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Online Bachelor's Degree Programs in Computer Science

Rankings, Salaries & Courses

Updated on: 12/07/2018
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In today’s tech-savvy society, every industry is impacted by computers and digital technology. Employers demand highly qualified, innovative professionals who are ready to meet contemporary computer science demands and address emerging dilemmas. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that computer-related job opportunities will increase by 13% through 2026, while computer science professionals should anticipate a 19% growth rate.

An online computer science degree focuses on the theory and application of software design and computer programming. Students learn to analyze algorithms and data structures that assist with solving communication or technological problems. Additionally, most computer science bachelor’s students graduate with a professional portfolio due to the hands-on nature of the program. This guide covers vetted programs, strategies for choosing the most suitable program, potential occupations, earning potential, funding options, and strategies for offsetting tuition through scholarships.

Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in Computer Science 2018-2019

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Methodology

Best Online Computer Science Programs 2018-2019

Deciding which college to go to is no easy task, so ACO evaluated more than 3,500 colleges to give you the information you need to make the search more manageable. Our 2018 college rankings are based on statistical data from trusted sources, eligibility criteria and various ranking factors

Data Sources: Eligibility Criteria:
  • Each college must be accredited
  • Each college must be a not-for-profit institution
  • Each college must be located in a state (US territories and Washington DC were excluded)
  • Each college must have at least one online program 1
  • Each college must have a maximum four-year tuition of $25,000 or a maximum two-year tuition of $5,000
Ranking Factors:
  • Affordability
  • Quality
  • Flexibility
  • Program

Several individual data points were objectively evaluated to calculate a score for each ranking factor listed above. For affordability, the most impactful data points were tuition2 and grants; for quality, graduation and acceptance rates; for flexibility, part-time enrollment options; and for program, degrees granted in that specific program area. Each score was then weighted, with affordability being the most highly weighted factor for all ACO rankings.

1 Best Vocational Programs included data for both online and campus programs.

2 Both in-state and out-of-state tuition rates were used in our methodology; however, our rankings tool currently only displays in-state rates.

Notes:
  • A dash in our Rankings Tool indicates IPEDS data was not available.
  • Tuition displayed in in-state and per year unless stated otherwise.
2-Year Schools

Below is a current list of the best online computer science degrees offered. Similar to on-campus schools, online universities vary in both quality and accreditation. A good computer science program contains coursework that develops the professional skills needed to gain employment upon graduation. Important factors for selecting a school include information such as graduation rate data, cost of tuition, student services, and program-specific resources. With these factors in mind, the listed programs have been vetted through the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.

Rank School Name Location Tuition Financial Aid Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate # of Online Programs Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1 Independence University Salt Lake City, Utah $18,021 79% - 100% 1 Yes Yes No

Undergraduate students can earn a bachelor of science degree in software and mobile applications development completely online. The program takes 36 months to complete and is designed with a focus on post-graduation employment in the tech field. That means there are few or no electives that don't directly pertain to employable skills. Students will learn the latest technologies and techniques involved in software development and programming, software security and testing, software development, application development and systems analysis. They'll also receive instruction in operating systems, the development of mobile apps, web page programming, web server programming, database programming and employment-specific skills like entrepreneurship and workstation administration. Previous graduates have landed positions like IT entrepreneur, mobile app developer, software engineer, software developer and computer programmer. Among the major employers and partners affiliated with Independence University are LegalShield, Liz Reynolds, Cengage Learning, Columbus Community Hospital, Brand Makers and the American Red Cross. Students receive a tablet and laptop to use for school, both of which they keep after graduation, and all books and supplies are included with the cost of tuition. There are no hidden or extra fees. Non-tuition benefits include tutoring before graduation and refresher courses and career services after graduation. Those seeking financial aid can receive help in doing so and scholarship money is available. The school offers monthly starts, so applicants don't have to wait for the arrival of a new semester, and in many cases, they can transfer in previously earned credits.

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2 Brigham Young University-Idaho Rexburg, Idaho $2,009 33% 96% 53% 1 No Yes Yes

The computer information technology program at Brigham Young University-Idaho is a 120-credit program that can be completed 100% online. Upon completion, graduates will be qualified to pursue work as network engineers and architects, IT managers, database administrators, computer systems administrators, webmasters, web developers, computer and information systems managers, computer software engineers and developers. The skills students learn, which are in high demand in both public and private organizations of all sizes, include the design, development and management of systems used by corporations, government entities, nonprofits and small businesses.The curriculum includes mostly core and major courses and culminates in either a senior project or an internship as well as a senior practicum. In all, there are 40 credits of foundation courses, 51 credits of major courses and 29 credits of electives. Concentrations or minors from the business department are available for those who choose. Online classes have the same learning outcomes as those taught on campus, and students can expect a comparable level of interaction with instructors and classmates. Students who have not received at least 15 credit hours of on-campus instruction must complete the PathwayConnect program to be accepted into the program. Financial aid is available, as is help with applying for aid. There are also several scholarship programs, including BYU academic scholarships, talent scholarships, general scholarships, internship scholarships and scholarships based on recommendation or nomination. There are also more than 20 outside scholarships not offered by BYU. Distance learners enjoy the same services as their peers on campus, including academic advising, tutoring, counseling and career services. The university is affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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3 University of Illinois at Springfield Springfield, Illinois $9,493 70% 65% 52% 3 Yes Yes Yes

Upon completion of the computer science bachelor's degree program at the University of Illinois at Springfield, graduates will be prepared to pursue graduate studies in a variety of related fields of study. Those planning to enter the workforce right away will have the knowledge of both core theories and fundamental skills needed to enter the job market immediately after completing the program. The program's core requirements provide the foundation for computer science knowledge, but elective choices vary by student and are chosen under the guidance of an academic adviser. In order to be considered for the program, applicants must have completed at least 30 semester hours of credits with a GPA of at least 2.0. Those credits must include two semesters of Java programming, as well as a semester each of statistics, calculus and finite or discrete math. There are prerequisite courses that can satisfy those requirements for students who don't have the appropriate academic background. Both the requirements and academic intensity are the same for distance learners as for on-campus students, but online learners will use the Blackboard learning management system to communicate with peers and professors, receive and submit assignments, participate in discussions, receive updates, check grades and view presentations and lectures. Prospective students who are unsure if online learning is right for them are invited to take the school's online learning assessment test before they commit. All three U of I schools contribute to the combined U of I distance learning program, and the degree earned online is identical to the one students would have received had they taken traditional classes on campus.

