Owning an up-to-date computer is essential to complete today’s high-tech online courses. If you’re using a years-old desktop or perhaps public libraries, it’s time for an upgrade. Gizmodo warned about average prices of $550 for PC and $1,000 for Mac computers. However, these costly figures shouldn’t make you fear online higher education. That’s because several online colleges work with manufacturers to give students laptops for cheaper rates or totally free! To locate such institutions, we filtered out distance education providers on the NCES College Navigator. Next, we narrowed down based on availability of valuable technology initiatives. Each option had to provide 5+ online degrees, cut laptop costs, and be accredited by CHEA-recognized agencies. Below is our 20 Accredited Online Colleges Which Offer Laptops list sorted based on rankings like the U.S. News & World Report.
Wake Forest University, the U.S. News & World Report’s 24th top value, awards the Technology Grant for free Dell XPS13 Non-Touch laptop purchases. The WakeWare Program helps access Blackboard for seven online options like the Master of Studies in Law, Master of Arts in Human Services, and Master of Science in Business Analytics.
Colorado Technical University, the U.S. News & World Report’s 115th best online school, created the Patriot Scholarship in 2018 to give Armed Forces veterans and their families free laptops. Recipients choose from 120 CTU Mobile programs like the Business Administration AS, Information Assurance BS, and Systems Engineering MS.
St. John’s University, Washington Monthly’ 189th top institution, gives entrants an Apple MacBook Pro or Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga Ultrabook with full warranty support. Laptops easily log into Blackboard for 26 online offerings, such as the MBA in Risk Management, MA in Global Development & Social Justice, and MPH in Public Health.
Indiana State University, Forbes’ 249th best public college, has April 15th and December 1st deadlines for the Sycamore Technology Award that covers full laptop costs for Pell-eligible students. Currently, Blackboard is utilized with 50 online degrees like the B.S. in Intelligence Analysis, B.S. in Adult Career Education, and M.A. in History.
Bethel University, Times Higher Education’s 478th top pick overall, grants full-time students free Chromebook laptops synced to Google Drive and Moodle with IT HelpDesk support. Adults age 23 or older then access 11 online degrees, including the BS in Customer Relationship Management, BS in Criminal Justice, and AAS in Liberal Arts.
The University of Minnesota-Crookston, Niche’s 201st best small school, launched the Campus Notebook Program in 2009 to give degree-seeking students laptops that must be returned at graduation. System requirements for 16 Moodle programs like the BS in Communication, BS in Finance, and BS in Agricultural Business are satisfied.
Saint Leo University, the U.S. News & World Report’s 47th top Southern college, has the UTS Laptop Rental Program to get HP computers with Microsoft Office365 and Symantec Antivirus. Enrolling at least part-time for one of 72 Blackboard degrees, such as the BA Religion, BS Health Care Administration, and MA Creative Writing, qualifies.
Seton Hill University, the U.S. News & World Report’s 50th best Northern institute, is an “Apple Distinguished School” offering a 13″ MacBook Pro and iPad to full-time students via its Mobile Learning Program. Laptops sign into Griffin’s Lair for 16 Moodle degrees like the Behavioral Health B.A., General Studies B.A., and Special Education M.A.
St. Mary’s University of Minnesota, Forbes’ 269th top private school, began the iPad Mobile Learning Initiative to issue Apple mini-laptops equipped with Skype, Adobe Connect, and Blackboard to post-grads. Apps help tackle 19 online programs, including the MEd in Learning Design, MA in Public Administration, and MBA in Sustainability.
Full Sail University, Niche’s 288th most diverse college, partnered with Apple for the Project LaunchBox Initiative that awards the latest MacBook Pro to new online students with software discounts. Offers apply to 29 accelerated Moodle programs like the Internet Marketing BS, Animation BS, and Entertainment Business MS taking 12-29 months.
Rochester College, Washington Monthly’s 271st best liberal arts school, lets students admitted before May 31st for Fall and November 30th for Spring pick a free Apple MacBook Pro or iPad. Starting with the WEB1000 Orientation, Moodle courses lead to seven online degrees like the BS in Psychology, BS in Management, and BS in Ministry.
Wentworth Institute of Technology, the U.S. News & World Report’s 70th best Northern value, has included an HP Windows or Apple MacBook laptop within tuition since Fall 2004. Systems are configured for six Blackboard options, including the M.S. in Applied Computer Science, M.S. in Construction Management, and B.S. in Project Management.
Chatham University, Niche’s 153rd best free application college, charges a $1,335 mandatory fee that includes the Laptop Program granting a MacBook Air with AppleCare and SafeWare coverage. Seven-week Moodle courses complete 12 programs like the RN-BSN, B.A. in Business Administration, and M.S. in Interior Architecture faster.
Oklahoma Christian University, WalletHub’s 279th most selective institution, earned “Apple Distinguished School” status in 2012 for issuing MacBook Pro laptops and iPhones or iPod Touches. Incoming students log into Blackboard for nine degrees, such as the MBA in Marketing, MS in Engineering Management, and BA in Interdisciplinary Studies.
Strayer University, College Factual’s 55th most location diverse school, lets online students file the Laptop Agreement on DocuSign for brand-new Microtek devices that become theirs after three quarters. Blackboard applications are loaded for 23 options like the AA in Information Systems, BS in Criminal Justice, and MS in Human Resources.
Northwest Missouri State University, the U.S. News & World Report’s 86th best Midwest choice, saves students $7,300 by providing fully loaded HP EliteBooks, Microsoft Office, and textbook rentals. Fourteen online degrees like the B.S. in Business Management, M.S. in Geographic Information Science, and M.S.Ed. in Reading are on Blackboard.
Long Island University, The Economist’s 375th most value-added college, has disbursed nearly 20,000 free or discounted $250 Apple iPad minis with Siri since Fall 2010 for mobile access. Like laptops, the easy-to-handle tablets assist with 32 LIU Online programs, including the Taxation M.S., Homeland Security M.S., and Nurse Educator M.S.
Independence University, Niche’s 103rd best distance institution, started the no-cost Tools for Success Initiative that gives online students tablets in the first and laptops in the fourth modules. The 24/7 Canvas access speeds up 26 virtual degrees, such as the BS in Forensic Accounting, AOS in Medical Specialties, or MBA in Entrepreneurship.
Southern Nazarene University, the U.S. News & World Report’s 96th best Western college, runs the Laptop Center to bestow the Dell Latitude 3380 or 13″ MacBook Pro during its New Student Institute. Six cheap online programs like the Network Management BS, Organizational Leadership BS, and Sport Management MS are finished on Moodle.
Grantham University, Military Times’ 93rd best for vets school, began the Education Technology Grant in 2009 for full-time online students with minimum “C” averages to receive Dell laptops free. Signing into GLife accounts starts 43 online options like the Performance Improvement MS, Financial Planning BBA, or Medical Coding/Billing AAS.
The United States’ education landscape is exploding with traditional and distance options to reach your post-high school goals. According to the NCES College Navigator, there are 7,151 Title IV institutions that enroll 21 million students, nearly 6 percent of the entire population. With so many schools available, picking just one to spend 2-4 years at can be stressful. Further, it’s tough to judge the academic quality yourself before actually entering the classroom. Luckily, accreditation is a shining trusted beacon pointing students toward valuable education. Getting accredited is a voluntary, third-party process where colleges agree to rigorous testing of their instructional practices. Accreditation is an ongoing review that requires continual improvement to address areas of weakness. Attending an accredited school is crucial to ensure your degree is legitimate, meets set standards, and has employer recognition. In this article, we’ll narrow in on national accreditation to examine its worth and current changes.
National Accreditation vs. Regional and Programmatic
National accreditation is an institutional-level stamp of approval from U.S. agencies that aren’t restricted by geographic limits. Unlike regional accreditation, it’s not based on campus location because many of the colleges have multiple sites. All nationally accredited schools are privately owned on for-profit or nonprofit models. Some deliver traditional academics, but many focus on occupational, religious, online, or technical education. National accreditation is all-inclusive to span a member’s entire teaching spectrum. That’s different from programmatic accreditation that only applies directly to discipline-specific degrees. Obviously, the three accreditation types have inherent differences, but they use similar appraisal styles. National accreditors still formulate specific guidelines that must be executed during candidacy before full membership.
While there are six regional accreditors, there are currently 11 agencies that award national accreditation. Each has met the academic quality standards of the U.S. Department of Education, Council on Higher Education Accreditation, or both. Therefore, these 11 are the most trusted for finding suitable degree-granting institutions. Please note that GetEducated.com has found over 40 fake accrediting organizations made up by diploma mills. Always check the authenticity of accreditation listed on colleges’ websites to avoid scams. So let’s introduce six of the most popular national accreditation providers that the CHEA and DoED currently approve of.
Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools- This is the second-biggest national accrediting organization reaffirmed by Secretary Betsy DeVos in 2016. Based in Washington, DC, the agency accredits 254 non-public institutions receiving $772 million combined for enrollment above 111,000 in degrees from the associate to master’s level. Chaired by Elizabeth Guinan, the ACICS enforces 10 major eligibility rules like two years of experience, financial stability, and legal compliance. Examples of ACICS-accredited schools are:
• Stratford University: Alexandria, VA
• Metro Business College: Cape Girardeau, MO
• Northwestern Polytechnic University: Fremont, CA
• Schiller International University: Largo, FL
• Brightwood College: Charlotte, NC
• Texas Health and Science University: Austin, TX
Distance Education Accrediting Commission- This is the premier national accreditor of online universities that deliver at least 51 percent of their higher learning digitally. Originated in 1926, the Washington DC-based organization currently oversees 96 institutions in 21 states with flexible degrees up to the doctorate. Directed by Dr. Leah Matthews, the DEAC uses the Approved Quality Curriculum assessment to ensure online courses, even MOOCs, exceed the ethical business practices and support services required. Examples of DEAC-accredited colleges are:
• California Coast University: Santa Ana, CA
• Penn Foster Career School: Scranton, PA
• American Sentinel University: Aurora, CO
• Grantham University: Lenexa, KS
• New Charter University: Salt Lake City, UT
• Columbia Southern University: Orange Beach, AL
Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges- This is the largest independent accreditor of technical institutes on-site or online that specialize in vocational prep. Celebrating its 50th year in Arlington, VA, the agency extends approval to 789 members nationally who serve over 250,000 pupils combined. Led by Dr. Michale McComis, the ACCSC uses a peer-review framework to institutionally and financially audit colleges with at least one program that’s 300+ clock hours during an 18-month evaluation. Examples of ACCSC-accredited options are:
• Porter and Chester Institute: Rocky Hill, CT
• Bryan University: Tempe, AZ
• Rockford Career College: Rockford, IL
• Valley College: Martinsburg, WV
• Northwest College of Art & Design: Tacoma, WA
• Vatterott College: St. Louis, MO
Association for Biblical Higher Education- This is the CHEA-recognized faith-based national accreditor that assesses colleges dedicated to Christian scriptures for following God’s calling. Located in Orlando, this agency oversees 146 North American members with 72 percent average retention in 2,493 Christ-centered programs for nearly 50,000 learners. Headed by Dr. Ralph Enlow Jr., the ABHE grants conditional five-year accreditations to religious seminaries that satisfy 11 standards like ministry formation. Examples of ABHE-accredited schools are:
• Hope International University: Fullerton, CA
• Emmaus Bible College : Dubuque, IA
• Ohio Christian University: Circleville, OH
• Bethany Global University: Bloomington, MN
• Moody Bible Institute: Spokane, WA
• Yellowstone Christian College: Billings, MT
Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools- This is another religious accreditor reauthorized by the USDOE in 2016 to judge America’s finest denominational institutes. Headquartered in Forest, VA, the national agency currently has 73 members or candidates in 23 states that award certificates to doctorates with strong Biblical cores. Run by Dr. Timothy Eaton, the TRACS requires schools to have statements of faith, non-evolutionary creation beliefs, and quality courses on the 66 canonical books. Examples of TRACS-accredited universities are:
• Apex School of Theology: Durham, NC
• Messenger College: Bedford, TX
• Evangelia University: Anaheim, CA
• New Saint Andrews College: Moscow, ID
• Beulah Heights University: Atlanta, GA
• Omega Graduate School: Dayton, TN
Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools: This is America’s only national accreditor reserved for specialized institutes on medical professions projecting 18 percent job growth by 2026. Based in Falls Church, VA, the 40-year-old organization governs 433 allied health locations according to its 18th edition accreditation manual. Managed by George Grayeb, the ABHES extends eligibility to legally operating U.S. schools where 70 percent or more of students have healthcare majors. Examples of ABHES-accredited clinical colleges are:
Accreditation organizations first popped up in the late 1800s to simply create universal standards for different types of college education. However, a shift started when Congress passed the 1944 GI Bill to educate over 8 million returning WWII vets. Since $14.5 billion was budgeted here, the government wanted to ensure the money was well-spent at state qualifying institutions. Then, the 1952 GI Bill for Korean War soldiers went further to mandate accreditation for funding. Thirteen years later, the Higher Education Act expanded federal grants to non-military students at accredited colleges. The Feds have even more governance over the accreditation process today. The HEA reauthorization in 2008 greatly expanded the oversight of accreditors. Watchdog investigations are increasingly active to stop schools, especially the influx of online ones, from defrauding learners. National accreditation is now heavily scrutinized and needs U.S. Department of Education approval for FAFSA eligibility.
Overall, nationally accredited colleges provide plenty of benefits. They’re usually cheaper, more flexible, more career-oriented, and easier to apply to. Nonetheless, national accreditation is often viewed as less superior to regional and programmatic approvals. Credits from nationally accredited institutes can’t be transferred to undergrad or grad schools with regional accreditation. Likewise, nationally accredited degrees sometimes don’t qualify for scholarships, tuition reimbursement, and career certifications. Now that we’ve explored what is national accreditation and how is national accreditation changing, you can make informed enrollment decisions.
Today’s wannabe B-school students are faced with the conundrum of needing at least a four-year baccalaureate but not wanting to rack up debt. Fortunately, online business bachelor’s degrees can provide a simple solution: cheaper courses! Online colleges have less overhead costs to keep tuition below the average totals of $56,840 to $104,400 cited on CNN Money. Paying smaller fees online will give you better ROI in business professions expecting 10 percent growth by 2026. The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists a median business wage of $67,710, but titles like budget analyst, tax examiner, purchasing manager, sales engineer, securities agent, and economist reap even better salaries. In 2017, the Collegiate Employment Research Institute‘s data placed business majors #3 for strong earnings. Getting from freshman to senior year in good financial shape is the ticket. Therefore, this article will point you toward the 15 Most Affordable Online Business Bachelor’s Degrees that can boost hiring capital for less cash.
First, we used the Open Education Database to sort the 2,029 four-year U.S. colleges with online bachelor’s options from low to high tuition. Our next step was determining which of the cheapest schools conferred degrees in business administration, management, or education. Online resources like the U.S. News & World Report and Niche helped narrow down the best values. Second, we set a financial cutoff of $350 per credit for out-of-state online students to retain affordability. This means that every selection had to offer quality online courses at $1,050 or less to everyone. Our cheapest pick costs only $199/credit for a four-year total of $23,880! Third, we checked that each entry had current regional or national accreditation. Special accreditations, such as the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), were always noted too. Scroll down to review our 15 Most Affordable Online Business Bachelor’s Degrees for great BBA bargains that are flexible but practical.
Featured in CEO Magazine’s Tier One, the AACSB-accredited Richards College of Business led by Dr. Faye McIntyre offers University of West Georgia students the cheap Online B.B.A. primarily on Desire2Learn. The 120-credit degree minimizes Carrolton visits in six tracks: Real Estate, Accounting, Finance, Economics, Management, and Marketing.
Ranked #35 on the U.S. News & World Report, Fort Hays State University houses an Online BBA within the HLC-accredited Department of Management that’s chaired by Dr. Rick Edgeman at McCartney Hall. The 124-credit Blackboard sequence focuses in Human Resources, Entrepreneurship, Management, or Operations Management.
Southern Oregon University, America’s 137th most liberal school on Niche, grants the Business Administration BA/BS Online headed by Dr. Katie Pittman via Moodle in the ACBSP-accredited School of Business. Classes average just 26 pupils for this affordable 60-credit completion program with two specializations in Accounting and Management.
Since 2014, the IACBE-accredited College of Business at Eastern Oregon University, The Economist’s #216 most value-added institution, has utilized Canvas for the Online B.S. in Business Administration. This 120-credit degree directed by Dr. Laura Gow-Hogge offers Global Food Systems, Marketing, Accounting, and Leadership options.
The Online B.S. in Business Administration overseen by Dr. Randall Dupont, the 2005 William A. Megginson Award recipient, at Louisiana State University-Alexandria is labeled PayScale’s 37th best buy for median mid-career income of $71,700. Starting seven times yearly, the 120-credit, ACBSP-accredited degree has seven-week Moodle courses.
Placed in Times Higher Education’s global top 350, the University of Alaska-Fairbanks makes the AACSB-accredited School of Management led by Dr. Mark Herrmann accessible with its Online BBA on Blackboard. Majors choose two concentrations from Leadership, General Business, Marketing, and Sport Management for the 120-credit bachelor’s.
