2020 Affordable Accredited Online Colleges

By OnlineU Staff | Updated March 29, 2020

This 2020 list of accredited online schools features partner schools with annual tuition rates of $15,000 or less. These schools make it easy to afford a 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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2020 Affordable Online Schools

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.

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 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%.

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.

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 Technology™, 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.

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.

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 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 (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.

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.