Earning an undergraduate degree can open doors to a number of interesting careers and some students begin their college search by looking for the cheapest bachelor’s degrees. When it comes to getting a bachelor’s degree, the “you get what you pay for” warning isn’t always accurate. There are many reasonably priced schools that offer a solid education.
All of the schools included on this list of Cheapest Bachelor’s Degrees offer programs which allow students to pursue their educational goals inexpensively. We compiled this list by gathering tuition data from College Navigator, and selecting the least expensive schools.
10 of the Cheapest Bachelor’s Degrees
Summary: Berea College is a liberal arts work college in the state of Kentucky that has been around since 1855. Most of the students that are accepted into this school have a score between 20 and 30 on the American College Testing (ACT). They typically have a cumulative high-school GPA of 3.0 in a college-prep curriculum. In addition to academic requirements, Berea looks at the extracurricular activities of its applicants, such as community service and volunteering.
Degrees: As mentioned, this college focuses on liberal arts studies but they also offer programs in physics, chemistry, and biology.
Tuition: Berea is unique in that each student is awarded a 4-year tuition scholarship and, in exchange, the students participate in the Student Labor Program. This program focuses on developing strong work habits in students and prepares them for the workforce after graduation. Without financial aid from the school and/or outside sources, students can expect to pay $6,946 a year, but most students qualify for significant financial assistance.
Brigham Young University (BYU)
Summary: Located in Provo, Utah, this private university is the largest religious university in the United States. All students applying to Brigham Young go through their evaluation process. The first requirement is an endorsement from the Church of Latter-day Saints from the applicant’s hometown. If this cannot be provided, then it is necessary to be interviewed by a Latter-day Saints bishop. Secondly, the student’s high-school GPA and ACT/SAT scores are considered. While given the most consideration, one’s GPA and test scores alone are not enough to be admitted. The applicant’s participation in their community and ability to strengthen the BYU community is also considered.
Degrees: BYU offers self-paced online courses and instructor-guided courses. Students can choose to pursue a degree in liberal arts, engineering, agriculture, management or law.
Tuition: According to US News, the average yearly tuition cost is $4,710.
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (UNC-CH)
Summary: Well-known as a research university, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill has been providing a quality education for more than 200 years. All students are required to receive a broad liberal arts education; they have the option of pursuing specialized studies in their junior year. UNC-CH is well known for their dedicated research into treating cancer. They opened their own hospital for care and research in 1952, called UNC Health Care.
Degrees: UNC-CH offers self-paced online courses and traditional semester courses. They offer the option of courses that are entirely online or courses that mix face-to-face learning with online learning. UNC-CH offers 71 bachelor’s degree programs.
Tuition: According to US News, the average tuition for 2012-2013 was $7,694 for in-state students and $28,446 for out-of-state students.
University of Virginia (UVA)
Summary: The University of Virginia was established in 1819 under the direction of Thomas Jefferson. UVA has minimum requirements for first-year applicants. They require an excellent high-school transcript with at least four units of English and college-prep mathematics, two units of foreign language and science (three units for engineering applicants) and one unit of social science. In addition, they require SAT or ACT scores, including the writing section and a recommendation from a school official and teacher.
Degrees: First-year students at UVA must apply to one of the four undergraduate schools: Arts and Sciences, Architecture, Engineering, or Nursing or to the Kinesiology program in the Curry School of Education. UVA some online classes and also offers working adults the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree taking classes part-time during the evenings with their Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies program. This program combines a liberal arts education with the option to focus on business, humanities or social sciences. Applicants for this program are required to have 60 hours of transferable credit.
Tuition: According to US News, the average tuition for 2012-2013 was $12,006 for in-state students and $38,018 for out-of-state students.
Summary: Since it’s opening in 1912, Rice has been recognized for its engineering programs. The Department of Bioengineering has been repeatedly ranked as one of the top 10 programs in the country. Rice requires applicants to submit an official high school transcript, complete SAT or ACT scores, counselor and teacher recommendations and a midyear report for high-school seniors. For those looking to apply to the School of Architecture, an electronic portfolio is required. Applicants to The Shepherd School of Music are required to audition.
Degrees: Rice University students graduate with one (or more) of 50 undergraduate degrees in one of the following six areas of study: architecture, engineering, humanities, music, natural sciences or social sciences.
Tuition: $36,610 is the average tuition for students at Rice University.
Summary: Recognizing that earning a degree online can greatly reduce the cost, Capella offers accredited college degree programs online. With 39,000 students studying online, the founders of this college wanted to offer adult students the ability to study from all over the world. Capella requires their students to have a high-school diploma or GED.
Degrees: Students can choose from many degrees such as Business and Technology, Counseling and Psychology, Education, Healthcare and Nursing, Public Service.
Tuition: According to US News, $11,700 was the average cost of tuition and fees for 2011-2012.
Summary: Western Governors University is an accredited, affordable online university that offers a variety of bachelor’s degree programs. They cater to working adults that may not be able to adhere to a strict class schedule. In order to be admitted into a bachelor’s program at WGU, one must be at least 16 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, submit all transcripts from previous schools and interview with a WGU Enrollment counselor. There are more requirements necessary for particular programs such as Business, Information Technology and Health Professions.
Degrees: WGU offers a variety of bachelor’s degree programs in Business, Information Technology, various Health Professions, and Education. See WGU on our list of Top 10 Cheap Online Retail and Sales Management Degree Programs (Bachelor’s) 2014.
Tuition: Western Governor’s tuition is $2,890 per six-month term and $5,780 per year for most programs.
Summary: Liberty University is a private Christian college, with resident programs and online programs, located in Lynchburg, VA. Applicants are required to submit high school transcripts, SAT or ACT score and an admissions essay. The average high-school GPA of their students is 3.31, 22 on the ACT and 1035 (math and reading) on the SAT.
Degrees: Liberty offers more than 160 fully accredited online programs and has been consistently ranked at one of the top 10 online schools due to the high retention and graduation rates.
Tuition: For resident programs, the average 2012-2013 cost of tuition and room was $27,218. On average, after available scholarships the cost for VA residents is $6,482, for out-of-state students, $11,163.