Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s Degrees from Reputable Universities in 2022

Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s Degrees from Reputable Universities in 2022
Imed Bouchrika, Phd by Imed Bouchrika, Phd
Chief Data Scientist & Head of Content

Online education is liberating. After all, having the freedom to pursue a bachelor’s degree online unlocks opportunities. Without leaving the comforts of your home, you will be able to broaden your knowledge and learn with students from different walks of life, thus enriching not just your education but also your overall experience.

Securing a bachelor’s degree is a smart choice. With online bachelor’s degree programs, students can eliminate most of the limitations that they encounter with on-campus learning. This increased access to education levels the playing field and delivers benefits throughout your lifetime. While cost remains an important factor, there are affordable online bachelor’s degree programs that you can consider exploring.

This article provides a list of educational institutions that offer the most affordable online bachelor degrees. These colleges and universities bear special accreditations and are duly accredited for their program offerings. Also included in the discussion are the important details to guide you in deciding whether to pursue an online bachelor’s degree.

Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s Degree Table of Contents

  1. Is an online bachelor’s degree as good as a regular bachelor’s degree?
  2. What to Expect from an Online Bachelor’s Degree Program
  3. Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs
  4. Factors that Affect Online Bachelor’s Degree Program Cost
  5. How do I get into an online bachelor’s degree program?

Is an online bachelor’s degree as good as a regular bachelor’s degree?

According to a report on current online trends in 2021, more students will make online learning their first choice rather than go back to campus (Friedman and Moody, 2021). Learners who are satisfied with the online experience have found an alternative to the traditional mode of learning. The shift to online learning at the onset of the pandemic has changed what used to be the inferior perception of online learning. COVID-19 did not just blur the line between online and offline education but accelerated the long-overdue shift to online learning (Kandri, 2020).

Online bachelor’s degree programs are also accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). HLC accredits degree-granting institutions and is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

The evolution of jobs in the fourth industrial revolution also restructured the way employers view credentials. Today employers are more focused on the applicant’s skill set, which leads to the best jobs for trade school graduates. Compared to technical skills, soft skills are on top of the recruiter’s list. The manner in which the credentials are gained is no longer a concern, rather, it is the capacity of the employee to contribute to overall organizational success (Marr, 2019).

The National Student Clearinghouse reported in April that online higher education institutions saw enrollment gains in the spring 2021 semester at 2.2% (Ruiz and Sun, 2021). Part-time enrollment, on the other hand, increased by 5.1%. The increasing enrollment in postsecondary online learning programs, plus the accreditation that the governing bodies award to these online programs only prove that the online bachelor’s degree program offers the same value, both to students and employers.

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, 2021

What to Expect from an Online Bachelor’s Degree Program

An online bachelor’s degree program is in many ways similar to the traditional type—the same number of credit units required, same instructional design, same content, and in most cases, the online program will have the same set of professors and learning facilitators.

The main difference will be in scheduling because with online learning, you get to decide when and where you will study. Aside from this advantage, an online bachelor’s degree program can also deliver significant cost savings, and provide you with a rich and meaningful learning experience.

The Flexibility Advantage

With online learning, you can manage your time more effectively. One of the phrases that the 21st century popularized is ‘on-demand.’ Online learning can also be classified as on-demand learning because you will have the flexibility to attend to your various responsibilities while at the same time pursuing your bachelor’s degree. Whether you are managing a demanding job or running a busy household, you are still in control of your time.

The Cost Advantage

Online learning eliminates commuting costs and on-campus board fees, which can be quite costly especially when the campus is located in one of the best college towns. This can translate to substantial savings as online students do not have to pay for housing, gas, or on-campus meal programs. There are also colleges that offer fixed rates to full-time students, instead of charging the per-hour credit rate.

The Learning Experience Advantage

Online learning is different from face-to-face learning. The widely accepted belief that it is just the same form of learning, but on a different platform, is a misconception. Since it is more challenging to engage students in an online setting, the design of instruction is structured to promote a deeper level of engagement. As a result of this experience, students approach learning in a different, and often positive way.

Student Approach to Learning (SAL) is a notable body of research into university learning. SAL research has identified that the quality of learning is largely dependent on the student’s approach to learning. Ellis and Bliuc (2019) observed that there are “consistent and distinct patterns of associations between the different aspects of the learning experience that reveal the role of online learning technologies in the student experience of learning.” This is the result of their study “Exploring new elements of the student approaches to learning framework: The role of online learning technologies in student learning.”

