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When choosing an online college education several factors need to be considered such as faculty student ratio, department performance, and finally the two most important, affordability and accreditation of each renowned online institution. Affordability will be the deciding factor when it comes to online schools with equal quality. However, accreditation is just as important. No one wants to invest money and walk away with a worthless piece of paper.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, accreditation ensures that colleges provide high quality education. Accreditation is optional. The Department of Education only accepts regional accrediting associations. However, some schools choose to be accredited by national agencies. The Department of Education needs to approve the agency, or the college cannot provide federal or state financial aid. Credits from a regionally accredited school will more likely transfer to another school. Below is a list of some accredited online colleges.
Penn Foster College is an affordable and accredited online college which offers a bachelor’s degree in business management and criminal justice, as well as associate degrees, undergraduate certificates and individual courses. Programs are offered in the areas of business, education, technology, health, and social services. Penn Foster is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC).
Included in the tuition are eBooks, textbooks, online learning materials, academic tutoring support and online exams. Ashworth College is a low cost accredited online college which was established in 2000 to offer associate degree programs to students who need a flexible approach to earn a college degree. This for-profit college introduced master’s degree programs in 2004 and bachelor’s degree programs in 2007. As an affordable online college, Ashworth offers zero-interest monthly payment to ensure that every student graduates free of student debt. Ashworth College is accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC).
The University of Florida Distance learning is offering one of the most diverse selections of on-line classes and degrees. However, bear in mind that out-of-state tuition is nearly twice as much. Florida’s affordable and accredited online college ranked number seven in the Princeton Review “Best Value Public Colleges” (2012). The non-profit university offers ten different paths to a bachelor’s degree, through six different schools. The University of Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS).
At Baker College Online you can earn an undergraduate or graduate degree in business, technology and health. This affordable online school offers the convenience of classroom accessibility 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from virtually anywhere in the world. Baker Online College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, a Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
As a non-profit institution, Liberty University keeps tuition costs at a reasonable rate. The accredited Christian institution offers state-of-the-art instruction from world-renowned faculty, along with a multitude of valuable programs. Liberty University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
American Sentinel University offers programs at the associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s levels. The nationally accredited low cost online college offers technology, business, and health care programs. American Sentinel University also features monthly registration opportunities and designing courses that can be completed in as little as four weeks. American Sentinel University is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC)
Walden University is a for-profit accredited school offering doctoral, master’s, and bachelor’s degrees. This affordable online college started more than 40 years ago with working professionals in mind to earn doctoral degrees and use their knowledge to become community leaders. The school offers a wide range of degree programs and certificates in certain fields. The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission which is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
Kaplan University is one of nation’s largest online programs and degrees providers. This accredited university offers associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. Students have the option to pursue degrees in business, information technology, education, healthcare, law, criminal justice, arts and science, and nursing. The undergraduate courses include books and course material in tuition price. Kaplan University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).
University of Phoenix is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association. University of Phoenix was placed on Notice by The Higher Learning Commission, effective June 27, 2013. For additional information, contact The Higher Learning Commission, ncahlc.org/.
Keep in mind that many community colleges also offer affordable online classes.
Dan Schuessler has a passion for analyzing trends and statistics with the objective to influence university technology roadmaps and spending habits. Dan was a finance graduate of one of our favorite high ROI affordable colleges – Cal Poly, SLO.