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In order to be considered for our 2023 Most Affordable Online Colleges with Open Admissions, schools needed to meet the following criteria:

  • Offer at least five fully online bachelor's degrees
  • At least 25% of the undergraduate student body enrolled online OR
  • At least 300 undergraduate students enrolled online
  • Offer an open admissions policy, as reported to the National Center for Education Statistics
  • Offer a global tuition for online bachelor's students
  • Have institutional accreditation

Schools were then ranked according to their annual tuition rates. Annual tuition numbers for these schools were manually researched and represent the global tuition at the bachelor degree level. Out-of-state tuition was used unless in-state tuition was offered to all online students. Tuition was calculated assuming full-time status. Unless otherwise stated, bachelor’s programs were assumed to require four years to complete and master’s programs were assumed to require two years.

Fully Online Status

Schools with programs that require some on-campus coursework were still considered for our rankings if the amount of on-campus work was limited to less than two weeks worth of requirements. This allows students to retain their current employment or other personal responsibilities.

Data Sources

Program data including available degrees, tuition rates, and details about program coursework were collected from schools' official websites, reflecting data for the 2022-23 school year. Programmatic accreditation, online enrollment, and open enrollment status of schools were collected from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) for the most recent school year with available data. Open Admissions/Open Enrollment status and online enrollment were also collected from the NCES.

The NCES is the primary governmental entity for gathering and presenting data related to education. NCES data are updated annually.


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