Cheapest Online Colleges Per Credit Hour

15 Cheapest Online Colleges Per Credit Hour

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Online colleges are popular in the United States and this is hugely credited to the fact that distance learning education doesn’t only guarantee you a study-from-home advantage that a lot of people are taking advantage of, but they are cheaper study options as well.

Sequel to that, online colleges offer graduate and postgraduate degree programs that are globally recognized; so, what’s there not to take advantage of?

This is no wonder why the question has now shifted from “is distance learning possible?” to “What are the cheapest online colleges per credit hour?!”

People are now looking for ways to reduce expenses when it comes to studying in college and not compromising the standards; hefty student loans taken to offset education costs wreak havoc on many lives and it is critical that you begin to consider cheap education that is available to you.

In this article today, we’ll go over the 15 cheapest online colleges per credit hour—these schools provide distance learning education at some of the most mind-boggling fees ever. So, if you are keen on finding what these cheap online colleges are, we can’t wait to have you find out what these programs offer you.

Importance of Choosing an Affordable Online College

Choosing an online university already helps you cut costs in your pursuit of a higher degree because these are typically cheaper schools to attend. But when you opt for even cheaper online colleges, you are bound to receive quality education for less tuition fees.

However, from a logical standpoint, a lot of people are wary of online universities due to their low credibility. To point out the obvious elephant in the room, distance learning is still in its infancy, and it is understandable why anyone would think twice before paying to attend a bachelor’s program in an online university.

While many may be skeptical about the authenticity of online colleges seeing as the idea of going through a whole university degree program completely from your home is not something that was common only a few years ago. But it now is.

And accreditation agencies all over the world are making this dream possible. People from anywhere in the world can learn from top online colleges and get globally-recognized certificates that put them ahead of their peers in the job market.

In this article, we will only go over the cheapest online colleges per credit hour and talk about only online schools that are accredited.

These online colleges make it easy for anyone to get a degree with their flexibility, supportive, and high-quality programs.

So, what are the cheapest online colleges I speak so highly of? Let’s find out.

List of the 15 Cheapest Online Colleges Per Credit Hour

While it’s true that the distance learning business is rife with a lot of online colleges that offer top-tier programs, not many guarantee that you will get cut-teeth prices like these online colleges you will soon read about.

Some of these schools offer degrees that cost less than $300 per credit hour. To put this into perspective, the average rate of tuition in the United States is $456 per credit hour (~BestColleges); this means that with these online colleges below, you pay for a university degree by far lower than what you’re supposed to.

Below is a list of the cheapest online colleges per credit hour:

  • American Public University
  • National University
  • University of the People
  • Great Basin College
  • Minot State College
  • Chadron State College
  • Amridge University
  • Thomas Edison State University
  • Western Governors University
  • Brigham Young University
  • Baker College
  • Bellevue University
  • Park University
  • West Texas A & M University
  • Eastern New Mexico University.

15 Cheapest Online Colleges Per Credit Hour

Finding a program that fits your budget is a crucial first step to deciding other factors that affect your study. With top-quality online degrees, access to library and support resources, synchronous and self-paced programs, and other benefits, these schools are some serious contenders for the 15 cheapest online colleges per credit hour.

1. American Public University

  • Tuition Per Credit Hour: $250 per credit hour.
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Location: Charles Town, West Virginia
  • Acceptance Rate: 100%
  • Financial Aid: Grants and Scholarships

American Public University is part of the American Public University System; it is an accredited online university that caters to adult learners (including military veterans) who are keen on taking additional qualification programs and courses to transition into new career paths.

The university offers programs in business via its Dr. Wallace E. Boston School of Business, arts and humanities degrees, health sciences, engineering, science and technology, security, and global studies.

As an online university, APUS provides asynchronous online programs delivered in the most ubiquitous patterns with the additional provision of materials and resources that aid active student participation. In terms of program school, APUS is an “okay” school; from reviews found about the school, past students mentioned that they enjoyed their time there and were particularly impressed with the facilitators.

