The Cheapest Online Colleges to Jumpstart Your Career

With the rising costs of tuition across the United States, many students are in search of affordable options for higher education. Luckily, there are a variety of low-cost online colleges available that offer high-quality education at a fraction of the cost. These colleges provide flexibility and convenience to students who want to earn a degree without breaking the bank.

Some of the cheapest online colleges include the University of the People, Western Governors University, and Southern New Hampshire University. These schools offer accredited degree programs at a reasonable cost and provide various financial aid options to help students pay for their education. For example, the University of the People is a non-profit institution that offers tuition-free undergraduate degrees in a variety of fields such as business, education, and health science. Similarly, Western Governors University offers competency-based education with a flat-rate tuition fee for each six-month term, which allows students to complete as many courses as they can within that time frame.

The Benefits of Attending a Cheapest Online College

Education does not have to be expensive, and attending a cheapest online college can save you a considerable amount of money.

The Top Cheapest Online Colleges

Explore the top colleges that offer a quality, affordable education through their online programs, to help you achieve your academic goals without breaking the bank.

How to Choose the Right Cheapest Online College for You

Consider factors like accreditation, program offerings, financial aid options, and student support services when choosing the best online college that fits your budget and educational needs.

The Cheapest Online Colleges: An Overview

Online learning has revolutionized the way modern students access higher education. Many students now opt to take online courses due to their flexibility and affordability compared to attending traditional brick-and-mortar colleges. Online colleges now present a cheaper alternative to a conventional four-year degree, institutions. This means students no longer have to bear the financial burden of student loans incurred from attending an expensive university to receive a degree. Here is a comprehensive guide to the cheapest online colleges available.

What is an Online College?

First and foremost, it’s essential to understand what is meant by an online college. An online college, or more commonly known as an online university, is a higher learning institution that offers courses or entire degree programs delivered through distance learning via the Internet. Online colleges offer a host of courses that students can take in the comfort of their homes and on their convenience.

Advantages of Choosing Online Colleges

Choosing an online college has a ton of benefits that make it worth considering for students looking to pursue a degree. Firstly, online courses are a lot cheaper than traditional colleges since online learning excludes expenses like room and board, meal plans, or commuting costs. Secondly, online colleges offer excellent flexibility, enabling students to create a course schedule that suits their lifestyle and other commitments. Thirdly, online colleges provide students with an opportunity to focus on a specific career path, which allows them to receive tailored, detailed instruction on their area of specialization.

The Cheapest Online Colleges

The cost of an online degree is not solely dependent on the cost per credit. The cost varies with the type of institution and the degree level being pursued. Here is a comprehensive breakdown of the cheapest online colleges:

1. Great Basin College

Great Basin College offers a great online experience since students can choose between blended, online, or interactive video technologies delivery modes. It’s one of the cheapest colleges, charging an in-state tuition fee of $123 per credit and an out-of-state fee of $135 per credit hour. Reliable professors impart knowledge to the students through open communication channels and an easy to comprehend curriculum.

2. Brigham Young University-Idaho

Brigham Young University-Idaho is arguably one of the most affordable online colleges, charging only $133 per credit hour, regardless of state residency. The institution offers a wide array of undergraduate degrees, including programs in applied technology, nursing, and various other fields.

3. South Texas College

South Texas College offers online curriculum delivered through Blackboard Learn. The college charges an in-state tuition fee of $89 per credit hour, while the out-of-state fee is $211 per hour. The programs on offer include courses in business, healthcare, and computer technology, among others.

4. Fort Hays State University

Fort Hays State University provides one of the best online learning experiences for students worldwide. It offers a broad range of undergraduate, graduate, and certification programs online, and the prices are reasonably affordable. The institution charges an in-state fee of $218 per credit hour and an out-of-state fee of $256 per credit hour, making it an excellent option for students looking for quality education at an affordable price.

