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2023 Most Affordable Online Associate Degrees in Computer Science

By OnlineU Staff Writers | Updated 8/28/2023
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Organizations across all industries rely on the technical knowledge of trained individuals to keep their computer systems and networks operating as designed. An online associate degree in computer science can pave the way toward entry-level positions in this high-demand field and prepare you for transfer into bachelor’s degree programs in computer science, such as those also offered online. 

We’ve ranked programs by tuition so you can find one that meets your goals while helping you stick to your budget. Many schools on our list have open admissions policies, which means they accept 100% of applicants and increase accessibility to higher education. View our methodology for details about rankings or learn more about us. You can also check out our overall list of the best online associate degrees for inspiration.

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All tuition numbers were manually collected and verified
Rank School Locations Annual Tuition
# 1 #1 Albany State University Albany (GA) $2,850
# 2 #2 Clovis Community College - NM Clovis (NM) $3,404
# 3 #3 Western Nebraska Community College Scottsbluff (NE) $3,426
# 4 #4 Panola College Carthage (TX) $4,350
# 5 #5 Metropolitan Community College Omaha (NE) $5,100
# 6 #6 Southern Arkansas University Tech Camden (AR) $5,611
# 7 #7 South Texas College McAllen (TX) (and 2 others) $5,670
# 8 #8 Minnesota State College Southeast Winona (MN) $6,280
# 9 #9 Flint Hills Technical College Emporia (KS) $6,420
# 10 (tie) #10 (tie) Lake Superior College Duluth (MN) $6,600
# 10 (tie) #10 (tie) Oconee Fall Line Technical College Sandersville (GA) $6,600
Annual Tuition: $2,850
Annual Tuition: $2,850
Annual Tuition: $2,850

Albany State University (ASU) is a public, Historically Black College and University (HBCU) offering an online Associate of Science in Computer Information Systems for students who want to build foundational skills toward a four-year degree in computer information systems or a business degree concentrating on management information systems. This 62-65 credit program generally takes full-time students around two years to complete. ASU has a 73% acceptance rate and a 28% graduation rate.

ASU delivers its online course content and instruction via the Brightspace learning management system. Those enrolled in the online associate degree in computer information systems take classes such as Discrete Structures, Computer Science, Linear Algebra, and Introduction to Statistics. The program curriculum can help prepare students to become information systems managers, computer systems analysts, information security analysts, and network administrators.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 96%
  • Average SATs: 740 -890
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,048
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 229
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
Annual Tuition: $3,404
Annual Tuition: $3,404
Annual Tuition: $3,404

Clovis Community College (CCC) - NM is a public, Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) offering an online Associate of Science in Computer Information Systems to help prepare students for entry-level positions in this field. Graduating requires completing 60 credit hours, which typically takes two years of full-time attendance. CCC has an open admissions policy that accepts 100% of applicants. Twenty-one percent of undergraduates complete their degrees.

CCC uses Canvas to deliver its online curriculum to distance learners. Computer information systems students enroll in online courses such as Networking Concepts, Windows Fundamentals, Internet Fundamentals, and Computer Hardware and Software. CCC also encourages its students to take an economics class as part of the program.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 86%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 944
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
Annual Tuition: $3,426
Annual Tuition: $3,426
Annual Tuition: $3,426

Western Nebraska Community College (WNCC) is a public institution offering a fully remote Associate of Science in Computer Science. With this program, students can earn transfer credits for bachelor’s degrees in computer science and develop an understanding of basic principles, theories, and concepts. This 64-credit program generally takes full-time students at least two years to complete. WNCC’s open admissions policy means that it accepts all applicants, and 30% of students graduate with degrees.

WNCC provides access to Blackboard so students can complete coursework and participate in class. Those enrolled in the online associate degree in computer science take courses such as Microcomputer Applications, Introduction to Robotics, SQL Database Design and Management, and Visual C#. This degree can help pave the way toward careers as software engineers, systems architects, database administrators, and mobile application developers, to name a few.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 97%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 207
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC

Panola College

Carthage (TX)
Annual Tuition: $4,350
Annual Tuition: $4,350
Annual Tuition: $4,350

Panola College is a public institution offering an online Associate of Applied Science in Computer Information Technology that can help students join the workforce in entry-level computer information technology occupations and prepare for four-year degree programs. Graduating requires completing 60 credit hours, which generally takes two years of full-time attendance. Panola has an open admissions policy, and 29% of students graduate.

