Online Colleges & Universities

How to Choose a Top Online School

According to the Online Learning Consortium, nearly 6 million U.S. college students take at least one online course every academic year. This high demand for distance learning has inspired colleges and universities across the country to adopt web-based courses and online degree programs. With so many options, many prospective online students have a tough time choosing the right school.

Students must consider several factors when selecting an online college or university. Tuition cost is one of the most important variables, and accreditation is another, considering students must attend schools that have received full accreditation in order to qualify for federal loans. Other factors include available degrees and specializations, faculty members, and student outcomes such as graduation and post-degree employment rates. Learn some tips and strategies for researching different online colleges and universities, comparing schools, and choosing the online degree that is best for you below.

The Best Online Colleges for 2019

Two-year and four-year schools across the country have embraced online learning, allowing students more options for where they begin their education. Two-year online colleges typically offer lower tuition rates than four-year institutions. Some two-year schools offer associate degrees that provide a liberal arts and sciences foundation for students, and are suitable for those who eventually plan to transfer into a bachelor’s program. Other two-year colleges specialize in vocational programs that prepare students to enter the workforce after graduation. Most four-year online colleges and universities primarily offer bachelor’s and graduate degrees, though some also provide associate and vocational programs.

Our rankings for the top two-year and four-year accredited online colleges are listed below. To generate these rankings, we relied on a complex methodology that takes several factors into account, including affordability, online program breadth, student-to-faculty ratios, and graduation rates.

RankSchool Name Score Tuition & Fees Financial Aid % Total Programs Student-Teacher Ratio Grad RateDescription Additional Benefits: Placement Services Counseling Services Credit for Experience
1
East Mississippi Community College
99.25 $$$$$ 66% 67 13:1 N/A

Additional Benefits: yes yes yes Read More
2
Allen County Community College
96.13 $$$$$ 72% 76 16:1 N/A

Additional Benefits: no yes no Read More
3
Mississippi Delta Community College
95.86 $$$$$ 54% 67 18:1 N/A

Additional Benefits: yes yes no Read More
4
Holmes Community College
95.28 $$$$$ 38% 69 18:1 N/A

Additional Benefits: yes yes no Read More
5
Western Wyoming Community College
94.22 $$$$$ 62% 40 12:1 N/A

Additional Benefits: yes yes yes Read More
6
Laramie County Community College
91.30 $$$$$ 43% 42 14:1 N/A

Additional Benefits: no yes no Read More
7
Three Rivers Community College
91.23 $$$$$ 17% 44 21:1 N/A

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8
Kansas City Kansas Community College
90.93 $$$$$ 21% 29 13:1 N/A

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9
Cincinnati State Technical and Community College
90.91 $$$$$ 9% 28 13:1 N/A

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10
Hutchinson Community College
90.73 $$$$$ 65% 25 15:1 N/A

Additional Benefits: yes yes yes Read More
11
Barton County Community College
90.43 $$$$$ 55% 33 23:1 N/A

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12
Odessa College
90.40 $$$$$ 22% 34 19:1 N/A

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13
Tulsa Community College
90.21 $$$$$ 41% 26 18:1 N/A

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14
Central Texas College
90.15 $$$$$ 16% 41 16:1 N/A

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15
Western Texas College
90.09 $$$$$ 48% 14 16:1 N/A

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16
Rose State College
89.87 $$$$$ 32% 22 18:1 N/A

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17
Columbus State Community College
89.85 $$$$$ 16% 41 20:1 N/A

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18
Arizona Western College
89.55 $$$$$ 16% 23 21:1 N/A

Additional Benefits: yes yes no Read More
19
Pamlico Community College
89.47 $$$$$ 21% 24 9:1 N/A

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20
Central Georgia Technical College
89.37 $$$$$ 2% 45 15:1 N/A

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21
Mitchell Community College
89.37 $$$$$ 10% 43 16:1 N/A

Additional Benefits: yes yes no Read More
22
College of Southern Idaho
89.29 $$$$$ 45% 19 19:1 N/A

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23
West Kentucky Community and Technical College
89.15 $$$$$ N/A 27 18:1 N/A

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24
Bluegrass Community and Technical College
88.94 $$$$$ 2% 33 19:1 N/A

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25
Tyler Junior College
88.81 $$$$$ 20% 18 20:1 N/A

Additional Benefits: yes yes no Read More
26
Casper College
88.81 $$$$$ 46% 10 13:1 N/A

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27
State Fair Community College
88.78 $$$$$ 15% 25 17:1 N/A

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28
Seward County Community College and Area Technical School
88.76 $$$$$ 68% 10 14:1 N/A

Additional Benefits: yes yes yes Read More
29
Albany Technical College
88.73 $$$$$ 4% 26 16:1 N/A

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30
Georgia Piedmont Technical College
88.50 $$$$$ N/A 43 14:1 N/A

Additional Benefits: yes yes yes Read More
31
Mesa Community College
88.36 $$$$$ 23% 26 21:1 N/A

Additional Benefits: yes yes yes Read More
32
Owensboro Community and Technical College
88.33 $$$$$ 7% 25 17:1 N/A

Additional Benefits: yes yes yes Read More
33
Northeast Community College
88.28 $$$$$ 34% 18 17:1 N/A

Additional Benefits: yes yes yes Read More
34
Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College
88.20 $$$$$ 43% 21 21:1 N/A

Additional Benefits: yes yes yes Read More
35
Metropolitan Community College Area
88.20 $$$$$ 28% 21 15:1 N/A

Additional Benefits: yes yes yes Read More
36
Lenoir Community College
88.07 $$$$$ 18% 25 15:1 N/A

Additional Benefits: yes yes no Read More
37
Westmoreland County Community College
88.04 $$$$$ 3% 44 18:1 N/A

Additional Benefits: yes yes yes Read More
38
Madisonville Community College
88.03 $$$$$ 27% 27 19:1 N/A

Additional Benefits: yes yes no Read More
39
Iowa Lakes Community College
87.92 $$$$$ 52% 13 15:1 N/A

Additional Benefits: yes yes yes Read More
40
Yavapai College
87.81 $$$$$ 17% 23 23:1 N/A

Additional Benefits: no yes yes Read More
41
Haywood Community College
87.81 $$$$$ 28% 14 10:1 N/A

Additional Benefits: yes yes no Read More
42
Wake Technical Community College
87.80 $$$$$ 1% 33 18:1 N/A

Additional Benefits: yes yes yes Read More
43
Cowley County Community College
87.79 $$$$$ 65% 15 23:1 N/A