5. Western Governors University

It’s a highly respected, accredited institution that offers 60+ online degrees at all levels, offering high-quality, flexible online learning experiences at an affordable fee. The university charges an annual tuition fee of $7,500 for undergraduate-level courses, while tuition fees for graduate programs are slightly higher, with the annual charges standing at $8,790. Even with the added expense, it’s still one of the cheapest online colleges available, with the additional benefit of allowing students to work at their convenience.


Undoubtedly, pursuing a degree online has revolutionized modern higher education, and with cheaper online colleges available, quality higher education is more accessible than ever before. Pursuing a degree online has the added benefit of flexibility, affordability, and an opportunity to focus on specific career pathways. Understanding the cheapest online colleges available can help allay the financial burden of college education, allowing students to gain the skills they need to succeed without breaking the bank.


1. What is an online college?

An online college is a higher education institution that provides education to students through the internet instead of traditional classroom settings. Online colleges offer degree programs at different levels, from associate to doctorate, and cover diverse fields of study. This type of learning offers flexibility, making it possible for individuals to study at their own pace and schedule.

2. Are online colleges cheaper than traditional colleges?

Generally, online colleges are more affordable than traditional colleges because they do not have the overhead costs of maintaining a physical campus. However, tuition and fees vary depending on the institution, the program, and the location. Before enrolling in an online college, make sure to research and compare costs to find the best and most affordable option.

3. How can I find the cheapest online colleges?

You can find the cheapest online colleges by researching and comparing tuition rates, fees, financial aid options, and other college expenses. Several college ranking websites provide information on the most affordable online colleges, such as U.S. News & World Report, College Consensus, and Affordable Colleges Online. You can also contact individual schools directly and ask about costs and scholarships.

4. Are online degrees considered less valuable than degrees from traditional colleges?

No. Online degrees are equally valuable as degrees from traditional colleges if they are accredited by reputable accrediting bodies. Accreditation ensures that the education program meets high quality standards and provides a recognized credential. However, it is important to note that the value of a degree is determined by its reputation and the skills and knowledge the student gained, rather than the mode of instruction.

5. Can I receive financial aid for online colleges?

Yes. Online college students are eligible for financial aid programs, including federal and state grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study programs. The eligibility and amount of financial aid depend on factors such as the student’s financial need, enrollment status, and program of study. To receive financial aid, students must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

6. How long does it take to complete an online degree?

The length of time it takes to complete an online degree depends on the program and the student’s pace. Some programs offer accelerated courses that can be completed in as little as six weeks, while others follow a traditional semester schedule. Generally, an associate degree can be completed in two years, a bachelor’s degree in four years, a master’s degree in two years, and a doctorate degree in four to seven years.

7. Can I transfer credits earned from a traditional college to an online college?

Yes. Online colleges generally accept transfer credits from accredited traditional colleges, subject to evaluation and approval. The number of credits that can be transferred and the policies for transfer vary by institution and the program of study. To transfer credits, students must provide transcripts and meet the admission requirements of the online college.

8. Are there any downsides to attending an online college?

Yes. Online learning requires self-discipline, time management, and strong motivation to succeed. Unlike traditional classroom settings, students in online colleges have limited face-to-face interaction with professors and peers, which can be challenging for some learners. Online college students must also have reliable internet access and technology, which can be costly. Moreover, some employers may view online degrees as less valuable than traditional degrees, although this perception is changing over time.

9. Do I need a computer to attend an online college?

Yes. Online learning requires a reliable computer and internet connection to access course materials, submit assignments, and communicate with professors and peers. Students may also need certain software or tools specific to their programs. However, some online colleges provide access to computers and other technology resources on campus, or offer loaner programs or discounts on technology purchases.

10. Will I miss out on networking opportunities by attending an online college?

Not necessarily. Although online learning does not offer the same level of face-to-face interaction as traditional colleges, it still provides opportunities for networking, especially through online forums, discussions, and group projects. Online colleges may also organize virtual career and networking events to facilitate connections between students and alumni. Additionally, many industries are shifting toward remote work and virtual communication, making online networking more relevant today.

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