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Top 30 Best Accredited Colleges Online 2018

This is a ranking of the top online accredited colleges in the United States. Note that in applying the ranking methodology below, some schools received the same number of points. In these cases, we used tuition to break the tie, awarding the more affordable schools the higher ranking.

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Ranking Methodology
Tuition Points:
• Under $20,000—1 point
• Under $15,000—2 points
• Under $10,000—3 points
• Under $5,000—4 points

US News and World Report Recognition as a Top Online School for Bachelor’s Programs
Top 10—10 points
Top 25 —9 points
Top 50 —8 points
Top 75 —7 points
Top 100—6 points
Top 125—5 points
Top 150—4 points
Top 175—3 points
Top 200—2 points
Top 250—1 point

Customization Options
• Format Customizations (e.g. Hybrid/Online, Full-time/Part-Time, Accelerated, Degree Completion, etc.)—1 Point Per Customization Option

Wow Factor
• 1 point awarded for each unique feature or program that “wowed” us

#30 – Minot State University

Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

Website
Points: 5

Minot State University best accredited online colleges

Minot State University has a long history of offering accredited online undergraduate and graduate degrees.

One of the more seasoned accredited online colleges in our ranking, Minot State University has been offering online education options for nearly two decades. The school offers nine different undergraduate programs, including bachelor’s degree options in management information systems, international business, applied business information technology, and marketing. A BSN completion program is also available. For graduate students, master’s degrees are available in information systems, general management, sports management, and special education. Both undergraduate and graduate students can choose from a variety of minors and concentrations. In addition to the traditional support services typically offered by accredited online colleges, MSU also offers disability and multicultural studies.
In-State Tuition: $6,568

#29 –University of West Georgia

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

Website
Points: 5

University of West Georgia nationally accredited online colleges

University of West Georgia offers online accredited degrees, certificates, and endorsement.

The University of West Georgia has been lauded by many top publications as one of the best accredited online colleges in terms of value. Courses are offered both partially and fully online, and hybrid options are available. Enrolled students may choose from undergraduate degrees in criminology, nursing, organizational leadership, political science, and sociology, among others. Master’s options include degree programs in applied computer science, early childhood education, media, music education, reading instruction, and public administration, for example. Doctoral offerings include programs of study in higher education administration, nursing education, and school improvement. Like most fully accredited online universities in this ranking, the University of West Georgia also offers several certificates and endorsements online.
In-State Tuition: $6,143

#28 –University of Texas at the Permian Basin

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

Website
Points: 5

University of Texas Permian Basin cheapest accredited online colleges

UTPB is one of the cheapest regionally accredited online schools in this ranking.

One of the more economical choices for regionally accredited online colleges, the University of Texas at the Permian Basin offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs as well as several certificates and endorsements. Bachelor’s degree offerings include child and family studies, industrial technology, political science, management, and marketing, among others. For graduate students, a general MBA and an MBA in Finance is offered as are programs in English, education, public administration, and kinesiology. It is important to note that some of these online degree programs are offered in collaboration with other accredited online colleges in the Texas university system through the University of Texas Online Consortium (UTOC).
In-State Tuition: $5,774

#27 – University of Maine-Fort Kent

Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (CIHE) of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)

Website
Points: 6

University of Maine Fort Kent regionally accredited online universities

The University of Maine-Fort Kent has a range of accredited online degree offerings, including associate’s degrees.

The University of Maine-Fort Kent is among the most popular fully accredited online colleges for undergraduates with a variety of degrees and certificates available. Associate’s degree-level programs include options in allied health, conservation law enforcement, criminal justice, general studies, health information technology, and information security, for example. Those students pursuing bachelor’s degrees can do so in areas of study such as accounting, healthcare administration, rural public safety administration, and cyber security. A fully online RN to BSN program is also available. For students who desire a mixture of online and traditional classes, hybrid options are also offered.
In-State Tuition: $7,575

#26 – California State University-East Bay

WASC Senior College and University Commission

Website
Points: 6

California State University- East Bay fully accredited online universities

California State University-East Bay is one of the most flexible accredited online universities in the country.

California State University-East Bay is one of the top accredited online colleges in terms of value. The school offers affordable undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as credential and certificate programs from a top-tier public university. Bachelor’s options include programs of study in business administration, ethnic studies, human development, and recreation while master’s programs include offerings in healthcare administration, recreation and tourism, and educational leadership. Hybrid and degree completion programs are also available, and classes are scheduled on a flexible quarter system.
In-State Tuition: $6,564

#25 – Kennesaw State University

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

Website
Points: 6

Kennesaw State University list of regionally accredited online colleges

Kennesaw State University is one of the more affordable doctoral-level accredited online colleges in the U.S.

