Associate's Degrees

From Degree Forum Wiki


Although the purpose of this wiki and the Degreeforum site is to provide affordable access to bachelor's degrees, it's not uncommon for students to want or to need a lower associate's degree for some purpose. This may be because their employer requires them to have an associate's degree as quickly as possible or it may be because they are high school students who would like to get a degree before (or concurrent with) graduation of high school.

The costs outlined below do not include application fees or the cost of sending transcripts to your chosen institution. These can vary from student to student. If you are on a tight budget, it's a good idea to allocate at least an additional $100 towards these costs. It also does not include the cost of alternate credit sources. This is just the minimum amount that you will be paying in order to obtain the degree. If a particular program includes the cost of all courses needed to get the degree, that is noted below.

The Big Three[edit]

Charter Oak State College[edit]

  • Cost: $957 Connecticut residents/$1257 others tuition + $224 Connecticut residents/$295 others Student Services fee per semester + $75 technology per semester + $225 graduation fee. Minimum total cost: $1780 Connecticut residents/$2222 others.

COSC limits seekers of associate's degrees to just 45 credits from ACE or NCCRS recommended partner institutions. 6 of the remaining 60 credits must come from COSC in the form of the capstone and cornerstone. The remainder can come from any RA credit source. COSC wants students to take the capstone & cornerstone in different semesters, meaning that you will need to pay at least 2 semesters' worth of fees. Required tuition for a bachelor's degree is only $957/$1257 more for the capstone course.

Excelsior College[edit]

  • Cost: $4920 tuition (12 credits) + $80 technology fee + $130 graduation fee. Minimum cost: $5130 or $3570 tuition (7 credits) + $1095 enrollment fee + $60 technology fee + $495 graduation fee. Minimum total cost: $5220

Excelsior has partnership agreements with,,, etc. that lower the cost of your education at Excelsior as long as you complete the minimum requirements; this usually means taking at least 2 courses at the partner institution and 12 credits with Excelsior. Taking the bare-minimum of 7 credits at Excelsior actually winds up costing you more than taking 12 credits with them. Excelsior associate and bachelor fees are exactly the same at this time

Thomas Edison State University[edit]

  • Cost: $1197 New Jersey Residents/$1557 out-of-state residents tuition + $3192 residency waiver for taking fewer than 16 credits at TESU + $298 graduation fee. Minimum total cost: $4687 New Jersey residents/$5047 out-of state residents.

There are a handful of associate degrees that are up for consideration when deciding on TESU: Associate in Arts (no concentration), AAS in Criminal Justice, AS in Business Administration, ASNSM in Mathematics, and the ASNSM in Computer Science. The reason for this is that these degrees only require the cornerstone to be taken at TESU and do not have an additional associate capstone. This makes an associate's degree at TESU cost marginally less than a bachelor's degree. Due to this marginal cost reduction, it is usually advised that students graduate with both a bachelor's degree and one of the associate's degrees in one graduation period. This gives students a "free" associate's degree but the process does take longer due to needing to meet the requirements for the bachelor's degree. Students who are interested in obtaining one of these degrees may wish to check out this Associate's degree plan page to view the requirements for each degree.


  • Cost: $0

Pierpont offers a Board of Governors Associate of Applied Sciences degree at no cost to the student aside from the cost of the classes which may all be brought in from outside sources. An AAS may not be viewed as favorably as an AA or an AS so this degree won't work for everyone. There are also complications that can make the degree difficult to obtain. See specific page for details.

Purdue University Global[edit]

  • Estimated cost: $2700-3000

Purdue University Global offers an Associate of Science in Professional Studies at a cost of $195/mo + assorted per-course fees. Students are allowed to bring in up to 75% of a degree from outside sources. It is possible to earn the transfer credit for this degree in just a couple of weeks, allowing students to receive an Associate degree in just 2-3 months. Although not free like the Pierpont BOG AAS, this AS may be more valuable to some students.

TEL Learning[edit]

  • Cost: $4000

TEL Learning offers a couple of options when it comes to Associate degrees. High school students are able to obtain an AA from York College or an AS from Oklahoma Christian University, while HS graduates are only eligible for the AS from Oklahoma Christian University. Unlike other degrees listed on this page, the cost for this degree includes all classes, educational materials, etc., making this an extremely affordable option for many students. Although the Big 3 all have minimum age requirements for attendance, there are aspects of this program specifically geared towards students who are still in high school. Highschool students should also consider local dual enrollment programs, as some states and online public schools have agreements to fund community college classes for highschool students.

Snow College[edit]

  • Cost: $1898 per semester for Utah students & US residents or $3500 per semester international students (fees as of August 2022); various partial scholarships may be available to reduce tuition further

Snow College accepts transfer credits from other RA institutions and some CLEP exams as well as military credits via ACE. They may or may not accept other ACE sources; this is not stated outright on their website. Contact them for more information. There is no limit to the number of transfer credits they accept so long as they apply to the degree program. Because this is a competency-based program, a student may work through the courses as quickly as they are able to do so. This unlocks the ability to gain an associate's degree for only the cost of one semester. High school students are permitted to obtain this degree.

Waubonsee Community College[edit]

  • Cost: $1980 tuition + $120 student fees + $150 transaction fees. Minimum total cost: $2150

Waubonsee only requires students to take 15 credits to obtain residency. In theory, a student could transfer in 45 credits of CLEP exams and get an Associate's degree for just the cost of the 5 online classes. This could potentially make them slightly cheaper than COSC for non-Connecticut residents. This does not count the potential cost of books/supplies for Waubonsee classes.

Southern New Hampshire University[edit]

  • Cost: $320 credit. Minimum total cost: $4800

SNHU accepts most and credits. It's inexpensive to transfer in 45 of the 60 required for an associate's. They have options such as computer science. You can take 1-3 classes per 2 month semester. The fastest you could finish is 2 classes the first semester, then 3 the second, for 4 months. You can transfer in credits while enrolled.