/>
X
Education
Why you can trust ZDNET : ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Our process

'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?

ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.

Close

Cheapest online colleges: The most affordable undergraduate degrees

Bachelor's degree-seekers can find quality remote learning options across majors, including at the cheapest online colleges. Read on to find out more.
maura-deering
Written by Maura Deering on
Mature Female Student Working On Laptop In College Library
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Bachelor's degrees are an increasingly common requirement in many industries. The RN at your doctor's office, the loan officer at your bank, and the HR specialist at your workplace probably all hold bachelor's degrees. And if you want one too — but don't want to pay the big bucks — you've come to the right place.

Online bachelor's degree programs enable people to attend their colleges of choice without relocating, save commuting costs, and continue working or meeting family obligations.

Since the best online colleges are getting more expensive, many people graduate with significant student loan debt. Attending an affordable online school can eliminate your need for loans or reduce the amount borrowed.

Our list of the cheapest online colleges can help you find quality bachelor's programs for less money.

Top 5 most affordable online bachelor's degrees: Quick facts

College

Degree stats

How much?

Florida International University

Miami, Florida

  • Acceptance rate: 58%
  • Graduation rate: 65%
  • Hospitality management degree includes eight tracks
  • More than 1,500 online classes available

Per credit hour: 

$147 in-state

$264 out-of-state

Application fee: $30

Southern New Hampshire University

Manchester, New Hampshire

  • Acceptance rate: 94%
  • Graduation rate: 40%
  • No test scores required
  • Accepts up to 90 transfer credits

Per credit hour: $320

Application fee: None

Florida State University

Tallahassee, Florida

  • Acceptance rate: 32%
  • Graduation rate: 80%
  • Criminology program offers internships
  • Social science students build their own curriculums

Per credit hour:

$180 in-state

$686 out-of-state

Application fee: $30

University of West Florida

Pensacola, Florida

  • Acceptance rate: 58%
  • Graduation rate: 52%
  • 100% tuition waiver for non-resident active military
  • Nursing offers accelerated tracks

Per credit hour:

$219 in-state

$648 out-of-state 

Application fee: $30

Purdue University Global

West Lafayette, Indiana

  • Acceptance rate: 100%
  • Graduation rate: 30%
  • Tuition assistance for military
  • Applicants complete interviews

Per credit hour:

$280 in-state

$371 out-of-state

Application fee: None


How can I pay for college?

Even if you decide to attend one of the cheapest online colleges, you may still need financial aid. Be sure to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Completing the FAFSA will put you in the running for federal grants, loans, and scholarships.

Other options to lower your educational costs include GI Bill benefits for active-duty military and National Guard members, employer tuition reimbursement, and private scholarships. Most colleges and universities include lists of private funding sources on their websites.

To get you started, here are a few recommendations:

The 10 most affordable undergraduate degrees

ZDNet's ranking methodology relies on data, expert curation, and impartiality to ensure its accuracy and timeliness. Schools cannot pay for inclusion on our rankings list, so you can trust that the information provided is unbiased and independently verified.

Unless otherwise indicated, data is drawn from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, College Scorecard, and each school's website. Note that for public colleges, the average annual net price given is for in-state students.

1. Florida International University

Miami, Florida

About the school: FIU offers fully online undergraduate degrees from eight schools and colleges: Arts, sciences, and education; business; hospitality and tourism management; communication, architecture, and the arts; engineering and computing; nursing and health sciences; public health and social work; and international and public affairs.

  • Acceptance rate: 58%
  • Graduation rate: 65%
  • Avg. annual net price: $5,298
  • Time to completion: Four years; accelerated formats available
  • Average SAT range for admitted students: Critical reading 570-650; math 540-630
  • Minimum GPA: Not required
  • Enrollment periods per year: Rolling
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous

Accreditation: Florida International University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

2. Southern New Hampshire University

Manchester, New Hampshire

About the school: Online undergraduate degrees span SNHU's numerous areas of study, including arts and sciences, business and accounting, communication, criminal justice, health sciences and human services, and technology. 

  • Acceptance rate: 94%
  • Graduation rate: 40%
  • Avg. annual net price: $42,645
  • Time to completion: Four years; accelerated formats available
  • Average SAT range for admitted students: Not required
  • Minimum GPA: Not required
  • Enrollment periods per year: Five
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous

Accreditation: Southern New Hampshire University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

3. Florida State University

Tallahassee, Florida

About the school: FSU's distance learning options include bachelor's degrees in computer science, criminology, interdisciplinary social science, and public safety and security. Online students can access online mentoring, a virtual computer lab, and library services.

  • Acceptance rate: 32%
  • Graduation rate: 80%
  • Avg. annual net price: $9,946
  • Time to completion: Four years; part-time programs available
  • Average SAT range for admitted students: Critical reading 610-670; math 590-670
  • Minimum GPA: Program-specific
  • Enrollment periods per year: Three
  • Course delivery method: Synchronous and asynchronous

Accreditation: Florida State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

4. University of West Florida

Pensacola, Florida

About the school: UWF's remote learners can earn online bachelor's degrees in accounting, business, criminal justice, nursing and health sciences, and social sciences. Notable options include exceptional student education, instructional design and technology, and maritime studies. 

