The Top 100 Best Online Colleges and Most Affordable Universities in 2022

Best Online Colleges

Did you know that many universities offer online programs today? Currently, over 350 colleges and universities in the United States offer at least one bachelor’s-level distance education program. Even more online schools cater to students seeking associate degrees or even a graduate degree via virtual learning. With all these options, how do you choose the best online university? College Values Online editors developed the following ranking of the very best online colleges in the United States to help you answer that challenging question.

Featured Programs

Best Online Colleges

Degrees mentioned in this ranking of best online colleges include:

  • Online RN to BSN
  • Online BS in Healthcare Administration
  • Online Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice
  • Online BA/BS in Business Administration
  • Online Bachelor’s in Human Services
  • Online MBA
  • Online MS in Computer Science
  • Online MA in Journalism and Mass Communication
  • Online Master of Education (MEd)
  • Online MS in Engineering Management

Rating and Ranking Methodology
Graduate Tuition

  • Under $5,000—7 points
  • Under $7,500—6 points
  • Under $10,000—5 points
  • Under $12,500—4 points
  • Under $15,000—3 points
  • Under $17,500—2 points
  • Under $20,000—1 point

National Recognition (U.S. News & World Report’s Ranking of Online Bachelor’s Degrees)

  • Top 350—1 point
  • Top 250—2 points
  • Top 150—3 points
  • Top 100—4 points
  • Top 50—5 points
  • Top 25—6 points
  • Top 10—7 points

Wow Factor
1 point per feature that “wowed” us

Rating and Ranking the Country’s Best Online Colleges

Best Online Colleges: Table of Contents:

  1. St. Petersburg College
  2. University of North Florida
  3. Colorado State University- Global
  4. West Texas A&M University
  5. Utah State University
  6. University of Arkansas
  7. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
  8. University of West Florida
  9. Florida International University
  10. UNC-Charlotte
  11. Top 20
  12. Top 30
  13. Top 40
  14. Top 50
  15. Top 60
  16. Top 70
  17. Top 80
  18. Top 90
  19. Top 100

To create this extensive ranking of the best online colleges in the United States, our editors began with an initial pool of 144 affordable online schools offering bachelor’s degrees at $430 per credit hour or less. We then applied the rating and ranking methodology above, using data from the National Center for Education Statistics and U.S. News & World Report. In the case of a tie, we awarded the higher ranking to the cheaper school. The following 100 best online colleges and universities offer quality distance education programs: 

#100—Toccoa Falls College

Toccoa Falls, Georgia

Website

Points: 2

Toccoa Falls College - logo

A top accredited online school for undergraduate study, Toccoa Falls College offers online classes and college credits leading to ten distinct online baccalaureate degrees. Sample options for distance learners who meet admissions requirements for this not-for-profit private university include the following online college degree programs:

  • Online BS in Counseling Psychology
  • Online BS in Sport Management
  • Online BS in Business Administration
  • Online BS in Biblical Studies

Undergraduate certificates are also available to online students in the areas of Biblical Studies and Cross-Cultural Studies. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools has accredited Toccoa Falls College to award online degrees and certificates. In terms of this not-for-profit’s reputation, U.S. News & World Report has called it one of the best regionally accredited schools in the nation for a bachelor’s degree. To ensure student success, many of the same school services such as academic advising and financial aid resources are available to online and on campus students at this degree granting institution. 

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $21,490

#99—Williams Baptist University

Walnut Ridge, Arkansas

Website

Points: 2

Williams Baptist University - logo

One of the newer online learning providers in our ranking, Williams Baptist University has not offered online programs for long. In fact, the private university began offering its sole online bachelors degree program in 2017. This Bachelor of Science (BS) in Criminal Justice is a degree completion program for students with prior law enforcement experience and/or an associate degree. Distance learners enrolled in the online program will take asynchronous courses leading to college credits such as:

  • Introduction to Forensic Science
  • Principles of Corrections
  • Police Administration

Regarding higher education accreditation, the Higher Learning Commission has institutionally accredited Williams Baptist University to award on campus and online bachelor’s degrees. In terms of school rankings, U.S. News & World Report has ranked the not-for-profit school among some of the leading online colleges and universities in the nation.

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $18,570

#98—Columbia College

Columbia, Missouri

Website

Points: 3

Columbia College - logo

As one of the leading accredited schools in the Midwest, Columbia College offers more than two dozen online degrees, including nationally ranked online bachelor’s options. Featured online degree plans for undergraduate students who meet admissions requirements but can’t attend in person classes for a traditional degree include:

  • Online BS in Healthcare Management
  • Online BS in Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Online BS in Management Information Systems
  • Online BA in Public Administration
  • Online BA in Human Services

These online bachelor’s degree programs aren’t the only options for online learners at Columbia. Several graduate degrees, including master’s degrees, are also available to distance learners. One of these popular programs is a nationally recognized online MBA offering for prospective graduate students. In terms of higher education accreditation, the Higher Learning Commission has accredited Columbia College to confer online degrees and certificates. U.S. News & World Report has named the not-for-profit private university one of the top online colleges for distance learners seeking a baccalaureate degree. To support student success, academic advising and online tutoring is available for students seeking a degree delivered online.  

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $23,840

#97—Concordia University-St. Paul

St. Paul, Minnesota

Website

Points: 3

Concordia University - St. Paul- logo

One of the older online universities for college credits in our ranking, Concordia University-St. Paul, has offered online programs, courses, and degrees since 1998. Today, the private not-for-profit university offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral distance learning options for students who meet admissions requirements, including popular programs like:

  • Online BA in Health Care Administration
  • Online BS in Information Systems
  • Online BS in Pulmonary Science
  • Online MA in Family Science
  • Online MA in Human Resource Management

Doctoral programs in education and physical therapy are also available from this degree granting university. For the most part, students in these programs work on their own schedules. The Higher Learning Commission has fully accredited Concordia University-St. Paul to award online credentials as well as on campus degrees. The accredited school’s online bachelor’s in business and online master’s in criminal justice have appeared prominently in U.S. News & World Report’s school rankings. Online students qualify for financial aid resources. 

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $23,900

#96—Mercy College of Health Sciences

Des Moines, Iowa

Website

Points: 3

Mercy College of Health Sciences- logo

One of the best nationally accredited schools for health care professionals, Mercy College of Health Sciences offers the credentials busy adults need to progress their careers in the health care industry. At the bachelor’s level, popular programs for distance learners who meet admissions requirements include:

  • Online BS in Public Health
  • Online RN to BSN
  • Online BS in Healthcare Administration
  • Online BS in Health Sciences
  • Accelerated Online BSN

No in person classes are required for these online bachelor’s degree credentials, and students primarily study within their own schedules. Mercy College of Health Sciences is fully accredited to award online degree programs and certificates in health sciences at the undergraduate level. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the accredited school among the top online programs nationwide in its official school rankings for vocational schools. Online students may qualify for scholarships and other financial aid. 

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $19,754

#95—Pittsburgh Technical College

Oakdale, Pennsylvania

Website

Points: 3

Pittsburgh Technical College - logo

A relatively new addition to the nation’s top online schools, Pittsburgh Technical College began offering online programs at the bachelor’s level in 2016. Undergraduate program applicants interested in such a credential have three distinct options to choose from at this best online college:

  • Online BS in Information Systems and Technology
  • Online BS in Applied Management
  • Online BS in Business Administration

Content delivery for these online bachelor’s degree programs is a flexible yet interactive blend of synchronous and asynchronous programming. No in person classes are required for a non-traditional degree. In terms of higher education accreditation, Pittsburgh Tech is one of the few vocational schools fully accredited to award online credentials by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. U.S. News & World Report has listed the school among the best accredited online programs in the country.

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $16,699

#94—Saint Leo University

St. Leo, Florida

Website

Points: 4

Saint Leo University - logo

Among the best online colleges in the nation, Saint Leo University has been recognized for its excellent online academic programs, especially in business. The school is also home to several other undergraduate programs, though, including these bachelor’s degree options offered online:

  • Online BS in Computer Science
  • Online BS in Cyber Security
  • Online BS in Respiratory Therapy
  • Online BA in Psychology
  • Online BA in Sociology

For prospective graduate students who meet admission requirements, distance learning options include several online programs:

  • Online Master of Accounting
  • Online MA in Creative Writing
  • Online MBA: Social Media Marketing
  • Online MEd in Instructional Leadership

In addition to on campus degrees, Saint Leo University is fully accredited to confer these online credentials by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. It has been ranked among the top 100 best online programs for a bachelor’s degree in U.S. News & World Report’s school rankings. Students who meet admissions requirements are advised to apply for federal financial aid to cover the online program cost prior to enrollment. 

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $26,050

#93—Life University

Marietta, Georgia

Website

Points: 4

Life University - logo

One of the newer online learning hubs in this ranking, Life University began offering online baccalaureate degrees in 2018. Currently, the degree granting school is home to several online programs for undergraduate distance learners who meet admissions requirements:

  • Online BS in Biology
  • Online BS in Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Online BS in Psychology

At the graduate level, this private college also offers one online program leading to a non-traditional degree: the Master of Science in Positive Psychology. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools has regionally accredited Life University to confer both on campus and online degrees and credentials. The online college has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the leading online programs nationwide. Enrollment in accredited schools qualifies students for federal financial aid. 

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $13,911

#92—Baptist College of Florida

Graceville, Florida

Website

Points: 4

Baptist College of Florida - logo

One of the best private colleges in our ranking, the Baptist College of Florida, offers a wide range of online baccalaureate degree programs focusing on Christian studies. Online bachelor’s degree options for distance learners at this degree granting institution include popular programs like:

  • Online BA in Ministry Studies
  • Online BA in Psychology
  • Online BA in Business Leadership
  • Online Bachelor of Music Education
  • Online BA in Biblical Studies
  • Online BA in Elementary Education

Several programs are also offered online for prospective graduate students who meet admission requirements but can’t attend in person classes for a traditional degree. These include:

  • Online MA in Counseling
  • Online MA in Christian Studies
  • Online MA in Music and Worship Leadership

Regarding higher education accreditation, the Baptist College of Florida holds institutional accreditation from the SACSCOC. Academic advising is available at this online college. Plus, online students may be eligible for scholarships and other financial aid. 

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $12,150

#91—Oregon Health and Science University

Portland, Oregon

Website

Points: 5

Oregon Health Sciences University - logo

A top online school for students considering academic programs in nursing, Oregon Health and Science University offers a fully online RN to BSN program as well as two separate online master’s degree options:

  • Online Master’s in Health Systems & Organizational Leadership
  • Online Master of Nursing Education

These online degree plans for a career path in nursing, nursing administration, and nursing education have all been highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report and require no in person classes. The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities has institutionally accredited Oregon Health and Science University to award online nursing degrees. The degree granting school has appeared in national school rankings for vocational schools as one of the best accredited online learning providers in the country.

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $14,760

#90—Moody Bible Institute

Chicago, Illinois

Website

Points: 5

Moody Bible Institute - logo

Among the top nationally accredited online colleges for college credits for a career path in Christian ministry and leadership, Moody Bible Institute offers fully online degree plans at both the undergrad and graduate levels. Available online bachelor’s degree options for distance learners who meet admissions requirements include:

  • Online BS in Biblical Studies
  • Online Bachelor’s in Integrated Ministry Studies
  • Online BS in Ministry Leadership
  • Online BS in Theological Studies
  • Online BS in Theological and Cultural Engagement

The accredited, degree granting private college is also home to four separate master’s degrees offered online for prospective grad students, including:

  • Online Master of Divinity
  • Online MA in Biblical Studies
  • Online MA in Global Ministry Design
  • Online MA in Ministry Studies

Moody Bible Institute is nationally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and the Association for Biblical Higher Education to award these online degrees. Academic advising and online tutoring is available from this online college. Moreover, online students may qualify for scholarships and other financial aid.

