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Best Value Online Colleges & Universities
Top 50 Most Affordable Consensus Ranked Online Schools 2021

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Want low tuition? Convenience and flexibility? And a college loan debt that doesn’t keep you up at night? The College Consensus ranking of the best value online colleges is here!

This is an excellent time for people seeking affordable online colleges and degree programs, but it’s important to realize that different colleges often cater to different needs when it comes to online programs. For example, depending on where someone lives, they may want to choose one of the regional public colleges. Regional public colleges will usually have lower tuition costs for applicants who live in the region where the college is located. On the other hand, an affordable private college will offer many of the same benefits as attending a private college offline. Those benefits can include a more hands-on approach, a religious or ideological grounding, or unique and unusual degree choices.

In addition, the online college landscape also contains numerous working-adult focused colleges. These institutions typically offer programs specifically designed to work with people who have jobs, kids, or other adult responsibilities. People who want to attend online college courses have a lot affordable choices available to them, but just because a college is affordable doesn’t mean your degree will ROI. That’s why College Consensus – the authority on college rankings – has put together a definitive ranking of the most affordable online colleges.

Ranking the Most Affordable Online Colleges 

The College Consensus method takes a lot of factors into consideration, but for the Most Affordable Online Colleges ranking, one factor stands above all: cost. Colleges will often try to hide their real costs from students until the bill comes due, but none of that here. 

We combine official rankings from the most trusted publishers with verified student ratings from reputable review sites to form an aggregate ranking that takes into account the opinions of experts and the experience of students equally. That’s the Consensus Score.

To qualify for the Best Value Online Colleges and Universities ranking, institutions must have a Consensus Score, offer at least 3 bachelor’s degree or bachelor’s completion programs in an online or hybrid format, and be affordable. Schools are ranked according to their out-of-state tuition and fees. 

1

Eastern Illinois University
Charleston, IL

Eastern Illinois University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
72.8
College Consensus
73.7
Publisher Consensus
71.9
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
14269
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
14

2

University of North Dakota
Grand Forks, ND

UND
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
40.3
College Consensus
11.2
Publisher Consensus
69.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
15895
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
16

3

Fitchburg State University
Fitchburg, MA

Fitchburg State
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
50.6
College Consensus
32.3
Publisher Consensus
68.9
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
16690
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
3

4

Westfield State University
Westfield, MA

Westfield State University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
59.6
College Consensus
52.4
Publisher Consensus
66.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
16929
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
7

5

University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
Stevens Point, WI

University Wisconsin Stevens Point
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
61.7
College Consensus
49.6
Publisher Consensus
73.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
16980
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
3

6

University of South Florida-Main Campus
Tampa, FL

University South Florida Main
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
60.6
College Consensus
50.4
Publisher Consensus
70.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
17324
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
5

7

SUNY College at Oswego
Oswego, NY

SUNY College Oswego
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
63.5
College Consensus
59.4
Publisher Consensus
67.6
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
18627
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
3

8

California State University-East Bay
Hayward, CA

auditorium benches chairs 207691
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
64
College Consensus
66
Publisher Consensus
61.9
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
18880
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
5

9

Florida International University
Miami, FL

FIU
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
58.9
College Consensus
46.4
Publisher Consensus
71.5
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
18963
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
36

10

The University of West Florida
Pensacola, FL

University West Florida
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
61.5
College Consensus
49.5
Publisher Consensus
73.5
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
19241
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
10

11

Texas Tech University
Lubbock, TX

Texas Tech University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
50.3
College Consensus
25.4
Publisher Consensus
75.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
19260
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
6

12

California State University-Chico
Chico, CA

California State University Chico
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
82.6
College Consensus
89.7
Publisher Consensus
75.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
19686
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
3

13

University of Alabama at Birmingham
Birmingham, AL

UAB
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
49.4
College Consensus
24.1
Publisher Consensus
74.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
20400
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
7

14

University of North Carolina Wilmington
Wilmington, NC

unc Wilmington
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
48.2
College Consensus
19.9
Publisher Consensus
76.6
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
21246
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
8

15

Appalachian State University
Boone, NC

App state
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
73.1
College Consensus
68.3
Publisher Consensus
77.9
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
22216
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
7

16

University of Central Florida
Orlando, FL

University Central Florida
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
64.6
College Consensus
55.4
Publisher Consensus
73.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
22467
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
19

