AFFORDABLE ONLINE BACHELOR DEGREES IN PARALEGAL STUDIES

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Welcome to our list of online paralegal studies degree programs. Paralegals and legal assistants are people who typically work in law offices and help lawyers run the office and complete their responsibilities. Their job duties include organizing files, conducting research, drafting documents, and assisting attorneys as they prepare for trials. And according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for paralegals is great. In fact, between 2012 and 2022, the Bureau anticipates career opportunities for paralegals to grow by 17% – faster than the average for other occupations.

As enticing as this career is for people interested in law, but don’t have the time or money to commit to earning a law degree, paralegals still must attend school. Thankfully, there are plenty of universities that offer bachelor’s degrees in fields such as Paralegal Studies, Legal Studies, and Justice Studies, which will put you in a great position to land a job after graduation. Many of these degrees are also available through online colleges, which are perfect for working adults and parents who still want to obtain their educational goals.

Methodology

Below we have listed the 10 most affordable online colleges for students interested in paralegal work. All of these schools have rock-bottom tuition rates but also offer top-notch online paralegal studies degree programs. Many of their legal departments are accredited by the American Bar Association, while others have received accolades from reputable education reviewers. Many are also backed up by the best evidence of all – rave reviews from the students themselves! We obtained all the tuition rates from College Navigator (from the National Center for Education Statistics) and listed them from highest to lowest price. Note that for public institutions, we placed them according to the average of their in-state and out-of-state rates.

Cheap Online Paralegal Studies Degree Program Ranking

  1. Florida International University
    Location

    Miami, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    With a student population of about 54,000, Florida International University is one of the top ten largest universities in the United States. As a public research university, FIU is known for its innovation and research opportunities. Located in Miami, Florida, and only a short drive to the beach, FIU operates the only underwater ocean laboratory in the world.

    Criminal Justice, BS

    The criminal justice program falls under the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). SIPA requires students to study a foreign language while seeking their undergraduate degree. Notable faculty from the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice within SIPA include Rosa Chang, whose research focuses on immigration policies impacting the criminal justice system and the criminalization of immigrants.

    At FIU, online undergraduate students may pair with success coaches to help manage their time and stay on track to graduate.

    Applying to FIU

    FIU offers spring, summer, and fall terms. For first-year students, FIU requires applicants to submit an online application with a $30 application fee, plus SAT/ACT scores and official high school transcripts. Transfer applicants must submit an application with a $30 fee, plus all college transcripts.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Public
    • Accreditation: SACSCOC
    • Tuition: $229/credit (in state); $346/credit (out of state)
    • Required Credits: 120 credits
    • Program Length: 4 years
    • Delivery Format: 100% online
  2. Crown College
    Location

    Saint Bonifacius, MN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    One of four Christian and Missionary Alliance colleges in the United States, Crown College offers a biblically based approach to education. Founded in Bonificious, Minnesota, Crown decided to pay homage to its chilly home with the unveiling of a new mascot in 2020: Storm the polar bear.

    Criminal Justice, BS

    Crown students explore criminal justice through a Christian lense. Example courses for criminal justice students include juvenile justice, criminal justice ethics, victimology, and sociology.

    Students are encouraged to pursue a minor in addition to their criminal justice major. Learners are welcome to choose any minor offered at Crown, but criminal justice majors typically pair their degrees with minors in alcohol and drug counseling, international relations, pre-law, or social sciences.

    Applying to Crown

    Crown College uses a fairly straightforward application process. Prospective students must fill out an online application and provide official high school or college transcripts.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Private
    • Accreditation: HLC
    • Tuition: $395/credit
    • Required Credits:120 credits
    • Program Length: 4 years
    • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)
  3. Drexel University
    Location

    Philadelphia, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Drexel University, located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is known for its innovation and research. Drexel offers a co-op educational program, which allows students to explore their careers through three- and six-month stints of full-time employment in a position related to their course of study. With 24,205 students, 4,687 of whom are fully online, Drexel offers a multitude of professional development and educational opportunities.

    Criminology and Justice Studies, BS

    Criminal and justice studies learners may choose from three concentrations: criminology and justice policy, justice informatics, and criminal justice. Addressing topics including the war on drugs, national incarceration rates, and terrorism impacts on crime policy, Drexel's criminal and justice studies program provides an array of thought-provoking analysis and assessment of relevant ideas in the field.

    Drexel requires criminology and justice studies students to take at least one class in international justice systems. The program uses a large community-based curriculum, aiming to acknowledge the community impact of criminal justice.

