10 Innovative Colleges with Low-Cost Hybrid Learning Options

Innovative Colleges with Low-Cost Hybrid Learning Options - featured image

The majority of college and university experience—whether at the undergraduate or graduate levels—is still centered on the classroom and in-person interaction and learning. However, advances in connectivity and other relevant technologies have gradually made distance education and remote learning more and more possible.

This was further accelerated by the events of the past couple of years, and now more than ever, many degree programs are offered in traditional classroom-based formats, fully online, and in hybrid options.

Innovative Colleges with Low-Cost Hybrid Learning Options - fact

Exploring Innovative and Low-Cost Hybrid Learning

What exactly is a hybrid degree program? Simply put, a hybrid program is the middle ground between on-campus/in-person and fully online degree program formats. Courses in a hybrid program typically feature a balanced mix of online coursework and periodic classroom meetings with the instructor/professor. 

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In some hybrid programs, remote students also attend classes simultaneously with on-campus students using a video link. Further still, some hybrid programs may also further differentiate their online coursework between asynchronous/self-paced and synchronous, where students meet online at set times using videoconferencing.  

How are hybrid programs beneficial for students? Hybrid programs take the benefits of traditional/on-campus and online learning together into a neat package. Fully online learning, while it gives students huge control and flexibility over the use of their time, can also be daunting for the same reason. 

At the same time, the learning environment and interaction that comes with classroom settings remain unsurpassed; besides, some things are still best taught and learned in person, depending on the degree program. 

Meanwhile, students are constantly on the lookout for colleges and universities that stand out from the rest in a number of aspects. One of these closely-watched measures is in terms of a college or school’s innovativeness. 

Innovation means doing a certain thing in a new way, and this is more or less what innovation in this sense also means: colleges or universities developing new, improved, and optimized ways to do certain aspects of their operations, whether in terms of delivery of courses, course design, tuition models, collaboration, research, even campus design & facilities. This list looks at 10 of the most innovative (and affordable) colleges & universities in the country that provide students with the option to take their coursework and earn their degrees in a hybrid format.

Purdue University

West Lafayette, Indiana

Average Net Price (Main Campus): $12,576

Purdue University is one of the main public universities that serve the state of Indiana. The Purdue University system is made up of the main West Lafayette campus, five other regional campuses, a Global Campus, and an online campus.

As of writing, the Purdue University System offers around 16 undergraduate, master’s and doctorate programs in a Hybrid format, with the majority of these being offered by the West Lafayette campus. These programs come from a wide range of fields that include Applied Science, Nursing, Education, and Business. 

Arizona State University

Tempe, Arizona

Average Net Price (Main Campus): $14,808

Arizona State University (ASU) is one of the country’s largest universities in terms of population, with over 100,000 students across its physical and online campuses. As a research university, Arizona State University also offers degrees across a wide range of fields.

ASU students have a choice of taking their classes in person across its various campuses, fully online, or in a hybrid format. ASU’s hybrid program offerings are facilitated either by iCourses or through their own ASU Sync platform.

George Mason University

Fairfax, Virginia

Average Net Price: $18,479

George Mason University (GMU) is a public research university and one of Virginia’s main state institutions. In keeping with current trends in educational delivery and technology, GMU offers many fully online courses that can be completed by their students while at home, stationed abroad, or traveling. 

George Mason University’s extensive range of online & hybrid degree program offerings cover a wide range of fields and include all degree types, from graduate certificates to master’s degrees. While the majority of GMU’s hybrid program offerings are graduate certificates and master’s degrees, the BA in International Security and Law is also offered in a hybrid format. 

University of Florida – Online

Gainesville, Florida

Average Net Price (UF Online Campus): $10,791

The University of Florida is a public research university located in Gainesville, Florida. Its UF Online Campus is the dedicated arm of the university that offers online & distance education to currently over 5,300 students. 

