With so much of our lives moving online – networking through social media, buying through online sellers, banking and investing from smartphones – cyber security is increasingly important. Once upon a time, computer bugs were annoying, an inconvenience at the worst; but today, cyber attacks can take down Hollywood studios and government agencies.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the growth projections for Information Security Analysts (the official term for cybersecurity) is out of this world – as high as 37%, with median incomes in the high 80s. If you have computer skills, like solving problems, and want to keep people safe in the virtual world, you’d better look at cybersecurity.
Of course, with so much demand for credentials, there are a lot of bad choices to be made. Cybersecurity is a relatively easy field to teach and learn online, for obvious reasons, but that also means lots of fly-by-night rip-off artists out there who will sell you a worthless digital diploma. Value Colleges’ Cheap Lists include only regionally-accredited, trustworthy universities and colleges that just happen to have the best prices around. Most degree types are Bachelor of Science, and all are 100% online.
NOTE: tuition rates given are usually for in-state residency. Out-of-state residents may pay more, sometimes a lot more. Most online bachelor’s programs are degree completion, meaning you must come in with foundational (freshman and sophomore) courses. Be very sure of what you’re getting into by contacting the schools early.
Western Governors University
The cheapest of our cheap cybersecurity degrees comes from Western Governors University, a unique online school formed by a consortium of 19 governors from western states. WGU is an experiment in providing high quality education to the most people for the least expense, and as such their innovative pay structure charges by the term rather than the course or credit. With this plan, a full-time student can pay less than $200 per credit for a Bachelor of Science Information Technology degree with a concentration in Security.
University of Maryland University College
The University of Maryland University College is the UM system institution that specializes in adult and online education. Originally part of the University of Maryland, the University College has been an independent institution for over 40 years, providing non-traditional education to non-traditional students, including the online bachelor’s degree in Computer Systems and Cybersecurity. At an incredibly low $279 per credit, this full bachelor’s program can include industry certification in many areas and start a life-long career.
Southern New Hampshire University
Southern New Hampshire University, a private research university in Manchester, NH, is known nation-wide as a top source for quality online degrees, a distinction that is further underlined by its extremely reasonable tuition rates, only $320 per credit. SNHU’s online degrees are designed for maximum employability, focusing on careers and skills that employers want and making sure graduates are prepared for all that professional life can throw at them. The online Bachelor of Science in Information Technology has a concentration in Cyber Security and is a low-risk investment in your future.
Dakota State University
Dakota State University is a STEM-centered public research university in Madison, SD, that has built computer and computing into the fabric of its student life and work. All students are expected to use computers in the classroom and to take basic computing and programming courses. With this emphasis, it’s no surprise DSU has a healthy slate of online degree programs, including two cybersecurity-related Bachelor of Science majors: Cyber Operations, designed to prepare students to understand hacking and security; and Network and Security Administration, focusing on building and keeping a network running and safe. Either can be earned for a cool $325 per credit.
Wilmington University, a small, private university near Wilmington, DE, isn’t a household name, but they are working to make it one. Founded in 1968, Wilmington’s star has risen with its top-quality online degree programs, many of which have been ranked in the top 10 of their field by U.S. News & World Report. Wilmington has also been cited for excellence by the National Security Agency for their cybersecurity education program – the Bachelor of Science degree in Computer and Network Security. The NSA knows cybersecurity, and Value Colleges knows a good deal: at $346 per credit, Wilmington University is one of the best.
Norwich University, headquartered in Northfield, VT, is the oldest of the senior military colleges, the first private military college in the US, and the site of the original ROTC. In other words, Norwich knows security. But security in the 21st century isn’t just guns and tanks; warfare and terrorism are online, and no institution, at such a low price, is going to prepare you for it like Norwich University. At only $375 per credit, Norwich offers a Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security degree program designed for adults already working in the computer field, one with applications in the private, public, and military sectors.
Bellevue University is another NSA National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cybersecurity for their Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity degree program. This accelerated, military-friendly online program allows students to earn their degree entirely online, from freshman year to graduation, if desired, or to transfer credits. Bellevue, a private institution in Bellevue, NE, has specialized in adult education since 1966, and their $395 per credit is a small price to pay for a degree with such career potential.
A private, evangelical Christian institution in Virginia Beach, VA, Regent University was founded by Pat Robertson in 1977 (under the slightly less impressive name Christian Broadcasting Network University). Regent has successfully extended its reach and increased its student body with numerous online degree programs, which have been cited for quality by U.S. News & World Report in the online bachelor’s degree category. One such degree is the Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity, which is available for $395 per credit, a solid value.
Utica College – originally founded in Utica, NY, as Syracuse University’s distance education program, fully independent by 1995 – has big news for prospective students. As of fall 2016, they will be cutting tuition and fees by 42%, making their education more affordable than ever. This is hardly a risky move – Utica has made this decision with the highest enrollment ever, and rather than choose to gauge students, they have chosen to make their top-tier education more accessible. That means their Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity, already affordable at $425, will be too cheap for prospective cybersecurity analysts to pass up.
Originally founded by the New York State Board of Regents to provide external degrees, Excelsior College is known for its extremely convenient and accepting transfer policies, allowing just about any college credit for transfer students. This quality has made it exceptionally popular for degree completion. Excelsior is also considered one of the most military-friendly institutions in the US, making a degree very accessible to active-duty personnel. The online Bachelor of Science in Information Technology with a Cybersecurity concentration is one that veterans and military service members may find especially interesting, but at $490 per credit, it’s a bargain for anyone.