Additional Benefits: yes yes yes Read More
44
Northwest Technical College
87.77 $$$$$ 14% 37 17:1 N/A

Additional Benefits: yes yes yes Read More
45
Gateway Community and Technical College
87.76 $$$$$ 8% 30 16:1 N/A

Additional Benefits: yes yes yes Read More
46
Southwestern Oregon Community College
87.74 $$$$$ 47% 14 15:1 N/A

Additional Benefits: yes yes yes Read More
47
Ivy Tech Community College
87.74 $$$$$ 11% 38 18:1 N/A

Additional Benefits: yes yes yes Read More
48
Highland Community College
87.73 $$$$$ 62% 12 20:1 N/A

Additional Benefits: yes yes yes Read More
49
Northwest Mississippi Community College
87.71 $$$$$ 28% 18 25:1 N/A

Additional Benefits: yes yes yes Read More
50
Rio Salado College
87.67 $$$$$ 2% 45 30:1 N/A

Additional Benefits: yes yes no Read More
RankSchool Name Score Tuition & Fees Financial Aid % Total Programs Student-Teacher Ratio Grad RateDescription Additional Benefits: Placement Services Counseling Services Credit for Experience
1
Harvard University
99.09 $$$$$ 52% 41 7:1 97%

Harvard University, a private Ivy League university in Cambridge, Mass., is the top-ranked online college of 2018 due to the high-quality education it provides to students in its 41 online programs. Students enrolled in Harvard’s distance learning programs have access to all the same benefits as their on-campus peers, including counseling services, academic advising, financial aid and tutoring assistance. Just like many of Harvard’s traditional courses, many online classes are transferable to other colleges and universities, giving students the chance to complete their education at whichever location they are most comfortable with. For students enrolled in programs requiring on-campus participation, the Harvard Extension School provides degree, certificate and professional programs in a hybrid format, allowing some credits to still be completed online. For students not pursuing a full degree, Harvard Online Learning offers many free courses open to the public.

Additional Benefits: yes yes no Read More
2
Presbyterian College
96.37 $$$$$ 99% 39 11:1 68%

Presbyterian College, a Christian institution based in Clinton, S.C., with a reputation for academic rigor, offers a large array of programs online. The school’s ethos is around educating the whole person, which translates into an emphasis on critical thinking and communication in its online courses. Courses are offered in a number of different areas, including unique language courses like Greek and Hebrew. The school’s undergraduate offerings include degrees across 42 majors and nine pre-professional programs, while its graduate school focuses on medical fields. While many students enroll at Presby because it’s one of the best colleges for a Christian-based education, there are numerous courses unrelated to the Bible or theology. Regardless of a prospective student’s religious background, the online courses offered at Presbyterian College are carefully constructed to give all students the knowledge they need for their professional career.

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3
Drexel University
95.90 $$$$$ 100% 43 10:1 70%

Drexel University is a private research university in Pennsylvania that currently enrolls over 24,000 students. Drexel students have the opportunity to complete their degree on campus or through a variety of online courses. The online university programs offer the same educational opportunities to students as the campus programs, including financial aid, academic advising, 24/7 tech support and career resources. Students pursuing an online degree from Drexel are instructed by the same prestigious faculty as their on-campus peers. Through Drexel’s Online Partnerships program, working professionals at more than 500 companies can benefit from reduced tuition rates to pursue their degree without leaving their current job.

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4
Johns Hopkins University
95.39 $$$$$ 48% 34 10:1 93%

Johns Hopkins University is a well-known elite research university, but it’s not well-known that several degree programs may be completed without attending the school’s Baltimore, Md., campus. In addition, JHU offers dozens of classes online that can supplement traditional in-person courses as part of a degree program. The breadth of options available to online learners is just one aspect of what makes Johns Hopkins one of the best options for online college. Some of its courses and credits are even free and available for all students regardless of enrollment. The JHU admissions office is willing to work with any incoming transfer student to find any applicable areas for transfer credit to be utilized.

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5
Northern Arizona University
94.71 $$$$$ 64% 46 18:1 49%

Northern Arizona University is a large public university in Flagstaff, Ariz., with a strong reputation in its online offerings. With degree programs available at the bachelor’s and master’s levels, students who do study online are able to work toward their degrees while receiving the same quality education they would get on-campus at NAU. The school offers an innovative Personalized Learning program, where students pay a flat subscription rate over 6 months, with no additional fees, not even for books -- an attractive option for many students whose employers are picking up the tuition tab. Students at NAU also benefit from the school’s focus on career readiness in all its degree programs.

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6
Mary Baldwin University
94.40 $$$$$ 100% 39 12:1 38%

Mary Baldwin University -- a smaller, private liberal arts institution in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley -- has cultivated a niche in helping professional adults earn their degrees later in life. Mary Baldwin’s online courses and programs can help students move forward in their careers without making sacrifices to other obligations. MBU’s online degrees are a popular option with many students due to the university’s credit transfer policy: Mary Baldwin allows transfer of up to 90 credit hours, cutting into the cost of earning a degree.

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7
Southern New Hampshire University
94.36 $$$$$ 39% 76 30:1 55%

With over 200 degree programs offered online by Southern New Hampshire University, it’s easy to see why many consider it one of the best online colleges for students looking to improve their careers. Each online degree program is designed to help students improve or change their current professional position. With the aid of affordable tuition and the flexibility to study at their own pace, students find that SNHU not only meets their expectations, but offers more than they thought an online school might: they also get access to the large SNHU alumni network, which can help them secure a new job after graduation. SNHU is among the best online schools in terms of services available to virtual students, which include an online library, tutoring and around-the-clock support.

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8
Concordia University-Wisconsin
94.27 $$$$$ 99% 39 12:1 56%

Many students find that the best online colleges are the ones that allow them to study at their own pace – even if that means completing a degree faster than normal. Concordia University, Wisconsin does just that with their accelerated learning programs, allowing online students to study at a faster pace. For students who have a busy schedule and prefer to study at a more traditional pace, there are over 50 different online degree options offered by Concordia. Concordia is also one of the best online schools in terms of transferring credits, including military and work-related experience. Students can study toward a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or, in some instances both, such as with the RN to MSN program that accelerates nurses to a master’s degree.

