17 Most Affordable Online Colleges and Universities for 2023

Published: October 11, 2023

Do you want to receive a quality education without draining your pockets? Looking for affordable online colleges and universities that don’t require a lot of commutes? Don’t want to relocate but want to get a great education?

best affordable colleges

There are several cheap colleges and universities out there, but it can be difficult to determine which ones are both pocket-friendly and top-notch. This write-up will help you figure out exactly that! 

So keep reading to find out which one of the most affordable online colleges will be your potential future institution! 

List of the Best and Affordable Online Colleges and Universities

If you are looking for affordable degrees, these universities should be your top picks to enroll in:

  1. University of Alabama
  2. West Texas A&M University
  3. Columbia College
  4. Eastern New Mexico University
  5. American Public University System
  6. University of Arkansas Grantham
  7. WGU
  8. Florida International University
  9. Chadron State College
  10. University of Wisconsin Green Bay
  11. University of Texas – Permian Basin
  12. Brigham Young University – Idaho
  13.  Washtenaw Community College
  14. Arkansas Northeastern College
  15. Clayton State University
  16. Western Carolina University
  17. University of Central Florida

Details of the Best Affordable Online Colleges

1. University of Alabama

The oldest and largest public research institution in Alabama is a public research university.

The University of Alabama is a public research university that is the oldest and biggest public university in Alabama, having been founded in 1820. The most popular majors at the University of Alabama include:

  • Business and Management, 
  • Marketing and Related Support Services
  • Engineering
  • Health Professions and Related Programs
  • Communication
  • Journalism and Related Programs
  • Family and Consumer Sciences
  • Human Sciences Education
  • Social Sciences
  • Psychology

The university awards scholarships worth $2,000 for students enrolled in two-year programs and $4,000 for those enrolled in four-year programs. The University of Alabama offers some of the most generous scholarship opportunities in the country for qualifying students.

courses and flexibility offered by almaba

The financial aids granted are Federal Grants ($5,255), Pell grants ($4,590), and others ($1,657). The average cost after aid for an affordable online degree from this college would be $21,000. 

  • Graduation Rate: 71.5%
  • Retention Rate: 88.6%
  • Acceptance Rate: 80.4%
  • Median Earnings: $1,465,822
  • Accreditation: AACSB 


The Blount Initiative, the Honors College, the Fellow’s Experience, and other programs and colleges are just a few of the ones the University of Arizona offers to help incoming students connect with like-minded individuals for networking, academic support, and social interaction. UA provides a grand university experience with a small college vibe.

Campus Locations 

Tuscaloosa, AL 35487, USA.

2. West Texas A&M University

an affordable co-educational research university

West Texas A&M University is a public, co-educational research university that enrolls nearly 9,400 students online, at satellite campuses, and in the Amarillo, Texas, metro area. Through the SREB Electronic Campus, the online education section of WTAMU provides 14 undergraduate, 19 graduate, 1 doctoral, and a hybrid program.

Online associations to Bachelor’s degree programs in Economics, Criminal Justice, Healthcare MBA, and Finance are some of the most reasonably priced options. 

top rated university

Scholarships and Financial Aid are provided to prospective freshmen enrolling for the fall semester. They also provide need-based financial aid for students who qualify. The average cost after aid will be $15,033

  • Graduation Rate: 52%
  • Retention Rate: 75%
  • Acceptance Rate: 58%
  • Median Earnings: $45,739
  • Accreditation: SAC SCOC


Numerous prestigious rankings have been bestowed upon WTAMU, including the #24 Best Online Bachelor’s Programs ranking from U.S. News and World Report, the #15 Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans, and the #16 Best Online Master’s in Computer Information Technology Programs. The university is ranked as the #6 Top Public University in Texas. 

Campus Locations 

2501 4th Ave, Canyon, TX 79016, United States.

3. Columbia College

Founded in 1851, Columbia College is a private college based in Columbia, Missouri. The most popular majors at Columbia are engineering, economics, and political science. Columbia offers more than 150 majors, minors, and graduate programs, in business management, communication and writing, media and digital, music, and many more. 

