Most Affordable Online Colleges with Quality Programs: 2017

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Most Affordable Online Colleges for 2017

For maximum student benefit, online schools must maintain a balance between cost and academics. Though all schools may try, not all will succeed, which can have a direct effect on a student’s pocketbook. Some schools, however, have managed develop not only academically rigorous, quality online degree programs – with the additional services that students need for support – but do so at a lower tuition rate than their more expensive counterparts. The schools below have demonstrated their ability to bring academic excellence to online students with a more manageable price tag. See which schools provide the most programs, services and financial aid options at the lowest rates with our ranking of the Most Affordable Online Colleges for 2016-2017.

Rank University Location Score Annual Tuition Financial Aid % #ONLINE PROGRAMS Student-teacher RatioGrad RateSchool Description Credit for experience Placement Services Counseling Services
1 University of Southern Mississippi Hattiesburg, MS 99.84 $6,980 74% 26 17:1 50%

Online offerings at The University of Southern Mississippi give students a choice of 11 undergraduate programs, 22 graduate programs, and eight certificate programs. The school also has hybrid online/in-person programs for local students. Distance courses are delivered through the Blackboard learning platform, and students have 24/7 technical support and a quick start guide to assist them in navigating the program successfully. Online students at Southern Miss, which include older students with family and work responsibilities as well as recent high school graduates, can access academic supports from home including a writing center, speaking center, and center for student success.

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2 Fort Hays State University Hays, KS 99.07 $4,469 72% 41 17:1 41%

Fort Hayes State University’s online program offerings allow students to specialize in education, business, and healthcare, among many other fields. The most popular programs include business management, organizational leadership, and criminal justice. Undergraduate students can also choose the bachelor of general studies program, which allows them to create a specialized, flexible program that suits their needs and career aspirations. The school’s “virtual college” is designed to be user friendly, with easy access to academic advisors and frequent communication with professors through Blackboard, phone, Skype, and email. Virtual resources for online students include a career assessment, a list of occupations that can be pursued with each major, and career exploration Facebook and YouTube pages.

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3 Columbia College Columbia, MO 98.76 $6,582 24% 43 34:1 42%

Over 800 online classes are offered at Columbia College. All courses are taught in eight-week sessions, with start dates in January, March, June, August, and October. Students can access course materials at any time of day or night, with weekly assignment deadlines provided by the instructor. Courses are asynchronous, so there is no set time that students must be online. The classes are delivered through the Desire2Learn learning management system, and curriculum is the same as the school's traditional on-campus courses. Testing and evaluations may happen in several different ways at the discretion of the instructor. Some courses require proctored exams, while others allow students to complete assessment materials at home.

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4 Northwestern State University of Louisiana Natchitoches, LA 98.67 $6,786 48% 51 20:1 36%

Northwestern State University of Louisiana's distance learning is given through eNSU, the first and largest online campus in the state. eNSU prides itself on being military friendly, and is dedicated to supporting members of the armed forces through specialized services and resources that assist them in the classroom and after graduation. Students at eNSU take one or two courses at a time, with eight-week sessions in the fall and spring, and three-, five-, and six-week sessions in the summer. If desired, online students are welcome to participate in the campus graduation at the completion of their program.

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5 Murray State University Murray, KY 98.63 $7,392 70% 16 16:1 54%

Although online programs at Murray State University are delivered asynchronously, with no specific time that students must log on and participate, courses center on frequent interaction with peers and professors. Communication is fostered through email, online discussions, and use of the Blackboard learning platform. Students can expect to spend six to eight hours per week on each online course, and curriculum includes the same information and level of rigor as the school's on-campus counterparts. In addition to undergraduate and graduate degree programs, distance students can also complete certificate programs, education endorsements, and non-credit programs.

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6 University of Alaska Fairbanks Fairbanks, AK 98.57 $6,466 43% 42 14:1 33%

In addition to fully online associates, bachelors, and masters degrees, the University of Alaska Fairbanks offers 30-credit certificates and 15-credit occupational endorsements for distance learners. Courses provide flexibility for working and nontraditional students while maintaining a rigorous curriculum. Instruction is delivered in a variety of ways, with innovative use of teaching methods that incorporate blogs, social media, and video chats. Online students are assigned both academic advisors and eLearning advisors to assist with course selection and career paths. The distance programs at UAF pride themselves on diversity, with students from Native Alaskan communities, the military, and around the United States and beyond.

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7 Oklahoma State University-Main Campus Stillwater, OK 98.57 $7,442 73% 31 20:1 62%

Oklahoma State University's OCampus provides two bachelor's level programs and many master's level programs for distance students. Courses are delivered through the Desire2Learn platform, which allows students to access class materials, participate in discussions, submit assignments, and complete quizzes and exams from their home. Distance students have access to the OSU library, and faculty members hold virtual office hours to provide any additional guidance needed. Working and nontraditional students are encouraged to apply; the school's online business programs in particular are designed to accommodate professionals who may need to travel or even relocate for work.

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8 North Carolina Central University Durham, NC 98.54 $5,526 81% 13 15:1 43%

Distance students at North Carolina Central University are offered many services designed specifically for them: an online network that helps students find proctors to take exams locally; an Internet bookstore for textbooks; email and technical assistance; and access to library databases off-campus. The school also has a writing studio that provides online, interactive sessions with writing consultants during evening and weekend hours. In these sessions, students can learn to craft papers more efficiently and effectively with the use of brainstorming, rough drafts, editing, and proofreading. A web-based career network helps graduates find employment and opportunities to further their careers.

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9 Northern Arizona University Flagstaff, AZ 98.52 $8,728 66% 78 18:1 49%

Northern Arizona University's distance students have the option of completing an online minor in addition to their major to specialize their studies toward a desired career path. Local students can also choose a blended format that combines online and in-person courses at numerous campuses across the state. Most online courses at NAU are asynchronous, allowing students to participate and complete coursework at any time during the week. Several courses do, however, require students to log on at specific times. The school also offers Personalized Learning degree programs, which allow students to complete a bachelor's degree at their own pace based on their competency in the subject matter.

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10 New Mexico State University-Main Campus Las Cruces, NM 98.50 $5,950 39% 14 17:1 44%

New Mexico State University caters to students who can't attend classes on-site or follow a traditional schedule. Many programs can be completed fully online, but some do require brief residencies on campus. Areas of study range from business administration and marketing to engineering, and programs provide instruction at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. The university recommends their online programs for students who are self-disciplined, organized, and motivated. Additionally, online students should be comfortable expressing themselves in writing and reaching out to instructors with questions as needed. Students can expect to spend about seven to ten hours on each course every week.

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11 Troy University Troy, AL 98.44 $7,564 45% 26 15:1 35%

Students in any of Troy University's associate's, bachelor's, or master's level distance programs learn from instructors with real-world experience in their area of expertise. Prior to beginning courses, prospective students can take an assessment to determine if they are a good candidate for distance learning. The school also provides a free course called Introduction to Online Learning that prepares students for distance education. Once classes begin, students access course content, participate in discussions, and submit assignments through Blackboard. Most classes are nine weeks long, and students can choose to supplement their schedule with evening classes at several campuses statewide.

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12 Great Basin College Elko, NV 98.33 $2,700 40% 53 17:1 14%

Those seeking a flexible schedule for their degree program may find it at Great Basin College, which offers online bachelor's, associate's and certificate programs that can be completed at each students' pace. In spite of this flexibility, the school's online classes follow the same course outline and have the same learning outcomes as their on-campus counterparts. Distance learners can receive support from the school's Academic Success Center, which provides remote tutoring by email and Skype in English, math, and science. The school provides further assistance for its distance students through online workshops in building good study habits, dealing with test anxiety, and preparing for final exams.

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13 The University of Texas of the Permian Basin Odessa, TX 98.30 $5,250 86% 14 18:1 37%

Many of the University of Texas of the Permian Basin's online undergraduate programs follow an accelerated format, where students take fewer courses a time and complete each course in eight weeks. The online master's degree programs at the school follow a traditional semester calendar. Some of the programs are delivered by UTPB, while others are offered through the University of Texas Online consortium, which provides UTPB students with courses and programs from other universities in the University of Texas system. Students have access to online tutoring services as well as a distance learning handbook to assist them in adjusting to online learning.

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14 Washburn University Topeka, KS 98.25 $6,038 58% 24 14:1 34%

Washburn University's online education department offers programs for distance students at the undergraduate level, as well as certificate programs in allied health. Curriculum is delivered through the Desire2Learn course management system, Respondus, and StudyMate. Students can access support over the phone or by email for guidance in using these programs. Courses are designed to be flexible, but require diligent attention and participation from students, and sometimes more time or effort than their on-campus counterparts. The university suggests online learning as an option for students who are tech-savvy, have regular internet access, and are highly motivated and organized.

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15 Iowa State University Ames, IA 98.12 $7,731 75% 31 19:1 71%

Distance students at Iowa State University can earn a general degree in liberal studies at the undergraduate level, or choose from numerous majors at the graduate level. Each course is structured with five plans to support learning: a technology plan, examination plan, accessibility plan, communication plan, and help plan. Instructors outline each plan at the beginning of the semester to set expectations and help students succeed. Some courses follow a cohort model, where students access materials at their convenience while following a general schedule for the week. Others are self-paced, allowing students to set their own schedule for the semester and only following deadlines for major course milestones.

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16 University of Toledo Toledo, OH 98.10 $9,463 85% 23 20:1 46%

The University of Toledo's distance courses are supported by UT Online/Learning Ventures, a customer service department that serves online students. Professors distribute course materials and accept assignments through Blackboard, and students can chat live with UT Online staff to resolve any technology issues. Many courses are taught by tenured faculty, and students are encouraged to connect with their peers with similar interests and career paths around the world. In addition to distance learning courses, where at least 70% of course content and interaction is online, the school offers blended courses, which are about 50% in-person and 50% online.

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17 University of Louisiana at Monroe Monroe, LA 97.97 $6,963 56% 50 21:1 37%

At the University of Louisiana at Monroe, online degrees are designed for adults seeking career advancement or new job opportunities. Distance programs at ULM provide students with the same degree as the equivalent face-to-face programs. With accelerated classes and concentrated studies, students can earn the 120-125 credits necessary for a bachelor's degree in two years. Associate's, master's, and doctoral degrees are also available online, with graduate-level courses following a standard, non-accelerated schedule. Nontraditional students may also wish to pursue prior learning assessment options, which grant credit based on the successful completion of standardized tests, challenge or skills exams, or portfolio assessments.

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18 Arkansas State University-Main Campus Jonesboro, AR 97.97 $7,720 65% 20 17:1 39%

A-State Online is Arkansas State University's distance education department. Students earn degrees identical to those offered on-campus, with varied areas of study from emergency management to special education. All classes at A-State Online are asynchronous, allowing students to complete coursework and review materials at their convenience, rather than having to log on at a specific time each day or week. Interactions with peers and professors are an integral part of courses, and are held through chat, phone calls, emails, social media, video conferencing, and bulletin boards. While courses contain the same content as their in-person counterparts, they are designed to meet the specific needs of an online learner.

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19 Southern Arkansas University Main Campus Magnolia, AR 97.86 $7,656 82% 14 16:1 35%

Online courses at Southern Arkansas University meet the needs of a diverse student body, including current students who are fulfilling degree requirements, non-traditional students who have family and work responsibilities, and retirees who are furthering their education. Courses use the Blackboard learning management system, and the school provides free video tutorials that demonstrate common functions of Blackboard such as submitting assignments, working in a group, and posting on discussion boards. Once the course begins, students must be active participants, engaging in the course through the submission of assignments, participation in discussion forums, completion of tests, and communication with the professor.

