Most Affordable Online Computer Science Degrees in the U.S. in 2022

Most Affordable Online Computer Science Degrees in the U.S. in 2022
Imed Bouchrika by Imed Bouchrika
Chief Data Scientist & Head of Content

Among the most highly valued college majors is computer science (Otrowski, 2021), with over 300,000 job openings as of this writing. However, the pandemic has made it difficult for many to attend regular schools to complete their degrees. As such, the most affordable online computer science degree becomes relevant.

Here are the most affordable online computer science degrees and a peek into the career outlook for computer science graduates. 

Most Affordable Online Computer Science Degrees Table of Contents

  1. Most Affordable Online Computer Science Degree
  2. How much does an online computer science degree cost on average?
  3. Common Online Computer Science Courses
  4. Career Outlook for Computer Science Students

Most Affordable Online Computer Science Degrees

College Factual reports that in 2019-2020, computer science was the 19th most popular major, and in 2021 alone, United States colleges awarded 53,722 computer science degrees. This represents an 11.7% increase over the previous year’s total of 47,463. Note that around 968 colleges in the U.S. offer some form of computer science degree both online and on-campus. 

Meanwhile, here are some of the institutions that offer the most affordable online computer science degree.  

Source: Wiley; AMR

1. Fort Hays State University

Graduates of Fort Hays State University’s B.S. in Computer Science will be prepared to manage complex information and computing systems, allowing them to advance in their careers. With this program, which pushes boundaries and inspires world-changing ideas, students can earn a degree in computer science and find work at a variety of federal agencies and private software and technology companies. The program is available on-campus and online.

Location: Hays, Kansas

Program: Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

Tuition: $226.88/credit hour

Total Credits: 120

Specialization/s: 

  • Software Engineering
  • Assembly Language
  • Object-Oriented Programming; and
  • Data Structures

2. Limestone College

The Bachelor of Computer Science at Limestone College provides a solid foundation in programming, systems administration, security, and architecture. This program is ideal for those who enjoy solving problems. The online program follows the same curriculum as the on-campus program. Limestone College also offers an Associate of Science in Computer Science – Programming

Location: Gaffney, South Carolina

Program: Bachelor of Science in Computer Science 

Tuition: $243.00/credit hour

Total Credits: 120

Specialization/s: 

3. Lamar University

The Lamar University B.S. Computer Science emphasizes computer programming languages, data structures, information systems, programming language theory, software engineering, networking, database, multimedia, and computer architecture. Lamar University prides itself with its small class sizes and professors with strong research credentials as well as a lifetime commitment to quality teaching and service.

Location: Beaumont, Texas

Program: Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

Tuition: $248.00

Total Credits: 121

4. Eastern New Mexico University

Eastern New Mexico University’s B.S. Computer Science is ideal for students who enjoy solving problems related to the design, analysis, and implementation of computer software. Class sizes are small, and students have direct access to the faculty who can help them in their progress through the program. The computer science curriculum is also constantly being revised to keep up with rapid technological advances.

Location: Portales, New Mexico

Program: Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

Tuition: $254.75/credit hour

Total Credits: 120 

5. Central Methodist University

Central Methodist University’s Computer Science program helps students turn their passion for technology into a lucrative career. The aim is for students to develop analytical, communication, and problem-solving skills. Classes in database technologies, programming languages, hardware, and software will help students develop skills for this ever-changing field. Students experience hands-on classes in networking, application programming, computing systems, databases, and software packages. They gain a broad understanding of computer languages and a skill set in-demand for business or industry, and review systems, identify issues and propose solutions. 

Location: Gaffney, South Carolina

Program: 

Tuition: $260.00/credit hour

Total Credits: 120

available jobs for computer science professionals

6. Eastern Oregon University

Students at Eastern Oregon University’s Computer Science Major can customize their degree with 3D graphics, A.I., or an independent study. The program offers affordable tech skills, programming languages, and operating system knowledge. Students will be prepared to apply for computer science jobs as a programmer, analysts, or software engineers. They may choose between a bachelor of science or a bachelor of arts. 

Location: La Grande, Oregon

Program:  Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science

Tuition: $265.00/credit hour

Total Credits: 180

7. University of Arkansas Grantham

The online B.S. Computer Science degree program at the University of Arkansas Grantham is designed to prepare students for careers as software engineers, developers, and system analysts. The coursework in programming, databases, systems analysis, and design is required.