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9
Indiana Wesleyan University
94.24 $$$$$ 43% 49 15:1 71%

At Indiana Wesleyan University, students can receive an affordable and convenient education via the school’s online degree programs. By taking advantage of one of Indiana Wesleyan’s online programs, students will be able to complete their academics at a pace with which they are comfortable. Just like their on-campus peers, online students have several opportunities to receive financial aid to make earning a college education a less stressful pursuit. Online students will also receive all necessary support from the Indiana Wesleyan University faculty and staff. Faculty members have several years of experience in teaching online courses and are prepared to help all incoming online students reach their goals. IWU offers all students a generous credit transfer policy and has degree completion programs which can help students finish their bachelor’s degrees in as little as 10 months.

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10
Columbia University in the City of New York
94.22 $$$$$ 51% 14 6:1 94%

Graduate students may be interested in continuing their education with an online program offered at Columbia University in the City of New York. The school’s online programs lead to either a master’s degree or a graduate level certificate of professional achievement, and the Columbia also offers many free learning opportunities through MOOCs and other online programs. Online students who wish to integrate with their campus community may wish to consider studying in a hybrid format, which will allow the student to spend half of their time at home and the other half on the Columbia University Campus. Hybrid students will have more schedule flexibility, as well as the option to participate in campus clubs and organizations.

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11
North Carolina State University at Raleigh
94.02 $$$$$ 52% 35 15:1 74%

Fitting school into a busy schedule is rarely a simple process; that’s why North Carolina State University at Raleigh offers several of their programs in a format that can be completed from a distance. NC State currently offers more than 90 degrees and certificates and more than 350 different courses fully-online, meaning students can fit earning a degree into their lives more easily. Students taking online courses will have opportunities to make use of facetime with their professor through video chat sessions, and will participate in discussion boards that will allow them to socialize with their peers. Online students are eligible forfinancial aid.

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12
East Carolina University
93.93 $$$$$ 48% 49 18:1 56%

The online degree programs offered at East Carolina University utilize a course management system that ensures convenient accessibility for both the student and their professor. Several programs offered at ECU can be completed without ever attending any traditional, in-person classes, but some students prefer splitting their time between campus and home. This kind of hybrid program is beneficial for its flexibility, but still allows students to build the social connections that make the college experience truly rich. From point of enrollment to graduation, online students will receive academic support from several departments, including academic advisement and online tutoring to aid in their success.

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13
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
93.76 $$$$$ 95% 25 6:1 60%

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College is one of the best online schools with to earn a bachelor’s degree. With over 40 years of experience in teaching through a distance learning program, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods has crafted an online program that works for most undergraduate students. Each degree is created with a busy student in mind, whether working adults or people that have family obligations. Some of the popular undergraduate options include the RN to BSN or health administration. While some programs are offered entirely online, other degrees can be completed through a hybrid of on-campus and online studies. SMWC is also among the best online colleges for graduate degrees, with all of their master’s degree programs being offered entirely online.

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14
Nova Southeastern University
93.65 $$$$$ 95% 60 16:1 41%

Nova Southeastern University’s distance program doesn’t just serve students at one of the remote campuses, but also students that are studying online. Nova Southeastern University offers their online courses as part of the Southern Regional Education Board’s Electronic Campus program, meaning that each course offered online is fully accredited. This rigorous accreditation makes Nova one of the best online colleges in Florida for students that are looking for a high-quality education. Nova offers undergraduate and graduate degrees, some of which have earned the school distinctions. For example, Nova is considered one of the best online schools for graduate nursing, graduate education and criminal justice, all of which are already popular fields for online students.

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15
University of Florida
93.41 $$$$$ 28% 37 20:1 87%

University of Florida students benefit from some of the best online programs in the country: many of their over 100 online programs consistently rank top in the nation. Incoming transfer students will be able to put many of their previously earned credits to use at the University of Florida, ensuring the completion of their degree will involve as little backtracking as possible. Incoming freshman can get a leg up while easing into college with UF Online’s PaCE Program, which allows them to begin school online and later transfer to on-campus programs.

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16
Saint Leo University
93.36 $$$$$ 99% 41 15:1 46%

Saint Leo University’s online program is designed to help nontraditional adult learners succeed by making higher education more accessible. In the virtual classroom, students will receive a comprehensive education in their field of choice that are taught by dedicated instructors who are trained specifically to teach online courses. While the school was built with Catholic roots, online learners are welcomed into this learning community regardless of their religious affiliation. Before beginning their online courses, students may also receive a free e-book that contains tips to succeed in an online learning environment.

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17
George Washington University
93.18 $$$$$ 77% 32 13:1 81%

One of the goals at George Washington University’s online school is to educate leaders. They understand that the best online schools are the ones that teach students everything they need to succeed, both right after graduation and in the future. Students that do end up studying toward an online degree at George Washington will find that the curriculum goes beyond the degree they’re earning. There are online options in most fields, and degrees are available at various levels. However, the graduate degree options are what sets George Washington apart from other online colleges. George Washington is home to many well-respected online programs, and they are considered one of the best online colleges for earning a master’s degree in public health.

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18
Texas A & M University-College Station
92.77 $$$$$ 55% 32 20:1 79%

A distance-learning degree earned at Texas A&M University can provide students with the same tools for success that are available to students attending classes on campus. Current, fully-online offerings include 47 graduate degrees and 25 different grad certificates. As one of the best online schools, Texas A&M prides itself on ensuring that virtual students feel as much a part of the Aggie family as their on-campus peers; all online students are eligible for the same school-provided networking opportunities. Financial aid and scholarships are available to online Aggies as well.

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19
Siena Heights University
92.67 $$$$$ 100% 29 12:1 43%

Not only does Siena Heights University offer some of the country’s best online degree programs, but students are also able to select from four minors that can be completed online as well. More than 80 full-time faculty members are employed at Siena Heights University, several of which have many semesters of experience teaching online students. A great many of Siena Heights students receive financial aid in some form, be it scholarships, grants, or federal aid, and online students are included in financial aid opportunities. Online students may also wish to study in a hybrid format, and split their time evenly between home and the Siena Heights campus.

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20
Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus
92.57 $$$$$ 33% 39 16:1 85%

Online education should be available to anyone with access to the internet, something that Pennsylvania State’s World Campus understands. Created 20 years ago for students that couldn’t commute to campus, the World Campus has grown into one of the best online colleges for international students. Students from around the world, including military members, can choose from the over 150 degrees and certificates offered, all of which are designed to give students the knowledge they need to succeed in their future careers. As with most online schools, Penn State has many options for those pursuing a master’s degree. However, there are also plenty of online bachelor’s degrees offered as well. With the size and scope of the program, it’s easy to see why it’s considered one of the best online schools for students at all levels.