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20 Dickinson State University Dickinson, ND 97.84 $6,050 63% 23 11:1 35%

The online bachelor's and associate's degree programs at Dickinson State University can be completed fully from a distance, with no need to visit campus for orientation, labs, or group work. Instruction is delivered through pre-recorded videos of lectures and classes that students can watch live or on demand, giving them the feeling of being in a classroom with the instructor. Course content is organized and disseminated through the Tegrity lecture capture service and Moodle. Blackboard Collaborate is also used in some courses, connecting students live for real-time conversations with the use of a microphone, webcam, and speakers. Students can receive tutoring from a distance as well through via NetTutor.

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21 Texas A & M University-Commerce Commerce, TX 97.81 $5,892 52% 19 18:1 36%

Working adults and nontraditional students have a choice of two formats for distance learning at Texas A&M University - Commerce. Some programs are fully online, with no campus participation needed, while others are given in a blended structure with 50% online and 50% in-person instruction. Like on-campus students, distance students at the school can access library resources, the school bookstore, and career services to facilitate their studies and support their success after graduation. Students are also encouraged to work directly with their academic advisor. Texas A&M emphasizes that online learners must be active participants in the classroom, collaborating with peers and seeking knowledge rather than simply memorizing information.

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22 University of Memphis Memphis, TN 97.62 $8,619 40% 43 14:1 40%

Students in online programs at the University of Memphis graduate with degrees and transcripts that are identical to those earned through on-campus courses. Prior to beginning their studies, distance students can complete an online orientation that introduces resources available to foster academic success. All courses are asynchronous, with deadlines for assignments but no specific times for class meetings. Online students may also have the option of completing several courses on-campus, pending approval from an academic advisor. Additionally, academic advisors are there to help students work towards career goals, access academic and career resources, and stay on track for an on-time graduation.

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23 University of Arkansas at Little Rock Little Rock, AR 97.56 $7,432 50% 18 13:1 19%

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock offers online degree programs taught by the same faculty that instruct on-campus courses. Most classes include weekly deadlines that allow flexibility within the week for students to work around family, professional, and personal responsibilities. Instruction is delivered through Blackboard, with homepages for each course that include assignments, video lectures, and communication tools for interacting with peers and instructors. The University offers recommendations for how many credit hours students should take based on how many hours they work each week. Full-time workers should consider 3-6 credit hours per week, while those who work 20 hours weekly may be able to handle 6-12 credits.

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24 Emporia State University Emporia, KS 97.56 $5,746 76% 22 18:1 42%

Distance education at Emporia State University uses several platforms and programs to deliver courses and assist students: the Canvas e-Education platform where professors post course materials and students submit assignments; DegreeWorks software to help students organize their academic course plan; and the “Buzz In” web portal that integrates these services and provides university information onto a personalized homepage. Local prospective students can attend an information session, held monthly, that introduces the degrees offered online and outlines admission and enrollment procedures. Once enrolled, students can receive assistance online through the tutoring, disability services, proctoring, and test preparation departments, as well as technology support.

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25 University of Illinois at Springfield Springfield, IL 97.50 $11,227 93% 29 14:1 47%

The University of Illinois at Springfield conducts its online courses through Blackboard, where students can take courses to earn one of 12 undergraduate degrees, 12 graduate degrees, or multiple certificates and certifications. The school also offers minors that students can earn through online study. Degrees earned are not marked as “online” or differentiated from those earned on-campus. Although specific instructional methods vary by class, most professors choose to provide an online course syllabus and communicate with students through a combination of web-based conferencing and email. Courses can be synchronous, with set virtual meeting times, or asynchronous, with no specific time to log on.

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26 East Carolina University Greenville, NC 97.44 $6,143 50% 57 18:1 58%

East Carolina University's online programs are designed for adult learners, providing numerous undergraduate and graduate options for distance learning on a flexible schedule. Students learn from the same faculty members that teach on campus and are provided with the same support services as well, including library access and career services for job placement assistance after graduation. While readings, assignments, and assessments are the same between the online and on-campus courses, some instructional techniques have been modified to meet the unique needs of distance learners. Some courses will involve tests that can be taken online, while others may require students to sit for a proctored exam.

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27 University of Arizona Tucson, AZ 97.43 $10,581 77% 29 20:1 61%

The University of Arizona's online programs can be completed entirely from a distance through the use of readings, recorded lectures, and discussion boards. The specific format varies by class, with some requiring students to follow a schedule of when to log on and participate virtually, but most allowing students to set their own schedules. Orientation is available online, and students are strongly encouraged to participate in order to have the best possible experience with distance learning. UA Online enrollment is separate from that of the on-campus University of Arizona programs, so students in distance programs are not able to take on-campus courses.

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28 Chadron State College Chadron, NE 97.42 $5,737 66% 20 21:1 42%

Online courses at Chadron State College follow an accelerated eight-week format. This schedule allows students to take fewer courses at a time and fully immerse themselves in the subject matter, and may also shorten the length of time it takes to complete the program. The school's distance classes follow an asynchronous format through which students log on and complete coursework at any time during the week, rather than participating in live, scheduled sessions. Most courses require textbooks that can be ordered online, and the school's library resources are available from home as well. After graduation, students receive transcripts that do not reflect that courses were taken online.

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29 Vincennes University Vincennes, IN 97.39 $5,174 18% 30 17:1 N/A

The distance education department at Vincennes University offers associate's and bachelor's degree programs for students re-entering higher education or beginning college for the first time. The school year is broken into the traditional fall, spring, and summer semesters, but some classes are offered on an accelerated 8-week schedule. Students and their advisors can track progress towards graduation with Degree Works, a program that shows classes taken and the course plan students should follow to earn their degree. Through Degree Works, students can also view transfer credits and see what classes they would need to take if they switched to another major.

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30 Western Kentucky University Bowling Green, KY 97.22 $9,140 37% 69 18:1 50%

Distance students at Western Kentucky University have three options for pursuing their bachelor's degree: fully online programs, 2+2 bachelor completion programs for those who have an associate's degree, and flex degrees that are at least 80% online but involve some in-person participation. Many of the bachelor's degree programs at WKU require students to complete a minor, and these can also be completed fully online in several subject areas. WKU offers three online orientations for distance students. One should be viewed before admission to help students decide if they want to pursue online learning, and the other two provide necessary information for online students in the undergraduate or graduate programs.

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31 University of Central Missouri Warrensburg, MO 97.05 $7,265 60% 27 18:1 49%

Online programs at the University of Central Missouri are taught by the same professors as on-campus courses, and program requirements and curriculum are equivalent as well. After graduation, students will receive transcripts and a diploma that do not indicate that the program was online. Some courses may require students to come to campus for tests or face-to-face meetings; this information is indicated in the course description during enrollment. All general education requirements can be fulfilled through online classes. Classes are asynchronous, allowing students to complete course requirements at their convenience as long as they meet all deadlines set in the syllabus.

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32 The University of Montana Missoula, MT 97.05 $6,329 67% 15 18:1 49%

The University of Montana bases its online courses on the concepts of flexible education solutions and personal growth opportunities, catering to a diverse student body. Students can pursue one of five master's degrees, one bachelor's degree, or one associate's degree, with minors available online at the undergraduate level. Courses are delivered through the Moodle Learning Management System, giving students access to course materials and a central location to submit assignments and assessments as well as communicate with professors and peers. Non-degree seeking students can earn certificates or endorsements through online study at UM as well.

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33 Amridge University Montgomery, AL 97.05 $6,900 100% 17 10:1 0%

Online classes are Amridge's primary method of course delivery. All of the school's courses are available via the Internet for distance students. Some are only online, while others are taught on campus but also streamed over the Internet. Streamed classes are recorded for students who miss the live presentation or who wish to review materials on their own time. Students choose from one associate's program and several bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs. The school is affiliated with the churches of Christ and many of the programs and courses are centered on religion. The library, book store, and career services departments all have online access for distance students.

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34 Baker College Center for Graduate Studies Flint, MI 97.05 $8,280 72% 37 13:1 25%

Baker College's online classes are typically held in six-week sessions divided into weekly seminars. Each week begins with an introduction to a new topic, a lecture, and an assignment. Throughout the week, students participate in discussions, complete assignments, and get feedback from instructors, all centered on that week's topic. Prior to taking any distance classes, students at Baker College must complete a three-week online orientation that outlines the format and expectations of distance courses. After graduation, the school provides lifetime employment services, including resume and cover letter assistance and job searching techniques, as well as job postings and relocation tips.

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35 Indiana State University Terre Haute, IN 97.03 $8,416 75% 44 20:1 43%

With areas of study including marketing, psychology, and accounting, students interested in a variety of careers can find an appropriate online degree program at Indiana State University. The school also offers numerous minors online that allow students to specialize their education towards their interests. Most of the courses include audio and video components; some also utilize live Web-based conferencing. Transfer students can use the school's online Transfer Planning Tool to estimate what courses will be counted towards their program. Each distance student is assigned an academic advisor and has online access to the career center to promote their success in school and after graduation.

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36 University of Alaska Southeast Juneau, AK 96.99 $6,669 48% 31 15:1 10%

Distance courses at the University of Alaska Southeast provide instruction in varied means: web, audio, or video conference; email correspondence; group or individual work; and satellite broadcast. The school has the same admission requirements for its online and on-campus students, and online courses are all approved by academic departments to meet degree program requirements. Some of the online programs are available to students residing in the state of Alaska only. Others may involve some in-person components like internships and practicums. Distance students are supported by the university through counseling, tutoring, computing and library services, and online registration, bill payments, and grade reports.

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37 Arkansas Tech University Russellville, AR 96.95 $5,862 56% 11 20:1 41%

Several programs at Arkansas Tech University are available through online study, including degrees with no in-person components and an accelerated bachelor's degree program in professional studies. Prospective students can view a sample online course on the university's website, trying the experience of using the Blackboard learning management system before enrolling in a distance degree program. There are no specific class times for online courses, but students are expected to check their email and log into Blackboard daily for updates and messages from the instructor. Communication between professors and students is conducted primarily through the school's email system, as well as through the email portal on Blackboard.

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38 University of Alabama at Birmingham Birmingham, AL 96.89 $7,510 66% 19 18:1 48%

In addition to fully online programs, the University of Alabama at Birmingham also offers distance accessible programs, which combine online technology with periodic, intensive sessions on campus, as well as blended online/on-campus programs. The university designed its distance curriculum for working and military students, as well as those out of state or out of the country. Many students in the distance programs have some college and are looking to finish their degree. Bachelor's degrees can be earned from the schools of business, health professions, and nursing, while master's degrees also have programs in education, engineering, and public health.

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39 SUNY Empire State College Saratoga Springs, NY 96.88 $6,665 75% 38 15:1 17%

Over 400 online courses are available at SUNY Empire State College, creating numerous options for fully online bachelor's and master's degrees for working adults or nontraditional students. The school's Center for Distance Learning (CDL) supports undergraduate students with a peer tutoring program and academic assistance. Distance students can also participate in student and alumni events through the CDL. Courses include the typical components of reading, written assignments, and class discussions, and students can expect to spend about 10 hours a week on coursework for each 4-credit course. Students are in frequent contact with their instructors through the Moodle online learning portal, email, and telephone.

