To determine the best online colleges and universities with open admissions, we examined the most important factors for prospective students, mainly common predictors of future success and a school’s commitment to online programs. This boils down to admissions rate, student loan default rate, retention rate, graduation rate, and the percent of students enrolled in online classes. All data points are taken from information provided by colleges and universities to the National Center for Education Statistics.

In the early part of your junior year you will take the PSAT. Use it to assess your weaknesses in any of the three major skills areas: math, reading and writing. College Board provides sample tests, study resources and an extensive library of further college planning tools. Use the same site to study for your SAT. Many students buy study guides that bundle lists of traditional SAT vocabulary words and offer insightful ways to remember and recall tricky math rules, theorems, functions and calculations. If your region subscribes to the ACT exam you can access similar resources through guidebooks or the ACT website.

Salem International University is one of the nations' colleges with open admission. However, students applying to the university's education or nursing programs do need to meet additional prerequisites, including minimum GPA and minimum standardized test scores or certification requirements, respectively. Graduate, transfer, and international students are also required to submit additional materials, depending upon their program of study, to secure enrollment into SIU.
A geological formation is the inspiration behind the name of the University of Texas of the Permian Basin. Oil fields surround the university that enrolls more than 7,000 students. Both undergraduate and graduate academic programs exist at the public school. Class flexibility is derived through the university's evening, part-time course schedules and online programs. Financial aid comes through scholarships, loans and grants. As one of the most affordable universities, each year, UTPB distributes about $15 million in financial aid. Besides scholarships, loans and grants, financial support comes through state exemptions and waivers, work-study programs and the Falcon Promise Program. Top academic performers who earn a 3.25 GPA or higher and complete at least a 30-hour-a-year course load could qualify for an earn-in scholarship.
Highland Community College (HCC) has six campuses across northeast Kansas, plus several online programs and course options. Single courses, general education requirements and associate degree programs are available fully online, plus some programs are in a hybrid format, which combines face-to-face learning with online coursework. Completely online degrees through HCC Online include accounting, business administration, medical coding, risk management, personal fitness training and general studies. For students planning to transfer an approved associate degree or credits earned at HCC to a four-year college, the Kansas Board of Regents has a seamless transfer policy, so community college students can enter smoothly as college juniors. HCC also has articulation agreements with several four-year public and private colleges, such as the Palmer school of Chiropractic in Iowa, and Baker University in Kansas. Basically, approved degrees will transfer, making this one of the cheapest ways towards a bachelor's degree, since tuition costs at HCC is typically much less expensive than a four-year university.
Western New Mexico University has made a point to make sure that class sizes are small, allowing faculty to pay more attention to individual students. The same methodology is applied their online school where class sizes are limited to make sure students get the attention they deserve. Despite having small classes and enough faculty to support the online school, it is ranked as one of the most affordable online schools in the nation. Students can study toward one of the online degree programs offered by the school or they can pick from over 200 courses offered entirely online. Courses are also offered year-round, so students can complete their degree at a faster pace than students who study in a traditional manner.

Online graduate students can supplement their income with assistantships, or paid academic positions at their university. These include teaching assistant, research assistant, graduate assistant, and graduate assistant roles. In addition to financial compensation, students in assistantships may also receive tuition credits, a spending allowance, and institutional health insurance coverage.


