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Top 20 Cheapest State Universities for Online Bachelor’s Degrees 2019

In this article, we profile the top 20 cheapest state universities for an online bachelor’s degree.

Earning an online bachelor’s degree can open doors for career advancement or stepping into your first job. According to PayScale, a global compensation research firm that compiles data on salaries, the average salary for individuals with bachelor’s degrees is $61,000. This number varies by occupation and industry, but offers insight into how much money one can earn by acquiring an online bachelor’s degree. Also, one does not have to go into debt to earn an online degree. Accredited and top ranked state schools offer cheap online bachelor’s degree programs.

Top 20 Cheapest State Schools for an Online Bachelor’s Methodology

We looked at 367 colleges and universities listed by U.S. News and World Report and the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) College Navigator. We reviewed state universities that offered at least one online bachelor’s degree program. We narrowed our original pool of schools by applying the following criteria: Accreditation from recognized governing agencies, school and/or bachelor degree program rankings with U.S. News and World Report, more than one online degree program, and affordability. We then listed the programs on our list according to raw affordability. All tuition figures are for in-state students. Check with your school of interest to see if it will also grant in-state tuition to online students who are out-of-state.

Below is our list of the 20 cheapest state universities for an online bachelor’s degree for 2019.

#20 – Oregon State University

Online Bachelor’s in Business Administration, Psychology, Public Policy

Corvallis, Oregon

Website

Oregon State University - Top 20 Cheapest State Universities for an Online Bachelor's 2019

OSU’s online bachelor’s degrees are cheap and accredited.

Undergraduate Tuition: $11,166

One of the cheapest state universities for online bachelor’s 2019 programs includes Oregon State University. The school offers a large number of online programs and classes taught by renowned faculty, who are recognized for their worldwide research, expertise, and innovation. Also, the institution is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. In addition to accreditation, OSU has received rankings from major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, U.S. News ranks the public university #140 in best national universities and #116 in best value schools. U.S. News also ranks the online bachelor’s programs #3 in the country out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#19 – Bowling Green State University

Online Bachelor’s in Business Administration, Management & Technology

Bowling Green, Ohio

Website

Bowling Green State University - Top 20 Cheapest State Universities for an Online Bachelor's 2019

Ranked and affordable! Bowling Green State is one of the cheapest state universities (for online bachelor’s degrees).

Undergraduate Tuition: $11,105

If you’re looking for a cheap online bachelor’s degree from an accredited public institution, Bowling Green State University offers several programs. Students may earn BS degrees entirely online in allied health, business administration (BBA), management & technology, and quality system. All classes are delivered online and taught by Bowling Green’s esteemed faculty. The school also offers various online master’s programs with seamless transition from undergraduate online programs at BGSU. Bowling Green State is accredited and ranked with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, U.S. News ranks the school #215 in best national universities and #121 in top public schools. The online bachelor’s programs rank #58 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#18 – Arizona State University

Online Bachelor’s in Applied Leadership, Business, Communication

Tempe, Arizona

Website

Arizona State University - Top 20 Cheapest State Universities for an Online Bachelor's 2019

Ranked #2 in the country – Arizona State University offers affordable online bachelor’s programs.

Undergraduate Tuition: $10,822

Arizona State University is one of the cheapest state schools for an online bachelor’s degree. There are several online bachelor’s programs to choose from, including business administration, communication, criminology and criminal justice, educational studies, and engineering management. In fact, ASU offers one of the largest selections of online bachelor’s programs in the country. Admission to the programs require the completion of a high school diploma or its equivalent and satisfactory academic performance. U.S. News and World Report ranks ASU #115 in best national universities. Also, the online bachelor’s programs rank #2 in the country based on factors such as graduation rates and career support services.

#17 – Ohio State University

Online Bachelor’s in Health Science, RN to BSN

Columbus, Ohio

Website

Ohio State University - Top 20 Cheapest State Universities for an Online Bachelor's 2019

Ohio State University is one of the cheapest state universities for online bachelor’s programs.

