Top 100 Affordable Cybersecurity Schools

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Cyber security is and will continue to be one of the most stable and in-demand careers through 2029. There are over 3 million unfilled cyber security jobs worldwide and over 2,200 cyber-attacks on a daily basis. The combination of a massive professional cyber security shortage and a thriving cyber-criminal industry is leading to an overworked and underqualified workforce. It is also resulting in severely high cyber-threat risks and threats for businesses and organizations paired with skyrocketing cyber security salaries.

The cyber security field is a mix of insecurity for employers and job security for employees. In general, employers are desperate for cyber security professionals with relevant experience, a high-quality skill set, and a proper education. This is leading to more and more colleges and universities with cyber security degrees. Currently, the number of cyber security degrees being offered are also in shortage in comparison to the demand. And the industry is still struggling to attract more women in cyber security. For those interested in cyber security degrees, be sure to look for both affordable programs and programs designated as a center for excellence.

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Top 100 Affordable Cyber Security College Rankings

University Headquarters takes great pride in establishing a fair, unbiased, and representative ranking of the most affordable programs. The research team has evaluated far more than simply the cost of cyber security programs. The University HQ ranking system is designed to provide a list of colleges and universities with cyber security degrees that are of high quality, that have affordable prices, and offer an impressive probability of employment upon graduation.

One aspect taken into consideration is the acceptance rate of a college or university. Various studies have demonstrated that the rate of acceptance can be directly associated with the graduation rate. This means that, if a school is more selective with the number of applicants they approve, it’s more likely that students will graduate rather than to drop out or transfer. The on-time graduation rate is another consideration. This is reflective of whether or not the higher learning institution provides adequate support and graduation pathways for students to succeed. These are only a few considerations out of many that we use to create the best ranking lists for you, the student.


St. Petersburg College

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $2,682
    • Out-of-state: $9,286
  • Net Price: $2,702
  • Retention Rate: N/A
  • Total Enrollment: 28,853
  • Undergrad Students: 28,853
  • Graduate Students: 0
  • Graduation Rate: 33%
  • Diplomas Awarded: N/A
  • St. Petersburg College

Pensacola State College

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $2,364
    • Out-of-state: $9,470
  • Net Price: $3,351
  • Retention Rate: N/A
  • Total Enrollment: 9,713
  • Undergrad Students: 9,713
  • Graduate Students: 0
  • Graduation Rate: 28%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 32
  • Pensacola State College

CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $7,470
    • Out-of-state: $15,420
  • Net Price: $4,221
  • Retention Rate: 80%
  • Total Enrollment: 15,880
  • Undergrad Students: 13,746
  • Graduate Students: 2,134
  • Graduation Rate: 52%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 119
  • CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $8,917
    • Out-of-state: $18,733
  • Net Price: $4,419
  • Retention Rate: 76%
  • Total Enrollment: 29,113
  • Undergrad Students: 24,965
  • Graduate Students: 4,148
  • Graduation Rate: 46%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 104
  • The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

CUNY City College

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $7,340
    • Out-of-state: $15,290
  • Net Price: $4,546
  • Retention Rate: 84%
  • Total Enrollment: 15,816
  • Undergrad Students: 13,030
  • Graduate Students: 2,786
  • Graduation Rate: 56%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 102
  • CUNY City College

California State University-Dominguez Hills

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $6,941
    • Out-of-state: $18,821
  • Net Price: $4,683
  • Retention Rate: 77%
  • Total Enrollment: 17,977
  • Undergrad Students: 15,365
  • Graduate Students: 2,612
  • Graduation Rate: 44%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 120
  • California State University-Dominguez Hills

Miami Dade College

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $2,838
    • Out-of-state: $9,661
  • Net Price: $4,998
  • Retention Rate: N/A
  • Total Enrollment: 51,679
  • Undergrad Students: 51,679
  • Graduate Students: 0
  • Graduation Rate: 33%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 29
  • Miami Dade College

Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $5,774
    • Out-of-state: $11,384
  • Net Price: $7,160
  • Retention Rate: N/A
  • Total Enrollment: 2,305
  • Undergrad Students: 2,305
  • Graduate Students: 0
  • Graduation Rate: 37%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 46
  • Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology

California State University-Stanislaus

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $7,584
    • Out-of-state: $19,464
  • Net Price: $7,418
  • Retention Rate: 83%
  • Total Enrollment: 10,974
  • Undergrad Students: 9,723
  • Graduate Students: 1,251
  • Graduation Rate: 59%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 67
  • California State University-Stanislaus

The University of Texas Permian Basin

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $4,837
    • Out-of-state: $9,745
  • Net Price: $7,424
  • Retention Rate: 63%
  • Total Enrollment: 5,283
  • Undergrad Students: 4,347
  • Graduate Students: 936
  • Graduation Rate: 40%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 23
  • The University of Texas Permian Basin
Full Ranking Report

Why a Degree from an Affordable Cybersecurity School?

