College Values Online’s 30 Most Affordable Colleges for a STEM Degree

What is a STEM degree?

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. STEM careers are among the best-paying jobs to have. Basically, if you want a degree that will be useful long into the future, a STEM degree is a great choice. If you’re interested in earning a degree in a STEM career field, you might want to consider attending a college or university focused particularly on STEM education. This comes with numerous advantages.

First, you will be with students that are interested in the same general areas as you. Being surrounded by peers working on the same things can be beneficial, even after graduation. Second, STEM universities tend to focus their resources on things like:

  • maintaining cutting-edge research laboratories
  • computer labs
  • student facilities

The environment is designed to enhance their STEM degree programs. Interacting with like-minded people in a setting designed to promote STEM learning can enhance your education significantly. But most of the best-known colleges and universities offering a STEM education are also expensive. They can seem very out of reach to the average student.

Additional information on What is a STEM degree?

We’ve decided to rank the top 30 most affordable colleges for a STEM degree. We focused on schools that identified their STEM focus through their school name. This is indicated by the words polytechnic, technical, or technological. Once we identified these colleges and universities, we selected and ranked the schools according to their tuition costs, starting with the most affordable.

Make sure you check out our FAQ at the end of the ranking for more information about STEM degree programs, the different kinds of STEM education in colleges and universities, and what STEM careers you can pursue with one of these degrees.

STEM Degree List–Ranking the Most Affordable Programs

#1. San Francisco Bay University (formerly Northwestern Polytechnic University)

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Located in Fremont, California, San Francisco Bay University is a private, non-profit university that offers few degrees and is highly focused. Students can earn an undergraduate degree in computer science, and master’s degrees in electrical engineering and computer science. The school of business offers an undergraduate business administration degree with a particular focus on information sciences. The school is currently undergoing the process of applying for regional accreditation with WASC; a process that will be completed in 2022. Prospective students should keep in mind that candidacy is not a guarantee of eventual accreditation.

Tuition: $8,720

#2. Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology

Logo of OSU Institute of Technology for our ranking of Cheapest STEM Schools

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Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology is another highly specialized university and offers degrees at the associate and bachelor’s levels. Bachelor’s degrees in technology are available in:

  • applied technical leadership
  • information technologies

The IT program offers specializations in:

  • cybersecurity and digital forensics
  • network infrastructure
  • software development
  • instrumentation engineering technology

Tuition: $11,384

#3. SUNY College of Technology at Delhi

Logo of SUNY Delhi for our ranking of Cheapest STEM Schools

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SUNY Delhi is a public university that offers a number of STEM-related degrees at both the bachelor’s and associate levels. Bachelor’s degrees include:

  • information systems auditing
  • architectural design and building
  • business and technology management
  • information technology management
  • sustainability
  • veterinary technology

Tuition: $12,410

#4 SUNY College of Technology at Canton

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SUNY Canton offers STEM-related degrees at the bachelor’s level in areas like:

  • cybersecurity
  • game design and development
  • industrial technology management
  • mechanical engineering technology
  • mechatronics technology
  • sustainable energy technology
  • applied civil and environmental engineering technology

The school also offers more than 21 bachelor’s degrees online.

Tuition: $12,619

#5. Arkansas Tech University

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Arkansas Tech University offers STEM-related degrees in areas like:

  • actuarial science
  • game and interactive media design
  • graphic design
  • biology
  • environmental science
  • fisheries and wildlife science
  • computer engineering
  • electrical engineering
  • cybersecurity
  • mathematics
  • information technology

Enrollment is around 12,000 students and the university has an 18:1 student to faculty ratio.

Out-of-State Tuition: $13,636

#6. South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

Logo of South Dakota School of Mines and Tech for our ranking of STEM Schools

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Schools with roots in education around the technologies used in mining are often hubs of STEM majors and the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology is no exception. Here you will find degrees in areas like:

  • atmospheric and environmental sciences
  • chemistry
  • chemical engineering
  • mathematics
  • geological engineering
  • geology
  • metallurgical engineering
  • mining engineering
  • physics

Out-of-State Tuition: $16,530

#7. New York City College of Technology

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New York City College of Technology offers a BS in applied mathematics with a concentration in either information science or science. Students can also major in a variety of engineering technology areas including:

  • computer engineering technology
  • construction technology
  • telecoms engineering tech
  • mechanical engineering technology
  • entertainment technology
  • architectural technology