Published in Active Learning in Higher Education, the authors concluded that “qualitative differences in how students use online learning technologies and differences in how they perceive online learning technologies are logically related to the quality of outcomes.”

More Added-Value of Online Bachelor’s Degree Program

Meeting other students from different parts of the globe who share your interests can be exciting. At the same time, it expands your world. These acquaintances can also prove to be very significant as you add them to your network.

Learning online gives you the opportunity to learn from expert professors, based on different parts of the world, that bring different perspectives to a particular topic.

Online learning also refines your skills in using technology. Being comfortable with technology is a highly valued skill in any career, and this can also be developed while you pursue your online bachelor’s degree.

health coverage advantage of bachelor's degree holders

Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs

1. University of Florida

Cost per credit:

  • In-state: $112
  • Out-of-state: $150

Located in Gainesville, Florida the University of Florida is a senior member of the State University System of Florida. Established in 1906, the University of Florida regularly facilitates virtual career fairs for students to access exclusive job postings. The University of Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Commission on Colleges.

Online bachelor’s degree programs:

B.S. Advertising and Persuasive Messaging
B.A. Anthropology
B.A. Biology
B.A./B.S. Business Administration
B.H.S. Communication Sciences and Disorders
B.S. Computer Science
B.A. Criminology
B.A. Digital Arts and Sciences
B.A. Education Sciences
B.S. Environmental Management
B.S. Fire and Emergency Services
B.A. Geography
B.A. Geography-Environmental Geosciences
B.A. Geology
B.S. Health Education
B.S. Journalism: Sports and Media
B.S. Media Production, Management, and Technology
B.S. Microbiology and Cell Science
B.A. Sociology
B.S. Sport Management
B.S. Tourism, Hospitality and Event Management

2. Winston-Salem State University

Cost per credit:

  • In-state: $114.90
  • Out-of-state: $461.08

The Winston-Salem State University is part of the University of North Carolina. As a research university, the Winston-Salem State University has a special focus on social science, humanities, health science, and STEM. Winston-Salem State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Online bachelor’s degree programs:

B.S. Clinical Laboratory Science
B.S. Nursing (RN-BSN)
Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies, Concentration in Integrative Studies
B.S. Birth to Kindergarten Education

3. Great Basin College

Cost per credit:

  • In-state: $117.25
  • Out-of-state: $172

Great Basin College in Elko, Nevada offers fully online bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, and bachelor of applied science degree programs. The web-based instruction is delivered to students that seek a career in a number of exciting fields. The online programs are ideally structured for students who require the accessibility and flexibility of coursework that are delivered outside of the traditional undergraduate learning environment. Great Basin College is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Online bachelor’s degree programs:

B.A. English
B.A. Social Science
B.S. Nursing
B.A.S. Digital Information Technology Emphasis
B.A.S. Human Services
B.A.S. Land Surveying/Geomatic Emphasis
B.A.S. Management and Supervision

4. Brigham Young University-Idaho

Cost per credit:

  • For affiliates: $125
  • For non-affiliates: $156

Brigham Young University-Idaho’s bachelor degree programs are structured in such a way that the student is required to take one certificate and one associate’s degree program prior to taking up core subjects in a chosen discipline. This program design offers significant advantages because, in the event that the student fails to complete the bachelor’s program, the completed certificate courses can be a ticket to employment. Brigham Young University-Idaho is accredited as a Higher Educational Institution by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

Online bachelor’s degree programs:

B.S. Applied Business Management
B.S. Applied Communication
B.S. Applied Health
B.S. Applied Technology
B.S. Marriage and Family Studies
B.S. Professional Studies

5. Georgia Southwestern State University

Cost per credit:

  • Fixed rate for all online students: $169.33

Georgia Southwestern State University offers bachelor’s degree programs that provide scheduling flexibility, especially to adult learners with family and job responsibilities. The online bachelor’s degree programs are carefully chosen for which the learning outcomes can be effectively achieved through distance learning. Georgia Southwestern State University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Online bachelor’s degree programs:

B.B.A. Accounting
B.B.A. Management
B.B.A. Marketing
B.B.A. Human Resources
B.S. Criminal Justice

6. Fort Hays State University

Cost per credit:

