The U.S. News Short List, separate from our overall rankings, is a regular series that magnifies individual data points in hopes of providing students and parents a way to find which undergraduate or graduate programs excel or have room to grow in specific areas. Be sure to explore The Short List: College, The Short List: Grad School and The Short List: Online Programs to find data that matter to you in your college or graduate school search.
Despite students not having to pay for room and board, online degrees from public colleges and universities can still come with a hefty price tag – particularly for those who reside out of state.
[Ask five financial questions when choosing an online degree.]
Among the 145 ranked public online bachelor’s programs that submitted tuition data to U.S. News in an annual survey, the average per-credit cost for out-of-state students is $442 for the 2017-2018 school year, with an average total tuition of $53,795. At the 10 ranked online colleges that charge the most per credit, those average figures are significantly higher: $848 per credit and $102,819 total.
Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina has the most expensive out-of-state tuition for online undergraduates, charging $1,070 per credit for a total of $128,400. That school and the three others that top the list – West Virginia University, University of Michigan—Flint and the University of South Carolina—Aiken – charge out-of-state students a total of more than $100,000.
[Get tips on paying for an online education.]
On the other end of the spectrum are schools such as College of Coastal Georgia, which charges out-of-state students $136 per credit, or a total of $16,320.
Below is a list of the undergraduate online programs where out-of-state students had the highest cost per credit during the 2017-2018 school year. Unranked schools, which did not meet certain criteria required by U.S. News to be ranked, were not considered for this report.
|School name (state)||Out-of-state cost per credit||Credits needed to graduate||Out-of-state total program cost||U.S. News rank|
|Coastal Carolina University (SC)||$1,070||120||$128,400||264-346|
|West Virginia University||$1,019||120||$122,280||264-346|
|University of Michigan—Flint||$858||124||$106,392||264-346|
|University of South Carolina—Aiken||$849||122||$103,578||94 (tie)|
|Wright State University (OH)||$803||120||$96,360||153 (tie)|
|Oakland University (MI)||$796||125||$99,500||153 (tie)|
|University of Alabama—Birmingham||$793||120||$95,160||77 (tie)|
|Florida State University||$776||120||$93,120||94 (tie)|
|University of Toledo (OH)||$774||120||$92,880||125 (tie)|
|North Carolina State University—Raleigh||$742||122||$90,524||71 (tie)|
School officials can access historical data and rankings, including of peer institutions, via U.S. News Academic Insights.
U.S. News surveyed more than 350 colleges and universitiesfor our 2018 Best Online Bachelor’s Programs rankings. Schools self-reported myriad data regarding their academic programs and the makeup of their student body, among other areas, making U.S. News’ data the most accurate and detailed collection of college facts and figures of its kind. While U.S. News uses much of this survey data to rank schools for our annual Best Colleges rankings, the data can also be useful when examined on a smaller scale. U.S. News will now produce lists of data, separate from the overall rankings, meant to provide students and parents a means to find which schools excel, or have room to grow, in specific areas that are important to them. While the data come from the schools themselves, these lists are not related to, and have no influence over, U.S. News’ rankings of Best Colleges, Best Graduate Schools or Best Online Programs. The tuition data above are correct as of Jan. 30, 2018.
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