Undergraduate Tuition: $10,726

Ohio State University is known for cheap online bachelor’s degree programs in areas of healthcare. Online bachelor’s degrees include dental hygiene, health sciences, and RN to BSN (nursing). The programs offer convenient online classes that are designed for working students. Ohio State is ranked and accredited. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks OSU #56 in best national universities and #126 in best value schools. In online bachelor’s programs, Ohio State ties with Oregon State earning the #3 position. U.S. News and World Report ranks Ohio State’s online bachelor’s programs among the top 3 online undergraduate programs in the country.

#16 – Westfield State University

Online Bachelor’s in Business, Criminal Justice, Liberal Studies

Westfield, Massachusetts

Website

Westfield State University - Top 20 Cheapest State Universities for an Online Bachelor's 2019

From business to criminal justice, Westfield State University offers one of the best selections of online bachelor’s 2019 programs for state schools.

Undergraduate Tuition: $10,429

One of the best selections of online bachelor’s 2019 programs are found at Westfield State University. The school offers seven disciplines that can be studied entirely online, including business, criminal justice, history, liberal studies, psychology, and sociology. All classes are delivered online and taught by Westfield State’s professors. Programs are flexibly designed and convenient for students working or balancing outside obligations that impact a traditional class schedule. U.S. News and World Report ranks Westfield State #112 in best regional universities in the North and #32 in top public institutions. Also, the online bachelor’s programs rank #49 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#15 – Fitchburg State University

Online Bachelor’s in Business Administration, Interdisciplinary Studies, RN to BSN

Fitchburg, Massachusetts

Website

Fitchburg State University - Top 20 Cheapest State Universities for an Online Bachelor's 2019

Ranked and highly affordable – Fitchburg State University – cheapest State University for online bachelor’s degrees.

Undergraduate Tuition: $10,354

One of the cheapest state schools for an online bachelor’s degree programs on our list is Fitchburg State University. The public institution offers several online programs, including business administration, interdisciplinary studies, and the RN to BSN. For the BBA online degrees, three concentrations are also offered in accounting, management, and marketing. Classes are taught by Fitchburg faculty and delivered in a convenient online structure. U.S. News and World Report ranks Fitchburg State #137 in best regional universities in the North and #44 in top public schools. Also, the online bachelor’s programs rank #242 out of more than 1,200 programs surveyed by U.S. News.

#14 – Ball State University

Online Bachelor’s in Business Administration, Criminal Justice, RN to BSN

Muncie, Indiana

Website

Ball State University - Top 20 Cheapest State Universities for an Online Bachelor's 2019

Online classes! Ball State University – cheapest state universities online bachelor’s degree programs.

Undergraduate Tuition: $9,896

Ball State University offers affordable online bachelor’s degree programs for busy and working individuals. Students may choose from seven online disciplines, including applied behavior analysis, business administration, criminal justice and criminology, early childhood education, and general studies. Classes are delivered online and taught by the university’s esteemed faculty. Ball State is a public university, accredited and ranked. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the institution #171 in best national universities and #91 in top public schools. The online bachelor’s programs rank #25 out of more than 1,200 surveyed undergraduate programs. Ball State earns a spot on our list for its affordability and online degree offerings.

#13 – North Carolina State University

Online Bachelor’s in Engineering, Leadership in the Public Sector

Raleigh, North Carolina

Website

North Carolina State University - Top 20 Cheapest State Universities for an Online Bachelor's 2019

North Carolina State University – cheapest state universities for online bachelor’s degree programs.

Undergraduate Tuition: $9,101

One of the top public universities for online bachelor’s 2019 degree programs is North Carolina State University. This school offers over 90 online programs, including a small selection of online bachelor’s degrees. Programs are either delivered entirely online or a mix of both online and onsite classes. North Carolina State University is a top ranked public institution. The school is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 80th best national university in the country. Also, the online bachelor’s programs rank #58 out of more than 1,200 programs surveyed by U.S. News. These programs are recognized for their available services and technologies, overall student engagement, and faculty credentials.