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40 Mississippi State University Mississippi State, MS 96.88 $7,140 68% 12 19:1 58%

Mississippi State University supports online students through its Center for Distance Education. This branch of the university provides the four-day, five-hour Distance@State Orientation class, as well as technical support for Blackboard users. Each student is assigned a distance education coordinator to serve as their contact for information on distance courses, certifications, and programs. Online programs follow the same academic calendar as the school's traditional programs, with start dates in the fall, spring, and summer. Upon graduation, students receive a diploma that is identical to that earned through on-campus programs. Additional, distance students are welcome to participate in the campus graduation ceremony.

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41 Kent State University at Kent Kent, OH 96.88 $10,012 75% 22 21:1 52%

Kent State's online programs are taught by experienced, highly-educated instructors. Over 70% of faculty have earned the highest degree available in their fields. In addition to offering numerous undergraduate and graduate programs online, Kent has concentrations in many degrees to specialize students' studies towards their desired career path. For student earning a degree online or taking an individual course online, the school offers distance services to support success: career services, library instruction, a technology help desk, and student accessibility services for students with disabilities. Courses are delivered through Blackboard Learn, a learning management system that connects students and professors for interaction, dissemination of course materials, and submission of assignments.

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42 Arizona State University-Tempe Tempe, AZ 96.80 $10,127 86% 19 22:1 58%

When students begin an online undergraduate degree at Arizona State University, they have the option of choosing an “exploratory track” rather than declaring a major. This track has students begin to complete general education requirements while also taking academic courses in different areas, allowing them to explore their interests before deciding on a specific academic program of study. Online courses at the university are designed to be interactive, engaging students and promoting dialogue with the instructor and peers. The school also strives for consistency amongst online courses, so that students can focus on the curriculum rather than acclimating to different technologies and methods for each course.

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43 Florida International University Miami, FL 96.71 $6,497 48% 21 26:1 49%

Students at Florida International University seeking an online education can pursue degree and certificate programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The school provides students with a strong support network including success coaches and live tech support 24 hours a day. Online students can be part of the school's Honors College, which offers courses that are problem-based and intriguing but not necessarily more difficult than other classes. The school also hosts student organizations that are open to distance learners, including social and political clubs, sororities and fraternities, and sports teams. After completing their program, distance students can participate in the on-campus commencement ceremonies.

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44 Eastern Michigan University Ypsilanti, MI 96.68 $9,663 90% 17 18:1 37%

Eastern Michigan University's distance courses are taught by the same instructors as on-campus courses, but differ in that they are designed to be flexible for working professionals. Instruction is delivered through the Canvas online course management system, where students can view course materials, submit assignments, and participate in group work and discussions with peers. Students can access academic advising, the bookstore, and school services like billing and financial aid over the internet as well. Nontraditional students may wish to pursue alternative credit options, where students are awarded college credits for job training, seminars, and knowledge gained outside the classroom.

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45 Northwestern Oklahoma State University Alva, OK 96.67 $5,821 60% 11 14:1 31%

Prospective students interested in business or nursing can pursue an online degree program at Northwestern Oklahoma State University. Students are required to take an online program orientation course their first semester to learn how distance education works at the university. Many of the courses follow an asynchronous format that allows students to participate at any time during the week; however, there may be a few courses that require students to participate virtually at a scheduled time. At least one test in each online class must be completed live with an approved proctor, but they don't have to take place on campus if a student does not live locally.

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46 University of the Southwest Hobbs, NM 96.66 $14,616 98% 27 17:1 22%

The University of the Southwest provides numerous options in online learning for undergraduate students interested in business and graduate students pursing business or education. Students benefit from small class sizes that follow the same curricula as on-campus courses. Instruction is delivered through Blackboard, as well as e/pop web conferencing and Media CAST. All courses rely on frequent communication between students and instructors, as well as the student's motivation and commitment to complete coursework and engage with curriculum. Students should expect to spend 10-15 hours per week on courses at the undergraduate level, and 15-20 hours per week on courses at the graduate level.

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47 University of Wyoming Laramie, WY 96.65 $3,968 65% 10 15:1 54%

Distance programs at the University of Wyoming are delivered in one of two formats: fully online, or through a combination of online instruction and audio or video conferencing at locations throughout the state. Online courses are given through a learning management system called WyoCourses. Students use WyoCourses to view course materials as well as access technical support 24 hours a day. Courses are designed to be interactive and collaborative, and students are encouraged to engage frequently in discussions with their instructors and peers. Some courses may also be given as “independent learning,” where students work through the course on their own, completing weekly assignments but not participating in group work or discussions.

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48 Western New Mexico University Silver City, NM 96.62 $5,346 26% 23 16:1 16%

Western New Mexico University is one of the most affordable options for students seeking higher education. While the average class at WNMU consists of only 18 students, guaranteeing a personalized academic experience, students will also receive the necessary attention and resources when taking online courses. Students will find a home in the WNMU community through a wide variety of clubs and organizations, including special interest groups, Greek life, and sporting teams. Future students can look forward to achieving their life goals through their education with WNMU, and will receive all necessary support along the way.

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49 St Petersburg College Clearwater, FL 96.58 $3,347 23% 41 22:1 N/A

Students looking for an affordable college experience may be interested in applying to St. Petersburg College in Florida. SPC is proud that its alumni are ranked #1 in Florida for graduating with the most desirable and applicable job skills, and many of the educational programs offered at SPC can be completed entirely online. Payment can be a stressful factor when considering higher education, but SPC offers a wide variety of financial aid options, including numerous scholarships and grant opportunities. Students will also be able to enrich their academic careers by making use of SPC's many student services.

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50 Eastern Kentucky University Richmond, KY 96.57 $7,920 41% 23 15:1 37%

Incoming freshman, as well as returning or transfer students, may wish to consider Eastern Kentucky University as an affordable option for academic advancement. EKU offers a wide variety of degrees, many of which can be taken in online and hybrid formats. Students who wish to enter the work force sooner rather than later may also wish to consider one of EKU's associate degree programs, which will provide the knowledge and skills necessary for their future careers. Scholarships, grants, and student loans are available to qualifying students, ensuring a stress-free college experience.

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Most Affordable 2-Year Online Colleges for 2017

Rank University Location Score Annual Tuition Financial Aid % #ONLINE PROGRAMS Student-teacher RatioGrad RateSchool Description Credit for experience Placement Services Counseling Services
1 East Mississippi Community College Scooba, MS 99.83 $2,600 78% 70 12:1 27%

Nearly 200 undergraduate classes comprise the online semester line-up for East Mississippi Community College’s eLearning Program. Students can earn associate degrees appropriate for transfer to four-year colleges and universities, or they can complete two-year career-technical programs. Online coursework can be done for three major academic divisions: The Humanities and Fine Arts, Mathematics and Science, and Social Science and Business. All online courses are delivered by the Mississippi Virtual Community College Consortium. Distance students use the MVCC’s Canvas educational interface to participate in classes and interact with college departments. Applicants for participation on eLearning must take the ACT college admissions test to qualify for placement and financial aid (scholarships).

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2 Holmes Community College Goodman, MS 99.18 $2,288 37% 55 18:1 25%

At Holmes Community College, students can pursue an Associate of Arts Degree, an Associate of Applied Sciences Degree, or Career/Technical Certificates on campus or online. Distance degree programs are delivered in coordination with the Mississippi Community College Network (CCN) through the Canvas educational software system. Coursework tools include video-taped lectures, two way-interactive video, correspondence courses, and courses delivered through the internet. To earn an associate degree, students must complete 62 hours of courses including 35 hours of required courses in their major and general education, and 27 academic hours of electives. Online students must pass proctored on-site exams for each of their courses.

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3 Western Wyoming Community College Rock Springs, WY 99.00 $2,400 39% 32 16:1 53%

Western Wyoming Community College two-year online degrees and certificates include studies in the fields of criminal justice, accounting, social work, social sciences, office information systems, business administration marketing, journalism and emergency management. Online academics are rigorous. To succeed in online degree work at WWCC, distance students are suggested to dedicate a minimum of 3 class sessions and up to nine hours weekly study for each of their three-credit classes. A total of seven Wyoming Community Colleges and the University of Wyoming pool their resources to offer online individual courses representing all academic and vocational departments in the community college system.

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4 Mesa Community College Mesa, AZ 98.57 $2,046 25% 24 20:1 12%

With more than 500 online classes, Mesa Community College helps distance students complete 20 different degrees and career certificates. MCC online classes are designed with transfer students in mind, although students may also complete one-off certificates of completion and two-year degrees. Students can complete the Arizona General Education Curriculum, and at the same time earn an associate of arts, associate of applied science, and associate of business degree. MCC uses the Canvas educational software suite to present its online programs. Video training courses show new online students how to take quizzes, post discussion entries, submit assignments, and view their grades.

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5 Rio Salado College Tempe, AZ 97.81 $2,046 4% 44 20:1 17%

RioLearn is the e-learning program at Rio Salado College, providing more than 600 online and hybrid courses through an easy-to-use interface. There are more than 50 online programs leading to complete two-year associate’s degrees, academic and career certificates. RioLearn also provides online coursework toward completion of nine different types of associate degrees commonly offered by the Maricopa Community College District. RioLearn features special assistance for re-entry students, Troops to Teachers students, and students looking to bridge with four-year college and university degree programs. The college website’s instructional video shows potential students the online classroom tools that deliver courses for distance degrees and certificates.

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6 Yavapai College Prescott, AZ 97.64 $1,896 15% 16 18:1 17%

Yavapai College, established in 1965, has tailored programs traditionally offered at its Prescott, Chino Valley, Clarkdale, and Sedona campuses to suit the needs of online students. Nine associate degree programs are offered entirely online, leading to an associate degree in arts, business and general studies, and associate of applied science degrees in fields including accounting, paralegal studies, criminal justice, and video game development. Currently, there are 15 professional-skills certificate programs that take from three months to one year to complete. Yavapai also provides individual online courses with credit and non-credit options. Online learning workshops are presented each semester to familiarize students with the Canvas classroom software.

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7 Northwest Mississippi Community College Senatobia, MS 97.03 $2,550 26% 18 23:1 18%

At Northwest Mississippi Community College, nearly 150 courses are available online. NMCC provides students with the option of completing one of 12 academic majors online that lead to an associate degree. The college has gained national recognition for its online associate degree programs in criminal justice, paralegal studies and business administration. For those pursuing a technical undergraduate education, NMCC offers two-year certifications in microcomputers, healthcare data, office systems and paralegal technology. Online courses are delivered by the Canvas software system and the college offers accelerated learning through eight-week mini-sessions. Canvas classroom tools include e-mail, instant messaging, blogs, discussion boards, and wikis.

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8 Pitt Community College Winterville, NC 96.50 $1,979 11% 31 17:1 13%

Chartered in 1961, Pitt Community College recently received a $19.9 million bond for support for developing new laboratories and classrooms at its Greenville campus. There are ten associate degree programs offered entirely online along with more than 30 online undergraduate certificates and nine online diploma programs in the healthcare fields. Students communicate using the MyPittCC web portal and take courses via Moodle (Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment). PCC maintains partnerships with businesses in the state to keep its courses up to date with industry standards and to foster employment development.

