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Most Affordable Accredited Online Colleges

most_affordable_accredited_online_collegesFinding the most affordable online college can be daunting. When you look at a college or university’s cost, you may only look at the tuition and think it’s not affordable–which could be further from the truth.

You might be surprised to know that a school’s net price will most likely be the amount you’ll actually expect to pay–which is generally much cheaper than a school’s stated tuition/sticker price. The net price takes into account what a student can expect to pay with financial aid included.

Education Reference Desk’s list of the cheapest, most affordable online colleges has taken into account several factors to determine the best online schools for your money.

Each factor can give you insight into how likely you are to 1. continue at a given school, 2. graduate, 3. receive financial aid, and 4.  what you can expect to earn post-graduation. These factors, combined with affordability, will give you a more complete picture of the overall quality of education you will receive at each institution on our list of Most Affordable Online Colleges.

Ranking Methodology | Cheapest Accredited Online Colleges Ranking


The schools considered for this ranking were chosen from a pool of currently ranked “Best Online Colleges” that offer online degrees.

In order to provide students with the best Affordable Online Colleges ranking, each college or university in our list:

  • Must have a net price of less than $20,000 per year
  • Must provide 60 percent financial aid or higher to full-time beginning undergraduate students
  • Must retain 70 percent or more of their first-time students who are seeking bachelor’s degrees
  • Must graduate at least 49 percent of their students
  • Must provide a 20-year return on investment of $150,000 or more

Schools in the Most Affordable Online Colleges ranking are ranked by affordability.

All data was gathered from and is accurate at the time of this writing (July 2019). All other information was gathered from school websites and other ranking sites such as, US News & World Report and

Top 10 Cheapest Affordable Online Colleges

1. University of Michigan

Average Net Price: $16,856
Financial Aid: 63%
Retention Rate: 97%
Graduation Rate: 92%
ROI: $559,000

The University of Michigan is a public university that was founded in 1817. Its campus is located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In 2019, this university ranked first for top public universities in America, first for colleges with the best student life in America, and second for best colleges for Kinesiology and Physical Therapy in America. It also ranked ninth for best colleges for veterans. The University of Michigan also has an online school referred to as Michigan Online. This online school was created by the University of Michigan to provide students with online learning opportunities.

The online programs currently offered for students to take courses in are Arts and Culture, Business, Data Science, Education, Health, Science, Social Sciences, and Technology. You can become a University of Michigan graduate directly from your home. The three fully online degrees offered at this college are Master of Public Health in Population and Health Sciences, Master of Applied Data Science, and Master of Business Administration.

2. University of North Florida

Average Net Price: $10,809
Financial Aid: 82%
Retention Rate: 91%
Graduation Rate: 59%
ROI: $285,000

The University of North Florida is a public university that was founded in 1965. Its campus is located in Jacksonville, Florida. In 2019, this university ranked sixth in top public universities in Florida, 29 for best colleges for veterans, and 42 for regional universities South. The University of North Florida also has a distance learning program for its students. There are fully online degree programs that provide flexibility for students to complete their degrees. This school focuses on high-quality learning, which results in student success and satisfaction.

The college provides several fully online degree programs and certificate programs for those that are unable to attend on-campus courses. The online undergraduate programs currently being offered are RN-BSN Bridge Track and American Sign Language Endorsement.

The graduate degree programs currently being offered online are Doctor of Nursing Practice in Psych-Mental Health, Doctor of Clinical Nutrition, Post-MSN Doctor of Nursing Practice, Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics, Master of Science in Criminal Justice, Master in Science in American Sign Language/English Interpreting, Master of Education in Educational Leadership: Educational Technology and Development, and Master of Education in Educational Leadership: Early Childhood Educational Leadership.

