Top 10 Low Cost Online Degree Programs 2018

Best Degree Programs - Most Affordable 2016
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By BDP Staff

What does it take to be considered one of the best, low-cost online degree programs in the country? Spoiler alert: it’s not easy.

This ranking is two-fold: first, it ranks the 10 overall most affordable degree types; that is, the 10 undergraduate majors that give students the best opportunities to study online, save money now, and earn back their investment later. Second, this ranking includes the five cheapest online schools for each program type, giving readers direct access to the colleges and universities that will help them save big on a valuable education.

Methodology

The first step in ranking the top affordable online degree programs was to collect a pool of potential majors from which to choose. Although we looked at a wide variety of subjects, we primarily wanted to identify the ones that attract the most students – and online students in particular. We consulted with sources like TheBestDegrees.org and Guide to Online Schools, but acquired the bulk of our information from College Navigator. After finalizing our initial list, we then turned to new sources – including PayScale.com and the Bureau of Labor Statistics – to gather data on each potential top major, looking specifically at these categories:

  • Number of schools offering online degrees in that subject
  • Number of total degrees that those schools conferred in that subject in 2014-15
  • Early career (0-5 years of experience) pay for professionals with an undergraduate degree in that subject
  • Salary potential, i.e. the average growth in earnings a professional with an undergraduate degree in that subject can expect to see from early to mid (10+ years of experience) career
  • Job outlook, or the average predicted growth in employment opportunities in careers related to that subject, from 2014 to 2024

Collectively, these metrics are meant to capture a program’s online availability (more choices often means cheaper choices) as well as its financial payoff. Students who think long-term will realize that it might be worth it to pay slightly more for their college education today if it can substantially increase their earnings down the road. Of course, not all subjects offer the same return on investment! Only the best of the best – the majors that grant access and opportunity and have been proven to improve students’ earning power – made our list. These top 10, low-cost online degree programs are described in detail below.

With all of this said, world-class academics and lucrative job opportunities are worthless if no one can afford to pay the upfront costs required to obtain that education and qualify themselves for that career. In that sense, the here-and-now expenses of a college education are just as important as unrealized future gains. So as an added measure, we researched all the schools that offer online degrees in our top 10 subjects, crunched the numbers, and determined the approximate total program cost (number of credits x cost-per-credit) for each one.

For each of the 10 majors listed below, we have also included links to the five cheapest online degrees available in that subject. The evidence has spoken: these colleges and universities will save you money today while preparing you to earn even more tomorrow – and you won’t even have to leave your home!


10. Communication

Believe it or not, communication is one of the most common degrees for undergraduates to pursue online. While not a purely vocational course of study (few jobs exist explicitly for “communicators”), this field nonetheless carries a unique set of advantages in the working world. Look in just about any industry, in any company, and you’ll find someone who majored in communication in college. From marketing to public relations to journalism to human resources, the basic ability to share our ideas with others is a crucial component to success. And given that computers and robots are limited in their ability to translate abstract ideas and concepts into action, people who do possess this skill are likely to enjoy reasonable job security in the coming years. Indeed, the Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates as much as 10% growth in communication-related employment over the next several years.

Of course, trying to make it as an author or publisher might be an uphill battle, but if you are flexible in your career choices and go where you are needed, there is no reason an online communications degree couldn’t turn out to be a superb investment. Benefits include a starting salary in the range of $41,000 a year, plus opportunities for growth that could increase your earnings by nearly 60% over time.

There are nearly 100 schools that offer low-cost online degrees in communications, and these colleges collectively graduated nearly 4,000 online students from such programs last year. These stats don’t put the subject on top of the pack in terms of popularity, but they do reveal an important silver lining. After all, if you were enrolled in one of the nation’s most in-demand majors, you might find yourself competing for attention from professors – and fighting for jobs in a crowded market. Instead, you could peruse our selection of five very affordable online degrees that are prepared to support your low-cost lifestyle.

