In today’s job market, education is absolutely essential. However, going back to school full-time can be almost impossible when you have a family, a job, and bills coming in. That’s why getting a bachelors degree online is becoming so much easier. However, school still isn’t cheap. Luckily, here is a list of the top ten best and most affordable schools for an online bachelors degree. The schools are listed, not only for their cheap tuition, but also which schools will give you the most bang for your buck, so to speak. The universities on this list are not fly by night institutions offering a degree in exchange for money. These schools are ranked among the top universities for online learning and affordability by some of the best ranking institutions in the country. Affordability is determined based on tuition costs compared to other schools offering bachelors degrees online. The schools have also been picked based on their friendliness toward the US military because an overwhelming number of students who utilize online degree programs are military members and their families. All of these schools are regionally accredited, which is the type of accreditation future employers are looking for.
Here is the list of the top ten most affordable online bachelor degree programs for 2014:
1. Eastern New Mexico University
ENMU is a public, non-profit, concrete learning institution in Portales, New Mexico. Their online component offers bachelors and masters degrees in education, nursing, business, and engineering. ENMU is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs, the National League for Nursing, and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education . ENMU is highly recommended by former and current students. The university boasts a 95% satisfaction rate. More than half of the student body continues to enroll each term. The school is success oriented as evidenced in their 20:1 student to faculty ratio and their school motto: “Student Success – That’s what it’s all about!” ENMU is diversity friendly. They are a member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. However, they also serve students of every ethnic background. The school operates on a semester schedule, making it easier to complete a degree. ENMU is ranked as the number 20 online college by OnlineU. Ranking is based on school accreditations, students’ recommendations, and cost of attendance. As far as cost goes, it doesn’t get much better than ENMU. In-state tuition is lower than most other universities, and online students are eligible to receive in-state tuition. ENMU is ranked in the top 10% of the lowest tuition costs of 81 schools in the Southwest. Tuition for one year of full time enrollment in an undergraduate program would cost around $4,300. Scholarships of $200 – $3000 per year are available to online students who meet general scholarship requirements. ENMU online programs are also eligible for federal financial aid. The school is military friendly, offering in-state tuition rates to military members stationed in New Mexico and their dependents. The institution also accepts GI Bills and military tuition assistance.
2. Western Governor’s University
WGU is a private, non-profit completely online institution of higher learning based out of Salt Lake City, UT. The school offers bachelor degrees in education, business, information technology, and nursing. The university is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, and it has been recognized by the United States Distance Learning Association as having the best practices in distance learning. WGU is definitely a favorite among students with a retention rate of a whopping 89% out of over 41,000 students. The school handles the load of students expertly with a student to faculty ratio of 41:1. The school schedule operates a little differently from most traditional universities. WGU students do not complete classes in the traditional sense. They are asked to complete papers, assessments, and projects based on areas of competency. In many ways, students can work at their own pace. A student can begin courses on the first day of any month. Terms are defined in six-month increments, and students can tackle as many or as few areas of competency as they desire in those six months. Students can generally expect earning a degree to take about as long as it would at a more traditional university. However, depending on how much time a student has to dedicate to their learning, it could take far less time. Students at WGU work with a personal mentor that will help take them through every aspect of the program. It is ranked as the number 1 online college by OnlineU. Tuition is also a little different at WGU. Each 6 month term, students pay close to $3,000 per term. The difference is that for $3,000, students can enroll in as many credits as they like. Scholarship awards are available in amounts of up to $2,000. WGU businesses are also eligible for federal financial aid. In addition, the university is ranked among the Top Military friendly Colleges and Universities. The school accepts all military payments such as GI Bill, tuition assistance, and spouse grants. The school also offers several military only scholarships.
3. University of South Dakota
USD is a public, non-profit brick and mortar institution of higher learning in Vermillion, South Dakota. The university’s online program in nursing, busing, and addiction studies. It is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools as well accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, an honor given to only 5% of business schools in the United States. It is also accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. Classes at USD are very small, with a student teacher ratio of 25:1. In addition, the school boasts a 92% job placement rate for graduates of the business program. USD has a traditional semester set up for the enrollment of classes. In order to be considered full-time, students must enroll in 12 undergraduate semester hours. As a full-time student, bachelor degrees generally take 4 years to complete. The university is also ranked among the top 295 business schools by The Princeton Review. The university also ranked as the number 2 most affordable accounting degree by OnlineU. USD charges in-state tuition for online programs, which makes yearly tuition around $6000. Incoming freshman students in the online program are eligible for scholarships at USD. Award amounts could be as high as full tuition coverage. The online programs at USD are eligible for federal financial aid. The school is military friendly as well as it ranks among the Top Military Friendly Colleges and Universities and a Best for Vets college by the Military Edge Times. The school accepts all forms of military payments including GI Bills and Tuition Assistance.
