Deciding whether or not to attend college can be a daunting life choice. It’s no secret that the costs of college keep getting more expensive, which may require students to take out loans or apply for grants. According to a recent report from Educationdata.org, the average cost of college in America is now $35,720 per student, per year. That number has tripled in just 20 years, thanks to an annual growth rate of about 6.8%.
That said, the cost of college may be worth it in the long run. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), those with a bachelor’s degree typically earned about $1,310 per week in 2020, while those with just a high school diploma typically earned about $780 per week. That difference in median wage can add up quickly, as can the earning potential for those with college degrees.
What university has the lowest cost?
The University of Washington operates campuses in Seattle, Tacoma, and Bothell. The school serves over 54,000 students through 18 schools and colleges. UW awards more than 12,000 degrees annually. And it is recognized for its initiatives and global impact in teaching and research. UW ranks as one of the least expensive four-year degrees in the state.
Roughly 60% of undergraduates receive over $400 million in financial aid. About $250 million is available in scholarships and grants. In addition to its campus-based programs, UW offers 17 affordable online degrees. Distance learning options include bachelor’s degrees in early childhood and integrated social science.
Full-time students can complete these programs within two years. At the master’s level, students can enroll in fully online or blended programs. Options include education, management, healthcare, engineering, and information science. UW is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
2. Brooklyn College
Brooklyn College became part of the City University of New York system in 1961. It is the first public coeducational liberal arts college in New York City. The school enrolls over 18,000 students in approximately 75 programs. Program options include business and education. Other options include natural and behavioral sciences and humanities and social sciences.
Brooklyn College has served as a pathway for success for thousands of alumni. This includes several U.S. Senators, federal judges, and Olympic medal holders. The college offers affordable tuition, interest-free payment plans. It also offers generous scholarships and financial aid packages. Brooklyn College has become increasingly selective, accepting only 40% of all applicants.
First-time applicants must have an SAT score of at least 1000 or the ACT equivalent. Brooklyn College is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Established in 1869, this Indiana-based public research university serves 43,000 students. It does so through nearly 300 programs. Purdue University administers programs in pharmacy, healthcare, veterinary medicine, and management. In 2018, the university created Purdue Online.
This serves as an integrated initiative of online courses, certificates, and degrees. Purdue Online makes affordable online degrees available at the undergrad and graduate level. The university helps learners reduce costs by offering credit for work experience. It awards grants to transfer students from selected community colleges.
It also provides tuition discounts for employees of partner corporations. The university grants some form of financial aid, including grants and scholarships. About 46% of new students receive aid. Purdue is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The University of Florida is now the third-largest college in the Sunshine State. It enrolls over 52,000 students. UF offers over 100 undergraduate majors and 200 graduate programs. UF’s college of engineering focuses on increasing diversity among its graduates. This is especially true for underrepresented minorities and women.
The most popular fields of study at UF include marketing, business, and engineering. Additional programs include communication and biological and biomedical sciences. UF also offers over 20 online majors and five minors. Each online program at UF delivers coursework asynchronously. UF is a regionally accredited institution.
5. Oklahoma State University
More than 35,000 students attend Oklahoma State University. It is a public land-grant university based in the mid-sized city of Stillwater. OSU offers over 300 undergraduate programs and 200 graduate programs. The school has a total of five campus locations and is available online. Established in 1890, OSU has evolved into the state’s most prominent STEM-focused institution.
The school is also recognized for its veterinary medicine and engineering programs. OSU offers affordable online bachelor’s degrees in business, pre-law, nursing, and engineering. Most of OSU’s 30 online master’s degrees eliminate all on-campus requirements.
OSU is one of six sun-grant universities in the nation. This means that OSU develops and supports bioenergy research and environmentally sustainable initiatives. Oklahoma State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
6. University of North Carolina
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the oldest public university in the country. It offers a strong, affordable education to over 19,000 students annually. The school is known as a “Public Ivy.” This refers to when a public institution offers an Ivy League academic experience.
UNC maintains a commitment to accessibility and affordability. It does this through several programs, including financial aid packages. UNC offers 97 bachelor’s, 103 master’s, and 72 doctoral degrees.
Distance learning offerings include eight certificate programs, nine master’s, and two doctoral degrees. Instructors deliver coursework entirely online or hybrid formats. This institution reports a 24% acceptance rate and an average SAT score of 1350. Carolina is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Long Beach enrolls over 37,000 undergraduate and graduate students. It offers courses at its main campus in Southern California and online. CSULB boasts affordable tuition rates and high earning potential for its graduates.
CSULB is a selective university, admitting 28% of applicants. Students interested in distance learning may enroll in courses and programs through CalStateOnline. This is the state system’s centralized portal for distance learning.
The CSULB Online system offers 74 bachelor’s, 146 master’s, and 7 doctoral degrees. Students can complete these programs in fully online and hybrid formats. CSULB is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.