25 Most Affordable Online Engineering Masters

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25 Most Affordable Online Engineering Masters

An affordable online engineering masters degree program offers a flexible path to earn an advanced degree to advance your engineering career. For working engineers who want to get an advanced degree, finding a cheap online master’s degree in engineering is the best way to start saving money. Many degree programs require you to take classes that may not fall in line with your final goals.

Colleges and universities are developing affordable master of engineering degree programs that are tailored to meet the needs of the student. Instead of requiring students to take courses they really don’t need, students are allowed to choose courses that fall more in line with what they want to achieve. This means the student only pays for classes they really need or want to take instead of paying for classes they don’t.

Talk to your employer to see if they would cover a portion of the cost of your education. Many employers will support their employees returning to school to complete their education, especially if they want the employee to remain with the company. Work-study programs offer employees an opportunity to maintain their job while attending an affordable Masters of engineering degree online. An employer will sometimes choose to pay all or at least half of the cost of their classes.

Our Method for Ranking the Most Affordable Master’s of Engineering Programs 

To rank the most affordable online engineering master’s programs, Value Colleges editors started with accredited, trusted programs known for their quality, job market value, and return on investment. But for budget-conscious working adults, we ranked programs on one simple factor: their tuition rate, drawn from IPEDS data. 

1. University of North Carolina at Charlotte

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte offers an affordable master’s of engineering that allows students to focus on their career objectives. The MS in Engineering Management from the university prepares students to take on leadership roles and to find creative solutions to address concerns or problems that may arise when working on a project. It ensures that students are ready to work in a management position.

The University of North Carolina in Charlotte emphasizes the combination of management and engineering skills. That unique combination of skills ensures that students are able to handle the challenges of working in a complex environment and helps students manage a team of engineers to complete important tasks and projects. It also teaches students to look into creative methods of addressing challenges or concerns. The University of North Carolina in Charlotte is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Degree: MS in Engineering Management

2. New Mexico State University

When you’re looking for the most affordable master of engineering online, you want to consider the engineering programs at New Mexico State University. The school offers two engineering master’s degree programs: electrical engineering and industrial engineering. Students can focus on the type of engineering that appeals to their personal interests and goals. The degree programs emphasize the process of working with multi-disciplinary teams and addressing concerns that may arise in a workplace environment.

New Mexico State University offers a flexible approach to engineering education. Students can take a fully online degree program, a hybrid online program, or a traditional program as it fits their personal interests, goals, and situation. That flexibility allows students to work at their own pace and keep up with work or personal obligations. It ensures that students are able to work on their degrees, even if they have challenging schedules. New Mexico State University offers scholarships to students in the online program.

Degree: Electrical or Industrial

3. Arkansas State University

Arkansas State University offers one of the most affordable masters of engineering degrees for students who want to become a leader in their careers. The Master of Engineering Management degree program emphasizes interdisciplinary approaches to engineering and leadership skills as it relates to working in a management position. It teaches students the skills they need to lead a team or to work in a business setting.

Arkansas State University offers an online and a traditional course for students who want to obtain an engineering management degree at the master’s level. The ability to choose from a fully online degree program to a traditional on-campus program allows students to determine the best option for their schedules and situation. It also ensures that students are able to work around obligations that limit their time during normal classroom hours. Arkansas State University is a military-friendly school that works with students who are in the military.

Degree: Master of Engineering Management

4. Kennesaw State University

Students who want to obtain a master’s degree in engineering will find that Kennesaw State University is a good option for their goals. It offers one of the most affordable master’s engineering online degree programs with an emphasis on student preferences. The school allows students to choose from five concentrations within engineering. Since students can focus on electrical engineering, civil engineering, engineering management, mechanical engineering, or systems engineering, it allows students to evaluate their personal goals for a career.

Kennesaw State University stands out by emphasizing student interests within applied engineering. It allows students to focus on specific areas of engineering based on their personal goals and preferences. That flexibility allows students to keep up with their career goals. It gives students the opportunity to gain specific skills that are ideal for their objectives for the future. The Senior Education Group ranks Kennesaw State University in the top 17 colleges for affordability at the master’s level.

Degree: MS in Applied Engineering-Electrical, Civil Engineering, Engineering Management, Mechanical Engineering, Systems Engineering

5. University of Oklahoma

The University of Oklahoma offers an MS in Civil Engineering online that allows students to prepare for a leadership role in engineering. The degree program focuses on the complexities involved in civil engineering as well as the technical skills students need to advance in their careers. Students learn the practical application of engineering skills and tools as it relates to different environments and situations.

The University of Oklahoma stands out by offering a fully online program that gives students a flexible schedule. It allows students to work at their own pace and ensures that course material is available as students work through the classes. The program is taught by the same teachers that teach the on-campus classes, so students can expect a quality education while working on their degrees. The civil engineering degree from the University of Oklahoma is an accelerated program that allows students to finish within 21 months.

Degree: MS in Civil Engineering

6. Texas Tech University

Texas Tech University offers a Master of Engineering program online that prepares students for the rigors of working as an engineer. The degree program emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to engineering and gives students a strong foundation in the practical tools they need when working as an engineer. It also gives students a broad understanding of engineering as it applies to multiple situations and technologies.

Texas Tech University stands apart by offering students the opportunity to study topics of interest through elective courses. Students are able to gain specialized skills and education in specific areas of engineering by taking classes that fit their personal interests and goals. It gives students a chance to focus on their career objectives and to emphasize the skills that are most relevant to their career goals. Texas Tech University offers scholarships to graduate students.

Degree: Master of Engineering

7. Texas A&M University–Kingsville

Texas A&M University in Kingsville offers an MS in Industrial Engineering that teaches students the practical skills they need to improve on industrial systems and technology. It also emphasizes analytical skills as it relates to engineering and critical thinking skills to ensure that students are able to think of solutions to complex problems based on the skills they develop.

The way Texas A&M University in Kingsville differs from other programs is the educational options for students. The engineering degree is available online or on-campus. It gives students the opportunity to determine if they want to study at their own pace and work around a current job, or if they want to take a more traditional approach to their education. That flexibility gives students a chance to determine the best options based on their situation and goals. Texas A&M University in Kingsville has received the HP Catalyst grant for the Developing STEM project.

Degree: MS in Industrial Engineering

8. University of New Orleans

The MS in Engineering Management from the University of New Orleans is a fully online degree program that combines business management skills with engineering skills. The degree program emphasizes skills that allow students to take on challenging leadership roles in engineering or within a business that involves engineers in work projects. Students are able to become team leaders or managers when they are finished with the degree.

The University of New Orleans emphasizes technical and financial skills to give students a broad understanding of the practical application of engineering skills in a corporate or business environment. It gives students a broad education that prepares them to take on challenging roles in the workplace. By emphasizing the business side of engineering, the degree program ensures that students are able to minimize risks and costs when working on a project. The University of New Orleans requires all students to complete a capstone project, even if they are in the non-thesis master’s program.

Degree: MS in Engineering Management

9. Louisiana Tech University

Louisiana Tech University offers two master’s degree programs in engineering. Students can take the MS in Engineering and Technology Management or the MS in Industrial Engineering. The engineering and technology management degree emphasizes leadership skills as it applies to the engineering or technology industries. It gives students a strong foundation in analysis, statistics, and mathematics. The industrial engineering program teaches students to analyze existing tools and then make adjustments to improve the technology or tools for greater sustainability, efficiency, or risk management.

Louisiana Tech University offers online and on-campus courses for two of its master’s level engineering programs. That flexibility allows working adults to complete their degrees when they have time. It also gives students greater flexibility to handle complicated or challenging schedules that may limit their time for studies. Louisiana Tech University uses a quarter system for student degree programs, so students can start their degree four times a year.

Degree: MS in Engineering and Technology Management or Industrial Engineering

10. University of Wisconsin Stout

The University of Wisconsin in Stout offers an affordable MS in Manufacturing Engineering that emphasizes critical thinking, system design, and automation. The degree program recognizes that students need practical skills for their work, and it provides a strong foundation that allows students to develop useful skills that work well with different companies and industries.

The University of Wisconsin in Stout offers a hybrid online program that allows students to work around their personal schedules for their educations. Students are able to take online classes for greater convenience to fit their schedules. It also offers night and weekend classes on-campus for students who want to work around their jobs or personal obligations. By providing a flexible solution, the school allows working adults to complete their degrees. The University of Wisconsin in Stout helps students meet some qualification standards for the Six Sigma Black Belt Certificate.

Degree: MS in Manufacturing Engineering

11. California State University, Fullerton

The MS in Environmental Engineering from California State University, Fullerton is an affordable online program that helps students prepare for their work as an engineer. The degree emphasizes sustainable technology and engineering practices as it applies to sustainability and the environment. It gives students the practical skills and training they need to address conventional environmental concerns. Students will be able to work with government agencies, private companies, and corporations to accomplish specific goals for improved environmentally friendly technology. 

California State University in Fullerton stands out by using a cohort model for student education. Students follow a cohort schedule for their online degree, so they must keep up with their cohort to complete their degrees. The school does allow students in good standing to fall into the next cohort if a situation arises that prevents them from following the current cohort schedule. California State University in Fullerton requires students to complete a capstone project as part of their degree program.

Degree: MS in Environmental Engineering

12. University of Nebraska Lincoln

The Master of Engineering Management from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln prepares students for the challenges of taking on management and leadership roles. The degree program emphasizes leadership skills as it applies to engineering projects and working with a team of engineers. It also gives students the strong foundation in engineering they need to keep up with the project and analyze potential concerns that may arise. Students gain business skills and engineering skills for a well-rounded education.

The University of Nebraska at Lincoln emphasizes technical skills through its online program. It gives students a chance to develop useful skills that apply to a variety of industries and positions. By combining technical and practical skills with leadership skills, the program prepares students to work as a team lead or a manager in a business that works with engineers for different projects or goals. The University of Nebraska at Lincoln is ranked among the top schools for its graduate program in engineering by U.S. News and World Reports.

Degree: Master of Engineering Management

13. University of Wisconsin-Platteville

The affordable online MS in Engineering from the University of Wisconsin in Platteville builds on student experience and training in engineering theory and mathematics to prepare them for the practical use of theoretical knowledge. It emphasizes engineering skills and leadership skills to help students prepare for a leadership position. It also recognizes that students need effective communication skills when working with professionals from other fields and industries.

The University of Wisconsin in Platteville encourages students to learn communication skills as it relates to engineering. It teaches students the proper methods to communicate with others in different fields so that projects are completed in a timely manner. It also prepares students to take on leadership roles and ensures that students have the management skills to handle challenges when working as a team lead on an engineering project. The University of Wisconsin in Platteville is ABET-accredited for its engineering program.

Degree: MS in Engineering

14. University of North Dakota

Students searching for the most affordable master’s in engineering online should take a look at the University of North Dakota. Not only is the school affordable, but it also offers a huge selection of engineering majors. Students can choose from biomedical engineering, civil engineering, data science, energy systems engineering, petroleum engineering, environmental engineering, electrical engineering, chemical engineering, cyber security, mechanical engineering, or unmanned aerial systems engineering.

The University of North Dakota was founded before North Dakota was even a state. The school is the largest in North Dakota and is a leader is unmanned aircraft systems, aviation, medicine, and engineering. UND is one of the top research institutions in the nation and excels in academics. Students at UND are prepared not just for their careers, but for life. UND graduates make an impact on the world around them. The University of North Dakota has an average class size of 24.

Degree: Many concentrations

15. University of Maine

The University of Maine Online offers a Professional Science Master’s in Engineering and Business. This affordable master of engineering consists of 30 credits and is 100% online. The program is made up of nine credits of business courses, 15 credits of engineering courses, and six credits of field experience. Courses for the surveying engineering concentration include advanced project management, advanced adjustment computations, advanced boundary law, introduction to geographic information systems, survey strategies in the use of lidar, advanced digital photogrammetry, and geodesy.

The University of Maine is committed to providing opportunities for everyone in the community through its 100+ degree programs. The school was one of the first universities in New England and is affordably priced to be accessible to as many students as possible. The University of Maine is dedicated to seeing its students succeed. The school has a top-notch research program and outstanding faculty. The surveying engineering concentration is offered online.

Degree: PSM in Engineering and Business

16. University of Houston

Next on the list of the most affordable masters in engineering online is the University of Houston, which offers eight online master’s degrees in engineering. Engineering students can choose to major in subsea engineering, petroleum engineering (MS or MPetE), mechanical engineering (MS or MME), electrical engineering – power and energy systems, construction management, or civil engineering. Opportunities for engineers are expected to grow by 11% through 2023, which means approximately 250,000 new jobs that will need to be filled.

The University of Houston Online & Special Programs offers hybrid and online programs for students who require a more flexible way to earn their degrees. The division provides support in developing online programs in order to help the university reach its goal of being competitive both nationally and internationally in its online offerings. The University of Houston started offering distance education in 1953 through its educational television station.

Degree: 8 concentration

17. Mississippi State University

Mississippi State University has earned its place among schools offering the most affordable masters in engineering online with eight online engineering degrees. Students can choose from aerospace engineering, computational engineering, civil engineering, computer science and engineering, industrial and systems engineering, electrical and computer engineering, mechanical engineering, or a master of engineering with a concentration in military engineering or general engineering.

The Bagley College of Engineering is more than 100 years old and is one of the top engineering colleges for expenditures on research and development. The school is committed to diversity, with 11% of its enrollment made up of African American students. Nationwide, African Americans earn just 5% of all bachelor’s degrees in engineering. The Bagley College is committed to increasing the number of female engineers in the workforce and has programs in place to encourage more high school girls to consider pursuing a degree in engineering. The College of Engineering has an enrollment of almost 5000 students.

Degree: Aerospace, Civil, Computational, Electrical and Computer, Industrial and Systems

18. University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga offers an MS in Engineering Management with a concentration in Engineering Management or Construction Management. These affordable masters of engineering provide students with the skills they need to pursue a career in engineering. The engineering management concentration covers strategic management, leadership and entrepreneurship, decision making and optimization, project management, quality control and reliability, and engineering economics and finance.

The College of Engineering and Computer Science produces graduates who are in demand in the workforce. The school provides a hands-on education that prepares students to take on the challenges they will face in the real world. Students participate in internships and are involved in research. The small class sizes allow for close interaction with faculty members, who serve as mentors, helping students reach their true potential. The school has partnered with many organizations around the world and locally in order to give students the opportunities they need to succeed.

Degree: MS in Engineering Management

19. University of South Florida

The University of South Florida offers an MS in Industrial Engineering and a Master of Science in Engineering Management. These affordable masters of engineering degrees prepare students to be outstanding engineers. The industrial engineering degree covers topics such as quality control, engineering statistics, applied automation, risk analysis, project management, applied operations research, and decision support systems. The engineering management degree covers decision-making and managerial skills for engineers who want to advance to management roles in their careers.

The University of South Florida is dedicated to seeing its students achieve success. The school has over 50,000 students and is committed to helping close the achievement gap for students regardless of their ethnic, cultural, or economic backgrounds. USF has eight highly-ranked graduate programs and has a technology incubator on campus that has created more than 230 local jobs. The University of South Florida is a major research university.

Degree: MS in Engineering Management

20. North Carolina State University

North Carolina State University offers 16 of the most affordable masters engineering degrees online. Students can choose from nuclear engineering, nanoengineering, mechanical engineering, materials science and engineering, integrated manufacturing systems engineering, industrial engineering, environmental engineering, engineering, electric power systems engineering, electrical engineering, computer science, computer networking, computer engineering, civil engineering, chemical engineering, and aerospace engineering.

North Carolina State Engineering Online is part of the North Carolina State College of Engineering. The school has top-notch faculty members, some of whom are members of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. Several faculty members have won recognition from the National Science Foundation, MIT Technology Review, and the White House. The school has partnerships with many industries and government organizations and works with them to help solve global problems. The online engineering programs follow the same curriculum as the school’s on-campus programs.

Degree: 16 concentrations

21. Old Dominion University

Students seeking the most affordable master’s in engineering online should not overlook Old Dominion University Online. The school offers twelve online master’s degrees in engineering. Students can choose from systems engineering, mechanical engineering – design and manufacturing, engineering management by portable media, electrical and computer engineering, civil engineering – coastal engineering, modeling and simulation, environmental engineering, engineering management, cybersecurity, and aerospace engineering.

Old Dominion University Online offers more than 100 online programs and has a 97% satisfaction rate with its students. The school’s outstanding faculty helps prepare students to take the next step in their careers. The school is committed to helping its students succeed. The distance education program started with courses offered on US Navy ships and has evolved as new technologies have become available—from ships to interactive television to today’s online programs delivered through the internet. ODU has been offering education delivered via technology since the mid-1980s.

Degree: 10 concentrations

22. Purdue University

Purdue University offers six affordable master of engineering degrees online. Students can choose from an interdisciplinary MS in engineering or major in nuclear engineering, mechanical engineering, industrial engineering, electrical and computer engineering, or aeronautics and astronautics. Purdue’s online master’s in engineering is ranked in the top three by US News & World Report and features the same top-notch faculty as Purdue’s on-campus classes. Students develop the skills they need to distinguish themselves as outstanding engineers.

Purdue Online is one of the top online engineering programs in the nation and is preparing to expand through a partnership with edX and Kaplan Higher Education. The school is proud to offer a high-quality engineering education at an affordable price. The electrical and computer engineering program is the first program being offered through the edX MicroMasters® program. The partnership will help make Purdue Online’s offerings more accessible. Purdue Online is constantly looking for ways to innovate its online offerings.

Degree: 6 concentrations

23. Clemson University

Clemson University offers an online Master of Engineering in Industrial Engineering. This affordable master of engineering is designed to provide an advanced supply chain logistics degree for working professionals. Students learn to design the best possible supply chain for their place of business, whether they work in construction, tourism, healthcare, banking, distribution, manufacturing, or another industry.

Clemson University offers tough, challenging programs that give its students the skills they need to excel in their careers and in life. The school is ranked #24 in public universities by US News & World Report. Its research, teaching, and outreach is improving the quality of life throughout South Carolina and around the world. Clemson’s graduates are prepared to take on the world and help solve the problems facing humanity. Clemson’s industrial engineering master’s program has gained acclaim among several industries.

Degree: MEng in Industrial Engineering

24. Ohio University

Ohio University offers three of the most affordable master’s in engineering degrees online. The school offers master’s degrees in engineering management, electrical engineering, and civil engineering. The civil engineering degree teaches students to design, operate, and supervise infrastructures that keep the modern world connected. The electrical engineering degree teaches students to design electronics and electrical systems for an assortment of varied applications. The engineering management degree is for students who want to take an engineering-centered approach to leadership and management.

The Russ College of Engineering and Technology is about creating for good. The school’s focus is to encourage students and faculty to find ways to make the world a better place. Russ has a history of creating outstanding graduates. The school seeks to be the go-to place for employers to search for outstanding graduates to fill competitive job openings. Russ College graduates make a positive impact on the world around them. Ohio University is one of the nation’s leading research institutions.

Degree: MS in Civil Engineering, MS in Electrical Engineering, Master of Engineering Management

25. Missouri University of Science & Technology

Missouri University of Science and Technology offers several of the most affordable master’s engineering degrees online. Students who are interested in engineering can choose from systems engineering, mining engineering, mechanical engineering, manufacturing engineering, information science and technology, geotechnics, explosives technology, explosives engineering, environmental engineering, engineering management, electrical engineering, computer science, computer engineering, civil engineering, or aerospace engineering.

Missouri University of Science and Technology has been a leader in innovation and research for a long time. The school was started in 1870 as one of the first institutes of technology in the West. The school has a heritage of creativity, discovery, and innovation. Missouri S&T is committed to helping solve the world’s biggest challenges through research and education. The school strives to become the #1 public technological research university for creativity, discovery, and innovation. All online courses are taught by the school’s top-notch faculty and meet the same rigorous standards as their on-campus classes.

Degree: Numerous concentrations

How Do I Save Money on an Online Engineering Masters?

Grants and scholarships are available for engineering students who want to earn their Master’s degree and move into a managerial role. If a student wants to complete their Master’s degree, the first step is to find a grant or scholarship program that you qualify for and submit a detailed application. You may have to fill out an essay or submit supporting documentation that states your intent and why you should be awarded the grant/scholarship.

Will I Make More Money With a Master’s in Engineering?

Once you earn your Master’s in engineering degree, more opportunities for advancement will begin to appear. A Master’s in engineering salary can put you into the six-figure range, depending on the area of study you enter into. A Master’s degree provides you with additional skills that will allow you to further your career. This includes managerial skills that will allow you to oversee complex projects and supervise employees as they complete their tasks. This additional responsibility often comes with a raise in pay that is comparable to the amount of extra work you have to perform.

An engineer who has earned their Master’s degree can expect to have a salary upwards of $100,000 or higher depending on what type of engineer they are and how much experience they have in their chosen field. While an electrical engineer with a Master’s degree can earn on average, $95,000, an aerospace engineer with a Master’s degree can earn as much as $115,000 a year or higher.

If you are wondering if a Master’s in engineering is worth it, you need to ask yourself how much you want to earn and how hard you want to work for your money. With a Master’s degree, you can move forward with your career, making more money by working smarter not harder. Instead of struggling through your day working in a job that may or may not offer opportunities for advancement, take the initiative and earn your Master’s degree. An online degree will help you move ahead in your career and allow you to explore new opportunities. Your earning potential is up to you!

Are the Top Value Online Digital Marketing Masters Programs also Affordable?

Are the top value online digital marketing masters programs also affordable? Finding the best online digital marketing programs that offer great value and affordability can be a challenge. However, many reputable universities and institutions provide top-notch courses at reasonable prices. It’s essential to research, compare program costs, and take into account the education quality and additional benefits offered. With thorough consideration, it is possible to find affordable yet excellent online digital marketing masters programs.

Do I Have to Have a Bachelor’s in Engineering to Get a Master’s?

If you have a major in a non-engineering program, like mathematics or science, you may qualify for an online master of engineering degree program. If you are an engineering major and want to complete a Master’s degree program, you will have to complete the Bachelor’s degree first. There are several reasons for this. First and foremost, by completing your Bachelor’s of engineering degree you create the foundation you need to start building your career. Completing a Bachelor’s degree program is an important step in the process and should not be overlooked.

Engineering Masters’s programs for non-engineering majors build on what a student has already learned in their Bachelor’s degree program. Most Bachelor’s degree programs offer a solid base of information that can be applied to an online Master of Engineering degree program. Bachelor’s degrees that are designed for Mathematics and Science majors include many of the same types of courses found in a Masters of Engineering program. While there are subtle differences, the student can take the information they learned and apply it to the engineering subject matter.

Students who have a Bachelor’s in Mathematics or Science can enter into a Masters in engineering degree program and earn a dual degree. A dual degree that includes a BS in Math/Science and an MS in engineering can actually make you more sought after. Companies are always looking for an employee who is capable of bringing a wide range of talents to the table. Go the extra mile to get a dual degree and you will be amazed at the opportunities you will be presented with.

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The Role of FAFSA in College Funding

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As you prepare to attend your dream college, one question often takes over the excitement: how do you pay for college? Although you may have every factor sorted, not knowing how you’ll afford your graduate degree can be a major setback. Well, don’t worry! 

By filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, you can learn about different funding sources for college and determine your eligibility for them. 

This guide has everything you need to know about the role of FAFSA in college funding!

The Role of FAFSA in College Funding

As the name suggests, the FAFSA is a standard application used by national, state, and local governments and potential colleges to grant you financial aid. Once you fill out the FAFSA, you may access loans, grants, fellowships and assistantships, and other scholarships. 

An adult student writing on a notebook in front of his computer

Regardless of your income bracket, it’s smart for families with college-bound students to fill out the FAFSA. This is mainly because college prices have significantly shot up over the years. According to a report by the Education Data Initiative, the average US college tuition hit $9,349 for in-state students and $27,023 for out-of-state students in 2023. 

Luckily, the FAFSA steps in to ease most of your financial burden in graduating without breaking the bank. To evaluate a family’s need for aid, the FAFSA seeks to understand your parents’ and your income, family members, and assets. Then, it comes with your Student Aid Index (SAI), which calculates how much aid you qualify for. 

Types of Funding Sources to Pay for College 

Getting a proper understanding of college funding is important. Filling out the FAFSA requires no fees. Once your financial aid form has been processed, you’re eligible for the following aid categories to pay for your college education. 


Scholarships are the most common type of financial aid option that doesn’t have to be repaid. Typically, scholarships are granted by states, schools, non-profits, and professional associations. The scholarship amount depends on your financial need, achievements, and background. 

Unlike grants, the scholarship money is a one-time deal that comes with a single lump sum of cash. Schools and groups might use your CSS Profile or the FAFSA to award you scholarships.


Grants include aid money that comes from the federal and state governments or even from certain schools and private groups. Typically, the grant you receive depends on your family’s financial standings, and you don’t have to pay it back! 

After evaluation, FAFSA determines how much grant you’re eligible for. Some common grants include the Pell Grant and TEACH Grant. 

Federal Work-Study Programs 

Federal work-study programs are a great deal for students in financial need to earn extra cash with part-time gigs, usually on campus. For instance, they could offer library assistance, work as research assistants, or even tutor their peers. 

The best part? The cash you earn through federal work-study programs can be used to offset different college expenses. Whether it’s covering tuition, room or board expenses, technology, or transportation costs, these programs have your back. 


For those who need to borrow, financial awards like loans are the way to go. However, loan money needs to be returned, usually with interest. When it comes to offsetting tuition, students rely on both federal and private loans to foot the bill.  

A student inside a a classroom with his laptop open

Unlike personal loans, student loans are strictly for education-related expenses like tuition costs or college supplies. The two main categories of student loans include: 

  • Federal Loans 

They are from the US government and include Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, and Direct PLUS Loans. 

  • Private Loans 

On the contrary, private loans are borrowed from banks or other lenders with a decent credit score. They often have higher interest rates, so it’s best to first tap into federal loans and check whether you’re eligible for them. 

How to Become Eligible for Federal Financial Aid? 

The FAFSA is a financial compass that first determines how much aid you qualify for and then guides your way to the appropriate financial support you deserve. Before applying for federal FAFSA money, it’s important to meet the following eligibility requirements: 

  • Be a US citizen, permanent resident, or eligible non-citizen with a valid Social Security number. 
  • Show financial need as a part of the FAFSA eligibility 
  • Maintain decent academic progress while in school 
  • Possess a high school diploma or GED certificate 
  • Not owe money on a federal grant 

Nonetheless, international students or undocumented students don’t qualify for federal aid using the FAFSA. Such students may explore scholarship opportunities from schools, employers, or private organizations. 

Each year, the FAFSA opens on October 1, and it’s best to submit your application as soon as you can. To continue receiving the aid, you must file for the FAFSA each year. 

However, keep checking for updates about financial aid programs to maximize your chances. 

Steps to Apply for Financial Aid With FAFSA

Applying for financial aid isn’t as daunting as it seems. To put your mind at rest, here’s a simple step-by-step process to apply for financial aid with FAFSA and stay on track: 

A woman browsing on the laptop with a man beside her writing

Step 1: Gather the Relevant Documents 

First, gather your necessary documents—driver’s license, Social Security Number, and academic records. You can use the Alien Registration Number instead of the Social Security Number if you’re an eligible non-citizen. 

Next, collect your financial information to prove you qualify for aid. The FAFSA requires details like your latest W-2s, federal tax returns, current bank statements, and records of any investments or assets you own. 

Step 2: Create an FSA Portal 

If you plan to fill out the FAFSA online, the next step is to create an official FSA ID. With an ID, you can electronically sign documents, access sensitive information, and log in to your federal student aid account.

Note: If you’re a dependent, your parent or guardian will have to make a separate FSA ID. 

Step 3: Fill out the FAFSA 

Once you’re logged in, pick the academic year you’re applying for. Here, you’ll need to fill out five different sections separately, including: 

  • Student Demographics 
  • School Selection 
  • Financial Data 
  • Parent Demographics 
  • Dependency Status 

Step 4: Review & Submit Your Application 

After double-checking the information you entered in the previous step, it’s time to submit your application. You can log in to your FAFSA account whenever you want to keep track of your application. 

Step 5: Receive Your Student Aid Report

Finally, wait for around 3-5 days for your Student Aid Report (SAR). This report helps you understand your federal student aid eligibility. Your school will use it to figure out what aid you qualify for, so accuracy is key. 

A student smiling while studying

Related Questions 

When Should I Fill Out My FAFSA?

The last date to fill out the FAFSA usually revolves around the end of June every year. However, some states might have their own timeline, so the key is to keep an eye out for your state’s specific deadline and fill it out accordingly. 

How Long Does the FAFSA Take To Process Once You File It?

If you submit your FAFSA online, the process typically takes around 3-5 days. Alternatively, the old-school paper form may take a bit longer, usually around 7-10 days. You’ll know your FAFSA has been processed once you get your FAFSA Student Aid Report. 

Can You Make Changes to the FAFSA After Submitting It?

Yes, you can make changes to the FAFSA even after submitting it. Simply log in to your FSA ID and tweak any information that needs correction. However, wrap up your changes by the deadline specified by them. It’s best to double-check your financial information before submission to avoid any issues. 


When it comes to covering your college tuition, your best bet is to apply for federal aid. No matter how much you have in your assets, filling out the FAFSA can be a smart move in saving up. Plus, they offer flexible terms, so your expenses don’t hold you back!  

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Strategies for Minimizing College Expenses

A man counting bills while writing down his budget

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When it comes to attending college, the huge list of expenses often makes you wonder – is it even worth investing in a four-year degree program? Well, the answer is yes. Despite the expenses, your college degree sets you up for your future endeavors. 

However, you don’t have to go broke trying to build a future. We have put together strategies for minimizing college expenses to help you afford college.

Top 10 Strategies for Minimizing College Expenses 

According to the Education Data Initiative, the average cost of college in the US is $36,436 per student per year. While there’s no denying that college may often break the bank, you can take steps to manage the costs. 

Here’s a list of strategies you can implement to avoid paying the full price and even minimizing your debt in college

A college student reading a textbook

Get a College Scholarship When in High School 

Financial aid money in the form of scholarships and grants goes a long way for college students. In fact, according to research, around 1.58 million scholarships are available to undergraduate and graduate students each year. 

Nonetheless, many students wait until their senior years to apply for aid. With a myriad of scholarship options open to them, waiting will do more harm than good. It’s advisable to start applying for college scholarships as early as possible to secure more free funding for college.

If you’re stuck on where to find more about scholarships and grants, check out the College Board’s free Scholarship Search. You can also leverage free sites like Value Colleges to get insights about colleges that give the best returns on investment. 

Consider a Work-Study Program 

The next best option to offset the cost of higher education is to go for work-study programs. According to Forbes, approximately 34,000 colleges in the US offer federal work-study programs. Under a FWS, both the school or employer and the federal government share the responsibility for half of each student’s pay. 

While it’s a great option to afford your college expenses, your eligibility doesn’t guarantee a job. So, students must find their own positions. Your best bet is to contact the financial aid offices of colleges you’re aiming to get into and inquire about their work-study programs beforehand. 

Start at a Community College

Compared to others, community colleges are exceptionally affordable. If paying for a four-year degree program sounds like a lot, consider attending community college – especially those aligned with state universities – for the initial two years of your degree. 

However, it’s important to make sure the four-year college you’ll attend later accepts credits from community colleges. To play safe, consult a counselor to check if the selected classes align with the transfer requirements for your dream school.

A man counting bills while writing down his budget

Look for Alternative Accommodation and Transportation 

Let’s be honest, tuition costs just mark the beginning of college expenses. Once admitted, you need to bear additional costs such as room and board, course materials, parking, and transportation significantly increasing the total. In some cases, the cumulative costs may double or triple the initial amount. 

One of the best ways to control the above-mentioned expenses is to look for cost-effective alternatives. For instance, you may consider becoming a resident advisor to reduce living costs or opt for shared off-campus housing closer to your college. 

Additionally, try switching to public transportation to further cut fuel expenses and costly parking permits. 

Use Second-Hand Books and Supplies 

One of the biggest expenses for college students is to pay for their textbooks and academic supplies, which often cost them an arm and a leg. These high costs are mainly due to monopolization by a few major market players. Goes without saying that buying brand-new books will cost way more than opting for used ones. 

Yet, the latter turns out to be a more viable option when cutting down expenses. Especially if you’ll be using them for the short term, there’s really no need to buy brand-new books or supplies. In such cases, turning to stores like Amazon for used books or asking your seniors might help you save big. 

Start Saving Early 

Here’s a pro tip: begin saving early for college so when the time comes, you don’t panic! 

To save early, you may use tax-advantaged plans like 529 and Coverdell Education Savings Plans. Although both plans offer federal tax benefits, 529 plans also provide state tax advantages and are easily accessible. Such plans allow families to set aside funds for college expenses well in advance. 

