Top 100 Affordable Psychology Schools

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Prospective college students who are considering majoring in psychology should take the time to examine a variety of degree programs from several universities and colleges. After all, you want to make the best decision for your money and future.

Reading college ranking reports may help you do this; by looking at the percentages and statistics reported by each school, you may be able to narrow your final choice down to the school that has the most advantages for you, from the financial considerations to the benefits of earning a psychology degree.

A degree in psychology is one of the more popular options for students. Responding to this interest, universities and colleges across the U.S. offer both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in psychology. Graduate degree programs in psychology are also popular - this is because, to practice clinical psychology, graduates must hold advanced degrees, master’s or doctoral, to meet licensure requirements.

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Top 100 Affordable Psychology College Rankings

Organizations that rank colleges and universities provide a valued and badly needed service. Students, their families, and the colleges and universities receiving rankings rely on solid research and numbers to show prospective students what they can expect from each school. Most schools make retention and graduation rates available—these percentages display the numbers of first-year students who return to the schools and the percentage who graduate within a 4- or 6-year timeframe.

Tuition rates are also included so that students and their families are able to determine for themselves which schools would be the best value for the student’s career goals. University Headquarters provides college rankings in an unbiased and objective way, making it easier for students to figure out which schools may be the best ones for them to consider. Data is collected from several education or career sources. Among them are the College Navigator site, the College Scorecard, PayScale and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


Berea College

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $45,092
    • Out-of-state: $45,092
  • Net Price: $1,964
  • Retention Rate: 84%
  • Total Enrollment: 1,688
  • Undergrad Students: 1,688
  • Graduate Students: 0
  • Graduation Rate: 68%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 15
  • Berea College

Elizabeth City State University

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $3,260
    • Out-of-state: $7,260
  • Net Price: $3,270
  • Retention Rate: 70%
  • Total Enrollment: 1,769
  • Undergrad Students: 1,692
  • Graduate Students: 77
  • Graduation Rate: 39%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 12
  • Elizabeth City State University

California State University-Los Angeles

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $6,781
    • Out-of-state: $18,661
  • Net Price: $3,859
  • Retention Rate: 81%
  • Total Enrollment: 26,671
  • Undergrad Students: 22,797
  • Graduate Students: 3,874
  • Graduation Rate: 52%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 345
  • California State University-Los Angeles

CUNY Lehman College

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $7,410
    • Out-of-state: $15,360
  • Net Price: $3,913
  • Retention Rate: 83%
  • Total Enrollment: 15,143
  • Undergrad Students: 13,002
  • Graduate Students: 2,141
  • Graduation Rate: 53%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 268
  • CUNY Lehman College

Texas A&M International University

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $7,683
    • Out-of-state: $18,983
  • Net Price: $4,165
  • Retention Rate: 79%
  • Total Enrollment: 8,305
  • Undergrad Students: 7,220
  • Graduate Students: 1,085
  • Graduation Rate: 47%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 157
  • Texas A & M International University

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: 372
  • CUNY City College

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $8,917
    • Out-of-state: $18,733
  • Net Price: $4,654
  • Retention Rate: 76%
  • Total Enrollment: 29,113
  • Undergrad Students: 24,965
  • Graduate Students: 4,148
  • Graduation Rate: 46%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 419
  • The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

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: 496
  • California State University-Dominguez Hills

CUNY Brooklyn College

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $7,440
    • Out-of-state: $15,390
  • Net Price: $4,736
  • Retention Rate: 80%
  • Total Enrollment: 17,811
  • Undergrad Students: 14,970
  • Graduate Students: 2,841
  • Graduation Rate: 54%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 521
  • CUNY Brooklyn College

Indiana University-Northwest

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $7,715
    • Out-of-state: $20,574
  • Net Price: $5,453
  • Retention Rate: 64%
  • Total Enrollment: 3,877
  • Undergrad Students: 3,454
  • Graduate Students: 423
  • Graduation Rate: 35%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 40
  • Indiana University-Northwest
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Why a Degree from an Affordable Psychology School?

As future psychology majors weigh their options, researching a little more deeply will show them why a psychology degree from an affordable college or university is so valuable. The employment numbers show that more than 3 million psychologists are employed in the U.S. In all other fields, around 55 million people hold jobs.

Fifty-nine percent of psychologists hold at least a bachelor’s degree and the percentage is the same for people working in every other occupation. Psychologists come out ahead in the percentage holding an advanced degrees; this is 49%. In comparison, 37% of people in all occupations averaged together hold advanced degrees.

