10 Best Affordable Online Colleges in USA

In the United States, Affordable online colleges have gained popularity in recent years. They have become an excellent alternative to traditional education, particularly for individuals seeking to earn a degree while balancing full-time work or without disrupting their personal lives.

The demand for distance education has witnessed substantial growth, From 2011 to 2021, the number of learners reached by massive open online courses (MOOCs) increased from 300,000 to 220 million.

In this article, we will explore reputable online colleges that offer excellent programs, flexible learning options, and reasonable tuition rates.

RankSchoolLocationsAnnual Tuition (Approx.)
# 1Athens State University Athens (AL)$6,975
# 2Columbia Southern University  Orange Beach (AL)$7,050
# 3University of the Potomac Multiple Locations$7,200
# 4Western Governors University  Salt Lake City (UT)$7,452
# 5Thomas Edison State University Trenton (NJ)$9,278
# 6Waldorf University  Forest City (IA)$9,300
# 7Southern New Hampshire University Online  Manchester (NH)$9,600
# 8University of Maine at Augusta Augusta (ME)$9,862
# 9Colorado State University Global  Greenwood Village (CO)$10,500
# 10University of New Hampshire College of Professional Studies Concord (NH)$10,950
10 best affordable online colleges in USA

List of Affordable Online Colleges

1. Athens State University

Athens State University is a public upper-division university in Athens, Alabama. Its academics are housed in three colleges: Education, Arts and Sciences, and Business. Athens State University is a public institution that offers 23 online bachelor’s degrees in education, religion, psychology, business management, criminal justice, healthcare management, accounting, and more.

  • Address: 300 N Beaty St, Athens, AL 35611, United States
  • Phone: +1 256-233-8100
  • Undergraduate enrollment: 2,511 (2020–21)

2. Columbia Southern University 

Columbia Southern University (CSU) is a private, for-profit institution. The school offers 16 online bachelor’s degree programs in disciplines such as business, information technology, homeland security, psychology, health, and military studies.

  • Address: 21982 University Ln, Orange Beach, AL 36561, United States
  • Phone: +1 251-981-3771
  • Undergraduate enrollment: 11,525 (2020–21)

3. University of the Potomac

At the University of the Potomac, a private, for-profit institution, students can select one of 11 online bachelor’s degree programs in health information, technology, business management, accounting, hospitality, and more.

  • Undergraduate tuition and fees: 10,680 USD, International tuition 10,680 USD (2011 – 12)
  • Founded: 1991
  • Headquarters: Washington, D.C., United States
  • Campus: Urban, Online

4. Western Governors University

Western Governors University (WGU) is a private, nonprofit institution offering 28 online bachelor’s degrees in four general categories: business, education, information technology, and health, which includes nursing. WGU uses Moodle LMS to deliver its online courses.

  • Address: 4001 S 700 E #300, Millcreek, UT 84107, United States
  • Phone: +1 801-274-3280

5. Thomas Edison State University

Through Thomas Edison State University (TESU), a public university, students can earn one of 35 online bachelor’s degrees. Options include degrees in applied science and technology, business management, nursing, and public service. Students access their online courses through the Moodle platform.

  • Address: 111 W State St, Trenton, NJ 08608, United States
  • Phone: +1 609-777-5680
  • Undergraduate enrollment: 8,615 (2020–21)

6. Waldorf University

Waldorf University is a private for-profit university in Forest City, Iowa. It was founded in 1903 and associated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and its predecessors.

  • Address: 106 S 6th St, Forest City, IA 50436, United States
  • Phone: +1 641-585-2450
  • Undergraduate enrollment: 2,034 (2020–21)

7. Southern New Hampshire University Online

SNHU offers a range of online and campus Social Science Programs including History, Human Services, Psychology, Public Administration, and Sociology.

8. University of Maine at Augusta

The University of Maine at Augusta is a public college in Augusta, Maine. It is part of the University of Maine System. UMA provides baccalaureate and select associate degrees for residents of Central Maine.

  • Address: 46 University Dr, Augusta, ME 04330, United States
  • Phone: +1 207-621-3000
  • Undergraduate enrollment: 3,020 (2020–21)

9. Colorado State University Global

Colorado State University Global is an online public university that is a member of the Colorado State University System. Founded in 2007, CSU Global is headquartered in Aurora, Colorado.

