Affordable Online Colleges & Universities

The following is a list of colleges across the nation offering online programs. By offering online programs, these schools are able to provide affordable options for students. More importantly, financial aide is available for students who apply and qualify. Use the links to request free information.

Kaplan University Kaplan University offers students a tremendous variety of online associate's, bachelor's, and master's degrees in a wide array of fields. Kaplan also offers online certificates in education, business, information technology, arts and sciences, healthcare, nursing, criminal justice, and law. The online format is perfect for the working professional.
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South University South University is one of the largest online universities in the nation. The regionally accredited curriculum can be completed without any visitation or campus time required giving students more freedom as they seek to obtain their degree. South has crafted career-oriented curriculum and engaging exercises.
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Liberty University Liberty University offers over 35 online degree programs from the associates to doctoral level. The online program runs together with the on-campus semester program, creating a more seamless partnership with the traditional on-campus program. The university is known for its Christ-centered approach to learning. This aspect makes Liberty a great choice in online education.
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Walden University Walden University has an impressive online program, offering degrees at the Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, Master of Business Administration, Master of Public Administration, Master of Public Health, Ed.S., Ed.D., D.B.A., and Ph.D. levels. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, Walden is one of the nation's best online universities.
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Colorado Technical University Colorado Technical University offers students a number of degree programs across every educational level in business, engineering, and applied science. These fields include Accounting, Finance, Business Administration, Management, Information Systems and Technology, Computer Science, Engineering, Health Sciences, Criminal Justice, and Public Administration.
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American InterContinental University If you're looking to earn an online degree to quickly jump start or advance your career, AIU can help you reach your goals. AIU has several online programs available for students who seek to balance their education with work or busy personal lives. The schools offers programs in a wide range of subject and specializations.
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Southern New Hampshire University Southern New Hampshire University delivers the same high-quality education its on-campus students to its online programs through the use of contemporary material, hands-on exercises, and engaging learning environments. Students enrolled in one of the more than 100 online degree or certificate program are eligible for financial aid too, as students can recieve scholarship, loan, and even grant money should they apply and qualify.
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Boston University Founded over 150 years ago, Boston University has been providing online degree programs for the past few years, being one of the first educators to offer several master and doctorate programs. Courses of study include music, business project management, banking, marketing, health communication, criminal justice, education, IT, art education, and occupational therapy.
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Rasmussen College An accredited and respected leader that has helped shape the online education market, Rasmussen College values keeping its students focused on their education. The college offers full, 24/7 technical support for students who partake in online classes, as well as full, 24/7 personal support, including tutoring and various advising services.
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Grand Canyon University GCU is a Christian university that has added several online programs in response to changes in how students seek to obtain their degree. Grand Canyon was also recently rated the #1 online university in the United States by OEDb and degrees are offered in arts, business, IT, education, healthcare, criminal justice, and more.
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The economy has tanked, employment is stagnant or even dropping, and a degree is more important than ever if you want a secure, well-paid career. Being able to get a good education while still keeping your job, if you have one, is a great opportunity. Online colleges can help broaden your skill set, increase your knowledge, and make you more competitive in the job market without driving you into extreme debt.

The Online vs. Offline Dilemma

Going to college for four years on a campus has become such a tradition that it can be hard to imagine getting your education some other way. In the past two decades, though, the technology that enables online education has proliferated, and the number of online schools offering high-quality degrees has shot upward. Some of the benefits of online education over campus education are as follows.

  • Schedule Flexibility: Online courses allow “asynchronous education,” which means that you don’t have to be in a classroom at the same time as your professor and fellow students. Instead, you all participate in a persistent online community where you can submit assignments, read class materials and post questions to be answered by the other participants whenever they have time. This lets you choose when to do school, and when to do other things, so your job and family don’t have to take a back seat to your education.
  • Pricing: Not all online colleges are less expensive than campus colleges. But most online colleges offer credit for previous educational experience and work experience, and competitive pricing that can push down the overall price tag. Also, since you can live wherever you want while taking online classes, you can save money on rent and transportation costs.
  • Credit Transfer: Online colleges often offer accelerated programs that let you finish an associate’s degree in eighteen months, so you get the basics and can start working an entry-level job quickly. Then, when you’re ready, you can go back to finish a bachelor’s or master’s degree and use all of your previously earned credits towards a more advanced degree. The easy transferability of credit hours between accredited universities gives you more control over your own schedule.