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9 Tulsa Community College Tulsa, OK 96.33 $2,820 39% 21 17:1 14%

Tulsa Community College, founded in 1970, is now Oklahoma’s largest, multi-campus community college, serving some 27,000 students. Every year, it records the largest entering freshman class in the state. Online students may choose education pathways leading to an associate degree, and university transfer degree, or a workforce certificate. Academic schools include departments of Engineering & Applied Technology, Business/Information Technology, Health Sciences, Liberal Arts/ Communication, Science & Mathematics, Child Development & Education, and Visual/Performing Arts. TCC advisors assist students in completing the appropriate transfer curriculum to go on to a four-year college or university.

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10 Cochise College Douglas, AZ 96.31 $1,800 22% 13 16:1 18%

Cochise College first began offering online courses in 1988 and today serves more than 2,500 students with a choice among more than 200 online classes. There are 11 online associate of arts and associate in applied science degrees offered entirely online, along with a professional certificate program in Linus system administration. Online degree programs include studies in general education, economics, social sciences, business, social work, and computer information systems. Students gain access to the online college via the Moodle open-source learning platform. Classes are available online beginning 24-hours before the beginning of each term.

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11 Kansas City Kansas Community College Kansas City, KS 96.10 $2,640 22% 24 13:1 20%

The online courses at Kansas City Kansas Community College are as rigorous as their campus-based counterparts. With weekly assignments and deadlines, online studies are not self-paced; they require active participation from every class member. Degree students can pursue an associate of arts, associate of science, associate of applied science and associate in general studies. KCKCC also offers more than 25 distinct technical certificate programs. Associate degrees require completion of a total of 60 for graduation. In addition to 100-percent online degree and certificate programs, students can opt for blended/hybrid courses that combine online learning with on-campus class or lab visits; or they may choose fully face-to-face campus-based attendance.

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12 Allen County Community College Iola, KS 95.92 $2,784 68% 94 20:1 23%

At Allen County Community College, 90 percent of students taking online classes report that they were challenging but that they’d recommend them to prospective students. Academic degree programs offered online include a concentration of general education courses facilitating transfers to a four-year school at their completion. Associate degree programs online offer 15 arts tracks, 15 science majors, and nine degrees in the applied sciences. Online Career and Technical Education programs are designed to address industry-based skills to prepare students for the workplace. Textbooks used for online courses are rented by students, rather than purchased, keeping down education costs.

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13 Truckee Meadows Community College Reno, NV 95.87 $2,700 22% 21 19:1 21%

At Truckee Meadows Community College, online certificate programs are administered through the department of Workforce Development and Education. There are three distance-learning programs at the college, depending on the student’s individual career goals. In partnership with ed2go, TMCC offers certification courses in healthcare, business, information technology, management, media/design, hospitality, sustainable energy and skilled trades. Professionals seeking graduate credits or CEUs toward recertification can enroll in the college’s UGotClass community education program. Truckee Meadows’ ProTrain online certification program offers individual courses in fields such as programming, graphic design, renewable energy, and business leadership.

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14 Ozarka College Melbourne, AR 95.64 $2,680 25% 19 16:1 22%

Ozarka College, founded in 1975, today is among the 50 fastest-growing community colleges in the nation. The technical college offers students a choice of associate degrees, certificates of proficiency, and technical career certificates. Online programs are designed for students seeking career certifications for job skills or advancement, as well as for academic degree students planning a seamless transfer to a four-year degree program. Degree programs lead to an associate of science, or associate of applied science. Certificate programs include studies in the fields of accounting and business, culinary arts, healthcare, early child education and criminal justice.

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15 Southwestern Community College Sylva, NC 95.54 $2,100 15% 13 15:1 32%

Founded in 1964, Southwestern Community College was part of a 2003 initiative to bring a high-speed fiber optic network to southwestern Carolina. SCC has received $22.5 million in grant money to further develop online learning and information technology facilities. Today online students can select from 11 associate degree programs and nearly 20 certificates and diplomas. In addition to complete programs leading to degrees and credentials, SCC provides individual online classes to support the college and community. Online learning is supported by the Southern Regional Education Board’s Electronic Campus. Prospective students can sample an online course through the Blackboard course-management system.

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16 Pamlico Community College Grantsboro, NC 95.53 $2,347 11% 31 9:1 67%

Before it became an accredited two-year college, Pamlico Community College functioned as an industrial education center. Today it offers extensive distance learning programs administered throughout North Carolina by the Southern Regional Education Board’s Electronic Campus. At PCC Online, students undertake the same courses for their majors as do their on-campus counterparts. Academic programs include associate degrees in fields including information technology, medical assisting, environmental science, business administration, early childhood education, accounting, horticulture, and electrical systems technology. The 60-hour associate degrees include the 34 universal general education hours required for transfer to a four-year institution.

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17 Metropolitan Community College Omaha, NE 95.45 $2,610 20% 22 14:1 12%

Metropolitan Community College was founded in 1974 when the Nebraska State Legislature created 8 community colleges across the state. MCC has now become one of the fastest-growing institutions of higher learning in the Cornhusker State. The Blackboard classroom management system is the backbone of online learning whether the student is pursuing a wholly online degree or a hybrid degree blending online and campus-based classes. MCC also offers individual courses online as “web-enhanced” classes that complement formal campus programs. Single courses and complete associate degree programs are offered in a wide range of fields, including health and public services, culinary arts, construction, business, social sciences and information technology.

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18 Grayson College Denison, TX 95.38 $2,544 20% 11 18:1 19%

Lifelong learning takes center stage at Grayson College where career development and personal enrichment courses and certificates are offered online through the Center for Workplace Learning (CWL). Interactive courses are led by experienced faculty as well as nationally known experts in their field. Popular courses of online study are available in fields including accounting, business, language, design, computer applications, legal studies, education, technology, writing and publishing. Grayson College recently added online programs in healthcare and medical disciplines including health information management, EMS, and veterinary science. Courses start monthly and are offered in an accelerated six-week format.

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19 Haywood Community College Clyde, NC 95.38 $2,410 9% 14 6:1 20%

Haywood Community College was founded in 1965 and today provides more than 50 degree or certificate programs to over 3,300 undergraduates. It also offers occupational courses, adult basic education, and GED preparation programs to an additional 4,000 students a year. HCC created its Regional High Technology Center in 1986 making it the first such facility in North Carolina. Today, students have the option of taking wholly online courses, hybrid and web-assisted courses via the Moodle education delivery system. Three are 15 associate degree, diploma or certificate programs offered entirely online, along with four online in-service training programs in criminal justice and emergency services.

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20 Guilford Technical Community College Jamestown, NC 95.25 $2,201 5% 24 20:1 10%

Guilford Technical Community College is the third largest of the 58 members of the North Carolina Community College System. Founded in, it today offers more than 80 educational programs leading to associate degrees, diplomas, and certificates. Students can also enroll in individual, non-credit professional development programs. Online study programs include an Associate in Arts transfer degree, one dozen Associate in Applied Science Technical Degrees, and 12 online undergraduate certificates. Students planning to enroll in the college’s eDegree online program must complete a readiness program to determine whether distance learning is right for them.

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21 Chandler-Gilbert Community College Chandler, AZ 95.17 $2,046 22% 13 21:1 19%

Founded in 1985, Chandler-Gilbert Community College serves more than 19,000 students each year with online associate and university transfer degrees, workforce development programs, and continuing education. New CGCC programs have recently been developed in engineering, law enforcement nursing, fire science, teacher education, and biotechnology to accompany expanding programs in humanities, business, aviation, and the arts and sciences. CGCC students may not complete their degrees or certificates entirely online. However, students can take online courses using the Learning Management System or choose to combine distance study with on-campus courses in a hybrid arrangement.

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22 Eastern New Mexico University - Roswell Campus Roswell, NM 95.04 $1,776 5% 11 14:1 20%

Eastern New Mexico University - Roswell Campus first began offering daytime classes to students in 1958. More than 1,500 students participate in distance education courses today at ENMU through the Blackboard classroom interface and through ITV video technology classes. Degrees, courses and certificates are available in conjunction with SUN Online, a consortium of New Mexico’s public colleges that pools a wide selection of degree programs. Key online class programs are available in the liberal arts, , business and science, and health. The university offers 15 career and technical education programs in fields including aviation, renewable energy, HVAC, media arts and construction trades.

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23 Fayetteville Technical Community College Fayetteville, NC 94.96 $2,394 1% 37 20:1 7%

Fayetteville Technical Community College has 200 programs of post-secondary education that culminate in an associate degree, certificate, or diploma. Some 18,000 curriculum students and 24,000 continuing education students currently attend campus and online programs at FTCC. There are 15 associate degrees, and two diplomas and career certificates offered entirely online. There is also a 100-percent online college transfer degree program. Associate degrees can be completed online in two years and include major fields in accounting, arts, business administration, human resource management, early childhood education, healthcare management technology and criminal justice. Prospective students can test-drive the Blackboard online classroom software before enrolling.

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24 Diablo Valley College Pleasant Hill, CA 94.85 $1,298 N/A 37 27:1 39%

Originally East Contra Costa Junior College, Diablo Valley College was founded in 1958 and today has grown to serve 22,000 students at its two campuses and online programs. Students can pursue over 40 A.A. and A.S. degrees at DVC, along with 40 programs leading to certificates of achievement. Online courses and hybrid course options are available to students with limited opportunities to attend campus-based programs. Many of the online degree programs are designed to satisfy transfer requirements for four-year colleges and universities. Desire2Learn (D2L) is Contra Costa Community College District’s course management system currently employed at DVC.

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25 Lenoir Community College Kinston, NC 94.83 $2,423 13% 25 10:1 12%

Lenoir Community College, chartered in 1953, ranks fifvh in total enrollment among the 58 institutional members of the North Carolina Community College System. Students can pursue one of LCC’s 45 associate degree programs, 33 diploma and 86 certificate programs. More than 50 of these programs are offered entirely online. Distance students may opt for an associate of science or associate of applied science degrees, occupational skills diplomas and professional certifications. Students looking to transfer to a four-year college or university may choose the online 60-hour Associate in Arts Degree comprised of general education courses and electives in the major fields of study.

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26 Laramie County Community College Cheyenne, WY 94.74 $2,832 31% 17 15:1 14%

Laramie County Community College swerves 4,300 curriculum and 14,000 extension students each year as one of the oldest institutions in the North Carolina Community College System. Prospective students can choose among LCCC’s five associate degree programs, 86 certificate/skills certificate programs, and 33 diploma programs. Fully online associate of arts, associate of science, and associate of applied science programs are available, as are online credit diplomas and certificates. Online associate degrees include general education courses required for transfers to four-year institutions. Online associate degrees require up to 66 credits for graduation; credit diplomas require 18-28 hours for completion.

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27 Bladen Community College Dublin, NC 94.68 $2,097 2% 16 12:1 12%

Bladen Community College, originally founded in 1967 as Bladen Technical Institute, was the first North Carolina community college to attain certification for its distance learning program. Students can pursue many of the college’s associate degrees, certificates and technical diplomas entirely online. Courses are delivered to students via the Moodle learning management system. Online degree and certificate programs are available in the fields of early childhood education, business administration, information technology, and office systems technology. The criminal justice program is offered in a hybrid format, dividing online experiences with campus-based learning. College-transfer associate degrees are also available in an online learning format.

