Most Affordable Online Community Colleges

Students wanting an associate degree are increasingly turning to online community colleges as a cost-effective, flexible option. During the 2013-14 academic school year, enrollment in online community college programs increased by 4.68%, while enrollment in on-campus community college programs decreased by 3.5%. New and more affordable support technologies have had a significant impact on this growth by allowing students to complete coursework from their smartphones and other devices anywhere and at any time. Rising education costs have also led more individuals to pursue an associate degree in an effort to minimize their tuition burden.

If you have yet to enter higher education, or are thinking of going back to school to start another career, an online associate degree may be your best option. Below we have ranked the best online community colleges in the country and laid out the basics of what to know before you apply.


Top 50 Affordable Online Community Colleges
Rank School Score Toggle Content
1

East Mississippi Community College

Value Score 8.32
Average Tuition $2,200
Students Receiving Financial Aid 95%
Net Price $3,490
Graduation Rate 27%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 45%
Number of Online Programs 65

Serving six counties, East Mississippi Community College is an affordable school that brings four primary values to the classroom: leadership, excellence, access to online and classroom education, and freedom in teaching and learning. The school offers 188 online courses within its three main academic divisions: humanities & fine arts, mathematics & science, and social science & business. eLearning students have full access to EMCC's virtual library, where they can browse a host of digital resources or make use of the 24/7 "ask a librarian" service for research assistance.


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2

Holmes Community College

Value Score 7.55
Average Tuition $2,000
Students Receiving Financial Aid 91%
Net Price $4,896
Graduation Rate 25%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 47%
Number of Online Programs 48

Holmes Community College serves nine counties in Central Mississippi at campuses in Goodman, Ridgeland, Grenada, Kosciusko, and Yazoo City. The school offers a comprehensive selection of technical degrees, career certificates, and associate degrees that prepare students to transfer to four-year universities. Holmes is a member of the Mississippi Virtual Community College, which allows students to tap into the collective distance learning resources of 24 member schools across the state. High-achievers who demonstrate success in academics and athletics may also participate in the Mississippi Magnolia Gold program, an initiative affiliated with the Mississippi Army National Guard that offers additional training in military science. Enlistment is not required.


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3

Allen County Community College

Value Score 7.37
Average Tuition $1,824
Students Receiving Financial Aid 92%
Net Price $5,065
Graduation Rate 23%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 60%
Number of Online Programs 79

Serving southeast Kansas, Allen Community College has brick-and-mortar campuses in Iola and Burlingame. Students may choose from 40 associate programs or 24 professional development study tracks, many of which can be completed entirely online. Programs of note include addictions & prevention studies, farm & ranch management, and pre-veterinary medicine. Dedicated online services include a virtual library, a writing lab, and 24/7 technical support.


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4

Hutchinson Community College

Value Score 7.11
Average Tuition $2,432
Students Receiving Financial Aid 90%
Net Price $5,733
Graduation Rate 29%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 38%
Number of Online Programs 18

Located in central Kansas, Hutchinson Community College offers a variety of technical programs, career development opportunities, and associate degrees. Aside from the main campus in Hutchinson, HCC operates satellite facilities in McPherson and Newton. The school offers more than 75 degrees, many of which are available entirely online. Students in traditional campus programs can also take select courses online.


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5

Pamlico Community College

Value Score 7.08
Average Tuition $2,304
Students Receiving Financial Aid 39%
Net Price $2,735
Graduation Rate 67%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 65%
Number of Online Programs 31

Located in Grantsboro, North Carolina, Pamlico Community College is an accredited two-year school that offers a variety of programs. Technical education and associate degree programs are available in allied health, business, computing, criminal justice, and more. For students looking to move to a four-year school, PCC partners with East Carolina University, where students can seamlessly transfer their credits. PCC is a member of the Southern Regional Education Board's Electronic Campus, which provides students at member schools with access to online courses at other participating schools throughout the region. A wealth of support services are available to distance learners, including online orientation, advising, a virtual library, online bookstore, tutoring, and study labs.


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6

West Kentucky Community and Technical College

Value Score 7.00
Average Tuition $3,528
Students Receiving Financial Aid 97%
Net Price $4,577
Graduation Rate 38%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 45%
Number of Online Programs 27

WKCTC is a small public school in Paducah, with an enrollment of 6,000 students, most of whom attend school part-time. Associate degrees in arts, fine arts, and science are designed so that students can transfer seamlessly to a four-year university. Over half of the student body studies online. Distance learners may choose to Learn by Term, following a traditional semester calendar, or Learn by Demand, which allows for more self-directed study. Students with professional experience can receive credit for their work through the Accessible College Education (ACE) program, which grants class credit for relevant life experience.


