Most Affordable Online Computer Science Degree Programs 2024

Earn an online bachelor's in computer science to launch a lucrative IT career. Find affordable online programs that lead to popular tech certifications.
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Most Affordable Online Bachelor's Degree Programs in Computer Science

A bachelor's in computer science is one of the most popular undergraduate majors — and for good reason. Almost every business, nonprofit, and organization relies on computer systems and coding. Computer science graduates from both in-person and online programs can pursue high-paying careers because of their in-demand skills.

Online programs have the potential to cost less than in-person programs. Cost depends on program length — computer science students must complete 120 credits, which usually requires around four years of full-time study — and location. Some schools charge out-of-state tuition on distance learning programs. Four years of any type of tuition adds up.

Learn more below about typical coursework, possible postgraduate careers, and admission requirements for online bachelor's programs. Then, explore our ranked list of most affordable online computer science degrees to find a program that works for you.

Popular Online Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Best Affordable Computer Science Degrees to Get Online 2024

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#1 Most Affordable Online Computer Science Degree Programs 2024

University of Illinois Springfield

  • Springfield, IL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $358-$367
Out-of-State | $358-$367

Credits to Graduate: 120

UIS's bachelor's in computer science degree is a designated National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education — meaning that the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security sponsor it. 

As part of the program, labs and streaming coursework strengthen your technical skills. In the last semester of the program, you'll collaborate to complete a software engineering capstone and take an exit assessment.

Transferring in allows you to bring up to 12 credits. Incoming students must complete an entrance assessment. Candidates also need prerequisites that include two semesters of Java programming.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$9,645
Out-of-state
$16,449
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$8,375
Out-of-state
$14,021
Retention Rate
67%
Acceptance Rate
79%
Students Enrolled
3,944
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
92% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#2 Most Affordable Online Computer Science Degree Programs 2024

Saint Cloud State University

  • Saint Cloud, MN
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: ABET

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $341
Out-of-State | $733

Credits to Graduate: 120

SCSU's online computer science bachelor's program provides a convenient blend of foundational and specialized courses. The program provides specializations in big data applications or artificial intelligence and machine learning. 

Coursework is designed to be done asynchronously, without any live class meetings. Still, you have the opportunity to attend on-campus labs that provide graduate-level work and become a member of the Computer Science Club. 

The National Science Foundation offers up to $12,000 in STEM scholarships. Admission to this program requires a high school diploma or GED certificate.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$7,839
Out-of-state
$16,679
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$8,009
Out-of-state
$12,229
Retention Rate
62%
Acceptance Rate
94%
Students Enrolled
10,774
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
51% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#3 Most Affordable Online Computer Science Degree Programs 2024

National University

  • San Diego, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online

Programmatic Accreditation: ABET

Cost per Quarter-Unit:
In-State | $370
Out-of-State | $370

Quarter Units to Graduate: 180

The bachelor's degree in computer science at NU offers a unique blend of technical and design education, with a specialization in software development. You can perhaps graduate sooner than usual with the four-week courses. Through coursework and labs, you will learn scientific problem solving and digital logic design. 

Pursue your passions in electives like web app development, artificial intelligence, security technology, and web design and development. Additionally, NU offers a bachelor's-to-master's degree transition program that enables you to take graduate-level courses.

Admissions advisors review applications throughout the year.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$13,320
Out-of-state
$13,320
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$15,480
Out-of-state
$15,480
Retention Rate
100%
Acceptance Rate
55%
Students Enrolled
17,135
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
80% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
#4 Most Affordable Online Computer Science Degree Programs 2024

University of Wisconsin-Platteville

  • Platteville, WI
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $525
Out-of-State | $525

Credits to Graduate: 120

UW-Platteville's bachelor of applied computing merges business, technical and professional communication, and computer science. You'll need to finish online courses, labs, a capstone project, and a final presentation to complete the 120-credit program. 

Admissions requirements include prerequisites and a high school diploma, or GED certificate. UW-Platteville accepts up to 72 transfer credits from accredited two-year colleges.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$6,418
Out-of-state
$15,057
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$7,831
Out-of-state
$17,191
Retention Rate
76%
Acceptance Rate
88%
Students Enrolled
6,773
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
35% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#5 Most Affordable Online Computer Science Degree Programs 2024

Western Governors University

  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • 4 years
  • Online

Programmatic Accreditation: ABET

Cost per Term:
In-State | $3,985
Out-of-State | $3,985

Credits to Graduate: 123

WGU's bachelor's in computer science degree, a competency-based program, allows you to graduate in as few as 30 months. Through the 38-unit coursework, you will develop proficiency in scripting, programming, web development, computer architecture, back-end programming, and Java fundamentals. 

The degree plan is set by your bandwidth, allowing you to complete courses as you master the material. Along the way, program mentors will review your competencies to keep you on track. 

