Scholarships are a popular option because they are widely available and do not need to be repaid. Private companies, nonprofits, community foundations, and colleges and universities all offer scholarships, many of which are reserved for students in certain demographics. Some scholarships are renewable, meaning recipients can collect money each year they attend school, but most are one-time, lump-sum awards. To qualify for a scholarship, students usually need to complete an application and submit it to the scholarship provider by the listed deadline. Most scholarships are merit-based. Applications often require letters of recommendation, official transcripts, and at least one personal essay.

Second only to your college entrance exams is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application. The FAFSA earns its own step for its financial weight and for its length and complexity. The FAFSA application enables you to be considered for a number of federal student loan programs. Fill out the FAFSA no matter what. Mistakenly many parents and students assume their financial situation for some reason makes them ineligible for federal student aid. Those that fail to complete the FAFSA by its deadline miss-out. Almost everyone is awarded some financial assistance.
There are lots of different colleges and universities in the United States, and one key aspect when students choose which college to attend is whether it is a public or private institution. Public colleges, also called state colleges, are funded by the government of the state they are in. Private colleges, on the other hand, are not funded by the government, but by private donors and endowments. Typically, private colleges are much more expensive than public colleges. Public colleges tend to offer different tuitions for students dependent on whether they live in-state or out-of-state, while private colleges have the same tuition cost for every student.
As low-income students catch up to and even surpass their wealthier peers in college enrollment, it’s worth remembering that enrollment is only half the equation. For their education to be worthwhile, students must actually complete their college degrees—which only 57% do within six years. While the “college enrollment gap” between rich and poor has closed in recent years, whether it pays off remains to be seen.
Like brick-and-mortar students, online learners must also consider housing, food, and transportation costs. Most online students forgo on-campus housing in favor of staying at home with their parents or leasing an apartment or house. Rental rates for the latter are typically lower than on-campus room-and-board costs, though this depends on the student's city and state of residence. Without on-campus meal plans, online students must also pay for their own meals – but again, off-campus food is often much cheaper than on-campus dining options. Online students tend to save money in transportation costs since they rarely need to commute to their school's campus. However, transportation may be a cost factor depending on where they live and if they are planning to work while in school.
Research schools to determine what institution meets all your criteria. Purchase U.S. News & World Reports' annual survey of colleges, or visit websites to obtain profiles on hundreds of colleges. List potential schools and write down tuition, admission requirements and unique qualities for each institution. Get advice from your high school guidance counselor or from an admissions officer if you are not in high school. Many schools offer tours and admission fairs for prospective students.
Northwest Mississippi Community College blossomed from the system of rural Mississippi farm high schools that began offering college-level courses in 1926. Today, Northwest has grown into four campuses with an enrollment exceeding 6,200 students. The first online courses at Northwest were offered in 1999. By design, online classes at this college are among the most-affordable online programs in the state, offering the same tuition rate as their on-campus classes. Online students can complete coursework via Canvas, a class management system that allows for classroom participation and access to course materials, research projects, homework and presentations. Full associate degrees can be completed online in majors including accountancy, business administration, marketing communications/public relations management, office administration, criminal justice, general college, psychology, social work, liberal arts, elementary education, business and computer teacher education. Northwest recommends that online students devote eight hours per online course each week.
Getting into a top online college or university is a competitive process. Using criteria such as standardized test scores, prior GPA, recommendation letters, and character assessment, competitive admissions enables schools to be selective in assembling their student body, as well as practice quality control. Online classes demand a high level of peer interaction as part of the learning process, so accepting students with proven academic ability makes it more likely that the school can provide a better experience for everyone in the virtual classroom.
The cost of tuition varies by selected institution. However, the average online or hybrid undergraduate student pays between $300 and $400 per credit, while the average online or hybrid graduate student pays $500 to $600 per credit. Most schools apply this rate to the student's total credit load each semester or quarter. However, some schools charge flat tuition rates either for certain credit ranges or for the entire term, regardless of credit load.