Tuition: $15,270

#8. SUNY College of Technology at Alfred

Logo of SUNY Alfred for our ranking of Cheapest STEM Schools

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SUNY Alfred is primarily focused on the technology element of STEM, offering degrees in:

  • architecture
  • digital media and animation
  • game and interactive design
  • graphic and media design with specializations in:
    • information technology
    • applications software development
    • network administration
    • web development
  • mechatronics technology
  • surveying and geomatics engineering technology

Out-of-State Tuition: $15,937

#9. Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology

Logo of Ben Franklin Institute of Technology for our ranking of Cheapest Stem Colleges and Universities

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The Ben Franklin Institute of Technology is a small, private, not-for-profit university, located in Boston with just over 600 students. One benefit of this is the 10:1 student to faculty ratio. STEM majors include:

  • biomedical engineering technology
  • computer engineering technology
  • electrical engineering
  • health information technology
  • technology and business management

Tuition: $17,550

#10. SUNY Polytechnic Institute

Logo of SUNY Poly for our ranking of Cheapest Stem Colleges and Universities

Website

SUNY Polytechnic Institute offers degrees for STEM jobs in areas like:

  • applied mathematics
  • biology
  • civil engineering
  • computer and information science
  • electrical and computer engineering
  • interactive media and game design
  • nanoscale engineering
  • nanoscale science,
  • network and computer security: cybersecurity

The school is located in Utica and offers an online degree in communication+information design.

Tuition: $19,308

#11. SUNY College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill

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SUNY Cobleskill offers a variety of STEM degrees, many of which have to do with farming and agriculture. Students can choose from 28 majors in areas like:

  • biotechnology
  • cybersecurity
  • environmental and energy technologies
  • graphic design technology
  • information technology
  • plant science
  • wildlife management
  • agricultural equipment technology

Tuition: $18,586

#12. West Virginia University Institute of Technology

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The West Virginia Institute of Technology offers degrees for STEM careers in the areas of:

  • aerospace engineering
  • biology
  • chemistry
  • chemical engineering
  • civil engineering
  • computer engineering
  • electrical engineering
  • mathematics

The school is mid-sized with 1,700 students, and an average class size of 17. 9 of its engineering programs are ABET-accredited.

Tuition: $19,296

#13. Louisiana Tech University

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Louisiana Tech has over just under 12,000 students and a 23:1 student to faculty ratio. Just a few of the many STEM degrees offered to students are:

  • biomedical engineering (eight concentrations)
  • chemical engineering
  • chemistry (pre-med and pre-dentistry concentrations)
  • cyber engineering
  • environmental science
  • nanosystems engineering

Tuition: $19,098

#14. Texas Tech University

Logo of Texas Tech for our ranking of Cheapest Stem Colleges and Universities

Website

Texas Tech offers over 90 majors, most of them in a STEM field. Many of the degrees offered also feature several concentrations. Some examples of areas students can major in are:

  • petroleum engineering
  • astrophysics
  • applied physics
  • microbiology
  • mechanical engineering, information technology (four concentrations)
  • animal science (ten concentrations)
  • biochemistry
  • cell and molecular biology
  • chemical engineering

TTU offers several online degrees but just one online STEM degree, which is in biology.

Tuition: $19,260

#15. California State Polytechnic University-Pomona

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Cal Poly Pomona offers more than 50 majors to choose from, most of which are STEM degrees. The school has just over 24,000 undergraduate students and a 28:1 student to faculty ratio. Students can study for STEM jobs in:

  • aerospace engineering
  • agricultural science
  • biology
  • biotechnology
  • computer engineering
  • environmental biology
  • industrial engineering
  • physics
  • mathematics

Tuition: $19,276

#16. Florida Polytechnic University

Florida Poly-Cheapest STEM Schools

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Florida Poly offers several undergraduate STEM degree program options. They include:

  • computer engineering
  • data science
  • electrical engineering
  • engineering mathematics
  • engineering physics
  • environmental engineering
  • mechanical engineering

Graduate degrees are available in both engineering and computer science. The school is also home to the Advanced Mobility Institute, which tests and develops technology related to autonomous vehicles. AMI is one of the largest university-based research organizations specializing in that research.

