2018 Most Affordable Accredited Online Colleges

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This 2018 list of accredited online schools with annual tuition rates of $15,000 or less makes it easy to find an affordable, quality education. Our recommend rate is based on feedback from former students through our partner site and the largest database of independent online college reviews, GradReports.com. If expense is an important factor in your decision, use this list as a starting point, but be sure to also consider other factors that might affect the quality of your education.

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2018 Affordable Online Schools

University of Notre Dame

The University of Notre Dame offers several online graduate programs through the Mendoza College of Business, split between executive certificates and nonprofit certificates. These programs are delivered in time frames designed to be manageable for working professionals, with courses no longer than eight weeks each. The university inaugurated its first fully online graduate degree program in the fall of 2017 with a Master of Science in Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics: Data Science Specialization. The program employs a structure that combines live online classes with student directed assignments. Designed in collaboration with AT&T, the program is designed for completion at a pace moderate enough that students can excel academically and continue to work full time, finishing the degree in 21 months. The program is closely associated with leaders in the industry, preparing graduates for success in this competitive, growing field.

Kansas Christian College

Kansas Christian College offers two fully online degree programs, an Associate of Arts and a Bachelor of Arts in Religion with an emphasis in Leadership and Ministry. In order to maximize the flexibility for each student, courses are taken one at a time, each lasting five weeks. The tuition for online classes is an affordable $275 per credit hour. The college offers many financial aid opportunities, including academic scholarships and faith-based discounts. The college will also match grants made by a student's church up to $500. Veterans and active duty military members are also eligible for a 20% discount on tuition. The pedagogy emphasizes Christian values and is associated with the Church of God (Holiness), and welcomes students of various denominations and backgrounds. 

Abraham Lincoln University

With online programs including associate degrees, bachelor's degrees, and doctorates, Abraham Lincoln University offers quality education at an affordable price. At a mere $30,000, the total tuition for a four year bachelor's degree completed entirely online is comparable with many universities' single term tuition. An associate degree is available at half that cost and time, and a master's degree even less. There are five distinct master's programs, each designed to be completed within three semesters by students who are also working professionals. ALU has strong schools of law and business, which are well represented in the available online degrees and certificates across all academic levels. In addition, there are degrees available in information technology, and for undergraduates, an option to study more generally and design a liberal arts education toward your specific interests. A special feature of the online law school is the Juris Doctor program. With a total tuition of $36,400, the degree fully prepares students to take the Bar Exam and practice law upon its completion.

Baker College Online

With more than 70 degree programs, Baker College Online has an enormous diversity of choices for an online student. A full range of academic degrees is available, including associate, bachelor, post-baccalaureate, master's and doctoral degrees. With undergraduate credit hour costs at $390, graduate credit hours at $695, doctoral credit hours at $915, and the unique graduate cloud risk security program credit hour cost at $1200, it is possible to get a degree at any end of the academic spectrum at an affordable rate. Programs in business, law, education, technology, healthcare, human resources, and psychology give students a huge range of opportunities to study in a class structure that fits their own needs. The courses are paced to keep students on track with their degrees, with peers collaborating in the virtual classroom, but each student has complete flexibility to structure their participation in the courses as best fits their schedules. 

Trident University International

Utilizing a model of completely online education with specific application to active military students, Trident University International offers degrees and certificates across all academic levels. Degrees offered range from the professional studies associate degree to the eight bachelor's degrees, eight master's degrees, and five doctorates. The university grounds all of its programs in building strong leadership skills, applying that framework to fields as diverse as education, information technology, business, health, and homeland security. With undergraduate tuition rates as low as $250 per credit for military students and their family members, graduate tuition as low as $325 per credit, and doctoral tuition as low as $625 per credit, Trident makes its degrees financially accessible to working adults. For students seeking particularly affordable, efficient programs, Trident offers certificates in the fields of business and health sciences. In order to provide flexibility for working adults, courses are available in various durations, from four weeks to eight weeks to twelve weeks, and study can begin during any of these sessions. 

