Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s Degrees

Advertisement AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Find a program that’s right for you.

A bachelor’s degree is the minimum education requirement for many professional career paths. Building broad knowledge in a variety of subjects, a bachelor’s serves as an introduction to the world of higher education for many students, preparing graduates to enter the workforce or pursue advanced degrees.

Most bachelor’s programs take about four years of full-time study to complete. Entry requirements can vary widely among schools, but many colleges require at least a high school diploma and standardized test scores.

This page offers an overview of affordable online bachelor’s degrees, including typical course requirements, professional organizations for students, and scholarship opportunities.

What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor’s Degree?

A bachelor’s degree introduces students to a field’s major principles and guiding concepts. Students may earn bachelor’s degrees in disciplines such as English, history, psychology, or computer science.

In general, bachelor’s programs do not confer the highest level of knowledge available in a professional field. However, the broad nature of the subject matter featured in many programs can serve as an advantage. By not specializing their skills and knowledge too narrowly, graduates keep their career options open.

In many instances, bachelor’s degree-holders advance their career by earning a master’s degree, which develops highly specialized knowledge in a specific field.

Do I Need a Master’s Degree?

A master’s degree builds advanced knowledge beyond the scope of a bachelor’s degree. For some career paths, a master’s may serve as the minimum education requirement; for others, a master’s can provide a practical path to career advancement.

Master’s degree programs build on undergraduate knowledge and skills, often allowing students to specialize in an area of a broader field. Graduates with a bachelor’s in business, for example, might pursue a graduate program in marketing or finance.

While a master’s can increase career options and earning potential, not all career paths require a graduate degree. Less time-intensive paths, such as earning professional certifications or joining professional organizations, can also result in career advancement.

Accreditation for an Online Bachelor’s Degree

When researching undergraduate programs — and particularly when researching online programs — students should make sure that prospective colleges hold accreditation. The accreditation process evaluates the academic and administrative functions of higher education institutions, ensuring that schools offer proper educational and professional preparation. Attending an accredited school expands employment, financial aid, and educational opportunities.

Schools may hold regional or national accreditation, with regional accreditation generally considered the more prestigious of the two. National accreditation serves trade and vocational schools, while regional accreditation typically serves nonprofit, degree-granting schools.

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation lists recognized regional accrediting organizations. Any school that holds accreditation from one of these agencies can generally be considered reputable.

Frequently Asked Questions


  • How much does an online bachelor's degree cost?

    While exact tuition rates vary greatly among programs, the typical cost of an online bachelor’s degree ranges from $38,496-$60,593.


  • How long does it take to get a bachelor's degree online?

    Completion time varies among programs, but most bachelor’s degrees take about four years of full-time study to complete.


  • How do you earn a bachelor's degree?

    Bachelor’s candidates typically complete a selection of required general education courses along with courses in their chosen major.


  • Can you graduate with a bachelor's degree in 3 years?

    Many colleges offer accelerated bachelor’s programs that may enable students to graduate in three years. However, these programs usually require candidates to complete a heavier course load each semester.


What Are the Requirements for a Bachelor’s Degree?

Admission requirements vary widely among colleges, but most programs require applicants to hold at least a high school diploma or GED certificate. Many schools also call for test scores, most commonly from the SAT or ACT. More selective programs may maintain additional requirements, such as letters of recommendation, a portfolio of student work, and evidence of community service or extracurricular activities.

Once admitted, undergraduates typically complete around 120 credits to earn a bachelor’s degree. Some schools may include a significant culminating project, such as a capstone or thesis.

Courses in an Online Bachelor’s Degree Program

Undergraduate courses vary by major. However, most schools offer similar general education requirements, which build foundational knowledge applicable to many academic majors. These courses cover introductory topics from fields of study such as history, English, science, and math. This list highlights general education courses commonly found in undergraduate curriculums.