Amberton University ranked #283 nationally on College Factual for its SACS-accredited Business Division directed by Dr. Karen Houdashell of AT&T that presents an Online BBA. The Pay-As-You-Go method keeps Blackboard courses for the 120-credit program’s Project Management, Accounting, Management, and General Business tracks inexpensive.
Bestowed the 2015 Legion de Lafayette Award, Grantham University catalogs Blackboard courses for an Online Business Administration B.S. in the IACBE-accredited Mark Skousen School headed by Dr. David Marker. This 124-credit, veteran-friendly degree takes 38 months in two optional tracks: Human Resource Management or Accounting.
Ranked #35 on Niche’s best online colleges, Valley City State University has an 11:1 student-faculty ratio under Dr. Jeffrey Moser in the Department of Business for a unique Online B.S. in Business Education. The 72-credit, CAEP-accredited program admits juniors with minimum 2.75 GPAs for Blackboard courses and 12-week teaching practica.
At the University of Northwestern Ohio, the ACBSP-accredited College of Business was #299 on College Factual for attracting cohorts of 25 to the Online Business Administration B.S. from 50 states and 49 nations. The 180-credit Canvas option coordinated by Dr. Dean Hobler splits into Agribusiness, Automotive Management, and Marketing.
Accredited by the ABHE in 2013, South Florida Bible College landed #26 on Affordable Colleges for five cheap faith-based online majors, including the B.A. in Christian Business Management. The 120-credit degree advised by Prof. Joshua Drabik utilizes Moodle for courses like Team Ministry, Biblical Doctrines Survey, and Microeconomics.
Included in the U.S. News & World Report’s 346 best, Drury University awards an Online BBA on Moodle from its AACSB-accredited Ernest R. Breech School of Business that’s directed by Dr. Jim Wang. The 79-credit major admits transfers who’ve completed 45+ credits graded “C” or higher for generalist courses from Finance to Ethics.
Toccoa Falls College, the South’s 21st top value on WalletHub, has eight-week Blackboard sessions for an Online B.S. in Business Administration in the School of Professional Studies run by Dr. Thomas Council. The 126-credit, SACS-accredited degree is tailored with Nonprofit Administration, Organizational Leadership, or Sport Management minors.
Chaired by Dr. Venky Venkatachalam, a 2006 Faculty Excellence Award winner, the Beacom School of Business at the University of South Dakota makes Forbes’ top 500 overall with a cheap Online BBA on D2L. The 75-credit, AACSB-accredited completion program immerses transfers in Accounting, Economics, Finance, eCommerce, or Marketing.
Saint Joseph’s College of Maine, the North’s 136th best pick on the U.S. News & World Report, confers an Online Business Administration BS via the NEASC-accredited Business Division headed by Prof. Nancy Kristiansen. The 128-credit, fast-track Blackboard path has Accounting, Banking, Management, or Sales & Marketing concentrations.
Online associate degrees are two-year, lower-division undergrad programs that use internet classrooms to prepare for the workforce or launch bachelor’s transfers. Earning an associate online is an attractive option for high school grads or GED recipients. First, Rasmussen University found an associate degree makes you eligible for 134 percent more postings or over 6.3 million jobs. Associate curricula is packed with more career-oriented and less liberal arts courses. Reaching graduation takes just 24 months instead of 48, or even less if accelerated online, to reduce your likelihood of study disruptions. Getting an online associate boosts median pay from $25,636 to $41,496 according to SmartAsset. But most importantly, online associate tuition is considerably lower to avoid racking up big debt. The majority bill less than the average cost per credit of $594 on Student Loan Hero. In this article, we’ll list some of the most affordable online, accredited associate degree programs that maximize your investment.
Ranked in Community College Week’s top 50 for tech services, Washtenaw Community College is a public, HLC-accredited junior institution and Pacemaker Award winner in Ann Arbor that’s grown since 1965 to admit 13,000 Wolves with 100 percent acceptance. On Blackboard Learn, undergrads access cheap, asynchronous courses costing just $115 per credit for 18 associate degrees. Consider earning Washtenaw’s Construction Supervision AAS, Retail Management AAS, Industrial Training AS, Liberal Arts Transfer AA, or Business AA entirely online.
Founded in April 1967, McHenry County College is a two-year, coed “Military Friendly” state school and the SR Education Group’s sixth cheapest choice that expands beyond Crystal Lake, Illinois, to serve nearly 60,000 people across 93 programs. Online students spend only $107 per credit on Nelnet payment plans to access nine flexible associate degrees via Canvas. Great options include McHenry’s Accounting AAS, Criminal Justice AAS, Computer Network Security AAS, Administrative Office Management AAS, and Associate in General Education.
Enrolling over 10,000 Dolphins from 50+ nations, Shoreline Community College is a public, coed NWCCU-accredited junior school with a 26-building King County campus outside Seattle that’s won the 2011 Bellwether Award and 2017 Toyota T-Ten Award. Ranked #1 in Washington, the Virtual Campus delivers 15 online associate options reasonably billing $117 per credit on Blackboard Collaborate. Perhaps pursue Shoreline’s History AA, Psychology AA, Health Information Technology AAS, English Literature AA, or Supply Chain Management AAS at a distance.
Given the 2017 EBSCO Learning Resources Leadership Award, Cochise College is a public, Hispanic-serving undergrad institution in Sierra Vista, Arizona, that’s ranked 121st nationally by Niche for effectively teaching 8,000 Apaches with HLC accreditation. Celebrating its 20th year, the Virtual Campus specifically attracts 2,500 to Moodle for 12 online associate degrees priced at $133 per credit. Check out Cochise’s cheap AA Philosophy, AAS Programming, AA Economics, AA Social & Behavioral Sciences, or AAS Intelligence Operations Studies degree.
Awarding $12.12 million in annual aid, Northeast Community College is a public, HLC-approved junior system and 2017 Aspen Prize finalist based in Norfolk, Nebraska, that’s ranked 130th countrywide on Niche by training 13,512 Hawks for 98 percent job placement. On Canvas, students are charged $134 per credit for 16 affordable online associate programs accessed anywhere. The excellent choices include Northeast’s Agriculture AA, Law Enforcement AA, Early Childhood Education AA, General Studies AA, and Administrative Professional AAS.
Budgeting $3.78 million, Dakota College at Bottineau is the public, two-year NDUS polytechnic affiliate of Minot State University, America’s 24th top online school on Niche, that’s HLC-accredited in the Turtle Mountains to grant 25,526 total credits yearly. The Blackboard classroom has 45 percent student retention in 100+ courses and 17 fully online degrees charging just $150 per credit. Look into Dakota’s Child Development AAS, Liberal Arts AA, Urban Forest Management AS, Advertising & Marketing AAS, Recreation Management AAS, and more.
Bestowed the 2017 NACCE EntreEd Grant, Big Sandy Community & Technical College is Kentucky’s sixth best public, two-year learning hub on Niche that’s led by Dr. Anthony Newberry in Prestonsburg to support 4,715 for-credit Owls. Undergrads picking from 22 SACS-accredited associate degrees in the Online Division presently pay $169 per credit with funds like the Berlie & Jane Salmons Scholarship. Cheap tracks include Big Sandy’s AAS Energy Management, AAS Paralegal, AAS Mining Technology, AAS Marine Logistics Operations, and AAS Human Services.
The lucky seven schools featured above just scratch the surface of cheap undergrad learning available 100 percent on the World Wide Web. Other high-quality yet affordable online associate degree programs are found at Atlanta Technical College, Great Basin College, Fox Valley Technical College, Clovis Community College, Perimeter College, Illinois Central College, Foothill College, and Fayetteville Technical College for under $200 per credit too.
Starting your career with an online associate degree can be a smart financial move. Community colleges stretch tuition budgets by charging cheap prices. According to the Lumina Foundation, the average full cost at junior institutions is $9,000 annually. Associate programs finish in 18 to 24 months to stop tuition bills faster. Online schools bring the classroom to your computer to nix sizable transport costs. Plus, the U.S. News & World Report found that 84 percent of online undergrads are employed to keep paychecks coming. Some community colleges offer even higher ROI from exceptionally low bargain rates. In this article, we’ll outline the 15 Most Affordable Online Associate Degree Programs where two-year totals are under $10,000 for everyone.
Using the NCES College Navigator, we gathered 2017-18 tuition data to locate the cheapest online associate degrees. We set the maximum price at $5,000 for public and private, nonprofit institutions with lower-division courses. Our 179 results then shrunk based on the availability of five or more 100 percent online degrees, not certificates. Chances are you’ll choose an out-of-state online college, so we recorded the average non-resident tuition. If you remain in state, the charges will be even less! Next, our team judged academic quality by checking for regional accreditation and at least one award or ranking recognition. The last step was ordering the yearly prices from lowest to highest to arrange the 15 Most Affordable Online Associate Degree Programs below:
Given four NISOD Excellence Awards in 2017, Clovis Community College is a public, HLC-accredited junior institution in New Mexico’s Curry County that serves 3,596 with 100 percent acceptance. On Canvas, CCC students pick from eight cheap online degrees like the A.S. in Computer Information Systems, A.A.S. in Legal Assistant Studies, and A.A.S. in Business Administration.