Tuition includes Linux and Axelos ITIL Foundation certification. All applicants need a basic understanding of calculus principles. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$7,162
Out-of-state
$7,162
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$7,500
Out-of-state
$7,500
Retention Rate
63%
Acceptance Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
150,116
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
#6 Most Affordable Online Computer Science Degree Programs 2024

City University of Seattle

  • Seattle, WA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $515
Out-of-State | $515

Credits to Graduate: 180

CityU's bachelor's in applied computer science, a program that you can complete in 2.5 years, includes interdisciplinary studies. Specialized studies in the School of Technology and Computing include computer science, cybersecurity, data science, information systems, and information technology. All students get lab experience, complete a capstone project, and an optional internship.

The coursework can help you qualify to apply for Certified Information Systems Security Professional, Cisco Certified Network Associate, or Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer credentials. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$13,658
Out-of-state
$13,658
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$11,812
Out-of-state
$11,812
Retention Rate
Not provided
Acceptance Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
1,996
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
84% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
#7 Most Affordable Online Computer Science Degree Programs 2024

Regis University

  • Denver, CO
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Programmatic Accreditation: ABET

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $589
Out-of-State | $589

Credits to Graduate: 117-121

When you earn an ABET-accredited bachelor's in computer science from Regis, a Jesuit university, you can accelerate your degree. Regis' online program offers eight-week courses, compared to 16 weeks on campus, and accepts up to 66 transfer credits. 

This 120-credit program covers programming, data structures, and algorithms and analysis. Also, you'll take electives in topics such as computer systems security, database management, or complete an internship.

Regis also allows you to complete master-level coursework while you earn a bachelor's degree. Admissions materials include: online application, transcripts, and an admission essay. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$39,260
Out-of-state
$39,260
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$14,063
Out-of-state
$14,063
Retention Rate
79%
Acceptance Rate
81%
Students Enrolled
5,566
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
64% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#8 Most Affordable Online Computer Science Degree Programs 2024

Central Methodist University-College of Graduate and Extended Studies

  • Fayette, MO
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $270
Out-of-State | $270

Credits to Graduate: 120

The computer science program at CMU allows you to decide between a bachelor's of science or a bachelor's of arts degree. No matter what major you choose, you'll study networking database systems, computer architecture, and data structures and algorithms. A senior thesis and science seminar capstone mark the conclusion of the 120-credit program.

To apply straight from high school, a minimum GPA of 2.75 is required. Candidates with lower GPAs must provide ACT scores and obtain approval from the admissions committee. In order to transfer, students must have a GPA of 2.0 or higher and a minimum of 24 credits.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$6,240
Out-of-state
$6,240
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$6,075
Out-of-state
$6,075
Retention Rate
33%
Acceptance Rate
100%
Students Enrolled
3,242
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
59% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#9 Most Affordable Online Computer Science Degree Programs 2024

Maryville University of Saint Louis

  • Saint Louis, MO
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $525
Out-of-State | $525

Credits to Graduate: 128

Maryville's online bachelor's in computer science offers both a flexible pathway and built-in certificates. This program, which consists of 128 credits, allows you to specialize in artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, blockchain, UX/UI design, data science, or software development. 

This program does not require entrance exams or application fees. However, applying requires a high school diploma or GED to apply and a minimum 2.5 GPA. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$24,766
Out-of-state
$24,766
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$14,346
Out-of-state
$14,346
Retention Rate
82%
Acceptance Rate
92%
Students Enrolled
10,596
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
84% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#10 Most Affordable Online Computer Science Degree Programs 2024

Concordia University, Saint Paul

  • Saint Paul, MN
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $420
Out-of-State | $420

Credits to Graduate: 120

CSP Global's bachelor's in computer science, with a focus on a Christian liberal arts education, takes as few as 2.5 years to complete. Transfer up to 90 credits to make your education even more affordable and quicker. This 120-credit program requires the completion of 14 major courses. To demonstrate what you learned, you'll complete a capstone or internship. 

You pay no application fee to apply to CSP Global, which offers six start dates. Applicants need a minimum 2.0 GPA. If you do not hold at least 20 college credits, you must submit high school transcripts. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$23,900
Out-of-state
$23,900
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$8,550
Out-of-state
$8,550
Retention Rate
61%
Acceptance Rate
68%
Students Enrolled
5,545
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
69% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

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At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you can make. We help you navigate the college selection process by offering transparent, inclusive, and relevant school rankings.

We use datasets from trusted sources like the National Center for Education Statistics to inform the data for these schools and our methodologies. This ranking is from 2024. To learn more, check out our full ranking methodologies.

How Much Does an Affordable Online Computer Science Degree Cost?

As mentioned above, the NCES reported the average annual cost of a bachelor's degree in computer science at $17,545.

