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Best Affordable Online Colleges of September 2022
Launch your career with an online degree program
Flexible. Affordable. Achievable. Compare our top choices for accredited online colleges, choose
the one that suits you best, and apply today.
Best Affordable Online Colleges of September 2022
Accredited. Affordable. Achievable. Compare our top choices for accredited online colleges, choose the one that suits you best, and apply today
Best Affordable Online Colleges of September 2022
Last Updated September 2022
1
Editor's Choice
Our Most Popular
Online
Campus
  • Choose from 200+ accredited degree programs that lead to high-demand carreer oportunities
  • Receive individual support from an academic advisor, from the moment you arrive until graduation.
  • Low tuition, financial aid packages (for those who qualify), no application fees for undergraduates
  • Unique services such as 24 tech support, tutoring, and online library
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SNHU's popular programs
  • Computer Science
  • Business Administration
  • Bachelor of Arts
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2
Online
  • Choose from 175+ online programs, designed for working people at all level: Associate's, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral
  • Personalized support with 1+1 mentoring, building a degree plan, tutoring, and career planning
  • Affordable tuition, free 3-week trial, and options for financial aid
  • Possibility to receive credit for work experience and transfer previously earned credit
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Purdue's popular programs
  • Business Administration
  • Psychology
  • Cybersecurity
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3
Online
  • Offers bachelor's, master's, doctoral, and certificate programs designed to advance your profession
  • Help is always available from enrollment counselors to academic advisors and tutors, as well as live chat and 24/7 tech support
  • Tuition reduction and funding options are in place to help reduce costs for select groups. Financial aid advisors are ready to help
  • Competency-based learning style, useful for gaining the skills, knowledge, and abilities sought by top employers
Read School Profile
Capella's popular programs
  • Business Administration
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Education
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4
Online
  • Over 60 majors/programs are available. Obtain a degree online with the flexibility of a self-paced structure
  • Useful learning resources and study guides
  • Some of the most affordable tuition prices, interest-free payment plans available, and no credit checks
  • No classroom attendance, group projects, or meeting times. Start anytime of the year
Read School Profile
California Coast's popular programs
  • Criminal Justice
  • Business Administration
  • Psychology
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Our top choice
1
Our Most Popular
Online
Campus
  • Choose from 200+ accredited degree programs that lead to high-demand carreer oportunities
  • Receive individual support from an academic advisor, from the moment you arrive until graduation.
  • Low tuition, financial aid packages (for those who qualify), no application fees for undergraduates
  • Unique services such as 24 tech support, tutoring, and online library
Read School Profile
SNHU's popular programs
  • Computer Science
  • Business Administration
  • Bachelor of Arts
Start Here

Accredited College Online: The Basics

Online universities have been around for a long time, and the coronavirus has only increased their popularity. The most important thing to know about studying at an accredited online university is that it is just like studying at a regular university – just online - and usually much cheaper. In fact, the best online universities are generally just online versions of actual brick-and-mortar universities (e.g., Georgetown University online, Johns Hopkins University online, Michigan State online, etc.), only more affordable, as they charge significantly less in tuition and fees.

Affordable and Achievable: The Benefits of Online Universities

If the best online colleges are just online versions of the best bricks-and-mortar colleges, then you’re probably wondering why anyone would go to the effort of studying online. The truth is there are actually lots of benefits to taking a college degree online.

Convenience

Traditional brick-and-mortar colleges require you to attend classes in person, even if that means relocating to the other side of the country. But colleges with online degrees let you study from anywhere with a Wi-Fi connection, allowing you to live and work wherever you want while pursuing your degree.

It can take time for studying (and working) remotely to come naturally. In fact, people still search for terms like “online college near me” and “college near me online”, as if location matters when studying at an accredited college online. However, once you get used to the idea of studying at a location of your choice, you’ll wonder why anyone ever attended school in person.

Flexibility

One of the benefits of taking a college degree online is the flexibility. At a traditional brick-and-mortar school, students have no choice but to attend classes at the time their professors decide. But online classes are often offered on demand, meaning you can access them at a time of your choosing. You can even repeat sessions if you feel you missed out on something the first time.

Good online colleges offer you the flexibility to build your degree around your work. Work during the day? No problem, you can take your classes at night. Too busy to study full-time? The best accredited online colleges let you complete your degree half-time or even part-time.

Affordability

The price of a university education has risen to unmanageable proportions for most Americans, with many private schools charging more than $40,000 per year in tuition and fees. Since college online schools don’t have the same kind of overheads as their bricks-and-mortar equivalents, they can afford to charge significantly less in tuition and fees.

Because colleges with online programs allow you to study remotely, that means you don’t have to pay any of the additional charges associated with learning on campus. For starters, online degree colleges have zero dorm costs, zero eating out costs, and zero membership fees for various on-campus amenities you may never end up using. It also costs nothing to get from your home to your accredited online university.