Panola uses Canvas to deliver its online curriculum. Online computer information technology learners participate in courses such as Web Design, Desktop Publishing, Introduction to Digital Media, and Application Software Problem Solving.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 83%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 706
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
Annual Tuition: $5,100
Annual Tuition: $5,100
Annual Tuition: $5,100

Metropolitan Community College (MCC) is a public institution offering an online Associate in Science in Computer Technology Transfer - Computer Science with areas of emphasis in Logic, Programming Language, Data Structures, and Ethics. Graduating requires completing 96.5 quarter credit hours, which generally takes two years of full-time attendance. MCC has an open admissions policy, and 15% of its students graduate.

MCC delivers its online coursework and instruction via Canvas. Students in the online computer science program take classes such as Networking Essentials, Web Page Creation, Program Solving and Computer Logic, and Computer Science.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 63%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 2,709
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: HLC

Overview of Online Computer Science Associate Degrees

Computer science is the study of computers, operating systems, software, networks, and databases. An online computer science degree teaches students about the development, design, installation, and maintenance of computers and how we can troubleshoot and fix problems that may arise. Some of the best community colleges across the U.S. offer these associate degrees online, and most colleges accept all applicants who either have high school diplomas or GEDs. 

An affordable online computer science associate degree can help you gain skills in programming languages like Linux and C++, web development, and system analysis without breaking the bank. You can also earn transfer credits to apply toward an online computer science bachelor’s degree. It generally takes full-time students two years to earn an online associate degree in computer science. However, enrolling in an accelerated program or transferring previously earned credits may help you finish faster.

Full-time students generally take 12-15 credits per term, while part-time students take up to nine. You must complete general education and electives (about 45 credits) and major courses in computer science (approximately 15 credits). You can take electives in interest areas to help you specialize and increase your marketability.

Common Courses

Each associate degree curriculum may vary slightly depending on general education, major core, and concentration requirements. However, all programs aim to help students build relevant computer science skills to apply on the job or help prepare students to pursue bachelor’s degrees

Below are some of the most common courses:

Computer User Support

This course focuses on fundamentals, such as effective customer service, problem-solving, and case management. It exposes students to the systems and software designed for these critical tasks.

Fundamentals of Network Security

Lessons in this course are designed to help students understand general security concepts, such as firewall configuration, implementation, monitoring, and maintenance. Additional topics may include types of attacks, operational and transmission security, risk management, and security policy development.

Introduction to Programming Concepts

This course aims to provide students with an overview of popular programming platforms and languages and how they apply to practices, such as game application development. Students may explore concepts including variables, objects, conditionals, functions, arrays, and debugging — as well as their use in developing programming solutions.

Funding an Online Computer Science Degree

Although it may seem daunting at first, there are several ways to help ensure you can pay for higher education without straining your budget. 

First, determine your current financial status and how that may change once in school. For example, if you intend to work full-time, you may be able to offset some student debt, but it may take longer to graduate. Conversely, you may decide to attend school full-time, which may help you finish faster but may negatively impact your budget. Next, you must find a program that meets your budget and offers quality without forsaking your financial, academic, and career goals.

Once you make these fundamental decisions about school and work, you can explore funding options, such as federal financial aid, grants, scholarships, tuition reimbursement, and loans.

Financial Aid

It takes some financial planning to determine how to pay for school. There are several types of financial aid you may be eligible for, depending on several factors: income, tax bracket, degree path, savings and investments, and whether or not you’re a first-generation college student. 

Start by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to find out what kind of funding you may be eligible for through the government. Your school’s financial aid office can help you understand and use any aid you qualify for.