There are no academic, athletic, or other talent-based merit scholarships offered at Columbia. Also, all financial aid is based solely on need. For foreign students who are admitted as first-years and transfers who are pursuing their first degree, Columbia meets 100% of the demonstrated financial need. The average cost after aid for Columbia is $27,000. 

private college based in Columbia
  • Graduation Rate: 46.4%
  • Retention Rate: 68%
  • Acceptance Rate: 6.1%
  • Median Earnings: $1,186,979
  • Accreditation: the Higher Learning Commission (HLC)


Columbia College is ranked #127-166 out of 167 among affordable online colleges and Regional Universities Midwest. Columbia has a distinctive Core Curriculum, exceptional research facilities, and extensive global programming.

Campus Locations 

1001 Rogers St, 111 Missouri Hall, Columbia, MO 65201, United States.

4. Eastern New Mexico University 

Eastern New Mexico University

Established in 1927, Eastern New Mexico University has over 60 programs. They have 3 major colleges, including the College of Business, the College of Education and Technology, and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. They have several programs under each college. If you enroll in this university, your approximate annual fee is $8,961 after accounting for aid. 

The ENMU Foundation offers a variety of scholarships for students of every level (incoming freshmen, current/transfer students, and graduate students). They also offer aid in terms of merit and need. 

offers a variety of scholarships for students of every level
  • Graduation Rate: 36.1%
  • Retention Rate: 62%
  • Acceptance Rate: 50.6% 
  • Median Earnings: between $13,900 and $37,800
  • Accreditation: the Higher Learning Commission (HLC)


ENMU is New Mexico’s largest regional comprehensive university. It is ranked #90-117 out of 120 Regional Universities West.

Campus Locations 

The university has a main campus in Portales, New Mexico. Moreover, they have two associate degree-granting branches, one at Ruidoso and one at Roswell. 

5. American Public University System

american military university

The American Public University System was established in 1991. It has grown substantially and is now one of the largest providers of online higher education – offering more than 200 academic programs to students enrolled worldwide.

The most popular programs are Homeland Security and Disaster Management (548 Graduates), Criminal Justice and Safety Studies (540 Graduates), Kinesiology and Exercise Science (378 Graduates), Intelligence (330 Graduates), as well as Logistics and Supply Chain Management (280 Graduates). 

mission of the colleges for for students

Scholarships are accorded to students with outstanding academic records and outstanding leadership qualities. The university also has the William D. Ford Federal Direct Student Loan Program, which will help provide students with financial aid. In terms of cost, it will come down to $11K after aid. 

  • Graduation Rate: 10.8%
  • Retention Rate: 98.0% 
  • Acceptance Rate: 100%
  • Median Earnings: $64,679 per year
  • Accreditation: the Higher Learning Commission (HLC)


Compared to private institutions, public universities frequently offer more programs. As a result, you have more possibilities. Without switching schools, it’s easier to change your major. Additionally, you might have more clubs, activities, and specialized classes available.

Campus Locations 

Virtual campus. 

6. University of Arkansas Grantham

University of Arkansas Grantham is a public online university based in Little Rock

Founded in 1951, the University of Arkansas Grantham is a public online university based in Little Rock, Arkansas. This is one of the least expensive online colleges offering programs like Business, Computer Science, IT, Criminal Justice, Cyber Security, Electronics, Engineering, Health Information, Medical Administration, Nursing, Paralegal, and Project Management. Popular majors include Business, Liberal Arts and Humanities, and Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Administration.

Financial aid is offered to students who qualify for FAFSA

Financial aid is offered to students who qualify for the FAFSA. They also offer military aid, so if you can, gain the following benefits:

  • Military Tuition Assistance
  • GI Bill®
  • MyCAA
  • UA Grantham Heroes Program
  • Military Experience Credits

This affordable online college will cost you $9,245 with financial aid.


