10 Most Affordable Online Colleges for Transfer Students 2024

Least Expensive Online Colleges for Transfer Students - featured image

Author: Rai Antonio / Reviewed by: Melissa Anderson, MS.Ed. / Original Publication Date: February 2024

Key Takeaways:

  • Affordable online colleges offer cost-effective options for transfer students, providing flexibility and convenience for pursuing higher education.
  • Among the schools in our roundup are Florida Atlantic University and Eastern New Mexico University.
  • Some online colleges prioritize affordability and convenience, allowing students to balance courses with job commitments for flexibility in learning.

When you transfer between colleges, you must pay the non-refundable application and official transcripts fee. There are also tuition and other costs to consider. Related expenses include relocation costs, housing, and transportation if you’re also transferring residence.

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Least Expensive Online Colleges for Transfer Students - fact

Most Affordable Transfer-Friendly Online Colleges

Here, we take a look at 10 of the least expensive online colleges that prospective transfer students will likely find to their advantage. We selected these schools not only for their affordable tuition and fees but also for their generous financial aid options and easy transfer policies.

Florida Atlantic University 

Boca Raton, FL 

Website 

Average Annual Tuition and Fees: $6,099 (in-state); $21,655 (out-of-state)

Maximum Transfer Credits: 90 credit

FAU considers students with at least 12 college credits, returning students, and students pursuing a second bachelor’s degree as transfer students. Applicants must follow these steps: 

  • Fill in and submit the online application. 
  • Pay the $30 non-refundable application fee
  • Submit test scores and high school transcripts, if required 

Note that FAU has high academic standards for its applicants. They evaluate transfer students based on their academic performance and potential, among others. Transfer students with an associate degree from an institution in the State University System or the Florida College System must have a 2.0 minimum cumulative GPA. Applicants to competitive schools, such as architecture, nursing, engineering and computer science, must be aware of the selective grade criteria. 

Pros:

  • Affordability
  • More diverse

Cons:

  • Larger class sizes

University of West Florida

Pensacola, FL 

Website 

Average Annual Tuition and Fees: $6,360 (in-state); $18,628 (out-of-state)

Maximum Transfer Credits: 60 credits or more 

UWF classifies its transfer students based on the number of credits transferred, with each category having specific admissions requirements and standards. 

  • Freshman transfer students have 12-29 college credits earned after graduation from high school. Their requirements include at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA, being in good academic standing from most recent school, and submitting official transcripts and standardized test scores. 
  • Sophomore transfer students have 30-59 transferrable credits. The 2.0 cumulative GPA requirement remains with the addition of a “C” grade in mathematics and English composition. 
  • Upperclassmen transfer students have at least 60 credits or an associate degree with a 2.0 cumulative GPA.

Transfer students can also look into the Argo Accelerate and 2UWF programs, both of which are transfer pathways programs. 

Pros:

  • Top 10 public school

Cons:

  • More competitive
  • Larger class sizes

University of Florida

Gainesville, FL

Website 

Average Annual Tuition and Fees: $6,381 (in-state); $28,658 (out-of-state) 

Maximum Transfer Credits: 60 semester hours 

UF considers applicants with the following characteristics as transfer students and, thus, can be considered for admission into its online college: 

  • With either 60 transferable semester credits or 90 quarter hours from a regionally accredited institution OR an Associate of Arts (AA) degree from a public Florida college
  • Demonstrate foreign language competency 
  • With at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA, as determined by UF
  • Will complete or have completed prerequisites 
  • In good standing with eligibility to return to previously attended college 

Applicants must declare a major, but once accepted, they cannot be admitted for two majors for any given term. UF’s most popular majors are Advertising: Persuasive Messaging, Anthropology, and Business Administration.

Pros:

  • Top 10 public school
  • More diverse
  • High graduation rate

Cons:

  • More competitive

Florida International University

Miami, FL

Website 

Average Annual Tuition and Fees: $6,566 (in-state); $18,964 (out-of-state) 

Maximum Transfer Credits: 60 lower-division credits or 90 credits (60 lower-division and 30 upper-division) 

FIU admits 9,000+ transfer students every academic year. The public research university maintains articulation agreements with numerous public universities and community colleges in the state. Transfer students from other nationally and regionally accredited institutions are also welcome to apply. 

