Grad School Hub - Most Affordable Online Programs-01

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Affordable online EdD in Reading & Literacy programs are an "A+" way for teachers to stay on budget and school districts' payroll while advancing their linguistic leadership acumen. Reading & literacy doctorates online are the highest, most in-depth academic degrees focused on furthering pedagogical methods that improve students' ability to read, write, and speak English fluently. Making an EdD the climax of your college story could translate well for supervisory, consulting, faculty, and research roles in an in-demand education niche. According to Begin to Read, one in four U.S. children doesn't reach basic literacy proficiency by adulthood. Eighteen percent of Americans ages 16 to 65 perform at the lowest level of the PIACC literacy scale. The Ferst Foundation also discovered the mean number of age-appropriate books is only one per 300 children in low-income neighborhoods. Teachers passionate about giving pupils the vocabulary to succeed should consider flexible online reading & literacy EdD offerings.


The Grad School Hub staff used the U.S. Department of Education's NCES College Navigator as our reference guide for learning the ABCs of cheap online reading & literacy EdD study. Our search criteria sought advanced degrees at public or private nonprofit four-year colleges with reading teacher or literacy education majors available by distance education. Since our initial pool of 90 online universities was dominated by master's degrees, we accepted hybrid doctorates with some on-campus requirements. Our team then recorded the mean in-state graduate prices and ranked the schools in order of least to most affordable.

Ranking Low-cost Online Reading & Literacy EdD Programs

10. University of Maryland

Online Language, Literacy, and Social Inquiry PhD

College Park, MD

Average Graduate Tuition: $11,718 per year

Linked to 244,322 LinkedIn alumni, including educators Herbert Hauptman and Charlene Drew Jarvis, the University of Maryland is a public, space-grant RU/VH doctoral institution opened in 1856 at Riversdale Mansion that's now endowed for $542 million to educate 10,611 post-grad Terrapins in College Park and online via Blackboard. Business Insider ranked UMD the ninth smartest public university. Maryland also stands as America's 20th best value in Money magazine, 45th top education school on Niche, and 36th best research center in Forbes. Led by Dr. Jennifer King Rice, the CAEP-accredited College of Education has 91 full-time tenured faculty delivering 30 programs, such as the Language, Literacy, and Social Inquiry PhD. Accepting applicants until December 1st yearly, the 60-credit, three-year hybrid curriculum starts post-master's fall cohorts in two tracks for Literacy Education or Applied Linguistics and Language Education. Expect blended online courses like cognitive development, a teaching apprenticeship, and 12 credits of dissertation research.

For more information: University of Maryland

9. University at Albany SUNY

Online PhD in Literacy Program

Albany, NY

Average Graduate Tuition: $10,870 per year

Connected to 120+ districts via its Capital Area School Development Association, the University at Albany SUNY is a public, research-intensive APLU member of the Metro Atlantic Conference that's endowed for $59.3 million to enroll 4,930 Great Danes atop its 586-acre Uptown campus designed by Edward Durell Stone and online on Blackboard. The Chronicle of Higher Education proclaimed six UAlbany doctorates within America's top 10. SUNY Albany was also ranked 162nd for faculty quality by the CWUR, 79th for valuable tuition in Money magazine, and 115th for diversity on Niche. Founded in 1972, the PhD in Literacy Program went digital for working teachers in the CAEP-accredited School of Education. Chaired by Dr. Virginia Goatley, the five-year curriculum has a Literacy CST pass rate of 100 percent after online courses like language acquisition and reading disability. Forgoing the timely dissertation research is possible with Albany's 60-credit Certificate of Advanced Study in Literacy Online.

For more information: University at Albany SUNY

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7. Indiana University Bloomington

Online Ed.D. in Literacy, Culture & Language Education Online

Bloomington, IN

Average Graduate Tuition: $8,695 per year

Featuring the United States' largest rare book collection with 6.5 million manuscripts in Lilly Library, Indiana University Bloomington is a public, doctoral-grant BTAA member of the Oak Ridge Association that's grown since 1820 to instruct 10,281 Hoosiers online on Canvas and atop its 1,937-acre campus in Forbes' 23rd best city for careers. Times Higher Education ranked IUB 37th for research in North America. Indiana-Bloomington was crowned the country's 20th best buck in Washington Monthly, 57th best teacher preparation school on Niche, and 76th top university by the U.S. News. Building the Global Gateway for Teachers, the CAEP-accredited School of Education has the Ed.D. in Literacy, Culture & Language Education Online. Launched in Fall 2016 under Dr. Mary Beth Hines, the 60-credit, post-master's major prepares reading specialists for 21st-century education issues with only one Spring conference in Bloomington before the dissertation proposal. Students could specialize with the English as a Second Language Certificate or Children's/Young Adult Literature Certificate.