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4 Liberty University Lynchburg, Virginia $23,800 88% 24% 55% 2 Yes Yes Yes

The bachelor of science in computer science cybersecurity program at Liberty University is delivered through the School of Business. It stands out from other computer science programs by concentrating on protecting data, defending systems and identifying and repelling cyberattacks in the corporate and government spheres. The program, which is based on the longer-running "residential" program that's taught on campus at Liberty, includes instruction not just in computer science, but in information systems and sciences, as well as programming, problem solving and algorithms. Upon completion of the program, potential careers include network security administrator, security software developer, security engineer, security analyst and cryptographer. On average, the 121-credit-hour program takes 3.5 years to complete, but as many as 75 percent of credits can be transferred in from qualifying schools. Students will use the Blackboard learning management system for most of their coursework and the instructors are the same faculty members as those who teach on campus. The program boasts supplementary accreditation from the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET. Although the program is meant for transfer students, applicants are required to complete a high school self-certification form to be considered for the program. Distance learners have access to a range of services, including more than 750,000 journals, peer-reviewed articles and e-books, as well as the online writing center and access to the physical library any time they want. It's important to note that distance learners are charged a range of fees, including a technology fee, that do not apply to on-campus students and that are not included in tuition.

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5 Bellevue University Bellevue, Nebraska $6,840 62% - 32% 7 Yes No Yes

There are 2 possible tracks for the computer information systems degree program at Bellevue University. The BAS program requires 120 credit hours to complete and the BS track is a 127-credit-hour program. With the exception of credit requirements, the programs are the same. The BAS track was developed for corporate students, while the BS path is designed for students planning careers in the computer information systems market.No matter which track students choose, they'll leave the program prepared to design computer-based processes, systems, components and programs and then implement and evaluate their work. They'll also learn how to identify and analyze problems in order to develop computer-based solutions. The goal of the program is to prepare students with marketable skills that enable them to keep a business or other organization's systems running smoothly and according to the organization's goals. The 3 central areas of study are management of information systems, computer programming and database and information systems. Among the possible career choices for graduates entering the workforce are software developers and programmers, computer network architects, computer systems analysts, database administrators and network and computer systems administrators. All of those careers average 6-figure salaries or close to it. Distance learners have access to career services and academic advising, same as students who attend classes on campus, as well as library services, tutoring, labs and the writing center. In many cases, transfer students can apply credits they've earned elsewhere to their degree at Bellevue, and there are also opportunities to gain credit through prior learning experience.

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6 Park University Parkville, Missouri $11,730 49% 85% 27% 2 Yes Yes Yes

Students who successfully complete the information and computer science program at Park University will be prepared to move onto graduate school or immediately enter the workforce in a variety of tech- and business-related fields. There are 5 specialty areas for students to choose from, including data management, information technology, networking and security, software development and computer science. Students are able to select more than 1 specialty if they choose, and those who opt for the networking and security specialty will take CISCO Certified Network Associate (CCNA) coursework in preparation for the CCNA certification exam. Depending on the chosen specialty, the program takes 46-58 hours to complete. The program is regularly updated to keep pace with changing technology and techniques, and it is designed specifically to prepare students for real-world careers, including database analyst, web programmer, information technology project manager, software engineer and applications programmer. The school also works to help place interested program participants in regional internships. Staff is on hand to help with financial aid applications, and the school also offers several scholarships, including endowed scholarships, freshman academic scholarships, competitive freshman scholarships, scholarships for transfer students and a range of other specialized scholarships. Online courses, which run for 8-week terms in an accelerated format, start 5 times a year, which means students don't have to put off enrollment to the beginning of a new semester. Distance courses are accredited by the online-learning assessment agency Quality Matters. Discounts and special programs are available for military personnel and other qualified applicants, and distance learners have access to the same student services as on-campus students, including tutoring, library services, writing services, academic advising and counseling.

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7 Davenport University Grand Rapids, Michigan $17,544 93% 78% 41% 7 Yes Yes Yes

Students who complete the computer science BS program at Davenport University will be qualified to enter the workforce in a variety of exciting fields, including gaming, artificial intelligence, computer vision and language design, robotics and autonomous systems. Graduates of the program report landing jobs with organizations like Google, Microsoft and Apple, as well as in the health care, telecommunications, finance and automotive industries. The average computer scientists, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data cited by Davenport, earns $77,550 a year. Davenport graduates report an employment rate of 91%. Upon entering the program, students can choose one of of four optional specializations: gaming and simulation, artificial intelligence, mathematical modeling and computer architecture and algorithms. No matter the path, financial aid is available - in fact, more than 95% of Davenport students receive financial assistance. Financial advisers can guide students through the process of securing grants, scholarships and loans, as well as Davenport institutional scholarships, Davenport Foundation scholarships and several other awards offered by the school. In total, Davenport offers more than $15 million in scholarship money a year. The school accepts transfer credits from colleges, community colleges and in some cases even high schools. Students starting college as freshman can begin to earn credit while they're still in high school, thanks to statewide articulation agreements with career centers, tech centers and high schools, as well as through the college's dual enrollment program. High school students can even earn credit through participation in AP and IB programs, as well as through specialized testing.

