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Paying for college or university tuition can, most times, be burdensome, especially for underprivileged (low-income or poor) students with average grades.


This article, to help alleviate the problem for any financially disadvantaged student with no straight-As, provides some insights into how to pick the right affordable college in the US, the UK, or in Canada.  In other words, it could help low-income students, with average grades, to decide on the right college or university that will grant them admission with possible funding. 





This post will accomplish this based on information sourced from 7 educational stakeholders, listed below, and also from 15 reliable media platforms, providing lists of schools that have relaxed admission requirements, programs that cater to underprivileged students, and/or schools that have relatively very low tuition cost. 


The low tuition parameter is the most important selection criteria used because, in the absence of scholarships and/or grants, most of these schools would not deny anyone an admission if one is able to pay for the low tuition cost.


And by the way, as you read, some of the listed schools, which are said to be cheap for international students, who sometimes do not have access to tuition cost-cutting programs, could be indicators of cheaper schools for most domestic students that do.


Readers can maximize the information from this post via these questions:


a) What is an underprivileged student?
| Answer |


b) What is defined as an average grade especially for US students?
| Answer |


c) What are examples of relatively cheap colleges and universities in the USA, Canada, and the UK that would admit underprivileged students with average grades?
| Answer |


d) What are examples of grants and programs that can help pay for colleges and universities?
| Answer |


e) How were these affordable universities and colleges selected for this post?
| Answer |


f) Which of these three countries, the US, Canada, or the UK, has, generally, the cheapest educational institutions?
| Answer |


g) Can “quality” be generalized with regards to choosing a university or a college?
| Answer |


h) Should I rely on the top 10 or something academic college list when choosing a college or university?
| Answer |




USA Colleges and Universities: 
| List 1 | List 2 | List 3 | List 4 | List 5 | List 6 | List 7 | List 8 |


Canadian Colleges and Universities: 
| List 1 | List 2 | List 3 | List 4 | List 5


UK Colleges and Universities:
| List 1 | List 2 | List 3 | List 4 | List 5



| Venkates Swaminathan | Dr. Bryan Reece | John Crossman | Dr. Terrell Strayhorn | Adam Jacobs | Taylor Garrett | Sabrina Manville | 




1) Venkates Swaminathan

Venkates Swaminathan, tuition, Students, colleges and universities I am the founder and CEO of LifeLaunchr, which is a member of the National Association for College Admission Counseling.


The *average grade* of a student graduating high school in the United States is *about 3.0 (a B average), and the average SAT score is about 1060* according to College Board data. 


For underprivileged (likely low-income) students, *there are many universities that would admit them, and the key is finding colleges that are affordable*. In this case, that means finding colleges where the costs of attendance are largely covered by Pell and state grants, subsidized student loans, and work-study programs. It could also mean colleges that meet 100% of need. That list of colleges and universities vary a lot based on the state that a student is from.


For example, for a student from California, 


California State Universities such as: 


A) San Francisco State,
B) San Jose State
C) California State Los Angeles


 will admit students with average GPAs and test scores.


These are also possible examples for students in Texas: 


D) The University of North Texas in Dallas
E) Texas A&M
F) The University of North Texas in Arlington 


Students from New York may find these 2 schools to their liking: 


G) The City University of New York
H) CUNY, Brooklyn College


Nationally, there are few private universities that meet 100% of need and also offer good odds of acceptance for students with average GPAs. But there are universities that offer good educations at very low-cost, even for out-of-state students who receive federal aid such as: 


I) Middle Georgia State University,
J) Murray State University
K) North Carolina A&T University  




2) Dr. Bryan Reece

Dr. Bryan Reece, tuition, Students, colleges and universitiesI have a 29-year career in community colleges and was most recently the President of Norco College in California


And so, I would recommend the following colleges. They are all community colleges that were recognized by Aspen since 2015. Aspen conducts a rigorous national analysis


The colleges are open enrollment community colleges and have demonstrated excellence in working with students from historically underserved communities. Community colleges have demonstrated greater success in preparing underprivileged students for upper-division work. From these colleges, students will be able to transfer to elite universities and save as much at 50% on the cost of their education.


