The Most Affordable Online Elementary Education Degrees

If you have a caring attitude, the ability to command a child’s attention, and are passionate about helping to shape the lives of future generations, an online degree in elementary education can set you on the path toward an extremely rewarding career. An elementary education degree gives you the skills and knowledge to teach students from the first to the sixth grade a variety of subjects, including language arts, math, science, and history. Generally, schools require that you also earn your teaching certification prior to working in a classroom setting, which can be completed alongside your bachelor’s degree.

Online elementary education degree programs combine online coursework with field experiences, like student teaching in local schools, to prepare students for the real-world rigors of the classroom. Students who graduate with a bachelor’s in elementary education can go on to teach at the elementary or middle school level, or with the proper certifications, can work as a special education teacher, administrator, or instructional specialist.

Many students interested in obtaining a bachelor’s in elementary education already work with children in some capacity, such as a daycare worker or teacher’s assistant. That’s where online elementary education degree programs come in; they’re more flexible than traditional programs, so many students can continue to work as they take classes online. Plus, online classes are typically much more affordable than the traditional college experience.

This list highlights some of the best colleges for students looking for an affordable online elementary education degree option — though, crucially, not a cheap online elementary education degree. At a cheap college, you get what you pay for — and if you aren’t paying much, you’re not getting much in terms of a decent education. Our list of the most affordable online elementary degree programs focuses on programs that provide exceptional value. Your dollar stretches further while you still get a world-class education.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost % Receiving Loans Location Description
1The Baptist College of Florida78.152/544%Graceville, FL

The Baptist College of Florida offers one of the most affordable elementary education degrees that features a robust curriculum that can be completed fully online, save for the program’s internship requirement. Students pursuing BCF’s bachelor’s in elementary education degree online most complete the general education foundational curriculum -- which includes courses like geometry and American history — before they can take more advanced courses focused on instructional techniques and teaching philosophies. As a Christian college, BCF has developed courses for its online elementary education degree that are grounded in biblical principles. Upon graduation, students go on to teach in public schools, private schools, overseas institutions, or even in private homes.

BCF is a top affordable choice for a bachelor’s in elementary education for a number of reasons. For one, the school has eliminated out-of-state tuition, making it an attractive option for students outside of Florida interested in the program. BCF also accepts federal and state grants, along with Florida’s Bright Futures scholarships, and the school offers financial scholarships of its own.

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2East Carolina University73.153/550%Greenville, NC

East Carolina University offers a cheap online elementary education degree completion program for a bachelor’s in elementary education that’s ideal for students looking for flexibility and affordability. Students complete the first two years of foundational coursework at a community college and then transition to ECU’s more advanced elementary education degree courses, which can be taken online. ECU supplements students’ online courses with time in the classroom; every student pursuing an online elementary education degree will be placed in a partnering public school to observe and practice teaching in action. Students can work toward their degree on either a part-time or full-time basis.

ECU eases the financial burden of earning a bachelor’s in elementary education by offering a variety of institutional scholarships for students specifically studying education. The school also honors federal grants and financial grants awarded through NC resident programs, like the North Carolina Education Lottery Scholarship for students in need.

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3Western Governors University70.002/5N/ASalt Lake City, UT

An entirely online university, Western Governors University does not sacrifice quality for convenience when it comes to offering one of the cheapest online elementary education degrees. In fact, the school’s Teacher Education Program was ranked #1 by the National Council on Teacher Quality. WGU offers a variety of options for a bachelor’s in elementary education, including learning tracks aimed at students who already have some experience in the classroom, like substitute teachers or unlicensed teachers.

WGU charges a flat rate of tuition per year of $6,000, making an elementary education degree attainable for students on a strict budget. The flat rate means that students can take as many classes as they can handle per term, without paying more. WGU is also a military-friendly university; the school’s programs are approved for benefits under the Military GI Bill, which means pursuing an elementary education degree online through WGU is especially affordable for veterans.

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4University of North Carolina at Wilmington69.813/543%Wilmington, NC

The University of North Carolina Wilmington gives students the opportunity to pursue an affordable elementary education degree online through its Distance Learning Program. Online courses are combined with plenty of field experiences, thanks to a partnership with the N.C. school system. UNCW’s elementary education degree program also allows students to specialize in certain concentrations, like behavior studies or English as a Second Language (ESL). Students pursuing a bachelor’s in elementary education can also choose to supplement their online coursework with international education trips offered through UNCW’s education college. Past trips include classroom experiences in Belize, Ethiopia, and London.

