMO hosts nearly 12,000 students each year through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs. The school offers over 30 online programs, including diverse online bachelor's degrees. All online students enjoy in-state tuition rates.

Online bachelor's degrees offered:

Undergraduate in-state tuition: $300/credit hour

Undergraduate out-of-state tuition: $300/credit hour

Accreditation

Southeast Missouri State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Graduation Rate
52%
Percent Receiving Loans
62%
31

Southeast Missouri State University 

Cape Girardeau, MO

About this school

Established in 1830, UNA is a public university that enrolls over 7,500 students each year through more than 170 majors. Distance learners can pursue one of nine online bachelor's degrees.

Online bachelor's degrees offered:

Undergraduate in-state tuition: $4,500/semester

Undergraduate out-of-state tuition: $4,500/semester

Accreditation

University of North Alabama is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

Graduation Rate
49%
Percent Receiving Loans
55%
32

University of North Alabama 

Florence, AL

About this school

Founded in 1887, Troy is a public university that hosts 17,000 students on multiple campuses worldwide and online. Troy offers over 1,000 programs, including more than 70 online degrees. Online students benefit from multiple start dates and flexible schedules.

Online bachelor's degrees offered:

Undergraduate in-state tuition: $338/credit hour

Undergraduate out-of-state tuition: $338/credit hour

Accreditation

Troy University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

Graduation Rate
46%
Percent Receiving Loans
69%
33

Troy University 

Troy, AL

About this school

Founded as a two-year teacher's school in 1907, WKU now enrolls approximately 18,000 students across more than 200 programs. The school offers several online bachelor's degrees, which typically follow an asynchronous format.

Online bachelor's degrees offered:

Undergraduate in-state tuition: $540/credit hour

Undergraduate out-of-state tuition: $540/credit hour

Accreditation

Western Kentucky University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

Graduation Rate
43%
Percent Receiving Loans
81%
34

Western Kentucky University 

Bowling Green, KY

About this school

Founded in 1983, UW-Superior is a public, liberal arts university. The school hosts about 2,600 students annually through more than 60 programs. Online students can choose from a variety of online courses and eight fully online bachelor's degrees.

Online bachelor's degrees offered:

Undergraduate in-state tuition: $305/credit hour

Undergraduate out-of-state tuition: $305/credit hour

Accreditation

University of Wisconsin-Superior is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Graduation Rate
45%
Percent Receiving Loans
57%
35

University of Wisconsin-Superior 

Superior, WI

About this school

Established in 1972, GSC is dedicated to accommodating working professionals and nontraditional students. The school offers over 25 online bachelor's degrees, which offer fully online, hybrid, and field-based learning formats.

Online bachelor's degrees offered:

Undergraduate in-state tuition: $314/credit hour

Undergraduate out-of-state tuition: $365/credit hour

Accreditation

Granite State College is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

Graduation Rate
36%
Percent Receiving Loans
60%
36

Granite State College 

Concord, NH

About this school

Founded in 1895, EIU strives to improve access to education for students across the country. The public university enrolls more than 7,000 students in over 80 programs annually, including nine online bachelor's degrees.

Online bachelor's degrees offered:

Undergraduate in-state tuition: $302/credit hour

Undergraduate out-of-state tuition: $372/credit hour

Accreditation

Eastern Illinois University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Graduation Rate
23%
Percent Receiving Loans
74%
37

Eastern Illinois University 

Charleston, IL

About this school

Founded in 1971, NU is the largest private, nonprofit university in the state, offering more than 75 programs. The flagship institution of the National University System, the school offers a variety of online learning options for undergraduates.

Online bachelor's degrees offered:

Undergraduate in-state tuition: $370/quarter unit

Undergraduate out-of-state tuition: $370/quarter unit

Accreditation

National University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

Graduation Rate
58%
Percent Receiving Loans
69%
38

National University 

La Jolla, CA

About this school

Founded in 1893, WNMU hosts over 3,500 students across more than 70 fields of study. The public institution offers a variety of online learning options, including more than 200 classes each semester and 15 online bachelor's degrees.

Online bachelor's degrees offered:

Undergraduate in-state tuition: $3,547/semester

Undergraduate out-of-state tuition: $7,616/semester

Accreditation

Western New Mexico University is accredited by the Higher Learning (HLC).