Arkansas State University

Online Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies

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Home to one of the cheapest online bachelor’s degree programs in communications, Arkansas State delivers quality and affordability with a curriculum that will “[expand] your knowledge of how people and organizations share, interpret and understand information.”
Required Credits: 120
Total Tuition Cost: $27,960

University of Texas of the Permian Basin

Online Bachelor of Arts in Communication

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UTPB’s top-notch B.A. in Communication features 100% online coursework and an accelerated framework that could take you from start to finish in just 12 months.
Required Credits: 120
Total Tuition Cost: $33,120

Montana State University-Billings

Online Bachelor of Arts in Communication

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Montana State University’s two-in-one affordable online degree program comes with two contemporary concentration options: Organizational Communication, which imparts skills related to human resources management and employee training, and Mass Communication, which focuses on both the design and effect of media messages.
Required Credits: 120
Total Tuition Cost: $39,960

University of Maryland-University College

Online Communication Studies Bachelor’s Degree

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UMUC’s catch-all online communication bachelor’s degree offers broad-based skills that are useful for students pursuing careers in journalism, business, public relations, and more.
Required Credits: 120
Total Tuition Cost: $47,040

University of Minnesota-Crookston

Online Communication Bachelor of Science (BS)

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A low cost online degree program in communications is within easy reach at the University of Minnesota Crookston, where students can choose from a triple-threat combination of specialty coursework in Public Relations/Organizational Communication, Writing, and Communication Studies.
Required Credits: 120
Total Tuition Cost: $47,040


9. Liberal Studies

Nearly 120 colleges in the U.S. offer online courses in Liberal Studies – also known as General Studies or Interdisciplinary Studies – making this is one of the easiest degrees for distance learners to acquire. Unfortunately, it’s somewhat difficult to assess the potential return on investment that Liberal Studies majors can expect. This ambiguity is primarily due to the fact that the program is unaffiliated with any specific career path or industry. In fact, by definition, the General Studies curriculum is about as broad as it gets, instituting few if any limitations on its learners’ future job prospects.

On the one hand, this structure accounts for the degree’s immense and lasting popularity, especially among transfer students who just need the additional credits to qualify for their bachelor’s. However, this also makes for a degree that is definitely not for everyone. But if you’re indecisive about your future and not particularly concerned with how to directly translate your college education into a permanent career, Liberal Studies could be right up your alley.

The open-door, blank-slate quality of this program is evident throughout our ranking table. That is, the statistics on this major are consistently average – perhaps bland to some, but undoubtedly reliable. For example, PayScale.com reports that Liberal Studies majors earn early-career salaries hovering around $38k a year and see paycheck increases of about 60% over the following decade. And when we looked up a variety of potential occupations for Liberal Studies grads on BLS.gov, we found (as expected) that the job growth rates align pretty close to the average across all industries (8%). In the end, this amounts to a “safe but not sorry” education, available as an extremely low-cost online degree from these five institutions.

Clayton State University

Online BA in Liberal Studies

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The B.A. in Liberal Studies – part of the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies at Clayton State – is ideal for students who would prefer to develop general skills to “meet the ever-changing requirements of the world of work” rather than focus on a specific academic discipline.
Required Credits: 120
Total Tuition Cost: $26,400

Dakota State University

Online General Studies (BGS) Degree

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The quality of education you’ll receive in DSU’s General Studies program, which combines three different fields of your choosing for the ultimate in customized learning, makes it hard to believe that this is also one of the cheapest online degrees in the nation.
Required Credits: 120
Total Tuition Cost: $33,720

Jacksonville State University

Online Bachelor of Arts in Integrated Studies (formerly Liberal Studies)

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Individuals with unusual academic needs, such as transfer students entering JSU with an eclectic mix of credits that don’t necessarily fit into a single major, will find the university’s affordable online degree program in Liberal Studies (now called Integrated Studies) to be a worthwhile investment.
Required Credits: 120
Total Tuition Cost: $36,000

Rogers State University

Online Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts

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At Rogers State University, creative and free-spirited students flock to the online B.A. in Liberal Arts, an interdisciplinary program that fosters independent thinking and comes with two specialization options (English and Global Humanities).
Required Credits: 120
Total Tuition Cost: $38,040

South Dakota State University

Online B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies

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This low cost online degree program provides a unique opportunity for you to tailor your education to your specific career goals; for example, aspiring business owners can design a cross-departmental course of study that includes classes in leadership, communications, consumer affairs, finance, and more.
Required Credits: 120
Total Tuition Cost: $39,960


8. Health Administration

At first glance, healthcare administration would seem to have almost nothing in common with general studies programs. Health management majors are career-focused, have a clear plan for the future, and a specific passion for subjects related to the health sciences and business. But interestingly, the data reveals a few curious similarities between the two disciplines. When it comes to the number of online programs available, early career salary, and income potential, the degree paths are nearly identical. In fact, there are only two metrics on which they differ significantly.

