Many online colleges are run by for-profit organizations, and these often struggle to get regional accreditation. This is a big deal because regional accreditation is a mark of quality and credibility. Also, these for-profit colleges can be quite expensive. They usually offer less financial aid, so you might end up paying a lot more. However, there are some regionally accredited online colleges with low tuition, and these are often state-owned or public schools.
You need to check out colleges in your own state first. Look at public universities and colleges that offer comprehensive programs. These options are a smart choice for several reasons. They usually provide better value for your money. Yes, you’ll need to spend some time researching to find the right program, but it’s worth it for you to potentially save thousands of dollars each year.
In recent years, online education has gained a lot of popularity. You need if you are someone who needs to balance their studies with work or other commitments. The flexibility of learning from home or anywhere else has made this mode of education increasingly attractive to many.
Regionally Accredited Online Colleges with Low Tuition
Let’s take a look at the best regionally accredited online colleges with low tuition out there.
1. The University of Alabama
For a low budget, you consider the University of Alabama. They offer online programs through the Bama by Distance Department. These programs are very affordable, especially considering the university’s reputation as a public institution. They offer a wide range of online bachelor’s and master’s degrees, with more than 60 different undergraduate and graduate programs available, which is a lot compared to many other schools.
Students who study online at the University of Alabama get the same level of support, resources, and attention as those who study on campus. Once you are admitted, you become part of a large community of professionals, faculty members, and alumni.
- Undergraduate Rate: $385 per credit hour
- Graduate Rate: $440 per credit hour
Most of the courses are 3 credit hours.
Additional about the University of Alabama:
- Location: Tuscaloosa, AL
- Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission, regional accreditation
- Acceptance rate: 79%
- Retention rate: 87%
- Graduation rate: 71%
- Financial aid: Grants, Scholarships, Loans
In the University of Alabama’s online programs unique is, while the classes are mostly asynchronous, meaning you can do them on your own schedule, some still require real-time participation in discussions and group projects. They also offer blended programs, which mix online learning with traditional classroom experiences. Students have the flexibility to take exams online or at a testing center affiliated with the university.
2. Western Governors University
At Western Governors University, the average annual bachelor’s tuition rates are 48% lower than the national average. The average yearly bachelor’s tuition is $8,010. This is why they are one of the beat regionally accredited online colleges with low tuition. Now, you will wonder why WGU is so cheap. Read on. WGU emerged from an unconventional beginning. It was the brainchild of a group of Western state governors, frustrated by the bureaucratic and costly nature of traditional state university systems. Among these founders was a retiring governor with extensive experience in higher education. Their goal was ambitious yet clear: to leverage the internet and competency-based education to make higher learning accessible and affordable.
The unique business model of WGU is a key to its success. It operates differently from typical for-profit, publicly owned schools. If WGU had followed that route, it would have faced pressure from investors to hike tuition fees, potentially exceeding those of institutions like the University of Phoenix. Moreover, a single-state or multi-state government-run model would have been bogged down by excessive oversight and committees. WGU’s independent, non-traditional approach allowed it to avoid these pitfalls, functioning more as a passion project shielded from external interference.
However, WGU’s journey wasn’t without challenges. Initially, its competency-based model faced skepticism. Critics argued that it rushed students through courses without thorough exposure to the material. During its early years, many of its students, who had limited educational options, heavily relied on FAFSA funding. This reliance drew criticism from established schools, which lobbied against WGU, questioning its accreditation and calling for it to refund FAFSA funds and shut down.
Despite these hurdles, WGU began to prove its critics wrong. The U.S. Department of Education, upon closer examination, discovered impressive outcomes. WGU graduates were often more knowledgeable than their traditionally educated counterparts. The university also boasted high graduation rates and a low student loan default rate. These positive results led the Department of Education to grant WGU additional aid and allow the school to disburse funds to students at the start of each term, a privilege not afforded to many institutions due to concerns about financial mismanagement.