Introduction to Composition
Writing plays an important role in any college major, so almost all schools require students to complete an introductory composition course. These courses typically explore various types of essays and expository writing, teaching students how to comprehend written arguments and argue their own claims in writing. Many courses may also include a research component.
Introduction to Natural Sciences
Most undergraduates complete at least 1-2 general science courses. These courses typically cover the major principles of a scientific discipline, such as biology. They also cover the attitudes and practices of scientific inquiry, including experimentation, objectivity, logic, precision, and tentativeness. At many schools, students must complete at least one course that comes with a lab component.
Introduction to Social Sciences
The social sciences focus on the exploration and examination of human behavior and social systems. Undergraduates commonly complete at least one course focusing on either a general introduction to the social sciences or a specific discipline, such as psychology, sociology, or anthropology. These courses explore the basic theories and methods of social and behavioral sciences, such as research and ethics.
Introduction to Historical Perspectives
Studying history helps students understand the processes of historical change while building skills in interpretation, analysis, argumentation, and communication. Students may complete a general introductory course or one focused on a specific historical period or region, such as American history. These courses typically examine tools and methods used to study the past while helping students understand varied perspectives for interpreting history and historical change.
Introduction to Literature
Students typically complete at least one introductory literature course. These courses focus on the major principles and practices of interpreting literary works, including fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. Learners study tools of literary study, such as research and interpretative methods, and gain general skills in writing, analysis, and argumentation.

Certifications and Licensure for Bachelor’s Degree Students

Certifications and licenses demonstrate professional skills and competencies. Bachelor’s degree-holders can pursue professional certifications in many different fields, including education, healthcare, and information technology. This list highlights three popular certifications for undergraduates.

Teacher Certification
Teacher certification prepares professionals to teach in K-12 schools. Specific certification requirements vary among states, and many states call for different prerequisite courses depending on the grade level and subject candidates wish to teach. Middle and high school teachers may also need to complete subject area exams.
Registered Nurse
The registered nurse (RN) credential ranks among the most popular certifications for nursing students. Nurses can earn the credential with just an associate degree, but a bachelor’s program offers more comprehensive education and may lead to more advanced positions.
CompTIA A+
An industry-standard credential for IT professionals, CompTIA’s A+ certification primarily serves information technology and computer science majors. Indicating proficiency in areas including hardware, operating systems, networking, security, and cloud computing, A+ certification prepares recipients for technical support and end point management roles.

Professional Organizations for Bachelor’s Degree Students

Professional organizations can provide students with valuable academic and networking opportunities, including conferences, mentorship, and internships. Some organizations serve students of a specific professional or academic interest, while others serve students of a specific background.


  • Beta Gamma Sigma Known as the international honor society for business schools, Beta Gamma Sigma offers global events, networking opportunities, and professional development opportunities. Undergraduate members must be in the top 10% of their class at an accredited business program.

  • Association of Latino Professionals for America The country's longest-standing professional organization for Latinos, ALPFA serves more than 81,000 members and hosts nearly 160 student chapters around the United States. The organization offers fellowship programs, student conventions and other networking events, job resources, and student awards.

  • National Society of Collegiate Scholars Serving high-achieving college students across the country, NSCS offers career resources, graduate school connections, service opportunities, and leadership preparation. The organization hosts chapters at colleges and universities around the U.S. and awards more than $750,000 in undergraduate scholarships annually.

  • Alpha Chi Known as the National College Honor Society, Alpha Chi hosts more than 300 collegiate chapters at schools around the country. The organization offers networking, leadership, and service opportunities for gifted college students. Alpha Chi also awards more than $166,000 annually in scholarships and grants.

Scholarships for Bachelor’s Degree Students

Any student wondering how to pay for a bachelor’s degree should explore financial aid opportunities like loans, grants, and scholarships. Unlike loans, grants and scholarships do not require repayment, making them ideal forms of financial aid. The following list outlines several scholarship opportunities for bachelor’s students.


  • Coca Cola Scholars Program

    Who Can Apply: High school seniors who demonstrate leadership ability and a commitment to improving their schools and communities qualify for the award. The program awards 150 students each year. Applicants must not be children or grandchildren of current or former Coca Cola employees.

    Amount: $20,000

    For More Info: Coca Cola Scholars Program


  • Undergraduate Distance Learning Degrees Academic Scholarships

    Who Can Apply: Any undergraduate student pursuing an associate or bachelor’s degree through distance learning can apply. Applicants need at least 30 credits remaining of their undergraduate studies.

    Amount: $500

    For More Info: Undergraduate Distance Learning Degrees Academic Scholarships


  • Get Educated Online College Scholarship Program

    Who Can Apply: Any student currently enrolled in an accredited online degree program can apply. Applicants must hold a minimum 3.0 GPA and submit a 500-word essay responding to the prompt “What an Online College Degree Means to Me.”

    Amount: $1,000

    For More Info: Get Educated Online College Scholarship Program


  • Bohn & Fletcher Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: Any undergraduate student currently enrolled in an accredited degree program can apply. Applicants must submit a short essay, as well as a video that summarizes key points from their essay.

