Cheapest Online Colleges and Universities

Get detailed information about cheapest online colleges and their tuition, accreditation, career prospects, scholarships, admission details and much more

Graduating from college without debt is possible! Yes, you read that right. The US has more than 40 million students in debt,  and each of those 40 million owes an average of $36,406. That’s a big chunk of change! One might assume that those students are only in-campus students, but online programs aren’t always cheap either. You might be wondering, are there any cheap online colleges out there? And if so, which are the cheapest online colleges?

Luckily, there are still affordable online colleges out there, and we’ll share a few of our favorites in this article. We’ll take you through some of the characteristics of these online colleges, the cheapest online college per credit hour costs, and information about scholarships and financial aid for these cheap online schools. 

Keeping this in mind, we’ve listed the most affordable and best online colleges you can find,  keeping in mind several factors such as fees, graduation rates, debt, financial aid, and more, for different degree levels. The rankings are given to 3000+ schools and the top 10 among them are given below.

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Top 11 Most Affordable Online Colleges and Universities

 

    1. Great Basin College

Established in 1967, Great Basin College is located in northeastern Nevada. A pioneer in online education, Great Basin College offers hundreds of online classes and a wide variety of online degree programs. Students that reside in Nevada pay about $3,593 per year in tuition fees, while out-of-state students pay $10,399 per year. Everyone can attend this great cheap online college, with an acceptance rate of 100%. 

 

    2. BYU Idaho

With 130 years of history in faith and service, Brighton Young University (BYU) Idaho offers students on-campus and online a Christian learning experience. BYU Idaho offers one of the cheapest online degrees in the USA, with tuition at almost half the cost of other colleges. To attend BYU Idaho’s online programs, online students will pay approximately $4,118 each year. At $131 per credit hour, BYU is a great choice for a cheap online college for those who want a Christian education. With an acceptance rate of 97%, admission is accessible to most. 

 

    3. University of North Carolina - Pembroke

Known as one of the most affordable universities in America, UNC - Pembroke offers many online degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and certificate levels. The college is located in the southeastern area of North Carolina in a town called Pembroke, and has small class sizes and a diverse student population.

Online degrees cost $500 per semester for in-state students, and $2,500 per semester for out-of-state students. UNC Pembroke’s acceptance rate is 85%. 

 

    4. Minot State University 

Minot State University offers affordable online programs, with undergraduate programs costing between $4,080 and $6,120 per year, or $340 per credit hour. Their acceptance rate is 74%. Ranked #3 on BestCollege’s Best Online Colleges in North Dakota’s list, Minot State University is a great, affordable online college. 

   

    5. Clayton State University

Clayton State University has a special, e-tuition dedicated for students studying online degree programs and courses. E-tuition is intentionally lower than traditional tuition, as it excludes regular fees for athletics, campus health, and parking. Clayton State University is one of the few universities that offer the same e-tuition cost for both in-state and out-of-state students.

Students studying for their Bachelor’s degree online can expect to pay $3,235 in tuition costs per year. Their acceptance rate is 51%. 

 

    6. Georgia Southern University

George Southern University offers one of the most competitive tuition rates at only $199 per credit hour, for online students. Established in 1906, the university, located in Georgia, has almost 27,000 students and about 140 different degree programs. Their acceptance rate is low, at 54%, but they are one of the cheapest online colleges. Furthermore, it was named the #1 top online college in the state of Georgia. 

 

    7. Eastern Illinois University

Eastern Illinois University offers the same online tuition rate to out-of-state residents as they do to in-state residents. At $315 per credit hour, EIU offers students an affordable online experience. They were ranked as the “Best Bang for Your Buck” college by the Washington Monthly, and a “Best Online College in Illinois” by Affordable Colleges Online. EIU has an acceptance rate of 53%. 

 

    8. Western Governors University

Western Governors University is committed to bridging the gap between low-income students and higher education. Located in Salt Lake City, Utah, WGU impressively declared that 45% of their students didn’t need to take out any loans for their education.  

Average tuition rates for WGU undergraduate students are about $7, 290 per year. They charge a flat rate cost per semester instead of per credit hour. WGU’s acceptance rate is 100%. 

