The spur of an economic challenge is driving prospective students to search for the most affordable online colleges in California. The economy of California is one of the largest in the world. The highly diverse culture that makes up the social fabric of California includes all races and every level of affluence. Many of the colleges and universities in the state have acknowledged the economic diversity that afflicts too many California citizens. Some universities once offered a few “need” scholarships to alleviate the growing economic divide that grew throughout the country. These few instances, though incredibly generous and applicable, did not close the increasing gap or even slow it down. People who worked for a living were closed from advancement due to the constraint of time and the limitations of available space within a student body of any college or university. The advent of online education beckoned to many who were lost in the grind of day-to-day existence. However, for many years, online courses were just that, online courses; they did not translate into degrees, and students were required to enroll in a degree program before they could attend the online course. When degrees became available online, the dam burst. Qualified students with immense potential could attend classes during off-work hours and obtain a degree that qualified them to move higher in their profession. The light, so long extinguished, lit for anyone with the capabilities to add something to their society. The old made room for the new and growing energy reverberates today through the economic sinews of a burgeoning California economy. The resurgence has made California the “poster child” that demonstrates the value of online education.
While compiling this list of affordable online schools, the cost of the education of each university or college that offered online degrees was taken into consideration, but that was not the only factor involved in the analysis. Affordability is not limited to the realm of the financial. Money is a substantial aspect, but so is time, and value for the buck. These ten affordable colleges online are picked from a total of 272 cheap online colleges in California as the most affordable according to the NCES College Navigator research tool, and ranked by tuition, from highest to lowest. Each school on this list is regionally accredited. A degree from an unaccredited school means little in the business world, nothing in the education profession, and is worthless in the medical field. Accreditation means that the courses and degrees that the university presents to its students meet or exceed the standards required in each profession. Other important factors to take into consideration when choosing a California online college is the time necessary to obtain the degree, the faculty of the school, the availability of financial help, and the percentage of job advancements after the student has obtained the degree. Promotion in your field of endeavor is the purpose of pursuing an education. All schools on this list have a long record of student advancement.
Ranking Low-Cost Online California Colleges
10. California State University-Sacramento
California State University-Sacramento offers an aggressive online education program to reach students interested in professional advancement. Students looking for cheap online colleges in California can pursue a B.S. in Career and Technical Studies, which works well for those who have established careers and for those who are just starting. The program offers a cohort type of platform to create a mixture of experiences that enriches the experience for everyone. The University also offers an entirely online undergraduate degree in criminal justice. Graduate degrees offered in a fully online environment are a Master of Science in Accounting and a Master of Art in Education centering on Curriculum and instruction. The school also presents hybrid degrees that include some online course along with the traditional classroom requirements. These degrees include undergraduate programs such as Bachelor of Arts in Child Development/Early Childhood Education or a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. A Master of Science degree is offered to raise a person in the nursing profession from an RN to an official Nursing Degree for advanced clinical or educator roles, as well as a program to elevate a nurse from RN status to become a credentialed school nurse. Master of Art degrees are offered in hybrid form for Executive MBA candidates.
9. California State University-Monterey Bay
California State University-Monterey Bay is an affordable California online college that chose a specific direction for its online degree programs. The school offers three degrees that students can pursue fully online. The first degree offered online is a General Business Administration MBA Degree. Though the program has been provided at the University for generations, the new online environment has seen the executive level of education expand beyond expectations. With the excitement generated by online education firmly established within the school, the University opened two more degree programs with full online access: A Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and a Master of Science in Instructional Media Technology. It was not long after these programs took off that California State University-Monterey Bay was approached by the medical community to facilitate a new hybrid program to satisfy a growing need in hospitals and medical clinics. The school produced an imaginative and adaptable degree program that brought a new elevation to the physician medical assistant profession. By gaining a Master of Science Physician Assistant Degree, the student gains knowledge of how to find medical histories of patients, perform physical examinations, diagnose illnesses, and prescribe medications; they also provide primary health care to those who are underserved.