When choosing a program, make sure to consider the true costs associated with online college. Compared to on-campus learners, online students can save on fees like room and board, parking, and transportation, improving the affordability of an online computer science degree no matter the cost per credit.

And remember: There may be technology fees, out-of-state tuition, and costs associated with driving to and using reliable internet.

What Can I Expect From the Cheapest Online Computer Science Programs?

Detail-oriented and diligent learners may do well in online bachelor's programs. And students naturally skilled in math, logical thinking, and problem-solving may find computer science easy to learn.

However, no matter your talents, the discipline requires a lot of determination. Many professionals can spend days or weeks trying to solve a single bug or software issue.

An undergraduate computer science degree usually requires around 120 credits and takes full-time students about four years, or eight semesters, to complete. A program's affordability does not impact graduation requirements or time to completion.

Concentrations vary by school and can include artificial intelligence and software engineering. Some programs also offer practicums or internships in the field. Most of the top online computer science degrees culminate in a capstone project instead of a thesis.

Online CS Courses in Affordable Bachelor's Programs

  • Data Structures: Data structures is a fundamental math course for any computer science major. Possible topics include linked lists, storage management, hash tables, and binary search trees.
  • Operating Systems: Most computer science students complete at least two operating systems courses, delving into principles of systems like UNIX.
  • Software Engineering: Software engineering is often a two-part course within computer science curricula, covering front-end and back-end development. Possible topics include debugging and design techniques.
  • Modern Cybersecurity: Students explore contemporary cybersecurity issues and the tools, techniques, methods, and applications used in modern cyberattacks and cyberdefense strategies.
  • Principles of Human-Computer Interaction: Human-computer interaction focuses on the interface between technology and its users. This course covers history and trends in human-computer interaction, methods of evaluating technology, and user-centered design principles.

Considerations for Choosing an Affordable Online Degree

  • Accreditation: Accreditation is a third-party review process overseen by the U.S. Department of Education that helps ensure schools meet educational quality standards. You should enroll only at online schools that hold accreditation. Otherwise, you cannot receive federal financial aid, and the program might be illegitimate — at least as far as potential employers are concerned.
  • Cost: Cost should not be your only consideration when selecting your program. However, you need to choose a degree you can afford. Often, in-state schools, online programs, and transfer-only degrees provide the same quality education as other schools, but at a much lower price.
  • Location: Part of the appeal of distance learning is attending an affordable school wherever you want. Yet, you may still consider enrolling at a college close to you if the program includes in-person requirements. Your program might maintain relationships with local employers for jobs and internships.
  • Program Format: Students planning to enroll in an online bachelor's in computer science program should decide whether they prefer synchronous or asynchronous learning. Synchronous learning includes live, scheduled online sessions, while asynchronous learning provides flexibility by eliminating attendance requirements. Applicants should also consider full-time, part-time, and accelerated enrollment.
  • Student Support: Student support services can make or break an affordable program, especially for online students pursuing a degree as challenging as computer science. Before enrolling, check if your school offers resources like mentorship opportunities, tutoring, academic and career advising, and internship placements.

Not Sure About Computer Science? Consider These Related Programs:

Admissions for the Most Affordable Degrees in Computer Science

Admission requirements for on-campus and online computer science programs are similar, no matter their level of affordability. In addition to the materials listed below, applicants may need to complete a phone or virtual interview with the admissions department or a professor in rare cases.

Application

All undergraduate programs, including computer science programs, require prospective students to complete an online application form. Common App and Coalition App allow students to apply to many schools at once. However, some schools require their own applications.

Test Scores

In recent years, more schools implemented test-optional policies or even eliminated standardized test scores as an admission requirement. Nevertheless, many schools still require ACT or SAT scores.

Official Transcripts

All undergraduate programs, no matter the discipline, require applicants to submit official transcripts from all secondary and postsecondary schools they have attended.

If you are transferring to a four-year school from an accredited community college with an associate degree, for example, you may earn approximately 60 transfer credits.

Letters of Recommendation

Most undergraduate computer science programs require applicants to submit 2-3 letters of recommendation. Recent high school graduates can ask former teachers to write these letters on their behalf. Working professionals can ask their supervisors. In either case, applicants should request recommendation letters from people months in advance.

Essays

Most bachelor's in computer science programs require prospective students to write 1-3 short essays. While studying computer science online doesn't necessarily involve a lot of writing, admissions departments want to get to know you on a more personal level before making a decision. Common prompts include a statement of purpose or a time you overcame a challenge.

What Can I Do With an Affordable Online Degree in Computer Science?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), computer and information technology occupations paid a median annual salary of $100,530, more than double the median annual wage for all occupations ($46,310) as of May 2022.

Between 2022 and 2032, the BLS projects 14% job growth for these occupations, which eclipses the average projected growth rate for all careers (3%) during that period.

