10 Comedians Who Gained College Degrees Before They Made it Big

Ricky Gervais

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Choosing what degree to study at college can be a tricky decision – especially given today’s job market. Still, it’s not all bad. According to a recent study by Georgetown University, almost 200,000 jobs were added in the US during the recession – followed by a further two million during the recovery – for people with bachelor’s degrees.

Of course, there are still plenty of challenges inherent in going to college, on top of deciding what to study. The 10 famous comedians featured on this list cracked open books on everything from electrical engineering to law before changing course and joining the comedy world – but that doesn’t mean their studies weren’t worthwhile. ABC World News anchor and correspondent David Muir put it this way: “The curiosity and the willingness to adapt are more important than what the degree is in.”

10. Demetri Martin

10. Demetri Martin

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In 1995, New York comedian Demetri Martin graduated from Yale University and went on to study at the New York University School of Law on a full scholarship. Since he was 11 years old, his dream was to go into law, and he worked hard to achieve his goal. When people asked him what he wanted to do when he grew up, he would say, “I don’t know, either litigation or corporate mergers.”

Martin completed two of the three years required for law school but dropped out in 1997. He realized that he had made a mistake and decided to cut his losses and move on, but the decision wasn’t an easy one. Martin says, “It was a total crisis, a total crisis of relevance, because I was now an adult. What happens when you remove the plan? What you’re left with is a guy who likes to do anagrams and doesn’t have a job.” Fortunately for Martin, he wasn’t without a job for too long and is now a successful comedian, albeit an unconventional one.

9. Aisha Tyler

9. Aisha Tyler

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Actress, author and stand-up comedian Aisha Tyler studied at Ivy League research university Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. In 1992, she graduated with a degree in Environmental Policy. Although Tyler got a job as a marketing executive at an advertising firm in San Francisco, she missed performing – something she had enjoyed in high school and college. In 1994, she left her job and decided to try her luck touring the country as a stand-up comedian. Things weren’t exactly easy starting out, and Tyler even had slices of pizza thrown in her face, but she stuck with it – something she chalks up to pure “unadulterated bullheadedness.”

Eventually, though, Tyler’s career in show business took off, and there’s been no looking back. She told Lemondrop.com, “I think my environmental background plays more of a role in my personal behavior [than my performances].” She recycles, drives a hybrid car and renovated her home to make it greener. “I suppose it informs my charity work,” added Tyler; “which, after my creative life, is the most important part of my job.”

8. Jerry Seinfeld

8. Jerry Seinfeld

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Jerry Seinfeld is best known for co-creating and starring in wildly popular sitcom Seinfeld, which ran from July 1989 to May 1998 – but it may have never happened if he hadn’t gone to college. Seinfeld attended Queens College at the City University of New York. He graduated in 1976 with a degree in Communications and Theater.

While at university, Seinfeld participated in a few of the college productions, developing a particular interest in stand-up comedy. He performed at local venues until he caught a break on Rodney Dangerfield’s 1976 HBO special. After that, his career took off and he was later hoisted into the spotlight by Seinfeld. After the show ended, Seinfeld went back to stand-up. It’s probably safe to say that both communications and theater have come in handy during his incredibly successful career.

7. Larry David

7. Larry David

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Larry David studied at the University of Maryland. He earned a bachelor’s degree in History in 1969, before going on to study Business Administration, picking up this second degree the following year. When he graduated, David joined the US Army Reserve for a stint. However, fortunately for television comedy, he then decided to try his luck as a stand-up comic, working various jobs – as a limo driver, store clerk and TV repairman – to support himself.

In 1979, David got a break when he was employed as a writer and performer for late night comedy show Fridays. This led to him landing a gig as a writer on Saturday Night Live in 1982, and he later created Seinfeld with fellow graduate Jerry Seinfeld in 1988. More recently, David has, of course, gained further kudos as the creator, writer and star of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Interestingly, according to the University of Maryland student newspaper The Diamondback, David was spotted on campus in 2013 whilst on a tour of the facilities with his daughter.

6. Sacha Baron Cohen

6. Sacha Baron Cohen

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English comedian Sacha Baron Cohen studied History at Cambridge University’s Christ’s College, where he developed a love for theater. He graduated in 1990 and went on to create four satirical characters, namely Ali G, Borat, Brüno and Admiral General Aladeen. Each of these characters is as ridiculous as they are funny, challenging stereotypes with gutsy stunts and over-the-top social commentary.

Before achieving recognition as an unconventional comedian, Cohen worked as a model in the fashion industry, trained as a clown in Paris under Philippe Gaulier and started his own comedy club. Cohen often gives interviews under the guise of one of his characters, making it difficult to know precisely what role his degree played in his choice of career and whether it has had an impact on his comedic work.

5. Conan O’Brien

5. Conan OGÇÖBrien

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Talk show host and comedian Conan O’Brien studied at Harvard University. An avid writer, he became president of humorous school magazine the Harvard Lampoon. In 1985, O’Brien graduated magma cum laude with a degree in History and Literature. Then from early 1988 he spent several years as a writer for Saturday Night Live, and later he wrote for The Simpsons.

In 1993, his career took a major shift when he auditioned to replace David Letterman as host of Late Night. O’Brien says he has had a lot of ups and downs since he left college. In a speech to the Harvard Class of 2000, he said, “Every failure was freeing, and today I’m as nostalgic for the bad as I am for the good. So that’s what I wish for all of you – the bad as well as the good. Fall down. Make a mess. Break something occasionally. Know that your mistakes are your own unique way of getting to where you need to be. And remember that the story is never over.”

