Top 10 Affordable Online Colleges|Picking the Right One

If you sit up all night thinking about how to finance your college or continuing education, it may be time to consider affordable online colleges. Online colleges are no different from traditional learning institutions when it comes to their objectives. But because of lower overhead costs, online colleges charge less for dispensing education compared to their traditional counterparts. Also, you can look at fast online degrees as an option.

Keep in mind that besides the basic per credit hour rates posted here, the individual schools may charge additional fees. But also note that while the rates may be lower than those charged by traditional colleges and universities, or even by competing online schools, the cost may not be indicative of inferior educational instruction. Following is a list of 10 affordable online colleges.

1. California Coast University

Undergraduate courses start at USD150 per credit hour; Graduate courses start at USD230 per credit hour.

California Coast University began offering distance courses in 1973, reaching out to students who, for one reason or other, could not attend regular classes on campus. Today it continues to serve the needs of highly qualified and motivated individuals who would like to complete their college education but face real-world constraints. Among its selling points are its flexible program schedules for self-paced study, affordable tuition with easy payment plans and academic credit for work experience, among others.

2. Oregon State University Ecampus

Undergraduate courses start at USD173 per credit hour; Graduate courses start at USD403 per credit hour.

OSU's Ecampus online degree programs extend the reach of this major research university to provide educational opportunities to students all over the world. OSU Ecampus currently offers 13 undergraduate degrees, 18 online minors, distance graduate programs and online chemistry courses and labs. Non academic offerings include Professional and Non-Credit Education aimed at professional development or personal enrichment. Their focus is on a quality long distance education .

3. University of Nebraska Online Worldwide

Undergraduate courses start at USD207 per credit hour; Graduate courses start at USD531 per credit hour.

Founded in 1869, the University of Nebraska is the state's only public higher learning institution. Online Worldwide is its initiative to bring its system-wide education to the rest of the world through highly affordable online access.

4. Baker College Online

Undergraduate courses start at USD210 per credit hour; Graduate courses start at USD375 per credit hour.

Part of the Baker College System, Baker Online claims to be one of the most affordable online colleges on the Web. It also has one of the most robust online course offerings -- over 40 certificate, associate, bachelor, masteral and doctoral courses covering a wide range of fields. Baker Online is one of the pioneers of online education, and cites many success stories of its graduates.

5. University of Wisconsin Colleges Online

Undergraduate courses start at USD260 per credit hour; Graduate courses start at USD490 per credit hour.

Online courses offered by UW are taught by the same instructors who teach on campus using the same syllabus and course materials, ensuring that the online offerings match the same high quality of the classroom instructions. UW also offers online students more flexibility and convenience in customizing coursework around their busy schedules. Additional advantages offered by this affordable online college include student-centered learning opportunities, facilities for interactive discussions and easy transfer of course credits from previous course attendance in other schools. It's not easy when choosing the right college but it's important to take your time.

6. Grantham University

Undergraduate courses start at USD265; Graduate courses start at USD325.

Grantham University has been around for over 60 years now, serving the educational needs of those who serve the country through the military and other public service institutions. Grantham offers online certification, associate, bachelor's and master's online degrees through online learning programs offered by the College of Arts and Sciences, the Mark Skousen School of Business, the College of Engineering and Computer Science and the College of Nursing and Allied Health. These courses are highly affordable and relevant to providing the skills needed by returning servicemen.

7. Assumption College

Undergraduate courses start at USD295.

Attending online courses at Assumption College is highly cost-competitive, even when compared against the costs of attending a traditional state college. They also like to point out that its graduates carry the additional prestige of obtaining their degree from a private university. Assumption also offers one of the most generous policies for transfering course credits from previous schools attended.

8. Southern New Hampshire University

Undergraduate courses start at USD311; Graduate courses start at USD609.

Options are SNHU's specialty; the school is driven by its mission to provide learning opportunities to students whether they attend traditional classroom courses or participate online. SNHU offers more than 60 undergraduate and graduate courses, all taught by accomplished and recognized experts in their respective fields. The learning format is highly flexible, and students may choose traditional classroom attendance, distance learning, online learning or a suitable combination of these approaches. SNHU is equipped to provide education for the real world.

9. Indiana State University

Undergraduate courses start at USD353; Graduate courses start at USD441.

ISU celebrates diversity, both in the composition of its student population, as well as in the large number of activities and options it makes available to its students. Established in 1865, ISU boasts of a proud history and rich traditions. Many of its courses are offered to out-of-state and international students through its distance learning program, which was started in 1969. Most of these courses are available through the Web, and may include audio and video materials. Some may require Web-based video or audio conferencing, and a number require minimal campus visits.

10. Kendall College School of Education

Undergraduate courses start at USD375.

Since it was established in 1934, Kendall College has focused on offering courses in a number of highly specialized fields, mostly in the hospitality industry. It is, in fact, ranked by employers as the number one program for culinary and hospitality training in the city of Chicago. Its School of Education is no less prestigious, and is one of the leading producers of primary school teachers. Its bachelor degree programs are flexible and designed to accommodate working adults. Students can choose to make full use of the online learning platform, or combine this with on-campus learning.

If this short list of affordable online colleges has opened up new doors of opportunity for you, you might want to check out other cheap online colleges such as Ashworth University, Peru State College (Nebraska) and Fort Hays State College. In addition, look at the top ten regionally accredited online schools page. Hopefully these school will help you lower college tuition costs .

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