Graduation Rate
36%
39

Western New Mexico University 

Silver City, NM

About this school

Beginning as a Bible school with less than 30 students in 1953, MACU grew into a private, four-year university that hosts more than 1,000 students annually. The liberal arts school offers 89 degree programs, including more than 10 online bachelor's degrees.

Online bachelor's degrees offered:

Undergraduate in-state tuition: $395-$478/credit hour

Undergraduate out-of-state tuition: $395-$478/credit hour

Accreditation

Mid-America Christian University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Graduation Rate
26%
Percent Receiving Loans
51%
40

Mid-America Christian University 

Oklahoma City, OK

About this school

Founded in 1912, UofM enrolls more than 21,000 students every year through over 100 programs. The public research university continues innovating its educational offerings, offering asynchronous online programs across diverse areas of study.

Online bachelor's degrees offered:

Undergraduate in-state tuition: $463/credit hour

Undergraduate out-of-state tuition: $463/credit hour

Accreditation

University of Memphis is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

Graduation Rate
39%
Percent Receiving Loans
55%
41

University of Memphis 

Memphis, TN

About this school

Founded in 1911, Baker College is a private, nonprofit college that enrolls more than 7,000 students through over 100 programs each year. The school offers flexible online learning options, including more than 20 online bachelor's degrees.

Online bachelor's degrees offered:

Undergraduate in-state tuition: $405/credit hour

Undergraduate out-of-state tuition: $405/credit hour

Accreditation

Baker College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Graduation Rate
48%
Percent Receiving Loans
56%
42

Baker College 

Flint, MI

About this school

Founded in 1910, WTAMU is a public university that hosts more than 10,000 students through 100 programs. Students can choose from diverse online bachelor's degrees, which offer flexible learning formats.

Online bachelor's degrees offered:

Undergraduate in-state tuition: $50/credit hour

Undergraduate out-of-state tuition: $80/credit hour

Accreditation

West Texas A&M University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

Graduation Rate
19%
Percent Receiving Loans
60%
43

West Texas A & M University 

Canyon, TX

About this school

A public university founded in 1927, AU Little Rock enrolls more than 11,000 students through over 100 programs. The school offers a variety of learning opportunities for working professionals and nontraditional learners, including nearly 20 online bachelor's degrees.

Online bachelor's degrees offered:

Undergraduate in-state tuition: $9,529/year

Undergraduate out-of-state tuition: $21,780/year

Accreditation

University of Arkansas at Little Rock is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Graduation Rate
44%
Percent Receiving Loans
51%
44

University of Arkansas at Little Rock 

Little Rock, AR

About this school

Beginning as an agricultural school in 1909, A-State is now a public university that hosts more than 14,000 students through over 150 programs. To expand its reach and improve accessibility, the university introduced online programs, including 13 bachelor's degrees.

Online bachelor's degrees offered:

Undergraduate in-state tuition: $218/credit hour

Undergraduate out-of-state tuition: $218/credit hour

Accreditation

Arkansas State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Graduation Rate
39%
Percent Receiving Loans
60%
45

Arkansas State University 

Jonesboro, AR

About this school

Founded in 1886, ASU enrolls more than 70,000 students each year. In addition to offering classes through five campuses, the university offers more than 200 online programs.

Online bachelor's degrees offered:

Undergraduate in-state tuition: $5,355/semester

Undergraduate out-of-state tuition: $5,355/semester

Accreditation

Arizona State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Graduation Rate
48%
Percent Receiving Loans
57%
46

Arizona State University-Tempe 

Tempe, AZ

About this school

Established in 1971, ESC focuses on providing working professionals and nontraditional students with access to higher education. The public college offers online study options for many of it programs, including a variety of fully online bachelor's degrees.

Online bachelor's degrees offered:

Undergraduate in-state tuition: $295/credit hour

Undergraduate out-of-state tuition: $353/credit hour

Accreditation

SUNY Empire State College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

Graduation Rate
69%
Percent Receiving Loans
34%
47

SUNY Empire State College 

Saratoga Springs, NY

About this school

A public university founded in 1899, Texas State enrolls more than 38,000 students annually. Learners enjoy access to over 200 programs, including three fully online bachelor's degrees.