The first is unsurprising. While online undergraduate programs conferred over 8,000 Liberal Studies degrees in 2015, fewer than half that number (approximately 3200) walked away with “Healthcare Administration” stamped on their diploma. Of course, no one would expect health administration, with its tight focus and specialized career prospects, to carry the same widespread appeal as general studies. But there is a reason that general studies ranks 9th, and healthcare management 8th, on this cheap online degree program ranking.

The reason? Job outlook. If you graduate with a B.S. in Health Administration, you’ll find yourself gazing into a future with explosive career opportunities. The BLS anticipates an immense 17% growth in health management positions before 2024 – that’s more than 56,000 new jobs. But enough with the numbers. What does this mean? To us, the data indicates that a degree in this discipline could be your ticket to a reliable future with high ROI and room to grow. If you’re excited by these prospects but concerned about saving money now, these five especially cheap online degree programs are here to answer your call.

South Texas College

Online Bachelor of Applied Technology Degree (BAT) in Medical and Health Services Management

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With an average cost-per-credit of just $111 (a cost that drops significantly for in-district and in-state students), South Texas College isn’t just an affordable option for healthcare administration majors; it’s also the source of some of the – if not the – cheapest online degree programs in the country.
Required Credits: 120
Total Tuition Cost: $13,320

Brigham Young University-Idaho

Online BS in Healthcare Administration

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BYU’s Idaho campus offers one of the best values in health management education, thanks to a program that offers cutting-edge training in contemporary healthcare practices and regulations – plus, members of the LDS congregation receive a 50% discount on tuition rates for a total tuition cost of just $19,200.
Required Credits: 120
Total Tuition Cost: $38,400

Colorado State University-Global Campus

Online Bachelor’s Degree in Healthcare Administration and Management

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One of the only colleges to appear three separate times on this low cost online degrees ranking, Colorado State University’s Global Campus has earned its reputation for providing relevant, career-focused programs – like the one in Healthcare Administration and Management – at an extremely reasonable tuition rate.
Required Credits: 120
Total Tuition Cost: $42,000

SUNY College of Technology-Canton

Online Health Care Management – B.S.

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Setting a new standard for flexibility, SUNY College of Technology rivals even the most accommodating online colleges with its B.S. in Health Care Management, which allows students to select any combination of online, hybrid, and face-to-face courses and even permits online learners to take additional coursework instead of completing an internship.
Required Credits: 120
Total Tuition Cost: $45,480

Weber State University

Online Bachelor of Science in Health Services Administration, Health Services Administration Emphasis

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This AUPHA-certified Health Services Administration program features an exciting curriculum that emphasizes skill development in areas essential to effective leadership, including decision-making, interpersonal communication, motivation, teamwork, and organizational design.
Required Credits: 120
Total Tuition Cost: $48,960


7. Organizational Leadership

For a degree to have any chance of being one of the top low-cost online programs, it must appeal to a significant number of students (and colleges) and prove to be a worthwhile financial and professional investment. It makes sense, then, that the subject matter of these top degrees would be popular, familiar, and associated with numerous high-paying jobs. Even so, we wouldn’t be surprised if you are currently asking yourself, “What is organizational leadership?” Good question!

Consider this: no matter what industry ultimately employs you, there is a chance that you will one day end up in a managerial role. For many people, “management” is synonymous with “business,” and while there is substantial overlap, these fields are not one in the same. Business students tend to learn about operational aspects of a company, such as finance, accounting, logistics, and law. But there is also a non-technical side to business, which is where scholars of Organizational Leadership shine. Well-versed in psychology, interpersonal communication, conflict resolution, and team building, these experts know how to manage and motivate diverse groups of people in diverse environments.