 

    9. Murray State College

Murray State College is a public university that offers affordable education to its students. Its main campus is located in Kentucky while the other five are located in Henderson, Hopkinsville, Madisonville, Paducah, and Fort Campbell.

The tuition per credit hour for undergraduate students is $368 for non-residents, and $207 for in-state students. Both rates are significantly lower than other university averages. Their acceptance rate is 83%. 

 

    10. Valdosta State University

Valdosta State University in Georgia, University is an incredibly affordable online college. They offer eTuition rates of $182 per credit hour, and are ranked as one of the best online universities in the USA. 

Admission isn’t easy, however. The university is selective, and has an acceptance rate of 57%.

 

    11. University of the People (UoPeople)

Located in Pasadena, California, the University of the People is a tuition-free, online university. UoPeople is accredited by the  Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), and offers degree programs in Health Science, Business Administration, Education, and Computer Science. Their tuition-free model makes them the cheapest online college on this list. 

This online college is completely tuition-free, as the school is funded by generous donors. Students face only a $60 application fee and $120 assessment fee for every course they complete. And, students can pay these fees after their exam period. If you have financial hardship, they also offer scholarships that cover these minimal fees.

Anyone can attend this university, as they have an acceptance rate of 100%. Overall, an entire associate’s degree can be completed with only $2,460, a bachelor degree for $4,860, and a graduate degree for $2,940-$3,180. 

 

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do Online Colleges Accept Everyone Who Applies?

 

Usually no, but some of the above-listed online colleges have acceptance rates of 100%. These colleges accept pretty much everyone who applies!

 

Do Tuition Rates for Online Colleges the Same for Both In-state and Out-of-State Residents?

Some online colleges offer eTuition, which offers the same tuition for all students, no matter where they are located. For specific information about tuition fees for non-residents, refer to the specific college website.


National Park College (NPC)

Hot Springs, Arkansas


University Type: Public

Bachelors: Avg cost per credit $ 10

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University Type: Public

Bachelors: Avg cost per credit $ 14

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Berkshire Community College

Pittsfield, Massachusetts


University Type: Public

Bachelors: Avg cost per credit $ 26

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Modesto Junior College (MJC)

Modesto, California


University Type: Public

Bachelors: Avg cost per credit $ 28

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University of the People

Pasadena, California


University Type: Private Not-For-Profit

Bachelors: Avg cost per credit $ 34

Masters: Avg cost per credit $ 68

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South Carolina State University

Orangeburg, South Carolina


University Type: Public

Bachelors: Avg cost per credit $ 45

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Springfield College

Springfield, Massachusetts


University Type: Private Not-For-Profit

Bachelors: Avg cost per credit $ 49

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University Type: Public

Bachelors: Avg cost per credit $ 29

Masters: Avg cost per credit $ 210

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SUNY Canton

Canton, New York


University Type: Public

Bachelors: Avg cost per credit $ 58

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Naugatuck Valley Community College

Waterbury, Connecticut


University Type: Public

Bachelors: Avg cost per credit $ 66

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University Type: Private For-Profit

Bachelors: Avg cost per credit $ 66

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Touro University Nevada

Henderson, Nevada


University Type: Private Not-For-Profit

Bachelors: Avg cost per credit $ 56

Masters: Avg cost per credit $ 71

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AMES Christian University

Fort Myers, Florida


University Type: Private Not-For-Profit

Bachelors: Avg cost per credit $ 66

Masters: Avg cost per credit $ 99

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Mississippi University for Women

Columbus, Mississippi


University Type: Public

Bachelors: Avg cost per credit $ 55

Masters: Avg cost per credit $ 380

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Penn Foster College

Scottsdale, Arizona


University Type: Private For-Profit

Bachelors: Avg cost per credit $ 79

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Colorado Theological Seminary