Kennesaw State University is one of the more comprehensive accredited online colleges in the Southeast, offering more than 70 degree and certificate programs and over 500 different online courses on both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Bachelor’s offerings include programs in business administration, engineering, computing, and humanities, while master’s degrees are offered in instructional technology, international policy management, engineering, educational leadership, and more. Doctoral programs are available in instructional technology and teacher leadership. All programs mirror KSU’s rigorous on-campus offerings and are taught by the same faculty members.
In-State Tuition: $6,060

#24 – Valley City State University

Higher Learning Commission

Website
Points: 7

Valley City State University top accredited online colleges

Valley City State University is an affordable accredited online college for undergrads.

Valley City State University is one of the best accredited online universities for bachelor’s studies. Undergraduates can choose from a wide range of majors at VCSU, including programs in English education, business process integration management, and professional communication. Minor and certificate/endorsement programs include library media, psychology, enterprise applications, and customer relationship management. A single master’s degree program in education is also available from this online university. Valley City State’s distance education students can take advantage of a variety of support services, including academic tutoring, library services, counseling, and technical assistance.
In-State Tuition: $7,196

#23 – University of Alaska-Fairbanks

Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)

Website
Points: 7

University of Alaska- Fairbanks cheapest accredited online colleges

University of Alaska-Fairbanks is one of the only accredited online colleges to offer a master’s degree in security and disaster management.

The University of Alaska-Fairbanks is one of the cheapest regionally accredited online schools offering a range of degrees, from certificate programs to graduate degrees. Undergraduates can choose from associate’s degrees in subject areas such as applied accounting, applied business, paralegal studies, and early childhood education as well as bachelor’s programs in homeland security and emergency management, justice, psychology, and business administration. A bachelor’s degree completion program is also available. For graduate students, UAK offers master’s options in administration of justice, security and disaster management, education (online innovation and design), and special education. The school also offers several occupational endorsements for those who wish to advance in their current careers.
In-State Tuition: $5,976

#22 – Lee University

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

Website
Points: 8

Lee University accredited online colleges

Lee University is one of a handful of Christian nationally accredited online colleges.

Lee University is a top Christian accredited online college, offering undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs from its Division of Adult Learning (DAL). Undergraduate options include business administration, criminal justice, and Christian Studies, while master’s degrees include programs in ministry studies, business administration, and marriage and family studies. Online students may also pursue certificates in areas like intercultural studies, Christian leadership, the Bible, and pastoral studies. Like many of the best accredited online universities, Lee University’s classes are asynchronous, meaning students have the flexibility to make their own schedules. Hybrid courses are also available.
In-State Tuition: $15,770

#21 – Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville

Higher Learning Commission

Website
Points: 9

Southern Illinois University- Edwardsville top accredited online universities

Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville is among the best accredited online colleges geared primarily toward graduate students.

As one of the more established regionally accredited online colleges in the nation, Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville offers individual online courses as well as full degree programs offered completely online and via a blended format. The school is geared mostly towards graduate students with only two bachelor’s-level programs, an accelerated RN to BSN program and a BS in Leadership in Organizations. Featured master’s degree options include programs in healthcare informatics, instructional technology, nursing education, and physical education and coaching pedagogy. A single doctoral program—the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)—is also available for postgraduate nursing students. SIU-Edwardsville’s online students benefit from a variety of support services, including tutoring, library, and counseling services.
In-State Tuition: $11,008

#20 – Western Illinois University

Higher Learning Commission

Website
Points: 10

Western Illinois University nationally accredited online colleges

Western Illinois University offers a unique fully accredited online bachelor’s in anthropology with an environmental emphasis.

Western Illinois University tops our list of regionally accredited online colleges as many of its distance learning options mirror the school’s high-quality on-campus programs. The university offers several bachelor’s degree options, including a bachelor’s in anthropology with special emphasis on the environment. This program is the only one of its kind offered in the state of Illinois. Master’s degree students also have many options to choose from, including programs in business, instructional design and technology, and elementary education. Schedules are flexible with no time limit designated for completion.
In-State Tuition: $12,655

#19 – Texas Tech University

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

Website
Points: 10

Texas Tech University fully accredited online universities

Texas Tech University is one of several accredited online colleges in this ranking that offer degrees on a part-time basis.