UNCW offers a number of scholarships for online elementary education students, both merit- and need-based. Additionally, students at UNCW may qualify for North Carolina’s Forgivable Education Loans for Service Program. For each year a graduate teaches in a North Carolina area with a critical need for teachers, a certain amount of his or her school loans are forgiven.

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5Fort Hays State University67.783/572%Hays, KS

Fort Hays State University is a great choice for students interested in getting an excellent value -- and not just a good price -- for a cheap online elementary education degree. FHSU’s virtual college was ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of the “Best Online Programs 2015,” and the National Council on Teacher Quality ranked FHSU’s elementary education program as 12th in the nation. Students earning an elementary education degree online through FHSU will be immersed in pedagogical theory, general education courses, and real-world teaching experiences. For an even more hands-on approach to an elementary education degree, students can consider enrolling in FHSU’s unique Teacher Residency Program. The program combines online coursework with a two-year residency at a school, where students rotate through specialized experiences in areas like classroom management and instructional technology.

An online elementary education degree at FHSU is eminently affordable -- the school’s tuition ranks in the lowest 2% among U.S. colleges. FHSU also accepts or offers financial aid through grants, loans, scholarships, and military education benefits.

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6University of Louisiana at Monroe67.042/556%Monroe, LA

The University of Louisiana Monroe takes a holistic approach to its affordable online elementary education degree. Students enrolled in ULM’s elementary education degree program will take five different types of courses: general studies; content courses in common elementary subjects like math and social studies; courses focused on teaching pedagogy and instructional techniques; integrative studies; and courses focused on student teaching.

With a cost of $400 per credit hour for undergraduate programs, ULM marks itself as one of the most affordable options for online elementary education degrees. Plus, there is no additional out-of-state fee for students working toward their elementary education degree online from outside Louisiana. The state of Louisiana has also recognized ULM as a military and veteran friendly campus, in part because of the school’s efforts to make programs especially affordable for active military and veterans through fee waivers, academic credit for military service, and free tutoring for veterans.

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7Asbury University65.744/593%Wilmore, KY

Asbury University approaches its affordable online elementary education degree through a clinical-based model. All online elementary education degree students at Asbury are required to complete 200 hours in the field, ensuring their comfort in the classroom upon graduation. The traditional coursework required for the bachelor's in elementary education is delivered online synchronously, so that students and instructors can interact in real time. Students can choose whether to include teacher certification as part of their elementary education degree program at Asbury.

Asbury makes pursuing an elementary education degree online affordable through reasonable tuition rates ($399 per credit hour) and by accepting tuition grants and scholarships aimed at students studying education, including the Federal TEACH Grant Program and the KHEAA Teacher Scholarship Program. Asbury also offers scholarships specifically aimed at transfer students pursuing a bachelor's degree online. Scholarship amounts range from $300 to $600 per semester, based on a student’s GPA.

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8Mayville State University62.413/576%Mayville, ND

Mayville State University offers a hybrid elementary education degree; some of the required courses can be taken online while other courses must be taken in-person at one of Mayville’s partner campuses throughout North Dakota. Additionally, students pursuing a hybrid online elementary education degree must also engage in several field experiences and student teaching stints while in the program. If a student seeking a bachelor’s in elementary education at MSU does not already hold a bachelor's in another subject, then the student will be required to earn a minor as well, in a subject related to education like early childhood education or library media and information technology.

At just $285 per credit, MSU’s tuition proves to be one of the most affordable online elementary education degrees on this list. MSU is also very transfer-friendly; the school works with other community and technical colleges throughout North Dakota, Wyoming, and Minnesota to create credit transfer plans for students. Between low tuition and fees, a liberal transfer credit program, and standard loans and scholarships, earning an elementary education degree online from MSU is within reach for many students.

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9University of Alaska Fairbanks61.112/543%Fairbanks, AK

The University of Alaska Fairbanks offers a handful of courses that can be completed fully online to satisfy some of the requirements for initial teacher certification and renewal credit requirements in Alaska. Teachers who have earned an elementary education degree and want to become certified or need to earn renewal credits can choose to take Alaskan studies classes like native cultures of Alaska and geography of Alaska, or multicultural studies classes, like education and socio-economic change. While UAF doesn’t offer a fully online elementary education degree program, some courses required for a bachelor’s in elementary education may be offered online through UAF’s eLearning platform, powered by Blackboard.