Ranked 341st for education outcomes by WalletHub, Barton Community College is a public, two-year SARA participant founded in 1965 in Great Bend, Kansas, that attracts 6,281 Cougars. Accelerated, nine-week Canvas courses help Barton students complete 38 online programs, such as the Wildlife Science AS, Hazardous Materials Management AAS, and Medical Admin Technology AAS.
Established in 1973 by Harris County, Lone Star College is Greater Houston’s largest, fastest-growing public school that ranked #3 nationally in Community College Week for affordably educating nearly 95,000 each year. Its D2L Brightspace portal connects to 15 online degrees, including the Speech Communication AA, International Studies AA, and Human Resource Management AAS.
Located in Blytheville, Arkansas Northeastern College is a two-year, public technical institution ranked 82 nationally by Niche that’s headed by Dr. James Shemwell to teach 1,914 students at an average age of 28. Eight cheap online ANC programs, such as the A.A.S. Criminology, A.G.S. General Studies, and A.S. Elementary Education (K-6), are powered by Jenzabar.
Recognized for the 2011 AISES Chapter of the Year, San Juan College is an independent, two-year school in Farmington that’s celebrating its 60th anniversary with New Mexico’s fifth highest enrollment of 12,723. The SJC Distance Learning Division utilizes Canvas for seven affordable online degrees like the Occupational Safety AAS, Physical Therapy Assistant AAS, and Psychology AA.
Budgeting $250 million, Southeast Community College is a public, 23-site Nebraska institution ranked 66th nationally by Niche that’s serving over 10,800 Blackhawks with 300+ online courses. Fifteen fully online Moodle programs, including the Diversified Manufacturing Technology A.S., Dental Assisting A.A.S., and Human Services A.A.S., are even cheaper with the Learning to Dream Scholarship.
Placed 10th nationally by the Center for Digital Education, Western Iowa Tech Community College is a public, five-campus junior institution based in Sioux City with HLC accreditation to train 6,787 Comets. In eight, 12, or 16-week formats, online Canvas courses lead toward six affordable degrees, such as the Agribusiness Technology AAS, Financial Services AAS, and Technical Business AAS.
Maintaining a 13:1 student-professor ratio, Lake Region State College is a public, two-year NDUS constituent and 2016 Phi Beta Lambda Chapter Award winner that instructs 1,898 Royals from Devils Lake. Using Blackboard Learn, the LRSC Online Campus launched six affordable associates, including the Fitness Trainer A.A.S., Law Enforcement A.A.S., and Speech Language Pathology A.A.S.
Directed by Dr. Carter File, Hutchinson Community College is a public, two-year Kansas vocational school in Reno County that ranked ninth nationally on Niche for teaching 13,518 Blue Dragons. The Online Education Department has 250+ courses logging into Canvas for 10 inexpensive programs like the Accounting A.A., Health Information Management A.A.S., and General Education A.S.
Named Minnesota’s 19th top pick by Niche, North Hennepin Community College is a public, two-year CRLA member founded in Brooklyn Park in 1966 that’s serving 10,705 Norsemen with 57 percent retention. NHCC students affordably access D2L Brightspace for 11 wholly online degrees, including the AAS Entrepreneurship, AAS Marketing, and AS Computer Science.
Ranked #2 for African-American associate education in Diverse Issues, Broward College is a public, coed Aspen Prize Finalist with Distinction that’s endowed for $75.7 million in Fort Lauderdale to educate 67,000 Seahawks. D2L Brightspace classes start every eight weeks for 13 cheap online degrees, such as the Cybersecurity AS, Office Administration AS, and Project Management AS.
Boasting the 216th highest PayScale salary potential at $64,100, Amarillo College is a public, SACS-accredited junior school opened in 1929 that inspires 11,675 Badgers from Washington Street to Dumas and the internet. Five asynchronous online programs, including the Criminal Justice A.S., Radiation Therapy A.A.S., and Business Administration A.S., give college credit on Blackboard.
Enrolling 4,997 Tigers for 70,000+ credits, Cowley Community College is a public, four-campus “Military Friendly” institution founded in 1922 in Arkansas City that’s ranked in the Aspen Institute’s top 150 nationwide. Cowley Online is authorized in 50 states for 35 online degrees like the A.A. in Sports Management, A.A. in Political Science, and A.A.S. in Nondestructive Testing on Blackboard.
Declared America’s 97th most popular liberal arts school by College Factual, Peninsula College is a public, open-enrollment WCTC member initiated in 1961 that’s based in Port Angeles, Washington, to enlighten 2,205 Pirates from 15 nations. Twenty-eight cheap online programs, such as the Homeland Security AAS, Hospitality & Ecotourism AAS, and Web Design AAS, start quarterly on Canvas.
Reporting 98 job placement, Albany Technical College is a low-cost public, SACS-accredited vocational institute ranked 337th nationally by WalletHub that’s managed by Dr. Anthony Parker with 4,812 Titans. Known for its Plus 50 Encore Completion Program, ATC has nine online Blackboard degrees like the Fire Science Technology A.A.S., Business Logistics A.A.S., and Operations Management A.A.S.
You’ll likely knee-deep in the confusing choice of where to study and are tempted by talks of the easiest, accredited online colleges. It’s human nature to want to finish tasks as easily and quickly as possible. Especially when that task is a degree that can greatly uplift your résumé. After all, the Washington Post reported that nearly 70 percent, or five in seven, jobs now require college education. The median salary for bachelor’s grads in the Class of 2017 was $66,097 according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. High school graduates only make an average of $35,256 yearly in comparison. Slaving over papers, tests, and textbook readings can hard enough for nontraditional students alone without adding time-consuming campus commutes though. So let’s explore whether the easiest, accredited online colleges actually provide good education that’s worth its salt.
Easy can be a subjective descriptor because what’s simple for one might be hard for another. For instance, maybe you excel at writing papers for English but scientists find lab research easier. There are several characteristics that the easiest, accredited online colleges share though. They usually have open-enrollment policies for acceptance rates at or near 100 percent. Many have test-optional admission to avoid the painstaking ACT or SAT exam process. Quicker routes to degree completion are common. Easy online colleges often condense material into five to 10 weeks to concentrate on one course at a time. Most have liberal transfer rollovers to waive up to 90 credits on a 120-credit bachelor’s. The easiest, accredited online colleges also offer free tutoring, keep classes asynchronous, and reduce projects or practica.
Easy online colleges can deliver good education since none of the above adjustments affect their quality. Tweaking the mode of instruction simply makes learning more convenient; you’ll still need to put the work in. Your education won’t be Ivy League, but it still can be valuable and fast. The easiest, accredited online colleges that have nonprofit status are generally the best. That’s because some might be biased against for-profit, online-only institutions like DeVry, Webster, Ashford, and Walden that have faced lawsuits. The NCES College Navigator found that 5.75 million students take online courses now, so employers will usually recognize them. Online schools with brick-and-mortar campuses frequently omit the word “online” from diplomas anyway. The easiest, accredited online colleges aren’t gimmicks because they really offer an opportunity to sharpen vocational knowledge with plus time management, collaboration, computer, and thinking skills.
Research from the U.S. Department of Education in 2009 found that online classes produce stronger student learning outcomes than face-to-face ones. However, that’s only if you carefully shop for institutions that don’t throw up red flags for diploma mill practices. Employers Choice reports that over 370 fake schools still award 200,000 unemployable degrees yearly. Your first safeguard against becoming prey is accreditation. The easiest, accredited online colleges can be validated for quality by six regional agencies: the NEASC, MSCHE, SACS, HLC, NWCCU, and WASC. Others might have national accreditation from bodies like the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), but they’re not as widely accepted. The U.S. News & World Report online rankings are an excellent place to find good education. The Open Education Database and Better Business Bureau can also let you know how online schools fare.
The Guide to Online Schools currently lists 555 non-profit colleges that range in level of difficulty, but easy options abound. Let’s dive deeper into a few U.S. examples available from literally anywhere. Oakwood University is a test-optional, SACS-accredited school offering 18-month completion for the B.S. in General Studies and B.S. in Church Leadership. Lewis-Clark State College is publicly funded to deliver easy, eight-week Blackboard courses for the RN to BSN and Early Childhood Development B.A.S. Patten University starts WASC-accredited online courses every Monday for debt-free degrees like the B.A. in Law Enforcement and B.A. in Entrepreneurship. Midway University in Kentucky easily connects to eight-week, Moodle courses for the BA Interdisciplinary Studies and BA Psychology. Wayland Baptist University also has 100 percent admission into SACS-accredited, 11-week online modules for the Bachelor of Applied Science and Bachelor of Business.