While some students may prefer to attend a dream college or one of the Ivy League universities, this may not be realistic for many. Opting for a less expensive college may allow students to focus on their degree rather than on future college-related expenses. And it means that they won’t have as much debt to worry about when they must inevitably return to the classroom to earn a master’s degree, which is required to go into counseling practice.

After students choose more affordable schools, they may be able to find a dream internship rather than having to worry about earning money to cover all of their bills. This can boost your income overall and provide you quicker access to the most coveted careers in psychology, those in counseling or research.

Choosing an Affordable Psychology College

Future psychology students have many factors they can focus on if they are looking for affordable college degrees. Some may be more important than others but they may all influence the student’s eventual decision.

The biggest factor may be the majors and minors each school offers. Even if students haven’t made up their minds that they are majoring in psychology or another field, it’s best to find a school that offers plenty of opportunity for exploration within a variety of fields.

Tuition cost is also high on the list of what factors most students use to decide where to attend school. Students may be aware that their family cannot afford to give them an Ivy League education. Therefore, they will weigh the overall cost along with other factors. Completing their research and talking to the financial aid offices of several schools can help you narrow down your choices. Or it may even expand your options if you are eligible for financial aid in the form of grants or scholarships. These can make even the most expensive tuition reasonable for any student.

Tuition has only increased over the past few decades. This has led to students taking on student loan debt which, after graduation, must be repaid. To avoid this possibility, students should explore the costs of each college, including hidden costs. A few questions you can ask that might give you some insight includes: Is this school for-profit or non-profit? Does the tuition include fees? How much is tuition? Does the school offer financial aid options? What are they?

Next, students may have to consider location. Will they go to school out-of-state and risk paying higher tuition or will they find a good program in-state? All of these things affect the cost of attending school and even the surrounding costs of returning home for holidays/summer. If you have to fly home, each trip will obviously be more expensive.

Looking for recreational activities close to the schools they are considering may lead students to rank one school higher than the others as well. Relaxing with a hike or visit to a park in their free time may be an inexpensive pursuit that they won’t have access to in some cities.

Students should also feel comfortable while they are visiting a particular campus. This is why those college tours are vital. Walking around campus, going into different academic buildings, stopping in at the student center, and even walking through quads or the grounds of a few dormitories may give students a feel for the campus environment. When students can see themselves living on a campus for four years, they are close to a choice. They should also look at rural and urban settings, the accessibility of cultural activities and public transportation.

Online Options

Online degree programs are a necessity for some students. They may be working while they attend school, which can make on-campus classes unrealistic. Or they may have family obligations which take up significant portions of their time.

Narrowing this down to psychology programs, students who need an online degree program should look for a university or college that can satisfy their career goals and offer a legitimate education in this field, including having accreditation.

The level of the psychology degree also matters. An online degree program is realistic for students in associate or bachelor’s psychology programs, though some classes may have hands-on components that you must take. It’s best to check with the school, and the psychology department specifically, for the program you are considering since physiology classes can have hands-on components, as can any course dealing with counseling. Once students have earned their associate or bachelor’s degree, they should be able to find entry-level positions.

As you consider a master’s or doctorate degree in psychology, you may run into schools that don’t have properly accredited online degree programs. Students who are limited to online psychology degree programs should verify the accreditation status of each school they are exploring. The school has to be accredited in order for you to receive federal student aid and meet licensure requirements for any counseling license in any state. This should preferably be regional accreditation.

Will online psychology programs allow students to choose a concentration? Again, this is an area that students should investigate before making their final choice. Will the online college require in-person or hybrid attendance? This is more likely as students begin moving into higher degree levels and satisfying clinical or internship requirements.

Students planning to complete online degree programs may also want to conduct research with members of the faculty. Depending on the school, carrying out research virtually may be a possibility or they may be able to complete their research at a school closer to their home.

Are Psychology Programs in High Demand?

Psychologists are required to earn college degrees. Psychologists with master’s degrees and doctorates are able to counsel clients and carry out research into this field of science, whereas those with a lower-level degree can only work as psychiatric technicians or, sometimes, as addiction support counselors.

The employment of psychologists has been predicted to grow 3% between 2019 and 2029, which is about the same rate as for all other occupations, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). For those who have earned a doctorate in an applied specialty, the likelihood of finding a job in this field is the highest.

The demand for psychologists should grow due to increased demand for psychological services in settings such as social service agencies, hospitals, schools, and mental health centers. Veterans returning from deployments are also expected to need psychological services as they may be suffering from mental trauma caused during their deployments, and the military has been taking this need more seriously in recent years.