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7

Madisonville Community College

Value Score 6.86
Average Tuition $3,528
Students Receiving Financial Aid 99%
Net Price $4,897
Graduation Rate 30%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 38%
Number of Online Programs 25

Madisonville Community College lies in the Western Coal Fields of Kentucky. MCC is one of the fastest-growing two-year colleges in the country, operating three main campuses and a number of satellite branches throughout the state. The school offers easily transferable associate degrees across a range of programs; popular choices include business administration, computer technology, criminal justice, education, and allied health fields. Many courses are available online, and students can also access online courses at other two-year schools in the state through the Kentucky Virtual Campus system. Online students also have access to a virtual library, an online bookstore, and 24/7 technical support.


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8

Pitt Community College

Value Score 6.76
Average Tuition $1,893
Students Receiving Financial Aid 87%
Net Price $4,849
Graduation Rate 13%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 54%
Number of Online Programs 31

Pitt Community College is located in Greenville, North Carolina. Pitt's distance learning options are comprehensive; many classes are offered online, including courses that will transfer in-full to four-year schools. Students can choose from programs in a variety of divisions, including arts & sciences, business, construction & industrial technology, continuing education & community services, health sciences, and public services & fine arts. Pitt students can also access online courses hosted at other community colleges throughout the state. Distance learners have full access to the school's digital library and free tutoring services.


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9

Western Wyoming Community College

Value Score 6.70
Average Tuition $1,992
Students Receiving Financial Aid 87%
Net Price $6,957
Graduation Rate 53%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 42%
Number of Online Programs 32

WWCC is an affordable community college located in Rock Springs, in the southwest corner of the state. Its sprawling campus is home to roughly 3,000 students per year, about half of whom study full-time. WWCC awards associate degrees in a number of subjects, including business, health sciences, social sciences, education, humanities, and performing arts. The school offers many of these programs entirely online, including popular associate degrees in accounting, marketing, journalism, criminal justice, and social work. Professional development certification programs are also available both online and residentially.


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10

Northeast Community College

Value Score 6.67
Average Tuition $2,475
Students Receiving Financial Aid 92%
Net Price $5,818
Graduation Rate 43%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 35%
Number of Online Programs 17

Located in eastern Nebraska, Northeast Community College has a large main campus and working farm in Norfolk. The accredited two-year school also operates satellite campuses in West Point, O'Neill, South Sioux City, Ainsworth, and Hartington. Students may choose from a comprehensive list of associate degree programs in the arts, sciences, applied sciences, or nursing; a number of professional diploma or certificate programs are also available. Seventeen degree programs are available entirely online, along with dozens of individual classes.


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11

Barton County Community College

Value Score 6.62
Average Tuition $1,984
Students Receiving Financial Aid 82%
Net Price $4,715
Graduation Rate 30%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 35%
Number of Online Programs 33

Located in Central Kansas, Barton Community College is home to 17,000 students. Learners may take classes in one of the school's 18 associate programs, which effectively prepare students to transfer to four-year colleges. Online students can also pursue terminal associate degrees, bachelor preparation programs, and professional development certification. Online courses are taught asynchronously, though some subject areas may require on-campus participation. Distance learners can access remote advising, an online bookstore, career planning, a virtual library, disability services, tutoring, and 24/7 technical support.


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12

Coastline Community College

Value Score 6.60
Average Tuition $1,104
Students Receiving Financial Aid 79%
Net Price $5,202
Graduation Rate 16%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 85%
Number of Online Programs 20

Serving Orange County, Coastline Community College is enjoying a period of growth in the wake of beneficial state legislation. The school delivers associate degrees and professional development programs across a variety of subjects, including accounting, digital media, emergency management, paralegal studies, and more. Students in AA-T and AS-T study tracks may easily transfer their credits to a four-year program. Coastline's distance learning platform offers online classes in all programs, including a couple of degrees that are available entirely online.


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13

Trinity Valley Community College

Value Score 6.58
Average Tuition $960
Students Receiving Financial Aid 85%
Net Price $6,527
Graduation Rate 23%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 61%
Number of Online Programs 14

Athens, Texas is home to Trinity Valley Community College. TVCC offers associate degrees and professional development programs in fine arts, language arts, social sciences, kinesiology, science, mathematics, and allied health sciences. Distance learners can take asynchronous or hybrid classes, and some programs are available entirely online. Online learners may also access resources and classes throughout the Virtual College of Texas system, which hosts online material from other two-year colleges in the state.


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14

Odessa College

Value Score 6.54
Average Tuition $3,240
Students Receiving Financial Aid 74%
Net Price $4,280
Graduation Rate 20%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 50%
Number of Online Programs 24

Located in western Texas near the New Mexico border, Odessa College serves about 5,000 students. The college offers 45 popular associate degree programs, along with professional enrichment programs in 70 fields. Associate programs are designed for graduates who plan to pursue a bachelor's degree at a four-year school. Many OC students take advantage of the college's distance learning options, taking individual classes or entire degree programs online.