Although predictions anticipate that future job growth in this field will be average at best, don’t write it off just yet. The value and versatility of the skills you can acquire through a B.S. in Organizational Leadership will make you uniquely useful to all sorts of employers. Plus, you can look forward to an average $43,000 salary to start – and an income roughly 65% larger than that by the mid-career point. Interested? These cheap online degree programs are eager to help you get started.

Colorado State University-Global Campus

Online Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Leadership

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As one of the cheapest online degree programs in the field, CSU’s B.S. in Organizational Leadership offers universal in-state tuition (regardless of residency) and a guarantee that your rates won’t increase for as long as you are enrolled.
Required Credits: 120
Total Tuition Cost: $42,000

Wilmington University

Online Organizational Management Bachelor of Science

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Wilmington University’s IACBE-accredited organizational management program is perfect for working adults, who can earn college credit for their professional experience and therefore accelerate their path to graduation.
Required Credits: 120
Total Tuition Cost: $42,480

Valdosta State University

Online Organizational Leadership (ORGL) Bachelor of Science Degree

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Specifically designed for adult learners and non-traditional students (as well as military members and veterans), Valdosta State’s affordable online degree program in Organizational Leadership comes with four unique areas of concentration: Public Service Administration, Office Administration and Technology, Spanish for Professionals/ESOL Instruction, and Legal Office Administration.
Required Credits: 120
Total Tuition Cost: $47,280

Bellevue University

Online Leadership BS

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Although Bellevue University’s online leadership degree doesn’t officially carry an organizational component, the curriculum covers numerous topics – including social psychology, decision-making, ethics, interpersonal dynamics, and diversity – that overlap with more traditional ORGL programs.
Required Credits: 127
Total Tuition Cost: $52,070

Union Institute & University

Online B.S. In Organizational Leadership

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Thanks to a curriculum that focuses on developing problem-solving skills, global perspectives, and a sense of social responsibility, this cheap online degree program is prepared to help you succeed in just about any career you choose.
Required Credits: 120
Total Tuition Cost: $61,200


6. Human Services

Although it earns 6th place on this low cost online degree program ranking, Human Services is actually one of the more obscure disciplines listed here, especially among distance education students. Just 44 schools offer online programs in Human Services – the lowest number on this list. In addition, those programs conferred fewer than 1,000 degrees in this subject last year – also the lowest number on this list. But remember, this ranking isn’t meant to be a popularity contest, and redemption is just ahead.

Students who major in Human Services receive training for careers in social work, public health, community organizing, public service, mental health, rehabilitation, and other similar helping professions. The starting salary for many of these positions is on the smaller side (approximately $34,000), but can grow by 80% or more over time. And if you get promoted into management or augment your skills with a master’s degree, you can leverage your experience to secure even greater fiscal rewards. Couple this with a slightly faster-than-average employment outlook (projected 10% growth), and you may start to understand why an affordable online degree in Human Services could be well worth the investment.

It’s also worth noting that, of all the cheap degree programs online, Human Services is one that is typically associated with “high meaning” careers. In other words, you may find that, by working in a profession in which you can help others, you gain a sense of satisfaction and purpose more valuable than the numbers on your paycheck. If you’re interested in exploring further, check out the affordable online colleges listed below.

Colorado State University-Global Campus

Online Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services

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Colorado State University offers a low cost online degree in Human Services that can help you prepare for a career as a substance abuse counselor, child advocate, family support worker, or another similar helping profession – without breaking the bank.
Required Credits: 120
Total Tuition Cost: $42,000

University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh

Online Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services Leadership

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The University of Wisconsin’s Oshkosh campus combines traditional coursework in human services with a leadership degree that will teach you all about human behavior, interpersonal relations, and intervention strategies – as well as how to use these skills to earn a top-level position in your chosen career field.
Required Credits: 120
Total Tuition Cost: $43,200

Granite State College

Online Bachelor of Science in Human Services

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Granite State College’s affordable online degree in Human Services is also one of the most flexible, offering distance, hybrid, face-to-face, and weekend intensive course options to make sure that busy students have every opportunity to succeed academically.
Required Credits: 120
Total Tuition Cost: $62,280