4. Alfred “Weird Al” Yankovic

4. Alfred GÇ£Weird AlGÇ¥ Yankovic

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Comedian and musician Alfred “Weird Al” Yankovic planned to be an architect. In fact, he even got a degree in Architecture from California Polytechnic State University. “I thought I’d be an adult by now and have a grown-up job,” Yankovic joked during a 2010 interview with The Stool Pigeon. When his song “My Bologna” (a parody of The Knack’s “My Sharona”) became a hit on popular radio series The Dr. Demento Show, Yankovic decided to try his hand at comedy as a career. As Yankovic already had a degree, his parents weren’t too worried about him, and his dad said that as long as he was happy, he’d be successful. That’s one prophecy that has certainly come true. Yankovic has sold more than 12 million records and won three Grammy Awards.

3. John Cleese

3. John Cleese

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Monty Python star John Cleese is also well known for his comedic work in British series Fawlty Towers and cult movie A Fish Called Wanda. And he’s also been in two James Bond movies, two Harry Potter movies and the three Shrek sequels. Cleese attended Downing College, Cambridge University, where he studied Law and enjoyed participating in theatrical club the Cambridge Footlights. This, perhaps more than anything, signaled what kind of career path Cleese would eventually take when he graduated in 1963.

Speaking of a Footlights performance, Cleese says, “I’d got behind on my studies and thought I wouldn’t do the show and then, at the last moment, I thought ‘what the hell’ and did it. And being in that show is the reason I finished up in show business – otherwise I’d have been a lawyer.” This arguably goes to show that extra-curricular activities offered by colleges can have enormous impact on students’ lives. On top of his comedy career, Cleese also speaks to audiences about harnessing creativity.

2. Rowan Atkinson

2. Rowan Atkinson

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Rowan Atkinson may give the impression that he’s not very smart when he plays childlike fool Mr. Bean, but in real life he’s quite the opposite. In fact, Atkinson is a full-blown brainiac. He graduated from Newcastle University with a degree in Electrical Engineering and continued his studies at Oxford, where he obtained a master’s in Electrical Engineering. While at Oxford, he also started appearing in comedy sketches.

Today, Atkinson is one of the most famous, rich and successful comedians in the world – and he even appeared in the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games. Now that he’s in his late 50s, he expects to shift gears somewhat and says, “The stuff that has been most commercially successful for me – basically quite physical, quite childish – I increasingly feel I’m going to do a lot less of.” Perhaps roles like Edmund Blackadder are more to his taste. Atkinson describes Blackadder as a much more intellectual show, “full of English idiom and cynicism and irony and metaphors.”

1. Ricky Gervais

1. Ricky Gervais

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Comedian Ricky Gervais attended University College London from 1979 to 1983. He graduated with a degree in Philosophy and went on to try his hand at being both a pop star (with band Seona Dancing) and an events manager before moving into radio. Eventually, he made the leap into television and created, wrote, starred in and directed The Office. The series has since been revised for audiences around the globe, including in the US, Brazil, Sweden, France and Germany.

First broadcast in 2001, The Office “was the first thing I ever tried my hardest at. And I obviously reaped rewards,” says Gervais. “But I wouldn’t be any less proud of The Office if it hadn’t been successful all over the world and won BAFTAs and Emmys and Golden Globes. The real lesson I learned was that trying your hardest is the reward in itself.”

BONUS – Bill Cosby

Bonus - Bill Cosby

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Bill Cosby is proof that it’s never too late to go to college, as he returned to school after achieving fame. He dropped out of Germantown High School in Philadelphia after failing the 10th grade, but after a stint in the Navy he realized the importance of education. He earned his high school equivalency through correspondence, and in 1961 he won a track and field scholarship to Temple University in Philadelphia. While he was studying towards his degree in Physical Education, Cosby paid his bills by working at a local bar. His witty comments soon earned him extra tips, and Cosby realized he could have a future on stage, so he left Temple and decided to pursue a career in comedy. This eventually led him to The Bill Cosby Show, which ran from 1969 to 1971.

Cosby decided to return to education, studying at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He earned a master’s degree in Education in 1972 and went on to achieve his doctorate in 1977. He then saw success with The Cosby Show in the 1980s and early ‘90s. Education became integral to Cosby’s later comedic works – proving that despite his unconventional approach to studying (at least initially), he saw the true importance of learning.

Cheapest Online Colleges for Associates Degrees

Cheap online associates degrees are not hard to find, but many of them aren’t even worth whatever little tuition they charge. An affordable associates degree program is a good thing, but not if it is of poor quality or lacks accreditation and respect in the marketplace.

Featured Schools

For our list of the cheapest online colleges for associates degrees we took into consideration quality, accreditation, reputation, as well as cost. While these may not be the cheapest associates programs online, we do think they are among the most affordable in the long run when you take into account the quality of the education you will receive and the respect your degree will bring among employers. All of the schools on the list are accredited (most regionally) and offer a broad array of associates degree programs to choose from.

#1. Baker College Online

Baker College Online is the online branch of Baker College, a for-profit academic institution. Baker College provides on-campus courses for students residing in the state of Michigan. All of the degree programs offered by the university are intended to prepare students for placement in a career. Military Advanced Education rated Baker College Online as a military-friendly college in 2013.

Online Associate’s Degrees
Baker College Online provides students with the ability to complete an entire associate’s degree program online. Business and applied science degree programs are available through Baker College Online. Concentrations include accounting, management, marketing, computer programming and web development. The tuition rate of $215 per credit hour makes the university one of the most affordable academic institutions that offer online degree programs. Military personnel are offered a special rate of $165 per credit hour.

Accreditation
Baker College Online is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#3. Ivy Bridge College

Ivy Bridge College is an online school that offers associate’s degrees in subjects ranging from business to computer information systems. Founded in 2008, the school is affiliated with Tiffin University. Ivy Bridge College is also known as “America’s Transfer College” due to the high numbers of students who matriculate at four-year schools after graduating with an associate’s degree.

Online Associate’s Degrees
Students can enroll in a number of popular, online programs at Ivy Bridge College, including Health Care Administration, Corrections, Sports and Recreation Management, Law Enforcement and Accounting. The online, General Studies degree transfers to four-year institutions, and students are encouraged to learn the basics of college-level writing, humanities and fine art history. Full-time students pay around $4,463 a semester for 12-16 credit hours. Part-time students pay $420 a credit.