Don’t ever expect earning a degree to be a walk in the park. Online schools offering the chance to buy diplomas with little time spent on actual courses can’t be trusted. Fortunately, the easiest, accredited online colleges are checked regularly by third-party agencies to students get the good education they deserve. Other outstanding online institutions, such as Wayne State College, Charter Oak State College, Concordia University, Becker College, Limestone College, Post University, and Eastern Kentucky University, also simplify learning with non-competitive admission, test waivers, easy majors, and shorter spans.
Easy and accredited online college programs can give all students, even the nontraditional ones, the unparalleled benefits of a degree without the fuss of campus commutes. And getting an accredited college degree has suprising benefits. In fact, during April 2017 the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the median weekly earnings for high school graduates rose from $692 to $819 with an associate and $1,156 with a bachelor’s degree. In addition to monetary value, college degrees lower average unemployment rates from 5.2 percent after high school to 2.7 percent. The Lumina Foundation found that college attendance boosts the likelihood of having health insurance by 47 percent and retirement plans by 72 percent. According to the Centers for Disease Control, college graduates even have a life expectancy that’s nine years longer. Although postsecondary education is never effortless, we’ve searched for quality online colleges that make learning as easy as possible to create the following ranking of the 25 Easiest, Accredited Online College Programs of 2018 for Undergrads.
To create our ranking, we began by using the U.S. News & World Report’s colleges with the highest acceptance rates in Fall 2016. Our list only includes universities with perfect 100 percent admission for the simplest application process. Next, we visited each potential college’s website to determine the extent of eLearning offerings at the lower-division associate and baccalaureate levels. Our focus was on traditionally easier majors like the humanities and social sciences, so you won’t find lab-intensive degrees like engineering or chemistry here. Each online college had to offer accelerated degree routes, i.e. faster classes, completion programs, and credit transfers. We also checked the U.S. Department of Education database to guarantee regional, instead of national, accreditation. In alphabetical order, the following are the 25 Easiest, Accredited Online College Programs of 2018 for Undergrads:
Headquartered at a four-story San Francisco complex, the Academy of Art University is a for-profit, WASC-accredited creative institute that’s linking its 8,303 undergrads to employers like DreamWorks and Nickelodeon. Since 2002, the Academy has used Canvas with free Adobe Cloud software for online degrees ranked 264th nationally on the U.S. News & World Report. Artistic students easily complete 55 undergraduate majors, such as the Fashion Styling AA, Visual Development BFA, and Communications BA, in as few as 18 months.
Granted the OLC Quality Scorecard Exemplary Endorsement in 2016, Baker College is a private, nonprofit HLC-accredited career school with right-to-try admission for nearly 34,000 at its 13 Michigan locations and online on Blackboard. Ranked 200th nationally by the U.S. News & World Report, Baker’s Virtual College has 24/7 access to 33 online undergraduate majors with fast, eight-week courses. Easy offerings include the A.A.S. in Criminal Justice, Accelerated Bachelor of Business Administration, and B.S. in Psychology.
Founded by the North Dakota Legislature in 1939, Bismarck State College is the third-largest public, coeducational NDUS member that’s led by Larry Skogen near the Capitol with over 150 online courses on Blackboard for 3,781 Mystics. Named the Midwest’s 62nd best school by the U.S. News & World Report, Bismarck has 58 online start dates for 17 Associate of Applied Science degrees and a B.A.S. in Energy Management. Consider easy majors like Human Services, Administrative Assistant, and Information Processing for 24-month completion.
Gifting $19.8 million in annual financial aid, Cameron University is an affordable public, HLC-accredited teaching school founded in 1908 that’s expanding beyond its southern Oklahoma campus to educate 5,202 undergrad Aggies. Cameron was declared the West’s 96th best college by the U.S. News & World Report with accelerated, eight- and 12-week courses available online. The 20 easy online offerings include the A.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies, A.S. in Business, B.S. in Sociology, and B.S. in Organizational Leadership.
Unlocking a median mid-career salary of $87,600 on PayScale, City University of Seattle is a nonprofit, NWCCU-accredited member of the National University System in “Rain City” that’s grown since 1973 to serve 6,755 adults. Applauded for the 31st best online bachelor’s by the U.S. News & World Report, CityU accepts up to 135 quarter credits for easy transfers. Online students could finish 15 undergraduate degrees like the B.S. General Studies, B.S. Project Management, and B.A. Applied Psychology in just two years.
Linked to 3,931 LinkedIn alumni, Granite State College is celebrating its 45th year delivering public, NEASC-accredited education under Dr. Mark Rubinstein for the University System of New Hampshire. More than 77 percent of GSC’s students study on Moodle for 26 undergrad online programs ranked 71st nationally by the U.S. News & World Report. Six-week terms accelerate through easy degrees, including the Early Childhood Education A.S., Individualized Studies B.A., History B.A., and English Language Arts B.A.
Recommended by The Cardinal Newman Society, Holy Apostles College & Seminary was founded in 1956 by Franciscan Rev. Eusebe Menard in Cromwell, Connecticut, as a private, NEASC-accredited theological school. Serving 343 undergrads, Holy Apostles offers the 24/365 Online Campus to earn undergrad degrees in just 2.6 years for costs 72 percent below average. CLEP testing can further accelerate the easy online A.A. in Liberal Arts, A.A. in Theology, B.A. in Philosophy, B.A. in Sacred Art, and B.A. in English programs.
Selected as a 2017 Aspen Prize finalist with distinction, Indian River State College is a public, SACS-accredited junior school in Florida’s Fort Pierce with 60 years of excellence training 6,138 Pioneers at a 23:1 student-faculty ratio. Ranked the South’s 79th best college by the U.S. News & World Report, IRSC has 12 undergraduate degrees on the Virtual Campus with free Smarthinking tutoring. Only one proctored assessment is required for the easy Associate in Arts, B.S. in Public Administration, B.S. in Organizational Management, and more.
Boasting 97 percent job placement, Lewis-Clark State College is a public, lower-division NWCCU-accredited institution founded in Idaho’s Coeur d’Alene Metro in 1893 that’s attracting 3,746 Warriors from 28 states. Deemed the West’s fifth best public school by the U.S. News & World Report, LCSC utilizes Blackboard Learn to confer 13 online programs with courses capped at 25. College degrees like the Liberal Arts A.A., Web Design A.A.S., General Business B.S., and Interdisciplinary Studies B.A. easily take 18-36 months.
Affiliated with the Sisters of the Holy Names since 1893, Marylhurst University is a private, Catholic ACCU member that’s endowed for $12.1 million just south of Portland to instruct 808 undergrads of 32 faiths. Chosen as America’s 123rd best liberal arts school on Niche, Marylhurst accepts transfers with 60+ credits into eight NWCCU-accredited bachelor’s completion programs. On Canvas, quick access to the Liberal Studies B.A.S., Hospitality Management B.S., English Literature B.A., and other 2+2 choices is easy.
Selected for the IME-BECAS Fellowship Program thrice, Metropolitan State University is a public, coeducational Twin Cities institution founded in 1971 that’s endowed for $3.2 million to host 11,580 Muskrats. Designated the Midwest’s 165th best college by the U.S. News & World Report, Metropolitan State has HLC accreditation for 10 fully online undergrad programs accessed from 78 countries. Distance students fulfilling the 62 prerequisite credits finish the easy Marketing BS, Human Resource Management BS, Individualized Studies BA, and more quickly.
Enrolling over 165,000 Sharks, Miami Dade College is the Florida College System’s largest public, SACS-accredited junior school opened in 1959 that’s endowed for $306 million with 29 locations and the Virtual College. Crowned a 2011 Aspen Prize finalist with distinction, MDC schedules eight-week sessions for 14 easy online undergrad degrees on Blackboard. Four courses for the Accounting A.A., Recreation A.A., Supply Chain Management B.S., Public Safety B.S., and other programs could be finished in just 16 weeks.
Started as Brown’s Business College of Commerce in 1888, Midstate College is a for-profit, HLC-accredited virtual learning institution in Peoria, Illinois, that’s headed by Meredith N. Bunch to serve 685 undergrads. Recognized for America’s 127th most focused business school by College Factual, Midstate has an 81 percent completion rate for 18 online programs. Logging into Gateway easily connects students to the A.A.S. Administrative Professional, B.A. Realtime Reporting, B.A. Social Justice, Medical Coding Diploma, and more.