Wayland Baptist University

Online Bachelor of Applied Sciences in Human Services

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Students with considerable work experience and/or previous college credits (such as from an associate’s degree) will get the most bang for their buck at Wayland Baptist University, which offers a customizable Bachelor of Applied Science (with an option in Human Services) that can help you maximize your opportunities for career advancement.
Required Credits: 120
Total Tuition Cost: $69,000

Grace Bible College

Online Bachelor of Science in Human Services

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Many Christian students will love Grace Bible College’s low cost online degree in Human Services, which sports a curriculum entirely dedicated to developing “biblically-informed, ethical thinkers who can practically apply their knowledge to serving others in society.”
Required Credits: 120
Total Tuition Cost: $75,000


5. Marketing

Marketing: the lovechild of communication and business (both of which are also in the top 10 low cost online degree programs). If you are creative but analytical, imaginative but persuasive, this could be the career of your dreams. At some point, anyone who sells a product or service is going to need a professional to help them find (or create) interested consumers, which means that marketing agencies are rarely out of work.

But the demand for qualified marketing professionals isn’t limited to the here and now. Projections indicate that market research analysts can expect to see a nearly 20% boost in employment options over the next few years. That’s huge! Related occupations, like promotions managers and survey researchers, will also enjoy higher-than-average growth rates. But the good news doesn’t stop there. PayScale.com surveys indicate that current marketing professionals make almost $45k annually in the early days of their career – a figure that jumps north of $65k with a few years of experience.

Of course, to take advantage of all these perks, you’ll need to get a degree in marketing, first. And this is one field where it is helpful to have an education specifically in this area of study, although communications majors often end up in marketing, too. Luckily, your choices for cheap online colleges are decent (80 distance education programs in total) but not overcrowded. Approximately 2700 students earned their marketing degree online last year, so your graduating class – statistically speaking – will likely include somewhere between 30 to 50 students. But if you’re interested in a much larger program, you’ll be happy to hear that there are a few Goliaths out there. One such giant (Western Governors University, which granted over 200 Bachelor’s in Marketing degrees last year) is included below on our selection of low-cost online programs.

Western Governors University

Online Bachelor of Science Marketing Management

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Whether you’ve already accrued several years of industry experience or you’re just starting out in your career as a marketing professional, Western Governors University’s low cost online college degree, which is self-paced and features a flat tuition rate, can help you meet your goals.
Required Credits: 120
Total Tuition Cost: $22,920

Fort Hays State University

Online Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing

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Fort Hays State University’s online Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing doesn’t just earn a shout out on this low cost online degree program ranking; it also earns a spot on Get Educated’s list of online undergraduate “Best Buys.”
Required Credits: 124
Total Tuition Cost: $25,668

Northern State University

Online Marketing Bachelor of Science (BS)

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Marketing students at Northern State University may pay extremely low tuition costs, but they secure an extremely high quality education in return – complete with lessons in consumer psychology, personal selling, brand management, and more.
Required Credits: 120
Total Tuition Cost: $33,720

Thomas Edison State University

Online BSBA in Marketing

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TESC students who opt for the online BSBA in Marketing get the best of both worlds: a thorough business education as well as in-depth marketing training in subjects like public relations and product development – all for the cost of one of the cheapest online degrees in the country.
Required Credits: 120
Total Tuition Cost: $53,040

Minot State University

Online Bachelor of Science with a major in Marketing

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Minot State University’s online marketing degree is for serious students only; while writing the tuition checks may be easy, the curriculum will challenge you to tackle tough courses in micro- and macroeconomics, applied calculus, statistics, and corporation finance, plus many more.
Required Credits: 120
Total Tuition Cost: $55,440


4. Accounting

Whether you’re talking about a profession or a degree program, few come close to the practicality and reliability of accounting. Sure, extreme number-crunching may one day be the exclusive job of robots, but that day is still a long way off. And while sophisticated software programs and online applications can drastically simplify accounting tasks, they are most effective at making accountants more efficient on the job – not at stealing their jobs altogether. The Bureau of Labor Statistics agrees with this assessment, noting that an increase in government regulations, the growth of public sector companies, and continued economic recovery will drive demand for accounting professionals. As a result, job opportunities in this field should jump by close to 11% in the coming decade.

