Most Affordable Online Associate Degree Programs Ranked for 2023


We rank the most affordable online associate degrees for both in-state and out-of-state students.

Top 10 Most Affordable Online Associate Degrees

Sort by:
  1. Park University
  2. Purdue Global
  3. Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University
  4. Post University
  5. American Public University System
  6. Thomas Edison State University
  7. Brigham Young University–Idaho
  8. Central Texas College
  9. Granite State College
  10. Columbia Southern University
  1. Brigham Young University–Idaho 97%
  2. Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University 70%
  1. Columbia Southern University 39 to 1
  2. Coastline Community College 31 to 1
  3. Purdue Global 28 to 1
  4. Cerro Coso Community College 24 to 1
  5. Post University 23 to 1
  6. American Public University System 23 to 1
  7. Brigham Young University–Idaho 20 to 1
  8. Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University 20 to 1
  9. Thomas Edison State University 20 to 1
  10. Granite State College 20 to 1
  1. Post University $16,610
  2. Park University $12,280
  3. Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University $10,748
  4. Purdue Global $10,080
  5. Amridge University $9,000
  6. University of Arkansas Grantham $8,280
  7. Granite State College $7,536
  8. American Public University System $7,360
  9. Thomas Edison State University $7,182
  10. Columbia Southern University $5,775
  1. Thomas Edison State University $12,024
  2. Amridge University $10,800
  3. Granite State College $9,684
  4. Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University $8,916
  5. Purdue Global $8,730
  6. Post University $7,500
  7. American Public University System $6,660
  8. Park University $6,435
  9. University of Arkansas Grantham $4,200
  10. Columbia Southern University $3,900
  1. University of Arkansas Grantham
  2. Stanly Community College
  3. Wilson Community College
  4. Lake Tahoe Community College
  5. Albany Technical College
  6. Cerro Coso Community College
  7. Fayetteville Technical Community College
  8. Amridge University
  9. Great Basin College
  10. Coastline Community College
  1. Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University 70%
  2. Brigham Young University–Idaho 97%
  1. Wilson Community College 11 to 1
  2. Stanly Community College 12 to 1
  3. Amridge University 13 to 1
  4. Central Texas College 14 to 1
  5. Albany Technical College 14 to 1
  6. Park University 15 to 1
  7. Fayetteville Technical Community College 16 to 1
  8. Great Basin College 18 to 1
  9. University of Arkansas Grantham 18 to 1
  10. Lake Tahoe Community College 19 to 1
  1. Coastline Community College $1,104
  2. Lake Tahoe Community College $1,116
  3. Cerro Coso Community College $1,380
  4. Albany Technical College $2,400
  5. Wilson Community College $2,432
  6. Fayetteville Technical Community College $2,432
  7. Stanly Community College $2,554
  8. Great Basin College $3,518
  9. Central Texas College $3,570
  10. Brigham Young University–Idaho $4,416
  1. Columbia Southern University $3,900
  2. University of Arkansas Grantham $4,200
  3. Park University $6,435
  4. American Public University System $6,660
  5. Post University $7,500
  6. Purdue Global $8,730
  7. Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University $8,916
  8. Granite State College $9,684
  9. Amridge University $10,800
  10. Thomas Edison State University $12,024

Key Takeaways

  • The online associate degree is a cost-effective way to earn an undergraduate degree. Most community colleges offer highly affordable two-year degree programs online.

  • Online associate degrees are available in a full spectrum of popular disciplines including business administration, early childhood education, criminal justice, and more.

  • Students who earn an online associate degree can qualify for a wide range of entry level opportunities in the workforce. Many students also continue into online bachelor’s degree programs in related subject areas.

The online associate degree is among the most affordable ways to earn an undergraduate degree. Online associate degree programs are typically offered in an extremely wide range of popular subjects including the associate degree in business administration, computer science, early childhood education, and much more. But how can you be sure you’re getting the cheapest online associate degree?

We rank the most affordable online associate degree programs so you can get started on your higher education without taking on a costly tuition bill or hefty student loan debts.

Featured Programs

An Overview of the Associate Degree

What is an Associate Degree?

An associate degree is a two-year degree that can be earned at state community colleges, vocational schools, and most accredited colleges and universities.

What will I study with an associate degree?

The associate degree provides an introductory level college education. You will usually take an array of liberal arts or humanities courses along with introductory level courses in a specific subject area. Most associate degree programs are available to both on campus students and online students.