But when it comes to four-year schools, Kobzina has concerns about open enrollment, mostly because of the overall quality of the student body. "For a four-year school that's open enrollment, you could have students who passed their classes with D grades and a GPA just high enough to graduate. This could be a negative for higher-achieving students who attend that same college."
University of Maryland University College Online offers more than 90 academic programs, with more than 25 locations in the U.S. and more than 140 extended campuses worldwide. As one of the country's open admission colleges, the only admissions requirement for undergraduate students is to provide proof of a high school diploma or GED; no standardized test scores or minimum GPA is required to qualify for enrollment. Prospective graduate students are required to have a bachelor's degree from an accredited higher learning institution to be granted admission into an advanced program.
Clark State Community College has evolved from an institution founded in 1962 to offer post-secondary technical studies into a state college offering Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degrees and nearly 30 technical degrees and certificates. These days, CSCC's 6,374 registered students enjoy one of Ohio's cheapest tuition rates at just $139.33 per credit hour. More than one-third of all students take advantage of the many courses offered online. The most popular majors include the general transfer associate degrees and programs in registered nursing, licensed practical nursing, social services, management and physical therapist assisting. Online college programs and classes at CSCC are offered though the college or via OhioLearns in fully online or hybrid formats. The hybrid options blend digital classes with campus sessions. Classes are delivered using the Blackboard virtual classroom software.

Giannuli is a fashion designer and creator of clothing brand Mossimo; Loughlin is an actress famous for her role on “Full House.” The couple allegedly agreed to pay $500,000 bribes to have their two daughters recruited to the USC rowing team (even though neither of them actually rows) in order to gain admission to the school, according to the complaint.


Two types of accreditation are awarded to colleges. Institutional accreditation applies to the school as a whole while programmatic accreditation applies to medical schools, law schools, and other smaller departments at larger universities. Students must attend fully accredited schools in order to qualify for federal loans. Accreditation status should be prominently displayed somewhere on the school's home page. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation each maintain full lists of all accredited schools in the U.S. These lists allow students to browse all options and find cheap accredited online colleges.
NAU is home to more than 30 university campuses across 10 North American territories, including comprehensive online programs for undergraduates, graduate students, and residents of Canada. Freshmen, adult, and military students are required simply to submit proof of a high school diploma, GED, or completion of a two-year degree with at least a 2.0 GPA to be granted enrollment into one of more than 60 undergraduate programs at NAU. The university offers discounted tuition for military students as well as the NAU Tuition Advantage discount to students who complete at least 13.5 credit hours per academic quarter.
You should also consider looking for scholarships outside of your community college. Check with some of your local charitable organizations, such as the Rotary Club. Many of these organizations give out scholarships. You can also look at scholarship search engines or ask at the financial aid office at your college. Your high school's guidance counselor office should have information, as well.
The University of Oklahoma-Norman campus is located 20 miles away from Oklahoma City. Museums, art homes, fine food and collegiate sports are attractions for people living in and visiting Oklahoma. In-state, out-of-state and international students often come to the University of Oklahoma's Norman campus to pursue a postsecondary education, particularly in public research. As one of the most affordable universities in the nation, the school is also home to more than 21,000 undergraduate students. Just above 4,000 of these students are freshmen. Aviation, biology, chemistry, communication, political science, nursing and supply chain management are just some examples of the school's 170 majors. Tuition at the school is at a flat rate, totaling $11,312 a year for in-state students. Rates increase for out-of-state students and students taking more than 21 semester hours. Prospective students can check out the school's financial aid office to get information on scholarships and grants to help cover the cost of tuition.
When looking for the right place to pursue their higher education goals, students often examine a variety of factors. One of the most important tends to be affordability. Those colleges that create a rigorous educational experience for a reasonable, affordable price are obviously quite attractive to fiscally-minded students. The colleges in this list are the most affordable online colleges in 2019. This ranking takes into account which schools provide the most programs, financial aid options with lower rates and services necessary for online students while also keeping tuition and fees at a reasonable level.

