The technology, transportation, and construction industries are full of technological innovations and engineering jobs. These crucial sectors are great places to build a career if you want to be an engineer, but first, you need a degree. According to Statista, the US is the second most expensive country to get a bachelor’s degree from a public school, which is why we’ve made this guide to the cheapest engineering schools.
Our guide will provide a cost breakdown, career options, scholarships, and tips to find the most affordable engineering schools. Read on to find the cheapest engineering degrees from a wide range of lucrative engineering disciplines.
What Are the Most Affordable Engineering Schools in the US?
The most affordable engineering schools in the US are Oklahoma State University, University of South Florida, and Florida International University. Our list of the cheapest engineering schools includes programs in civil, mechanical, information technology, materials science, and nuclear engineering fields. You’ll be able to find a program that meets your academic and career goals.
How Much Do the Cheapest Engineering Schools Cost?
The cheapest engineering schools cost between $5,070 to $13,239 per year for in-state students, according to our data from the list of schools below. Tuition for out-of-state students is more expensive at public universities, and tuition for international students is more expensive at most schools. You can also explore online engineering degrees as they generally tend to be cheaper than in-person degrees.
Cheapest Engineering Schools Costs Breakdown
- Tuition rate. The tuition rate per credit hour is the biggest component of the total cost. Public schools charge different rates for in-state and out-of-state tuition, and out-of-state is more expensive.
- Books. College textbooks are expensive and not included in the cost of tuition. Depending on the semester, you might have to pay more than $400 for books.
- Room and board. Students have a wide range of housing options from on-campus dorms to living with family off-campus. On-campus dorms and apartments can be expensive and sometimes come with a required meal plan.
- Student fees. Many schools have student fees in addition to the tuition rate. Student fees usually include an activities fee and a technology fee.
- Lab fees. Most engineering bachelor’s degrees have many lab course requirements. You often have to pay an additional lab fee for every lab class.
Why You Should Attend an Engineering School
You should attend an engineering school if you want to build a career in a constantly evolving and lucrative sector. The field of engineering is broad and covers topics like software, data science, business, healthcare, and construction. Attending an engineering school will prepare you for sought-after positions across these fields.
Depending on your choice of engineering career, you will likely need a bachelor’s degree. There are some engineering jobs you can get with an associate degree like a civil engineering technician or drafter, but the majority require a bachelor’s degree.
Best Engineering School Career Options
Some of the best engineering school career options are software engineering, cyber security engineering, and mechanical engineering. These are some of the highest-paying engineering jobs with good job outlooks.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for engineers overall is expected to grow by four percent from 2021 to 2031. However, the specific job outlook projection will vary by your choice of engineering job. Software-based engineering professions typically have a higher job outlook rate than non-tech engineering jobs.
The average salary for an engineering graduate is $79,840 a year according to BLS, but your salary will differ significantly based on your degree and your field. The average salary of an electro-mechanical technician with an associate degree is $60,360, while the average salary for an aerospace engineer with a bachelor’s degree is $122,270.
Can You Attend Engineering School for Free?
Yes, you can attend an engineering school for free if you get a full scholarship or a tuition waiver from a teaching assistantship position. You will need to meet the scholarship’s eligibility criteria, which might include a minimum GPA, financial need, or being a member of an underrepresented social group.
Without a great financial aid package, you can’t attend an engineering school for free. You can find free online courses that are a great resource for those interested in learning some basic engineering skills. You should look into massive open online course (MOOC) platforms such as Udemy or Coursera to find free courses.
Cheapest Engineering Schools That Won’t Break the Bank
|School||In-State Tuition||Out-of-State Tuition||Graduation Rate|
|University of South Florida||$6,410||$17,324||75%|
|Florida International University||$6,565||$18,963||67%|
|North Carolina State University||$9,131||$29,916||84%|
|Oklahoma State University||$9,244||$24,764||66%|
|Mississippi State University||$9,220||$24,900||60%|
|Arizona State University||$11,348||$29,438||66%|
|Texas Tech University||$11,852||$24,122||63%|
|Texas A&M University||$13,239||$40,134||83%|
What Are the Cheapest Engineering Schools? A Deep Dive
Paying for Engineering School With Financial Aid
There are several ways to pay for engineering school with financial aid from both public and private sources. You should talk with your school’s admissions department or financial aid office to get help finding the best combination of financial aid options that work for you. Below are some of the financial aid options you can use to fund your engineering degree.