    Amount: $1,000

    For More Info: Bohn & Fletcher Scholarship


  • Niche 'No Essay' College Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: Any student enrolled or planning to enroll in a college degree program can apply. Applicants must sign up for a free account on Niche, and scholarships are awarded randomly. The award may cover any education-related expenses.

    Amount: $2,000

    For More Info: Niche ‘No Essay’ College Scholarship


Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s Degrees

  1. Indian River State College
    Location

    Fort Pierce, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Indian River State College operates five campuses on Florida's Treasure Coast and a growing virtual college. The school offers affordable online bachelor's degrees designed for degree completers with significant credits from IRSC or another college. The online majors leading to a BS or bachelor of applied science include nursing, business administration, criminal justice, and organizational management. Students complete 30-60 credits to earn each degree.

    Recipient of the Aspen Institute's top prize for community college excellence, IRSC accepts transfer credits from accredited colleges. The school also awards credits for AP, IB, and CLEP, potentially saving students time and money.

    The U.S. Department of Education identifies IRSC as the most affordable college in Florida and the third most affordable college in the nation. IRSC offers scholarships to help students pay for school. Admission requires at least an associate degree and official school transcripts.

  2. South Texas College
    Location

    McAllen, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Located in McAllen, South Texas College offers online competency-based bachelor of applied technology degrees in technology management, computer and information technology, and medical and health services management. Additionally, the school's bachelor of applied science in organizational leadership is the first competency-based bachelor's degree from a Texas college.

    Students can complete most or all of each degree's 120-122 credits online. Learners can take as many courses per semester as they like while paying a set tuition rate per term. Students may receive college credit for previous coursework and skills developed through work and life experience. Seven-week sessions and the competency-based delivery format accelerate degree completion. 

    South Texas College offers among the lowest tuition rates in the nation. Admission to any of the school's affordable online bachelor's degrees requires SAT or ACT scores.

  3. Sentara College of Health Sciences
    Location

    Chesapeake, VA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Sentara College of Health Sciences offers online degrees centered around healthcare. The Virginia-based school offers a 30-credit online RN-to-BSN that working nurses can complete at their own pace. 

    The traditional BSN blends on-campus and online learning. The 71-credit curriculum requires 990 hours of lab, simulation, and clinical experience. BSN graduates qualify to take the NCLEX licensure exam and boast a 97% pass rate. The college helps nursing graduates find positions within Sentara Healthcare, a 12-hospital system that serves Virginia and North Carolina. 

    Nursing students receive academic mentoring and counseling services. Students in both BSN programs pay competitive tuition, and RN-to-BSN students pay the same tuition regardless of residency. Admission to these affordable online bachelor's degrees requires an associate degree or at least 25 prior credits of general education courses.

  4. Elizabeth City State University
    Location

    Elizabeth City, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Elizabeth City State University is a historically Black college and part of the University of North Carolina system. ECSU offers two online degree-completion programs that build on an associate degree. The 2+2 30-credit BS in business administration offers three concentrations: management and entrepreneurship, economics and finance, and marketing and management information systems. 

    The 2+2 BS in criminal justice explores topics such as criminological theory and research methods. Students can pursue one of three minors: pre-law, criminal justice, or juvenile justice. The college also offers an online BS in homeland security that students can begin from scratch at ECSU or use to finish a degree. The BS in interdisciplinary studies provides the most flexible curriculum of the four, allowing learners to design their own degree plan. 

    ECSU boasts affordable online bachelor's degrees and comprehensive financial aid opportunities. Admission requires a minimum 2.0 GPA on transfer credits.

  5. CUNY Lehman College
    Location

    Bronx, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    A senior college in the 25-school City University of New York system, Lehman College offers select degrees online. The online RN-to-BSN allows nurses to continue working while they complete the degree. 

    The 120-credit program, accredited by the Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education, builds on an associate degree in nursing. Students complete 37.5 credits, exploring topics such as nursing as a human science, professional nursing practice, and clinical decision-making.

    RNs learn to care for clients, families, and groups as part of disaster preparedness. They leave the program with advanced leadership and managerial skills and the foundation necessary for graduate school. 

    The school's RN-to-BSN program is one of the nation's most affordable nursing degrees. Admission requires an associate degree or at least 60 credits with a minimum 2.5 GPA, RN licensure, and registration in New York State.

  6. St Petersburg College
    Location

    Clearwater, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    One of Florida's leaders in online education, St. Petersburg College serves about 20,000 online students annually. Students can choose from 19 online bachelor's degrees. Designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense by the Department of Homeland Security and National Security Agency, the school delivers an online BAS in cybersecurity.