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15

Foothill College

Value Score 6.43
Average Tuition $1,395
Students Receiving Financial Aid 33%
Net Price $3,720
Graduation Rate 62%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 46%
Number of Online Programs 14

Foothill College, serves students in the San Francisco Bay-Monterey Peninsula. Roughly 18,000 Foothill students annually pursue one of the school's 79 associate degrees or 107 specialty certificates. Students aspiring to eventually earn a bachelor's degree can study in one of 20 associate programs tailored to California university transfer requirements. Twelve of these programs offer online classes, including anthropology, graphic & interactive design, and music technology.


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16

North Central Missouri College

Value Score 6.40
Average Tuition $3,270
Students Receiving Financial Aid 96%
Net Price $5,985
Graduation Rate 30%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 49%
Number of Online Programs 30

North Central Missouri College is an accredited school offering two-year associate degree programs, career development certificates, and professional enrichment in a range of subjects. AA programs are designed to help students easily transfer into a four-year bachelor's program. While associate of applied science degrees are designed as terminal programs, NCMC does hold transfer arrangements with some universities for selected programs. Distance learning is a popular alternative to traditional classes in all majors: entire degrees are available online in accounting, liberal arts, business and technology, criminal justice, early childhood education, and nursing.


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17

Southwest Virginia Community College

Value Score 6.39
Average Tuition $3,060
Students Receiving Financial Aid 96%
Net Price $6,228
Graduation Rate 32%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 61%
Number of Online Programs 16

Southwest Virginia Community College awards associate degrees in arts, sciences, and applied science, along with career development certifications and diplomas. The curriculum in 12 of these associate degree programs is also structured so that your credits will transfer seamlessly to a four-year university. Distance learning is available through partnerships with Old Dominion University, Lindsey Wilson College School of Professional Counseling, and King University.


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18

Mountain Empire Community College

Value Score 6.36
Average Tuition $3,060
Students Receiving Financial Aid 94%
Net Price $4,417
Graduation Rate 29%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 47%
Number of Online Programs 16

Located in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, Mountain Empire Community College serves as an affordable option to Big Stone Gap and the surrounding area. Roughly 4,000 students enroll at MECC annually to pursue a two-year associate degree, career development, or professional certifications. MECC offers associate degrees in more than 45 subjects; of these, 10 are designed so that students can easily transfer into a four-year bachelor's program. Classes are available in both traditional and online formats. Online students can access a variety of support services, including free online tutoring, Atomic Learning workshops and learning tools, career planning and advising, and online study labs.


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19

Laramie County Community College

Value Score 6.36
Average Tuition $1,992
Students Receiving Financial Aid 94%
Net Price $5,290
Graduation Rate 14%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 43%
Number of Online Programs 17

Based in Cheyenne, Wyoming, Laramie County CC serves more than 5,000 students. The school offers professional certificates and associate programs, many of which are tailored to prepare students for a four-year degree. All LCCC students can take advantage of distance learning opportunities. Fifteen degree programs can be completed entirely online, including four that are transferable. Online students enjoy a variety of support services, including free tutoring, a virtual library with online chat support, advising, online exam labs, disability services, and discounted rates on technology purchases.


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20

Forsyth Technical Community College

Value Score 6.32
Average Tuition $1,848
Students Receiving Financial Aid 79%
Net Price $3,947
Graduation Rate 14%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 44%
Number of Online Programs 22

Located in historic Winston-Salem, Forsyth Tech is a large community college that delivers professional certifications, career development training, and two-year associate programs to students. Of the 64 associate programs, four are built to seamlessly transfer into bachelor's programs: liberal arts, fine arts, engineering, and science. Many courses, particularly in allied health, are available online. Students pursuing two-year degrees in 11 selected subject areas may complete their degree requirements entirely online. All Forsyth students benefit from extensive academic support systems, including hands-on health clinics, career advisement, disability services, mentoring programs, free tutoring, and online study labs.


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21

Crowder College

Value Score 6.30
Average Tuition $2,712
Students Receiving Financial Aid 92%
Net Price $5,559
Graduation Rate 22%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 32%
Number of Online Programs 21

Crowder College is located on the western edge of The Ozarks in Neosho, Missouri. About 5,800 students per year attend Crowder, mostly to earn associate degrees or professional development certifications. The school offers two-year degree plans in over 75 disciplines, including in agriculture, healthcare, alternative energy, automotive, and business. Many of these programs feature online courses.


