Most Affordable Online Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science

Explore the top 35 schools with affordable online computer science bachelor's degree programs. Learn about common courses and concentrations, how much programs cost and what careers they can lead to. Schools offering Computer Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Top 35 Affordable Online Computer Science Bachelor's Programs

To determine which schools have the best online bachelor's degree in computer science programs you should consider factors such as cost, accreditation and flexibility.

1. University of Wisconsin-Stout

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Menomonie, WI $9,457 84%

The University of Wisconsin at Stout is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and can boast that nearly 99% of its graduates are hired or pursuing more education after graduation. The school offers an online Bachelor of Science in Information and Communication Technologies program, or ICT. The program consists of 120 credit hours and includes instruction in areas such as web development, computer networking, systems design and software development. Students have a tuition rate of $342 per credit and can also add 1 of 9 minors to their program for an additional 18 to 27 credit hours of coursework.

2. University of Maine at Fort Kent

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Fort Kent, ME $8,115 95%

The University of Maine at Fort Kent offers two online computer science bachelor's degree programs as well as an online certificate in information security. Undergraduate students have a tuition rate of $245 to $392 per credit hour (part-time) or $7,350 to $11,760 per semester (full-time). Students can earn a Bachelor of Science in Computer Applications with a concentration in Information Security or a Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity. The cybersecurity program is recognized by the National Security Administration (NSA)/Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

3. South Texas College

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
McAllen, TX $4,080 91%

South Texas College is the only Texas community college that offers more than 5 bachelor's degree programs and boasts a student-to-faculty ratio of 22:1. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and offers two online bachelor's degree programs relevant to students interested in computer science: a Bachelor of Applied Technology in Computer and Information Technologies (CIT) and a Bachelor of Applied Technology in Technology Management. The programs consist of 120 to 122 credit hours and have per-credit tuition rates of $77 to $87 for in-state students and $200 for out-of-state students. The CIT program includes courses in programming, systems design and information security while the technology management program includes coursework focused more on administration and leadership.

4. Peru State College

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Peru, NE $7,512 97%

Peru State College began in 1867 as the first college of Nebraska and currently has over 2,400 students. The school has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission since 1915 and offers free tutoring services to students. Undergraduate online students have a tuition rate of $300 per credit hour, regardless of their state of residency. Peru State's online bachelor's degree program in Computer and Management Information Systems consists of 120 credit hours and includes courses in cybersecurity, computer programming, database and web development and administrative topics.

5. University of Florida

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Gainesville, FL $6,381 93%

The University of Florida was founded more than 160 years ago and has been accredited by the SACSCOC since 1913. The school emphasizes four pillars, including service and research, and promotes collaboration within local and international communities. At UFL, students can complete the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science program online, which includes courses in operating systems, programming and database systems. Florida residents have a low tuition rate of $112 per credit hour while out-of-state students have a tuition rate of $500 per credit hour.

Rank School Name Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
6 Oregon State University Corvallis, OR $11,166 86%
7 University of Colorado Boulder Boulder, CO $12,532 64%
8 Austin Peay State University Clarksville, TN $8,159 99%
9 Southeast Missouri State University Cape Girardeau, MO $7,418 96%
10 Purdue University Fort Wayne Fort Wayne, IN $8,450 90%
11 University of the People Pasadena, CA $1,000 95%
12 Old Dominion University Norfolk, VA $10,560 93%
13 Troy University Troy, AL $8,908 94%
14 Middle Georgia State University Macon, GA $3,924 90%
15 Dakota State University Madison, SD $9,276 95%
16 Florida Atlantic University Boca Raton, FL $4,831 81%
17 Florida International University Miami, FL $6,546 89%
18 California State University-Monterey Bay Seaside, CA $7,143 85%
19 National University La Jolla, CA $13,320 0%
20 Southeastern Oklahoma State University Durant, OK $6,750 95%
21 Rutgers University-New Brunswick New Brunswick, NJ $14,974 69%
22 University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Milwaukee, WI $9,588 83%
23 Franklin University Columbus, OH $12,649 86%
24 Eastern Washington University Cheney, WA $7,323 94%
25 Lamar University Beaumont, TX $8,373 86%
26 SUNY at Albany Albany, NY $10,011 83%
27 Dickinson State University Dickinson, ND $6,768 91%
28 Park University Parkville, MO $11,572 95%
29 Eastern New Mexico University-Main Campus Portales, NM $6,326 98%
30 Bellevue University Bellevue, NE $7,827 89%
31 Columbus State University Columbus, GA $6,134 92%
32 Fairfax University of America Fairfax, VA $10,328 17%
33 Inter American University of Puerto Rico-Aguadilla Aguadilla, PR $5,902 98%
34 University of Illinois at Springfield Springfield, IL $11,813 97%
35 Calvary University Kansas City, MO $11,164 89%