A) Miami Dade College, FL
B) Indian River State College, FL
C) Broward College, FL
D) Anoka-Ramsey Community College, MN
E) Chaffey College, CA
F) Northeast Community College, NE
G) Pasadena City College, CA
H) West Kentucky Community and Technical College, KY
I) Santa Fe College, FL
J) Brazosport College, TX




3) John Crossman, CCIM, CRX

John Crossman, tuition, Students, colleges and universitiesTwo universities that I work closely with that do an excellent job on this are:


A) Florida State University (FSU), FL
B) Florida A&M University (FAMU), FL


FSU is ranked in the top 30 public universities in the US. They have a program called CARE that is doing wonderful work. 


Students that come in under this program get into school over the summer and are trained in additional skills. They are assigned a mentor and have resources for all four years. The graduation rates have been outstanding.


FAMU is ranked the #1 public Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) in the US. They have historically and consistently sought out some diamonds in the rough and made them into leaders. They are a national leader in this space.




4) Dr. Terrell Strayhorn

Dr. Terrell Strayhorn, tuition, Students, colleges and universitiesI am an experienced college administrator and professor with over 14 years of experience in large public and small private collegiate settings. Currently, I serve as Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs at LeMoyne-Owen College. I have published 10 books and over 100 articles and reports.


One quality college for underprivileged students that would admit underprivileged students with average grades is LeMoyne-Owen College, Memphis, TN. 


The College is a 4-year, private institution that enrolls approximately 1,000 students. 


The College is organized into 5 academic divisions, offering 22 major degree programs. With nearly 50 registered student organizations, the College offers competitive financial aid packages including a mix of Pell grants, loans, and scholarships. This past year, the College launched a new retention grant program, Last Mile Grants, plus need-based merit scholarships called Renaissance scholars.




5) Adam Jacobs

Adam Jacobs, tuition, Students, colleges and universitiesBrigham Young University-Idaho (BYU-I) has a nearly 100 percent acceptance rate due to its belief that everyone deserves an opportunity for higher education. Tuition is only about $5,500 per semester, as funding from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints heavily subsidizes the cost. Financial aid assistance is available to most students as well, making it affordable for everyone who attends.


BYU-I stands out from other universities due to its focus on getting students the education they need to find a good-paying job after graduation. Where it lacks in research programs, it excels in job placement among students immediately following graduation. That’s why it currently holds 34,000 on-campus students every year, with an additional 15,000 online students. The university has 87 bachelor’s degrees and 20 associate degrees on-campus, with 11 online bachelor’s degrees and 7 online associate degrees available. The campus has over 40 buildings and is still growing, with students coming from all 50 states and over 80 countries.


Founded in 1888 in Rexburg, Idaho, the school began as Bannock Stake Academy when settlers in the area decided they wanted to fund educational opportunities for their children. Eventually, the school evolved into Ricks College, then BYU-Idaho in 2001 when it transitioned into a 4-year university. In 2009, BYU Pathway Worldwide was started at BYU-I, allowing anyone in the world to access relatively more affordable online college courses as a way for adults who missed out on higher education opportunities to get back to school.




6) Taylor Garrett

Taylor Garrett, tuition, Students, colleges and universitiesThe University of Dayton, Dayton, OH, since 2013, has led with its approach to complete price transparency, which tackles issues of accessibility and affordability, especially for underrepresented student groups, while building trust around financial issues for all students. When the University of Dayton created the plan, no other institution was taking the same approach and that remains true today. The University is perhaps the only institution in the country to have truly eliminated all fees.


Under this innovative undergraduate tuition model, a student’s scholarships and grants increase each year to offset any tuition increases. Students pay the same net tuition in their first year as their fourth year – even international and transfer students. The model also eliminated all fees – a claim no other college has been able to back – and offers every student the opportunity for a $4,000 textbook scholarship and a $3,000 study-abroad scholarship. These three cost areas – books, fees, and study abroad – are typically unplanned and often costly, which can catch families by surprise.