Online bachelor's degrees offered:

Undergraduate in-state tuition: $288/credit hour

Undergraduate out-of-state tuition: $710/credit hour

Accreditation

Texas State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

Graduation Rate
26%
Percent Receiving Loans
39%
48

Texas State University 

San Marcos, TX

About this school

Beginning as a two-year teacher's school, APSU is now a four-year public university offering more than 60 programs to over 11,000 students each year. Online learners can choose from more than 10 fully online bachelor's degrees.

Online bachelor's degrees offered:

Undergraduate in-state tuition: $4,151/12-credit semester

Undergraduate out-of-state tuition: $6,924/12-credit semester

Accreditation

Austin Peay State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

Graduation Rate
55%
Percent Receiving Loans
62%
49

Austin Peay State University 

Clarksville, TN

About this school

Founded in 1907, ECU enrolls more than 23,000 undergraduates each year. The public university offers nearly 170 programs, including 126 online degree and certificate programs.

Online bachelor's degrees offered:

Undergraduate in-state tuition: $166/credit hour

Undergraduate out-of-state tuition: $716/credit hour

Accreditation

East Carolina University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

Graduation Rate
41%
Percent Receiving Loans
58%
50

East Carolina University 

Greenville, NC
👏

End of list, bravo!

Ranking Methodology
Most Affordable

Most Affordable Online Bachelor's Degree Ranking Guidelines

This list ranks schools in order of their average net price for the most recent academic year. This information, sourced from the National Center for Education Statistics, reflects the average price paid by students for the school year after factoring in tuition costs, required fees, books and supplies, and financial aid. To be included on this list, schools must also offer a minimum of five distinct online bachelor's degree programs. The numbers below reflect the average net price for one full academic year.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are online schools accredited?

Yes; many cheap online schools hold regional or national accreditation. Accredited schools meet high standards of academic excellence.

Are online degrees cheaper?

Many schools offer tuition discounts for online learners. Additionally, online students often save on many of the expenses that on-campus students incur, such as housing and commuting costs.

How much does an online bachelor's degree cost?

The total cost of an online bachelor's degree varies by program and a student's circumstances; however, the cheapest online schools may charge under $5,000 per year in tuition.

What are the cheapest online bachelor's degree programs?

The cheapest online bachelor's degrees offer low tuition rates, liberal transfer credit policies, and accelerated formats.

What are the best online degrees to pursue?

The best online degrees offer value and quality. Online degrees in areas like business, the social sciences, and nursing offer career advancement opportunities and lucrative earning potential.

What are the top-paying bachelor's degrees?

The top-paying bachelor's degrees include engineering, economics, management, and computer science. In these fields, earning potential increases with experience.

The Advantages of a Bachelor's Degree

Professionals with a bachelor's degree earn over $450 more per week, on average, than professionals with only a high school diploma. Professionals with a bachelor's degree also benefit from a lower-than-average unemployment rate.

Educational Attainment Median Weekly Earnings Unemployment Rate
High School Diploma, No College $712 4.6%
Some College, No Degree $774 4.0%
Associate Degree $836 3.4%
Bachelor's Degree $1,173 2.5%

Source: BLS

Are Online Schools Accredited?

Prospective online students should only consider accredited schools. Schools can earn accreditation by voluntarily submitting to a review by an independent accrediting agency. Accredited colleges and universities meet high academic standards based on student learning outcomes, faculty qualifications, and academic rigor.

Online schools may hold regional or national accreditation. Liberal arts and research institutions generally hold regional accreditation, while technical and vocational programs may hold national accreditation. Regional accreditation remains the highest standard for colleges and universities. In addition to a school's accreditation status, some programs, like business, nursing, and teacher preparation programs, may hold programmatic accreditation.

Regional accreditation remains the highest standard for colleges and universities.

Accreditation benefits students in several ways. Many professional licenses and certifications require an accredited degree, and some employers only hire candidates with an accredited degree. Students at accredited institutions also qualify for more financial aid opportunities than students at non-accredited institutions.

Seven accrediting agencies grant regional accreditation based on the state where the school is located. Prospective students can check a school's accreditation status through the U.S. Department of Education's database of accredited schools.

Are Online Degrees Cheaper?

Online students often save money on their education compared to on-campus students. An online learning format lets students research and attend the most affordable online colleges without relocating. Additionally, many colleges and universities offer tuition discounts for online learners, including in-state tuition rates for out-of-state students. Online students also save on the commuting and housing costs that on-campus students incur.

