One of the main factors when deciding on attending higher education is the price tag that comes along with it, and a hefty price tag indeed. It is common knowledge that not everyone can afford a pricey four-year college education.
Additionally, another factor many consider before enrolling in college is whether they can afford to attend an in-person university. People might not be able to afford relocation costs or dedicate the time it takes to complete a degree. To address both of these issues, we have compiled a list of the best cheap online colleges with computer science programs for you below.
But first, let’s explore why studying online is a viable and affordable option.
Why You Should Earn Your Degree Online
A traditional college experience may be attending an in-person university. However, there are many different options for students today, including attending a university online. Traditional education may be in-person, but attending classes online certainly has its benefits.
Those benefits include being able to participate in class anywhere at any time, not commuting to and from class and being able to finish college faster. It may be obvious, but another benefit is the cheaper tuition.
Online Degree Benefits
Students can attend classes from anywhere
One of the major draws of online learning is that students can attend their classes anywhere and on their schedule. The school of their dreams is just a click away. Furthermore, students can save money by not having to relocate. The possibilities of online learning are endless.
No travel time
Online learning means that courses are always at the tip of students’ fingertips. Learning can happen anywhere the student may be, so there is no travel time from where they live to where they learn. This is beneficial to students as most online students work part-time or full-time jobs. Time is everything, and not having to spend hours in the car is a valuable asset to online students.
Students can learn at their own pace
Often, online learning allows students to complete courses at their own pace. As everyone has a different learning style, many students can succeed in this style of independent learning. Furthermore, since they can go at their own pace, many students can graduate sooner than those who attend in-person courses.
Students can finish their education faster
One of the best perks of online colleges is that students may be able to complete their education much more quickly than at a traditional university. Students may be able to finish their degree in only a year compared to four years since they can learn at their own pace. Furthermore, the lack of travel time means that more time is spent learning. More time spent learning means a quicker entry into the tech world, and that is a win-win for everyone.
Simply, online education can be much cheaper than the in-person option. Students save on housing costs, relocation costs and commuting costs. Additionally, since students are working virtually, not as many textbooks are usually required each semester. Tuition rates are also sometimes cheaper as the college runs the program completely online without the need for physical infrastructure.
The Best Cheap Online Colleges for Computer Science Programs
The University of Florida
Gainesville, Florida, is home to one of the most affordable online computer science degrees, with a net price of $9,009. Business intelligence analysts, computer programmers, database administrators and information systems developers are all careers that University of Florida computer science graduates fulfill.
Furthermore, countless graduates of the program go on to get their master’s degree as well. Geometry and calculus must be taken before being accepted into the program as well as already having earned 12-59 credits. Lastly, 88 percent of students will receive financial aid and the graduation rate is 87 percent. The University of Florida is an accredited university.
Dakota State University
Dakota State University is another one of the best budget online colleges. Its online computer science program covers parallel computing, assembly language and structured systems analysis. Moreover, this program offers a unique online experience of joining clubs such as the computer club and the gaming club.
The average tuition for the program is $4,319. Still, the college offers scholarships, including the computer science scholarship, and grant opportunities to make education even more affordable to potential students. Moreover, 74 percent of students receive financial aid from the school. The school likes to provide students with smaller, more intimate classes. Finally, Dakota State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The University of West Florida
Students can earn a multidisciplinary online computer science degree from the University of West Florida without breaking the bank. Some of the program’s courses include theory of computation, linear algebra and database systems. The program offers students the choice of several different concentrations, one being cybersecurity. Additionally, students can choose to minor in computer information systems or information technology.
Tuition is $4,319 and 72 percent of students receive financial aid. The institution is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Georgia Southwestern State University
Technical communication, systems analysis, programming practice, information assurance and security, programming and information technology project management are all covered in the 120-credit hour online Bachelor of Science in Information Technology degree at Georgia Southwestern State University. Students looking to apply to the school will need to take either the ACT or SAT and pass with one of the schools required grades.
Students can look forward to intimate classes with one teacher for every 17 students. The tuition for an undergraduate program is $199 per credit hour or around $15,802. Georgia Southwestern State is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Fort Hays State University
Fort Hays State University is another one of the best budget colleges on the list. Students can earn an online Bachelor of Science in Computer Science at Fort Hays State University. The university is located in Hays, Kansas, but students will log on remotely for their 120-credit hour program that includes software engineering, assembly language, programming and data structures. Students looking to enroll in the program will need official transcripts. Finally, the tuition comes in at $14,426 or around $218 per credit. FHSU is an accredited university.
