Online Colleges with Tuition Payment Plans

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The traditional financial aid package – grants, scholarships, and loans – isn’t your only option when it comes to paying for college. Tuition financing and payment plans can help make overwhelming tuition bills more manageable, and help you avoid long-term debt.

Online Colleges with Monthly Payment Plans

If you’re searching for online colleges with payment plans and low monthly payments, this might be a great option for you!

Let’s explore how tuition payment plans work, the pros and cons, and what your options are.

What is a tuition payment plan and how does it work?

A tuition payment plan is just what it sounds like: a payment plan to help you pay for college. With online colleges with low monthly payments, you can avoid paying a huge tuition bill at the beginning of each year or semester, and instead pay smaller, more affordable installments over a longer period of time.

Imagine that after your grants and scholarships are applied, your annual tuition cost is $10,000. Most students or families cannot come up with $10,000 all at once, or even $5000 at the start of each semester. With a tuition payment plan, you won’t have to make the entire payment at once; instead, you can spread it out. For example you may be able to pay $1000 each month for 10 months. Whether the payments are broken up into monthly installments, into semesters or by percentages will vary by school and/or payment plan, but the idea is the same: to make your tuition payment more manageable.

Tuition payment plans generally do not charge any interest, but instead may have a small enrollment fee (usually $30 to $100). Payments can be made automatically, directly from your bank account, for your convenience. Some plans also allow you to pay by credit card, but they often charge a steeper fee.

What expenses do tuition payment plans cover?

Student researching tuition payment plan coverage

Most tuition payment plans cover only the direct costs billed by the school (i.e. just the tuition). However, there are some plans that will assist with the costs of any books, supplies and equipment necessary for your online education.

Be sure you understand the limitations of a plan before enrolling.

Why choose a tuition payment plan rather than a loan?

If you’re able to make a sizable payment (but can’t necessarily pay the whole tuition bill), a tuition payment plan is a much better option than taking on student loans.

Let’s again imagine your annual tuition payment is $10,000. If you took out a 10-year student loan at 5%, you would pay a total of $12,727.86 over the course of the ten years. If you opted instead to pay the $10,000 in monthly installments with a $100 enrollment fee, you would total $10,100. That’s a savings of $2627.86.

In addition to saving thousands of dollars on interest, payment plans ensure you are able to graduate debt free. That peace of mind is incredibly valuable, and something you will thank yourself for later!

When should I start looking for a tuition payment plan?

College student writing down tuition payment plan options

Once you begin to narrow down your list of colleges and compare tuition and financial aid packages, it’s a good time to consider tuition payment plans.

Make note of the most affordable online colleges with payment plans, and what kind of schedule they offer, so that you can accurately compare your options.

If you choose an online college that does not offer a tuition installment plan, ask the financial aid office if they can refer you to a tuition management company that offers an independent third-party tuition installment plan.

Who should I talk to about enrolling in a tuition payment plan?

It depends. If the tuition payment plan is offered by and administered by your school, then the school’s financial aid office should be able to help answer your questions. However, if the school contracts its payment plans through a third party, contacting that company directly may be the best way to get accurate information about the plan.

Are monthly payment plans a good idea?

Tuition payment plans are a good solution for many students, but other students may find they just can’t work it into their budgets. Check out these pros and cons to see whether a payment plan is right for you.

Pros of College Payment Plans

  • Enables you to spread a large tuition payment over several months
  • The enrollment fees are lower than the interest rates on student loans
  • Convenient payments (often by automatic withdrawal)
  • No interest
  • No credit check necessary
  • No debt to follow you after graduation

Cons of College Payment Plans

  • Having to pay while still in school, rather than after you have graduated
  • Enrollment fees (usually $30 to $100)
  • Some plans do not accept payments via credit card, or charge an additional fee for them
  • Fees are not tax deductible (whereas student loan interest is tax deductible)

As you can see, there are many advantages in a tuition payment plan. If you are able to work the payments into your budget comfortably, this option can be a great savings for you and help you graduate without long-term debt.

But if the payments are a stretch or present a financial hardship, don’t do it! Instead, you should look for additional grants and scholarships, talk to the financial aid office, and resort to student loans if necessary. You should never agree to a payment plan that you can’t afford!