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21
University of Denver
92.37 $$$$$ 82% 22 11:1 78%

Both bachelor students and graduate students have the opportunity to complete an entire degree online while studying at the University of Denver. These programs are perfect for students with jobs, students in the military, or students who have familial obligations that need to be put first. Online students at the University of Denver will be learning from experienced teachers who are prepared to make learning in a virtual environment as approachable as possible. The school offers certificates, bachelor’s and graduate degrees online, and its University College is dedicated to helping adult learners complete their studies. Online students have the opportunity to take advantage of all resources provided for traditional students.

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22
Fort Hays State University
92.30 $$$$$ 74% 34 16:1 44%

Fort Hays State University has established itself as one of the best online colleges, largely due to their affordability and quality of education. Each program is designed to give students the knowledge they need to enter the global community as a leader and expert. This can be seen with their online bachelor’s degrees, all of which are fully accredited. Popular bachelor’s degree options include criminal justice, elementary education and accounting. Along with their bachelor’s degrees, Fort Hays also has extensive master’s degree programs that give students the experience and knowledge they need to make a leap in their career. The best online schools are the ones that prepare students for their future, and Fort Hays does just that.

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23
Prescott College
92.22 $$$$$ 100% 53 9:1 38%

Learning in an online program at Prescott College promotes self-discipline, accountability and a strong sense of initiative. Not only does the faculty in charge of online classes have several semesters of experience teaching in a virtual format, but that also have several years of professional experience, ensuring students will be learning the skills they need to succeed in their future careers. Prescott offers online certification programs, as well as bachelor’s and graduate degrees fully-online. If a student chooses to study in a hybrid program, they may also choose to use their extra campus time to participate in a number of campus activities.

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24
Hampton University
92.13 $$$$$ 60% 22 9:1 68%

Hampton University helps busy students find the time to further their education with several web-based degree programs. Students studying online can either complete all of their work from home, or they have the option to split their time between in-person classes and online work. While these hybrid students have the opportunity to participate in on-campus activates, online students will be able to make use of all of Hampton University’s student services. Online tutoring is available, and personal academic advisors are ready to provide students with the quickest path to their success.

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25
Webster University
92.03 $$$$$ 95% 24 13:1 59%

Webster University offers online programs at the certificate, baccalaureate, and graduate level, all of which vary through several fields of study. Students taking online classes will be able to construct their own schedules and complete their coursework at their own pace. Further freedom of schedule is available for students completing their work part-time. Students also have the choice of completing their classes in a hybrid format, splitting their academic time between home and the Webster University campus. Online students will also be provided with all necessary student services to secure their success, including career counseling and tech services.

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26
Oregon State University
91.91 $$$$$ 59% 30 18:1 61%

Oregon State University has done an excellent job of creating one of the best online colleges in the nation. With over 1,100 courses offered entirely online, there’s no shortage of options for students. Most students who study through the online school choose to pursue one of the 45 online degree programs. However, online is also a popular option for students that want to combine online courses with on-campus courses, either to bolster their education or finish their degree faster. OSU has a proven track record with their online education as well, and they have over 21,000 students worldwide who are studying online. Whatever students are looking for out of their college experience, OSU has made itself one of the best online schools for people from all walks of life.

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27
Stevens Institute of Technology
91.82 $$$$$ 99% 16 10:1 79%

The best online schools don't just teach students and give them a degree – they also see the students through school and help them along the way. Stevens Institute of Technology has spent a lot of time on their online program, making sure that it’s one of the best online colleges in New Jersey. There are plenty of programs available, including 17 different master’s degrees, all of which are fully accredited and available entirely online. Along with their different programs, Stevens also offers students additional benefits. For example, their online platform is considered one of the best, making it easier for students to learn and earn their degree. Students also have access to instructors and often collaborate with other students, making their online program feel more like a traditional college experience.

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28
National University
91.80 $$$$$ 3% 75 20:1 38%

One of the best online schools for students that want to become teachers, National University offers various degree programs at the bachelor’s and master’s level. To set itself apart, National doesn’t just offer degrees that can be completed entirely online – they also offer degrees that lead to certification, bringing students one step closer to their future career. The online schooloffers bachelor’s degrees in education that lead to licensure. For example, students can earn a bachelor’s in English education while receiving Nevada state licensure, or the same degree with credentials in California. Students can expect the same type of professional readiness from all their programs. College degrees aren’t just about becoming educated, and National University understands that the best online colleges prepare students for their career.

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29
Illinois Institute of Technology
91.77 $$$$$ 100% 17 13:1 63%

Several degree programs ranging from bachelor’s to master’s are offered at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Because online learning puts a lot academic control into the hands of the student, they are able to further develop their initiative, time management skills, and self-discipline. Course material is delivered directly to students, allowing them to choose the best time to complete their work. Student services such as tutoring and academic advising will be provided to online students to make sure they are staying on the right path to receive their degree. Just like traditional courses, online classes at IIT are fully accredited.

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30
Colorado State University-Fort Collins
91.72 $$$$$ 51% 29 18:1 64%

Colorado State University is seen as one of the best online schools in Colorado to earn a master’s degree. Each master’s degree is taught by experienced faculty that understands what students need to know to succeed after college. Also, graduate students can study at their own pace, great for students who are working. But education goes well beyond the degree, and CSU’s online school offers plenty of supplemental courses to help students get the education they want and need. Free courses are offered entirely online, and students can also work on their soft skills, which help in day-to-day professional life after school. Bachelor’s degree programs are offered entirely online as well. With their various resources, Colorado State is among the best online colleges for earning an all-around education.

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31
University of Virginia-Main Campus
91.63 $$$$$ 27% 16 15:1 93%

By utilizing the University of Virginia's distance learning program, students are able to stay on top of their daily commitments while still working towards a college degree. Multiple online programs are available at various levels of study, from full bachelor degree programs to grad-level certificates. These programs can be completed with a fully-online approach, or students could choose to spend part of their time studying on campus with a hybrid program. Hybrid students will be exposed to the rich academic culture that has developed at The University of Virginia, and have the opportunity to live in modern and comfortable student housing, join one of UVA's numerous student organizations, and attend campus events.

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32
Wayland Baptist University
91.50 $$$$$ 91% 31 10:1 33%

Most students who study online are looking for a high-quality yet flexible program – the aspects that make Wayland Baptist University one of the top online schools in Texas. Their online school acts like any other school within a college, and they put their online students first. Students that do end up studying at WBU online to earn or complete their degree also receive a private, Christian education, instilling Christian ideals in students. This gives a more well-rounded education, something that goes on to help students throughout their careers. While students can earn or complete their bachelor's degree entirely online, most students come to WBU online to earn a master's degree. Each is fully accredited, and they offer the same WBU education as their on-campus programs. The school's history and dedication to their core values place them among the best online schools to get a Christian education.