Federal grants are tuition assistance programs offered by the federal government to prospective students based on financial need. To apply for these grants, submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) every year you are in school. You can also apply for state grants that follow similar financial eligibility requirements but are offered by the state government to in-state students.
Federal loans are student loans offered by the government at a fixed interest rate, and they can be subsidized or unsubsidized. You can apply for federal loans by submitting the FAFSA. Because of congressionally mandated borrowing limits, federal loans might not be enough to cover all expenses for students.
Private loans are an alternative to federal loans that are offered by banks or non-governmental organizations. To secure a private loan, you’ll need to get a credit check. You might need a cosigner on your loan if you don’t have a high credit score. Terms and interest rates vary and are set by the private lender.
Work study is a federal financial aid program that pays students with financial need a salary for a part-time, on-campus job. Work-study jobs are designed to fit into a full-time student’s schedule. You are also required to work a set number of hours per week to continue receiving this financial aid.
Best Schools For Your Area of Study
How to Apply for Federal Aid to Finance Your Engineering School Program
To apply for federal aid to finance your engineering school, you’ll need to submit your financial documents, engineering school choices, and other identification documents through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Below is a step-by-step guide for how to submit the FAFSA.
- Create an online FAFSA profile. The first step is to create a FAFSA profile for your online application. This will give you an FSA ID, which you will use later in the application process.
- Find the required documents. The next step is to gather all the required documents for your application like taxed and untaxed income and proof of identity documents. If you are a dependent, you will need to include your parents’ social security number and financial records with your application.
- Start your online application. The third step is to begin your online application. Be sure to click the save button while filling out the application. You can upload all the financial documents at this stage.
- List your engineering schools. The next step is to include the engineering schools or colleges of your choice. Because you usually submit the FAFSA before you decide on a school, you can include up to 10 schools.
- Submit your FAFSA form. The last step is to double-check all the information and submit your federal aid application.
Best Engineering Scholarships
- Ansys/Society for Women Engineers Scholarship | Amount: $6,000. This scholarship is offered to women in undergraduate engineering programs who have already completed one year of their program or in graduate engineering programs. You must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and students from underrepresented groups are given preference.
- ASHRAE Willis H. Carrier Scholarship | Amount: $10,000. This undergraduate scholarship is for undergraduate engineering students enrolled in HVAC and R industry-related engineering programs. Students need to have a minimum 3.0 GPA and attend an ABET-accredited program.
- ASME/SHPE Graduate Scholarship | Amount: $5,000. This scholarship is offered to Hispanic students enrolled in a graduate mechanical engineering program. It requires a minimum of 2.5 accumulated GPA.
- NSPE Steinman Scholarship | Amount: $5,000. This scholarship is offered to students currently enrolled in an undergraduate engineering program in their junior year. The scholarship is awarded based on an ethics essay, GPA, internships, and recommendations.
- AISES A.T. Anderson Memorial Scholarship | Amount: $1,000 to $2,000. This STEM scholarship is for Indigenous students with tribal citizenship. Undergraduate students are awarded $1,000, and graduate students are awarded $2,000. Applicants are also required to have an active AISES membership to qualify.
Cheapest Undergraduate Engineering Schools
Below are the cheapest undergraduate engineering programs. These associate and bachelor’s engineering programs will give you the foundational knowledge you need to kickstart your engineering career.
Most Affordable Engineering Associate Degree Programs
- Mississippi Delta Community College | Associate of Applied Science in Automotive Mechanics Technology | $160/credit (part-time); $1,645/semester (full-time). If you want to be an auto mechanic, then this associate degree is for you. It will cover engine performance, electrical engineering, and engine mechanics of an automobile to help you become a mechanic.
- Halifax Community College | Associate in Engineering | $76/credit (in-state); $268/credit (out-of-state). This engineering associate degree will prepare you to transfer to a bachelor’s degree program in either software or hardware engineering fields. Courses give a general overview of engineering subjects including programming, mathematics, chemistry, and physics.
- Richmond Community College | Associate in Engineering | $76/credit (in-state); $268/credit (out-of-state). This associate engineering is designed for students who want to further their education by getting an engineering bachelor’s degree. It covers foundational subjects like chemistry, math, programming, and engineering dynamics.