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22

Gateway Community and Technical College

Value Score 6.28
Average Tuition $3,528
Students Receiving Financial Aid 92%
Net Price $5,160
Graduation Rate 34%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 38%
Number of Online Programs 27

Florence, Kentucky is home to Gateway Community College. The school offers associate degree and professional study programs in over 30 subjects. All of GCTC's associate degree credits transfer into any public four-year university in Kentucky. Distance learners at GCTC can take online classes lasting five, eight, 10, or 12 weeks, all of which are transferable. Enrolled students may also access online resources at other in-state colleges through the Kentucky Community & Technical College System. Academic all-stars can participate in an honors program, and all students are eligible for academic advising, disability services, and free tutoring.


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23

State Fair Community College

Value Score 6.26
Average Tuition $3,288
Students Receiving Financial Aid 97%
Net Price $6,179
Graduation Rate 21%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 53%
Number of Online Programs 29

State Fair Community College is located in Sedalia, Missouri, and serves approximately 5,000 students. Students can take fully online courses, along with a number of hybrid classes and accelerated offerings. Distance learners can pursue one of 65 associate degrees and technical development certificates. The school offers 260 online classes, and in many subjects, students can earn their associate degree entirely online. They can also access SFCC's advising department, an online bookstore, virtual library, disability services, and tutoring.


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24

Cochise College

Value Score 6.23
Average Tuition $1,800
Students Receiving Financial Aid 78%
Net Price $5,144
Graduation Rate 18%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 40%
Number of Online Programs 13

Cochise is a cheap online community college serving about 14,000 students in southern Arizona. Cochise students can pursue two-year associate degrees in over 60 subjects; of these, 30 are designed for university transfer, and 12 can be completed entirely online. Students who attend online classes are well-supported by Cochise's academic advising, counseling, and financial aid departments. Distance learners can also access technical support, a virtual library, and an online bookstore.


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25

Wayne Community College

Value Score 6.22
Average Tuition $2,304
Students Receiving Financial Aid 71%
Net Price $4,196
Graduation Rate 18%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 48%
Number of Online Programs 18

Wayne Community College offers a long list of two-year degree programs, diplomas, professional certifications, and continuing education opportunities. Students can pursue an associate of arts, associate of science, or associate in engineering program. WCC also offers many classes online or in a hybrid format. Ten associate degrees are available entirely online, as are several diplomas and certificates. Distance learners can also access any online course in the North Carolina Community College System.


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26

Cowley County Community College

Value Score 6.21
Average Tuition $1,922
Students Receiving Financial Aid 83%
Net Price $7,614
Graduation Rate 29%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 55%
Number of Online Programs 13

Cowley College serves about 6,000 students per year. The school awards professional development certificates and associate degrees in the arts, sciences, and applied sciences. More than 80 of these programs are designed for students planning to transfer into a four-year bachelor's program. Cowley's online programs are comprehensive; all courses are transferable, and more than 30 associate degrees can be completed entirely online. Distance learners are eligible for admissions services, scholarships, financial aid, work study, academic and career advising, disability assistance, tutoring, and an online library.


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27

Surry Community College

Value Score 6.19
Average Tuition $2,304
Students Receiving Financial Aid 74%
Net Price $7,917
Graduation Rate 24%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 54%
Number of Online Programs 14

Surry Community College awards two-year associate degrees and professional development certifications. Terminal associate degrees are available in 22 disciplines; students in these programs can also transfer their credits to a four-year university. Distance learners can take many classes online, or complete one of eight degrees offered entirely online. Surry is devoted to preparing its graduates for careers in business and industry, and has partnered with local businesses to offer a startup incubator and job placement services.


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28

Wake Technical Community College

Value Score 6.17
Average Tuition $2,304
Students Receiving Financial Aid 70%
Net Price $8,607
Graduation Rate 16%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 42%
Number of Online Programs 38

Over 70,000 students per year enroll at Wake Tech, many of whom are online students. Students can pursue associate degrees, transferable credits, diplomas, and professional certification in over 200 subjects. Classes are offered in traditional brick-and-mortar, online, and hybrid formats, and many programs are available entirely online. All Wake Tech students are eligible for benefits like career planning, disability support, job placement services, free tutoring, and extensive library services.


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29

Lenoir Community College

Value Score 6.13
Average Tuition $2,304
Students Receiving Financial Aid 84%
Net Price $7,782
Graduation Rate 12%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 66%
Number of Online Programs 25

Located in the Inner Banks region of North Carolina, Lenoir Community College also operates in Snow Hill, Trenton, LaGrange, and Pink Hill. LCC awards associate degrees in arts, science, fine arts, and applied science. Students can study one of 46 subjects, many of which offer classes or entire degrees online. Distance learners in the arts, sciences, or fine arts programs may easily transfer their credits to a four-year bachelor's program at any North Carolina public university. Online programs are augmented by a virtual library, an online bookstore, career counseling and advising, disability services, and tutoring.