Accreditation
Ivy Bridge College is currently accredited by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs and the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools Higher Learning Commission.

#5. Kaplan University

Kaplan University is a higher education institution that is owned by Kaplan, Inc. While the university provides most of its coursework through the online college, multiple traditional campuses are also operated under the Kaplan name.

Online Associate’s Degrees
Kaplan University offers 13 associate’s degree programs. Available programs include nursing, medical transcription, paralegal studies, human services, early childhood development, criminal justice, business administration, accounting, and more. The tuition for each program ranges from $305 to $371 per credit hour, depending on the program. The university offers multiple forms of financial aid, including federal and state assistance. Tuition reduction is also available to some students.

Accreditation
Kaplan University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The university is also a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Some of the online programs are approved or accredited by additional agencies.

#6. Liberty University Online

Liberty University Online is a private academic institution that is headquartered in Virginia. The university was founded as a Baptist college in 1971 and maintains itself as a Christian college today. Distance learning opportunities available through Liberty University Online allow students to pursue most of the degrees offered on campus. Over 80,000 students are currently enrolled in an online degree program through Liberty University.

Online Associate’s Degrees
Liberty University Online offers all of its associate degree programs in an online format. Majors include accounting, business, criminal justice, education, paralegal studies, psychology and religion. The affordable academic institution charges a tuition rate of $340 per full-time credit hour and $385 per part-time credit hour. Military personnel are given a discounted rate of $250 per credit hour.

Accreditation
Liberty University Online is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Individual academic programs are also accredited by agencies related to each major.

#7. Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University is a private university that was founded in 1933 to train business professionals. Online programs offered by the academic institution have been highly rated. The New Hampshire Business Review rated the online business program at Southern New Hampshire University as the best in the region.

Online Associate’s Degrees
Southern New Hampshire University offers many of the associate degree programs available through the academic institution in an online format. Degrees that can be earned online include accounting, business administration, computer information technology, fashion merchandising, justice studies, liberal arts and marketing. The university offers an affordable tuition rate of $960 per course. Students who are active in the military are offered a discounted rate of $675 per course.

Accreditation
Southern New Hampshire University is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Individual programs are also accredited by organizations that give this distinction to specific majors.

#10. Everest University

Everest University is a for-profit academic institution located in Florida. It is one of over 100 campuses included in the Corinthian Colleges group. Everest University is aimed at providing programs that fit into the busy schedules of working adults. On-campus classes are available during the day, at night and on weekends. Online courses are also available for students who are unable to attend on-campus classes.

Online Associate’s Degrees
Everest University offers online associate degree programs that are fully accredited. Majors include accounting, business, applied management, computer information science, criminal justice, homeland security, paralegal studies and criminal investigations. While the exact cost of an education through Everest University varies according to program, tuition for an entire year of education costs an average of $14,000. The tuition for online degrees at Everest University makes it affordable for anyone to pursue higher education.

Accreditation
Everest University is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools.

Related Articles

Cheapest Online Bachelor’s Degrees
Cheapest Online Master’s Degrees

Cheapest Online Colleges for Bachelor’s Degrees 2014

Cheap online bachelor’s degrees are not hard to find, but many of them do not provide a comprehensive education. An affordable bachelor’s degree program is a good thing, but not if it is of poor quality or lacks accreditation and respect in the marketplace.

For our list of the cheapest online colleges for bachelor’s degrees we took into consideration quality, accreditation, reputation, as well as cost. While these may not be the cheapest bachelor’s program online, we do think they are among the most affordable in the long run when you take into account the quality of the education you will receive and the respect your degree will bring among employers. All of the schools on the list are regionally accredited and offer a broad array of bachelor’s degree programs to choose from.

#1 Colorado Technical University

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Colorado Technical University is a for-profit academic institution that focuses on providing students with an education in business and technical subjects. Many students who attend the university are active or retired military personnel. The university offers students the benefit of reaching technical support at any time in case online coursework cannot be accessed. One unique feature of the university is that online coursework is specifically designed with the learning style of the individual student in mind. This feature is intended to give students a better chance of succeeding academically.

Online Bachelor’s Programs
Colorado Technical University offers online bachelor’s degree programs that are fully accredited. Students have the opportunity to pursue a degree in business, management, health sciences, information technology and security studies. Undergraduate tuition rates are set at an affordable $325 per credit hour. A four-year degree completed through the online division of Colorado Technical University will cost approximately $58,500.

Accreditation
Colorado Technical University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#2. Fort Hays State University

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Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas is a co-ed public university. It was founded in the early 1900s by Emporia State University, which was called the Western Branch of Kansas State Normal School at the time. While many universities have high tuition rates for online programs, FHSU is known for affordable tuition and quality programs. The vision of the school is to promote forward thinking and intellectually prepare students to face the world.

Online Bachelor’s Programs
FHSU features more than 20 online bachelor’s degree options, which mostly target students interested in entering the fields of education, medical care and computer technology. The tuition rate for FHSU’s undergraduate Virtual College courses is $178.30 per credit hour regardless of residency status. Depending on programs and individual circumstances, students are allowed to take up to 18 credits per semester.

Accreditation
The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools’ Higher Learning Commission has given full accreditation to FHSU’s Virtual College.

#3. Baker College Online

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Baker College offers a variety of educational opportunities to students all over the country. The campus is based in Michigan, but they provide access to higher educational for students who require online instruction at an affordable tuition rate. The online campus provides access to library resources, job fairs and employment listings.

Online Bachelor’s Programs
Students can expect a quality education when attending Baker’s online degree programs. Online degrees are available in a variety of fields, including accounting, human resource management, computer science, health services and more.
The cost per credit hour at Baker College online is $215 per credit for undergraduate degrees. This is significantly lower than many other online degree programs. In addition, the institution qualifies for federal and state aid programs. A variety of scholarship and grant programs are available through the institution’s financial aid department. A tuition reimbursement plan provides assistance for certain employed students.