17

Concordia University-Saint Paul
Saint Paul, MN

bookcase books bookshelves 1850021
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
59.7
College Consensus
47.1
Publisher Consensus
72.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
22800
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
18

18

Radford University
Radford, VA

nathan dumlao ewGMqs2tmJI unsplash
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
64.7
College Consensus
56.2
Publisher Consensus
73.3
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
23432
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
5

19

Brescia University
Owensboro, KY

brescia University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
64.4
College Consensus
55.9
Publisher Consensus
72.9
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
23500
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
7

20

East Carolina University
Greenville, NC

East Carolina University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
55
College Consensus
31.6
Publisher Consensus
78.3
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
23515
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
18

21

Central Washington University
Ellensburg, WA

Central Washington University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
67
College Consensus
65.5
Publisher Consensus
68.5
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
23954
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
25

22

University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus
Denver, CO

University of Colorado DenverAnschutz Medical Campus
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
51.8
College Consensus
30.8
Publisher Consensus
72.9
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
25823
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
12

23

Washington State University
Pullman, WA

Washington State University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
62.6
College Consensus
51.5
Publisher Consensus
73.7
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
26419
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
20

24

University of Oklahoma-Norman Campus
Norman, OK

ou
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
60.6
College Consensus
45.3
Publisher Consensus
75.9
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
27144
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
5

25

University of Utah
Salt Lake City, UT

University of utah
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
63.1
College Consensus
54.1
Publisher Consensus
72
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
27220
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
7

26

University of Missouri-St Louis
Saint Louis, MO

University of Missouri St Louis
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
41
College Consensus
15.9
Publisher Consensus
66.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
27342
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
7

27

University of Idaho
Moscow, ID

U Idaho
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
56.3
College Consensus
37.7
Publisher Consensus
75
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
27540
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
4

28

University of Illinois at Chicago
Chicago, IL

University of Illinois at Chicago
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
70
College Consensus
73.5
Publisher Consensus
66.5
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
27566
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
3

29

John Brown University
Siloam Springs, AR

John Brown University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
70.4
College Consensus
61
Publisher Consensus
79.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
27668
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
4

30

University of Kansas
Lawrence, KS

University of Kansas
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
57.4
College Consensus
39.1
Publisher Consensus
75.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
28034
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
8

31

University of Missouri-Columbia
Columbia, MO

University of Missouri Columbia
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
55.8
College Consensus
36.6
Publisher Consensus
75
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
28348
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
14

32

Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College
Baton Rouge, LA

lsubr
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
54.5
College Consensus
30.7
Publisher Consensus
78.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
28639
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
3

33

University of Florida
Gainesville, FL

palm trees and a large brick campus building
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
82.7
College Consensus
90.3
Publisher Consensus
75.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
28659
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
19

34

Webster University
Saint Louis, MO

Webster University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
63.7
College Consensus
56.9
Publisher Consensus
70.6
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
28700
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
21

35

Southern Illinois University-Carbondale
Carbondale, IL

Southern Illinois University Carbondale
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
40.6
College Consensus
13
Publisher Consensus
68.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
29360
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
20

36

Temple University
Philadelphia, PA

Temple University 1
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
53.9
College Consensus
41.3
Publisher Consensus
66.5
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
29882
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
6

37

Colorado State University-Fort Collins
Fort Collins, CO

Colorado State University Fort Collins
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
62.7
College Consensus
50.1
Publisher Consensus
75.3
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
30622
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
3

38

Oregon State University
Corvallis, OR

OSU
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
55.3
College Consensus
36.4
Publisher Consensus
74.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
31215
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
22

39

LeTourneau University
Longview, TX

Letourneau University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
58.7
College Consensus
45.9
Publisher Consensus
71.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
31270
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
19

40

Rutgers University-Camden
Camden, NJ

Rutgers University Camden
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
55.5
College Consensus
44.9
Publisher Consensus
66.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
31500
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
7

41

University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA

University Iowa
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
69.3
College Consensus
62.1
Publisher Consensus
76.6
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
31569
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
4

42

Rutgers University-Newark
Newark, NJ

rutgers newark
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
63.5
College Consensus
55.7
Publisher Consensus
71.2
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
31608
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
5

43

The University of Tennessee-Knoxville
Knoxville, TN

Tennessee Knoxville
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
54.9
College Consensus
38.1
Publisher Consensus
71.6
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
31664
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
3