Rasmussen College Online

Rasmussen College Online offers a plethora of fully online degree programs supported by their network of campuses around the country. With associate and bachelor degrees available, as well as some certificates and diplomas that can be completed in about a year of study, Rasmussen provides a huge variety of undergraduate options. There is also a Master of Science in Nursing, specifically designed for working nurses who would like to advance their careers with a graduate degree. This program can be completed in as little as 18 months and, like all of Rasmussen's programs, can be customized with the Flex Choice initiative. This initiative allows students to create self-directed studies and use professional experience in conjunction with their degree program. Not only can this save time and customize course studies to a student's schedules, it can also reduce overall tuition cost by as much as 30%. 

University of Northwestern Ohio

For students looking to study online in a more traditional college structure, the University of Northwestern Ohio provides a range of degree programs which begin in the fall and follow a conventional school schedule. This is a university for those looking to complete a full four year baccalaureate, fully online, at an affordable price. The fields of business and health are well represented in the available associate and bachelor's degrees, which cost $275 per credit. The Masters of Business Administration can be completed in 18 months as a full time student, or in twice that as a part time student, and costs only $400 per credit.

Liberty University

Liberty University's experience with long distance learning stretches back to 1985, and has progressed through various technological eras. They now offer more than 250 online degrees. The fields of study include business, divinity, education, nursing, visual arts, music, aeronautics, law, and more. The bulk of these degree offerings are well represented at all academic levels, with programs available at the certificate, associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. Costs and fees vary based on the specific student, the program, and the course, but the average cost of an undergraduate credit is $390, and $565 for a graduate credit. Liberty University offers discounts for military students, making all undergraduate credits a flat $250, and $275 for graduate credits. 

Ashford University

With upwards of 50 distinct bachelor's programs, Ashford University offers a range of choices for students seeking a degree online. Twenty-two of their degrees are within the Forbes School of Business and Technologyâ„¢, which has high profile members of the business community and leaders of Forbes Magazine on the Board of Advisors. Ashford also has associate and master's degrees available in fields spanning from business and accounting to education and psychology. The wide array of bachelor's programs include all of the aforementioned fields, as well as linguistics, anthropology, real estate, sociology, and a variety of intellectually stimulating and career oriented, practical degrees. In order to help you find the most affordable way to earn a degree from Ashford, there is an in depth Net Price Calculator to determine a detailed estimate of how much your new degree will cost. Certain degree programs may not be available in all states.

South University Online

Striving to stay at the cutting edge of online education, South University Online offers a substantial range of completely online degrees through the exclusive Brightspace platform. Brightspace puts the entire digital classroom into a coordinated interface, with digital textbooks, peer and instructor communication, and records all in one place. It is also linked to a mobile app, called Pulse, so that you can continue your classwork anywhere, anytime. With degrees from associate to doctorates available in fields from nursing to accounting, ministry to informational technology, South University Online offers a flexible option for anyone pursuing higher education. This innovative approach to online degrees is also quite affordable.

University of the Southwest

The University of the Southwest offers online degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as a doctoral program in business administration. The Bachelor of Business Administration includes 11 specialization options in fields such as accounting, energy management, e-commerce, and non profit management. Graduate programs are available through the School of Business and Professional Studies and the School of Education. The seven distinct Master of Science in Education degrees include programs in counseling, educational administration, and special education, and the 10 distinct M.B.A.s include law enforcement and corrections, marketing, and sport management and recreation. The cost per credit ranges from $449 for undergraduate credits to $599 for graduate credits.

ECPI University Online

ECPI University Online has particularly strong programs in engineering, criminal justice, and business, as well as several more degrees available online. They offer a wide range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs, with app compatible learning components and real time educational support at your fingertips with live chat. Their online learning platform, Canvas, supports these features in an intuitive layout which prioritizes video content to make your coursework engaging and easy to navigate. The degree programs are at the cutting edge of their fields, including cloud computing, mechatronics, homeland security, and cybersecurity, to name a few. The online price calculator makes it easy and quick to find out how much you need to budget toward the degree program you will pursue at ECPI.

