The Most Affordable Online Colleges in California

No one likes overpaying for products and services, so why pay too much when it comes to your education? The most affordable online colleges in California allow Californians to earn the education they need on flexible terms and at low price points. You need an education to succeed, and while there are plenty of high-quality and high-priced programs available, you shouldn’t have to put yourself deep into debt just to succeed in your career field. If you’re looking for the most affordable online colleges in California, let your search start here.

These are the 20 cheapest online degree programs in California for bachelor’s degrees that are regionally accredited. In general, online degrees are more affordable than traditional degrees, and keeping your education in-state seriously impacts the cost of your tuition in a positive way. That’s why Californians seeking affordable degrees should look for fully online in-state programs.

It’s important to remember however, that you don’t necessarily want to pick the absolute cheapest program you can find. Not all degrees are created all equal, and the requisite stamp of quality that you should be looking for is regional accreditation. Sure, there are cheaper online degrees available that aren’t on this list, but the problem is that they’re not regionally accredited. Without regional accreditation, your degree isn’t worth very much at all, and while you might think you’re getting a deal on a degree that isn’t accredited, you’re actually pouring money and time into something you likely won’t be able to use.

Remember that a degree is an investment, and while you should get a low price where you can, you should be able to get a return on it. A degree you can’t use isn’t a good deal. So accreditation should be your top concern, then price. Fortunately, we’ve made it easy for you: every program on this page boasts regional accreditation at a low price point.

Another thing to note is that completing a bachelor’s degree from start to finish at a single university probably isn’t the most affordable route you can take. A great way to save money on your education is to complete your general education requirements, or even your first two years of education, at a state community college, then transfer to a university to finish your degree. That approach, combined with the affordable online colleges on this list, ensures you will spend as little as possible on your degree.

Below is our list of the most affordable online colleges in California.

#1. California State University-Fresno

Fresno, California


Fresno, California

California State University-Fresno is a public university established in 1911. The university has over 25,000 students, 1% of whom are enrolled fully online. It is part of the California State University System.

CSU-Fresno offers 19 online degree programs at the bachelor’s, master’s, and certificate levels. Undergraduate students may select from a BA in liberal arts degree completion program, an accelerated bachelor of business administration program, or an RN-to-BSN. At the graduate level, students have master’s degree options including a blended MBA, an executive MBA, a master of public administration, and a MS in water resource management.

The university participates in CSU Fully Online, allowing students to complete online courses through others CSU campuses. Also, it serves students seeking continuing education through the Open University, which allows students to take courses for credit, without admission. High school students may earn college credit at CSU-Fresno through the Uni-Track program.

The average annual cost of in-state undergraduate tuition at CSU-Fresno is $5,742, and tuition for graduates averages $7,176. 87% of students receive some form of financial aid or scholarship, averaging $10,037.

CSU-Fresno is federally recognized as an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution, and a Hispanic-Serving Institution. It is a military friendly school with a Veterans Resource Center.

California State University-Fresno is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

See CSUF’s full list of online degrees!

#2. California State University-Fullerton

Fullerton, California


Fullerton, California

California State University-Fullerton is a public university established in 1957. It has a large student population of over 40,000, and 5% of its student population is enrolled fully online. Fullerton is part of the California State University System.

CSU-Fullerton offers 17 online bachelor’s degree and certificate programs. Students seeking bachelor’s degrees may pursue programs in business administration, humanities and social sciences, and sociology. Certificate options include subjects such as data science, user experience design, and computer forensics. Additonally, the university participates in CSU Fully Online, allowing students to complete online courses through others CSU campuses. The university also offers a variety of professional skill courses for no credit.

The average annual cost of in-state undergraduate tuition at CSU-Fullerton is $5,742, and tuition for graduates averages $7,176. 79% of students receive some form of financial aid or scholarship, averaging $8,449.

CSU-Fullerton is federally recognized as an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution, and a Hispanic-Serving Institution. It is a military friendly school, and serves veteran students and their families through its Veterans Resource Center.

California State University-Fullerton is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

See CSUF’s full list of online degrees!

#3. California State University-Dominguez Hills

Carson, California


Carson, California

Established in 1960, California State University-Dominguez Hills is a public university with over 16,000 students enrolled. 9% of its student population is enrolled fully online. Dominguez Hills is part of the California State University System.

