15 Colleges for Free Online Associate Degrees

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Online learning has gained popularity in recent years due to its accessibility and affordability. This article highlights 15 colleges that offer free online associate degrees, providing students with valuable credentials while minimizing financial constraints.

These programs offer high standards, abundant resources, and self-paced learning options. By utilizing online learning, students can achieve first-rate education without the costs or inconvenience of face-to-face learning.

Let’s get started.

Overview of Associate Degree

An associate degree is a two-year college degree typically obtained from community colleges, junior colleges, online universities, or some four-year institutions in the US.

It falls between a high school diploma and a bachelor’s degree. Students can transfer into a bachelor’s degree program or work directly in the workforce.

An associate degree can also be earned after working for several years, serving as the first step to a new career or helping advance in their current one.

Associate degree programs are typically more affordable and take less time than a bachelor’s degree. The average tuition for one year in an associate degree program is $3,800 in 2021, but some institution offers free online associate programs.

The average time for full-time students is about two years, though it can take longer for part-time students. The most common types of associate degrees include Associate of Arts (AA), Associate of Science (AS), and Associate of Applied Science (AAS).

After earning an associate degree, students have two options: extend their education and apply to a bachelor’s program, or pursue jobs in medical, engineering, computer science, or legal fields.

Benefits of Pursuing a Free Online Associate Degree

A free online degree offers numerous benefits, including free tuition, no room and board costs, and transportation concerns.

It allows students to work at their own pace and schedule.

Associating with an associate degree increases earning potential by 28%, ensures job security, offers flexibility, affordability, and personal fulfillment, and enhances critical thinking and communication skills.

Community colleges and technical schools offer affordable tuition rates, making it a cost-effective way to earn a college credential.

List of the Best Colleges to Get a Free Online Associate Degree

Below is a list of the best colleges to get a free online associate degree:

Colleges to Find Free Online Associates Degree

1. School of Business and Trade

  • Founded: January 2011

The School of Business and Trade provides quality, self-paced study, online, tuition-free education, thereby promoting education without boundaries and equal accessibility to all.

School of Business and Trade offers unique and interesting learning experiences. Established in 2011, The School aims to promote education without barriers and promote equality in higher education.

2. IICSE University

  • Founded: 2013
  • Ranking: IICSE Online University is ranked one of the top online universities in the world

IICSE University is a tuition-free online distance-learning university dedicated to developing future leaders. Their programs are designed to address current challenges and are practical.

Students can access courses on computers, smartphones, or tablets with internet connection, and can complete their degree at their own pace.

IICSE offers associate degree programs in various fields such as:

  • International Relations
  • Sociology
  • Theology
  • Business Administration & Management
  • Computer Engineering
  • Economics
  • Electronic Physics
  • Engineering Management Technology
  • Fire Protection, and Safety Engineering
  • Information Technology
  • Logistics and Supply Chain Management
  • Marketing
  • Mass Communication & Journalism
  • Nursing
  • Psychology
  • Public Administration
  • Associate of Education (AEd)
  • Associate of Law (LLA) programs.

3. University of the People

  • Founded: 2009
  • Ranking: 967th in the United States and 3384th globally according to the 2021 World University Rankings

UoPeople is an American, tuition-free, online university dedicated to providing quality higher education to nearly 100 million young people by 2025.

University of the People is established in 2009. It offers certificates of associate and bachelor’s degree programs in Business Administration, Computer Science, and Health Science, as well as master’s degrees in business administration, Information Technology, and Education.

The University has over 126,000 students from over 200 countries and territories, despite the large number of students, UoPeople maintains its tuition-free model, offering online bachelor’s degrees, associate and master’s degrees, and no tuition fees.

4. Bucks County Community College

  • Founded: 1964
  • Ranking: Bucks County Community College is ranked #1,667 out of 2,241 schools in the nation for overall quality on College Factual’s 2023 Best Colleges list.

Bucks County Community College, which was founded in 1964, has three campuses and online courses in Newtown, Perkasie, and Bristol. Bucks County Community College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the college offers face-to-face instruction, eLearning, and hybrid modes.

Bucks County Community College provides associate degree certificates, workforce training, and personal enrichment. Students can obtain free online associate degrees through financial aid and scholarship opportunities, including state and federal grants, and local and institutional funds.

5. College of the Ozarks

  • Founded: 1906
  • Ranking: It is ranked #4 out of 86 Regional Colleges Midwest by the 2021 edition of Best Colleges.

The College of the Ozarks is a top free online college that allows full-time students to graduate without debt, through scholarships, grants, and work-study programs.

The institution’s debt-free mission ensures students work on-campus at college-provided jobs without any financial exchange between the student and employer.

Students receive free tuition and must commit to 15 hours per week during school and two forty-hour weeks during breaks. College of the Ozarks is accredited by U.S. News and World Report, the College is a top choice for earning an associate degree.

6. Carl Albert State College

  • Founded: 1933
  • Ranking: Ranked #35 Engineering School in Oklahoma

Carl Albert State College, founded in 1933, is a public community college in Poteau, Oklahoma, with a main campus in Poteau and a smaller campus in Sallisaw.

Carl Albert State College has 28 academic programs, including terminal and transfer options, CSC is a top choice for free online associate degrees. The college offers scholarship programs and financial aid, providing free tuition and military benefits.

7. Amarillo College

  • Founded: 1929
  • Ranking: Amarillo College ranks 1855 among the list of universities in the United States of America (USA).

Amarillo College, which is established in 1929, is a public community college in Amarillo, Texas.

It has six campuses, Amarillo College offers free online associate degrees in various courses including business administration, criminal justice, secondary education, mortuary science, and radiation therapy.

Students can apply for financial aid and scholarships, enabling them to transfer to baccalaureate institutions or secure employment.

8. University of North Carolina

  • Founded: 1789
  • Ranking: It ranks fifth among national public universities and 29th among all national universities in the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges rankings.

The University of North Carolina is a multi-campus public university system in North Carolina, offering online and tuition-free options for undergraduate students.

The University offers online and tuition-free options, with the Covenant Program guaranteeing debt-free graduation for low-income students. U.S. News and World Report ranks the University of North Carolina #30 among the best national universities.

9. Williamson College of the Trades

  • Founded: December 1, 1888.
  • Ranking: Williamson College of the Trades was awarded 45 badges in the 2023 rankings (College Factual).

Williamson College of the Trades is a private men’s junior vocational college in Middletown Township, Pennsylvania, it was founded in 1888 by Isaiah Vansant Williamson.

All admitted students receive full scholarships covering tuition, room, board, and books. Most of their students attend college free of major costs.

Williamson College is a top free online college, with 100% of students receiving need-based scholarships to offset tuition and room/board.

10. Atlanta Technical College

  • Founded: 1945
  • Ranking: Atlanta Technical College ranks among the top 20% of public schools in Georgia.

Atlanta Technical College is a public technical college in Atlanta, Georgia, it is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

The College offers free online degrees through federal and state financial aid need-based grants, scholarships, and other programs.

Students can apply these funds to various online degrees, preparing them for four-year institutions or the workforce.

The College’s Georgia Hope Scholarship program, Phoenix Patriot Foundation Veterans scholarship, and United Way of Greater Atlanta scholarship are among the available options.

11. Coastline Community College

  • Founded: 1976
  • Ranking: #325 spot in College Factual 2023 ranking of best overall colleges in the United States.

Coastline College is a public community college that offers free online associate degree programs and is dedicated to accessible education. The college offers associate in arts and associate in science degrees, as well as career and technical courses.

It has three mini-campuses and an administration facility in Fountain Valley. Its popular AA or AS programs are designed for transfer to four-year institutions and have collaborative partnerships for bachelor’s degrees.

Coastline Community College also offers career advancement and occupational certificates.

12. Thomas Edison State University

  • Founded: 1972
  • Ranking: Thomas Edison State University is ranked #321 in College Factual’s 2023 ranking of best overall colleges in the United States.

Thomas Edison State University is a public University in Trenton, New Jersey that offers free online associate degree programs for working adults and individuals seeking accessible higher education. Thomas Edison State University is one of New Jersey’s 11 senior public institutions.

Thomas Edison State University offers various degree and certificate programs, namely:

  • Associate in Arts,
  • Human Services,
  • Applied Computer Studies,
  • Applied Electronic Studies,
  • Criminal Justice,
  • Computer and Information Technology,
  • Electrical Technology, Electronics Engineering Technology,
  • Nuclear Engineering Technology,
  • Technical Studies, and
  • Business Administration.

13. Eastern Wyoming College

  • Founded: 1948
  • Ranking: Eastern Wyoming College #5 in Best Community Colleges in Wyoming.

Eastern Wyoming College, which was founded in 1968, offers free online associate degrees in business administration, criminal justice, early childhood education, elementary education, and interdisciplinary studies.

The college has a large online course catalog where students can receive state and federal financial assistance, and low-income families may qualify for grants covering tuition, fees, and textbook costs.

14. Central Texas College

  • Founded: 1965
  • Ranking: Central Texas College is ranked #386 out of 2,241 schools in the nation for overall quality on College Factual’s 2023 Best Colleges list.

Central Texas College (CTC) is a public community college in Killeen, Texas. Central Texas College is an accredited institution that offers over 60 online certificate and associate degree programs.

These programs can improve students’ lifetime earnings, employability, and promotion chances, and serve as a stepping stone to higher education.

Central Texas College also offers $16.074M worth of financial aid to students which covers their costs.

15. College of the Ouachitas

  • Founded: 1969
  • Ranking: It is ranked #49of 83 (Best Colleges in Arkansas)

College of the Ouachitas is a public institution in Malvern, Arkansas that offers accessible, high-value associate degrees and certificates in a quality academic environment.

It caters to 3,500 credit, non-credit, adult education, and workforce students, serving culturally and economically diverse populations in the five-county service area.

The College offers over 50 programs in academic, career, and technical disciplines. The programs can also be taken online.

FAQs on Colleges for Free Online Associate Degrees

Can I transfer credits from these free online associate degree programs to other colleges or universities?

Transferability of credits depends on institution policies; consult with college or university for specific guidelines.

How long does it take to complete a free online associate degree?

Associate degree programs' duration varies by credits, enrollment status, and coursework completion pace. Full-time programs typically take two years, with self-paced options allowing faster or slower progress.

Can I continue my education after completing a free online associate degree?

Yes, upon completing a free online associate degree, you can choose to continue your education.


In conclusion, pursuing a free online associate degree offers valuable credentials without tuition fees. These programs equip students with the necessary knowledge and skills, increasing employability and paving the way for further education.

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