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28 Wayne Community College Goldsboro, NC 94.58 $2,396 5% 18 11:1 18%

Wayne Community College has served students in the greater Goldsboro community for more than 50 years. WCC’s wide range of educational opportunities includes more than 100 associate degree, certificate, diploma, and continuing education programs. Traditional campus programs that have now been made available in 100 percent online formats include an associate in general education and associate in arts degree, seven associate in applied science degrees, four diploma online programs and seven certificate programs. Many online courses reflect WCC’s special focus on the disciplines of business administration, criminal justice, healthcare office administration, and emergency management technology.

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29 Central Texas College Killeen, TX 94.55 $2,790 13% 43 18:1 14%

Central Texas College, established in 1965, provides online degree and certificate programs with an innovative schedule that allows students to choose courses that run in either 8- or 16-week sessions. The course materials are identical but allow students options for a pace that suits their schedules. Courses may be fully online or delivered in a hybrid format with scheduled class meeting on campus. Blackboard is CTC’s online Learning Management System and prospective students are encouraged to try the system to determine if they’re prepared for online classes. Some online classes may be taken as self-paced courses with assignment deadlines on the last day of class.

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30 Stanly Community College Albemarle, NC 94.27 $2,523 15% 28 15:1 25%

At Stanly Community College, 5,500 students participate in accredited curriculum and continuing education programs. SCC’s growing commitment to distance education has made it possible for students to take individual courses or pursue an associate's degree, certificate, or diploma entirely online. The online selection includes 15 certificate programs, 10 diploma programs, and eight two-year associate degrees. Online diploma programs and professional certificates may be completed in a single school year. Popular associate degrees are in the fields of accounting, business administration, criminal justice and early childhood education. Technical programs are available in computer applications, business entrepreneurship and information technology.

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31 East Arkansas Community College Forrest City, AR 94.01 $2,880 15% 17 16:1 12%

Since it was chartered in 1969, East Arkansas Community College has grown academic programs and a technology backbone to deliver them online. In 1994, EACC opened its Computer Education Center. Today’s distance learning program offers a wide selection of courses from the academic divisions of Business, Math, Allied Health, and Humanities. Students participate in their studies using the Blackboard classroom management system with e-mail, bulletin boards, and online collaboration tools. Most tests are offered entirely online although some educators require on-campus exams. Students training for careers or building their professional credentials can take online classes through the Continuing Education and Workforce Development program.

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32 Montgomery Community College Troy, NC 93.97 $2,409 19% 17 8:1 33%

The virtual campus at Montgomery Community College offers full degree programs as well as continuing education programs that lead to professional certificates and credentials. MCC’s partnerships with institutions throughout Pennsylvania have helped the college to develop transfer programs for students planning to continue their baccalaureate education. Online associate degrees and certificates are available in the arts and humanities, business and entrepreneurship, health sciences, science and technology, and social sciences. Online studies are facilitated by the Blackboard classroom management system. Students enrolled in at least 18 online credits are eligible for federal financial aid.

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33 Surry Community College Dobson, NC 93.86 $1,832 11% 14 17:1 24%

Surry Community College offers 48 areas of study leading to two year associate degrees, diplomas and certificates. Approximately 20 percent of SCC’s 4,000 curriculum students pursue their studies entirely online. Online curriculum matches the academic materials used in campus-based equivalents at SCC. Current For distance learners, eight complete degree programs and six certificate programs are offered through SCC’s Moodle classroom management software. Associate degree programs available online include accounting, business administration, criminal justice technology, medical office administration and early childhood education. Students may also select programs offered in hybrid formats combining distance and on-campus studies.

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34 Panola College Carthage, TX 93.79 $2,832 24% 19 18:1 20%

For more than 65 years, Texas’ Panola College has served the students of Harrison, Marion, Panola and Shelby counties from its campus in Carthage. Today’s students enjoy previously unparalleled access to post-secondary degree and certificate programs that can be completed without having to attend classes on campus. Panola offers seven associate degree programs in a 100-percent online format, along with four undergraduate certificate pathways. Courses are delivered to remote student locations via the Canvas Mobile classroom application. The online associate degree program in Nursing has face-to-face requirements for completing clinical hours at an approved institution convent to the student.

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35 Craven Community College New Bern, NC 93.78 $1,847 5% 19 14:1 12%

Craven Community College, founded more than 50 years ago, has grown into a two-campus institution serving more than 3,000 curriculum students and 10,000 students in its continuing education programs. For online students, CCC offers online degree, diploma and certificate programs in the arts and applied sciences. Online associate degree programs include studies in the fields of accounting, business administration, criminal justice, information technology, and early childhood education. Online associate degrees are built around a general education core that prepares students who wish to transfer to four-year institutions following graduation. More than 11 online certificates are available in the information technology specialties.

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36 Collin College McKinney, TX 93.59 $2,344 2% 18 26:1 11%

With more than 100 degree and certificate programs, Collin College serves more than 52,000 students each year. It is the only accredited institution of higher learning in Collin County. Courses are traditionally offered on campus, however today’s Collin students can take individual courses entirely online, or in blended formats combining distance and on-campus segments throughout the semester. Online students participate in their education through the college’s eCollin department. Online courses are not self-paced studies; students must adhere to formal start and end dates as well as complete scheduled tests or other class requirements.

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37 Tarrant County College District Fort Worth, TX 93.41 $2,064 11% 11 25:1 9%

Tarrant County College District was created in 1965 by county election. Enrollment swelled to more than 50,000 in 2011, making the TCC the seventh-largest post-secondary institution in the state of Texas. Distance students are served by fully online degree and certificate programs. Online Associate of Applied Science degrees are available in the fields of accounting, business administration and office technology. Three professional levels of certificates are offered in the accounting information management, business administration/entrepreneurship, and office technology specialist fields. Statewide online courses are also available through The Virtual College of Texas (VCT).

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38 Clovis Community College Clovis, NM 93.36 $1,248 12% 13 19:1 9%

Clovis Community College originated as a branch campus of Eastern New Mexico University in 1969 to offer evening college-level classes in Clovis. It moved into its own $7 million campus in 1980 and never looked back. Today, CCC offers wholly online associate degree and certificate programs in behavioral science, business, computer information systems, criminal justice, early childhood education, and paralegal studies. Students seeking a transfer associate degree online can choose from options in the liberal arts and general studies. Online students taking a full-time course load may qualify for federal and state student aid.

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39 Mohave Community College Kingman, AZ 93.34 $2,610 9% 19 14:1 18%

With more than 13,000 enrolled students each year, Mohave Community College serves the higher education needs of residents in Lake Havasu City, Colorado City, Kingman, and Bullhead City. Its educational sweep goes even further through MCC Online, providing associate degrees and career certificates in administration of justice, paralegal studies, business, chemical dependency counseling, computer information systems, and the liberal arts and sciences. Online students may also pursue an Associate Degree in General Studies, allowing them to explore the fields available at the post-secondary level. Transfer degree options are available for online students planning to complete a four-year degree at another institution.

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40 Edgecombe Community College Tarboro, NC 93.32 $2,376 8% 18 26:1 12%

Through its three academic divisions, Edgecombe Community College offers more than 13,000 enrolled students a selection among 200 academic degrees, diplomas, and certificates at Tarboro and Rocky Mount campuses. Online learning programs feature the same courses and college credits as matching campus-based courses in arts and sciences, health sciences, and business and technology. The Web-based Learning program enables students to work in their field for up to four semesters for college credit while pursuing their degree. The continuing education department offers credit for online courses completed through the Ed2Go website in accounting, business, healthcare, technology, personal development, and education.

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41 Cowley County Community College Arkansas City, KS 93.17 $2,790 44% 13 23:1 29%

Cowley County Community College was originally known at the “basement university” for its first 30 years, offering classes from the basement of Arkansas City High School. Today, it offers more than 30 of its accredited degree programs entirely online. Online students can chose from distance programs leading to an associate of science, associate of arts, or associate of applied science degree. For non-degree students, CCCC provides online curriculum leading to a vocational certificate in a range of careers. Campus-based students can also sign up for more than 600 accredited online courses serving 70 undergraduate fields of study.

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42 Beaufort County Community College Washington, NC 93.12 $2,368 5% 10 13:1 18%

Students pursuing an Associate in Arts, Associate in Science, and Associate in Applied Science degrees at Beaufort County Community College have the option of taking courses online. Fully online associate degree programs are offered in general education as well; for students exploring college with plans to transfer to a four-year institution. For non-degree students, the division of continuing education offers courses in the fields of accounting, business, computer applications, design and composition, healthcare, legal studies, education, and technology. Instructor-led, interactive online courses at start monthly and are delivered in six-week formats. Newly created programs offer courses in college readiness, personal development, languages and arts.

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43 Foothill College Los Altos Hills, CA 93.07 $1,551 6% 14 27:1 62%

Foothill College, founded in 1967, offers 79 associate degree programs and more than 100 specialty certificates. Its current enrollment tops 17,000 on-campus and online students. Distance students can pursue more than 25 two-year degrees presented entirely online. Popular online associate of arts degrees include majors in accounting, art history, anthropology, economics, English, music and psychology. Some majors require occasional on-campus attendance. Many online classes satisfy requirements for the AA transfer degree. Classes and exams are delivered remotely using the Etudes course management software. Online students can monitor their progress toward graduation using Foothill’s DegreeWorks academic tracking software.

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44 West Valley College Saratoga, CA 93.00 $1,186 2% 13 22:1 28%

West Valley College offers its 12,000 campus and online students nearly 60 associate degree programs and 91 certificate programs. More than 20 of its associate degree programs are designed for students who plan to transfer to a four-year college or university. For the fall 2016 semester, more than 150 individual degree courses were available online. Courses are conducted through the Canvas classroom management software and the Angel learning management suite. In addition to online associate of art or associate of science degrees, WVC offers more than 20 distance programs through the division of Career Education and Workforce Development that lead to a Certificate of Achievement.

Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Read More
45 Allan Hancock College Santa Maria, CA 92.89 $1,346 1% 10 24:1 27%

At Allan Hancock College, more than 11,500 credit students sign up for classes each semester, on campus and online through the Distance Learning Department. Distance students have the option of completing an associate degree entirely online, complete their general education requirements for transfer or take individual classes toward completing an undergraduate certificate. The Blackboard Learn program delivers classes, quizzes and assignments to online students in live-streaming or recorded multimedia formats. Eleven associate degrees are available entirely online, while 20 associate degree programs combine online courses with on-campus meetings. Students seeking career certificate can choose from eight fields, presented either all online or online with limited on-campus meetings.

Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More
46 Amarillo College Amarillo, TX 92.70 $2,898 17% 19 22:1 15%

Founded in 1929 to serve West Texas communities, Amarillo College offers more than 140 degree and certificate programs from its six campuses and online division. The Distance Education Program offers courses in 100-percent online as well as hybrid campus/distance formats. There are also telecourses for students made available in DVD format. Complete associate of arts, associate of science, and associate of applied science degrees are available entirely online in the fields of business administration, criminal justice, psychology, and radiation therapy. The online Associate of Science in General Studies degree is a 60-hour program tailored to each student’s career and academic goals.

Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More
47 Atlanta Technical College Atlanta, GA 92.62 $2,740 33% 11 16:1 24%

More than 60 years ago, Atlanta Technical College first enrolled adults in its vocational education programs. Today, more than 5,000 students attend ATC’s programs for associate degrees, diploma, technical certificates of credit, and short-term courses in continuing education. For distance students, the ATC e-Campus offers 100-percent online programs that lead to degrees and certificates in business management, accounting, marketing management, and business/administrative technology. ATC employs the Blackboard learning management software for e-Campus courses conducted entirely online or in hybrid campus/online formats. Orientation videos are available to prepare students for successfully navigating the Blackboard system.

Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More
48 Central Georgia Technical College Warner Robins, GA 92.59 $2,568 N/A 47 15:1 31%

Central Georgia Technical College was created in 2012 with the consolidation of Middle Georgia Technical College and the original Central Georgia Technical College founded in 1962. Today, CGTC offers 39 associate degrees, 124 technical certificates of credit and 50 diplomas. While there are no wholly online programs, CGTC Online Learning provides distance students with online courses each term to augment campus attendance. Classes are either fully online or are combined with part-time campus attendance. Courses are administered via the Blackboard Learn class management system. Current mathematics courses are delivered by the MyMath Lab system but will migrate to the Blackboard system in 2017.

Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More
49 Wake Technical Community College Raleigh, NC 92.59 $2,640 2% 38 18:1 16%

Wake Technical Community College is North Carolina’s largest community college. It offers more than 200 degree and certificate programs, serving 70,000 students each year from its five campuses and online. Wake Tech’s eLearning division offers online students a choice from more than 15 associate degree programs, three diplomas, and nearly 20 certificates (entry and advanced). Programs may be 100-percent online or blended with on-campus meetings. Online education is delivered through the Blackboard course management system. Introductory courses in using eLearning software can be completed in five hours and students can register in the same day.

Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More
50 Coastline Community College Fountain Valley, CA 92.53 $1,136 N/A 26 42:1 16%

Coastline Community College offers associate degrees, certificates and diplomas from campuses in Newport Beach, Westminster, and Garden Grove, as well as online. Recent California legislation has enabled CCC to offer 85 percent more classes in 2016 compared to the previous year. Distance students can pursue more than 20 associate degrees entirely online. CCC online also offers 12 certificates of achievement and two advanced certificates of specialization. Online classes may satisfy transfer requirements for students planning to complete a four-year degree. Coastline also offers telecourse and cable TV courses in selected majors/career fields. Depending on the instructor and curriculum, an online course may require campus attendance for tests and laboratory assignments.

Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More

A Closer Look at Cost

On the surface, cost may seem simple. If tuition at College A is more than tuition at College B, then College B is cheaper, right? Not necessarily, especially with distance learning. In addition to standard tuition and fee differences between colleges, students need to think about secondary costs that may seem less important, but that surely contribute to the bottom line. Here’s a look at the entire cost spectrum when it comes to online education.

Understanding Tuition & Fees

Tuition serves as the primary cost of a college education, campus or online. Post-secondary institutions usually set tuition rates by credit and academic period. For example, a university may charge $200 per credit to attend graduate school for a full semester. Therefore, if a student takes 10 credits per semester, that’s $2,000 per semester and $4,000 per year.

Of course, certain elements influence the price of tuition for each student. Residency, for instance, can dictate whether someone pays in-state tuition or out-of-state tuition. Many state colleges and universities require applicants to live in the same state as the institution for a minimum of six months before enrollment to qualify for the cheaper in-state rate. Applicants who moved to the state to attend the college specifically may need to pay the out-of-state amount. Some schools with distance learning alternatives allow students to take online programs and pay in-state tuition – a big money saver. Others, however, charge all students the same amount regardless of where they live.

While not as hefty as tuition, fees can add up. Some college bills include charges for lab use, library access, parking, health insurance and, when the time comes, graduation. Although both campus and online programs come with fees, they can differ rather significantly. For example, a parking pass for a campus-based student can run up to $500 per year, something an online student won’t need to pay. In contrast, many online programs charge technology fees for every single class, no matter the subject, which can reach into the triple digits. Tech fees for campus students are usually reserved for tech-oriented courses. Potential fees to watch out for with online learning include:

  • Technology fees
  • Assessment fees (English and math) to gauge aptitude before enrollment
  • Graduation fees
  • Travel fees (hybrid programs, or online programs at the graduate level, may require campus visits at the student’s expense)

Some students may also avoid certain fees by learning remotely. The parking pass is the most ready example, but others include computer fees, campus/service fees and recreation/activity fees. Always keep in mind that when researching programs and courses, account for all fees that could occur from day one to commencement. It’s always good to overestimate.

Room & Board

Students enrolled in campus-based programs often live in a dormitory – at least during their first year or two. According to The College Board, the cost of on-campus housing ranged from $9,500 to $10,830 in 2013, depending on the type of college (public or private) and the package chosen by the student. Online learning, however, allows students to select from a wider variety of living options, including room and board farther away from campus and/or in a place with cheaper rent and amenities.

Others Costs to Consider

It’s also important to account for the often-overlooked costs that can creep up and bite you in the wallet. For campus commuters, this means one or more travel-related expenses, including car maintenance, gas and tolls. For online learners, heftier Internet bills, Skype and other tech-based education solutions could mean less money for leisure time. The good news is, although colleges serve as the source of many of these costs, they also provide myriad ways for students to save.

The cost of an online program often depends on the type of institution attended. Community colleges, for example, carry lower cost structures than four-year schools and therefore have more affordable tuition rates for their online programs. Four-year colleges and universities may have slightly higher tuition and fees than community colleges, but many still have affordable price tags for their online programs, especially when students qualify for financial aid, scholarships and other monetary bonuses. Both provide solid options for students looking to earn an online degree or certificate.

For-profit colleges, which specialize in distance learning, come with a different set of cost-related issues. For instance, many of these schools are a business, so they do not receive state or federal funding like public colleges or universities do. This can mean higher-than-usual tuition and fees than their traditionally brick-and-mortar counterparts. Yet taking an online class at a for-profit school offers a unique set of cost-saving benefits, including the lack of commuting, parking and other campus-specific fees that may arise. Bottom line, when looking at online colleges, whether traditional or for-profit, analyze the school and program carefully to make sure you get the education you need at the price you want.

Two-Year Colleges: Cheapest Path to an Online Degree

When it comes to cost, non-profit versus for-profit is only part of the online college equation. Students looking for a quality program for cheap should also consider institutional level. Two-year colleges with distance learning options, which includes online community colleges and junior colleges, offer a pair of distinct advantages not always found at four-year universities:

  • Cheaper tuition rates: Two-year schools often cost far less than their four-year counterparts. These more cost- and community-friendly institutions keep tuition lower to ensure a wider variety of students can afford to attend. Many students also use two-year colleges to earn as many pre-requisites as possible before transferring to a university – a much cheaper two-year option.

  • Targeted learning: Two-year colleges allow students to earn online certificates and diplomas in very specific areas. For example, a medical assistant may need special training in medical coding in order to qualify for promotion.

One student’s idea of a cheap online college may be different from another’s. Each college hopeful has a unique set of monetary needs that shape what he or she can and can’t afford. Yet in general, the cheapest online colleges provide their students with quality distance learning opportunities at an affordable price. A great place to start researching such colleges is by getting a better handle on their cost structures.

Online College on the Cheap: Ways to Save

Many students qualify for some sort of financial assistance to help pay for college. Student loans are the most popular, but need to be paid back with interest after the student leaves school – with diploma in hand or not. One of the best ways to defray college costs lies in funding that doesn’t require payback during or after program completion. The following “ways to pay” give students (and parents) a chance to make the college experience manageable when it comes to money.

  • Scholarships: Numerous types of scholarships exist. Each year college students receive money for tuition based on academics, athletics, family history, race, gender and more. Even those who may not qualify for these traditional scholarships can (and should!) research creative scholarships to see what’s out there. Private companies, research firms, non-profits and other organizations offer scholarships for things as offbeat as being left-handed or having the best duck call.

  • Grants: Grants are another type of financial aid award that does not have to be repaid. Federal grants, such as the Pell Grant, are awarded based on need. States and college also award student grants. There are even career-specific grants, such as the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant, which provides up to $4,000 to students who agree to teach in low-income school districts upon graduation.

  • Assistantships: This form of financial agreement usually occurs at the graduate level. Students work for a professor (grading papers or running discussion groups or labs) in exchange for discounted tuition. Some assistantships allow students to apply their earnings to housing, fees or any other way they see fit.

In addition to big-ticket money items, there’s a ton of ways students (and parents) can make college cheaper. Some may be common sense, but others could be difference makers. Ways to save a little hard-earned cash include:

  • Buying or borrowing used textbooks: Amazon has a strong collection of used books, and if you’re a Prime member, some can be borrowed at no additional cost. And if you’re a history major, some texts may be available online for free.

  • Eat in: Seems easy, but grabbing coffee and a bagel in the morning and a sandwich in the afternoon adds up. Take your breakfast and lunch as much as you can.

  • Cheap transportation: If you have a bike, use it. Live near a bus line? Get a pass. Taking an online program? You don’t need to go anywhere.

  • Take advantage of student discounts: Many businesses on or around a campus will give ANY college student a discount. If you’re an online student, it still applies. See which restaurants, department stores and other business help students save.

Making a college education cheaper should be the goal of every student. No one wants to pay more than required. Yet when researching cheap online colleges, or even campus-focused colleges, no education should come at the expense of quality.

The Importance of Quality

Cost is important, but it isn’t everything. A cheap college or university carries zero academic and professional value without quality programs for students. But how do students and parents know an institution has sufficient quality standards? It starts with accreditation, but other factors should be weighed, as well. Learn what to look for to ensure all colleges on the short list have the right cost and quality balance.

  • Accreditation:  The first step to assessing the quality of an online college or program is checking its accreditation. Accreditation means that an independent agency endorsed by the Department of Education has thoroughly vetted a college and/or program for academic excellence, faculty credentials, student support, available resources and more. Earning full accreditation can take years to achieve, and usually entails multiple visits to an institution. For a complete look at the types of accreditation and how the process works, visit our new, expert-driven online guide to college accreditation.

  • Graduation rates:  If you start a program, you want to finish it. Dropping out can mean a huge loss of time and financial investment. If an online college has a high graduation rate, it often means they support their students and provide top-notch education and career services. Low rates can be a huge red flag. It could mean many things, among them that students can’t get the courses they need to graduate, that the online classes are falling below what students expected, that students are discovering the online school is actually a diploma mill, and more.

  • Reputation with employers:  Getting a job is a main reason students pursue college credentials. Knowing a school’s reputation with employers can help you gauge how well you might do in the job market after graduation, and how much you might earn. However, it is also an indication of the value of the diploma and how much students learn. If eager students are failing in the workplace time and time again, it could be a reflection of the online program, not of the students themselves. Or it could be an indication that students are allowed into the program too readily and are given a great amount of leniency during the course. Remember: Just because a course or program is online, or just because it is an inexpensive option, doesn’t mean that the quality should be any less than in-person classes.

Search the Most Affordable Online Colleges

Tuition, fees and other college-related costs remain a worry for students and parents alike. Therefore, the search for the right school often starts by finding and short-listing those with affordable price tags. This includes both campus-based and online programs, which have slightly different cost structures. The following tool helps prospective students identify the most affordable online colleges with the quality and support services they need to graduate and start a career.

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Most Affordable Online Colleges for 2015-2016

1 University of Wyoming 97.8492% $119 per credit hour

The University of Wyoming includes over 38 diverse online programs in its Outreach Credit program. Students are required to log in to online classes on a regular basis through video, audio or web conferencing, and, depending on the professor, may sometimes collaborate in hands-on activities with professors and other students in intensive day or weekend sessions at a central location. UW also provides doctoral outreach programs in educational administration and nursing, which can be completed in person, online or in a blended format. Doctorate students complete one or two years of additional classes, which must usually be taken on campus.