Accreditation
This institution has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

#4. Western Governors University

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Western Governors University was founded in 1997 by 19 senators. The university maintains locations in five states in additional to its online branch. Western Governors University was rated among the best online schools by several online publications in 2012. Degree programs available through the university have also been praised for their affordability.

Online Bachelor’s Programs
Western Governors University offers a wide range of online bachelor’s degree programs in subjects including business administration, information technology and health professions. The university also provides students with the opportunity to pursue a teacher certification. A unique tuition option available through Western Governors University allows students to pay a flat rate of $2,890 every six months. This affordable rate does not take credit hours into consideration, so students can pursue a full-time degree at a tuition rate that may be as low as half the rate of comparable colleges.

Accreditation
Western Governors University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

#5. Columbia College

Columbia-College-Online-Bachelors-Degree

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Columbia College, established in 1851, is a private higher education institution. Originally established as a women’s college, the college became coeducational in 1970. With 34 nationwide campuses and an active online campus, Columbia College meets the educational needs of thousands of students across the country. The online degree programs are intended to help working adults and military students obtain a degree. The college was recognized as one of the best and most affordable online colleges by the Student Guide to America’s 100 Best College Scholarships

Online Bachelor’s Programs
Columbia College offers 11 online bachelor’s degree programs. Programs include business administration, computer information systems, criminal justice administration, general studies, history, psychology, sociology, and more. Most online students are currently charged $240 per credit.

Accreditation
Columbia College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The college is also a member of the North Central Association.

#6. Oregon State University Ecampus

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Oregon State University Ecampus operates as an extension of OSU and is one of the top online education providers in the country. The same instructors who create campus classes also develop and teach online programs, leading to the same quality of education whichever method a student uses.

Online Bachelor’s Programs
The OSU Ecampus offers bachelor’s degrees in 16 different disciplines, including some not often seen in distance programs. Degrees in Horticulture and Natural Resources join additional study areas in environmental sciences, social sciences, liberal studies and more. Course requirements for online programs are equivalent to on-campus programs. Transcripts don’t differentiate between online and on-campus coursework. Tuition for online courses is set at $185/credit plus a $75/credit distance education fee, which equals $260/credit. Prices are the same for all students, no matter their place of residence.

Accreditation
OSU Ecampus holds accreditation regionally from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Additionally, the university is authorized to provide baccalaureate degrees by the Oregon State Board of Higher Education.

#7. Walden University

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Walden University is a for-profit academic institution that was founded in 1970 to help adults pursue a graduate degree while working full time. On-campus courses are available at the Minneapolis location of the university. Walden University was one of the first colleges to start offering online courses in the mid-1990s. The academic institution maintains affiliations with the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

Online Bachelor’s Programs
Walden University offers 17 different online bachelor’s degree programs. Some of the majors available through the university include accounting, communication, forensic psychology, human services and public health. The exact cost of a degree program at Walden University depends on the major. Students can expect to pay approximately $13,000 per year for an online bachelor’s degree program.

Accreditation
Walden University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Business degrees available through the university are also accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

#8. Capella University

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An accredited online university, Capella University offers bachelor’s, master’s/MBA, doctoral, and certificate programs designed to take you to the forefront of your profession. Our competency-based curriculum delivers foundational knowledge and real-world skills, so what you’re learning is immediately applicable to your career. Right now, more than 36,000 students are expanding their opportunities with Capella programs. Speak with an enrollment counselor at 1.866.679.9687.

#9. Herzing University

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Herzing University is a higher education institution that offers undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees, and diplomas. The university was founded in 1965 to offer computer programming courses. In addition to the online college, the institution has traditional campuses in eight states and three Canadian provinces. The university’s EdFlex option allows students to take some courses online while taking other courses on a traditional campus.

Online Bachelor’s Programs
Herzing University offers more than 50 online degrees. Online bachelor’s programs include information technology, graphic design, human resource development, accounting, business management, international business, healthcare management, nursing, medical assisting services, criminal justice, and more. The tuition for each individual program may vary, but students can expect to pay at least $450 per credit hour for most programs.

Accreditation
Herzing University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, 230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500, Chicago, Illinois, 60614-1413, www.hlcommission.org, (800) 621-7400

#10. American InterContinental University

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American InterContinental University is an international university that has on-campus locations in the states of Georgia, Texas and Florida. The university was founded by Americans living in Switzerland in 1970. The online branch of American InterContinental University was founded in 2002 to better serve the international student population. Offices for the online branch are located outside of Chicago, Illinois. There are currently more than 15,000 students across the world who are enrolled in a degree program through the university.

Online Bachelor’s Programs
American InterContinental University offers a wide range of online bachelor’s degree programs in major areas including business administration, criminal justice and information technology. The affordable tuition rate set by the university is $302 per credit hour. It will cost students an estimated $54,360 to complete an online bachelor’s degree program through American InterContinental University.

Accreditation
American InterContinental University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Related Articles

Cheapest Online Associate’s Degrees
Cheapest Online Master’s Degrees

Cheapest Online Colleges for Master’s Degrees 2014

Cheap online master’s degrees are not hard to find, but many do not provide a comprehensive education. An affordable master’s degree program is a good thing, but not if it is of poor quality or lacks accreditation and respect in the marketplace.

For our list of the cheapest online colleges for masters degrees we took into consideration quality, accreditation, reputation, as well as cost. While these may not be the cheapest master’s program online, we do think they are among the most affordable in the long run when you take into account the quality of the education you will receive and the respect your degree will bring among employers. All of the schools on the list are regionally accredited and offer a broad array of masters degree programs to choose from.