Why get an associate degree?

There are several good reasons to get an associate degree. An associate degree is an affordable and accessible way to get a college education while improving your earning potential. The associate degree is popular both among students looking for entry-level work in their field, and for those who are already working.

The online degree is particularly popular at the associate level because so many students must balance work responsibilities and studies. Online courses and complete online programs make it possible for students to earn associate credits and degrees without disrupting daily work responsibilities.

The associate is also a far more affordable and accessible alternative to earning a bachelor’s degree. The associate degree takes about half as long to earn as a bachelor’s degree. Associate students need 60 credits to graduate, versus the 120 credits needed for a bachelor’s degree. And many state community colleges offer low tuition rates.

Can I get a job with an associate degree?

You can get an entry-level job in your field with an associate degree. Many students will use the associate degree as a way to get relevant job training before entering the job market. In fact, many associates will pursue entry level work in their field while earning a bachelor’s degree through online education.

Should I get an associate degree before pursuing a bachelor’s degree?

You may want to get an associate degree first to save money, or improve your admission chances, before getting a bachelor’s degree. The associate degree is a popular stepping stone for students who will seek a bachelor’s degree. When you earn an associate degree from an accredited state community college, you can usually transfer your credits toward your bachelor’s degree program.

Can I get an online degree at the associate level?

You can definitely get an online degree at the associate level. A growing number of online colleges offer high-quality associate-level online courses and complete online programs. Online students will typically take the same courses and curricula as on campus students.

Are associate degrees from online colleges respected?

Online degrees at the associate level are respected as long as these online degrees come from accredited community colleges or two-year schools. Regional accreditation is important when it comes to online colleges. If you plan to go into a bachelor’s degree program at a regionally accredited school, you must earn your online degree from a regionally accredited associate degree program.

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How we rank the most affordable online associate programs?

In most cases, the most affordable associate’s degree will be the one offered by a county community college located in your state. Online associate degree students enjoy access to in-state tuition rates just like traditional on-campus students. That’s why we’ve ranked these associate degree programs by placing the highest weight on in-state tuition rates. The tuition price listed below may not reflect the lower rate extended to in-state residents. Click on each school to learn more about in state tuition discounts. Other factors included in our ranking are Influence–the measure of a school’s excellence based on the real-world impact of its professors, students, and alumni; and the percentage of full-time students enrolled in online degree programs at each institution.

The community college and two-year programs below are all public options with an extensive range of online classes.

Are you interested in continuing your education with an affordable bachelor’s degree? Check out our Guide to Cheap Degree Programs.

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Most Affordable Online Associate Degrees for In-State Students

  1. #6

    Purdue Global

    West Lafayette , IN
    Other Rankings

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  2. #13

    Post University

    Waterbury , CT
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  3. #18

    Park University

    Parkville , MO
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More on the Cost of College

How much does 4 years of college cost on average?

In 2020, the average yearly cost of tuition and fees for in-state public colleges was just over $10,000 while the average cost of tuition for a year in private school was $36,801. But costs can go up significant from there, with more than 120 ranked private colleges charing an annual tuition and fees of at least $50,000.

What’s the difference between the sticker price and net price of college?

The “sticker price” for a year in college may be different than the actual cost of a year in college. The cost of college includes incidentals including housing, college fees, text books, meal plans, and general living expenses. The cost may also be offset by federal financial aid, grants or scholarships. You’ll need to factor these expenses and credits to the sticker price to determine your net price for college.

How can I cut my college costs?

Financial aid, scholarships, and geographical considerations all offer ways to offset the sticker price. Financial aid and scholarships are both central considerations as you look for ways to cut your costs. There also ways to save on the peripheral expenses that can really add up. Text books, for instance, can be quite expensive. Try shopping for used books online instead of going straight your campus bookstore for the newest copy.

How can I make college more affordable?

Whether you start at a community college or jump right into a bachelor’s degree program, attending a public college or university in your state will be your most affordable option. State schools typically offer deep tuition discounts for in state students, whether you take online courses or earn your degree on campus. You may also be able to offset some expenses by earning your degree online. While tuition for online college is generally in line with tuition for the traditional college experience, you may be able to saving on college fees, housing, and transportation.

For more tips on getting an affordable online education, check out our Guide to Financial Aid in Higher Education