    Other degrees focused on workforce preparation include online BAS degrees in dental hygiene, health services administration, and veterinary technology. Degrees leading to a BS include nursing, elementary education, and business administration. 

    SPC allows learners to transfer blocks of credit. The school offers both synchronous and asynchronous courses. SPC boasts affordable tuition for residents and out-of-state students. Admission to any of the affordable online bachelor's degrees requires SAT or ACT scores and official transcripts.

  7. Florida State College at Jacksonville
    Location

    Jacksonville, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Florida State College at Jacksonville serves about 45,000 students annually through several campus locations and a growing virtual college. FSCJ offers more than a dozen fully online bachelor's degrees leading to a BS or bachelor of applied science (BAS). 

    Students interested in business careers can pursue the 120-credit BS in business administration or financial services, both of which they can complete in 18-24 months when they transfer enough credits. Other accelerated options include the BAS in public safety management, which prepares learners to enter the workforce right out of college.

    The 120-credit BAS in IT management and BAS in computer systems networking and telecommunications focus on practical job training that transfer students can complete in just 20 months. The 120-credit BS in early childhood education and BS in biomedical sciences do not offer an accelerated pathway. 

    FSCJ offers affordable in-state and out-of-state tuition rates. Admission to these affordable online bachelor's degree programs requires college transcripts for transfer students.

  8. Florida Gateway College
    Location

    Lake City, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Part of the state college system, Florida Gateway College allows students to finish bachelor's degrees they started elsewhere. The online RN-to-BSN enrolls nurses with an associate degree in nursing. RNs complete 31 credits of upper-division courses covering topics such as health assessment, research and informatics, and community health.

    Students interested in teaching in a childcare setting can pursue the 120-credit BS in early childhood education, which leads to eligibility for preK/primary certification in Florida. Students complete upper-level courses that explore topics such as instructional practices, infant and toddler curriculum, and education and development of young children. 

    FGC also offers a 121-credit bachelor of applied science in water resources management that prepares enrollees for a career right out of college. Students receive free tutoring and career services. FGC offers some of the nation's most affordable bachelor's degrees, including discounted tuition to nonresidents. Admission to any of the degree programs requires an associate degree in the major.

  9. Tallahassee Community College
    Location

    Tallahassee, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Tallahassee Community College consistently ranks among the best community colleges in the nation. The school also offers one of the most affordable nursing programs. The RN-to-BSN allows RNs to advance their education at their own pace.

    The online program requires 48 credits that examine concepts such as health assessment, pathophysiology, health promotion, and population-based nursing. RNs also explore leadership and management principles that they can apply in their professional nursing practice.

    Enrollees culminate the BSN with an evidence-based project that synthesizes lessons learned. Admission requires an AS in nursing, a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA, and an unencumbered RN license in the state where the nurse lives.

  10. Eastern Florida State College
    Location

    Cocoa, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    At Eastern Florida State College, students can complete affordable online bachelor's degrees that focus on degree completion and workplace preparation. EFSC's 120-credit bachelor of applied studies (BAS) in organizational management enrolls students with an associate degree. Students can choose from eight specializations, including accounting, general business, and public safety management. All students complete core courses that develop their managerial skills in areas such as accounting and HR management.

    EFSC also offers a BAS in applied health sciences with specializations in medical imaging and advanced allied health. Participants complete a two-course required core: applied scientific thinking and writing for healthcare professionals. 

    The BAS in computer information systems technology offers a program and software development specialization. EFSC also offers an online RN-to-BSN accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. All students receive online learning support such as tutoring through Smarthinking. Admission requires an associate degree and all college transcripts.

Popular Resources

Whether you’re looking to earn your online degree or you’re a parent looking for answers, you can find all of your questions covered here. Explore these resources to help you make informed decisions and prepare for whatever is thrown your way.


See All Posts
Colleges That Don’t Require the SAT or ACT

Colleges That Don’t Require the SAT or ACT

December 17, 2020   |   Staff Writers

A list of test-optional schools that don't use standardized test scores for admission into their bachelor's degree programs.

How to Find a College That Doesn’t Require the GED or High School Diploma

How to Find a College That Doesn’t Require the GED or High School Diploma

December 11, 2020   |   Staff Writers

Even if you don’t have a diploma or your GED, there are still alternatives available if you’re interested in pursuing a college education.

Advertisement AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Shape your future with an online degree

Connect with a community of peers, and find a program that will allow you to continue your education in a fast and flexible way.