Online schools have been gaining traction in the United States in recent years. They are touted as the next best alternative to conventional education for individuals seeking to obtain a degree while working full-time or without disruption to their personal, day-to-day life. According to the Babson Survey Research Group of 2018, the popularity of distance education has seen a significant rise. Enrollment has risen to 5% within the years 2015 and 2016.
In the fall of 2018, more than 6.3 million students took at least one online course. Students prefer online courses in both public and private academic institutions, yet the most significant increase was observed in public universities.
Another recent report projects that throughout 2019, there will be considerable growth in the number of students enrolling in an online degree. The programs will attract more students as online schools feature more digital innovations and platforms. Students will also clamor for courses that are most appropriate for job-specific skills, which online learning degrees offer.
While more and more colleges and universities are offering distance education as an alternative format for instruction and learning, it can be quite a challenge to find the most suitable online school that caters to every student’s needs. An online degree in a reputable school is, after all, an investment for the future.
Indeed, more college students are choosing online schools over brick-and-mortar colleges and universities due to the several advantages it offers. Flexibility, ease of accessibility, convenience, and affordability are just some of them.
Accreditation of Online Schools
Accreditation is an essential part of the credibility process in any academic institution. Accreditation is defined as an independent agency’s thorough examination of a program or college according to factors such as student support, academic excellence, and faculty credentials.
An academic institution’s accreditation proves that it is a credible school that upholds a high standard of instruction. Online schools that go through a process of accreditation allow students to earn undergraduate, graduate, postgraduate, and professional level courses through distance learning.
Affordability of Distance Learning
As college students look for excellent education opportunities, they usually consider the cost of entering a university or college. Sometimes, community colleges are regarded as an affordable option for numerous students considering a two-year degree or hoping to earn transfer credits.
Typically, it takes in-depth research to determine or search for affordable online schools. Tuition in four-year online programs may not be cheap, but they’re considerably less than the fees at brick-and-mortar schools. For one, online degree programs entail fewer expenses on the part of the student, since they don’t have to pay for school facilities, school staff, and personnel. There are no commuting costs either! Average tuition in online schools ranges typically from $100 to $400 per credit hour.
Accredited online schools also enable students everywhere to earn their diploma without the need to travel. You don’t need to process any travel requirements and shoulder hefty travel costs; you need to have a working computer and Internet!
Did you know that online schools also afford grants, scholarships, loans, and other forms of financial aid to qualified students? You certainly can choose an online college or university that does not break the bank and provides high-quality education at the same time.
Enrolling in affordable, accredited colleges and universities can bring high returns. In random order, we list 10 of the most affordable, accredited online schools that can take you a step closer to the college degree and career path of your dreams.
Western Governors University
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Western Governors University offers bachelor’s and graduate level programs. There are four existing colleges, namely the College of Health Professions including Nursing, Teachers’ College, the College of Business, and the College of Information Technology, which offer about 60-degree programs. WGU is the first university to feature competency-based degree programs.
The university features a convenient, year-round enrolment. Degree programs typically begin at the first of every month. Admission does not require students to submit their SAT or ACT scores. Tuition is charged on a six month-term instead of on a per-credit-hour arrangement. The university only charges a flat rate fee, and most of the program’s tuition ranges from $6.50 to $8,00 plus fees yearly. This amount is almost half the cost of other accredited academic institutions. The undergraduate application fee is at $65.
Western Governors University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.
Location: Lynchburg, Virginia
Liberty University is the largest private, Christian university in Virginia. The televangelist, Jerry Falwell, founded the university in 1971. It has about 250 online accredited degree programs in the associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and postgraduate levels. Through an 8-week process, students can obtain a bachelor’s degree in education, aeronautics, visual arts, paralegal, law, business, divinity, nursing, engineering, business management, criminal justice, and information systems.
Tuition and fees vary in terms of student status, course, or degree program but the average cost of online undergraduate tuition ranges from $340 to $390 per credit hour and $455 to $565 per credit hour for graduate programs. The university provides discounts for undergraduate and graduate military students who pay a flat rate of $250 and $275 per credit hour, respectively. The one-time admission fee is $50 while the graduation fee is $100.
Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges, the American Osteopathic Association, the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.
Murray State University
Location: Murray, Kentucky
Murray State University, founded in 1923, is a liberal arts college. Its well-designed curriculum features 126 online educational programs including agronomy, agricultural systems, technology, engineering graphics, and design, environmental geology, learning and behavior disorders, and philosophy and applied ethics in undergraduate, graduate levels, as well as teaching endorsements and certificates, associate, and doctorate degrees. Online classes are conducted through its Canvas learning management system. The school also holds the seven-week online GRE test preparation program. Murray State advisors and academic professionals also provide constant academic support to students.