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30

Hazard Community and Technical College

Value Score 6.13
Average Tuition $3,528
Students Receiving Financial Aid 100%
Net Price $5,320
Graduation Rate 28%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 49%
Number of Online Programs 22

Hazard Community and Technical College is a small affordable school serving approximately 3,000 students per year. Despite its small size, HCTC offers associate degree and professional study programs in over 200 disciplines. Students taking classes in traditional academic subjects can easily transfer their credits to any four-year university, and distance learners in one of the school's five associate in applied science programs are prepared for employment opportunities upon graduation. Distance learning is an option for all HCTC students, and some degree programs deliver their entire curricula online. HCTC students may also access any online classes hosted by other participating schools in the Kentucky Community and Technical College System.


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31

Stanly Community College

Value Score 6.11
Average Tuition $2,304
Students Receiving Financial Aid 70%
Net Price $7,481
Graduation Rate 25%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 81%
Number of Online Programs 28

About 5,500 students per year enroll at Stanly College, a two-year school in North Carolina. SCC offers 11 associate degrees along with diplomas and professional development certificates. Associate programs are offered online or on-campus; eight of these programs are available exclusively online, including degrees in accounting, associate in arts, business administration, computer information technology, criminal justice, early childhood education, human services, and school age education. SCC students benefit from a strong support system that includes academic advising, counseling, tutoring, digital library services, and a writing center.


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32

Craven Community College

Value Score 6.03
Average Tuition $1,728
Students Receiving Financial Aid 39%
Net Price $7,299
Graduation Rate 12%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 73%
Number of Online Programs 19

Craven Community College is home to about 3,200 degree-seeking students. Students pursue associate degrees or career training, or take courses designed to transfer into four-year university programs. Two-year programs in applied science, arts, fine arts, general education, science, and engineering are available across 24 disciplines. Additionally, the school's partnerships with neighboring universities allow Craven students to begin associate degrees in biotechnology or hospitality management. Many students take at least some classes online. Distance courses supplement traditional classroom study, and in some cases, students can complete their entire degree online. Craven's extensive support options for distance learners include an online writing lab, tutoring, and 24/7 technical support.


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33

Elizabethtown Community and Technical College

Value Score 5.99
Average Tuition $3,528
Students Receiving Financial Aid 97%
Net Price $5,018
Graduation Rate 23%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 44%
Number of Online Programs 26

Serving students in central Kentucky, Elizabethtown Community and Technical College offers two-year associate programs in arts, science, and applied science, as well as diploma and professional development programs and certifications. ECTC operates four campuses and seven satellite facilities throughout an 11-county region. Students at ECTC can transfer any credits from associate of arts or sciences curricula to a four-year university, whether from online or traditional classroom instruction. While no degree program can be completed in its entirety via distance learning, ECTC students can choose from any courses hosted by members of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. For students seeking career opportunities at nearby Fort Knox, ECTC has partnered with the U.S. Army to develop an online preparation course series.


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34

Somerset Community College

Value Score 5.98
Average Tuition $3,528
Students Receiving Financial Aid 98%
Net Price $5,457
Graduation Rate 25%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 58%
Number of Online Programs 26

Somerset Community College is a large and rapidly growing affordable two-year school. The college offers associate degrees and professional development programs in more than 60 disciplines. All associate degrees are also designed to be transferrable towards four-year bachelor's programs. Students can opt for traditional classroom instruction or take online classes; distance learners may choose to learn by term and follow a semester schedule, or learn on demand with self-paced study. Over 1,100 transferable courses are available online.


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35

Hopkinsville Community College

Value Score 5.97
Average Tuition $3,528
Students Receiving Financial Aid 97%
Net Price $5,832
Graduation Rate 19%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 45%
Number of Online Programs 23

Located in southeast Kentucky near the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Park, Hopkinsville Community College educates about 3,700 degree-seeking students per year. The school offers a number of AA and AS programs, which are designed to transfer easily into four-year bachelor's programs at Kentucky universities. Alternatively, AAS programs prepare graduates for immediate employment after graduation. The school awards degrees in 19 subject areas, and offers several professional development certification courses. Students who are interested in distance learning can access the Kentucky Virtual Campus, which hosts over 1,100 online classes hosted by community colleges throughout the state. All Hopkinsville students are eligible for career advising, disability services, and tutoring.


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36

Ozarka College

Value Score 5.93
Average Tuition $2,016
Students Receiving Financial Aid 97%
Net Price $6,396
Graduation Rate 22%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 60%
Number of Online Programs 16

Melbourne, Arkansas is home to Ozarka College, a small two-year school in north central Arkansas. Roughly 2,500 students attend Ozarka in pursuit of associate degrees, university transfer credits, or professional development. Degree-seekers may study in one of 12 two-year associate programs. Ozarka students may opt for traditional classroom instruction, distance learning, or classes taught in a hybrid format.