- Alpena Community College | Associate of Applied Science in Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Technology | $145/credit (in-district); $231/credit (out-of-district). Alpena Community College designed this AAS degree for students who want to become CAD operators or engineering technicians. The curriculum covers material science, 3D modeling, technical math, and design subjects.
- Ventura College | Associate of Science in Engineering | $46/unit (in-state); $323/unit (out-of-state). This associate degree covers foundational engineering technology, engineering techniques, and STEM subjects to get you ready for a junior engineering job. It also offers bachelor’s transfer options to students who want to continue their studies.
Most Affordable Engineering Bachelor’s Degree Programs
- Kennesaw State University | Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Engineering Technology | $185 (in-state); $654 (out-of-state). This 120-credit engineering degree is best suited for students who want to manage an engineering or manufacturing business. It covers engineering technology, machine tools, business management, and electronics engineering.
- Texas Tech University | Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering | $11,852/year (in-state); $24,122 (out-of-state). Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Engineering opens up career opportunities across data science, software engineering, and network engineering fields. This program covers engineering design, data structures, statistics, electronics, and microprocessor architecture.
- University of Alabama | Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering | $11,100/year (in-state); $31,460 (out-of-state). If you want to become an aerospace engineer, structural design engineer, or flight test engineer, then this degree is for you. It covers computer programming, aerospace engineering, engineering design, and mathematics.
- University of New Mexico | Bachelor of Science in Construction Engineering | $10,860/year (in-state); $27,166/year (out-of-state). This degree will help you launch a career in construction engineering. It requires 125 credit hours of coursework covering general education requirements, engineering design, construction management, and structural engineering.
- University of Oklahoma | Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering | $2,460/semester (in-state); $10,743.75/semester (out-of-state). This 123-credit-hour degree covers thermodynamics, solid mechanics, numerical methods, and engineering design. Students also take a professional development course to prepare for joining the workforce.
Best Online Associate Degrees
Best Online Bachelor’s Degrees
Cheapest Graduate Schools for Engineering
If you are interested in an academic, research, or management career in engineering, then the cheapest graduate engineering schools are for you. Our list will cover master’s and PhD degree programs in a wide range of engineering fields.
Most Affordable Schools for Master’s Degrees in Engineering
- University of New Orleans | Master of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering | $962./credit (in-state); $1,280/credit (out-of-state). This civil engineering master’s degree can help propel your career into a project or site management position in just 18 to 24 months. It requires 30 credit hours, and students can choose a thesis or a non-thesis option.
- Colorado State University | Master of Science in Materials Science and Engineering | $602/credit (in-state); $1,476/credit (out-of-state). This materials science and engineering program focuses on robotics, computing, healthcare, and energy fields. Students get hands-on training in technical skills, as well as the opportunity to practice the soft skills needed to excel in the professional world.
- University of North Dakota | Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering | $545/credit (in-state); $818/credit (out-of-state). If you want to master biomechanics, bio-modeling, and bioengineering, then this master’s program is for you. Most students take two years to complete the required 30 credit hours in digital image processing, biomedical instrumentation, and physiology.
- Mississippi State University | Master of Science in Computer Science | $514/credit. A computer science master’s degree can advance your career across software, cyber security, or computer engineering fields. The curriculum covers 31 credit hours of coursework with concentration options in artificial intelligence, computational science, graphics, human-centered computing, software engineering, and systems and security.
- Auburn University | Master of Engineering | $577/credit (in-state); $1,731/credit (out-of-state). This engineering master’s program is a broad degree that allows students to customize their courses to meet their career goals. You can focus on aerospace, civil, computer science, or systems engineering.
Most Affordable PhDs in Engineering Universities
- University of Florida | PhD in Industrial and Systems Engineering | $12,744/year (in-state); $30,138/year (out-of-state). This PhD is a lengthy program that requires you to complete 90 credit hours. Students can focus their research on data analytics, healthcare engineering, financial engineering, or operations management.
- Southern Methodist University | PhD in Mechanical Engineering | $1,200/credit. This mechanical engineering PhD program is designed for students who want to start a research career in thermal fluids, dynamics and controls, or mechanics and manufacturing. Prospective students need a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering or a relevant field to apply.
- University of Maine | PhD in Biomedical Engineering | $541/credit (in-state); $1,623/credit (out-of-state). This PhD is a hybrid program that focuses on biomedical technology and engineering research. Students will do a research rotation in at least three different biomedical engineering laboratories before choosing their research dissertation topic.