Tuition is variable, and it is mainly dependent on a student’s state of residence and credit hours. Aside from work-study programs and internships, a Racer Aid Booklet is provided as a financial aid guide for families to reduce tuition debts. Average tuition cost is $9,000 for the undergraduate level and $9,300 for the graduate level.
The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications, the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
Location: Bellevue, Nebraska
Bellevue University is a private, non-profit university with an award-winning faculty. The purely online undergraduate program at Bellevue prepares students for the practical skills required for professional advancement. Online degree programs include accounting, web development, business, criminal justice, mathematics, and psychology.
Bellevue’s average online degree program consists of 127 credits in general education, electives, and major requirements. In the Kirkpatrick Signature Series that tackles philosophical and political movements that have shaped and influenced Western civilization, each student is required to take about nine credits. Programs that utilize a cohort model allow students to earn 60 credits. The online writing center can be accessed through the university website.
Undergraduate tuition at Bellevue is $360 per credit hour plus application and graduation fees. The university is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, and The Higher Learning Commission.
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Capella University, founded in 1993, features about 1,600 online bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate programs in the fields of business, education, public health, psychology, public safety, and information technology. Around 86% of their faculty are doctorate degree holders.
Tuition ranges from $275 to $360 per credit hour, given that there are upper-level and lower-level courses for undergraduate students. Online students may expect a blend of these levels within their degree programs. Other fees include application and graduation fees.
The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.
American Public University
Location: Charles Town, West Virginia
American Public University has a population of around 98,400 students. A competent faculty designs course curricula that are ideal for working professionals seeking career advancement. The university also features 190 online degree programs particularly in Military History, Emergency and Disaster Management, Human Development and Family Studies, Military History, Reverse Logistics Management, Space Studies, and Electric Engineering, among others. Major courses include environmental policy and management, international relations and conflict resolution, public administration, security management, and others.
Average tuition for undergraduate students is $270 per credit hour and $350 per credit hour for graduate students.
The American Public University is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, the Society for Human Resource Management, the American Sport Education Program, the National Academy of Sports Medicine, National Security Agency, and the National Council on Family Relations.
Fort Hays State University
Location: Hays, Kansas
Fort Hays State University is a public academic institution founded in 1902. It has numerous online associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degree programs. It is composed of four colleges including Business and Entrepreneurship, Education and Technology, Arts and Science and Health and Life Sciences. These four colleges include 30 departments and feature more than 60 undergraduate majors and 19 majors for graduate students.
Undergraduate degree programs include organizational leadership, tourism and hospitality management, human health and performance, information networking and telecommunications, and agricultural business. Numerous online services that are available to students may include technical support, academic advising, and career services.
The tuition is $186.50 per credit hour for undergraduate students, as well as for in-state and out-of-state students. The school also charges an application fee.
Fort Hays State University is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology, the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology, the National Association of Schools of Music, the Commission on Accreditation, and the Commission on Community/Junior College Accreditation.
Minot State University
Location: Minot, North Dakota
Minot State University is the third largest co-educational, public academic institution. It offers state-of-the-art online certificate, undergraduate, and graduate degree programs in the fields of business, education, and nursing. The online educational institution maintains a 12:1 student-faculty ratio with about 3,348 online college students. Online courses are either synchronous (fixed class schedules) or asynchronous (unscheduled, flexible formats). MSU Online has 16 inexpensive online programs such as International Business, Special Education, Information Systems, and Human Services from Associate to Bachelor degrees.
The length of each online program varies, but their common ground is that they are cost-efficient. MSU Online programs’ average tuition for undergraduates is $294.32 per credit hour, and tuition for graduates is at $369.72. Academic advising, library, and online tutoring are offered to online students. MSU Online is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission
West Texas A&M University
Location: Canyon, Texas
West Texas A&M University is a public, co-educational academic institution that caters to online students. The online education division features 19 top-notch online and hybrid undergraduate degree programs by means of the SREB Electronic Campus. These affordable online degree programs include Economics, Criminal Justice, a Healthcare MBA, Business, Nursing, and Finance from associate to bachelor degrees. One program that stands out in West Texas A&M is the online Emergency Management Administration.
The average tuition for undergraduate students is $9,803 per year. The University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
University of Wyoming
Location: Laramie, Wyoming
The University of Wyoming, founded in 1886, is composed of seven colleges, namely health sciences, engineering and applied sciences, business, education, law, agriculture and natural resources, and arts and sciences. It has about 30 online undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs.
Program tuition for undergraduates is at $113 per credit hour and $227 per credit hour for graduate students. The undergraduate application fee is at $40.
The university is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission, the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education, the American Bar Association, the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, the American Psychological Association, the Committee on Accreditation, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, the National Association of Schools of Music, the Commission on Accreditation, the Commission on Community/Junior College Accreditation, and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.