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37

Rio Salado College

Value Score 5.93
Average Tuition $2,016
Students Receiving Financial Aid 91%
Net Price $8,090
Graduation Rate 17%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 62%
Number of Online Programs 44

Rio Salado is a large community college in Tempe, Arizona. More than 55,000 students attend the school, most of whom live in nearby Maricopa County. Rio offers associate degrees, diplomas, and professional certifications in over 50 subjects. Many classes are offered online or in a hybrid format, and several degrees can be completed entirely online. Distance learners can pursue a variety of opportunities at Rio, including access to online resources at Arizona State, the University of Arizona, Northern Arizona, and other public schools. Online classes begin nearly every week throughout the year, and Rio offers extensive student support through advising, career services, tutoring, disability services, study labs, mentoring, and conveniently-located remote testing facilities.


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38

Montgomery Community College

Value Score 5.89
Average Tuition $2,304
Students Receiving Financial Aid 66%
Net Price $6,091
Graduation Rate 33%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 60%
Number of Online Programs 17

Located in Troy, North Carolina, Montgomery Community College is a small school that offers associate degrees in several disciplines, including gunsmithing, forest management technology, information technology, and early childhood education. Non-degree-seeking students also can earn professional diplomas or other career development certifications in areas such as practical nursing or taxidermy. Distance courses are available in all subject areas; MCC students may also access online learning resources hosted by other community colleges in North Carolina.


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39

Maysville Community and Technical College

Value Score 5.84
Average Tuition $3,528
Students Receiving Financial Aid 99%
Net Price $6,390
Graduation Rate 30%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 49%
Number of Online Programs 23

Maysville Community & Technical College serves northeastern Kentucky area near the Ohio border. Associate degrees and professional development certification programs are available in 25 disciplines. Popular majors include nursing, business administration, and early childhood education. Classes in all programs are also available online. While no degree program can be completed remotely, several professional certifications are available entirely online. MCTC students may also access the pooled online learning resources offered by Kentucky's other two-year schools. Online classes at MCTC follow the semester schedule. Support services for distance learners includes 24/7 technical support, a virtual library, an online bookstore, and advising and counseling services.


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40

Tulsa Community College

Value Score 5.80
Average Tuition $2,103
Students Receiving Financial Aid 88%
Net Price $5,390
Graduation Rate 14%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 36%
Number of Online Programs 21

Tulsa Community College is the largest two-year school in Oklahoma. About 26,000 students enroll in TCC every year, pursuing associate degrees or professional development programs. The school offers associate degrees in the arts, sciences, and applied sciences. All curricula in arts and science is designed to transfer smoothly into a four-year bachelor's program. Classes are delivered in a traditional classroom format, exclusively online, or in a hybrid format. All TCC students have access to support services, including academic advising, career counseling, disability services, and various financial aid opportunities.


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41

Shoreline Community College

Value Score 5.78
Average Tuition $3,427
Students Receiving Financial Aid 44%
Net Price $5,433
Graduation Rate 26%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 34%
Number of Online Programs 20

Shoreline Community College serves residents in a city just north of Seattle, Washington. This two-year college delivers associate degrees, professional development certificates, and career training. Distance learners can pursue a range of options at SCC. Several associate degree programs are available entirely online, and many also meet the transfer requirements stipulated by Washington's public universities. Online learners at SCC can access the school's online bookstore, real time library services, academic advising, and tutoring.


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42

Central Carolina Community College

Value Score 5.78
Average Tuition $2,288
Students Receiving Financial Aid 68%
Net Price $7,723
Graduation Rate 20%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 58%
Number of Online Programs 19

Central Carolina Community College is a large educational institution that operates facilities in Siler City, Lillington, Pittsboro, and Dunn. CCCC offers postsecondary programs in over 130 subjects and career training in areas such as business & industry and emergency services. The school also offers a Chinese language and culture credit through its Confucius Classroom, and sustainability courses through its Green Central program. Accelerated programs are available, and many programs offer at least some classes online.


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43

Southwestern Oregon Community College

Value Score 5.76
Average Tuition $3,800
Students Receiving Financial Aid 95%
Net Price $8,018
Graduation Rate 20%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 55%
Number of Online Programs 19

Located in Coos Bay, Southwestern Oregon Community College offers two-year degree plans leading to associate degrees in the arts, science, or general studies. SOCC maintains a 13:1 student-teacher ratio, and offers a variety of courses online. Distance learning is delivered in several formats: fully online, a hybrid of classroom and online instruction, or in a web-enhanced classroom experience.


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44

Westmoreland County Community College

Value Score 5.74
Average Tuition $5,880
Students Receiving Financial Aid 83%
Net Price $1,835
Graduation Rate 12%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 45%
Number of Online Programs 41

Located in southeastern Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh, Westmoreland County Community College's main campus is in Youngwood. About 5,500 students enroll at WCCC every year; most of them study in one of the school's associate programs as they prepare to transfer to a four-year school. Many students take web-based classes, studying either exclusively online or taking classes in a hybrid format. Many associate degrees can be completed remotely.


