Online learning is an excellent pathway for earning a degree in the career of your choice, and there are several inexpensive accelerated college degree programs available for those wanting even more flexibility and affordability.
Accelerated programs compress the typical 16-week college course into shorter sessions, usually 5, 8, or 10 weeks. This allows you to potentially complete your degree faster -- an attractive option for many students, especially those with full-time jobs, families, or other commitments. And with online learning, the hours spent in a traditional program commuting to class every week can be repurposed for completing coursework and studying for exams. In addition to time savings, here are a few other reasons why many students choose inexpensive accelerated college degree programs:
The flexibility allows you to fit coursework around your work schedule, so you can maintain a cash-flow while taking classes.
Accelerated courses, and accelerated degree programs, can offer students a more intensely focused academic trajectory.
Not all accelerated online programs are created equal, so it's important to conduct research and find out which one is right for you. To get you started, here are ten online colleges offering inexpensive accelerated college degree programs. Each program on this list allows you to complete your degree in as little as two years and costs $600 per credit hour or less.
1. Arcadia University
Program Details: Arcadia University offers accelerated degree completion programs in business or liberal arts studies. Program coaches assist students in developing a flexible schedule and program plan in order to ensure success with the 7-week accelerated format. To apply, students must have previous academic experience or an Associate's degree with a 2.5 GPA or higher. Arcadia accepts 75 credits from accredited two-year institutions and 90 credits from four-year institutions. Arcadia ranks #39 in OnlineCollege's "affordability" listing in Pennsylvania.
Cost: Undergraduate part-time tuition (11 credits or less per semester) is $580 per credit.
2. Bellevue University
Program Details: To enter into the program, you must start with your Associate's degree or 60 semester credit hours. Bellevue University has an open credit transfer policy. Many students are able to complete their degree in as little as 16 months. A unique advantage to Bellevue's system is their cohort program, which groups students together within the same degree track so they can learn from their peers. In 2014, U.S. News & World Report ranked Bellevue University #18 in their list of best online Bachelor's programs.
Cost: The undergraduate accelerated cohort program is $385 per credit hour.
3. Elmhurst College
Program Details: Ranked among the nation's top 20 online degree providers by the Open Education Database (OEDb), Elmhurst College offers convenient class schedules and credit-transfer policies that help put degrees on the fast track. Their online accelerated program focuses on the IT industry, with degrees in Cyber Security and Digital Cinema.
Cost: Degrees in Cyber Security and Digital Cinema both cost $575 per semester hour.
4. Gwynedd Mercy University
Program Details: Gwynedd Mercy University offers accelerated online programs in Business, Education and Nursing. They also offer postgraduate degrees, including a Master's in Strategic Management and Leadership and Health Care Administration, and an accelerated Executive Doctorate in Educational Leadership. Gwynedd Mercy University ranked in the first tier of its category in U.S. News & World Report's 2011 edition of "Best Colleges" due to high graduation rates.
Cost: The cost per credit varies depending on the program. For comparison, a B.S. in Business Administration costs $440 per credit. This does not include application and graduation fees.
5. Marist College
Program Details: The School of Global & Professional Programs at Marist College provides distance learning opportunities through a traditional 15-week or an accelerated 10-week format. Marist ranks #18 in U.S. News & World Report's 2014 list of online Bachelor's degree programs.
Cost: The cost per credit varies depending on the program. For comparison, a B.S. in Liberal Studies costs $600 per credit.
6. Pace University
Program Details: Student's entering Pace University's Online Accelerated Bachelor's Completion Program must have an Associate's degree or 64 college credits, but can leave with their Bachelor's degree in 24 months. Pace offers degree programs in several subjects, including Business, Nursing, Disability and Community Living, Professional Communications Studies and Professional Technology studies. In 2014, U.S. News & World Report ranked Pace University #3 in their list of best online Bachelor's programs.
Cost: $535 per credit for all degrees other than nursing, which costs $680 per credit.
7. Post University
Program Details: Offered in eight-week modules six times a year, Post University's online degree programs focus on interactive and relevant instruction with real-world applications. They accept transfer credits from accredited colleges and universities. Depending on the credits you've banked thus far, you can earn your undergraduate degree in 18 months and your Master's degree in 14 to 24 months. The Online Education Database (OEDb) ranked Post University among the nation's top 20 online degree program providers.
Cost: The cost per credit hour varies depending on the program. For comparison, a B.S. in Business Administration costs $570 per credit hour.
8. Rasmussen College
Program Details: This program focuses on a seamless credit transfer process. Students can transfer their associate degree and any previous credits, including general education credits, no matter when they were completed. Once the credits are calculated, students are on track to earn their degree in 18 months. Students take two six-week classes per session. Another money-saving feature of the program is Rasmussen's scholarship of $1500 given to accelerated students in the last session of their program, just before graduation. Students must have a GPA of 2.0 or higher and must be continuously enrolled to qualify. Rasmussen College ranks #21 for OnlineCollege's "affordability listing" in Minnesota.
Cost: $260 per credit. (Does not include $150 course resource fee.)
9. Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
Program Details: Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College offers several majors in accelerated, eight-week formats. These include Accounting, Business Administration, Human Resource Management, Marketing, and Nursing. The program offers collaborative cohorts with fellow students and professors. Saint Mary-of-the-Wood's online Accounting program was ranked #2 in the nation by the Open Education Database (OEDb).
Cost: $496 per credit hour.
10. Walden University
Program Details: With a comprehensive transfer program, Walden University is a great option for students who wish to continue their degree in an accelerated format. Walden offers assessments to help give credit for prior learning, and gives students the opportunity to turn previous certifications into academic credit. Accelerated courses include several education programs in condensed periods of eight weeks or less. Walden University ranks #13 in OnlineCollege's "affordability" listing in Minnesota.
Cost: Tuition costs vary, but for comparison, Walden University's Accelerated M.S. in Education costs $500 per semester credit hour.
Inexpensive accelerated college degree programs offer the financial stability and time efficiency difficult to find in brick-and-mortar institutions. Choosing a college is always an important decision, and you can make the process easier with online tools. Check out our Top Online Colleges Tool, which allows you to find schools in categories of quality, affordability and flexibility.
1. "Accelerated Online Bachelor Degree Programs: Pros & Cons", http://www.geteducated.com/online-degree-programs/389-accelerated-online-degrees-what-you-need-to-know
2. Arcadia University, http://www.arcadia.edu/Online-and-Accelerated-Programs-for-Adults.htm
3. Bellevue University, http://www.bellevue.edu/ways-to-learn/accelerated-bachelors-degrees-programs.aspx
4. "Best Online Bachelor's Programs", http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/bachelors/rankings
5. Elmhurst College, http://public.elmhurst.edu/adult
6. Gwynedd Mercy University, https://www.gmercyu.edu/academics/accelerated-online-programs
7. Marist College, http://www.marist.edu/gpp/distancelearning/courses.html
8. Open Education Database, http://oedb.org/rankings/
9. Pace University, http://www.pace.edu/online-learning/online-accelerated-bachelors-degree-program
10. Post University, http://www.post.edu/online/
11. Rasmussen College, http://www.rasmussen.edu/degrees/accelerated/
12. Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, http://www.smwc.edu/online-degree/woods-online-program/
13. "Top 8 Reasons Students Choose Online Degrees," http://www.franklin.edu/blog/top-8-reasons-students-choose-online-degrees/
14. Walden University, http://www.waldenu.edu/admissions/degree-acceleration