The cherry on top is assets in 529 plans may cover expenses, including tuition, room and board, textbooks, and supplies. However, if you use the earnings for expenses that don’t qualify in the plan, you’ll be charged with taxes and a federal tax penalty. 

Earn College Credits in High School 

Additionally, high school students can save time and money by taking up the chance to earn college credits early through the Advanced Placement (AP) program. Administered by the College Board itself, the AP program offers standardized courses that match the college-level material. 

So, you can seize this opportunity by completing AP coursework and exams. This will help you fast-track the college admission process and credit acquisition. The best part? The AP coursework charges only a fraction of the cost compared to your college expenses. Yet, you’ll have to pay an additional fee for exams. 

A textbook of a student on a table

Choose Your Desired College Wisely 

Admit it or not, choosing which college to attend greatly impacts your college expenses. For instance, a student in California might attend a low-cost community college such as Los Angeles City College. Alternatively, he might go for a pricier state university, such as the University of California, straining his budget big time! 

When choosing a college, your best bet is to weigh the costs and benefits of each institution carefully. This way, you can make a financially sound decision that aligns with your academic and financial goals. 

Graduate on Time 

Before heading off to college, it’s wise to have a clear idea of your career path and desired major. Once you have a solid plan in place, you avoid spending time and money on classes that aren’t relevant to your degree. Also, it saves on workshop costs and paid programs for unimportant certifications. 

On top of that, sticking to your plan helps you graduate on time. This means you will no longer be stuck in your college paying rent and bearing commutation costs for exceeding your four-year time frame. 

Utilize Military College and Veteran Benefits 

Lastly, military veterans with at least 36 months of active duty qualify for financial assistance covering tuition, housing, and books. These benefits are for both officers and enlistees, helping them pursue their dream of getting higher education – at costs lower than you think! 

For those considering both college and military service as post-graduation options, a military academy can be a great option. For instance, institutions like the US Military Academy at West Point, the US Naval Academy at Annapolis, and the US Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs offer pretty strict training and top-tier university education, often at little or no cost to students.

Tips to Save for Your College Tuition

Despite the budget-busting expenses, there are still ways to pursue higher education. Here’s a list of tips and tricks to help you save for your college tuition: 

  • Establish a budget beforehand and stick to it 
  • Utilize your student ID card to access discounts and benefits
  • Surround yourself with financially sound people 
  • Participate in school-sponsored activities that offer cost-saving opportunities
  • Join hands with others to minimize living and transportation costs
  • Exchange textbooks before and after course completion 
  • Use college libraries for academic material 
  • Plan your meals in accordance with your predetermined budget. 
An adult student holding a pen with money in front of him

Related Questions 

How Can I Find Scholarships and Grants to Help Cover College Costs?

To find scholarships and grants, use online databases, seek information from your desired college’s financial aid office, and check out local organizations for opportunities. Then, craft compelling applications to meet specific criteria to get access to various scholarships and grants. 

On Average, What Are the Main Expenses Associated With Attending College?

According to EDI, the average in-state student at a public 4-year institution spends $26,027 for one academic year. The primary expenses that account for this figure include tuition, textbooks, housing, food, transportation, and miscellaneous fees. 

How Can Students Save on Transportation Expenses?

When cutting down expenses, it’s a great idea to save on transportation. Students do so by utilizing public transit, biking, carpooling, or walking whenever possible. They can also use student discounts for public transportation passes or when sharing rides. Plus, consider living close to the campus to minimize commuting expenses. 


Building a successful career often requires a college degree as the key credential that paves the way for financial success. Although the expenses associated with the four-year degree program compared to community colleges expenses, might scare you away, they no longer have to. Just follow the measures we’ve outlined and you’re golden! 

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How to Apply for Scholarships and Improve Your Chances

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Higher education sounds like a great deal for building our dream lives, surrounding us with tons of opportunities to grow. However, the tuition costs are immense. This is where most students turn to scholarships and grants to pay for college. 

Now, the most obvious question is, “How do I apply for scholarships and improve my chances?” In this article, we’ll dig in to find all the answers to help you secure the perfect scholarships for funding your college. Let’s begin!

How to Apply for Scholarships and Improve Your Chances 

First things first, scholarships are given to help you cover your college expenses, including tuition fees, accommodation, stationery, and other costs. 

Young woman smiling, holding folders, and giving a thumbs up gesture

Fortunately, there’s a huge number of scholarships out there, from standard to specific ones. In fact, the US Department of Education awards approximately $46 billion in scholarship funding each year. 

However, when it comes to applying for scholarships, it’s important to focus your efforts on the ones you qualify for. This is because if you don’t meet the criteria listed for the scholarship you’re aiming for, it’s unlikely you’ll be considered. 

Process of Applying for Scholarships

Once you’ve identified potential scholarships, start applying for them in a systematic manner. Remember – the more thorough your application process, the higher your chances of securing a scholarship. 

Who Can Apply for a Scholarship?

Fortunately, anyone who meets the application criteria can apply for a scholarship. However, the eligibility or selection criteria will determine whether you’re a good fit for a particular scholarship. Here’s a rundown of the most basic factors your scholarship depends on: 

  • A strong academic record
  • Field of Study (e.g., STEM) 
  • Age Restrictions 
  • Previous Degree with a minimum CGPA criterion. 
  • Relevant Work Experience 
  • Residency status 

The Application Process 

While the application process depends on the scholarship you’re applying for, the typical steps include filling out the application, submitting documents, and waiting for the results. 

For the most part, your application must include the following documents: 

  • Recommendation Letters 
  • Transcripts 
  • Standardized Test Scores
  • Federal Tax Returns 
  • Bank Statements 
  • Motivation Letters
  • Statement of Purpose 

Tips to Improve Your Chances of Acquiring Scholarships  

Once you decide you want scholarships to fund your college, it’s time to shoot your shot. However, with tens of thousands of applicants out there, how can you guarantee you’ll win one? 

While it’s easier said than done, here are some tips to maximize your chances of getting aid to afford your desired college. 

A man sitting at a desk, writing on a notebook with a pencil and laptop nearby

Start the Earliest You Can 

Let’s be real; it’s only natural for us to put off college-related stuff. However, when applying for scholarships, delaying the process can backfire. Starting early gives you more time to get the application right and makes sure you’re always on time. 

It’s best to create a timetable for submitting your form and allow yourself some breathing room before each step. In your plan, include the time spent on document collection, crafting your personal statements, and the final submission date. This can help you address any concerns along the way without running out of time. 

Check College Websites for Scholarships 

When hunting down scholarships, don’t forget to cast a wide net. While you might check out databases like best college scholarships, it’s vital to explore your dream university’s website to see their own aid options. 

Write a Compelling SoP 

A strong personal statement in your scholarship goes a long way. It’s your first chance to showcase who you are, your experiences, and why you wish to pursue your dream degree. 

To nail it, start by outlining the points and putting them together into a compelling story that tells the scholarship committee why you’re the ideal candidate. Instead of talking about your skills – show them your capabilities through vivid examples. For instance, share personal stories about the times you took up huge responsibilities and pulled them off successfully. 

Pro tip: Keep the scholarship’s mission and values front and center, and demonstrate how you can personify them for the best results. 

Keep Track of the Application Deadline 

Goes without saying that deadlines are critical, especially when it comes to scholarships. Since most scholarships are offered once a year, missing the deadline once could mean you’ll have to wait one whole year for a similar opportunity. 

Make a list of scholarships you’re applying to, and note their deadlines so you don’t lose track of them. Plus, mark those dates and set reminders so you can submit each on time. 

Personalize Your Application 

When applying for a scholarship, one size doesn’t fit all. Sending out a generic application can be a bad move, especially if you wish to stand out from the crowd. The key is personalizing your application to show that you’ve put in enough time and effort to be considered a deserving candidate. 

This is because scholarship providers want to know that the aid money goes to someone who truly appreciates and deserves it. By customizing your application, you can add your background, mission, and values, showing you’ve done the homework before sending it in. 

A woman sitting at a table with a laptop, focused on her work

Optimize Your Socials 

Finally, and most importantly, optimize your socials beforehand. Your scholarship providers might do a quick online search of your name to know more about you. It’s worth taking a peek to see if there are any red flags or questionable content that might ruin your chances of getting your aid. 

Remember—first impressions matter, so delete any posts that might cast a negative image. It’ll pay off in your scholarship pursuit and professional life ahead. 

How to Qualify for More Scholarships? 

Surprisingly, over 100 million USD in scholarship funds remain unclaimed each year. This implies that more opportunities need to be explored to this day.  

So, now that you know how to improve your chances of getting scholarships, the next big question is, “How can you qualify for MORE scholarships?” Well, you sure can! Here’s a list of ways to qualify for the maximum number of scholarships. 

Raise Your GPA 

To qualify for scholarships, you’ll require a minimum of 2.5 GPA. While not all scholarships demand a 4.0 GPA, maintaining a higher GPA certainly increases your chances of winning more scholarships. 

So, aim to keep your GPA as high as possible. The key is to work hard, submit your assignments on time, and seek help if needed. 

Improve Your SAT/ACT Score 

Additionally, many scholarships also look at SAT or ACT scores to determine the right candidates. Again, having a higher score on these tests significantly improves your chances of qualifying for most of them. 

Even if the first round of these tests doesn’t go as planned, you can retake them. When giving the ACT or SAT another shot, your score typically goes up! 

Fill Out the FAFSA 

If you’re applying for federal financial aid, filling out the FAFSA is a must. However, most scholarship providers also look at this form to gauge your financial need. 

Even if you think you might not qualify for federal aid, go ahead and file the FAFSA anyway. It’s one of the simplest ways to maximize your scholarship opportunities! 

Woman in graduation gown holding red scroll, celebrating academic achievement

Related Questions 

How Can I Improve My Scholarship Profile? 

When applying for scholarships, it’s a great idea to build a strong student profile beyond just academics. You can do so by highlighting your certifications, online courses, volunteering, participation in competitions, or social work. 

How to Choose My Recommendation Letter People Wisely? 

It’s best to choose recommenders who know you personally and can speak to your qualities relevant to the scholarship. Make sure they’re 100% reliable and responsive and can promptly communicate with the scholarship organization if contacted. 

What Is a Scholarship Personal Statement? 

A scholarship personal statement is a 200-250 word long essay that offers insights into your achievements, aspirations, and community service. It helps the scholarship committee understand you better on a personal and academic level. 


There are plenty of scholarship options out there that you might discover once you research thoroughly enough. Apply to as many as you can, and you never know when you land a worthwhile opportunity! 

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Unearthing Scholarships and Grants: Where to Look

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If you’re planning to pursue your undergraduate or graduate degree, the huge fee might make you second-guess your decision. The truth is – higher education comes with a multitude of financial challenges that might hold you back. 

Fortunately, securing scholarships and grants can make a huge difference in lightening the financial burden. The real work, though, is unearthing scholarships and grants: where to look for them? That’s what we have done for you. Let’s find out! 

Unearthing Scholarships and Grants: Where to Look 

While the major chunk of money that students use for college comes from the college itself, several other sources are worth checking out. Apart from the federal and state governments, we have listed other major alternatives to secure scholarships and grants. 

A male student busy writing on a paper with his laptop open

Your Desired Institution 

Typically, the institution you’re aiming for might offer a number of school-specific or degree-specific scholarships. However, you’ll only become eligible for those once you receive your acceptance letter. 

Another option is to reach out to their financial aid office before you apply to find out about the scholarships they offer and how they could lower your total costs. Most of the time, a college with a higher initial fee might turn out to be cheaper after factoring in scholarships and grants. 

High School Counselors

Your high school often has scholarships available for deserving high school students. To find out about their grant options, it’s best to consult your high school counselors or recent graduates. Your guidance counselor can point you toward aid options you qualify for and give tips on how to apply. 

Scholarship Websites

One of the best ways to find scholarships is through websites tailored to offer you guidance on the subject. These websites list tons of scholarship and grant options that help you cover your education expenses without worrying about costs. 

These scholarships depend on factors such as need, academic excellence, background, and community services. You might also look for grants by category. We’ll cover some top-notch scholarship sites in the last part of this article. 

Local Organizations 

Local community organizations and businesses frequently establish scholarships to help students in pursuing higher education. They vary depending on eligibility criteria, award amounts, and application requirements. Once again, counselors or graduates may be invaluable resources for identifying these grant opportunities. 

Nonetheless, securing scholarships from local organizations may be especially tricky. This is because they have specific requirements, like residency establishment or community involvement, that narrow down the applicant pool. 

Governmental Offices

When searching for scholarships to ease your tuition cost burden, one smart move is to reach out to governmental offices. 

You can look up the offices of your state senator, assembly person, or other politicians to get to know about opportunities available to students. They may have details on government-funded programs, community initiatives, or private scholarships that you may qualify for. 

Local Libraries 

Finally, checking with your local libraries when hunting for suitable scholarships or grants is also a great idea. This is because libraries tend to have resources dedicated to helping students achieve their academic dreams. Plus, librarians can assist you in finding potential scholarships through directories, websites, or databases and even help you with the application process. 

Types of Scholarships 

Statistics suggest that over 58% of US families use scholarships to fund their college expenses each year. It’s pretty evident you stand a good chance at attaining yours too. 

A student filing an application form

However, to improve your odds of securing a scholarship, exploring different options is important to see which opportunity aligns with your individual profile. While there are different types of scholarships, one rule applies to everyone – maintaining outstanding academic results! 

Here are the most common types of scholarships you can apply for: 


One of the most popular types of scholarship is merit-based, awarded to students with excellent academic performance. Such scholarships draw in talented individuals and foster a competitive learning environment. Students who excel in areas like research, arts, or athletics are awarded merit scholarships in turn for their hard work. 

The four categories of merit-based scholarships include: 

  • Scholarships for academic excellence 
  • Research scholarships 
  • Scholarships for artistic achievements 
  • Athletic Scholarships 


Need-based scholarships aim to promote equal opportunities for deserving students from low-income backgrounds. In fact, data suggests that around 55% of Harvard students depend on need-based scholarships. They offer students a chance to acquire higher education regardless of their financial situation. 

However, the key requirement to secure such types of scholarships is to prove your financial need with solid evidence and supporting documents. 

To do so, you might need the following (or more) documents: 

  • Parent’s/guardian’s numbers (for dependent students) 
  • Driver’s license 
  • Bank account balance 
  • Tax information 
  • Residency Proof 

Scholarships for Underrepresented Categories

If you belong to a minority group, you can still enjoy low-cost tuition and equal academic opportunities. Luckily, most schools offer scholarships for underrepresented minority groups to inspire individuals to break barriers and inspire future generations. 

These scholarships break stereotypes and include ethnic and racial minorities, such as the LGBTQ+ community, disabled students, and first-generation college students. To qualify for such grants, you’ll need: 

  • Evidence of being part of a particular ethnicity, gender, or other specific group
  • Financial need
  • Statement of Purpose sharing experiences as a minority group 

Scholarships for International Students 

As more students opt to study abroad, most institutions now offer scholarships exclusively to international students. At its core, an international scholarship facilitates cross-cultural learning experiences and promotes educational exchange between borders.

A student taking down notes on a notebook, while browsing on a laptop

To be eligible for international scholarships, students need to fulfill a few conditions, such as: 

  • Be an international student (mandatory) 
  • Language Expertise in tests like IELTS or TOEFL 
  • Have letters of recommendation from professionals 

Top Four Search Engines for Scholarships 

The good news is that college students have access to many scholarship options. Even better, you can access these scholarships through the top websites and secure one that best serves your needs. 

Let’s jump into the top 4 search engines for scholarships that make the process a breeze for you: 


Value Colleges is equipped with advanced tools and the latest rankings to help you land a college that aligns with your budget. Here, you can easily navigate through the financial aspects of your college to avoid making choices that could strain your pocket. 

With a deep commitment to quality, affordability, and Return on Investment (ROI), Value Colleges is your best bet for sifting through your college research. Once you turn to them, you can rest assured that you will not have to chain yourself to a lifetime of debt. 


Scholarships.com is amongst the top financial aid sites and has helped over 23 million students and families receive quality education without breaking the bank. You can scroll through the website’s directory to explore their aid options and testimonials. 

However, to check whether you fit the bill, you must create a profile. To do so, simply fill in details like your current school year, birthdate, ZIP code, and email address. Once registered, you can receive personalized information based on your interests and eligibility. 


Sponsored by The College Board, BigFuture is an all-in-one guide that helps every student take the right first step to their college. With this site, students typically match with over $1.5 billion in scholarships every year. 

Since applying for awards requires a free College Board account, BigFuture aims to simplify the process by storing application information and providing a data syncing feature. This makes it hassle-free to apply for multiple scholarships and send reapplications when needed. 


Featuring 4000+ scholarship providers, Peterson’s has over $10 billion in scholarship awards for deserving students. With their scholarship search tool, you can easily filter available scholarships by school type, ethnicity, gender, field of study, state of residence, and award type. 

However, to access detailed information about the grants available, you need to create an account. As with many other top scholarship websites, simply add your personal details to find reliable options to fund your college. 

A student looking happy while holding papers and looking at his laptop

Tips for Applying for Scholarships 

For the academic year 2022-23, 29% of students used scholarships and grants to fund their college. This might mean it’s your sign to pursue your dreams, regardless of your budget. 

So, if you’re already on your way to attaining scholarships and grants to fund your education, here are some quick tips to skyrocket your chances of success: 

  • Begin your scholarship search way ahead of time 
  • Apply for as many grants as possible 
  • Cast a wide net 
  • Keep track of your application deadlines 
  • Write compelling essays in advance and get them reviewed 
  • Use multiple scholarship search engines 

Related Questions 

What Are My Chances of Gaining a Scholarship?

While most scholarships are based on merit, your chances of gaining one primarily depend on the extent of your financial need and your application. When applying, it’s important to clearly demonstrate your need and how you can make a difference with your college aid. 

Can I Apply for a Scholarship Before Being Accepted Into a University?

Yes, you can. However, if you’re solely dependent on scholarship funding, make sure to let the university know beforehand. This way, if you don’t get the scholarship, you have enough time to find alternative funding options before starting your degree. 

What Should I Submit With My Scholarship Application?

Although the documentation requirements may differ for each university, the most typical supporting documents include:

  • Your transcript 
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • FAFSA (for need-based scholarships) 
  • An Essay 


With hundreds of scholarship options out there, chances are you’ll find one that best suits your budgeting needs. However, make sure to stay ahead of time, explore scholarship search engines, and present your best self in your application! Soon after, you’ll see your efforts pay off. 

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25 Cheapest Online Master’s Degree in Psychology [2024 Guide]

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Without proper knowledge of the cheapest online options, prospective students may end up shouldering significant financial burdens or compromising on the quality of their education. I’m sharing this guide to help you identify cost-effective yet reputable online master’s in psychology programs for a rigorous education in this field.

Cheapest Online Master's Degree in Psychology badge

Pursuing Value in Psychology Education: Cheapest Online Masters in Psychology

Among the top-ranked and most affordable online graduate programs for a master’s degree in psychology are Angelo State University, McNeese State University, the University of Louisiana at Monroe, Union College, and Ball State University. These institutions offer cheap yet comprehensive online programs that cover valuable topics such as research methods, cognitive processes, and human behavior concepts.

Pursuing a master’s degree in psychology online is a great option for in-state and out-of-state students who are self-motivated and wish to venture into a higher level of professional psychology.

SchoolIn-State Tuition FeeOut-of-State Tuition FeeAcceptance Rate
Angelo State University$6,860$14,33096%
McNeese State University$8,497$9,99769%
University of Louisiana at Monroe$9,400$21,50094%
Union College$12,295$24,00075%
Ball State University$8,118$22,00068%
Purdue University Global$8,016$10,52130%
Indiana Institute of Technology$7,458$16,55065%
Arizona State University$20,856$37,04482%
Tiffin University$12,600$15,75074%
Regent University$15,300$17,82850%
Divine Mercy University$24,405$28,60071%
Northcentral University$13,556.00$25,68094%
Medaille College$13,700$22,29670%
Golden Gate University$15,120$37,37183%
Southern New Hampshire University$18,900$22,000100%
Nova Southeastern University$22,253$25,47376%
LeTourneau University$16,875$34,68054%
Grand Canyon University$16,500$17,80083%
Palo Alto University$28,242$44,00087%
Saint Leo University$20,830$26,55070%
Saybrook University$21,900$25,20687%
Pepperdine University$25,650$42,48071%
University of Southern California$35,352$66,64016%
Adler University$14,500$16,08281%
Liberty University$22,511$23,80099%

1. Angelo State University 

Angelo State University

Angelo State University’s Department of Psychology & Sociology offers a Master of Science degree program in Applied Psychology. It is recognized among the most cost-effective online master’s in psychology programs available in the education marketplace. 

ASU’s online master’s in psychology trains psychology professionals to help others improve health, safety, decision-making, and education lifestyle changes using psychological methodologies and school counseling.

Angelo State University was established in 1928. Its urban campus serves more than 10,400 students, some of whom receive federal financial aid. 

ASU was recognized as the fastest-growing school in the country in 2018. It also has the second-largest campus in the Texas Tech University System.

2. McNeese State University  

McNeese State University  

The College of Nursing & Health Professions at McNeese State University offers an MA in Psychology that provides three concentrations – Applied Behavior Analysis, Counseling Psychology, and General or Experimental Psychology. McNeese State University’s MA in Psychology is considered one of the most affordable online master’s in psychology by several higher education authorities. 

As one of the most affordable master’s in psychology programs, McNeese requires students in the Applied Behavior track to complete 18 hours of core classes plus 40 credit units in the student’s professional psychology concentration, including school counseling. 

McNeese State University was founded as a junior college in 1939. McNeese State University is a graduate member school of the University of Louisiana System. It’s also accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

McNeese’s campus is home to more than 7,500 students and is located in urban Lake Charles. McNeese State University was named in honor of a local educational pioneer in Louisiana, John McNeese, in the early 1970s. 

3. The University of Louisiana at Monroe

The University of Louisiana at Monroe

The University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM ) Graduate School offers an MS in Psychology that is considered among the country’s most affordable online master’s degrees in psychology. The school’s main campus covers more than 225 acres and serves more than 8,600 students. ULM operates a Museum of Natural History that houses more than five million specimens.

Forensic track coursework for this online master’s degree includes the Sociology of Law, Psychological Assessment, and Advanced Theories of Crime and Delinquency. 

The MS degree program from ULM has been accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling & Related Education Programs, the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education, and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. 

The University of Louisiana at Monroe was established in 1931 as a junior college. ULM became a university in 1936. ULM is a member school of the University of Louisiana System.

4. Union College  

Union College  

Union College offers an MA in General Psychology, which has been recognized among the country’s cheapest online master’s degree in psychology programs available. Coursework for Union College’s most cost-efficient online master’s in psychology includes 36 credit hours, plus a capstone, school counseling, and a research thesis. 

Coursework for Union College’s online program includes Advanced Developmental Psychology, Theories of Personality, Ethics in a Professional Practice, Psychology of Addiction, and Statistics for Mental Health Professionals. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a similar field.

Union College is a private institution that was established in 1795 as an all-male school and did not begin accepting women students until 1970. Union College’s 120-acre campus is home to more than 2,100 students studying for degrees offered across more than 20 academic divisions. 

Approximately 60% of Union College’s student enrollment chooses to study abroad through established international study programs.

5. Ball State University

Ball State University

Ball State University offers two of the most affordable online master’s in psychology programs. The online master’s degree in psychology from BSU includes the Master of Arts (MA) degree program in Education Psychology that can be completed in 1.5 years. 

BSU also offers a Master of Science (MS) degree program in Quantitative Psychology, which requires the completion of 33 credits, including a culminating thesis. Graduate students must select a major from either quantitative methods or mixed methods.

Ball State University was established in 1918 by two successful business brother teams that owned the Ball Manufacturing Corporation. The Ball Brothers bought the defunct Eastern Indiana Normal School. 

The school’s 1,000+ acre campus is home to more than 22,100 students studying from the 330 bachelor’s and master’s degree programs offered by the university. Ball State University began with one building and a yearly tuition of $10.

6. Purdue University Global 

Purdue University Global 

Purdue University Global offers an MS in Psychology that is considered among the most online master’s degrees in psychology available today. PG’s online psychology graduate program requires the completion of 50 – 75 credit units, depending on the concentration chosen – Forensic Psychology, Applied Behavioral Analysis, Addictions, General Psychology, and Industrial Organizational Psychology. 

This online master’s in psychology degree program offers rolling start dates. The addiction concentration degree has received accreditation from the National Addiction Studies Accreditation Commission (NASAC). The Behavior Analysis concentration is accredited by the ABAI – the Association for Behavior Analysis International.

Purdue University Global was established as an online learning extension of Purdue University in 2018 and was developed to serve working learners for school counseling primarily. 

PG operates several classrooms in addition to the experiential learning opportunities. Purdue University Global began when Purdue University purchased the existing for-profit school known as Kaplan University. 

7. The Indiana Institute of Technology

The Indiana Institute of Technology

The Indiana Institute of Technology offers an MS in Psychology that is available 100% online. It prepares graduate students for rewarding careers in health care, business, human resources, or education, to name a few. 

Coursework for Indiana Tech’s online master’s in psychology includes advanced social psychology, biopsychology, psychology writing, and a culminating capstone senior project in psychology. The Indiana Tech MS in Psychology requires the completion of 33 credit units.

Indiana Tech was established in 1930. It is organized into five schools/colleges with campuses located in thirteen additional locations in Indiana and Kentucky. 

Indiana Tech is organized into schools for business, engineering, general studies, education, and computer sciences. The school’s 40+ acre campus is home to nearly 9,700 students studying for degrees offered by Indiana Tech. 

8. Arizona State University

Arizona State University

Arizona State University’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences offers a Master of Science (MS) degree program in Psychology that can be completed entirely online. ASU’s online master of science in psychology requires the completion of 36 credit units for a total of 12 classes. 

The curriculum includes coursework in school counseling, human behavior, sport psychology, psychophysiology, cognitive psychology, abnormal psychology, and affective science, to name a few. 

Arizona State University was established in 1885. About 75,000 students study at ASU’s several campuses located in the greater Tempe metro area. ASU was recognized by US News as the most innovative school in the nation. 

More than 80% of student applications are accepted by ASU. Arizona State University has established itself among the largest of all institutions, with about 90,000 students, university-wide, including online programs. 

9. Tiffin University

Tiffin University

Tiffin University offers one of the nation’s cheapest online master’s degrees in psychology. The MS in Psychology program’s coursework includes statistical procedures, research analysis, neuropsychology, social psychology, and a capstone project in psychology, to name a few.

Tiffin University’s online master’s program requires psychology students to complete a total of 37 credit units over approximately two terms, with start dates in October, January, March, May, and the summer.

Tiffin was established as a private institution in 1888 as a commercial college associated with Heidelberg College. The school’s suburban campus covers more than 125 acres and serves nearly 4,300 students studying at the school’s three colleges/schools. 

Tiffin University operates several locations in Ohio, including Tiffin, Toledo, Fremont, Cleveland, and Bucharest, Romania, as well.

10. Regent University

Regent University

Regent University offers an MS in Psychology that is recognized by Best Medical Colleges as one of the best values and most affordable master’s in psychology online in the country. It offers several concentrations, including marriage & family, leadership coaching, addictions, cyberpsychology, school counseling, industrial organizational psychology, and doctoral preparation. 

Core coursework for Regent University’s online MS in Psychology Statistics, Life Span Psychology, Integrative Psychology, and Affect and Cognition, among others. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges accredits the university’s research methods.

Regent University is a Christian institution of higher learning that was established in 1977 by Pat Robertson. It offers on-campus and online learning options for students from its eight schools/colleges. 

The school’s Virginia Beach location is home to more than 8,500 students. Regent University’s Divinity School includes noted theologians and biblical scholars.

11. Divine Mercy University

Divine Mercy University

Divine Mercy University’s (DMU) Institute of the Psychological Sciences offers a Master of Science degree program in psychology that is recognized as among the cheapest online master’s degrees in the nation. DMU’s clinical program requires online students to complete 36 credit units in about 2.5 years. 

Students find rewarding careers in market research, education, professorship, case management, or private practice, to name just a few.

Divine Mercy University was established in 1999, with roots associated with the Institute for the Psychological Sciences. DMU is affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church. 

The school offers graduate degrees in counseling and psychology. The school’s student enrollment is approximately 350. Divine Mercy University’s curriculum integrates the fields of counseling/psychology with Christian theological and philosophical principles.

12. Northcentral University

Northcentral University

Northcentral University offers an MA in Psychology degree program that can be completed entirely online. Northcentral University’s affordable online psychology degrees let prospective students choose concentrations in sports psychology, general psychology, and gender diversity studies. You must complete 30 to 36 credit units, depending upon the concentration.

Career potentials for MA psychology degrees include college professionals, social workers, youth counselors, case managers, mental health counselors, and behavior analysts for school counseling, to name a few.

Northcentral University is an online institution of higher learning that was established in 1996. It operates as a private school with degrees offered in Business & Technology Management, Family Therapy, Marriage Therapy, Psychology, and Education from its five colleges/schools. 

Northcentral University’s master’s and doctoral degree programs in Family & Marriage Therapy are accredited by AAMFT – the American Association for Marriage & Family Therapy.

13. Medaille College 

Medaille College 

Medaille College offers one of the most affordable online psychology degrees for graduate students. Online students must complete 36 credit units in about a year to a year and a half. Medaille College’s MA in Psychology offers students a concentration in sports psychology. 

With this degree, you can find rewarding work in sports management, public relations, human resources, or education, among others.

Medaille is a liberal arts school that was established in 1937. Medaille College’s urban campus is located near the Zoological Gardens and is home to about 2,500 students. It operates a Rochester satellite campus for graduate degrees in mental health counseling and business. 

Medaille College follows a liberal arts curriculum that includes the application of interdisciplinary classes. Financial aid is available for the cost of attendance and boarding.

14. Golden Gate University

Golden Gate University

Golden Gate University offers an MA in Industrial-Organizational Psychology that is recognized as one of the country’s cheapest master’s in psychology programs.  GGU’s classes include Applied Psychological Research, Organizational Behavior, Organizational Change, Group Dynamics, and Tests and Measurements, to name a few. 

Students enrolled in GGU’s MA need to complete 42 credit units. Coursework includes deeper fieldwork concerning human behavior, sport psychology, human development, and mental health disorders.

Golden Gate University was established in 1901. It evolved from a literary reading group. The school operates as a nonprofit institution and serves more than 5,300 students. 

GGU focuses mostly on graduate studies in the areas of law, business, accounting, and psychology, among others. Golden Gate began as evening classes in the local YMCA and operated that way for more than two decades.  

15. Southern New Hampshire University 

Southern New Hampshire University 

Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) offers an entirely online master’s in psychology program. SNHU’s master’s in psychology programs provide online students with three concentrations. These include child and adolescent development, forensic psychology, and organizational psychology. 

SNHU prepares graduates for careers as psychologists, development specialists, market researchers, and instructional coordinators, to name a few. Students must complete 36 credit units, of which 12 may be transferred upon approval.

Southern New Hampshire University was established in 1932 as the NH School of Accounting & Secretarial Science. SNHU follows an open admission policy and has a student enrollment of nearly 91,000 students. You may also apply for tuition and financial aid. 

About 90% of the student population studies online. Southern New Hampshire University has been recognized among the fastest-growing institutions of higher education in the country due to its widely popular online degree programs.

16. Nova Southeastern University

Nova Southeastern University

Nova Southeastern University’s College of Psychology offers a Master of Science (MS) degree in General Psychology that is recognized as one of the most affordable master’s in psychology programs in the country. Nova’s MS in Psychology requires the completion of 30 credit units, including coursework on human resources.

Online students get matched with a faculty mentor and classroom hours in the school’s psychology clinics for real-life training. Coursework includes Cognitive Psychology, Individual Assessment, Research Design, Human Development, School Psychology, Clinical Psychology, and Quantitative Methods, to name a few.

Nova Southeastern University was established in 1964. Nova’s campus is built on what once was an outlying naval landing field used during the Second World War

The school’s student enrollment exceeds 20,000 students studying for certificates, diplomas, and degree programs from 18 schools/colleges.

17. LeTourneau University 

LeTourneau University 

Online students pay less at LeTourneau University’s School of Psychology and Counseling to obtain their online psychology degree. LeTourneau University’s MA in Psychology offers students a path to rewarding careers as a mental health counselor, family therapist, human resources manager, director, behavior analyst, and school psychologist, among others. 

Classes include Counseling Skills, Lifespan Development, Group Counseling, Integrative Theology, and Ethical Standards in Counseling, among others.

LeTourneau University was established as a private school in 1946. It operates as an interdenominational institution that provides financial aid to more than 90% of the student body. 

Student enrollment exceeds 3,000 students studying for programs in the areas of education, nursing, psychology, and business, among others. LeTourneau began as a school to help educate returning WWII veterans, by RG and Evelyn LeTourneau.

18. Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon University’s MS in General Psychology is considered among the most affordable online master’s degrees in psychology in the nation. GCU prepares ethical leaders and analysts for the next generation of psychological leadership. 

Prospective students must complete 36 credit units. You may transfer credits from an acceptable institution of online learning. Graduates find work in the fields of community outreach, student services, nonprofit and for-profit companies, the government, and social service agencies, to name a few.

Grand Canyon University is a non-denominational Christian school that was established in 1949. As a private institution, GCU serves more than 90,000 students, with about 70,000 students studying online. 

Approximately 20,000 students study on GCU’s Phoenix-area campus. It was founded by members of the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention in Prescott.

19. Palo Alto University 

Palo Alto University 

Palo Alto University’s MS in Psychology is considered one of the cheapest online master’s in psychology programs with available financial aid options. PAU’s program is also the perfect stepping stone towards a doctoral program in psychology. 

Online students enrolled in PAU’s online MS psychology degree typically complete the program in about 1.75 years. However, students can finish the graduate program in up to five years.

Palo Alto University is a private school that was established in 1975. It partners with Stanford University and often employs and houses students and PAU faculty members.

PAU’s student enrollment is approximately 1,075. It also partners with community colleges in the Silicon Valley area for completion programs.

20. Saint Leo University 

Saint Leo University

With financial aid, Saint Leo University offers an MS in Psychology where online students pay less to finish 36 credit units and a culminating senior capstone project. The affordable online program from Saint Leo University includes professional development opportunities for MS degree candidates. 

Students from SLU’s graduate psychology program can find work as research analysts, statistical consultants, teachers, market researchers, or private practitioners, to name a few.

Saint Leo University is a Catholic institution that was founded in 1889. The school maintains a religious affiliation with the Order of Saint Benedict and the Holy Name Monastery. 

The university holds the distinction of being one of the first US schools to offer online learning options during the Vietnam War in the early 1970s.

21. Saybrook University

Saybrook University

Saybrook University offers an MA in Psychology with a rigorous curriculum you can complete 100% online while considering financial aid. The university offers online students three specialization tracks – Creativity Studies, Existential, Humanistic, and Transpersonal Psychology, and Consciousness, Spirituality, and Integrative Health. 

Saybrook University’s master’s in psychology programs prepares graduates for careers as teachers, mediators, researchers, and mental health practitioners. 

Saybrook was established as a private school in 1971. It is home to about 625 students.

The school is named for a town in Connecticut where a conference was held that sparked the idea for Saybrook University. It was founded initially as a postgraduate school that focuses on humanistic psychology. 

22. Pepperdine University  

Pepperdine University  

Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Education & Psychology offers a Master of Arts (MA) degree in psychology program that is available 100% online. Pepperdine’s coursework includes organizational psychology, research methods, treating mental health disorders, psychotherapy, counseling techniques, and clinical interventions, among others. 

Students generally complete Pepperdine University’s online program in 1.5 to 2 years.

Pepperdine University is a private school that was established in 1937. It is affiliated with the Church of Christ. The school’s suburban campuses cover more than 825 acres and serve nearly 8,000 students.

Pepperdine operates a main campus in Malibu and another six satellite campuses for graduate studies across Southern California and Washington, DC.

23. The University of Southern California 

The University of Southern California 

The University of Southern California’s Dornsife College of Letters, Arts & Science offers an MS in Applied Psychology that is recognized among the best and most affordable graduate programs in the education marketplace. 

USC’s online program prepares psychology students for careers in social media communications, career counseling, advertising, market research, and talent development, to name a few. Students must complete a total of 34 credit units, plus an internship and thesis.

The University of Southern California, established in 1880, is a research institution with financial aid options available. USC is a space-grant and sea-grant university with an enrollment exceeding 45,000. 

USC operates two campuses in L.A. – the Health Science Campus and the University Park Campus. USC is the oldest privately held research school in Los Angeles.

24. Adler University 

Adler University 

Adler University’s MA in psychology lets you transfer credits to finish your graduate degree. The graduate program offers online students several concentrations from which to select – Crisis Management, Gender & Sexuality Studies, Health & Wellness, and Child & Adolescent Development.

Graduates learn research methods to prepare for careers as forensic ID specialists, mental health coaches/professionals, family advocates, sports psychologists, and sexual trauma advocates, among others.

Adler University was established in 1952. Adler University offers only master’s and doctoral degree programs.

It is accredited by the APA – the American Psychological Association. Adler requires freshmen enrolled in the school to complete the CSP – the Community Service Practicum.

25. Liberty University

Liberty University

Liberty University’s MA in Applied Psychology is recognized among the most affordable online programs in the country. Online students need to complete 36 credit units, which generally takes about 18 months. Liberty allows incoming students to transfer credits.

Liberty University was established in 1971. LU operates as an evangelical Christian university and one of the largest not-for-profit institutions of higher learning in the country. 

The school’s student enrollment exceeds 110,000 students, with 95,000 students studying online. Jerry Falwell Sr. founded Liberty University as Lynchburg Baptist College.

Student services include school counseling, financial aid, and assistance with research methods.

Methodology: How We Ranked the Best Online Master’s in Psychology Programs

Value Colleges is committed to leading online students to degree programs that will provide a real return on investment and a solid, positive impact on their careers. With that goal always in mind, VC editors ranked accredited, reputable psychology master’s programs according to the one key factor in affordability: tuition cost, according to current IPEDS data.

Students taking notes and using a laptop on an outdoor resting area inside the campus

Why Should I Take an Online Psychology Program?

Do you want to expand your knowledge and attract more career prospects? There are several reasons why studying online graduate programs will contribute to your profession and the community.

  • Consider more college options: Although you may be limited in terms of your choice of schools if you opt to pursue a master’s in psychology online degree, you will have a much greater selection of universities to choose from. Aside from online institutions, you can also choose from a wide variety of colleges that offer a master’s degree. 
  • Experience a rewarding field: The field of psychology can be as challenging as it is rewarding. Those who enroll in an online master of science in psychology will be able to enter a field that allows them to work with and help individuals, communities, and more. 
  • Save on tuition costs: Pursuing an online degree in psychology can be a cost-effective method of obtaining a master’s degree. Online learning is typically less expensive, so you will also save money on things such as transportation, textbooks, and more.
  • Keep your day job: Although many people believe it would be impossible to earn a master’s degree while working full-time, this couldn’t be further from the case. By enrolling in an online master’s of psychology diploma, you can create a schedule that works around your free time, which will allow you to remain employed while also earning your education. 
  • Personalize your learning experience: Another major benefit of acquiring your master’s degree online is that it allows you to have a personalized learning experience. You can read and respond to things at your own pace, access and review notes and lessons at your leisure, ask questions to professors, and start discussions with your classmates.
  • Increase earning potential: Lastly, one of the greatest benefits of getting a master’s in psychology online degree will boost your earning potential. In general, those who acquire a master’s degree can secure higher-paying jobs, as opposed to those with bachelor’s degrees. 

Will Employers Trust an Online Master’s in Psychology?

Although every employer is different, as long as you are acquiring an accredited master’s in psychology online, most employers will trust your degree. However, if you opt not to attend an accredited institution, you may have issues with regard to how certain employers receive your degree.

Your best option is to enroll in an accredited online master’s program for psychology. This is to make sure your degree is taken as seriously as possible by all potential employers.

How Do I Find an Affordable Online Master’s in Psychology?

Although master’s programs can be a bit pricey, there are plenty of ways to find the cheapest online master’s in psychology degrees. The following is a list of tips to help you do just that:

Student taking down notes while looking at her laptop

Check for Financial Aid

Financing an online master’s degree in psychology can be made easier by taking advantage of federal financial aid opportunities. To apply, graduate students need to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which will determine their eligibility for grants, scholarships, and loans from the government, state, or school itself. 

Ideally, you should aim for aid that doesn’t need to be repaid, such as grants and scholarships. However, you may also qualify for federal student loans, which need to be paid back with interest over time.

When exploring funding options, pay close attention to the terms and conditions of any loans offered. Federal student loans typically have more favorable interest rates and repayment plans compared to private loans. 

Research private scholarships specifically geared towards your field of study, as these opportunities aren’t covered by FAFSA and require separate applications.

Enroll in a Public University

One of the top ways to find the cheapest online master’s degree in psychology is by enrolling in a public university. As opposed to private universities, public universities tend to be much more cost-effective. 

Nevertheless, not all public universities are created equal. Be sure to research your options before enrolling in one. 

Apply for Scholarships

Another great way to find the cheapest online master’s in psychology is by securing scholarships. In addition to academic scholarships, there are various types of scholarships that are available to students pursuing their master’s. 

Some places of employment also offer scholarships to their employees. Explore your scholarship options before deciding how you will pay for college. 

Look for Employment Reimbursements

When trying to find cheap online master’s degrees, another option is to work for a company that gives reimbursements for education. Although you may need financial aid or a loan initially, you would receive reimbursement for some or all of your fees, based on the policies of your place of employment.

Patient listening to her psychiatrist during a session

Related Questions

Is an Online Master’s in Psychology Worth It?

For prospective students interested in pursuing a career in fields like counseling, research, or education, an online master’s in psychology can be a worthwhile investment. It provides the necessary academic foundation and credentials while offering flexibility for working psychology professionals or those with other commitments.

What Is the Shortest Online Psychology Master’s Program?

While program lengths can vary, some of the shortest online psychology graduate programs can be completed in as little as one year of full-time study, although most typically take around two years. These accelerated online psychology degree options often feature condensed coursework and limited experiential learning opportunities, allowing students to graduate faster.

Is It Cheaper to Get a Master’s Online?

In most cases, yes – pursuing an online psychology master’s degree can be more cost-effective than traditional on-campus programs. Online graduate degree options often have lower tuition rates and eliminate expenses like commuting and relocation costs. Additionally, many online psychology master’s programs offer financial aid opportunities.


Exploring the cheapest online options helps minimize the monetary burden while gaining access to a rigorous curriculum and school psychology training. With this knowledge, psychology professionals can embark on their journey toward a master’s degree in psychology without compromising on the quality of their education.

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49 Best Value Master’s in Robotics Programs [2024 Guide]

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The field of robotics is rapidly advancing, driving innovation across industries. For those seeking to elevate their expertise in this cutting-edge domain, a master’s program can provide specialized training and open doors to exciting career opportunities. Our guide aims to help you find the best robotics masters programs that come at a good value.

Masters in robotics badge

Ranking the Best Robotics Masters Programs

Pursue a master’s degree in robotics from a top-ranked research university like the California State Polytechnic University – Pomona, Cornell University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, or the University of Pennsylvania. With access to these resources, expertise, and networking opportunities, you’ll gain advanced skills and knowledge to excel in the robotics industry.

With the programs offered by these robotics colleges, you can acquire valuable hands-on experience, exposure to groundbreaking research, and the chance to collaborate with leading experts in robotics technology.

SchoolAverage TuitionDuration
California State Polytechnic University – Pomona$7,4892 years
Cornell University$35,9861-2 years
Massachusetts Institute of Technology$53,4501-2 years
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor$23,8901-2 years
University of Pennsylvania$38,2401-2 years
Georgia Institute of Technology – Main Campus$12,9641-2 years
Columbia University$51,6001-2 years
University of California – Santa Cruz$11,4401-2 years
Duke University$55,9601-2 years
University of Southern California$57,2001-2 years
Carnegie-Mellon University$41,6301-2 years
University of Wisconsin – Madison$10,7281-2 years
University of Washington-Seattle$16,5001-2 years
University of Massachusetts-Amherst$16,3801-2 years
Yale University$56,2001-2 years
Johns Hopkins University$55,3501-2 years
Stanford University$51,3541-2 years
Harvard University$51,8321-2 years
Ohio State University$12,4251-2 years
University of Texas-Austin$11,9001-2 years
Worcester Polytechnic Institute$53,1001-2 years
North Carolina State University$9,1011-2 years
Texas A&M University-College Station$11,0081-2 years
Northeastern University$51,3001.5-2 years
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University$35,4751-2 years
Arizona State University$30,8802-5 years (accelerated)
Northwestern University – Evanston, Illinois$21,55012-15 months
University of California – Berkeley$11,4402-4 years (accelerated)
University of Colorado – Boulder$12,5001-2 years
University of Cincinnati$12,7181-2 years
University of Utah$21,1601-2 years
Florida A&M University/FSU joint$12,0001-2 years
Washington University in St. Louis$64,0001.5 years
Boston University$63,7981-1.5 years
University of Minnesota$46,9932 years
Oregon State University$25,7852 years
Portland State University$30,3572 years
University of Hawaii at Manoa$12,4501-2 years
Villanova University$58,0001.5 years
Colorado School of Mines$41,5801 year
South Dakota School of Mines & Technology$9,2001-2 years
University of Florida $12,7372 years
Vanderbilt University$52,8002-4 years (accelerated)
University of Tennessee-Knoxville$13,2442 years
California Institute of Technology$60,8161 year
New York University$53,3001.5-2 years
Brown University$59,6122 years
University of Maryland – College Park$22,6001.5-2 years
Colorado State University$11,7421-2 years
Rank School Name Description

California State Polytechnic University - Pomona

California State Polytechnic University offers a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering (MSEE) with a Control and Robotics Systems option. The degree program provides graduate students with a solid breadth of advanced foundation courses in matrix methods, signal processing, systems engineering, and random processes.

  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
  • Format: on campus

Cornell University

Cornell University is a federal land-grant institution that offers a one-year Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering with a specialization focused on Dynamics, Controls, and Robotics. Robotics at Cornell is where students can work with a variety of robots including, aerial robots, snake robots, home assistant robots, autonomous cars, humanoids, and evolutionary robots.

  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
  • Format: on campus

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Massachusetts Institute of Technology offers a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (SMME). Notable MIT robotics groups and labs include the Robot Locomotion Group and the Biomimetic Robotics Lab, which are dedicated to building machines with extraordinary agility and efficiency.

  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
  • Format: on campus

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

The University of Michigan’s Robotics Masters (MS) degree program has three main subdisciplines or technical areas – sensing, reasoning, and acting. Specific focus areas of the department include autonomous vehicles, human-robot interaction, legged locomotion, manipulation, manufacturing, cooperative robots; perception, and rehabilitation robots.

  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
  • Format: on campus

University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania offers a Master’s Degree in Robotics (ROBO) through the School of Engineering and Applied Science. The General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception Laboratory (GRASP Lab) research page provides detailed information about projects, people, resources, news, and opportunities in robotics at UPenn.

  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
  • Format: on campus

Georgia Institute of Technology - Main Campus

Georgia Tech’s innovative Master of Science in Computer Science allows students to specialize in their degree through eleven possible specializations to fit their academic and professional goals. The Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines (IRIM) is an interdisciplinary research institute where robotics researchers, educators, and students can collaborate on research.

  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
  • Format: online, on-campus

Columbia University

Columbia University in the City of New York offers a Master of Science in Computer Science (MS CS) with a Vision, Graphics, Interaction, and Robotics Track. Robotics research areas include manipulation and grasping, interactive or human-in-the-loop robotics, dynamic simulators and virtual environments, and perception and modeling.

  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
  • Format: on campus

University of California-Santa Cruz

The University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC) offers a Master of Science in Computer Engineering (MSCE) with a robotics research specialization. Students choosing the robotics degree program study autonomous vehicles, sensor fusion, exoskeletons, medical robots, and biomolecular control.

  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
  • Format: on campus

Duke University

Duke University offers a variety of avenues into the cutting-edge industry of robotics and research, including their Master of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, with a concentration in Robotics. The degree program covers several project-based courses that give students pathways to participating in groundbreaking research.

  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
  • Format: on campus

University of Southern California

USC Viterbi School of Engineering offers a Master of Science in Computer Science with eight possible specializations, including intelligent robotics. Students will focus on robot design, construction, operation, application, and computer systems used for robotics control, sensory feedback, and information processing.

  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
  • Format: on campus

Carnegie-Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon offers research-driven a Master of Science in Robotics (MSR) degree where students may customize depth areas to areas of interest to research topics like Robotic Vision, Machine Learning, or Human-Robot Interaction. The program brings together interdisciplinary areas to prepare students to be leaders in future robotics research and development.

  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
  • Format: on campus

University of Wisconsin - Madison

UW offers a Master of Science in Manufacturing Systems Engineering both online and on-campus. Check out the Robotics and Intelligent Systems Lab at UW, which focuses on the research investigation of the human-centered robotics topics of manufacturing, medical robotics, systems engineering, and haptics.

  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
  • Format: online, on campus

University of Washington-Seattle

The University of Washington (UW) offers a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering: Systems, Controls, & Robotics (Robotics Option). The degree program offers courses like Models of Robot Manipulation and Sensor Systems. Robotics and control research at UW focuses on surgical and bio-robotics, haptics, and smart cities.

  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
  • Format: on campus

University of Massachusetts-Amherst

The University of Massachusetts at Amherst offers a Master of Science in Computer Science. The degree program provides opportunities for students to engage with robotics and graphics research at UMASS, where deep engagement with robotic research is supported.

  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
  • Format: on campus

Yale University

Yale’s School of Engineering and Applied Science provides opportunities for students to engage in a Master of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science. Yale’s degree program also offers students in the sciences access to the GRAB Lab (Grasping & Manipulation, Rehabilitation, Robotics, and Biomechanics).

  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
  • Format: on campus

Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University’s Master of Science in Engineering in Robotics (Robotics MSE) specializes in medical robotics and computer-integrated surgical systems. Specialization tracks from the Laboratory for Computational Sensing and Robotics include Automation Science and Engineering, BioRobotics, Control and Dynamical Systems, Medical Robotics and Computer-Integrated Surgical Systems, Perception and Cognitive Systems, or General Robotics.

  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
  • Format: on campus

Stanford University

Stanford University offers many research-oriented advanced degree programs, including the Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering Research. Students may apply to engage with the globally recognized Artificial Intelligence Laboratory as part of their research.

  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
  • Format: on campus

Harvard University

Harvard’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) takes a nuanced approach by providing interdisciplinary flexibility. Within this unique school of engineering is an entire robotics arm where students can work with some of the top roboticists for machine learning.

  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
  • Format: on campus

The Ohio State University

Ohio State offers a Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering (MS ECE) with a concentration in Robotics. The degree program’s faculty is known for their research on control systems in the Control Research Lab on campus.

  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
  • Format: on campus

University of Texas-Austin

The University of Texas started a Graduate Portfolio Program in Robotics that gives graduate students the opportunity to obtain an official “certification of expertise” in robotics along with a master’s diploma from their home department.

  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
  • Format: on campus

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

The MS Robotics Engineering offered by Worcester Polytechnic Institute focuses on human-robot interaction and interfaces, human augmentation, and embedded systems for robots. Other areas of current robotics research include motion planning and control, medical and assistive robots, novel sensors/actuators and robot design, soft robots, and multi-robot systems.

  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
  • Format: online, on-campus

North Carolina State University

North Carolina State University offers a Master in Science Electrical Engineering degree program with a specialization in robotics, mechatronics, control, and instrumentation. NC State has many lab spaces where students can conduct research, including the Advanced Diagnosis, Automation, and Control Lab, the Advanced Transportation Energy Center, and the Future Renewable Electric Energy Delivery and Management Systems Center.

  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
  • Format: on campus

Texas A&M University-College Station

The Dwight Look College of Engineering offers a Master of Science in Computer Engineering (MS CE). Current robotics research areas include algorithms and theory, artificial intelligence, intelligent systems, machine learning, natural language processing, human-computer interaction, robotics, and human-robot interaction.

  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
  • Format: on campus

Northeastern University

Northeastern University’s Center for Robotics engages in multidisciplinary exchange and connects to the interdisciplinary Masters of Science in Computer Science Program. The degree program provides students with opportunities to engage in instruction around artificial intelligence, computer-human interaction, game design, and theory, among other topics.

  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
  • Format: on campus

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Virginia Tech offers a Master of Engineering Degree Program in Mechanical Engineering designed for professionals working in related industry or government fields. The degree program’s innovative Terrestrial Robotics Engineering and Controls Lab has the latest technology to engage in groundbreaking research and practice in robotics.

  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
  • Format: on campus

Arizona State University

Arizona State’s RISE is where a collection of researchers convene their work on modeling, machine learning, control of unmanned vehicles, analysis, and control of robotics, along with networked multi-agent systems. The degree program lets you achieve an affordable Master’s in Engineering with a focus on Robotics.

  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
  • Format: on campus

Northwestern University – Evanston, Illinois

With Northwestern University’s Masters of Science in Robotics (MSR) program, graduate students have the opportunity to be placed in a summer internship, giving them hands-on experience. The degree program’s faculty-led research work and an intimate learning environment garner peer support and collaboration.

  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
  • Format: on campus

University of California - Berkeley

Berkeley has many cutting-edge doctoral programs, and one that makes the list is their Master’s of Engineering and Computer Science with a concentration in Robotics and Embedded Software. The school’s numerous research facilities on campus feature the highest level of technology for student innovation, including the Berkeley Robotics and Intelligent Machines Lab.

  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
  • Format: on campus

University of Colorado – Boulder

The University of Colorado at Boulder offers graduate students an opportunity to achieve their Master of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering with a focus on robotics and systems design. Research topics may include machine learning, robotics and systems design, micro/nanoscale, thermo fluid sciences, air quality, and materials science and engineering.

  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
  • Format: on campus

University of Cincinnati

The University of Cincinnati offers a Master of Engineering Program in Computer Science that offers a set curriculum while also providing students the flexibility to seek the means for their tailored personal and professional goals. This program enables graduate students to work at the Center for Robotics Research.

  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
  • Format: on campus

University of Utah

The University of Utah offers a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering with a Robotics Track. Robotics track courses include motion planning, system identification, and computer vision. The Robotics Center details the U’s robotics research, faculty, labs, and groups.

  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
  • Format: on campus

Florida A&M University/FSU joint

The Florida A&M University (FAMU) and Florida State University (FSU) combined FAMU-FSU College of Engineering offers a Master of Science (MS) in Mechanical Engineering with a focus in Control and Robotics degree through the CISCOR. The Center for Intelligent Systems, Control, and Robotics (CISCOR) researches three overlapping areas – robotics, control, and intelligence.

  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
  • Format: on campus

Washington University in St. Louis

Washington University’s Master of Engineering Program in Robotics has mandatory classes, including Robotics (Dynamics and Control), Robotics Laboratory, Linear Dynamic Systems, and Artificial Intelligence. This unique program prepares students to be leaders in professional robotics, building on an undergraduate education in engineering or physical sciences.

  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
  • Format: on campus

Boston University

Boston University’s Master’s Degree Specialization in Robotics enables graduate students to engage with coursework in biomedical, electrical, and mechanical systems. This degree program responds to the holistic needs of robotics experts in a variety of disciplines, including telemedicine and advanced prosthetic production.

  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
  • Format: on campus

University of Minnesota

The University of Minnesota offers a Master’s Degree in Computer Science (MCS) with a Robotics research area through the Computer Science and Engineering (CS&E) department. The degree program offers coursework in theoretical and applied computer science and research opportunities in nearly every area of computer science.

  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
  • Format: on campus

Oregon State University

Oregon State University’s Collaborative Robotics and Intelligent Systems (CoRIS) Institute offers two master’s degrees in Robotics, a Master of Science and a Master’s of Engineering. A collective effort by hundreds of robotics experts, the Robot Operating System (ROS) is a flexible open-source framework for writing robot software.

  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
  • Format: on campus

Portland State University

Portland State University’s Comprehensive Masters in Science has two options, which include a thesis or coursework only, each of which requires 45 credits. This specialized department is home to multiple research labs and a variety of research activities.

  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
  • Format: on campus

University of Hawaii at Manoa

University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Mechanical Engineering with a Concentration in Mechanics, Systems, and Controls is a research-heavy program. Aside from the space robotics club where students can apply space applications and technologies to their work and research, students also have access to the on-campus Autonomous Systems Lab to conduct research.

  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
  • Format: on campus

Villanova University

Villanova University’s Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering provides real-time control, process, and implementation of robotics in education, and other avenues of inquiry such as rapid prototyping and automatic code generation. Villanova’s E-Learning Program makes it easy to participate in the degree program as a working professional.

  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
  • Format: on campus

Colorado School of Mines

The Colorado School of Mines’ MS Mechanical Engineering offers a concentration in robotics, automation, and design. The research area explores the science underlying the design process and implementation of mechanical and control systems to enable autonomy.

  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
  • Format: on campus

South Dakota School of Mines & Technology

South Dakota School of Mines and Technology offers a well-rounded Master of Science in Computational Sciences and Robotics (CSR) where graduates make great candidates for positions at NASA, commercial and military endeavors, design, and intelligent autonomous systems. Students will gain the fundamentals of robotics, control communications, and artificial intelligence.

  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
  • Format: on campus

University of Florida

The University of Florida offers an Electrical and Computer Engineering Specialization within the Masters of Science in Computer Engineering Program. Coursework may include robotics, intelligent systems, machine adaptive and deep learning, software-defined radios, electromagnetism, and energy systems.

  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
  • Format: on campus

Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University offers an MS in Computer Science and an MS in Mechanical Engineering, teaching artificial intelligence, robotics, virtual environments, real-time and embedded middleware, and software engineering. Students have access to state-of-the-art robotics lab spaces and technology to support their research and future career paths.

  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
  • Format: on campus

University of Tennessee-Knoxville

The University of Tennessee offers an MS in Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering with a Robotics & Automation Research Area. UTK’s engineering research strengths are in bioengineering, sensing, and robotics, as detailed at the Robotics, Engineering, Applied Continuum Mechanics, and Healthcare (REACH) laboratory.

  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
  • Format: on campus

California Institute of Technology

California Institute of Technology’s Graduate Degree Program in Control and Dynamic Systems helps students develop competencies in experimental techniques in dynamical systems theory and control and receive a broad mathematical foundation. The Center for Autonomous Systems and Technologies (CAST) promotes interdisciplinary research in drones and robots.

  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
  • Format: on campus

New York University

New York University’s MS Mechatronics and Robotics engages graduate students in hands-on projects to deconstruct control theory and communication in engineered systems. Many aspects of robotics are stressed in this interdisciplinary academic undertaking, including industrious entrepreneurial and creative inquiry.

  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
  • Format: on campus

Brown University

Brown University’s Master of Science Degree lets students engage their research within the Humans 2 Robots Lab, a space at the cutting edge of robotic innovation with an international reach. The Humanities Centered Robotics Initiative (HCRI) places the discipline of robotics at the center of the solution to navigating global humanitarian and societal issues.

  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
  • Format: on campus

University of Maryland – College Park

The University of Maryland’s MS in Systems Engineering (MSSE) with a specialization in Robotics melds the fields of computer science, engineering, and management. The Maryland Robotics Center accepts research for medical robotics, cognitive robotics, social robotics, bio-inspired robotics, miniature robotics, robotics for extreme environments, unmanned vehicles, and collaborative, cooperative, and networked robotics.

  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
  • Format: on campus

Colorado State University

Colorado State University’s MS in Mechatronics Engineering combines biology studies with artificial intelligence, intelligent robotics, and advanced controls. The degree program requires completing 30 credit hours of coursework, including core courses like virtual reality, intelligent robotics, and a graduate seminar, while allowing students to specialize through elective tracks or a thesis option.

  • Annual Tuition: $$$$$
  • Format: on campus

How Did You Rank the Best Master’s in Robotics Programs?

The Value Colleges Top 50 Master’s in Robotics ranking considers only regionally accredited reputable colleges and universities. We rank programs based on three factors:

  • Cost (current IPEDS data)
  • Reputation (current QS ranking)
  • Success (average alumni salary)

In addition to these three metrics, we examined the degree of specificity and the school’s robotics research opportunities. By considering all these metrics, VC determines which schools are most likely to provide a healthy return on a graduate’s investment of time, work, and money.

Two people checking out a robotics prototype

What Is Robotics?

Robotics is the conceptualization, design, construction, operation, and use of robots and the computer systems that control them. The field is interdisciplinary, with roots in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and computer science. However, the knowledge base also stretches into careers in art and design and psychology. 

The main goal of creating robots is to develop machines that can substitute for human activity. Because of the cost of building these machines, current machine learning career applications are mainly for situations dangerous to humans, like bomb deactivation, or in manufacturing where the cost of the investment can be quickly returned.

Graphic image of a robot

What Is the Scope of a Robotics Engineering Program?

There are many types of robots designed for specific tasks, yet they contain the same core elements. 

  • They must have a mechanical construction (a mechanical engineers’ job) or a “body.” 
  • They contain electrical components (electrical engineering) to power and control them.
  • They contain computer programming code (a computer scientists’ role) that tells the robot what to do in a given situation. 

Kelsey Ludeman, an education expert with 15 years of experience in the education sector, advises to make sure you do thorough research on the program before committing to it: 

“Many schools, rather than offering a dedicated master’s program in robotics, include the field of study within a larger degree plan, such as engineering. Dig deeper into the program curriculum to be sure that the level of depth of the robotics portion of the coursework suits your expectations. 

For example, at Cal Poly, they don’t have a dedicated robotics program. Instead, you can choose robotics as your area of emphasis within the mechanical engineering program. The overall program is still excellent, but it won’t be as hyperfocused on robotics as some other colleges.”

Should I Become a Roboticist?

A roboticist is a person who conceptualizes, designs, builds, programs, and experiments with robots. Are you interested in robots? Then the answer is probably yes! 

However, a roboticist is not yet a job description in the Bureau of Labor Statistics, so we examined the three fields most likely to employ roboticists. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the Mechanical Engineers occupation to grow 9% between 2016 and 2026, the Electrical Engineers occupation to grow 7% between 2016 and 2026, and the Software Developers to grow an astounding 24% between 2016 and 2026! 

These projections make robotics a fast-growing field compared to all occupations, which are projected to increase by only 7% in the same period. 

Where Can I Use a Robotics Master’s Degree?

Robots are changing the game in manufacturing, health care, public safety, the military, mining industry, and careers involving Artificial Intelligence. Examples of successful use in this field include a 60% savings in production costs and the protection of human life! 

Most Americans will never be exposed to assembly-line robots, or have a robot dropped into a hostage situation for risk assessment. They may be familiar with the multitude of robots for use in homes that have been slowly gaining popularity. 

Robots for home use include:

  • Vacuums (Roomba by iRobot)
  • Gutter cleaning bots (Looj by iRobot)
  • Litter box cleaning, security robots (Agent oo7 by MobileRobots, Inc.)
  • Alarm clocks that drive away before you can push snooze (Nanda Clocky)

Related Questions

Graphic icon of an identification card

Is a Masters in Robotics Worth It?

A graduate degree in robotics is worth it for individuals seeking to develop advanced technical skills and expertise in designing, programming, and operating robotic systems. With the increasing demand for robotics across various industries, a master’s diploma can provide a competitive edge and open up lucrative career opportunities.

How Does a Master’s Degree in Robotics Relate to Occupational Safety?

Graduates with the best occupational safety degrees and a robotics background have expertise in utilizing advanced technologies and developing robotic systems that can improve workplace safety. Their knowledge of autonomous systems, machine learning, and human-robot interaction can enhance risk assessment, hazard prevention, and accident investigation for a safer workplace environment.

What Is the Eligibility for a Robotics Master’s Degree in the USA?

To be eligible for a graduate diploma in robotics in the USA, applicants typically need an undergraduate degree with a minimum CGPA (usually 3.0 or higher) and solid GRE scores. A strong statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, and proof of English language proficiency (TOEFL or IELTS scores) are also often necessary.

Which University Has the Best Robotics Program?

While several universities offer excellent robotics degree programs, California State Polytechnic University is widely regarded as having one of the best. Its accelerated program allows students to obtain a graduate degree in robotics in just two years.

Man creating a diagram for a mechanical project on his desktop

What Degree Is Best for Robotics?

For those interested in pursuing a career in robotics, particularly in the field of healthcare and medical applications, a degree in biomedical engineering can be an excellent choice. It combines principles from mechatronics engineering, biology, and medicine to develop cutting-edge robotic technologies for medical purposes.

What Is the Salary after MS in Robotics in the USA?

The average salary after completing an MS in Robotics in the USA is around $91,000 annually. This is driven by the increasing demand for robotics technology across various sectors, such as manufacturing, mining, and healthcare. Robotic engineers working in these industries can expect to earn salaries close to or even exceeding this average.

How Much Does It Cost to Study a Robotics Graduate Program?

The cost of pursuing a graduate program in robotics technology in the USA can range from $10,000 to $30,000 annually, depending on factors such as the university (public or private). The total cost may exceed tuition fees, including accommodation, food, insurance, educational supplies, and other miscellaneous expenses.


In today’s rapidly changing industry, where robotics is transforming industries, choosing the right master’s program can accelerate your career and salary growth. Invest in your future by carefully evaluating robotics engineering programs to make sure you acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to thrive in this dynamic field.

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Value of Rankings in Making College Decisions

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High school students face many challenges while choosing the right college. They typically rely on Google searches that rank the best institutions. However, most rankings are not created equal. So, how can students determine which ranking is valuable and which one to consider when making their final decision?