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33
Canisius College
91.42 $$$$$ 96% 13 11:1 67%

Students attending Canisius College have the choice to complete their master's degree or graduate certificate through a wide variety of online courses. Some degrees can be completed in either entirely an online format or in a hybrid formats, giving students the unique opportunity to design their academic schedule to fit into their everyday lives. Students who choose to study in a hybrid format may also engage in numerous campus activities, including several student-run clubs, Greek life chapters, and intramural or club sports teams. Online students can be assured that they will receive the same education in their virtual course a traditional student would receive in a Canisius College classroom.

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34
Champlain College
91.39 $$$$$ 94% 29 14:1 57%

Students studying at Champlain College may take advantage of a wide variety of online course offerings to expedite their academic career. With more than 50 programs offered in a 100 percent online format ranging between certificate, bachelor's, and master's programs, students of all levels may supplement their education with coursework completed entirely from home. Champlain College may accept up to 90 credits of transferable credit from other institutions, guaranteeing that prior scholarly effort will be recognized and students may not need to repeat previously completed courses. Certain online courses taken with Champlain College also may be transferred to other institutions.

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35
Western Kentucky University
91.37 $$$$$ 43% 31 18:1 50%

In order to be one of the best online colleges, an institution must provide the tools students need for success. Western Kentucky University does just that by providing an in-depth orientation through its Online Learning 101 program-where students learn how to use the school's learning management system-and a robust Student Resource Portalwhere people can get the extra help they need with research, writing, and math. In addition, the school offers a variety of graduate and undergraduate degree programs. On the undergraduate level, students can get an associate's degree in interdisciplinary studies and early childhood education and a bachelor's degree in sociology, criminology, health sciences, and organizational leadership. On the graduate level, students can earn master's degrees in biology, recreation and sport administration, history, mathematics, and social work.

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36
Clarkson University
91.33 $$$$$ 99% 14 14:1 73%

In 2018, U.S. News and World Report named Clarkson University's online MBA program among the best in the country. With its robust coursework in global supply chain management, leadership and organizational behavior, marketing management, managerial economics, and financial management-as well as the ability the earn a dual MBA/MS in Data Analytics if students choose to take additional classes in areas such as data mining, information visualization, optimization methods for analytics, probability and statistics for analytics, database modeling, and design and implementation-it's no wonder Clarkson University is among the best online schools for students to sharpen their business acumen. In addition, the school offers online graduate degrees in civil and environmental engineering, clinical leadership in healthcare management, computer science, data analytics, and mechanical engineering.

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37
Davenport University
91.31 $$$$$ 92% 27 11:1 42%

Whether someone is a veteran or currently in active service, Davenport University is among the best online colleges students in the military can choose. This military-friendly school allows students to get credit for their work experience, as well as easily take a leave of absence if they are deployed. In addition, the online school offers military student support services, such as counseling, tutoring, and a system to conveniently find information from the Veterans Administration and Department of Defense. For the civilian, Davenport University also offers services to online students including technical support and guidance about coursework. On the graduate level, students can earn online certificates in forensic accounting, health care management, strategic management, and internal auditing, and master's degrees in management, business administration, and accountancy.

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38
The University of Alabama
91.30 $$$$$ 55% 24 24:1 67%

At the University of Alabama, non-traditional learners can reach their academic goals through online courses and degree programs. Fields of study include law, nursing, business and arts and sciences along with many others to meet the increasing demand for non-traditional learning formats. Students can research and enroll in their courses through the school's online portal, myBama and then access e-course content through the online learning management system, Blackboard. A technical support team is also available for help with technical issues or general technical questions.

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39
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
91.29 $$$$$ 47% 24 19:1 84%

Illinois Online, which is available through the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is one of the best online colleges for adult learners and traditional students alike. One of the reasons the school receives such high marks is because of its Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning, which is a one-stop shop for online students to get their questions answered about the distance learning experience. Academically, the school offers dozens of online degree programs, including a bachelor's degree in earth, society, and environmental sustainability and master's degrees in aerospace engineering, translation and interpreting, strategic brand communication, executive human resource development, and food science and human nutrition. There are also certificate programs available on the undergraduate and graduate levels. Students who want to take advantage of Illinois Online without enrolling in a degree program can also choose from dozens of massive open online courses.

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40
Judson College
91.29 $$$$$ 98% 14 9:1 41%

Since the school was founded in 1838, Judson College has been dedicated to preparing students for service. For those who want to integrate their faith into their college coursework, Judson College is one of the best online schools thanks to its focus on Christian principles that are fostered through events designed to provide spiritual growth, Bible study, and mentoring groups. The school also ensures that it feeds students' minds as it feeds their soul by offering a variety of academic programs in the areas of sciences, humanities and fine arts, professional studies, and social sciences. For example, the school offers degree programs in religious studies, nursing, biology, equine science, criminal justice, history, and elementary education.

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41
University of Southern Mississippi
91.22 $$$$$ 76% 29 17:1 45%

One has to look no further than the student success stories posted on the University of Southern Mississippi's website to understand why it's among the best online schools, as it has provided students from different backgrounds the opportunity to obtain a quality education that fits their lifestyle. In addition to providing convenience, the school also gives students variety in terms of the degree programs they can choose from. For example, on the undergraduate level, students can earn bachelor's degrees in areas such as interdisciplinary studies, industrial engineering technology, library and information science, special education, child and family studies, and applied technology. In addition, prospective graduate students can choose from master's degrees in public health, instructional technology, kinesiology, nutrition and food systems, and library and information science and doctoral degrees in nursing leadership and international development. Also, there are graduate certificates in management of child nutrition programs, sport security management, youth services and literature, and archives and special collections and undergraduate certificates in management of child nutrition programs and casino management.

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42
University of Cincinnati-Main Campus
91.19 $$$$$ 54% 29 18:1 63%

The distance learning program at the University of Cincinnati began in 1984 with an open learning program for firefighter advancement. Now, distance learners are able to enroll in degree and certificate programs and individual courses that can be completed entirely online and off-campus. Before beginning their e-courses, students must first complete a self-guided orientation to online learning where they will learn strategies for academic success in the virtual classroom. Distance students are also provided with access to academic advising, proctoring, tutoring and technical support resources. The university offers a variety of free and paid MOOCs to students as well.