However, when compared to most elite schools in the United States, APUS falls well short on status.

2. National University

  • Tuition Per Credit Hour: $370 per credit hour.
  • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission 
  • Location: San Diego, California 
  • Acceptance Rate: 54.5%
  • Financial Aid: Grants (including Pell Grant), work-study, subsidized and unsubsidized loans.


National University offers both online and on-campus education in various disciplines at both undergraduate and graduate levels. It is often praised for its online programs that past alumni are very quick to remark that is impressive.

As a matter of fact, NU is regarded as one of the best online universities in the United States. And best of all, it caters to both first-timers and adult learners; so, whether you’re trying out college for the first time or not, National University is never a bad place to start with.

3. University of the People

  • Tuition Per Credit Hour: $200 per credit hour.
  • Accreditation: The Distance Education Accrediting Commission 
  • Location: Pasadena, California 
  • Acceptance Rate: 100%
  • Financial Aid: Scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study.


When you think about distance learning, the University of the People is inevitably one of the best and cheapest online colleges that comes to mind. UoP gets the most attention for its programs because of how ridiculously cheap they are.

The school’s aim is to make education affordable and accessible to anyone from anywhere in the world. Moreso, applying to UoP’s bachelor programs is free; albeit, it will cost you around $100 in application fees.

Upper-Level Education costs $200 and you can choose from a range of bachelor’s, associate’s, and certificate programs being offered in finance, business administration, computer science, health science, English Language, and education.

4. Great Basin College

  • Tuition Per Credit Hour: $108 for in-state students and $159.50 per credit hour.
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Location: Elko, Nevada
  • Acceptance Rate: 100%
  • Financial Aid: Grants, loans, scholarships, and work-study.

Great Basin College is a public university that is part of the Nevada System of Higher Education.

It is one of those schools that isn’t all that impressive when it comes to delivering quality education; however, as expected, they make up for it by making their tuition fee very cheap. It is the most affordable online college on our list.

Its program catalog includes a wide variety of top courses like business, accounting, arts, humanities, science, and computer technology.

5. Minot State University

  • Tuition Per Credit Hour: $316 per credit hour.
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Location: Minot, North Dakota 
  • Acceptance Rate: 88.4%
  • Graduation Rate: 45%
  • Financial Aid: Grants, loans, scholarships and award programs, and work-study.

Minot State University is located in Minot, North Dakota, a place known to have a reasonably high student enrollment in online universities and colleges.

Speaking of the school, however, MSU is a great option for anyone looking for a bachelor’s degree online. They provide resources that aid student learning and are, by the reviews, a school that has a thriving community of distance-learning students.

The bad news is Minot State University only offers bachelor programs; so, if you have plans to return for a postgraduate degree, then you might want to look out for other options.

6. Chadron State College

  • Tuition Per Credit Hour: $296 for undergraduate programs; $316 for graduate programs (per credit hour)
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission as well as subject-oriented accrediting agencies.
  • Location: Chadron, Nebraska 
  • Acceptance Rate: 100%
  • Graduation Rate: 42.9%
  • Financial Aid: Grants, direct loans, scholarships, and work-study.

Chadron State College is a hybrid-operating university in Nebraska. It is one school that stands out for its qualified course instructors and program delivery quality.

7. Amridge University

  • Tuition Per Credit Hour: $250 per credit hour.
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC
  • Location: Montgomery, Alabama 
  • Acceptance Rate: 100%
  • Graduation Rate: 33.9%
  • Financial Aid: Scholarships and incentives.

Amridge University was established as a private Christian university in 1967 and was renamed the Alabama Christian School of Religion in 2008.

The university provides both on-campus and online undergraduate and graduate degree programs in business, psychology, counseling, ministry, and education.

Furthermore, Amridge University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. However, the downside to this school is that it has a low rate of students graduating; this can mean anything from high dropout rates to students transferring schools. Albeit, students who have been a part of the school have only good things to say.