#12 – Bemidji State University

Online Bachelor’s in Accounting, Business Administration, Criminal Justice

Bemidji, Minnesota

Website

Bemidji State University - Top 20 Cheapest State Universities for an Online Bachelor's 2019

Bemidji State University offers cheap online bachelor’s programs.

Undergraduate Tuition: $8,696

Looking for a cheap online bachelor’s degree from a public university? Bemidji State University offers a selection of online degrees ideal for working students. There are seven available online bachelor’s degree programs in disciplines like accounting, applied engineering, applied management, business administration, criminal justice, marketing communication, and psychology. Classes are delivered entirely online and taught by the esteemed faculty of Bemidji State. The school has received accreditation and rankings from major publications. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks Bemidji State #94 in best regional universities in the Midwest and #22 in top public schools. Also, the online bachelor’s programs rank #248 out of more than 1,200 programs surveyed by U.S News.

#11 – Arkansas State University

Online Bachelor’s in Communication Studies, Criminology, Sociology

Jonesboro, Arkansas

Website

Arkansas State University - Top 20 Cheapest State Universities for an Online Bachelor's 2019

Communications, criminology, and sociology are all cheap online bachelor’s programs offered at Arkansas State University.

Undergraduate Tuition: $8,607

One of the top schools to earn an online bachelor’s in 2019 or any other year is Arkansas State University. This highly ranked public university offers affordable online bachelor’s programs designed with busy and working students in mind. Majors available online include business administration, communication studies, criminology, political science, sociology, and more. Classes are taught by credentialed university professors and are structured in a flexible format. The school and its programs are ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, U.S. News ranks Arkansas State #95 in best regional universities in the South and #38 in top public institutions. Also, the online bachelor’s programs rank #114 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#10 – Colorado State University

Online Bachelor’s in Anthropology, Economics, Psychology

Fort Collins, Colorado

Website

Colorado State University - Top 20 Cheapest State Universities for an Online Bachelor's 2019

Ranked and affordable – Colorado State University offers online bachelor’s for working students.

Undergraduate Tuition: $8,400

Affordable online bachelor’s programs are available at Colorado State University. The public institution offers a number of disciplines that lead to a bachelor’s degree. Classes are taught online by CSU’s esteemed faculty and structured in a way that is ideal for working students. Online degree offerings include agricultural business, anthropology, economics, fire and emergency services administration, human development and family studies, and psychology. The university has received rankings from major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, U.S. News ranks CSU #140 in best national universities and #141 in best value schools. Also, the online bachelor’s programs rank #20 out of more than 1,200 programs surveyed by U.S. News.

#9 – Sam Houston State University

Online Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice, General Business Administration, Homeland Security

Huntsville, Texas

Website

Sam Houston State University - Top 20 Cheapest State Universities for an Online Bachelor's 2019

Sam Houston State University offers cheap online bachelor’s degree programs ideal for working students.

Undergraduate Tuition: $8,296

Sam Houston State University offers cheap online bachelor’s degree programs designed for working and busy students. With one of the largest selections of online bachelor’s degree programs, Sam Houston State caters to the needs of distance learning students. Programs, including business, criminal justice, homeland security, and liberal studies, can be completed entirely online. Some programs like nursing may require minimal classroom or lab attendance. Online classes are taught by university faculty so students know they are learning from credentialed instructors. U.S. News and World Report ranks Sam Houston State #230-#301 in best national universities. Also, the online bachelor’s degree programs rank #76 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#8 – Utah State University

Online Bachelor’s in Liberal Arts, Psychology, Special Education

Logan, Utah

Website

Utah State University - Top 20 Cheapest State Universities for an Online Bachelor's 2019

Utah State University offers one of the cheapest online bachelor’s programs on our list.