All table data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics, tuition represents the 2018-2019 school year

Learn.org's school ranking methodology categorizes and assesses data from schools and other reliable sources, such as the U.S. Department of Education, and weighs the information based on quality, cost, value and other factors critical to students' academic decisions.

Accreditation for Online Computer Science Bachelor's Programs

Online computer science students can be affected by both institutional accreditation and programmatic accreditation. Institutional accreditation applies to an entire school while programmatic accreditation applies to a specific program. Below are a few important differences between the two.

Institutional Accreditation

There are two types of institutional accreditation: regional and national. There are multiple accrediting bodies for each type; students can review which type applies to their school by asking an admission representative or reviewing their school's accreditation page. Institutional accreditation, either regional or national, is required for students to qualify for federal aid.

Regional accreditation requires schools to meet higher quality standards than those required for national accreditation. In addition, credits earned at regionally accredited schools can transfer to any college with institutional accreditation, but credits earned at nationally accredited schools can only be transferred to other nationally accredited schools.

Programmatic Accreditation

Programmatic accreditation is not required for computer science programs. However, some computer science programs are accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission (CAC). Attending a program with CAC accreditation ensures that students are gaining adequate preparation for careers in computing.

Overview of Online Computer Science Bachelor's Degree Programs

Computer science bachelor's degree programs are often available completely online and take an average of four years (full-time) to complete. Some programs include an internship or other hands-on training component, but many do not. Online computer science programs typically consist of web-based courses and assignments, with terms lasting 16-weeks or 8-weeks.

Students access their course, assignment list, lectures and other components through their learning portal, which is usually hosted on a third-party website (such as Blackboard). Computer science students may also use various other website and computer software to practice and complete course requirements that require more technical platforms.

Depending on the school, program and class, students may be able to work on their assignments 24/7 at their convenience, as long as they're turned in by the due dates (usually weekly). Other classes require some amount of synchronous (scheduled) components, such as logging in for live lectures, scheduled tests and class discussions.

Program Length

Online computer science bachelor's degree programs take an average of four years of full-time study to complete and usually include around 120 credit hours. Any student who takes more courses per semester can usually accelerate their program and finish in less time. The standard 4-year plan involves students earning 30 credits per year: 15 during both the fall and spring semesters. Online students often have more opportunities to study in the summer semester; students who take 15 credit hours during each of the three semesters can earn 45 credits per year and finish their program in three years. Students who have previously earned an associate's degree can often cut their curriculum requirements in half and complete their program in two or less years.

Concentration Options

Options for concentrations vary significantly but can include some of those noted below.

  • Project/Information Management
  • Information Security
  • Data Analytics
  • Computer/Software Engineering
  • Information Technology
  • Computer Science

Common Courses

Although specific courses for computer science bachelor's programs vary by school and concentration, many programs share the same fundamental learning objectives. Some of the courses commonly found in online computer science bachelor's programs are listed below.

  • Databases - This class explores structures and organization of data, including topics such as queues, manipulation, database design, security and analysis.
  • Introduction to Networking - Students learn about different technologies used in network as well as topics such as network protocols and relevant software and hardware.
  • Programming - This course introduces students to several processes and implications of programming, including design, data abstraction and object-oriented programming.
  • Information Systems - Students explore the methods and principles of information systems, including systems for networks and businesses as well as security concerns and practices.

