The Most Affordable Online Computer Science Programs

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An online bachelor’s in computer science prepares students for high-paying careers in software development, managing and maintaining networks and databases, computer systems analysis, and more. Students seeking an online computer programming degree take courses in programming, software development, robotics, and others, combining technical skills with a theoretical understanding of computer science. It is particularly useful to study computer science online, as this field requires students to be comfortable with rapidly changing computer technologies.

Affordability is a major concern for students pursuing an online degree in computer science, however, it may be misguided to simply look for the cheapest online computer science programs in terms of tuition. Because online programs allow students to work full-time, foregoing the ancillary costs of campus programs, evaluating the true value of a program is prudent. In other words, it is important to note the difference between simply finding a cheap online computer science program and an affordable online computer science program. The latter should offer a high-quality education with comprehensive financial aid. These colleges should also have a proven track record of helping online students graduate, without forcing them into long-term debt.

To assist students in their search, we’ve created a ranking of the top 10 most affordable online bachelor’s in computer science programs. Programs are ranked using our new College Affordability Score, which combines many financial and success factors to determine the comprehensive affordability of a degree, rather than those with the cheapest tuition. Factors taken into consideration by the College Affordability Score include return on investment (ROI), the amount of financial aid given to students at the school, the number of students taking out loans, and the number of students able to repay their loans (low default rates).

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost % Recieving Loans Location Description
1 University of Minnesota-Twin Cities 78.41 3/5 43% Minneapolis, MN

The UofM’ bachelor of science (BS) in information technology management prepares students for careers in technology, networking, and information management in the fields of business, finance, telecommunication, government, and education. Graduates work in positions such as information network administrator, webmaster, systems engineer or analyst, and more. The degree requires completion of 120 credits, with 55 taken within the information technology management major.

Students often have the opportunity to work on technology-based projects at departments throughout the university, developing hands-on experience in the field. The school’s internship program also facilitates hands-on experience between students and potential employers, no matter where they are located. Financial aid, including a variety of scholarships and grants, is available to eligible students in the online program, making the information technology management degree at the UofM extremely affordable.

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2 Regis University 74.77 4/5 56% Denver, CO

Regis's online BS in computer science program exposes students to both the theoretical foundations of the discipline as well as the practical skills needed to succeed as professionals.

The program focuses on placing computer science within the context of social responsibility and helps students acquire the skills needed to craft computational solutions to challenging social, political, environmental, scientific, medical, economic, and business problems.

Regis University's BS in computer science degree is the only online degree of its kind to be accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET. Upon graduation, students are able to use multiple programming languages, paradigms, and platforms. Students also have the chance to earn an MS in computer science in tandem with the BS in computer science. Financial aid is available to students in the program, and Regis has a strong track record of providing substantial aid to eligible students, making it a good candidate for students seeking the cheapest bachelor’s in computer science.

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3 Gardner-Webb University 71.14 4/5 40% Boiling Springs, NC

The computer information systems online BS degree at Gardner-Webb gives students skills in business knowledge, information technologies, and management. The fully-accredited degree, located within the Broyhill Undergraduate School of Management, prepares graduates to pursue a wide array of positions in systems development, internet and network technologies, information management, and business consulting.

Gardner-Webb is a Christian University that prides itself on creating business leaders with strong personal values committed to social justice.

Teachers in the program have professional experience in a wide array of industries, including marketing, engineering, legal counsel, and senior management, and nearly half have worked in countries other than the United States, bringing a global perspective to the classroom. Gardner-Webb makes a variety of financial aid options available to online computer information systems students through its Financial Planning Office.

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4 Oregon State University 68.18 3/5 51% Corvallis, OR

OSU’s online post-baccalaureate BS in computer science program is geared towards students who already have a bachelor’s degree in another field. Students only take the required courses for computer science (60 credits), and no previous computer science training is required. The program’s combination of a previous bachelor’s degree with a computer science degree makes graduates more marketable to potential employers.

OSU’s eCampus delivers the program entirely online, and it can be completed anywhere between one and four years depending on personal time commitments and prior background in computer science. The intensive one-year track is designed for full-time online students with exceptional time management skills. All courses are offered every term, and students can begin the program in any term. The program emphasizes career development, and includes a twice-yearly Career Showcase, in which students interact with with industry recruiters. The ability to complete the program in as little as one year makes OSU’s BS in computer science one of the cheapest options available.

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5 Central Methodist University-College of Graduate and Extended Studies 66.36 3/5 25% Fayette, MO

CMU’s online computer science degree is available as either a BA or a BS, and is a good option for students seeking the cheapest online computer science degree. The program combines professional preparation with a liberal education.

Graduates will qualify for entry-level positions requiring application programming, computing systems, and commercial software packages.

