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Top 10 Cheapest Online Colleges in California 2018

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By Jennifer W. Eisenberg

The Golden State is filled with natural and manmade wonders, but one of the little-known beauties of the state is the abundance of terrific and cheap online colleges. Oh my gosh! Be sure to see Foothill College. You won’t believe their tuition rate per credit hour, but online college values can be found throughout the state. Check out the student-friendly number of degrees each college offers. Almost all feature both bachelor’s and master’s degrees, with several offering associates and doctoral programs.

If you are ready to upscale your life with a college degree, online studies are an attractive path. You won’t be bothered with driving or parking, and you will be able to earn your degree while simultaneously fulfilling your current day-to-day responsibilities. The degree you eventually receive will look exactly like the one awarded by traditional schools, and, if you wish, you may even attend the graduation ceremony.

Tuition figures for the year are the out of state, graduate tuition numbers that are reported to the National Center for Education Statistics, an information clearinghouse of the US government. Enrollment and student to faculty ratios also come from this source. Per credit hour tuition rates found in the school review information comes from the school’s website and may show a discount from the rate reported by the government.

Rating and Ranking Methodology

Tuition Points

  1. Under $30,000—1 point
  2. Under $27,000—2 points
  3. Under $24,000—3 points
  4. Under $21,000—4 points
  5. Under $18,000—5 points
  6. Under $15,000—6 points
  7. Under $12,000—7 points
  8. Under $9,000—8 points

Student to Faculty Ratio Points

  1. Above 35-1 point
  2. Above 30-2 point
  3. Above 25-3 points
  4. Above 20-4 points
  5. Above 15-5 points
  6. Above 10-6 points

National Recognition

  1. Top 100-1 point
  2. Top 40-2 point
  3. Top 30-3 points
  4. Top 20-4 points
  5. Top 10-5 points
  6. Top 5-6 points

Bonus for special tuition discount for online students

  1. Has special online discount for tuition-3 points
  2. Online students charged standard tuition-0 points

#10 – Concordia University-Irvine

Irvine, California

Concordia University-Irvine’s school mascot is the Eagle.
Website
Points: 8
Enrollment: 4,299
Tuition: $34,100
Established in 1976, Concordia University Irvine is a private Christian university affiliated with Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. With a student to faculty ratio of 18 to 1, the university offers six bachelor’s and nine master’s degrees online. Concordia University-Irvine offers online tuition rates starting at $490 per credit hour for a bachelor’s degree. Playing in NCAA Division II as the Eagles, the school is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Senior College and University Commission.

#9 – Mount Saint Mary’s University in Los Angeles

Los Angeles, California

Mount Saint Mary’s University in Los Angeles was established in 1925.
Website
Points: 9
Enrollment: 3,496
Tuition: $39,406
Mount Saint Mary’s University in Los Angeles is a private liberal arts university that is associated with the Roman Catholic Church. With a student to faculty ratio of 11 to 1, the school offers two associates, three bachelor’s, and two master’s degrees online. Mount Saint Mary’s University in Los Angeles’ online tuition rate starts at $551 per credit hour for an associates degree. The school is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Senior College and University Commission.

#8 – Golden Gate University

San Francisco, California

Golden Gate University was established in 1901.

Website
Points: 11
Enrollment: 2,656
Tuition: $16,095
Golden Gate University started life serving adults in the San Francisco area as the YMCA Evening College. With a student to faculty ratio of 12 to 1, the school offers one associates degree, twenty bachelor’s degrees, thirty-three master’s degrees, and two doctoral degrees online. Golden Gate University charges an online, undergraduate tuition rate of $660 per credit hour. The school is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Senior College and University Commission.

#7 – California State University-East Bay

Hayward, California

Students can get an online bachelor’s degree without breaking the bank at California State University, East Bay.
Website
Points: 11
Enrollment: 15,855
Tuition: $6,834
California State University-East Bay, a public university, was established in 1957. The school mascot is the Pioneer. With a student to faculty ratio of 27 to 1, the school offers five online bachelor’s degrees and four online master’s degrees. California State University-East Bay offers an online, in-state, undergraduate tuition rate of $2,280 per quarter for full-time study. The school is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Senior College and University Commission.

#6 – California State University, Chico

Chico, California

Cal State Chico was established in 1887.

Website
Points: 12
Enrollment: 17,557
Tuition: $7,348
California State University, Chico is the second oldest institution of higher learning in the 23 school California State University system. With a student to faculty ratio of 25 to 1, the school offers five bachelor’s degrees and one master’s degree online. California State University, Chico offers an online, in-state, undergraduate, full-time tuition rate of $3,676 per 6+ credit hours. The school is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Senior College and University Commission.

#5 – California State University, Stanislaus

Turlock, California

Cal State Stanislaus’ school mascot is Titus the Warrior.
Website
Points: 12
Enrollment: 9,762
Tuition: $7,038
California State University, Stanislaus was established in 1857, and the school motto is “Engaging – Empowering – Transforming.” The school mascot is Wally the Warrior. With a student to faculty ratio of 22 to 1, the school offers two bachelor’s programs and two master’s programs online. California State University, Stanislaus offers an online, in-state, undergraduate, full-time tuition rate of $2,871 for 6+ credit hours. The school is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Senior College and University Commission.

#4 – California State University-Dominguez Hills

Carson Hills, California

CSU Dominguez Hills may be harder to get into than some schools on this list, but the retention rate amongst military and veteran students is 100 percent.
Website
Points: 12
Enrollment: 14,731
Tuition: $6,837
California State University-Dominguez Hills began life as South Bay State College in 1960. The school motto is, “Once a toro, always a toro.” With a student to faculty ratio of 25 to 1, the school offers two bachelor’s degrees and four master’s degrees online. California State University-Dominguez Hills offers an online, in-state, undergraduate full-time tuition rate of $2,871 for 6+ credit hours. The school is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Senior College and University Commission.

#3 – Brandman University

Irvine, California

Brandman University was established in 1958.
Website
Points: 15
Enrollment: 7,331
Tuition: $12,300
Brandman University is a separate and fully accredited institution of higher learning in the Chapman University system. The school colors are Maroon and Gold. With a student to faculty ratio of 15 to 1, the school offers forty-five bachelor’s degree options, 20 master’s options, and two doctoral options online. Brandman University offers an online, undergraduate tuition rate of $500 per credit hour. The school is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Senior College and University Commission.

#2 – San Jose State University

San Jose, California

San Jose State University was established in 1857.
Website
Points: 15
Enrollment: 32,154
Tuition: $7,721
San Jose State University is the oldest public institution of higher learning in the Golden State. It is the founding school of the California State University system. With a student to faculty ratio of 25 to 1, the school offers three master’s degrees and one doctoral degree online. San Jose State University offers an online, in-state, graduate tuition rate of $3,588 for 6+ credit hours. The school is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Senior College and University Commission.

#1 – Foothill College

Los Altos Hills, California

Foothill College tops this list of the cheapest online colleges in California with its SUPER low in-state tuition rate.
Website
Points: 15
Enrollment: 15,369
Tuition: $1,554
Foothill College was founded in 1957, and the school mascot is the Owl. It is affiliated with De Anza College. With a student to faculty ratio of 25 to 1, the school offers 27 associates degree options online. Foothill College offers an online, in-state, undergraduate tuition rate of $31 per credit hour. That is not a typo. The school is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Senior College and University Commission.

This concludes the list of the top 10 cheapest online colleges in California.

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