What are the different types of Tuition Payment Plans?

A student choosing College Standard Payment Plan

There are four different types of payment plans that may be offered by your online school.

  1. Standard Payment Plan – The standard tuition payment plan is just what we have been talking about, which is sort of a “pay as you go” college plan. The overall cost is broken down into smaller installments, such as monthly payments, and you pay an upfront enrollment fee.
  2. Deferred Payment Plan – A deferred payment plan can be one of two things. It could just be the name the school uses for its standard tuition payment plan. Or, it could be a slightly different variation in which you pay two or three payments on scheduled dates, rather than small monthly payments. For example, at New York University, the Deferred Payment Plan breaks the semester into three payments: a 50% initial payment that’s due before the semester starts, a 25% second payment due mid-way through the semester, and a 25% final payment due before the semester ends.
  3. Tuition Stabilization Plan – This plan is designed to protect you from future tuition increases. It allows you to pre-pay for four to eight semesters, at the current tuition rate. This can save you a lot of money in the long run, but will require you to have a lot of money upfront. If you want to “lock in” the current tuition rate for the next two years, you will have to pay for two years of your education immediately; you cannot make partial payments with the Tuition Stabilization Plan.
  4. Direct Bill Plan – This simply means that the school will directly bill a third party, such as your employer, for your tuition. If the third party is not covering the entire tuition amount, you will be responsible for the remainder of the tuition, and must pay that before classes begin.

How do I choose a plan provider?

A student checking colleges with Payment Plan options

You probably won’t have to make this decision. While some schools offer their own payment plans, most use the services of outside providers. Most schools contract with just one provider and offer only one plan, so you won’t likely have to do any shopping around.

For reference, some of the most popular tuition payment plan providers include:

Remember, though, just because a school does not offer payment plans doesn’t mean they aren’t an option!

If the online school you choose does not offer tuition payment plans, ask the financial aid office to refer you to a tuition management company that can help you set up an installment plan.