    Applying to Drexel

    First-year students must have earned their high school diploma or GED credential within the last two years and have corresponding transcripts. First-year students must also submit SAT/ACT scores from within the last five years. The complete Drexel application process is available online.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Private
    • Accreditation: MSCHE
    • Tuition: $530/credit
    • Required Credits: 183-185 credits
    • Program Length: 4 years
    • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous) or on campus
  4. Roger Williams University
    Location

    Bristol, RI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Located in Bristol, Rhode Island, Roger Williams University was built on 80 acres of waterfront land. Roger Williams University boasts a 14-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. Approximately 98% of RWU students receive RWU scholarships or need-based federal aid.

    Criminal Justice, BS

    Incoming students' prior training and/or experience in public safety may count as credits toward their degree. Learners can also earn certificates through their coursework, such as in community policing, public safety, corrections agency administration, homeland security, and police agency administration.

    All RWU faculty in the criminal justice department actively work in the field. This provides students with insight into the lives, experiences, and moral dilemmas of law enforcement and legal system professionals.

    Applying to RWU

    With no application fee, no admissions essay, no entrance exams, no GPA requirements, and SAT or ACT score required, applying to RWU is simple. The school only requires official high school transcripts and a passion for criminal justice.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Private
    • Accreditation: NECHE
    • Tuition: $1,299/3-credit online course
    • Required Credits: 120 credits
    • Program Length: 4 years
    • Delivery Format: 100% online or hybrid
  5. New Mexico State University
    Location

    Las Cruces, NM

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Founded in 1888, NMSU is the oldest public institution of higher education in New Mexico. Its main campus is located in La Cruces, New Mexico; the school also maintains online programs and several satellite and community college campuses.

    Criminal Justice, BA

    Take classes addressing ethics, policy, and social justice The criminal justice department at NMSU is one of the oldest in the nation, founded in 1962. A staple of the NMSU criminal justice department is faculty-led research and experiential learning opportunities. Learners conduct their research in tandem with local, state, and federal criminal justice departments and agencies.

    Recent graduates from NMSU's criminal justice department join a community of NMSU alumni holding various levels of positions in the criminal justice field. This creates plenty of networking opportunities for graduates just starting their careers.

    Applying to NMSU

    Prospective online students must hold one of the following qualifications to gain admission to NMSU: a 2.75 cumulative high school GPA, an ACT composite score of 21, an SAT score of 1060, or a top-20% ranking in their graduating class.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Public
    • Accreditation: HLC
    • Tuition: $380/credit; $250/credit (active military)
    • Required Credits: 120 credits
    • Program Length: 4-6 years
    • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous) or hybrid
  6. University of Mary
    Location

    Bismarck, ND

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    University of Mary is a Benedictine University in Bismarck, North Dakota. It maintains two study-abroad locations in Rome, Italy, and Arequipa, Peru, plus several satellite campuses across the midwest. With a student population of approximately 3,779 students as of 2019, the institution's student-to-faculty ratio is 14-to-1.

    Criminal Justice, BS

    Mary's BS in criminal justice prepares students for careers across multiple facets of law enforcement, the legal system, and community engagement. Curriculum topics include drugs and addiction, juvenile justice, criminology, serial killers, and forensic psychology, allowing learners to explore a variety of topics regarding criminal justice policy, history, and practices.

    Criminal justice students at Mary gain humanitarian, ethical, practical, and professional skills to apply toward their criminal justice careers. Graduates may pursue careers as victim advocates, law enforcement officers, crime prevention specialists, crime investigators, federal officials, or forensics investigators.

    Applying to Mary

    Mary offers rolling admissions. All applicants must pay a $30 application fee. Transfer students need to submit transcripts from all previous colleges attended demonstrating a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA; first-time students may submit high school transcripts. Prospective learners under 21 must take the ACT or SAT.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Private
    • Accreditation: HLC
    • Tuition: $450/semester credit
    • Required Credits: 124 semester credits
    • Program Length: 4 years
    • Delivery Format: 100% online
  7. Trine University
    Location

    Fort Wayne, IN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Trine University, a liberal arts university located in Angola, Indiana, is a Christ-centered institution that embraces innovation in creating and exploring Christian higher education. Approximately 95% of Trine's students receive some form of financial aid, with awards averaging $35,000. Trine's student-to-faculty ratio is 17-to-1, with an average class size of 20 students.

    Criminal Justice, BS

    Trine offers three concentrations in the criminal justice program: criminal justice professional, psychology, and Indiana law enforcement. All faculty in the criminal justice program are current professionals in the field.

    Trine's online curriculum runs on an eight-week cycle, allowing students to focus on one or two classes at a time to get the most out of each class. Criminal justice majors can also earn credit toward an MS in criminal science; learners in the combined degree program can earn both degrees in four years total.