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $14,335

#89—National University

La Jolla, California

Website

Points: 5

National University - logo

One of the top colleges devoted exclusively to distance learning, National University has been offering online courses and programs for more than two decades. Currently, the degree granting private college offers online bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nearly every available academic discipline. Undergraduate options for distance learners who meet admissions requirements include several online programs:

  • Online BS in Cybersecurity
  • Online BS in Computer Science
  • Online BA in Early Childhood Education
  • Online BA in Strategic Communications
  • Online BS in Allied Health
  • Online BA in Integrative Psychology
  • Online Bachelor’s in Public Health

This accredited school’s online graduate degrees include nationally ranked online master’s in criminal justice, computer information technology, business, and online nursing programs. National University has been accredited to award these college credits and online credentials by the WASC Senior College and University Commission. Student support services like academic advising, career services, and tutoring are available from this online college. 

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $13,320

#88—Colorado Technical University

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Website

Points: 5

Colorado Technical University - logo

Recognized as one of the best online learning providers in the U.S. since the early 2000s, Colorado Technical University offers distance education options, including online courses and programs, at every postsecondary education level (bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral). Online students who meet admissions requirements can pursue a non-traditional degree, including bachelor’s degree options offered online such as:

  • Online BS in Computer Science
  • Online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA)
  • Online BS in Information Technology
  • Online BS in Psychology

Many different online graduate options are also available as alternatives to an in person degree, including top-ranked, nationally accredited online master’s in engineering and computer science, business, and criminal justice. The school’s online nursing programs are also highly ranked and nationally accredited.  The Higher Learning Commission has fully accredited Colorado Tech at the institutional level to award college credits and online degrees for both undergraduate and grad students, making it one of our top picks for regionally accredited schools. Online students may have their own enrollment counselor and enjoy career services at this degree granting school. There are no additional online student fees, and federal student aid is available. 

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $12,581

#87—University of Minnesota-Crookston

Crookston, Minnesota

Website

Points: 5

University of Minnesota Crookston - logo

Compared to other online colleges, the University of Minnesota-Crookston is one of the country’s best online colleges for undergraduate studies. Part of the U of M system, the school benefits from nearly a quarter of a century’s experience in offering quality distance education programs alongside traditional degree options. Today, students who meet admissions requirements for an online degree from the university can choose from 16 available majors, including common online degrees like:

  • Applied Health
  • Health Management
  • Information Technology Management
  • International Business
  • Marketing
  • Quality Management

The online college’s nationally accredited online bachelor of business options have been ranked among some of the best such programs nationwide by U.S. News & World Report. The Higher Learning Commission has regionally accredited UMN-Crookston to confer undergraduate credentials online and on campus. Students enrolled at this degree granting institution are encouraged to apply for federal financial aid. They can also access tutoring and other student services online.

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $12,514

#86—Radford University

Radford, Virginia

Website

Points: 5

Radford University - logo

Radford University is not only one of the top online schools in the nation, but it has also been recognized as a leading regional university in the South. The online education provider offers several hybrid and fully online bachelor degree programs for its undergrad students who meet admission requirements, including:

  • Online Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA)
  • Online RN to BSN
  • Online BS in Health Sciences
  • Online BS in Public Health
  • Online BS in Healthcare Administration
  • Online BS in Emergency Services

As alternatives to an in person degree, graduate degrees are also available via an online learning format, including nationally accredited and ranked programs in education and business administration. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools has accredited Radford University to confer undergrad and graduate college credits and degrees. Federal financial aid may be available at this degree granting institution. Plus, distance education students have their own enrollment counselor for online classes as well as access to career services. 

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $11,542

#85—University of West Alabama

Livingston, Alabama

Website

Points: 5

University of West Alabama - logo

One of the leading online universities for working professionals, the University of West Alabama has been offering flexible online degree plans for adults since 2004. Currently, the degree granting school offers more than a dozen different online academic programs for undergrads who meet certain admissions requirements, including:

  • Online BA/BS in Integrated Marketing Communications
  • Online BA/BS in Psychology
  • Online BS in Public Safety
  • Online RN to BSN
  • Online Bachelor’s in Elementary Education

UWA’s nationally accredited online master’s degrees in education and business administration have been ranked among some of the country’s very best such programs. The university can offer these online degrees due to its institutional accreditation for academic quality by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Online students can access tutoring and other student services remotely.

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $10,990

#84—Governors State University

University Park, Illinois

Website

Points: 5

Governors State University - logo

Accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, Governors State University takes its place among the leading best online schools in the Midwest. The degree-granting online college is home to three fully online academic programs at the bachelor’s level:

  • Online RN to BSN
  • Online BA in Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Online BA in Business and Applied Sciences

An equal number of online master’s degrees are also offered to admitted students via an online learning format, including:

  • Online MBA
  • Online MBA in Supply Chain Management
  • Online Master of Health Science in Addiction Studies

Governors State also offers a nationally accredited online doctoral degree in education and an online certificate in online teaching and learning. In addition, some hybrid online courses are available. On campus and online students are encouraged to apply for federal financial aid. To ensure student success in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs, academic advising and career services are also available from this degree granting university.

Undergraduate Tuition: $10,108

#83—Louisiana Tech University

Ruston, Louisiana

Website

Points: 5

Louisiana Tech - logo

Louisiana Tech University’s quality online BS in Health Informatics & Information Management has garnered it a place in our ranking of best online universities. However, the online college offers numerous other online offerings, many of them at the graduate level. Some of these common online degrees for distance learners who meet admissions requirements include those in the liberal arts, business, and health sciences:

  • Online MA in English
  • Online MS in Industrial Engineering
  • Online MBA
  • Online MA in History
  • Online Master of Health Informatics

Several online graduate certificate programs are also offered through the university. Louisiana Tech is institutionally accredited to confer online and on campus credentials by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Federal financial aid is advised for students looking for tuition assistance to attend online school.

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $10,065

#82—Lee University

Cleveland, Tennessee

Website

Points: 6

Lee University- logo

Despite its relatively high undergraduate tuition for on-campus students, Lee University is still one of the best online colleges for students looking for the cheapest and highest quality online schools per credit hour. Known for academic quality, the online college offers over a dozen fully online bachelor’s options for distance learners who meet admission requirements, including:

  • Online BA/BS in Business Administration
  • Online Bachelor’s in Human Services
  • Online BA/BS in Liberal Studies
  • Online BA/BS in Christian Studies

One of the private schools in our ranking, Lee University also offers a nationally ranked online MBA program through its online college. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools has fully accredited the school to confer online and on campus credentials at the bachelor’s and master’s levels. Admitted students are eligible to receive student support services such as counseling, career services, and academic advising as they pursue online college credits. 

Undergraduate Tuition: $20,500

#81—Mount Carmel College of Nursing

Columbus, Ohio

Website

Points: 6

Mount Carmel College of Nursing-logo

Mount Carmel College of Nursing is one of the best online schools for healthcare professionals. In addition to many on campus programs, the degree-granting college offers a fully online RN to BSN program as well as several graduate options for distance learners who meet admissions requirements such as:

  • Online MS in Nursing Leadership
  • Online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
  • Online Graduate Certificate in Nursing Education
  • Online Graduate Certificate in Adult-Gerontology Acute Care (Nurse Practitioner)
  • Online Graduate Certificate in Nursing Leadership: Clinical Operations

The Higher Learning Commission and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education have fully accredited Mount Carmel College to award these nationally accredited online degrees in the health sciences as well as top online nursing programs. Its been ranked among the best online schools for a bachelor’s in U.S. News & World Report’s official school rankings. Financial aid opportunities are available for admitted students taking online courses from this degree granting institution. 

Undergraduate Tuition: $15,109

#80—Oakland University

Rochester, Michigan

Website

Points: 6

Oakland University - logo

Oakland University has been accredited by The Higher Learning Commission to offer traditional academic degrees since 1996. Today, the school has evolved into one of the best online colleges in the nation, offering low-cost online degrees for both undergraduate and grad students. In addition to the school’s on campus programs, specific options for distance learners who meet admissions requirements include:

  • Online RN to BSN
  • Online BS in Environmental Health and Safety
  • Online MBA
  • Online MAT in Reading and Language Arts
  • Online Master of Public Administration (MPA)
  • Online Master of Music in Music Education
  • Online MS in Safety Management

Several graduate certificates and professional licensure programs are also available from the online college, including online nursing programs. U.S. News & World Report has named Oakland University one of the nation’s best accredited online programs.

Undergraduate In-state Tuition: $13,934

#79—Western Illinois University

Macomb, Illinois

Website

Points: 6

Western Illinois University - logo

One of the oldest distance education institutions in our ranking, Western Illinois University has been offering online degree programs since 1998. Currently, the university offers two accredited online programs to degree seekers who meet admissions requirements:

  • Online BS in Law Enforcement and Justice Administration
  • Online BS in Fire Protection Services

A variety of online minors are also available from this accredited school in areas such as:

  • Criminalistics
  • Homeland Security
  • Security Administration
  • Fire Administration
  • Legal Studies
  • Fire Science

For grad students, WIU offers a nationally ranked online MBA program. The school is institutionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission to offer online degree programs in addition to its on campus programs. Online students seeking a degree online are eligible for federal financial aid as well as academic advising, tech support, career services, and other student services usually reserved for on campus students. 

Undergraduate Tuition: $13,669

#78—Central Michigan University

Mount Pleasant, Michigan

Website

Points: 6

Central Michigan University - logo

One of the best options for online students in the Midwest, Central Michigan University offers more than 30 different degree and certificate programs for undergraduate and grad students alike. Standout bachelor’s degree options for distance learners, including out of state students who meet admission requirements, include:

  • Online BS in Organizational Leadership
  • Online BS in Psychology
  • Online Bachelor of Applied Arts in Entrepreneurship
  • Online Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
  • Online BS in International Relations
  • Online Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education

Many online programs at the graduate level are also available from this degree granting institution, including nationally accredited offerings in education and business administration. CMU is fully accredited by The Higher Learning Commission to award these online credentials. It’s been ranked among some of the top online schools for undergraduates nationwide by U.S. News & World Report.

Undergraduate Tuition: $13,200

#77—Ohio University

Athens, Ohio

Website

Points: 6

Ohio University - logo

One of the cheapest colleges per credit hour compared to other online colleges in our ranking, Ohio University is also a highly flexible option for distance learners. The online college offers a broad range of programs and flexible delivery options, including hybrid and accelerated tracks as well as credit-for-prior learning. Some of the bachelor’s degree programs offered for distance learners who meet admissions requirements include:

  • Online BA in Communication
  • Online Bachelor of Applied Science in Hospitality Management
  • Online BS in Psychology
  • Online RN to BSN
  • Online BS in Technical Operations Management

This degree granting school is also home to top-ranked online master’s degrees in engineering, nursing, and business as well as a respected online doctor of nursing practice program. The Higher Learning Commission has accredited Ohio University to award both on campus and online degrees at the undergrad and advanced degree levels. There are no additional online student fees, so this is a good option for an affordable education. 

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $12,840

#76—Park University

Parkville, Missouri

Website

Points: 6

Park University- logo

One of the most established of our leading online academic programs, Park University has been offering online bachelor’s degrees via distance education since 1997. Today, the online college offers a full range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs, including more the three dozen bachelor’s options. Featured online programs for degree seekers who meet admissions requirements include:

  • Online BS in Business Economics
  • Online BS in Information and Computer Science
  • Online BS in Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Online BS in Military History

Many online programs at the master’s level are also available from this degree granting institution, including nationally accredited options in business and education. The Higher Learning Commission has accredited Park University to award online college degrees in addition to its on campus programs. It’s been ranked among some of the country’s best online schools for a bachelor’s degree.

Undergraduate Tuition: $12,280

#75—University of Alabama

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Website

Points: 6

The University of Alabama - logo

One of the leading colleges in the South, the University of Alabama offers more than 70 different online programs through its College of Continuing Studies. These include offerings at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. For undergrads who meet admissions requirements, the school is home to online bachelor’s degree programs leading toward a successful career for working professionals such as:

  • Online BS in Commerce and Business Administration
  • Online BS in Hospitality Management
  • Online BS in Human Resource Management
  • Online BA in Criminology 
  • Online RN to BSN
  • Online BS in Public Health
  • Online Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education

UA’s online graduate offerings span master’s and doctoral degrees leading toward a successful career, including nationally accredited and ranked programs in nursing, engineering, public health, education, and business. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools has accredited the university to confer online degrees in addition to its revered on campus programs.