Grand Canyon University offers open enrollment to students 16 years of age and older who are interested in completing an undergraduate program online. Though the university incorporates Christian principles into all of its academic programs, applicants are not required to submit a statement of faith or confirm their alignment with a particular religious affiliation, with the exception of those applying to theology programs. Graduate and transfer students may be required to submit standardized test scores and/or meet a minimum GPA requirement to gain admission into their program of choice.
Northern Arizona University, one of the most affordable schools in the nation, is a public university that was founded in 1899. More than 30,000 students major in over 151 degree fields. Class sizes are kept small, about 31 students per class, and financial aid is administered through the school's Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid. The extended support that comes in the form of job placement is administered through the Gateway Student Success Center. Loans and money to attend school abroad are also available at Northern Arizona University. Actuarial science, applied human behavior, wildlife ecology and management, women's and gender studies, and education are among the school's degree programs. Online programs and classroom learning options are also available.
Central Texas College opened in the fall of 1967, serving an initial 2,068 students. Today, its student population is more than tenfold, providing education to 23,000 students in Killeen and Fort Hood as well as to military personnel in 100 locations across the globe. CTC offers Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degrees for transfer to four-year colleges and universities, Associate of Applied Science degrees, employment-focused certificates and continuing education programs. Its motto, "College on Your Time," reflects CTC's commitment to providing evening and weekend classes and a large selection of online degrees to accommodate students with busy schedules. The online college program at CTC allows students to complete nearly 30 complete degrees from their remote locations as well as more than 30 online certificates. Moreover, CTC offers one of the cheapest tuition rates in the Central Texas 12-county area.
Metropolitan Community College was created in 1974 when the Nebraska Legislature consolidated eight technical community colleges into a district. Its extended campus locations include the Applied Technology Center, Do Space (Omaha), Elkhorn Valley Campus, Fort Omaha Campus, Fremont Area Center, MCC South Express, MCC North Express, Sarpy Center, South Omaha Campus, and in Blair and Washington counties. With one of the cheapest tuition rates in Nebraska, MCC offers online courses with semesters that begin each September, December, March and June. MCC's online college programs culminate in associate degrees, certificates of achievement and career certificates/special certifications. Students seeking two-year degrees online can choose from majors including accounting, business, criminal justice, health information management systems, information technology and office technology or for academic transfer, liberal Arts and computer technology.
Earning a sports or academic scholarship isn't the only way to save on tuition at the University of Virginia-Main Campus. As one of the most affordable schools, UVA provides its students with access to grants and student loans as other ways to reduce tuition costs. Protection against overinvesting in costly student loans comes through the school's debt limitation initiative. Through the program, in-state students are allowed to only take out up to $4,500 a year in student loans. Out-of-state students have a maximum student loan level of $7,000. Work-study programs are another tuition reduction choice. Undergraduate and graduate degrees are awarded at the university. The Curry School of Education, Darden School of Business and School of Architecture are among the university's 12 schools.
That really depends on the individual student. Some may be more prepared than others, but colleges do their best to place students in appropriate classes, based on high school GPA and/or placement test results. Some students may need to start off in remedial courses without credit before moving on to regular credit classes. (In fact, remedial coursework is common even at public and private institutions without open enrollment policies.)
Request official transcripts from all colleges or universities you have previously attended. Have them mailed to the college of DCCCD you want to attend. (Transcripts must be no older than three years from the date they were printed.) Many courses have prerequisites that must be met before registering. As a result, students who have not submitted transcripts may not be able to register for all desired classes.
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.