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8 Dakota State University Madison, South Dakota $4,297 76% 83% 43% 4 Yes Yes Yes

Students who graduate from the Dakota State University computer science program will emerge with a bachelor of science degree and the skills needed to begin work as programmers, analysts, software engineers, penetration testers, software developers and tech startup entrepreneurs. Throughout their course of study, students will work with cutting-edge software and technology like DSUnix, Solaris, Irix and Linux, while also enjoying access to the security, anti-hacking and networking tools available through the Information Assurance Lab. Every professor who teaches the computer science program at Dakota State University has a PhD in computer science. The school puts a heavy focus on tech and related education. For example, DSU maintains an honors program called the Center of Excellence in Computer Information Systems. The program enables deserving students to become leaders in both the design and application of IT tools as they're used in education, business, government and industry. There are also several clubs and organizations, which are open to distance learners as well as on-campus students, including the Gaming Club, Computer Club, programming contests and LAN parties. Financial aid exists specifically for computer science students. Distance learners will complete most of their coursework through Desire2Learn (D2L), which is a course management system that gives them access to lecture notes, assignments and exams. Online students can set their own schedules and they'll have the opportunity to work with their student peers in a virtual classroom. Transfer students can apply qualifying credits from qualifying schools to their degrees, and distance learners enjoy the same student services as their on-campus counterparts, including career services, library services, academic advising and counseling.

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9 Pennsylvania State University-Worldwide University Park, Pennsylvania $16,952 35% 56% 87% 2 Yes Yes Yes

The Penn State World Campus' bachelor of science in software engineering program requires 126 credits to complete and combines design projects, experience in software development and classroom study. The program focuses on computing skills, engineering principles, software construction and project leadership. Students will learn to use modern technologies to develop software for embedded systems, web applications and mobile applications. Coursework is challenging, and includes subjects like object-oriented methodology, computer programming, software security, software design and software validation and verification. Senior year includes a capstone course series that was designed with input from the industry. The senior capstone enables participants to plan, create, implement and manage their own software systems. The capstone project, like the entirety of the program, is collaborative and requires cooperation between classmates and instructors. Upon graduation, students will be qualified for positions as sales engineers, computer systems analysts, project managers, user interface designers, software developers, systems administrators, software testing engineers and video game designers. Online learners are not required to log on at a specific time, but they are required to complete weekly discussions, assignments, readings and even some group work. Students will communicate with instructors and each other through email, video conferencing, phone calls, bulletin boards and social media. The school offers help with financial aid, both for new students and transfer students, as well as tuition assistance for unemployed students and a range of special programs for military personnel. Penn State also offers and supports several scholarship programs and maintains a web page dedicated specifically to scholarships, eligibility requirements and application details.

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10 Northern Kentucky University Highland Heights, Kentucky $9,000 61% 91% 40% 2 Yes Yes Yes

At Northern Kentucky University, students looking for flexibility in their academic schedule can choose from a variety of program formats to earn a bachelor's degree in computer science. Part-time, full-time, accelerated, hybrid and online options exist for the majority of coursework. All students begin their studies with an introduction to informatics, including topics of networks and data communication, elementary programming and web development. Following this, classes explore object-oriented programming, data structures and algorithms, operating systems and theory of computation. There are a number of math courses necessary for completion, and as a result, many students opt for a minor in mathematics. Aside from these requirements, students are able to choose from concentrations in artificial intelligence, computer graphics or computer security. Overall, an average of 4 years is spent satisfying 60-63 credit hours. In order to graduate, a minimum 2.0 GPA is required. There are a number of on-campus and online services to assist students in their academic journey. The Student Success Center is host to the Veteran Resource Station, health and wellness opportunities, counseling supports, the International Education Center and TRIO-Student Support Services, which aid first-generation college enrollees. The Department of Computer Science also offers field-specific resources, including career advising for the tech industry, student organizations, on-campus competitions, internship opportunities, and a virtual co-op program. In order to be admitted to this program, students must fill out the school's online application, submit ACT scores of 18 and higher or an SAT equivalent, as well as have successfully completed Kentucky's pre-college curriculum.

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11 National University La Jolla, California $13,016 4% - 50% 2 Yes Yes Yes

National University is a nonprofit, veteran-founded learning institution providing students with opportunities to finish their undergraduate education through hybrid and fully online formats. The program to earn a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science calls for fulfillment of a minimum of 70.5 general education credits and 76.5 field-specific credits, with 45 hours being completed on campus. Additionally, students receiving their degree in Nevada must pass a state constitution course. Overall, graduation entails a total of 180 credits with a 2.0 GPA. This grade average is also required for admissions. Curriculum, which covers topics such as programming, algorithms, digital logic and database designs, trains students to enter the workforce as assistant analysts, manufacturing engineers and software developers. Those interested in pursuing graduate studies in order to take on positions as program supervisors or network administrators can enroll in a transition program. In order to qualify you must possess a 3.0 GPA and register for graduate courses during the final 6 classes of your undergraduate program. Courses last for 4 weeks and only 1 course is implemented at a time. Online learners can take advantage of a variety of resources including tutoring for writing and math, bookstore access and technical help. Career Services is host to an online job portal connecting you to employment and internship openings. The school offers a number of scholarship opportunities such as the Transfer to Success award, which is granted to those transferring from a community college in Nevada or California with a 2.0 grade average. Military members and their dependents receive tuition discounts.

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12 Western Governors University Salt Lake City, Utah $5,780 1% - 19% 7 No No Yes

Western Governors University's online programs utilize competency-based education, which affords students the flexibility to work through curriculum at their own pace. Once you have mastered course content, you can take an assessment and move on. There is a flat rate for each 6-month term, allowing students to pack as many credits into a semester as they find possible for the same amount of money. As a result, completion of the 120 credit hours needed for graduation takes anywhere from 6 months to 3 years. Those interested in entering careers as computer systems analysts, software engineers or web developers can opt for this online format to finish a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. You will explore core topics of calculus and communication, as well as IT-specific coursework covering programming, data structures, artificial intelligence and network security. Tuition also includes certifications in CIW Site Development Associate, ITIL®1 Foundation Certification, CompTIA Project+ and Oracle Database SQL. Applicants must possess a high school diploma, submit transcripts, interview with an enrollment counselor, demonstrate knowledge in pre-calculus and take the Readiness Assessment if necessary. Once accepted, students are connected with a program mentor. You are expected to talk on the phone weekly to discuss registration, plans of study and resources that will assist in your studies. These include the Pearson MyMathLab and Skillsoft Library, which are intended to supplement IT curriculum. Students can also join an Online Student Community in order to build peer relationships, participate in virtual study groups and engage in networking opportunities.