44

Rutgers University-New Brunswick
New Brunswick, NJ

Rutgers University New Brunswick
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
71.6
College Consensus
70
Publisher Consensus
73.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
32189
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
9

45

Albertus Magnus College
New Haven, CT

nicole honeywill dGxOgeXAXm8 unsplash
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
48.1
College Consensus
30.1
Publisher Consensus
66.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
33260
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
10

46

Lewis University
Romeoville, IL

lewis u
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
55
College Consensus
45.3
Publisher Consensus
64.6
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
33430
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
8

47

Mount Mercy University
Cedar Rapids, IA

mount mercy University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
54.6
College Consensus
33.4
Publisher Consensus
75.8
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
33862
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
8

48

University of South Carolina-Columbia
Columbia, SC

SC
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
52.3
College Consensus
27.1
Publisher Consensus
77.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
33928
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
3

49

Westminster College (UT)
Salt Lake City, UT

westminster utah
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
62.6
College Consensus
55
Publisher Consensus
70.1
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
34984
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
3

50

Buena Vista University
Storm Lake, IA

Buena Vista University
AVG: 0 AVG: 0
65.3
College Consensus
57.2
Publisher Consensus
73.4
Student Consensus
Last Accessed: March, 2021
Out-of-state tuition & fees
35194
Number of online bachelor's degree programs
10

Are Online Colleges Cheaper than Traditional Colleges?

These days, listings, databases, and various other resources exist to guide people towards just what they’re looking for. A search online will populate with numerous results that include updated reviews and pricing information for online colleges. If you’re paying for college yourself, it’s essential to do you homework.

When it comes to online college vs traditional college cost, people often assume online colleges always cost less than traditional colleges. In truth, just as with traditional colleges, online college costs can vary widely. Each institution will have a different pricing method based on their own criteria.

Most colleges that offer online courses will have tuition calculators or average cost breakdowns. People are often surprised to find out some universities charge the same price for their courses whether online or off. Some places charge even more for their online programs than their equivalent on-campus ones.

The online college vs traditional college cost question has no clear answer. As with all things college-related, it depends. This should drive home why seeking affordable online college is so important.

The average cost online bachelor’s degree will vary as well from place to place and student to student. For those who want to figure out the average cost online bachelor’s degree or any other degree program for themselves, a net price calculator can help.

How Do Affordable Online Colleges Save Me Money?

When seeking an affordable online college, it’s important to look at the stated dollar amounts. Finding the cheapest online college per credit hour can help once someone has already narrowed their search to the places that interest them.

However, saving money with affordable online colleges involves a few other factors as well. Places that offer cheap online degrees fast aren’t necessarily the most affordable. As previously stated, applicants must consider the net price of attending. In addition, looking for places things like cheap online colleges without application fees can help as well.

Because students aren’t attending a campus, many places will offer a lower tuition. That’s not a given, but it’s worth searching for. Speedy courses also don’t require as many ongoing fees as a longer traditional course.

The cheapest online per credit hours and the cheap online colleges without application fees can give someone the numbers they need to calculate just how much they can save. People should always look at the numbers when they want cheap online degrees fast, because those accelerated programs can often come with savings they don’t expect.

Are There Any Free Online Colleges?

Free online colleges do exist. A handful of accredited online universities offer tuition-free programs for associates, bachelor’s, and even master’s degrees. The free online colleges do offer degrees. Applicants may have to pay an application fee or other small fees.

Some other institutions offer free courses, lectures, and other learning materials. The free courses and materials can sometimes come with a certificate, but rarely with a credit.

How Do Online College Degree Programs ROI?

People invest their money and time with the hopes their degree will pay off in the future, especially when so many students take out loans to pay for college. This is a return on investment college education, and it’s important for that investment to work. To that end, it’s a good idea to think of the best ROI degrees that can make that happen.

But, what are the best ROI degrees? That all depends on where an applicant lives and which industries have the largest amount of growth.

Figuring our college ROI by major is possible, especially if the major is one that allows an applicant to advance in their career field or get a fair start in a new career. The ability to move forward, earn more, and do more with a college degree is what makes the return on investment college education worthwhile.

Related: 

Best Scholarships for Online Students
50 Online Colleges with the Best ROI
Top 25 Best Online Degrees Most Likely to Get You A Job
25 Highest Paying Online Bachelors Degrees