The result? Record-breaking retention and graduation rates. Plus the added comfort and peace of mind for cost-conscious families who no longer have to worry about hidden fees or other financial “surprises” baked into their child’s college education. The University of Dayton’s class of 2017, the first to enroll under the school’s fixed net-price tuition plan, posted an eight percentage point increase (67 percent) in its graduation rate and reduced its cumulative student loan debt by nearly $6M (about $5K less per student) as compared to the previous year. In fact, since the plan’s rollout six years ago, Dayton students and their families are borrowing 28 percent less than they were prior to the plan being instituted and, with the May graduation, the University’s six-year graduation rate is expected to climb to 83 percent, putting the University of Dayton in elite company. All of this, from a university that works under the confines of a modest endowment and tuition-dependent operating budget.


Nearly every college is wrestling with how to create a financially sustainable model for enrolling and graduating talented students, but in the same breath, many have not effectively removed barriers to a high-quality college degree for talented, low-to-moderate-income students. According to the University of Dayton President Eric F. Spina, it requires taking on an adaptive, diversified enrollment strategy and developing that into a sustainable financial model that, for Dayton, has put the University on a promising path that helps more students persist toward graduation and borrow less along the way.




Colleges and Universities listings from online media platforms


 US Colleges and Universities 

Education in the U.S. can be relatively expensive. However, it does come with high quality and prestige, and in addition to the many universities and colleges, in the U.S., which increases the chance of one being accepted into a quality university or college, especially if one is an underprivileged student with an average grade. 


Here are the lists of colleges and universities from 5 reliable sources that one could consider for an easy admission with relatively cheap tuition. 





This list comprises a couple of top U.S. colleges that have very low tuition fees, especially for international students, and also provide high-quality education. These colleges are ranked, on the U.S. News and World Report, in the top 100 U.S. universities. 


A) Binghamton University, NY
B) University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, MN
C) University of Georgia, GA
D) Purdue University, IN
E) Brigham Young University, UT
F) The University of Iowa, IA
G) California Polytechnic State University, CA
H) James Madison University, VA
I) Truman State University, MO
J) Asbury University, KY




8) Fast Web

This source provides a list of a number of out-of-states US colleges and universities with the cheapest tuition fees. This list is especially great for underprivileged students who are interested in attending out-of-state colleges and universities.


A) Chadron State University, NE
B) Oklahoma Panhandle State University, OK
C) Minot State University, ND
D) Mississippi Valley State University, MS
E) Peru State College, NE
F) New Mexico Highlands University, NM
G) Delta State University, MS
H) Dickinson State University, ND
I) West Texas A&M University, TX
J) Southern University at New Orleans, LA 




9) College Factual

College factual has a list of over 1200 U.S. colleges that offer the best education at an affordable tuition fee. And some of these universities have very high student acceptance rate.


Examples of some of these relatively cheap colleges are:


A) Brigham Young University – Provo, UT
B) University of Wyoming, WY
C) Truman State University, MO
D) Iowa State University, IA
E) South Dakota State University, SD
F) University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI
G) University of Minnesota, MN
H) Western Michigan University, MI
I) University of North Dakota, ND
J) The University of Illinois at Springfield, IL





10) Vox

The list from Vox provides examples of schools that accept students from low-income backgrounds. Their selection is based on multiple parameters, but most especially the access rate, the success rate, and the mobility rate of lesser-known schools that support poor students in contrast to Ivy League Schools. 


By the way, 

a) The access rate is the share of a school’s student body coming from the bottom 20 percent of the income distribution


b) The success rate is the share of those poor students who wind up in the top 20 percent (or top 1 percent) as adults


c) The mobility rate is the share of a school’s student body that comes from the bottom 20 percent and winds up in the top 20 percent or top 1 percent. Can be calculated by multiplying access rates by success rates


Now, when schools are sorted, according to Vox, by mobility rate, then the top 10 examples of schools are these:


A) Cal State, LA
B) Pace University, NY
C) SUNY, Stony Brook University, NY
D) Technical Career Institutes, NY
E) University of Texas, Pan American, TX
F) CUNY System, NY
G) Glendale Community College, CA, AZ
H) South Texas College, TX
I) Cal State Polytechnic, Pomona, CA
J) University of Texas, El Paso, TX 




11) CBS News

This source lists some of the universities and colleges where students, with most humble backgrounds, can afford a quality education. 


Although these universities accept underprivileged students with average grades, the graduation period may be longer than 4 years.


Here is their list of the 10 cheapest universities and colleges. 


Keep in mind that some schools on their list were omitted because they have already been mention in this post.


A) Sitting Bull College, ND
B) Indian River State College, FL
C) Elizabeth City State University, NC
D) Palm Beach State College, FL
E) Haskell Indian Nations University, KS
F) Louisiana State University-Shreveport, LA
G) Chipola College, FL
H) Bellevue College, WA
I) Oglala Lakota College, SD
J) University of Hawaii-West Oahu, HI




Canadian Colleges and Universities 

Education in Canada, in general, is very affordable and the cheapest when compared to the US and the UK. Canada offers many scholarships and grants to international students as well. It is the second most educated country in the world after South Korea and is a great place to pursue higher education.




12) CBC

This is a list of tuition-free schools in Ontario. The new Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) program, created in the month of March 2017, paid for average college or university tuition of students from families with incomes of $50,000 or less. Some students from families with incomes of up to $83,000 could also qualify for the non-repayable grants. 


234,000 students have already gotten grants under this program, which is still ongoing. Here is the list of top 10 schools where most students received free tuition:


A) Loyalist College, Belleville, Ontario
B) Centennial College, Toronto, Ontario
C) George Brown College, Toronto, Ontario
D) Seneca College, Toronto, Ontario
E) Niagara College, Welland, ON
F) Algonquin College, Ottawa, Ontario
G) Fleming College, Peterborough, Ontario
H) Fanshawe College, London, Ontario
I) Georgian College, Barrie, Ontario
J) St. Lawrence College, Kingston, Ontario




13) Legit

This up-to-date list ranks the top 10 cheapest high-rated schools, especially for international students. And again, as previously explained, cheap schools for international students could imply a cheaper school for domestic students.


A) Kingswood University, Sussex, New Brunswick
B) Crandall University, Moncton, New Brunswick
C) St. Stephen’s University, St. Stephen, New Brunswick
D) Canadian Mennonite University, Winnipeg, Manitoba
E) Booth University College, Winnipeg, Manitoba
F) University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta
G) Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia
H) Algonquin College, Ottawa, Ontario
I) Humber College, Toronto, Ontario
J) Fanshawe College, London, Ontario




14) University of the People 

This platform provides a list of the top 10 most affordable higher educational institutions in Canada.  


A) Brandon University, Brandon, Manitoba
B) Université de Saint-Boniface, Winnipeg, Manitoba
C) University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario
D) Canadian Mennonite University, Winnipeg, Manitoba
E) Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. Johns, Newfoundland
F) University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, British Columbia
G) University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta
H) Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia
I) University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
J) University of the People (100% online-based)




15) US College International

This is a list of the top 10 cheapest colleges in Canada for both international and domestic students.


A) Dominican University College, Ottawa, Ontario
B) University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
C) University of Winnipeg, Winnipeg, Manitoba
D) University of New Brunswick, Fredericton and Saint John, New Brunswick
E) Saint Paul University, Ottawa, Ontario
F) Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, Calgary, Alberta
G) Mount Royal University, Calgary, Alberta
H) King’s College University, London, Ontario
I) University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba
J) Cape Breton University, Sydney, Nova Scotia,




16) World Scholarship Forum

Finally, the following is the list of the top 10 cheapest colleges in Canada for both international and domestic students. These colleges are also recognized for their reliable student support and quality of education. 


A) Bow Valley College, Calgary, Alberta
B) Camosun College, Greater Victoria, British Columbia
C) Fanshawe College of Applied Arts and Technology, London, Ontario
D) Georgian College, Barrie, Ontario
E) Lambton College, Sarnia, Ontario
F) Niagara College, Welland, Ontario
G) Lethbridge College, Lethbridge, Alberta
H) Loyalist College, Belleville, Ontario
I) Seneca College, Toronto, Ontario
J) Selkirk College, Castlegar, British Columbia




The UK Colleges and Universities 

Education in the UK is more expensive than it is in Canada. And it can even be more expensive than education in the U.S. The tuition fees are generally higher and the scholarships are fewer. But regardless, there are still a couple of colleges/universities that do offer a relative affordable lower tuition cost for the average grade underprivileged student. 