2 University of Illinois at Springfield 96.2396% $286 per credit hour

There are 11 baccalaureates offered online by the University of Illinois at Springfield, as well as multiple graduate programs, certification programs and certificate courses. The university prides itself on its diverse student body and the personalized instruction students receive from professors. The university’s most popular undergraduate programs are business administration, computer science and biology, while the graduate programs with the highest enrollment are computer science, public administration, management information systems, educational leadership and a business administration MBA. All of the online programs utilize Blackboard as the main software platform for courses.

3 Murray State University 95.9199% $317 per credit hour

In addition to multiple certificate programs, Murray State University has online programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Students enrolled in one of the many online programs offered at MSU should expect to spend 6 to 8 hours per week on their studies. All course materials and textbooks are furnished by the student. Enrolled students have access to a variety of specialized support services, including career advising and counseling, as well as comprehensive access to library resources through the MSU website. Murray State is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

4 Lee University 95.5494% $7,200 per semester

Lee University is a Christ-centered liberal arts school based in Tennessee. The Division of Adult Learning caters to nontraditional students by offering both a fully online format and a hybrid format composed of online and on-campus classes. Online program offerings include baccalaureates in Bible and theology, Christian studies, ministry leadership and liberal studies. The university also has two master’s credentials and multiple certificate programs for distance learners. Applicants are required to have a high school diploma or GED and three years of “life experience” after high school.

5 Pennsylvania State University-World Campus 95.4294% $691 per credit hour

Students of Penn State World Campus do not have to attend webinars or have specific class times, but still must meet all homework and test deadlines. The typical length of each course at PSU is 12 to 15 weeks. The college offers two plans of study for distance students: a cohort-based program that requires a fixed amount of credits each semester, or the option to complete courses at a slower pace. While some students may never set foot on campus throughout their program, all are invited to participate in graduation ceremonies on campus. A wide selection of graduate and undergraduate programs are available to online students.

6 University of Minnesota-Crookston 95.3392% $391 per credit hour

The Center for Adult Learning at UMC has multiple online graduate programs, minors, and certificate programs designed for working professionals who need flexibility to achieve their educational goals. The university accepts interested students’ transcripts, free of charge, for potential transfer credit evaluation. Students enrolled in an online program full time are given priority over on-campus students when registering for online courses to allow them to complete their program on time.

7 University of Massachusetts-Amherst 95.2988% $6,341 per semester

The online education programs at UMass Amherst have been formatted specifically for working professionals and other nontraditional students who want to learn on their own schedule. Courses are available to students 24 hours a day, and the curricula meet the same academic standards as on-campus courses. Programs utilize the Blackboard platform to encourage students to interactively collaborate with professors and colleagues, while course instructors use multiple teaching methods to accommodate individual learning styles.

8 The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga 95.1196% $529 per credit hour

The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga has a variety of online and hybrid programs for students seeking undergrad and graduate education through distance learning. The requirements for online course delivery and campus attendance vary for each program. Courses are delivered through video streaming and video conferencing, and the university utilizes Blackboard for quizzes, assignments and tests. Academic advising and counseling are available for students through each college or department, and students are encouraged to contact their college for help determining their course load and creating an academic plan. Other resources available to students include library materials and tutoring.

9 New Mexico Highlands University 95.0195% $200 per credit hour

New Mexico Highlands University offers affordable online options for both undergraduate and graduate students. One bachelor program offered by the university is designed so registered nurses can earn their BSN, allowing them to advance to higher level positions in the healthcare industry. NMHU also offers a baccalaureate in oil and gas management, with classes in petroleum economics, finance, management and accounting. Lastly, NMHU offers an online MBA program, with flexible pathways that allow students to focus on specific branches of management, such as finance or international business.

10 Northern Illinois University 94.7696% $4,733 per semester

Northern Illinois University offers a variety of online courses and complete programs covering numerous topics, including a Certificate of Graduate Study in Eating Disorders and Obesity and a Bachelor of General Studies. Coursework will prepare nutritionists for advanced work in their field in numerous industries. Students may choose to study through the blended path, which combines online classes with on-campus classes taught during the evenings or weekends, making it possible for students to continue working while furthering their education.

11 Mid-Atlantic Christian University 94.67100% $400 per credit hour

Mid-Atlantic Christian University offers five online programs to distance students. Online students interact with professors and peers through Internet message boards, email and some live lectures. As its name suggests, Mid-Atlantic Christian University has a focus on Christian philosophy and the faith-building focus is available to online students through curriculum, podcasts of guest-speakers and interaction with fellow students. Students can choose from several plans, including programs in Business Administration and Biblical Studies.

12 Langston University 94.6294% $200 per credit hour

The online bachelor’s in business administration program offered by Langston University can have one of five areas of concentration: Entrepreneurship, Human Resource Management, International Business or Supply Chain Management. Before graduation, students must earn an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science from a two-year college, along with 21 hours of required courses and 12 hours of elected courses. Students have the chance to work at their own pace and may be able to graduate faster than on-campus students.

13 Hodges University 94.4999% $530 per credit hour

Variety is the word that describes Hodges University’s online course catalogue. Offering numerous online bachelor’s and master’ programs, Hodges’ programs can be completed entirely online. Some programs allow students to choose between completing some courses on campus and some online. Program topics include Criminal Justice, Information Systems and Marketing. The UPOWER program allows students to choose their own comfortable pace for themselves, making it more conducive for those with busy schedules.

14 Middle Georgia State University 94.1291% $109 per credit hour

Information Technology is the one online bachelor’s program offered at Middle Georgia State University, but the university offers multiple associate programs in a variety of academic fields and certificate programs for film and aviation. MGSC partners with Georgia ONmyLINE, an Internet education system for multiple colleges and universities, where students will find technical requirements, tuition costs and required credit hours for each program. MGSC takes pride in providing distance learning that is just as rigorous as their on-campus classes, while accessible to all.

15 Fayetteville State University 94.0596% $6,992 per year

Offering seven online bachelor’s programs and two master’s programs, Fayetteville State University will suit the needs of many students. Programs are varied, with specialized topics such as the Fire and Emergency Services Administration program, which prepares to prepare students to move from firefighter to chief officer positions and qualifies students to apply for the National Fire Academy's Executive Fire Officer Program. FSU also offers an online MS in Criminal Justice and MBA program. All online classes use a system called Blackboard 9 for coursework.

16 Grace Bible College 94.05100% $295 per credit hour

Grace Bible College offers associate and bachelor’s credentials in three categories: Leadership and Ministry, Business and Human Services. These programs are accelerated so they may be completed in a shorter amount of time than traditional college classes. For an associate program, students can complete a total of 60 credits in 24 months. Bachelor’s students have the option to compress 120 credits of core classes into just 24 months. Along with internet classes, there is an option to meet in groups of 10-16 cohorts once a week, which fosters more interaction and learning from professors. All programs at GBC can be completed fully online, if desired.

17 Youngstown State University 93.9896% $3,950 per semester

The Office of Distance Education at Youngstown State University runs undergraduate BS and BA programs, as well as MA and MS programs. There are 11 different distance learning programs offered at YSU, based out of Ohio. Approximately 1,500 students are enrolled in an online program, and the average student-to-professor ratio is 17:1. Matriculated students have access to services such as e-tutoring, the math assistance center, the writing center and the library. Interested students can sample one of the university’s actual distance learning courses through the school’s website.

18 University of Massachusetts-Lowell 93.9090% $340 per credit hour

UMass Lowell runs a large, nonprofit, online distance education program designed for students looking to complete graduate and undergraduate or certificate programs on a part-time basis. The university offers 40 such options in technology, liberal arts, psychology, criminal justice, education, science and healthcare. Enrolled students have access to university services such as tutoring, career guidance and academic advising. Materials, including textbooks, can be purchased online. Students have the option of taking courses completely online or in a hybrid format that combines on-campus classes and online work. Interested students can sample an online course through the university website before applying.

19 Florida Atlantic University 93.8487% $105 per credit hour

Florida Atlantic University, based out of Boca Raton, has 35 undergraduate and graduate programs that can be taken completely online. Interest students should contact the program’s academic department by phone or email for program details. Matriculated students have access to many support services, such as tutoring, library materials and Blackboard help. The university’s online student handbook can answer questions about the university, admission requirements and academic programs. Out-of-state students should check to ensure that FAU’s online courses are approved in their state. Florida Atlantic University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

20 Southern Illinois University-Carbondale 93.8288% $1,206 per credit hour

A total of nine bachelor’s and six master's programs are available through Southern Illinois University, in addition to multiple certificate programs. At the bachelor’s level, students can enroll in programs including healthcare management, accounting, technology, fire service management or business administration. Master's credentials can be earned in medical dissymmetry, architecture or landscaping. Online students have access to a writing center called Upward Bound, disability support services, and Achieve, which provides support for students with learning disabilities. The college uses the system SalukiNet as the platform for online courses.

21 Central Michigan University 93.6692% $395 per credit hour

Several bachelor’s, master's and doctorate programs are taught completely online at Central Michigan University. Popular options include a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Administration, Bachelor of Science in Political Science, Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Master of Art in Education, Master of Business Administration and Doctor of Educational Technology. These programs prepare graduates for careers in government, private healthcare, education and business. MU uses an online portal system known as Global Campus, which consists of an online resource center and access to CentralLink, where assignments, exams and live lectures are located.

22 University of South Carolina-Columbia 93.5990% $400 per credit hour

The University of South Carolina in Columbia uses a combination of Blackboard, webmail and to enable students to complete undergraduate and graduate programs from home. After logging into, adults can click through from the dashboard to Blackboard, a help desk, webmail, their financial records, student transcripts and academic advising. Online programs are offered in fields such as technology, healthcare, education and engineering. Some baccalaureates require that students have at least 60 credit hours of study prior to admission. It takes approximately 24 months to finish master's programs. International students are accepted, provided they pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language, or TOEFL.

23 University of South Florida-St Petersburg 93.5298% $186 per credit hour

The University of South Florida St. Petersburg is accommodating the growing number of busy adults who continue working full time while completing their education by offering non-degree online courses and a fully online Master of Business Administration. Adults do not complete their online courses in a vacuum. Instead, their learning is enhanced with virtual class discussions, presentations and group projects. Instructors who teach online classes also teach the same subjects in on-campus settings. The College of Business administers the MBA, which features core courses in areas such as financial statement analysis, corporate accountability, global business and organizational strategies. Students register, access course catalogs, view grades and interact in discussion forums using the USF NetID portal.

24 The University of Tennessee-Martin 93.3696% $288 per credit hour

Online options at The University of Tennessee-Martin provide support for careers in paralegal, agriculture or business positions. Online students can choose to pursue a Master of Business Administration, a Master of Science in Agriculture and Natural Resources or programs in Paralegal Studies. High school students have the option to enroll in a dual degree program. The structure of the online program allows students to complete assignments whenever they choose. However, projects still have deadlines for completion. The school uses the online portal myUTMartin for accessing assignments, written exams and reading material.

25 Baker College 93.32100% $240 per credit hour

Baker College offers multiple online programs, from the associate level to the doctorate level. Online classes are small, with as few as 12 students, so instructors can provide personalized learning opportunities to students. Students learn asynchronously, allowing them to log into their classes when it’s convenient for them. They can participate in discussions, share ideas, answer questions and receive feedback at any time. Course focus is on reading and writing to learn, rather than the typical lecture-and-discussion format. All online students have access to the same resources as on-campus students from the library to student services.