  • Acceptance rate: 58%
  • Graduation rate: 52%
  • Avg. annual net price: $7,089
  • Time to completion: Four years
  • Average SAT range for admitted students: Critical reading 550-640; math 530-620
  • Minimum GPA: Program-specific
  • Enrollment periods per year: Rolling
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous

Accreditation: University of West Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

5. Purdue University Global

West Lafayette, Indiana

About the school: Purdue Global lists online undergraduate degree programs in multiple areas, including aviation, business, communication, criminal justice, and education. Additional bachelor's degrees include fire science, health sciences, human services, information technology, legal studies, and public policy.

  • Acceptance rate: 100%
  • Graduation rate: 30%
  • Avg. annual net price: Not publicly available
  • Time to completion: Four years (two years with transfer credits); accelerated formats available
  • Average SAT range for admitted students: Not publicly available
  • Minimum GPA: Not required
  • Enrollment periods per year: Rolling
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous

Accreditation: Purdue University Global is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

6. The Ohio State University

Columbus, Ohio

About the school: Ohio State's online undergraduate degrees include an associate-to-bachelor's in radiologic science, a bachelor's in health sciences, a bachelor's in dental hygiene, and a registered nurse-to-bachelor's in nursing. Programs may include a clinical component or culminate with a capstone project. 

  • Acceptance rate: 68%
  • Graduation rate: 77%
  • Avg. annual net price: $16,845
  • Time to completion: Two years (with completed prerequisites); accelerated and part-time formats available
  • Average SAT range for admitted students: Critical reading 600-690; math 650-770
  • Minimum GPA: 2.0-2.7, depending on program
  • Enrollment periods per year: Three
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous

Accreditation: The Ohio State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

7. Fayetteville State University

Fayetteville, North Carolina

About the school: FSU offers bachelor's degree completion programs in accounting and business administration, computer science, criminal justice, fire and emergency services administration, and intelligence studies. Distance learners can also complete their undergraduate degrees in arts and sciences, birth through kindergarten education, and nursing. 

  • Acceptance rate: 79%
  • Graduation rate: 45%
  • Avg. annual net price: $6,969
  • Time to completion: Two years
  • Average SAT range for admitted students: Critical reading 440-510; math 430-500
  • Minimum GPA: 2.0
  • Enrollment periods per year: Four
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous

Accreditation: Fayetteville State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

8. Florida Atlantic University 

Boca Raton, Florida

About the school: FAU lists online bachelor's degrees from across its schools and colleges, including arts and letters, business, engineering and computer science, nursing, social work, criminal justice, and science. 

  • Acceptance rate: 75%
  • Graduation rate: 61%
  • Avg. annual net price: $10,735
  • Time to completion: Four years
  • Average SAT range for admitted students: Critical reading 550-630; math 530-610 
  • Minimum GPA: 3.2 (average of admitted students)
  • Enrollment periods per year: Three
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous

Accreditation: Florida Atlantic University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

9. University of Minnesota Twin Cities

Minneapolis, Minnesota

About the school: Online undergraduate studies at U of M include majors in business and management, applied health, arts and sciences, criminal justice, and information technology. Notable programs lead to degrees in agricultural business and communication, sport and recreation management, and tribal administration and governance.

  • Acceptance rate: 70%
  • Graduation rate: 80%
  • Avg. annual net price: $17,878
  • Time to completion: Four years
  • Average SAT range for admitted students: Critical reading 600-710; math 660-770
  • Minimum GPA: 3.7 (average of admitted students)
  • Enrollment periods per year: Three
  • Course delivery method: Synchronous and asynchronous

Accreditation: University of Minnesota Twin Cities is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

10. Southeastern Oklahoma State University

Durant, Oklahoma

About the school: At Southeastern, remote learners can earn their bachelor's degrees in a variety of areas: accounting, business, and management; computer information systems; early intervention and childhood development; and liberal and applied studies. 

  • Acceptance rate: 79%
  • Graduation rate: 37%
  • Avg. annual net price: $8,109
  • Time to completion: Four years; accelerated and part-time formats available
  • Average SAT range for admitted students: Not publicly available
  • Minimum GPA: 2.0
  • Enrollment periods per year: Six
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous

Accreditation: Southeastern Oklahoma State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

In conclusion

Attending a cheaper online college doesn't mean sacrificing a first-rate education. The schools on our ranking list are all accredited, signifying academic quality. 

Online learning offers the same instruction and curriculum that on-campus students receive, only in virtual formats. Explore our program listing and find out what is possible.

Editorial standards

Related

Best online colleges in New Jersey 2022
A pregnant Asian woman uses a laptop in a brightly lit, modern living room.

Best online colleges in New Jersey 2022

Best online colleges in Tennessee 2022
chattanooga-istock.jpg

Best online colleges in Tennessee 2022

Best online colleges in Kansas 2022
Woman using laptop

Best online colleges in Kansas 2022