3. Fort Hays State University

Average Net Price: $12,340
Financial Aid: 96%
Retention Rate: 72%
Graduation Rate: 61%
ROI: $221,000

Fort Hays State University is located in Hays, Kansas, and is home to over 15,000 students. You won’t find another university with faculty more dedicated to your success and achievement. The university keeps a mission statement that, “provides accessible quality education to Kansas, the nation, and the world through an innovative community of teacher-scholars and professionals to develop engaged global citizen-leaders.” Fort Hays State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Fort Hays State University is proud to provide award-winning education to thousands of individuals across the nation. A few of FHSU’s top online degrees are in nursing, political science, international business, and criminal justice. Many of the programs offered have concentrations such as pre-law, addiction counseling, banking, cybersecurity, and much more. No matter which program is chosen Fort Hays State University empowers students to reach a higher potential and create stronger communities.

4. University of Wisconsin Whitewater

Average Net Price: $12,094
Financial Aid: 80%
Retention Rate: 78%
Graduation Rate: 58%
ROI: $252,000

University of Wisconsin – Whitewater is a public university that was founded in 1868. Its campus is located in Whitewater, Wisconsin. In 2019, this university ranked fourth for top public universities in Wisconsin, 39 for best colleges for veterans, 65 for regional universities Midwest, and 73 for best college athletics in America. University of Wisconsin – Whitewater also provides online degrees to its students to earn from home. You can choose to take a few courses online towards your degree or you can choose to pursue a degree fully online.

The online undergraduate degrees currently offered are Economics, General Business, Finance, Marketing, Management, Liberal Studies, Political Science, Law Enforcement, and Early Childhood Education. The online graduate degrees being offered as well are Master’s of Science in Special Education: Emphasis in Professional Development, Master of Business Administration, Master’s in Environment Safety and Health, Master’s in Finance, and Masters in School Business Management.

5. Old Dominion University

Average Net Price: $15,917
Financial Aid: 93%
Retention Rate: 80%
Graduation Rate: 52%
ROI: $328,000

Old Dominion University is a public research institution that has been serving the community of Norfolk, Virginia, since its founding in 1930, when it operated as an affiliate of William & Mary. Today, it maintains an enrollment of over 24,100 students, as well as an acceptance rate of 89% and a student-to-faculty ratio of 17:1. Old Dominion provides students with an immersive and diversified educational experience that helps them gain confidence both academically and professionally.

Through its wide variety of top-tier programs, covering such fields as business, health professions, social sciences, engineering, psychology, and more, Old Dominion students reap the benefits of high-quality education. The school prioritizes accessibility, enabling remote students to complete entire certificates, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees through ODU Online. According to, the school ranks #54 in Best Online Colleges in America, making it an outstanding option for especially busy students and distance learners alike. Ultimately, if you’re looking for a top-ranking, metropolitan university that will afford you a high measure of success, Old Dominion is definitely one to consider.

6. Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Average Net Price: $13,773
Financial Aid:93 %
Retention Rate: 73%
Graduation Rate: 49%
ROI: $302,00

Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville is a public university that was founded in 1957. Its campus is located in Edwardsville, Illinois. In 2019, this university ranked seventh for top public universities in Illinois, 45 for best colleges for veterans, 72 for best value schools, and 72 for regional universities Midwest. This school is known as one of the cheapest online colleges offering a variety of fully online programs.

The online graduate degrees currently being offered at Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville are Business Administration, Business Analytics, Management, Management Information Systems, Project Management, Criminal Justice Policy, Healthcare and Nursing Administration, Healthcare Informatics, Instructional Technology, Physical Education, and Coaching Pedagogy, and Nurse Educator. The two online undergraduate degrees offered at this college are Leadership in Organizations and RN to BS in Nursing. The online doctoral degree offered as well as the Doctor of Nursing Practice.

7. University of North Dakota

Average Net Price: $15,374
Financial Aid: 90%
Retention Rate: 81%
Graduation Rate: 55%
ROI: $361,000

The University of North Dakota is a public university that was founded in 1883. Its campus is located in Grand Forks, North Dakota. In 2019, this university ranked second for the best colleges in North Dakota. This school began distance education in 1911 with mail courses. Now, it offers distance education through 120 online degree programs, online certificates, and professional development courses. This college is also ranked first for online colleges in North Dakota, which is impressive.

Some of the online degree programs offered are Master’s in Accountancy, Master’s in Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Ph.D. in Aerospace Sciences, Master’s in Applied Economics, Master’s in Aviation, Master’s in Biomedical Engineering, Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering, MBA in Business, Bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering, Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering, Bachelor’s in Civil Engineering, Bachelor’s in Communication, Bachelor’s of Computer Science, and many more.