  • Fixed rate for all online students: $226.88

Fort Hays State University (FHSU) in Kansas offers 60 fully accredited, online bachelor’s degree programs in accounting, agriculture, communication studies, environmental studies, computer science, international business economics, medical diagnostics, and tourism, among others. FHSU consistently ranks among the top regional universities in the American Midwest. FHSU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Online bachelor’s degree programs:

B.B.A. Accounting
B.S. Agricultural Business
B.S. Agricultural Leadership
B.S. Business Education – Business Teacher Licensure
B.S. Business Education – Corporate Communication
B.S. Business Education – Talent Development
B.S. Communication Sciences and Disorders
B.A. Communication Studies
B.S. Computer Science
B.S./B.A. Criminal Justice
B.S. Education – Early Childhood Unified
B.S. Education – Elementary
B.S. Education – Elementary with Special Education Minor
B.S. Education – Spanish
B.S. Geosciences – Geography
B.S. Geosciences – Geology
B.S. Geosciences – Environmental Geosciences
B.S. Health Studies
B.A. History
B.S. Health and Human Performance
B.S./B.A. Information Networking and Telecommunications
B.S./B.A. Information Networking and Telecommunications – Computer Networking and Telecommunications
B.S./B.A. Information Networking and Telecommunications – Cybersecurity
B.S./B.A. Information Networking and Telecommunications – Health Informatics
B.S./B.A. Information Networking and Telecommunications – Web and Mobile Application Development
B.B.A. Management Information Systems
B.B.A. International Business and Economics
B.B.A. Management
B.B.A. Management – Entrepreneurship
B.B.A. Management – Human Resource Management
B.B.A. Management – Operations Management
B.S. Management Information System
B.B.A. Marketing
B.S. Medical Diagnostic Imaging
B.A. Foreign Languages
B.A. Music
B.S. Nursing – RN to BSN
B.A./B.S. Organizational Leadership
B.A. Philosophy
B.A. Political Science
B.S. Psychology
Bachelor of Social Work
B.A. Sociology
B.S. Technology Leadership
B.S. Tourism and Hospitality Management

7. American Public University

Cost per credit:

  • Fixed rate for all online students: $285

The American Public University (APU) is part of the American Public University System (APUS). Aside from bachelor of science, bachelor of applied science, and bachelor of arts degree programs, APU also offers bachelor of engineering programs. A typical bachelor’s degree requires 120 semester hours for completion, while a bachelor’s in engineering requires 128 semester hours. APU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Online bachelor’s degree programs:

B.S. Accounting
B..A Business
B.B.A. Business Administration
B.S. Business Analytics
B.A. Communication
B.S. Computer Technology
B.A. Criminal Justice
B.S. Criminal Justice
B.S. Cybersecurity
B.S. Data Science
B.E. Electrical Engineering
B.A. Emergency and Disaster Management
B.A. English
B.A. Entrepreneurship
B.S. Environmental Science
B.S. Fire Science Management
B.A. General Studies
B.A. Government Contracting and Acquisition
B.S. Healthcare Administration
B.S. Health Information Management
B.A.S. Health Sciences
B.A. History
B.A. Homeland Security
B.A. Hospitality Management
B.A. Human Development and Family Studies
B.A. Human Resource Management
B.S. Information Technology
B.S. Information Technology Management
B.A. Intelligence Studies
B.A. International Relations and Global Security
B.S. Legal Studies
B.A. Management
B.A. Marketing
B.S. Mathematics
B.A. Middle Eastern Studies
B.A. Military History
B.S. Natural Sciences
B.S. Nursing
B.A. Philosophy
B.A. Political Science
B.A. Psychology
B.S. Public Health
B.A. Religion
B.A. Retail Management
B.A. Reverse Logistics Management
B.A. Security Management
B.A. Sociology
B.S. Space Studies
B.S. Sports Management
B.S. Sports and Health Sciences
B.A. Supply Chain Management
B.A.S Technical Management
B.A. Transportation and Logistics Management

8. Oregon Institute of Technology

Cost per credit:

  • Fixed rate for all online students: $281

Oregon Institute of Technology, also known as Oregon Tech is a public polytechnic university in Oregon with an emphasis on technical subjects and applied sciences. Oregon Tech’s Center for Academic Resources and Engagement Services offers access services, career services, peer consulting or tutoring, and testing services. Oregon Institute of Technology is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Online bachelor’s degree programs:

B.S. Applied Psychology
B.S. Business Management
B.S. BS Healthcare Management
B.S. Health Informatics
B.S. Information Technology
B.S. Operations Management
B.A.S. Technology and Management

9. Thomas Edison University

Cost per credit:

  • In-state, part-time: $399
  • Out-of-state, part-time: $ 519

Fixed rate per six-month term for full-time students:

  • In-state: $3,579
  • Out-of-state: $4,639

Thomas Edison State University is one of the oldest colleges in the country dedicated exclusively to adults. The institution offers 31 online bachelor’s degree programs, including programs under bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, and bachelor of science in business administration. Thomas Edison University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Online bachelor’s degree programs:

B.A. Communications
B.A. Computer Science
B.A. Criminal Justice
B.A. English
B.A. International Studies
B.A.  History
B.A. Liberal Studies
B.A. Mathematics
B.A. Psychology
B.A. Sociology
B..S Data Science and Analytics
B.S. Electrical Technology
B.S. Electronics Systems Engineering Technology
B.S. Energy Systems Technology
B.S. Homeland Security and Emergency Management
B.S. Information Technology
B.S. Nuclear Energy Engineering Technology
B.S. Nuclear Engineering Technology
B.S. Radiation Protection/Health Physics
B.S. Technical Studies
B.S. Cybersecurity
B.S. Nursing (BSN)
B.S. Organizational Leadership
B.S. Professional Studies
B.S.B.A. Accounting
B.S.B.A. Accounting/CPA
B.S.B.A. Computer Information Systems
B.S.B.A. Entrepreneurship
B.S.B.A. Finance
B.S.B.A. Healthcare Management
B.S.B.A. Human Resources Management/Organizational Management
B.S.B.A. General Management
B.S.B.A. Marketing
B.S.B.A. Operations Management

10. Western Governors University

Flate rate per six-month term: $3,475

Western Governors University is a fully online university and is the only university that uses the competency-based approach to learning. Instead of accumulating credit hours, students master essential skills and knowledge. WGU students may take as many courses as they can finish in six months and only pay the fixed rate for six months of study. WGU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), an institutional accreditation body of colleges and universities in a seven-state region that includes WGU’s headquarters of Utah.

Online bachelor’s degree programs:

B.S.B.A. Accounting
B.S.B.A. Healthcare Management
B.S.B.A. IT Management
B.S.B.A. Human Resource Management
B.S.B.A. Business Management
B.S. Health Information Management
B.S.B.A. Marketing
B.S. Health Services Coordination
B.S. Nursing (Pre-licensure)
B.S. Nursing (RN to BSN)
B.S. Network Operations and Security
B.S. Data Management/Data Analytics
B.S. Information Technology
B.S. Cybersecurity and Information Assurance
B.S. Software Development
B.S. Computer Science
B.S. Cloud Computing
B.A. Special Education (Mild to Moderate)
B.S. Science Education (Secondary Earth Science)
B.S. Science Education (Secondary Physics)
B.A. Elementary Education
B.S. Science Education (Middle Grades)
B.S. Science Education (Secondary Chemistry)
B.S. Science Education (Secondary Biological Science).
B.A. Special Education and Elementary Education (Dual Licensure)

Source: Georgetown University Center on Education & The Workforce

Factors that Affect Online Bachelor’s Degree Program Cost

There are many factors that affect the cost of an online bachelor’s degree program. Whether you will be enrolling within your state or from out-of-state is a significant factor because most institutions offer a higher per credit hour rate for out-of-state students.

Aside from tuition cost, you should also take into account the cost of books and other materials. Depending on your degree program, there are course materials that may be required as part of course work. These materials may also form part of class discussions and assignments.

The overall cost is also affected by your eligibility for government aid, as well as the aid packages being offered by your chosen institution for online learners. Even if you choose to enroll in colleges that offer the top affordable online bachelor degrees, still, check the details on student aid.

It is also important to check the other fees aside from tuition, as most schools also charge technology fees and one-time matriculation fees. The technology fee typically includes the learning management system as well as the apps and other software used in online learning.

employability high school vs. bachelor's degree graduates

How do I get into an online bachelor’s degree program?