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $11,620

#74—Texas Tech University

Lubbock, Texas

Website

Points: 6

Texas Tech University - logo

One of the most comprehensive online colleges in our ranking for out of state students, Texas Tech University offers online degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. Among its nearly two dozen online academic programs at the bachelor’s level include programs in the social sciences, humanities, and beyond. Some of these non- traditional degree programs for admitted students and degree seekers include: 

  • Online BA in Communication Studies
  • Online BA in Political Science
  • Online Bachelor of General Studies
  • Online BS in Kinesiology
  • Online BS in Wind Energy
  • Online BS in Human Sciences

Texas Tech’s online graduate degree offerings include nationally ranked master’s degrees in business, engineering, and computer information technology. A few online doctoral degrees are also available. The school has been regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award online credentials in addition to its on campus programs.

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $11,852

#73—California University of Pennsylvania

California, Pennsylvania

Website

Points: 6

California University of Pennsylvania - logo

One of the top colleges for online students in the North, California University of Pennsylvania, offers over seventy different online programs. At the undergraduate level, students may choose from individual online courses as well as online bachelor’s offerings in the social sciences, nursing, technology, and more:

  • Online BS in Computer Information Systems
  • Online BS in Industrial Technology Management
  • Online BA in Liberal Studies
  • Online RN to BSN
  • Online BA in Sociology
  • Online BS in Exercise Science

The degree granting school is also home to many online programs at the graduate level, some of which have appeared in national school rankings. One of our regionally accredited schools, the California University of Pennsylvania is accredited to award on campus and online degrees by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $11,108

#72—University of North Alabama

Florence, Alabama

Website

University of North Alabama - logo

Points: 6

One of the best schools for online students in terms of flexibility, the University of North Alabama offers fully online and hybrid degree programs for undergraduate and graduate students. Its online bachelors degree options for learners who meet admissions requirements include those in business, social sciences, and nursing:

  • Online RN to BSN
  • Online Bachelor’s in Interdisciplinary and Professional Studies
  • Online BBA in Professional Management
  • Online Bachelor’s in Sociology

Many online programs at the master’s level are also available from this degree granting institution, including nationally ranked offerings in business and nursing. UNA is fully accredited to offer online courses and confer online bachelor’s and master’s credentials by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $10,620

#71—Colorado Mesa University

Grand Junction, Colorado

Website

Points: 6

Colorado Mesa University - logo

One of the best online schools for distance learners, Colorado Mesa University, offers an array of online programs for undergraduate and graduate degree seekers. Among the school’s featured online programs are online degree offerings such as:

  • Online Bachelor of Business Administration: Management
  • Online RN to BSN
  • Online Bachelor of Applied Science in Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Online BS in Sport Management
  • Online Bachelor of Applied Science in Radiologic Sciences

Four fully online degree programs are also available to distance learners at the master’s level:

  • Online MBA
  • Online MS in Sport Management
  • Online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
  • Online MS in Athletic Training

The Higher Learning Commission has fully accredited Colorado Mesa University to confer both on campus and online bachelor’s and master’s degrees for online students. To support student success and ensure a quality, affordable education, federal student aid, educational resource guides, and career services may be available for students attending online classes. 

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $9,000

#70 (TIE)—Black Hills State University

Spearfish, South Dakota

Website

Points: 6

Black Hills State - logo

One of the best online colleges in the Midwest, Black Hills State University offers a total of nine different fully online programs, including options for both undergrad and grad students pursuing a college degree. Sample online degree programs for distance learners enrolled at this degree granting institution include:

  • Online Bachelor’s in Corporate Communication
  • Online Bachelor’s in General Studies
  • Online Bachelor of Business Administration
  • Online MS in Strategic Leadership
  • Online MS in Sustainability Studies
  • Online MS in Curriculum & Instruction

U.S. News & World Report has ranked BHSU’s online bachelor’s in business, and its online master’s in education programs as some of the best in the nation. The Higher Learning Commission institutionally accredits the school for online and on campus students.

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $9,000

#70 (TIE)—Northwestern State University of Louisiana

Natchitoches, Louisiana

Website

Points: 6

Northwestern Stare University - logo

Among the leading colleges in the South for academic excellence, Northwestern State University of Louisiana offers fully online bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs through its Global Campus. Undergraduates who meet admission requirements may pursue degrees in the social sciences, humanities, and computer science. The following are fully online programs:

  • Online BS in Computer Information System
  • Online BS in Psychology
  • Online BA in Liberal Arts
  • Online BS in Child and Family Studies

At the graduate level, students may choose to pursue a featured online program such as:

  • Online MA in English
  • Online MAT in Secondary Education
  • Online MEd in Educational Technology Leadership
  • Online MS in Homeland Security
  • Online MS in Radiologic Science

Doctoral degrees such as an online Doctor of Nursing Practice and Doctor of Education in Adult Learning and Development are also available. In addition to its on campus programs, the Northwestern State University of Louisiana has been accredited to offer these online programs by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. U.S. News & World Report has ranked it among the nation’s top accredited online colleges and universities for a bachelor’s credential.

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $8,672

#69—Colorado State University-Pueblo

Pueblo, Colorado

Website

Colorado State University- Pueblo logo

Points: 6

One of the leading colleges for distance learners in the Western United States, Colorado State University-Pueblo offers quality online courses of study so degree seekers can attend virtual classes nationwide. For undergraduates pursuing college education toward a non-traditional degree, the following online bachelor’s programs are available:

  • Online BS in Business Administration
  • Online BS in Construction Management
  • Online Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) in Health Science and Administration
  • Online BAS in Leadership and Management
  • Online RN to BSN

Several online master’s programs are also offered through the school’s online college division. Students may pursue degrees at the graduate level such as the following featured online programs:

  • Online MS Nurse Educator
  • Online MBA
  • Online Master of Education

Like many online colleges in our ranking, CSU-Pueblo is accredited to award on campus and online credentials by The Higher Learning Commission. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the university among the best accredited online schools in the nation in terms of academic excellence.

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $9,005

#68—Northwest Missouri State University

Maryville, Missouri

Website

Northwest Missouri University - logo

Points: 6

One of the best accredited colleges in the Midwest, Northwest Missouri State University, first began offering its online bachelor’s degrees in 2000. Today, undergrads have half a dozen different online programs to choose from at this degree granting institution, including online bachelor’s degree options in business and social sciences. The following featured online degree programs allow students to attend virtual classes: 

  • Online BS in Psychology
  • Online Bachelor’s in General Studies
  • Online BS in Communications: Public Relations
  • Online BS in Business Technology

Nearly as many online master’s programs are also available to the school’s grad students, including nationally ranked education and business administration options. U.S. News & World Report has recognized Northwest Missouri State as one of the best online schools for a bachelor’s degree nationwide. Like many online schools in our ranking, it holds regional accreditation from The Higher Learning Commission to award online college degrees.

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $8,852

#67—Jackson State University

Jackson, Mississippi

Website

Jackson State University - logo

Points: 6

One of the South’s best schools for distance learners in search of an accredited online program, Jackson State University offers five fully online bachelor’s degree options for the online student:

  • Online BS in Professional Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Online BS in Technology: Emergency Management Technology
  • Online BS in Healthcare Administration
  • Online BS in Childcare and Family Education

Nearly a dozen online master’s programs are also available from the university to adult learners who meet admissions requirements. Jackson State is fully accredited to confer these undergrad and graduate online credentials by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The school has been named one of the best online colleges and universities in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $8,445

#66—West Virginia State University

Institute, West Virginia

Website

Points: 6

West Virginia State - logo

 

In just a few short years, West Virginia State University has established itself as one of the top online schools in the nation for a bachelor’s degree program. The school began offering four-year degrees online in 2016, and today, the following undergraduate degree plans are currently available entirely via distance education for the online student who meets admissions requirements to the online university:

  • Online BS in Business Administration: Management
  • Online BS in Business Administration: Accounting
  • Online BA in English
  • Online BS in Health Sciences

A fully online MEd in Instructional Leadership is also available to graduate students as an accredited online program. Like many online colleges in our ranking, West Virginia State University is institutionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission to award these online credentials. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the online college among some of the most reputable online schools in the nation for an undergraduate degree.

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $8,437

#65— Missouri State University

Springfield, Missouri

Website

Points: 6

Missouri State University - logo

Missouri State University is one of the larger of the top online programs in our ranking in terms of the number of degrees offered that are not classified as in person degree programs. Undergraduate majors, minors, and certificates are all available online as are graduate degree programs such as master’s and even doctoral programs. Standout options for adult learners who meet admissions requirements for this degree granting institution include those in the social sciences, nursing, and business:

  • Online BS in Psychology
  • Online BS in Criminology
  • Online BS in Business Analysis
  • Online RN to BSN
  • Online MBA
  • Online Master of Social Work (MSW)
  • Online MS in Information Technology

Due to the school’s academic excellence, the Higher Learning Commission has extended regional accreditation to Missouri State University to confer online degrees and certificates. Moreover, U.S. News & World Report has recognized it as one of the top online colleges in the country for online courses or a bachelor’s degree online program.

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $8,294

#64—Minot State University

Minot, North Dakota

Website

Points: 6

Minot State University - logo

Well known for its online business degrees, Minot State University is also home to a host of other online courses of study for undergraduate and grad students alike. Students who meet admissions requirements can choose from synchronous or asynchronous course delivery as they pursue degrees from the online university such as:

  • Online BS in Marketing
  • Online RN to BSN
  • Online BS in Computer Science
  • Online MS in Sports Management
  • Online MS in Information Systems
  • Online MEd in Curriculum and Instruction
  • Online Bachelor’s in International Business

Minot State University is institutionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission to confer these online bachelor’s and master’s degrees as well as credentials for on campus students. U.S. News & World Report has ranked it among some of the best colleges for distance learners in the country.

Undergraduate Tuition: $8,164

#63—Cambridge College

Charlestown, Massachusetts

Website

Points: 7

Cambridge College - logo

One of the leading private colleges in our ranking for online learners, Cambridge College, has been offering online courses of study since 2009. Program offerings for degree seekers span bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs. This includes three fully online options for bachelor’s degrees:

  • Online Bachelor’s in Managerial Accounting
  • Online Bachelor’s in Health Care Management
  • Online Bachelor’s in Business Management

Online graduate degrees, including doctoral degrees in business administration, are also available, as is an online certificate program in Digital Literacy. The New England Commission of Higher Education has fully accredited Cambridge College to confer these online credentials as well as degrees for on campus students. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the school among the top 40 best accredited online schools for a bachelor’s degree.

Undergraduate Tuition: $16,442

#62—University of Massachusetts-Lowell

Lowell, Massachusetts

Website

Points: 7

University of Massachusetts- Lowell logo

A pioneer in distance education, the University of Massachusetts-Lowell has been touting itself as one of the nation’s best online colleges since before 1997. Today, the university’s online offerings span every distance learning area, including undergraduate and graduate degrees and certificates and fully online and hybrid programs. For bachelor’s degree-seeking students, the online college offers the following programs in the social sciences, business, and humanities:

  • Online Bachelor’s in Liberal Arts
  • Online BS in Information Technology
  • Online BA in Psychology
  • Online BS in Business Administration
  • Online BA in English

The New England Commission of Higher Education has accredited UMass-Lowell to award online degrees and certificates as well as credentials for on campus students. U.S. News & World Report has called it one of the 35 best online colleges for a bachelor’s degree. Financial aid may be available to online students who meet admissions requirements. As is the case for many online colleges, career services may also be available to students taking classes in an online learning format. 