WGU’s approach to student loans is also noteworthy. The university maintains low borrowing limits, a strategic decision to minimize financial exploitation and safeguard its reputation and financial stability. This policy reflects WGU’s commitment to responsible financial management and its focus on providing affordable, quality education.
3. Thomas Edison State University
Thomas Edison State University (TESU) is often recognized as one of the fastest and most affordable online universities in the United States. This distinction sets it apart from many other higher education institutions. And, yes, they are one of the regionally accredited online colleges with low tuition.
The university offers a wide range of programs, including over 100 options in associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and certificate programs. This selection is considerably larger than what many other online colleges provide. One of the standout programs at TESU is the Social Science Research Methods degree. This program is particularly popular and not commonly found in other online schools.
For the 2022-2023 academic year, the tuition and fees are quite reasonable. New Jersey residents pay $7,372, while students from other areas pay $9,556 on average. When scholarships are considered, TESU might be one of the cheapest online universities per credit hour.
The university is located in Trenton, New Jersey, and is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. It has an open admission policy with a 100% acceptance rate. However, information about the retention rate is not readily available. The graduation rate stands at 39%.
TESU is particularly supportive of students needing financial aid, offering options like the Pell Grant, Subsidized Stafford Loan, and Unsubsidized Stafford Loan. What makes TESU unique is its focus on working adults. The university has one of the most generous credit transfer programs and even offers a free trial of two courses.
4. West Texas A&M University
In West Texas A&M University (WTAMU), tuition fees set by the legislature are $50 per credit hour for residents and $80 for out-of-state students in their first semester, thanks to the TEC 54.0601 waiver. Out-of-state undergraduates with a GPA below 2.0 and non-resident graduate students with a GPA below 3.0, as well as international students, are charged $465 per credit hour.
This university is particularly known for its strong programs in liberal arts, humanities, nursing, and business. These majors are popular among students and produce a high number of graduates.
One unique aspect of many programs at West Texas A&M University is that they include practical projects and rotations that students can do in their own communities.
The university is located in Canyon, Texas, and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. It has a high acceptance rate of 97%, a student retention rate of 82%, and a graduation rate of 44%. In terms of financial aid, the university offers options like student loans and emergency loans.
5. Columbia College
Columbia College offers online graduate programs at a highly competitive rate of $580 per semester hour. This college has grown to support a large number of online students, offering a wide range of 28 associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees across over 800 courses.
Among these programs, some of the most popular degrees, such as General Business and Human Services, are offered through the Business Administration Departments. The cost for these online programs is quite reasonable, with undergraduate courses priced at $375 per credit hour and graduate courses at $490 per credit hour.
Columbia College also offers special tuition discounts for US military members. They pay only $250 per credit hour for undergraduate and $325 for graduate programs. This makes Columbia College one of the most affordable options for online education in the state, and possibly the country. Just like students on campus, online learners can also apply for scholarships and grants to help cover costs.
The college is located in Columbia, Missouri, and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. It has an acceptance rate of 6%, a retention rate of 57%, and a graduation rate of 49%. Financial aid options include scholarships and benefits for military-affiliated students.
This college offers significant need-based grants to students with lower incomes, sometimes reducing the cost of education.
6. American Public University
American Public University, with its six schools, offers affordable tuition fees for both undergraduate and graduate degree programs. These online courses, developed in collaboration with global industry experts, aim to provide students with top-notch opportunities, experiences, and knowledge. The university’s faculty consists of thought leaders in various fields, and it regularly hosts forums and discussions with other experts, creating valuable networking opportunities for students.
The tuition is competitively priced at:
- Undergraduate: $350 | Preferred Military Rate of $250
- Master’s Degree and Graduate Certificate: $425 | Preferred Military Rate of $250
- Audit: $100
Located in Charles Town, WV, the university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. It boasts a 100% acceptance rate and a 90% retention rate, although its graduation rate stands at 11%. Financial aid is available in the form of grants and scholarships.