Waldorf University

Based out of Forest City, Iowa, Waldorf University offers online associate and bachelor's degrees in 12 disciplines, and master's degrees in eight. Many of these fields have several distinct degree programs, such as Fire Science, which has an associate degree, six specific bachelor's degrees, and a master's degree available, all focusing on various aspects of firefighting. Tuition is $290 per credit hour for undergraduates and $365 per graduate credit hour, with discounts available for members of the military. Various program offerings include business, criminal justice, homeland security, human resources, psychology, and safety. Committed to its mission as a liberal arts university and founded on the beliefs of its Norwegian Lutheran founders, Waldorf strives to bring its academic excellence to those seeking a degree that fits their needs in an online forum. 

Western Governors University

Western Governors University is an online university offering various bachelor's and master's degree programs. The programs are divided between four colleges, each pertaining to a different field of study: the College of Health Professions, the College of Information Technology, the Teachers College, and the College of Business. Western Governors University offers enrollment all year round and degree programs start on the first of every month, therefore students can apply any time they want. Unlike at most universities, at Western Governors tuition is charged per term, and not per credit hour. Each term is six months long, and students can complete as many courses as they want within that period without additional charges. Because of this, students are also able to complete their degrees at an accelerated rate without incurring extra costs. Tuition for one term starts at $3,190, but it can vary between colleges, programs, and degree level. 

Columbia Southern University

Columbia Southern University (CSU) is an online university offering associate degrees, bachelor's degrees, master's degrees and certificates in a wide variety of areas, such as criminal justice, business administration, fire administration, health care administration, and many more. It also offers one doctoral program in Business Administration. The degree programs are offered through CSU's four academic departments, the College of Arts & Sciences, the College of Business, the College of Safety & Emergency Services, and the department for Continuing Education. Students can opt to take classes on a term-based schedule with semesters starting in fall, winter, spring and summer. Alternatively, students who need extra scheduling flexibility can take advantage of CSU's LifePace Learning® option, which allows you to complete a course in as few as four weeks or as many as 18 weeks at your own pace. Tuition depends on the degree level, and is the same across the colleges and the various specialization. Undergraduate programs cost $225 per credit hour, while graduate programs cost $300 per credit hour. Tuition for doctoral courses is $375 per credit hour. 

Southern New Hampshire University Online

Founded in 1932, the Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) is a private, nonprofit university offering over 200 online degree programs. There are currently over 80,000 students enrolled in these online programs. Applicants will find options at both the undergraduate and graduate levels with SNHU's online associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees in subjects such as accounting, business, liberal arts, art & design, social science, and information technology. Students can also enroll in one of SNHU's many online certificate programs. Tuition is charged per credit hour at a rate of $320 for online undergraduate degrees and $627 for online graduate programs. At SNHU, most associate degree programs require 60 credit hours, while most bachelor's degree programs require 120 credit hours, and most master's degree programs require between 30 and 45 credit hours for completion. 

Capella University

Capella University is an online educational institution which offers certificate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree programs in various subjects such as business, nursing, health sciences, psychology, information technology, public service, and more. The university offers two formats for completing a degree: FlexPath and GuidedPath. FlexPath is self-paced, allowing students to set their own deadlines and complete as many courses as they want per term for a flat tuition rate. GuidedPath, follows a more traditional approach to online learning, with preset due dates and course schedules. Tuition for GuidedPath courses is charged per credit hour. Tuition charged per credit hour ranges from $402 to $780 for a certificate program, $370 to $402 for a bachelor's program, $424 to $780 for a master's program, and $525 to $925 for a doctoral degree program. 

Central Christian College of Kansas

Central Christian College of Kansas is an evangelical Christian college affiliated with the Free Methodist Church. The college offers online degrees at the undergraduate level, including two associate degrees and several bachelor's programs in areas such as criminal justice, healthcare administration, psychology, business administration, and business in organizational leadership. All online degrees offered by Central Christian College of Kansas are delivered through an asynchronous format, allow students to log in and attend classes when it is most convenient for them. Tuition costs $425 per credit hour for all online programs, and it includes all the textbooks needed, including some E-textbooks. The college charges no application or transcript fees for new students. 

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This indicates that a school has an annual tuition of $15,000 or less as reported to the National Center for Education Statistics or based on the school's website.