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43
University of Illinois at Springfield
91.19 $$$$$ 89% 21 14:1 43%

The University of Illinois at Springfield has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report as one of the best online colleges for its bachelor's programs, as well as its MBA. Part of what makes the University of Illinois at Springfield a good choice is its partnerships with numerous community colleges, which allows students to easily transition from associate's degree programs to higher-level degrees. In addition, there are 2+2 Agreements that give students the opportunity to begin their bachelor's degree programs as they're still working on their associate's degree. And once students do transition into the school, they can earn a variety of graduate and undergraduate degrees. For example, the college has bachelor's degrees in history, psychology, math, computer science, and philosophy, as well as master's degrees in education, public health, legal studies, political science, and data analytics.

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44
Tiffin University
91.16 $$$$$ 89% 29 15:1 42%

Tiffin University understands the unique needs of working adults, which makes it among the best online colleges for students who need to juggle their education with working a full-time job and raising a family. With flexible programs that begin six times per year and the ability to take courses at a pace that makes sense for their lifestyle, Tiffin University allows adult learners to obtain the education they need to get ahead while not missing a step in the other areas of their lives. Students can earn bachelor's degree in subjects such as criminalistics, psychology, system administration, and health, fitness and wellness. On the graduate level, there are also master's degree programs in art and visual media, forensic psychology, crime analysis, and teaching art. In addition, the school offers graduate and undergraduate certificate programs.

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45
Concordia University-Chicago
91.15 $$$$$ 100% 23 15:1 54%

Concordia University-Chicago is one of the best online colleges for students who want to combine a liberal arts education with the tenets of the Lutheran tradition. As one of only 10 schools part of the Lutheran college system, Concordia University-Chicago has a long tradition of promoting the faith and helping students explore their spirituality as they complete their degrees. As a result, the school has been listed multiple times on the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for the acts of service performed by students, professors, and staff. In the classroom, the university has a variety of degree programs, including bachelor's degrees in human resource management, organizational management, kinesiology, sports and recreation management, and health care management. Those who want to earn a graduate degree can enroll in the school's grant writing, management and evaluation, religion, leadership studies, early childhood education, and curriculum and instruction master's degree programs.

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46
Case Western Reserve University
91.12 $$$$$ 85% 13 11:1 80%

At Case Western Reserve University, students who want to become leaders in their field don't necessarily have to enroll in the school's degree programs to do it. Thanks to its massive open online courses in various subjects, the university is among one of the best online schools for leadership development training. In addition, students who want to enroll in an online degree program can also get the training they need to be successful. For example, the school's social administration master's program is designed for those who want to take leadership roles in the social work field. To that end, the school allows students to choose which area they want to focus on-such as community practice for social change; children, youth, and families; and adult mental health-so they can develop the specific skills that are appropriate for their career goals. In addition, Case Western Reserve University has online master's degree programs in mechanical, civil, systems and control, and biomedical engineering.

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47
Lehigh University
91.12 $$$$$ 47% 15 10:1 86%

Online students attending Lehigh University can receive a well-rounded education that will help them to obtain a position in their field of interest. Online learning at Lehigh is characterized by specialized virtual programs, experienced faculty members, and convenient accessibility. Students will be able to stay in contact with their peers and professors through video chats, discussion boards, and emails. If a student is looking to experience a more traditional college experience, but also wants to maintain the flexibility of online learning, they may wish to consider dividing their study time between home and school with a hybrid program.

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48
LeTourneau University
91.07 $$$$$ 96% 21 12:1 52%

Being able to learn in a comfortable environment is often one of the greatest keys to student success. That's why LeTourneau University gives students the chance to complete their coursework from the comfort of their home with one of their numerous online degree programs. Online classes are fully accredited and can lead to the same careers achieved by taking traditional classes. Also like traditional classes, online classes offer the same opportunities to be transferred, if a student decides that he or she would like to finish their education at a different institution. Full-time faculty teaching online classes have many years of field-specific training.

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49
Southwestern College
91.07 $$$$$ 91% 31 8:1 53%

Several online programs, ranging from certificate to graduate, are available to students enrolled at Southwestern College. Online students may choose to complete one of these programs without ever having to actually be present on the Southwestern College campus. Other students interested in online learning may wish to consider a hybrid learning format, where they will split their academics between online and in-person learning. Hybrid students can make use of the flexibility afforded through online learning while also participating in many of the extracurricular activities available on the Southwestern College campus. Online classes are just as likely to be covered by financial aid as traditional courses.

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50
California Baptist University
91.04 $$$$$ 95% 28 18:1 58%

Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission, California Baptist University is one of the best online schools for students who want to find their spiritual, social and professional purpose in life. Founded by the California Southern Baptist Convention in 1950, the school encourages students to practice the skills they learn in the classroom with integrity and glory to God. To that end, the school offers a variety of online degree programs that are catered to adult learners looking for quality, flexibility, and Christianity in their education. California Baptist University has bachelor's degrees in public relations, kinesiology, English, human services, Christian ministries, and psychology. On the graduate level, students can study technology management, public administration, counseling psychology, organizational leadership, and communication.

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What College Degrees Can You Get Online?

Due to the rising popularity of online learning, today’s students can earn an online degree in nearly every academic subject or level. However, there are some notable exceptions. For example, degrees from accredited online law schools are not yet available. Additionally, degrees in some fields – such as certain nursing and teaching disciplines – require on-site training or practicum components students cannot complete online. These are known as hybrid or blended programs When choosing an online college to attend, students should research the school’s academic offerings to ensure the degree they seek is available in the format – completely online or hybrid/blended – they prefer.

Online Colleges by State

Many public colleges and universities in the U.S. offer lower tuition rates to those who reside in the state where the school is located, and higher rates to out-of-state residents. Public institutions receive much of their funding from state taxes. As a result, state residents are granted lower rates than those who pay taxes elsewhere.

This trend has shifted in recent years, due in part to the growing number of online college programs. Some public schools maintain this tuition rate structure for in-state and out-of-state students, and extend it to online learners by charging them tuition based on where they live. Other institutions offer flat tuition rates for all online students regardless of their residency status. Additionally, many private colleges and universities – which receive funding through private donors – offer the same tuition rates to in-state and out-of-state learners.

The difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition rates can amount to thousands of dollars per year. Online students should calculate the difference between these rates at all colleges they are considering before committing to an out-of-state school. To learn how tuition rates vary across the country, check out the individual state pages below.

FAQs About Online Colleges

How Does Online College Work?