17) Top Universities

This is a list of the top 10 cheapest universities, especially for international students, in the UK based on data from the Reddin Survey of University Tuition Fees 2018/19, conducted by The Complete University Guide. 


One of the important criteria considered is the probability of getting a scholarship or a grant, which helps reduce the tuition cost of these universities.


A) University of Wales Trinity Saint David, London, England
B) Plymouth Marjon University, Plymouth, England
C) Buckinghamshire New University, Wycombe, England
D) Ravensbourne University London, London, England
E) University of Sunderland, Sunderland, England
F) The University of the West of Scotland, Paisley, Scotland
G) University of Cumbria, ‎Carlisle, England
H) University of Suffolk, Suffolk, England
I) Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester, England
J) Coventry University, Coventry, England




18) UK Uni

This source lists the top 10 cheapest universities in England, especially for international students. All the universities on this list have amazing campuses and offer many high-quality facilities for students. 


A) Staffordshire University, Staffordshire, England
B) Teesside University, Middlesbrough, England
C) Harper Adams University College, Newport, United Kingdom
D) Leeds Trinity University, Leeds, England
E) University of Cumbria, Carlisle, England
F) University of Bolton, Bolton, England
G) Buckinghamshire New University, Wycombe, England
H) Coventry University, Coventry, England
I) York St John University, York, England
J) University College Birmingham, Birmingham, England




19) Study in UK

This list provides examples of the top 10 cheapest UK universities for international students. 


The list is based on the low tuition fees of undergraduate courses, in the universities, which is about the same for domestic students. 


A) University of Stirling, Stirling, Scotland
B) Queen Margaret University, East Lothian, Scotland
C) Southampton Solent University, Southampton, England
D) University of West London, London, England
E) Leeds Becket University, Leeds, England
F) Teeside University, Middlesbrough, England
G) Wrexham Glyndŵr University, Wrexham, Northop and St Asaph, Wales
H) University of Bedfordshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire, England
I) University of Cumbria, Carlisle, England
J) University of Chester, Chester, England




20) US College International

This source lists the top UK universities, for both international and domestic students, based on tuition fee per year for undergraduate and postgraduate programs. The top 10 cheapest colleges/universities are: 


A) Bucks New University, Wycombe, England
B) Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester, England
C) University of Bedfordshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire, England
D) University of Chichester, Chichester, England
E) University College Birmingham, Birmingham, England
F) Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, Scotland
G) University of Suffolk, Suffolk, England
H) Southampton Solent University, Southampton, England
I) York St. John University, York, England
J) Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, England




21) Business Insider

Business Insider, a reliable source of information, also has their list of universities in the UK based on their relatively cheap tuition fees. They were, via the price comparison website, able to list examples of the top cheapest universities in the UK, of which 10 are presented here:


A) Abertay University, Dundee, Scotland
B) Bishop Grosseste University College, Lincoln, England
C) Loughborough University, Loughborough, England
D) University of Warwick, Coventry, England
E) University of Northampton, Northamptonshire, England
F) University of East Anglia, Norwich, England
G) Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, England
H) Northumbria University, Newcastle, England
I) University of Leicester, Leicester, England
J) Keele University, Keele, England




22) Sabrina Manville

Sabrina Manville, tuition, Students, colleges and universitiesHere is my contribution as one who helps families make smarter financial decisions about college, and also as a former university Vice President. 


There are thousands of colleges in the US, Canada, and the UK, and therefore, thousands that will admit students with ‘average’ grades and test scores. 


Underprivileged students should focus on two things: their price for a given college, which is predicated on the financial aid package, and the outcomes, in other words, how likely the student is to be able to graduate and find productive employment. 


They should not take more in total loans than their first-year post-college earnings. Research like Raj Chetty’s research can point to the quality of support that a student will receive.


It is hard to generalize about ‘quality’ because whether the school is right for you is likely to depend on many factors – your finances, your chosen major, etc. I’d encourage students to steer away from ‘top 10 lists’ and get advice about what is the best personal fit for them.





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