The 10 Cheapest Online Colleges

When technology grows, old habits die. Who actually uses fax machines, cassette tapes or Windows 98 anymore? The same idea applies to education. High-speed broadband service, virtual classrooms and the demand for global knowledge have paved the way for major universities to offer fully-accredited undergraduate and graduate degrees to students at home through the Internet. However, people could get lost while searching through the overwhelming amount of online school out there.

Most students don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for an education, which increases the demand for high-quality and affordable online education. To help in this search, undergraduate and graduate students looking for the most affordable online degree can use the following list-ranking to find the nation’s cheapest schools. All the virtual online schools listed below offer the same education that is taught in the university’s classrooms.

10. Capella University

Program Overview:
Capella is a one-hundred percent online university that provides students with over one-hundred graduate, undergraduate, PhD and professional certificate programs. The school gives new and qualifying students up to $6000 in Capella grants. Around since 1993, an Eduventures survey found that “over ninety-six percent of employers rate the performance of Capella graduates as exceptional or proficient.”

Tuition and Fees:
Undergraduate – $60,300 ($290 per credit hour) w/45 credit hours to graduate
($350 per credit hour) w/135credit hours to graduate

Graduate Classes – $33,552 ($699 per credit hour) w/48 credit hours to graduate

Unique Features and Selling Points:
Students earn tuition discounts, up to forty-five percent, as they learn. Capella’s thirty-two story headquarters in Minneapolis, MN, transmits all virtual classes over the Internet, worldwide. With over 22,000 enrolled last year alone, new incoming online students are exposed to a vast amount of the university’s resources and have accesses to alumni networks that offer coaching throughout the course.

9. Western International University

Program Overview:
WIU has the second largest student enrollment on our list with over 10,000 online students registered for classes last year alone. Its campus is located in Phoenix, AZ, and the university offers incoming students a diverse selection of Bachelor’s, Master’s and Certificate programs.

Tuition and Fees:
Undergraduate – $59,640 ($460 per credit hour) w/42 credit hours to graduate
($480 per credit hour) w/84 credit hours to graduate

Graduate Classes – $24,570 ($630 per credit hour) w/39 credit hours to graduate

Unique Features and Selling Points:
Professors are actual professionals who work in the area of study. Western International University’s virtual course replicates a traditional classroom experience through live interaction and classroom discussions. All eMaterials are included in tuition costs.

8. Hodges University

Program Overview:
Hodges University has the smallest online student enrollment of all universities reviewed in this top-ten list, with over 1500 graduates and undergraduates registered last year. Classrooms located in Florida, and the university offers twenty-two online degree programs.

Tuition and Fees:
Undergraduate – $59,780 ($490 per credit hour) w/122 credit hours to graduate

Graduate Classes – $19,800 ($660 per credit hour) w/30 credit hours to graduate

Unique Features and Selling Points:
Online classes are organized in live, small-group lecturers. The university’s virtual classrooms provide windows for users with web cams to see other classmates and the instructor. Professors administer grades in the graduate courses through self-assessment methods.

7. American InterContinental University

Program Overview:
AIU is located in Illinois, and it’s was one of the first, online-learning schools on the Internet. Students can choose to pursue AIU online degrees in Business, Criminal Justice, Design, Information Technology or Education. Registered students receive veteran instruction at AIU, since most professors at the university have been teaching for over fifteen years, both on the Internet and through mail correspondence.

Tuition and Fees:
Undergraduate – $54,360 ($302 per credit hour) w/180 credit hours to graduate
Graduate Classes – $34,920 ($582 per credit hour) w/48 credit hours to graduate

Unique Features and Selling Points:
Students receive the same “no-nonsense” education that campus students get in the AIU traditional classroom. The school’s patented proprietary-learning-platform, M.U.S.E., provide students with 24-hour access to their learning platforms. Learners can adjust their curriculum around their work schedules, and the university’s Career Services department helps prepare AIU gradates to get a job after graduation, providing access to an alumni network, mock video interview practice, resume building classes.

6. Northcentral University

Program Overview:
Northcentral University has the largest selection of online graduate and undergraduate programs in this top-ten list. Classrooms are located in Chicago, IL, and all virtual students attend the same lectures that regular students go to during the school year.