One of the best reasons to choose a more affordable cybersecurity school is to gain relevant experience sooner in one’s career. Affordable colleges and universities often offer greater program flexibility. As a result, students at less expensive schools are able to secure part-time or full-time work within the cyber security sector. While other students are restricted from daytime working hours to attend courses, affordable cyber security degrees allow students to study and work. Because educated cybersecurity professionals are in high demand, the earlier one is able to secure work experience, the better.

Another advantage is the wide array of career possibilities. It’s possible to focus on computer-related careers, cloud-based systems, software, penetration testing, recovery, ransomware, and much more. A more affordable degree also allows for people to pursue additional education opportunities after they earn an associate or bachelor’s degree. This is an ever-changing profession. As such, continuing education gained through certifications and advanced degrees will be necessary. And most people who graduate with an affordable cyber security degree are able to minimize their debt and free up money to spend on more interesting items after graduation, such as trips, a house, a family, etc.

Choosing an Affordable Cyber Security College

For millions of students each year, choosing an affordable college is a priority for many reasons. And each person will have a unique set of reasons. However, a number of additional factors should be taken into consideration during the decision-making process. To begin, examine the accreditation of the school and the program. Unfortunately, not all education standards are equal throughout the country. Colleges and universities with regional accreditation are considered to offer the most rigid and demanding curriculums. This is a factor employers are likely to consider.

It’s also important to consider whether or not a cybersecurity program is designated as a center for excellence by the NSA and DHS. Many programs have such endorsements including community colleges, state schools, and private schools. Another aspect to consider is where to attend school. In-state schools are almost always around half the cost of out-of-state programs. Online programs at out-of-state schools can also offer similar pricing to in-state tuition. However, be aware that some schools ask you to pay more for online education, which may prevent an equitable education for all at those institutions. Be sure to check degree costs for all types of learning platforms prior to committing to a program.

In-state and online cyber security degree programs also appeal to individuals who want to maximize their savings by living at home while taking courses. This minimizes travel time, allows for students to work or care for family members, and avoid the additional housing expenses associated with living on or off-campus. Don’t forget to look into whether or not the school offers a career center. Colleges and universities with career centers often provide students with a competitive advantage by matching students with internships, part-time work, and full-time jobs. In many cases, employers reach out to the school for qualified candidates. And the career center will assist with resume writing, mock job interviewing, and much more.

Online Options

Today, online cybersecurity jobs are becoming more standard. While some positions require working onsite to manage equipment, peripherals, networks, and others, many cyber security workers will work online at one point or another.

Because there is a massive shortage of cybersecurity professionals, many employers do not require relocation for cyber security jobs. This is another example of how online cyber security degrees are potentially more beneficial than in-person cyber security degrees. These careers will also likely have to work with people in other regions of states, the country, and the world. It will be important to be able to learn the best ways to communicate without meeting people in person, and this is one way to gain experience doing so.

Online cyber security degrees are available at all degree levels. The same is true for online cybersecurity certifications. As continuing education is essential for cybersecurity professionals, online degrees and certifications will be particularly helpful for these career pathways. And, because many colleges and universities do not yet have dedicated cybersecurity degrees, programs or departments, online programs from schools in other states may be the only option for many students.

Are Cyber Security Programs in High Demand?

Cyber security programs are in demand by both employers and students alike. At the moment, only around 300 colleges and universities have cybersecurity programs designated as centers for excellence. This is only 5.66% of the over 5,300 higher learning institutions in the whole of the US. This leaves a frightening gap in the area of cyber security education standards for such a critical field.

The expected cyber security career growth rate is 31%. This is significantly higher than the average job growth rate of four percent throughout all careers in the US. This projected growth is directly related to the already significant lack of skilled cybersecurity professionals. Another reason for the rising demand for cyber security experts is due to the incessant increase in cyber-attacks each day, month, and year. Greater need for these individuals is also related to the increasingly connected lives of the everyday person, such as remote working and using more items connected to the Internet of Things.