Location: Lenexa, Kansas

Program:  Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

Tuition: $295.00/credit hour

Total Credits: 120

8. Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University’s online B.S. Computer Science uses industry-standard programming languages like Python, Java, and C++ and allows experience in full-stack development and cloud integration with JavaScript, NoSQL, and Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Location: Manchester, New Hampshire

Program: Bachelor of Science in Computer Science 

Tuition: $320.00/credit hour

Total Credits: 120

Specialization/s: 

  • Data Analysis 
  • Project Management for STEM 
  • Information Security 
  • Software Engineering

9. Colorado Technical University

The Bachelor of Computer Science degree program of Colorado Technical University is designed to teach students computer programming languages, computer network systems, and software engineering skills. This online computer science degree program covers a wide range of theoretical and practical knowledge, methods, processes, and skills. One of the main goals of this online program is to help students better understand how computers work.

Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado

Program:  Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

Tuition: $325.00/credit hour

Total Credits: 183

Specialization/s: 

  • Cybersecurity Engineering
  • Data Science
  • Software Engineering

10. Florida International University

Florida International University’s online B.A. in Computer Science can be combined with other degrees in digital media, business, economics, and more. It helps graduates to pursue careers in computing while also allowing them to specialize outside of computer science. The program provides strong computer science skills, but it is not as math-and-science-oriented as the B.S. in Computer Science.

Location: Miami, Florida

Program: Bachelor of Arts Computer Science

Tuition: $345.87/credit hour

Total Credits: 120

11. Colorado State University Global

Colorate State University Global’s online bachelor’s degree in computer science prepares students, whether needing a degree to advance or with no prior experience, for roles as a software engineer, computational scientist, or systems analyst. It gives students the freedom to work wherever their interests lead them. Oracle Certified Associate, Java S.E. 8 Programmer, and C++ Certified Associate Programmer (CC++ Institute) certifications align with this online program.

Location: Aurora, Colorado

Program: Bachelor of Science in Computer Science 

Tuition: $350.00/credit hour

Total Credits: 120

12. SUNY Empire State College

SUNY Empire State College’s B.S. Science, Mathematics, and Technology with a specialization in Computer Science aims for students to understand abstract concepts and principles and to apply, demonstrate, and test them using computers. This concentration is ideal for students interested in algorithms, systems programming, or computer hardware design.

Location: New York City, New York

Program: Bachelor of Science in Science, Mathematics, and Technology – Computer Science

Tuition: $353.00/credit hour

Total Credits: 124

13. The University of Illinois at Springfield 

The University of Illinois at Springfield offers B.S. Computer Science online with a concentration in computer science. Students gain a solid understanding of the basic and essential skills and theories of computer science in today’s rapid technological changes. 

Location: Springfield, Illinois

Program: Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

Tuition: $358.50/credit hour

Total Credits: 120

Specialization/s: 

  • Information Systems Security
  • Computer Science

14. Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University’s computer science degree program is designed to fast track students to success, covering computer architecture, networking, and systems. Meanwhile, its computer information systems degree focuses on business computer applications where students learn to design, develop, support, and manage hardware, software, multimedia, and systems integration services.

Location: St. Leo, Florida

Program: 

Tuition: $360.00/credit hour

Total Credits: 120

15. Oregon State University

Students in Oregon State University’s School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science can learn from teachers who have extensive experience in computer science. Students’ career portfolios also have regular opportunities to network with industry professionals.

Location: Corvallis, Oregon

Program: Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

Tuition: $386.00/credit hour

Total Credits: 180

federal grant money that went to computer science students

16. Troy University

Troy University’s computer science degree program covers all aspects of computer science. Individual and group projects include game design, mobile apps, web apps, visualization, Teensy Board programming, and database access.

Location: Troy, Alabama

Program: Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

Tuition: $388.00/credit hour

Total Credits: 120

17. Old Dominion University

Old Dominion University teaches students a variety of useful knowledge and skills. The computer science curriculum includes experimental and engineering techniques. 