Tuition: $21,005

#17. Montana Technological University

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Montana Tech is heavily focused on STEM degrees, as almost every single degree they offer contains a STEM component. Students can study STEM majors like:

  • civil engineering
  • geological engineering
  • geophysical engineering
  • biological sciences
  • petroleum engineering

This is just a sample of their selection. Undergraduate enrollment is just above 1,500 and the student to faculty ratio is 13:1.

Tuition: $22,600

#18. New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

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The New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology offers degrees in the areas of:

  • biomedical sciences
  • biotechnology
  • chemical engineering
  • chemistry
  • civil engineering
  • electrical engineering, and more

The university strives to ensure that most of its undergraduate students graduate with some experience in research. Undergraduates can participate in a wide variety of research projects at the university.

Tuition: $23,524

#19. California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo

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Cal Poly San Luis Obispo has six academic colleges. These are the colleges of science and mathematics: (11 majors), business (3 majors), engineering (13 majors), liberal arts (16 majors), architecture and environmental design (5 majors), and agriculture, food, and environmental sciences (15 majors). Most of the programs offered are STEM degrees or STEM-related in some way.

Tuition: $23,833

#20. Harrisburg University of Science and Technology

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Harrisburg University of Science and Technology has just under 1,000 undergraduate students out of a total student body of just over 4,800. Degrees are offered in

  • applied mathematics
  • environmental science and sustainability
  • information systems and information technologies
  • biotechnology
  • geospatial technology
  • integrative sciences

There is also an online cybersecurity operations and management degree offered.

Tuition: $23,900

#21. Tennessee Technological University

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Tennessee Tech is a public university with a student population just over 10,000 and a student to faculty ratio of 18:1. STEM degrees offered by the university include:

  • agricultural engineering technology
  • environmental agriscience
  • cellular and molecular biology
  • applied chemistry
  • computer engineering

Tuition: $24,798

#22. Capitol Technology University

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Capitol Technology University is small, with just 743 students, and has a student-to-faculty ratio of 12:1. The school boasts a high concentration of STEM degrees in the areas of:

  • aviation and unmanned systems
  • analytics and data science
  • computational systems
  • cyber and information security
  • management of technology
  • engineering and engineering technologies
  • security, intelligence, and critical infrastructure

Tuition: $26,308

#23. Arizona State University-Polytechnic

Logo of ASU Poly for our ranking of Cheapest Stem Colleges and Universities

Website

ASU Polytechnic is home to just over 4,500 undergraduate students and has an 18:1 student to faculty ratio. The school offers applied science degrees in:

  • aviation
  • graphic information technology
  • health sciences
  • internet and web development

Engineering degrees include concentrations in:

  • electrical systems
  • mechanical engineering systems
  • robotics

There are also degrees offered in applied physics, applied quantitative science, and applied mathematics.

Tuition: $26,548

#24. Indiana Institute of Technology

Logo of Indiana Tech for our ranking of Cheapest Stem Colleges and Universities

Website

Indiana Institute of Technology is a private university with an undergraduate enrollment just over 1,500 students and a 16:1 student to faculty ratio. Indiana Tech offers degrees like:

  • biomedical engineering
  • cybersecurity
  • energy engineering
  • network engineering
  • web development

There is also a business administration concentration in management information systems.

Tuition: $27,440

#25. Missouri University of Science and Technology

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Missouri University of Science and Technology conducts research in areas like:

  • advanced manufacturing
  • advanced materials for sustainable infrastructure
  • enabling materials for extreme environments
  • engineering and computing
  • smart living

The school offers 99 degrees across 40 areas of study, including programs like:

  • aerospace engineering
  • applied mathematics
  • geology and geophysics
  • nuclear engineering
  • ceramic engineering
  • metallurgical engineering

Tuition: $27,484

#26. Oregon State Institute of Technology

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Oregon State Institute of Technology offers a number of traditional and online STEM degrees. The undergraduate online STEM degree offered is a bachelor’s in information technology. As far as traditional degrees go, STEM degrees include:

  • cybersecurity
  • applied mathematics
  • mechanical engineering
  • nuclear medicine technology
  • environmental sciences
  • electrical engineering
  • civil engineering
  • biology-health sciences

Tuition: $29,637

#27. New England Institute of Technology

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New England Institute of Technology is a private university located in Rhode Island. The undergraduate student population is just over 2,500, and the student to faculty ratio is 13:1. STEM degrees offered include:

  • game development and simulation programming
  • graphics multimedia and web design
  • software engineering
  • video game design
  • mechanical engineering technology
  • cybersecurity and network engineering

Tuition: $30,840

#28. New Jersey Institute of Technology

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New Jersey Institute of Technology was ranked in the top 100 national universities by U.S. News, and #1 nationally in student economic upward mobility by Forbes. Among the school’s 126 degrees are STEM programs in:

  • applied mathematics
  • applied physics
  • architecture
  • biophysics
  • cybersecurity and privacy
  • industrial engineering
  • environmental science

NJIT also offers a bachelor’s degree in science, technology, and society with a concentration in cyberpsychology, along with many of its certificates and graduate STEM degrees online.

