Online Colleges with Low Tuition

Low tuition online colleges could potentially help you earn your degree without breaking the bank. Of course, finding affordable online colleges means something different for everyone, since student budgets come in all shapes and sizes.

That’s why we’ve rounded up partner schools offering online programs at a variety of price points. Check them out and keep reading for tips on potentially pursuing your college education more affordably!

List of 9 Low Tuition Online Colleges

Browse these potentially low tuition online colleges to get a feel for how much earning your degree might cost. Or, fill out our form to get matched with online schools that may be the perfect fit!

Keep in mind that the listed tuition is for the 2018-19 year and may vary depending on the program and other factors. For schools that charge per credit, the tuition category is determined based on a course load of 30 credits per year. In addition, other fees may apply that are not listed as part of their tuition costs.

Online Colleges Under $10,000 per Year

1. Colorado Technical University

Undergraduate Tuition: $325 per Credit (Plus Fees)

For the past 50 years, Colorado Technical University has placed a strong focus on providing industry-relevant degree programs to meet the unique needs of their students. This emphasis extends to and has helped them innovate in areas such as problem-based and adaptive learning.

Potential Cost-Saving Benefits

  • Discounts for active duty, reserve, and National Guard military personnel serving in the U.S. Armed Services and their eligible spouses
  • CTU Fast Track ™ allows you to earn college credit for what you already know through competency-based exams, potentially reducing your cost

There are additional fees, which include the technology fee (paid every semester) and the graduation fee (paid only during your last semester).

2. Grantham University

Undergraduate Tuition: $260 per Credit (After Applicable Scholarship, if Eligible)

Dedicated to serving those who serve others, Grantham University offers quality education to students who are serious about preparing for their future. The school’s vision is to be a globally recognized innovator in higher education and to provide quality, accessible programs to prepare students for a changing global society.

Potential Cost-Saving Benefits

  • Military, veteran, first responder, and civil servant discounted tuition
  • Textbook and Software Grant Program, which covers the cost of books and software for those who qualify

Online Colleges Under $12,000 per Year

3. Purdue University Global

Undergraduate Tuition: Varies*

*Purdue University Global’s Tuition Cap program may permit eligible first-time enrollees to earn their bachelor’s degree for a total cost of $45,000, which averages to $11,250 per year for four years. (Program length may vary depending on the student.)

Part of the Purdue University system, Purdue Global was designed to help adult learners pursue their degrees in a flexible format. The university is home to 180 online programs, which feature one-on-one mentoring and support. Plus, the Purdue Global Commitment means you can try your classes for an introductory three-week period, with no obligation to pay tuition unless you opt to move forward.

Potential Cost-Saving Benefits

  • Purdue Global ExcelTrack programs may allow you to earn your degree at an accelerated pace, for $2,200 per term.
  • Reduced tuition rates are offered to eligible military servicemembers, veterans, and dependents.

4. Colorado State University Global Campus

Undergraduate Tuition: $350 per Credit

CSU-Global offers programs that are committed to student success and to helping modern learners achieve their academic goals. Their programs are flexible and convenient and designed to offer the modern learner the ability to earn their degree at their pace and on their own terms.

Potential Cost-Saving Benefits

  • No student fees
  • Reduced military tuition rates
  • Tuition lock – your tuition stays the same from the time you enroll to the time you graduate (must meet certain criteria)

5. Liberty University Online

Undergraduate Tuition: $390 per Credit (Rate for Full-Time Students)

Liberty University is a nonprofit, evangelical liberal arts university based in Lynchburg, Virginia. They offer more than 250 online programs that serve students from around the world. In fact, Liberty has been a pioneer in distance learning since 1985. Today, they're proud to offer innovative, Christ-centered learning with a strong online community and a commitment to serving others.

Potential Cost-Saving Benefits

  • Choose from several interest-free payment plans
  • Eligible Emergency Response Personnel (such as police, firefighters, and paramedics) may qualify for a 25% tuition discount and other potential benefits
  • Liberty offers a variety of potential scholarship opportunities for online students
  • Note: full-time students are considered students who take 12 or more credits per semester

Online Colleges Under $15,000 per Year

6. Ashford University

Undergraduate Tuition: $475 per credit

Ashford University is an accredited institution offering both online and on-campus degree programs designed for nontraditional students. Students can access the online classroom from their smartphones, tablets, or laptops. Plus, around-the-clock tech support, over 180 digital textbooks, and other handy learning features may help your coursework fit seamlessly into your busy life!