Location: Norfolk, Virginia

Program: Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

Tuition: $389.00/credit hour

Total Credits: 120

18. Liberty University

Liberty University’s computer science cybersecurity bachelor’s degree teaches students skills essential in the information sciences field. They begin your education by exploring programming, information sciences and systems, and computer sciences. On the other hand, the B.S. in Computational Mathematics introduces fundamental computing structures, equations, and algorithms as well as covers programming, data structures, and information security in depth.

Location: Lynchburg, Virginia

Program: 

Tuition: $390.00/credit hour

Total Credits: 121 and 120 respectively

19. Franklin University

Franklin University’s Computer Science courses include the development of significant, high-level technical skills, allowing students to gain software development capabilities while receiving a solid foundation in these key areas: Object-Oriented Design, Computer Architecture, Coding and Testing, Web Application Development, and Database Management.

Location: Columbus, Ohio

Program: Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

Tuition: $398.00/credit hour

Total Credits: 124

20. Concordia University-Saint Paul

Concordia University-Saint Paul’s computer science degree prepares students for top tech jobs anywhere. They learn web design, software development, user experience, object-oriented programming, security, and core web technologies in a schedule-friendly online format.

Location: Saint Paul, Minnesota

Program: Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

Tuition: $420.00/credit hour

Total Credits: 120

21. Mercy College

Students of computer science in Mercy College learn to program and analyze computers. They learn Java, C++, software engineering, computer architecture, operating systems, and computer networking. Computer Information Systems students learn to design computerized information systems that meet organizational needs and solve business information problems.

Location: Dobbs Ferry, New York

Program: 

Tuition: $425.00/credit hour

Total Credits: 120

22. Regent University

Regent University’s Bachelor of Science in Computer Science teaches students to solve complex computational problems, increase processing efficiency, and examine ethical and social issues related to tech and computer science careers.

Location: Virginia Beach, Virginia

Program: Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

Tuition: $425.00/credit hour

Total Credits: 120

23. Baker College

Baker College’s Bachelor of Science in Computer Science covers computer architecture, application security, and artificial intelligence are among the topics covered in this program. Meanwhile, Baker College also offers B.S. Information Systems, which teaches students how to define needs and goals, recommend improvements and upgrades, work with a budget, and more.

Location: Owosso, Michigan

Program: Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

Tuition: $425.00/credit hour

Total Credits: 120

Specialization/s: 

  • Concentration in Computer Programming, Data Analytics
  • Concentration in Project Management, Concentration in Web Development, Information Assurance

24. Dakota State University

Dakota State University’s B.S. Computer Science curriculum covers programming languages, data structures, algorithms, and operating systems. Students also look at the basics of computers, from the beginning to the most up-to-date tools and applications. The Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems curriculum includes .Net programming, client-side web programming, and server-side web programming. 

Location: Madison, South Dakota

Program: 

Tuition: $446.55/credit hour

Total Credits: 120

25. Davenport University

Students can focus their computer science degree at Davenport University on artificial intelligence (A.I.), gaming and simulations, or computer theory and algorithms. The Davenport computer technology degree program offers four specializations, including a programming specialization that provides a computer programming degree. 

Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Program: 

Tuition: $495.00/credit hour

Total Credits: 120

26. Thomas Edison State University

Thomas Edison State University’s computer science program is designed for students who want a strong liberal arts program with a strong computer science foundation. Students gain a broad general knowledge of traditional liberal arts disciplines while deepening their computer science knowledge.

Location: Trenton, New Jersey

Program: Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science

Tuition: $499.00/credit hour

Total Credits: 120

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

How much does an online computer science degree cost on average?

According to DataUSA, the median in-state public tuition for computer science is $6,930 while for out-of-state, it could reach $34,177, quite close to the online computer science degree cost on average. 

Meanwhile, online students typically pay per-credit tuition. For example, a college may charge undergraduates $300 per credit hour. Because most bachelor’s programs require 120 credits, students must pay $36,000 for an online degree.

Meanwhile, if with scholarships or financial aid, the cost could be further decreased. Online students, however, may not always be eligible for the same financial aid as on-campus students. Also, some public colleges do not offer in-state tuition to online students.

Scholarships and Financial Aids

Annually, the U.S. Department of Education awards around $46 billion in scholarships, and in 2016, a total of $41.7 billion federal grant money was awarded, with 4.6% going to computer/information science students. (Hanson, 2021b)

Some online institutions offering a computer science bachelor’s degree accept financial aids like federal student loans, which can be availed by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA.