Because affordability is such a key factor for postsecondary education, prospective students are encouraged to compare costs at all potential colleges and universities before committing to a school. Below you'll find our list of the 50 most affordable accredited online colleges. Our guide also discusses different types of fees and expenses online students can expect to pay, along with some tips for applying for and receiving loans, scholarships, and other forms of financial aid.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average U.S. undergraduate student paid more than $22,000 in tuition, fees, and other college expenses during the 2015-16 academic year. This represents a significant financial investment for most learners. Online students often spend less on their degree than their brick-and-mortar counterparts. A growing number of schools have begun to offer flat tuition rates for online students, regardless of their state residency status. Additionally, most spend less on housing and meals than brick-and-mortar students, whose room and board expenses can be fairly high. However, the cost of an online degree can still amount to thousands of dollars per year.
Capella University is headquartered in Minneapolis, but provides more than 40 degree programs in six academic areas at locations throughout the U.S., including on its online global campus. While the university upholds a general open enrollment policy, some programs have specific admissions requirements beyond the basic submission of prior transcripts and proof of English proficiency; prerequisites including minimum GPA, letters of recommendation, and/or faculty interviews are determined by each school and program individually.
Casper College sits on over 200 gorgeous acres in Casper, Wyoming and is an excellent choice for both on-campus and online college degree seekers in Wyoming, and otherwise. Casper is a member of the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE), and all students have access to several scholarships and financial aid planning through Casper. Online programs are career-oriented, and in fields such as accounting, fire science, health science, psychology and retail management. For students that can travel to campus, but still want the flexibility online courses provide, Casper offers a large selection of programs that are at least 70 percent online, such as animal science, forensic science, geology and women and gender studies, along with several pre-professional programs such as pre-law, pre-optometry and pre-pharmacy. These, along with general education and some technical associate degrees earned through Casper will transfer to four-year colleges and universities, which is often the cheapest way to finance a bachelor's degree.
The University of South Florida strives to ensure that students are able to earn a degree that works for them. The same philosophy is applied to their online school where students can study in whatever manner works best for them. There are entire degree programs offered entirely online as well as individual courses, giving students the flexibility to study at their own pace and schedule. One of the most affordable schools for online bachelor's degrees, USF offers seven different bachelor's degree options online, all of which prepare students for their career after graduation. For students who want to continue their education beyond a bachelor's, there are graduate degree options offered as well, all of which can be completed entirely online.

There are plenty of degrees offered at Iowa State University, and many different options for online studies. The online college at Iowa State offers hundreds of different courses, as well as a number of fully online degree programs. Most of Iowa State's online degrees are graduate degrees, many of which can't be studied online at most other schools. For example, graduate students can study toward a master's degree in agronomy, plant breeding and seed technology & business online. However, even more popular options include their online engineering programs. Iowa State is also seen as one of the most affordable online schools to earn a master's degree. All courses are offered entirely online, and students can study both online and on-campus if they choose.


The popularity of online school is growing, so Western Kentucky University is constantly improving its online school to meet the needs of incoming students. New courses are always being added in addition to all the courses and online degree programs already offered. Seen as one of the most affordable ways to get a bachelor's degree online, WKU's online school offers 15 different bachelor's degree programs, more than many other online schools. Popular options include sociology, criminology and their RN to BSN program for nurses. Aside from their bachelor's degrees, WKU also offers graduate degrees that can be completed entirely online. These degrees are great for students wanting to further their experience and knowledge in the fields of science and education.
The Greek philosopher Heraclitus once observed that nothing is permanent, except change. Such classical wisdom is once again evident in a recent release of data from the National Center for Education Statistics on the college enrollment patterns of recent high school graduates. Since 1975, when recordkeeping began, a student’s chance of enrolling in college rose reliably with his family’s income. No longer. Low-income students now enroll in college at a higher rate than their middle-income peers.

Highland Community College (HCC) has six campuses across northeast Kansas, plus several online programs and course options. Single courses, general education requirements and associate degree programs are available fully online, plus some programs are in a hybrid format, which combines face-to-face learning with online coursework. Completely online degrees through HCC Online include accounting, business administration, medical coding, risk management, personal fitness training and general studies. For students planning to transfer an approved associate degree or credits earned at HCC to a four-year college, the Kansas Board of Regents has a seamless transfer policy, so community college students can enter smoothly as college juniors. HCC also has articulation agreements with several four-year public and private colleges, such as the Palmer school of Chiropractic in Iowa, and Baker University in Kansas. Basically, approved degrees will transfer, making this one of the cheapest ways towards a bachelor's degree, since tuition costs at HCC is typically much less expensive than a four-year university.
Even if a four-year college has an open enrollment policy, the student may not be ready for such rigorous coursework. "It's good to give students a chance at a college education, but there has to be a point when the school acknowledges that a student simply isn't ready. In those cases, beginning at a community college is the right choice." Since four-year colleges that use open enrollment are, by definition, not making that determination, students themselves need to be able to recognize when community college is the better option.
Between fall 2006 and fall 2016, the percentage increase in the number of students enrolled in degree-granting institutions was higher for students under age 25 than for older students; and this pattern is expected to continue in the coming years. The enrollment of students under age 25 increased by 13 percent from 2006 to 2016, while the enrollment of those age 25 and over was 11 percent higher in 2016 than in 2006. From 2016 to 2027, NCES projects the increase for students under age 25 to be 5 percent, compared with 1 percent for students age 25 and over.
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