The most crucial component of an online degree is the computer. Without one, the degree isn’t possible. Different online programs have different computing and systems requirements. Maybe they’re Mac compatible, maybe not. Maybe they work with Windows 7, maybe only with Windows 10. Can your current machine meet the system requirements? Will it still meet the system requirements if they evolve through the two or four or more years it takes to earn the degree? One of the best ways to ensure your computer will be viable at the end of your degree is to buy a new one when you start the program. Of course this comes with its own set of problems. Computers are expensive. Even if you buy a new one, will it be optimal for the degree you are pursuing?
One of the best ways to ensure you get a quality computer at a discounted price (often discounted and included in your tuition and so paid for by financial aid) or even completely free is to acquire your new computer through your school. Schools often have deals with manufacturers that allow them to sell new or refurbished laptops at steeply discounted prices. They often have deals where they wrap the price into the tuition. Some schools even offer computers or tablets to new students free of charge. All of the online schools ranked here offer the computers to students at discounted rates, as part of tuition, or completely for free. The programs are ranked according to their affordability. We have not listed any details of the deals available through each school because these are constantly in flux as schools continue to search for the best ways to make the best technology accessible to their students. Thus you will need to confirm the specifics of the deals available to you with the school’s admissions department.
Ranking Online Schools that Offer Laptops (discounted, included in tuition, or free computers)
#1. University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi offers fifteen undergraduate programs and more than thirty graduate programs online. Among the bachelor’s programs offered are industrial engineering technology, library and information science, medical laboratory science, and nursing (RN to BSN). Graduate programs include master of public health, dyslexia therapy education, economic development, human capital development, and music education.
- Tuition: $10,218
#2. Colorado Technical University
Colorado Technical University offers almost all its bachelor’s and master’s programs both on campus and online. There are over fifty bachelor’s degree programs including accounting, business administration, computer science, cybersecurity, software engineering, cybercrime and security, homeland security and emergency management, healthcare management, nursing, and psychology.
- Tuition: $11,689
#3. Dakota State University
Dakota State university offers seven online master’s degrees and 14 online bachelor’s degrees. Certificates and associate level degrees are also available. Among the available online bachelor’s degrees are programs in accounting, computer information systems, cyber leadership and intelligence, health information administration, and network and security administration. Master’s degrees include business administration, analytics, cyber defense, educational technology, and health informatics and information management.
- Tuition: $12,077
#4. Northwest Missouri State University
Northwest Missouri State University offers undergraduate programs in business management, marketing, and RN to BSN. The more robust selection of online graduate programs includes general management, human resource management, marketing, geographic information science, curriculum and instruction, educational leadership K-12, and health and physical education.
- Tuition: $12,908
#5. Pennsylvania State University
Pennsylvania State University’s online degrees are primarily offered through their world campus, which was designed specifically to house their online degree programs. Their selection of bachelor’s degrees has expanded over the years to offer 34+ programs that include accounting, agribusiness management, digital multimedia design, economics, energy and sustainability policy, health policy and administration, political science, security and risk analysis, and turfgrass science.
- Tuition: $13,988
#6. Fort Hays State University
Fort Hays State University has been offering online programs for many years, and their virtual college has grown to offer 36 bachelor’s degrees and 20 graduate degrees. Among the bachelor’s degrees offered are programs like business education, computer science, criminal justice, finance, health studies, computer networking and telecommunications, health informatics, and web and mobile web application development.
- Tuition: $14,832
#7. Clarion University
Clarion University offers 22 online bachelor’s degrees in areas like sociology and psychology, accounting, management, library science, women and gender studies, global understanding, allied health leadership, medical imaging, and applied science in technology leadership. Among the ten graduate degrees offered are programs like clinical mental health counseling, applied data analytics, mass media arts and journalism, and business administration.
- Tuition: $15,636
#8. University of Florida
The online degrees at the University of Florida are incredibly cheap even for non-residents who pay over $10,000 less in tuition than they would attending on-campus. The University of Florida offers a selection of 19 online bachelor’s degrees, including programs in anthropology, biology, communication sciences and disorders, computer science, criminology, environmental management, health education and behavior, and public relations.
- Tuition: $16,560
#9. Texas Tech University
Texas Tech University offers ten online bachelor’s degrees and thirty graduate degrees. Bachelor’s degrees include plant and soil science, wind energy, human sciences, political science, and digital media and professional communication. Online graduate degrees offered by TTU include English, technical communication, educational leadership, instructional technology, engineering, and public administration.
- Tuition: $18,652
#10. University of Toledo
The University of Toledo offers ten online bachelor’s degrees and twelve online graduate degrees. Bachelor’s degrees include applied organizational technology, criminal justice, early childhood education, health information administration, management, and marketing. Graduate degrees include education and science in biology, human donation science, and recreation and leisure administration.
- Tuition: $18,885
#11. Florida International University
FIU offers a staggering 43 online bachelor’s degrees and 33 graduate degrees. Bachelor’s degrees include Asian studies, communication arts: organizational communication studies, computer engineering, economics, electrical engineering, and health services administration. Graduate degrees include real estate, special education, public health, public administration, logistics engineering, and human resource management.