CSU-Dominguez Hills offers 24 online bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and certificate programs. Bachelor’s degree options include a BS in applied studies with track options in public sector management or strategic communications, a BS in quality assurance with an optional track in measurement science, and an RN-to-BSN program for nursing students. At the graduate level, students have master’s degrees options including four master of public administration tracks, and five master of science in nursing tracks.

Beyond its degrees, CSU-Dominguez Hills offers a variety of professional development courses. Additionally, it participates in the Open University, allowing students to take courses for credit without admission.

The average annual cost of in-state undergraduate tuition at CSU-Dominguez Hills is $5,742, and tuition for graduates averages $7,176. 91% of students receive some form of financial aid or scholarship, averaging $9,378.

CSU-Dominguez Hills is federally recognized as a Hispanic-Serving Institution. It is also a military friendly school, serving veteran students and their families.

California State University-Dominguez Hills is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

See CSUDH’s full list of online degrees!

#4. California State University-East Bay

Hayward, California


Hayward, California

California State University-East Bay is a public university established in 1957. It has over 16,000 students enrolled, 10% of whom are enrolled fully online. East Bay is part of the California State University System.

CSU-East Bay offers 19 online degree programs at the bachelor’s, master’s, and certificate levels. Undergraduate students have six bachelor’s in business administration tracks to choose from in accounting, finance, general management, human resources management, information technology management, and operations and supply chain management. Other bachelor’s degree options include an MS in hospitality, and BA tracks in human development or ethnic studies. Graduate students may choose from an MS in recreation and tourism, an MS in education, an MS in educational leadership, and an MS in reading and literacy.

East Bay participates in CSU Fully Online, allowing students to complete online courses through other CSU campuses. It also allows high school students to earn college credit through its Dual Matriculatio program.

The average annual cost of in-state undergraduate tuition at CSU-East Bay is $5,742, and tuition for graduates averages $7,176. 79% of students receive some form of financial aid or scholarship, averaging $9,411.

CSU-East Bay is federally recognized as an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution, and a Hispanic-Serving Institution. It is a military friendly school, aiding veteran students through its Veteran Student Services.

California State University-East Bay is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

See CSUEB’s full list of online degrees!

#5. California State University-Sacramento

Sacramento, California


Sacramento, California

California State University-Sacramento is a public university established in 1947. It has over 31,000 students enrolled, 1% of whom are enrolled fully online. Sacramento is part of the California State University System.

CSU-Sacramento offers six online degree programs at the bachelor’s and master’s levels. Its bachelor’s degree offerings include a BA in arts and letters completion program, a BA in child development, a BA in psychology, and an AD-to-BSN for nursing students. At the master’s level, the university offers an MA in education in curriculum and instruction, and an MA in nursing. Sacramento also participates in CSU Fully Online, allowing students to complete online courses through other CSU campuses.

The average annual cost of in-state undergraduate tuition at CSU-Sacramento is $5,742, and tuition for graduates averages $7,176. 84% of students receive some form of financial aid or scholarship, averaging $8,938.

CSU-Sacramento is federally recognized as an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution, and a Hispanic-Serving Institution. It is a military friendly school, supporting veteran students and their families.

California State University-Sacramento is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

See CSUS’s full list of online degrees!

#6. California State University-Stanislaus

Turlock, California


Turlock, California

Established in 1957, California State University-Stanislaus is a public university with over 10,000 students enrolled, 3% of whom are enrolled fully online. Stanislaus is part of the California State University System.

CSU-Stanislaus offers eight online degree programs, at the bachelor’s and master’s levels. Undergraduate students interested in gender studies may pursue BA tracks in culture, ideology, and representation, or ethnicity, nationality, and sexuality, or history, society, and inequality. An RN-to-BSN program for nursing students is also available. Graduate students may pursue an online MBA with three tracks to choose from, in accounting, business analytics, or finance. A master of social work degree program is also available. CSU-Stanislaus also participates in CSU Fully Online, allowing students to complete online courses through other CSU campuses.

The average annual cost of in-state undergraduate tuition at CSU-Stanislaus is $5,742, and tuition for graduates averages $7,176. 92% of students receive some form of financial aid or scholarship, averaging $8,893.

CSU-Stanislaus is federally recognized as an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution, and a Hispanic-Serving Institution. It is a military friendly school, aiding veteran students through its Student Veteran Center.