The cost of UAF’s eLearning courses are well below the national average; tuition for most undergraduate or certificate courses range from $192 to $232 per credit, depending on the course level. Students pursuing an affordable online elementary education degree may also qualify for scholarships offered by the University of Alaska.

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10Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College60.193/598%Saint Mary of the Woods, IN

Saint Mary-of-the Woods College offers a robust, affordable online elementary education degree program that’s complemented by a clinical experience capstone course. The combination of online coursework and real-world student teaching experience prepares students pursuing a bachelor’s in elementary education for all of a classroom’s challenges. Additionally, students in SMWC’s elementary education degree program can choose an “add-on” content area for their teacher licensure, like early childhood education or mild intervention.

SMWC makes earning an elementary education degree online affordable by earmarking scholarships specifically for online students, like the SMWC Teach scholarship. The school has also waived the application fee for online students.

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11Midway University57.783/596%Midway, KY

Midway University offers a bachelor’s in elementary education that can be earned entirely online, save for the 12 credit hours of student teaching required in the program. Elementary education degree students at MU must choose to specialize in one of five areas of emphasis: English/communication, math, social/behavioral sciences, fine arts/humanities, or science. Students who earn an elementary education degree online through MU will be qualified for K-5 teacher certification in the state of Kentucky, though reciprocation agreements may mean they’re able to earn certification and teach in several other states.

MU is dedicated to making online education affordable for its students; about 90% of MU students receive some form of financial aid. Tuition costs the same for both in- and out-of-state students. Students interested in an affordable online elementary education degree from MU may qualify for some of MU’s merit- and need-based scholarships, including a special scholarship for transfer students taking classes online.

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12University of Alaska Southeast57.783/548%Juneau, AK

The University of Alaska Southeast offers a cheap online elementary education degree through its eLearning platform. The online classes focus on instructional theory and practice, educational technology, and subject area coursework, taught in small classes. The elementary education degree program culminates in a nine-month internship where students get the chance to observe and teach in an Alaskan classroom. UAS’s bachelor’s of elementary education is a four-year program, though students can transfer into the program if they meet certain criteria.

Earning an elementary education degree online through UAS is relatively affordable, particularly for Alaskan residents. Tuition rates for residents range from $192 to $232 per credit, depending on course level. UAS is also part of the Western Undergraduate Exchange program, which means students from certain western states, like California, Wyoming, and Hawaii, receive a discount on UAS’s non-resident tuition. Students may also qualify for a University of Alaska Grant, which awards up to $1,000 to Alaskan residents who demonstrate financial need.

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13Bemidji State University56.853/5N/AMN

Bemidji State University offers a unique educational tract for students interested in an affordable online elementary education degree. BSU’s Distributed Learning in Teacher Education (DLiTE) program is a three-year program delivered primarily online, with three face-to-face meetings each year. For students to qualify for this elementary education degree program, they must have already earned an associate or higher level degree, or completed Minnesota’s designated transfer curriculum. BSU also offers a FastTrack PostBac program for teacher certification designed for students who hold bachelor’s or graduate degrees in subjects outside of education.

BSU has a number of scholarships specifically for DLiTE and FastTrack students to ease the program’s financial burden. Students in the DLiTE bachelor's of elementary education program or FastTrack program may qualify for a need-based work-study position called the PEDL Work/Study Scholarship; the scholarship awards $500 and grants students the opportunity to work closely with education professors. Additionally, students in the FastTrack program or pursuing the DLiTE elementary education degree online can apply for the Gladys McKinley Distance Learning Scholarship.

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14University of Wisconsin-Superior54.633/524%Superior, WI

Through its Teacher Education Program, University of Wisconsin - Superior offers students the chance to pursue a well-regarded, affordable online elementary education degree. Students enrolled in this bachelor’s of elementary education program choose between specializing in Pre K through 6th grade or 1st grade through 8th grade. Every elementary education degree major must also choose from a list of complementary minors, like Early Childhood Education or Geography. In addition to online curriculum, UWS students enrolled in the online elementary education degree will get hands-on classroom experience through student teaching and/or internships.

At $305 per credit, tuition at UWS is affordable for many students. But for students still looking to lighten the financial load of their online elementary education degree, UWS offers an impressive array of institutional scholarships specifically for students in its education programs. More than 20 UWS scholarships are aimed at students interested in education. UWS also accepts a number of state and federal grants.