8. Thomas Edison State University

  • Tuition Per Credit Hour: $399 for local students; $599 for international students.
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education 
  • Location: Trenton, New Jersey 
  • Acceptance Rate: 100%
  • Graduation Rate: 44.5%
  • Financial Aid: Pell Grants or Federal Education Loans, state grants, and other loan programs.

Thomas Edison State University is a public university in Trenton, New Jersey. It was established in 1972 and is named after the businessman and inventor Thomas Edison.

The university provides certificate programs in addition to undergraduate and graduate degree programs, including associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees.

The institution is renowned for its adaptable adult education programs, which include online classes and exams that let students receive college credit for prior study and employment experience. Popular degrees in this school are humanities, business, and nursing programs.

9. Western Governors University

  • Tuition Per Credit Hour: $3,335 per year.
  • Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities 
  • Location: Millcreek, Utah
  • Acceptance Rate: 100%
  • Graduation Rate: 64%
  • Financial Aid: Scholarships and multiple other loan programs.

Western Governors University (WGU) is a private, non-profit, online university. WGU provides undergraduate and graduate degree programs in business, education, nursing, and health sciences.

The university uses a competency-based education model that evaluates students’ knowledge and skills rather than the amount of time they spend in a classroom.

In order to create individualized degree plans and advance at their own pace, students consult with faculty mentors. As far as online colleges go, WGU is one of the most reputable of them all.

10. Brigham Young University

  • Tuition Per Credit Hour: $125 per credit hour for students who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; other students pay $156 per credit hour (figures were approximated).
  • Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities 
  • Location: Rexburg, Idaho
  • Acceptance Rate: 96%
  • Graduation Rate: 59%
  • Financial Aid: Scholarships, grants, and loans.

Brigham Young University (BYU) is a private research university located in Provo, Utah. The university was established by the Church of the Latter-day Saints, with the goal of delivering higher education from the viewpoint of LDS Church doctrine and values.

A variety of fields, including business, engineering, education, family and consumer sciences, fine arts, humanities, law, nursing, sciences, and social sciences are all covered by undergraduate and graduate degree programs at BYU. 

The university also runs a number of research institutes and centers, including the BYU Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies.

BYU is renowned for its demanding academic standards, which include a strict honor code based on LDS Church doctrine. And students who are members of the LDS church get subsidized fees on tuition.

11. Baker College

  • Tuition Per Credit Hour: $435 per credit hour.
  • Accreditation: National Association of Schools of Music 
  • Location: Owosso, Michigan
  • Acceptance Rate: 54%
  • Financial Aid: Scholarships, grants, and loans.

Baker College is one of Michigan’s renowned private colleges. It is a private-owned, non-profit higher institution that caters to students of all ages and backgrounds.

Only 24.35% of its student’s population are aged between 18 – 21 (~CollegeFactual), lower than the national average of 60%. This tells you that Baker College is a school that is very supportive of adult education and they have so many top-notch programs that college-goers will love, including courses in business, health, nursing, information technology, and engineering.

This school has many campuses across Michigan state, as well as online degrees.

12. Bellevue University

  • Tuition Per Credit Hour: $250 per credit hour.
  • Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and the Higher Learning Commission 
  • Location: Bellevue, Nebraska
  • Acceptance Rate: 100%
  • Financial Aid: Scholarships, grants, and loans.

Bellevue University is a private, non-profit university located in Bellevue, Nebraska, United States. Since its founding in 1966, the university has been providing students with undergraduate and graduate programs.

The university offers a variety of courses in subjects like business, education, medicine, information technology, and criminal justice. Additionally, Bellevue University offers a remote course-taking option through its online learning platform. 

13. Park University

  • Tuition Per Credit Hour: $415 per credit hour.
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission 
  • Location: Parkville, Missouri
  • Acceptance Rate: 100%
  • Financial Aid: Scholarships, grants, and loans.

Park University is a private, non-profit university. Students can enroll in multiple undergraduate and graduate programs at the university.

In addition, it also provides distance learning opportunities; for its online learning programs, Park University has received the Quality Matters certification and is accredited by HLC.