UA Grantham delivers high-quality education and offers exceptional flexibility, accessibility, and affordability to working adults trying to better their futures. The University has over 50 online programs that you can benefit from. 

Campus Locations 

An online university based in Arkansas. 

7. WGU

most affordable online institution

Located in Salt Lake City, Utah, Western Governors University is a nonprofit private online institution. Instead of the conventional, cohort-based class format seen in most institutions, the university uses an online competency-based learning method.

It was created in 1997 and is one of the best cheap universities in the area. They have 60+ flexible degree programs in areas like Accounting, business management, HR, and health, among many others. 

It offers 55 undergraduate and graduates online degree programs. Some of WGU’s most popular online degrees are Business, Information Technology, and Nursing and Healthcare.

maintains a rich program of scholarships

WGU maintains a rich program of scholarships accessible to qualified students through various organizations and foundations and specific federal funds that contribute. The U.S. Department of Education approves WGU to offer federal student aid. Enrolling in a program will cost you $9,969 with aid

  • Graduation Rate: 32.1%
  • Retention Rate: 45.9%
  • Acceptance Rate: 100%
  • Median Earnings: $70,944 a year
  • Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)


WGU is ranked #148 out of 2,241 schools nationwide for overall quality on College Factual’s 2023 Best Colleges list. This puts it in the top 10% of all schools nationwide. Western Governors University is known for being founded by the governors of 19 US states.

Campus Locations 

4001 S 700 E #300, Millcreek, UT 84107, United States.

8. Florida International University

 Florida International University

The Florida International University was established in 1972 with over 190 programs available. Their most popular programs are International MBA, Global Policy, Public Finance, Local Government Management, International Law, Legal Writing, and Trial Advocacy.

The university offers scholarships for incoming and current students. Students with a 4.0 GPA and 1370 SAT / or 30 ACT get 100% merit-based scholarships and a book stipend. The University also offers financial aid, so if you have an income of 30k-48k, you get assistance of $12,726. If you have an income of 75k-110k, you get assistance of $5,588. The average cost after aid is $5,298

university offers scholarships for incoming and current students
  • Graduation Rate: 59.4%
  • Retention Rate: 90%
  • Acceptance Rate: 57.9%
  • Median Earnings: $55,100
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)


According to the U.S. News & World Report rankings released in 2022, FIU graduate programs across the academic spectrum are ranked in the TOP 50 among public affordable online colleges and universities. 

Campus Locations 

11200 SW 8th St, Miami, FL 33199, USA.

9. Chadron State College

Chadron State College is a public college

Chadron State College is a public college in Nebraska with 51 undergraduate programs. It was established in 1911 and is among the most affordable online accredited colleges. If you qualify for aid, you will only have to pay $15,097. Chadron State offers flat-rate tuition, so in-state and out-of-state students pay the same tuition. There are 2,500 students on-campus and online who are enrolled at this college.

Among its many programs, Chadron offers the following: Business, technical, Physical Education, Educational Technology, Mathematics, Social Science, and Science. The most popular majors are business, humanities, and liberal arts. 

Chadron State College offers scholarships based on need and merit. Here are some aspects that an individual will have to qualify for:

  • The student should be a first-time freshman or an incoming transfer at Chadron State College. 
  • Be Pell Grant eligible as determined by the FAFSA.
  • Enroll in at least 12 credit hours per semester, including one or more on-campus classes.
  • Graduation Rate: 42.9%
  • Retention Rate: 66%.
  • Acceptance Rate: 100%
  • Median Earnings: $77,800
  • Accreditation: the Higher Learning Commission


Chadron State College is ranked #127 out of 167 Regional Universities Midwest. Students at this college have a great campus life, with student-led clubs and organizations, cultural events, and space to be yourself.

Campus Locations

Chadron State College, 1000 Main Street, Chadron, NE 69337.

10. University of Wisconsin Green Bay

programs including in the fields of Business administration

Founded in 1965, the university of Wisconsin Green Bay is the fastest-growing UW school in the state. They offer a wide variety of programs, including in the fields of Business administration, Psychology, nursing, nursing, Liberal arts and sciences, Education, Communication, Behavioral sciences, Accounting, and many more. The university offers over 100 majors in various fields. 