Since 1985, Collin College has served more than 53,000 annual students seeking credit and continuing education. Collin is the only public college in the county, offering more than 100 degrees and certificates in a variety of disciplines. The college has received numerous awards for its faculty, which includes authors, patent holders, noted scholars and experts noted in their fields. Offering one of the most affordable educations in the state, Collin College students can apply for federal financial and/or state aid, Collin College Foundation scholarships, campus work study jobs, and/or student loans. Collin College has partnered with a variety of colleges and universities to help ease students' transfer of courses and programs. In addition to the book learning, one of the best ways to enjoy campus life at Collin College is to get involved. The school offers a variety of opportunities from sports to community to events.
Accessibility and inclusivity are two important parts of Park University's ethic, a large reason why they've made their online program such an important part of their system. The online campus at Park University is fully accredited and designed for adult learners and veterans who want to earn a degree quickly. Each course is offered through accelerated eight-week terms, and there are five times during the year when students can start a term. This means that students can earn a four-year bachelor's degree or master's degree faster than their traditional counterparts, making the online school the cheapest way to earn a degree from Park. There are 40 degree options offered entirely online, so students are likely to find an area of study that fits their professional needs.
Distance education is nothing new to the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, so their online courses and degree programs are just an extension of what they've been doing for over 100 years. Not only is UNL consistently ranked a top online school for bachelor's degrees, graduate degrees and military education, but it's also one of the cheapest online schools available. All of the online degree programs offered by UNL are fully accredited and are guaranteed to have the same quality and respect as a traditional degree would have. Courses taken at the University of Nebraska can be completed entirely online or through a hybrid of online and on-campus studies, meant for students who want the flexibility of online courses but would still like some face-to-face time.
Jackson State University takes a strong institutional research approach. Founded in 1877, the school is located in Jackson, Mississippi. This historically black college and university (HBCU) awards undergraduate and graduate degrees, including 46 bachelor's degrees, 37 master's degrees and 13 doctoral degrees. A state-supported school and one of the most affordable, Jackson's in-state tuition is about $7,141 a year. Out-of-state tuition is more than double the cost of in-state tuition. The majority of the university's student population consists of returning undergraduates, followed by transfer or returning graduate students. Federal, state, private and institutional financial support is available. To qualify for financial aid, students may need to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid application.

Laramie County Community College (LCCC) has two campuses, in Cheyenne and Laramie, with outreach centers at F.E. Warren Air Force Base and Pine Bluffs. LCCC also offers an interesting variety of online programs, with certificates and associate degrees available in areas such as web design, medical office essentials, medical coding, business management, cybersecurity, education, government studies, health IT management and speech-language pathology assisting. Many of these online degrees also offer an easy transfer to a four-year college through articulation agreements with several nearby schools. Students can also sign up for Interstate Passport, which allows them to transfer blocks of basic general education courses to other participating colleges without having to repeat any courses. Students looking for the most affordable financial plan possible aside from loans may qualify for LCCC's in-state tuition and WUE tuition rates and can also apply for over 350 LCCC scholarships by filling out the Foundation Donor Scholarship application.
The University of Oklahoma-Norman campus is located 20 miles away from Oklahoma City. Museums, art homes, fine food and collegiate sports are attractions for people living in and visiting Oklahoma. In-state, out-of-state and international students often come to the University of Oklahoma's Norman campus to pursue a postsecondary education, particularly in public research. As one of the most affordable universities in the nation, the school is also home to more than 21,000 undergraduate students. Just above 4,000 of these students are freshmen. Aviation, biology, chemistry, communication, political science, nursing and supply chain management are just some examples of the school's 170 majors. Tuition at the school is at a flat rate, totaling $11,312 a year for in-state students. Rates increase for out-of-state students and students taking more than 21 semester hours. Prospective students can check out the school's financial aid office to get information on scholarships and grants to help cover the cost of tuition.