Texas Tech University is atop our list of accredited online colleges in part because of its versatility. The school offers a number of unique undergraduate and graduate options for its online students, and courses can be taken on a full-time or flexible part-time basis. Texas Tech’s Division of eLearning and Academic Partnerships offers bachelor’s degrees in applied leadership, university studies, general studies, and human sciences, for example, while master’s options include programs in English, strategic communication and innovation, civil engineering, agricultural communications, and more. Doctoral programs are numerous and include offerings in agricultural education, special education, technical communication and rhetoric, and systems and engineering management among others. Transfer scholarships are also available.
In-State Tuition: $8,428

#18 – Lamar University

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

Website
Points: 10

Lamar University list of regionally accredited online colleges

Lamar University offers various fully accredited online MBA programs.

A member of the Texas State University system, Lamar University is one of the leading fully accredited online universities in the South and in the nation. The school offers a comprehensive list of undergraduate majors, including offerings in business, criminal justice, nursing, communication, and sociology. Lamar University is also home to several online MBA programs, with concentrations in construction project management, enterprise resource planning, healthcare administration, and criminal justice management, for instance. Those in the teaching profession may consider pursuing one of the school’s online MEd programs with available concentrations in educational technology leadership, special education, teacher leadership, and school counseling. Students can take advantage of several start dates per year for added convenience.
In-State Tuition: $8,146

#17 – University of Maine-Augusta

Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc.

Website
Points: 10

University of Maine- Augusta regionally accredited online universities

University of Maine-Augusta offers fully accredited online and hybrid programs.

As one of the best accredited online universities in the Northeast and in the nation, the University of Maine-Augusta offers dozens of fully online degree options as well as hybrid programs. Some bachelor’s degree options include programs in business administration, cybersecurity, information and library science, and mental health and human services. UMA also offers post-baccalaureate programs in computer information systems, public administration, and justice studies. Like most of the top regionally accredited online universities for undergraduates, the University of Maine-Augusta also offers several associates, minors, and certificate programs as well.
In-State Tuition: $7,448

#16 – Missouri State University- Springfield

Higher Learning Commission

Website
Points: 10

Missouri State University Springfield cheapest regionally accredited online schools

University of Missouri-Springfield is home to a unique accredited online Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice.

Considered one of the best accredited online colleges for undergraduate and graduate students, Missouri State University-Springfield provides fully online bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs as well as undergraduate and graduate certificates. Standout bachelor’s degree offerings include programs in professional writing, finance, hospitality leadership, and information technology service management. Several undergraduate minors are also available, including screenwriting and technical writing, diversity studies, and religious studies. MSU-Springfield is home to over a dozen master’s degrees options as well, including programs of study in cybersecurity, child life studies, history, and communication. Doctoral nursing students can pursue a general Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) or a Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice. Transfer options are also available for degree completion students.
In-State Tuition: $7,060

#15 – Valdosta State University

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

Website
Points: 10

Valdosta State University cheapest accredited online colleges

Valdosta State University offers accredited online bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees via a competency-based education model.

Valdosta State University is one of the more unique accredited online colleges, offering distance education students the opportunity to complete their degrees via a competency based education model. The school features a litany of online and hybrid programs from the associate’s to doctoral levels, and minors, certificates, and endorsements are also available. Bachelor’s degree programs include offerings in criminal justice, emergent media and communication, human capital performance, and organizational leadership, for example. Among the several master’s degree programs available are offerings in adult and career education, educational leadership, healthcare administration, and library and information science. In addition to two distinct EdD programs, a doctoral program in public administration is also available.
In-State Tuition: $6,297

#14 – Georgia Southern University

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

Website
Points: 10

Georgia Southern University top accredited online colleges

Georgia Southern University is one of the few accredited online colleges to offer a master in kinesiology.

Georgia Southern University is among the top accredited online colleges offering programs in business, education, and healthcare. Most of these programs are master’s offerings, including standout programs in engineering management, kinesiology, instructional technology, and applied economics. There are also three options for undergraduates: an RN to BSN, a Bachelor of General Studies, and a BS in Information Technology. Postgraduate offerings include several EdS programs and a Doctor of Nursing Practice. Many programs can be completed via a hybrid or blended format.
In-State Tuition: $6,273

#13 – Eastern Oregon University

Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)

Website
Points: 11

Eastern Oregon University best accredited online universities

Eastern Oregon University offers transfer options for those desiring a degree from a top accredited online university.