Endowed for $4.7 million, Montana State University-Northern is a public, coeducational NWCCU-accredited branch of the Frontier Conference that’s expanded since 1929 to instruct 1,105 Polar Bears from Havre to online. Ranked the West’s 33rd best college by the U.S. News & World Report, MSUN has launched nine online programs on Desire2Learn that accept up to 45 transfer credits. Example Extended University offerings include the easy A.A. in General Education, B.A. in Community Leadership, and B.A.S. in Trades Management.
Chartered by the New York Board of Regents in 1944, Nyack College is a private, nonprofit evangelical Christian CIC member that’s endowed for $11.9 million north of Manhattan to educate 1,553 undergrad Warriors. Nyack, America’s 32nd most diverse school on Niche, starts online terms on Blackboard every four months for cohorts of 10-25 students. Asynchronous, six-week courses help easily complete the A.A. in Biblical Studies, A.A. in Liberal Arts, B.A. in Psychology, and B.P.S. in Organizational Management.
Accredited by the SACS at Level II, Pensacola State College is a public, state-funded “First Choice for Higher Education” for 21,396 undergrad Pirates who learn from 200 faculty in Downtown, Milton, Warrington, Santa Rosa, and online. Deemed the South’s 28th best university on the U.S. News & World Report, PSC skips campus visits for online Canvas courses across 14 programs. The eLearning Department lets online learners finish the A.A. in General Studies, A.S. in Business Administration, A.S. in Criminal Justice Technology, and others in 18 months.
Named for Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints leaders in 1923, Snow College is a public, coeducational NWCCU-accredited school overseen by the Utah Board of Regents off Route 89 in Ephraim with 4,100 Badgers enrolled. Ranked ninth nationally among community colleges by Washington Monthly, Snow has a 20:1 student-faculty ratio for 100+ speedy online courses on Canvas. Easy available offerings include the A.S. in Corrections, A.A. in Anthropology, A.A. in General Education, and A.S. in Outdoor Leadership.
Managed by Dr. Thomas Leitzel, South Florida State College is a public, SACS-accredited adult education institution established in July 1965 that’s welcoming over 16,000 undergrads to its 228-acre Highlands campus and eLearning platform. Ranked the South’s 28th best college by the U.S. News & World Report, SFSC utilizes the Florida Virtual Campus to easily deliver fast, open-enrollment courses of eight weeks. Online classes average 13 peers for 14 programs, such as the AA in General Studies, AA in Humanities, and AA in Social Sciences.
Granted the 2017 Academia Circle of Excellence Award, the University of Maryland University College is a public, nonprofit Baltimore Metro institution with MSCHE accreditation that’s budgeting $391 million to inspire 68,996 undergrads. Declared America’s #3 best college for adults by Forbes, UMUC has four start dates every semester to easily enter eight-week online modules for 33 degrees. Online undergraduate majors like the East Asian Studies B.S., Gerontology B.A., Humanities B.A., and Communication B.S. accept 90 transfer credits too.
Located on the Mexican border with a 366-acre, Bhutanese-style campus designed by Henry Trost, the University of Texas-El Paso is a public, land-grant SACS-accredited member of Conference USA that’s endowed for $217 million to teach 20,220 undergrad Miners. El Paso, America’s 162nd best free application college on Niche, has seven online bachelor’s options through Blackboard. The IHEP Champion of Access makes earning a B.A. in Chicano Studies, B.A. in Multidisciplinary Studies, B.A. in Media Advertising, and B.A. in Security Studies easy.
Dedicated to “Knowledge for the Global Community,” the University of the Potomac is a for-profit, MSCHE-accredited distance learning hub established in 1991 that’s currently led by CEO Rick Murphree with a 10:1 student-faculty ratio. Ranked 375th nationally for ethnic diversity on College Factual, Potomac has 12 online undergrad offerings that are self-paced for completion in as little as 1.5 years. Blackboard Learn eases entry into “Military Friendly” programs like the A.A.S. in International Business, B.S. in Hospitality and Tourism, or B.S. in Cyber Security.
Created by the Staked Plains Baptist Association in 1906, Wayland Baptist University is Texas’ oldest private, coeducational Christian High Plains college that’s SACS-accredited and endowed for $83.5 million for inspiring 3,821 undergrad Pioneers. Distinguished as the West’s 96th best college on the U.S. News & World Report, WBU offers four 11-week terms annually for condensing six easy online degrees. Check out the B.A.S. in Environmental Studies, B.A.S. in Justice Administration, B.A. in Psychology, Bachelor of Christian Ministry, and A.A.S. in Religion.
Belonging to the Nebraska Campus Compact, Wayne State College is a public, four-year NSIC institution opened in 1910 that’s HLC-accredited under president Marysz Rames in the Sioux City Metro to welcome 3,306 Wildcats from 36 states. Placed as the Midwest’s 109th best college by the U.S. News & World Report, WSC provides financial aid like the Advantage Program to easily afford Blackboard courses. Eight-week terms make content manageable for the transfer-friendly B.S. in Business Management, B.A. in Criminal Justice, and B.A. in Human Resources online.
Boasting 183,467 alumni, including J. Willard Marriott and David M. Kennedy, Weber State University is a public, coeducational NWCCU-accredited Big Sky institution established in 1889 that’s grown a $110 million endowment in the Utah System of Higher Education. Named the West’s 86th best college by the U.S. News & World Report, WSU cap accelerated, eight-week courses at 30 for close interaction on Canvas. The 16 easy online offerings include the Professional Sales BS, Bachelor of Integrated Studies, General Studies AS, and Health Services Administration BS.
Bestowed the 2014 CUPRAP Dover “Opportunity” Bronze Award, Wilmington University is a private, nonprofit Central Atlantic institution founded in 1968 that’s budgeting $115.4 million to help 12,081 undergrad Wildcats succeed. Accepting three years of transfer credits, WilmU offers more than 90 online programs on Blackboard that were ranked 346th nationally by the U.S. News & World Report. Online block courses meet for five- or eight-week sessions for easy degrees like the B.S. in Liberal Studies, B.S. in Sports Management, and B.S. in Organizational Dynamics.
Easy master’s programs seem like an oxymoron because achieving an advanced, second-cycle degree for professional leadership should never be simple. However, accredited online colleges are increasingly easing the burden of master’s curricula by offering 24/7 access, waiving GRE scores, condensing course lengths, shrinking credit requirements, and exchanging tests for theses. That’s welcome news because CareerBuilder.com reports that 27 percent of employers are hiring workers with master’s credentials for previous bachelor’s jobs. The NCES reports that U.S. graduate schools granted 759,000 master’s degrees in 2015, mostly in business, education, and health care fields. Investing in master’s-level education typically leads to average salary bumps of $22,000 to $39,000 yearly according to Quartz. If you’re unsatisfied with a baccalaureate, let’s look into seven accredited online colleges delivering relatively easy master’s degrees.
Endowed for $256.9 million, Mercer University is Georgia’s oldest private, nonsectarian SACS-accredited Atlantic Sun Conference member that’s educating 4,783 Bears across 12 colleges in Macon and online. Mercer is ranked America’s 185th best research college in Forbes and 14th best master’s institution by Washington Monthly. Using Moodle, Mercer University offers eight-week online courses for completing nine, non-thesis master’s degrees, including the Health Informatics M.S., Early Childhood M.Ed., and Software Systems M.S., in 12 months.
Established by Nicholas Devereaux in 1858, St. Bonaventure University is a private, coeducational Catholic institution endowed for $60 million to educate 550 post-grad Bonnies in New York’s Diocese of Buffalo and online. SBU was crowned America’s 216th best small college on Niche and 165th top master’s institution in Washington Monthly. For $733 per credit, St. Bonaventure University offers five easy master’s programs, such as the M.A. in Strategic Leadership, M.A. in Integrated Marketing, and MBA in Finance, with 12-month timetables.
Attracting 2,250 Falcons from 19 countries, Notre Dame College is a private, Catholic nonprofit MEC member founded in 1922 by Mother Mary Evarista Harks that’s now endowed for $6.2 million to teach in South Euclid, Ohio and online. NDC is declared America’s 417th most conservative school on Niche and 105th best value by The New York Times. Easy, eight-week online courses let post-grads tackle Notre Dame College’s M.S. in Nursing, M.A. in National Security and Intelligence Studies, and M.Ed. in Special Education within 33 credits.
Since launching its iPad Mini initiative in 2013, Lynn University has grown to serve 2,100 Fighting Knights as a private, SACS-accredited ICUF member that’s endowed for $21.2 million under president Kevin Ross in Boca Raton. Lynn was named America’s 266th best private college in Forbes and third most diverse institution on Niche. For $740 per credit, Lynn University Online offers accelerated, seven-week terms for easy, one-year master’s programs like the Entrepreneurship MBA, Social Innovation MBA, and Sports Management MBA with GMAT-optional policies.