Most online college degrees follow one of two schedules. Asynchronous pathways are self-paced, allowing students to complete assignments and exams on their own schedule – though some require weekly participation in online discussions. Synchronous programs follow the traditional college format with daily and/or weekly requirements. As a result, students often complete asynchronous degree programs in less time than synchronous programs.

In terms of course delivery, online classes often rely on digital text and live or pre-recorded video lectures to substitute for classroom learning. Online courses may also require group projects, which are primarily coordinated via email. Students may supplement online discussions with in-person meetings too. Like on-campus courses, online classes usually include at least one exam. In some cases, students need to visit testing centers to sit for these exams. Other online courses feature open-book exams or monitor students using web-based proctoring software.

Some online college degrees require students to visit the brick-and-mortar campus for new student orientation. Degrees requiring internships or practicum training may also necessitate visits, either to campus or another onsite location. However, many online college programs do not require any campus trips.

Is Online College the Same as Regular College?

The best online college programs often follow the same curricula as their brick-and-mortar counterparts, and the same faculty members may teach online and on-campus courses in the same subjects. Learning location is the most notable difference between these two formats. Brick-and-mortar students complete the bulk of their coursework in classrooms and elsewhere on their school’s campus, while online learners may study at home or another location that offers high-speed web access. Completion times may also be shorter for online students, particularly those in self-paced asynchronous programs. Additionally, web-based students primarily communicate with their professors and fellow students via email and access textbooks, lectures, and other learning materials online.

Is Online College Cheaper?

Some online colleges are cheaper than brick-and-mortar schools, but this usually depends on the student’s state residency. In addition to separate tuition rates for in-state and out-of-state students, some colleges charge flat rates for online students. These online student rates typically fall between in-state and out-of-state rates in terms of per-credit cost. At colleges and universities that do not offer flat rates to online students, those who are state residents usually pay much less in tuition costs than out-of-state residents – and this applies to online students too.

Which Online Colleges Are Accredited?

U.S. colleges and universities can earn three types of accreditation. Regional and national accreditation are both types of institutional accreditation, meaning they represent the school as a whole. The third type, programmatic, applies to specific degrees or smaller schools at a larger institution. Online colleges, like brick-and-mortar schools, can receive institutional and programmatic accreditation. Prospective students should ensure not only that their school of choice is fully accredited, but also that they have received their accreditation from an officially recognized accreditor. Please review the Accredited Online Colleges: Process and Importance section below for more detailed information. Additionally, you can check the rankings above for the best accredited online colleges offering two-year and four-year degrees.

Who Should Consider Online College?

Online education is ideal for students who prefer to learn and study in the privacy of their own homes. The flexible format of web-based learning is also beneficial for those with small children, jobs, and other commitments that may interfere with on-campus learning. Students who would like to follow a self-paced curriculum and potentially earn their degree ahead of schedule are urged to research asynchronous degree pathways. Alternatively, those who wish to enroll in a program modeled after traditional, on-campus education may find synchronous learning more suitable. However, students pursuing degrees in certain subjects – such as law – may find limited online options.

How to Succeed in Online College Classes

In order to succeed at the top online colleges, students should follow these guidelines:

  • Follow deadlines: Whether in an asynchronous or synchronous program, online students need to meet homework, project, and exam deadlines throughout the academic year. They should check their syllabus frequently – even when no assignments are due – in order to monitor upcoming assignment deadlines.
  • Communicate with faculty members: Students should periodically check in with their professors via email to discuss their progress and address any extra steps they need to take to earn a passing grade. Accredited online colleges also offer easy access to academic advisers, career counselors, and other helpful college staff.
  • Schedule meetups with other students: Learning online can create feelings of loneliness for some students. If possible, they should facilitate face-to-face meetings with their fellow classmates to study and socialize.
  • Use student resources: The best online colleges offer a virtual campus experience for all students, including access to the school’s library, career center, and student organizations.

How to Find the Best Online College

As we’ve discussed above, students should research the following factors when comparing different schools to determine which online college best meets their learning needs and preferences:

  • Accreditation

    In order to qualify for federal loans and grants, online students must attend fully accredited institutions. Additionally, regionally accredited online colleges enable students to transfer credits more easily than nationally accredited schools. In most cases, a school’s institutional and programmatic accreditation status is prominently displayed or listed on its official website.

  • Tuition rates

    College tuition is a serious consideration for most students. Those planning to enroll at an out-of-state school should expect to pay more for college than in-state students. Online students often find that schools with flat tuition rates for distance learners are reasonably affordable.

  • Available degrees

    Prospective students should research degree majors, minors, and specializations at all schools they consider. An institution with a wide range of degree options in one particular field may suit students better than a school that only offers one or two degrees in that subject.

  • Program format

    Some students appreciate the flexibility and self-paced schedule of asynchronous programs, while others prefer the traditional structure of synchronous degrees. Students should decide which format best suits their needs and preferences before choosing a school.

  • Student-to-faculty ratio

    Colleges with lower student-to-faculty ratios tend to offer more individualized attention to each individual learner, which can benefit students who need extra help with their coursework.

  • Student outcomes

    Typically, schools with higher retention and graduation rates offer a more valuable learning experience than schools with lower rates. Another key metric is loan default rate, which indicates how many students need to default on their student loan payments because they are unable to find post-graduate work.

  Benefits Drawbacks Best for…
Two-Year College Tuition rates are usually lower
Students can choose between academic and vocational programs
Shorter time commitment
Many jobs require a four-year degree or higher
Fewer degree/major opportunities
Students who plan to transfer into a bachelor’s program with an associate degree or enter the workforce with a vocational degree or certificate
Four-Year College Prepares students for entry-level work in most fields
Typically many degree/major options
Higher salaries for graduates
Higher tuition rates
Longer time commitment
Students pursuing careers in fields that require a bachelor’s degree or higher, or those who plan to earn a graduate degree

Accredited Online Colleges: Process and Importance

According to the U.S. Department of Education, the purpose of accreditation is to evaluate colleges and universities and ensure they meet certain standards. To demonstrate they have met these levels of quality, schools undergo the voluntary, comprehensive evaluation process known as accreditation. Accreditation agencies, also known as accreditors facilitate the assessment process.

Regional and national accreditation are both forms of institutional accreditation, and are applied to schools as a whole. Regional accreditation is normally given to nonprofit or state-run colleges and universities that primarily offer academic degrees. National accreditation focuses on for-profit schools, particularly those that offer vocational or professional degrees. Students must attend regionally or nationally accredited schools in order to qualify for federal loans and grants. Additionally, credits from regionally accredited schools transfer more easily than those from nationally accredited schools. A third type of accreditation, programmatic, is reserved for degrees and smaller schools at larger institutions, such as law or nursing schools.