This demand will also continue as businesses become more reliant on technology. Businesses today have to be careful with their networks and their employees as each endpoint is just as vulnerable as an untrained employee clicking on or responding to the wrong email or website.

What Can You Do with a Degree in Cyber Security?

A degree in cybersecurity can lead to a wide range of career opportunities. At the entry-level stage, it’s possible to become a support technician or an associate system or network administrator. Many different types of analyst roles are also available at this level such as cyber security analyst, security analyst, penetration tester, and information security analyst. A bachelor’s degree in cyber security can lead to better paying roles with more responsibilities such as administrators, managers, engineers, and others. Those with a master’s degree often quickly rise to the ranks of management and executive roles.

The types of employers who hire cybersecurity professionals are everywhere. One of the fastest-growing employers of cyber security professionals is the government. All levels of the government are finally taking cyber security seriously. As such, the demand is great at the local, regional, and national levels. Individuals can also choose to work as consultants to help establish cybersecurity programs. Or you can work for corporations, small businesses, non-profits, and every other type of organization.

Nearly every industry is desperate for more well-trained cyber security professionals. It’s an option to work for school districts, healthcare entities, tech businesses, colleges or universities, food manufacturers, and others. Bad actors and cyber-criminals will seek out any place with a vulnerability. Right now, no one and no industry is safe. It’s even possible to specialize in a type of business or an industry as a way to make more money or to advance one’s career more quickly.

Cybersecurity Graduates Earn More After College

Salaries for cybersecurity jobs are some of the highest of all fields at the moment. Many graduates will start out earning over $50,000 a year for entry-level positions. Those who gain work experience while they complete a degree can expect to earn over $60,000 to begin. Keep in mind that smaller communities and smaller companies may not pay as much as others.

For those with a bachelor’s degree and some relevant experience, it’s more likely that a person will make over $70,000 a year. Many individuals with more work experience and this degree will make over $100,000 annually. A master’s degree in cyber security will catapult one’s earning potential to over $100,000 with very little experience.

Certificates and continued learning opportunities can also increase pay quite quickly. It can also be more monetarily advantageous to work as a consultant as many companies simply cannot afford to keep cybersecurity professionals on staff. To jumpstart one’s salary base upon graduation, be certain to work with the school’s career center to secure work while completing a degree. This might be in the form of an internship, part-time job, or full-time work. The more experience one has before graduation, the higher one’s starting salary and long-term earning potential will be. This can also directly impact the number and quality of job offers.


  • Are there professional associations I should join while earning a master’s in cyber security degree?
    A growing number of cyber security professional associations show up as the field becomes larger and more varied. Keep in mind that many memberships are free or discounted for students.

    Some of the most popular cybersecurity professional organizations include:

    • Association for Women in Computing
    • Information Systems Security Association
    • Information Systems Audit and Control Association - ISACA
    • International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium - (ISC)2
    • Information Security Research Association
    • CompTIA
    • ASIS International
  • What will I learn in a cyber security bachelor’s program?
    The courses and curriculum of a cyber security bachelor’s degree program will depend entirely on the specialization of the program.

    General cybersecurity degrees might have similar courses, such as:

    • Business Communications
    • Microeconomics
    • Business Law
    • Cyber Security Principles
    • Cyber Law, Policy and Compliance
    • Database Design
    • Applied Operating Systems
    • Information Technology Concepts and Applications
    • Introduction to Programming
  • What are the admission requirements for master’s degrees?
    The admission requirements for a cyber security master’s degree are rapidly evolving. Some schools will still require a GMAT or GRE graduation examination score. However, this is quickly becoming obsolete. A minimum bachelor’s degree GPA will often still be a requirement, as well as various prerequisite courses. Those changing careers may have to complete a few courses before being accepted. Each school will have its own set of admission requirements, and some will be more difficult than others.

  • How do I get a job in cybersecurity management?
    Right now, it‘s possible to get a job in cyber security management with as little as an associate degree and a few years of experience. This is largely due to the lack of qualified candidates in the field. Most management positions in cyber security will require at least a bachelor’s degree and preferably a master’s degree in cybersecurity. While completing degrees, a college or university’s career center can help make invaluable connections that lead to management careers in cyber security.

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