7. Brigham Young University Idaho
Brigham Young University Idaho has a special program called PathwayConnect, which offers online degrees at a very low cost. This program combines online classes, community involvement, and teachings from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Students at BYU Idaho can interact with each other and have the flexibility to study at their own pace.
The cost of these online programs is quite affordable. For most online degrees, the standard tuition is $139 per credit hour. But for degrees through PathwayConnect, it’s only $81 per credit hour, making it a budget-friendly option for online learners.
The university is located in Rexburg, Idaho, and is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. It has a high acceptance rate of 97%, a retention rate of 74%, and a graduation rate of 51%. Students can also get financial aid from federal and private sources.
8. Great Basin College
Here, non-resident online only student pay $180.75 per credit hour while in-state student pays $123.00 per credit hour. Great Basin College offers many degree programs, including associate’s and bachelor’s degrees, to fewer than 5,000 students each year.
Many of these programs are available online. The college has a range of subjects like English, Arts, Science, Business, and Nursing. Some of the most popular majors are in business, humanities, early childhood education, and nursing.
One big advantage of this college is its low tuition fees, so it is easily one of the best regionally accredited online colleges with low tuition. This college is located in Elko, Nevada, and is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. It has a 100% acceptance rate, a 73% retention rate, and a 49% graduation rate. You can get financial aid through grants, loans, scholarships, and work-study programs.
9. Eastern New Mexico University
At the Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU), residents are billed $174.75 per credit hour while non residents are billed $275 per credit hour (this price includes tuition, fees and any online course fees). They offer many degrees including a Bachelor of Computer Science, as well as other undergraduate and graduate programs. Before application, make sure to review the sample degree plans on the ENMU website to ensure the courses align with your interests.
This online school is accredited by various authoritative bodies and is committed to providing quality education. Thus, it is one of the regionally accredited online colleges with low tuition to cap it all.
ENMU also offers a dual enrollment program for high school students, allowing them to take college-level courses online at a reduced cost. Key details about the campus include its location in Portales, NM, accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission, an acceptance rate of 35%, a retention rate of 61%, and a graduation rate of 40%. The university provides various financial aid options such as scholarships, grants, stipends, student assistance, and waivers.
10. Oregon State University
Oregon State University’s Extended Campus, also known as Ecampus, provides affordable online degrees. These include Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate, and Certificate programs with a variety of interesting majors and minors. The Computer Science, Human Development, and Public Health programs are particularly notable for their high number of graduates.
Students at OSU receive excellent support and build strong relationships with both teachers and fellow students. These connections are helpful for their current studies and future careers. The online school is a great option for international students too.
The cost of studying at Oregon State University is reasonable, at $350 per credit hour for undergraduate programs and up to $590/credit for graduate programs.
There is also an availability of financial aid, which makes it one of the most regionally accredited online colleges with low tuition.
The university is located in Corvallis, Oregon, and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. It has an acceptance rate of 89%, a retention rate of 87%, and a graduation rate of 66%.
11. Florida International University
Another regionally accredited online college with low tuition is the Florida International University (FIU). They have many undergraduate and graduate degrees, along with certificate programs. At FIU, students enjoy many academic benefits and learn from the same award-winning teachers who teach on campus. You can also adjust course schedules to fit your personal needs.
- Florida Residents
- Total Fall & Spring Cost: $26,016
- Per Semester Costs include:
- Tuition: $3,084
- Fees: $199
- Non-Florida Residents
- Total Fall & Spring Cost: $38,414
- Per Semester Costs include:
- Tuition: $9,283
- Fees: $199
The university is located in Miami, Florida, and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. It has a 50% acceptance rate, a high retention rate of 91%, and a graduation rate of 74%. Students can also get financial aid through tuition waivers, scholarships, and grants.