However, students looking for scholarships dedicated to computer-related degrees may explore the following.

  • (ISC)² Undergraduate Cybersecurity Scholarship for those planning to pursue or are already pursuing a degree in cybersecurity or information assurance.
  • African American Network of the Carolinas for students from North and South Carolina who are planning to major in computer science, math, science, engineering, finance, accounting, or business administration.
  • Betty Stevens-Frecknall Scholarship for full-time students pursuing a degree in the information technology field. 

Common Online Computer Science Courses

The courses in computer science programs may vary to some degree, but the following courses would be common among these programs’ curricula. 

Programming Languages

Courses on various programming languages like Java and Python are the most important foundational pieces for a computer science career. Students must expect to learn programming languages when taking a bachelor’s degree in computer science. 

Advanced Mathematics

Students can expect to study advanced mathematics courses like calculus in their computer science program. The concepts of derivatives, limits, applications, and functions, and the ability to solve problems using an integration that they will learn from this course would prove useful in their computer science classes.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is what the future entails, and many computer science programs require students to learn it. Propositional logic, approximate reasoning, machine problem solving, temporal reasoning, propositional logic, uninformed and informed searching, and other important concepts are covered in such a course.

Cybersecurity

One of the most pressing contemporary issues related to computers would be cybersecurity. As such, computer science programs cover cybersecurity as a course, if not an entire specialization. This course prepares students to look into cybersecurity from a computer science perspective while aiming to keep cyberspace, data, networks, and end-users safe.

Ethics in Information Technology

Computer science and information technology open many doors, but certain developments or discoveries may engender issues on ethics. As such, students must comprehend the importance and development of ethics as it relates to privacy, as well as the application of computer ethics.

Career Outlook for Computer Science Students

Computer and information sciences have a lifetime return on investment of 716.6% and, are, therefore, the most cost-efficient degrees. (Hanson, 2021a)

According to BLS (2021), the median salary of Computer and Information Research Scientists is $126,830 per year, with 33,000 jobs in 2020. Meanwhile, employment is expected to rise 22% (much faster than average) from 2020-2030, with a projected 7,200 change. California is recorded as the state with the highest employment level in Computer and Information Research Scientists at 7,170, with a mean wage of $150,830.

Indeed, on the other hand, reports an average base salary of $103,617 per year for computer scientists with the top organizations in the U.S. for them to join being Apple, SM&A, Adobe, MITRE, and Internal Revenue Service. The highest paying city is Patuxent River, Maryland, with an average of $134,953 per year.

Is an online computer science degree worth it?

Considering the cost of a computer science degree and the likely wages of its graduates, one may easily assume that an online computer science degree is worth it. However, the decision to enroll in an online degree is both extrinsically and intrinsically motivated. It will not always be about return on education investment.

For example, according to Pugh (2019) in the study “Self-Determination: Motivational Profiles of Bachelor’s Degree Seeking Students at an Online, For-Profit University,” published in Online Learning, there would be several reasons students will study online. They might be “pursuing a bachelor’s degree because they want to advance their career (external regulation), feel it is important to their family (extrinsic motivation-identified), and enjoy learning (intrinsic motivation to know).”

Thus, students aspiring to become computer scientists via online education must look into whether online programs do meet their motivation to enroll.  

 

References:

  1. BLS. (2021, September 8). Computer and Information Research Scientists: Occupational Outlook Handbook: : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Bls.gov. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-and-information-research-scientists.htm
  2. Hanson, M. (2021a, October 25). College Scholarship Statistics [2021]: Yearly Total + Analysis. Education Data Initiative. https://educationdata.org/scholarship-statistics
  3. Hanson, M. (2021b, November 19). Is College Worth it? | Return on Investment Analysis of College Degree. Education Data Initiative. https://educationdata.org/college-degree-roi
  4. Ostrowski, J. (2021, October 4). The most valuable college majors in 2021, ranked. Bankrate; Bankrate.com. https://www.bankrate.com/loans/student-loans/most-valuable-college-majors/
  5. Pugh, C. (2019). Self-Determination: Motivational Profiles of Bachelor’s Degree Seeking Students at an Online, For-Profit University. Online Learning, 23(1). https://doi.org/10.24059/olj.v23i1.1422

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