- Tuition: $18,954
#12. Northern Arizona University
Northern Arizona University offers 51 online bachelor’s degrees (if you include the focus areas for interdisciplinary studies programs). Among these are programs in speech-language sciences and technology, technology management, emergency management, public administration, parks and recreation management, computer information technology, technology management, and social work.
- Tuition: $19,125
#13. North Dakota State University
North Dakota State University offers its two online undergraduate degrees and eleven online graduate degrees through its department of distance and continuing education. The undergraduate degrees are in sociology and human development & family science, which offers concentrations in adult development and aging, child and adolescent development, and family science.
- Tuition: $20,692
#14. University of Illinois at Springfield
University of Illinois at Springfield offers 14 undergraduate degrees and 13 graduate degrees. Undergraduate degrees include computer science, communication, healthcare informatics with management concentration, information systems, history, mathematics, and philosophy. Online graduate degrees include computer science, legal studies, public administration, public health, social services administration, and environmental studies.
- Tuition: $20,938
#15. Ohio University
Ohio University offers ten online bachelor’s degrees and six online associate’s degrees. The bachelor’s degrees offered online are applied communication, applied management, criminal justice, customer services leadership, human services, integrated healthcare studies, psychology, RN to BSN, technical and applied studies, and technical operations management.
- Tuition: $21,360
#16. New Mexico State University
New Mexico State University offers 12 bachelor’s degrees including sociology, business administration, criminal justice, family and child sciences, gender and sexuality studies, information and communication technology, and public health. The 11 online master’s degrees include Spanish, music education, electrical engineering, industrial engineering, and curriculum and instruction.
- Tuition: $21,022
#17. University of Houston
The University of Houston offers online degrees from schools across the whole university system. This amounts to 134 online degrees and certificate programs. Bachelor’s degrees include business administration, psychology, marketing, anthropology, creative writing, insurance and risk management, international business, nursing, political science, public service leadership, and retailing and consumer science.
- Tuition: $22,066
#18. Appalachian State University
Appalachian State University offers 12 online graduate programs and seven online undergraduate degrees. The undergraduate degrees include career and technical education, communication, management, nursing, and workforce education and development. Graduate programs include health administration, library science, social work, reading education, and school administration.
- Tuition: $22,109
#19. University of Central Florida
The University of Central Florida offers 20 bachelor’s degrees online and 26 master’s degrees online. Bachelor’s degrees include health informatics and information management, health services administration, Latin American studies, legal studies, political science, religion and cultural studies. Graduate degrees include art education, industrial engineering, forensic science, and hospitality and tourism management.
- Tuition: $22,467
#20. East Carolina University
The online undergraduate degrees offered by East Carolina University are completion programs, designed for students who already have college credits. There are 24 programs if you include the various concentrations. Students can major in management information systems, marketing, operations and supply chain management, interpersonal/organizational communication, hospitality management, and health services management.
- Tuition: $23,420
#21. Oklahoma State University
Oklahoma State University offers ten bachelor’s degrees online and 23 online master’s degrees. Bachelor’s degrees include business administration, multidisciplinary studies, nursing, and university studies. The master’s degrees available include educational psychology, entrepreneurship, information assurance, industrial engineering and management, and fire and emergency management administration.
- Tuition: $23,776
#22. Western Kentucky University
Western Kentucky University offers 20 online undergraduate degrees and over 30 online graduate degrees. Online bachelor’s degrees include criminology, computer information technology, family and consumer sciences, healthcare administration, and health information management. Online master’s degrees include criminology, mathematics, education, business administration (MBA), and public health.
- Tuition: $25,512
#23. Washington State University
WSU offers online master’s degrees in agriculture, electric power, engineering and technology management, business administration (MBA), molecular biosciences, software engineering, special education and strategic communication. There are also eleven bachelor’s degrees online, and these include criminal justice, data analytics, human development, integrated strategic communication, psychology, social sciences, and sociology.
- Tuition: $25,817
#24. Ball State University
Ball State offers 23 master’s degrees online and seven bachelor’s degrees online. Online bachelor’s degrees include criminal justice and criminology, early childhood education, logistics and supply chain management, and applied behavior analysis. Online master’s degrees include quantitative psychology, secondary education, mathematics education, public relations, information and communication, and emerging media design and development.
- Tuition: $25,942
#25. University of Oklahoma
The University of Oklahoma’s online bachelor’s degrees were nationally ranked by U.S. News in 2018. Online bachelor’s degrees include administrative leadership, liberal studies, lifespan care administration, aviation, and criminal justice. Online graduate degrees include administrative leadership, communication, museum studies, international relations, prevention science, and human and health services.
- Tuition: $26,919
#26. University of Cincinnati
University of Cincinnati offers 12 online bachelor’s degrees and 25 online master’s degrees. The online bachelor’s degrees include health information management, behavior and occupation studies, medical laboratory science, respiratory therapy, and early childhood education. Online master’s degrees include cosmetic science, nursing, information technology, sport administration, health administration, health informatics, and speech-language pathology.
