Online Bachelor’s Degrees 2021

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Earn an Affordable Bachelor’s Degree Online

A bachelor’s degree opens the door to new careers and a higher earning potential. Professionals with a bachelor’s degree earn an annual median pay of $26,000 more than those with a high school diploma.

Choosing an affordable online college makes it possible to earn a bachelor’s degree with less debt. The flexible format appeals to busy working professionals seeking career advancement. An affordable online university also makes a college degree accessible to more people.

Our list ranks the most affordable online colleges for 2021. Prospective students can use these rankings to identify the cheap online college programs that fit their budget and interests. This article also examines the benefits of earning a bachelor’s degree online and career outlooks for college graduates.

Featured Online Programs

Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.

Why Study Online?

Earning a bachelor’s degree online offers several benefits. First, the online learning format prioritizes flexibility. Students can schedule their coursework around other responsibilities, including work or family.

Second, online programs increase accessibility. Instead of relocating for a top program, online degree-seekers can receive a top-tier education from their home community. Learners can also choose specialized programs not offered locally.

Finally, online degrees provide numerous financial benefits. Many online schools offer tuition discounts for fully online learners, including in-state tuition rates for out-of-state students. Distance learners also save on transportation and cost of living expenses. Online students who work while earning a degree can more easily budget for tuition and expenses because they still earn an income.

By choosing an affordable online college, degree-seekers benefit from a flexible format while taking on less debt.

Career and Salary Outlook

Many entry-level careers require a bachelor’s degree, including positions in business, education, technology, and government.

Earning a bachelor’s degree yields higher salaries and lower unemployment rates, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Compared to workers with a high school diploma, professionals with a bachelor’s degree earn a median pay of over $26,000 more per year. They also benefit from a lower 2.2% unemployment rate compared with a 3.7% unemployment rate for those with a high school diploma.

Over the course of a career, earning a bachelor’s degree increases median lifetime earnings by $900,000 for men and $630,000 for women.

Several jobs at the bachelor’s level rank among the highest wage occupations. For example, chief executives, computer and information systems managers, petroleum engineers, and marketing managers all earn a median wage in the six figures.

Accreditation

Regionally accredited schools meet high standards for educating students and granting degrees. Independent, nonprofit accrediting agencies grant accreditation to colleges and universities who demonstrate strong student learning outcomes, faculty qualifications, and graduation requirements.

Accredited degrees fulfill the requirements for more licenses and certifications. Credits earned at a regionally accredited school will more likely transfer to other schools. Only students at accredited schools qualify for federal financial aid. As a result, prospective students should always choose an accredited school to earn their degree. Learn more about why accreditation matters in our accreditation guide.

Most Affordable Online Colleges 2021



See Our Rankings Methodology
  1. New Mexico State University-Main Campus
    Location

    Las Cruces, NM

    Tuition

    $9462

    Located in Las Cruces, NMSU offers several online bachelor's degrees and two degree completion programs. Students can study in a variety of in-demand fields, including business and information technology.

    The school offers three choices for bachelor of business administration: general business, information systems, and marketing. Notable choices also include information and communication technology and gender and sexuality studies. Students with some previous college credits can take advantage of two degree completion choices: geomatics and public health.

    First-year students need one of the following to apply: a minimum GPA of 2.75, a minimum ACT score of 21 (SAT 1060), or a top 20% ranking in their high school graduating class. Students must also hold a high school diploma or GED for program eligibility.

    NMSU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  2. Louisiana Tech University
    Location

    Ruston, LA

    Tuition

    $9795

    Based in Ruston, Louisiana Tech offers one bachelor's degree online: a bachelor of science in health informatics and information management. Motivated students can move on to the school's online master's degree in the same field.

    The 120-credit program begins with general education courses, with major coursework occurring during the last two years of study. Major courses include an introduction to medical terminology, fund of disease and pharmacology, and foundations of health information. A capstone experience provides students with the opportunity to explore a real-world challenge and collaborate with peers while demonstrating skills mastery.

    Applicants must possess a high school diploma or GED equivalent to qualify for admission. Students must also submit SAT or ACT scores.

    Louisiana Tech is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  3. University of Louisiana at Monroe
    Location

    Monroe, LA

    Tuition

    $9455

    Based in Monroe, ULM offers several online bachelor's degrees. Most programs require 120-125 credits of coursework.

    Bachelor's programs include business administration, modern languages, radiologic technology, and marketing. Other notable options include a bachelor of business administration with a concentration in risk management, a bachelor of arts in French, an RN-to-BSN track, and a bachelor of science in elementary education. Undecided students may also choose a bachelor of general studies.

    Applicants must possess a high school diploma or GED equivalent to begin the admission process. The school requires SAT or ACT scores but does not specify a minimum required score.

    ULM is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  4. University of Georgia
    Location

    Athens, GA

    Tuition

    $15539

    Located in Athens, UGA offers mostly graduate online degrees. However, undergraduate students may apply to the school's only undergraduate choice: a bachelor of science in special education. The two-year degree helps current teachers gain an endorsement in special education.

    The program includes courses such as the instruction of individuals with mild disabilities, contemporary issues in special education, and assistive and learning technology. The school requires teaching practicums as part of the curriculum, and motivated students may apply to the accelerated master's degree in special education. The program offers one start date per year and can provide a part-time schedule if necessary.