In this article, we will examine the value of rankings in making college decisions.

Value of Rankings in Making College Decisions

Prospective students pay close attention to college rankings. These rankings quantitatively assess an institution’s position in the academic environment and are often based on criteria like academic reputation, faculty quality, and resources. 

Students gathered on a table, busy planning and executing a group task

Rankings are helpful for students as they help them find schools that are best suited to their individual needs and interests. Higher-ranked colleges may offer a strong academic climate, research opportunities, and a well-regarded faculty.

Rankings also help prospective students understand the competition between colleges and their value in the job market after graduation. While rankings are a good starting point for college selection, they should not be relied upon as a substitute for personal fit and program offers. 

Factors Considered in Determining Ranking 

College rankings provide valuable information for parents and students considering different alternatives for higher education. These rankings provide a comprehensive picture of a college’s strength by evaluating several factors. Some of them are discussed below:

Academic Reputation 

College evaluators and guidance counselors assess the quality of undergraduate education provided by each college. Many universities approach these ranking websites themselves to evaluate their programs. The European University Association (EUA) surveyed 171 universities from 39 countries in 2014 and discovered that 75% used their rankings for promotional reasons. 

The evaluation is often based on intangible, qualitative factors such as the effectiveness of lessons and the level of student engagement. Despite the subjective nature of this data, it provides rating sites with a more complete picture than just relying on numbers alone.

Retention Rate

The retention rate is the percentage of first-year students who continue their studies and graduate within a specific time frame. This metric reflects how satisfied students are with their college experience. 

A supportive social and academic environment and ample assistance from advisors and administration in the first year lead to a higher retention rate. Conversely, students may drop out or transfer due to dissatisfaction or a lack of resources.

Instructional Resources

Factors such as class size, student-faculty ratio, faculty compensation, research achievements, instructional resources, and professor qualification can influence the quality of education. 

Teachers need to be supported financially and have manageable workloads to have a high-quality learning environment. Additionally, teachers need to be actively engaged in substantial research or recognized for their contributions to academia.


Ranking depends on a school’s selectivity level based on factors like admission rate, yield rate, class rank of applicants, and standardized test scores. These factors indicate a student’s academic motivation and potential impact in their respective fields after graduation. A high yield rate suggests intellectually gifted students prefer the school over other options.

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Alumni Contributions

Higher alumni contributions typically suggest the students had a positive experience at the institution. When graduates feel appreciated and supported during their studies, they are more likely to give back to the school. 

A substantial donation rate points to a strong sense of school pride, an active campus community, and access to excellent academic and extracurricular programs.

Limitations of College Rankings

While it can be helpful to look at college rankings while you’re learning about schools, “The college ranking system is not without limitations,” explains Kelsey Ludeman, an education expert with 15 years of experience in the education sector. She goes on to say,

“Each school’s ranking is based on different criteria, making it critical that you take the time to see if the reason a university ranked highly is a factor that impacts you and your experience directly.”

It is critical to understand the limitations of college rankings and not depend on them alone when selecting your college, even if they provide useful information. With these rankings come several limitations.

Subjective Methodology

College rankings can greatly differ because different organizations employ different criteria to assess and rank schools. Some schools prioritize research outcomes, test prerequisites, or post-graduation employability. It is important to understand the ranking methodology to determine which aspects align with your priorities.

One-Size-Fits-All Approach

College rankings aim to provide a comprehensive evaluation of universities. However, each student has unique preferences and requirements. A highly reputed university may not offer the courses that cater to your needs. Conducting thorough research on the program, faculty members’ credentials, and the campus culture is important to make sure that it aligns with your career goals.

Context Gaps

College rankings are often incomplete because they do not consider each school’s unique qualities and complexities. They don’t consistently capture the intangible elements that make a school great, such as its location, campus culture, extracurricular activities, and a student’s personal preferences. 

A joyful woman in a graduation gown smiling and laughing

How to Leverage College Rankings?

To fully understand college rankings, it is important to do more than simply rely on the numbers. While they are helpful, it is important to recognize these rankings’ limitations and take a more comprehensive approach when assessing the value of your college education. To understand how to use college rankings effectively, consider various factors beyond the numerical order.

Think About Different Resources

To get a complete picture, it’s best to look at rankings from various sources, including Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, and Princeton Review. Comparing rankings from many sources provides a more complete picture as they utilize different criteria.

Focus on Your Program

Prioritize rankings that assess the quality of the program you have in mind. Find rankings specific to your field of study to get more accurate information that can help you achieve your academic objectives.

Visit Campuses 

Rankings only offer a general overview. To better understand a college or university, visiting the campus, attending open houses, and speaking with current students and faculty is best. This will allow you to assess whether the campus culture is a good match for you.

According to the BHDP survey, 95% of the respondents believe the campus visit significantly impacts prospective students’ enrollment decisions.

Connect with Alumni 

If you want to improve your decision-making skills, it is better to rely on real experiences rather than rankings. To gain more knowledge about the career paths available after college, networking with alumni, exploring internships, and attending educational seminars are recommended.

A college’s rating is a good way to gauge its reputation; however, it should not be the sole factor considered when choosing a college. Conducting thorough research while considering one’s personal preferences, goals, and fit is important for making an informed decision. 

While rankings can be helpful, a student’s commitment and the opportunities they take advantage of determine their educational journey.

Two students collaborating on a computer and a laptop

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Do Universities Use Rankings To Promote Themselves to Students?

Colleges get more exposure and credibility among prospective students when they use rankings. Higher rankings create a perception of academic excellence and quality for the institution.

What Is a Reliable Source for College Rankings?

Princeton Review, Forbes, and U.S. News & World Report are among the reliable sources for college ranking. However, it depends on individual preferences and specific factors important to the student seeking information.

What Role Does a University’s Rating Have in the Employment Market?

Universities with high scores often have strong connections with companies, which makes it easier to find internships and jobs after graduation. Furthermore, graduates from prestigious colleges are highly trusted by big firms, adding to their enormous market worth.


College rankings help students immensely in deciding the best college for higher studies. However, students must approach these rankings with a critical mindset and consider them as a source of valuable information and not the ultimate selection tool. 

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Affordable Education Master’s Programs

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Bearing educational expenses for students is a tough task, especially in this age of inflation. Let’s say you are an aspiring educator and want to pursue a master’s degree with a limited budget, then finding a cost-efficient program is necessary. 

We have listed the most affordable education master’s programs below based on our findings. It will help you stay within your education budget.

Affordable Education Master’s Programs

Here are some budget-friendly education master’s programs to help you make the right academic choice without increasing your financial burden. 

A teacher in a classroom with children raising their hands

University of Massachusetts

The University of Massachusetts offers an affordable online master’s in education program with licensure. You can complete the program within one year, and the curriculum is designed for individuals who want to teach from grade five to twelve. 

You can choose from concentrations in mathematics and history according to your area of interest. The program offers flexibility through a two-year part-time and a one-year full-time option. If you are a working professional, then choose a part-time option or decide according to your feasibility. 

Most courses in the program are related to teaching mathematics, teaching students with disabilities, and teaching bilingual learners. The tuition cost of this program is $15,060. 

Regis University

Regis University offers a master’s in education for individuals who want to attain secondary education with teacher’s licensure. Earning this degree will only make your licensure valid in Colorado, so keep this in mind and seek employment opportunities accordingly. 

This program contains 40 credit hours. 10 credit hours are for student teaching, 15 credit hours are for core courses, and 15 credit hours are for professional teaching methods. 

Concentration areas are related to business, foreign languages, science, and social studies. Courses are related to behavior management, educational research, and an inclusive environment that will help you build skills as an educator. The tuition cost of this program is $13,177. 

Western Colorado University

Another university that offers a master’s of education program with licensure is Western Colorado University. You have to complete four courses in each semester and spend 24 hours per week. Once your licensure year is completed, you have to complete an additional 16 credit hours to earn the degree.

The program also has some courses related to special education. So, if you want to serve students with disabilities, then earning this degree can prepare you to overcome the challenges of special education teaching. The tuition cost of this program is $19,399. 

Georgia College & State University

Georgia College & State University is one of the most affordable institutes that offers four online master’s education programs. Their programs include a master’s in educational leadership, a master’s in instructional technology, a master’s in library media, and a master’s of education in curriculum and instruction. 

Each program comprises 36 credit hours, and students can complete the degree within two years. The virtual portal provides students access to curriculum theory, library media selection, and other relevant academic materials. 

Furthermore, you have to complete an internship and capstone project to earn the degree. Each program’s curriculum is designed to help students learn about classroom improvement and advanced educational leadership tactics. The annual tuition cost is $4,320. 

Group of students listening to a lecture in class

Evangel University

The Evangel University is a private institution that offers a master’s of education in literacy. The flexible 30-credit program allows students to take two to three courses in one semester. It means if you are a working professional, you can easily manage your coursework and complete the degree within two years. 

Students get access to the LMS Canvas, which helps distance learners to efficiently access the relevant learning material. The courses in the program are related to reading education trends, language development, and literacy issues. By earning a degree, you can get in-depth literacy knowledge that will help you become a competent educator. The annual tuition cost of the program is $4,500.

California Coast University

If you want to enroll in a private institution that offers a cost-effective master’s of education in administration program, then consider California Coast University. This program has 39 credit hours, and there are no specific class timings, which gives students flexibility to plan their daily schedule. 

The university’s portal helps students to create their academic plans and keep track of other relevant activities. Online books and guides for different courses are also available in the portal. 

Most courses in the program are related to the fundamentals of teaching, leadership and technology, and personnel management. The curriculum of every course is designed to prepare individuals to tackle the challenges of modern-day teaching. The annual tuition cost of the program is $4,875. 

Purdue University

Purdue University hosts a master’s in education program at a reasonable cost. It is an online program that offers licensure for special education teachers. If you are already a licensed educator, then you do not have to opt for additional licensure. 

Being a top institute, Purdue University offers a variety of programs that you can explore according to your passion. The tuition cost of this program is $9,992. 

Averett University

Averett University offers an online master’s in education degree. If you are looking for initial teaching licensure in Virginia, then this program can be the right fit for you as it also meets the licensure requirements for other states. 

It can take around 24 to 32 months to complete the degree. The online coursework provides flexibility to students. You will also study special education teaching courses that will positively impact your professional development as an educator. The tuition cost of the program is $11,790.

How to Choose an Affordable Degree

Cost is one of the major concerns of college students. According to a research study, around 3 in 4 American students think that college is difficult to afford.

The following factors can affect the cost of a degree. 

  • Type of institution (private or public)
  • Type of program
  • Modality of program
  • Residency status
  • In-state and out-of-state tuition 
  • Scholarships

Having 15 years of experience in the education sector, Kelsey Ludeman explains that understanding your financial situation is key in order to make the right decision that won’t cause you to go broke: 

“When searching for an affordable education master’s program, consider the financial situation you anticipate being in after graduation. Compare the amount of income you plan to receive with the amount of money to be invested into the degree plan. 

Choosing a program that more closely suits your own personal and professional needs may very likely be worth a moderate tuition, rather than the least expensive. Keep searching until you find the best of both worlds.”

Another report revealed that the average debt that college graduates have is $29,900. Considering this high amount, it is important to consider the important factors for choosing an affordable program. 

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Related Questions

Here are some common questions that students who are looking for an affordable master’s program have. 

What Is the M.Ed. Program in the USA?

The Master’s in Education in the USA is a two-year graduate program. The completion time can vary according to the program’s policies and the personal preferences of individuals. The program is designed for educators who want to build a career in counseling or education leadership. 

What Is the Cheapest Master’s Program in the USA?

Some of the universities that offer cheap master’s programs in the US include Dakota State University, The City University of New York, Alcorn State University, Mississippi, and California State University, Long Beach.

How Much Does a Master’s Cost in the USA for International Students?

The cost of a master’s program in the US depends on the program type, modality of the program, and other factors. The average annual tuition for a bachelor’s in the US ranges from from $8,000 to $35,000 USD. The average annual tuition for a master’s in the US ranges from $10,000 to $35,000. It is advisable for students to do some research beforehand to find the program that suits their budget.


Choosing an affordable education master’s degree can help you manage your education expenses efficiently and become an inspiring educator. You can also serve students with different disabilities by opting to become a special education teacher. By doing this, you can add real value to the lives of many students.

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Fast-Track Your Career: Top 5 Accelerated Online Degrees

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Choosing a traditional degree does not offer affordability and flexibility in saving time and effort. However, our findings suggest that opting for an accelerated program can offer you these benefits.

We have listed the top five accelerated online degrees, along with some of the top online universities to get these degrees.

Top Five Accelerated Online Degrees

Here are the top online accelerated programs. Choosing one of these programs will help you earn your degree earlier than your peers and establish your career.

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Business Administration

One of the most popular online accelerated degrees in business administration. Earning this degree will make you eligible for top managerial-level positions with a good pay scale. 

Employers give preference to individuals with a business administration degree.

Most courses in the program are related to strategic management, finance, project management, and business law. 

You can opt for different career choices with a business administration degree, such as marketing, consultancy, and financial advising. The average annual salary of a business degree holder is $85,178. 


Another good choice for the accelerated program is the degree in education. If you are an aspiring educator, you can pursue a degree in education. You can choose a specialized education program according to your area of interest.

The pay scale in the education field can vary according to the grade that you teach. The average annual salary of a school teacher in the US is $57,933. If you want to opt for a teaching role at the university level, then you must have a relevant master’s degree. It will also make you eligible for a better salary. 

The main courses that you will study for the education degree are related to student psychology, instructional planning, and classroom management. 


The accounting field is growing rapidly and producing lucrative career opportunities for individuals in the insurance, manufacturing, and government sectors. 

Accounting enthusiasts can consider an online accelerated degree in accounting as this field offers rewarding positions. You can explore different career options according to your choice, like financial analyst, accountant, bookkeeper, and budget analyst. 

The core courses that are part of the accounting curriculum are related to taxation, managerial accounting, accounting information systems, and financial management. 

Computer Science

Computer science is one of the top-earning degrees, and it is in huge demand in this technology-driven era. 

Computer geeks can opt for an accelerated degree in computer science. It helps students complete their degrees early and also has a lot to offer for those who want to build a career in technology and computer fields.

The main courses of the program include data structures, cloud computing, operating systems, and programming. 

Criminal Justice

If you want to contribute positively to society by joining law enforcement agencies, consider pursuing an accelerated criminal justice degree. Earning a relevant bachelor’s degree can improve your job prospects for prominent positions. 

As a criminal justice degree holder, you can consider positions of detective, homeland security, federal agent, and police. The average annual salary of criminal justice professionals is $65,006. 

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Top Accelerated Online Universities

Here are some reputable universities that offer accelerated online programs so you can make the right academic choice according to your preference. 

Northwestern State University Of Louisiana

Northwestern State University Of Louisiana offers 38 online accelerated programs. The semesters of these programs are designed to be short and last for only eight weeks. This format is perfectly suited for students who are busy learners and can focus on only one or two courses in a semester. 

The university also offers affordable tuition for accelerated programs. It helps students efficiently manage education expenses. The in-state tuition cost is $8,672, and the out-of-state tuition cost is $19,460. 

Furthermore, they have plenty of national awards, which shows their credibility as a top educational institute. 

Regent University

Regent University is a Christian institute that offers online accelerated programs for students across the globe. Some of their top programs are in leadership and psychology.

Their undergraduate programs follow the 8-week asynchronous format. It allows students to learn at their own pace and manage their studies according to their daily schedules. The presence of competent professors for online programs gives students assurance of top-value education. 

The institute’s emphasis on the accessible and comfortable online learning experience makes it the best choice for students looking to enroll in an accelerated program. 

George Washington University

George Washington University offers various accelerated online programs that help adult learners manage studies according to their convenience. Some of their accelerated programs include educational technology leadership, organizational leadership, and rehabilitation counseling. 

You can pursue an accelerated MBA or BSN degree, depending on your choice. Also, when you receive the degree, there will be no indication of the online degree on your certificate. A good student-to-instructor ratio also positively impacts student learning. 

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Thomas Edison State University

Another reputable institute that you can consider for pursuing the accelerated online program is Thomas Edison State University. The institute’s Thomas Edison Credit by Exam Program is one of the beneficial aspects for students. It helps them receive credits by clearing the exam rather than taking courses. It helps to earn credits quickly and get your career on track faster. 

Even if you are not enrolled at the university, you can sign up for the exam and earn credits. You can later on transfer them to the school of your choice. However, you need to check beforehand whether your chosen school accepts transfer credits or not. 

The university also offers a portfolio assessment option for students. It helps students assess their work experience and compare it to the course material. After reviewing the portfolio, the management can award credits to the students so they can skip courses. 

Benefits of Accelerated Online Degrees

According to a research study, student loan debt in the US increased by 1% in 2022, crossing $1.77 trillion. It shows how expensive education is becoming for students. 

Fortunately, the option of accelerated programs makes education more affordable for students. Some of the benefits of accelerated online degrees are:

  • Save money on tuition 
  • Flexibility of managing your coursework as per your commitments and schedule
  • Transferable credits help you complete your degree early
  • Availability of courses year-round
  • Save your time and effort by pursuing the degree from anywhere

In order to make sure you’re truly benefitting from an online accelerated degree, it’s crucial to make sure that the program is legit. Kelsey Ludeman, an Academic Success Coach at the University of Houston-Downtown, shares her thoughts on this:

“When selecting an accelerated online degree program, always verify the legitimacy of the school and program. Don’t rush the process. Often, if something seems too good to be true, it just might be. You may be cutting corners that will leave you less desirable to employers or less prepared for the job. Check for program accreditation at The Department of Education’s Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs before making any finalized decisions.”

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Related Questions

Here are some common questions that students want to know about while pursuing an accelerated online degree.

Which Degrees Take the Shortest Time?

Associate degrees take the shortest time, last for around two years, and contain 60 credits. The duration of a bachelor’s degree is longer. It can take four years to complete and contains 120 credit hours. You can choose the field of study and program based on your feasibility. 

What Are the Easiest Two-Year Degrees to Get?

Some of the easiest associated degrees include accounting, criminal justice, nursing, business, psychology, childhood education, and general studies. The difficulty level of these degrees can vary according to the demands of the coursework.

Which Degree Has the Highest Duration?

PhD degrees, also known as doctoral degrees, have the longest duration. It can take around four or more years to earn a Ph.D. degree, depending on the course structure of the program that you are pursuing. 


The accelerated degrees mentioned above will help you kickstart your career and gain a competitive advantage over others. Opting for an online accelerated program will save you time, effort, and money and allow you to manage your academic life at your own will.

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The Debate Around the Importance of College Rankings

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The debate around the importance of college rankings still remains an important matter of discussion. College rankings dominate headlines, but do they truly matter? Prospective students grapple with their influence, often questioning their reliability. 

In this article, we will help you understand why college rankings matter. 

The Debate Around the Importance of College Rankings 

College rankings provide an overview of an institution’s performance across various indicators. Typically, these include academic reputation, faculty-to-student ratio, citations per faculty, employer reputation, and international-student ratio. Each ranking body may prioritize these criteria differently, leading to variations in rankings.

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According to the U.S. News & World Report, colleges with a lower faculty-to-student ratio are perceived to offer more personalized and engaging educational experiences. For instance, Princeton University, with a ratio of 5:1, consistently ranks high, underscoring the importance of individualized attention in academic success.

Annually, several authoritative bodies release college rankings, with U.S. News & World Report, QS World University Rankings, and Times Higher Education being among the most recognized. Each employs a unique methodology, contributing to the diverse landscape of college evaluations.

How Rankings Influence University Policies and Priorities

The Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) shows that institutions in the top rankings see a significant increase in international student applications, suggesting that academic reputation plays an important role in attracting prospective students. This correlation emphasizes the weight of rankings in global mobility choices.

Rankings often dictate strategic decisions within universities. Institutions might adjust policies, allocate resources, and tailor programs to improve their standings. This focus can drive enhancements in quality; however, it may also shift attention toward metrics that favor ranking improvements over other priorities.

The Case for College Rankings

For universities, high rankings can significantly enhance visibility and reputation. This recognition attracts prospective students, faculty, and research opportunities, creating a virtuous cycle of improvement and prestige.

This means that rankings offer students a starting point for evaluating potential colleges. They provide a consolidated view of an institution’s strengths and weaknesses, aiding in the comparison and selection process.

  • Comparability Across Institutions: Rankings enable students to compare institutions on a global scale, offering a benchmark for academic quality and resources.
  • Benchmarks for Academic and Research Performance: They serve as indicators of an institution’s research output, innovation, and academic development.
  • Influence on Faculty Recruitment and Student Enrollment: High rankings attract top-tier faculty and a competitive student body, enhancing the learning environment and network opportunities.

Criticism of College Rankings

College rankings often reduce the complex ecosystem of higher education to mere numerical scores. Critics argue this simplification overlooks the nuanced aspects of academic programs, faculty quality, and student support services that are pivotal to educational excellence. 

For instance, Vernon, Balas, and Momani (2018) highlight the limitations of current ranking systems in adequately reflecting research quality and academic performance, suggesting a need for a more comprehensive evaluation framework.

The methodology behind rankings can incentivize universities to manipulate data or focus strategically on metrics at the expense of other important aspects of education. This behavior questions the integrity of the rankings and diverts resources from important academic functions to areas that improve rankings.

  • Pressure on Institutions to Align with Ranking Criteria at the Expense of Mission: Universities might prioritize investment in areas that rankings measure, sometimes sidelining their educational mission or unique strengths that don’t contribute to their rankings.
  • Disparity Between Rankings and the Individual Needs of Students: Rankings often fail to account for the diverse needs of students, overlooking programs that may be more relevant to certain career paths or interests.
  • The Impact on Academic Freedom and Innovation: The focus on rankings can stifle innovation by encouraging conformity to established metrics rather than fostering unique approaches to teaching, research, and community engagement.
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Impact on Students and Institutions

Rankings significantly influence perceptions of educational quality, both among prospective students and the wider public. The Times Higher Education’s Global University Employability Ranking highlights institutions like Caltech for their exceptional graduate employment rates, demonstrating the direct impact of education quality on career success.

Institutions that are highly ranked are often perceived as the “best” choices, impacting students’ decisions. Kelsey Ludeman, an education expert with 15 years of experience in the education sector, explains that just because a college has a high ranking doesn’t mean it’s the right school for you to attend:

“It’s true that highly ranked colleges can hold a powerful presence on a CV, employ top-notch instructors, and offer valuable professional connections. However, it’s important to look into why the school received the high ranking. If the award was based on factors that won’t impact you, then that school may be less desirable to you than you might think.”

University rankings, when combined with comprehensive and standardized indicators, can provide valuable feedback for research improvement and academic choice.

They drive strategic decisions within institutions, from resource allocation to program development, often aiming to improve their position in future rankings. This strategy, however, may not align with improving educational outcomes or student support services.

  • Decision-making Based on Rankings Versus Personal Fit: Students may choose institutions based on rankings rather than factors that indicate a good personal fit, such as program offerings, campus culture, and safety, or support services.
  • Rankings’ Role in Perpetuating Inequalities in Higher Education: High rankings often go to institutions with significant resources, potentially reinforcing educational inequalities by prioritizing already popular universities.
  • The Global Perspective on College Rankings and International Student Mobility: Rankings play an important role in international students’ decisions, with many opting for higher-ranked institutions with the belief that it will enhance their career prospects despite potential mismatches in educational goals.

Alternatives to College Rankings

As the debate around the importance of college rankings continues, the academic community and prospective students alike are turning towards more holistic and meaningful ways to evaluate the quality of education. These emerging trends focus on the broader aspects of educational experiences, emphasizing outcomes and competencies over prestige and reputation.

  • Portfolio and Competency-Based Assessments: Traditional grades are being complemented or replaced by detailed portfolios and competency-based assessments. For example, the Lumina Foundation has advocated for competency-based education as a way to better prepare students for the workforce.
  • Network Strength and Employment Outcomes: Graduates’ ability to secure employment and advance in their careers is becoming a critical measure of educational quality. The LinkedIn Alumni Tool, for instance, offers insights into the career trajectories of institutions’ alumni, enabling prospective students to assess a university’s real-world value.
  • Institutional Focus on Student Engagement and Success Metrics: The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) provides data on educational practices that are associated with high levels of learning and development. Institutions that score well on NSSE prioritize collaborative learning, student-faculty interaction, and enriching educational experiences.

These trends represent a shift towards more transparent and relevant criteria for assessing the quality of higher education. By focusing on what students learn, how they apply their knowledge, and their success after graduation, these alternatives offer a more comprehensive view of educational quality than traditional rankings can provide.

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Frequently Asked Questions 

How Do Individual Academic Programs Within Universities Fare in Rankings and Do These Have a Separate Evaluation System?

Yes, individual academic programs often have their own ranking systems, based on specialized criteria relevant to each field. These specialized rankings provide a more focused evaluation of a program’s quality, faculty expertise, research opportunities, and career outcomes for graduates.

What Role Do Alumni Success and Satisfaction Play in College Rankings and Are There Metrics That Capture This Aspect?

Alumni success and satisfaction impact rankings indirectly, influencing reputation scores and employment metrics. High alumni achievement and contentment enhance a school’s reputation, attracting more resources and better students, which can improve its rankings.

How Can Students Balance the Weight of College Rankings With Personal Fit and Educational Goals When Choosing a University?

Prioritize personal and academic goals over rankings when selecting a university. Focusing on fit provides a more fulfilling and aligned educational experience. This potentially leads to better personal and professional outcomes than rankings alone might suggest.


While college rankings are beneficial for visibility, they may oversimplify education quality. A balanced approach, recognizing both merits and drawbacks, paves the way for evolving evaluation methods that more accurately reflect educational excellence and student success.

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Affordable Graduate Schools

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Navigating the challenge of finding affordable graduate schools amidst rising tuition costs and limited financial aid options is daunting. 

In this guide, we’ll provide actionable strategies to identify affordable graduate schools that match your budget and academic aspirations, ensuring you pursue your advanced degree without accruing excessive debt.

Five Best Affordable Grad Schools

Here are the affordable graduate schools offering reputed graduate and postgraduate programs.

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Concordia University, St. Paul

In 2023, 130 years after the school’s founding in St. Paul, Minnesota, Concordia University introduced CSP Global, an online learning hub offering fully online degrees, tutoring, and career services support.

At CSP Global, you can choose from nearly 60 online programs, including over 30 master’s programs. Online courses at CSP feature eight-week asynchronous classes.

Most U.S.-based online students pay a standard tuition rate regardless of state, and CSP programs charge no hidden fees.

  • Graduate Tuition: $395-$625 per credit
  • 95% Percentage of Grad Students Enrolled in Distance Education
  • Graduation Rate: 62%

Key Features

  • Flexibility Rating: Learn on your schedule
  • School Type: Private
  • Application Fee: Free
  • Online Enrollment Options: Accelerated, part-time, full-time

Clarks Summit University

Clarks Summit University (CSU) was founded in 1932 as a Bible seminary. Today, CSU carries on its Baptist traditions at its Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania, campus while adding more than 50 online programs, including 15+ master’s programs.

CSU’s online programs feature five eight-week course sessions each year, allowing students to complete an online master’s program in two years. The courses run online and asynchronously, except for the online MS in counseling, which includes three one-week campus residencies. Most online learners, except MBA students, pay a $50 student services fee per course.

  • Graduate Tuition: $317 to $620 per credit
  • 96% Percentage of Grad Students Enrolled in Distance Education
  • Graduation Rate: 51%

Key Features

  • Flexibility Rating: Learn on your schedule
  • School Type: Private
  • Application Fee: $25
  • Online Enrollment Options: Accelerated, part-time, full-time

Columbia International University

Since its founding in 1923, Columbia International University (CIU) has grown to offer dozens of programs at various degree levels, including 24 online master’s programs.

The university also offers several graduate certificates. CIU boasts an intimate 10-to-1 student-to-professor ratio. Online classes run asynchronously over six or eight weeks, allowing some learners to graduate within 18 months. Along with tuition, CIU charges a technology fee between $300 and $600 each semester.

  • Graduate Tuition: $520-$605 per credit
  • 100% Percentage of Grad Students Enrolled in Distance Education
  • Graduation Rate: 70%

Key Features

  • Flexibility Rating: Learn on your schedule
  • School Type: Private
  • Application Fee: $25
  • Online Enrollment Options: Accelerated, part-time, full-time

California State University-Dominguez Hills

Consider California State University, Dominguez Hills’ online master’s programs if you want to advance your career as a nurse, business leader, or quality assurance expert. Other fully online degrees include systems engineering and imaging sciences. Admission requirements vary by program. 

CSUDH charges the same tuition rates regardless of your residency status, potentially saving you thousands on your education.

Program websites also feature links to the latest private merit scholarships. Some are designed for California residents, women, or members of a minority group.

  • Graduate Tuition: $7,176- $16,680 per year
  • 94% Percentage of Grad Students Enrolled in Distance Education
  • Graduation Rate: 79.4%

Key Features:

  • Flexibility Rating: Learn on your schedule
  • Acceptance Rate: 90%
  • Application Fee: $70
  • Online Enrollment Options: Part-time, Full-time
  • School Type: Public
Adult students sitting on a classroom

Northern Illinois University

Northern Illinois University (NIU) opened as a teacher’s college in DeKalb, Illinois, in 1899. Since then, it has expanded to seven colleges, more than 15,000 students, and over 170 programs, including 15 online master’s programs.

With NIU’s eight-week courses, full-time online learners can graduate in as little as 18 months. While tuition varies by program, in-state and out-of-state learners pay the same rate.

  • Graduate Tuition: $445 to $905 per credit
  • 58% Percentage of Grad Students Enrolled in Distance Education
  • Graduation Rate: 58%

Key Features:

  • Flexibility Rating: Learn around your 9-to-5
  • School Type: Public
  • Application Fee: $60
  • Online Enrollment Options: Part-time, full-time

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Affordable Graduate School

Choosing an affordable graduate school involves carefully considering various factors to make sure you receive a quality education without excessive financial burden. Kelsey Ludeman, an Academic Success Coach at the University of Houston-Downtown, shares key insights that she tells students when they’re looking at more affordable schools:

“When considering affordable graduate schools, always look into why they are so affordable. Degree programs, school location, and campus culture are key factors to consider. Be sure that you’re not cutting corners on quality and accreditation. Be wary of red flags such as heavy marketing and recruitment. As a general rule, the higher the status of the school, the less commercialized it needs to be.”

Tuition Costs

Comparing graduate education tuition rates requires considering base tuition and any additional fees, as tuition is a significant expense. Public universities normally have lower tuition rates than out-of-state or private institutions for in-state residents. Additionally, some programs offer flat-rate tuition or reduced rates for online or part-time programs, which can contribute to affordability.

Financial Aid Opportunities

The University of Michigan’s in-state students paid $17,230 for tuition and fees in 2023-24, while out-of-state students paid $58,070. Researching financial aid opportunities at graduate schools, including scholarships, grants, fellowships, and assistantships, is important for reducing tuition costs. Merit-based scholarships and need-based aid can help, while assistantships often offer tuition waivers or stipends.


The cost of living near a graduate school significantly affects affordability, with expenses like housing, transportation, food, and healthcare. While some schools offer lower tuition rates, high-cost areas may offset potential savings. Exploring more affordable options can help reduce financial strain.

Tips for Saving Money on Graduate School Expenses

Here are some tips on saving money on graduate school expenses:

Apply for Financial Aid Early

Early application for financial aid, including the FAFSA is needed to maximize graduate school expenses and secure eligibility for various grants, loans, and work-study programs. 

Consider Online Programs

The number of students registered in online learning increased from 14.4% in 2015 to 17.6% in 2019, making online graduate programs attractive for cost-conscious students. They offer lower tuition costs and flexibility and eliminate expenses like relocation and commuting.

However, it’s important to research the reputation and accreditation of online programs and check that they align with academic and career goals, and choose reputable institutions with a proven track record. The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2023 are the largest and most assorted university rankings, comprising 1,799 universities from 104 countries and regions.

Part-Time Enrollment

Part-time enrollment in graduate programs can help manage tuition costs over time, allowing students to balance work, family, and commitments. Flexible scheduling options and flexible classes are available. However, consider your financial situation and academic goals before committing.

Explore Employer Benefits

Employers frequently reimburse tuition, reducing costs and possibly aiding career progression for employees pursuing further education. It’s important to check with your employer for eligibility requirements.

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Related Questions

Can You Get a Quality Education From an Affordable Graduate School?

Yes, you can receive a quality education from an affordable graduate school. Affordable graduate schools offer high-quality academic programs with dedicated faculty, smaller classes, personalized attention, and hands-on learning experiences. Research accreditation and reputation to make sure that the programs meet educational and professional goals.

How Can You Find Scholarships for Graduate School?