Since 1985, Collin College has served more than 53,000 annual students seeking credit and continuing education. Collin is the only public college in the county, offering more than 100 degrees and certificates in a variety of disciplines. The college has received numerous awards for its faculty, which includes authors, patent holders, noted scholars and experts noted in their fields. Offering one of the most affordable educations in the state, Collin College students can apply for federal financial and/or state aid, Collin College Foundation scholarships, campus work study jobs, and/or student loans. Collin College has partnered with a variety of colleges and universities to help ease students' transfer of courses and programs. In addition to the book learning, one of the best ways to enjoy campus life at Collin College is to get involved. The school offers a variety of opportunities from sports to community to events.
Whether you are a senior in high school or an adult who wants to get a degree, enrolling in college is the first step toward achieving your goal. With the number of schools available, you may find it daunting to navigate all the ins and outs to find the institution that best matches your needs. It is important to know and follow all the deadlines, because if you do meet all the enrollment deadlines, you may soon be on your way to attending college.
But when it comes to four-year schools, Kobzina has concerns about open enrollment, mostly because of the overall quality of the student body. "For a four-year school that's open enrollment, you could have students who passed their classes with D grades and a GPA just high enough to graduate. This could be a negative for higher-achieving students who attend that same college."
In general, yes. Tuition at open enrollment schools tend to be lower than selective four-year colleges. That's because most open enrollment colleges are community colleges that strive to give lower-income students more access to a college education. But there's one caveat – although they typically have open enrollment policies, some for-profit schools are more expensive than comparable nonprofit colleges.
But when it comes to four-year schools, Kobzina has concerns about open enrollment, mostly because of the overall quality of the student body. "For a four-year school that's open enrollment, you could have students who passed their classes with D grades and a GPA just high enough to graduate. This could be a negative for higher-achieving students who attend that same college."
The residents of Newton and McDonald Counties voted in 1963 to establish Crowder College. Since its inception, the college has grown from its main campus in Neosho, adding educational centers in Cassville, Nevada and Webb City. Crowder currently enrolls more than 5,560 students annually who can choose from a selection of Associate of Arts, Associate of Science and Associate of Applied Science degrees and undergraduate certificates. Crowder's online college program enables students to complete coursework toward their degrees and certificates from the location of their choice. While online students do not have to meet face-to-face for classes, they must complete weekly assignments to pass the classes. In addition to its many locations and programs, Crowder also offers one of the most affordable in-district tuition rates in Missouri.
As low-income students catch up to and even surpass their wealthier peers in college enrollment, it’s worth remembering that enrollment is only half the equation. For their education to be worthwhile, students must actually complete their college degrees—which only 57% do within six years. While the “college enrollment gap” between rich and poor has closed in recent years, whether it pays off remains to be seen.
Students from across the country can study at East Carolina University through their online school. The most popular online option is a graduate degree since there are many different options for students to pick from. Some of the top master's degree programs offered online include nursing MSN, education MAEd and criminal justice. Students who want to earn a bachelor's degree online should note that East Carolina doesn't offer full bachelor's degree programs. However, they do offer bachelor's degree completion programs, usually offered to students who have studied for a few years at community college. Online learning is already considered one of the most affordable ways to earn a college degree, but East Carolina University's rates make it one of the top options in terms of affordability.
Students looking into online colleges should check out Tyler Junior College (TJC). TJC is a community college that offers several career-focused, fully online associate degree and professional certificate programs designed to get students ready for the workforce as soon as possible. For students wanting to start at TJC and transfer later, academic and general study courses and degrees are also available online. Tuition and cost is considerably less expensive than other colleges and universities in the area, making the TJC route the cheapest way towards a bachelor's degree at a four-year college for many students. It is worth mentioning here that TJC is the only community college in Texas that offer a bachelor's degree in dental hygiene, which is a completion program for already certified dental hygienists, and is offered in a hybrid format, for increased flexibility. All students can take continuing education courses online, and secondary students can take online courses while still in high school through the Early Admissions program.