Computer science careers can draw high salaries, and computer science graduates may find high demand for their skills. While no degree can guarantee you any job, a computer science degree may have a good return on investment. As such, computer science is one of the most popular undergraduate majors.

See where even the cheapest online degree in computer science can take you.

Possible Salaries and Career Outlook With a Computer Science Degree
Jobs Median Annual Wage (May 2023) Projected Outlook (2022-2032)
Computer and Information Research Scientist $145,080 23%
Computer Programmer $99,700 -11%
Computer Systems Analyst $103,800 10%
Database Administrator $101,510 7%
Software Developer $132,270 26%
Source: BLS

Computer and Information Research Scientist

These professionals find new ways to use existing computer technologies. They usually work full-time for information technology companies. In most cases, becoming a computer and information research scientist requires a master's degree, but a bachelor's degree is often sufficient for positions in the federal government.

Computer Programmer

Computer programmers create and test code for computer applications, software, and programs. They usually work full-time in offices for information technology companies or businesses. To qualify for jobs, candidates usually need a bachelor's degree in computer programming, computer science, or a related field as well as knowledge of multiple programming languages.

Computer Systems Analyst

Working either in-house or as traveling consultants, these professionals analyze companies' computer systems and make recommendations on how they could be more effective or efficient. To qualify for positions in this field, candidates usually need a bachelor's degree in a relevant field, such as computer science.

Database Administrator

Database administrators, also known as database architects, create and safeguard systems that house data. They often work in-house for companies that need to protect large quantities of data. Job candidates usually need a bachelor's degree in a relevant field to qualify for employment in the field.

Software Developer

Learning to code and becoming a software developer are among the best moves you can make in the current job market. These professionals design and create computer applications. They usually need a bachelor's degree in a relevant field like computer science to qualify for positions.

How Do I Pay for an Online Computer Science Bachelor's Degree?

Graduating without debt can set you up for financial success. Instead of paying off student loans, you could save, buy a house, or invest for the future. That's why it's so important to keep your college costs as low as you can. Even the cheapest academic program can become more affordable when you successfully navigate the world of financial aid.

  • Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA): The FAFSA is the federal government's application form for student aid. By filling out this one form, you can discover what federal aid you may qualify for. Many private foundations also look at your FAFSA when determining your qualifications for their aid packages.
  • Grants: Federal grants, such as the Pell Grant, are usually awarded based on need. Some states and companies may also offer need-based grants for qualifying students. Because grants do not have to be repaid after graduation, they are among the best forms of financial aid you can get.
  • Scholarships: Companies, civic clubs, faith-based organizations, and foundations offer college scholarships to qualifying applicants. Scholarship criteria may be based on academic merit, personal background, or membership in an organization. Like grants, scholarships do not have to be repaid.
  • Work-Study Programs: Both the federal government and individual colleges and universities offer work-study programs — initiatives designed to provide paid employment for students currently enrolled in higher education. Work-study programs are among the lowest paying financial aid options.
  • Loans: Among the most controversial forms of aid, student loans can help cover tuition, fees, books, and living costs for college students. You can secure lower-cost federal loans based on need or private loans from banks or credit unions. Student loans must be paid back with interest.

Questions About Affordable Online Computer Science Degrees

How much does it cost to get a computer science degree?

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports that in 2020, the average annual cost of a bachelor's degree in computer science was $17,545. Averages can be misleading, however, as in-state residents and students in some online programs likely paid far less while enrollees at prestigious institutions paid considerably higher prices.

As a general rule, tuition can range from nothing to more than $250,000 for an entire degree.

Studying at a public university as an in-state student is often the cheapest way to get a computer science degree. You may also find affordable programs available online through out-of-state schools or private institutions.

If you hold an associate degree, transferable credits, or life experience, consider schools with generous transfer policies that can help you graduate quickly and cheaply.

It is okay to earn your computer science degree online as long as you pursue your education through an institutionally accredited school.

Online education has grown in both enrollment and acceptance since its inception in the mid 1980s. In 2021, for example, 61% of undergraduate students were taking at least one online class, according to the NCES. And in a survey of 2,000 U.S.-based adults, 84% of respondents said employers were more accepting of online degrees than they were before the pandemic.

Online degrees in all fields are widely respected by employers. Hiring managers typically give more consideration to your school's accreditation, brand recognition, and reputation for quality CS education than they do to the medium by which you earned your degree.

Data supports the value of online degrees. In a recent study, the U.S. Department of Education found that online students performed slightly better than students who studied the same material in a traditional setting.

In January of 2024, Payscale reported that people with bachelor of science in computer science earned an average annual salary of $93,000. Software developers, database architects, and information security analysts may earn higher-than-average salaries.


Note: The insights on this page — excluding school descriptions — were reviewed by an independent third party compensated for their time by BestColleges. Page last reviewed January 11, 2024.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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