Research databases like Fastweb, Scholarships.com, and the College Board’s Scholarship Search for graduate school scholarships. Additionally, explore scholarships from professional organizations, community foundations, and graduate schools for merit-based aid.

Are Online Graduate Programs Cheaper Than Traditional Programs?

Online graduate programs typically have lower tuition costs due to lower overhead expenses and eliminating the need for campus relocation. However, it would be best to consider factors like technology fees, course materials, and potential residency or travel expenses.


Choosing an affordable graduate school requires careful consideration of factors such as tuition costs, financial aid opportunities, and program reputation. You can pursue advanced education without breaking the bank by exploring different options and maximizing available resources.

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How to Use College Rankings to Choose Your School

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Are you overwhelmed by the plethora of college options available? Fear not – college rankings offer a guiding light in the maze of higher education choices. In this guide, we will discuss how you can utilize college rankings effectively. From deciphering methodologies to aligning priorities, learn how to use college rankings to choose your school wisely. 

How to Use College Rankings to Choose Your School

College rankings are important for students to choose the right school for their academic and career goals. Various methodologies are used for ranking colleges, considering factors such as academic reputation, faculty resources, and student selectivity. Graduation and retention rates, financial resources, and alumni contributions are key considerations in these rankings.

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Every year, U.S. News Best Colleges, Forbes America’s Top Colleges, and Princeton Review’s The Best 387 Colleges launch the college ranking lists. Ranking systems assess institutions on campus diversity, student engagement, and extracurricular offerings, providing a comprehensive evaluation of quality and student experience. This enables informed decisions about education and career paths for prospective students.

Some ranking systems prioritize student outcomes, such as post-graduation employment rates and salary earnings. When evaluating college rankings, consider factors like academic reputation, faculty resources, and student selectivity. National rankings generally assess an institution’s quality and reputation across various areas.

Factors Considered in Rankings

  • Academic reputation
  • Faculty resources
  • Student selectivity
  • Graduation rates
  • Post-graduation outcomes

Different Ranking Methodologies

Understanding College Ranking Data

Interpreting ranking data is important for making informed decisions about selecting a school. It involves understanding the methodologies used by ranking organizations, their evaluation criteria, and comparing them with individual preferences. This process helps students understand aspects of academic institutions like faculty resources, student selectivity, and reputation.

Considering rankings’ relevance aligns personal values with long-term goals, aiding in selecting colleges best suited to one’s educational journey. When evaluating ranking data, it’s important to consider the following factors.

Understanding Methodologies

Different ranking organizations use varying methodologies to assess colleges and universities. Some rankings prioritize factors such as academic reputation, faculty resources, student discrimination, and graduation and post-graduation outcomes.

Others may emphasize student engagement, diversity, or campus sustainability in their evaluations.

Take the time to review the methodology of each ranking you’re considering. Look for transparency in collecting and weighing data to ensure the ranking is comprehensive and objective.

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Analyzing Specific Metrics

College rankings include academic reputation, faculty resources, student selectivity, graduation rates, and post-graduation outcomes.

It’s important to consider specific metrics used within rankings to understand how each factor contributes to the assessment of the institution.

Providing links to examples of specific metrics within rankings can help prospective students gain insight into the criteria used to evaluate schools.

Looking Beyond the Ranking

While the ranking of a college or university can provide a general indication of its quality and reputation, it’s recommended to look beyond the numbers. Kelsey Ludeman, an Academic Success Coach at the University of Houston-Downtown explains,

“When taking college rankings into account, it’s important to strike a balance between public rank and personal preference. It’s easy to get swept up in the pressure of adding a big-name university to your resume, but it’s vital to take a holistic approach when selecting the right school.

In addition to ranking, take into account the campus location, program criteria, student support resources, and of course, tuition costs. Universities are ranked based on a variety of different factors, so look into how each rating was received. If the criteria for the top rank of a particular school doesn’t actually benefit you personally, it may be best to keep looking.”

Focus on specific criteria that are relevant to your academic and personal goals. For example, if research opportunities are important to you, consider rankings that emphasize faculty research productivity and funding.

Reflect on what matters most to you in a college or university experience and use rankings as one of several tools to evaluate schools that meet your criteria.

Utilizing Rankings Effectively

Since the 1960s, colleges have significantly increased their graduation rates, awarding more Bachelor’s, Master’s, and doctoral degrees annually. Studies suggest that by 2023, nearly five million higher education degrees will be earned annually in the U.S.

When choosing college rankings to select your school, it’s important to utilize them effectively to assure they align with your preferences and priorities. Here are some strategies for using rankings effectively:

Personalized Ranking System

Develop a list of criteria important to you in a college or university, such as academic programs, campus culture, location, extracurricular opportunities, and financial considerations.

Use this list to create your ranking system, assigning weights to each criterion based on its importance to you. For example, if research opportunities are a top priority, you may put more emphasis on rankings based on faculty research productivity and funding.

A man holding a book in a library, surrounded by shelves

Combine Rankings Resources

While rankings provide valuable information, they should be just one of several factors you consider when choosing a school.

Supplement rankings with other resources such as campus visits, virtual tours, informational interviews with current students and faculty, and student reviews on platforms like Niche or College Confidential.

These additional resources can offer insights into campus life, academic culture, and student satisfaction that rankings alone may not capture.

Flexibility in Decision Making

Remember that rankings are not definitive indicators of a school’s suitability for you. They are one tool among many to help you make an informed decision.

Remain open to schools that may not rank highly, yet excel in specific areas important to you.

Be willing to adjust your priorities and criteria based on new information and insights gathered throughout the decision-making process.

Advantages of Using School Rankings

Before diving into the advantages of using rankings when selecting a college, it’s important to understand the significance of this process. College rankings play an important role in the decision-making process for prospective students, offering valuable insights into the academic reputation, student experience, and quality of institutions.

College rankings offer several advantages. They are the primary source for selecting the college. Here are some ways college rankings help students.

  • Rankings help students find institutions that match their preferences, such as liberal arts colleges, political activism colleges, or top-tier business programs.
  • Students refer to rankings to compare colleges, aiding in narrowing down choices by assessing each institution’s standing.
  • Rankings provide valuable insight into the reputation of colleges, which can be influential for both graduate school admissions and future employment opportunities.
  • Reviewing rankings helps students understand colleges’ applicant profiles, enabling tailored applications to enhance competitiveness for admission.
  • Rankings assist students in pinpointing colleges that excel in their desired areas of study or extracurricular activities. Additionally, they highlight areas where colleges may have weaknesses or room for improvement.
Two women in graduation gowns hugging each other

Frequently Asked Questions

How Often Do College Rankings Change?

College rankings undergo annual updates, typically coinciding with new data releases or adjustments in methodology. For instance, the U.S. News & World Report unveils its rankings each fall, while other organizations may update rankings periodically throughout the year. These updates assure students can access the most current and relevant information when making college decisions.

Are Higher-Ranked Colleges Always Better?

Higher-ranked colleges boast prestigious programs and faculty, yet they often come with higher costs and more competitive admissions. When evaluating colleges, students should prioritize program offerings, campus culture, location, and financial considerations. Ultimately, the “best” college varies for each individual based on their unique goals and preferences.

How Are College Rankings Determined?

College rankings are determined using various methodologies that assess academic reputation, faculty resources, student selectivity, graduation rates, and post-graduation outcomes. Understanding how to use college rankings to choose your school involves researching the methodology behind each ranking to assure it aligns with your priorities and goals.


College rankings provide valuable information in the search process, using them wisely is the key. By understanding the criteria, you can leverage these rankings as a compass to find the ideal college for academic, social, and personal success. 

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Quality Over Quantity: Small Colleges That Punch Above Their Weight

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It can be disheartening for students who cannot afford to attend a large public university. Choosing a small college can lower your degree cost and offer additional benefits, although it can be tough to find one that fits your requirements. 

We’re sharing some of the best small colleges that punch above their weight and focus on quality over quantity. 

Quality Over Quantity: Small Colleges That Punch Above Their Weight

Here are some reputable small colleges that offer high-quality education and can be the right choice for your academic career.

Front of a campus building with grassy area

University of Valley Forge

The University of Valley Forge is one of the finest small institutes that offers ten associate’s, forty bachelor’s, and six master’s degrees. It also offers transfer-friendly programs that allow students to complete degrees early. Their student-to-teacher ratio is 12:1. 

You can participate in different on-campus activities, including community service, student-led clubs, and intramural sports. If you are an adventure freak, then you can also enjoy traveling through study abroad programs and mission trips. 

University of Jamestown

Another top institute is the University of Jamestown, which has a student-to-teacher ratio of 12:1. This small college offers internships, mentoring with experienced faculty, and quality programs. They have around fifty undergraduate, three master’s, and one doctorate program. 

Athletics is one of the most integral parts of campus life, and you will have the opportunity to participate in various co-curricular activities. Students who have graduated from college are eligible for good employment opportunities in their respective fields. 

Kentucky Christian University

By enrolling at Kentucky Christian University, you can make the most out of the rigorous academic and out-of-class activities. You can choose any undergraduate degree related to business, nursing, and biological sciences. 

If you want to attain a high-level master’s degree, then you can consider programs related to education, nursing, and religion. Spiritual and athletic activities allow students to stay physically and mentally healthy. 

Shorter University

Shorter University is a liberal arts university with a student-to-teacher ratio of 14:1. It offers 40 bachelor’s programs and several master’s programs, which you can consider according to your interest. 

Since it is a Christian university, students are expected to follow the biblical principles in their campus and academic life. You can also participate in different activities, such as joining student organizations and getting involved in intramural sports. Furthermore, you can participate in community services to serve different communities and to get practical experiences. 

Lincoln College

Lincoln College is a diverse college that offers a variety of programs. It has a student-to-teacher ratio of 14:1. It also offers online degrees to provide flexibility and fulfill the needs of students with different requirements. 

Apart from academic activities, you can also explore 22 student organizations and participate in athletic programs. Doing this will help you stay active and positively impact your academic performance. The college also offers a free shuttle service every week for students, which makes traveling around the campus easy. 

A student sitting at a desk, focused on writing, holding a pencil in their hand

Brescia University

Another small college is Brescia University, which has a student-to-teacher ratio of 13:1 and follows Ursuline principles and tradition. The success of students is the major priority of the institute, and the courses focus on their professional and personal upbringing. 

With around 50 undergraduate majors, you have plenty of options to choose the program. The courses are designed to provide hands-on learning to students. Some of the prominent programs are related to management, social work, and business administration. The college also offers opportunities to study abroad.

Brewton Parker College

The Brewton Parker College offers liberal arts education with a student-to-teacher ratio of 13:1. They have two campuses that offer a wide range of programs. The main campus of the college is Mt. Vernon, which is a residential campus. 

On the other hand, you can only study for a bachelor’s degree on the Newnan campus, which is the second campus. Its programs are related to business administration, general studies, and ministry. You can also attend classes at night at the Newnan campus according to your schedule. 

The small class sizes give students the benefit of personalized interaction with professors. It significantly impacts the learning process of students. 

College of St. Mary

As a Catholic female, if you are looking for a small college, then the College of St. Mary can be the perfect choice for you. It is an all-women Catholic college with a student-to-teacher ratio of 10:1. 

The institute offers various degrees related to health and human services, legal studies, business, and arts and sciences. Also, the mothers’ living and learning program is offered to single mothers. The purpose of this program is to make education accessible for single mothers. 

A variety of on-campus sports activities help students to maintain a healthy lifestyle. From basketball to soccer to swimming, you can participate in different sports. You can also join a student organization that works for special interests. 

Columbia College

Columbia College has 1380 students with a student-to-teacher ratio of 13:1. It is a liberal arts institution that offers undergraduate programs. Students can also get scholarships and financial assistance at Columbia College, which makes education affordable. 

Experiential learning opportunities allow students to gain hands-on experience in different fields. The college has a good employment rate, and most of the graduates work in good positions in different industries. 

Pomona College

Pomona College has 1,791 students and a community of scholars, scientists, and entrepreneurs. Due to good facilities, around 90% of students prefer living on campus.

Kelsey Ludeman, an Academic Success Coach at the University of Houston-Downtown, highly recommends this college: 

“If you’re looking for a high-quality experience at a small school that’s big on prestige, look no further than Pomona College. This liberal arts school, located in sunny California, hosts an impressive liberal arts curriculum, quality faculty, robust campus life, holistic student support, and an active alumni presence.”

With excellent academic opportunities and a welcoming community, Pomona College is one of the best places to study in the small college category. 

Three women in graduation gowns smiling for a photo

Top Factors for Choosing a College

Here are some main factors that you must consider when choosing a college of any size. It can help you better assess whether a particular institute fits your requirements and budget or not. Those factors are:

  • Distance and location from home
  • Cost of the program
  • Class size, as it can hugely impact the learning experience
  • Academic services and employment rate of college graduates
  • Safety measures
  • Internship opportunities

Affordability is one of the major concerns of students. Around 92% of college students are not able to afford their educational expenses.

Another research study shows that around 38% of students do not have money to cover college expenses. That is why you must focus on the cost of the program while choosing the college.

Related Questions

Here are some common questions for those who prefer quality over quantity and want to choose a small college to pursue a degree.

What Is the World’s Best Small University?

Some of the world’s best small universities are Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), South Korea, Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, Italy, and California Institute of Technology (Caltech), United States. 

Which Is the Smallest College Campus in the United States?

Deep Springs College is a private college in Deep Springs, California. Its graduate enrollment is less than 50, and it is one of the smallest higher education institutions in the United States.

What Are the Lowest-Rated Colleges in America?

Some of the lowest-rated colleges in America include Mitchell University, Grambling State University, Yeshivas Novominsk, Shaw University, and Lindsey Wilson University.


Earning a degree from a small college can still help you land a rewarding job, as small colleges also offer quality education. You just need to choose the right college based on your affordability and other requirements that will significantly impact your professional and academic life. 

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Top 10 Sustainable College Campuses in the US

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If you are a student in the US and a green lifestyle enthusiast, you must consider the institute’s policies on sustainability while searching for a college. However, it can be mentally exhausting to find an eco-friendly institute with so many college options across the country.

To avoid this hectic research process, check out the top 10 sustainable college campuses in the US that we have listed below. 

Top 10 Sustainable College Campuses in the US

With so many college campuses available, finding the most sustainable college can be time-consuming and frustrating. Below are the most sustainable college campuses that we have discovered. Choosing from these options will positively impact your academic career.

Aerial view of the University of Virginia campus with historic buildings and lush greenery

University of New Hampshire

The University of New Hampshire is among the few universities that offer a dual major in sustainability. The institute has made efforts for sustainability as they have focused on waste management, sustainable buildings, and energy efficiency. 

The institute has certified LEED buildings, which include one LEED silver and two LEED gold buildings. They also have a solid climate action plan to make campuses carbon-neutral by 2050. 

Some sustainability-oriented courses offered at the University of New Hampshire are:

  • Environmental conservation
  • Fundamentals of environmental sustainability 
  • Natural resource economics
  • Sustainability in Action

We connected with Kelsey Ludeman, an Academic Success Coach at the University of Houston-Downtown, about her thoughts on sustainable college campuses and what her top pick would be:

 “The University of New Hampshire earns my top spot, with the highest rating by The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System. UNH is recognized for their usage of 100% self-generated energy, 4-star certified green dining, and in-depth program offerings.”

Ludeman continued to share that this university has “an impressive catalog of preservation-focused degree paths,” which is also something to look for if you want to align both your ethics and career goals.

Cornell University

Cornell University is committed to environmental sustainability, which is also reflected in its education system. The institute’s efforts regarding sustainability deserve special appreciation as they have focused on different areas, including sustainable transport, organic food, solar energy, fossil fuel use reduction, and waste reduction. 

They have a good climate action plan in place that aims to reduce emissions and become completely carbon-neutral by 2035. Furthermore, the university also has a platinum ranking with the AASHE STARS program. 

Some sustainability courses offered at Cornell University are:

  • Sustainability leadership
  • Conservation oceanography
  • Environmental and resource economics
  • Bioenergy systems

University of California, Davis

Another sustainable college that you can consider is the University of California, Davis. The institute is known to be a green university, and it was ranked third in the rankings of UI GreenMetric World University. Their efforts in fighting climate change and achievements in sustainability have made them one of the most sustainable colleges in the US. 

The college has a 100-acre botanical garden, which is specifically devoted to trees and plants. It was built in 1936, and the trees are suitable for the Mediterranean climate. 

If you want to study greenery at the University of California, Davis, you can consider different programs related to:

  • Evolutionary biology
  • Plant biology
  • Entomology
  • Agricultural economics

Stanford University

Stanford University aims to implement a sustainability model in every aspects of campus life. They have made efforts to transform their campus into an eco-friendly place by focusing on water, sustainable buildings, waste management, and by taking energy-efficiency initiatives. 

The institute has also taken steps to promote education related to sustainability and minimize the carbon footprint. They have three LEED-certified buildings, which shows their dedication to sustainability. 

Some relevant courses that you can study at Stanford are:

  • Global warming
  • Global and biological change
  • Sustainability leadership
  • Environmental systems
  • Environment and Energy
Rooftop with solar panels

Emory University 

Another sustainable college in the US that you must know about is Emory University. It is known as one of the greenest institutes in the US. Washington Post, Princeton Review, and other credible platforms have acknowledged their outstanding efforts for sustainability. 

With LEED-certified buildings, the buildings of their campuses have an environmentally friendly design. The presence of trees, open spaces, and natural beauty makes a valuable addition to the campus.

College of the Atlantic

College of the Atlantic was the first institute to become carbon-neutral in 2007. They engage students in every aspect of sustainability and raise awareness about sustainability and climate action.

From green buildings to solar energy and organic food to water conservation, they focus on different practices to make their campus eco-friendly. The institute also follows green remodeling practices to maintain the sustainability of buildings. 

Some of the relevant courses which you can study here are:

  • Sustainable methods
  • Mathematics and physics of sustainable energy
  • Land use planning
  • Climate justice

Brown University

Brown University is not like a typical urban campus as it has huge green space. With their devotion to sustainability, they have some primary goals, which include:

  • Reduce energy use of the university 
  • Positively contribute to a healthier and cleaner environment
  • Minimize negative impacts that can affect the environment in any way

The university has minimized its energy-related carbon footprint to 27.4%, a big achievement. The interconnected green spaces also positively impact students’ mental health and allow them to enjoy their time on campus.

Arizona State University

Arizona State University aims to implement sustainable solutions and reduce carbon footprint. They also focus on zero waste practices, sustainable buildings and transportation, and solar energy. Additionally, they also have LEED-certified buildings and environmental research centers. 

Some sustainability-centered courses that you can study at Arizona State University are:

  • Ecology 
  • Biological systems
  • Wildlife management and wildlife ecology
  • Ecosystem planning

University of Colorado, Boulder 

A happy student sitting on a green grass with his laptop open

The University of Colorado, Boulder, has integrated sustainability into every aspects of college life on campus. Their notable efforts related to eco-friendly solutions, sustainability projects, and research facilities show their devotion and care for the environment. 

The college has LEED-certified buildings, which are of the Gold, Silver, and Platinum categories. Some of the sustainability-focused courses that you can study at the University of Colorado, Boulder, are:

  • Energy Engineering
  • Energy policy project
  • Environmental law and natural resources

University of Miami

With a great interest in eco-friendly practices, the University of Miami aims to use 100% waste and renewable energy by 2042. Some of their prominent efforts in this regard include sustainability research, sustainability-oriented education, solar panels, and green roofs. 

According to reports, the college has 1.2 million square feet of LEED-certified buildings. Some relevant courses which you can consider studying at the college are:

  • Health and environment
  • Environmental policy
  • Economics of natural resources
  • Sustainable business
  • Sustainable development

Importance of Sustainability 

Sustainability holds special significance for preserving natural resources like air and water on our planet. By developing a sustainable planet, we can build sustainable ways of living. It will help to minimize pollution and protect habitats such as animals and plants.

The important aspect of sustainability also includes sustainable business practices. It makes a positive impact on people and communities when companies and governments work together to reduce fossil fuels and gas emissions.

Nowadays, companies across the globe have also started taking sustainability seriously. According to a statistical study, around 59% of companies are now using sustainable and recycled materials. It is helping to reduce emissions and making this planet a better place to live. 

A student's view of a green school campus

Related Questions

Here are some common questions that most students who want to study sustainability or in a sustainable college have in their minds. 

Where Is the Best Place to Study Sustainability?

Some top places that you can consider for studying sustainability are the University of California, Berkeley, US, the University of Toronto, Canada, and the University of British Columbia, Canada. You must consider your budget and requirements before applying to any of these universities. 

Does Harvard Have a Sustainability Program?

Yes, Harvard has a sustainability graduate program that prepares individuals for the relevant top positions. Their quality coursework helps students to develop practical and innovative solutions to overcome climate change challenges. 

Which Country Is Leading in Sustainability?

Denmark is the leading country in sustainability. They have a better environmental performance index than other nations, which makes them the most sustainable country. 


The universities mentioned above offer quality sustainability-focused programs and courses. Also, they have implemented the best eco-friendly practices, which makes their campuses an ideal place for students to study and learn. It positively impacts their mental well-being and prepares them to contribute to the betterment of the environment. 

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20 Colleges That Offer Free Laptops or iPads for Online Students [2024 Guide]

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Without access to reliable technology, pursuing an online degree can become a significant challenge, hindering academic success and limiting opportunities. This guide helps you choose the online colleges that offer laptops for free or discounted rates.

Colleges That Offer Free Laptops

Many of the programs on our list that are providing free or discounted laptops are specifically for online or hybrid learning, but that is not across the board.  Some of the online programs on the list give students a personal device specifically for the time the student is enrolled, but others allow participants to keep the technology even after the program is complete. 

You can find free laptop programs at institutions like Bethel University, Chatham University, College University, Dakota State University, Delaware State University, and Duke University Global Health Institute. These initiatives include pre-installed software and technical support, ensuring a seamless educational experience. 

By eliminating the financial barrier of acquiring a laptop, such programs open doors for students from diverse backgrounds, fostering an inclusive and equitable learning environment by lowering the cost of an education.

SchoolDevices OfferedRequirements
Bethel UniversityChromebook with touchscreenFull-time students
Chatham UniversityMacBook AirFull-time students with a usage fee
Dakota State UniversityDell Latitude 7440Incoming first-year students
Delaware State UniversityiPad ProStudents and faculty
Duke University Global Health InstituteiPadStudents in the Global Health Institute program
Full Sail UniversityMacBook ProStudents with tech fees
Indiana State UniversityLaptopPell Grant-eligible, full-time traditional students
Johnson C. Smith UniversityiPad or laptopEligible students, Metropolitan College students
Moravian CollegeiPad and MacBook ProIncoming freshmen
Northwest Missouri State UniversityHP Probook 440 G7 NotebookUndergrads (12+ credits), Grad students (9+ credits)
Rochester CollegeiPad or MacBook ProIncoming freshmen, transfer students (29 credits or fewer)
Saint Mary’s University of MinnesotaiPadUndergraduate students
Seton Hill UniversityMacBook AirIncoming freshmen, specific graduate programs
Southern Nazarene UniversityLaptop (discounted rate)Full-time and part-time students
St. John’s UniversityLaptopParticipants in academic computing initiative
University of Minnesota-CrookstonLaptopFull-time and part-time students
Wake Forest UniversityLaptop with WakeWareStudents receiving financial aid
Wentworth Institute of TechnologyLaptop based on majorIncoming full-time students
Western Kentucky UniversityRefurbished Apple laptopStudents with 40+ hours of community service
Widener UniversityLaptopRobotics and engineering students

This webpage may mention the possibility of free laptop programs offered by various educational institutions. However, please note that the inclusion of any school on this page does not guarantee or imply a free laptop offer. The availability and terms of laptop programs are subject to change and may vary between institutions. For the most accurate information, please consult with schools directly.

1. Bethel University 

Bethel University

Bethel University (one of the best online colleges in Indiana) was officially created in 1847 in McLemoresville, Tennessee. It was originally known as Bethel Seminary. Though it’s no longer a seminary, it has maintained its Christian foundation and values. 

Now, they have five campuses and extensive online programming, where the technology comes into play. The school’s affordable connectivity program offers every full-time student a free Chromebook with a touch screen. This is kind of like a laptop and iPad in one. 

Each student will be shipped their Chromebook directly, or they can opt to pick it up at the New Student Orientation before classes start. 

  • All of the Chromebooks will be loaded with Moodle and Google Drive to make it easy for students to participate in coursework using their equipment. 
  • The machines will be stocked with the Microsoft Office 360 Suite. On staff is a capable IT team ready to offer support to navigate the system or help problem solve issues like battery life or software updates.

2. Chatham University

Chatham University

Chatham University has existed since 1869 and has learned to incorporate the cutting edge into its classrooms. As part of their enrollment costs, each student pays a fee of $1,335. 

Because each student has the same technology, they are streamlined and incorporated into the coursework of most classes. When classes need to be canceled, these personal computers make it easy to move class sessions to the online format.

Several things come out of that program, including a personal MacBook Air for each student and a four-year AppleCare warranty. Participants will receive their new computer at their initial student orientation. 

  • Each learner will also receive four years of accidental damage protection through SafeWare, which includes theft protection. There is an on-site help desk where students receive their computers for servicing. 
  • An exciting gift with each computer is a Chatham-labeled backpack where the laptops can be securely transported. 

3. Dakota State University

Dakota State University

Dakota State University is located in South Dakota and offers a wide variety of classes that are delivered entirely online. It is also one of our top online colleges in South Dakota. It believes in equal access to learning and technology, so each incoming freshman is provided with a free laptop.

DSU’s goal for giving each student a laptop is to foster a greener and mostly paperless academic experience. Faculty members incorporate this technology in their planning and delivery of curricula. 

The program allows students to take notes using digital handwriting that will be directly added to the professor’s digital presentations, record audio in class, submit and receive class assignments, and collaborate with students through a secure server, among many other possibilities.

  • The computer they are given is a Dell Latitude 7440, which will be pre-configured with all of the installed licensed software students need to be successful at DSU. 
  • Each computer will have universal access to wired networks and secure wireless connections to be used throughout the campus.

4. Delaware State University

Delaware State University

Delaware State University formed a partnership with Apple Computer in 2018, and the result is the provision of an iPad Pro for students and faculty members. This is part of a digital learning initiative, and DSU hopes to make all classroom activities digital by this year. 

They consider giving out this kind of technology an equity issue. In other words, lack of access to technology due to economic status can hinder a student’s ability to be successful in today’s tech-driven world. 

DSU’s laptop program wants to ensure that all students receive the same resources to have equal access to success. 

  • On top of iPad Pros, students in the Department of Mass Communications will receive MacBook Pros that are capable of running advanced software for editing and imaging. 
  • IT support staff set up and gave out over 150 MacBooks and 1,000 iPad Pros in the first few weeks of classes.

5. Duke University Global Health Institute 

Duke University Global Health Institute

Duke University Global Health Institute is a leader in public health education. It trains its college and graduate students to synthesize research and education to act on the frontlines of remediating health disparities. 

A perk of participating in this program is the administration of a free iPad for students to use as a tool for field research. 

The goal is to give college students everything they need to get the most out of their fieldwork experiences and allow them to truly focus on the people they are working with rather than fumble to take handwritten notes or find an online resource. 

  • They began offering iPads for this very reason in 2010 and have since become part of a larger initiative to incorporate technology as an integral part of Duke’s campus-wide program.
  • The Duke Medical Center Library has been working with technology and hopes to innovate further in the next few years as it expands its digital reach.

6. Full Sail University 

Full Sail University 

Full Sail University is located in Winter Park Florida, though many of its courses and programs can be completed entirely online. They have a unique partnership with Apple Computer called Project Launchbox.

This was designed to ensure college students have the skills and technology they need to create portfolios that stand out. Full Sail University grants each student a MacBook Pro loaded with the software they need for their given program. Considering Full Sail University is one of the best online digital marketing programs, it is no surprise that they understand the importance of students’ access to technology.

In actuality, the technology granted through LaunchBox is not free, as each student is on the hook for a laptop usage fee separate from tuition that is tailored to each program. The pricing for each package is variable and may change from semester to semester.

  • Each Launchbox is specific to the program, so hardware and software vary slightly. 
  • The Digital Cinematography LaunchBox comes with the tools to create award-winning movies.

7. Indiana State University

Indiana State University

Indiana State University won the Sycamore Technology Award, that is specifically geared toward its Pell Grant Eligible population. As a recipient of this award, they are able to give out free laptops for college students who qualify. 

Students do not need to submit another application or additional paperwork as long as they are enrolled by July 15. If a student qualifies for the Sycamore Technology Award, that does not mean they are eligible for other forms of financial support. 

For any questions, students can contact the scholarship office for additional information about the laptop program. If a student withdraws from their program, the laptop must be returned within 30 days of their last day. 

  • Students must be enrolled full-time in traditional programming at Indiana State University. 
  • Every incoming freshman will be considered as far as receiving this award goes. 

8.  Johnson C. Smith University

Johnson C. Smith University

Johnson C. Smith University is a historically black university in Charlotte, North Carolina. They have a long history of inclusive practices, including believing students should have access to technology, especially in this increasingly tech-driven world. 

This shakes out in a few different ways on campus. Many students are eligible to receive a free iPad to use while enrolled at Johnson C. Smith. 

Each iPad is loaded with software that is beneficial to the required coursework given and will play a big role in the technology-driven curricula. 

  • Students enrolled in their Metropolitan College will receive a free laptop at the start of the school year. Every laptop is packed with software that supports learning and productivity. 
  • They are equipped with a wireless and wired campus network, ensuring internet connectivity will never be an issue.

9. Moravian College

Moravian College

Moravian College, located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania is at the front lines of tech innovation. They want their bachelor’s degree students to be the same. 

In 2018, they were named an Apple Distinguished School as a result of their mission to make technology accessible to every student. 

Their mission includes not seeing technology as a classroom distraction but a complement to academic excellence. Moravian’s goal in offering such hardware to every student is to ensure the playing field is level and no learner has less opportunities than another because they don’t have the same resources.

  • Each incoming freshman at Moravian is given both an iPad and a MacBook Pro directly after they submit their acceptance deposit to attend. 
  • This is to be used not only while they are students at Moravian but also beyond that. Yes, the technology is theirs to keep for their future education or career endeavors.

10. Northwest Missouri State University

Northwest Missouri State University

Northwest Missouri State University is located in Maryville, Missouri. It believes in making education as easy as possible to achieve by removing some of the barriers that get in the way of a bachelor’s degree with fewer economic resources. 

As part of this mission, it gives each undergraduate and graduate student free laptops to borrow while at Northwest. Undergrads must be enrolled in over 12 credit hours at a time to qualify.

In line with the idea of accessibility, their students are given the opportunity to rent primary textbooks to save money on costs as well. 

  • The free laptops they receive are HP Probook 440 G7 Notebooks, also known as Ultrabooks. They are loaded with current software, including the MS Office 365.
  • Northwest Missouri has an IT staff to support students in servicing their free laptops and answer any questions that may arise related to the equipment.

11. Rochester College

Rochester College

Rochester College is located in Rochester Hills, Michigan. Known for its beauty and lake views, Rochester provides undergraduate students and transfer students with an accessible education enhanced by technology. 

They were among the first to add tech inclusion to their teaching strategy. In 2008, they began offering each incoming freshman a free iPad or MacBook Pro. 

Rochester College is invested in making sure each student has access to the most current technology as they embark on their academic careers. This practice of offering technology to incoming students is still part of the fabric of their school. 

  • Transfer students are also eligible to receive their free technology if they come in with 29 credits or less. 
  • Students who are dually enrolled as part of their high school college program may also be eligible, depending on the amount of credits they come in with. 

12. Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota offers robust traditional programs at its Minneopolis-based campus. It also has a variety of online and hybrid program offerings. 

Students will be trained to use iPads effectively as a classroom resource at their new orientation. Most of their academic requirements will be performed with the iPad. 

However, they ask that students also have personal computer access to write papers and complete longer assignments.

  • In order to ensure undergraduate students have what they need to be successful in their tech-savvy coursework, they offer each student a free iPad with an intuitive interface. 
  • The iPad will be the window to academic success, as students will be able to use this mobile device to communicate with peers for group projects, read textbooks and share notes, post to discussions in a variety of formats (including podcasts), and much more.

13. Seton Hill University

Seton Hill University

Seton Hill University is located in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, but they believe that remote learning is the path forward and can happen anywhere. They prioritize education that students can accomplish anytime and anywhere. 

All of the equipment in the school’s laptop program can be serviced on campus while the student receives a loaner laptop. Apple has recognized Seton Hill as a Distinguished School for five years in a row.

They have created a mobile e-book called Mobile Learning @ the Hill, which shares insight on their mobile learning program and trajectory.

  • The way this plays out is that faculty members are given extensive training along with their own MackBook Air to integrate mobile learning into their curricula. Incoming freshmen also receive their very own MacBook Air. 
  • The MS in Physician, MS in Art Therapy, and the MS in Orthodontics programs also give students free MacBook Airs, as the technology is integrated into their coursework.