List of Online Colleges With Payment Plan Options

Online Colleges with Payment Plans Annual Tuition Online Degrees Offered
Academy of Art University  $23,412 Bachelor’s, Master’s and Certificate
Alamo Colleges $2,580 Associate’s and Certificate
Alfred State College  $8,075 Bachelor’s and Certificate
American College of Education $5,500 Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral, and Certificate
American Public University  $6,880 Bachelor’s
American Sentinel University $9,120 Bachelor’s, Master’s and Certificate
American University – Washington D.C. $44,853 Master’s and Certificate
Andrews University  $27,684 Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral, Ed Specialist and Certificate
Arizona State University  $10,370 Bachelor’s
Arkansas State University  $8,200 Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral, Ed Specialist, and Certificate
Arkansas State University-Beebe $3,480 Associate’s and Certificate
Athens State University  $5,730 Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Certificate
Bellevue College $3,624 Associate’s, Bachelor’s and Certificate
Benedictine University  $32,170 Bachelor’s, Master’s and Certificate
Bluefield College  $24,380 Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Certificate
Boise State University  $7,080 Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral, and Certificate
Boston University  $50,240 Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral, and Certificate
Bowie State University $7,880 Certificate
California Intercontinental University $8,385 Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral
California Southern University  $9,000 Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral and Certificate
California State University, Monterey Bay  $6,379 Bachelor’s
California State University, Northridge  $6,587 Bachelor’s, Master’s and Certificate
California University of Pennsylvania  $10,339 Associate’s and Certificate
Carl Albert State College  $3,160 Associate’s and Certificate
Casper College  $2,832 Associate’s
Cedarville University  $28,110 Master’s, Doctoral, and Certificate
Central Arizona College $2,520 Associate’s
Central Christian College of the Bible $13,700 Associate’s, Bachelor’s and Certificate
Central Michigan University  $12,150 Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral and Certificate
Chadron State College  $6,510 Bachelor’s, Master’s and Certificate
Champlain College  $38,660 Associate’s, Bachelor’s, and Master’s
Charter Oak State College  $7,671 Certificate
Clarion University of Pennsylvania  $10,287 Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s and Certificate
Clarkson College  $15,780 Bachelor’s
Clayton State University  $5,340 Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Certificate
Clemson University  $14,708 Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral and Certificate
Cochise College $1,896 Associate’s and Certificate
College of Lake County  $3,780 Certificate
College of Southern Maryland  $3,631 Associate’s and Certificate
College of the Mainland $1,773 Associate’s and Certificate
Colorado Christian University  $29,360 Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s and Certificate
Colorado Mountain College  $1,768 Bachelor’s and Certificate
Colorado State University  $11,052 Bachelor’s, Master’s and Certificate
Columbia Southern University  $5,175 Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s and Certificate
Concordia University $29,390 Bachelor’s, Master’s and Certificate
Concordia University – Irvine  $32,780 Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral, and Certificate
Cornerstone University  $26,860 Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral, and Certificate
Cowley College $2,759 Associate’s and Certificate
Dakota County Technical College $5,662 Associate’s and Certificate
Dakota Wesleyan University  $26,050 Bachelor’s and Master’s
Dallas Baptist University  $26,180 Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s and Certificate
Dallas Theological Seminary $15,450 Master’s, and Certificate
Del Mar College  $3,846 Associate’s
Delta State University  $6,418 Master’s, Doctoral,  and  Education Specialist
DeSales University  $34,850 Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral
DeVry University  $19,948 Associate’s and Certificate
Doane University  $30,434 Bachelor’s, Master’s and Certificate
Drury University  $25,905 Associate’s and Bachelor’s
Eastern Florida State College $2,496 Associate’s, Bachelor’s and Certificate
Eastern Mennonite University $34,200 Bachelor’s and Master’s
Eastern New Mexico University  $5,618 Bachelor’s and Master’s
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania  $9,984 Master’s, Doctoral and Certificate
Elmhurst College $35,500 Master’s and Certificate
Emory & Henry College  $33,700 Master’s
Endicott College – Massachusetts  $31,312 Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Certificate
Fairfax University of America (FXUA) $9,608 Bachelor’s, Master’s and Certificate
Ferris State University  $11,290 Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Certificate
Fisher College Boston $30,389 Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s and Certificate
Fitchburg State University  $10,135 Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral and Certificate
Florida Institute of Technology $12,240 Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral and Certificate
Florida State College at Jacksonville  $2,878 Associate’s, Bachelor’s,  and Certificate
Fordham University  $49,073 Master’s, Doctoral, and Certificate
Fort Hays State University $4,884 Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, Ed Specialist, and Doctoral
Franklin University  $11,881 Master’s, Doctoral and Certificate
Fresno Pacific University  $29,320 Bachelor’s, Master’s and Certificate
George Fox University  $33,730 Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral, and Certificate
George Institute of Technology $8,250 Master’s and Certificate