12. University of Central Florida
The University of Central Florida (UCF) is a well-known online university that’s affordable and offers a lot of choices. They have over 80 programs for undergraduate, graduate, and certificate levels.
The tuition and fees total per credit hour is $179.19 for residents and $715.80 for non residents. They are not particularly one of the regionally accredited online colleges with low tuition for non residents.
The university is in Orlando, Florida, and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Its acceptance rate is 36%, with a high retention rate of 92% and a graduation rate of 76%. Students can get financial aid like grants and scholarships.
13. Grantham University
Grantham University is affordable and offers high-quality online education. They offer over 50 programs in fields such as Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement Administration, and Business. It’s a popular choice, especially among adult learners who start their education later in life. Students often praise the university for its value and quality.
The cost of study is reasonable, with undergraduate tuition at $295 per credit hour and graduate tuition at $350 per credit hour. Eligible Heroes program participants—military members and veterans—pay $250 per credit hour.
Located in Lenexa, Kansas, the university is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission. It has a 100% acceptance rate, a 53% retention rate, and a 4% graduation rate.
Financial aid options include scholarships, grants, private aid, and a Heroes Program. A standout feature of Grantham University is its free laptop program for new and returning students enrolled in degree programs.
14. The University of Texas of the Permian Basin
The University of Texas Permian Basin (UTPB) is also one of the regionally accredited online colleges with low tuition with programs in Business, Education, Nursing, and more. It’s well-known for its Business and Psychology majors. UTPB has been recognized by US News & World Report for having some of the best online bachelor’s degree programs among Texas public universities. It’s also famous for its budget-friendly online courses.
The UTPB is tuition is $219.22 for one credit hour, and the undergraduate online fee for one credit hour is $143.12.
Some key details about UTPB:
- Location: Odessa, TX
- Accreditation: It’s accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
- Acceptance Rate: 65%
- Retention Rate: 65%
- Graduation Rate: 59%
- Financial Aid Options: They offer student loans, grants, and scholarships.
15. Brigham University
Brigham Young University-Idaho is a college run by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It’s a non-profit school with over 49,000 students from all over the world. They also have an online program called BYU – Pathway Worldwide, which has over 15,000 students. You can get degrees online from BYU-Idaho and Ensign College, including more than 50 online certificates and degrees. These are affordable and cover areas like certificates, associate’s, and bachelor’s degrees. Online courses here cost $239 per credit hour.
Some of their popular online programs include a bachelor’s degree in Business Management, Marriage and Family Studies, and Public Health. They also offer popular associate’s degrees in Family History Research and Web Design & Development.
The campus is located in Rexburg, Idaho. The school is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Its acceptance rate is 59%, with a 92% retention rate and a 62% graduation rate. Financial aid is available through scholarships, loans, grants, and work-study programs.
16. Arkansas State University
Arkansas State University has an impressive online program that has seen over 10,000 students graduate. This university is not only regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission but also has national accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International. They offer a variety of online courses, including business administration, criminology, political science, and strategic communication.
Students can start their courses at different times throughout the year, thanks to their rolling start dates. The online courses are affordable, which makes them a popular choice among students looking for regionally accredited online colleges with low tuition.
The university is located in Jonesboro, Arkansas. It has a 63% acceptance rate, a 75% student retention rate, and a graduation rate of 54%. Students at Arkansas State University can also benefit from financial aid options like scholarships, loans, and work-study programs.
Arkansas State University is the second-largest university in Arkansas. A total of $40 in required fees is charged per credit hour.
They offer more than 150 degree programs and has a diverse group of students from all over the world and the United States. Their extensive online program is a significant part of their offerings.
Many people want to find affordable colleges for their education. Cheaper colleges can provide a good education without the high cost. To do this, students should research, compare options, and make informed decisions when enrolling in bachelor’s degree programs. This way, you can get a quality education without spending too much money.