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.
What are the most affordable computer science programs of 2020? Here are our top 10:
|1||University of Florida||Gainesville, FL|
|2||Florida International University||Miami, FL|
|3||Florida State University||Tallahassee, FL|
|4||Florida Atlantic University||Boca Raton, FL|
|5||University of Illinois Springfield||Springfield, IL|
|6||Thomas Edison State University||Trenton, NJ|
|7||California State University, Monterey Bay||Seaside, CA|
|8||South Texas College||McAllen, TX|
|9||Oregon State University||Corvallis, OR|
|10||National University||La Jolla, CA|
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).
Affordable Online Computer Science Programs
University of Florida
|Gainesville, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 90%||
Founded in 1853, UF is one of the Sunshine State's oldest continuously operating higher education institutions. The university powers distance education with the Canvas platform, offering fully online degrees like a bachelor's in computer science. After completing this comprehensive program, graduates are equipped to work as database administrators, web developers, and business intelligence analysts.
UF Online's computer science curriculum covers topics like information and database systems, data structures and algorithms, and digital logic. As part of their elective requirements, students can gain hands-on experience by completing an internship or independent research project. The program culminates in a senior project, which requires learners to prepare and deliver a technical report.
UF requires first-year applicants to submit ACT or SAT scores. Competitive transfer applicants should have a minimum 2.5 GPA.
Florida International University
|Miami, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 58%||
FIU — based in Miami — serves about 42,000 distance learners each year. The university offers over 100 degrees, including a fully online bachelor's in computer science. This 120-credit program prepares learners to pursue graduate-level study or obtain entry-level jobs in digital media, business economics, and web development.
Required coursework in the program includes software engineering and operating systems principles. Students also explore the role technology plays in a globalized world. They personalize the curriculum through three electives, choosing from options like data mining, advanced Unix programming, and software testing.
FIU offers fall, spring, and summer entry dates. First-year applicants and transfer students with fewer than 60 credits need to submit ACT or SAT scores. The university provides a variety of financial aid options, including scholarships for in-state and first-generation learners.
Florida State University
|Tallahassee, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 83%||
Based in Tallahassee, FSU delivers more than 50 online programs through the Canvas platform. Distance learners can earn an online bachelor of arts or bachelor of science in computer science through FSU.
The BA option suits learners looking to gain the C, C++, and assembly language competencies needed for entry-level careers in computer programming and database administration. In the BS program, students gain the theoretical foundation needed to pursue graduate academics and specialized work in fields like information security and data communications. The BS program also embeds a mathematics minor into the curriculum.
All bachelor's in computer science applicants need a minimum 2.5 GPA. They must also have completed prerequisite courses. The FSU Foundation awards scholarships to incoming students each year. FSU's BS in computer science track is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology/Computing Accreditation Commission.
Florida Atlantic University
|Boca Raton, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 52%||
FAU provides career-focused distance programs through asynchronous courses powered by Canvas. Students at FAU can earn an entirely online bachelor's in computer science. During the program, participants develop the technical and communication skills needed to pursue careers in video game development, machine learning, and internet/web programming.
Students in the program take core classes like introduction to logic design and microprocessor systems. They also delve into formal computing languages and automata. Learners individualize the curriculum through electives, choosing from options like web services and artificial intelligence.
Although FAU does not maintain concrete admission requirements, the average incoming first-year student boasts a 3.8 GPA. Applicants should also have strong ACT or SAT scores. Distance learners benefit from online mentoring and dedicated career guidance.
University of Illinois Springfield
|Springfield, IL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 51%||
UIS serves over 4,200 students in about 50 academic programs, including an online bachelor's in computer science that helps learners develop a thorough understanding of IT theory within the context of a rapidly changing technology landscape. Distance learners in the program access asynchronous courses through the Blackboard platform.
The computer science curriculum includes required courses like programming languages, data structures, and operating systems. Students in the program can also complete an online minor in mathematical sciences and management information systems. The curriculum culminates in a software engineering capstone project.
Applicants must have a minimum 2.5 GPA. They also need to have completed prerequisite coursework in a designated math field and hold at least two years of Java programming experience.
Thomas Edison State University
|Trenton, NJ||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 54%||
Located in Trenton, New Jersey, TESU specializes in adult education. The university offers a vast catalog of certificates and degrees for working professionals, including an online bachelor's in computer science. Throughout a 120-credit curriculum, students learn to design, implement, and analyze computer-based solutions to pertinent technical and organizational problems.
Coursework covers topics like discrete math and computer architectures. Students use 18 guided elective credits to pursue advanced topics in the major, with options like assembly languages, mobile app development, and switching theory and automata. The program culminates in a capstone project.
TESU primarily accepts students over the age of 20 and active-duty military personnel. The university offers low tuition prices and a variety of financial aid options. Distance learners can earn scholarships based on their chosen field and general academic merit.
California State University, Monterey Bay
|Seaside, CA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 60%||
CSUMB serves over 7,500 students, many of whom earn their degrees online. The university offers 25 undergraduate programs, including an online bachelor's in computer science degree completion pathway that allows learners to graduate in under two years.
The curriculum includes courses like software design; introduction to database systems; and race, gender, and class in the digital world. Students also take a software engineering course, learning large-scale development techniques and principles. Through elective credits, learners can pursue advanced topics in the major or complete a complementary minor.
CSUMB provides fall and spring start dates. Admission requirements include 60 transferable credits and a minimum 2.0 GPA. The university powers distance education with the Canvas platform.
South Texas College
|McAllen, TX||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 22%||
South Texas College offers more than 120 certificates and degrees, including an online bachelor of applied technology in computer and information technologies. This 122-credit program synthesizes technical and theoretical competencies that prepare graduates to solve practical problems in the computer information technology field.
Students take core courses like networking with TCP/IP, C programming, and web development. The program also covers database management and systems analysis. Learners round out the curriculum by completing an internship or a capstone seminar in cybersecurity assessments.
Applicants must score at least a 19 on the ACT or 910 on the SAT. Prospective students with transfer credits must have a minimum 2.5 GPA. Distance learners access asynchronous courses through the Blackboard platform
Oregon State University
|Corvallis, OR||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 67%||
Based in Corvallis, OSU offers 70 online programs, including a fully online bachelor's in computer science. After completing this comprehensive program, graduates are prepared to work as software developers, UI/UW designers, and information security analysts.
The curriculum requires 180 quarter credits and includes courses like operating systems, cryptography, and mobile and web development. Students can supplement their degree by completing an economics minor or earning a cybersecurity certificate. The program culminates in a design-centered capstone project.
The program offers four start dates each year. OSU does not require ACT or SAT scores for admission. The program maintains a generous transfer policy, allowing students to fulfill over 66% of their credit requirements through transfer credits.
|La Jolla, CA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 36%||
NU has more than 20 campuses and a robust online division. The university targets adult learners seeking to balance college with work and family obligations. Among the school's many online offerings is a bachelor of science in computer science.
Computer science students complete 180 quarter units, including 70.5 credits in their major. Participants take classes like discrete structures and logic, algorithm design, and scientific problem-solving. They also choose two elective courses and complete a computer science project. Before taking major coursework, students must have completed 12 prerequisite courses. Faculty deliver classes through four-week terms.
First-time students must take ACCUPLACER evaluations in math and English as part of the admissions process. Transfer students must have a minimum 2.0 GPA.