UF Online’s academic offerings mainly cover Associate’s and Bachelor’s degree programs. Their range of undergraduate degree programs covers a wide range of academic fields, including the physical and social sciences, business, public safety, and more. UF Online’s hybrid option mainly takes the form of its Pathways to Campus Enrollment (PaCE) program. PaCE is a highly selective and flexible program designed to let students expand their program completion options, including taking some classes on campus.

University of Texas at Austin

Austin, Texas

Average Net Price: $17,434

The University of Texas at Austin is the flagship institution of the University of Texas System, which is made up of 9 universities. UT Austin by itself hosts around a third of the entire 160,000-strong student population of the entire University of Texas System.

Online and Hybrid learning is seen as one of the key thrusts by the University of Texas System, in light of its goal of providing access to as many qualified students as possible. Within UT Austin and throughout the entire UT system, there are currently around 62 programs offered in a hybrid/blended format, in addition to them being offered fully online as well.   

Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, Maryland

Average Net Price: $24,034

Johns Hopkins University is one of the country’s most well-known private research universities, located in Baltimore, Maryland. Johns Hopkins University is primarily known for its leadership in the health sciences, among other fields of expertise.

Johns Hopkins University’s range of hybrid program offerings are mainly graduate-level degrees, including Master’s Degrees, Graduate Certificates, and PhDs in Education and Mechanical Engineering. These hybrid program offerings, in turn, cover a wide range of fields, including Engineering, Public Management, Economics, Public Policy, the Humanities, and more. 

New York University

New York, New York

Average Net Price: $29,499

New York University (NYU) is a private research university located in New York City. It is one of the major research universities in the state, occupying a prominent place in downtown Manhattan, as well as a number of international locations. NYU is known for leading in the sciences and engineering, among other fields. 

NYU’s range of online and hybrid programs cover a wide range of fields, including Professional Studies, Law, Education, Engineering, Public Health, and more. Most of these program offerings are Master’s Degrees, with a number of bachelor’s degrees in Social Science & Information Systems Management and an EdD in leadership. 

University of Central Florida

Orlando, Florida

Average Net Price: $13,108

The University of Central Florida (UCF) is a public research university, part of the larger State University System of Florida. With a student population of over 68,000, UCF is regarded as one of the leading institutions in the country when it comes to innovation in the online learning and education space, recognizing the flexibility, convenience, and increased access to education it brings to more students. 

UCF’s range of distance learning degree programs spans a wide range of fields and industries, from education, engineering, healthcare, criminal justice, hospitality, and more. While these degrees are offered primarily fully online, it is possible to take blended/hybrid courses. Going by UCF’s own figures, students who take blended learning courses have just as high success rates as those taking purely face-to-face classes.

Duke University

Durham, North Carolina

Average Net Price: $23,694

Duke University is a private university in Durham, North Carolina. It is one of the country’s largest research universities and is known for its expertise in various engineering and science fields. Duke University is also known for having one of the most highly selective undergraduate admissions processes in the country.

Duke University offers a wide range of degree programs, certificates, and other credential programs in online or hybrid formats. Their range of online degree program offerings contains mainly master’s degrees from the fields of computer science, business, the humanities, engineering, public policy, and more. 

Temple University

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Average Net Price: $23,935

Temple University is a public university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As a major research university, Temple University continually leads in many fields, especially in terms of breakthroughs in research as well as being the launch pad for successful companies and innovative startups.

Temple University also offers a wide range of degree programs online, covering undergraduate and graduate programs, certificates, as well as non-credit courses. Graduate programs, in particular, are offered in a hybrid format in addition to synchronous and asynchronous options. 

Hybrid programs are a relatively recent development for higher education, both at undergraduate and graduate levels. Hybrid programs serve as the middle ground between fully online programs and traditional/on-campus programs, taking their benefits into a flexible format that retains the highly valued environment of face-to-face classroom interaction. 

With many of the country’s top universities continuously innovating in many of their aspects and operations and offering more and more degree programs in online and hybrid formats, students are sure to find the best program that fits them at affordable tuition rates.


  • National Center for Education Statistics: College Navigator