George Washington University  $51,950 Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral, and Certificate
Georgia Southern University  $6,273 Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral, and Certificate
Georgia Southwestern State University $5,262 Bachelor’s and Certificate
Georgia State University  $8,974 Master’s and Certificate
Gonzaga University  $39,730 Master’s and Doctoral
Goshen College $33,200 Bachelor’s and Master’s
Governors State University $10,516 Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral and Certificate
Great Basin College  $2,910 Associate’s, Bachelor’s and Certificate
Gwinnett Technical College $2,796 Certificate
Harvard University $47,074 Certificate
Huntington University  $25,400 Associate’s, Bachelor’s, and Certificate
Indiana State University  $8,746 Bachelor’s and Certificate
Ithaca College $41,776 Certificate
Jackson College $5,640 Associate’s and Certificate
Jacksonville College $7,900 Associate’s and Certificate
Jacksonville State University  $7,500 Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral, Ed Specialist, and Certificate
Jefferson College of Health Sciences  $25,150 Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral and Certificate
Kansas State University  $9,874 Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral and Certificate
Kean University $11,870 Bachelor’s and Master’s
Kentucky Wesleyan College $24,050 Bachelor’s
Kettering University  $39,790 Master’s and Certificate
King University  $27,276 Associate’s, Bachelor’s and Master’s
Lakewood University $11,104 Associate’s
Lamar University  $8,146 Master’s and Certificate
Lehigh University  $48,320 Master’s and Certificate
Lesley University  $25,875 Bachelor’s, Master’s and Certificate
Lewis University  $30,050 Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral
Liberty University  $21,292 Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral, and Certificate
Lindenwood University $16,332 Bachelor’s, Master’s and Certificate
Linfield College  $40,175 Bachelor’s and Certificate
Lone Star College $3,232 Associate’s and Certificate
Lynn University  $36,650 Bachelor’s
Malone University  $29,422 Master’s, and Certificate
Marshall University $7,154 Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral, and Certificate
Master’s University $31,970 Master’s and Certificate
Medaille College  $27,276 Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Certificate
Merrimack College $38,825 Master’s and Certificate
Metropolitan State University $7,566 Bachelor’s, Master’s and Certificate
Middle Georgia State University $3,890 Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s and Certificate
Midlands Technical College $4,064 Associate’s and Certificate
Minot State University $6,568 Bachelor’s, Master’s and Certificate
Missouri Valley College $19,750 Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Certificate
Montana State University  $6,887 Certificate
Moody Bible Institute $12,630 Bachelor’s, Master’s and Certificate
National Louis University  $10,380 Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral and Certificate
Navarro College $3,870 Associate’s and Certificate
Niagara University  $30,950 Certificate
Nicholls State University  $7,641 Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s and Certificate
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University $3,600 Bachelor’s
North Carolina Central University  $6,132 Bachelor’s, Master’s and Certificate
North Carolina State University  $8,880 Master’s and Certificate
North Park University $27,210 Bachelor’s
North Seattle College $3,819 Bachelor’s
Northcentral University $10,368 Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral, and Certificate
Northern Arizona University  $10,764 Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral, and Certificate
Northland Pioneer College $1,760 Certificate
Northwest Technical College  $5,428 Associate’s and Certificate
Northwestern University  $50,855 Master’s, and Certificate
Nova Southeastern University  $28,736 Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral, Ed Specialist, and Certificate
Oakland University $25,524 Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral, and Certificate
Ohio Christian University  $19,540 Associate’s and Bachelor’s
Ohio University  $11,744 Associate’s and Bachelor’s
Old Dominion University  $9,750 Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral, Ed Specialist, and Certificate
Pace University in New York  $42,772 Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral and Certificate
Peninsula College $4,344 Associate’s, Bachelor’s and Certificate
Penn Foster College $2,069 Associate’s, Bachelor’s, and Certificate
Pennsylvania State University  $17,900 Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral, and Certificate
Philadelphia University  $37,950 Bachelor’s and Master’s
Phoenix College $2,094 Associate’s and Certificate
Piedmont Technical College $4,913 Associate’s and Certificate
Plymouth State University  $13,472 Master’s
Point Park University  $29,030 Bachelor’s, Master’s and Certificate
Portland State University  $8,337 Bachelor’s, Master’s and Certificate
Prescott College $28,943 Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral, and Certificate
Queens University of Charlotte  $32,560 Master’s
Regis College  $39,040 Master’s and Doctoral
Regis University  $34,450 Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Certificate
Rend Lake College $5,700 Associate’s
Roosevelt University  $28,119 Bachelor’s, Master’s and Certificate
Rowan College at Burlington County  $4,065 Associate’s and Certificate
Rutgers University  $14,372 Bachelor’s and Master’s
Sacred Heart University  $38,300 Master’s, Doctoral, and Certificate
Saint Joseph’s College of Maine $33,600 Certificate
Saint Peter’s University $35,192 Bachelor’s and Doctoral
Salem College $27,406 Master’s
Sam Houston State University  $7,762 Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral, and Certificate
San Jacinto College – North $2,580 Certificate
Santa Fe College $2,563 Certificate