    Students need at least 60 transferrable college credits to apply to the program. The school requires a minimum overall GPA of 2.80 and a passing score on the GACE test.

    UGA is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  5. University of Florida-Online
    Location

    Gainesville, FL

    Tuition

    $10287

    A public university in Gainesville, UF offers several online bachelor's degrees. Students may choose from bachelor of science, bachelor of arts, and bachelor of health science degrees.

    Notable degree choices include fire and emergency services, digital arts and sciences, communication science and disorders, and computer science. Many of the degrees flow into a graduate degree program, and students may choose online minors to augment their existing degree track. The school makes it simple for students to obtain a degree, including asynchronous courses, tuition discounts, and research opportunities.

    Applicants must possess a high school diploma or GED equivalent with a minimum GPA of 2.0 to qualify for admission. Students who graduated less than five years ago must submit SAT or ACT scores with minimum ACT scores of 19 (reading), 17 (English), and 19 (mathematics) — or the SAT equivalent.

    UF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  6. Florida International University
    Location

    Miami, FL

    Tuition

    $9180

    Located in Miami, FIU offers several online bachelor's programs for students looking for flexibility and convenience in their education. Students may choose from a bachelor of science, a bachelor of arts, or a bachelor of business administration.

    Notable degrees include a bachelor of science in hospitality management in spirits management, a bachelor of arts in global studies, a bachelor of business administration in finance, or a bachelor of science in the internet of things. Students may also choose interdisciplinary studies for more freedom to design the right curriculum path. The school also offers an online RN to BSN program for students with a registered nurse license.

    Applicants must possess a high school diploma or GED equivalent to qualify for undergraduate admissions. The school also requires students to submit SAT or ACT scores but does not specify a minimum requirement.

    FIU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  7. University of Louisville
    Location

    Louisville, KY

    Tuition

    $17098

    Based in Louisville, Kentucky, UofL offers several online bachelor's degrees. Many programs also include online options for students interested in pursuing graduate degrees in the same fields.

    Students can choose a bachelor of science or bachelor of arts in communication, a bachelor of science in organizational leadership, a bachelor of social work, or a bachelor of science in organizational leadership and learning in counseling and human relations. Students may also further nursing careers with an RN-to-BSN track or pursue an undergraduate degree in sports management.

    Applicants must check with individual departments for admissions requirements, as they vary by program. For most programs, students must possess a high school diploma or GED equivalent to apply. Students must also submit SAT or ACT scores, though minimum requirements vary.

    UofL is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  8. University of Central Florida
    Location

    Orlando, FL

    Tuition

    $13016

    Based in Orlando, UCF offers more than 20 online bachelor's degrees, including both bachelor of science and bachelor of arts options. Popular choices include a bachelor of science in nursing, a bachelor of science in psychology, and a bachelor of arts in anthropology.

    Additional choices include a bachelor of science in health informatics and information management, a bachelor of arts in religious studies, a bachelor of science in restaurant and food service management, and a bachelor of arts in communication and conflict. Teachers can earn an endorsement for teaching English as a second language. Learners can also choose from several different interdisciplinary studies choices to customize their degree tracks.

    The online programs cost less than the same programs offered on-campus. The school also offers a generous transfer credit policy. Students must speak with a success coach before applying to the program. Applicants must possess a high school diploma or GED equivalent and a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA to qualify for admission.

    UCF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  9. Morehead State University
    Location

    Morehead, KY

    Tuition

    $12528

    Located in Morehead, Kentucky, MSU offers three fully online bachelor's degrees. Students may also participate in one of five degree completion options where only the last two years of coursework occur online.

    Students can earn a bachelor's degree in medical imaging, technology management, or university studies completely online. For degree completion options, such as accounting, business administration, information systems, or general business, the coursework for the upper-division major courses takes place online. However, students must make arrangements to complete lower-division general education requirements. Motivated students can also continue on to several comparable graduate programs within the school.

    Applicants need a high school transcript or GED records to apply for fully online programs. For degree completion choices, students must possess an associate degree and suitable lower-division transfer credits. The school requires a minimum GPA of 2.5 for standard admission or a minimum GPA of 2.0 for conditional admission.

    MSU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  10. University of Minnesota-Crookston
    Location

    Crookston, MN

    Tuition

    $12135

    Located in Crookston, UMC offers online bachelor's degrees in both the arts and sciences. Learners can customize their degree with an online minor and explore graduate options through the same online learning space.

    Notable degrees include a bachelor of science in accounting, a bachelor of science in agronomy, a bachelor of science in early childhood education, and a bachelor of science in equine business management. Students can choose from fully online minors as well, such as cybersecurity and information assurance, chemistry, writing, or humanities. The school also offers a teacher education unit designed to equip future teachers and leaders.

    Applicants must possess a high school diploma or GED equivalent to qualify for admission. Students with more than 12 transferrable credits do not need to provide high school transcripts to apply.

    UMC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Portrait of Genevieve Carlton

Genevieve Carlton

Genevieve Carlton holds a Ph.D. in history from Northwestern University and earned tenure as a history professor at the University of Louisville. An award-winning historian and writer, Genevieve has published multiple scholarly articles and a book with the University of Chicago Press. She currently works as a freelance writer and consultant.

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