Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs Ranked for 2023


The average cost of a four-year degree has more than doubled in just the last two decades. Today, college students pay an average tuition of more than $35,000 per year for a bachelor’s degree. But online learning may provide a pathway to an affordable bachelor’s degree in a wide range of popular majors.

Top 10 Most Affordable Online Bachelor's Degrees

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  1. University of Arizona
  2. Aspen University
  3. Union Institute & University
  4. Purdue Global
  5. Brandman University
  6. Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University
  7. Post University
  8. American Public University System
  9. Thomas Edison State University
  10. Bellevue University
  1. Brandman University 93%
  2. University of Arizona 87%
  3. Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University 70%
  1. Columbia Southern University 39 to 1
  2. Purdue Global 28 to 1
  3. Post University 23 to 1
  4. American Public University System 23 to 1
  5. Brandman University 22 to 1
  6. Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University 20 to 1
  7. Amberton University 20 to 1
  8. Thomas Edison State University 20 to 1
  9. Granite State College 20 to 1
  10. Great Basin College 18 to 1
  1. Union Institute & University $17,141
  2. Post University $16,610
  3. Brandman University $12,480
  4. University of Arizona $10,990
  5. Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University $10,748
  6. Purdue Global $10,080
  7. Holy Apostles College and Seminary $9,080
  8. Amridge University $9,000
  9. Amberton University $8,550
  10. Bellevue University $8,310
  1. Union Institute & University $15,911
  2. Brandman University $12,240
  3. University of Arizona $12,106
  4. Thomas Edison State University $12,024
  5. Bellevue University $10,980
  6. Amridge University $10,800
  7. Granite State College $9,684
  8. Charter Oak State College $9,288
  9. Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University $8,916
  10. Purdue Global $8,730
  1. City Vision University
  2. University of Arkansas Grantham
  3. Holy Apostles College and Seminary
  4. Amridge University
  5. Great Basin College
  6. Athens State University
  7. Charter Oak State College
  8. Columbia Southern University
  9. Granite State College
  10. Amberton University
  1. Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University 70%
  2. University of Arizona 87%
  3. Brandman University 93%
  1. City Vision University 7 to 1
  2. Union Institute & University 7 to 1
  3. Holy Apostles College and Seminary 8 to 1
  4. Aspen University 8 to 1
  5. Amridge University 13 to 1
  6. Charter Oak State College 13 to 1
  7. University of Arizona 15 to 1
  8. Athens State University 15 to 1
  9. Bellevue University 16 to 1
  10. Great Basin College 18 to 1
  1. Great Basin College $3,518
  2. Aspen University $5,110
  3. Columbia Southern University $5,775
  4. City Vision University $6,000
  5. Athens State University $6,750
  6. Thomas Edison State University $7,182
  7. American Public University System $7,360
  8. Granite State College $7,536
  9. Charter Oak State College $7,656
  10. University of Arkansas Grantham $8,280
  1. Columbia Southern University $3,900
  2. Aspen University $3,900
  3. University of Arkansas Grantham $4,200
  4. Holy Apostles College and Seminary $4,500
  5. City Vision University $6,400
  6. American Public University System $6,660
  7. Amberton University $6,840
  8. Post University $7,500
  9. Athens State University $7,800
  10. Purdue Global $8,730

Key Takeaways

  • The online bachelor’s degree is a cost-effective way to earn an undergraduate degree. Many state and public colleges offer four-year degree programs online.

  • Online bachelor’s 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 bachelor’s degree can qualify for a wide range of opportunities in the workforce. Earning an online bachelor’s degree may also qualify students to continue into master’s degree programs.

Featured Programs

Online bachelor’s programs are typically offered in a full range of popular subjects including bachelor’s degrees in business administration, computer science, early childhood education, criminal justice, health sciences, psychology, and much more. But how can you find the most affordable online college? And how can you shop for the cheapest online colleges without sacrificing a quality education?

We rank the most affordable online colleges programs so you can earn your bachelor’s degree online without taking on a costly tuition bill or hefty student loan debts.

An Overview of the Bachelor’s Degree

What is an online bachelor’s degree?

The online bachelor’s degree is a four-year distance learning program providing students with online access to the same courses, curricula and content as traditional students. Both online and traditional students will typically be required to earn 120 credits toward the completion of their undergraduate degrees.

Why get an online bachelor’s degree?

The online bachelor’s degree may be an affordable alternative to the traditional brick and mortar college experience. Online students typically save money on college expenses like dorm housing, transportation and certain campus fees. And a growing number of highly respected traditional colleges and universities are offering online degree programs in a wide range of disciplines.

What are the advantages of getting an online bachelor’s degree?

An online bachelor’s degree comes with a handful of advantages over the traditional college degree including lower student expenses, greater scheduling flexibility, and access to the college education in your state regardless of your geographic location. Often, the most affordable online college in your state will be a public college or university. Online degree programs give distance learners access to these highly reputable accredited degree programs.

Are online bachelor’s degrees respected?

Online bachelor’s programs offer a strong point of entry into a broad spectrum of potential careers in areas like business, education, criminal justice, and much more. And because an ever-growing number of reputable and regionally accredited institutions are offering online courses and bachelor’s degree programs, a wide range of employers are coming to view online degrees with the same level of respect given traditional degrees. In fact, as long as you earn you online degree from an accredited institution, most employers will not distinguish between online and traditional students.

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How We Rank the Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs

In most cases, the most affordable online bachelor’s programs will be those offered by colleges and universities in your state. Online students who attend public colleges and universities enjoy access to in-state tuition rates just like traditional on-campus students.

That’s why we’ve ranked these online bachelor’s 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.

We have even more cheap degree rankings in our Guide to Affordable Degrees.

Below is a mix of both public and private colleges and universities offering the most affordable online bachelor’s degree programs on the higher education landscape.

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Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s Degrees for In-State Students

  1. #8

    Purdue Global

    West Lafayette , IN
    Other Rankings

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  2. #10

    Bellevue University

    Bellevue , NE
    Other Rankings

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  3. #19

    Post University

    Waterbury , CT
    Other Rankings

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  4. #20

    University of Arizona

    Tucson , AZ
    Other Rankings

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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