Potential Cost-Saving Benefits

  • For eligible military students, Ashford offers a reduced rate of $250 per credit.
  • Ashford offers a variety of potential scholarship and grant opportunities for eligible students.
  • Students get free access to Microsoft Office 365.

7. Grand Canyon University

Undergraduate Tuition: $395 to $470 per Credit for Online and Evening Students*

Grand Canyon University is a private, Christian university based in Arizona. In addition to campuses in Phoenix and beyond, they offer online and evening programs designed to be flexible for busy students. Since GCU was founded in 1949, they have upheld a commitment to faith, with a focus on service and a community spirit. As an interdenominational university, they welcome students of all backgrounds.

Potential Cost-Saving Benefits:

  • Eligible Active Duty and Active Reserve students may qualify for a reduced tuition rate.
  • Use GCU's online cost estimator tools to start planning early!

Online Colleges Under $18,000 per Year

8. South University Online

Undergraduate Tuition: $4,420 Per Quarter for 10 or More Credit Hours

*Note: this rate is for select online programs. Specific programs may be more or less.

South University is an accredited, private institution offering online learning, as well as traditional learning on campuses across nine states. They are home to associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degree programs across areas like business, health, nursing, and more.

In addition, online students receive the support of “graduation teams,” comprised of an admissions representative, finance counselor, and academic counselor who can help you pursue your goals!

Potential Cost-Saving Benefits:

  • Students plan on pursuing fewer than 10 credits per quarter may pay reduced tuition.
  • South University may offer financial aid, such as institutional grants, to qualifying students.

9. Argosy University

Undergraduate Tuition: $556 per credit for online programs

Argosy University is an academic institution dedicated to flexible learning. With many online programs, plus evening and weekend courses at 28 campus locations across the country, there are learning paths to fit diverse student needs.

Plus, Argosy focuses on helping students prepare for professional and career fields through a mixture of theory and practice. Choose from programs in education, business, health sciences, psychology, and more.

Potential Cost-Saving Benefits:

  • You may be able to earn prior learning credits for eligible professional or experiential learning.
  • Argosy participates in military benefits programs and other potential opportunities for eligible veterans and military students.

3 Ways to Potentially Make Online College More Affordable

When staring at the potential costs of earning your degree, the good news is that you may save money simply by opting to pursue your studies online instead of on campus.

Online students tend to avoid the charges traditional students groan about, such as parking permits and other commuting expenses, student activities fees, and mandatory meal plans.

That said, there may be more you can do to potentially save money while pursuing your degree. For one, make sure you understand how your prospective school plans to charge you for your tuition: by credit or by term. Some students may look for the cheapest online college per credit hour.

True, schools that primarily charge by the credit hour for tuition may be ideal for part-time students who plan to take just a couple of courses at time.

However, you may also want to look for online schools that charge fixed tuition for students who plan to earn more than a set minimum number of credits per term. Such a plan could allow you to pursue as many as 12 or more credits for a fixed cost, potentially allowing you to maximize your tuition dollars.

Here are a few other considerations that may help you save money:

1. Look for Schools That Offer Prior Learning Credits

If you have military training or work experience that enhanced your knowledge, some online schools may recognize the value of your past learning, even if it didn't take place in a classroom. Argosy University is one such school that may award prior learning credits for eligible experience, but there are others out there.

2.Read the Fine Print

Besides tuition, your online program may have other costs associated with it – like technology fees and graduation application fees. While such fees are not necessarily unfair or avoidable, it’s good to be aware of them to make sure you don't get sticker shock when it comes time to pay your term bill.

You could also look for online schools that strive to minimize or simplify fees. Colorado State University – Global Campus is one such school that offers all-inclusive tuition, so students don’t have to worry about hidden costs.

3. Don’t Just Look for the Cheapest Online College

Instead of searching for the cheapest school, look for a higher education partner that feels like the perfect fit for you.

Remember that changing schools down the road could potentially cost you money, since you may have to pay new application fees or worry about certain credits not transferring.

By doing your due diligence, you’ll hopefully find a school and program that sounds ideal for your goals.


In the 2015–16 academic year, annual cost for undergraduate tuition, fees, room, and board were averaged at $16,757 for public institutions, $43,065 for private nonprofit institutions, and $23,776 for private for-profit institutions.i

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