10 Online Colleges That Practically Pay You to Attend

As a concept, being paid to pursue higher education is as foreign as they come. Attending college has indeed become synonymous with school debt. However, there is a growing trend — spearheaded by a few premier colleges — that sets out to flip the script once and for all.

Whether you’re using bursaries, scholarships, grants, or financial aid, the following 10 colleges will practically pay you to attend.

1. Berea College

A Christian college located in the heart of the American South, the program catalog at Berea College covers everything from broadcast journalism to physics. And, thanks to a comprehensive network of donors, this remarkable college covers tuition too.

It’s true! Kentucky’s Berea College hasn’t charged students tuition since 1892 — and it has no plans to change that any time soon.

Berea’s mission is to provide access to a quality liberal arts education to students who couldn’t ordinarily afford to attend. This means covering tuition costs to the tune of around $44,000 a year.

2. Columbia University

Columbia University, through Columbia Online, has committed to providing education and resources to students wherever they may be. The demand for online education from accredited American colleges is surging, and Columbia University is prepared to deliver. Columbia’s Schools of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Professional Studies, Social Work, Business, and Arts and Sciences all offer online opportunities to those desiring a remote experience.

Better yet, they offer financial support through sponsorships, AmeriCorps Awards, and even a Tuition Exemption program. The support comes in handy, considering that the average cost of tuition is north of $60,000.

3. Athabasca University

Next up, a Canadian University with a penchant for offering a quality, distanced learning experience. Located in the city of Athabasca, Alberta, Athabasca University was founded in 1970 and was the very first school in the country to specialize in remote learning.

As such, Athabasca University offers a staggering number of online courses and programs. Moreover, the school provides prospective students with the opportunity to secure an undergrad and post-grad degree alongside one-off professional development courses.

Students can apply for scholarships and bursaries, as well as a number of application, nomination, and student awards to help cover their online tuition costs. Although the annual fees can vary substantially depending on the program, students located outside of Canada can expect to pay approximately $15,000 per year to digitally attend.

4. University of Cambridge

The fourth-oldest university in the world isn’t afraid to adapt to the market’s demands. Founded in 1209, the University of Cambridge calls the United Kingdom home. Plus, it counts 110 Nobel Prize Laureates, 47 Heads of State, and 190 Olympic Medalists among its prestigious alumni.

Sounds expensive, right? Incredibly, accessing their lectures, short films, and interviews is entirely free. iTunes U, a subsection of Apple’s popular marketplace, allows anyone with an iPhone and an internet connection access to hundreds of hours of both video and audio-only educational content.

5. Lipscomb University

Lipscomb University is a private Christian liberal arts college operating out of Nashville, Tennessee. But you don’t have to travel the music city to enroll or graduate. Lipscomb’s catalogue of online offerings is always growing. Furthermore, thanks to their one-day behavioral assessment and credit for prior learning, you could earn your online degree in as little as 16 months.

Don’t let the “private” title deceive you, earning a degree at Lipscomb University can be cost effective. In fact, 99 percent of freshman receive some sort of financial aid, with the average package coming in at $24,000. This is incredible when you consider that tuition can cost just $4,800 per four-month academic term.

6. edX

A revolutionary online learning platform, edX offers an astounding number of practical course and program experiences from some of the most prestigious colleges in the world. The site features courses from over 160 member universities including:

  • Harvard;
  • Berkeley;
  • The University of Texas System;
  • Australian National University, and;
  • The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Better yet, many of their featured courses are completely free. Finally, a price point everyone can agree on.

7. Bethel University

98 percent of all Bethel University students receive some form of financial aid. Calculating how much you might qualify for is as simple as punching a few numbers into their handy net price calculator.

A private evangelical college, Bethel University was founded all the way back in 1842 as a Baptist seminary in McLemoresville, Tennessee. The school’s in-school and online offerings total over 50 areas of study, which makes finding and learning all about your area of interest so much easier.

8. Southern New Hampshire University

Earn your associate degree, bachelor’s degree, or master’s degree from the comfort of your own home thanks to Southern New Hampshire University. At $320 per credit, SNHU’s tuition costs are among the lowest in America. Plus, the school will let you transfer up to 90 credits from other schools to help save you time and money.

Figuring out a plan to pay for it all is as simple as working with a member of the school’s Student Financial Services team. SNHU will work with you to help make your education as affordable as possible. Furthermore, they can help you apply for grants, bursaries, and financial aid.

9. University of Arizona Global Campus

While the University of Arizona Global Campus calls San Diego, California home, you can earn an Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctoral degree from anywhere. Formerly Ashford University, the University of Arizona Global Campus offers accelerated courses, allows you to transfer up to 90 approved credits, grants you credits for work/life experiences, and requires no standardized testing or application fee.

Although undergraduate credits average $510 each, students can bring down the costs substantially through scholarships, grants, employer tuition assistance, and financial aid.

10. University of the People

The University of the People is a landmark institution. It’s the very first non-profit, American-accredited, tuition-free online university. Online degree programs include Business Administration, Computer Science, Health Science, and Education.

While the university is tuition-free, there are still fees that students will need to pay. Fortunately, they are all fairly affordable. This includes:

  • A $60 non-refundable application fee;
  • $120 assessment fee for undergraduate courses;
  • $240 assessment fee for undergraduate courses, and;
  • $17 for each accepted transfer credit.

If students need help paying these fees, the University of the People offers a plethora of scholarships that students can apply for.