Open admissions, or open enrollment, is an inclusive college entrance policy that accepts any student who has a high school diploma or equivalent certificate. Online college admission requirements for schools that participate in open admissions differ from selective universities. Typically, open enrollment colleges require no college entrance exam, such as the ACT or SAT. Instead, these schools require students to take academic assessments or placement tests. Students who completed a college entrance exam are usually not required to take a placement test. ACT or SAT scores determine course placement.
You can select a course and register through your Online Student Services account, which can be accessed through the myEdison® portal. If it is your first time registering for a course, watch this video for a step-by-step tutorial on how to search and select your first course in Online Student Services. If you chose the Per Credit Tuition Plan, Online Student Services is when you pay for those course’s credits.
Once you have narrowed down your college search a critical component in your application process should be a campus visit. College is as much marketing as it is academics and finances, so your slick, glossy brochure is designed to sell. Like everything else in sales, sometimes things ain’t as they appear to be. Would you spend $50,000 on a car sight unseen? Then why would you make your choice of college without paying a visit?
Beyond tuition, online students face other various expenses. These include computers, software, and other technology purchases that enable students to use the school's learning management system. Those living in a private residence may also need to obtain high-speed internet, which many of the most affordable online college degrees require for online coursework.
For many students, the cheapest path to a four-year degree is often starting at a two-year college. Mississippi Delta Community College (MDCC) students who plan to transfer to a four-year institution can take advantage of MDCC's lower priced tuition, earn an associate degree and enjoy a smooth transition to a four-year institution through articulation agreements with several Mississippi state colleges and universities. Students can also earn a four-year degree from Mississippi Valley State University through MDCC, allowing them to stay at one location, rather than transferring. Technical and career-based programs are big at MDCC, with training in fields such as health sciences, business, agriculture, hospitality, construction and manufacturing. Classes are offered on-campus, at satellite locations and online. MDCC belongs to the MSVCC consortium, providing access to even more online programs and courses. To ensure the success of all types of learners, MDCC offers workforce training through their Capps Center, GED, life skills and employability certification through Smart Start, the Edge Grant, which helps SNAP recipients with employment, free training and education, and MI-Best, which gives work training, basic skills and academic support.

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.


For students looking for online colleges in Arizona, Yavapai College (YC) has several online associate degree general education tracks that can transfer to a local, public university, providing the most affordable path towards a bachelor's or graduate degree. If a students' desire to enter the workforce with a trade or skills to advance in their chosen careers, several other associate degree programs are available, in areas such as business, management, paralegal and video game development, along with certificate programs ranging from law enforcement to bookkeeping. To reduce costs further, several course fees have been removed, Microsoft Office software is free, and tuition per credit hour is much less expensive than nearby public universities. Students may also take on-campus courses at several satellite campuses, but the main campus in Prescott is worth checking out, as it houses an art gallery, performing art center, a nature trail, a fitness center with a pool and a child development center.
When evaluating a school's educational qualities, the cost of tuition is only one variable to consider. Prospective online learners should also research degree offerings to ensure their major, minor, and specialization options are available. Accreditation status is also key since it can affect the student's eligibility for certain types of financial aid or their ability to transfer credits. Other important factors include the format of online programs and student outcomes such as graduation and retention rates.
From 2000 to 2017, college enrollment rates increased for Black (from 31 to 36 percent) and Hispanic (from 22 to 36 percent) young adults. The rates in 2017 were also higher than in 2000 for White (41 vs. 39 percent) and Asian (65 vs. 56 percent) young adults.3 The rate was not measurably different between 2000 and 2017 for American Indian/Alaska Native young adults. More recently, college enrollment rates were higher in 2017 than in 2010 for Hispanic (36 vs. 32 percent) young adults and lower in 2017 than in 2010 for White (41 vs. 43 percent) and American Indian/Alaska Native (20 vs. 41 percent) young adults. There was no measurable difference between the 2010 and 2017 college enrollment rates for young adults who were Black, Asian, Pacific Islander, and of Two or more races.
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