The Benefits of Getting a Degree

The expense and opportunity cost of taking time to go to college make it seem daunting and possibly not worth the effort, but statistics show that people with degrees earn more money and spend less time unemployed in the long term, according to The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  • In 2010, the median weekly earnings of people with bachelor’s degrees were $1,038, which is around $400 more than the median weekly earnings for those with only a high school diploma.
  • In 2010, the unemployment rate for people with a bachelor’s degree was 5.4%, barely over half that of those with only a high school diploma, whose unemployment rate was 10.3%.

Despite current controversy surrounding the cost effectiveness of higher education, the data collected by the U.S. government shows that better educated people tend to have jobs and earn more money than those with only high school credentials.

How to Get into an Affordable Online College

An online school may be convenient, but it still takes work to get in, and once you’re in, it takes work to stay there. Be prepared for a rigorous education and significant workload by putting in the right amount of effort from the very beginning. Here are some steps to follow to make sure you’re ready for the challenge before you even fill out the application.

  1. Decide what type of degree you want to pursue and research which schools offer that degree. Write a list of questions to ask about each program, such as:
    • How many credit hours does this program take?
    • How much does this college charge per credit hour?
    • How many years will it take me to finish the degree I want at this school?
    • Be sure to ask any questions specific to your circumstances as well. Having more information will help you make the best decision.
  2. Check out prerequisites for your colleges and programs of choice. You almost definitely need a high school diploma or GED to be accepted, and you may need more than that. Some online colleges require you to have up to 24 prior learning credits before you can be admitted. If you’re looking at combining online and on-campus education, see which classes you should take online to minimize your costs.
  3. Make a multi-year plan and budget. Plan out exactly how long you’ll be in school, and figure out the cost. Will you be able to offset that cost by taking a job while you’re in school, or through scholarships and grants? If not, will you be able to take time off in the middle to earn some money to pay for the rest of school?
  4. Apply. Once you’ve made sure you meet all the requirements and have filled all the prerequisites for your school or schools of choice, send in your application. If possible, contact a representative to double check that your materials were received. After that, it’s a waiting game. Once you’ve been accepted, proceed with your plan and stick to your budget, and you’ll be a degree-holding graduate before you know it!

Outside Financing Options

Many students use scholarships, grants, and federal student loans to take the edge off their school bills. There are many public and private sources of student funding, some of which don’t need to be paid back. The following are some funding options most students can take advantage of:

  • Stafford/Perkins Loans: These loans are provided by the government at a fair interest rate. Their amount is dependent on a student’s demonstrated financial need, and the rate of repayment can be adjusted based on the student’s income, employment status and other factors after graduation.
  • Federal Pell Grants: This is a need based grant from the government that is highly coveted because it does not need to be paid back. Millions of dollars of Pell grants are disbursed every year, many of them to students of online universities.
  • Work-Study: Some colleges will allow you to take a job as a student, and will pay you using federal subsidy money as a way offsetting your education expenses.

These federal student aid options are only available to students who meet certain basic requirements. According to Student Aid on the Web, you must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen with a valid social security number
  • Register with the selective service if you’re a male between the ages of 18 and 25.
  • Have a high school diploma, GED, or other equivalent credential.
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress in college or career school.

Other Resources to Help You Decide

Tons of websites offer info that is supposed to help you choose the best college, and not all of them are reliable. Here is a list of extremely useful and robust resources that have proven over time that their statistics are reliable and their rankings meticulously curated.

  • The U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics is the most reliable source of raw data about education at every level, from K-12 to college and beyond. The site compiles demographic information about students and makes predictions about how education will change in the coming years. It also offers a tool called PowerStats which allows users to examine the information in their own way by making easy to read graphs and charts using government data.
  • The Princeton Review releases a list of best value colleges, and other lists of colleges based on various criteria. This list usually incorporates high-end Ivy League colleges, though others with particularly good performance can make the cut.
  • College rankings may be a good jumping off point for choosing a school, but they shouldn’t be the deciding factor. An article by Malcolm Gladwell in the New Yorker recently broke down how the U.S. News and World Report College Rankings are compiled, and some of the methods just didn’t make sense.

The decision to return to college takes serious consideration. The possibility of accruing debt and taking time off work can be daunting, but statistics show that for many, the payoff is worth the effort. This site is here to help you decide if college is right for you, and if so, which one will serve you best.

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