8. California State University-Stanislaus
California State University-Stanislaus is one of the affordable online schools offering several courses in a hybrid format that includes the traditional classroom instruction and labs along with several online courses. The University primarily targets the business and service sections of the community when offering these online or partially online courses. To address the concerns of the healthcare industry, the school offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing entirely online to accommodate those professionals who must work while attending classes. Two other degrees offered entirely online are MBAs is General Administration and Finance. Recognizing the necessity of hands-on experience in some fields, the school provides hybrid degrees at the bachelor of science level with a B.S. in Health Science/Health Studies that concentrates on Health Leadership and Administration. Bachelor of srts degrees are offered in hybrid form in criminal justice with concentrations in corrections or law enforcement and sociology. Social science is also addressed at the graduate level with a Master in Social Work Degree that concentrates on socially-just clinical social work practices. In education, California State University-Stanislaus centers its hybrid program approach on childhood development with a Master of Arts in Child Development/Early Childhood Health Degree.
7. California State University-East Bay
California State University-East Bay has not been named to the “Best of the West” list of Universities for nothing. The university was one of the first to grab the online bull by the horns and venture forth into the virtual environment with classes and degrees. The extensive list of fully online degrees is phenomenal. In business, the school offers Bachelor of Science Degrees in Finance, General Management, IT Technology Management, and Operations and Supply Chain Management. In hospitality, recreation, and tourism—a large section of the California economy—the school offers Bachelor of Science Degrees in Event Planning and Management, Food and beverage, and Hospitality and Tourism while also offering Master of Science Degrees in Hospitality, Recreation and Tourism, and Lodging, Resort and Club Management. In human development, the school provides Bachelor of Arts Degrees in Adult Development and Gerontology, Early Childhood Development, and Women’s Development. The online environment presented by this university also includes opportunities for those who work in education to advance with a Master of Science in Online Teaching and Learning or Educational Leadership. These are but a few of the fully online degrees offered at California State University-East Bay. To explore more, visit their website to find an incredible number of hybrid online/traditional degrees as well.
6. California State University-Dominguez Hills
California State University-Dominguez Hills provides a host of options to further education through its fully online degrees to those who choose or must work while studying for advancement. The school offers two bachelor of science degrees, one in applied science and the other a degree in nursing that elevates an RN to degreed nurse status. Then there are a considerable number of master level degrees. Many of them are MBA Degrees with concentrations in finance, general business, human resource management, IT management, international business, logistics management, management, and marketing. Master of Science in Nursing degrees offer several concentrations including clinical nurse specialist/gerontology, family nurse practitioner, nurse administrator, nurse educator, and pediatric clinical nurse specialist. A Master of Public Administration program delivers three concentrations—non-profit management, general public administration, and public management. Another public service degree offered online through this school is the important Master of Arts in Conflict Resolution that concentrates on building mediation, conflict resolution, and peacebuilding skills. The practice of quality assurance is also addressed with a master of science degree in the field. The school also offers a Master of Arts in Humanities delivered entirely online. Along with these opportunities to gain the expertise to advance in a career, the university also offers a Master of Science in General Nursing and Pre-Licensure in a hybrid format.
5. California State University-San Bernardino
San Bernardino, California
California State University-San Bernardino is one of the most diverse universities in California, indeed, in the entire United States. Its commitment to diversity extends into the schools online degree formats where the degrees offered cover an immense panorama of the foundations of the American society. The programs and degrees offered online cover the gamut of public service. The school presents a Bachelor of Science in General Criminal Justice and a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice. Those who work in social services find the Master in Social Work degree from this university to include in-depth information that enhances their qualifications in this vital field. A Master in Public Administration is also offered at San Bernardino to ensure the continuation of valued and ethically generated community leadership. In business, the school carries online degrees that include a Master in Business Administration and a Master of Science in Accountancy. Though these fully online programs are impressive, they pale compared to the extensive hybrid programs provided by the university in the fields of education and nursing. California State University-San Bernardino considers the areas of education and nursing as essential elements in a healthy society. Therefore, the university believes that the hybrid approach where information is distributed online and practiced in the field is an imperative mixture of ingredients that form an impenetrable bedrock.