8. Sam Houston State University

Average Net Price: $12,516
Financial Aid:89 %
Retention Rate: 77%
Graduation Rate: 52%
ROI: $274,000

Sam Houston State University is a public university that was founded in 1879. Its campus is located in Huntsville, Texas. In 2019, this university ranked ninth for top public universities in Texas and 18 for best colleges for criminal justice in America. Sam Houston State University also provides a variety of fully online undergraduate and graduate degrees and certificates.

The online undergraduate majors offered at this school are Criminal Justice, General Business Administration, Health Care Administration, History, Homeland Security Studies, Liberal Studies, Nursing, Psychology, Sociology, and Victim Studies.

Sam Houston State University offers many online graduate degree program options as well. Some of the online master’s degrees currently being offered are Administration, Banking and Financial Institutions, Business Administration, Communication Studies, Criminal Justice, Criminal Justice Leadership and Management, Digital Forensics, Family and Consumer Sciences, Geographic Information Systems, Healthcare Quality and Safety, Higher Education Administration, History, Homeland Security Studies, and many more. In addition, the two online doctoral degree programs being offered at this university are Developmental Education Administration and Instructional Systems Design and Technology.

9. University of Wisconsin Platteville

Average Net Price: $14,158
Financial Aid: 84%
Retention Rate: 79%
Graduation Rate: 54%

University of Wisconsin – Platteville is a public university that was founded in 1866. Its campus is located in Platteville, Wisconsin. In 2019, this university ranked seventh for best value colleges in Wisconsin, 32 for top public schools, and 35 for engineering programs. University of Wisconsin – Platteville also provides online learning to its students. This school is known for its high-quality education and has a reputation for being one of the most affordable online colleges.

The following degrees and certificates online from the University of Wisconsin Platteville: Applied Computing, Associate of Arts and Sciences, Associate of Science in Business Administration, Bachelors of Applied Arts and Sciences, Business Administration, Child Advocacy, Criminal Justice, Engineering, Healthcare Administration, Integrated Supply Chain Management, Organizational Change Leadership, and Project Management. The online programs offered are a wonderful, flexible step to your professional success.


10. Ball State University

Average Net Price: $13,642
Financial Aid: 90%
Retention Rate: 78%
Graduation Rate: 63%
ROI: $158,000

Ball State University is a public university that was founded in 1918. Its campus is located in Muncie, Indiana. In 2019, this university ranked third for top public universities in Indiana, 91 for best colleges for performing arts in America, 91 for top public schools, and 92 for best big colleges in America. Ball State University also has over 70 programs offered fully online. Additionally, this college is a very affordable online college; you will get a great value degree or certificate here. There are a variety of online programs to choose from. The three online associate degrees currently offered are Criminal Justice and Criminology, General Arts, and Radiography.

The online bachelor’s degrees offered at Ball State University include Applied Behavioral Analysis, Business Administration, Criminal Justice and Criminology, Early Childhood Education, General Studies, Logistics and Supply Chain Management, and Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science. The three doctoral degrees offered online are Doctor of Education in Adult and Community Education, Doctor of Education in Educational Administration and Supervision, and Doctor of Education with an emphasis on Special Education. There are many online master’s degrees offered at this school. Some of the online master’s degrees featured are Applied Behavior Analysis, Athletic Coaching Education, Business Administration, Curriculum and Educational Technology, Career and Technical Education, Educational Administration and Supervision, Educational Psychology, Elementary Education, Information and Communication Science, Interior Design, Journalism, Mathematics Education, Nutrition and Dietetics, and more.

If any of the information is incorrect regarding your school, please notify us by emailing


Guide to Affordable Online Colleges

Higher education is an invaluable investment to individuals looking to pursue a new career, advance their current job, or change career paths. Online colleges are a strong option for learners looking for convenient and flexible learning when pursuing their degrees, and they are becoming more popular every day. Even traditional colleges have adopted the distance learning format in recent years to increase the accessibility of their programs and to meet the increasing demand for online degrees by distance learners.