California State University-Stanislaus is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

See CSUS’s full list of online degrees!

#7. California State University-Chico

Chico, California


Chico, California

California State University-Chico is a public university established in 1887. It has over 17,000 students enrolled, 3% of whom are enrolled fully online. Chico is part of the California State University System.

CSU-Chico offers 9 online degree programs at the bachelor’s, master’s, and certificate levels. Undergradaute students may select from BA degrees in social science, religious studies, liberal arts, sociology, and social work. At the graduate level, students may pursue an MS in nursing with nurse educator or nurse leadership tracks.

CSU-Chico participates in CSU Fully Online, allowing students to complete online courses through other CSU campuses. It also participates in the Open University, allowing students to complete courses for credit, without admission. Finally, it supports continuing education through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and Elder College.

The average annual cost of in-state undergraduate tuition at CSU-Chico is $5,742, and tuition for graduates averages $7,176. 77% of students receive some form of financial aid or scholarship, averaging $8,648.

CSU-Chico is federally recognized as a Hispanic-Serving Institution. It is a military friendly school, aiding military students and their families in securing what they need to succeed.

California State University-Chico is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

See CSUC’s full list of online degrees!

#8. Brandman University

Irvine, California


Irvine, California

Brandman University is a private university established in 1958. It has over 7,500 students, and the majority of its student population, 65%, is enrolled fully online.

Brandman University offers 22 online associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degree programs. Undergraduate students may select from an AA in general business or AA in general education, as well as BA programs in leadership, liberal studies, applied communication, applied humanities, and applied studies. At the graduate level, students may pursue an MA in organizational leadership, five MA in education tracks, and three MA in psychology tracks.

The average annual cost of in-state undergraduate tuition at Brandman is $12,000, and the cost for graduate students averages $11,520. 20% of students receive some form of financial aid or scholarship.

Brandman allows students to display competence and earn credit through exams. Additionally, it provides dual credit opportunities for high school students.

Brandman University is federally recongized as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, and offers support for undocumented students. It is also a military friendly school, serving military students and their families.

Brandman University is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

See BU’s full list of online degrees!

#9. National University

La Jolla, California

Score

50

CA Relative Cost


La Jolla, California

National University is a private university established in 1971. It has over 17,000 students, the majority of which, 69%, are enrolled fully online. The university is focused especially on the needs of busy working adult students.

National University offers over 90 fully online degrees at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels in a wide range of subjects. Its offerings include BS and MS degrees in high-demand fields such as data science, cybersecurity, management information systems, business analytics, business administration, public administration, and public health. Other options include an MFA in creative writing, an MA in film studies, and an MA in special education. At the doctoral level, National University offers an EdD in organizational innovation.

The average annual cost of in-state undergraduate tuition at National University is $13,032, and for graduates tuition is $14,976. 52% of students receive some form of financial aid or scholarship.

National University is a Yellow Ribbon School, supportive of military students and their families through veteran students services and a military tuition discount. It also has a generous transfer credit policy.

National University is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

See NU’s full list of online degrees!

#10. Touro University Worldwide

Los Alamitos, California

Score

53

CA Relative Cost


Los Alamitos, California

Touro University Worldwide is a private university established in 1971. It has over 1,300 students enrolled, 95% of whom are enrolled fully online. With such a large online enrollment, Touro caters to the needs of online students.

Touro University Worldwide offers 19 fully online degree programs at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. Undergraduates may select from an AA in general studies, a BS in business administration, and BA programs in social work, health sciences, and psychology. Graduate students have options including an online MBA, an MA in human resources, an MA in public administration, an MA in psychology, and an MA in marriage and family therapy with three tracks. Doctoral students may earn a PhD in management, or a PsyD in human and organizational psychology.

The university allows high school students to complete lower-level courses as non-degree seeking students, with credits transferring later. Touro is also welcoming of homeschool students.

The average annual cost of in-state undergraduate tuition at Touro University Worldwide is $14,400, and for graduates tuition is $9,000. 94% of students receive some form of financial aid or scholarship.

Touro University Worldwide is a military friendly school that offers military tuition discounts, and offers some credit for military experience and training.

Touro University Worldwide is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

See TUW’s full list of online degrees!