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $15,698               

#61—University of Massachusetts-Boston

Boston, Massachusetts

Website

UMass- Boston- logo

Points: 7

One of the leading accredited colleges in the Northeast for online learners, the University of Massachusetts-Boston, has been offering online bachelor’s programs since 2004. Today, the school offers 18 different undergraduate and graduate programs via distance education. Examples for the online student who wishes to pursue degrees include:

  • Accelerated Online Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
  • Online BA in Global Affairs
  • Online BA in Gerontology
  • Online MS in Business Analytics
  • Online MA in Critical and Creative Thinking

The school’s online master’s in education has been ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the 30 best such programs nationwide. UMass- Boston holds institutional accreditation to award these online credentials by the New England Commission of Higher Education. Online students enrolled at this degree granting institution may qualify for financial aid just as on campus students do. Plus, educational resource guides and career services are also accessible via distance learning.

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $14,677

#60—University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth

Dartmouth, Massachusetts

Website

Points: 7

 University of Massachusetts- Dartmouth - logo

Well-known for its online bachelor’s in business programs as well as its online graduate offerings in computer information technology and business administration, the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth is also one of the more well-rounded best online colleges in our ranking. The degree granting school is home to numerous distance education options for its undergrad and grad students, including popular degree plans like:

  • Online BS in General Business Administration
  • Online BA in Crime and Justice Studies
  • Online BS in Finance
  • Online BA in Liberal Arts
  • Online MS in Technology Management
  • Online MS in Healthcare Management
  • Online Master of Public Policy (MPP)

The New England Association of Schools and Colleges and the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education have accredited UMass- Dartmouth to confer online degrees, making it one of the country’s best accredited online colleges. Financial aid may be available to online students. 

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $14,408

#59—University of Southern Indiana

Evansville, Indiana

Website

Points: 7

University of Southern Indiana- logo

The University of Southern Indiana is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and has been offering online academic programs to online learners since 2013. Currently, the school is one of the best online colleges in the country, particularly for degree completion programs. Distance learners may pursue degrees such as:

  • Online BS in Health Informatics and Information Management
  • Online RN to BSN
  • Online BS in Radiologic Technology
  • Online BS in Health Services

Online graduate degree programs are also available, including top-ranked master’s degree options in nursing and business administration, as well as offerings in health administration and criminal justice. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the University of Southern Indiana as one of the nation’s 100 best online programs at the postsecondary level. Online students may be eligible to receive financial aid, so long as they are officially enrolled in an online degree program. 

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $9,424

#58—South Dakota State University

Brookings, South Dakota

Website

Points: 7

South Dakota State University - logo

Accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, South Dakota State University has been offering online academic programs since 1998. Today, the degree granting institution offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs. This includes ten online undergraduate majors for the online student such as:

  • Human Development and Family Studies
  • Geographic Information Sciences
  • Nursing
  • Medical Laboratory Science
  • Early Education and Care
  • Interdisciplinary Studies

The online college is also home to distance learning options for graduate students, including top-rated online master’s degrees in nursing, education, and engineering. SDSU even offers an online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). U.S. News & World Report has recognized the school as one of the top online programs for bachelor’s degrees.

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $9,299

#57—West Virginia University

Morgantown, West Virginia

Website

Points: 7

West Virginia University - logo

One of the oldest and best online colleges in the South, West Virginia University has been offering online degree programs for distance learners since 2001. Currently, the school offers eight different options for undergraduate degree seekers interested in obtaining their credentials via online classes. Online learners may pursue degrees such as:

  • Online BS in Child Development and Family Studies
  • Online RN to BSN
  • Online BS in Integrated Marketing Communications
  • Online BS in Business Administration

Over two dozen online master’s degrees are also available through the university, including top-ranked programs in business, computer information technology, and education. The Higher Learning Commission has accredited WVU to confer these credentials online. Financial aid is often available, even for online students.

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $8,976

#56—University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley

Edinburg, Texas

Website

Points: 7

University of Texas- Rio Grande Valley- logo

As one of the best online colleges for accelerated programs in the country, the University of Texas- Rio Grande Valley offers a wide range of fully and partially online courses of study from its Center for Online Learning and Teaching Technology. Bachelor’s-level programs for online learners who meet admissions requirements include:

  • Online BS in Addiction Studies
  • Online Bachelor of Applied Technology in Health Services Technology
  • Online Bachelor of Multidisciplinary Studies
  • Online BS in Hospitality and Tourism Management

The school’s online graduate students may also pursue degrees, including accelerated online master’s programs such as:

  • Online MS in Business Analytics
  • Online MS in Engineering Management
  • Online MBA
  • Online MPA
  • Online MSN in Nursing Administration

Like many online colleges in our ranking, UTRGV is fully accredited to award these online bachelor’s and master’s degrees by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. U.S. News & World Report has recognized it as one of the country’s top online colleges. Financial aid is available to online students enrolled at this degree granting institution. 

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $9,541

#55—SUNY-Oswego

Oswego, New York

Website

Points: 7

SUNY Oswego - logo

Home to a nationally recognized online MBA program, SUNY-Oswego has also established itself as one of the best online education options for bachelor’s degrees and degree completion programs.  Online learners may pursue degrees like:

  • Online BA in Public Relations
  • Online BS in Wellness Management
  • Online BS in Business Administration
  • Online BA in Broadcasting and Mass Communication

In addition to its renowned online MBA program, SUNY-Oswego also offers other graduate degrees for online learners, including:

  • Online MA in Strategic Communication
  • Online MS in Biomedical and Health Informatics
  • Online MSEd in Career and Technical Education

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education has fully accredited SUNY-Oswego to award online degrees and credentials. Eligible online students who meet admissions requirements for the degree granting institution may apply for financial aid.

Undergraduate Tuition: $8,651

#54—University of Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah

Website

Points: 7

University of Utah - logo

Accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, the University of Utah offers one of the best online bachelor’s in psychology programs in the country. As one of the top online colleges in the U.S., the school is also home to numerous other online degree programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. This includes online bachelor’s programs for distance learners such as:

  • Online RN to BSN
  • Online Bachelor’s in Environmental and Sustainability Studies
  • Online Bachelor’s in Psychology
  • Online Bachelor of Social Work
  • Online Bachelor’s in Family, Community and Human Development
  • Online Bachelor’s in Economics

Many of the school’s online master’s degree programs have been highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report, including its graduate options in business administration, nursing, engineering and computer science. Many online students qualify for financial aid from the online college, including adult learners. 

Undergraduate Tuition: $8,615

#53—Lamar University

Beaumont, Texas

Website

Points: 7

Lamar University - logo

A member of the Texas State University System, Lamar University is also one of the best schools for distance learners in the United States. The university offers fully online bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs, including undergraduate options for online learners such as:

  • Online RN to BSN
  • Online BS in Computer Science
  • Online BS in Sociology
  • Online BS in Industrial Technology

Several of the university’s online master’s programs have been nationally ranked, including offerings in criminal justice, education, public health, and nursing. Doctoral degrees in education are also available.  Like many online schools in the region, Lamar University holds the institutional accreditation to confer these degrees online by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. It’s one of the leading online schools for a bachelor’s degree, according to U.S. News & World Report. Financial aid may be available to online students who meet admissions requirements for enrollment at the degree granting university. 

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $8,690

#52—Valley City State University

Valley City, North Dakota

Website

Points: 7

Valley City State University  - logo

Valley City State University began establishing itself as one of the nation’s best options for online education in the year 2000. Today, the degree granting school offers a number of online degrees and certificate programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Its online degree programs for distance learners include:

  • Online Bachelor’s in Communication
  • Online Bachelor of Applied Science in Management
  • Online BA in Music
  • Online Bachelor of Business Process Integration Management
  • Online Bachelor’s in History
  • Online Bachelor’s in Elementary Education

In addition, Valley City State’s online master of education programs have been ranked among some of the best such graduate degrees in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. The online college has been institutionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Financial aid may be available for online students. 

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $8,195

#51—Eastern Washington University

Cheney, Washington

Website

Points: 7

Eastern Washington University - logo

Eastern Washington University joined the nation’s league of top online education providers in 2010. Today, the degree granting institution offers well over a dozen fully online degree programs for both undergrad and grad students. This includes accelerated programs. Online bachelor’s programs for distance learners include:

  • Online BA in Communication Studies
  • Online BA in Children’s Studies
  • Online BS in Health Psychology
  • Online BA in Addiction Studies
  • Online BA in Public Relations
  • Online BA in Education: Health and Physical Education

Options for graduate students who are online learners include:

  • Online MBA
  • Online Master of Public Health (MPH)
  • Online MA in Behavioral Health
  • Online MS in Dental Hygiene

The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities has accredited EWU to award online credentials, including online bachelor’s and master’s degrees along with academic certifications via an online format. It’s one of the best regionally accredited online colleges, according to U.S. News & World Report. Online students may qualify for financial aid to attend this online college.

Undergraduate Tuition: $7,922

#50—Mayville State University

Mayville, North Dakota

Website

Points: 7

Mayville State - logo

A top regional university in the Midwest, Mayville State University is also known as one of the best providers of online education in the nation. Currently, the degree granting school is home to several online bachelor’s degree programs, including:

  • Online BA in Early Childhood and Elementary Education
  • Online BS in Agribusiness
  • Online BS in Accounting
  • Online BS in Mathematics
  • Online BA in English

Admission requirements vary by program. Two distinct graduate programs are also available through the university via distance education:

  • Online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
  • Online Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)

The Higher Learning Commission has fully accredited Mayville State to confer online credentials at the bachelor’s and master’s levels. The school ranks respectably in U.S. News & World Report’s online college rankings of bachelor’s degree programs.

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $7,622

#49—Columbus State University

Columbus, Georgia

Website

Points: 7

Columbus State University- logo

Columbus State University is not only one of the best distance learning options in the South, but it is also one of the cheapest online colleges per credit hour nationwide. Here, undergraduates have nearly a dozen online degree programs to choose from, including the following online bachelor’s degree options:

  • Online BBA in International Business
  • Online BS in Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Online BS in Political Science
  • Online BS in Sociology
  • Online BS in Information Technology

A wider range of options is afforded to graduate students online from the degree granting university. These include:

  • Online MS in Applied Computer Science
  • Online MS in Cybersecurity Management
  • Online MEd in Curriculum & Instruction
  • Online MBA
  • Online MSN: Nursing Informatics

Several online certificate and endorsement programs are also available from the online college. Columbus State is fully accredited to award degrees online by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, making it one of the most respected online colleges in the region. Online students can apply for financial aid despite learning via an online format. 

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $6,241

#48—University of Illinois- Springfield

Springfield, Illinois

Website

Points: 8

University of Illinois- Springfield - logo

One of the best schools for online learners in the Midwest, the University of Illinois- Springfield offers over 50 online degrees and programs. Bachelor’s level programs that can be completed via distance education include:

  • Online Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA)
  • Online BS in Computer Science
  • Online BA in Political Science
  • Online BA in Psychology
  • Online Bachelor’s in Information Systems Security

The school’s online master’s degrees in business administration and education are also known for their quality and affordability. The Higher Learning Commission has accredited UIS to award degrees and credentials online. It is one of the top 35 top online college programs in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report. Eligible online learners benefit from financial aid opportunities. 

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $11,911

#47—Bowling Green State University

Bowling Green, Ohio

Website

Points: 8

Bowling Green State University - logo

As one of the best online education options in the Midwest, Bowling Green State University offers over 40 online degree and certificate programs. Standout options for undergraduate distance learners include the following online bachelor’s degree offerings:

  • Online RN to BSN
  • Online BS in Allied Health
  • Online BS in Quality Systems
  • Online BS in Management & Technology

Graduate programs are also available online from this degree granting institution, including top-ranked master’s degree programs such as education and criminal justice. The school also offers some hybrid programs for students interested in a blended learning experience. Like many online colleges in our ranking, Bowling Green State is fully accredited to award online degrees and certificates by The Higher Learning Commission. U.S. News & World Report has recognized the school as one of the best online programs in the country for a bachelor’s degree program.

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $13,061

#46—Westfield State University

Westfield, Massachusetts

Website

Points: 8

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Westfield State University - logo Westfield State University has been among the nation’s best online learning options since 2008. Today, the school offers a fully online bachelor’s in history program as well as several bachelor’s degree completion programs in academic areas such as:

  • Liberal Studies
  • Marketing
  • Accounting
  • Psychology
  • Finance
  • Management

A variety of online minors are also available as are hybrid programs such as:

  • MS in Accounting
  • RN to BSN
  • Master of Social Work (MSW)

The New England Commission of Higher Education has institutionally accredited Westfield State University to award online and hybrid degrees. It’s been ranked among the top 100 reputable online colleges in the country for a bachelor’s degree. Students who meet admissions requirements may receive financial aid packages to attend the online college. 

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $11,139

#45—Old Dominion University

Norfolk, Virginia

Website

Points: 8

Old Dominion University - logo

Old Dominion University is one of the best options for online students in our ranking in terms of the number of degree programs offered via distance education. Undergraduate options include both full programs and degree completion programs, and the school’s undergraduate online degree programs in business and psychology are both highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report. The online college also offers a host of online master’s degree options for the online student, including:

  • Online MS in Computer Science
  • Online MS in Instructional Design and Technology
  • Online MS in Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Online Master’s in Educational Leadership
  • Online Master of Library Science and Information Studies

Many of the online options from ODU are accelerated programs. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools has institutionally accredited ODU to award online bachelor’s and master’s degrees. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the university among the top 100 accredited online colleges in the nation for an undergraduate distance education program.  

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $10,800

#44—University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Lafayette, Louisiana

Website

University of Louisiana Lafayette  - logo

Points: 8

One of the best online schools in the South, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette is well-known for its online master’s in nursing and nursing education programs. The degree granting school offers numerous other online programs, though, including undergraduate offerings for online learners such as:

  • Online Bachelor of General Studies
  • Online RN to BSN
  • Online BS in Business Administration
  • Online BS in Health Promotion and Wellness
  • Online BS in Health Services Administration

U.S. News & World Report has recognized the University of Louisiana-Lafayette as one of the 75 top accredited online colleges nationwide. Like many online colleges in the region, the school is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Financial aid may be extended to online students. 

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $10,346

#43—University of North Dakota

Grand Forks, North Dakota

Website

Points: 8

University of North Dakota - logo

The University of North Dakota is one of the best online programs offering degree plans specifically designed for working adults. The school’s selection of distance education options includes more than 150 undergraduate and graduate degrees and certificates, including dozens of bachelor’s degrees online. Popular options for online learners at this degree granting institution include:

  • Online BS in Computer Science
  • Online BS Ed in Elementary Education
  • Online BS in Kinesiology
  • Online BBA in Management
  • Online BS in Mechanical Engineering
  • Online RN to BSN

The school’s online master’s degrees in business, education, and computer information technology have also been recognized for excellence. UND holds its institutional accreditation from The Higher Learning Commission. It’s been ranked among the top 100 best accredited online universities for a bachelor’s degree by U.S. News & World Report.

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $10,596

#42—University of Northern Colorado

Loveland, Colorado

Website

Points: 8

University of Northern Colorado - logo

One of the nation’s first online schools, the University of Northern Colorado has been offering bachelor’s degree programs via distance education since 1997. Today, the  degree granting school is home to a variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs via distance education. Some of these programs for distance learners include:

  • Online RN to BSN
  • Online Bachelor’s in Psychology
  • Online Bachelor’s in Communications
  • Online MBA
  • Online Master’s in Curriculum Studies
  • Online Master’s in Biological Sciences

UNC’s online master’s in education degree plans, in particular, have been ranked among some of the best such programs nationwide. The university is institutionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and has been named one of the top schools for an online bachelor’s degree by U.S. News & World Report.

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $10,666

#41—Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania

Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania

Website

Points: 8

Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania - logo

A comprehensive provider of some of the best online classes available, Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania offers various degree programs via distance education, from bachelor’s degree completion plans to doctoral degrees. Options for undergraduate distance learners at this degree granting institution include the following online bachelor’s degree offerings:

  • Online BS in Liberal Arts
  • Online BSBA in Accounting
  • Online BS in Leadership Studies
  • Online BSN
  • Online BS in Philanthropy & Nonprofit Management
  • Online BS in Health Care Administration and Management

Several online programs are also available at the graduate level, including doctoral degrees, mostly in the field of education. One popular choice is the online Master of Science in Tourism Management. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education has fully accredited Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania to confer online bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. It is among some of the most respected online colleges in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report. Online students are invited to apply for financial aid packages. 

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $10,507

#40—Eastern Oregon University

La Grande, Oregon

Website

Points: 8

 Eastern Oregon University - logo

Eastern Oregon University has a long history of being one of the nation’s best online colleges. Offering its first online program in 1997, the school is now home to nearly two dozen online options for bachelor’s and master’s students alike. Online bachelor degree plans from this degree granting institution include:

  • Online BS/BA in Accounting
  • Online BS/BA in Communication Studies
  • Online BS/BA in Computer Science
  • Online Bachelor’s in Emergency Medical Services and Administration
  • Online BS/BA in Health & Human Performance
  • Online Bachelor’s in Information Technology Management

Several online master’s programs are also available to graduate students, including a highly ranked online master’s in education. The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities has accredited EOU to award online undergraduate and graduate credentials. The school has been placed among some of the top accredited online colleges in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $9,696

#39—Auburn University-Montgomery

Montgomery, Alabama

Website

Points: 8

Auburn University at Montgomery - logo

Among the best online institutions in the South, Auburn University-Montgomery offers online degree programs through its Office of Collaborative Partnerships and Distance Education. Some of the school’s standout options for online learners beyond the associate degree level include:

  • Online RN to BSN
  • Online MBA
  • Online Master of Liberal Arts (MLA)
  • Online Master’s in Elementary Education
  • Online MS in Homeland Security & Emergency Management
  • Online Master of Health Care Administration

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has accredited Auburn University-Montgomery to confer online credentials at the undergrad and graduate levels. In addition to being named one of the top reputable online colleges, the school’s master’s in education and business administration programs have been nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $8,860

#38—SUNY College of Technology–Alfred

Alfred, New York

Website

Points: 8

Alfred State - logo

SUNY College of Technology- Alfred has a long history as one of the best online universities in the U.S. The school has been offering online bachelor’s degree programs since 1999, and today, its distance learning options include over a hundred online courses. Available degree programs for undergraduate online learners include the following online bachelor’s degree offerings:

  • Online RN to BSN
  • Online Bachelor of Technology in Construction Supervision
  • Online BBA in Technology Management
  • Online BS in Human Services Management
  • Online Bachelor of Technology in Healthcare Management

Like many online schools in the region, SUNY College of Technology-Alfred has been fully accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education to confer these online credentials. U.S. News & World Report has recognized it as one of the best accredited online schools nationwide. Many students will qualify for financial aid to attend this online college. 

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $8,857

#37—SUNY College of Technology-Canton

Canton, New York

Website

Points: 8

SUNY Canton- logo

Known for its distance education options for undergraduate business students, SUNY College of Technology-Canton is also one of the best online institutions for bachelor’s degrees in general. Among the school’s nearly two dozen online degree programs are bachelor’s-level options for online learners such as:

  • Online BS in Applied Psychology
  • Online BS in Crime Analysis
  • Online BS in Emergency Management
  • Online BS in Health Care Management
  • Online BS in Legal Studies
  • Online BBA in Management

Admission requirements beyond high school transcripts vary by program. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education has accredited SUNY College of Technology–Canton to confer online degrees at the undergraduate level. This distinguishes the school as a regionally accredited institution. U.S. News & World Report has ranked it among the nation’s top online programs for a bachelor’s degree.

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $8,689

#36—SUNY College of Technology-Delhi

Delhi, New York

Website

Points: 8

 SUNY Delhi - logo

SUNY College of Technology-Delhi is one of the leading online colleges for working professionals. The degree granting school offers ten distinct online degree options for prospective students beyond the associate degree, including:

  • Online BBA in Business and Technology Management
  • Online MS in Nursing Education
  • Online RN to BSN
  • Online BBA in Culinary Arts Management

These programs are offered  to the student body fully online and can be pursued on a part-time or full-time basis by students who meet admissions requirements. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education has accredited SUNY College of Technology- Delhi to confer online bachelor’s and master’s degrees. U.S. News & World Report has called the school one of the country’s best programs for online learners.

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $8,640

#35—SUNY Polytechnic Institute

Utica, New York

Website

Points: 8

SUNY Polytechnic Institute- logo

SUNY Polytechnic Institute is one of the best choices for online learners in terms of flexibility. The school offers several different ways to earn a degree online, whether through fully online or hybrid tracks or via asynchronous or synchronous courses. Undergraduate options for online learners include:

  • Online BSN (Nursing)
  • Online BS in Accounting
  • Online BS in Health Information Management
  • Online BS in Business Administration

These online bachelor’s degree programs aren’t the school’s only remote options. Several online graduate options are also available, including nationally-ranked online master’s in computer information technology, business, and nursing. SUNY (Poly) is fully accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education to award these online credentials, distinguishing it as a regionally accredited institution. U.S. News & World Report has ranked it among the best reputable online colleges in the nation. Admission requirements vary. Once enrolled, though, online students are eligible to receive financial aid to attend this degree granting university. 

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $8,548

#34—Southeast Missouri State University

Cape Girardeau, Missouri

Website

Points: 8

 

Southeast Missouri State University - logo

One of the best online colleges for undergraduates, Southeast Missouri State University, offers 15 different online bachelor’s degree programs, including a nationally ranked offering in business. Other options for students who meet the online college admissions requirements include:

  • Online BS in Family Studies
  • Online BS in Criminal Justice
  • Online BS in Computer Information Systems
  • Online BS in Child Development
  • Online RN to BSN
  • Online BS in Interdisciplinary Studies

This degree granting school offers even more options for online graduate students, including top-rated master’s degrees in criminal justice, business, and education. Southeast Missouri State is fully accredited to confer online degrees by The Higher Learning Commission. U.S News & World Report has ranked it among the nation’s best online schools for a bachelor’s credential.

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $8,715

#33—Granite State College

Concord, New Hampshire

Website

Points: 8

Granite State College - logo

Granite State College is one of the best online education options for career preparation. At the undergraduate level, online learners benefit from fully online bachelor’s degree programs along with degree completion options. Some of these programs for online learners include:

  • Online BS in Digital Media
  • Online BS in Health and Wellness
  • Online BS in Criminal Justice
  • Online BS in Early Childhood Education
  • Online BS in Professional Communication

Several online master’s degrees and graduate certificates are also available to the student body. Granite State has been recognized for its excellence in distance education, particularly in the area of business. The school has been fully accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education. U.S. News & World Report has recognized it as one of the nation’s leading accredited online colleges.

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $7,791

#32—New Mexico State University

Las Cruces, New Mexico

Website

New Mexico University - logo

Points: 8

Recognized for its high-quality online bachelor’s degree programs in business and its online master’s in criminal justice options, New Mexico State University also offers fully online undergraduate and graduate degrees in a variety of other academic disciplines. Examples of programs for online learners attending this degree granting institution include:

  • Online Bachelor’s in Business Administration
  • Online Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice
  • Online Bachelor’s in Elementary Education
  • Online Master’s in Public Health
  • Online Master’s in Educational Learning Technologies
  • Online Master’s in Sociology

The Higher Learning Commission has institutionally accredited New Mexico State University to award affordable online degrees. According to U.S. News & World Report, NMSU is one of the top online education providers nationwide.

Undergraduate Tuition: $7,301

#31—Kennesaw State University

Kennesaw, Georgia

Website

Points: 8

kennesaw-state-university- logo

One of the most affordable online universities in the South, Kennesaw State University offers quality online degree programs at every level of postsecondary education. For bachelor’s degree-seeking students, there are over a dozen different options, including:

  • Online BS in Information Technology
  • Online Bachelor of Business Administration (BSBA): Management
  • Online BA in Geography
  • Online BS in Political Science
  • Online BS in Integrative Studies
  • Online BS in Psychology

And these online bachelor’s degree offerings are just the beginning for KSU’s student body. Even more degree opportunities are available for graduate students, including nationally ranked online master’s programs in computer information technology, engineering, and business administration. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has accredited Kennesaw State to confer online degrees. It has earned a respectable spot in U.S. News & World Report’s online college rankings. Online students may qualify for financial aid awards. 

Undergraduate Tuition: $6,436

#30—Middle Georgia State University

Macon, Georgia

Website

Points: 8

Middle Georgia State- logo

Middle Georgia State University holds the distinction of being the cheapest online college per credit hour in our ranking. The school offers undergraduate options, including nine online bachelor’s degree programs such as:

  • Online BS in Information Technology
  • Online BS in Criminal Justice
  • Online BA in Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Online RN to BSN
  • Online BS in Psychology

Admission requirements beyond high school transcripts will vary by program. Two online master’s credentials are also available through the degree granting university:

  • Online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
  • Online MS in Information Technology

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has accredited Middle Georgia State University to award these affordable online college degrees. It’s been ranked among some of the most respected online colleges in the country by U.S. News & World Report.

Undergraduate Tuition: $4,060

#29—Indiana University

Bloomington, Indiana

Website

Points: 9

Indiana University - logo

As one of the larger of the best online colleges and universities in our ranking, Indiana University offers more than 170 different online degree programs. This includes a top-ranked online bachelor’s in psychology as well as nationally recognized graduate programs in business and education. Other popular offerings for online learners include the following online bachelor’s degree offerings:

  • Online BA in Artificial Intelligence
  • Online BS in Applied Health Sciences
  • Online BS in Labor Studies
  • Online BS in Health Information Administration
  • Online BS in Criminal Justice
  • Online Bachelor’s in Data Science

The school also offers a standout online Master’s in Recreation and Tourism Management. The Higher Learning Commission has institutionally accredited Indiana University to award these online credentials. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the school as one of the 25 leading accredited online colleges in the nation and one of the best schools for library science. Some financial aid awards are reserved for online students attending the degree granting institution. 

Undergraduate Tuition: $11,221

#28—Clarion University of Pennsylvania

Clarion, Pennsylvania

Website

Points: 9

Clarion University - logo

One of the top online colleges and universities in the North, Clarion University of Pennsylvania offers online degrees and programs in nearly two dozen different areas of study. Some of these offerings for full-time students include:

  • Online BS in Allied Health Leadership
  • Online BS in Integrative Studies
  • Online BS in Criminal Justice Administration
  • Online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA)
  • Online BS in Medical Imaging Sciences

The university also offers top-quality master’s online programs in business and education. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education has accredited the Clarion University of Pennsylvania to award these degrees online. U.S. News & World Report has ranked it among the top 45 reputable online colleges for a bachelor’s degree program.

Undergraduate Tuition: $11,199

#27—Eastern Kentucky University

Richmond, Kentucky

Website

Points: 9

Eastern Kentucky University - logo

One of the leading online universities in the South, Eastern Kentucky University began offering online bachelor’s degrees in 2006. Today, the university’s distance education program comprises over 40 different degree and certificate programs at both the undergrad and graduate levels. Current online bachelor’s degree offerings for full-time students include:

  • Online RN to BSN
  • Online Bachelor’s of Social Work
  • Online Bachelor’s in Global Hospitality and Tourism
  • Online Bachelor’s in Homeland Security Administration

Admission requirements for the online campus vary by program. The university also offers various online graduate degree programs, including nationally ranked online master’s in nursing and education. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools has accredited EKU to award these online credentials. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the school among the 75 top online colleges for a bachelor’s degree. The university has also been called one of the best schools for active military members. Financial aid awards are available, even for online students. 

Undergraduate Tuition: $9,876

#26—University of Southern Mississippi

Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Website

Points: 9

University of Southern Mississippi - logo

Known for its quality online business programs, the University of Southern Mississippi also happens to be one of the more affordable colleges and universities in the country. It isn’t just a business school, either; the university offers a wide range of programs. This includes top online bachelor’s degree programs that prepare students in elementary education as well as:

  • Online BS in Industrial Engineering Technology
  • Online RN to BSN
  • Online Bachelor of Liberal Studies
  • Online BS in Child and Family Sciences
  • Online BS in Public Health
  • Online BA in Philosophy

The university’s online master’s options span disciplines such as education, criminal justice, library science, and health sciences. USM holds the institutional accreditation necessary to award these online degrees from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. All of this combined makes it one of the best online colleges in the nation. 

Undergraduate Tuition: $8,896

#25—Sam Houston State University

Huntsville, Texas

Website

Points: 9

Sam Houston State University - logo

A clear leader in online education for adult learners, Sam Houston State University also happens to be one of the nation’s cheapest online colleges per credit hour. The school offers many nationally-recognized online associate through masters degree programs, including high quality education options like:

  • Online Bachelor’s in Business
  • Online Master’s in Education
  • Online MBA
  • Online Master’s in Computer Information Technology
  • Online Master’s in Criminal Justice

Doctoral degrees in education are also available online. Admission requirements for the online campus vary by program. U.S. News & World Report has ranked Sam Houston State among the 75 top accredited online colleges and universities in the country for a bachelor’s degree. Known for its accelerated programs, the school holds its institutional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Undergraduate Tuition: $8,736

#24—University of South Alabama

Mobile, Alabama

Website

Points: 9

University of Southern Alabama- logo

One of the top online universities in the South, the University of South Alabama offers some of the best and cheapest online classes and college degrees in the region. Online degree options for students interested in online schooling from one of the country’s best online colleges include:

  • Online BA/BS in Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Online RN to BSN
  • Online MEd in Early Childhood Education
  • Online MS in Sport Management
  • Online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
  • Online Master of Accounting

Online enrollment for grad students is around 75%. A high quality education provider, the University of South Alabama is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to offer online classes and confer these online degrees. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the university among the best reputable online colleges for undergraduates and adult learners.

Undergraduate Tuition: $8,396

#23—University of Maine-Augusta

Augusta, Maine

Website

University of Maine- Augusta - logo

Points: 9

One of the first and best online schools in the country, the University of Maine- Augusta has been offering online classes and programs for more than three decades. Today, the school offers a range of quality online bachelor’s degree options for prospective students, including:

  • Online BS in Computer Information Systems
  • Online BS in Data Science
  • Online BS in Information and Library Science
  • Online RN to BSN (Nursing)
  • Online BS in Public Administration
  • Online BS in Justice Studies
  • Online BS in Mental Health & Human Services

At the graduate level, more than 85% of students enjoy online enrollment. The New England Commission of Higher Education has accredited the University of Maine at Augusta to award these online degrees at the undergraduate level. U.S. News & World Report has named the school one of the top 100 best accredited online colleges nationwide for a high quality education.

Undergraduate Tuition: $8,378

#22—Troy University

Troy, Alabama

Website

Points: 9

Troy University - logo

One of the largest and best online schools in the country, Troy University offers over 100 online degrees for undergraduate and grad students alike. Many of these programs have been nationally ranked, including the school’s bachelor’s degree online options in business as well as its master’s in nursing, criminal justice, education, and business administration. Other popular online learning programs include:

  • Online BS in Political Science
  • Online BS in Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Online BS in Human Services
  • Online BS in Computer Science
  • Online BS in Social Work

Troy University is fully accredited to award these online credentials by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. It’s been ranked among the 75 best online college programs nationwide by U.S. News & World Report.

Undergraduate Tuition: $8,908

#21—University of Alaska-Fairbanks

Fairbanks, Alaska

Website

Points: 9

University of Alaska Fairbanks- logo

A long-time leader in high quality education, the University of Alaska- Fairbanks has been offering online courses and programs since 2003. Today, the school is among the best online colleges in the United States. Students have more than a dozen different online bachelor’s programs to choose from, including:

  • Online BA in Justice
  • Online BBA in Accounting
  • Online BA in History
  • Online BS in Psychology
  • Online BA in Political Science
  • Online Bachelor of Security and Emergency Management
  • Online Bachelor of Sport and Recreation Business

Ninety percent of undergraduates at UAF benefit from some form of online enrollment. A handful of online master’s degrees are also available, including highly-rated criminal justice and business options. The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities has fully accredited UAF to award online bachelor’s and master’s degrees. It’s been recognized as a top accredited online college by U.S. News & World Report.

Undergraduate Tuition: $7,176

#20—Valdosta State University

Valdosta, Georgia

Website

Points: 9

Valdosta State University- logo

Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, Valdosta State University is one of the best online colleges and universities in terms of cost per credit hour. At the undergraduate level, the school offers nearly a dozen online bachelor’s degree plans for prospective students, including:

  • Online BBA in Management
  • Online BS in Criminal Justice
  • Online BS in Psychology
  • Online BS in Organizational Leadership

Even more online learning options are afforded to graduate students interested in distance education. These online master’s degrees and even doctoral degrees include nationally-ranked programs in education and business administration. Online enrollment at the school exceeds 70% for both graduate and undergraduate students. It’s no wonder U.S. News & World Report has ranked Valdosta State among the nation’s leading online colleges for a high quality education.

Undergraduate Tuition: $6,583

#19—University of West Georgia

Carrolton, West Georgia

Website

Points: 9

University of West Georgia - logo

If you’re looking for the cheapest online college per credit hour, you may consider the University of West Georgia. A relative newcomer to the game, the school began offering online degrees in 2016. Currently, UWG is home to a dozen fully online and partially online bachelor’s degree options for prospective students eyeing online schooling, including:

  • Online RN to BSN
  • Online BBA in Accounting
  • Online BS in Criminology
  • Online BBA in Management Information Systems
  • Online BS in Organizational Leadership
  • Online BBA in Marketing

In terms of online enrollment, over 80% of undergraduate students benefit from some form of distance learning. Graduate programs are also available virtually, including top-ranked online master’s degree options in nursing, business administration, education, and computer information technology. The school is known for its generous credit-for-prior learning program. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has accredited UWG to confer these degrees online. It’s been ranked among the country’s top accredited online colleges for a high quality education by U.S. News & World Report.

Undergraduate Tuition: $6,521

#18—Fort Hays State University

Hays, Kansas

Website

Points: 9

Fort Hays State University - logo

A trailblazer in distance learning, Fort Hays State University is also one of the top choices for online learners in our ranking in terms of cost. The school has been offering online learning opportunities since 2000, and today it is home to more than 60 different online bachelor’s degree programs. Some of these degree plans for prospective students include:

  • Online BS in Computer Science
  • Online BS in Elementary Education
  • Online BA in Communication Sciences and Disorders
  • Online BS in Agricultural Leadership
  • Online BA in Environmental Geosciences
  • Online BS in Health Studies

The school is also home to several highly ranked online master’s programs, including those in education, business administration, and nursing. In fact, 90% of the school’s graduate population benefits from online enrollment.  Fort Hays State is fully accredited to award these bachelor’s and master’s degrees by The Higher Learning Commission. It’s been ranked among some of the country’s leading online colleges by U.S. News & World Report.

Undergraduate Tuition: $5,430

#17—Western Carolina University

Cullowhee, North Carolina

Website

Points: 9

Western Carolina University - logo

At a rate of less than $200, Western Carolina University is one of the top providers of  online education in cost per credit hour. The school doesn’t skimp on high quality education, though. Several of its online degree programs have been highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report. Distance education options for full-time students include:

  • Online RN to BSN
  • Online BSBA in Innovation Leadership and Innovation
  • Online BS in Emergency and Disaster Management
  • Online BSBA in Business Administration and Law
  • Online BS in Criminal Justice

Undergraduate enrollment in some form of distance learning is around eighty percent. The school also offers a comparable number of online master’s degrees for prospective students at the graduate level such as:

  • Online Master of Project Management (MPM)
  • Online Master’s in Human Resources
  • Online MS in Sport Management
  • Online Master of Science in Nursing Leadership
  • Online Master of Entrepreneurship

Several online graduate certificate programs are also available. WCU is institutionally accredited to confer online classes as well as undergrad and graduate credentials by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. It’s one of the top online colleges in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Undergraduate Tuition: $4,285

#16—University of Georgia

Athens, Georgia

Website

Points: 10

University of Georgia - logo

An early adopter of online education, the University of Georgia has been offering online classes and degrees for its undergraduate students since 2005. As one of the best accredited online colleges in the country, UGA is also known for its excellent online graduate degree programs in education and business administration. The school’s BS in Special Education is a renowned degree completion program that offers certification opportunities to teach grades PK-12 in Georgia. Online master’s degree programs for prospective students at the graduate level include:

  • Online MFA in Narrative Media Writing
  • Online MEd in Workforce Education
  • Online MS in Pharmacy, International Biomedical Regulatory Sciences
  • Online MA in Journalism and Mass Communication
  • Online Master of Food Technology

These programs enable students to work at their own pace for the most part. Perhaps that’s why the school boasts one of the higher percentages of online enrollment for both undergraduate and graduate students. The University of Georgia is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. U.S. News & World Report has ranked it among the top 10 reputable online colleges for a bachelor’s credential.

Undergraduate Tuition: $12,080

#15—Oregon State University

Corvallis, Oregon

Website

Points: 10

Oregon State University - logo

One of the highest-ranking online colleges and universities in the nation, Oregon State University offers an impressive selection of online classes and degrees through its Ecampus. The school is home to over 80 different academic programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, including fully online and hybrid options. Standout online bachelor’s degree offerings for prospective students include:

  • Online BS in Computer Science
  • Online BA/BS in Business Information Systems
  • Online BA/BS in Economics
  • Online BA/BS in Business Administration
  • Online BS in Environmental Sciences

Like all of the leading online programs in our ranking, Oregon State is institutionally accredited. The school holds its accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Higher Education. U.S. News & World Report has ranked it among the top 10 accredited online colleges nationwide for an undergraduate degree and one of the 35 most innovative colleges in the nation.

Undergraduate Tuition: $11,858

#14—University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Website

Points: 10

University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee logo

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s selection of over 40 online degrees and certificates are available fully online. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the school among some of the best online colleges for bachelor’s degree options, including:

  • Online BS in Applied Computing
  • Online BS in Biomedical Sciences: Diagnostic Imaging
  • Online Bachelor’s in Communication
  • Online Bachelor’s in History
  • Online BS in Information Science and Technology

The school is also well-known for its online master’s degrees in education designed for working professionals. UW-Milwaukee is fully accredited by The Higher Learning Commission to award online degrees and certificates, making it one of the country’s best accredited online colleges for a high quality education.

Undergraduate Tuition: $9,254

#13—Boise State University

Boise, Idaho

Website

Points: 10

 Boise State University - logo

At a rate of just $300, Boise State University is one of the cheapest online colleges per credit hour in our ranking. The school is home to over 55 online degrees and programs for undergraduate and graduate students alike. Bachelor’s degree offerings for prospective students at the undergraduate level include:

  • Online BA in Public Health
  • Online BS in Imaging Sciences
  • Online BA in Multidisciplinary Studies
  • Online RN to BSN
  • Online BS in Respiratory Care
  • Online BS in Cyber Operations and Resilience

The school has also been recognized for its quality master’s offerings online in nursing, education, and business disciplines. In fact, the majority of graduate students benefit from fully online enrollment.  Boise State holds its institutional accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. U.S. News & World Report has named it one of the top 40 online programs for a bachelor’s credential.

Undergraduate Tuition: $8,068

#12—Purdue University-Northwest

Hammond, Indiana

Website

Purdue University- logo

Points: 10

One of the best online colleges in the Midwest, Purdue University-Northwest, offers half a dozen quality online nursing, education, and technology programs. Some of these options for prospective students include:

  • Online RN to BSN
  • Online MS in Technology Leadership and Management
  • Online MSN: Nurse Educator
  • Online MSEd in Special Education

In terms of online enrollment, most undergraduate students at the school take some classes online. For the most part, students in these remote programs can work at their own pace. Purdue University-Northwest has been fully accredited at the institutional level by The Higher Learning Commission to award these online credentials at the undergraduate and graduate levels. U.S. News & World Report has ranked it among the top 50 accredited online colleges for a bachelor’s degree.

Undergraduate Tuition: $7,942

#11—Arkansas State University

Jonesboro, Arkansas

Website

Arkansas State University - logo

Points: 10

As one of the nation’s best online colleges for bachelor’s degrees, Arkansas State University offers more than a dozen different degree plans online for its undergraduate students. This includes a top-ranked online bachelor’s in business as well as various other options for prospective students such as:

  • Online BA in Psychology
  • Online BA in Criminology
  • Online BA in Communication Studies
  • Online BS in Creative Media
  • Online BA in Political Science

A-State also offers numerous degree plans for online graduate students in the areas of education and business. In fact, 80% of graduate students at the school benefit from online enrollment. The university also awards credit for prior learning. The Higher Learning Commission has granted institutional accreditation to the university to confer online credentials. In addition to its quality distance education programs, it is also one of the best online colleges in terms of cost per credit hour in our ranking.

Undergraduate Tuition: $7,315

#10—University of North Carolina-Charlotte

Charlotte, North Carolina

Website

Points: 10

 University of North Carolina- Charlotte - logo

Full-time students looking for the cheapest online college per credit hour should consider the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. At a rate of less than $300 per credit of coursework, the accredited institution offers quality online degrees at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Examples of options for prospective students include:

  • Online Bachelor’s in Elementary Education
  • Online BS in Engineering Technology
  • Online BS in Neurodiagnostics and Sleep Science
  • Online Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)
  • Online Master of Education (MEd)
  • Online MS in Engineering Management

Regarding online enrollment, nearly all of the school’s undergraduate students are involved in some form of distance learning. UNC-Charlotte is also one of the best accredited online colleges, thanks to its full institutional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Undergraduate Tuition: $7,096

#9—Florida International University

Miami, Florida

Website

Points: 10

Florida International University - logo

Perhaps best known for its online master’s degrees in business, criminal justice, and engineering, Florida International University is actually one of the best online colleges for bachelor’s degrees as well. Popular options for students interested in online education include:

  • Online BA in Biology
  • Online BS in Computer Engineering
  • Online BS in Crime Science
  • Online BS in Early Childhood Education
  • Online Bachelor’s in Health Services Administration
  • Online BS in Hospitality Management
  • Online BS in Travel and Tourism Management
  • Online BS in Information Technology
  • Online Bachelor’s in International Business

In terms of online enrollment, nearly three-quarters of the school’s undergraduates attend class online. Graduate options are also available, including a notable online master’s in public health, master’s in international business, and a doctor of nursing practice. Thanks to its institutional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, FIU is known as one of the best accredited online colleges in the United States. U.S. News & World Report has also named it one of the most innovative colleges in the country.

Undergraduate Tuition: $6,565

#8—University of West Florida

Pensacola, Florida

Website

Points: 10

University of West Florida - logo

The University of West Florida established itself as one of the best online colleges and universities in the United States, beginning in the early 2000’s. Today, the school offers a wide range of online degree and certificate options. Examples include:

  • Online BA in Criminal Justice
  • Online MS in Computer Science
  • Online MS in Data Science
  • Online BA in Exceptional Student Education
  • Online BS in Health Sciences
  • Online MA in International Affairs
  • Online Master’s in Public Health
  • Online Master’s in Physical Education and Human Performance

UWF’s online master’s programs in computer information technology have been recognized as some of the very best such programs for working professionals nationwide. In fact, nearly 90% of the school’s graduate students benefit from online enrollment. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has fully accredited the school to award these online degrees.

Undergraduate Tuition: $6,360

#7—Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Daytona Beach, Florida

Website

Points: 11

 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - logo

Consistently ranked among the top 10 accredited online colleges in the nation for an undergraduate degree, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University offers dozens of online bachelor’s and master’s degrees and certification options via distance education. Popular degree plans for full-time students who desire to work at their own pace include:

  • Online BS in Aeronautics
  • Online BS in Aviation Maintenance
  • Online BS in Business Analytics
  • Online BS in Communication
  • Online MS in Emergency Services
  • Online MS in Cybersecurity & Management

As one of our highest ranking private schools, the college’s online business programs, including its online MBA, have been ranked among the very best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Embry-Riddle is also one of the best online schools to be accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Undergraduate Tuition: $10,296

#6—University of Arkansas

Fayetteville, Arkansas

Website

Points: 11

University of Arkansas - logo

In terms of the best online colleges, the University of Arkansas has been offering its online degrees since 2008. Today, it offers nine different online bachelor’s degree options for full-time students, including:

  • Online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA)
  • Online BA in Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Online BS in Human Development and Family Sciences
  • Online BA in Communication
  • Online Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)

The school is also well-known for its online master’s in engineering and online master’s in education programs designed for working professionals. In terms of online enrollment, the vast majority of students benefit from some form of learning delivered online. The Higher Learning Commission has accredited the University of Arkansas to confer these online credentials. According to U.S. News & World Report, it is one of the top 25 best online college programs in the nation for bachelor’s degree programs.

Undergraduate Tuition: $9,384

#5—Utah State University

Logan, Utah

Website

Points: 11

Utah State University - logo

Now a top online university, Utah State has been offering online college courses for more than 25 years now. Today, the school is home to over 60 different online degree and certificate programs and is one of our top 10 accredited online colleges. Options delivered online for undergraduates include:

  • Online BS in Management
  • Online RN to BSN
  • Online BS in Psychology
  • Online BA in Liberal Arts
  • Online BS in Sociology

Numerous online master’s degrees are also available for working professionals, including nationally recognized options in education and business administration. The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities has accredited Utah State to confer online credentials. The school has been named one of the top online colleges for a bachelor’s degree by U.S. News & World Report.

Undergraduate Tuition: $8,764

#4—West Texas A&M University

Canyon, Texas

Website

West Texas A & M University - logo

Points: 11

West Texas A&M University has been nationally recognized as one of the very best online colleges in the United States. The school offers quality online degrees at every level of postsecondary education, including doctoral programs. Online bachelor’s degree offerings for online learners include:

  • Online BS in Criminal Justice
  • Online BS in Health Sciences
  • Online BS in Communication Studies
  • Online BBA in Computer Information Systems
  • Online RN to BSN

Hybrid tracks are available for some programs, and for the most part, students can work at their own pace and access tutoring as needed. The school’s virtual master’s programs in business, education, and computer information technology have also been noted for their quality. In fact, online enrollment at the graduate level is currently over 80%! West Texas A&M University has been institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Undergraduate Tuition: $8,456

#3—Colorado State University-Global

Aurora, Colorado

Website

Points: 11

Colorado State University Global - logo

Nationally recognized for its online academic programs in business and graduate programs in criminal justice, Colorado State University-Global has been offering accredited degrees via online education since 2008. Popular online bachelor’s degree options for online learners include:

  • Online Bachelor’s in Marketing
  • Online Bachelor’s in Cybersecurity
  • Online Bachelor’s in Information Technology
  • Online Bachelor’s in Human Services
  • Online Bachelor’s in Organizational Leadership
  • Online Bachelor’s in Management Information Systems and Business Analytics
  • Online BS in Project Management

A notable online master’s in tourism management is also available. CSU-Global tops our list of virtual academic programs due to its low cost and high-quality online college degree offerings. The university also has a generous credit-for-prior learning program. The school is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission. It’s been ranked among the top 10 schools for an online bachelor’s degree by U.S. News & World Report.

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $8,400

#2—University of North Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Website

Points: 11

University of North Florida - logo

The University of North Florida tops our list of the best online schools in part because it is one of the cheapest online colleges per credit hour in the country. The school also offers a range of online degrees and programs for full-time students in high-demand areas such as healthcare, business, and education. Fully online programs for online learners and working professionals include:

  • Online RN to BSN
  • Online MS in Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Online BS in Sport Management
  • Online MS in Logistics and Supply Chain Management
  • Online MS in Criminal Justice
  • Online MEd in Educational Leadership

Online enrollment is over 50% for undergraduates and over 60% for graduate students. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has accredited UNF to award these undergraduate and graduate credentials online. U.S. News & World Report has recognized it as one of the top 50 best online colleges for a bachelor’s degree.