#1. Western Governors University

Western-Governors-University-Online-Masters-Degree

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Western Governors University is an affordable option for students seeking an online master’s degree. The name of the school pays tribute to the governors who created the institution. These online degree programs reward students who demonstrate their abilities instead of using the traditional system of credits. This opens up the possibility of earning a college degree for adults and others looking to reduce expenses by earning their college degree while maintaining current employment status.

Online Master’s Programs
Students can choose from more than 25 online degrees, and there are multiple options for financial aid assistance. These online degree programs are available at an affordable price because the school qualifies for Title IV federal student aid. Some of the most popular online degrees include information technology, business, teaching and health care. The tuition ranges from $2,890 to $4,250 for each term.

Regional Accreditation
Western Governors University provides high-quality online education to students from all over the country. This institution obtained accreditation through the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NCCU).

#2. Sullivan University

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Sullivan University is a private academic institution that maintains on-campus locations throughout the state of Kentucky. The online division of the university has offices in Louisville, Kentucky that allow students to enroll in courses and pay tuition in person if desired. Long-distance students are able to complete registration and payment procedures online. The affordability of the accredited master’s degree programs available through Sullivan University make the school an ideal choice for working professionals who would like to avoid student debt.

Online Master’s Programs
Sullivan University offers unique opportunities for students to earn a master’s degree program by completing online coursework. Degree programs that can be completed online include business administration, conflict management, public safety and education management.

Accreditation
Sullivan University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#4. Fort Hays State University

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Fort Hays State University is a public university in Hays, Kansas. Founded in 1902, the university is currently the fastest growing institution governed by the Kansas Board of Regents. The university hosts 28 academic departments and awards associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees.

Online Master’s Programs
Thirteen master’s degree programs and specialty tracks are offered through the university’s Virtual College. Areas of study include business administration, counseling and psychology, education, nursing, and more. The counseling, school psychology, and family nurse practitioner track programs require time on campus or the completion of a supervised clinical. All courses offered by the Virtual College are fully accredited. Students are charged $241.35 per credit hour in tuition. The Master of Business Administration program is $400.00 per credit hour.

Accreditation
Fort Hays State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

#5. Baker College Online

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Baker College Online is a private college that is part of Michigan-based Baker College. The academic institution is focused on providing students with a career-based education. Baker College Online has one of the most affordable online Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs in the United States.

Online Master’s Programs
Baker College Online offers convenient master’s degree options that allow students to complete all of their coursework online. Degrees offered by the college include business administration, information sciences, organizational psychology and occupational therapy. The affordable online master’s degree programs are available with a tuition cost of $390 per credit hour. Employees who are offered tuition reimbursement benefits by an employer can typically claim courses taken through Baker College Online.

Accreditation
Baker College Online is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The MBA program is also accredited by the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education, and the occupational therapy program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education.

#6. Walden University

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Walden University offers undergraduate and graduate degrees through online coursework. Walden was originally established to help working adults obtain doctoral degrees. The school would eventually offer the first completely online master’s in education program. Based in Minnesota, the university is part of a network of onsite and online universities connected by Laureate Education, Inc.

Click here for more information.

Online Master’s Programs
The university offers a wide selection of master’s degree programs. Some of the programs include business administration, education, counseling, psychology, criminal justice, information technology, and more. Tuition and fees are assessed for each individual program, so potential students should examine the costs associated with the individual program of interest. Technology fees and other costs may apply.

Accreditation
Walden University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The university is also a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Some of the schools and degree programs are individually accredited.

#7. Kaplan University

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Kaplan University predominantly offers degrees through online learning, but campus-based programs are available. Control of the university falls under Kaplan, Inc., a corporation that offers test preparation materials, training programs, and services related to higher education. The institution was acquired when Kaplan, Inc. purchased Quest Education Corporation, and the institution’s name was changed to Kaplan College.

Online Master’s Programs
Kaplan University offers a wide variety of online learning opportunities. Master’s programs are available in business administration, education, public health, psychology, nursing, and more. While many degrees can be completed online, some programs do require onsite or local experience. Tuition varies for each program, but typical costs are $368, $385, $420, or $441 per quarter credit hour. Additional fees may apply.

Accreditation
Kaplan University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The institution is also a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

#8. Colorado State University-Global Campus

The West Lawn at Colorado State UniversityImage Source

Colorado State University-Global Campus is an online university that is affiliated with Colorado State University. There are currently over 7,000 students enrolled in a degree program with the public academic institution. The online university was founded in 2007 to reach out to adult learners in the state of Colorado. Colorado State University-Global Campus is ranked as one of the top 100 colleges for online business degrees at the graduate level.

Online Master’s Programs
Colorado State University-Global Campus offers all of its degree programs in an online format. The master’s degree programs that are available through the university include management, organizational leadership, teaching, criminal justice, finance and healthcare administration. Tuition is set at an affordable rate of $500 per credit hour for graduate students, and students who are enrolled in a program will not be affected by any increases in tuition.

Accreditation
Colorado State University-Global Campus is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

#9. Liberty University Online

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Liberty University Online is a non-profit, private institution of higher learning with a Christian-based foundation. Established in 1985, the school boasts over 15,000 graduates. Liberty University Online specializes in catering to non-traditional students, military families and working adults.

Online Master’s Programs
Liberty University Online offers over 25 master’s degree programs, including courses in accounting, business administration, human services, education and nursing. It also allows students to specialize in certain areas within each degree program. Online classes are eight weeks long. Tuition for master’s-level courses starts at $465 and goes up to $505 per credit hour with additional fees for distance learning classes.

Accreditation
Liberty University Online is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools with a level VI rating (for schools that have over four doctoral programs). It also holds accreditation from the American Bar Association, National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, Aviation Accreditation Board International and the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, among several others.

#10. Saint Leo University Online

Saint-Leo-University-Online-Masters-DegreeImage Source

Saint Leo University Online is a Catholic-based, non-profit school established in Saint Leo, Florida. Founded in 1889, the university is a leader in the field of distance learning. It is also the oldest Catholic university in the state of Florida and enrolls over 15,000 students from all over the world.