#11. Golden Gate University-San Francisco

San Francisco, California

Golden Gate University-San Francisco’s school logo

Score

44

CA Relative Cost


San Francisco, California

Golden Gate University-San Francisco is a private university established in 1901. It has over 2,500 students enrolled, 35% of whom are enrolled fully online.

GGU-San Francisco offers over 60 online degree programs at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and certificate levels. Undergraduate students may pursue an AA in general studies, and BS or BA programs in accounting, business, data analytics, management, organization leadership, or psychology. Graduate students have a wealth of options to choose from, including MBA programs, options in accounting, finance, leadership, marketing, information technology, and counseling psychology.

The average annual cost of in-state undergraduate tuition at GGU is $15,840, and for graduates tuition is $18,270.

GGU-San Francisco is a Yellow Ribbon School, serving military students and their families.

Golden Gate University-San Francisco is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

See GGUSF’s full list of online degrees!

#12. Academy of Art University

San Francisco, California

Academy of Art University’s school logo

Score

73

CA Relative Cost


Academy of Art university is a private, for-profit college focused primarily on education in technical creative fields. It was established in 1929 as the Academy of Advertising Art, and has since grown to cover a wide range of areas of study. AAU has over 9,000 students enrolled, 36% of whom are enrolled fully online.

AAU has an enormous selection of over 130 fully online associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degree programs to choose from. Its offerings include more than 40 bachelor’s degrees and more than 60 master’s degrees in areas including video game design, graphic design, studio art, sculpture, animation, fashion, interior architecture, architecture, and landscape design.

Academy of Art University is a military friendly school that provides unique support for veteran students and their families, including tuition assistance and scholarships. It also offers plenty of individual course options for non-degree seeking students.

The average cost of in-state, undergraduate tuition at AAU is $20,952, and for graduates tuition is $23,568. 57% of AAU students receive some form of financial aid or scholarship.

See AAU’s full list of online degrees!

#13. Columbia College Hollywood

Tarzana, California


Initially opened as a branch of Columbia College in Chicago, Columbia College Hollywood was established in 1952 and became its own institution 1959. It is a private college with a small student population of just under 900.

Columbia College Hollywood exclusively offers undergraduate degrees focused in entertainment and media arts. Students may choose from six fully online bachelor’s of fine arts degrees in graphic design and interactive media, or visual effects, with concentrations in animation, composition, or digital modeling. All of its programs are built on a liberal arts foundation.

CCH is a military friendly school that participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program. Veteran students are exempt from applications fees when applying online. It is also considered a first-generation student friendly school.

The average cost of in-state, undergraduate tuition at CCH is $24,000, 83% of CCH students receive some form of financial aid or scholarship.

See CCH’s full list of online degrees!

#14. The Master's University and Seminary

Santa Clarita, California

Score

68

CA Relative Cost


The Master’s University and Seminary is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

See The Master’s University and Seminary’s full list of online degrees!

#15. San Diego Christian College

Santee, California


Associate Ranking Highlights

Private and Evangelical San Diego Christian College was established in 1970. It has a very small student population of around 550, 18% of whom are enrolled fully online. The university traces its origins to pastor co-author of the popular Christian fiction series Left Behind.

SDCC offers seven fully online undergraduate degree programs. Students interested in a succinct and foundational education, or preparation for a bachelor’s degree program, may earn an online AA in liberal studies. The college also offers six online bachelor’s degrees in areas including Christian ministries, business management, and human development. Biblical teachings and Christian ethics are incorporated into all of the college’s programs.

San Diego Christian College is federally recognized as a Hispanic-Serving Institution. It is also a military friendly school, providing support to veteran students and their families through the Yellow Ribbon Program.

The average cost of in-state undergraduate tuition at SDCC is $21,057, and for graduates tuition is $9,900. 100% of SDCC students receive some form of financial aid or scholarship.

See SDCC’s full list of online degrees!

#16. Fresno Pacific University

Fresno, California


Fresno Pacific University is a private Christian University established in 1944. It has over 4,300 students enrolled, 9% of whom are enrolled fully online. Initially founded as the Pacific Bible Institute, FPU remains affiliated with the Mennonite Brethren Churches, though it is open to all students.

FPU offers 15 fully online bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and certificate programs. Undergraduate students may choose from two BA in business administration tracks, a BA in criminology, a BA in early childhood development, or a BA in healthcare administration. Master’s degree options include an MBA, an MA in sport administration, an MA in ministry, or an MA in athletic training.