Online colleges made it easier for prospective students to get degrees from flexible learning environments, enabling them to balance work, study, and lifestyle. Online colleges aim to help a student achieve their personal and professional goals at an affordable tuition rate. The online degree programs range from undergraduate degrees, such as associate’s degrees and bachelor’s degrees, to graduate degrees, such as master’s degrees and doctoral degrees.

Graduate students from online colleges earn the same degrees as those in traditional programs, as the online programs are rigorous and of world-class quality. Additionally, the standards of online bachelor’s degree programs and graduate degrees aren’t compromised. The online colleges voluntarily seek accreditation from any of the seven regionally accreditation agencies. Before enrolling for particular program research to ensure the institution is regionally accredited.

Are you shopping for an online college? To help you make an informed decision about the best online program to pursue, we have explored every aspect of affordable online colleges, including:

  1. How the field of study affects your colleges costs
  2. Most affordable online colleges by degree program
  3. How to choose the best online college for your budget
  4. Best financing options for online colleges

How Field of Study Affects Your College Costs

Higher education is increasingly becoming costly with the passing of years, sparking debates on whether higher education is worth it. The cost of higher education is affected by various factors, including the field of study, learning institution, and learning format. It isn’t a surprise to find some accredited online colleges charge extensively higher than others. One needs proper financial planning to ensure they meet the cost of earning their degrees.

For instance, they first need to research the cost of the program they are interested in, compare the tuition with other universities, and select the most affordable college, even if it means pursuing the program online. This page explores the various factors that affect the cost of a field of study, and the choices families and students have to make regarding the cost of higher education.

What Choices Are Universities Seeing Students and Families Have to Make Based On the Costs of Higher Education?

As high school graduation parties come to an end, a new task is ahead of first-year college students and their families. Unlike high school education, which is relatively cheap, higher education comes at a cost. Families and aspiring students have to make their first college tuition payment. Yet, some students and families, especially the low-income earners, may worry they won’t have the financial muscle to cover the tuition costs. With this, the families have to make various choices regarding the cost of higher education. Some of the choices include:

  • Financial Budget: Families have to develop a financial budget to help them cover higher education costs. The budget plan will likely include the available resources and probably how to gain more funds.
  • Degree Program to Pursue: Families and students have to decide the type of degree the student should pursue. Shopping for a degree program can be difficult, especially with the increased number of degree programs available. This decision can be even more difficult depending on whether you’re looking for an online bachelor’s degree or master’s degree program.
  • Financial Aid: Families and students have to research the financial aid options available to the student. Some of the financial aid options include student loans, scholarships, and federal grants. They have to decide on the best alternative that will cover tuition fees and other college expenses.

What Are the Most and Least Expensive Fields of Study?

If you are considering pursuing a college degree, you are probably wondering whether your dream college degree will cost more than the average tuition. As a prospective student, this question should be at the forefront of your mind as some fields of study cost much higher, while others are least expensive. In most cases, majors that require extra years of study are quite costly in the long run. Some of these majors include:

  • Law
  • Medicine
  • Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Aviation
  • Dentistry
  • Interior design

The least expensive fields of study take relatively shorter periods to study. The least costly majors include:

  • Education
  • Graphic design
  • Psychology
  • Business

What Factors in A Field of Study Affect How Much a Degree Program Will Cost?

There are various factors in a field of study that affect how much a degree program will cost. Some the factors include:

  • Duration of the degree program
  • Availability of financial aid
  • Learning format, distance, or traditional learning
  • Demand level of the field of study
  • Employability rate

Most Affordable Online Colleges by Degree Program

With the increased cost of higher education, aspiring students have opted to pursue online degree programs from online colleges since they are relatively cheaper than campus-based programs. One factor that students highly consider in an online degree program is the affordability of the program. Learners also prioritize the flexibility of the degree program. Another factor considered is the school accreditation status. You are likely here because you are an aspiring student looking for an inexpensive degree to get value for your investment. Considering the tuition cost for a degree is a solid start to your quest. This page explores some of the affordable online colleges that offer quality education.