Online Master’s Programs
Saint Leo University Online offers several master’s degrees through distance learning, including the M.B.A., M.Ed., M.S., M.A., and Master of Social Work. Tuition ranges between $422 and $674 per credit, depending on the type of degree. Most of the master’s programs require 36 credits, and graduate certificates are generally 15 to 18 credits. Some students may be eligible for grants, military aid, scholarships or corporate sponsorships.

Accreditation
The online university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. It is also accredited by the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education and the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation.

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Top 25 College Scholarships for 2013

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Experts, teachers, and employers agree that a college degree is a necessity if you want to be successful in the workplace. Unfortunately, getting that degree is more expensive than ever. Many students walk off the college campus for the last time saddled with debt that will take them years to pay off. Scholarship money is out there for the taking, but it’s difficult to know where to start. To make the choice a bit less burdensome, here are 25 of the best college scholarships in the country.

1. Buick Achievers
Every year, American car company Buick gives out a $25,000 scholarship through their Achievers program. Better yet, the scholarship is renewable each year, meaning that a student could conceivably have their entire college career paid for even if they attend the most prestigious university around. In addition to the grand prize, Buick also awards scholarships in the amount of $2,000 to 1,000 other applicants. To be eligible, you must be looking to enter an automobile-related field or intend to major in design, business, or engineering. Awards are given based on each applicant’s financial need, grades, community service, and more.

2. Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society Scholarships
Most scholarships focus on high school students entering college for the first time. Phi Theta Kappa, an academic honor society, helps those students looking to transfer from community college to a full four year school. In conjunction with corporate sponsors, the organization has scholarships ranging anywhere from $1,000 to $7,000. Unlike many awards, this scholarship is not given out by a central organization. Rather, students should look to their own colleges for disbursement funds.

3. KFC Colonel’s Scholars Program
As part of giving back to the community, many of the country’s biggest fast food chains offer academic scholarships to students. KFC, America’s top fried chicken destination, awards up to $5,000 each year to their successful applicants. Eligibility requirements include proof of an entrepreneurial spirit, financial need, and a job. Yep, KFC requires renewal students (those accepting money beyond a single year) to work at least 10 hours per week, though not necessarily for the restaurant.

4. Miss America Scholar
If you’ve ever dreamed of competing in the Miss America contest, you might be eligible for a prize beyond the fabled tiara. Unlike the pageants, however, which are judged on criteria such as beauty and poise, the scholarships are awarded based solely on academic merit. Applicants are requried to submit their transcripts for the previous two years of study. Open only to women, the $1,000 Miss America Scholar Award is given to one applicant from each state.

5. Robert H. Goddard Scholarship
Funded through the National Space Club, the Robert H. Goddard scholarship is given each year in memory of one of the country’s greatest pioneers in the field of rocket science. Open to students who hope to obtain undergraduate or graduate degrees in science and engineering, the scholarship is worth $10,000. Unlike many scholarships, the Goddard award is open only to those who are at least juniors in college.

6. Talbots Scholarship Program
The Talbots Charitable Foundation is behind this award, one of the most lucrative in the country. Each year, the foundation awards up to 17 $10,000 scholarships and one $30,000 prize. Applicants must be women living in either the U.S. or Canada, hold a GED or high school diploma, and plan to attend an accredited college.

7. BK McLamore Foundation
Joining KFC in the quest to finance the best and brightest, Burger King established this scholarship in memory of co-founder James McLamore. To date, the program has given out more than 17,000 awards, making it one of the most prolific scholarships in the country. Award amounts range anywhere from $1,000 to $50,000 and applicants are judged on work experience, GPA, extracurricular activities, and service to the community.

8. Milton Fisher Scholarship
The Milton Fisher Scholarship for Innovation and Creativity is one of the few academic award programs that doesn’t care about your grade point average, your race, your gender, or your community service. Instead, the judges focus on students who can demonstrate innovation and creative thinking. Eligible applicants must either be from Connecticut or New York or be planning to attend college there. Awards include several $20,000 prizes.

9. The American Legion Oratorical Contest
Concerned with spreading knowledge and awareness regarding the U.S. Constitution, the American Legion Oratorical Contest is aimed at high school students under 20 years of age. Local post competitions are held, with winners moving on to the national stage to compete for a grand prize $18,000 scholarship. These competitions are based around speeches concerning the Constitution.

10. Microsoft Imagine Cup
In terms of academic competitions, they don’t get much more audacious than the Microsoft Imagine Cup. Open to students from around the world, the events are designed to encourage participants to create inventions that could potentially change the world. With a total of $300,000 given out each year, the competition is fierce. Projects are judged on a variety of criteria, including viability, team motivation, solution design, and more.

11. The Jackie Robinson Foundation
With the film 42, a new generation of kids were introduced to the story of legendary African American baseball player Jackie Robinson. But his legacy lives on through more than stories; the Jackie Robinson Foundation gives out scholarships of up to $7,500 each year to minority students. Eligible applicants must be minorities graduating from high school with a minimum SAT score of 1,000.

12. Thomas G. Labrecque Smart Start
Created by banking institution J.P. Morgan Chase, the Thomas G. Labrecque Smart Start program is a prestigious scholarship open to NYC seniors. Eligible applicants will be planning to attend a 4 year university in NYC and carry a minimum GPA of 90%. Benefits of the scholarship include a paid internship with J.P. Morgan Chase and a yearly allowance for books and other supplies.

13. The Coca-Cola Scholars Program
There are very few institutions as overwhelmingly American as Coca-Cola. While their products have fueled more than a few all night study sessions, they have directly contributed to many a student’s tuition. Based around achievement, the scholarships are given to 250 worthy seniors in high school every year. Of these, 50 of them come in the form of full, 4 year, $20,000 scholarships. Another 200 are $10,000 prizes, making this one of the most coveted awards in academic funding. Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.00.