Undergraduate Tuition: $8,138

One of the best schools to earn an online bachelor’s in 2019 is Utah State University. The public institution offers eight online bachelor’s degree programs in areas such as agribusiness, economics, family life studies, liberal arts, and psychology. Classes are taught by Utah State instructors and delivered entirely online. These programs ideally fit the busy schedules of working students. Several minors are also available online and include disciplines like entrepreneurship, instructional technology and learning sciences, and public health nutrition. U.S. News and World Report ranks Utah State #205 in best national universities and #112 in top public schools. Also, the online bachelor’s programs rank #15 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#7 – Thomas Edison State University

Online Bachelor’s in Communications, Computer Science, Criminal Justice

Trenton, New Jersey

Website

Thomas Edison State University - Top 20 Cheapest State Universities for an Online Bachelor's 2019

One of the cheapest state universities for online bachelor’s degree programs is Thomas Edison State University.

Undergraduate Tuition: $7,519

One of the least expensive state schools for online bachelor’s degree programs is Thomas Edison State University. The school offers one of the largest selections of online undergraduate degrees designed for working students. Majors include computer science, criminal justice, liberal studies, mathematics, and psychology. Also, a number of business degree options allow students to customize their online BBA to fit career goals by selecting one of nine areas of specialization. Online courses are taught by Thomas Edison State instructors. The public university is accredited and ranked. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the school as a top regional university in the North.

#6 – Southeast Missouri State University

Online Bachelor’s in Business Administration, Computer Information Systems, Criminal Justice

Cape Girardeau, Missouri

Website

Southeast Missouri State University - Top 20 Cheapest State Universities for an Online Bachelor's 2019

Ranked and affordable! Southeast Missouri State University – cheap online bachelor’s programs.

Undergraduate Tuition: $7,418

Southeast Missouri State University offers cheap online bachelor’s degree programs designed for working and busy individuals who want to earn their degree in a flexible and convenient fashion. All programs offer online classes taught by university professors. Some of the most popular online programs include computer information systems, criminal justice, healthcare administration, nursing, and psychology. Southeast Missouri is a public institution that has received accreditation and rankings from major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, U.S. News ranks the school #90 in best regional universities in the Midwest and #20 in top public schools. The online bachelor’s degree programs rank #84 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#5 – Missouri State University

Online Bachelor’s in Communication Studies, Criminal Justice, Finance, Hospitality Leadership

Springfield, Missouri

Website

Missouri State University - Top 20 Cheapest State Universities for an Online Bachelor's 2019

Ranked and highly affordable – Missouri State University – Online Bachelor’s Programs.

Undergraduate Tuition: $7,376

One of the cheapest state universities for online bachelor’s degree programs on our list is Missouri State University. The school offers inexpensive tuition for online students, no matter where they live in the country, and provides convenient courses taught by full-time faculty who deliver the same curriculum online as they do on campus. Online programs include bachelor’s degrees in communications, criminal justice, finance, general business, health services, hospitality leadership, and nursing. Missouri State is an accredited and ranked institution. U.S. News and World Report ranks the school #111 in best regional universities in the Midwest and #32 in top public schools. Also, the online bachelor’s programs rank #76 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#4 – Appalachian State University

Online Bachelor’s in Education, Nursing, Social Work

Boone, North Carolina

Website

Appalachian State University - Top 20 Cheapest State Universities for an Online Bachelor's 2019

Education to Nursing – Appalachian State University is one of the cheapest state universities for online bachelor’s programs.

Undergraduate Tuition: $7,364

Appalachian State University offers affordable online bachelor’s programs in areas such as education, health care, and professional studies. In fact, online undergraduate degrees include disciplines like child development, communication studies, elementary education, management, nursing (RN to BSN), social work, and special education. Online programs feature curriculum delivered entirely via distance learning and classes taught by Appalachian State University faculty. U.S. News and World Report ranks Appalachian State #8 in best regional universities in the South. Also, the online bachelor’s programs rank #93 out of more than 1,200 programs surveyed by U.S. News. The school lands in the #3 position on our list for affordability.