Eastern Oregon University is among the leading accredited online colleges for undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Enrolled students have several undergraduate majors to choose from, including anthropology/sociology, early childhood education, politics and economics, and communication studies. Bachelor of Applied Science programs are also available in both business administration and emergency medical services administration. For graduate students, EOU offers three master’s degree programs: an MA in Teaching, an MBA, and an ME in Education program. Transfer pathways are also available for those who wish to complete a degree they began elsewhere.
In-State Tuition: $8,004

#12 – University of North Dakota

Higher Learning Commission

Website
Points: 12

University of North Dakota nationally accredited online colleges

The University of North Dakota features standout doctoral offerings in aerospace science.

The University of North Dakota makes our list of best accredited online colleges because of its combination of quality and affordability. The school is home to over 50 degree and certificate programs, from bachelor’s to doctoral programs as well as undergraduate and graduate certificates. Bachelor’s offerings include majors in communication, engineering, social science, medical laboratory science, and psychology while unique master’s degrees include aviation, forensic psychology, and electrical engineering. The university also boasts an impressive list of online doctoral programs, including programs in aerospace sciences, environmental engineering, higher education, and several others. Students benefit from resources associated with most nationally accredited online colleges, such as online tutoring, student success coaching, and writing assistance.
In-State Tuition: $8,136

#11 – Sam Houston State University

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

Website
Points: 12

Sam Houston University fully accredited online colleges

Sam Houston University offers scholarship opportunities for its online students.

Sam Houston State University is among the cheapest online accredited colleges in the country, thanks in part to the scholarship opportunities the school offers to online students. The school offers over 40 different degree programs from the bachelor’s to doctoral levels. Bachelor’s majors include criminal justice, general business administration, history, nursing, psychology, and sociology, while master’s offerings include degrees in communication studies, banking and financial institutions, curriculum and instruction, digital forensics, homeland security studies, and many more. Teachers interested in nationally accredited online colleges can pursue EdD degrees in Developmental Education Administration and Instructional Technology from SHSU.
In-State Tuition: $7,762

#10 – Southeast Missouri State University

Higher Learning Commission

Website
Points: 12

Southeast Missouri State University list of regionally accredited online colleges

Southeast Missouri State University’s fully accredited online degrees mirror the school’s on-campus offerings.

Students looking for convenient, accredited online colleges will find more than 30 different degree and certificate programs from the fully accredited Southeast Missouri State University. The school offers bachelor’s degrees in subjects such as business administration, computer information systems, criminal justice, family studies, and healthcare administration. Students pursing master’s degrees can study applied behavior analysis, criminal justice, elementary education, exceptional child education, general management, public administration, and more. Two educational specialist degrees are available: one in education administration and one in teacher leadership. SEMSU’s distance education students are taught by the same faculty members who teach on-campus classes.
In-State Tuition: $6,990

#9 – Florida International University

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

Website
Points: 12

Florida International University - Top 30 Best Accredited Colleges Online

Florida International University offers 34 accredited online bachelor’s programs.

Florida International University is one of the top accredited online colleges, in part because of the diverse degree options that it offers its online students. For example, in addition to more traditional undergraduate offerings in communication arts, early childhood education, and finance, FIU offers a unique bachelor’s in Asian studies as well as a major in hospitality management. For master’s degree students, there are degree options in African and African Diaspora Studies, construction management, and forensic science. Combined 4+1 offerings include recreation and sport management and hospitality management.
In-State Tuition: $6,556

#8 – University of Central Florida

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

Website
Points: 12

University of Central Florida - Top 30 Best Accredited Colleges Online

University of Central Florida hires award-winning faculty to teach their online programs.

It’s easy to see why the University of Central Florida is considered one of the best accredited online universities in the nation, considering it offers more than 80 degrees and certificates completely online. Offerings include bachelor’s and master’s degree programs as well as degree completion programs. Undergraduates can major in areas such as communication and conflict, health services administration, international and global studies, and legal studies. For graduate students, master’s degrees are available in digital forensics, aerospace engineering, exceptional student education, hospitality and tourism management, and many more.
In-State Tuition: $6,368

#7 – College of Coastal Georgia

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

Website
Points: 12

College of Coastal Georgia regionally accredited online universities

College of Coastal Georgia offers a range of fully accredited online bachelor’s degrees.