Types of Federal Financial Aid

  • Grants and scholarships are like receiving free money because they don’t have to be paid back. Examples of federal grants include the Pell Grant and the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant. 
  • Subsidized loans are based on need and don’t accrue interest while you are still in school. 
  • Unsubsidized loans, on the other hand, are not based on need and accrue interest from day one. These loans come with flexible repayment options and low interest.
  • Federal work-study allows you to work part-time on campus to help pay for college. 
  • GI Bill® education benefits are offered by the Department of Defense. You may be eligible for GI Bill benefits if you are a military service member or veteran — or the spouse or child of one.
  • Scholarships are often the best source of funding. Several nonprofit organizations, corporations, industry organizations, and private donors fund scholarships. Your school may even offer scholarships from alumni and other benefactors for which you may be eligible. If you decide to pursue a bachelor’s or master’s degree, there are several computer science scholarships available specifically for this major.
  • Tuition reimbursement may be offered through your company as part of its compensation package. However, you may be required to stay at your company after graduation for a specific period of time.
  • Private student loans should always be a last resort. They often come with strict repayment policies and high interest.

What Can You Do With an Online Computer Science Degree?

There are many computer science jobs you can do that begin with earning an online computer science degree. An Associate in Computer Science can provide a segue into an entry-level job providing help desk support, analyzing data, and building and installing hardware. Additionally, you’ll have a solid foundation to earn certificates and certifications in areas such as programming languages, web design, and coding.

An associate degree can be the first step toward an affordable online computer science bachelor’s degree. It can provide a foundational understanding of theoretical concepts — such as cybersecurity, database architecture and management, and software engineering — and allow you to specialize in an area of computer science

Network and Computer Systems Administrators

Median Annual Salary: $80,600
Job Growth: 3%

In some organizations, you only need an associate degree to become a network and computer systems administrator. Network administrators install, configure, and maintain an organization’s local area networks and wide area networks. Meanwhile, a computer systems administrator oversees an organization’s operation systems and servers. Depending on the organization, one administrator may play both roles.

Web Developers and Digital Designers

Median Annual Salary: $78,300
Job Growth: 23%

Companies may only require web developers and digital designers to have associate degrees based on setting and experience. Web developers and digital designers create and maintain websites. They write code using the languages they learned through their degree and may design and develop graphics. They also test website components and monitor traffic.

Computer Support Specialists

Median Annual Salary: $57,940
Job Growth: 6%

Computer support specialists — also referred to as IT support or help desk support — either help maintain an organization’s computer networks or provide technical support to its users. They may evaluate and test existing networks, perform regular maintenance, or analyze and troubleshoot network problems. In addition to technical skills, these support specialists must have patience and strong interpersonal communication and customer service skills.

FAQs About Online Computer Science Degrees

What Are the Admission Requirements for Computer Science Associate Degrees?

Admission requirements for computer science associate degrees generally include only a high school diploma or its equivalent. The community colleges offering many of these online associate degrees generally accept all applicants. However, math and science courses can help and may also be prerequisites for college-level courses.

How Much Can You Make With an Associate Degree in Computer Science?

Salaries can vary for those with an associate degree in computer science. However, they generally range from a median annual wage of $62,800 for computer support specialists to $80,600 for network and computer systems administrators

Are Associate Degrees in Computer Science Worth It?

Yes, associate degrees in computer science are probably worth it because many jobs are in high demand and have high earnings potential. Individuals trained in computer science fill critical roles within most organizations — from government agencies and nonprofits to small businesses and global corporations. Industries span from education and healthcare to retail and hospitality. Entry-level salaries can exceed $50,000 in many organizations and industries.

An online associate degree in computer science can open the door to career advancement, specialization, and advanced degrees. You can earn certificates and certifications in various computer applications to help you specialize and become a subject matter expert in your field. An associate degree can also give you the transfer credits you’ll need for a bachelor’s degree, or you may want to continue building and updating skills to move into advanced leadership roles or even pursue a master's degree in computer science.

Additionally, earning an associate degree online can be convenient and allow scheduling flexibility so you can continue working and taking care of other responsibilities.

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at

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