University of Massachusetts- Lowell
The University of Massachusetts-Lowell offers an online computer science program that requires 120 to 121 credit hours per degree. Potential students who enroll in the program will have to choose an online concentration for the computer science degree. Online concentrations for this degree include bio-cheminformatics and data science. Students who decide to pursue an online computer science degree will have to minor in mathematics. A BS/MS in computer science can be completed in five years. The tuition rate is $10,440, with an impressive 86 percent of students receiving financial aid. The University of Massachusetts is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
Central Washington University
Receive an online Bachelor of Science in Information Technology and Administrative Management degree from the Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington. The degree program offers concentrations in administrative management, cybersecurity, FlexIT/computing-based retail/management, and technology or administrative management, project management, and retail management and technology. The credit rate is $230 per hour or $22,010 in total. Additionally, students who wish to enroll at Central Washington University will need to take either the ACT or the SAT. Classes average 19 students per teacher. Also, the school is accredited through the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Limestone College, located in Gaffney, South Carolina, offers a Bachelor of Science in Computer Programming online. The online computer science program features a curriculum including microcomputer applications, operating systems, networking fundamentals, analysis and design, and project management. Students enrolling in the program will need to have either taken the SAT or the ACT. The tuition rate is $243 per credit hour or $23,900 in total. This college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Colorado Technical University
The Colorado Technical University is an affordable online college option with a 183-credit hour program for an online Bachelor of Science in Computer Science degree. Courses for the program teach principles of programming languages, foundations of Big Data Analysis and security risk management, to name a few. Students looking to apply to the computer science program will need official transcripts. The tuition rate is $325 per credit hour or an inexpensive $10,540 in total. Colorado Technical University is Higher Learning Commission accredited.
Lamar University is another one of the affordable online colleges on the list of cheap online programs. Lamar University offers students an online Bachelor of Science in Computer Science degree. Students can expect courses in computer game development, programming fundamentals, microcomputers and computer law/ethics, to name a few. Students looking to join the 121-hour program will need official transcripts and to have taken either SAT or ACT. Lamar University is an accredited university through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
How to Choose the Best Online College
Now with a list of the best cheap online colleges in hand for computer science degrees, let’s explore how you should go about choosing the right option for you.
Cost is undoubtedly one of the main factors when deciding upon the best online school to attend. An affordable school can make or break the decision to participate in higher education.
However, there are several other factors to consider, including who will be teaching the courses, the accreditation of the university and the curriculum of the program. Below are a few more aspects to consider before enrollment.
Researching who will be teaching the online courses is essential. These are the people who will be setting the stage for your potential career in the tech industry upon graduation. The best educational experience will be a direct result of exceptional teachers. Make sure that the faculty at your prospective university is certified and licensed. Furthermore, teachers with real-world experience are even better. They have first-hand expertise in the field and that is priceless.
Another imperative detail to research is whether your prospective university is accredited. When applying for jobs in the tech industry, employers won’t give a resume that doesn’t have an accredited university a second look. Therefore, it is vital to research the credentials of a university before enrollment.
Of course, classes should not be overlooked when researching a potential university. However, it’s essential to look at the concentrations being offered as well as the minors of the computer science program. Some programs will require certain minors to accompany them. Furthermore, specific programs require prerequisites that might include ACT or SAT scores, verified transcripts and sometimes prior coursework.
Tuition goes hand-in-hand with financial assistance. While the college’s programs listed above are some of the best in terms of budget for online colleges, there is always the opportunity to make them even cheaper with financial aid. Many universities and programs will offer financial assistance to students. It is best to explore all of the potential options available.
Graduation, Career Services and Job Placement
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you should consider graduation rates, career services and job placement opportunities. Consider where graduates of the computer science program end up in their careers; for instance, what companies they work for. Furthermore, research the career services available through the program. Many online programs will still offer networking opportunities and job placement services. The alumni of the program are strong references to consider reaching out to as they will reflect the program’s success rate. Moreover, employers who work with impressive alumni of the program will want to recruit from the same program again.
Alt-Text: A girl sitting on the floor working on her laptop computer.
Caption: Log on to a future within the tech industry after enrolling in an online computer science program at an accredited university.
No matter where it is obtained, a degree can be tremendously beneficial to a career, especially in the tech industry. So, an online degree is equally as important and valuable as an in-person one. Whether it is an online or in-person degree, many prospective students must first examine tuition costs before enrolling to reach their career goals.
Luckily, there are options out there for both new students and ambitious professionals looking to take their career to the next level. Reduced tuition and fees, and financial aid, can open doors for those who may not have been able to afford a college degree.
Career Karma is an invaluable resource for those considering an online college. Learn about the best colleges for computer science, the most affordable online programs and accredited bootcamps within the tech industry through the Career Karma app, which is now available to download.