4. Columbia College
CC is private, non-profit concrete learning institution in Columbia, MO. The online campus of the college has degree programs in business, computer science, and criminal justice. CC is regionally accredited by the North Central Association. It is among the highest recommended institutions with an almost 100% student satisfaction rate. With over 17,900 students in attendance in online courses, the school offers a student to faculty ratio of 24:1. Course enrollment is on a traditional semester schedule. On this schedule, students can expect to finish their bachelor degree in about four years. Sometimes, time to completion can be shortened by taking more courses per semester. Online students at Columbia College are eligible to participate in student organizations in their departments, including honor societies. Participation in these organizations will look very good on future resumes and employment applications. In addition to a main campus in Missouri and an extensive online campus, CC has 35 site locations in 14 different states, so help is always close by. The college is ranked as the number 19 top online college by OnlineU and as the number 46 Southern Regional University by the US News College Rankings and Reviews. It is also ranked as the number 9 most affordable criminal justice degree by OnlineU, with an average yearly tuition of less than $8,000. Scholarships in amounts of up to 100% tuition coverage are available to online students at CC. All programs are eligible for federal financial aid. CC is military friendly and participates in the Yellow Ribbon program. The college accepts all military payment options including GI Bill, tuition assistance, and spouse grants. CC also has special scholarships for military spouses and members of the Coast Guard.
5. American Public University System
APUS is a private, for-profit university with offices in Charles Town, West Virginia. The university has forty-two different bachelor degree programs, with majors like English, Family Studies, Information Systems, Psychology, and Military Science. APUS is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools as well as the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The school’s retention rate is at 94%, meaning student satisfaction is very high at this university. Classes are small, especially in more specialized programs. Course enrollment is on a rolling schedule, with courses beginning each month. Students can take as many courses as they like at a time. For purposes of financial aid or other forms of payment, terms are defined in six month increments based on when the student begins taking classes. Due to extremely flexible scheduling, students can schedule courses to meet his or her needs. For example, if the student knows they will be moving during a certain month, he or she can schedule courses to end and begin around the move. Courses at APU last either 8 or 16 weeks. Most classes in undergraduate programs are 8 weeks in length, but many education classes are 16 weeks in length. It is ranked number 34 in the best online bachelor’s programs by US News Reviews. APUS is also ranked as the number 12 most affordable business degree by OnlineU. The school boasts an average yearly undergraduate tuition of less than $8,000. Textbooks for undergraduate students are covered by course tuition through the school’s book grant program. APUS accepts scholarships from private foundations as well as employer funding and reimbursements. The university’s programs are also entirely eligible for federal student aid, with 26% of the student body using federal aid of some kind. APUS is listed in the Top Military-Friendly Colleges and Universities. In fact, one of its sub-universities, American Military University, is available only to members of the armed forces. The school has expert staff available to assist in everything to do with GI Bills, GI Bill transfers, tuition assistants, and My Career Advancement Accounts for Spouses.
6. Fort Hayes State University
FHSU is a public, nonprofit brick and mortar institution of higher learning in Hays, Kansas. The online program at the school offers bachelor degrees in education, business, information systems, criminal justice, political science, psychology, philosophy, and nursing. The university is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The online program is well-established and one of the largest of its kind. The school runs on a traditional semester system, so transferring from another school to this one would be very easy. Students in the online bachelor programs are usually able to finish a degree in four years. However, many students elect to take more classes at a time and take summer courses, so they finish sooner. FHSU offers a personalized student services system to help students navigate the territory of online learning. The school’s online program has been running for over twenty years, so they really know what they are doing. Student services includes online academic advising, tutoring, and a full library. The US News and World Report Best College
Rankings ranked FHSU as the number 16 best school for online bachelor’s programs. OnlineU ranked the university as the number 22 online college for affordability. The school is has cheap tuition because they charge a flat rate for virtual college students as opposed to in or out of state tuition and extra fees for online classes. Full time tuition in a bachelors program is about $10,000 a year. The university does accept outside scholarships for online students. All virtual college programs are eligible to receive federal financial aid. Fort Hays is a military friendly institution. They have been listed among the Top Military-Friendly Colleges and Universities for the last five years. They accept all forms of military financial aid, and they provide military students with professionally trained staff to fit their specific needs.