The College of Coastal Georgia is one of the cheapest accredited online colleges in the nation. Currently, the school only offers bachelor’s degrees online. These degree programs include a Bachelor of Applied Science in Workforce Management and Leadership, Bachelor of Arts programs in both French and Spanish Language and Literature, and an RN to BSN program. In addition to fully online options, these programs are also offered via a hybrid format. CCG prides itself on providing online programs that are not only convenient and flexible, but highly interactive and engaging as well.
In-State Tuition: $3,821

#6 – Oregon State University

Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)

Website
Points: 13

Oregon State University cheapest regionally accredited online schools

Oregon State University is home to unique accredited online programs in the environmental sciences.

Oregon State University is one of the top regionally accredited online universities in the country, offering over 1,000 unique courses and 45 different degree programs, including bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and professional degrees as well as graduate certificates. The courses students take from OSU’s eCampus are direct reflections of the university’s stellar on-campus offerings. Undergraduate offerings include majors in anthropology, political science, business administration, and environmental sciences, while master’s degree programs are available in business, natural resource sciences, science and engineering, education, and public policy. OSU is also home to an online PhD in Counseling.
In-State Tuition: $10,366

#5 – University of Arkansas

Higher Learning Commission

Website
Points: 13

University of Arkansas cheapest accredited online colleges

University of Arkansas offers a rare accredited online master’s in food safety.

As one of the top fully accredited online universities in the United States, the University of Arkansas’ Global Campus gives distance education students the opportunity to earn a degree from a top tier university without physically attending classes. Courses are designed by on-campus faculty members, and online students receive many of the same resources as traditional students. Undergraduate offerings include bachelor’s degrees in communication, business, interdisciplinary studies, and nursing, while master’s options in educational technology, business administration, food safety, engineering, and many more. Students who desire terminal degrees can choose from four distinct doctoral programs.
In-State Tuition: $8,820

#4 – American Public University

Higher Learning Commission

Website
Points: 13

American Public University best accredited online universities

American Public University’s accredited online degrees are flexible and asynchronous.

With over 200 online degrees and certificates, American Public University is among the more prolific accredited online colleges in our ranking. Popular undergraduate majors from APU include bachelor’s offerings in business administration, transportation and logistics management, homeland security, environmental science, and sports and health sciences. Master’s, doctoral, and accelerated degree options are also available. Classes are asynchronous, and there are start dates every month for added flexibility.
In-State Tuition: $6,880

#3 – University of North Florida

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

Website
Points: 13

University of North florida nationally accredited online colleges

University of North Florida offers accelerated accredited online degree programs.

The University of North Florida is among the top accredited online colleges for nursing in the nation. The school offers a 30-credit hour RN to BSN program that can be completed in just 12 months of full-time study as well as a 48-credit hour Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) that can be finished in as few as 24 months. Programs are accelerated, but flexible, meaning students can take more time to finish their degree requirements if necessary. In addition to regional accreditation from the SACSCOC, UNF has received special program accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
In-State Tuition: $6,394

#2 – West Texas A&M University

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

Website
Points: 14

West Texas A&M fully accredited online universities

West Texas A&M offers fully accredited online degree completion programs.

West Texas A&M University tops the list of regionally accredited online colleges, offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs completely online and via hybrid formats. Offerings include bachelor’s degrees in business administration, health sciences, and criminal justice as well as master’s offerings in instructional design and technology, curriculum and instruction, finance and economics. An online MBA as well as an RN to MSN program are also available, as are degree completion programs in applied arts and sciences. West Texas A&M is part of the Texas A&M university system, the second largest university system in the world.
In-State Tuition: $7,699

#1 – Fort Hays State University

Higher Learning Commission

Website
Points: 14

Fort Hays State University list of regionally accredited online colleges

Fort Hays State’s blend of quality and affordability makes it our top choice for fully accredited online universities.

Fort Hays State University is among the most affordable accredited online colleges in our ranking and in the nation. The school provides degree programs ideal for adult learners, from associate’s degrees to doctoral degrees. Certificate programs, educational specialist programs, and accelerated transfer programs are also available. Popular undergraduate majors from Fort Hays State’s Virtual College include computer science, agricultural business, education, human health and performance, and criminal justice. Like most fully accredited online universities, FHSU provides its distance education students with plenty of resources to support their success, including academic assistance, a career resource center, and technical resources and support.
In-State Tuition: $4,884

Additional Resources:

CVO Staff
February 2018

This concludes our ranking of top online accredited colleges for 2018.

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