- Tuition: $27,334
#27. Colorado State University
Colorado State University offers 27 master’s degrees and nine bachelor’s degrees online. Bachelor’s degrees include fire and emergency services administration, agricultural business, human development and family studies, interdisciplinary liberal arts, and journalism and media communication. Graduate degrees include communications and media management, computer engineering, computer information systems, computer science, biomedical engineering, and civil engineering.
- Tuition: $28,903
#28. Southern New Hampshire University
Southern New Hampshire University offers an incredible 40 bachelor’s degrees online and 44 master’s degrees. Most of these programs have several concentrations. The MBA, for instance, offers 30 concentrations, while the bachelor’s in business administration offers 14 concentrations. Undergraduate degrees available include anthropology, communication, creative writing, computer science, criminal justice, fashion merchandising and management, and game programming and development.
- Tuition: $31,136
#29. Bethel University
Bethel University offers online bachelor’s degrees in business management, Christian ministries, finance, human services management information systems, nursing, organizational leadership, and special education. Online graduate degrees include athletic training leadership, master of business administration, special education, strategic leadership, and more.
- Tuition: $36,210
#30. Independence University
Independence University offers 15 bachelor’s degrees online and seven online master’s degrees. The bachelor’s degrees offered include software and mobile applications development, web design and development, business administration, human resources, business administration, accounting, and cybersecurity and networking, graphic arts, and health services management.
- Tuition: $36,210
What Exactly Does an Online Bachelor’s Degree Get Me?
It might sound cliche, but a bachelor’s degree gets you employed. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2016 only 69% of people with just a high school diploma worked full time, year round. Compare this to 79% of people with a bachelor’s degree. Young adults with a bachelor’s degree earn an average of $50,000 per year, 57% higher than the average of $31,800 earned by those with a high school diploma. So bachelor’s degrees help with both reaching your potential of working full time year round, and increasing the rate you are paid for that work. Now, not all majors are created equal. Some earn more on average than others. We’ll look at that next.
What Majors Should I Consider?
Well, it’s important to do something that interests you. If you don’t want to be an engineer, then I can’t recommend you major in that even though you make incredibly good money on a bachelor’s degree. However, it’s likely your interests do align with some of the best options on the market. Most of the top ten majors are available from one or more of the schools in this ranking. So I am going to provide you with the financial breakdown on the median earnings for professions related to each of the top ten college majors as ranked by The Princeton Review (I will also mention whether or not it requires a master’s degree to reach the top earnings potential in that field).
- Computer Science: Software Developers: $103,000, Computer Programmers: $82,000: Bachelor’s Degree
- Communications Public Relations Specialists: $59,300, Technical Writers: $70,930: Bachelor’s Degree
- Political Science/Government: Political Scientist: $115,110, Urban and Regional Planner: $71,490: Master’s Degree
- Business Administration: Managers (most fields): $80,000-$130,000: Bachelor’s
- Economics: Financial Analyst: $84,300, Financial Manager: $125,080: Bachelor’s
- English Language and Literature: Postsecondary Teacher: $76,000: Master’s or Doctorate
- Psychology: Psychologist: $77,030
- Nursing: Registered Nurse: $70,000: Bachelor’s
- Chemical Engineering: Chemical Engineer $102,160: Bachelor’s
- Biology: Microbiologist: $69,960: Bachelor’s
Paying for your Online Bachelor’s Degree
For most degrees, it makes sense to spend your first two years earning your general education credits at a community college. Earning your associate’s degree can save you tens of thousands of dollars in the long run. Community college tuition can be covered, in many cases, by just one or two federal grants. Good grades in community college will practically guarantee you excellent financial aid and allow you to transfer into just about all the best state universities. So if you’re looking to get your college education for a great price, community college is a great place to start. Many community colleges offer online programs, so chances are you will be able to attend community college without ever having to set foot in a classroom.
For financial aid, you should always start with FAFSA. Federal education grants are essentially free money, and federally subsidized student loans have low interest and provide you with tons of flexibility when paying them back. After that, private grants and scholarships should be where you look. Finally, if all else fails and it’s your only option, you can apply for private student loans. Private loans tend to be the worst deal, and the most expensive form of funding. So make sure you exhaust other sources first.
Is online learning right for you?
Online learning provides students with unparalleled flexibility. Most students who earn their degrees online right now are older than the traditional college age and require a higher level of flexibility in order to fit a degree into their already busy life. However, with more and more degrees being offered online, and the first generation to grow up with the internet hitting college age, the online option is going mainstream. How do you know if it’s the right fit? That’s not an easy question to answer, and you should ask yourself several questions before enrolling. Are you the kind of person who can learn by watching videos? Would you be comfortable taking tests online? Can you handle not having any face-to-face interaction with your professors and fellow students? Are you highly self-motivated and disciplined? While online education is a great option, it’s not ideal for all students. If you need the flexibility and are comfortable with the format and technology, online education offers unprecedented levels of flexibility.
This has been a feature article on the most affordable online colleges that offer laptops.