Computer science students learn basic computer science principles, how to deal with different operating systems and computer architectures, software design and development, data structure, and algorithms. They also become proficient in at least one in-demand programming language, learn about the social and ethical issues of computing, and are prepared to adapt to the constantly changing computer science field. The school’s Financial Assistance Department ensures that online degree-seeking students who qualify have access to a variety of financial aid options. Online classes run either 8 or 16 weeks in length, depending on the course.

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6 National University 59.55 4/5 41% La Jolla, CA

National University’s online BS in computer science degree gives students a strong technical background, which will prepare them either to enter the field or pursue graduate study in computer science. The program covers topics such as object oriented programming, data structures and algorithms, operating systems, computer communication networks, software engineering, computer architecture, and mathematics, statistics, and the natural sciences. A rigorous academic foundation complements realistic programming assignments, and students learn the technical and design skills needed to begin their careers after finishing the online computer programming degree.

Graduates of the program find employment in diverse career paths or continue on to enter graduate school. The program also focuses on creating engaged and responsible professionals who are active contributors to their communities. National University further offers a BS in computer science/MS in computer science transition program. This allows undergraduate computer science students to begin taking graduate-level courses in computer science, which can be applied toward a master’s degree in computer science. Students enrolled in the online BS in computer science program may be eligible for financial aid.

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7 University of Massachusetts-Lowell 57.27 3/5 57% Lowell, MA

UMASS Lowell’s BS in information technology prepares students to become professionals with a strong information technology background who will work with applications for computers and networks in business, government, schools, and other organizations.

UMass Lowell offers a wide array of courses that allow students to study subjects such as computer programming, networking, database management, website design, multimedia, and more. Courses are available in Java programming, Linux/UNIX systems administration, network security, and more. Students must complete 120 credits for the degree. The program is open to students who have a high school diploma or GED.

The university also offers a second bachelor’s degree in information technology, designed for those who already have a bachelor’s degree in a different field but are interested in changing careers. Students complete 10 IT courses (30 credits) to complete the degree. UMass Lowell’s online information technology degree program is high-quality and affordable, with a robust financial aid program, making it a good option for students looking to save money.

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8 University of Illinois at Springfield 50.45 2/5 54% Springfield, IL

UIS offers an affordable online computer science degree in the form of its BS degree in computer science. The BS degree gives students an understanding of the general areas of knowledge that make up the field, with an emphasis on fundamental skills and core theories that endure the rapidly changing technology of computer science. The program prepares students for graduate study in the field. Each computer science student is assessed at the beginning and end of their time in the program, in order to assess the program for future students.

Eligibility to the computer science program includes a 2.0 GPA, two semesters of Java programming experience, and one semester each of calculus, discrete or finite math, and statistics. Degree requirements include 24 core credits, 12 elective hours, and 10 hours of engaged citizenship common experience. Computer science majors select a concentration in either systems security and information assurance or software engineering. Other academic programs include an information systems security bachelor’s degree, computer science master’s, and computer science minor. Additionally, the school’s computer science club gives students an opportunity to socialize and pursue professional goals in a more casual atmosphere.

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9 Stevens-Henager College 47.50 4/5 80% Murray, UT

Stevens-Henager offers two online BS in computer science degrees through its affiliated institution, Independence University. One is a computer science degree with a networking and information systems security emphasis, and the other has an emphasis in software and mobile applications development. Either program can be completed in as little as 36 months and both help students quickly and successfully gain employment in the IT field.

Students are not asked to take elective courses that are irrelevant to their desired field of employment. Instructors have hands-on experience in the field, including many who still work in computer science.

The degree with an emphasis in networking and information systems security provides skills in computer network communications, server administration, information storage, database programming, and security measures. The degree with an emphasis in software and mobile applications development provides skills in programming and software development, applications development, user-interaction design, software testing and security, and systems analysis. Stevens-Henager offers competitive financial aid packages, including Your Future Scholarships.

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10 Charleston Southern University 46.59 3/5 72% Charleston, SC

Charleston Southern University offers an online bachelor of technology degree program that students with associate degrees in business, computer science, or information sciences can enroll in.

Most students transfer in their associate degree and can complete the four-year degree in about two years. The degree offers flexibility and the ability to individually tailor the core curriculum. The program provides a liberal arts education and core courses professionally related to computer science. Of the 125 credits required for the degree, no more than 89 can come from non-baccalaureate granting institutions.

Charleston Southern University’s online bachelor of technology program is an affordable way for someone who already holds an associate degree in computer science to obtain a bachelor’s degree and advance their employment potential in the field. The university’s Financial Aid Office is committed to helping students get a quality education at the lowest possible cost and helps students find the financial resources needed to meet their goals, through grants, scholarships, work study, and loans.

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