Granted a 2016 Green Arrow Education Award, Everglades University is a nonprofit, SACS-accredited teaching school led by president Kristi Mollis that’s putting its 1,498 students first at the Boca Raton, Sarasota, Tampa, and online campuses. Everglades was designated America’s 104th safest college on Niche and 182nd most diverse university by College Factual. Charging $2,100 per course, Everglades University confers four easy master’s programs online, such as the MPH in Functional Nutrition, MBA in Construction, and MS in Aviation, within 48 weeks.
Approaching its 190th year, the University of New England is a private, NEASC-accredited learning institute of the Commonwealth Coast Conference that’s endowed for $36.5 million to teach 4,897 post-grads from Biddeford, Maine. UNE is lauded as America’s 28th best online school on Niche and 343rd top university overall by Times Higher Ed. Taking just 12 months online, the University of New England has six easy non-GRE, 30-credit master’s degrees, including the M.S. in Education, M.S. in Health Informatics, and Master of Social Work.
Affiliated with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Cardondelet, Avila University is a private, HLC-accredited Catholic institution organized by president Ronald Slepitza to educate 1,710 Eagles upon its 13-building Kansas City campus and online. Avila was picked for America’s 140th best free application school on Niche and 206th best master’s institution in Washington Monthly. Accelerated, easier eight-week courses make up Avila University’s 30-39 credit online master’s degrees like the Project Management M.S., Psychology M.S., and Teaching English M.A.
Remain cautious when searching Google for “easy master’s degrees” because it could attract unsavory schools. Don’t fall for scams from diploma mills making ludicrous claims about course-free master’s programs only a credit card away. Even the easiest master’s degrees will still take months with 30+ credits of coursework and some form of capstone. Protect your pocketbook by always taking the time to search the U.S Office of Postsecondary Education’s Accreditation Institution System. Other easy, accredited online master’s colleges to consider include Champlain College, Fort Hays State University, West Texas A&M University, Northeastern University, and Regent University.
Master’s degrees are post-grad, second-cycle academic offerings awarded by universities as advancement tools for specialized professional practice. Earning a master’s is considered a prerequisite for many high-paying jobs, such as economist, school administrator, statistician, political scientist, financial advisor, marketer, and operations manager. According to Jobscan, 16 million U.S. adults now hold a master’s degree. This represents a 43 percent increase from 2002 since many employers have risen their educational standards. The Lumina Foundation reports that average income jumps from $50,360 at the bachelor’s level to $68,064 with a master’s degree for a median lifetime salary of $3.65 million. With the advent of technology, online colleges are also making master’s programs easier and more accessible than ever.
Although graduate school should never be effortless, we’ve researched the Top 20 Easy Accredited Online Master’s Degrees that won’t require jumping through hoops. We used the U.S. News and World Report’s “Online Colleges Guide” to find universities offering at least five master’s degrees. We prioritized schools that offered condensed terms, course-only tracks without research, transfer credits, shorter curricula, GRE/GMAT waivers, and fast average graduation times. Our search was focused on simpler, nontechnical majors, so you won’t find tough data analytics or computer engineering degrees here. Each easy online school had to have CHEA-recognized regional accreditation for industry recognition. We also considered online rankings, class sizes, tuition prices, ease of technology, faculty support, and demand.
Here are our selections for the Top 20 Easy Accredited Online Master’s Degrees:
Founded on San Jacinto Day in 1879 by Governor Oran M. Roberts, Sam Houston State University is Texas’ third-oldest public, coeducational research institute endowed for $97.5 million that offers 59 master’s degrees to 6,477 post-grad Bearkats in Huntsville and beyond. The U.S. News ranked SHSU for America’s #1 best online master’s criminal justice and 11th best online master’s technology degrees. On Blackboard, graduates can easily access 36-credit, non-thesis programs, including the Victim Services Management M.S. and Sociology M.A.
Labeled one of Sierra Club’s “Cool Schools,” Arizona State University is a public, research-intensive ABOR institution of the PLUS Alliance that’s serving 13,098 post-grad Sun Devils under President Michael M. Crow with Tempe, Downtown, Polytechnic, and Online courses. The U.S. News recognized ASU for America’s fifth best MBA and criminal justice master’s programs online. Arizona State offers 7.5-week online scheduling for finishing easy, nontechnical degrees like the M.A. in English or Master of Liberal Studies in 30 credits.
Sitting atop the Barren River Valley in Bowling Green, Western Kentucky University is endowed for $125.5 million under President Timothy C. Caboni to serve 3,066 post-grad Hilltoppers as a public, coeducational research institution of Conference USA. The U.S. News ranked WKU for America’s 15th best online criminal justice and 21st top online nursing master’s programs. Waiving GRE scores, WKU has easy, 30-credit online master’s degrees on Blackboard, such as the M.A. in Organizational Leadership or M.S. in Sports Media.
Fully HLC accredited, Ball State University is a public, eight-school doctoral research institute founded by F.A.Z. Kumler in 1876 that’s now affordably educating 4,987 post-grad Cardinals on its 109-building campus in Muncie, Indiana and online with eBooks. The U.S. News applauded BSU for America’s 12th best online MBA and 16th top online master’s teaching degrees. Ball State simplifies its 30-credit, non-GRE online programs like the M.A. in Community Education and M.A. in Executive Development for 12-month completion.
Affiliated with 156,297 living alumni like Zach Galifianakis and Jill Wagner, North Carolina State University is a public, land-grant STEM-centric research hub that owns 107,000 total acres in Raleigh to educate 9,904 post-grad Wolves both near and afar. The U.S. News ranked NCSU for America’s ninth best online engineering and 29th top online education master’s degrees. Featuring seven-week semesters, NC State has some easier, test-optional online degrees like the Digital Learning M.S. and Parks and Recreation M.S.
Attracting 3,954 post-grad Red Wolves, Arkansas State University is a flagship public, HLC-accredited research institution established by Robert W. Glover in 1909 that’s now endowed for $54.9 million with campuses in Jonesboro, Paragould, Querétaro, and online. The U.S. News recognized A-State for America’s 10th best online MBA and the South’s 25th top public education. Starting six times yearly, A-State Online has four easy 12-month, 30-credit degrees, including the M.S. in Reading Education and M.S. in Sport Administration.
Administered by Chancellor Cecil Staton, East Carolina University is a public, sea-grant economic prosperity campus that’s endowed for $207.9 million on 530 acres in Greenville to serve 5,866 post-grad Pirates and employ 2,004 academic staff. The U.S. News recognized ECU for America’s 15th best online criminal justice and 35th best online nursing master’s degrees. ECU Connect offers some easier non-thesis, internship-exempt online programs like the M.S. in Security Studies and M.S. in Sustainable Tourism for 36 credits.
Divided into 10 colleges, the University of North Texas budgets $865 million annually under Chancellor Lesa Roe as a public, land-grant SACS-accredited college where 6,770 post-grad Mean Green choose studying on 1,200 acres in Denton or online. The U.S. News congratulated UNT for America’s 16th best online teaching master’s and 55th top online MBA programs. On Blackboard with eight-week courses, UNT Online has accelerated master’s like the MHA in Applied Gerontology and M.Ed. in Educational Leadership in easier, nontechnical fields.
Located on Huntington Ave in Boston’s Fenway Cultural District, Northeastern University enrolls 6,954 post-grad Huskies face-to-face and online as a private, research-heavy UPNE member of the Colonial Athletic Association that’s endowed for $693 million. The U.S. News ranked NEU for America’s 32nd best online master’s IT and 37th top online graduate business degrees. In the College of Professional Studies, online programs like the M.S. in Human Services and M.S. in Nonprofit Management can take just 12 months with practical, competency-based courses.
Opened in 1942 as Montgomery Bible College, Faulkner University is a private, Christ-centered theological school that’s applying Congregationalist values and its $19.1 million endowment to instruct 1,362 post-grad Eagles from its 74-acre campus on the Alabama River. The U.S. News distinguished Faulkner for America’s 20th best online master’s criminal justice education. Faulkner graduates can take fast-track, two-month courses online to easily finish 36-credit degrees like the M.A. in Christian Ministry and M.A. in Humanities without thesis research.
Endowed for $844.6 million, the University of Miami has 5,725 post-grad Hurricanes and 3,030 faculty overseen by Chairman Richard D. Fain to provide private, nonsectarian research-based education on its 453 acres in Florida’s Coral Cables or online. The U.S. News honored UM for America’s 32nd best online business master’s and 61st top online MBA degrees. Logging onto Blackboard anytime 24/7 lets graduates easily complete 16-month, GRE-waiving online programs, such as the M.A. in Communication Studies and Master of Professional Accounting.