The university provides a huge selection of courses in subjects like business, education, medicine, information technology, and social sciences. With a strong focus on diversity and inclusion, Park University provides services and programs to help students from various backgrounds.

In terms of tuition fees, Parkville is quite competitive, but not very cheap. But it provides a good competitive price for universities that charge way more. Plus, the university reviews reveal that Park University is a decent school.

14. West Texas A & M University

  • Tuition Per Credit Hour: $50 for Texas residents; $80 per credit hour for non-Texas residents.
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC 
  • Location: Canyon, Texas
  • Acceptance Rate: 97%
  • Financial Aid: Scholarships, grants, and loans.

WTAMU may well just be the only university on this list that needs no introduction! The school has received multiple awards and recognitions from education-rating bodies like U.S. News & Report.

It is a public university and the northernmost campus of the Texas A & M University System. WTAMU is a top-tier university and also offers some of its degree programs 100% online so that every student can take advantage of them from anywhere in the world.

It also offers blended programs that still require in-person participation. 

Students enrolling in this school should put in mind that the school prioritizes a strict approach to its school methods and you must be at your best academically, always.

Also, to get into WTAMU, you must have completed high school or GED, and have at least 3.0 GPA. Some online degrees you can apply for are:

  • BS Communication Studies (100% online).
  • B.B.A. Computer Information Systems (100% online)
  • B.B.A Economics (100% online)
  • B.S. Economics (100% online)
  • Health Sciences B.S. (100% online)
  • Nursing M.S.N. (100% online), etc.

15. Eastern New Mexico University 

  • Tuition Per Credit Hour: $174.75
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission 
  • Location: Roswell, New Mexico
  • Acceptance Rate: 51%
  • Graduation Rate: 36.1%
  • Financial Aid: Federal Pell and Supplemental Grants, Federal Perkins and Direct Student Loan Programs, New Mexico state grants, scholarships, work-study, and a variety of scholarships.

Eastern New Mexico University is an affordable option for online colleges. It also provides on-campus programs; however, it is for its online degrees it is most known, with more than 10,000 students enrolled across its graduate and undergraduate programs.

The school offers associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in various courses like business administration, social work, applied arts and sciences, elementary ed, psychology, criminal justice, accounting, biology, nursing, and more.

Its tuition rate is lower than at least 80% of most southwestern universities and has a student satisfaction score of 96%. It is definitely a great university.

FAQs About Cheap Online Colleges Per Credit Hour

Are online classes easier than classes taken in the classroom?

This is not always the case. Online colleges offer classes that are relevant to your program’s curriculum, and even this is dependent on your school’s delivery.

So, saying that online classes are easier is not correct. They both require just about the same dedication and commitment to learning.

What are some disadvantages of online colleges?

As we mentioned, online colleges are great for you if you want to study fr home and cut out hours of commuting daily. However, studying means that you must have to be a self-motivated person to be able to go through those programs.

Also, this pattern of education always means that there will be fewer interactions between you and your instructors and colleagues; this may hamper collaboration.

Are online degrees worth it?

Depending on what you are looking for in your educational journey, online universities could provide you great opportunities for learning at low tuition rates, and without the need to travel. But are their degrees worth it? Yes, they are.

Most online universities and colleges offer their bachelor’s degrees 100% online, and these certificates are recognized globally, as long as the university issuing it is accredited by relevant agencies.

How do you apply for online colleges?

For this, it is important to find out what each school requires for you to get admitted. This is because different online colleges have different requirements for admitting students. 

Wrapping It Up

Online universities also accept transfer students with limited credit units. So, if you’re someone who is looking to make the switch from a traditional school, there are still opportunities for you to take in many of these e-learning schools.

In essence, it is important that you outline what your goals and expectations are, and if online universities are a part of that goal, then you should make it work.

Past students who have completed their degrees from online colleges admit that it was a good experience for them, citing the flexibility of their schedule as a great advantage.

If you’re keen on this, you should begin your search with these 15 cheapest online colleges per credit hour that we have in this article.