Most Affordable Colleges with High Acceptance Rates

If you are trying to determine the value of earning a college degree, it helps to consider how higher education can lead to increased wages. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that professionals who hold a college degree earn more than those with a high school diploma or equivalent. The more advanced degree a professional holds, the higher their median weekly earnings. 

Another factor to weigh when thinking of pursuing a college degree is unemployment. The unemployment rates are lower for those with college degrees, and some careers require postgraduate education. The highest-paying occupations include psychiatrists, oral and maxillofacial surgeons, and obstetricians and gynecologists. All three of those careers require doctoral or professional degrees.

There are plenty of affordable colleges with high acceptance rates, which can either increase or guarantee acceptance, enabling students to spend less time and energy applying to different colleges and universities. Once they complete a two-year program, students can typically explore opportunities to transfer to different schools or pursue advanced programs at the same institution.


Featured Programs


We have ranked the schools here based on their high acceptance rates, ranging from 72.3% to 100%. However, prospective students should keep in mind that acceptance rates do not reflect the complete admissions process. Each school and in some cases degree program has specific criteria to be fulfilled. 

We value affordability, and for that reason, we made sure that this ranking not only considers schools with high acceptance rates, but also those with tuition rates ranging from $2,000 to $12,000. To ensure uniformity of data, we have considered the annual average undergraduate tuition. 

We have further narrowed that down to net in-state tuition minus financial aid and fees.  Along with the overview of each institution, we have also included student retention rates. The latter gives an idea of how many students choose to return each year.

The Most Affordable Colleges with High Acceptance Rates

#1 — St. Petersburg College

St. Petersburg, Florida

  • Acceptance Rate: Open
  • Tuition: $111.75 per credit hour for residents; $386.90 per credit hour for nonresidents

Upon its founding in 1927, SPC became the first two-year college in Florida. The institution transcended into the first state college in Florida to offer bachelor’s degrees. Today, enrollees can explore more than 180 degree and certificate programs across disciplines.

Learners enjoy a career-oriented curriculum designed to prepare them for post-graduate success. SPC alumni rank among the top entry-level earnings in the state for community college graduates. SPC also offers accessible online programs that feature both asynchronous and synchronous formats. SPC is known as one of the most affordable colleges with high acceptance rates.

#2 — Pensacola State College

Pensacola, Florida

  • Acceptance Rate: Open
  • Tuition: $130.89 per credit hour for residents; $486.49 per credit hour for nonresidents

Consistently ranking near the top for affordable tuition, PSC serves around 26,000 students as the oldest and largest college in the Panhandle. The college offers more than 100 certificate, associate, and bachelor’s programs, and the school guarantees associate students transfer opportunities to all 12 of Florida’s state universities.

Boasting campus locations in Pensacola, Warrington, and Milton, PSC offers a career-focused curriculum. Graduates who earn their associate of science degree experience job placement of almost 100% across various technical disciplines.

#3 — Broward College

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

  • Acceptance Rate: Open
  • Tuition: $984 per term

Students in search of the most affordable colleges with high acceptance rates can pursue certificate, associate, and bachelor’s programs at BC. Enrollees can customize their experience by choosing to earn an associate degree and transition into a bachelor’s program or to complete a career-focused certificate or technical program.

Learners who require flexibility can pursue online programs at BC, completing their coursework at their own pace. Students can also consider any combination of campus, online, daytime, and evening courses.

#4 — South Florida State College

Avon Park, Florida

  • Acceptance Rate: Open
  • Tuition: $275.37 per credit hour

SFSC boasts a diverse student body and some of the most affordable tuition rates. Nearly 70% of enrollees receive federal financial aid.

Founded in 1965, the college serves around 16,000 students across more than 60 areas of study. SFSC partners with other four-year colleges and universities through its University Center, offering certain bachelor’s and master’s programs to students.

#5 — Lake-Sumter State College

Leesburg, Florida

  • Acceptance Rate: Open
  • Tuition: $122.25 per credit hour for residents; $460.30 per credit hour for nonresidents

Since its founding in 1962, LSSC has continuously provided high-quality education to students across diverse backgrounds. Emphasizing affordability and open acceptance, the college belongs to the Florida College System.

Learners can explore three campus locations around the Orlando metropolitan area. The college offers certificate, associate, and bachelor’s programs. Enrollees can also participate in the DirectConnect to UCF program, providing them guaranteed acceptance and accelerated admission to the University of Central Florida.

#6 — Western Iowa Tech Community College

Sioux City, Iowa

  • Acceptance Rate: Open
  • Tuition: $163 per credit hour for residents; $164 per credit hour for nonresidents; $200 per credit hour for online students

WITCC offers a wide range of diploma, certificate, and associate program options. With five campuses across northwestern Iowa, the college also features learning centers that offer a small number of classes.

Enrollees can explore online programs at WITCC that offer career-oriented coursework. Programs prepare students for success after graduation, promoting lifelong learning and quality education. The college also celebrates diversity and encourages learners to share their ideas openly, allowing the institution to grow.