Psychological assistance will also be needed for the survivors of other types of trauma and for those suffering from developmental disorders. School psychologists will be in high demand because education professionals are more aware of the link between learning and mental health. As students are identified as having special needs, learning and behavioral disabilities, school psychologists will work with them and help to develop Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) to help address the needs and challenges of these students while helping them learn to the best of their abilities.

Industrial-organizational psychologists will be in continued demand to select the best employees, increase the efficiency and productivity of the organization and improve office morale. The fastest-growing roles in psychology include psychologist, substance abuse counselor, mental health and behavioral disorder counselor, training and development specialist, marriage and family counselor, and, in a related field, social worker.

What Can You Do with a Degree in Psychology?

Because of the versatility a psychology degree offers, graduates at every level of this field should be able to find a job in criminal justice, social services, business environments, and clinical environments.

Communication is likely to be one of the best skills of a psychology graduate though many learn to do so in an academic way and must practice more business-focused or personable communication methods. And communication also means listening. In any environment, a psychologist has to be able to absorb information, then share what they have found.

Careers a psychology graduate may consider include psychologist; as long as they have earned a graduate degree, they can provide counseling services. They may also hire or supervise counselors, they may teach at a university, and, if they have a PhD, they may carry out clinical research.

They may also consider mental health counseling, which involves individual and group counseling. Some may choose addictions counseling or marriage and family counseling. Another option is career counseling; this requires professionals who enjoy helping people meet specific goals. Career counselors may also provide mental health support. A closely related field is academic counseling.

Other career options for psychology graduates include:

  • Psychiatric Technician:
    This professional works with mental health professionals, serving the elderly and people suffering from mental illness.
  • Community Service Manager:
    This individual coordinates, then oversees service programs and organizations. Their staff provides social services to the public. This is similar to both social work and psychology.
  • Human Resources Specialist:
    In this field, psychology graduates use what they have learned of human behavior and thought processes, working to create meaningful company cultures.

Psychology Graduates Earn More After College

A community college graduate who has earned their psychology degree earn around $47,000 with this degree. And, if they return to school and earn a post-graduate diploma in psychology, their annual pay may increase slightly to $48,000.

College graduates who have earned their bachelor’s degree in psychology earn an average of $64,000. With this degree, they may also be able to transition into a human resources role or another business role. However, should a psychology graduate want to advance into the role of human resources manager, they may have to return to school to earn a business degree specializing in human resources.

Someone graduating with their master’s degree in psychology earns $47,000 to $60,000. After working in a counseling position, they may be promoted to a behavioral health director’s position, which pays $101,000. They will also have access to well-paid counseling positions assuming they earn their license and find a group to practice with.

A graduate of a master’s in counseling psychology earns around $47,000. They may want to begin working directly as a counselor, or as a mental health clinician. This career move may allow them to increase their annual pay to $53,000.

Someone who has earned a master’s degree in psychology (non-MBA) may expect to earn $62,000. Depending on the courses and specialties they took, they may be qualified to work as a human resources consultant, where they may earn $83,000.


  • What are the admission requirements for psychology students?
    For incoming baccalaureate students, the requirements include completing specific high school coursework: math, English, lab sciences, social sciences, second language, and fine arts OR career and technical education. Aptitude requirements for more inclusive schools might include things such as graduating in the top 25% of their class, earning a 3.00 GPA, and earning a 22 on the ACT or 1120 on the SAT.
  • What are the requirements of psychology programs?
    To be admitted to the psychology program, students must meet all general education course requirements. There are also usually prerequisites for psychology courses, though many of them are also within the psychology major track. Most students can’t join the Psychology major until they are at least a year into their bachelor’s degree and have already completed an Intro. to Psychology course. Students may be required to maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA on every major credit taken, including transfer work.
  • What type of accreditation should psychology students be looking for?
    Psychology majors should look for programmatic accreditation from the American Psychological Association (APA). A clinical psychopathology research program should also have accreditation from the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System. Some programs are members of a coalition of doctoral training programs—this coalition is the Academy of Psychological Clinical Science. Barring high-level programmatic accreditation, you should be looking for regional accreditation for your school when you are completing a degree at the baccalaureate level.
  • How long will it take to complete a psychology degree?
    Students in a bachelor of psychology program are required to earn at least 120-180 credits to complete their degree. This usually takes between four and five years, though the quarterly course load a student chooses to take will affect this.

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