Cost of Online Computer Science Bachelor's Degree Programs

Most online computer science bachelor's degree programs include tuition and other fees, and tuition is usually charged per credit hour, so the fewer credits required for the program, the less total tuition most students will have. Tuition can range from around $150 per credit hour to more than $600 per credit hour, meaning the total tuition of a 120 credit-hour program can range from $18,000 to $72,000.

On top of tuition, there are usually additional fees from the program or school. These can include things like registration fees, course materials fees and student services fees. Many of these are charged per semester, although some are per course or credit hour, and can add up to $1,000 to more than $4,000 over the course of a program.

How to Save

There are a few ways that students can save on the total costs of their online computer science bachelor's degree programs.

Transfer Credits

Students who have earned college credits in the past can often transfer these into their computer science programs, with some schools allowing up to 75% of the required credits to be transferred in. Students with associate's degrees can usually transfer in 50% (60 credits) of their program. For example, a student with an associate's degree may be able to complete their program for a total of $20,000 rather than $40,000.

Flat-Rate Tuition

Many schools offer flat-rate tuition discounts that allow students who are studying full-time to have discounted tuition after a certain number of credit hours. Most commonly, these flat rates apply to students taking 12 to 18 credits and have tuition (for the semester) equal to 12 credit hours. In these situations, students are able to take credits 13 through 18 with free tuition, decreasing the total cost of their program.

Choosing the Right School for an Online Computer Science Bachelor's Program

In addition to cost, there are several factors that you should consider as you narrow down your school choices for an online computer science bachelor's degree program.

Accreditation

Accreditation can mean you'll have a better experience in your program and it's required if you want to get financial aid. Ask your school choices about any institutional and programmatic accreditation they may have.

Programs Offered

If you are interested in a specific field or concentration of computer science, check with your schools to find out if they offer that program and if it is available online. Some programs and/or concentrations may only be offered on campus.

Flexibility

Flexibility refers to taking courses at your own pace or based on a predetermined structure. Some programs are only available full-time or part-time, while other programs allow you to take as many courses per semester as you want.

Careers for Online Computer Science Graduates

A bachelor's degree in computer science earned through an online program is equal to one earned on campus, and can help graduates find employment in a variety of careers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects all computer and information technology jobs to grow around 12% between 2018 and 2028 and reports that their median annual salary for 2018 was $86,320. Listed below are some of the careers that graduates of online computer science bachelor's degree programs may qualify for.

Computer Network Architects

Computer network architects are responsible for creating the design for networks and overseeing the construction of networks. They typically need a bachelor's degree in a field related to computer science and several years of experience working in information technology fields.

Database Administrators

Database administrators ensure that data is organized and secure by managing, storing and testing databases using custom software. Database administrators usually have a bachelor's degree in fields such as computer science or database management.

Computer Programmers

Computer programmers are responsible for writing and testing different code that is used to run various computer software and applications. Many computer programmers hold a bachelor's degree in programming, computer science or a closely related field.

Network and Computer Systems Administrators

Network and computer systems administrators oversee the computer systems within organizations and can be responsible for tasks such as installing new systems and maintaining security. Most positions require candidates to have a bachelor's degree in computer science, information science or a related field.

Computer Systems Analysts

Computer systems analysts review the computer systems and practices of organizations to create plans for improving their efficiency and effectiveness. They typically have a bachelor's degree in fields such as computer science or business, as employers prefer candidates with an understanding of both.

Software Developers

Software developers create applications and systems that enable users to complete specific tasks. Their duties can include design, collaboration, creating models and testing. They typically have a bachelor's degree in a related field, such as computer science, and a strong understanding of programming.

Information Security Analysts

Information security analysts maintain the security of an organizations computer systems, networks and data by testing and implementing various security measures. They typically need a bachelor's degree in fields such as computer science or information security and some applicable work experience.

Job Title Median Annual Salary (2018) Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)
Computer Network Architects $109,020 5%
Database Administrators $90,070 9%
Computer Programmers $84,280 -7%
Network and Computer Systems Administrators $82,050 5%
Computer Systems Analysts $88,740 9%
Software Developers $105,590 21%
Information Security Analysts $98,350 32%

All career data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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