Many online degree programs will automatically save you a good chunk of money compared to a traditional school, simply because with online learning, you won’t pay to live on the college campus. At New York State University schools, for example, room and board fees for a student costs about $12,000 — far more than the actual tuition for any bachelors or associates degree program.
But while an online degree program can help you avoid tens of thousands in room and board, online schools aren’t universally affordable. You need to put some work into shopping and comparing fees from one school to the next. And while you probably don’t want to choose a school based only on its cost, one of your best ways to avoid getting saddled with too much student debt is to make sure you get the best possible deal on tuition.
Your local community college is usually the best place to start looking for an affordable online degree. Community colleges often have the best bargains on tuition. But there are often limitations. Many of them give the lowest tuition rates only to local students. Also, many of them offer associates degrees or bachelors degrees only in limited subject areas, and the most career-oriented programs like nursing, teaching and criminal justice tend to fill up fast.
Flex and accelerated schedules can be a great saver of time and money. Bachelors and associates degrees from online schools can now often be done on a accelerated basis. You generally have to work extra hard to get through an accelerated program quickly, which can be tough if you have a full-time job or family. But it can be truly wonderful to shave time off your degree program by talking a heavier class load.
Flex scheduling, on the other hand, can allow you to stretch your studies out for more than the usual two years (for associates) or four years (for bachelors). While this won’t shorten your time in college per se, it can help you be a more successful student by mapping your school schedule closely to your work and family obligations, and to allow you for some breaks that can help you avoid burning out. 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. 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 2015 – 2016 school year, and do not include books and other costs unless otherwise noted.
Founded in 1951 to help World War II veterans get a new start in life, Grantham is one of the earliest online-only colleges in the U.S. It’s accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC), and has one of the most affordable tuition rates our research has been able to turn up. Grantham offers associates and bachelors degrees online in:
– Criminal Justice
– Computer Science
– Engineering Management Technology
– Health Systems Management
– Human Resource Management
– Also MBA and other graduate degrees
Get free info on Grantham 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:
– Justice Studies
– Cyber Security
– Business Information Systems
– Computer Programming
Get info on Grand Canyon University
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
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