What Online Colleges Offer Inexpensive Options for Degree Programs That Typically Cost More?

Professionals with college degrees typically earn higher salaries and qualify for more job opportunities than individuals with only secondary education. Pursuing a degree program from an affordable online college helps students earn their degrees without going into debt. Earning your bachelor’s degree can unlock several career opportunities in various industries, as almost all entry-level jobs require a bachelor’s degree. Degree programs related to health care, engineering, architecture, aviation, among others, can be quite costly.

Hence, individuals seeking to pursue degree options should look for alternative routes of earning their degrees. One alternative is enrolling in an online college that offers inexpensive options for a degree program that typically costs more. The schools also have a flexible tuition payment plan. This article explores some of these online colleges, including the degree programs they offer to enable you to make an informed and cost-effective decision.

The University of Florida has over 200 online programs for bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. The university also offers an online certificate program and associate’s degrees. Some of the less expensive bachelor’s degrees include health education, digital arts, and sciences, among others. The programs have flexible course schedules allowing students to learn at their convenience. The school also offers financial aid programs to low-income students, reducing the high cost of higher education.

The University of Texas at Austin extended its programs to meet the high demand for online programs. The schools offer online bachelor’s degree options as well as online degree programs for master’s degrees and other continuing education courses. The university also offers professional development classes which help a business organization maintain skills and a productive workforce. Some of the programs offered by the university include legal education, health informatics, public affairs, and social work. The master’s degree programs offered include mechanical engineering, electrical and computer engineering, and engineering management. These programs are relatively cheaper compared to those provided by other learning institutions.

The University of Connecticut offers online programs in several fields of study, including science and engineering, public policy, energy and environmental management, and digital media and design. Like the on-campus students, online learners have access to academic and student support services, such as career advising, tutoring services, and assistance with graduate-level research. The online programs are asynchronous, enabling each online student to earn their degrees through a flexible and convenient learning environment. The online lectures are provided through live sessions, video recordings, and discussion boards.

Indiana University-Bloomington has over 150 online degree programs at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Some of the inexpensive online programs offered by the school include public health, labor studies, computing, and technology. The learning institution attracts close to 6,000 distance learners annually. The online programs are fully online, and students do not need campus visits to complete specific courses. The distance learners have round-the-clock access to student services such as academic advising and career services. They have access to internship opportunities like the campus students.

How Do Inexpensive Colleges Still Guarantee Excellent Quality When It Comes to Providing an Education?

Some students doubt the legitimacy of inexpensive colleges. If you want to invest your time and money into pursuing a degree program, you want to make sure the program is valuable and recognized by employers and professional bodies. You probably want to make sure other universities recognize the degree if you decide to continue your education. Whereas most online schools offer inexpensive programs, they offer quality and legitimate programs that help meet your professional needs. But how do they maintain quality?

Although there are many legitimate online options for a bachelor’s degree program or higher-level education, there are also illegitimate online schools that provide subpar education. The online colleges offering affordable programs differentiate themselves from scam colleges by voluntarily seeking regional accreditation. Having a regional accreditation guarantees quality and standardized easiest online degrees. The accreditation process is quite rigorous and might take several years, as the accreditation agency has to ensure the institution has met all the pre-defined accreditation standards. Maintaining accreditation involves a lot. Meaning the inexpensive online colleges have to maintain quality standards to avoid losing accreditation.

Which Colleges Offer Affordable Online Versions of In-Person Degree Programs?

If you want to make informed cost-effective decisions about higher education, considering only the program’s affordability might not be enough. You also need to consider the quality of the education and the value of the degree program. To help you decide, we have outlined some of the colleges that offer affordable online versions of in-person degree programs. Here are some of the colleges you need to consider:

Georgia Institute of Technology ranks high among colleges offering affordable online versions of in-person programs. The university does provide not only affordable programs but also quality education programs. The school is specifically known for its computer and information sciences online program. The college charges approximately $2,700 annually for the program.

The University of Maryland Global Campus offers affordable online programs in various fields, including public administration. Political science and government, criminal justice and research, and natural resources conservation and research. Students considering pursuing the offered field of study should look no further than the University of Maryland Global Campus.