Applicants who meet one of the following enjoy Florida’s transfer guarantees, too: 

  • With an associate of arts degree or general education requirements duly completed. The entire 60 credits will be applied toward the bachelor’s degree and will have an exemption from completion of the University Core Curriculum (UCC) requirements 
  • With credit-by-exam credentials, which will be evaluated based on FIU’s equivalencies 
  • With Statewide Course Numbering System (SCNS) courses, which will be awarded based on equivalencies, too 

FIU Online’s popular majors are Asian Studies, Biological Sciences, and Computer Engineering.

Pros:

  • Top public school
  • Diverse student body

Cons:

  • Larger class sizes

Eastern New Mexico University

Portales, NM 

Website 

Average Annual Tuition and Fees: $6,863 (in-state); $8,843 (out-of-state)

Maximum Transfer Credits: 95 semester credit hours 

ENMU welcomes applicants as transfer students who: 

  • Attended an accredited institution, either earning an associate degree or not completing a bachelor’s degree program; and 
  • Pursuing a second bachelor’s degree 

Courses completed outside of the ENMU university system will be evaluated for transfer credits based on its Transfer Evaluation System (TES) with final approval by the department chairs or deans. Courses completed within the ENMU university system will also be evaluated through the Intra-Campus Application. 

There’s no application fee for transfer students, but applicants must complete the ENMU admission application and the FAFSA and scholarship applications. 

ENMU’s unique bachelor’s degree programs are in Aviation Science, Career and Technical Education, and Electronics Engineering Technology.

Pros:

  • Top public school
  • More diverse

Cons:

  • Low graduation rate

Thomas Edison State University

Trenton, NJ 

Website 

Average Annual Tuition and Fees: $7,372 (in-state); $9,556. (out-of-state)

Maximum Transfer Credits: 90 credits for a bachelor’s degree and 45 credits for an associate’s degree 

The transferable credits allowed by TESU for transfer student admissions come from different sources, including: 

  • College credits earned from accredited and TESU-approved schools
  • ACE and NCCRS recommendations
  • ACE-reviewed College Board exams, including DSST, CLEP and AP credit
  • Corporate training 
  • Military training and service 

TESU’s online college offers a many rigorous academic programs. Transfer students admitted to TESU can choose from diverse disciplines, including applied science and technology, business and management, nursing and health professions, and public service.

Pros:

  • Diverse program offerings

Cons:

  • Less prestigious university
  • Lower graduation rate

San Diego State University Global Campus 

San Diego, CA

Website 

Average Annual Tuition and Fees: $8,290 (in-state); $20,170 (out-of-state) 

Maximum Transfer Credits: 60 semester units/90 quarter units 

SDSU Global considers applicants who have completed college-level courses after graduation from high school as transfer students. The school evaluates applicants for admission based on the information reported in their respective Cal State Apply application form. 

You must be honest in your self-reported information as well as be complete, accurate and transparent in filling out the application form. SDSU Global reserves the right to rescind admission in case of inaccuracies, such as your reported GPA and missed deadlines. 

Applicants must identify their preferred major for the term on their  Cal State Apply form and pay the $70 non-refundable application fee. Online programs include criminal justice, public health and business administration.

Pros:

  • Top public school
  • More diverse

Cons:

  • Larger class sizes

Louisiana State University – Agricultural and Mechanical College

Baton Rouge, LA

Website 

Average Annual Tuition and Fees: $8,728 (full-time, in-state) and $3,976 (part-time in-state); $25,643 (full-time out-of-state) and $11,215 (part-time out-of-state).

Maximum Transfer Credits: 90 credit

LSU Online has a generous transfer policy where applicants can request transfer credits for prior learning, including: 

  • College-level credits earned from regionally accredited institutions 
  • International courses from colleges and institutions accredited by the country’s Ministry of Education or the like 
  • Professional certifications, including PMP, CPA, CFA, Amazon/AWS certifications and  Certified Professional Constructors
  • Military training 

If you have prior learning credits, you will find it easier to navigate the transfer process by coordinating with LSU’s enrollment coaches. You can also take advantage of the transfer benefits provided by the Louisiana Transfer Degree program, specifically by earning an associate degree from a community college.