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13 University of Maryland-University College Adelphi, Maryland $6,816 11% - 10% 3 Yes No Yes

The University of Maryland University College's program to receive a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science is available in hybrid and fully online formats. Students will engage in projects such as building 3D worlds and creating Java programs in order to prepare for employment in software engineering, systems analysis and application design. Following the completion of 120 credits with a grade C or higher, you will also be equipped for certification in Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) and Oracle Certified Java Programmer. Curriculum familiarizes students with data structures, operating systems, programming languages and web applications. Classes are delivered through the web platform Learning Experience Online, which uses an interactive calendar, audio messaging and progress tracking to help learners maintain academic success. You can also utilize free tutoring, writing assistance, library access and webinars focused on study skills and time management. Incoming freshman need only possess a high school diploma to be eligible for admissions. The transfer tool can be used to determine how credit from community college, military or work experience, international studies and credit-by-exam may count toward undergraduate work. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and there are multiple start dates throughout the year, thereby allowing students to begin and work through coursework at their convenience. The school is committed to reducing student costs by offering the majority of textbooks in a free, e-book format. There are tuition discounts for military members and federal employees. You can use the scholarship finder to narrow down your search for qualifying financial awards.

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14 George Mason University Fairfax, Virginia $8,204 29% 81% 70% 1 Yes Yes Yes

Students interested in pursuing careers in network administration, web development or computer graphics can work toward a bachelor's degree in information technology through fully online studies at George Mason University, which is accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET. You will select an emphasis in database technology and programming, health information technology, information security, network and telecommunications or web development and multimedia. All options require students to maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA throughout the completion of 120 credits in foundational, IT core, concentration-specific and capstone coursework. You will become familiar with database foundations, operating systems, Java programming and web design. Phone appointments are available through the Center for Academic Advising, Retention, and Transitions to assist online learners in class registration and financial aid opportunities. Career Services helps to develop resumes, search for job openings, and prepare for interviews. You also have access to communication with an after-hours nurse if any medical issues arise. The Student Support and Advocacy Center provides guidance for diet and nutrition, relationship concerns and stress relief. There are financial awards specific to IT students such as the Armed Forces Communications Electronics Association Scholarship and the Harbitter Family Endowed Scholarship. Prospective students will submit SAT or ACT scores and transfers must be able to demonstrate a 2.85 grade average in their academic history. It is encouraged that you have participated in extracurricular activities and community service. Additionally, you are more likely to be considered if you possess 4 years of high school math, including pre-calculus.

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15 Northwestern State University of Louisiana Natchitoches, Louisiana $5,180 49% 62% 40% 1 Yes Yes Yes

Northwestern State University of Louisiana's eNSU Global Campus was the first virtual learning institution established in the state. Here, students can enroll in online studies to earn a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems (CIS). The program, which is accredited by the Association for Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business International, entails 120 credits in general education, business core curriculum and CIS coursework to prepare students in web design, database systems and software development. You will also select a concentration in application development, networking and system management, web development, core programming or cyber security. All students have the opportunity to join the Association of Information Technology Professionals, which provides field experience and networking opportunities through participation in regional and national conferences. Upon completion, graduates are equipped to pass a variety of certifications for Cisco, CompTIA and Microsoft. Alumni enter into positions as computer programmers, network administrators and software developers. You will access coursework through the learning platforms Moodle and WebEx, which is a tool used for online conferencing and live class sessions. The Student Help Desk is available to assist in navigating these systems and both on-campus and online learners can utilize free tutoring services. Students enrolled in 100% distance education pay the same flat-rate tuition, as well as avoid out-of-state fees. There are a number of discounts available for veterans, members of the National Guard, senior citizens, firefighters and other service members. Incoming freshman and transfers must possess a minimum 2.0 GPA for admissions and SAT or ACT scores will also be taken into consideration.

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16 Fort Hays State University Hays, Kansas $3,789 73% 91% 44% 2 No Yes Yes

Graduates of Fort Hays State University's online bachelor's degree in computer science can qualify for positions as systems engineers, operations managers and capacity analysts at companies such as Google, Dell, Disney and Netflix. Courses are delivered through the web platform Blackboard Learn in 8 or 16-week formats and utilize video lectures, discussion posts and group projects to keep students engaged. While working through the 120 credits required for graduation, you will become knowledgeable in database design, computer graphics, operating systems and software engineering. The school aims to provide online learners with an experience similar to their on-campus peers. You can participate in the Virtual Student Senate, take advantage of study abroad opportunities or maintain a 3.6 GPA to be a member of the Honor Society. Access to resources such as Smarthinking tutoring services and TigerTech technical support will assist in your academic journey. Career Services prepares you for the professional world by assisting in resume writing, interview skills and job exploration. Residential applicants are required to possess a 2.0 GPA and non-residents must be able to demonstrate a 2.5 grade average. All prospective students will need to submit either an ACT score of 21, an SAT score of 980 for tests taken before March of 2016 or an SAT score of 1080 for tests taken after March of 2016. Online learners pay less than half of out-of-state tuition rates. Incoming freshman are eligible for a number of first-time student scholarships and all enrollees can check throughout the year for additional school-funded awards.

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17 Georgia Southwestern State University Americus, Georgia $3,886 36% 68% 36% 1 Yes Yes Yes

Georgia Southwestern State University has teamed up with WebBSIT to offer students an online option for completing undergraduate studies in information technology. The degree program, which is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, requires fulfillment of 120 credits with a grade C or higher. You will explore curriculum including web development, digital media, systems analysis and professional ethics. Those interested in emphasizing business will take courses in accounting and marketing, while a concentration in multi-media focuses on audio-video production and 2D design. Upon graduation, alumni find work as network administrators, multimedia designers and database administrators. To add more flexibility to your schedule, there are options for both 3- and 4-year plans of study. During this time, online learners can take advantage of virtual tutoring through the web platform Upswing. You can also submit assignments to the Writing Center for feedback prior to turning them in. The First Year Advocate is available to connect students to other resources, as well as assist in time management and study skills. Additionally, anyone enrolling in distance education will consult with a WebBSIT adviser prior to registration in order to discuss core curriculum requirements, transfer credits and financial aid. In-state and out-of-state enrollees pay the same tuition rates and there are scholarship opportunities specific to incoming freshman and transfer students. Admissions eligibility calls for a freshman index of 1940, which is reached through a formula that accounts for both GPA and SAT or ACT scores. Most applicants hold a 3.0-3.15 grade average.