14. Top 10% Scholarship Program
Few state programs have done as much for students interested in going to college as Texas’ Top 10% Scholarship Program. Put simply, the government-sponsored program ensures that anyone who graduates in the top 10 percent of their class is eligible for up to $2,000 in financial aid. Applicants must be planning to attend a public Texas university and be able to demonstrate financial need.

15. Marshall Scholarship
One of the most rewarding opportunities for any young student is the chance to study abroad. Unfortunately, the costs of such an excursion are typically far in excess of what a family can afford. This is where Marshall Scholarships come in. The organization selects up to 40 U.S. students each year to study for a year in the UK at a graduate level university. Travel fees, tuition, and living expenses are all covered. Eligible applicants must have their 4 year degree from an accredited college.

16. Rhodes Scholarship
Possibly the most prestigious scholarship in the world, the Rhodes Scholarship attracts thousands of candidates each year. Successful applicants must be between 18 and 23 years old and be on track to receive their bachelor’s degree on or before the following October. Judges require a college endorsement, 5 recommendation letters, a personal essay, and more. Tangible benefits include a year or two of study at Oxford University in England with full tuition paid. The benefits of having “Rhodes Scholar” on your resume, however, are incalculable.

17. National Merit Scholarship Program
Few organizations give out as much money as the National Merit Scholarship Program. Applicants must have taken the PSAT by grade 11, be an enrolled high school student, and have plans to attend college following graduation. Single payment awards in the amount of $2500 are available, as well as college and corporate sponsored awards which may be renewable each year.

18. Stuck At Prom Scholarship
For high school students who aren’t afraid to get a bit sticky in their quest for funds, the Stuck at Prom Scholarship (offered by Duck Brand duct tape) could be just the ticket. The competition encourages students to design prom dresses and tuxedos from duct tape. While more lighthearted than most scholarships, the prizes are no less real. Students can win up to $5,000 for their design.

19. Dell Scholars
Another example of corporate America giving back, Dell Scholars is funded by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. Eligible participants must have been participating in one of the Foundation’s college readiness programs for at least two years, be on track to graduate high school during the current year, and carry a minimum GPA of 2.4. Winners receive $20,000 each year towards their education, making this one of the most lucrative scholarships available.

20. AXA Achievement Scholarship
The AXA Achievement Scholarship awards a single-time prize of $10,000 to one winner from each state. Among these 50 winners, 10 will be eligible for an additional $15,000 and a possible internship with AXA. Eligible applicants will include seniors in high school and college students. Judges award prizes based on academic achievement, demonstration of ambition, community activity, and more.

21. Segal AmeriCorps Education Award
Named in honor of national service pioneer Eli Segal, the AmeriCorps Education Award is designed for applicants who have successfully completed a term of service in the AmeriCorps program. The highest prizes are determined to match the maximum value of the Pell Grant for the year in question. In 2012, that amount was $5,550.

22. Collegiate Inventors Competition
There are countless examples of successful American inventors whose academic achievements may have failed to hint at their true potential. The Collegiate Inventors Competition recognizes that some students need a different outlet to show their stuff. The competition is based solely around invention practicality and awards a top prize of $12,500. The CIC is open to full time U.S. and Canadian college students. Teams are also welcome to compete, in which case at least one member of the team must meet the full-time student requirements. The remainder of the team can be comprised of part-timers.

23. Pell Grant
Without question, the Pell Grant is the most popular scholarship award in the country. Eligible applicants are determined through the use of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), a form every incoming college student should fill out. As of 2012, the maximum award is $5,550, with the amount determined by the student’s full-time/part-time status, financial need, and academic plans. Unlike student loans given out by the government, students are under no obligation to pay back their Pell Grant money after graduation. This makes the award particularly tempting for those who would like to embark on their career journey without a significant debt load.

24. Davidson Fellows Scholarship
The Davidson Fellows Scholarship is a competition for those students who can demonstrate the completion of a significant work in the areas of science, technology, mathematics, music, or any of the eligible fields. Eligible applicants are 18 years of age and younger and can stand to win up to $50,000 for their work.

25. Golden Key International Honor Society
The Golden Key Society is an exclusive invitation-only organization with chapters in more than 400 colleges and universities around the world. As the largest collegiate academic society in the world, Golden Key gives out more than $600,000 in scholarship money each year to worthy members. The society’s scholarship page lists current awards and the unique application process for each one.

Cheapest Colleges in California

As the most populous state in the nation, California offers a wealth of colleges and universities for its residents to indulge in. The cheapest colleges in California are those that make up the California State University (CSU) system. The university has branch campuses in Bakersfield, Fresno, Fullerton, Chico, and many additional locations. The tuition is around $5,472 for each academic year, which makes these schools among the best bargains in the entire state. The larger branch campuses are prominent research institutions, and students can study medicine, law, engineering, chemistry, or physics without becoming burdened by loans.

Outside the CSU system, there are several small private schools that rate among the cheapest colleges in California. Trident University International has a yearly tuition of about $6,120. The National Hispanic University (NHU), which costs around $7,608, is especially treasured by state residents. NHU is oriented toward Hispanic adults and fills a niche in the educational system of the state. It is nonsectarian and is located in San Jose.

There are also several schools that are dedicated to specialized fields of learning. Students who wish to become ministers might choose Shasta Bible College ($9,600) or Epic Bible College ($10,305). Youngsters who are enthusiastic about the natural world can attend the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science ($10,104). The school’s nursing program has seen rapid growth in recent years and is one of the most respected in the state. The University of the West, located in Rosemead, is another versatile school that is eminently affordable ($8,040).

The University of Phoenix ($10,733), which caters to adult students who have work commitments during the day, has a campus in San Diego. Men and women who would like to advance to more rewarding careers can attend classes in the evenings. The University of Phoenix offers degrees in business, education, nursing, and the social sciences.