14. Southern Nazarene University

Southern Nazarene University

Southern Nazarene University is a college located slightly west of Oklahoma City on a 40-acre campus. They are a Christian liberal arts school that is committed to academic excellence. 

They employ these values by ensuring that all of their classes are up to date as far as technological advancement goes. They require each student to get a free laptop to attend this university.

They have a list of departments with the required software and systems on their website. Students studying in a given field have what they need to be professionals in the sphere for which they are working.

  • They don’t believe in leaving anyone behind to enforce this policy, and they offer a hugely discounted rate for students who do not have a modern laptop and need to purchase one. 
  • Their Dell computers have the latest software that will be utilized in the coursework at Southern Nazarene.

15. St. John’s University

St. John’s University

St. John’s University is located in Queens, New York, yet its imprint is much larger than its campus. Much of their goal is to give students the drive and resources to succeed in this technologically advanced world. 

They provide devices for students who participate in their academic computing initiative. Students who opt to participate in this program are given a free laptop, extended technical support, and a warranty that lasts four years. 

All computers already have pre-installed software relevant to coursework and class requirements. The incentive to keep the free laptop is graduation. 

  • Another amazing aspect of this program is that students are allowed to choose between three options. Various departments have different recommendations for which computer is the most beneficial. Most students choose the MacBook Pro. 
  • While there is a tech fee associated with the gift, it is minimal compared to the cost of the computers.

16. University of Minnesota-Crookston 

University of Minnesota-Crookston

The University of Minnesota-Crookston offers a technically rich environment on and off campus. One of the ways they apply technical inclusion and access is through their free laptop program.

Experiential learning is written all over this institution, and this technology is employed to bring that vision forward. Most employers view U of M students as immediate go-to’s when they hunt for creative and tech-savvy employees. 

On a side note, they offer the same tuition rates for all of their students to bring together a world-class environment full of diversity. 

  • From day one, students are offered a free laptop to carry them through their education and beyond. 
  • They utilize free laptops as essential classroom tools. Each student can access cyber simulations, video presentations, and tailored applications as an integral part of their coursework.

17. Wake Forest University

Wake Forest University

Wake Forest University is located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. It prides itself on technological advancement and inclusion and offers a variety of resources to prove that it is building a tech-savvy student and faculty body. 

One of the interesting offerings is their Wakerspace, which employs a multi-modal approach to accessible digital innovations. 

They believe all students need technology to be on the front lines of their education, so they do all they can to ensure this idea is implemented. 

  • Every student who receives any form of financial service, which includes merit or needs-based scholarships, is entitled to a technology grant. These grants enable students to buy a standard laptop with insurance, all of which include WakeWare.
  • Everyone who is being offered a free system will be notified by the end of May. Every other student will be given a computer at a discounted rate.

18. Wentworth Institute of Technology

Wentworth Institute of Technology

Wentworth Institute of Technology’s name says it all. That’s right, they are an institution of higher learning driven by technology. 

Wentworth piloted the free laptop program in 2004, making it one of the first to prioritize technology access in this way. The cost of tuition covers the free laptop, and no additional fees are applied. 

Wentworth technically owns all of the machines. However, students can upload the software they want and need. Ownership is transferred to the student upon graduation.

  • One way they employ accessibility is by offering each incoming full-time student a laptop computer, contingent upon graduation. Each academic program has identified the right machine and software that makes sense for the coursework and programming at hand. The machine a student receives is based on their major.
  • In addition to the technology that students are given upon enrollment, they have access to significant student discounts for additional equipment if they desire to purchase anything else. 

19. Western Kentucky University

Western Kentucky University

Western Kentucky University is located in Bowling Green, Kentucky. They offer many traditional degree programs and online opportunities that continue to expand.

Part of their mission is to ensure all students who come and leave through their doors are tech-savvy enough to excel in the current workforce. 

They have a variety of programs that enable students to have what they need when it comes to hardware and software. They even have a program that enables students who participate in over 40 hours of community service to receive a free refurbished Apple laptop computer.

  • Students can access both Dell and Apple computers at discounted rates through their IT website. The site also shows students the appropriate and compatible hardware and software to keep them up-to-date in their classes.
  • They also have a recycled computer program and a variety of other options. Included are extensive technical support offerings for their students. 

20. Widener University

Widener University

Widener University offers a leg up to its Robotics and Engineering students. Their engineering programs are competitive, so it is no small feat to get to the point where you are offered a free laptop here, but clearly, all of that hard work pays off. 

Widener was the first in the country to offer an undergraduate robotics degree. It is clear that they have an investment in innovation. 

On top of these offerings, students are given the opportunity to have one year of paid work experience through their co-op program.

  • Because this group must constantly improve their tech skills, many of which require hands-on learning, they are given a laptop to utilize for their course and fieldwork.
  • This tool will enable students to integrate technology into their research and practice. They have a variety of offerings, including excellent financial service offerings, even beyond free laptops for college students in this program. 

As you can see from this extensive list, many online colleges offer laptops for students to use. Whether it’s a computer or an iPad for students to thrive in a particular program or a loaner to use while the student is at the college or university, there are many options. 

It is clear these days that you can’t go far in a career without being up-to-date on technology, and economic access should not be a barrier. Many of these institutions are taking this fact seriously and ensuring their students are on an equal playing field. 

There is something to be said for everyone having the same tools to set a foundation for equal access to learning

Do Colleges Give You Laptops?

It’s true that a lot of the free iPads for students from online programs on this list are offered by the school. However, it’s important to look deeply at all the fees you pay to attend the institution. Sometimes, there are hidden costs associated with enrollment. 

They could be couched as a technology fee or an orientation fee, but that might be where you are paying for the laptop being “given to you.” In other cases, it is truly a gift to ensure you have what you need to participate fully in the programming. 

Person typing on a laptop

Students may also get student discounts to buy their own. In many cases, computers or iPads are distributed to students through colleges that offer free laptops. They are also often streamlined with uploaded software and applications to support the delivery of coursework. 

The device will be integrated into the delivery of the classes. This is applied in a number of ways. Students will utilize their devices to access supplementary lectures, collaborate with peers, take classroom notes, contribute to presentations, take quizzes, and submit work. 

In the case of entirely online classes, everything related to the coursework will be accomplished on the device. With online schools, the equipment basically takes the place of a classroom. It is a window into innovative pedagogy and a tool for communication.

Why Online Colleges Offer Free Laptops

Some schools offer free laptops for a given program (like computer science or technology fields). Many such online programs are specialized and competitive. Some schools only give computers to students who need financial aid to attend. 

This is when it is clearly an effort to close the gap and ensure all students have access to the same resources. Some online programs require students to have a specific tool to make their job easier or even possible. 

Jerome L. Rekart, Ph.D., who has over 15 years of experience in educational research, shared his thoughts with us on one of the main reasons colleges offer free laptops to online students:

“The main benefit to colleges that offer free devices to their online students is that they can reduce time and money spent trying to help students navigate different devices, operating systems, etc. 

This also means that the students then don’t need to worry about whether their personal machine will run the necessary software or has the right version or update. All of this is taken care of for the student, which can make the online experience better for all involved.”

For example, The Duke University Global Health Institute brings students around the world to engage with complex global health issues. The iPads each participant brings with them in the field allow them to focus on their purpose for being there with a synthesis of their tools and resources needed at their fingertips. 

Other online schools provide free laptops to all. In any case, online schools that give free laptops make technology available for learning. Some online colleges with free iPads make sure their students can do the work.

Challenges of Free Laptop Programs

Many of the programs on our list that provide free or discounted laptops are specifically for online or hybrid learning, but that is not the case across the board. Some of the online programs on the list give students a personal device specifically for the time the student is enrolled.

On the other hand, others allow participants to keep the technology even after the program is complete. 

iPads piled on top of each other with a piece of paper taped on each piece
  • These programs have their own offerings and distinctions, so be aware that the same rules do not apply. Some even allow students to choose the technology that would be the most effective for them. 
  • Some colleges that offer free laptops are Mac or PC-specific, while others let students choose their own brand. 
  • Mobile learning has become part of the fabric of many academic programs, so it makes sense that a free iPad for students might come with the territory.

Are the Laptops Really Free?

When a school or educational institution advertises “free laptops” for students, it’s important to understand what that truly entails. In many cases, “free” online colleges with free laptop programs don’t mean there is zero cost involved. Rather, the price of the laptop or tablet is bundled into the overall tuition and fees.

This allows students to obtain the device without paying the total price upfront. Instead, the cost is distributed across tuition payments each semester or academic term. So, while not entirely free, it makes an otherwise expensive laptop purchase more manageable when paid off gradually over time.

  • Online education colleges that offer laptops cover 100% of the cost for students who qualify for technology grants or scholarships specifically designated for that purpose. These competitive awards provide the laptop as an actual gift aid.
  • Most schools charge an explicit “technology fee” for online courses and degree programs. This universal fee helps support the online learning environment and technology infrastructure. Institutions providing free or heavily discounted laptops also allow them to recoup some of those equipment costs.

So, in essence, secured “free” laptops from various educational institutions often still carry some built-in fees. Despite that, opportunities exist for competitive students to obtain one at truly zero cost. A careful review of each program’s fine print is advisable.

Can You Keep the Free Laptop?

The ability for students to permanently keep their “free” laptop after graduating depends on the institution’s specific policies and the laptop provision program. Various schools have different approaches in this regard. 

  • Sometimes, the laptops are essentially leased to students for enrollment. The computers must be returned upon graduation or if the student withdraws/transfers. 
  • Many of these leasing programs allow students to purchase laptops at a discounted rate after they have completed their studies successfully.
  • On the other hand, many colleges that bundle tuition costs treat it more like a financing plan. By paying the technology fees distributed across each semester’s tuition, students gradually pay off the full cost of the laptop over time.
  • Under these arrangements, once a student has fully graduated, they will own the laptop permanently without further payments.
  • Some schools and affordable connectivity programs give free laptops to students as an equity initiative, with no expectation of ever returning the devices. These are treated as true gifts of technology to ensure all students can access the necessary tools.

Regardless of the specific model, most institutions require students to remain actively enrolled and in good academic standing to continue receiving free laptop use each term. Dropping out or transferring typically voids any laptop provision and requires returning the equipment. Carefully reviewing the fine print of each program’s terms is advisable.

Who Is Responsible for the Maintenance of the Laptop?

An issued laptop or tablet is the school’s property while the student is enrolled. For this reason, the school is also responsible for upkeep and technical support. The information technology (IT) department of a school is usually open around the clock for tech assistance. 

IT can also assist with program upgrades and answer questions on appropriate installation or disk space cleanup. Some schools may charge a laptop usage fee that covers maintenance needs. To avoid additional charges, make sure to check the device’s warranty and the school’s terms and conditions. 

What If the Laptop Gets Lost or Stolen?

You need to report theft incidents right away. Remember that you might only have a short window of time to submit a police report. For example, some schools require students to do so within ten days.

Inform the school after submitting the report. Unfortunately, you may need to purchase an expensive replacement PC. The school can assist you in obtaining a loaner laptop and submitting an insurance claim to help with this unforeseen expense.

Man wearing headphones while watching something on his laptop

How to Get a Free Laptop for College

For students seeking a free laptop, one avenue to explore is through their school’s laptop provision programs. Many online colleges with free laptops provide the devices to enrolled students, often pre-loaded with required software and applications. 

These partner institutions have negotiated deals with major manufacturers to supply laptops tailored to each program’s needs at no additional cost. However, even at schools without such arrangements, students may still receive a free laptop through specialized scholarships and grants designated specifically for technology expenses. 

These monetary awards provide gift aid that can cover the full cost of a new laptop purchase. For example, at Wake Forest University, students receiving financial support qualify for a technology grant that can be used to acquire an approved WakeWare laptop model.

Outside of school-based opportunities, students can seek discounts and savings on laptop purchases from manufacturers like Apple, Dell, and HP that offer education pricing deals. Some organizations and tech companies also run annual scholarship competitions where students can apply and compete to win funds to buy a new college laptop.

By thoroughly researching options through their school’s financial aid office, tech manufacturers, and independent sources, students can increase their chances of obtaining a laptop to support their academic pursuits. With some diligence, you can have the best laptop without bearing the entire financial burden.

Where Can I Apply for Laptop Scholarships and Grants?

Aside from laptop provision programs, many colleges and organizations offer scholarships and grants specifically aimed at helping students acquire the necessary technology for their studies. These financial support opportunities can offset the costs of purchasing a laptop, tablet, or other device.

At certain institutions, like Widener University and Indiana University, designated tech scholarships or grants must be used to acquire a computer or related equipment. However, other colleges allow students flexibility in how they choose to allocate such monetary awards.

You can also explore laptop scholarship prospects beyond your college’s financial services by seeking opportunities from major tech manufacturers like Apple and Dell, as well as through independent organizations and online competitions. Several examples include:

  • Dell Scholars Program: This program is for high school seniors enrolled in an approved college readiness program who will begin college the following fall and are eligible for the Pell Grant.
  • Teradatariver Scholarship: Annual essay contest where one winner receives funds to purchase their ideal laptop for college needs.
  • Chickasaw Nation Laptop Scholarship: This scholarship is available to Chickasaw Nation citizens who are college sophomores or above and have a minimum 3.0 GPA.

With diligent research, college students can uncover various scholarship and grant opportunities to help make the necessary investment in a quality laptop that meets their academic requirements.

Why Do You Need to Get a Free Laptop in College?

These days, an online program may require students to access lectures, participate in class discussions, take quizzes, and complete assignments on a school-issued computer or mobile device. 

It is becoming more apparent that such devices are transforming how students learn and faculty teach

It might be in your best interest to look deeper into the connections between mobile devices and learning by picking a program that brings this research forward by offering students a personal device of their own. 

If nothing else, look at the online programs that tie this equipment into their coursework. Picking a program offering a fancy device might feel like winning the lottery.

There is something about being at the front lines of education and technical innovation as one of the online colleges that provide laptops.

Factors to Consider when Choosing a Laptop for College

When selecting a laptop for college, it’s important to determine your specific needs as a student. When your college can provide free laptops, they will likely meet the minimum requirements. However, if you need to purchase your own laptop, you’ll need to make sure it meets the necessary specifications.

Tablet connected to a laptop through a usb cable

School Requirements

Check your program’s minimum tech requirements, usually listed on the school’s website. You can typically find such information on the program, FAQ, orientation, or admissions pages.

Be prepared to update your system if requirements change during your course of study. You can request help from tech support for upgrades, installation, or troubleshooting.

Laptop Specifications

Device specifications can maximize your device and excel in your professional studies. 

  • Operating system: Some majors may require a specific platform, such as Windows, macOS, or Linux.
  • Processor speed: Consider multicore processors from Intel or AMD.
  • Size and weight: Aim for a lightweight, portable 13- or 14-inch laptop
  • Display resolution: Design majors may need higher resolution with a dedicated graphics card
  • Memory (RAM): at least 4GB of DDR3 RAM is generally sufficient.
  • Long battery life: Look for at least eight hours of battery life, with batteries typically lasting two years.

What Are the Most Popular College Laptops for College Students?

Many colleges partner with popular brands to provide free or discounted devices tailored to students’ needs. While some focus on a single operating system, most online colleges offering laptops give Windows and macOS options. 

The choice often comes down to the student’s academic major, as certain fields gravitate toward one platform:

  • Computer science, engineering programs: Tend to use Windows or Linux
  • Design, communications, creative fields: Often prefer macOS

Though more expensive upfront, Apple computers (Macs) are renowned for user-friendliness, fewer updates needed, and substantial resale value. However, the wealth of Windows software is a significant selling point for PCs. 

Research your specific program’s requirements and finding the right laptop fit can pay dividends. Some of the most popular laptop models for college students include:

  • MacBook Air
  • Microsoft Surface Pro
  • Asus Chromebook Flip C302
  • Lenovo Yoga 730
  • HP Stream 11-Y010NR
  • MacBook Pro

Related Questions

What College Gives You a MacBook?

Chatham University is one of the online colleges that offer MacBooks to students. As part of their program, students at Chatham University pay a fee of $1,335, which includes a personal MacBook Air for each student, along with a four-year AppleCare warranty and accidental damage protection.

Does UCLA Give Free Laptops?

UCLA does not provide free laptops to students. However, they have an affordable connectivity program called BruinTechMapper that provides discounted laptops and internet access to eligible students from low-income backgrounds.

When Do Students Receive Their Free Laptops?

Online universities that provide laptops usually mail the devices to the enrolled students. Note that some colleges may have policies for shipping costs. Meanwhile, on-campus students can frequently pick up their new computers on the first day of classes.


Choosing the right online college with a free laptop offer can be a significant advantage for students, ensuring they have the necessary tools for studying better. With a free laptop, the path to academic success becomes more accessible, enabling you to focus on your coursework without the added financial burden of purchasing expensive technology.

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17 Highest Paying Tech Degrees for Trade Jobs [2024 Guide]

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In today’s rapidly evolving job market, having a technical degree can be a major asset that leads to high-paying career opportunities. From cutting-edge fields like computer science and engineering to essential vocations like healthcare and skilled trades, pursuing the right technical program can set you up for a lucrative future. 

If maximizing your earning potential is a top priority, see which technical degrees offer the most promising pathways to financial success.

17 Technical Degrees That Pay Well

Among the various technical degrees that offer lucrative career prospects, radiation therapy, information technology, elevator technician, computer science, and dental hygiene stand out as promising options. These fields combine specialized skills with high demand, resulting in competitive salaries and ample job opportunities.

Choosing a technical degree that offers promising career prospects and earning potential is worthwhile. By pursuing high-paying technical fields, individuals can enjoy competitive salaries, job security, and the potential for upward mobility. 

Technical DegreeAverage SalaryPotential Jobs
Radiation Therapy$89,530Radiation Therapist, Dosimetrist, Medical Physicist
Information Technology$100,530IT Specialist, Network Administrator, Computer Systems Analyst
Elevator Technician$99,000Elevator Constructor, Repair Technician, Elevator Inspector
Computer Science$136,620Software Developer, Computer Systems Analyst, Web Developer
Dental Hygiene$81,400Dental Hygienist, Dental Assistant, Educator
Computer Networking$126,900Network Administrator, Network Architect, Network Support Specialist
Web Developing$80,730Web Developer, Front-End Developer, Back-End Developer
System Administration$90,520System Administrator, Network Administrator, IT Manager
Diagnostic Medical Sonography$81,350Diagnostic Medical Sonographer, Ultrasound Technician
Database Management$112,120Database Administrator, Data Analyst, Data Scientist
Respiratory Therapy$70,540Respiratory Therapist, Pulmonary Function Technologist
Electrical Technology$66,390Electrician, Electrical Technician, Electrical Engineer
Cybersecurity$112,000Cybersecurity Analyst, Information Security Specialist, Penetration Tester
Plumbing $60,090Plumber, Pipefitter, Plumbing Inspector
Software Development$124,200Software Developer, Software Engineer, Mobile App Developer
Wind Turbine Technology$57,320Wind Turbine Technician, Field Service Technician
Legal Assistant$59,200Paralegal, Legal Assistant, Legal Secretary

The following tech school degrees offer a glimpse of the best technical degrees with the highest salaries. Note that the salary data is sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and represents the median pay for 2022 unless specifically noted.

1. Radiation Therapy

X-ray of a human head

Students interested in working as radiation therapists will find that this career offers one of the highest-paying jobs from tech schools in the market (as well as being one of the highest paying community college degrees). Those seeking an associate degree program will likely need two years to complete the degree (the certificate program will take less time).

This includes significant hands-on training to allow students to gain first-hand knowledge as they prepare for a seamless entry into the healthcare profession. Fortunately, many radiation therapy or certificate programs offer hybrid learning options that offer flexibility in scheduling. Radiation therapists are typically required to be certified or licensed by a state authority. 

While state requirements vary, most radiation therapists must pass a certification examination at the national level. Radiation therapists provide vital services in the healthcare industry, primarily to those who are under treatment for cancer. Professionals generally work under the supervision of medical doctors (i.e., oncologists) and radiologists. 

Graduates of a radiation therapy program can enter the workforce as a radiation therapist technologist, consultant, or radiation therapist, among others. The median salary for radiation therapists in 2022 was $89,530 per year, which translates to $43.04 per hour. 

Additionally, job growth for radiation therapists is expected to be nearly twice the average of all occupations – at 7% through 2029, as the demand for these services rises due to an aging population as well as the many significant technological advances in available radiation therapies. 

  • Career Options: Radiation therapists typically are full-time workers employed by physicians, outpatient medical facilities, or hospitals, among other settings.
  • Average Salary: $89,530
  • Degree Level: Certificate or Associate’s

2. Information Technology

Laptop showing the code scripts

Information Technology (IT) is a field that offers promising career prospects and lucrative earning potential, making it one of the best technological degrees to pursue. At its core, IT involves the study of how people utilize technology and computing systems to manage data and information effectively.

An IT degree equips students with a comprehensive understanding of computer systems, software, networks, and data storage and retrieval mechanisms. This knowledge is vital in today’s digital era, where technology plays a pivotal role across virtually every industry sector. 

IT professionals possess a unique blend of technical skills, including proficiency in databases, networks, hardware, software development, information security, coding, and operating systems. Additionally, they cultivate beneficial soft skills such as communication, organization, analytical thinking, creativity, and project management.

The demand for IT professionals is consistently high, and the earning potential is substantial. For instance, IT analysts, who analyze an organization’s IT operations and provide recommendations, earn an average national salary of $76,990 per year. 

IT technicians responsible for providing basic technical support for hardware and software can expect an average national salary of $100,530 per year. With its versatility, relevance across industries, and lucrative career paths, an IT degree emerges as a compelling choice for individuals seeking a financially rewarding and future-proof career in the technological industry.

  • Career Options: Some high-paying careers in this field include data architects, network administrators, web developers, IT analysts, and IT technicians. 
  • Average Salary: $100,530
  • Degree Level: Bachelor’s or certificate

3. Elevator Technician

Person pressing the buttons on an elevator

Students interested in a career as an elevator or escalator technician will be required to typically complete an apprenticeship, vocational school training, or on-the-job program (which varies but is generally four to five years). The apprenticeship program is organized where a student completes a certain number of hours of technical education (similar to a certificate program) plus paid job training. 

Applicants for elevator apprenticeship programs must hold a high school diploma or equivalent. While state regulations vary, most states will require elevator technicians to be licensed.

Elevator technicians are considered a highly technical job requiring the skill to interpret blueprints, assemble components, know electrical work, and troubleshoot elevator or escalator malfunctions 24 hours per day. While not typically required, many elevator technicians choose to become certified to demonstrate their proficiency and competency as professionals. 

Available certifications include Certified Accessibility & Private Resident Lift Tech, Certified Elevator Tech, or Qualified Elevator Inspector. Elevator technicians should consider that the work is often done at great heights or within small, cramped spaces.

This degree offers an impressive median salary in 2022 of $99,000 per year, which is $47.60 hourly, among the highest-paying tech degrees. The job growth for elevator technicians in the next decade is anticipated to be 7% and outpace the average of all occupations by a margin of nearly 2 to 1.

  • Career Options: An elevator technician is often responsible for installing, maintaining, and repairing elevators, lifts, and moving walkways.
  • Average Salary: $99,000
  • Degree Level: Certificate 

4. Computer Science

Woman working on a desk with two monitors and a laptop

Computer science is widely regarded as one of the best technological degrees that pays well, offering many lucrative career opportunities nowadays. A computer science degree equips students with valuable technical skills that employers across various industries highly seek after.

In this program, students develop coding, algorithm design and analysis, and software development skills. They learn to think critically, solve complex problems, and spearhead the creation of new technologies.

Unlike the more general information technology degree, a computer science curriculum emphasizes the theoretical foundations of information technology and digital development.

Students explore the intricacies of design, development, and software analysis to gain a deeper understanding of system functions and behaviors. The program covers topics such as why certain designs are more effective than others and how different data processes can impact program performance.

  • Career Options: Some high-paying career options available to computer science graduates include data scientists, systems analysts, computer programmers, web optimization specialists, and IT security administrators.
  • Average Salary: $136,620
  • Degree Level: Bachelor’s, Certificate, or Master’s

5. Dental Hygiene

Dentist chair and equipment

Dental hygienists are mandated to complete an associate’s degree that typically can be completed in approximately two to three years, depending on a student’s time commitment. Dental hygiene programs offer some of the highest-paying tech school jobs and are available in tech schools.

Applicants should meet the dental hygiene prerequisite classes before applying to the program. While specific requirements vary by school, some associate degrees offer certain classes through hybrid-delivered degree programs. 

Dental hygienists typically find rewarding careers working in dental offices or facilities. Dental hygienists provide preventive dental care, take and develop x-rays, and examine patients for symptoms of oral diseases like gingivitis. A dental hygienist works with various technical dental tools to remove stains, tartar, and plaque from teeth. 

Hygiene also includes educating patients regarding oral care and oral care devices, always under the supervision of a dentist. The median salary for dental hygienists during 2022 was $81,400 annually, which translates to $39.14 per hour. That’s one of the highest-paying associate degrees out there. 

We connected with Jerome L. Rekart, Ph.D., who has over 15 years of experience in educational research, and he recommends getting a dental hygiene degree if you’re looking for a career with stability:

“A degree in dental hygiene leads to a solid career that has almost no possibility of being replaced by artificial intelligence or robots, typically has good benefits, and provides an opportunity to work in a professional setting that doesn’t experience periods of downturn or mass layoffs.”

Job growth for the dental hygienist profession is anticipated to be 6% over the next ten years, faster than the expected growth of US occupations over the same time period. There were more than 225,000 dental hygiene professionals working in the United States in 2019.

  • Career Options: Dental treatment coordinator, health educator, researcher, dental office manager, medical sales representative.
  • Average Salary: $81,400
  • Degree Level: Associate’s

6. Computer Networking

Woman monitoring multiple monitors and information

Computer networking is a highly specialized and sought-after technological field, making it one of the best degrees that pay well in today’s interconnected industries. This discipline focuses on the intricate processes and technologies that enable computer networks to function effectively.

A degree in computer networking equips students with a comprehensive understanding of how computers connect and interact. This includes both physical connections, such as wires and cables, as well as wireless options like Wi-Fi and cloud-based computing. 

Students gain hands-on experience in areas like device installation, repairs, and troubleshooting, ensuring they are well-prepared to tackle real-life networking challenges.

In a computer networking program, students study various aspects of network management, including server configurations, local area networking (LAN), router management, and cloud technology. 

These courses give them the necessary skills to design, implement, and maintain robust and secure network infrastructures. With a degree in computer networking, graduates can pursue a variety of lucrative career paths.

With a combination of theoretical knowledge and practical skills, a degree in computer networking opens doors to a wide range of career options with excellent earning potential and opportunities for professional growth.

  • Career Options: Computer networking graduates may find opportunities as network engineers, network security specialists, cloud architects, and system administrators, among others.
  • Average Salary: $126,900
  • Degree Level: Associate’s, Bachelor’s

7. Web Developing

Two monitors on a table

Web development is a technical career that requires at least a certificate program (which can be secured from a coding bootcamp) or associate degree program to meet most entry-level job requirements and offers students one of the high-paying tech school jobs. Web development includes the study of computer science programming languages like SQL or JavaScript. 

Additionally, web developers often excel in computer programs and publishing tools, including Flash. Web development also requires professionals to interact with clients regularly, which requires excellent communication skills in addition to the required technical skills.

Web developers and digital designers take programming classes and integrate audio, graphics, and video into a website. Web developers are creative types who create the reality of a client’s vision depending on the type of website, for example, e-commerce or gaming. 

Of the approximately 175,000 web developers in the United States in 2019, about 17% worked in computer systems design, with 10% in publishing, 10% self-employed, 5% in consulting/management, and another 4% in advertising or public relations. 

The median annual salary in 2022 for web developers and digital designers was $80,730 per year, which translates to $38.81 hourly. Statisticians anticipate job growth through 2029 of 8%, which is considered much faster than the average of all United States occupations.

  • Career Options:  You may also get into software development, digital marketing, computer hardware, management information systems, computer networks, data analytics, and cloud computing.
  • Average Salary: $80,730
  • Degree Level: Certificate or Associate’s

8. System Administration

Software engineer standing beside server racks

System administration is a critical field within the broader domain of information technology, and a degree in this area can pave the way for a lucrative and rewarding career. A degree in system administration will equip you with a deep understanding of how hardware and software interact and function together.

Working as a system administrator often involves designing comprehensive plans for a company’s IT operations and troubleshooting and resolving issues as they arise. You’ll also gain experience installing and updating software and overseeing various tasks related to the organization’s computer systems.

The curriculum covers a wide range of topics, including team management, program oversight, risk assessment, network administration, testing methodologies, operating system management, and device management. This multifaceted approach helps graduates possess the diverse skill set necessary to thrive in this dynamic field.

Many educational institutions offer associate degree programs in system administration, providing students with a solid foundation in the theoretical and practical aspects of the discipline. With the ever-increasing reliance on technology across industries, the demand for skilled system administrators and IT professionals continues to grow.

The median annual salary in 2022 for system admins was $90,520 per year, which translates to $43.52 hourly.

  • Career Options: Upon graduating, you can explore various high-paying career opportunities, such as system administrator, IT manager, and cybersecurity professional.
  • Average Salary: $90,520
  • Degree Level: Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Certificate

9. Diagnostic Medical Sonography  

Woman looking at an ultrasound

Diagnostic medical sonographers are required to complete formal education to work professionally. Programs are available with associate degrees, with employers preferring graduates of CAAHEP-accredited degree programs. 

Students studying to become a diagnostic medical sonographer complete coursework in applied science, anatomy, and medical terminology, typically over one to two years. Additionally, diagnostic medical sonographers complete clinical components during training, working alongside seasoned sonographers. 

Diagnostic medical sonographers often choose to earn certification to highlight their skills. The profession requires an exam from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) or the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS). 

In May 2022, more than 81,000 diagnostic medical sonographers worked in the country, with a median annual salary of $81,350 or $39.11 per hour. The federal government’s statisticians anticipate the job growth for the field of diagnostic medical sonography to be about 17%, which is significantly faster than average. 

With about 75,000 working diagnostic medical sonographers in 2019, the expected job growth translates to more than 12,000 new jobs in the field through the next decade.

  • Career Options: They find rewarding careers working in hospitals, physician’s offices, diagnostic labs, universities, or outpatient facilities, to name a few. 
  • Average Salary: $81,350
  • Degree Level: Associate’s

10. Database Management

Coding system scripting language

A bachelor’s program often consists of 120 semester credits, which you can finish in four years of full-time study. You’ll study subjects related to the fundamental concepts of computer science, metadata analysis, information security, database and application programming, structured query language (SQL), and web development.

Database management is an area of information technology that teaches you how to understand database structures and develop systems for storing information.

With a diploma, you can use your technical and practical skills to apply for jobs as a database manager, computer network architect, chief technology officer, information security analyst, and SQL administrator.

  • Career Options: A technical degree specializing in database management can secure a job as a database developer, business intelligence officer, support specialist, data modeler, and software administrator.
  • Average Salary: $112,120
  • Degree Level: Associate’s, Bachelor’s 

11. Respiratory Therapy

Oxygen tank

Students interested in a career as respiratory therapists must complete their associate degrees, although some students choose to earn a baccalaureate degree in respiratory therapy instead. Every state except Alaska requires respiratory therapists to be licensed. Each state determines the requirements for professionals working within its jurisdiction, most of which require a comprehensive exam. 

Students can enroll in a vocational/tech school, college/university, or the armed forces to receive training. Many states require respiratory therapists to complete an academic degree program that is CARC-accredited.

Respiratory therapists can also choose to become certified by the National Board for Respiratory Care, which offers two levels of respiratory therapy – CRT and RRT. Classes for this degree include CPR, pharmacology, chemistry, and anatomy, plus a comprehensive clinical component.

In 2022, respiratory therapists earned an annual salary of $70,540, or $33.91 per hour. That makes it one of the highest-paying associate degrees. However, those earning at the top of the scale pull in nearly $90,000 per year. 

There were about 135,000 respiratory therapists working in the country in 2019. It is anticipated that the job growth for respiratory therapy professionals will be 19% – significantly faster than all other occupations combined (4%). 

  • Career options: Respiratory therapist professionals are typically employed on a full-time basis in hospitals or other medical facilities, helping patients who have breathing issues that may stem from emphysema, asthma, or other chronic respiratory diseases. 
  • Average Salary: $70,540
  • Degree Level: Associate’s 

12. Electrical Technology

Electrician fixing a line

Professionals who wish to work in electrical technology should complete an associate degree program to become eligible for entry-level work in the field. Electrical technologists and technicians assist electrical engineers as they develop electrical equipment and troubleshoot equipment malfunctions. 

Associate degree programs are typically available from a tech or vocational school, or a community college that offers electrical tech. Students enrolled in electrical technology programs will complete coursework in chemistry, physics, circuitry, and programming, to name a few. 