The annual cost incurred by a student after receiving aid would come down to $13,092. This is definitely one of the most accredited, affordable online colleges offering considerable scholarships. Their scholarships are need-based, and anyone can apply regardless of academics. They also offer financial aid, student employment, and veteran services. 

one of the best accredited affordable online colleges that also offer considerable scholarships
  • Graduation Rate: 52.3%
  • Retention Rate: 72%.
  • Acceptance Rate: 89.8%
  • Median Earnings: $40,199
  • Accreditation: Regionally Accredited


Regional Universities Midwest lists the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay as #89 in its 2022–2023 edition of Best Colleges. The Institution is a multi-campus university that offers outstanding Bachelor’s, Master’s, and select Doctorate programs. It is dedicated to excellence in education, scholarship, research, and community service.

Campus Locations 

  • 2420 Nicolet Dr, Green Bay, WI 54311, United States.
  • Regional campuses in Marinette, Manitowoc, and Sheboygan.

11. University of Texas – Permian Basin 

UT Permian Basin was founded in 1973

UT Permian Basin was founded in 1973 and currently has 5,000 students attending both the Odessa campus and online. Enrolling in a program for this affordable online college will cost you $11K with aid. There are around 50 major and minor programs apart from the graduate, certificate, and online programs in the field of Arts & Science, Business, Education, Engineering, and Nursing.

All scholarships, with the exception of the Presidential, are automatically considered for each UTPB student applicant. For Falcon Elite, Falcon Excellence, Falcon Achievement, and Falcon Recognition, no application is necessary. A total of $42 million in financial help, including more than $10 million in scholarships, is given by UTPB.  

  • Graduation Rate: 51%
  • Retention Rate: 64%
  • Acceptance Rate: 88%
  • Median Earnings: $50,006
  • Accreditation:  Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)


The U.S. News and World Report recently named the University of Texas Permian Basin as the West’s 64th-best institution, the 30th-best public school, and the nation’s 55th top performer in social mobility in 2022. The school received an overall B grade from Niche as of 2022.

Campus Locations 

4901 E University Blvd, Odessa, TX 79762, United States.

12. Brigham Young University – Idaho

Idaho is a private college in Rexburg, Idaho. It was founded 134 years ago in 1888

Brigham Young University–Idaho is a private college in Rexburg, Idaho. It was founded 134 years ago, in 1888.  The university offers over 80 Bachelor’s degrees and more than 20 Associate degrees. Some of the most popular degrees are Liberal Arts and Humanities, Business, Human Development, Public Health Education, Nursing, Psychology, and Communications. 

BYU offers scholarships to students based on financial need and merit. To qualify for a scholarship, you must have a minimum 3.60 BYU grade point average through the end of each winter semester. With the scholarship and aid applied, studying at BYU will cost you approximately $6,698. 

offers scholarships to students on the basis of financial need and merit
  • Graduation Rate: 47.5%
  • Retention Rate: 73.0%
  • Acceptance Rate: 97%
  • Median Earnings: $97,600
  • Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities


BYU aims to educate students on lifelong learning, employment, and positions such as home, church, and community leaders. They offer a distinctive learning experience that involves real-world experience so students can succeed in their chosen industries. Moreover, it is ranked #14 out of 102 Regional Colleges West.

Campus locations

525 S Center St, Rexburg, ID 83460, United States.

13. Washtenaw Community College

College is located in Ann Arbor Charter Township

With 137 courses available, 45 of which can be done online, Washtenaw Community College is located in Ann Arbor Charter Township, Michigan. It offers the least expensive online Associate’s degree for students.

The top online institution in Michigan provides over 500 courses with a virtual component but still calls for students to attend lectures at a specific time, along with 200 courses that are totally on-demand and have fewer time constraints. On average, a student at Washtenaw will have to pay $3,648. 