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18 Saint Leo University Saint Leo, Florida $20,760 100% 70% 43% 3 Yes Yes Yes

At Saint Leo University, students may earn a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science online. This program is ideal for students who would like to pursue a career developing commercial and industrial applications or computer models. It's taught by computer science experts who have worked in high-level positions all over the world and follows a curriculum based on the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and Association for Computing Machinery, 2 well-known organizations that focus on educational and scientific computing. To apply for the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, prospective students are required to submit their official high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores. This program consists of 120 credit hours, with major courses including Theoretical Foundations of Computer Science, Introduction to Information Security, and Database Concepts and Programming. All students who enroll in this degree are required to specialize in information assurance and take courses like Disaster Recovery, Computer Forensics and Penetration Testing. Students may also choose from electives such as Applied Data Mining and Linear Algebra. Those who are considered outstanding may be inducted into the Omicron Chapter of Upsilon Pi Epsilon, an international honor society for students earning a degree related to computing and information systems. Throughout this program, many students land internships with organizations such as Tech Data Corporation, Verizon and Pasco County Sheriff's Department. They also participate in co-curricular activities like Computing Club and the Computer Gamers Club. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Saint Leo University, most students work as software engineers, computer scientists, support programmers or system software developers.

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19 Old Dominion University Norfolk, Virginia $6,330 65% 85% 55% 1 Yes Yes Yes

Old Dominion University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. This degree was designed to expose students to computer science theory while allowing them to participate in projects that focus on problem-solving in business and industry applications. Prospective students are required to submit their ACT or SAT scores and official high school transcripts. This 120-credit-hour program consists of core courses such as Introduction to Software Engineering, Principles of Programming Languages, and Advanced Data Structures and Algorithms. It also includes advanced math and statistics courses, such as Probability and Statistics and Linear Algebra. Transfer students are required to complete at least 30 credit hours at Old Dominion University in order to graduate with this degree. While some courses will have live meeting times, others will be accessible at any time. Online instructors at Old Dominion University adhere to the university's regular academic calendar and may have specific times for scheduling assignments and exams. There are a variety of resources available for students enrolled in the online Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, including online tutoring and study sessions, online writing workshops and tutorials, and online access to OCD libraries and partner libraries. Tech support is also available 24/7 for students in this program. To graduate, students must hold a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 and a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 in all computer science courses. Graduates of this degree program often work in software engineering, IT security analytics, database administration, computer science or web development.

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20 California State University-Monterey Bay Seaside, California $5,472 45% 35% 48% 1 No Yes Yes

California State University-Monterey Bay offers a degree completion program in computer science. The program, which can be completed 100% online, prepares students for careers as mobile app developers, software engineers and technology project managers. It takes 24 months to complete and is available to transfer-ready students from community colleges, or to those who have already earned a bachelor's degree in another field. In those cases, degree holders are still required to finish the program prerequisites. All applicants must have at least 60 semester credits of transferable courses, and students must have taken several individual courses to qualify, no matter how many credits they're transfering. There are also several recommended courses. Applicants who complete the recommended courses will receive priority status.Applicants who are accepted will follow a cohort-based model, and in order to make sure all students receive individualized attention, each cohort is limited to 25-35 students. Not only do students regularly participate in video conferences with peers and instructors, but as part of the program they connect with professionals who practice in the field. Both full-time tenure-track faculty and industry professionals teach the program's courses. Students will study subject matter like database design, algorithms and programming while learning to solve real-world problems through the practical application of theoretical concepts. In an effort to make graduates more marketable, students develop a portfolio and a capstone project that highlights their individual accomplishments. Students can start in the spring or fall, and will take a single class for eight weeks each before moving onto the next course.

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21 Oregon State University Corvallis, Oregon $8,715 67% 77% 67% 1 No Yes Yes

The bachelor of science degree in computer science at Oregon State University is a professional, post-baccalaureate program that is designed for students who already hold a bachelor's degree in another area of study. Applicants aren't, however, required to have any computer training. No general education courses are required and students can start during any term, in which there are 4 per year. Although the program is offered by the College of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, it's delivered completely only through the university's Ecampus. There is significant flexibility in terms of duration and workload, thanks to 1-year, 1.5-year, 2-year, 3-year 4-year track options. The program emphasizes career development and progress through newsletters, networking opportunities, meetings with recruiters and projects designed to enhance employability after graduation. There's also the Career Showcase, which students participate in twice a year. There they'll meet recruiters from more than 20 companies ranging from startups to large corporations. Many students come into the program with existing degrees in humanities and social sciences, as well as science and math, business and engineering. The school cites data that demonstrates a high demand for graduates with computer science degrees. Online students receive many of the same support services as students who attend classes on Oregon State University's physical campuses. Among them are academic advising, counseling and library services. Distance learners are also welcome to take a tour that gives them a preview of what online education is like at the school. In total, more than 23,000 students from around the world take classes at Oregon State University Ecampus.

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22 Wilmington University New Castle, Delaware $10,620 3% - 31% 1 Yes Yes Yes

As the name implies, the BS in computer and network security degree at Wilmington University focuses on securing data, systems and information, which is currently among the most in-demand skills, according to data cited by the university. In fact, the industry is experiencing 12.6% job growth. The 40-course program requires 120 credits to complete, but incoming students can finish it much more quickly by transferring outside credits or even transferring an entire associate degree. The program is recognized by both the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency. The program will prepare students for careers in cybersecurity by teaching them the critical-thinking skills needed to thrive in the field and the communication skills needed to communicate their work to employees, managers and other stakeholders in the workplace. In addition, the program prepares students to sit for several certification exams, including Security+, Network+, Linux+, A+, CISA and CISSP. Upon completion, graduates will be prepared to pursue dozens of different position in the field, including ethical hacker, network analyst, penetration tester, security engineer, security specialist and network defense technician. Classes start every 8 weeks, which means applicants don't have to wait for a new semester to start in order to begin the program. Coursework is delivered through the Blackboard learning management system, which students will use to receive and submit assignments, check grades, communicate with peers and instructors and receive updates. Students don't have to log on at any specific time of day, but classes are not self-paced and students are expected to check into the system 3-5 times per week.