#3 – Alcorn State University

Online Bachelor’s in Business Administration, Child Development, Criminal Justice

Alcorn State, Mississippi

Website

Alcorn State University - Top 20 Cheapest State Universities for an Online Bachelor's 2019

One of the cheapest state universities for an online bachelor’s degree on our list is Alcorn State University.

Undergraduate Tuition: $7,084

One of the cheapest state universities for an online bachelor’s degree on our list is Alcorn State University. The school offers three undergraduate programs in business administration, child development, and criminal justice. Classes are delivered entirely online and taught by the same faculty who instruct on campus. Accredited and ranked with major publications, Alcorn State offers quality education for busy and working students looking for online bachelor’s programs from a reputable institution. U.S. News and World Report ranks the school #89 in best regional universities in the South and #35 in top public institutions. Also, the online bachelor’s programs have received recognition by U.S. News.

#2 – Minot State University

Online Bachelor’s in Management, Marketing, Nursing

Minot, North Dakota

Website

Minot State University - Top 20 Cheapest State Universities for an Online Bachelor's 2019

Large number of online bachelor’s programs – Minot State University.

Undergraduate Tuition: $7,064

Individuals looking for affordable online bachelor’s programs from an accredited state university may find Minot State University’s degree offerings fit with career goals and online learning aspirations. The school offers a large number of online bachelor’s degree programs. In fact, undergraduate majors include criminal justice, human services, international business, management, marketing, and nursing. Classes are delivered entirely online and taught by the same university professors who lead courses and programs on campus. Minot State has received accreditation and is ranked by U.S. News and World Report. U.S. News ranks the school #128-#165 in best regional universities in the Midwest. Also, the online bachelor’s programs rank #248 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#1 – Fort Hays State University

Online Bachelor’s in Accounting, Business Administration, Education, Management Information Systems

Hays, Kansas

Website

Fort Hays State University - Top 20 Cheapest State Universities for an Online Bachelor's 2019

#1 cheapest state university for online bachelor’s programs – Fort Hays State University.

Undergraduate Tuition: $5,130

The most affordable state university for an online bachelor’s 2019 is Fort Hays State University. This school offers the most affordable online bachelor’s programs on our list. Also, Fort Hays State’s Virtual College offers one of the largest selections of online majors. Students may choose from 60 affordable, award-winning, and ranked online programs like business administration, criminal justice, education, international business, marketing, and nursing. U.S. News and World Report ranks Fort Hays State #128-#165 in best regional universities in the Midwest. Also, the online bachelor’s programs rank #42 out of more than 1,200 programs surveyed by U.S. News.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How much money can I make with an online bachelor’s from a state university?

PayScale, a global compensation research organization, reports the average salary for individuals with a bachelor’s degree is $61,000. The average salary varies by industry and experience. They broke down the highest paying jobs with a bachelor’s degree to help students decide what they want to major in when seeking a high return on investment. PayScale reports that your major can have more of an impact on your future earnings than the school you attend.

We reviewed the top ten majors reported by PayScale. Ranked number one of early career pay is the bachelor’s in petroleum engineering. Early career pay–the median salary for alumni with zero to five years of work experience–is $82,700. Other top paying majors include information and computer science and operations research/industrial engineering. Both majors average $80,000 per year with zero to five years of work experience.

Other top paying majors include computer science, computer engineering, welding engineering, and marine engineering. Outside of the engineering umbrella, computer science ranks among the top paying industries for individuals with a bachelor’s or online bachelor’s degree. Informatics, economics, mathematics, and construction science and management are also top paying industries outside of the engineering industries. Early career salaries exceed the national average of $61,000.

What is the average length of time for online bachelor’s degree programs?

The average length of time for an online bachelor’s degree varies by school and program. Traditional college course last sixteen weeks, but online programs offer accelerated classes that compress courses to six-, eight-, or ten-week sessions. It is not uncommon for an individual pursuing an online bachelor’s to finish degree requirements sooner than traditional students.