- Binghampton University | PhD in Industrial and Systems Engineering | $11,310/year (in-state); $23,100/year (out-of-state). This industrial and systems engineering PhD requires students to complete a teaching requirement in addition to satisfying core course requirements and completing a research dissertation.
- University of Texas | PhD in Chemical Engineering | $5,277/semester (in-state); $9,660/semester (out-of-state). This is a well-recognized PhD program that can help you land senior chemical engineering jobs in the government, academia, or consulting sector. All PhD students receive full funding, which means they don’t have to pay any tuition and they receive an annual stipend of $30,909 per year to cover living expenses.
Best Online Master’s Degrees
Best Online PhD Programs
How to Choose a Good and Affordable Engineering School
Choosing a good and affordable engineering school requires you to consider several factors with financial and academic components. Below are five important factors you should consider while choosing one of the cheapest engineering schools.
The first factor to consider while choosing an engineering school is its curriculum. Engineering is a broad field that covers computer science, architecture, design, data science, electrical, nuclear, aerospace, and mechanical fields. Look for a school that offers your desired major.
There are plenty of accredited online and in-person engineering programs you can choose from. You should choose an online degree if you are in search of a more flexible program. However, if you want to learn mechanical, civil, or other site-based engineering subjects, then an in-person format is a better choice.
Tuition and Fees
Even among our list of the most affordable engineering schools, there is a lot of variation in the cost of tuition and fees. Look for tuition rates that match your financial situation. Be sure to include your federal financial aid package, your school’s scholarships, and any teaching assistantship opportunities in your financial decision.
Choosing a school with a highly-ranked engineering program can offer a great advantage during your job search after you graduate. A degree from a well-respected program can impress your prospective employers and help you land a job faster.
Don’t forget to consider the school’s admissions requirements during your decision process. This especially applies to prospective engineering graduate students. Some advanced engineering degrees require prior education in engineering, math, or physics.
Tips for Saving Money While Attending Engineering School
- Enroll in an online engineering school. If you want to get a degree in engineering management, software engineering, or data engineering, then an online degree is a great option. Distance degrees are typically cheaper than in-person programs.
- Opt for off-campus housing. You can save money on your monthly rent by opting for off-campus housing. On-campus dorms and apartments are often more expensive and sometimes come with a required meal plan.
- Buy used books. You can purchase used books or online versions of your textbooks to save some money. New engineering books can be very pricey, and opting for used books is a good financial decision.
- Get an associate degree from a community college. Getting an associate degree at an affordable community college can save you a lot of money on the first two years of your bachelor’s degree tuition. You can transfer credits into a bachelor’s program after completing your associate education.
- Attend an in-state program. At public colleges and universities, in-state students pay a much lower tuition rate because they contribute to the funding of the school through state taxes. Check to see if any public schools in your state offer the degree program you want.
Cheapest Online Schools for Engineering
Below are some of the cheapest online schools for engineering. These schools have programs in software, computer, mechanical, and management engineering. In the next section, we’ll cover some of the best bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in more detail.
|University of Central Florida||$179/credit (in-state, undergraduate); $716/credit (out-of-state, undergraduate); $327/credit (in-state, graduate); $1,151/credit (out-of-state, graduate)||75%|
|Southern New Hampshire University||$320/credit (undergraduate); $627/credit (graduate)||39%|
|Thomas Edison State University||$411/credit (in-state); $535/credit (out-of-state)||48%|
|Arizona State University||$561 to $661/credit (bachelor’s degree); $434 to $1,343/credit (master’s degree)||26%|
|PennState World Campus||$620 to $664/credit (undergraduate); $1,007/credit (graduate)||72%|
Most Affordable Online Engineering Bachelor’s Programs
- Southern New Hampshire University | Bachelor of Science in Computer Science | $320/credit. Southern New Hampshire University’s online computer science degree will help you start a career in software, data, or cyber security engineering jobs. You’ll learn how to code in Python, Java, and C++.
- Arizona State University | Bachelor of Science in Engineering in Engineering Management | $6,984/semester (in-state); $8,110/semester (out-of-state). If you want to enter operations or industrial engineering, then this engineering management degree is for you. It covers systems engineering, project management, probability, and risk management.