Tuition: $32,386

#29. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Logo of Virginia Tech for our ranking of best stem colleges

Website

Virginia Tech is ranked in the top 100 universities nationally by U.S. News and World Report and is one of the top STEM-focused universities in the country. Virginia Tech offers undergraduate STEM programs like:

  • aerospace engineering
  • general engineering
  • architecture
  • cognitive and behavioral neuroscience
  • ocean engineering
  • nanoscience
  • systems biology

Tuition: $32,835

#30. Georgia Institute of Technology

Website

Georgia Tech is ranked #8 in the country for engineering by U.S. News and World Report. The university offers undergraduate STEM majors like:

  • architecture
  • industrial design
  • aerospace engineering
  • biomedical engineering
  • chemical and biomolecular engineering

Overall the school offers over 20 majors and minors in engineering alone.

Tuition: $33,794

Frequently Asked Questions About a STEM Major

What is a STEM Major?

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics cover a broad range of subjects. So even if you’re interested in a STEM career generally, there is still plenty of flexibility. Each of these categories has STEM jobs that are incredibly broad and are applicable in many contexts. Every single aspect of our lives is influenced in some way by people who study and work in these fields.

It should be noted that the science element of the acronym tends to encompass the natural sciences and not so much the social sciences. Natural sciences include those focused on studying the natural world such as physics, biology, chemistry, geoscience, and astronomy. The main difference with STEM jobs on a technical level is that the natural sciences produce testable predictions. The social sciences, while important, are wrapped up in understanding human behavior, which is incredibly complex, nuanced, and difficult to predict in specific ways.

Mathematics in the acronym does not include mathematics education, as those degrees put a greater emphasis on education over application.

What advantages do STEM colleges and universities have for STEM students over schools with a broader focus?

Many fewer students major in STEM subjects than business, education, social sciences, or liberal arts. Attending a STEM-focused school means a much higher concentration of students studying STEM subjects, which means it’s much more likely you will have many peers within your specific program, and in STEM programs broadly, than if you attended a university with a more general approach. This means more chances for collaboration on projects during college. And a network of people in your field and related fields can lead to STEM jobs after you graduate.

Are there STEM colleges and universities that offer degrees online?

There are. In fact, there are several STEM schools offering online STEM degrees in our ranking. However, some degrees do not lend themselves as well as others to the online format. Science and engineering degrees specifically, because of their focus on practical application and experimentation, benefit greatly from resources like laboratories. Scientific instruments and engineering equipment, technology, and software tend to be incredibly expensive and aren’t widely available to individuals, especially individual students. Access to those labs, technologies, and equipment makes it, in many cases, much more beneficial to study those subjects in a physical location. So most online STEM degrees fall into the technology or mathematics categories.

What kind of money can I expect to earn with a STEM degree?

In general, STEM careers are known to pay well, but It depends on what you study. There are differences, for instance, between the earnings of engineers, and engineering technologists. According to the BLS architects and engineers occupations have median salaries of $80,000-$120,000 per year. Meanwhile, engineering technicians earn between $52,000 and $67,000 per year.

  • Mathematicians, statisticians, and actuaries earn a median salary of $88,190 per year.
  • Computer and information research scientists have median earnings of around $118,000 per year.
  • Systems administrators, cybersecurity specialists, and software developers can earn between $70,000 and $100,000 per year.
  • Web developers earn about $60,000 per year.

So in the end it all depends on what STEM jobs you decide to pursue. Many people with STEM training start their own businesses and become very wealthy. Others earn great money working in whatever field they studied. The interesting thing about STEM jobs is that even the lowest paying jobs are higher paying than the national average. With just a bachelor’s degree, in most of these fields, STEM jobs will earn a salary well above that of people with master’s or doctorates in many fields.

CVO Staff

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This concludes our ranking of the 30 most affordable colleges for STEM degree programs.