Since 1999, accreditors have factored distance education into their evaluation process. The Distance Education Accrediting Commission, a national accreditor, specifically evaluates schools that primarily offer online programs. Other regional and national accreditors also look at online degrees and courses during their assessments. Additionally, some online degrees – mostly at the graduate level – may receive programmatic accreditation from one or more accreditors based in their field of study.

Two organizations jointly oversee the recognition of institutional and programmatic accreditors in the U.S. The U.S. Department of Education provides governmental recognition, while the Council for Higher Education (CHEA) provides nongovernmental recognition. Both receive applications from prospective accreditors and conduct a thorough review of their college assessment criteria. An accreditor may receive approval from one or both organizations to be considered officially recognized. The Department of Education and CHEA each maintain current lists of all recognized regional, national, and programmatic accreditors in the U.S., as well as accreditors that have lost their recognition status.

The Rise of the Not-for-Profit

Online learning is transformative, not only reshaping how students learn, but how colleges and universities deliver instruction. Non-profit colleges and universities (both two- and four-year) have quickly adopted online education as a way to improve academic access and program diversity for students. Furthermore, the growing acceptance of online learning at non-profit colleges is important because—in most cases—non-profit colleges represent the best educational choice for adults who have jobs or family commitments that preclude traditional campus attendance.

Enrollment Trends

The most recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics reveals that approximately 2.8 million college students enrolled in fully online degree programs, while more than 5.9 million students were taking at least one online class.

Both public and private not-for-profit colleges and universities continue to experience respectable increases. From 2015 – 2016, research from the Babson Institute shows that enrollment in online classes rose more than 7 percent at public institutions and private nonprofits. However, online enrollment at for-profit schools declined by 4.5%.

Students Taking Distance Courses by Level – 2012-2016

Year Undergraduate Graduate
2012 4,559,494 865,912
2013 4,706,277 905,274
2014 4,833,989 961,741
2015 4,999,112 1,022,993
2016 5,253,997 1,105,124

Source: Babson

Based on the numbers, it’s clear that nonprofit online colleges are doing something right, and in a big way. Students are turning to these educational options in droves, thanks to several key areas in which online colleges are out-pacing their brick-and-mortar counterparts.

Reputation

To a certain degree, online degrees have had a persistent stigma—a reputation that they are not on-par with those earned on-campus. However, the tide seems to be shifting because non-profit colleges (both private and public) have created online programs that rival those traditional degrees. In fact, a recent study shows that 76 percent of academic leaders agree that degrees taught online are equal to their on-campus counterparts.

Flexibility

A central reason for the increasing demand for online education is flexibility. Whether the student is seeking to go back to school, is a recent high school graduate that wants to attend a college in another state, or is a career advancer who wants to pursue a graduate degree, online college allows them to complete an education on their own terms. Online education helps students to craft a schedule that fits their lives, which is typically not possible in the traditional classroom. School can be woven into the student’s working and home lives instead of the other way around, making online classes the number one option for many in pursuit of a higher education.

Affordability

Students, regardless of state of residence, will often enjoy in- state tuition costs when enrolling at an online college. Savings can also be found in the form of living expenses, like dorm and travel costs, as well as lowered costs for class and study materials, which can instead be obtained virtually.

Resources

Even though online students may never set foot on campus doesn’t mean they don’t have access to the same support and student resources. Regardless if the student is on-campus or online, nonprofit colleges traditionally offer an array of resources to their students, ranging from libraries to access to laboratories. Below is a list of commonly offered support services for online students at nonprofit colleges:

  • Online student orientation
  • Online learning management systems
  • Dedicated online education website and departments
  • E-libraries and digital textbooks
  • Online student advising
  • Counseling services
  • Academic tutoring and support programs

Paying for Online College Degrees

Online students generally spend less on their degrees than on-campus students. However, even the cheapest online degrees can amount to thousands of dollars in tuition, fees, and other associated costs. Other factors, such as out-of-state residency or the type of institution, can drive up college costs even further. As a result, many online students rely on financial aid to cover their various expenses.

Online students typically qualify for the same financial aid options as their brick-and-mortar counterparts. Those seeking federal loans should ensure the college or university they attend is fully accredited, or else they are not eligible for federal aid. Students must also complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. This form uses household income, tax history, and other financial considerations to determine how much money the applicant should receive in student loans. Federal loans are available at a fixed interest rate and students do not need to repay them until they graduate or leave school. As a result, they are more favorable than loans from private lenders, which often come with variable interest rates and students may need to repay the loans while they are still enrolled.

Scholarships and grants can supplement loans to help students cover more of their college costs. Unlike loans, students never need to repay scholarships and grants. Although some of these awards are explicitly reserved for brick-and-mortar students, most scholarships and grants offered today are open to online and on-campus students as long as their school is fully accredited.

Resources for Online Learning

Lastly, we’ve compiled a few helpful resources to help aspiring students find the right school. Visit the pages below to learn more about locating fully accredited online colleges, applying for financial and, and using online course learning management systems for the first time.

  • Distance Education Accrediting Commission

    The DEAC is the only recognized accreditor that specifically evaluates primarily online schools. Students planning to attend primarily online institutions should ensure their target schools have received accreditation from the DEAC or another recognized regional or national accreditor.

  • Paying for online education

    This archive of articles from U.S. News & World Report includes tips for scholarship and grant seekers, guidelines for completing the FAFSA and repaying loans, and lists of inexpensive online schools.

  • Filling out the FAFSA form

    This guide from the Department of Education offers a detailed tutorial for completing and submitting the FAFSA. Areas of focus include required documents, determining dependency status, and how to report parent or guardian information.

  • PayScale College Salary Report

    Salary expectations are an important consideration for online students choosing a major. This annual report includes median salary figures for hundreds of two-year and four-year majors, along with common job associated with different fields of study.

  • Lynda.com

    Learning management systems are used to organize most online courses. These systems can be challenging for inexperienced users. Lynda.com offers tips and tutorials for navigating different types of learning management systems.

Find Online Colleges

In addition to viewing our rankings, visitors are invited to use our comprehensive search tool to aid their online college search. To perform a basic school search, simply select your ideal tuition costs and whether you prefer public or private institutions. The advanced options allow you to narrow down your search even further by entering your desired state and city, degree subject and level, and student population.

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