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Cheapest Colleges in Texas

The average tuition for enrollment in a Texas college is around $35,000, but this estimate can vary. The cheapest colleges in Texas provide a variety of financial aid resources to students in addition to competitive tuition schedules.

Cheapest Public Colleges in Texas

• The University of Houston – This college offers different tuition prices to resident and non-resident undergraduate students. The former can expect to pay around $10,000, and the latter can expect to pay around $20,000. Graduate programs are priced according to a per-unit schedule, and some fee waivers are available.

• Galveston College – The tuition for in-state students is $1,414, and the tuition for non-resident students is $2,314. Some fee waivers may apply.

• University of Texas – Degree programs require students to take a specific number of credit hours, which are priced at $155 per credit hour.

Cheapest Private Colleges in Texas

• Northwood University – Although the cost of attending this college is around $21,000, it is still well below the average price in the region.

• Texas College – This institution offers equally low tuition rates to students regardless of where they live. The cost is just under $4,000 annually.

• Wiley College – The annual tuition cost is just below $9,000 for this university, but this estimate does not include books or other expenses. The college estimates that 95 percent of the students receive some form of financial assistance.

Cheapest Online Universities in Texas

• Kaplan – The cost of online enrollment is approximately $11,820.
• Everest University – This college offers one of the lowest online tuition rates at around $10,944.

All public, private and online learning institutions also offer a variety of scholarships and other financial aid. The total cost of attendance includes books and other expenses, so the final price is a function of the total aid package.

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Cheapest Colleges in Florida

Widely recognized for its sunshine and beaches, Florida also offers a number of cheap educational options for students who are attempting to pay their way through school. Many of the smaller state schools are affordable and will provide excellent academic foundations. Broward College costs $1,810 per year. Santa Fe College and Pensacola State College are also good bargains. While the former costs $1,840, the latter’s tuition is around $1,954, putting them both among the cheapest colleges in Florida.

Many of the state colleges offer a range of different degrees, and students can study the natural sciences, life sciences, liberal arts, or engineering. Several of these schools do not cost much more than $2,000 for the academic year. Gulf Coast State College comes in at $2,042, and Palm Beach State College is right behind it at $2,304. Folks who wish to go to school in the Miami area can enroll at Miami Dade College for $2,365. Some public institutions cater to specific fields of study. Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, for example, is known to prepare students for technical careers. It costs $3,100 per year.

Private institutions, which are not beholden to the state, are somewhat more expensive than public universities. The cheapest private colleges in Florida are Jose Maria Vargas University ($4,488) and Hobe Sound Bible College ($4,912). Students who want to become ministers can attend a religious institution. When they emerge with their degrees, they will be ready to lead their chosen churches through the perils of modern life.

When it comes to online education, Florida National University allows students to get their degrees on the Internet. Many young men and women choose to study business or finance. Because online colleges provide flexibility, students can work regular jobs during the day. After they have obtained their business degrees, they can begin to move up in the world.

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Cheapest Colleges in New York

New York has long dedicated itself to providing affordable educational opportunities for its residents. The cheapest colleges in New York are at the City University of New York (CUNY), which oversees a number of schools. The CUNY Borough of Manhattan Community College costs only $3,068 per year. CUNY Bronx Community College, on the other hand, costs $3,104. Other branches can be found in Brooklyn, Bayside, Long Island City, and Manhattan. All in-state tuition rates are under $3,500.

Apart from the community colleges, there are a number of state schools that rank among the cheapest colleges in New York. The State University of New York has campuses in Binghamton and Albany. Tuition at these schools is almost exactly $6,000 per year. The state also offers a number of superb nursing schools. The Memorial Hospital School of Nursing and the Samaritan Hospital School of Nursing are both $6,754 per year. Students who graduate from these institutions can immediately slide into rewarding jobs in the medical field.

Cornell, Syracuse, and Iona are private universities that nevertheless offer scholarships to qualified students. The best applicants might even receive tuition waivers. High school students who have impeccable grade point averages and excellent standardized test scores can receive the financial assistance they need to attend Cornell or another similar college. Cornell and Columbia, in fact, are both Ivy League schools that do everything in their power to attract the best students.

Students who are not attending the CUNY schools can still find some affordable public institutions. The University of Buffalo can be attended for around $6,218 per year. Stony Brook University costs $5,760, and Morrisville State College comes in at $5,728. The state’s public education system is one of the best in the country. Most students who study hard and make smart choices will come away with a four-year degree from the Empire State.

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Cheapest Colleges in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania (PA) has an extensive education system that includes a variety of very affordable colleges and universities. While Pennsylvania State University (Penn St.) is the most prominent public institution, there are several smaller state schools that rank as the cheapest colleges in PA. Indiana University, Shippensburg University, and Slippery Rock University all cost approximately $6,240 per year. Millersville and Kutztown are similarly priced and are great values for students.

Though private institutions offer excellent academic opportunities, they are more expensive than their public counterparts. Berks Technical Institute ($9,180) and Rosedale Technical Institute ($12,080) are two of the more affordable schools in PA. Some private institutions will hand out scholarships to the best applicants. Thus, students who wish to attend one of the better private schools might have to pay only a fraction of the set tuition. Allegheny College and Bucknell University are two possibilities.

Community colleges have some of the best tuition rates. Instead of attending a four-year university, students can spend their first two years at a local college. The Community College of Beaver County ($5,700) and the Community College of Allegheny County ($5,252) are both excellent bargains. Many of the more populated counties have local colleges, and residents of Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, and Philadelphia will have plenty of options to choose from. Westmoreland County Community College costs only $4,800 per year and may in fact be the cheapest college in PA. A variety of technical degrees can be completed within four semesters. Credits gained at these smaller colleges will also count toward four-year degrees at the larger universities.

In the end, high school graduates should apply to multiple schools. While public universities in Pennsylvania will of course be cheaper, some people will qualify for merit-based scholarships from private institutions. Community colleges are also fine alternatives and should not be overlooked during the rigorous application process.

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