The first step is to determine the type of online bachelor’s degree program that you wish to take—business and management related, social sciences, information technology, or data management. After you have carefully identified your preferred online bachelor’s degree program, look for the most affordable online school that offers your chosen program. Your main consideration, however, should not just be the cost. Look for an affordable and accredited program.

The next step is the application process. To become qualified for an online bachelor’s degree program, you must have at least a high school diploma or a general educational development (GED) credential. If you have previously earned college-level academic credits, you must submit your transcripts.

For most institutions, the admissions process to an online bachelor’s degree program is very similar to the on-campus process, which is often accomplished through the school’s online registration facility. For online bachelor’s degree programs, it is important to take note of the technological requirements. Since classes will be conducted online, schools typically have a minimum requirement for both hardware and software.

A laptop is recommended when attending on-campus classes. Be sure to compare the laptop configuration to the requirement listed by your chosen institution, including the specific browser to be used for the learning management system. At the minimum, a laptop or desktop computer with a webcam, microphone, and speakers is required.

Aside from checking your equipment, you should also be ready for the online coursework. Online learning is an alternative, but not an easy alternative. Learning online requires a high level of self-motivation and self-regulation. You must designate a specific time and place exclusively for doing your coursework to ensure that you will get the most value from your online bachelor’s degree program.

Source: Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities

Defy the Barriers to a Bachelor’s Degree

Pursuing a bachelor’s degree provides a lifetime advantage. While there is a trend towards micro-credentials, the foundational and core knowledge provided by a bachelor’s degree remains a competitive advantage for every bachelor’s degree holder. In 2019, the median annual income for recent graduates was $44,000 for bachelor’s degree holders. The median annual earnings for high school graduates, in comparison, was $30,000 per year. Graduates of four-year degree programs are equipped with skills that differentiate them from non-baccalaureate graduates. Even successful college dropouts agree that there is a big difference when one holds a college diploma (Hess, 2019).

Online education has been gaining popularity among college students. From 6.6 million in 2017, the number of students enrolled in some form of online education or online learning courses climbed to 6.9 a year later (Ruiz and Sun, 2021). Schedule flexibility, significant savings in overall college cost, and increased networking opportunities are just some of the advantages of studying online. As students slowly return to school during the pandemic, the number of postsecondary students looking for the most affordable online bachelor’s degrees has simultaneously increased (Impey, 2020).

While getting a bachelor’s degree requires a significant investment of time and money, the returns are subsantial. The value of an online bachelor’s degree program cannot be underestimated, especially if you are someone who performs different roles but wants to pursue and complete a bachelor’s degree program at the same time.

With these most affordable online bachelor’s degree programs, your access to education and to a more secure future is now within reach. Now is the best time to make a decision and start pursuing your path towards lifelong learning.

In case you are also looking to further advance your education, you may also want to check out our guide to the best one-year master’s degree programs online.

 

References:

  1. Ellis, R.A. and Bluic, A.M. (2019), Exploring new elements of the student approaches to learning framework: The role of online learning technologies in student learning, Active Learning in Higher Education, https://doi.org/10.1177/1469787417721384
  2. Friedman, J. and Moody, J. (2021), Discover 14 Current Online Learning Trends, https://www.usnews.com/higher-education/online-education/slideshows/discover-10-current-trends-in-online-education
  3. Hess, A.J. (2019), College grads earn 80% more—but only 51% of Americans see college as very important, https://www.cnbc.com/2019/12/19/only-51percent-of-americans-see-college-as-important-despite-benefits.html 
  4. Impey, C. (2020), Massive online open courses see exponential growth during COVID-19 pandemic, https://theconversation.com/massive-online-open-courses-see-exponential-growth-during-covid-19-pandemic-141859
  5. Kandri, S.E. (2020), How COVID-19 is driving a long-overdue revolution in education, https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/05/how-covid-19-is-sparking-a-revolution-in-higher-education/
  6. Marr, B. (2019), 8 Things Every School Must Do To Prepare For The 4th Industrial Revolution, https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2019/05/22/8-things-every-school-must-do-to-prepare-for-the-4th-industrial-revolution/?sh=54455a80670c 
  7. Ruiz, R. and Sun, J. (2021), Distance Education in College: What do we know from IPEDS?, https://nces.ed.gov/blogs/nces/post/distance-education-in-college-what-do-we-know-from-ipeds

 

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