#7 — Missouri Western State University

St. Joseph, Missouri

  • Acceptance Rate: Open
  • Tuition: $220 per credit hour for residents; $454 per credit hour for nonresidents

Regarded as one of the most affordable colleges with high acceptance rates, MWSU functions as a state-supported four-year institution offering an array of degree programs. Learners can pursue program options across degree levels, including associate, bachelor’s, and professional master’s degrees. The university also offers one-year certificates along with pre-professional transfer programs.

With a diverse student body, MWSU boasts students from all around the United States and across 30 different countries with alumni living and working all over the world.

Featured Programs

#8 — Fox Valley Technical College

Appleton, Wisconsin

  • Acceptance Rate: Open
  • Tuition: $158.20 per credit for residents; $228.70 per credit for nonresidents

Functioning as part of the Wisconsin Technical College System, FVTC offers over 250 technical diploma, certificate, and associate programs. The college serves around 50,000 people each year, which is the most of any technical college in Wisconsin.

With 16 college districts comprising the system, learners can explore a wide range of disciplines. The career-focused courses lead to strong job placement, with 93% of graduates employed within six months of graduation.

#9 — Oklahoma State University Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

  • Acceptance Rate: Open
  • Tuition: $151.25 per credit hour for residents; $394.50 per credit hour for nonresidents

OSU-OKC functions as a public university offering more than 40 degree and certificate programs. Founded in 1961, the university began as Oklahoma State University Technical Institute, a branch of Oklahoma State University Stillwater. In 1990, the university adopted its current name.

Offering online and hybrid courses along with weekday and weeknight on-campus opportunities, OSU-OKC promotes flexibility for learners. The university strives to provide accessibility and inclusion for a diverse group of students from all backgrounds.

#10 — Guttman Community College

New York, New York

  • Acceptance Rate: Open
  • Tuition: $2,400 per term

Established in 2012, Guttman Community College became CUNY’s first new community college in more than four decades. The college opened as New Community College and underwent its name change upon receiving a $15 million endowment from the Stella and Charles Guttman Foundation.

The college offers five different associate degree options, allowing learners to focus on business administration, human services, information technology, liberal arts and sciences, and urban studies.

#11 — Dixie State University

St. George, Utah

  • Acceptance Rate: Open
  • Tuition: $2,532 per semester for residents; $8,094 per semester for nonresidents

Boasting the lowest tuition rates of all four-year state institutions in Utah, Dixie promotes career-oriented degree programs across associate, bachelor’s, and master’s levels. Students follow an active learning method, participating in hands-on, real-world activities.

Dixie offers more than 200 academic programs and boasts high employment rates, with 95% of graduates either employed, in the military, or entering graduate school within six months of graduating. In addition to some of the most affordable tuition rates, 82% of Dixie students receive financial aid.

#12 — Utah Valley University

Orem, Utah

  • Acceptance Rate: Open
  • Tuition: $407 per credit hour for residents; $1,182 per credit hour for nonresidents

UVU, the largest public university in Utah, features a dual-mission model combining the academic rigor of a teaching university with the accessibility of a community college. The university serves nearly 41,000 students across diverse backgrounds.

The university boasts students from 77 different countries. 30% of the study body includes nontraditional students. In 1941, UVU began as a vocational school, transitioning into a technical institute, community college, and state college. In 2008, the school gained university status.

#13 — California State University, Bakersfield

Bakersfield, California

  • Acceptance Rate: 78%
  • Tuition: $15,610 for three quarters

CSUB is one of the most affordable colleges with high acceptance rates, admitting 78% of applicants. Founded in 1965 as a state college, the institution gained university status in 1987. CSUB boasts designation as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, with more than 63% of the student body identifying as Hispanic or Latinx.

Learners can explore programs across all degree levels, including a few doctoral opportunities. CSUB’s campus sprawls 375 acres and is the only public university within a 100-mile radius.

#14 — Weber State University

Ogden, Utah

  • Acceptance Rate: Open
  • Tuition: $479.72 per credit hour for residents; $1,417.41 per credit hour for nonresidents

Founded in 1889, WSU derived its name from John Henry Weber, an early American fur trader. The university offers more than 250 degree and certificate programs across seven colleges. Learners enjoy access to flexible program options through the university’s online offerings.

WSU is one of the most affordable colleges with high acceptance rates. Enrollees can also enjoy access to centers around the state. The university boasts accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, with many programs featuring specialized accreditation.

#15 — Montana State University Billings

Billings, Montana

  • Acceptance Rate: Open
  • Tuition: $2,080 for 1-5 credits for campus students; $2,040 for 1-5 credits for online students

Located in Montana’s largest city on 110 acres, MSU Billings serves traditional college students and nontraditional learners. The public university allows enrollees to explore 115 different program options, including online opportunities, through five colleges. Across certificate, associate, bachelor’s, and master’s levels, learners enjoy some of the most affordable tuition rates.

Founded in 1927, the school began as Eastern Montana Normal School and underwent a few additional name changes before adopting its current name in 1994 after merging with the Montana University System.

Related Resources: