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Top 15 Most Affordable Graphic Design Programs in 2021

April 6, 2021 | Staff Writers

Graphic Design Programs
Degree Finder
BestValueSchools.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

From emojis to road signs to the shirt you’re wearing right now, virtually everything we see is the product of graphic design. Skilled artists are employed to help sell a brand, to convey meaningful messages, and create media that is stimulating and intuitive. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Graphic Designers make an average annual wage of $52,110.

What Do Graphic Designers Do?

Graphic design uses visual art to communicate with consumers. Most artists in this field use digital illustrations and typography to convey ideas in various forms such as website design and print media. Some designers work with companies to create brand materials like logos, product packaging, and advertisements. Others are responsible for designing attractive websites, mobile apps, or printed materials like books and posters.

What Education Does A Graphic Designer Need?

Designers generally need at least a bachelor’s degree in graphic design or other related fields. Artists with an existing degree in another field may want to obtain a professional certificate in graphic design. Additionally, maintaining a professional portfolio helps show potential employers your creative capabilities.

Interested in learning graphic design online? Use our degree finding tools to find the graphic design schools you’re looking for!

Our Top 15 Affordable Graphic Design Programs

Nobody wants to wait around to get into an overpriced graphic design school. We’ve assembled and ranked a list of accredited degree programs that are affordably priced with a high admission rate so you can start on your career path with confidence. Check out our rankings below!

1

Wichita State University – 78 Points

  • Wichita, Kansas
  • Graduation Rate: 55%

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design degree program at Wichita State University is a 120 credit hour program. It is an applied learning program that includes research into portfolio development and an internship for experience.

School Overview

In-State Tuition: $2,736 per semester
Out-Of-State Tuition: $6,480 per semester
Admission Rate: 92%
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2

Southwestern Oklahoma State University – 78 Points

  • Weatherford, Oklahoma
  • Graduation Rate: 27%

SWOSU’s BFA in Graphic Design is a four-year bachelor’s program with an in-house Graphic Design Studio internship opportunity. In addition to coursework, students will have the chance to exhibit their work in SWOSU’S Art Gallery. The Graphic Design Club on campus regularly takes field trips to galleries and attends national events such as the National Design Conference in Dallas.

School Overview

In-State Tuition: $2,976 per semester
Out-Of-State Tuiton: $5,820 per semester
Admission Rate: 91%
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3

Arkansas Tech University – 72 Points

  • Russellville, Arkansas
  • Graduation Rate: 36%

The BFA program at Arkansas Tech is a 120 credit hour degree which includes a public senior exhibition of the student’s work portfolio. Students have access to many organizational resources, such as the College Art Association, American Institute of Graphic Arts, and the Visual Arts Association. They also partner with local industries to provide paid and unpaid internships for students who qualify.

School Overview

In-State Tuition: $3,834 per semester
Out-Of-State Tuition: $6,618 per semester
Admission Rate: 95%
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4

Northern State University – 66 Points

  • Aberdeen, South Dakota
  • Graduation Rate: 44%

Northern State University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic design program which is capstone by a senior written thesis, solo art exhibition, and completion of a resume. All students are required to complete a minimum one semester internship with local businesses. The school also offers associate and bachelor’s degree programs in Digital Media, which have graphic design components.

School Overview

In-State Tuition: $3,770 per semester
Out-Of-State Tuition: $5,305 per semester
Admission Rate: 84%
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5

Cleveland State University – 62 Points

  • Cleveland, Ohio
  • Graduation Rate: 56%

Design is a concentration option for the Art Major BA program at Cleveland State University. Students will complete a 1-3 credit hours internship typically with an external institution such as a museum, or a design-related commercial enterprise. The senior capstone project includes the development of a professional portfolio.

School Overview

In-State Tuition: $5.013 per semester
Out-Of-State Tuition: $7,148 per semester
Admission Rate: 94%
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Best Value Schools is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.
6

Ferris State University – 52 Points

  • Big Rapids, Michigan
  • Graduation Rate: 49%

Ferris State’s graphic design bachelor’s program features the opportunity to take an internship or study abroad as well as real work experience running the school’s own design studio. Students learn to deal with real-life clients and how contracts and sales work in the industry. Graduates from this program have found career placement in well-known companies such as Vogue.

School Overview

Tuition: $6,202 per semester (in and out of state)
Admission Rate: 87%
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7

St. Cloud State University – 50 Points

  • St. Cloud, Minnesota
  • Graduation Rate: 46%

The Graphic Design BFA program at St. Cloud State University features regular professional-led workshops by nationally-recognized artists and an annual juried student art show. After completing their foundational courses, students must pass a Portfolio Review Benchmark with a minimum 2.5 GPA. An internship is required for graduation.