  • Address: 585 Salida Way, Aurora, CO 80011, United States
  • Phone: +1 800-920-6723
  • Undergraduate enrollment: 6,750 (2020–21)

10. University of New Hampshire College of Professional Studies

  • Address: 88 Commercial St. Manchester, NH 03101
  • Phone: UNH Manchester: (603) 641-4101
  • Phone: CPS Online: (855) 472-4255

Things to Consider While Selecting an Affordable Online College That Fits Your Budget

When evaluating the best affordable online colleges in the USA, there are several key factors to consider. Here are some important points to look for:

✅ Tuition and Fees:

Affordability is a crucial aspect, so compare the tuition rates and fees of different online colleges. Look for institutions that offer competitive rates and transparent pricing.

✅ Financial Aid and Scholarships:

Explore the availability of financial aid options, scholarships, grants, and tuition assistance programs. These can significantly reduce the overall cost of education.

✅ Accreditation:

Ensure that the online college is regionally or nationally accredited. Accreditation ensures that the institution meets certain quality standards and that your degree will be recognized by employers and other educational institutions.

✅ Program Variety:

Check if the online college offers a wide range of programs and degrees across various disciplines. This ensures that you have options to choose from and can pursue a field of study that aligns with your interests and career goals.

✅ Flexibility and Convenience:

Look for online colleges that provide flexibility in terms of course schedules, asynchronous learning options, and the ability to study at your own pace. This is particularly important for students who are working or have other commitments.

✅ Support Services:

Evaluate the support services offered to online students, such as academic advising, career counseling, technical support, and access to online libraries and resources. These services can greatly enhance your learning experience and help you succeed academically.

✅ Student Success and Graduation Rates:

Review the college’s student success and graduation rates. Higher rates indicate that students are satisfied with the institution and that it provides adequate support for their educational journey.

✅ Alumni Network and Career Services:

Research the college’s alumni network and the availability of career services. A strong alumni network can provide valuable networking opportunities, while robust career services can assist with job placement and career development.

✅ Online Learning Platform and Technology:

Consider the online learning platform and technology used by the college. It should be user-friendly, reliable, and provide effective tools for communication, collaboration, and accessing course materials.

✅ Reputation and Reviews:

Read reviews and seek feedback from current or former students of the online colleges you are considering. This can provide insights into the overall student experience, quality of education, and reputation of the institution.

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What Are the Benefits of Online Learning?

As the popularity of online learning grows, Many people wonder whether pursuing an online college degree is truly worthwhile. In a simple answer, Yes, it is. The value of online colleges can be attributed to the numerous advantages and benefits they offer.

Here, We will explore numerous advantages and benefits that make online learning an appealing option for many individuals:

✅ Flexibility and Convenience:

Online colleges offer flexibility in terms of when and where you study, allowing you to balance education with other commitments.

✅ Access to Diverse Programs and Institutions:

Online learning provides access to a wide range of programs and institutions, giving you more options to choose from.

✅ Personalized Learning Experience:

Online colleges often offer personalized learning experiences, allowing you to learn at your own pace and focus on your individual needs.

✅ Networking Opportunities:

Online programs can provide networking opportunities with fellow students and professionals from various locations, expanding your professional network.

✅ Customized Schedule:

Online learning allows you to create a schedule that fits your lifestyle, enabling you to study at your preferred times and pace.

✅ Location Independence:

With online colleges, you have the flexibility to study from anywhere, eliminating the need to relocate or commute to a physical campus.

✅ Unrestricted Accessibility:

Online learning breaks down geographical barriers, making education accessible to individuals who may have limitations due to distance or physical mobility.

Frequently Asked Questions About Affordable Online Colleges

Q. What makes an online college affordable or cheap?

Affordable online colleges typically have lower tuition rates compared to traditional institutions. They may offer cost-saving measures, such as reduced fees or financial aid options, to make education more accessible.

Q. Will choosing an Affordable Online College affect the quality of education?

No. Accredited institutions meet certain standards, ensuring that the education provided is reputable and recognized. However, You need to research the curriculum, faculty qualifications, student support services, and student reviews of the online college you are considering.

Q. Are there any hidden costs associated with cheap online colleges?

You need to carefully review the fee structure and any additional costs associated with attending an online college. Some colleges may have additional fees for technology, textbooks, or proctoring exams, so it’s important to consider all potential expenses.

Q. How Can You Avoid Out-Of-State Tuition Costs?

As an online student, you can avoid out-of-state tuition costs by attending a local college. A student attending an out-of-state public college usually pays more than an in-state student.

Q. Can I still receive financial aid at a cheap online college?

Yes, many cheap online colleges offer financial aid opportunities, including scholarships, grants, and loans. It’s recommended to research the financial aid options available and determine if you qualify for any assistance.

Q. How Can You Choose Which Online College is Fit for Your educational needs?

You need to research the curriculum, faculty qualifications, student support services, and student reviews of the online college you are considering. Also, Gathe as much information as possible will help you make an informed decision.