26 Albany State University 93.1499% $162 per credit hour

Busy adults can earn an online bachelor’s or master’s in fire services, nursing, business information systems, nursing or education from Albany State University. The school recently launched a new online portal for all its online programs, providing one go-to resource for students and faculty members. ASU’s electronic core-curriculum allows students to earn all their core general education credits online before diving into major-specific classes. Most of the programs are available entirely online, however some may require an on-site or practicum component to meet state licensure requirements.

27 Cabarrus College of Health Sciences 93.0393% $375 per credit hour

At Cabarrus College of Health Sciences, students can study nursing online or choose from a variety of certificate, associate and master’s programs. Key programs include occupational therapy, interdisciplinary health studies and medical imaging. Cabarrus College offers a variety of support systems to assist online students throughout their programs. A “cyber coffee shop” allows students to socialize and get to know one another outside the online classroom environment and interaction with instructors occurs in discussion boards, email and by phone.

28 National Louis University 92.9686% $347 per credit hour

National Louis University’s online options are designed to help students further their education while still meeting personal and professional obligations. Online bachelor’s programs are available in human services, management, criminal justice and applied communications. Students also have the option to choose from several master’s and education programs online. While most programs are completely online, some may require practicum experience or on-site collaborative workshops. Exit interviews at the end of every term helps move the student forward through their chosen program of study.

29 Plymouth State University 92.9489% $10,700 per year

Whether it’s business administration, nursing, communication studies or criminal justice, Plymouth State University allows students to complete their education completely online. The college offers four online baccalaureate programs and several online master’s programs, covering topics such as education, library media, technology and accounting. Students collaborate online, working together using the latest technology to work on assignments and view class materials using the college’s online course management system and support services.

30 Touro University Worldwide 92.93100% $400 per credit hour

Touro University Worldwide’s online programs provide flexibility for students who want to earn a college credential from a remote location. Students at the college can choose from one associate program, five bachelor’s and master’s programs or a doctorate. All programs provide hands-on learning experiences while working with peers on real-world applications. Touro University is a military-friendly institution with special services for active duty service members that their family, employees of the Department of Defense, veterans and Reserve members can all access.

31 Western New Mexico University 92.9397% $189 per credit hour

Online students at Western New Mexico University customize their education based on their own interests. Program options — from the associate to the graduate level — include business administration, occupational therapy, nursing, secondary education, social work and liberal studies. Online student advisors and 24-hour tutoring services provide support to students. The average class size is only 15 students, so professors are better able to assist students and create a rapport with them. Classes are asynchronous, allowing students to tailor their school schedule around their busy lives.

32 Clayton State University 92.9294% $220 per credit hour

Online students can earn one of 12 degrees from Clayton State University. The university is an affiliate of eCore, where students can take care of general education credits before earning a bachelor’s in management, homeland security, technology, English, nursing or one of the other seven online programs. Students can log into their coursework when it is convenient to them, where they will interact with peers and professors. Students may complete assignments at their convenience, so long as they meet the class deadlines.

33 Missouri Southern State University 92.8093% $177 per credit hour

Both degree completion programs and full undergraduate options can be found at Missouri Southern State University. Students who have existing college credit can finish their programs in applied science, general studies or dental hygiene. Students may also start from scratch and earn a Bachelor of Science in business administration, criminal justice or life-health science. Online programs are delivered asynchronously, allowing students to access their coursework around their busy lifestyles. Some programs may require an on-campus visit or practicum experience at a location near the student’s home in addition to online courses.

34 Eastern Illinois University 92.7993% $285 per credit hour

Eastern Illinois University offers four bachelor’s and six master’s credentials through their online programs, covering areas of study including art education, child care education, organizational and professional development and nursing. While most of the programs are completely online, a few programs require low-residency components, meaning students must complete at an extended location for some courses or may participate in brief residential study. Online students may use services provided by OASIS, a connection program for online students known as the Organization of Adult Students, Informal and Supportive program.

35 Arkansas State University-Main Campus 92.7595% $254 per credit hour

Arkansas State University offers numerous flexible online programs, from the associate through the doctoral level. Students can choose from several options, including sport administration, educational leadership, criminology, political science and sociology. Students work closely with peers and instructors in an online learning management system. Students can log into classes when it’s convenient for them, view lectures, read supplemental materials, submit assignments and respond to discussion boards on their own time. All programs require a core general education component in addition to specialized courses.

36 East Tennessee State University 92.7294% $407 per credit hour

Attending traditional on-campus classes is not an option for every student, and at East Tennessee State University students have the option of enrolling in one of more than 40 completely online programs. Online credentials are available at the certificate, bachelor’s and master’s level. Classes are both synchronous and asynchronous, depending on the course and instructor. Synchronous classes require students to log in at a specific time to interact with other students and the instructor. Online classes are taught using the Desire2Learn leaning system and may take more time than on-campus classes because of the amount of reading and writing involved.

37 Valley City State University 92.7099% $5,769 per year

Online programs are available from Valley City State University in diverse subjects such as English education, history education, music and professional communication. Classes in the programs, which require little or no on-site presence, are delivered using interactive online videos and correspondence. Education programs typically include practical, hands-on experiences such as student teaching or other state-mandated licensure requirements. Students may either collaborate with other online students as they work through course materials or work individually. The student services department provides VCSU’s online population with access to counseling, library resources and tech support.

38 New Mexico State University-Main Campus 92.6997% $254 per credit hour

Online learning at New Mexico State University utilizes innovative technology for students who can’t attend classes at the traditional campus. Students can earn an associate, bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate in multiple topics of study, including sociology, business, communication technology, agriculture or education. Certificate programs and licensure alternatives are also available. Some programs require brief residencies on the Las Cruces campus, but most are completely online. In addition to online programs, individual classes are also available online for the student who wants to supplement an on-campus program.

39 University of Central Florida 92.6996% $105 per credit hour

The University of Central Florida has been providing online education for 15 years, and all online classes are taught by the same instructors that teach on-campus classes. Students can choose from undergraduate programs in creative writing, applied science, anthropology, technology education and industry training, Latin American studies or history. Master’s, doctoral and certificate programs are also available online and follow the same calendar progression as traditional classes.

40 University of North Carolina at Pembroke 92.6892% $3,211 per year

Students who have already completed some of their general education credits can finish their bachelor’s online from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. From criminal justice to finance to interdisciplinary studies, there are nine baccalaureate options to choose from. Online tutors can assist students with coursework, and the Mary Livermore Library is accessible online to help students with research needs. Distance learning courses are available for active duty service members, veterans, National Guardsmen and reserve members so they can study in a flexible format that meets their needs.

41 University of Central Arkansas 92.6895% $197 per credit hour

An online credential from the University of Central Arkansas helps non-traditional students further their education and careers. Three completely online baccalaureates are available in health and safety, RN to BSN nursing and general business. UCA also offers 15 online master’s programs, a doctorate and a handful of certificate programs. Some may require campus visits, depending on the program and licensure requirements. Online students are expected to actively participate in class, plan ahead and stay on top of due dates just like on-campus students.

42 The University of Texas of the Permian Basin 92.6392% $2,014 per semester

The online bachelor’s and master’s programs at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin are designed to help graduates move forward with their careers. Program options include child and family studies, kinesiology, special education, management, marketing and other areas. Online general education courses are also available for high school students who want to start earning college credits before receiving their diploma. UTPB utilizes the REACH Distance Learning Center for online course delivery, which allows for online tutoring, student-teacher interaction, access to materials and coursework, and instructor feedback.

43 Shasta Bible College and Graduate School 92.63100% $350 per credit hour

Students may pursue individual courses, certificates, and bachelor's and master's programs entirely online at Shasta Bible College and Graduate School. Online semesters follow the same 15-week class schedule as the itinerary followed by on-campus students. Students will conduct research online and download lectures that contain both audio and video and may pursue coursework at their own pace. Most programs have a Christian focus, with academic studies in Christian teaching, biblical counseling, church administration or pastoral ministry.

44 Virginia University of Lynchburg 92.63100% $3,600 per semester

Several graduate and undergraduate programs are available across a diverse range of subjects, including business administration, religious studies, organizational management and divinity. Students may be granted supplementary credits not only from college learning, but also through several types of life experience, including military service, certifications and national examinations. Online students receive an orientation to prepare them for the nontraditional learning format. The university belongs to the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools and is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, the U.S. Department of Education and the International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education.

45 University of Florida 92.6096% $105 per credit hour

Online students get the true Gator experience at the University of Florida — they can even graduate on campus and receive the same diploma and credentials. Students may pursue undergraduate, graduate and even doctoral programs, plus international specializations, completely online. Once applicants meet the university's general admission requirements, they can choose from a wide range of subjects, including agriculture and life sciences, nursing, medicine, pharmacy, arts, dentistry, business administration, engineering, construction, design and planning. E-students enjoy the exact same library services and privileges as their on-campus counterparts, including access to workshops, theses and dissertations.

46 University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth 92.5990% $939 per course

Online course schedules at UMass Dartmouth follow the same timeline as traditional courses, with classes running a full semester except during intercessions and in the summer. In those cases, the coursework is completed in an accelerated schedule of five to seven weeks. All classes are taught by university instructors, and courses cover the exact same content as their on-campus counterparts. Online students aren't required to ever appear on campus. Instead, they can communicate with professors through email and live chats. If they cannot be online when a class is scheduled, students can view a recorded copy of the session.

47 Brigham Young University-Idaho 92.5571% $156 per credit hour

Students may pursue any one of more than 210 courses and 15 full programs completely online at Brigham Young University. Students may choose to accelerate their course of study by taking classes all year, or they may take time off when needed. Students at BYU will receive a secular education in a wholesome environment designed to encourage spiritual growth. To qualify, students must have earned at least 15 credits from a previous college institution and have maintained a GPA of at least 2.5. Online courses have the same learning objectives and format as their on-campus counterparts.

48 University of South Florida-Main Campus 92.5598% $211 per credit hour

Students can earn a bachelor's or master's completely online — or they can just take a single course or two. The Electronic Campus and Florida Virtual Campus include databases, course descriptions and other resources for distance learners. Students may enroll in undergraduate programs in criminal justice, nursing and public health, or graduate programs such as instructional technology, electrical engineering, global sustainability and public administration. The school’s Innovative Education program extends to distance learners all of the university's offerings and academic services, including workshops, consultations, library resources and instructional technology support.

49 Washington State University 92.5579% $543 per credit hour

Washington State University has online programs for seven baccalaureates, 11 master’s degrees, eight undergraduate certificates, and five graduate certificates and teaching endorsements. Subjects are as varied as sport management and criminal justice. Online students also enjoy access to many resources, including free tutoring and student government representation. For students who want to study on campus, there are 95 undergraduate majors, 66 master’s programs, 47 PhD programs and three professional credentials. Academic offerings range from standard programs to rarer ones, such as interior design and winemaking.

50 Washburn University 92.5192% $335 per credit hour

The School of Nursing and Applied Sciences and the School of Business are just two of the 29 departments at Washburn University that provide online courses. The Partnership for Learning and Networking (PLAN) degree completion program allows students who graduated from an associate program at a qualified school to pursue their baccalaureate. These include the Bachelor of Health Science, Bachelor of Science in criminal justice, Bachelor of Applied Science in technology administration, Bachelor of Integrated Studies and Bachelor of Applied Science in human services.

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