Savannah College of Art and Design  $35,690 Bachelor’s and Master’s
Savannah Technical College $2,704 Certificate
Seattle University $41,265 Master’s and Certificate
Sessions College for Professional Design  $8,100 Associate’s
Seton Hall University, New Jersey  $39,258 Master’s and Certificate
Simmons College  $38,590 Master’s
Snow College  $3,592 Certificate
South Seattle College Arboretum $2,684 Certificate
South Texas College  $3,606 Associate’s, Bachelor’s, and Certificate
Southeastern Technical College  $2,784 Certificate
Southern Arkansas University  $8,196 Bachelor’s, Master’s and Certificate
St. Petersburg College $3,385 Associate’s, Bachelor’s, and Certificate
Syracuse University  $45,022 Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s and Certificate
Texarkana College $3,388 Associate’s and Certificate
Texas A&M University $11,036 Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral
Texas State University  $9,605 Master’s and Certificate
Thomas Edison State University  $6,350 Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral and Certificate
Tiffin University  $23,125 Master’s and Certificate
Towson University  $9,408 Bachelor’s
Trident University $9,000 Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral
Trinity International University $30,130 Bachelor’s and Master’s
Unity College $27,960 Master’s
University at Buffalo $9,574 Master’s, Doctoral and Certificate
University of Akron  $10,270 Bachelor’s, Master’s and Certificate
University of Arkansas at Little Rock  $8,061 Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral, and Certificate
University of California, Berkeley  $13,509 Certificate
University of Central Arkansas  $8,224 Bachelor’s and Master’s
University of Denver  $46,422 Bachelor’s, Master’s and Certificate
University of Houston  $9,519 Master’s and Certificate
University of Houston–Downtown  $5,978 Bachelor’s and Certificate
University of Houston-Victoria  $7,369 Master’s and Certificate
University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign $15,058 Doctoral and Certificate
University of Illinois Springfield $11,413 Bachelor’s, Master’s and Certificate
University of Illinois System Master’s
University of Kansas  $11,455 Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral, and Certificate
University of Louisiana at Lafayette  $9,450 Bachelor’s, Master’s and Certificate
University of Louisville $11,264 Bachelor’s, Master’s and Certificate
University of Maryland – College Park $10,181 Certificate
University of Massachusetts – Boston $13,435 Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Certificate
University of Massachusetts – Lowell  $14,307 Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral, Ed Specialist, and Certificate
University of Michigan–Flint $10,344 Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral and Certificate
University of Minnesota  $12,846 Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral, and Certificate
University of Nebraska at Kearney $6,844 Certificate
University of Nevada, Las Vegas  $7,183 Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral
University of Nevada, Reno $7,142 Master’s, Doctoral, and Certificate
University of New England  $35,630 Bachelor’s, Master’s and Certificate
University of North Carolina at Greensboro $6,971 Bachelor’s, Master’s and Certificate
University of North Dakota  $8,136 Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral, and Certificate
University of Phoenix  $9,690 Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral, and Certificate
University of Saint Mary  $26,650 Bachelor’s and Master’s
University of San Diego  $46,140 Master’s
University of Southern Mississippi  $7,659 Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral and Certificate
University of Tennessee – Martin  $9,088 Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Certificate
University of Texas of the Permian Basin $5,774 Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Certificate
University of the Cumberlands  $23,000 Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral, Ed Specialist, and Certificate
University of the Southwest  $15,456 Master’s
University of Washington – Tacoma  $10,831 Certificate
University of West Florida  $6,360 Master’s, Doctoral,  and  Education Specialist
University of West Florida  $6,360 Master’s, Doctoral and Education Specialist
University of Wisconsin Colleges $5,159 Bachelor’s and Certificate
University of Wisconsin–Green Bay $7,878 Bachelor’s
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee $9,493 Master’s, Doctoral and Certificate
University of Wyoming  $5,055 Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral, and Certificate
Utah State University  $7,426 Bachelor’s, Master’s and Certificate
Virginia Commonwealth University  $13,130 Master’s, Doctoral and Certificate
Walden University  $12,075 Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral and Certificate
Washburn University $7,754 Bachelor’s and Certificate
Webster University  $26,300 Bachelor’s, Master’s and Certificate
Wesleyan University $50,912 Certificate
West Virginia University at Parkersburg $3,384 Associate’s, Bachelor’s and Certificate
Western Governors University  $6,070 Bachelor’s, Master’s and Certificate
Western Michigan University  $11,493 Bachelor’s, Master’s and Certificate
Western Oklahoma State College $3,561 Certificate
Westfield State University $9,275 Bachelor’s and Certificate
Wilkes University  $33,568 Bachelor’s, Master’s and Certificate
William Paterson University $12,574 Bachelor’s and Master’s
Wright State University $8,730 Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral
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Elizabeth Abner
WRITTEN BY Elizabeth Abner

Elizabeth is pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Foreign Policy and earned her master's degree in business administration. For her undergraduate studies, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a concentration in international business. Elizabeth's research is focused on universities offering online degree programs.