School website
23 Baker College Flint, Michigan $9,000 80% - 18% 5 Yes Yes Yes

Industry professionals helped develop the computer science program at Baker College, which can be completed online as well as in the classroom. The concentration in computer programming prepares students to work with engineers and software developers to create, test, maintain and modify the codes that power computers in fields like automation, smartphones and self-driving cars. It's a 120-hour program that focuses mostly on major courses but also includes concentration courses, general education and a single elective course. There's also a concentration in database technology, which is an online-only track. That option teaches the fundamentals of working with Oracle databases and all associated tools, as well as how those databases function in businesses and other organizations both large and small. That track follows a similar curriculum as the computer programming concentration. Every online learner will be assigned to a virtual classroom, where they'll submit assignments, seek answers to questions and join discussions, just as they would in a traditional classroom. Assignments have deadlines, and online classes do have set beginning and end dates, but distance learners have considerable flexibility. Virtual classrooms, as well as the school's library network, remain open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. As a private college, Baker offers a variety of financial aid options, as well as several grants, loans and scholarships. Students also benefit from a range of services, including OneStop, which is a central destination for things like transcripts, ADA support, career services, billing and scholarship information. Students also benefit from a academic resource center and learning support services.

School website
24 Mercy College Dobbs Ferry, New York $17,772 83% 78% 32% 3 Yes Yes Yes

The 120-credit BS in computer science program at Mercy College is delivered through the School of Liberal Arts and can be completed 100% online. Students will learn how to design programs after developing a practical understanding of how computers work, not just an understanding of theory and background. Participants will learn C++ and Java programming skills, computer architecture, software engineering, computer networking and operating systems. Students will work with mathematical models to solve complicated software problems and learn how to write programs on different platforms that are intuitive and user-friendly. The program focuses heavily on security and protocols for the guarding of data and systems. The program also teaches the business end of the industry, as students will learn how to write business reports and technical manuals as part of an organizational team. Upon completion of the program, graduates will be qualified to pursue work as analysts, programmers, help desk professionals, network administrators, software engineers, game programmers and other related fields. The program's curriculum includes major courses, major electives and foundation courses. Coursework is delivered through the Blackboard learning management system, and students are supported with a range of IT support services. Distance learners have access to online academic advising, career services, an online learning center and financial assistance designed just for online education. They'll stay plugged in through Mercy Connect and have access to a variety of library services. The school has developed a digital guide to financial aid that prospective students are encouraged to use before enrolling or seeking funds. The school supports scholarships, grants, a work-study program and a direct loan program.

School website
25 University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Milwaukee, Wisconsin $8,091 16% 73% 48% 1 No Yes Yes

The 100% online applied computing program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee splits its focus between the core competencies of the computer science and the business skills needed to apply the program's teachings in the real world. It achieves that goal with coursework that promotes the development of concepts like ethics, legal issues, IS strategy and project management. The program culminates in a capstone course that offers students the opportunity to apply the concepts they studied in a real-world setting. The capstone is designed, in part, to help graduates demonstrate professional competency to prospective employers while showing hiring managers that they understand technical innovation and understand how to adapt to issues that are likely to arise in the next generation. Upon graduation, students will have the skills and background needed to pursue a range of occupations that command median annual salaries of more than $80,000 and are projected for double-digit job growth, including information security analyst, computer information systems manager and application developer. Although distance learners are never required to visit campus, they are invited to participate in their local campus' graduation ceremonies. Distance learners have the flexibility that comes with not being required to log on at any specific time of day, but all students have due dates and deadlines that must be met. Students will communicate with instructors through a variety of technologies, including Skype, course-based discussion boards or simply over the phone. Some courses offer opportunities to participate in group projects, and the Virtual Lab provides access to all the software and programs needed for online learning. Any distance learner who encounters technical problems will have access to a variety of IT assistance.