- Thomas Edison State University | Bachelor of Science in Electronic Systems Engineering Technology | $411/credit (in-state); $535/credit (out-of-state). This ABET-accredited degree covers 120 credit hours of electrical engineering, project management, and communication systems topics.
- PennState World Campus | Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering | $620/credit (59 or fewer credits); $664/credit (60 or more credits). This software engineering bachelor’s degree teaches students about systems analytics, programming, software development, network administration, and web applications.
- Colorado Technical University | Bachelor of Science in Computer Science – Cyber Security Engineering| $340/credit. In this 183-credit-hour bachelor’s program, students will learn programming, software engineering, network security, ethical hacking, and database security.
Most Affordable Online Engineering Master’s Programs
- University of Massachusetts Lowell | Master of Science in Engineering Management | $600/credit. This master’s program offers concentration options in design and manufacturing, infrastructure management, and operations and supply management. You’ll master decision analytics, financial accounting, reliability engineering, and operations management.
- Southern New Hampshire University | Master’s in Construction Management | $627/credit. If you want to advance into a management position in civil, structural, project, or construction engineering field, then this master’s program is for you. It covers risk management, engineering finance, and construction budgeting.
- University of Central Florida | Master of Science in Healthcare Systems Engineering | $1,239/credit. This program is for students who want to manage and improve healthcare systems. It covers healthcare management, systems engineering, and computer programming.
- Arizona State University | Master of Engineering in Engineering Management | $1,009/credit. This degree can help you land senior-level jobs across architecture, systems, or project engineering. It covers operations research, information systems, financial engineering, and engineering administration.
- PennState World Campus | Master of Engineering in Additive Manufacturing and Design | $1,121/credit. This master’s program is for prospective students who want to start a career in 3D printing. The course teaches 3D modeling, simulation design and research, engineering and manufacturing technologies, CAD, 3D printing, and material science.
Will Attending an Online Engineering School Save Me Money?
Yes, attending an online engineering school will save you money because you don’t have to pay on-campus fees or pay all the costs that come with relocating. Some online degrees also have cheaper tuition than on-campus programs, but this isn’t always the case.
Benefits of Online Engineering Programs
- More affordable. Online engineering programs are more affordable than in-person degrees because you don’t have to pay mandatory on-campus fees.
- Flexible schedule. Courses in online engineering programs usually meet on nights and weekends or can be completed asynchronously on your own schedule.
- Compatible with a full-time job. If you are a professional engineer wanting to advance into an engineering management position, then online master’s degrees are for you. You can get an online engineering master’s while working at your full-time job.
- Flexible location. Because you don’t need to be on campus, you can log in to class from anywhere with a good internet connection. You can live with friends or relatives in a city with a low cost of living or travel without disrupting your education.
- Builds remote work skills. Online degrees are a great way to develop your time management and remote working skills. They will provide you with the discipline needed to work in a remote office.
Highest-Paying Engineering Careers
|Engineering Job||Engineering Degree||Average Salary|
|Aerospace Engineers||Bachelor’s degree||$122,270|
|Software Developers||Bachelor’s degree||$120,730|
|Electrical Engineers||Bachelor’s degree||$104,820|
|Biomedical Engineers||Bachelor’s degree||$97,410|
Best Engineering Jobs Explained
Below are the best engineering jobs you can get after graduating with a degree from our list of affordable engineering programs. These specialized careers each have their own job responsibilities and work environments.
Engineering Schools Ranking Methodology: How We Ranked the Most Affordable Engineering Schools
We chose the most affordable engineering colleges based on tuition and general costs information from the schools’ official websites, the US Department of Education’s database of accredited schools, and the US Department of Education’s College Scorecard tool.
Additional Reading About Engineering
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Cheapest Engineering Schools FAQ
The cheapest engineering schools are University of South Florida, Florida International University, and Lamar University. You can get a bachelor’s, master’s, or PhD at these universities. In-state tuition for all three of these schools is less than $9,000 per year.
Yes, you can get an engineering degree online at several top accredited universities. Southern New Hampshire University, Arizona State University, and PennState World Campus are some of the cheapest online engineering schools.
The highest-paid engineering professions are aerospace engineering, software engineering, electrical engineering, and biomedical engineering. Almost all engineers with a bachelor’s degree or higher make a higher salary than the national average.
You can get a bachelor’s, master’s, or PhD degree in engineering online. The specific engineering fields you can study online include engineering management, software engineering, construction management, data science, and engineering design.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.