    Applying to Trine

    Prospective Trine students must submit a completed online application, official high school transcripts, and a valid government ID.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Private
    • Accreditation: HLC
    • Tuition: $399/credit hour
    • Required Credits: 120 credit hours
    • Program Length: 4 years
    • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)
  8. Southeastern University
    Location

    Lakeland, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Originally founded in 1935 in New Brockton, Alabama, Southeastern University is now in sunny Lakeland, Florida. SEU's mascot is a ball of fire that goes by the name Scorch. SEU's Fire Athletics joined the NAIA Sun Conference in 2009.

    Criminal Justice, BS

    SEU's criminal justice program focuses on three major branches of the criminal justice system: law enforcement, the courts, and corrections. This well-rounded program prepares students to enter the criminal justice field with a wealth of knowledge to apply toward their careers.

    Online course requirements include spiritual formation, Christian responsibility, intellectual and practical skills, engaging human culture and the world, and general electives. Distance learners must also complete the criminal justice major core and electives. The program totals 36 credits of major core, 55 credits of general education, and 33 credits of electives.

    Applying to SEU

    Required materials for the online undergraduate application for SEU include: high school transcripts or GED scores, a Christian character reference form, and an application essay. SEU waives ACT/SAT score requirements for online applicants.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Private
    • Accreditation: SACSCOC
    • Tuition: $1,140/credit hour (fewer than 12 credit hours); $13,660/semester (12-17 credit hours); $14,800/semester (18 or more credit hours)
    • Required Credits: 124 credit hours
    • Program Length: 4 years
    • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous) or on campus
  9. University of North Alabama
    Location

    Florence, AL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of North Alabama, located in Florence, Alabama, has had nine names since its founding in 1830. UNA is also the only college campus in the country to have two live lion mascots residing on campus. The mascots' names are Leo III and Una.

    Criminal Justice

    Taught by UNA's Department of Politics, Justice, Law, and Philosophy, UNA's online bachelor's in criminal justice prepares learners for careers in law enforcement, social services, or corrections. Criminal justice majors must pursue an additional minor, second major, or second degree.

    With faculty including experienced law enforcement officials, judges, and district attorneys, students make real-life connections with industry professionals. The same faculty teach both online and in-person courses, so students do not miss out on the quality of education by earning their degree online.

    Applying to UNA

    UNA is test-optional for 2021. All the school requires from prospective students is the UNA application and corresponding $35 application fee, plus official high school transcripts demonstrating a minimum 2.0 GPA.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Public
    • Accreditation: SACSCOC
    • Tuition: $300/credit hour (1-11 credit hours); $4,500/term (12-18 credit hours); $4,500/term plus $300/credit hour (19 or more credit hours)
    • Required Credits: 45 credit hours (plus additional minor, second major, or second degree)
    • Program Length: 4 years
    • Delivery Format: 100% online, on campus, or hybrid
  10. Minot State University
    Location

    Minot, ND

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Minot State University educates approximately 3,350 students, making it a smaller school. MSU offers in-state tuition for all students, making it one of the most affordable universities in the upper midwest. The "Automatic 4-Year Award" for first-year students gives freshmen a renewable financial aid opportunity.

    Criminal Justice, BS

    Criminal justice majors address local, national, and international justice bodies. Students often pair this major with minors in police management and investigations; law and legal studies; offenders, risk management, and corrections; and/or a concentration in criminal justice research and policy evaluation.

    MSU also provides a North Dakota peace officer training program for all criminal justice students. The program runs for 16 weeks during the spring semester and provides an opportunity to graduate with a peace operations specialized training certification.

    Applying to MSU

    Prospective MSU students should fill out the online undergraduate application and pay the $35 application fee. Official high school transcripts and SAT/ACT scores are required to complete the application process.

    Program at a Glance

    • School Type: Public
    • Accreditation: HLC
    • Tuition: $3,345/term (12-18 credits)
    • Required Credits: 120 credits
    • Program Length: 4 years
    • Delivery Format: 100% online or on campus

Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics
College Navigator
Wikipedia
College Prowler
U.S. News & World Report
About the Author:
Iris Stone began her writing career when she started working as a freelance writer and researcher in 2011. Her freelance business soon took off and she now owns and operates a writing and editing firm that works with clients all across the country. Despite the time it takes to run a business she still does much of the writing herself, and her work has included a variety of content related to education policy, colleges and universities, academic programs, and graduates’ careers. Her interests actually span far beyond writing, and she is currently studying to be a physicist! Check out her Google+ Profile.

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