Fresno Pacific University is federally recognized as a Hispanic-Serving Institution. It is also a military friendly school, providing support to veteran students and their families.

The average cost of in-state undergraduate tuition at FPU is $29,998, and for graduates tuition is $14,999. 100% of FPU students receive some form of financial aid or scholarship.

See FPU’s full list of online degrees!

#17. Hope International University

Fullerton, California

Hope International University’s school logo

Score

74

CA Relative Cost


Hope International University is a private, Christian University established in 1928. Over 1,000 students are enrolled at HIU, with 44% enrolled fully online. The university is non-denominational, and is affiliated with the Christian Churches and Churches of Christ. Originally a Bible school, HIU gained full university status in 1997.

HIU offers 10 fully online undergraduate degree programs. For an associate degree, students may earn an AA in general studies. Students interested in earning a bachelor’s degree have options including a BS in human development program with tracks in graduate studies, family studies, community mental health and counseling, behavioral psychology, or additional studies, as well as a BA in business administration, and a BS in Christian ministry.

Hope International University is federally recognized as a Hispanic-Serving Institution. It is also a military friendly school.

The average cost of in-state undergraduate tuition at HIU is $30,700, and for graduates tuition is $11,480. 95% of HIU students receive some form of financial aid or scholarship.

See HIU’s full list of online degrees!

#18. California Baptist University

Riverside, California


Established in 1950, California Baptist University is a private university affiliated with the Southern Baptist Church. It has over 11,000 students enrolled, 22% of whom are enrolled fully online. Initially founded as California Baptist College, the institution gained full regional accreditation by 1961.

CBU offers a sizable collection of more than 40 fully online bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. For undergraduates, bachelor’s degrees are available in areas including business administration, accounting, marketing, cybersecurity, criminal justice, public health, and healthcare administration. Graduate students have options including MBA and MS in education tracks, a master’s in public health, a master’s in public administration, and an MA in Christian leadership. Students at the highest level may complete a doctor of business administration, an EdD in organizational change and administration, or a doctor of public administration.

CBU is federally recognized as a Hispanic-Serving Institution. It is a military friendly school that participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program and offers credit for some military experience, as well as accelerated military friendly degree programs. The university is also supportive of homeschool students, and allows high schoolers to earn credit through dual enrollment.

The average cost of in-state undergraduate tuition at CBU is $30,446, and for graduates tuition is $13,287. 95% of CBU students receive some form of financial aid or scholarship.

See CBU’s full list of online degrees!

#19. William Jessup University

Rocklin, California


Established in 1939, William Jessup University is a private, non-denominational Evangelical university. It has a small student population of under 2,000, 5% of whom are enrolled fully online. Originally founded as San Jose Bible College, the school gained full regional accreditation in 2002 and changed its name in 2004 in tribute to its original president.

The university offers more than 10 fully online bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. Undergraduate students may choose from options including a BS in accounting, a BS in computer science, or a BS in criminal justice. At the master’s level, students may earn an MBA, an MA in leadership, an MA in sport management, or an MS in kinesiology.

William Jessup University is a disability friendly school and a first-generation student friendly school.

The average cost of in-state, undergraduate tuition at William Jessup University is $29,950, and for graduates tuition is $11,284. 97% of William Jessup University students receive some form of financial aid or scholarship..

See WJU’s full list of online degrees!

#20. Vanguard University

Costa Mesa, California


Bachelor’s Ranking Highlights

Vanguard University is a private, Christian university established in 1920. It has over 2,000 students enrolled, 4% of whom are enrolled fully online. The university is affiliated with the Assemblies of God Church, and gained full-university status in 1999.

Students at Vanguard University may select from five fully online programs. At the undergraduate level, Vanguard offers a BA in early childhood, a BA in religion, or an RN to BSN program. Graduate students may earn an MA in leadership studies. The university also offers an online certificate in early childhood.

Vanguard University is federally recognized as a Hispanic-Serving Institution. It is also a military friendly school, a first-generation student friendly school, and a disability friendly school.

The average cost of in-state undergraduate tuition at Vanguard University is $31,980, and for graduates tuition is $10,854. 100% of Vanguard students receive some form of financial aid or scholarship.

See VU’s full list of online degrees!

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