The 10 most affordable online colleges

Average starting salaries varied across online programs.

Not every online program is a cost-effective alternative to traditional college courses, with some schools standing out as bargains for students seeking a low-cost degree. this week released a list of the country’s most affordable web-based colleges and universities, using criteria from reputable sources including the Integrated Post-Secondary Education Data System (IPEDS), The Carnegie Foundation, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES),’s 2013 College Earnings Report.

The NCES, for example, is the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing post-secondary data. The Carnegie Foundation provides detailed classifications of colleges based on degrees offered, financial status, and other institutional differences.

The rankings took into account the net price of a college’s online education, the average starting salary for a graduate, and enrollment.

“For years, distance learning has been viewed as an alternative to traditional college. Yet recently, many non-profit degree-granting institutions have made online education a major part of their curriculum, making some or all of their coursework available to remote students,” the site’s report said. “The colleges on our list have emerged as leaders in affordable distance learning.”

1. California State University – Dominguez Hills
Net price: $2,520
Enrollment: 15,909
Average starting salary: $38,000

2. Bellevue University
Net price: $7,047
Enrollment: 15,251
Average starting salary: $44,200

See where New Mexico State University was ranked…

3. Cameron University
Net price: $7,208
Enrollment: 8,227
Average starting salary: $36,100

4. Sam Houston State University
Net price: $7,736
Enrollment: 19,710
Average starting salary: $40,300

5. University of Tennessee – Martin
Net price: $7,773
Enrollment: 9,865
Average starting salary: $39,900

6. Northwestern State University of Louisiana
Net price: $7,939
Enrollment: 11, 688
Average starting salary: $39,700

7. University of South Alabama
Net price: $8,268
Enrollment: 17,544
Average starting salary: $41,500

8. New Mexico State University
Net price: $8,492
Enrollment: 21,692
Average starting salary: $46,800

9. Columbus State University
Net price: $8,761
Enrollment: 10,321
Average starting salary: $34,100

10. American Public University System
Net price: $8,782
Enrollment: 88,029
Average starting salary: $46,700


eCampus News Staff