School website
26 Austin Peay State University Clarksville, Tennessee $6,216 23% 89% 40% 1 Yes No Yes School website
27 Virginia International University Fairfax, Virginia $9,408 - 25% - 1 No Yes Yes School website
28 Franklin University Columbus, Ohio $11,856 - - 16% 4 Yes No Yes School website
29 University of Houston-Victoria Victoria, Texas $4,576 85% 48% - 2 No Yes Yes School website
30 Brandman University Irvine, California $12,000 - 81% - 1 Yes No Yes School website
31 Hodges University Naples, Florida $13,200 20% 60% 25% 5 No Yes Yes School website
Rank School Name Location Tuition Financial Aid Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate # of Online Programs Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1 Western Nebraska Community College Scottsbluff, Nebraska $2,280 73% 25% 2 Yes No Yes School website
2 Ivy Tech Community College Indianapolis, Indiana $4,055 11% 11% 20 Yes Yes Yes School website
3 Western Texas College Snyder, Texas $2,088 44% 43% 3 Yes Yes Yes School website
4 Garden City Community College Garden City, Kansas $1,824 44% 31% 1 Yes No Yes School website
5 Collin County Community College District McKinney, Texas $2,460 3% 13% 7 Yes Yes Yes School website
6 Georgia Northwestern Technical College Rome, Georgia $2,136 - 23% 9 Yes Yes Yes School website
7 Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Perkinston, Mississippi $2,800 42% 28% 4 Yes Yes Yes School website
8 Central Texas College Killeen, Texas $2,940 19% 9% 11 Yes Yes Yes School website
9 Santa Fe Community College Santa Fe, New Mexico $1,770 16% 16% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
10 Metropolitan Community College Omaha, Nebraska $2,625 31% 13% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
11 Hinds Community College Raymond, Mississippi $2,640 25% 18% 5 Yes Yes Yes School website
12 Laramie County Community College Cheyenne, Wyoming $2,136 42% 22% 8 Yes No Yes School website
13 Western Wyoming Community College Rock Springs, Wyoming $2,136 72% 38% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
14 Lone Star College System The Woodlands, Texas $2,736 10% 8% 4 Yes Yes Yes School website
15 Sinclair Community College Dayton, Ohio $3,169 44% 16% 6 Yes Yes Yes School website
16 Sheridan College Sheridan, Wyoming $2,136 54% 30% 2 Yes No Yes School website
17 National Park College Hot Springs, Arkansas $2,940 27% 32% 4 Yes Yes Yes School website
18 North Hennepin Community College Brooklyn Park, Minnesota $3,922 3% 13% 3 Yes Yes Yes School website
19 State Fair Community College Sedalia, Missouri $3,600 20% 22% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
20 Pitt Community College Winterville, North Carolina $1,824 16% 10% 4 Yes Yes Yes School website
21 Stark State College North Canton, Ohio $2,796 19% 7% 6 Yes Yes Yes School website
22 Tulsa Community College Tulsa, Oklahoma $2,327 44% 14% 4 Yes Yes Yes School website
23 Washtenaw Community College Ann Arbor, Michigan $3,720 16% 15% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
24 Irvine Valley College Irvine, California $1,104 - 44% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
25 Mesa Community College Mesa, Arizona $2,064 25% 13% 4 Yes Yes Yes School website
26 Ogeechee Technical College Statesboro, Georgia $2,136 - 45% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
27 Minnesota State Community and Technical College Fergus Falls, Minnesota $4,824 7% 34% 9 Yes Yes Yes School website
28 South Piedmont Community College Polkton, North Carolina $1,728 - 16% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
29 Wake Technical Community College Raleigh, North Carolina $2,432 2% 16% 8 Yes Yes Yes School website
30 Gwinnett Technical College Lawrenceville, Georgia $2,136 - 21% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
31 York County Community College Wells, Maine $2,760 43% 19% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
32 Carl Albert State College Poteau, Oklahoma $2,177 35% 34% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
33 Clark State Community College Springfield, Ohio $2,912 37% 13% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
34 Minnesota State College Southeast Winona, Minnesota $4,969 - 26% 5 Yes Yes Yes School website
35 Southwestern Community College Sylva, North Carolina $2,128 9% 30% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
36 Fayetteville Technical Community College Fayetteville, North Carolina $2,432 2% 12% 4 Yes Yes Yes School website
37 Saint Louis Community College Saint Louis, Missouri $4,080 3% 10% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
38 Northcentral Technical College Wausau, Wisconsin $3,911 - 35% 4 Yes Yes Yes School website
39 Yavapai College Prescott, Arizona $2,280 20% 27% 1 Yes No Yes School website
40 Spokane Community College Spokane, Washington $2,688 12% 24% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
41 Moraine Park Technical College Fond du Lac, Wisconsin $3,965 12% 46% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
42 Cincinnati State Cincinnati, Ohio $3,567 19% 12% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
43 Western Piedmont Community College Morganton, North Carolina $2,432 10% 22% 2 Yes No Yes School website
44 Rochester Community and Technical College Rochester, Minnesota $4,874 5% 22% 1 Yes No Yes School website
45 Columbus State Community College Columbus, Ohio $3,808 7% 15% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
46 Southeast Technical Institute Sioux Falls, South Dakota $2,834 17% 44% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
47 Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College Shell Lake, Wisconsin $4,171 17% 59% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
48 Piedmont Technical College Greenwood, South Carolina $4,668 8% 18% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
49 Murray State College Tishomingo, Oklahoma $3,584 70% 30% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
50 Massasoit Community College Brockton, Massachusetts $576 21% 16% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website

How Much Can You Make in a Computer Science Career?

According to the BLS, through 2026 computer-related occupational opportunities are expanding much faster than average, and often carry considerable median salaries. This suggests that earning an online computer science degree is the first step toward qualifying for an array of lucrative careers. In order to accurately project earning potential, students should examine which field or specialty interests them. While no degree can guarantee job placement or a specific salary, this degree does ensure students possess the pertinent skills needed for common computer science-related positions. Below is a list of common computer science careers.

JOB GROWTH 2016-2026: +19%
Job Description

Computer and information research scientists are hands-on with all computer-related functions. These professionals are subject matter experts who influence the IT goals of their organization and are responsible for executing the goals they set. Graduates holding this degree could eventually be on track to become chief information officers or chief technology officers.

JOB GROWTH 2016-2026: +5%
Job Description

These engineers are expert researchers who also design and develop computer systems. Typical responsibilities include developing computer equipment schematics, testing designs, analyzing results, and keeping equipment up to date. In some roles, professionals may oversee computer hardware manufacturing. This role requires effective communication and collaboration with other engineers to ensure hardware components are compatible with the latest software.

JOB GROWTH 2016-2026: +6%
Job Description

Computer network architects focus on the design of LAN and WAN communication networks. These networks range in both size and capability, which means that professionals may be hired directly into large organizations or may work for a company that services many small organizations. Duties include presenting communication network plans to upper management, upgrading hardware, and researching new technologies that support the organization or clients.

JOB GROWTH 2016-2026: +9%
Job Description

In this role, analysts create a bridge between business and information technology. Professionals also examine current computer systems to identify ways they could be improved. Analysts are responsible for calculating the cost and benefit analyses for all upgrades. Other job roles include customizing new systems and overseeing their installation. Management responsibilities often require professionals to monitor projects and personnel working on the project to ensure its success.

JOB GROWTH 2016-2026: +12%
Job Description

Computer and information systems managers, also known as IT managers, plan and execute computer-related initiatives. Organizations rely on their expert knowledge to determine computer system goals. Other duties include staying abreast of recent technological developments, ensuring network security, conducting cost-benefit analyses, and negotiating services with vendors. Because most managers do not perform all of these duties, professionals must have good communication and collaborative skills to work with other managers.