Some online schools offer accelerated online bachelor's degrees. Depending on the program, completing the degree faster can result in tuition savings. Learn more about the best online colleges by state.

How Much Does an Online Bachelor's Degree Cost?

The cost of an online bachelor's degree varies by institution. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average tuition cost for a bachelor's degree at a public, in-state institution exceeded $9,000 per year in 2017-2018. Out-of-state students paid over $25,000 per year in tuition and fees, while students attending private institutions paid more than $30,000 per year, on average.

Public, in-state schools generally offer the lowest cost per credit; however, many programs offer flat tuition rates for online students or in-state rates for online learners regardless of residency.

What Are the Cheapest Online Bachelor's Degree Programs?

Online students often save money on their education compared to on-campus students. An online learning format lets students research and attend the most affordable online colleges without relocating. Additionally, many colleges and universities offer tuition discounts for online learners, including in-state tuition rates for out-of-state students. Online students also save on the commuting and housing costs that on-campus students incur.

Some online schools offer accelerated online bachelor's degrees. Depending on the program, completing the degree faster can result in tuition savings. Learn more about the best online colleges by state.

Best Online Colleges by State

Colleges and universities often offer tuition discounts to in-state students. Prospective students can review our ranking of the best online colleges by state to discover local options.

What Are the Best Online Degrees to Pursue?

The best online degrees offer academic rigor, highly qualified faculty, and diverse course offerings. Prospective students can review our ranking of the 25 best online degrees categorized by discipline, including business and finance, computers and technology, and humanities and social sciences.

What Are the Top-Paying Bachelor's Degrees?

The following jobs, which require a bachelor's degree for entry-level opportunities, offer the highest average early and mid-career salaries.

Salary by Experience
Degree Subject Early Career Pay Mid-Career Pay
Petroleum Engineering $94,500 $176,900
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science $88,000 $142,200
Applied Economics and Management $58,900 $140,000
Operations Research $77,900 $137,100
Political Economy $57,600 $136,200

Source: PayScale

Choosing an Online Bachelor's Degree Program

Transfer Policies

Most colleges and universities accept transfer credits toward a bachelor's degree. Prospective students can often submit their transcripts for a transfer credit evaluation, which can help save money on tuition costs.

School Size and Type

The size and type of school informs the total cost of a bachelor's degree and the student experience. In general, private schools charge higher tuition rates but offer more individualized attention, while in-state public institutions charge the lowest rates but may offer less one-on-one attention from faculty.

Program Delivery

Some programs offer asynchronous courses, which don't require set login times, while others require set class meetings. Asynchronous courses give students more flexibility to balance their studies with professional and personal obligations.

On-Campus Requirements

While many colleges offer fully online degrees, some programs include on-campus requirements, which students should ensure they can meet before enrolling in a program.

Program Reputation

A program's reputation can influence job prospects and earning potential after graduation. Prospective students can research program rankings and ask colleges for graduation placement information to determine a program's reputation.

Paying for Your Online Bachelor's Degree

Students earning a bachelor's degree online qualify for many scholarship opportunities. In addition to the following list, online learners can research scholarship opportunities based on factors like identity, major, and career path.

Scholarships for Online Bachelor's Students

TheBestSchools.org Online College Scholarships $1,000

Who Can Apply: TheBestSchools.org offers six scholarships per year to students attending an accredited online program. Full-time and part-time students can apply with a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Apply for this Scholarship

Unigo $10k Scholarship $10,000

Who Can Apply: Students attending an accredited postsecondary institution qualify for this scholarship opportunity. Applicants must submit a 250-word essay.

Apply for this Scholarship

Get Educated Online College Scholarship $1,000

Who Can Apply: Online students attending an accredited U.S. college with a minimum 3.0 GPA qualify for this opportunity. Applicants must submit a 500-word essay, transcripts, and their most recent FAFSA.

Apply for this Scholarship

TEACH Grant $4,000

Who Can Apply: The federal TEACH grant provides up to $4,000 per year for students earning a teaching degree. Recipients must meet work requirements after graduation.

Apply for this Scholarship

Chegg Monthly Scholarship $1,000

Who Can Apply: Chegg offers a monthly scholarship for students attending an accredited U.S. college or university. Applicants can apply every month.

Apply for this Scholarship

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