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Top 100 Best Colleges and Universities Online 2021

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College Values Online - Top Schools

Over 350 online colleges and universities in the United States offer at least one bachelor’s-level distance education program. Even more online schools exist that cater to students seeking an associate’s credential or graduate degree via virtual learning. With all of these options, how do you choose the best online university? College Value Online editors developed the following ranking of the very best online colleges in the United States to help you answer that challenging question.

Degrees mentioned in this ranking 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

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 accredited 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.

#100—Toccoa Falls College

Toccoa Falls, Georgia

Website

Points: 2

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A top accredited online college for undergraduate study, Toccoa Falls College offers ten distinct online bachelor’s degree programs. Sample options include:

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

Undergraduate certificates are also available online in the areas of Biblical Studies and Cross-Cultural Studies. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has accredited Toccoa Falls College to award online degrees and certificates. U.S. News & World Report has called it one of the best regionally accredited online colleges in the nation for a bachelor’s degree.

Undergraduate Tuition: $21,120

#99—Williams Baptist University

Walnut Ridge, Arkansas

Website

Points: 2

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One of the newer best online colleges in our ranking, Williams Baptist University, has been offering its sole online bachelor’s degree program since 2017. This Bachelor of Science (BS) in Criminal Justice is a degree completion program for students with prior law enforcement experience. Students enrolled in the program will take asynchronous courses such as:

  • Introduction to Forensic Science
  • Principles of Corrections
  • Ethics in Criminal Justice
  • Police Administration

The Higher Learning Commission has institutionally accredited Williams Baptist University to award online bachelor’s degrees. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the school among some of the best reputable online colleges in the nation.

Undergraduate Tuition: $18,500

#98—Columbia College

Columbia, Missouri

Website

Points: 3

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As one of the leading accredited online colleges in the Midwest, Columbia College offers more than two dozen online degree programs, including nationally ranked online bachelor’s options. Featured degree plans for undergraduate students 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

Several master’s degrees online are also available, including a nationally recognized online MBA offering. The Higher Learning Commission has accredited Columbia College to confer online degrees and certificates at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. U.S. News & World Report has named it one of the top colleges for an online bachelor’s degree.

Undergraduate Tuition: $24,320

#97—Concordia University-St. Paul

St. Paul, Minnesota

Website

Points: 3

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One of the older online universities in our ranking, Concordia University-St. Paul, has been offering online courses and degrees since 1998. Today, the school offers distance learning programs at every level of postsecondary education, including standout options like:

  • Online BA in Health Care Administration
  • Online BA in Criminal Justice
  • 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. The Higher Learning Commission has fully accredited Concordia University-St. Paul to award online credentials. The school’s online bachelor’s in business and online master’s in criminal justice have appeared prominently in U.S. News & World Report’s online college rankings.

Undergraduate Tuition: $23,400

#96—Mercy College of Health Sciences

Des Moines, Iowa

Website

Points: 3

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One of the best accredited online colleges 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, program offerings include:

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

Mercy College of Health Sciences is fully accredited to award online degrees and certificates in health sciences at the undergraduate level. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the school among the top best online college programs nationwide.

Undergraduate Tuition: $18,332

#95—Pittsburgh Technical College

Oakdale, Pennsylvania

Website

Points: 3

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A relatively new addition to the nation’s top best online colleges, Pittsburgh Technical College began offering online bachelor’s degree programs in 2016. Undergraduates interested in such a credential have three distinct options to choose from:

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

Content delivery for these programs is a flexible yet interactive blend of synchronous and asynchronous programming. Pittsburgh Tech is fully accredited to award online credentials by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the school among the best accredited online colleges in the country.

Undergraduate Tuition: $16,460

#94—Saint Leo University

St. Leo, Florida

Website

Points: 4

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Saint Leo University has been recognized for its excellent online bachelor’s degree programs, especially in business. The school is also home to several other undergraduate degree programs, though, including:

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

For graduate students, distance education options include:

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

Saint Leo University is fully accredited to confer these online credentials by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. It has been ranked among the top 100 best online college programs for a bachelor’s degree by U.S. News & World Report.