Tuition and Fees:
Undergraduate – $48,800 ($407 per credit hour) w/120 credit hours to graduate

Graduate Classes – $19,100 ($637 per credit hour) w/30 credit hours to graduate

Unique Features and Selling Points:
Most of the faculty at Northcentral University has graduated from Ivy League schools. Flex schedules adjust lecture time based on the student’s local time zone. Advanced job placement and practical training programs are available for Northcentral graduates.

5. Bellevue University

Program Overview:
Bellevue University offers enrollment, nationwide, where incoming students can choose an online degree from the school’s sixteen graduate programs or from the thirty-five undergraduate options available. Bellevue also offers professional service degrees that include studies in healthcare, security and intelligence, business management and information technology.

Tuition and Fees:
Undergraduate – $45,880 ($370 per credit hour) w/124 credit hours to graduate
Graduate Classes – $14,550 ($485 per credit hour) w/30 credit hours to graduate

Unique Features/Selling Points:
Students can obtain two degrees at the same time. Instructors are available through a blog or in scheduled online sessions. This school was rated the number-one online university for bachelor degrees and student engagement by the US News and World Report.

4. Mountain State University

Program Overview:
Online degrees include undergraduate study in Business, Computer Science, Criminal Justice, Healthcare and Psychology. Mountain State University also offers three online Master’s degrees in Psychology, Executive Leadership and Strategic Leadership. Over five-thousand students enrolled online last year alone.

Tuition and Fees:
Undergraduate – $45,000 ($320 per credit hour) w/120 credit hours to graduate
Graduate Classes – $14,400 ($400 per credit hour) w/36 credit hours to graduate

Unique Features and Selling Points:
Mountain State University has a unique CE and blackboard learning application available for all online students. Access to library services and the school’s language resources center are included in tuition costs.

3. University of Nebraska

Program Overview:
Students can choose an academic program from over seven different schools in the University of Nebraska school network, all which offer online classes. The network focuses on Arts and Humanities, Education, Social Science and Business, and all schools offer PhD, Master and Bachelor degrees.

Tuition and Fees:
Undergraduate – $41,540($335 per credit hour) w/124 credit hours to graduate

Graduate Classes – $25,488 ($531 per credit hour) w/48 credit hours to graduate

Unique Features and Selling Points:
Incoming students receive access to virtual counseling services. Students can submit art material in video or photograph formats. Professors plan field trips to sites that are located in the student’s hometown.

2. Baker College

Program Overview:
Academics at Baker College include over twenty-two Bachelor and Postbaccalaureate programs and contain thirteen Graduate programs. With over six-thousand students enrolled and counting, the NY Times voted this university as one of the fastest growing online schools in the nation.

Tuition and Fees:
Undergraduate – $38,010 ($210 per credit hour) w/181 credit hours to graduate
Graduate Classes – $20,670 ($390 per credit hour) w/53 credit hours to graduate

Unique Features and Selling Points:
Students have access to classrooms twenty-four hours a day. Virtual instructors teach the coursework, and Baker College professors are available, live, after lectures to take on questions.

1. Western Governors University

Program Overview:
This school is the cheapest among all the online universities that have a median student enrollment between one-thousand and nine-thousand students. WGU offers both undergraduate and graduate courses in Education, Business, Information Technology and Healthcare. Its low tuition costs seed from the University’s non-profit status, and all new online students receive access to an enrolment counselor to help them plan their curriculums.

Tuition and Fees:
Undergraduate – $23,120 ($2,890 flat-fee every six months w/4 years to graduate)
Graduate Classes – $13,000 ($3,250 flat-fee every six months w/2 years to graduate)

Unique Features and Selling Points:
Western Governors University offers graduating students a Career Service connection to future employers. All tuition is based on a flat-fee, regardless of when the student actually graduates. Most BA programs take four years to complete, but if the student completes their degree in three and half years or less, they will pay less tuition because of the flat-fee rate.

List Criteria

This list was gathered from sorting through the top three-hundred online universities operating in the United States. Of the three hundred schools, thirty-percent were sorted by overall student enrollment, which averaged between 1000 and 20,000 registered students. From there, the list was ranked into the top-ten, based on tuition cost and fees divided by the program’s median credit per hour cost. Undergraduate costs took precedence over graduate costs in similar schools rankings.

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