An online degree program almost automatically saves you money over a traditional school, simply because you don’t pay to live on the college campus. At state university schools in my home state of New York, for example, the room and board for a student costs about twice as much as the tuition for a bachelors or associates degree.
But while an online degree program can help you avoid the kind of whopping $200,000. four-year cost that students pay at many top private colleges today, online schools aren’t necessarily cheap. And while you don’t want to choose a school based only on its cost, economic conditions today make it necessary for students to be smarter than ever about finding the best possible deals on tuition.
Your local community college is probably a good place to start looking for a cheap online degree. These schools often have the best bargains on tuition. But community colleges generally give the lowest tuition rates only to local students. Since many of them offer only associates degrees or bachelors degrees in limited areas, you’re likely to want to shop around further to get a good tuition deal on a program that really matches your career goals.
Bachelors and associates degrees from online schools can be done on a accelerated basis, taking much less time to complete than a traditional program, or can be stretched out over much more than the usual two (for associates) or four years (for bachelors). Colleges that specialize in online learning tend to very flexible about a student’s study schedule, because they deal with so many students who are working adults. Many distance learners actually take breaks in the middle of their education to fulfill other commitments. The leading online schools are also usually willing to allow you to transfer credits toward their programs that you may have earned previously at another school.
A Range Of Tuition Costs
While the cost of a college degree can be a bit daunting, it’s worth keeping in mind that a 2007 study by The College board showed that people who have a bachelor’s degree earn an average of 60% more than those who have only a high school diploma. Here’s a listing of some of the more reasonably priced bachelors and associates degree programs, which you can get free information on to start doing your research on. The estimated fees here are for the 2013 – 2014 school year, and do not include books and other costs unless otherwise noted.
Colorado Technical University
CTU is a large institution based on Colorado Springs with over 25,000 students. It has solid regional accreditation (the best kind) and has been ranked #1 Best for Vets in the category for online and non-traditional universities by Military Times Magazine. The school’s $325. per credit hour cost is very much at the affordable end of the spectrum for online schools.
Offers associate’s and bachelor’s degrees online in
– Criminal Justice (multiple specialties)
– Project Management
– Information Systems (multiple specialties)
– Electrical Engineering
Learn more about Colorado Tech’s degree programs
American Intercontinental University
AIU, a large online school, has a low credit hour tuition, but it does require more credits than some other schools on bachelor programs. The school works very hard to keep student costs down, however, by giving credit to degree programs from up to 50% of transfers for previous coursework at another school, and in some cases actually giving 75% credit. That’s unusual. AIU offers associates’s degrees in Business and Criminal Justice, as well as online bachelor degree programs in:
– Business (many specialties)
– Computers & Information Technology
– Healthcare Management
– Criminal Justice (many specialties)
Get info on American Intercontinental University
Grand Canyon University A large private school offering online degrees at a relatively moderate price for a school with strong name recognition across the country. Grand Canyon has a vast array of bachelors degrees in specialties including:
Get info on Grand Canyon University