For more information: Indiana University

6. Iowa State University

Online Ph.D. in Teaching, Learning, Leadership, and Policy with Literacy Emphasis

Ames, IA

Average Graduate Tuition: $8,474 per year

Publishing the Journal of Critical Thought and Praxis since 2011, Iowa State University is a public, coeducational land-grant doctoral Big 12 giant that's endowed for $760.5 million to employ 1,845 faculty and train 36,321 Cyclones upon its historic, 165-building Ames campus and online via Blackboard Collaborate. Washington Monthly ranked ISU 33rd for PhD completion and 71st for research expenditures. Iowa State was also placed 163rd on the Social Mobility Index, 234th within Money magazine, 193rd in Times Higher Education, and 11th on WalletHub. Located in Lagomarcino Hall, the CAEP-accredited School of Education presents the Ph.D. in Teaching, Learning, Leadership, and Policy with a Literacy Emphasis. Available with K-8 or 5-12 Iowa Reading Endorsement, the 72-credit, methodologically rigorous major has hybrid learning with courses from educational inquiry to language development. Coordinated by Dr. Isaac Gottesman, a Critics' Choice Book Award recipient, the program creates the Doctoral Learning Community for dissertation support.

For more information: Iowa State University

5. University of Missouri

Online PhD Degree in Reading Education

Columbia, MO

Average Graduate Tuition: $8,462 per year

Generating a $2.2 billion economic impact annually, the University of Missouri is the Show-Me State's flagship public, space-grant RU/VH doctoral institution of the SEC Academic Initiative that's enrolling 7,053 post-grad Tigers from 120 countries at its 19,261 combined acres and online via the Center for Distance. The Academic Ranking of World Universities placed MU within the top 200 globally. Mizzou was also distinguished for America's 43rd best graduate education by the U.S. News, 75th top teacher preparation on Niche, and 47th coolest school in Sierra Club magazine. Housing the Missouri Prevention Center (MPC), the CAEP-accredited College of Education grants the PhD Degree in Reading Education with hybrid courses in Columbia. Chaired by Dr. Laurie Kingsley from Townsend Hall, the 72-credit, post-bachelor's degree mandates GRE composite scores above 297 for entering specializations in Children's Literature, Media and Technology, Special Reading, Teaching ESL, and Writing Instruction. Preparing for higher education will include six credits of internship and dissertation research.

For more information: University of Missouri

4. Tennessee State University

Online Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) Reading Concentration

Nashville, TN

Average Graduate Tuition: $8,380 per year

Declaring "Excellence in Our Habit," Tennessee State University is a public, historically Black APLU member of the Ohio Valley Conference that's endowed for $51 million to extend beyond its 500-acre Nashville location on John A. Merrit Boulevard and enroll 1,954 post-grad Tigers online via the SREB Electronic Campus. College Factual applauded TSU for America's 171st best grade-specific teacher education. Tennessee State is also declared the 34th best HBCU by the U.S. News, 89th most affordable college on WalletHub, and 213rd best research institute in Washington Monthly. Participating in the Tennessee Board of Regents' Ready2Teach, the CAEP-accredited College of Education offers the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Reading to post-master's students with minimum GPAs of 3.25 and MAT scores of 402. Directed by Dr. John Mark Hunter from Clay Hall, the 60-credit degree draws on 100+ years of experience training teacher-leaders in hybrid courses like literacy assessment and quantitative research methods. Belonging to the AACTE, the six-semester, full-time program necessitates a written comprehensive exam, teaching practicum, and doctoral dissertation.

For more information: Tennessee State University

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2. Utah State University

Online Distance PhD in Education, Concentration in Literacy Education and Leadership

Logan, UT

Average Graduate Tuition: $5,383 per year

Employing 800 full-time faculty, including 14 Carnegie Professors of the Year, Utah State University is a public, land-grant Mountain West ORAU member that's budgeting $671.6 million annually to instruct 27,679 Aggies on its 400-acre Logan campus among the Bear River Range and online via Canvas. Forbes magazine deemed USU the 129th top public university and 264th best value. Utah State is ranked America's 71st best teachers college on Niche, 133rd best college on Plexuss, and 32nd top master's institution in Washington Monthly too. Directed by Dr. Kathleen Mohr, the CAEP-accredited School of Teacher Education and Leadership accepts $55 applications to Old Main Hall until February 1st for the Distance PhD in Education concentrated in Literacy Education and Leadership. Certified K-12 teachers complete the 60-credit, post-master's curriculum via live broadcast with only two summers in Logan. Offering an optional Administrative Supervisory Certificate, the program requires 50 internship hours, comprehensive exams, and the dissertation.

For more information: Utah State University

1. University of North Carolina Charlotte

Online Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, Reading/Literacy Strand

Charlotte, NC

Average Graduate Tuition: $4,252 per year

Established in 1946 at Central High School, the University of North Carolina Charlotte is our ranking's cheapest public, coeducational doctoral institution that's enrolling 5,102 post-grad 49ers in 87 academic programs from its 85-building Southern Piedmont campus and online via Moodle. The U.S. News & World Report recognized UNCC for America's 69th best graduate education school. Charlotte was also placed 38th on the Social Mobility Index and 141st for affordability on WalletHub. Known for its $8,250 NC Teaching Fellow stipends, the CAEP-accredited Cato College of Education created a hybrid format for the PhD. in Curriculum and Instruction's Reading/Literacy Strand. Chaired by Dr. Robert Rickelman, an Al Mazurkiewicz Service Award winner, the 60-credit, post-master's program selectively accepts 20 percent of applications received before November 15th annually. Adhering to Professional II K-12 reading certification, the curriculum builds on graduates' 3+ years of teaching experience with blended online courses like applied linguistics and faculty-advised dissertation research.

For more information: University of North Carolina Charlotte

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Careers Benefit from Reading & Literacy EdD Online Programs?

Earning an EdD in Reading & Literacy online is a rigorous, multi-year academic adventure that provides eligibility for all upper-level education careers, even school superintendent and dean of students. Besides the "Dr." title before one's name, graduates can further prove expertise in the lingual, cognitive, and social aspects of English language learning with state and national certification. For example, the Florida Department of Education lets Sunshine State teachers add the Reading Endorsement for $75 after at least a master's and 15+ literacy credits. The International Dyslexia Association partnered with the Center for Effective Reading Instruction to grant the Certified Structured Literacy Teacher designation for scholar-practitioners who pass a 100-question, computer-based exam. Let's review the job descriptions for six gratifying careers for reading & literacy online EdD graduates:

Reading Specialist- Reading Rockets reports that 10 million U.S. children struggle learning to read, so certified teachers with EdD reading & literacy online degrees are important for treating impairments like dyslexia and language processing disorder. Reading specialists perform literacy assessments, diagnose disabilities, create remedial group lessons, track IEP goals, coach teachers with reading tips, and participate in parent conferences.

Literacy Program Manager- Graded "A" as America's 67th best job by CNN Money, education program managers with EdD Reading & Literacy online degrees would qualify for handling the administrative end of learning initiatives in schools and nonprofits. Their duties include setting curriculum guidelines, organizing teacher teams, keeping budgets, monitoring learner progress, referring diagnostic tests, maintaining supplies, and coaching educators.

Curriculum Designer- Teachers stepping away from the blackboard after online reading & literacy EdD training could work behind-the-scenes on contractual bases to help PreK-16 schools develop engaging English education. Curriculum designers write standards-aligned content, develop course outlines, establish skill competencies, prepare teaching materials, address accreditation inquiries, interpret test data, and perform educator workshops.

Teacher Educator- Finishing a reading & literacy EdD online opens the ivory tower doors for post-docs to train tomorrow's classroom teachers, including at the U.S. News & World Report‘s top education schools like Fordham, Purdue, Pittsburgh, and Johns Hopkins. Education faculty teach empirical-based courses, observe teaching practicum, assign grades, provide career guidance, advise Kappa Delta Pi chapters, and contribute to scholarly works.

School Librarian- Pairing an online reading & literacy EdD with a Master of Library Science could help specialize school media specialists' skills for pull-out instruction that produces avid young bookworms. Librarians in K-12 districts plan literacy initiatives, conduct storytelling, catalog books by the Dewey Decimal System, purchase age-appropriate media materials, coordinate guest speakers, answer students' reading questions, and lead book clubs.

Research Director- Professional organizations like the International Literacy Association (ILA) fund statistically significant research at colleges and government institutes to advance scholarly understandings. Getting a reading & literacy doctorate online prepares research directors for setting project aims, creating lab protocol, assimilating staff, allocating budgets, approving research methodology, testing accuracy, and publishing in journals.

What is the Salary ROI for Online Reading & Literacy EdD Tuition?

Finding cheap online reading & literacy EdD programs is vital because the income bump for doctoral-trained teachers can be small, especially with the average post-grad debt of $57,600. The World Education Services shows that doctoral holders in teaching make 24 percent more than master's graduates for average lifetime earnings of $2.8 million. Education and library jobs report median yearly pay of $48,000 to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Reading specialists are paid average salaries of $55,490 in elementary, $56,720 in middle, and $58,030 in high schools. Adult literacy teachers are compensated $50,650 on average. The 74,500 postsecondary education professors make mean annual income of $70,260. According to, literacy program managers bring home $72,506. Other yearly averages are $96,950 for reading consultants, $143,580 for education deans, and $80,285 for librarians.

How is the Job Outlook Looking for EdD Reading & Literacy Online Grads?

Huffington Post sounded the alarm on a widespread teacher shortage since the stressful, modestly paid career loses 40 percent of new hires within five years. By 2020, America's school system must train and retain 440,000 more teachers to meet enrollment demands. Jobs for PreK-12 educators are expected to rise by 9 percent overall according to the U.S. Department of Labor. College faculty jobs in education departments will jump by 10 percent by 2026. School administration jobs, including literacy director, will expand by 8 percent for 19,700 new leadership opportunities this decade. Curriculum designers can expect a 10-year hiring boost of 10 percent to total employment of 179,700. School media specialists will also experience faster-than-average 9 percent growth. Getting your résumé atop the pile without breaking the bank is possible in the above cheap online EdD in Reading & Literacy degrees.

GSH Staff
June 2018

This concludes our ranking of the Top 10 Most Affordable Doctorate in Reading & Literacy Online programs for 2018.