Lake Helen, Florida


Bachelors: Avg cost per credit $ 45

Masters: Avg cost per credit $ 131

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Southern States University

San Diego, California


University Type: Private For-Profit

Masters: Avg cost per credit $ 84

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University Type: Public

Bachelors: Avg cost per credit $ 59

Masters: Avg cost per credit $ 143

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Ashworth College

Norcross, Georgia


University Type: Private For-Profit

Bachelors: Avg cost per credit $ 87

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Indiana University Bloomington

Bloomington, Indiana


University Type: Public

Bachelors: Avg cost per credit $ 89

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University Type: Public

Masters: Avg cost per credit $ 91

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Christian Leadership University

Cheektowaga, New York


University Type: Private Not-For-Profit

Bachelors: Avg cost per credit $ 100

Masters: Avg cost per credit $ 100

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Grambling State University

Grambling, Louisiana


University Type: Public

Masters: Avg cost per credit $ 102

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Pensacola state college (PSC)

Pensacola, Florida


University Type: Public

Bachelors: Avg cost per credit $ 104

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University Type: Public

Bachelors: Avg cost per credit $ 105

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University Type: Public

Bachelors: Avg cost per credit $ 106

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Colorado Mesa University (CMU)

Grand Junction, Colorado


University Type: Public

Bachelors: Avg cost per credit $ 108

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University Type: Private For-Profit

Bachelors: Avg cost per credit $ 110

Masters: Avg cost per credit $ 120

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University Type: Public

Bachelors: Avg cost per credit $ 115

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Purdue University Northwest

Hammond, Indiana


University Type: Public

Masters: Avg cost per credit $ 116

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Stevens-Henager College

West Haven, Utah


University Type: Private Not-For-Profit

Bachelors: Avg cost per credit $ 92

Masters: Avg cost per credit $ 260

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CNI College

Orange, California


University Type: Private For-Profit

Bachelors: Avg cost per credit $ 117

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Gulf Coast State College (GCSC)

Panama City, Florida


University Type: Public

Bachelors: Avg cost per credit $ 118

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Keiser University

Fort Lauderdale, Florida


University Type: Private Not-For-Profit

Bachelors: Avg cost per credit $ 106

Masters: Avg cost per credit $ 363

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Denver College of Nursing

Denver, Colorado


University Type: Private For-Profit

Bachelors: Avg cost per credit $ 77

Masters: Avg cost per credit $ 270

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Life University

Marietta, Georgia


University Type: Private Not-For-Profit

Bachelors: Avg cost per credit $ 62

Masters: Avg cost per credit $ 255

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Santa Fe College

Gainesville, Florida


University Type: Public

Bachelors: Avg cost per credit $ 126

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Tallahassee Community College

Tallahassee, Florida


University Type: Public

Bachelors: Avg cost per credit $ 129

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Miami Dade College (MDC)

Miami, Florida


University Type: Public

Bachelors: Avg cost per credit $ 130

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Georgia Military College (GMC)

Milledgeville, Georgia


University Type: Public

Bachelors: Avg cost per credit $ 136

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University Type: Public

Bachelors: Avg cost per credit $ 136

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Dalton State College

Dalton, Georgia


University Type: Public

Bachelors: Avg cost per credit $ 136

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Barry University

Miami Shores, Florida


University Type: Private Not-For-Profit

Bachelors: Avg cost per credit $ 138

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Francis Marion University (FMU)

Florence, South Carolina


University Type: Public

Masters: Avg cost per credit $ 147

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University Type: Private For-Profit

Bachelors: Avg cost per credit $ 150

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Hiram College

Hiram, Ohio


University Type: Private Not-For-Profit

Bachelors: Avg cost per credit $ 150

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Tennessee State University (TSU)

Nashville, Tennessee


University Type: Public

Bachelors: Avg cost per credit $ 123

Masters: Avg cost per credit $ 216

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University Type: Private Not-For-Profit

Bachelors: Avg cost per credit $ 148

Masters: Avg cost per credit $ 325

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Grace University

Omaha, Nebraska


University Type: Private Not-For-Profit

Bachelors: Avg cost per credit $ 167

Masters: Avg cost per credit $ 150

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Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC)

Charleston, South Carolina


University Type: Public

Bachelors: Avg cost per credit $ 126

Masters: Avg cost per credit $ 182

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