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15Drexel University52.965/593%Philadelphia, PA

Drexel University’s affordable online elementary education degree course prepares students for certification in PK-4, with an option to also choose a concentration in special education. Drexel’s bachelor's in elementary education is designed to be completed in 2.5 years on a part-time basis. Therefore, students pursuing the elementary education degree online are expected to have some college already under their belt. The online curriculum is supplemented with 12 weeks of student teaching in the classroom, though students who aren’t planning on becoming certified (i.e. those seeking non-teaching positions) can replace the student teaching requirement with more pedagogy courses.

The cost to earn an elementary education degree through Drexel’s online courses is a steal, when compared to the typical cost of attending Drexel. Drexel’s online tuition rate for 2016 is $479 per credit -- which is 40% less than Drexel’s regular tuition rate. Drexel also offers a payment plan for tuition as well as military and alumni discounts.

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16Gardner-Webb University47.784/596%Boiling Springs, NC

Gardner-Webb University offers an affordable online elementary education degree program grounded in Christian values. The program consists of three semesters of online coursework and field experiences followed by a semester of student teaching in the classroom. Graduates of GWU’s bachelor's in elementary education program are equipped to teach grades kindergarten through 6th grade in North Carolina, and the program has graduates teaching throughout the state.

GWU’s elementary education degree is worth a look for students in search of good-value degree programs, thanks to GWU’s affordable online tuition for the Elementary Education program ($468 per credit hour). GWU also partners with several area community colleges to make transferring to its degree completion programs easier. GWU’s relatively low-cost tuition and transfer-friendly attitude makes earning an elementary education degree online from this institution a solid, affordable investment.

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17Chaminade University of Honolulu47.223/5100%Honolulu, HI

Chaminade University of Honolulu offers a bachelor’s in elementary education that can be completed online through the school’s Office of Professional and Continuing Education (PACE) Undergraduate Program. PACE provides accelerated courses that work with flexible schedules. The cheap online elementary education degree earned through CUH’s PACE program certifies students to teach grades K-6 in Hawai’i, though through reciprocation agreements the certification is also recognized by 40 states and the District of Columbia.

CUH makes pursuing an elementary education degree online affordable through its generous merit- and need-based scholarships for current students. The school’s scholarships typically range from $300 to $3,000. Additionally, the per-credit-hour PACE tuition of $370 is even more affordable for military students and dependents, who would only pay $260 per credit hour. Like other schools on this list, CUH also offers the federal TEACH grant for elementary education degree students willing to teach in high-need areas after graduation.

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18Judson College45.003/595%Marion, AL

Judson College offers a flexible, affordable online elementary education degree through its Distance Learning Program. Elementary education degree courses are delivered primarily through the Moodle online course management platform. In addition to online coursework, bachelor’s in elementary education students must complete a full-time, semester-long internship to gain hands-on teaching experience in the classroom. Note that while JC is a women’s college, both men and women can enroll in the Distance Learning Program.

JC strives to make its college education affordable for everyone; 99 percent of Judson students receive some form of financial aid, with average aid packages taking care of 75 percent of a student’s demonstrated need. Students pursuing an elementary education degree online through JC’s Distance Learning Program may also be eligible for federal and institutional grants and scholarships accepted or offered by Judson.

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19Western New Mexico University45.003/526%Silver City, NM

Western New Mexico University offers a bachelor’s in elementary education that students can complete online, with additional field work. Unlike many on the schools on this list that only prepare students for certification for K-6 grade levels, the cheap online elementary education degree from WNMU qualify students for a K-8 elementary license in the state of New Mexico. WNMU’s elementary education degree also helps students prepare for New Mexico Teacher Assessments or National Evaluation Series, which students must pass before they can continue on to their student teaching capstone course.

WNMU offers a number of scholarships and grants to take the financial bite out of earning an elementary education degree online. Additionally, WNMU is a part of the Western Undergraduate Exchange program which gives students from select western states a tuition discount, and students from Arizona, Colorado, and El Paso, Texas are eligible for WNMU’s lower in-state rates.

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20University of Southern Mississippi42.043/574%Hattiesburg, MS

The University of Southern Mississippi offers a unique curriculum for its bachelor’s in elementary education. The online program is tailored specifically toward teacher’s assistants; the flexible curriculum allows TA’s to continue assisting teachers in the classroom while they complete elementary education degree courses online. The program caps off with a full-time student teaching experience.

USM is committed to making an affordable online elementary education degree for its students. For one, USM waives out-of-state fees for students enrolled in online programs. Plus once a student earns full-time status by taking 12 credit hours, he or she can take additional credit hours (up to 18 hours total) at no additional cost. In addition to federal aid opportunities, USM encourages elementary education degree-seeking students to explore state aid programs

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