4. California State University-Northridge
California State University-Northridge online programs provide an incredible opportunity for those who work to continue their education. The University includes a vast array of courses and degrees that are earned within the confines of an online environment. Some, like the Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration, are available entirely online or in a hybrid form that includes traditional classes along with auxiliary online courses. One other degree that Northridge offers in hybrid form is a Master in Science in Taxation. The fully online degrees include several varied concentrations. For students who look forward to helping others less fortunate, there is a Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology and another two degrees in assistive technology and rehabilitation science. A General Master of Social Work is a favorite of many who work in the field. And, of interest for those who wish to serve, is the Master of Arts in Educational Therapy. A Master of Arts in Humanities covers the general field while other online master degrees specialize in areas like business and public administration. The Master in Public Administration addresses either non-profit sector management or public sector management and leadership.
3. California State University-Fullerton
California State University-Fullerton endorses the inclusion of diverse students and facilitates the acquisition of advanced degrees for those who must work through the use of their online virtual environment. Declared one of the best online degree programs in the country by US News & World Report in 2017, the university has not backed down from its commitment to provide a high-quality, low-cost education for anyone considering taking courses and finishing degrees online. While most of the degrees offered online by Fullerton are at the graduate level, they also offer bachelor of arts in business administration, humanities, and sociology. The principal graduate-level degrees come in education, engineering, and information technology. The master of science degrees include educational technology; educational curriculum and instruction; literacy and reading; and secondary education. A Master of Science in Environmental Engineering is one of the most popular selections at the online school. Master of science degrees are available in data science, IT-general, information technology management, instructional design and technology, and software engineering. The University sees the use of online courses in some professions as time-savers for students, but it also believes that many occupations, such as nursing and education, demand a hands-on component to fully inform the student of the practices that bring excellence in their field. For advanced degrees in these fields, Fullerton offers a hybrid mix of traditional classroom or lab experience and online instruction.
2. California State University-Channel Islands
California State University-Channel Islands is the newest school of all the California State University organization. Organized and opened in 2002, the university is a child of the online generation. As such, the school has accepted the virtual world as a stable and essential element of modern society. Many of the latest refinements in online education come from this school. Though the University offers only a few online degrees, those degrees are among the most informative and instructive of any found either online or in the traditional format of the classroom. The fresh outlook of this school is evident in its online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration where it teaches students the value of the Internet through exercises in research and development in the virtual surroundings of online education. The school offers Master of Educational Leadership degrees entirely online. Their newest project is a hybrid program that qualifies the student in a Bachelor of Science of Nursing program that is sought by established nurses throughout the state. Making the list of possible students to attend online courses at Channel Islands is considered a step in the right direction for anyone who wishes to advance in their profession.
1. University of Antelope Valley
The University of Antelope Valley is a cheap online school alternative to the California State University system. The school recently ventured into the virtual realm, offering online programs as several different levels, some of which are not provided through the California State University organization. Along with the undergraduate and graduate degrees, the school offers associate degrees and certifications of proficiency. Examples of these degrees include an Associate’s in Allied Health and an Associate’s in Paramedic Science. The school uses online programs to certify individuals who become proficient in medical billing and coding. A student can also obtain an Associate’s Degree in Business where they learn the basics of finance, human resources, and communication. The undergraduate level programs offered online by Antelope Valley are bachelor degrees in business management, criminal justice, and nursing. Master-level degrees in business management administration and criminal justice are also available online. With its excursion into the virtual world, the University of Antelope Valley is extending its unique perspective of fundamental social responsibility to include every facet of American society.
The conjunction of online education opportunities and the surprising resurgence of the California economy is not coincidental. In the 1960s, California became the first and only state to provide free education from Kindergarten through community college. The policy stayed in effect until the 1980s when several concurrent state administrations rolled the plan back to limit free education through high school. Students who once would have taken the time to attend classes in a search for advancement stopped even looking at the possibility of learning. The combination of time and money spent without an income overwhelmed the desire to demonstrate the ability to excel. The downturn in enthusiasm for education accompanied an economic downturn. With the invention and development of distance learning, students who wished to advance suddenly found the time to attend classes, learn, and seek degrees that matched their talents. The online education opportunity brought to Californians has resulted in the qualification of thousands of experienced and reliable leaders to advance new ideas and new practices within their professions. Today, partly because of the availability and use of distance learning, California’s economy is resurging.