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45

Minnesota West Community and Technical College

Value Score 5.69
Average Tuition $5,146
Students Receiving Financial Aid 93%
Net Price $9,119
Graduation Rate 47%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 56%
Number of Online Programs 27

Operating five campuses in the southwestern part of the state, Minnesota West Community and Technical College offers cheap postsecondary programs in more than 60 disciplines. Roughly 3,000 students per year attend this school to learn technical skills or to earn an associate degree. MWCT offers associate programs in the arts, sciences, and applied sciences, along with professional diplomas and certificates. MWCT students can sign up for any online class, and in some cases, can earn entire associate degrees online. MWCTC, along with all Minnesota state schools, has currently frozen its tuition at 2013 rates.


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46

Owensboro Community and Technical College

Value Score 5.65
Average Tuition $3,528
Students Receiving Financial Aid 97%
Net Price $6,458
Graduation Rate 30%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 39%
Number of Online Programs 21

Part of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, Owensboro CTC serves residents in the southeast corner of the state and in neighboring Indiana. Known for its technology programs, OCTC offers associate degree programs in 15 subject areas, along with 22 professional development programs. Distance learners can take a variety of classes online, and have access to hundreds of online classes through Kentucky's Virtual Campus. Distance learners can complete many degrees entirely online; they can also access the school's virtual library, free tutoring, career advising services, and 24/7 technical support.


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47

Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College

Value Score 5.63
Average Tuition $4,560
Students Receiving Financial Aid 92%
Net Price $5,688
Graduation Rate 61%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 41%
Number of Online Programs 17

Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College, located in Hayward, Wisconsin, serves residents of the Ojibwa tribal nation. Native and non-Native American students attend classes at the main campus on Lac Courte Oreilles Reservation, at three nearby satellite locations, or online. In addition to traditional degree programs, the school focuses on preserving Ojibwa heritage. LCOOCC offers two-year associate programs in 12 disciplines, along with several professional development programs.


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48

Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College

Value Score 5.54
Average Tuition $3,528
Students Receiving Financial Aid 97%
Net Price $5,191
Graduation Rate 25%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 34%
Number of Online Programs 18

Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College is home to more than 5,000 students. Most are enrolled in associate programs that prepare them to seamlessly transfer their credits to a four-year school in Kentucky. Many of the school's programs are offered at least partially online, and a handful can be completed entirely remotely. All SKCTC students are eligible for career advising services, counseling, and tutoring help.


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49

North Dakota State College of Science

Value Score 5.53
Average Tuition $3,781
Students Receiving Financial Aid 89%
Net Price $8,076
Graduation Rate 47%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 58%
Number of Online Programs 12

The North Dakota State College of Science is a two-year residential college that serves about 3,000 students per year. NDSCS offers associate degree programs in the liberal arts and sciences; students may choose from over 80 specific programs. Distance learners can take online classes in a variety of subjects, and in some cases, can complete their degree without ever setting foot on campus. Students in many associate programs are also eligible to transfer all of their credits to an in-state four-year college.


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50

Palo Alto College

Value Score 5.43
Average Tuition $5,470
Students Receiving Financial Aid 80%
Net Price $4,660
Graduation Rate 13%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 48%
Number of Online Programs 45

Located in San Antonio, Palo Alto College serves approximately 9,000 students per year. PAC delivers associate degrees across a range of technical and academic fields, along with several short-term career development programs. Many associate programs are designed so that students can easily transfer their credits to a four-year school. Distance learners can take classes in a few formats, including interactive video conferencing courses, online classes, hybrid offerings, and video telecourses. PAC offers 19 associate degree programs that can be completed exclusively online.


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What Can You Do At An Online Community College?

Many students choose a two-year online degree program with the intention of continuing on to a four-year program. However, an associate degree can open doors to dozens of salaried career opportunities, particularly in the fields of technology and engineering. Based on median mid-career salaries, an associate degree in management information systems has proven to be the most lucrative among all majors, earning graduates with 10 or more years of experience around $72,100. Associate degree-holders who major in construction management report having the second highest salaries, earning around $71,200 mid-career.

In some cases, an associate degree in the right subject may prove to be a better investment than a bachelor’s degree. According PayScale, the salaries of the two associate degrees mentioned above are higher than 151 bachelor’s degree subjects.

Associate Degree Salaries


Is It Affordable?

One of the major perks of a two-year community college is its affordable tuition. But just how much cheaper is community college than a four-year state college? According to CollegeBoard, the average cost of in-state tuition at a public two-year college in Washington during the 2015-2016 academic year came to $4,149. Comparably, in-state students attending a public four-year university in Washington paid around $10,288 for tuition.

Community colleges frequently waive the out-of-state portion of the tuition fee for distance learners, meaning online students can choose from a wider variety of schools while saving hundreds of dollars on tuition.

Average National Tuition with Corresponding Average Salaries
School Term Tuition Average Salary
Two Year
(Public In-state)
$6,694 $42,046
Two Year +
Bachelor’s Completion
$24,972 $55,635
Four Year
(Public In-State)
$36,556 $55,635
According to most recent data from CollegeBoard

Scholarships and Financial Aid

Students pursuing accredited online programs at community colleges are eligible for financial aid. This will most likely be need-based aid, which is provided by the federal government and may include grants, FSEOG, federal work-study programs, and loans. The table below will give you an idea of the types and amounts of aid awarded to associate degree students.

Average Amount Awarded for Financial Aid Programs at 2-Year Institutions
Institution Type Number Enrolled Number Receiving
Financial Aid
Percent Receiving Aid
Public 675,578 517,235 76.6%
Private (Non-Profit) 8,990 8,298 92.3%
Private (For-Profit) 148,941 128,237 86.1%
Percent of Enrolled Students in Student Aid Programs at 2-Year Institutions
Institution Type Federal Grants State/Local Grants Institutional Grants Student Loans
Public 56.0% 37.2% 11.8% 24.4%
Private (Non-Profit) 70.6% 27.3% 49.5% 65.5%
Private (For-Profit) 73.0% 6.7% 13.6% 70.3%
Average Award for Students in Aid Programs at 2-Year Institutions
Institution Type Federal Grants State/Local Grants Institutional Grants Student Loans
Public $4,431 $1,736 $1,977 $4,763
Private (Non-Profit) $4,216 $3,618 $4,346 $7,818
Private (For-Profit) $4,254 $3,517 $1,602 $8,168
Most current data as reported by NCES

Federal Aid

Perkins Loans are low-interest federal loans available to part-time students who show exceptional financial need. In order to qualify, students must attend a school that participates in the Federal Perkins Loan Program, and they must complete a FAFSA form online.

Pell grants are available to part-time students who demonstrate financial need, and unlike a loan, do not need to be repaid. The amount of the grant varies depending on a student’s financial need, the cost of tuition, and the student’s academic status (full-time or part-time). Many two-year colleges also offer grants to minority students who complete the FAFSA.

In order to qualify for federal student aid, online students must meet certain criteria outside of financial need. They must have a high school diploma or GED, be enrolled at an eligible online institution, and should maintain satisfactory grades while in school. Students can find more information at www.studentaid.ed.gov.

Private Aid

Online learners at community colleges may also be eligible for scholarships. The National Scholarship Foundation, The Rankin Foundation, and the Women’s Independence Scholarship Program all offer scholarships for students pursuing an accredited two-year degree program. Online students should contact the financial aid advisor at their prospective community college to see if they are eligible for scholarships.


Is an Online Community College Right For You?

If any of the following statements resonates with you, then community college might be the right choice. Do you want to…

  • Explore your degree options?

  • Change careers or career paths?

  • Boost your GPA to transfer into a four year program?

  • Return to school for specialized training?

Aside from being wallet-friendly, online community colleges are highly convenient. Working professionals can complete a two-year online degree program around their own schedule and from the comfort of their home. Single parents may find that the time commitment is more feasible when compared to a four-year program.


Getting Your Bachelor’s Degree Online at a Community College

Although community colleges have historically only offered associate degrees to students, a growing number of schools are now offering bachelor’s degrees in a bid to stimulate the economy and help students avoid paying hefty tuition fees at public and private colleges. Most of the bachelor’s programs available at these community colleges are in high-need fields such as automotive technology, bio-manufacturing, health information management, and mortuary science.

Currently, community colleges across 22 states offer bachelor’s degree programs. Students planning on pursuing a four-year degree in a specialized area may find that an online community college is the cheapest and most convenient option.


Related Resources

Accreditation

The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges is one of seven regional accrediting commissions in the US. ACCJC accredits associate degree-granting institutions in the West in order to provide assurance to the public that they meet certain standards. Students can see the most recent ACCJDC Directory of Accredited Institutions here.

Financial Aid

Prospective students can visit FinAid to learn more about scholarships, loans, grants, and other types of financial aid that may be available for them.

Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Students must fill out The Federal Application for Federal Aid (FAFSA) to see whether they are eligible for student financial aid. They are encouraged to file their FAFSA forms the day they become available online, January 1, as financial aid is typically available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

AACC

The American Association of Community Colleges is the leading national organization for community colleges. Students can visit its website to find an online database of AACC’s member community colleges and profiles of each school, including enrollment rates and student characteristics.

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