The American Public University is a for-profit online college offering over 190 affordable certificate programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Some of the degree programs offered by the school include space studies, business, electrical engineering, health sciences, criminal justice, and sports management. Interestingly, the school has an open admission policy, allowing students to enroll in various programs without fulfilling specific academic requirements.

The National University boasts of over 150 online college programs in different fields of study. The school has significantly improved its online campus to ensure improved distance learning outcomes. The online programs’ classes and tools are accessible throughout. Some of the programs offered include teaching and education, healthcare, engineering and technology, math, criminal justice, social sciences, and humanities.

How to Choose the Best Online College for Your Budget

With rising tuition costs, it can be hard to find affordable colleges. Not all students qualify for financial aid provided by the federal government, state government, and individual colleges and universities. Most students who avoid student loans, like loan repayment without debt forgiveness, are likely to reduce their disposable income once they begin working. Fortunately, with the increased number of online colleges becoming available annually, students can find affordable online colleges that meet their personal and professional goals. This guide covers finding an affordable college program, including how to decide if the program is right for your budget.

How Can You Decide If an Affordable Online College Is Right for You and Your Learning Style?

Given the different learning formats used in colleges and universities, choosing the type of degree program to pursue is a crucial decision to make. Before choosing an online college such as nonprofit online colleges, you need to determine if the program is right for you and your learning style. Consider several factors, including:

  • What you are passionate about: You need to identify the field of study you are passionate about and link it to your attributes. For instance, if you are passionate about impacting other peoples’ lives, you should consider an online college offering healthcare degree programs.
  • Consider your learning style: If you are an individual who prefers to learn from home rather than physically attending classes, you probably need to enroll in an online school. Online colleges allow students to earn their degrees from flexible learning environments.
  • Are you a tech-savvy person? Online learning processes mainly take place over the internet and through computer gadgets such as laptops and desktops. If you are a tech-savvy individual, you will probably enjoy learning online.
  • Career Potentials: Online college programs have different career potentials. If you seek to land a job immediately after graduating, you should probably enroll in a college that offers career advising and has a high employability rate.

How Can You Decide If an Online Is Right for Your Budget?

Students can avoid degree programs that strain their budgets by enrolling in affordable online colleges. The cheap online colleges help students avoid debts and out-of-pocket expenses that are associated with traditional colleges. Although online colleges help students save money, it is vital to choose a program within your budget. Choosing an online college that is right for your budget helps students avoid debts. An online college could be suitable for your budget if you can pay the annual tuition costs with ease without applying for financial aid. The budget could be ideal if a student doesn’t have to ask for a flexible tuition payment plan.

How Can You Be Sure of the Total Cost of an Online Degree Program Before You Commit?

Even if you pursue an online degree, higher education can be costly in the long run. It is essential to determine the actual cost of an online degree before committing. Most prospective students typically consider tuition and fees, ignoring other indirect costs that might increase the total cost of the online degree. To determine the total cost, it is vital to consider other things such as books and course materials. You also need to determine transportation costs related to on-campus requirements.

Best Financing Options for Online College Students

Higher education can be quite costly, and almost every student pursuing college degrees needs financial aid to complete their degrees. Financial aid helps students cover tuition and other college-related expenses. There are various financial aid opportunities available to American students. The financial aid options ranging from student loans, grants, fellowships, scholarships, and multiple awards accorded to academically gifted students. This guide explores the best financing options for online college students. The focus will help you find the right financing option that meets your educational needs.

What Is Overarching Breakdown on Federal Laws Surrounding Student and Educational Loans?

The federal government plays a vital role in the student loan industry. It is in partnership with student loan servicers to help manage its bulging student loan portfolio. The federal government is also actively involved in regulating the student loan industry to ensure student educational loans are administered effectively. To be eligible for student loans, a student must meet specific eligibility criteria.

Since the introduction of educational loans, several laws have been enacted to regulate the student loan industry. The regulations have helped set the eligibility criteria for loans, the maximum amounts awarded, and the repayment period. The laws regulate the activities of student loan services to curb unscrupulous loan activities.