Given the 2017 CASE Circle of Excellence Award, Nova Southeastern University is a private, nonprofit community-engaged school based in Davie that’s SACS-accredited to inspire 20,751 post-grad Sharks in over 250 professional majors organized by Provost Ralph V. Rogers. The U.S. News recognized NSU for America’s 47th nursing and 84 teaching master’s degrees online. Swapping theses for capstone portfolios, several 33-credit, self-designed NSU degrees like the M.A. in Cross-Disciplinary Studies and M.S. in Generalist Health Science are easy.
Belonging to the SEC Academic Initiative, the University of Missouri is one of 34 top-tier public, land-grant AAU research institutions led by Chancellor Alexander Cartwright on a $1.57 million systemwide endowment to enroll 7,053 post-grad Tigers in Columbia and online. The U.S. News recognized Mizzou for America’s 61st best online master’s teaching preparation and 89th top engineering degrees. The IDEA platform lets Mizzou graduates take eight-week online courses for non-thesis programs like the Youth Development M.A. and Positive Coaching M.Ed.
Producing over 55,000 alumni like Donna Oberlander and Kurt Angle since 1867, Clarion University of Pennsylvania is a public, state-funded PASSHE member headquartered on 201 acres in the Pittsburgh DMA with 894 post-grads also studying online. The U.S. News distinguished Clarion for America’s 80th best online business and 133rd top online teacher master’s education. Easier online degrees, including the M.Ed. in Early Childhood and M.S. in Mass Media, have 36 credits with exams instead of research for 18-month completion.
Partnering with IBM for its SmartCloud Solution, Marist College is a private, tech-savvy Catholic research institution directed by President David N. Yellen on a $220 million endowment in Poughkeepsie to serve 898 post-grad Red Foxes at 26 study sites and online. The U.S. News applauded Marist for America’s 61st best MBA and 66th top business master’s degrees online. Taking 12 months full-time, Marist uses iLearn to teach simplified, non-thesis programs, such as the M.A. in Communication and Master of Public Administration.
Enrolling 92,500 online students in eight-week sub-terms, Liberty University is the largest nonprofit, distance-oriented Christian college globally that’s endowed for $1.1 billion under CEO Jerry Falwell, Jr. at its central Virginia headquarters. The U.S. News recognized Liberty for America’s 87th best online nursing and 92nd top online business master’s offerings. Accepting up to 18 credit transfers without on-campus intensives, Liberty’s easy, non-thesis programs include the Online M.A. in History and Online M.A. in Worship Arts.
Granted the 2007 Robert J. McKenna Award, Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit higher learning institution chaired by President Paul J. LeBlanc that’s providing NEASC-accredited study to 17,454 post-grad Penmen in Manchester and online. The U.S. News ranked SNHU for America’s 98th top graduate business and 171st best online MBA education. Skipping the GRE exam, flexible, easy online master’s programs like the Political Science M.S. and Social Media Marketing M.S. take just 15 months.
Established by Donald Eugene Shipp, Jr. in 1967, Louisiana State University-Shreveport is a public, coeducational regional branch in the Red River Conference that’s holding 200 acres in Forbes’ 177th best city for education to train 1,564 post-grad Pilots. LSUS was crowned America’s 205th most conservative college on Niche and 24th top online MBA by Best Value Schools. The Electronic Campus has 10 easy, 10-course online master’s like the MBA in Project Management and M.S. in Nonprofit Administration.
Featuring a 7:1 student-faculty ratio with 1,200 enrolled in limited-residency or online programs, Prescott College is a private, HLC-accredited nonprofit liberal arts school founded by the Ford Foundation in 1965 in Arizona’s Yavapai County. Granted the 2017 Crescordia Award for Environmental Excellence, Prescott was ranked the West’s 81st best college by the U.S. News. The “College of Distinction” emphasizes easier humanities courses in 12-month, full-time online master’s degrees, including the M.A. in Social Ecology and M.A. in Adventure Education.
Led by Scott D. Pulsipher, Western Governors University is the private, nonprofit “New Kind of U” given NWCCU accreditation in 2016 to provide competency-based online learning for 78,709 Owls from its Salt Lake City headquarters. Granted the USDLA 21st Century Best Practices Award, WGU is ranked America’s eighth most affordable online college by GetEducated.com. Free applications allow post-grads to enter easy, 36-42 unit online programs, including the M.A. Science Education and M.S. Cybersecurity, with personal faculty mentoring.
Tuition dollars are increasingly a determining factor in where college students study. The U.S. News reports that tuition has risen by 179 percent at private and 296 percent at public, in-state institutions since 1995. Time Magazine shows that the published sticker prices reached all-time highs of $24,610 at public and $45,370 at private colleges in 2016. Since shrinking financial budgets don’t mix well with schools’ mushrooming costs of attendance, students are looking to cut expenses by learning online. Ranked online bachelor’s programs have a mean price of $286 per credit. Virtual college courses can also cost much less by slashing campus fees, housing, meal plans, parking, and transportation. Some learners may worry that the cheapest accredited online colleges won’t provide a good education, so let’s relieve this fear.
Cheap online colleges certainly won’t have the prestige of Ivy League schools like Dartmouth, but they can still deliver great degrees if they’re regionally accredited. Regional accreditation from one of six CHEA-recognized agencies certifies that the online school meets the quality standards stipulated by the U.S. Department of Education. However, nationally accredited online colleges are less desirable because they often won’t qualify for federal financial aid, credit transfer, or certification exams. For-profit online colleges also receive a bad reputation for putting investors before students and hiring less experienced instructors to execute predetermined lesson plans. According to the NCES, for-profit schools have a low graduation rate of 23 percent. Regionally accredited online colleges operating on a nonprofit model generally provide the best education cheap.
We don’t believe in sacrificing quality for affordability, so let’s review some of the cheapest accredited online colleges providing good education for cost-conscious learners. Each of the following tuition rates was recorded based on 2016-17 averages from the NCES database. Our favorite online schools where well-respected degrees cost less dough are:
• Brigham Young University-Idaho – Opened in Rexburg by the LDS Church in 1888, Brigham Young University-Idaho is ranked the West’s 13th best college by the U.S. News and America’s 34th best online college on Niche. For $3,920 yearly, online BYU students could pursue 19 degrees, including the B.S. Software Engineering, A.A.S. Family History Research, and B.S. Healthcare Administration.
• Alcorn State University – Enrolling 3,720 as a public, land-grant HBCU in Mississippi’s Claiborne County, Alcorn State University is ranked the South’s 95th best college by the U.S. News with America’s 200th best professors on Niche. For $5,269 annually, Alcorn students choose from good online degrees from the M.S. Workforce Education Leadership to the Master of Business Administration.
• West Texas A&M University – Located in the Amarillo Metro since 1910 with a $138 million budget to educate 9,901, West Texas A&M University is ranked the West’s 81st best school by the U.S. News and America’s 232nd top public university on Niche. For $7,699 per year, online WTAMU students pursue 13 fully online degrees like the RN-BSN and Criminal Justice B.S.
America’s cheapest, accredited online colleges can become even more inexpensive when you pursue financial aid. Before the FAFSA deadline of June 30th, apply for federal funds like the Pell Grant, Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant, or William D. Ford Direct Loan. Search your state’s education department for programs, such as the Michigan Educational Opportunity Grant and Georgia HOPE Scholarship. Some online schools, including SUNY Empire State College, let students receive Federal Work-Study jobs off-campus. Plus, here are a few scholarships reserved for students studying online.
• SR Education Group Scholarship for Women – Worth $5,000, the SR Education Group Scholarship for Women is granted annually to female undergrads and post-grads who are attending nonprofit online colleges for a degree or certificate. Online applications must be submitted by September 30th with 500-word essays to two open-ended prompts.
• Jane Ireland Student Fund Scholarship – Ranked #1 by the USNWR, the Penn State World Campus created the Jane Ireland Student Fund Scholarship to support online undergrads who’ve completed 24+ credits of their bachelor’s or associate degree. Those with an overall GPA above 3.2 and unmet financial need can apply until September 22nd.
• GetEducated.com Online College Scholarship – Called the “Diploma Mill Police,” GetEducated.com offers the $1,000 Online College Scholarship twice yearly to enrich financial aid for students at distance schools in the USA. Before October 15th or March 15th, applicants with a minimum 3.0 GPA can submit their 500-word goals essay and FAFSA form.
High prices don’t guarantee high quality, while cheap tuition won’t mean cheap quality. Begin your online college search by eliminating unaccredited diploma mills that don’t have legitimate approval from regional agencies. Narrow down online schools offering your chosen major with ample technical and advising support. Inquire about financial aid packages that will lower published tuition rates. Scrutinize online student reviews for insider’s information about their experience. Consider online degree rankings to ascertain which schools are the best of the best. Ask important admission questions about the program length, college history, graduate employment, credit transfer, and course platform. Putting in research time will boost your chance of getting great online education cheap.