Why This Matters


    The Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks around 800 occupations, and 169 of those typically require a bachelor’s degree. That includes jobs in nursing, business management, accounting, and marketing.


    Those with a high school diploma have an average unemployment rate of 9%. Those with a four-year degree have an unemployment rate of 5.5%, and those with a master’s degree or higher have a rate ranging from 2.5% to 4.1%.


    Those with bachelor’s degrees make on average 67% more than those with only a high school diploma. The average pay for those with a four-year degree is around $67,800 annually. For those with only a high school diploma, this figure is around $40,000.

Our Research

Our list of best online colleges with low out-of-state tuition covers a wide range of schools, including those with programs specializing in liberal arts, medicine, science, and business. You’ll find options for both graduate and undergrad studies as well as synchronous or asynchronous learning.

Most of the schools on this list are accredited by regional organizations, demonstrating the excellence of the educational experience provided. Accrediting organizations include the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), and the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).

  • 75 hours to write this article
  • 200 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 274 education programs we compared

The Top 50 Online Colleges with Lowest Out-of-State Tuition

Best Online Colleges with Lowest Out-of-State Tuition Badge
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What You Should Know About This Degree

Online programs should be compared with hybrid and in-person programs. Hybrid programs involve classes that are online and in-person. Online programs are appealing to many because you can get an education from the best school for your niche without regard to location. Just be sure you’re choosing a college that provides online programs that match the quality of in-person learning.

Regional accreditations are typically the best demonstration of quality for educational organizations, though national accreditations are also a positive indicator. You should avoid schools that aren’t accredited at all.

Make sure you understand all the requirements for your degree and what licensure may be needed. If you’re getting a nursing degree, for example, you will likely need to pass a licensure exam before you can land a job as an RN.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching the best online colleges with low out-of-state tuition:

  • Are courses offered synchronously or asynchronously? Synchronous classes require you to log in at certain times and interact with teachers and other students. Asynchronous courses are more flexible, as coursework can be completed at your own pace. You’ll also want to consider factors such as time zones when you’re looking at out-of-state colleges — especially if classes are synchronous.
  • How long does it take to complete this online degree? Associate degrees typically take two years to complete, while bachelor’s degrees tend to take four years. You can complete degrees faster or slower depending on how many credits you take every semester.

When you’re researching online colleges with low out-of-state tuition, write down the number of credits required and the cost per credit — as well as additional fees — so that you can compare costs. And if you’re worried about the cost of school, you can also reach out to financial aid offices to find out what options might be available to help you pay for your education.