The institution is renowned for its diversity and boasts a sizable population of international students who attend for the purpose of studying abroad. Over 1,000 of Washtenaw Community College’s 18,000 students hail from more than 100 nations. 

Computer Networking Academy

C++, the Computer Networking Academy, and computer software applications are just a few online computer science-related courses. Other well-liked online majors include technical communication, construction supervision, and criminal justice. Washington Community College is rated a B- overall by Niche.com, making it the state of Michigan’s fourth-best two-year institution.

They offer more than 1000 scholarships yearly to incoming or current students based on a combination of financial need and merit.

  • Graduation Rate: 26.4%
  • Retention Rate: 70.0% 
  • Acceptance Rate: 100%
  • Median Earnings: $268,085 
  • Accreditation: the Higher Learning Commission (HLC)


Washtenaw is ranked among the Top 10 Best Online Colleges in Michigan by Best Value Schools. WCC is the top transferring Community College to the University of Michigan.

Campus locations

4800 E Huron River Dr, Ann Arbor, MI 48105, United States. 

14. Arkansas Northeastern College

Established in 1972, Arkansas Northeastern College

One of the best online affordable colleges among others and was established in 1972, Arkansas Northeastern College is a public community college in Blytheville that enrolls more than 1,500 students annually. They provide several degrees in fields including criminal justice, networking, and steel industry technology that may be completed in part online but still benefit from on-campus learning. On average, students would have to face an average cost of $3,648 after financial aid. 

The early college credit program at Arkansas Northeastern College enables high school students (usually seniors) to dual enroll in classes that count toward their college degree requirements and fulfill the criteria for high school graduation. The ANC Foundation provides scholarships to students attending ANC through private contributions.

ANC Foundation

Currently, the ANC Foundation has over $500,000 in endowed scholarship funds and many annually funded scholarships. The institution also provides a range of financial aid for students who need it. 

  • Graduation Rate: 34.3%
  • Retention Rate: 52%
  • Acceptance Rate: 100%
  • Median Earnings: $88,108
  • Accreditation: the Higher Learning Commission


Arkansas Northeastern College is a non-residential institution with a strong academic emphasis. Smaller class sizes foster greater interaction. The most recent multi-media internet technology is wired in classrooms. People can collaborate with others who share their interests at Arkansas Northeastern College to build their desired futures.

It is also relatively affordable, with the ANC Foundation providing scholarships for those who need them. 

Campus locations

822 W Plantation Rd, Burdette, AR 72321, United States. 

15. Clayton State University

Clayton State University was created in 1969 and is offering several affordable degrees

Clayton State University was created in 1969 and is offering several degrees such as Associate Degree Programs, Applied Associate of Science Degree Programs and Certificates, Bachelor’s Degree Programs, Master’s Degree Programs, Certificate Programs, Online Degree Programs, Minor Programs, and Specialized Programs. Popular majors include Liberal Arts and Humanities, Business, and Nursing.

Scholarships at Clayton State University are awarded to students who demonstrate a high level of academic achievement. Other criteria may include financial needs, specific majors, involvement in community activities, and other special eligibility requirements.

The three types of scholarships offered are Institutional, Department, and Free Scholarship Search Sites. The tuition, fees, and annual cost for 2020–21 would be $11,663. 

Scholarships at Clayton State University are awarded to students who demonstrate a high level of academic achievement
  • Graduation Rate: 50.9%
  • Retention Rate: 69%
  • Acceptance Rate: 68.5%
  • Median Earnings: $42,328
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges


Clayton State University’s academics are designed in a way that you get personalized attention. There are several features that stand out such as small class sizes that ensure better learning for each individual, along with affordable career preparation, outstanding faculty, and vibrant campus life.

Campus Locations

2000 Clayton State Boulevard Morrow, GA 30260.

16. Western Carolina University

Western Carolina University is a public university in Cullowhee, North Carolina, which was established in 1889 and offers programs like nursing, education, forensic science, emergency management, entrepreneurship, engineering, project management, natural resources, and many more. 