Ranking 4th on our list of top affordable online degrees, the B.S. in Accounting is a nearly fail-proof option. Early career salaries hover around the $47,000 mark – the second highest on this list – and can easily swell by another $30,000 with time and experience. Accounting is also uniquely suitable to online education; lacking a mandate for lab courses or required practicums, you might be able to go all four years without ever visiting campus!

However, there is one major caveat to consider before taking the plunge into professional accounting. If you really want to succeed in the industry, there is almost no question that you will need to attend graduate school. This is because, to earn a professional certification as a CPA, CFE, CFP, or other similar qualification, you must complete 150 hours of relevant coursework. Fortunately, many of these programs are short (one to two years) and also available online, meaning that you could go from zero to master’s in just six years without ever leaving your house! The journey begins with a cheap online undergraduate program, such as those listed below.

Western Governors University

Online Bachelor of Science Accounting

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There’s no denying the value of this affordable online degree program, which students can use to launch their careers as entry-level accountants or to gain entry to a master’s program – and ultimately, their CPA certification.
Required Credits: 121
Total Tuition Cost: $23,111

Athens State University

Bachelor of Science in Accounting

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Athens State University has designed a broad-based online accounting curriculum that touches on all the essential aspects of the profession, from internal auditing to public accounting and government service.
Required Credits: 124
Total Tuition Cost: $33,976

University of West Alabama

Online Bachelor of Business Administration Accounting Program

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Unlike the other low cost online degrees in accounting on this list, the University of West Alabama’s program is featured as part of the Bachelor of Business Administration, allowing ambitious students to augment their knowledge of management principles and financial regulations simultaneously.
Required Credits: 120
Total Tuition Cost: $39,000

Dickinson State University

Online Bachelor of Science Degree: Accounting

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Obtaining your cheap online degree in accounting from Dickinson State University can open the door to any number of lucrative career fields, such as forensic accounting, tax preparation, auditing and assurance services, or banking.
Required Credits: 128
Total Tuition Cost: $40,064

University of Northwestern Ohio

Online Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting

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The University of Northwestern’s accounting program stands out among low cost online degrees for both the challenge and opportunity it offers; students can choose from three distinct degree options – general Accounting, Forensic Accounting, and CPA Track – the latter of which is an accelerated five-year course that grants students all 150 accounting-related credits they need to sit for the CPA exam.
Required Credits: 180
Total Tuition Cost: $48,600


3. Psychology

In 2014, USA Today published an article entitled, “Same as it ever was: Top 10 most popular college majors.” The article implies that the top majors have changed little over time, thanks to students’ tendency to lean toward broad programs that provide multiple options and impart useful skills for a variety of careers. Indeed, other rankings from websites like The Richest, Good Call, and Forbes produce similar results – although the order and scope of programs do vary somewhat, depending on the data sources used.

But there is at least one quality held constant across nearly every popular college major ranking, independent of time or space: they all include psychology. For some, majoring in psychology is like majoring in “undecided;” the program is so broad that it serves as a “catch all” for otherwise directionless students. But psychology doesn’t deserve your mockery, nor do its students deserve criticism for their choice. The knowledge and skills gained in this discipline – which teaches students how people learn, grow, think, make decisions, and cultivate relationships – are almost universally applicable in the real world.

And for what it’s worth (and we think it’s worth a lot), this affordable online degree option offers an excellent return on investment. While those on the bottom rungs of the career ladder make a relatively low annual salary of approximately $37k, those on the middle rungs rake in roughly 60% more – leaving the highest rungs wide open for six-figure incomes. Even more exciting are the employment opportunities for psychology graduates; BLS.gov pegs the field’s near-future job growth at an unbelievable 20%. Not only is this the highest of any online college degree program on this list, but it’s also four times the national average growth rate over the same time period. But you won’t have to wait until graduation to enjoy economic security. These five low-cost online degrees in psychology will help you save money and start your education off on the right financial foot.