Our Top 3 Online Colleges for Affordable Degrees

#1
Our #1 Choice For Online Degrees
Start Here
  • Helpful advisors and student resources
  • Affordable tuition & financial aid packages/scholarships
  • Easy to transfer credits
SNHU has more than 200 programs ranging from accounting and finance to technology and social sciences, and you can earn an Associate, Bachelor’s, or Master’s Degree from SNHU. The school is known for being affordable and flexible.
#2
Affordable and Flexible Online Programs
Start Here
  • Qualifications from Associate’s to doctoral degrees
  • Range of options for financial aid and assistance
  • Free three-week trial period
Purdue University Global provides an accessible online route to gain qualifications that can further your career. Ideal for busy people who want to study remotely, Purdue Global still offers a high level of student support, both academically and in helping you make progress at work. With a free three-week trial, you can test it out with no commitment. And there are plenty of options for financial aid, including experiential credits.
#3
Highly Accredited Institution
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  • FlexPath & GuidedPath learning options
  • Highly-recognized, accredited university
  • Lots of support and guidance
Capella is a well-reputed online degree university with accreditation. The school offers a dizzying number of courses and degrees that you can take from home or while you’re working. Capella also provides loads of guidance and assistance for students during their learning journey, and helps with career advice after graduation. The FlexPath allows you to finish a large amount of course material in a shorter, more cost-effective way.

Improves your career prospects

Not surprisingly, degrees from good online colleges improve your job prospects. Whatever your career ambitions – whether it’s to be an engineer, lawyer, software developer, or CEO – you’ll need a degree. As we’ve shown already, online colleges that are accredited offer everything you get from traditional colleges and a whole lot more.

Employers are increasingly accepting of graduates of college online programs. Not only does a degree from an accredited online university have the same status as a degree from a brick-and-mortar university, but it also shows that you are resourceful, self-motivated, and able to work remotely.

Comparing the Top Online Colleges

There are hundreds of good colleges online, but no two online universities are exactly alike. Here are a few tips for finding the best college online for your needs.

Accreditation

The most important thing to look for when comparing online universities is accreditation. Anyone can set up an online learning site, but only a nationally accredited online college or regionally accredited online colleges can actually claim to offer a degree with any value.

First and foremost, an online accredited university should be certified by one of the six regional accrediting organizations: HLC, WSCUC, NWCCU, SACSCOC, MSCHE, or NECHE. Their online programs should also carry accreditation from the relevant bodies, e.g. AACSB (For MBA programs) or CCNE (for nursing programs).

Cost

The online college school market is a competitive space, which means there are plenty of schools vying to be considered among the most affordable online colleges. Cheap online accredited colleges can be found (depending on what your definition of cheap is), but remember: they must be accredited, otherwise it’s not worth the cost.

If you’re looking for the cheapest online colleges, we recommend compiling a shortlist of five to 10 schools with an accredited degree in your field of study. Then, compare the tuition and fees from the various schools to figure out which of these are the cheapest colleges online.

We’ve said it before but it’s worth repeating: online colleges are affordable, but the key is to search for cheap accredited online colleges and not just any online college.

Financial aid

Although online colleges are affordable, they are not free and for many people the only way to attend an online college school is with financial aid.

At a minimum, your online accredited university should offer federal financial aid (FAFSA), which encompasses all federal loans and assistance. The best online universities offer a range of other options including scholarships, grants, military benefits, and alumni discounts.

Collaboration

Studying remotely doesn’t mean having to study alone. Good online colleges offer a range of collaboration tools, ensuring you benefit from the wisdom of your classmates. The best online colleges offer a variety of ways to connect with your peers, including weekly shared learning sessions, instant messaging, community tools, and shared blogging platforms.

User-friendly platform

It probably goes without saying, but any accredited online university worth its salt has to have a user-friendly platform. By this, we mean students should be able to use the platform without any training, the platform should be accessible and online at all time, and tech support should be available (preferably 24/7) to help out with any issues. Mobile access is another plus.

How to Apply For Online Colleges

If you’re wondering how to apply to online college, the truth is it’s quite similar to applying for a brick-and-mortar school. For bachelor’s degrees, you’ll need to have graduated high school and passed any admissions tests (e.g. SAT, ACT). For graduate programs, you’ll need to show proof of an undergraduate degree and meet any other requirements pertaining to the specific degree (e.g. MBA, medical school requirements).

Finding the Best College Online

Whether you’re studying online or on campus, the best school for you depends on your personal preferences. In order to get the most out of your online learning experience, begin by compiling a list of your top colleges online. Then go ahead and narrow the list down to your favorite options by comparing for affordability, convenience, and other parameters.

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