Electrical technologists can earn certifications administered by the International Society of Automation, the NICET – the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies, or ETA International. Electrical technicians also possess technical skills like reading schematics and blueprints and testing lab equipment to determine if it meets the required specifications.

During 2022, the median pay for electrical technologists and technicians was $66,390 per year, or $31.92/hour. Additionally, approximately 125,000 electrical technology professionals were working in the nation in 2019. At the top of the scale, electrical technicians can earn about $100,000 per year. 

The top-paying industries for electrical technology professionals include natural gas, the government, publishing, and specialized design services, among others. Depending on the exact job description, electrical technicians may be required to work at night or day, contingent upon production scheduling. Work environments include labs, offices, and factories, to name a few.

  • Career options: Electrical technologists and technicians assist engineers who design equipment with regard to communication equipment, computers, GIS equipment, and medical monitoring equipment, to name a few. 
  • Average Salary: $66,390
  • Degree Level: Associate’s

13. Cybersecurity

Screen capture of the word Security on a PC monitor

A degree in cybersecurity teaches you how to apply security principles to different systems. In addition, you’ll develop critical-thinking skills in analyzing and evaluating systems to prevent threats or respond to risks. Another advantage of this program is that you’ll understand how legal and ethical principles apply in cybersecurity.

It’s best to choose an area to specialize in. For instance, you can concentrate on networks, data, or information systems. Regardless, you’ll encounter subjects like computer science theory, hacking, cryptography, engineering techniques, and advanced research.

Once you finish this program, you can excel in the industry as a cybersecurity analyst, IT security auditor, systems integration engineer, incident manager, and cloud security consultant.

  • Career Options: An information security officer, penetration tester, forensic investigator, cloud security specialist, and incident response investigator are among some of the best careers you can take on with a cybersecurity diploma.
  • Average Salary: $112,000
  • Degree Level: Associate’s, Certificate, Bachelor’s 

14. Plumbing 

A line of faucet outdoors

Students with a serious interest in a plumbing career can enter the profession as an apprentice or earn a diploma from a vocational tech school. Most states and even local authorities require professional plumbers to be licensed and meet district requirements. They generally mandate applicants to have three to five years of professional plumbing experience.

The coursework offered to plumbing students includes classes in the proper use of tools, safety issues, knowledge of local plumbing codes, and pipe system design, to name a few. A more advanced plumber, a journey-level plumber, is allowed to work independently, with most states requiring plumbing contractors to reach the master’s level. 

Professional plumbers must have physical strength, dexterity, and mechanical skills, to name a few. Plumbers possess a plethora of skills that allow them to install pipes/fittings that safely carry gas, water, or other substances. 

Depending on the nature of the project, plumbers may use a variety of construction techniques and materials, like plastic or copper. Additionally, plumbers maintain septic systems that connect to large sewer systems.

In 2022, the median annual pay for plumbers was $60,090 or $28.89 per hour. Job growth for plumbers over the next decade is anticipated to be 4%, which is about average. With nearly 500,000 plumbing and pipe fitting professionals, there should be more than 20,000 new jobs created by 2029.

  • Career Options: Plumbers work across industries, installing and repairing pipes in businesses, factories, and residential properties.
  • Average Salary: $60,090
  • Degree Level: Diploma

15. Software Development

Group of people sitting on a table during a work meeting

Software development refers to the process of designing, creating, deploying, and supporting software. You’ll often use programming, web frameworks, and computing platforms. You can make computer and other tech systems programmable with software architecture knowledge.

With this degree, you’ll learn to conduct exploratory research, develop a process and data flow design, and use flow charts. More than that, you’ll hone skills in working on technical records, discovering and removing bugs, and software testing.

Quite like a web development degree, getting a software development diploma will teach you how to code and interpret programming languages. You can specialize as a software engineer, mobile development specialist, cloud engineer, full-stack developer, or DevOps engineer.

  • Career Options: With a software development degree, you can jumpstart your career as a game developer, code developer, applications engineer, backend developer, and software architect. 
  • Average Salary: $124,200
  • Degree Level: Diploma, Associate’s, Certificate, Bachelor’s

16. Wind Turbine Technology

Windmills installed on a vast field

Students who want to pursue a career in the field of wind turbine technology will need to complete a non-degree certificate program or associate degree in wind turbine energy technology after they complete high school. 

Coursework for a wind turbine certificate or associate degree program will include electrical/hydraulic maintenance, mechanical systems, computers, braking and rescue/safety, and first aid. In addition, professional organizations offer wind turbine technology certifications that demonstrate the professional’s competence and proficiency.

Wind Turbine Technology technicians perform routine tasks such as the installation and maintenance of wind turbines, mechanical devices that create electricity from wind energy. They also collect data that is used to improve services through extensive analysis. A wind turbine technician may work in an office and travel to work sites when needed. 

In 2019, the number of wind turbine technologists working in the country was approximately 7,000. However, statisticians anticipate the job market for wind turbine technology to explode with 61% growth over the next ten years. 

The median pay for wind turbine energy technicians in 2022 was $57,320 per year or $27.56 hourly. It’s one of the highest-paying associate degree jobs

  • Career options: Most wind turbine technicians are employed by electrical power transmission companies or industrial machinery maintenance, among others.
  • Average Salary: $57,320
  • Degree Level: Certificate or Associate’s 

17. Legal Assistant

Person signing a document

Legal assistants, like paralegal roles, work alongside attorneys, performing various tasks and supporting legal professionals. Students with a strong interest in a legal assistant career will be required to earn a certificate or, more preferably, an associate degree in legal studies.

Employers tend to prefer paralegal studies programs that are approved by the American Bar Association (ABA). Additionally, legal assistants may choose to earn a voluntary certification offered by a number of professional organizations in the field. 

Legal assistants possess great interpersonal, organizational, and communication skills. They are often tasked with meeting strict deadlines on a variety of projects going on simultaneously. Many need to work overtime to meet tight deadlines.

Legal assistants assist attorneys as they prepare for trials, meetings, and hearings. A legal assistant’s professional duties will be contingent on the size of the firm or if the legal assistant has a legal specialty, like intellectual property, family law, real estate, or employee benefits, among others. 

There were nearly 340,000 legal assistants and paralegals working in 2019. The industry expects a 10% job growth rate over the next decade, 2.5 times the national job growth average of 4%. In 2022, the annual median pay for legal assistants was $59,200 or $28.46 per hour. 

  • Career Options: Most legal assistants work in legal services, the government, or management, among others.
  • Average Salary: $59,200
  • Degree Level: Certificate or Associate’s 

Why Should I Study Trade-Related Degrees?

Many students find that, upon graduating from high school, college may not be the right path to reach their career objectives. Some students conclude that they can reach their career goals by enrolling in a more trade-oriented career preparation program, which may require:

Woman wearing a hard hat while holding a tool
  • Less education
  • Fewer time commitments
  • Significantly less financial investment than a more traditional four-year academic program.

Trade or tech schools offer post-secondary education focused on a specific trade or skill, offering the preparation necessary to possess the minimum qualifications to enter high-paying jobs in the trade field.

Is It Worth Getting a Tech Degree Diploma?

Earning a tech degree may be worth it if you can use it to get well-paying career paths with promising job outlooks. For instance, computer and information systems degrees expect a 15% growth from 2022 to 2032, much faster than the average for any other occupation. With this growth, you can expect high earning potential.

It pays to have a tech degree diploma, as its coursework can give you an edge in the competitive job market. You can use your practical skills, technical knowledge, and problem-solving abilities to compete with other applicants.

Why Do Trade Jobs Pay So High?

Trade jobs pay so much because of supply and demand.

“Almost everyone will require the services of a plumber at some point in their life, so that increases the demand for those jobs,” shares Dr. Jerome Rekart. “Similarly, the technical skills and rarity of some positions, like those that work on wind turbines, are still developing, so finding an expert is hard to do, which can drive up the wages (and demand) for those who are skilled in this.”

As another example, according to the National Electrical Contractors Association, more than 10,000 electricians are retiring every year, yet only 7,000 new ones are replacing them.

High demand and a shortage of experts mean skilled laborers in the trades can charge more. Generations of young people being told to get a bachelor’s degree and go into professional work also create a shortage. You can get into almost any trade with just an associate degree, resulting in a much higher return on investment.

What Kinds of Degrees Do Tech Schools Offer?

You don’t need a bachelor’s degree to get a high-paying job; an associate degree in the right field is all you need. Tech schools offer several types of tech degrees that pay well. These are detailed below.

Windmills lined up on a vast seaside area

Tech School Diploma or Certificate Program

Tech and vocational schools offer students the option to earn a diploma or certificate in a specific area of study, which is often completed in a year or less. 

A registered nurse program is a great example of a diploma program offering students entry into one of the highest-paying jobs with a tech school degree available.

Tech School Associate Degree Program

Some of the best tech school degrees, like those of a respiratory therapist, require a more comprehensive program. The next level of a post-secondary program available from a technical or vocational school is an associate degree, which is offered, most often, in these degrees:

  • AS degree: Associate of Science Degree Program
  • AA degree: Associate of Arts Degree Program
  • AAS degree: Associate of Applied Science Degree Program

Associate degree programs typically require approximately 60 credit units to graduate, which is completed traditionally in two years. Plus, earning an associate degree is a smart starting place for students wanting to earn their bachelor’s degree. Community college is another place for these high-paying careers.

Non-Credit Programs

Some of the best tech school jobs require no formal degree. In these instances, students can prepare for that career by completing a non-credit program. Some tech school jobs that pay well without a degree include laboratory techs and commercial divers.

These are by no means all the options. Others include:

  • Occupational therapy assistants
  • Nuclear technicians
  • Mechanical engineering technicians
  • Air traffic controllers
  • Radiologic and MRI technologists
  • Medical equipment repairers
  • Computer support specialists
Person fixing the plumbing system

What Are Tips for Choosing the Best Tech Degree?

It helps to consider your interests, skill sets, and strengths. Also, consider your long-term goals and the job market as you make your pick.

  • Think about potential career paths: Choose a program that offers a broad range of career opportunities if you’re still unsure about the job you want to do after graduation.
  • Follow your passions: It pays to consider your passion as it can help you produce better work output, helping you achieve higher compensation and better employment benefits.
  • Examine the course requirements: Before enrolling, you can check a school’s website or consult a counselor about the courses you’ll most likely study in your program.

How to Pick the Right Trade Career

Ultimately, the decision about what career to pursue is your decision. Consider these factors when making this important decision.

  • Your interests: What makes you want to get out of bed in the morning?
  • Your skill set: What areas are you most skilled in? Which life experience will help you in your career choice?
  • Your passions and dreams: What are your life goals? What dreams do you have?

Review the highest-paying jobs from tech schools. These high-paying tech school jobs offer students a comprehensive cross-section of a variety of industries that offer the highest-paying tech school jobs.

Related Questions

Which Tech Degree Pays the Most?

According to various sources, a degree in computer science or cybersecurity tends to offer some of the highest-paying prospects among technology-related fields. However, earning potential can vary significantly based on factors such as location, industry, and experience.

What Tech Skill Pays the Most?

In the technology field, skills related to artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and data science are currently in high demand and command some of the highest salaries. Proficiency in cutting-edge technologies like cloud computing, cybersecurity, and DevOps can lead to lucrative career opportunities.

What Two-Year Degrees Pay the Most?

Among two-year degree programs, some of the highest-paying options include radiation therapy, air traffic control, diagnostic medical sonography, and nuclear technology. These fields often involve specialized training and certifications, leading to competitive salaries upon graduation.

Can I Use a Trade School Degree in Healthcare?

Medical professionals are in high demand. There are many healthcare associate degree jobs you can get from a trade school, including occupational therapy assistants, radiologic and MRI technologists, medical equipment repairers, and more. These are just a few ways medical professionals can start their careers.

Is It Challenging to Earn a Technical Degree?

A tech degree may seem difficult, especially at first, because the coursework requires a great deal of technical knowledge, and some concepts have a high learning curve. Another challenge is staying up to date on constant developments in the tech industry.


Ultimately, knowing the tech degrees that pay well can open doors to financial stability and career advancement. Whether through a four-year degree program or a specialized two-year certification, investing in the right technical education can lead to a rewarding and financially secure future in a constantly evolving job market.

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25 Best Value Pre-Law Summer Programs [2024 Guide]

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Aspiring lawyers, take note: summer pre-law programs could give you a significant head start. These intensive courses offer a sneak peek into the rigors of law school while allowing you to explore areas of legal specialization. 

From sharpening your reasoning abilities to learning about diverse practice areas, the right pre-law summer program can help confirm your passion for the profession. This guide on the best pre-law summer programs provides insight into the legal profession, increasing your chances of success in the rigors of law school.

The Ultimate Guide to the Top Pre-Law Summer Programs

The best pre-law summer programs are at Penn State Law, NYU/Harvard TRIALS, St. John’s University School of Law, Drake Law School, and the University of Akron School of Law. These programs provide students with a comprehensive introduction to legal careers, preparing them for the challenges of law school and beyond.

Pre law summer programs badge

These programs allow students to immerse themselves in various hands-on learning experiences and gain critical thinking skills. Students engage in coursework taught by legal professionals, visit courtrooms and law firms, participate in moot court competitions, and gain opportunities for networking and mentorship.

Penn StateFree5 days
NYU/Harvard Law School: TRIALSFree5 weeks
St. John’s UniversityFree – $30004 to 6 weeks
Drake LawFreeAt least 2 weeks
University of AkronFree4 weeks
Pace University$3,250-$4,6003 weeks
Illinois Institute of TechnologyFree3 weeks
Alliance Defending FreedomMinimum of $7002.5 days
Duke Law$600 per class2 weeks
Saint Louis UniversityIncorporated into the tuition fee12 credit hours
University of Houston$6002 months
Florida State UniversityFree1 month
Cornell University$6,3806 weeks
Minnesota Pre-LawFree11 weeks
Summer Pre-Law IntensiveStarts at $12510 weeks
Marist College$3,500 per sessionAt least 2 weeks
Indiana UniversityFree1 week
University of WisconsinFree1 month
UC DavisFree2 months
Council on Legal Education Opportunity$2,5002 to 3 days
LatinoJustice LAWboundSubsidized4 days
Columbia University$2,132 per point1 month
Sidley Prelaw Scholars ProgramCovered by scholarship1 month
SEO LawFree10 weeks
Boston UniversityStarts at $9,7008 weeks

The programs below are geared toward students who are not yet committed to a law program. You can use this as an opportunity to gather information and determine whether legal studies is the path for you.

1. Penn State Law

Penn State Law

Penn State Law School offers a residential pre-law program designed for information gatherers. This is one of the top pre-law summer programs where participants will gain information about different fields of law and professions that can be obtained with a law degree, including judges, professors, and practicing attorneys.

  • Cost: Free
  • Duration: Five days

2. NYU/Harvard: TRIALS


This summer pre-law program is a collaborative partnership between the law schools at New York University, Harvard, and the Advantage Testing Foundation. Geared toward students from low-income families, Harvard pre-law programs give underrepresented students a vehicle for access to legal careers.

Kelsey Ludeman, an education expert with 15 years of experience in the education sector, highly recommends this program if you’re serious about going into law and want a solid foundation before the fall semester starts: 

“The TRIALS program is a top-tier summer pre-law program. The program is free of cost and alternates locations between the two campuses each year. This is a great way to gain incredible insight and experience into the world of law. 

Throughout the program, you’ll find support in career path decision-making and LSAT preparation – this alone makes the program worth it. You’ll walk away with the professional connections and personal confidence to carry with you through your career journey.”

3. St. John’s University School of Law

St. John's University School of Law

St. John’s University School of Law has a variety of programs for prospective law students, with the Ronald H. Brown’s Prep Program for College Students the most popular. There’s also the all-male Prep Program Foundations, Summer LSAT Bootcamp, and the LSAT Bootcamp co-ed program for college seniors and graduates.

4. Drake Law School’s Law Opportunity Leadership Program

Drake Law School’s Law Opportunity Leadership Program

Drake Law School’s Law Opportunity Leadership Program is an excellent offering for up to five overachieving first-year law students from an underrepresented community. Following the intensive training, each student will have access to two fully paid internships with a law firm and a different company of relevance.

5. University of Akron School of Law

University of Akron School of Law

The University of Akron School of Law’s PLUS is geared towards undergraduate students in their freshman and sophomore years who are interested in pursuing law school after graduation. Applicants must have already completed 24 credit hours of undergraduate coursework before participating in the program.

6. Pace University’s Elisabeth Haub School of Law

Pace University’s Elisabeth Haub School of Law

Pace University’s Elisabeth Haub School of Law offers a three-week PACE Pre-Law certificate program (PPCP). The entire intensive includes over 60 hours of programming, class trips to courtrooms and law offices, lectures in class, tips on applying for law school, and even auditing opportunities for legal profession classes.

7. Illinois Institute of Technology

Illinois Institute of Technology

The Chicago-Kent College of Law through the Illinois Institute of Technology offers a program called PLUS, Pre-Law Undergraduate Scholars Program. This program will give students a foundation of the ins and outs of the legal profession and impart participants with the skills to effectively apply to law schools.

8. Alliance Defending Freedom

Alliance Defending Freedom

The Alliance Defending Freedom’s Law School Prep Academy explores topics such as substantive instruction, worldview foundations, and professional development strategies. Students will also learn how to increase and bring forward their core belief systems and apply them to their legal careers.

9. Duke Law D.C. Summer Institute

Duke Law D.C. Summer Institute

Duke D.C. Summer Institute’s coursework includes gaining a foundation in statutory, constitutional, and regulatory frameworks for engaging and implementing public policy. Participants will have the opportunity to work closely with Duke’s expert law faculty.

10. Saint Louis University School of Law

Saint Louis University School of Law

Law scholars who successfully finish Saint Louis University’s Law Scholars Program will be granted automatic admission to the Saint Louis University School of Law. They will have access to various activities focusing on law and general education classes.

11. University of Houston Law Center Pre-Law Pipeline Program

University of Houston Law Center Pre-Law Pipeline Program

The University of Houston Law Center’s Pre-Law Pipeline Program received the American Bar Association Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Award for Excellence in Pipeline Diversity. The program offers extensive LSAT preparation, introductory law school coursework, professional development offerings, and internships.

12. Florida State University College of Law

Florida State University College of Law

Florida State University’s Donald J. Weidner Summer Program gathers undergraduates from all over the country to learn together about the field of law. Aside from learning from the law faculty, students will do coursework on the admissions process for law schools and take field trips to places like the Florida Supreme Court.

13. Cornell University

Cornell University

Cornell University’s summer pre-law and internship program is perfect for sophomores and juniors in four-year degree programs. Students can take the foundational course The American Legal System, which utilizes the Socratic method offered at most law schools.

14. Minnesota Law School – Minnesota Pre-Law Scholar Program (MPLS)

 Minnesota Law School - Minnesota Pre-Law Scholar Program (MPLS)

The Minnesota Pre-Law Scholars Program (MPLS) focuses on rigorous LSAT preparation and the law school admissions process. This program aims to make the field of law more diverse and jumpstart a legal career.

15. The Summer Pre-Law Intensive (SPI)

The Summer Pre-Law Intensive (SPI)

The Summer Pre Law Intensive (SPI) is delivered by Jay Cutts, the director of Cutts Graduate Review and author of the LSAT Prep Book Barrons. The program explores a comprehensive LSAT preparation for a legal career. Each high school student will be paired with a mentor who will stay engaged in their course of study and offer regular support.

16. Marist College

Marist College

Marist College’s Summer Pre-Law Program provides an understanding of the legal timeline in this country and the founding legal documents for which the US was built. There will be a variety of guest speakers and field trips to important legal sites, including the FDR Courthouse and Museum.

17. Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law Summer Law and Leadership Academy

Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law Summer Law and Leadership Academy

Indiana University’s Summer Law and Leadership Academy provides classes on how to network (including actual networking opportunities), field trips and lectures, career possibilities, and participate in mock trials. Underrepresented students will learn an introductory approach to the criminal process, legal writing skills, and current topics that are hot in the legal profession. 

18. University of Wisconsin

University of Wisconsin

The University of Wisconsin Law School’s Pre-Law Undergraduate Scholars Summer Program (PLUS) is specifically designed for students enrolled in a four-year college program who have finished their freshman or sophomore year. The program gives more students from underrepresented communities the tools they need to pursue a legal career.

19. University of California Davis School of Law – King Hall Outreach Program 

University of California Davis School of Law – King Hall Outreach Program 

The University of California Davis School of Law’s King Hall Outreach Program allows students to work with mentors to prepare for the LSAT and law school applications and understand the inner workings of the legal system. Students will participate in full-day Saturday sessions and a myriad of workshops, as well as access individual advising sessions.

20. Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO)

Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO)

The Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO) offers a variety of pre-law programming, mostly geared towards undergraduate students interested in pursuing a law degree. The Pre-Law Summer Institute consists of both online and in-person classes, workshops, and advising.

21. LatinoJustice LAWbound

LatinoJustice LAWbound

LatinoJustice’s LAWbound program believes in reaching more to Latino communities to be prospective law students, mentor and network within the community, and participate in wrap-around programming that offers more Latino law students access to the Bar. Applicants must show a strong desire to go after a legal education and be a member of the Hispanic community.

22. Columbia University

Columbia University

Columbia University’s pre-law summer program offers classes focusing on comparative jurisprudence, Constitutional Crisis on Campus: Constitutional Law Through the Lens of Higher Education, US Foreign Policy, International Human Rights Law, and Race Crime and the Law. Students engage in debates to develop critical thinking and communication skills.

23. Sidley Prelaw Scholars Program

Sidley Prelaw Scholars Program

The Sidley Prelaw Scholars Program is designed to support students who are underrepresented in the field of law, providing access to the resources to excel in the application process. They must attend all of the LSAT prep courses associated with the program.

24. SEO Law Fellowship

SEO Law Fellowship

The SEO Law Fellowship provides students access to dedicated mentors, networking opportunities, and extensive law school preparatory offerings. Students participating in the program are all placed at a top law firm where they will participate in a paid internship.

25. Boston University Study Abroad Summer Program 

Boston University Study Abroad Summer Program 

Considered one of the best internships for prelaw students, Boston University’s London Internship Program enables students to spend an internship that includes classes and workshops on pertinent law-related topics. BU also has a program that enables pre-law students to study human rights, global governance, and economic development in Switzerland Geneva.

What Are the Benefits of a Pre-Law Summer Program?

Benefits of a pre-law summer program include gaining insights into the legal field, developing critical skills, and exploring legal disciplines. You’ll also benefit from networking with legal professionals, receiving LSAT preparation, and making informed decisions about pursuing a legal career.

Man taking notes while looking at his desktop monitor
  • You should enroll in a pre-law summer program to explore potential legal careers while gaining exposure to the work environment of law firms.
  • These programs offer valuable insights into the legal profession, allowing you to develop critical skills required for success, such as analytical thinking and communication abilities. 
  • Participating in a pre-law summer program can help solidify your interest in pursuing a legal career. It will enable you to make well-informed decisions about your academic journey and future goals within the legal field.
  • Consider that many skills might need a brush-up, including technical reading, writing, and debate. A pre-law program can prepare students for important aspects of the legal profession while they obtain communication skills to absorb the underpinnings of the law and the tools to be changemakers. 

What Makes These Online Sustainability Certificate Programs a Good Value?

Looking to develop new skills in sustainability? These online sustainability certificate programs offer excellent value. The courses are specifically designed to provide insights into environmental issues and sustainable practices. 

These programs equip learners with practical knowledge and credentialing. Online sustainability certificate programs enable flexibility and accessibility, making it a wise investment for those passionate about creating a greener future.

What Do You Do in a Pre-Law Summer Program?

Each program has different focal points and emphasizes a niche that can be nuanced. For example, many of the programs we have highlighted are summer pre-law programs for undergraduates that specifically highlight the racial and economic disparity among lawyers. 

  • Many of these programs for college and graduate students aim to close the gap and bring more students of color to the front lines of legal practice. They see the utility in not allowing economic resources to inhibit students from participating in pre-law summer programs. 
  • Many of the pre-law summer programs for college students are geared towards extensive LSAT preparation and how to apply for law schools effectively. The application process can be a harrowing ordeal, so a program can be exactly what is needed to charge ahead effectively. 
  • Many of the programs are structured to combine lectures, field trips to sites relevant to the field of law, coursework, mentoring, and test prep. Most summer law programs for undergraduate students dedicate a significant amount of time to networking within the field as they train at law firms. 
  • In a pre-law summer program, you can expect to participate in academic coursework and engage in mock trials or moot court competitions. You’ll also hear from guest speakers, visit legal institutions, and gain critical thinking skills. 
  • You might be considering a summer pre-law program or doing a relevant internship. Some programs bring the two together. There are also various programs with specific focal points, some targeting marginalized groups, students with a social justice leaning, and even people of color. 
  • Many of the summer pre-law offerings include lectures on a range of topics, field trips, mentoring opportunities, and a focus on survival skills.
Group of lawyers posing for a photo in a room

Related Questions

Are There Summer Programs for High Schoolers Who Want to Major in Pre-Law?

There are a few pre-law summer programs for high school students interested in law. You will see that many are designed for students in the early stages of their four-year college degree programs.

What Are the Best Pre-Law Summer Programs for Minorities?

SEO Law Fellowship, Legal Outreach Summer Law Institute, Thurgood Marshall Summer Law Internship Program, and the Street Law Legal Diversity Pipeline Program are some of the top pre-law preparatory programs for underrepresented and minority students. Many include stipends, mentoring opportunities at law firms, and internships that offer relevant work experience. 

What Is the Best Major for Pre-Law?

Graduating high school students can consider history, economics, political science, philosophy, English, business, criminal justice, and psychology as the best majors for pre-law. You should choose a major emphasizing strong communication skills, critical thinking, and analytical abilities—qualities highly valued by legal professionals.

What GPA Do You Need for the Pre-Law School Admissions Process?

Most law schools expect applicants to have a strong academic record, typically with a GPA of at least 3.0 for high school students interested in legal careers. However, top law schools often look for GPAs well above 3.5.

How Do I Prepare for Law School the Summer Before?

High school students can use the summer before law school to develop critical thinking skills through internships and summer programs. Students can also prepare by self-studying in areas like logic, persuasive writing, and research methods.


Pre-law summer programs provide a comprehensive introduction to the legal field, equipping students with critical thinking skills, knowledge of the law profession, and work tools necessary for a successful legal career. With the exposure and preparation offered by pre-law summer programs, students can confidently pursue their aspirations in the legal profession.


Top 25 Best Value Online/Hybrid Law Degrees

Top 25 Best Paralegal Certificate Programs in the US

Top 50 Best Pre-College Summer Program

Find your perfect value college

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Top 28 Colleges with No Out-of-State Tuition [2024 Guide]

US Colleges that Don't Charge Out of State Tuition

Find your perfect value college

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Failing to research and identify the cheapest out-of-state tuition options can lead to unnecessary financial burdens, limiting access to desired academic programs, and potentially hindering educational opportunities. By exploring colleges that offer affordable tuition rates, students can broaden their horizons and pursue their academic goals without the added stress of excessive costs.

Top out of state tuition rate collleges

Featured Programs With the Cheapest Out-of-State Tuition

The best value schools for out-of-state students include Florida Polytechnic University, Southern Louisiana University-New Orleans, Oklahoma Panhandle State University, Lake Area Technical College-Watertown, and Mississippi Valley State University. 

These institutions provide valuable insights into institutions that prioritize accessibility and affordability without compromising on academic quality.

InstitutionAverage Out-of-State Tuition FeeAcceptance Rate
Florida Polytechnic University$21,00538%
Southern Louisiana University$20,85156%
Oklahoma Panhandle State University$8,38590%
Lake Area Technical College$6,71885%
Mississippi Valley State University$7,41479%
Blue Ridge Community and Technical College$7,46492%
University of Texas of the Permian Basin$21,74795%
Minot State University$8,50893%
Delta State University$8,60098%
Alcorn State University$8,50030%
Chadron State College$7,800100%
Peru State College$7,92048%
Central State University$9,59088%
Granite State College$9,15096%
Southwest Minnesota State University$10,12291%
Bemidji State University$10,13077%
Youngstown State University$10,83878%
Nicholls State University$9,24998%
Mayville State University$11,13161%
West Texas A&M University$10,99691%
Dickinson State University$11,21872%
New Mexico Highlands University$11,90097%
Thomas Edison State University$9,500100%
Harris-Stowe State University$10,60017%
Henderson State University$9,76075%
University of Southern Mississippi$11,45098%
Midwestern State University$12,18392%
Black Hills State University$12,10096%

The high cost of tuition is one of the primary barriers to many students considering a college degree, especially when it comes to out-of-state tuition. Going out of state for a degree is not a luxury but a necessity. Perhaps the only universities that offer a degree in a specialty you want are out of state. Maybe getting out on your own, in a new state, is the change you need to be the best version of yourself.

The US has some of the cheapest educational institutions in the world – our public universities, especially regional public institutions, offer students in their state affordable, accessible education opportunities as an explicit mission. Unfortunately, most of them charge higher rates for out-of-state tuition. 

ValueColleges.com 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.

1. Florida Polytechnic University

Florida Polytechnic University

Florida Polytechnic University has a unique mission to drive Florida’s future forward, and making itself one of the low-cost universities in the nation is a key part of that mission. 

Providing students with the same tuition rate as in-state residents means that Florida Poly can attract the most promising, motivated, and accomplished students from all over the nation.

That means Florida Poly’s world-class STEM programs can attract a world-class student body. What tech-loving student would not be attracted to state-of-the-art labs, mentorship from award-winning faculty, and the world’s first all-digital library?

Florida Polytechnic is the newest member of the State University System of Florida. Founded in 2012, Florida Poly only accepted its first full class of freshmen in 2014 (though Florida Poly dates back to a University of South Florida extension campus started in 1988). Florida Poly is entirely STEM-focused, filling a significant role in Florida’s public college education. 

It’s one of the most ambitious new universities in the nation, with a mandate from the governor to increase Florida’s production of STEM grads to over 22,500 per year by 2025. Setting an affordable tuition rate in the nation is a smart strategy and a major benefit for students.

2. Southern Louisiana University

Southern Louisiana University

The public, historically black Southern University at New Orleans enjoys offering top-notch instruction, academic programs, and research to support the upward mobility of a diverse student body. 

The College of Education and Human Development, the College of Business and Public Administration, and the School of Social Work of SUNO are the institutions that provide undergraduate programs at Southern University. 

SUNO, a leading, innovative university, is committed to assisting its students in achieving more tremendous success in their chosen fields by providing unparalleled attention and individualized instruction.

Among the prominent academic disciplines are natural science, business management, child development, and teacher education. The courses from Southern University provide several benefits, including improved critical thinking skills and first-hand experience with highly qualified professors.

3. Oklahoma Panhandle State University

Oklahoma Panhandle State University

The Oklahoma Panhandle State University’s affordable tuition is part of its mission to empower students to reach for lifelong aspirations. Their values embrace excellence, inclusion, integrity, sustainability, and service

OPSU offers some of the most affordable higher learning options on campus and or online. Such schools reach for excellence in life-long learning, resource optimization, and graduate production. 

Students have the option to apply for student loans, grants, and scholarships, including the Panhandle Promise Scholarship. The Oklahoma Legislature established the Oklahoma Panhandle in 1909.

The school participates in the Board of Regents for the Oklahoma Agricultural & Mechanical Colleges’ “EthicsPoint” program to reach for the highest ethical standards for those attending Oklahoma Panhandle . Franklin Hall, located on OPSU’s campus is recognized under the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

4. Lake Area Technical College-Watertown

Lake Area Technical College-Watertown

Since its founding in 1965, the public Lake Area Technical College in Watertown, South Dakota, has provided two-year degree programs. LATC thrives to give everyone in the area access to top-notch workforce training and encourage possibilities for lifelong learning. They are one of our 50 best community colleges offering online degrees.

Along with various other courses, the college offers technical diploma programs and further education. What makes it an in-demand institution is its curriculum, created to prepare students for careers in fields that are seeing rapid growth, including manufacturing, construction, healthcare, and agriculture.

Compared to private colleges, Lake Area in South Dakota is an affordable technical college for students who want real-world experience to comprehend various skill sets fully. This can help you make informed decisions about your career pathways by allowing you to select the talents that best suit your goals.

5. Mississippi Valley State University

Mississippi Valley State University

Mississippi Valley State University’s low tuition makes it ideal for students seeking both baccalaureate and master’s degrees in addition to an honors program for gifted undergraduate students. It is recognized as a Carnegie Classified Master’s University, providing coursework in the fields of Professional Studies, Education, and the Arts & Sciences. 

MVSU’s tuition costs (which are the same for resident students and out-of-state students) rival some of the low-cost tuition in the US. Mississippi Valley is a member school of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and is considered a historically black university (HBCU). 

