5 of the Most Inexpensive Colleges in the U.S.

Graduates of Bowie State University put messages on their mortarboard hats during the school's graduation ceremony at the Comcast Center on the campus of the University of Maryland May 17, 2013 in College Park, Maryland. First lady Michelle Obama delivered the commencement speech for the 600 graduates of Maryland's oldest historically black university and one of the ten oldest in the country. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Around four out of every ten working American adults are college-degree holders. These degrees come with varying price tags. Ranging from a few grand per year for a low-priced two-year college to around $45,000 for a private, four-year school, according to College Board statistics published on College Data.

College can come with such a heavy price tag that if you were earn the median household income and attend a private college, you’d be spending an astonishing 88% of your income on school alone. Even if you work in one of the highest-paying jobs, paying for a college degree out-of-pocket will cost a substantial portion of your income. An oral surgeon who earns the median pay for his occupation would have to put out roughly 30% of his annual income to pay for tuition, room, board, and books at a private college.

When preparing for college, students often choose a school based on its reputation. It is a common thought that schools with big names, like the big ten schools or ivy league schools, will definitely lead a degree holder’s resume straight to the top of a pile.

But is there any truth to this? Some recruiters and other experts say no. According to a publication by the College Solution, employers seek out candidates from a variety of schools – large, small, known, and unknown. The publication adds that what you do during your time in school matters. Your achievements, credentials, and activities will set you apart from competition in the job market.

Considering school choice will not make or break your career opportunities and the cost of tuition is so incredibly high, why not go to an affordable college? Here is a list of some of the most inexpensive colleges and Universities in the U.S., based on publications by Online U and The Best Colleges.

 Students throw their caps in the air ahead of their graduation ceremony at the Royal Festival Hall on July 15, 2014 in London, England. Students of the London College of Fashion, Management and Science and Media and Communication attended their graduation ceremony at the Royal Festival Hall today. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

1. Liberty University Online

This is a non-profit school with accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. For the 2015 through 2016 school year, students can attend undergraduate classes part-time for $435 per credit and full-time students pay $375 per credit hour. A student taking a full 12-hour course load pays around $5,500 per term in tuition and fees. Liberty also offers discounts for military members. Military personnel can pay block rate, full-time tuition of $2,650.

2. Western Governor’s University

Also a non-profit school, basic tuition at WGU is around $3,000 per six month term. WGU advertises that was founded by 19 governors and is designed for working adults.

The school also states on its website:

“WGU has not raised tuition rates since 2008…[and] tuition is charged at a flat rate each term and covers all coursework completed in that time. The more courses you complete each term, the more affordable your degree becomes. Each WGU term is six months long and can begin on the first of any month. Unlike other schools, you aren’t charged per course or per credit, so if you earn your degree ahead of schedule, you save both time and money.”

It offers online degree programs in many areas such as information technology, teaching licensing programs, business degree programs, and health and nursing.

3. Columbia Southern University

Undergraduate tuition at Columbia Southern is $210 credit per hour for the 2014 through 2015 school year. Offering bachelor’s degree programs in basic areas like business, finance, criminal justice, and information technology, CSU is accredited by the Distance Education Training Council and is a member of the American Council on Education.

Graduates through their mortat boards in the air after US President Barack Obama delivered the commencement address at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, May 1, 2010. (Photo by Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

Photo by Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

4. Eastern New Mexico University

For the 2014 through 2015 academic year, tuition and fees for full-time, in-state students is $2,655  per semester ($4,856 per year) and out-of-state students pay a higher rate of $5,628 ($10,632 annually.) If you decide to live on campus as an in-state resident, you can get the whole package (ID card, room, and board, as well as books included) for as low as around $6,300. As an out-of-state student, you’d pay around $9,300 per semester.

5. Fort Hays State University

To attend FHSU, students pay as little as $150-185 per credit hour for undergraduate programs. This school has an 18 to 1 student to faculty ratio and it offers bachelor’s degree programs in many areas, including business education, teaching, information technology, management and marketing, and healthcare.

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