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $6,389

#1—St. Petersburg College

St. Petersburg, Florida

Website

St. Petersburg College - logo

Points: 11

In terms of good online academic programs, St. Petersburg College is one of the best online colleges there is. The school has been offering online associate and bachelor degrees to undergraduate students via distance learning since 2002. Today, it is home to 16 fully online bachelor’s degree programs, including a top offering in elementary education plus:

  • Online BSN (Nursing)
  • Online BS in Business Administration
  • Online Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) in Public Safety Administration
  • Online BS in Educational Studies and Community Leadership
  • Online BAS in Cybersecurity

Admission requirements vary by program, and online enrollment at the school is well over 70%. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has accredited St. Petersburg College to confer these online degrees. It has been named one of the 75 best online colleges in the country for a bachelor’s credential by U.S. News & World Report.

Undergraduate In-State Tuition: $2,682

About Affordable Online Colleges and Universities

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In years past, the mention of an online degree program may have been met with skepticism or even a snicker. While it’s true that distance education was once the black sheep of postsecondary instruction, online learning has made an impressive comeback. Since the early days of “diploma mills,” online schools now enjoy status as convenient and reputable alternatives to the traditional college experience. Today, it is not uncommon for a school search to yield fully online degree programs offered by nationally accredited online colleges. As a result, students of all ages and lifestyles are flocking to these reputable schools to earn a convenient and reputable degree. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), nearly 7 million students were enrolled in online college in 2018. These online learners benefit from not only convenience, but also professional skills, a quality education, and much more. 

Why Attend College Online?

There’s a reason so many students are taking online college courses these days. In fact, there are quite a few advantages to learning from home and completing online coursework, whether from a regional university or a nationally accredited online college. Below, we’ll discuss some of the major reasons to consider an online class experience. 

The Convenience Factor of an Online Degree

It’s no wonder that online college courses and degree programs have become so popular. While distance education technology has advanced, our lives have only gotten busier, making the convenience of a self-paced online program of study highly desirable, especially for working adults and those with family responsibilities. In some cases, the flexibility of an online program makes earning a college credential a real possibility, whereas otherwise, it may have remained a dream. To cash in on the convenience factor, students pursuing an online degree aren’t required to sacrifice other programmatic features, either, such as faculty qualifications, student services, online library resources, support services, and financial aid. 

Affordability of Good Online Schools

Convenience is just one of the many benefits of learning online, though. Another big draw for prospective online students is the affordability of quality distance education programs. Because of low overhead expenses, many of the best accredited online schools (i.e., those with regional or national accreditation) can offer their degree programs complete with student services at very low costs. Plus, distance learning students have the same financial aid opportunities as those who choose to attend classes on campus. This includes scholarships, grants, loans, and more. Students can choose from a variety of credentials such as an associate degree, bachelor’s, master’s, or even doctorate. Depending on the online school, non-degree credentials such as individual course credits, diplomas, and certificates may also be available. 

The Quality of Online School

Despite the rising popularity of online learning and the many schools that hold regional and national accreditation (not to mention the many clear benefits of pursuing a degree online), some students are still hesitant to commit to online degree programs. A primary concern tends to be the quality of online education. If you have questions about just how effective online instruction can be, take heart. According to educational technology experts, online teaching methods can be even more effective than face-to-face instruction when students are provided adequate support services. Keep in mind too that the most respected online schools will be regionally or nationally accredited, guaranteeing faculty qualifications as well as other quality education indicators by third-party standards. Thus, accreditation is one way you can choose the best online college for you. 

Challenges of Taking Online College Courses

Best Online Colleges

Of course, nothing worth doing comes without challenges, and this includes going to school for an online degree or to sharpen your professional skills. To decide whether online learning is right for you, it’s important to acknowledge the unique challenges you’ll face when you enroll in a distance education program. If you’re unprepared for these potential obstacles, even the best online schools, including those with quality education, national accreditation, and plenty of student support services, could come up short. Here’s what to be aware of before starting a school search. 

Technical Difficulties Common in Online Learning

While the technology supporting distance education has evolved, it’s still not perfect. When you enroll in an online learning program, you should expect that there will be glitches along the way as you complete coursework. Some of these snafus may come from the specific learning platform or virtual classroom your online university relies on, or it could be a connectivity issue from your side. Either way, technological difficulties will no doubt have an unwelcome effect on your learning experience (and maybe even your test scores!) at some point. Fortunately, there are things you can do to prepare for this unique distance education challenge. For instance, it’s a good idea to choose your school wisely. The best online colleges offer not only quality education but also technical support services to their distance learning students who don’t visit campus daily. Make sure you have someone to contact if and when you have trouble accessing your online classroom / online coursework or using virtual services like online library resources, for instance.

Lost Interaction and Spotty Engagement

Of course, the distance learning technology itself isn’t the only component of online learning that can present problems. The nature of online learning is such that you may find yourself missing out on some of the benefits of attending class in person. Some of these lost benefits associated with an online degree could include interaction with your professors and other students as well as engagement levels. In other words, you may find it challenging to communicate effectively online or to pay attention without getting bored. These are common complaints from online students, and they’re challenges you should be prepared to face. Still, you can take steps to manage these challenges even before they present themselves. For example, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the content delivery methods available to you. When choosing the best online accredited college for you, make it a point to find out exactly how you will be learning, whether via live web conferencing or through pre-recorded lectures. Ask about your professors’ office hours and make sure you know how to contact them when you need assistance with an assignment or have a question about recent test scores or a difficult course concept. Reach out to other students and see if they’re up for in-person study sessions. All of these steps will ensure that you receive a quality education, regardless of the format. 

Self-Discipline and Motivation

Another common challenge for online students is maintaining high levels of self-discipline and motivation throughout their online college courses and degree programs. It’s likely that many distance education learners struggle with this issue because of the self-paced nature of many online programs. High school students who are used to the structure of a traditional classroom may find themselves struggling when it comes to completing college assignments in a more relaxed online environment. What sounds like a positive aspect of these flexible online programs could actually be your downfall if you’re not prepared to keep your own schedule. If you think this may be an issue for you as you work toward an online degree, you’d be wise to choose one of the more structured online schools or programs available. Those who utilize synchronous content delivery, requiring students to log in at specific meeting times, may prove to be the best online college programs for students who struggle with self-discipline or motivation issues.

Types of Best Online Colleges and Degree Programs

Best Online Colleges

As you learn more about the benefits and drawbacks of online universities, you’ll likely become aware that there are several different types of online colleges and online degree programs. Educating yourself about these different options will help you select the best online university or accredited online college for you. These are the types of programs you’re likely to come across in your school search. 

Accredited Online Colleges and Universities

While you’ll have some choices to make about the type of online college or university you decide to attend, accreditation is a no-brainer for ensuring a quality education. All reputable online colleges for distance learners have some sort of accreditation, whether it be national or regional accreditation. These accrediting bodies are usually the same agencies that accredit traditional on campus postsecondary schools. Before you confirm your enrollment in an online degree program, make sure that the school you’re planning to attend is fully accredited at the institutional level. According to the U.S. Department of Education, valid institutional accrediting agencies include:

  • The Higher Learning Commission
  • Distance Education Accrediting Commission
  • The Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • New England Commission of Higher Education
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
  • WASC Senior College and University Commission

A full list of agencies authorized to grant institutional accreditation to colleges and universities can be found at the U.S. Department of Education’s website. When choosing online schools, be sure to chose a regionally accredited or nationally accredited online college. 

Hybrid Versus Fully Online College Programs

In addition to choosing from among the best regionally and nationally accredited online colleges available to you, you’ll also need to decide whether you prefer a hybrid or fully online college program. This is perhaps one of the most important choices distance learners make when choosing the best online university and program for you because it will dictate how and where you learn and complete your online coursework.

Clearly, a fully online degree program can be fulfilled completely online with no required visits to campus. On the other hand, hybrid programs blend traditional and online learning formats. These programs require some level of campus attendance, which can vary from program to program. Students who elect hybrid programs over fully online options usually value face-to-face instruction enough that they are willing to make sacrifices when it comes to the flexibility of their course schedules. They may complete online coursework and access online library resources while still attending some classes in person with other students, for instance. 

Online Degree Completion Programs

If you’re an undergraduate student looking for an online bachelor’s degree program, you should be aware that there are numerous online degree completion programs for students who have already earned an associate degree or some higher education credits, either online or otherwise. These programs stand out by allowing students to transfer credits toward a bachelor’s credential and then finish the remaining college degree requirements via distance education. In some cases, online degree completion programs enable students to earn a bachelor’s degree in less than a year of online study after transferring credits, especially if they already hold an associates degree in addition to a high school diploma.

Accelerated Online College Degrees

Students who are particularly eager to earn the credentials they need to launch or advance their careers may conduct a school search for an accelerated online degree program. These quality education programs put ambitious students on the fast-track toward earning a college degree online, even if they’re not transferring credits.  If you’re considering this online learning format, keep in mind that accelerated online degree programs often require students to take heavier course loads than students who opt for a part-time or even full-time track. That means they log in to complete more coursework each week, allowing students to complete the program more quickly. 

Asynchronous Versus Synchronous Online College Programs

One of the main factors that distinguish even the best online college programs from one another is their content delivery method, whether asynchronous or synchronous. Asynchronous online programs are marked by their high levels of convenience and flexibility, essentially allowing students to complete coursework on their own schedules. Students who choose the asynchronous online format are those distance learners who want to work on their online coursework at their own pace and enjoy the freedom of logging into their virtual learning platforms whenever they like. On the other hand, synchronous online programs are much more structured and require that online students log in to complete coursework or participate in online class meetings in real-time. Those students who opt for synchronous online programs usually value the higher levels of interaction and engagement that these quality education programs grant them.

Frequently-Asked Questions About Online School

Best Online Colleges

One thing you’ll discover during your search for the best online college is that many universities offer online programs, and each of these offerings is unique. This can make the process of finding the right online school complicated at best. No matter how committed you are to the process of achieving online enrollment at one of our nation’s best accredited online colleges for a college degree, you’re bound to have questions. Below, you will find a selection of the most frequently asked questions about online colleges and universities. Our editors have provided some general information based on their experience and research in distance education and higher learning to field these questions. However, this information is not representative of any particular online college or university. It’s best to contact the individual school’s own enrollment counselor or other school representative for more specific information about online schools. You may also find valuable information and support services on the school’s official website. The information you find may be targeted toward a particular group of applicants such as high school students or prospective graduate students, so look for the content that applies to your specific circumstances. 

Q: Do online colleges accept anyone?

A: No. Depending on the online school you’re planning to attend and the degree program you choose, you will be required to meet certain admissions requirements. For undergraduate program applicants, these could include various academic qualifications such as credentials earned (i.e., a minimum of a high school diploma) or GPAs maintained, for instance. Other requirements could include test scores, personal statements, writing samples, and letters of recommendation. Each school has their own enrollment counselors and policies, so requirements will vary. Students pursuing graduate degrees may have additional admissions requirements.

Q: Are online colleges reputable?

A: The majority of them are, yes. If you’re concerned about the legitimacy of an online school that appears during your school search, check to ensure that the college or university is institutionally accredited by an accrediting body approved by the U.S. Department of EducationIt’s important to select an accredited online college for your college degree, whether you’re seeking associate degrees or doctoral credentials. This will ensure you degree leads toward a successful career. 

Q: What does an online degree cost?

A: Many universities offer online degree options at a reasonable cost. However, the cost of education will depend on the online school and program you choose to attend. In our research for this ranking, we discovered that the best accredited online colleges range in cost from less than $3,000 per year to nearly $40,000 annually. Associate degrees tend to be cheaper while graduate credentials like master’s and doctoral degrees will cost you more. 

Q: Are online colleges worth it?

A: Despite the online degree cost, taking steps to earn a college degree is usually a worthwhile endeavor so long as you choose a reputable and accredited online college. Still, it’s up to you to decide whether the benefits of a college degree override the financial costs and personal sacrifices you’ll be required to make to obtain such a credential, whether it’s an online associate or doctorate.

This concludes our ranking of the best online colleges in the United States.

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