The average cost after aid is $13,924. Many merit and need-based scholarships are available via Western Carolina University, supporting various student types and academic subjects. The scholarship assistance team at WCU is also working to link students with other scholarship possibilities and those provided by the state.

  • Graduation Rate: 61%
  • Retention Rate: 79%
  • Acceptance Rate: 48.5%
  • Median Earnings: $48,300
  • Accreditation: AACSB


Western Carolina University is ranked #263 out of 443 National Universities. More than 115 undergraduate majors and specialties, as well as more than 40 graduate programs, are offered by WCU.

Campus Locations 

1 University Way, Cullowhee, NC 28723, USA.

17. University of Central Florida

university that was established in 1963

The University of Central Florida is a public research university established in 1963. It has almost 230 degree programs in various fields. Their topmost programs are Psychology, Computer Science, Biology, Health Sciences, Mechanical Engineering, Hospitality Management, Digital Media, and Finance.

UCF offers merit-based awards for incoming freshmen and transfer students. All first-year students are automatically considered for a merit-based scholarship. UCF offers financial aid ranging from $ 6000 to $15,000, depending on income levels. Overall, after aid, the university will cost $8,618. 

popular and affordable university
  • Graduation Rate: 73.4%
  • Retention Rate: 91%
  • Acceptance Rate: 45.2%
  • Median Earnings: $37,700
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC


The university offers 106 Bachelor’s, 95 Master’s, 31 Research Doctorates, 3 Professional Doctorates, and 3 Specialist Degree programs, and it leads all universities in Florida in conferring more than 18,000 degrees a year.

Campus Locations 

  • 4000 Central Florida Blvd, Orlando, FL 32816, USA.
  • It also has regional campuses throughout Florida. 
  • Our Methodology for Selecting These Affordable Universities and Colleges
  • We chose these universities based on how affordable they are and ensured they provided quality education in a virtual learning mode. We also covered several other specific aspects, including:
  • Programs they are offering online
  • Popular online classes/ courses/programs
  • Cost
  • Scholarship
  • Financial Aid

Importance of Affordable Online Colleges and Universities

With the onset of Covid-19, people had to switch to online methods for learning. This resulted in the growth of online learning carried out through popular platforms like Zoom and Teams. 

The top benefit of distance learning is flexibility along with saving in terms of transport costs, as you can learn from the comfort of your home without having to commute to the location. 

importance of the best affordableonline colleges

Moreover, you can enroll in great colleges and universities even if they are not in your own city/ country. As a result, students improve their time management abilities in addition to learning new information from their education. Now you can get degrees from the comfort of your home without disturb ing work or personal life. 

Now that you know all the reasons why you should enroll in an online college or university let’s explore some of the best ones. 

How to Select the Most Affordable Online College?

There are several things that you will have to consider before selecting which affordable online college to opt for. When finding the cheapest online university, you must ensure that your desired program is being offered and the faculty is experienced. Another aspect to consider is your budget to determine what college will be the perfect fit for you. 

Several universities have stellar physical courses but cannot translate them into the virtual learning space. Make sure you don’t compromise on quality simply because you want the cheapest online colleges.

One of the most essential features to look at are scholarships and financial aid. Universities that actively provide scholarships and offer financial aid will definitely be the most perfect option because you can get a quality education without having to spend large amounts. 

How Do You Know If a Cheap Online College Is the Right Fit for Your Learning Style?

A great way to determine whether a teaching style will fit your learning style is to review the course content to see how it is structured. Another thing to do is reach out to faculty members and ask them more about what will be in store for you. 

The word “cheap” has several negative connotations, but you must realize that quality education can be gained without draining your pockets. Talk to the alumnus to determine which cheap universities suit your learning style. 


Are you looking for affordable online colleges to enroll in? Want to receive a superior education without having to spend a lot?

This can be done!

In this blog, we discussed the best, most affordable online colleges you can benefit from. If you want to study the degree of your choice without it costing too much, then you should definitely check these universities and colleges out. 

Now you can quickly get a cheap degree online!