What Are the Different Types of Student and Educational Loans, And How Can You Pick One That Is Right for You?

College and university students are eligible for different types of student and educational loans. The main types of financial aid include:

  • Student loans

Student loans are the most common form of financial aid designed to help students cover higher education expenses such as online college tuition costs and books. Mostly, student loans are offered by state and federal governments. However, learners are also eligible for loans from private and public institutions. The common types of student loans include:

  • Federal Loans: Federal loans are the largest form of student loans. Federal loans come in various forms. They include direct subsidized loan, direct unsubsidized loan, Direct PLUS loan, and federal Perkins loan.
  • Private loans: Learners qualify for loans from private financial institutions such as banks, private foundations, and credit unions. Private loans attract higher interests than federal loans. The amount of loans varies with the awarding institution.
  • Institutional Loans: Currently, colleges and universities provide loans to eligible students to help cover college-related expenses. Students are required to repay the loans after the expiry of a grace period, which is usually six months.
  • Scholarships

Scholarships are the most competitive form of financial aid. Scholarships are the most preferred type of financial aid because they do not have to be paid back. Scholarships are awarded based on various factors, including the field of study, financial need, and academic merit. Financial aid is available to traditional programs and the fastest online degrees. Schools, private companies, nonprofit organizations, foundations, and government agencies all award scholarships. Applications require students to submit various academic documents such as transcripts, recommendation letters, and essays. To get scholarship renewal, students must maintain a certain average GPA.

  • Grants

Like scholarships, grants do not require repayment. To be eligible for grants, students must fulfill various need-based requirements. The financial needs of the applicants usually are determined by the date submitted by FAFSA. The applicants must also submit their income and tax information for their guardians. Research students can also receive grants from private organizations to help them complete their research projects.

  • Fellowships

Fellowships are mainly offered to graduate students or those in a graduate degree program. Undergraduate learners in some colleges and universities are also eligible for fellowships from some companies. Students earn fellowships in exchange for research or work related to their degree programs. For online learners pursuing a higher level online degree, in some cases, you might be required to teach undergraduates a specific course related to your major. Fellowships students get discounted tuition rates.

  • Employer-Sponsored Programs

Several companies provide education incentives to employees who want to continue their education, even if they attend online school. The employer-sponsored programs might cover part or entire student’s education cost. To earn the education incentive, employees must usually commit to working for the organization for a given period after graduation.

Before picking any financial aid option, it is vital to understand how aid works. This will help you decide the right choice. There are those aids that require repayment while others lack repayment options.

Where Can You Find Scholarships for Online Colleges?

Prospective online students can find scholarship opportunities from various organizations. Some of the common organizations that provide scholarship opportunities include:

  • Federal and State Government: Federal and state governments award scholarships to low-income students seeking various online programs. The students have to prove they are financially incapable of financing their education.
  • Colleges and Universities: Colleges and universities award scholarships to students excelling in various curriculum and co-curricular activities such as leadership and sports.
  • Professional Associations: Professional bodies award annual scholarships to students who pursue degrees in a specific professional field.
  • Nonprofit Organizations: Nonprofit organizations award scholarships to vulnerable students such as immigrants and persons living with disabilities.

The increased cost of higher education has necessitated the need to find alternative ways of pursuing college and university degrees. Most students, especially those who cannot finance their education programs, have turned to online colleges as an affordable means of earning their degrees. The increased number of online colleges has led to increased accessibility to online education. Currently, students prioritize the affordability of educational programs when shopping for online colleges. Every student wants to get value for their investment. They spend most of their time researching the best affordable programs rather than hurriedly choosing programs that might prove costly in the long run.

Online colleges have several benefits, whether you’re a prospective student interested in pursuing an associate degree, online bachelor’s degree, a graduate program, or a graduate certificate. They allow students to earn their degrees in a flexible learning environment. Online colleges are relatively cheaper than traditional programs. Despite their affordability, the programs still offer high-quality and valuable degrees. The degrees are highly regarded by employers, professional bodies, and other colleges and universities. Online programs are also the easiest and quickest way of earning a degree program. If you are looking for a degree program that will suit your financial and professional needs, consider online colleges.


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