University of Maine-Presque Isle

Online Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology

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It’s hard to find a downside to attending this cheap online degree program: in addition to extremely affordable tuition, the University of Maine at Presque Isle also offers year-round classes, provides all coursework 100% online, and matches each student with a full-time advisor who offers academic and scheduling guidance.
Required Credits: 120
Total Tuition Cost: $26,400

Chadron State College

Online Bachelor of Arts with a Subject Matter in Psychology

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To ensure their students make the most of this online B.A. in Psychology, Chadron State requires program members to choose a minor in a related field, such as general or social and personality psychology.
Required Credits: 120
Total Tuition Cost: $31,200

Peru State College

Online Psychology Major

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The value of this affordable online degree program doesn’t stop with a bachelor’s diploma; students can also take approved Provisional Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor classes and earn their PLADC credential (on campus visits required for PLADC coursework).
Required Credits: 120
Total Tuition Cost: $31,200

University of Texas of the Permian Basin

Online Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (BA-PSYC)

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The University of Texas of the Permian Basin offers a traditional online B.A. in Psychology that can serve as the perfect starting point for careers in any number of fields, from neuroscience to personnel training to juvenile justice.
Required Credits: 120
Total Tuition Cost: $33,120

Western New Mexico University

Online Bachelor Degrees in Psychology

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Although Western New Mexico University’s psychology degree comes in two forms (a B.A. that emphasizes language skills and a B.S. that focuses on computer science and math classes) both versions of this low cost online degree program share the same great price.
Required Credits: 120
Total Tuition Cost: $43,680


2. Business

Like psychology, business is one subject without which no “top college major” ranking would be complete. It is far and away the most popular online degree for undergraduates; nearly 350 colleges and universities support online business programs. And while that sounds like a lot, it is barely enough to support the more than 30,000 students who earn degrees in this discipline each year!

Particularly for adult learners and nontraditional students, business is a logical choice with a strong track record for producing successful, financially independent graduates. These programs typically come with multiple concentration options (such as Finance, Marketing, Economics, Human Resources, etc.) and impart fundamental skills for just about anyone who works for or with a business (which is just about everyone!) as well as those who start their own. And while the employment prospects for business grads aren’t quite as dazzling as they are for psychology students (growth in management and business-related occupations will likely keep pace just above the national average, at 8%), the salary potential does plenty to compensate. The early career salary for professionals in this industry is one of the highest on this ranking, at an average of around $46k. But the best news comes from the income growth data; a decade into your career, you could be making nearly $75,000 a year or more – a 61% increase!

With so many online courses available in business (and so many colleges from which you may choose) it’s no wonder that the cheapest online degree programs are exceptionally affordable. These five online colleges maintain some of the lowest costs you’ll find anywhere in the country. Imagine earning your entire four-year degree for less than the one year of tuition at a traditional university!

Western Governors University

Online Bachelor of Science in Business Management

Western Governors University Online Bachelor of Science in Business Management

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Western Governors University makes its third and final appearance on this low cost online degree ranking with its popular business management program, which appeals to many nontraditional students for its flexible pace and competency-based structure.
Required Credits: 121
Total Tuition Cost: $23,120

Florida State College

Business Administration (B.S.) Online

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To make sure that their graduates are adequately prepared for the job market, FSC requires all business administration students to choose an area of concentration (General Business Administration, Entrepreneurship, or Human Resources) and complete a foreign language requirement.
Required Credits: 120
Total Tuition Cost: $26,520

Amberton University

Online Bachelor of Business Administration degree in General Business

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A solid core curriculum that includes classes in statistical analysis, economic principles, marketing, finance, and even business law provides all the skills that online students at Amberton University need to excel in the fast-paced world of business.
Required Credits: 120
Total Tuition Cost: $30,000

University of Texas of the Permian Basin

Online Bachelor of Business Administration in Management

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The University of Texas of the Permian Basin easily claims its title as one of the most affordable online degree programs in business, but with a flexible curriculum that allows you to earn your diploma in just 16 months, it might also be one of the fastest!
Required Credits: 120
Total Tuition Cost: $33,120

Brigham Young University-Idaho

Online BS in Business Management (Entrepreneurial Management Emphasis)