School Overview

In-State Tuition: $4,445 per semester
Out-Of-State Tuition: $8,716 per semester
Admission Rate: 90%
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8

Sacramento State – 46 Points

  • Sacramento, California
  • Graduation Rate: 78%

Sacramento State offers a BFA in Graphic Design that features regular exhibitions and lectures by professional designers, field trips, and the chance to participate in national competitions. In addition to an internship, students have the opportunity to explore independent projects for credit. Graphic Design majors also participate in the Graphic Resources and Information Design Students (GRIDS) group; a student branch of the American Institute of Graphic Arts.

School Overview

In-State Tuition: $3,709 per semester
Out-Of-State Tuition: $8,461 per semester
Admission Rate: 82%
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9

Mansfield University of Pennsylvania – 40 Points

  • Mansfield, Pennsylvania
  • Graduation Rate: 51%

The Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design degree at Mansfield University allows students to choose five degree emphasis options from subjects such as photography, advertising, and gallery management. Students may also choose to take an internship or gain experience through an individual project approved by faculty.

School Overview

In-State Tuition: $3,858 per semester
Out-Of-State Tuition (New York & New Jersey residents): $5,016 per semester
Out-Of-State Tuition (everyone else outside Pennsylvania): $5,787 per semester
Admission Rate: 96%
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10

Husson University – 40 Points

  • Bangor, Maine
  • Graduation Rate: 55%

Husson University’s BS in Graphic/Visual design is a 120-122 credit hour program that gives students the opportunity to work hands-on with real-world clients to develop their professional portfolio. The school also offers a certificate program in graphic design that can be used for professional development or transferred as credits toward a degree. The certificate is a minimum 15 credit hours.

School Overview

In-State Tuition: $7,344 per semester (in and out of state)
Admission Rate: 85%
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11

West Liberty University – 38 Points

  • West Liberty, West Virginia
  • Graduation Rate: 42%

The Visual Communication Design bachelor’s program at West Liberty University was ranked #2 in the state by Animation Career Review. Internships are not required with this program, but are highly encouraged as the upper level practicum requires all students to work with real world clients. The school also offers a Digital Media Design program.

School Overview

In-State Tuition: $4,092 per semester
Out-Of-State Tuition: $8,245 per semester
Admission Rate: 71%
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12

Lamar University – 32 Points

  • Beaumont, Texas
  • Graduation Rate: 32%

Lamar University offers two types of graphic design degrees. The Bachelor of Fine Arts degree prepares students for direct entry into the industry by focusing on the graphic communication process, gaining real world experience in the field, and exhibiting work through the Dishman Art Museum. The Bachelor of Science degree combines graphic design with an outside major to prepare students for graduate school study in the arts.

School Overview

In-State Tuition: $5,232 per semester
Out-Of-State Tuition: $11,367 per semester
Admission Rate: 84%
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13

Lindenwood University – 30 Points

  • Saint Charles, Missouri
  • Graduation Rate: 58%

Lindenwood University offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art and Design with an emphasis in Graphic Design as well as a Graphic Design certificate program. For the BFA program, students will choose between an internship or an on-campus applied art and design work experience in addition to a senior research project. The certificate program is offered only to degree-seeking undergrads.

School Overview

Tuition: $9000 per semester (in and out of state)
Admission Rate: 88%
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14

Northwest Missouri State University – 24 Points

  • Maryville, Missouri
  • Graduation Rate: 49%

The bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design from Northwest Missouri State University features a semester-long interactive course where student teams compete to design and present marketing materials to a real-world client. This course is designed to give students career experience in designing and pitching ideas as they would after graduation.

School Overview

In-State Tuition: $5,312 per semester
Out-Of-State Tuition: $9,035 per semester
Admission Rate: 73%
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15

Black Hills State University – 18 points

  • Spearfish, South Dakota
  • Graduation Rate: 38%

BHSU gives BFA in Graphic Design students opportunities for direct work experience by running the school’s Jacket Journal newspaper, on-campus television, and radio stations. Students may choose to minor in commercial art. There is also a graphic design certificate program open to all interested students and professionals.

School Overview

In-State Tuition: $8,672 per semester
Out-Of-State Tuition: $11,742 per semester
Admission Rate: 84%
Visit School Website

Still unsure which school is right for you? Our listings and tools can help you find your perfect match!

Our Ranking Methodology

We assembled a listing of 15 schools based on a National Center for Education Statistics search for schools offering graphic design programs with a low-cost (sub-$20,000) tuition. We gathered tuition data directly from each school’s website. Admission rate data was gathered from the NCES.

Tuition made up 50% of the ranking and was composed of in-state (25%) and out-of-state (25%) rates. We sorted these rates from lowest to highest and assigned points accordingly, with lower tuition rates receiving higher points. Admission rate made up the remaining 50% and were ranked from highest to lowest. We added the points together to reach a final total. The maximum total possible was 90 points. For more programs, check out our master’s in graphic design page and our associate’s in graphic designs page.

Reporting Errors

Employees of the schools listed here are encouraged to contact us if they notice any error in our gathered data. We will make corrections as soon as possible.

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