The Mississippi Legislature established it as a vocational school in 1950. MSVU’s marching band is known colloquially as the Mean Green Marching Machine – the first African-American marching band to join the Tournament of Roses Parade.

6. Blue Ridge Community and Technical College

Blue Ridge Community and Technical College

West Virginia-based Blue Ridge Community and Technical College (BRCTC) is a public college with an inexpensive fee. For the majority of its programs, BRCTC offers open admissions, making college education available to anybody who satisfies the prerequisites. 

One of the advantages of studying in this technical college is the ability to transfer to other educational institutions if they choose to pursue a bachelor’s or postgraduate degree. You can also join the college’s annual Career Fair to help employers and prospective employees interact.

BRCTC offers almost 100 degree programs in early childhood education, business administration and management, criminal justice, nursing, and engineering technology. It also offers traditional, online, and distant learning alternatives. 

7. University of Texas of the Permian Basin

University of Texas of the Permian Basin

Fun fact: the University of Texas Permian Basin holds the distinction of being the only institute of higher learning named for a geological formation. It is part of the world-renowned University of Texas System. Located at the “halfway” point between El Paso and Dallas, UT Permian Basin is the academic heart of West Texas. 

Earning a degree is affordable for both in and out-of-state students. The University offers undergraduate and graduate degrees from its five programs: Nursing, Business, Engineering, Education, and Arts & Sciences. Full-time undergraduate students manage at least twelve hours of coursework per semester.

The 61st Texas Legislature chartered the University of Texas Permian Basin into existence in 1969. The University officially opened its doors in 1973. The University is located in the epicenter of the energy industry, providing explosive growth in recent years. 

Its smaller population means small classes, giving students the opportunity to work one-on-one with professors for mentorship and research. UTPB’s main campus is home to a life-size replica of Stonehenge. They have also implemented affirmative consent training on campus.

8. Minot State University

Minot State University

The Minot State University is a model of value, placing the needs of students from all backgrounds as its highest priority – especially when it comes to cost. Minot has been recognized by PayScale College Education Value Rankings as one of the lowest tuition fees offering great value.

In fact, all students attending MSU pay in-state tuition, no matter where they come from. The school offers Automatic 4-Year Awards to students based on their high school GPAs and ACT scores.

Minot State University is the third largest institute of higher education in the state of North Dakota. It is comprised of four academic divisions: Education and Health Sciences, Business, Arts & Sciences, and its graduate school. 

MSU was originally established in 1913 as a two-year Normal School – a teacher training school, the precursor to the modern teacher’s college. Today, Minot offers more than sixty undergraduate majors. The school even welcomes Canadian students regularly, as it is located less than 50 miles from the Canadian border.

9. Delta State University

Delta State University

Delta State University offers the cheapest out-of-state tuition, equivalent to the tuition costs of resident students. It’s no surprise that students attending DSU represent each state and an additional 50 countries – a rarity for a regional public university. They have also made our list of the top Mississippi universities with online degree programs.

It is strongly committed to quality academics, support for the arts, and the school-wide encouragement for innovation. A four-year higher learning institution offering baccalaureate degrees spread among 42 different majors, DSU also offers several master’s and doctoral degrees in the field of education.

Delta is located in the heart of the Mississippi Delta and is one of eight publicly funded institutions of higher learning in Mississippi. It was established by the state in 1924 as the Delta State Teachers College. 

Delta State’s commitment to the good of the community goes well beyond low tuition. The school opened its doors and hearts to victims of Hurricane Katrina by providing temporary housing for those displaced. DSU is also unusual in operating a 19-aircraft fleet at the local airport and on campus.

10. Alcorn State University

Alcorn State University

Alcorn State is one of the cheapest out-of-state tuition universities in the nation. It attracts students from all over the US and around the globe, coordinating studies abroad for students interested in those experiences. 

Named for Mississippi’s governor when it was established in 1871, Alcorn State is a crucial part of education in the state. Comprised of seven schools, Alcorn State’s degree programs are available in 50 areas of study, including a nursing degree and a highly-regarded MBA program, one of the best in the Deep South.

Alcorn State was established in 1871 as a land grant university, the first black land grant college in the country. Its 1,700-acre campus is located about 80 miles from Jackson, Mississippi, and includes about 80 modern structures. 

Alcorn became a co-educational university in 1895. It strives to create advantageous opportunities for each student attending the college. In addition to the main campus in Lorman, Alcorn State has additional campuses in Vicksburg and Natchez, Mississippi.

11. Chadron State College

Chadron State College

Chadron State College’s Cost of Attendance remains almost the same for both resident students and out-of-state students ($1 more per credit hour) through the Chadron State Eagle Rate program. 

As the only undergraduate and graduate degree-granting college in the western part of the state of Nebraska, Chadron State has an uncommon amount of responsibility to the people of that region. And they have lived up to that standard as one of the best online higher education institutions in Nebraska

With one of the most affordable educational institutions in the Midwest, the Higher Learning Commission has accredited this affordable four-year school, which offers 52 degree professional programs.

The Nebraska Legislature established Chadron in 1911. It is one of three public colleges in the Nebraska State College System. 

Five of the buildings on Chadron State’s small rural agricultural community campus have been acknowledged by the National Register of Historic Places. Chadron State College’s student-faculty ratio is 18:1. CSC offers scholarships at the undergraduate and graduate degree levels.

12. Peru State College

Peru State College

Peru State College is one of the cheapest out-of-state tuition universities due to the student-friendly One Rate, Any State tuition program. The college encourages students to apply to all available federal aid programs and scholarship options to help fund their education and career aspirations. 

Peru State College’s Engagement Opportunities include an honors program, a Rural Impact Hub, a variety of internships, and Feeding 44 – a mobile food pantry created by the joint efforts of PSC, the Food Bank of Lincoln, and Catholic Social Services.

It was founded in 1865 as the first college in what was the Territory of Nebraska (though it was founded by the Methodist church, not the state). 

The 100+- rural acre campus is known as the Campus of a Thousand Oaks and is located on the eastern edge of the state of Nebraska on a bluff above the Missouri River. 

Peru State’s value to students is in its small size, which provides the attention and mentorship of a small liberal arts college at the price of a public institution – even for out-of-state students.

13. Central State University

Central State University

Central State University’s tuition for out-of-state students is among the cheapest offered by a school of Central State’s quality. Additionally, CSU participates in a variety of federal and state loans and grants to help finance a student’s education. 

The college offers scholarships based on the qualities of leadership, merit, and talent. Comprised of four departments, these include the College of Education, the College of Business, the College of Engineering, Science, Technology, and Agriculture, and the College of Humanities Arts and Social Sciences, Central State.

These play a critical role in preparing African-American students in Ohio for professional careers. Ohio’s State Legislature established CSU in 1887 as a teacher training and technical school for black students in Wilberforce – a central stopping place on the Underground Railroad named for British abolitionist William Wilberforce. 

Central State is a historically black university (HBCU). Its rural campus is home to more than 2,000 students who enjoy one of the low-cost universities in the nation.

14. Granite State College

Granite State College

Granite State College offers some of the cheapest out-of-state tuition rates for out of state students across the United States. Created to serve as affordable college opportunities from seven suburban locations, Granite also offers much through a distance learning platform.

Additionally, the four-year college has been recognized by the US Department of Education as the #1 cheapest four-year institution of higher learning in New England, based on tuition fees.

Granite was founded in 1972 and is a member college of the University System of New Hampshire, established specifically to provide convenient college opportunities for working adults. Today, that means online learning, and GSC has become one of the foremost names in online higher education.

In 2020, US News & World Report recognized Granite State College’s online degree programs as the top college in the state to receive this acknowledgment. In 2017, Washington Monthly ranked first among New England Colleges for Adult Learners.

15. Southwest University State University

Southwest University State University

Southwest Minnesota State University offers a value far beyond just low costs. Professional studies are offered in the disciplines of Agriculture, Art, Biology, Chemistry, Economics, Finance, Global Studies, and Indigenous Nations, among others. 

Southwest Minnesota offers affordable in-state tuition fees to all students attending the college. At the same time, SMSU’s Banded Tuition also allows students to pay the exact same tuition cost whether or not a student takes 12-18 credit hours each semester.

Established in 1964, it is a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System. The 215+-acre campus is located in the small city of Marshall and is home to approximately 8,700 students.

Marshall has been named one of the country’s Best Small Cities due to the fact that it is easily accessible to Minnesota’s Twin Cities, Sioux Falls, SD, and Fargo, ND. Southwest Minnesota offers students a rich community defined by support and mentorship while providing quality education at an affordable price.

16. Bemidji State University

Bemidji State University

Bemidji State University provides quality education to the northern region of the state of Minnesota. International students, out-of-state US students, and in-state Minnesotans pay the same tuition rate, one of the lowest in the nation. 

More than 80% of Bemidji students receive some sort of financial aid. BSU’s most popular majors include Nursing, Business, Sciences, Psychology, criminal justice, and Education. Bemidji is tasked with educating students to find life’s inspiration.

The Minnesota State Legislature chartered Bemidji in 1919. The school is located on the shores of Lake Bemidji (“The Lake with Crossing Waters’’). 

Initially, the school began as a teacher’s prep institute, but today Bemidji State is a crucial part of Minnesota’s professional workforce education. Many out-of-state and international students are drawn to Bemidji State’s unique Aquatic Biology program. Lake Bemidji’s deep waters act as an immersive student laboratory, even during the long freeze from December until May.

17. Youngstown State University

Youngstown State University

In addition to standing as one of the cheapest out-of-state tuition universities, Youngstown State University’s designated philanthropic entity, the Youngstown State University Foundation, offers scholarships and incentives to YSU students. The beneficiaries of the scholarships are as varied as the donors. 

For example, the Mike and Janet Murray Scholarship is awarded to a member of the FSU women’s basketball team. There are many scholarships available through the YSU Foundation that are intended to benefit students majoring in certain fields, such as journalism or gerontology, or participating in specific extracurricular activities. 

Earning one of these scholarships would lower the cost of tuition for nonresidents even further. Youngstown State’s generous scholarships are a reflection of the institution’s commitment to Ohio’s people. 

YSU began as an evening education program for adults in the local YMCA, and the university remains committed to affordable adult education. For instance, the Clara J. Ross Scholarship is earmarked for a student who has been out of high school for at least seven years and plans to major in education. Youngstown State University also offers one of the most affordable criminal justice programs you can do online.

18. Nicholls State University

Nicholls State University

Nicholls State University is also one of the friendliest. Located in South Central Louisiana, the home of Cajun culture, the school prides itself on its southern hospitality and welcoming nature.

As part of its efforts to make all students feel welcome, the International Student Services works to help foreign students understand U.S. immigration regulations, taxes, culture, and more. Students from 44 foreign countries attend classes at NSU.

Nicholls has the only four-year culinary arts program in the state of Louisiana and provides 80% of the region’s nurses and teachers. It also runs the Louisiana Center for Dyslexia and Related Learning Disorders, which provides services to NSU students and the local community. 

The center offers comprehensive assessments for all age groups, from children to adults, and provides support services to help students with learning disabilities. The Center also provides classes and workshops for teachers.

19. Mayville State University

Mayville State University

Mayville State University turns students into leaders. It teaches that each and every student has the ability to make a difference in the world. In addition to its low tuition rates, MSU offers small class sizes that attract students who desire more individualized attention. 

Small classes allow students to develop close friendships and experience a sense of kinship with other students in their programs, as well as make it easier for students to get help from their professors.

Mayville believes in giving every student a chance to do their absolute best. It strives to be affordable and accessible so that individuals can achieve their potential through a high-quality, leadership-focused education. 

Mayville graduates are conscientious citizens who contribute their time and talents to making the world a better place – no matter where they’re from – with a degree from one of the most affordable universities.

20. West Texas A&M University

West Texas A&M University

West Texas A&M University is not just about affordability. Although it’s one of the cheapest universities, its buzzwords are “innovation” and “opportunity.”

WTAMU’s research initiatives include the Athletic Training Room and Education Laboratory, the Computer Information Systems Software and Network Security Testing Lab, and the West Texas Speech and Hearing Clinic, as well as many others. The Center for the Study of the American West allows students to experience hands-on learning while minoring in Western American Studies. 

Another university-run research center, the Dryland Agriculture Institute, seeks to develop improved dryland farming practices by emphasizing efficient water use, erosion control, increasing soil fertility, irrigation, and pasture and pest management.

In addition to research opportunities, students at West Texas A&M have the opportunity to participate in a variety of campus organizations, extracurricular activities, and leadership programs. 

Student organizations include 1910 PR, which provides real-world PR experiences; the African Student Organization; several fraternities and sororities; and an assortment of career-based organizations, such as the American Marketing Association and the Association for Computing Machinery.

These are a small sample of the opportunities WTAMU’s students have to participate in organized activities and clubs with other students.

21. Dickinson State University

Dickinson State University

Dickinson State University has one of the cheapest out-of-state tuition rates in the nation and is found right in South Dakota. It offers a wide range of academic programs and boasts about its impressive job placement rates. 

The most interesting thing about Dickinson, for history and trivia lovers, is its ties to Theodore Roosevelt, who is quoted as saying, “I have always said I never would have been President if it had not been for my experiences in North Dakota.”

Teddy Roosevelt was a man of discipline, integrity, and grit, as DSU students learn. The school’s obsession with the former president is evident through its creation of the Theodore Roosevelt Center, which strives to create a comprehensive archive of all things Teddy. 

DSU also offers the Theodore Roosevelt Honors Leadership program, which seeks to teach students practical reasoning and leadership skills to succeed in a highly competitive workplace. 

The work of the Theodore Roosevelt Center has inspired the creation of the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation, which is working toward constructing a presidential library and museum in western North Dakota.

22. New Mexico Highlands University

New Mexico Highlands University

New Mexico Highlands University’s low out-of-state tuition rates ensure that the school is accessible to everyone, a demonstration of its core values of excellence, diversity, accessibility, and responsiveness. 

The school offers more than 50 undergraduate and nearly 30 graduate programs, divided among four schools: the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, Media and Technology, the School of Education, and the School of Social Work.

New Mexico Highlands offers around 50 clubs and organizations, open to all NMHU students. There is an anthropology club, an ASL club, an art club, an astronomy club, a debate club, a student leadership organization, a media arts production club, and even a disc golf club.

The literary journal, the New Mexico Review, publishes a selection of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction writing at the end of each semester. Being one of the cheapest universities also ensures that a diverse student body will bring culture and depth to NMHU student life.

23. Thomas Edison State University

Thomas Edison State University

Known for one of the cheapest out-of-state tuition rates, Thomas Edison State University was founded in 1972 for the purpose of providing alternative educational options for adults who want to earn a college degree. 

The school continues for this purpose today, offering options such as allowing students to earn credit for relevant work experience and training. Although the TESU campus is made up of five buildings, students rarely visit the campus. 

Most students take their courses online, whether from home, at work, or at the local library. Thomas Edison offers a variety of degrees at the associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels, as well as an assortment of undergraduate and graduate certificate programs. 

All of their programs are created with adult students in mind, and as one of the low-cost universities, Thomas Edison is a great choice for anyone who wants to earn their degree online.

24. Harris-Stowe State University

Harris-Stowe State University

With incredibly low tuition rates, Harris-Stowe State University was founded to provide higher education to students in the greater St. Louis region. The school offers various programs designed to meet the needs of its diverse student body. 

These programs include an academic support program, community outreach, and a college-prep academy for urban youth. To accommodate older students’ needs, Harris-Stowe offers evening and Saturday courses.

At Harris-Stowe, students can earn their bachelor’s degree in 19 major areas of study. The school also offers a certificate in urban agriculture and has academic partnerships with several other institutions, which give students even more options. 

For example, nursing students can attend classes at the Goldfarb School of Nursing to pursue a nursing track while majoring in biology at HSSU. 

Even though Harris-Stowe’s mission is to serve students in the St. Louis area, it has one of the most affordable rates in the nation in the past decade, so it is an attractive option for out-of-state students as well.

25. Henderson State University

Henderson State University

Henderson State University offers low tuition for over 75 graduate and undergraduate programs. The school’s programs are designed to combine a liberal arts education with professional training. The faculty is committed to excellence, and the school has a diverse body of students from all over the country and around the world. 

Henderson believes that every student has the potential to become a leader and influence positive change in the world. The school has a solid foundation for helping rural and first-generation college students achieve academic success.

Henderson is working to enhance its programs to meet the requirements for new and anticipated future career opportunities and to increase the availability of experiential learning opportunities. 

The school is also adding more online courses to allow access for more students. Combined with one of the low-cost rates in the country, offering more online options will make Henderson State more attractive.

26. University of Southern Mississippi

University of Southern Mississippi

The University of Southern Mississippi is also a research-driven doctoral institution with students from all 50 states and 72 countries. Southern Miss offers study-abroad programs in about 20 different countries, including Spain, France, and Japan.

Students have access to research opportunities through the Drapeau Center for Undergraduate Research. The school’s teacher prep program for elementary teachers is ranked among the top 3% in the country by the National Council on Teacher Quality.

Southern Mississippi offers the state’s only BS in Ocean Engineering and has the only beachfront campus in the state. It is also the only Mississippi university offering a doctorate in audiology or a nurse anesthesia program.

It also offers the only certificate program anywhere for unmanned maritime systems. Its high-quality educational programs are of incredible value for non-residents and international students. 

The USM Foundation provides funding for scholarships. The foundation provided more than 2,000 scholarships for Southern Miss students in 2017.

27. Midwestern State University

Midwestern State University

In addition to offering one of the cheapest out-of-state tuition rates, Midwestern State University offers a variety of scholarships to help students cover the cost of their schooling. The Priddy Foundation Scholars scholarship covers tuition and housing for four years for first-generation college students who meet certain requirements. 

Other scholarships include the $4,00 per year Redwine Honors Scholarship and the $7,000 per year President’s Distinguished Scholarship. The scholarship page on the school’s website lists more than 60 scholarship opportunities.

To help students who struggle with food insecurity, Midwestern now offers food security scholarships and has a food pantry located on campus. The food scholarships were established by a local businessman, Pat Canan, after he became aware that food insecurity was a problem for many college students. 

Students in need of food assistance complete a simple application. When approved, funds awarded from the food scholarship are applied directly to the student’s meal card.

28. Black Hills State University

Black Hills State University

With one of the lowest out-of-state tuition rates in the country, Black Hills State University is a bargain for residents and non-residents alike. At Black Hills State University, anything is possible. At least, that’s their slogan (and we tend to agree as they are one of the top online universities in South Dakota).

The school strives to create a community environment that fosters academic success and provides students with abundant opportunities for exploration. BHSU is located in Spearfish, SD, and offers outdoor adventures, art experiences, nature trails, parks, theatrical performances, music concerts, and more.

The school hosts an annual research symposium where students can show off their research projects. Black Hills is working with Sanford Lab to build an underground laboratory that will enable students to participate in a variety of research opportunities. 

The planned lab will have a clean room and workspace and will be used for assaying materials with ultra-sensitive physics detectors, studying geological rock formations, and doing short-term student projects in a variety of disciplines.

Our Methodology for Ranking Low-Cost Out-of-State Tuition Universities

Ranking low-cost universities is easy – all we needed to do was research tuition costs (using IPEDS data) and rank them from lowest to highest. That’s not all it takes to understand what institutions are the best for students. You need to understand what makes them tick.

All of the colleges and universities are public (because private universities rarely charge nonresident tuition to begin with). Most of them are regional state universities dedicated to affordability and student service. 

Empty classroom

Even though their primary mission is to the people of their state and region, the nice thing about regional public universities is that they have nothing to prove: they provide excellent education, at reasonable prices, for anybody with the motivation to get their degree. HBCUs, because of their inclusive mission, are also great choices for affordability.

Whether you’re a first-generation college student coming straight out of high school, a community college transfer student ready to expand your horizons, or a new veteran returning to civilian life, low-cost universities are there for you.

What Are Cheap Out-of-State Colleges?

When understanding cheap out-of-state educational institutions, it’s crucial to note that “out-of-state” tuition only applies to public colleges and universities. Public institutions typically offer significantly higher tuition rates for students who reside outside of the state. 

In contrast, private colleges and universities generally charge the same tuition rate regardless of a student’s residential status. For the purposes of this discussion, we’ll focus solely on public institutions, as these are the schools where the distinction between in-state and out-of-state fees becomes relevant.

What Constitutes Cheap College Fees?

To determine what constitutes a “cheap” out-of-state college, we’ll consider institutions with net prices lower than $15,000 per year. This threshold is set based on the following considerations:

  • The average public school tuition and fees for out-of-state residents in the United States is currently $22,953.
  • By selecting best value schools with net prices below $15,000, we’re targeting more affordable options than the national average.

It’s important to note that the net price includes tuition and room and board expenses, as these costs can often exceed tuition fees. To provide a comprehensive understanding, we’ll include the following information for each college:

  • Cost of tuition and fees
  • Cost of room and board
  • Typical financial support offered to students
  • Admission rates and enrollment statistics

By providing these details, you’ll gain a better understanding of the overall cost of attendance, the generosity of financial aid offered, and the size and competitiveness of the institution. It’s important to note that the schools listed will have some degree of competitiveness in their admission process.

Why Are There Cheap Colleges for Out-of-State Students?

Offering lower rates is a strategic move by these institutions to increase their viability and attract a broader range of students. Several factors contribute to the existence of cheap colleges:

  • Reputation building: By offering affordable tuition, these schools can establish a reputation for being “best value” schools, caring about the financial struggles of students and promoting accessibility to higher education.
  • Market competitiveness: In a highly competitive education market, less prominent schools use low prices as a way to stand out and entice students who might otherwise overlook them.
  • Institutional mission: Some schools are dedicated to reducing the impact of financial concerns on those who choose to attend, regardless of their residential status. For example, Delta charges the same tuition rate for all students, stating that this policy aims to increase financial equity, reduce the impact of financial considerations on educational policy, and increase uniformity across the university.
  • Attracting a diverse student body: By making their programs accessible through affordable rates, these colleges can attract a more diverse and geographically diverse student population, enriching the educational experience for all.
  • Regional focus: Many schools are regional public institutions with a mission to serve the broader community, not just the residents of their state. Offering affordable tuition aligns with this mission and promotes access to education across a wider geographic area.
Students sitting on a bench while sharing notes in between classes

Why Is Out-of-State Tuition Higher?

Out-of-state tuition is higher because public colleges and universities are partially funded by tax dollars. For as long as residents have lived in the state, they have indirectly paid to fund schools through their taxes.

It makes sense to give them a discount on the tuition for those schools. This is often true of smaller regional colleges.

Most states want to encourage students to remain in their state for schooling so that they will be more likely to find employment there after graduation and remain residents of their state. The state’s economy gets a boost if more students opt to continue living there after graduating.

However, there are some educational institutions with no out-of-state tuition. So, if none of the schools in your state appeal to you, you might want to consider choosing one of the most affordable universities as an alternative. 

Rates among colleges vary dramatically, and you may find that some of low-cost universities are priced competitively with the public universities in your residential state.

Can International Students Get In-State Tuition?

Many of the scholarships available are open to international students as well, resulting in the availability of in-state tuition for international students. Some also have specific scholarships only available to foreign students, meaning that the most affordable universities in the USA are also some of the cheapest colleges.

There may also be programs in the student’s home country that pay a portion of the tuition for students who attend a foreign college or university. For example, the U.K.’s Leverhulme Trust offers scholarships to students who wish to study abroad, essentially making for in-state tuition for international students.

Moving the entire family to the United States is an extreme way of getting international students in-state tuition. Forbes outlines a detailed plan to accomplish the task. It involves investing in and directing an independent film.

The special visa program used for this investment visa allows the investor to receive derivative visas for his or her spouse and children under the age of 21. It doesn’t take the cheapest educational institutions in the world, just some smart planning, to get in-state tuition for international students.

There are many affordable universities in the USA that are among the cheapest colleges, even without any scholarships. Foreign students can save a huge amount on tuition by researching the most affordable universities in the USA and choosing to attend one of those schools instead of a more expensive and prestigious university.

Who Should Enroll at Low-Cost Colleges From Another State?

Affordable rates open up different opportunities for students who may have previously thought their dream school was out of reach due to financial constraints. These cheap schools are an excellent option for a diverse range of prospective students, including:

  • Students seeking quality education without the burden of excessive costs: By offering competitive tuition fees for non-residents, these institutions make it possible for students to explore degree programs beyond their home state without breaking the bank.
  • Cost-conscious families looking to maximize their educational investment: With tuition being a significant expense, affordable out-of-state options can help families stretch their budgets while still providing access to reputable institutions.
  • Students interested in specific academic programs not offered locally: Some specialized or niche programs may not be available at in-state institutions, making cheap schools an attractive alternative for students pursuing unique academic paths.
  • Individuals seeking a fresh start or a change of scenery: Attending college in a different state can offer a transformative experience, and low-cost rates make this opportunity accessible to a broader range of students.
Glass walls of a university building

While cheap colleges in another state might look enticing, Jerome L. Rekart, Ph.D., who was the Vice President of Research and Insights at Southern New Hampshire University, advises to deep dive all of the expenses that you might end up paying:

“One of the biggest costs that can sneakily add up is travel to and from the out-of-state college. Can you easily and readily drive? Do you have to fly to get there? These considerations should factor into decisions about how cheap the tuition is. 

One other thing to think about is the cost of living in that state. Is it more (or less) than you are currently used to? This could affect whether you have to live on campus (if a traditional student) or not.”

Factors to Consider in Choosing Schools With Cheap Out-of-State Tuition

When it comes to choosing the best schools with cheap out-of-state tuition, it’s essential to consider several factors beyond just the tuition cost. While affordability is a crucial consideration, it shouldn’t be the only factor driving your decision. 

Here are some important elements to keep in mind:

  • Academic programs and reputation: Check schools that offer academic program(s) you’re interested in and those programs are of high quality. Research the school’s reputation, accreditation, and rankings within your desired field of study. Consider the qualifications and expertise of the faculty members teaching in your intended program.
  • Student support services: Look into the availability of academic advising, tutoring, and career services for students. Evaluate the on-campus resources, such as libraries, computer labs, and study spaces. Inquire about the support services, such as orientation programs and student organizations.
  • Financial support and scholarships: Determine schools that offer additional financial aid opportunities, such as merit-based or need-based scholarships. Explore potential work-study programs or on-campus job opportunities to help offset the costs. Calculate the total cost of attendance, including tuition, fees, room and board, and other expenses.
  • Campus life and community: Consider the size and location of the school and whether it aligns with your preferences, whether it would be in an urban or rural setup. Investigate the campus culture, student organizations, and extracurricular activities available. Look into the school’s safety records, housing options, and surrounding community.
  • Future prospects: Research the school’s job placement rates and the success of its alumni in your desired field. Explore potential internship and networking opportunities available. Consider the reputation among employers in your chosen industry.

By considering these factors, you can make an informed decision and choose the best schools that align with your academic goals, financial situation, and personal preferences.

How Can I Find Out of State Tuition Scholarships?

Out-of-state tuition scholarships and waivers allow students to reduce their tuition costs. Waivers are usually offered to a student who meets special circumstances, such as having a parent who is a disabled veteran.

Some schools offer tuition scholarships and waivers to attract students who excel academically. For example, Kennesaw State University offers a merit-based scholarship covering up to 100% of the tuition. 

These merit-based tuition scholarships are often limited to students with very high college admissions test scores and GPAs. Many universities also offer legacy scholarships. These scholarships allow in-state students whose parents graduated from the university to pay in-state rates.

Normally, this only applies to students who attend schools somewhere other than their residential state. However, residency requirements may be stricter or looser, depending on the school. Some scholarships that are large enough to cover tuition are also available to in-state students. 

In most cases, the scholarship will only pay up to the actual tuition amount owed by the student, regardless of whether the student is paying in-state or out-of-state tuition. They will usually not pay for room and board, however.

In addition to scholarships and waivers, some states have reciprocity agreements with neighboring states. For example, if you live in Wisconsin, you can pay in-state rates in Minnesota and vice versa. 

Some states form regional reciprocity exchanges that involve multiple states. Check with the school you’d like to attend to find out if there is a reciprocity agreement with your state.

The rules for graduate degree programs may be different. Many schools charge the same graduate tuition for in-state or out-of-state residents.

Students enjoying their free time on a campus lawn

Related Questions

What Public Colleges Don’t Charge Out-of-State Tuition?

Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this question. The list of schools that don’t charge out-of-state tuition varies by state, funding, and geographic region.

How Do You Find Colleges That Waive Out-of-State Tuition?

To waive out-of-state fees, you can move somewhere, establish residency, and hope that a college accepts you once you meet residency requirements. You may also consider applying for programs that can compensate for the fees.

What Is the Cheapest Out-of-State Tuition College?

Many public schools offer low-cost rates, with institutions like Florida Polytechnic University, Southern Louisiana University-New Orleans, and Oklahoma Panhandle State University topping the list of affordable options for non-resident students.

Are Any of the Top Sports Management Colleges on the List Also Tuition-Free?

When it comes to the best sports management colleges, one common question arises. While it varies among institutions, some elite educational institutions offer financial aid or scholarships to students pursuing sports management degrees. It’s essential to explore each college’s financial policies to find the best fit.

How Do You Finesse Out-of-State Fees?

Exploring financial aid opportunities, such as scholarships, grants, and waivers specifically designed for students, can help you pay the fees. These financial support options can help mitigate the higher costs associated with attending college as a non-resident.

What Is the Cheapest D1 College?

While specific rankings may vary, several Division 1 colleges offer affordable options, including institutions like Mississippi Valley State University. This institution provides competitive tuition rates for students and a range of certificate programs in addition to traditional degree offerings.


Knowing higher education institutions with cheap out-of-state fees can open doors to a wealth of college opportunities without the burden of higher tuition rates. By taking advantage of these affordable options, you can access a diverse range of academic programs and pursue your passions without financial limitations.

Related Rankings:

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Cheap 1 Year Online Master’s in Education Degrees

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When looking for an online program, you should consider factors like academic rigor, student support, and learning flexibility. However, for many professionals and students, the most crucial factor in choosing an online master’s in education program is affordability. Fortunately, there are many options to choose from. We’ve rounded up the list of cheap 1 year online master’s in education degrees that don’t compromise quality. 

Cheap 1 Year Online Master’s in Education Degrees

Want to upskill your teaching career but don’t know what colleges offer low-cost tuition? 

Whether you’re an experienced educator or passionate about pursuing a career in Academia, an affordable online master’s in education degree can help. 

A woman writing the formula for e on a blackboard

Below are the top 5 schools and colleges that provide cheap one-year online master’s programs.

Southeastern Oklahoma State University

Southeastern Oklahoma State University provides professionals and students who want to become teachers with affordable and accelerated 12-month online master’s degrees in Education. 

Tailored for education professionals, the program prepares you for leadership or administrative roles. Although it doesn’t lead to certification in Oklahoma, students can find a curriculum focusing on the public and overall American school system. 

All education courses are offered asynchronously and online in eight-week terms. Students can easily complete the 30-credit program in a year, even part-time. Some courses include “Fundamentals of Curriculum Development” and “School and Community Relations.”

  • Location – Durant, Oklahoma
  • Degree – Online Master of Education in Educational Leadership
  • Completion Time – 12 months
  • Credits – 30
  • Tuition – $8,400 (total)
  • School Accreditation –  The Higher Learning Commission

Western Governors University

Western Governors University (WGU) is a nonprofit online university that offers degrees in four high-demand fields: business, information technology, Education, and healthcare. 

Students can earn an accelerated master’s in Education online, opening doors to a rewarding career in K–12 education or instructional and training roles beyond the classroom. There are many options, from Science Education and Mathematics Education to Educational Leadership and Curriculum and Instruction. 

WGU is recognized among America’s best colleges for education degrees in 2024.

  • Location – Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Degree – Online Master of Science in Science Education, Curriculum and Instruction, Mathematics Education, and more
  • Completion Time – 12-18 months
  • Credits – 33
  • Tuition – $8,444 (total)
  • School Accreditation – Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation

University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley

The University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley allows working professionals to enroll in accelerated online master’s in Education. There are various options available, such as Curriculum and Instruction, Special Education, and Educational Leadership. 

Geared toward Texas-licensed teachers with a minimum of two years of experience, these 100% online programs offer asynchronous courses and curricula with an eight-week format. Additionally, no matter the program you choose, it requires 30 credits, a comprehensive oral and written exam, and capstone projects. 

Moreover, students can complete internships or practicums within Texas and choose from courses like “Administration of Human Resources and Budgeting” or “Curriculum Leadership for School Improvement.” You can also get financial aid upon request.  

  • Location – Edinburg, Texas
  • Degree – Online Master of Education in Special Education, Educational Leadership, and Curriculum and Instruction
  • Completion Time – 10-12 months
  • Credits – 30
  • Tuition – $13,750 (total)
  • School Accreditation – “Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)”
A woman sitting on a bed with a laptop and books

University of North Texas

The University of North Texas offers an online “