Sources: BLS 2018

Job outlook and salary projections for professionals who graduate with an online bachelor’s degree in computer science certainly vary by education level, but students should also consider geographic location. According to the BLS, the top paying states include New York, Washington, and New Mexico, and the highest employment levels include California, Virginia, and Maryland. Still, job roles make a difference. Scientific research and development services, software publishers, and federal executive branch roles hold the highest concentration of employment.

What Courses Can be Taken for an Online Computer Science Degree?

A bachelor's degree in computer science satisfies general education requirements in addition to foundational knowledge and theories. However, coursework offered tends to differ because universities have their own standards for developing curricula. Some computer science programs are more developed than others, allowing them to offer more elective options than other, more limited programs. Students should consider the expectation of accrediting agencies in this field, as they set the minimum standards for what programs should offer.

Operating Systems

Students examine current problems associated with operation system designs and implementation processes. This course provides historical perspectives and focuses on process management, memory management, and file systems.

Fundamentals of Computer Programming

This course begins with computer organization principles and basic programming concepts. Students explore issues including embedded systems and parallelism. By the end of the course, students should be able to write basic computer programs using iterative and conditional structures.

Programming Databases

This course familiarizes students with the design and implementation processes of database management systems. Through case studies and commercial database systems, students explore topics including storage models, data models, and query language.

Introduction to Algorithms

This introductory course exposes students to the analysis and design methods of computer algorithms. By the end of this course, students should be able to analyze asymptotic performances, apply design paradigms of analysis, and synthesize efficient algorithms.

Artificial Intelligence

This course examines challenges associated with developing computer systems that can handle cognitive tasks, including natural language processing, reasoning, representation, and learning. Students develop valuable problem-solving, planning, and decision-making skills through hands-on projects.

How to Choose the Best Online Computer Science Program

There are multiple factors to consider when choosing a computer science bachelor's degree online. For instance, reputable accrediting agencies help to ensure programs meet pertinent academic standards. Additionally, students should consider what fees may be incurred by the program outside of tuition costs, such as internship or clinical fees. Students who want an advanced degree might consider what other programs their school offers. This section addresses common questions about a bachelor's in computer science.

How Much Does It Cost for an Online Computer Science Degree?

There are multiple factors that can influence the cost of a bachelor’s degree in computer science. For instance, online programs through prestigious universities or brick-and-mortar schools in general may cost more than programs that are 100% online. Students should also consider residency requirements. Many online programs still charge out-of-state tuition. Generally speaking, students should expect to pay at least $30,000.

What Are Online Computer Science Classes Like?

Online programs are commonly offered asynchronously, which means students are provided a syllabus in the beginning of the semester that outlines all due dates. Each week, students have a combination of assignments, exams, projects, or discussion board prompts to complete on a certain day. Students are typically able to engage with professors and classmates for help or collaboration. Some courses may require additional programs or field experience.

Are There Concentration Areas That Could Give Me a Competitive Advantage?

While there is no guarantee that concentration areas lead to higher pay or secure job placement, students should review the job outlook for potential career paths and identify what additional skills could increase their marketability. However, many schools do offer degree concentrations for computer science, which include data mining, embedded systems, bioengineering, genomics, and game animation.

What Accrediting Agencies Should I Look for When Choosing a Good Computer Science Program?

Over 85% of schools in the U.S. are regionally accredited. Therefore, students should look for one of the six regional accrediting agencies for overall school quality. However, computer science students should also consider programs vetted by the Computing Accreditation Commission, which is a branch of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.

What Professional Organizations Can I Join That Offers Support and Resources to Computer Science Students?

While there are multiple professional computer science organizations that offer student-level memberships, students may want to consider the IEEE Computer Society, which has existed since 1946 and has over 60,000 members across the globe. Also, the Computing Research Association (CRA) focuses on intellectual and ethical integrity of the computer science field. The CRA also offers awards to undergraduate students.

Scholarships and Financial Aid for Computer Science Programs

Paying for tuition is a primary concern for students considering an online computer science degree. Students typically regard FAFSA grants and loans as the primary source for funding their education. Federal grants are a great option since they do not have to be repaid. However, loans must be repaid and collect interest, meaning you can ultimately pay significantly more than what you borrowed. In addition to grants, students should consider applying for scholarships. There are multiple foundations and professional organizations that set aside funds to help students pay for their tuition.

Richard E. Merwin Scholarship

The Richard E. Merwin Scholarship sets aside $40,000 each year for students who are active volunteer leaders. Students must have a minimum 2.5 GPA and be in the last two years of their undergraduate program in a computer-related program to qualify. Application deadlines are the end of April and September each year. Additionally, students must be enrolled full-time and be in good academic standing. Awards are $1,000 or more.

Lance Stafford Larson Student Award

The Lance Stafford Larson Student Award encourages students to develop exceptional communication skills in the field of computer science. Students must submit a 20-page paper that examines a computer related subject and can apply each year before October 31. The first place award is $500.

Upsilon Pi Epsilon Honor Society

This honor society encourages students in the computing discipline to reach academic excellence. This award is offered through Upsilon Pi Epsilon and the IEEE Computer Society. Each year, a maximum of $1,000 is awarded to four students who have at least a 3.0 GPA. Recipients also receive a free one-year periodical subscription. Applicants should be completing their bachelor’s degree and must be enrolled full-time at an accredited university.

The Women Techmakers Scholars Program

Formerly known as the Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship Program, the Women Techmakers Scholars Program strives to promote gender equality in computer science. This award is given to candidates who display academic excellence and leadership qualities. The best candidates should have created some level of impact in the female tech community. Students should be enrolled full-time at an accredited university. Awards range from $5,000 to $10,000, and winners are invited to the annual Google Scholars’ Retreat.

Wayne Black Scholarship

Each year, the Energy Telecommunications and Electrical Association awards the Wayne Black Scholarship Award to a student pursuing a degree in a computer science-related field. Desirable candidates should display an affinity for technology, academic excellence, and leadership qualities. Applicants must be undergraduate students enrolled full time at an accredited university, and must submit a one-page biography and a five-page essay. This award is $5,000.