7. Troy University
Troy is a public, non-profit, concrete university in Troy, AL. The university’s online component (eTroy) has eighteen bachelor degree programs, with majors in business, history, computer science, political science, anthropology, psychology, and liberal studies. Troy is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Class size at Troy is exceptionally small, with an undergraduate student teacher ratio of 18:1. Course enrollment with eTroy is broken up into 5 terms throughout the year. Terms 1 and 2 two would be equal to the traditional Fall semester and terms 3 and 4 are equal to a traditional Spring semester with term 5 serving as a traditional Summer term. Classes begin each term and admission is allowed each term. Students in all programs are encouraged to take two classes per term, allowing bachelor level students to finish in four years. Students at eTroy have access to an online library as well as online tutoring and paper writing help services, the same as what is accessible to on-campus students. The school also has a Student Services component whose main focus is the Global Campus, including eTroy. Troy has a large Global Campus, with sites in 12 different states and in 4 different countries. Site workers are there to assist eTroy students with administrative procedures and provide guidance for academic enrichment programs. US News ranked Troy University as number 74 in best online bachelor programs, and number 80 in South Regional Universities, and number 38 in top public schools. The school is exceptionally affordable in that it does not charge out-of-state tuition rates to eTroy students. Costs are in the $10,000 range annually. Scholarships are available to eTroy students through corporate sponsorship programs with the university. Programs are also eligible for all types of federal and state aid in states with an on-location site. Troy University is also one of the most military friendly colleges out there. It is ranked among the top 15% of Military Friendly Colleges and Universities. It was ranked the number 20 Best College for Veterans by the US News and as one of the 120 Best Colleges for Veterans by the Military Times. The school accepts all military aid programs for members, veterans, and spouses. All university personnel are specially trained to assist with VA Benefits.
8. New England College
NEC is a private, non-profit concrete university in Henniker, New Hampshire. It is regionally
accreditted by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. The university’s online learning program has bachelor degrees in business, criminal justice, healthcare administration, liberal studies and psychology. NEC is a very small liberal arts college, which translates into small class sizes. Terms at New England College are broken up into 7 week terms spanning over 7 terms per years. Students can begin taking classes during any term. The flexibility that this schedule allows means students can conceivably finish a bachelor degree in as little as two and a half years. Students at NEC take classes in a basic online format, but are offered many different tools in order to succeed. They have access to live video lectures, recorded lectures, audio-only lectures, discussion boards, and live shat sessions with other students and professors. The school also has 24 hour customer service center and IT support services, so you really can go to school on your own schedule. NEC is ranked as number 148 in best online bachelor programs by the US News and the number 118 best online business program also by the US News. It is also the number 11 most affordable accounting degree, the number 23 most affordable business program by OnlineU, and the number 12 most affordable healthcare administration degree. Tuition for NEC is under $12,000 annually. The school accepts outside scholarship awards and is eligible for all types of federal aid programs. NEC is military friendly and a member of the Yellow Ribbon Program. The school offers a special military tuition rate, which complies with regulations for military tuition assistance. Spouses and dependents of active duty members can also take part in the reduced rate.
9. Walden University
Walden is a private, for-profit fully online college based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The school has nineteen bachelor degree programs in business, criminal justice, education, health sciences, human services, information systems, nursing, psychology, public administration, public health, and interdisciplinary studies. The university is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools as well as accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Walden is a unique online college because it provides opportunities for education outside the classroom as well as in the classroom. Most program set students up with internships and field experiences as well as schedule online conferences with experts in the student’s field of study. Walden also gives students the option of attending virtual lectures and downloading podcasts and experiential videos. As a school founded by working professionals, the institution understands the unique needs of students with multiple responsibilities in life. School schedules are flexible enough to meet the needs of even the busiest students. US News and World Report ranked Walden as the number 161 business program. OnlineU ranked Walden with the number 18 most affordable accounting and human services degrees and the number19 most affordable healthcare degree. The school is exceptionally affordable with tuition in the range of $13,000 annually. The school offers monthly payment plans as opposed to a request for a lump sum tuition payment. Discounts are available to students who have already graduated from Walden and want to pursue another degree. Discounts are also available to family members of Walden students. Scholarships are available to Walden students through corporate partnerships and sponsorships. All of Walden’s programs are eligible to receive federal financial aid including loans and grants. Walden is military friendly based on its reputation for serving working professionals. The school also offers a 10% tuition discount to members of the armed forces and VA employees.
10. National University
NU is a private, non-profit university located in La Jolla, California. It is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and is approved by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education, and the American Association of Intensive English Programs. NU offers 43 bachelor degree programs in the areas of business, education, engineering, health, pre-professional programs, psychology, foreign language, English, humanities, math, and social sciences. Education at NU works on a rolling schedule where students can begin courses during any month of the year. This kind of scheduling makes it easier to take more classes at a time without getting overwhelmed. NU provides online students with virtual open houses, demonstration classes, and unlimited technical support. Courses include live interaction with faculty and students as well as the flexibility to learn on your own personal schedule. The school also has several locations throughout California and Nevada for more personalized service, even for online students. The school is ranked as the number 87 school for Best Online Bachelor Programs by the US New. OnlineU also ranked it the number 5 top online college for affordability. OnlineU also ranked it as the number 14 most affordable human resources degree. The school is exceptionally affordable, with students paying close to $13,000 in tuition per year. Scholarships are available to NU online students in amounts of up to $2,500. All programs at NU are eligible for federal and state financial aid. National University is a military friendly school because they have several locations on military bases across the United States. The school also employs special advisors for military students and has a special scholarship for military members and their dependents.