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The unique Entrepreneurial Management emphasis within BYU’s cheap online business degree is perfect for creative students; classes like “Launching New Ventures” and “Social Innovation” provide valuable tools that can help passionate professionals turn their vision into reality.
Required Credits: 120
Total Tuition Cost: $38,400


1. Information Sciences

If there is one way that the popularity of college majors has changed in the last 20 years, it is by shifting toward technology and engineering subjects. A few decades ago, computers were anything but a household item, and the nascent tech industry had no need for the army of software gurus it employs today. But now, the ubiquity of computer electronics has made people exceedingly dependent on high-tech gadgets, and it seems the demand for knowledgeable IT experts will never cease.

In the future, the number of computer science and information technology (also known as information science) professionals may outstrip demand. But for now, at least, you can safely put your eggs in the tech basket. Colleges have been a little slow to add online information science degree programs to their offerings (there are more options available in Accounting, Communication, and Health Administration, despite graduating fewer students), but that hasn’t stopped ambitious students from pursuing their goals. The number of online information science degrees awarded each year is approaching 5,000 – and is unlikely to plateau any time soon, given that jobs for software developers, network administrators, computer programmers, systems analysts, and information scientists will increase by an average 16% in the coming decade.

But the perks for this #1 top online degree program don’t stop there. Not only can you earn your bachelor’s at an incredibly cheap cost (see below) but paying off your student loans (if you have any) will be no trouble at all. That’s because early career salaries, according to PayScale.com, clock in around $55k, making this the most lucrative starting point of any degree program represented here. Coupled with a potential salary growth of 61% by midcareer, an information science degree can practically guarantee you an unparalleled payoff and high returns on your educational investment.

South Texas College

Online Bachelor of Applied Technology Degree in Computer and Information Technologies

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South Texas College is home to one of the cheapest online degree programs in the information sciences that you could possibly find, but the low entry cost doesn’t stop STC from offering a high-quality education that adeptly balances theoretical knowledge with technical proficiency.
Required Credits: 120
Total Tuition Cost: $13,320

Middle Georgia State University

Online BS in Information Technology

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A few small tuition checks will buy you access to a large number of choices in this affordable online degree, which offers concentrations in Information Assurance and Security, Gaming Design and Development, Network Technology and Administration, Integrated Digital Media, and Software Development.
Required Credits: 120
Total Tuition Cost: $30,600

Peru State College

Online Bachelor of Business Administration Computer Management Information Systems

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This low cost online degree from Peru State College represents the epitome of practicality; the multidisciplinary curriculum combines business classes (such as Organizational Behavior, Business Finance, and Principles of Marketing) with information science coursework (like Cybersecurity, Database Development and Programming, and Network Administration and Implementation) to give students a serious advantage in the job market.
Required Credits: 120
Total Tuition Cost: $31,200

Brigham Young University-Idaho

Online BS in Computer Information Technology

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The last of three appearances for Brigham Young on this cheap online degree program ranking, the online BS in Computer Information Technology imparts valuable skills that graduates can put to good use in their careers as network architects, web developers, computer software engineers, or in other similar positions.
Required Credits: 120
Total Tuition Cost: $38,400

University of Texas-Brownsville

Online Bachelor of Applied Technology in Computer Information Systems Technology

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Although its sister campus across the state (UTPB) appears multiple times throughout this article, the University of Texas Brownsville deserves independent recognition for its popular BAT in Computer Information Systems Technology, just one of four high-demand concentrations (the others are Health Services Technology, Workforce Leadership and Supervision, and Technology Application/Training) in the school’s online Bachelor of Applied Technology program.
Required Credits: 120
Total Tuition Cost: $41,280

This concludes our ranking of thebest, low-cost online degree programs in the U.S.A.

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Sources:
College Navigator
Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook
PayScale College Salary Report
The Best Degrees
Guide to Online Schools
What You Can Do with a Liberal Studies Degree
Management Study Guide: Organizational Leadership
USA Today: Top 10 Most Popular College Majors
The Richest: The 10 Most Popular College Majors In America
Good Call: Georgetown Study Ranks the 20 Most Popular College Degrees
Forbes: 10 Most Popular College Majors