Pros:

  • Top public school

Cons:

  • Larger class sizes

University of Utah

Salt Lake City, UT

Website 

Average Annual Tuition and Fees: $10,287 (in-state); $33,045 (out-of-state)

Maximum Transfer Credits: 60 semester credit

Utah’s transfer policies are selective, with applicants evaluated for admission purposes based on the following: 

  • Academic factors, including cumulative GPA and academic progress and achievements, standardized test scores, and associate degrees earned 
  • Non-academic factors, including extracurricular activities, community engagement, and work experience 

Your extraordinary circumstances, including financial obstacles and family responsibilities, will also be considered during the admissions process. You must complete and submit the application form, request your official transcripts, and pay the application fee. You should ideally start your application the semester before you’re planning on being accepted into Utah.

Pros:

  • Top-rated public school

Cons:

  • Less diverse

University of Texas – Permian Basin

Odessa, TX 

Website 

Average Annual Tuition and Fees: $10,904 (in-state); $23,212 (out-of-state)

Maximum Transfer Credits: 90 credit

Applicants who want to be admitted as transfer students into UTPB must: 

  • Complete the application form at ApplyTexas 
  • Pay the $40 non-refundable application fee 
  • Request prior colleges for official transcripts to be sent to UTPB 
  • Submit proof of compliance with TSI requirement 
  • Have at least 24 transferable credits and at least a 2.0 GPA

UTPB’s online programs are in Communication, Criminology/Criminal Justice Studies, and Healthcare Management, among others.

Pros:

  • Top 25 public school
  • More diverse

Cons:

  • Low graduation rate

How the Transfer Student System Works

The transfer student system can be divided into three major stages, namely: 

  • The pre-enrollment stage is where a prospective transfer student asks themselves questions that will facilitate their transfer to a new school. You should ask yourself, “Where will I transfer? What is the transfer process like in the new school where I plan on transferring? What are the transfer requirements and deadlines? Will my courses transfer for credit? What are the tuition and fees and financial aid options? Will I proceed with my old major or choose a new major? Will I be a full-time or a part-time student ?”
  • The enrollment and application stage is where a prospective transfer student works with the admissions committee about transferring credits, meeting transfer admission requirements, and creating a degree plan.
  • The post-enrollment stage is where a transfer student can participate in their enrolled courses and complete academic requirements. 

We suggest planning your college transfer well in advance of the application deadlines in your selected college. You must take into account the time, effort and money it takes to comply with the transfer requirements, particularly the official transcripts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do students transfer schools?

Your reasons for transferring schools are as unique as your circumstances. The common reasons are to:

  • look for more credentialed faculty
  • find more specialized programs
  • get more research opportunities
  • settle in a diverse and inclusive environment
  • be active in extracurricular and athletic activities
  • join student organizations
  • enjoy geographic convenience
  • enjoy in-state tuition rates
  • experience personal growth or a fresh start

What is the easiest college to transfer to?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer because what’s easy for you isn’t easy for another person! In general, students look for schools that offer the college degree they want. They may also have personal preferences for campus culture, location and events. Others look for schools that fit their financial situation. 

It is best to find online colleges and universities with articulation agreements. Participating community colleges and four-year universities charge low college costs.

What Grade Point Average (GPA) is good enough to transfer?

The GPA requirement for transfer students varies between online colleges and universities. However, a 3.0 or higher GPA is a standard. Are you concerned about your GPA being unsatisfactory? Present exceptional letters of recommendation and personal statements instead! You can also show your excellent academic standing. Explain your leadership experience to let them know you’re a good fit!

What do most colleges look for in a transfer student?

Every college has its specific admission process and criteria. It’s common for colleges to consider the following:

  • Academic performance, including GPA, the rigor of coursework, and academic progress
  • Satisfactory standardized test scores
  • Completed prerequisite courses and demonstration of proficiency
  • Extracurricular activities and achievements
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement with compelling reasons for the transfer

What college is the most transfer-friendly?

Ultimately, it depends on your needs and circumstances. The standout schools, however, are the Florida universities. Florida Atlantic University, the University of West Florida, and University of Florida all have extensive articulation agreements that make for easier transfers.

Sources

  • U.S. News & World Report