From our list of schools and programs, we found the average length of time to finish an online bachelor’s degree is 36 months or three years. This is 12 months shorter than the average time required for most traditional bachelor’s programs.

Transfer credits can shorten the time spent earning the online bachelor’s degree. Programs that accept transfer credits may have requirements. The school may only accept credits from regionally accredited institutions or particular core classes. In some cases, students may shave up to two years off their degree by transferring applicable credits.

Enrollment also impacts the length of time required for an online bachelor’s degree. Part-time programs require less time on studies but extend the overall time spent earning the degree. Full-time programs often require more courses taken at one time, but allow students to earn their degree quicker than part-time students.

What are the best majors among online bachelor’s degree programs?

The Princeton Review recently published a compilation of the best majors for individuals pursuing bachelor’s degrees. Popular programs are not always the best majors to pursue. By selecting a major your friends are studying or because you heard classes were easy, you could cheat yourself out of self-discovery and a viable career.

Below are the top four majors for online bachelor’s degree programs based on research. From alumni salaries, job prospects, and graduation rates, the following programs hold up against more popular majors.

Business

You don’t have to be a born leader to major in business, but you will need effective communication skills and the ability to crunch numbers and analyze financial data. Majoring in business provides a foundation for a variety of job opportunities, including accounting, entrepreneurship, human resources, and marketing.

Communications

Majoring in communications hones your speaking skills and makes you more effective in public speaking, interviewing, and team building. The major prepares you for a wide variety of career options in business, education, government, marketing, public relations, and social services.

Computer Science

As a computer science major, you will learn about applications, hardware, software, and technology that fits into business scenarios. Being exposed to Big Data, cloud technology, gaming technology, and programming languages may help you decide which industry you want to spend your days in.

Economics

Economics involves heavy doses of analysis, critical thinking, and theory. Individuals majoring in economics often pursue jobs in business, government, and social science.

What are the admission requirements for online bachelor’s degree programs?

To earn an online bachelor’s degree, certain requirements are needed for admission. While programs may vary on degree requirements, there is a general consensus when admission boards review applications. Overall, admission boards seek students showing academic promise and the ability to complete a bachelor’s degree.

While potential and academic promise may be partially subjective, standards allow admission boards to evaluate students based on particular qualifications. The most common admission requirement is being a high school graduate. Having a GED satisfies this requirement. If you were homeschooled, a transcript may also be accepted.

Top ranked colleges and universities require strong high school performance. This requirement may be showcased by your GPA and rigor of advanced placement courses taken in high school. Official high school transcripts are required along with the completed application.

Transfer students from accredited colleges or universities must be in good academic standing with a minimum GPA of 2.0 or higher for admission into most online bachelor’s degree programs.

Are online bachelor’s degree programs looked at differently by employers than traditional bachelor’s degree programs?

The number of job candidates holding online bachelor’s degrees has dramatically increased over the last several years. As a result, recruiters report acceptance of these degrees by employers has also become more common.

Over the last decade, diploma mills–unaccredited institutions offering online degrees–gave employers, recruiters, and other gatekeepers negative perceptions of online degrees. However, thanks to accredited state universities now offering online bachelor’s and master’s degree programs, the stigma has since changed.

In fact, today, earning an online bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university can be seen as an advantage to employers. Business professionals and entrepreneurs favor recent graduates of online programs who have balanced work and family obligations while earning their degree. Employers think of the amount of discipline required to balance multiple obligations and commitments. To hiring committees, earning a degree while tending to life obligations tells a lot about the job candidate’s discipline.

With the growing number of state colleges and universities offering online bachelor’s degrees from accredited programs, employers are taking notice. Before you enroll in a program, human resource professionals offer sound advice. Make sure the online bachelor’s program is accredited. In order for a potential employer to recognize your degree, accreditation is necessary.

CVO Staff
April 2019

Related:

This concludes our list of the top 20 cheapest state schools for an online bachelor’s in 2019.

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