Undergraduate Tuition: $24,640

#93—Life University

Marietta, Georgia

Website

Points: 4

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One of the newer best online colleges in this ranking, Life University began offering online bachelor’s degrees in 2018. Currently, the school offers three online options for undergraduates:

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

At the graduate level, the university also offers an online Master of Science in Positive Psychology. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has fully accredited Life University to confer online degrees and credentials. The school has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the leading best online college programs nationwide.

Undergraduate Tuition: $13,596

#92—Baptist College of Florida

Graceville, Florida

Website

Points: 4

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One of the best private best online colleges in our ranking, the Baptist College of Florida, offers a wide range of online bachelor’s degree programs focusing on Christian studies. Options include:

  • 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

A few online options are also available at the graduate level such as:

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

The Baptist College of Florida holds institutional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Undergraduate Tuition: $12,150

#91—Oregon Health and Science University

Portland, Oregon

Website

Points: 5

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A top choice for students considering the best online colleges 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 in nursing, nursing administration, and nursing education have all been highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report. The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities has institutionally accredited Oregon Health and Science University to award online nursing degrees. The school has been nationally ranked as one of the best accredited online colleges in the country.

Undergraduate Tuition: $14,472

#90—Moody Bible Institute

Chicago, Illinois

Website

Points: 5

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Among the top best online colleges for Christian ministry and leadership, Moody Bible Institute offers fully online degree plans at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Available online bachelor’s degree options 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 school also offers four separate online master’s degree programs, 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 accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and the Association for Biblical Higher Education to award these online degrees.

Undergraduate Tuition: $13,970

#89—National University

La Jolla, California

Website

Points: 5

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One of the top best online colleges devoted exclusively to distance education, National University has been offering online courses and programs for more than two decades. Currently, the school offers online bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nearly every available academic discipline. Undergraduate options include:

  • 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 BS in Criminal Justice Administration

The school’s online graduate programs include nationally-ranked online master’s in criminal justice, computer information technology, business, and nursing. National University has been accredited to award these online credentials by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

Undergraduate Tuition: $13,320

#88—Colorado Technical University

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Website

Points: 5

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Recognized as one of the best best online colleges in the U.S. since the early 2000s, Colorado Technical University offers distance education options at every postsecondary education level. Online bachelor’s degree options include:

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

 Many different online graduate programs are also available, including top-ranked online master’s in computer information technology, business, nursing, and criminal justice. The Higher Learning Commission has fully accredited Colorado Tech to award online degrees for both undergraduate and graduate students.

Undergraduate Tuition: $12,573

#87—University of Minnesota-Crookston

Crookston, Minnesota

Website

Points: 5

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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. Today, students interested in pursuing an online bachelor’s degree from the university can choose from 16 available majors, including:

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

The school’s 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 accredited UMN-Crookston to confer undergraduate credentials online.

Undergraduate Tuition: $12,014

#86—Radford University

Radford, Virginia

Website

Points: 5

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Radford University is not only one of the best best online colleges in the nation, but it has also been recognized as a leading regional university in the South. The school offers several hybrid and fully online bachelor’s degree programs for its undergraduate students, 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

Graduate programs are also available via distance education, including nationally ranked programs in education and business administration. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has accredited Radford University to confer undergraduate and graduate degrees.

Undergraduate Tuition: $11,416

#85—University of West Alabama

Livingston, Alabama

Website

Points: 5

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One of the leading best online colleges for working professionals, the University of West Alabama has been offering flexible online degree plans for adults since 2004. Currently, the school offers more than a dozen different online bachelor’s degree options for undergraduates, including:

  • Online BA/BS in Integrated Marketing Communications
  • Online BA/BS in Psychology
  • Online BS in Public Safety
  • Online BBA in Computer Information Systems
  • Online RN to BSN

UWA’s 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 by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Undergraduate Tuition: $10,990

#84—Governor’s State University

University Park, Illinois

Website

Points: 5

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Accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, Governor’s State University takes its place among the leading best online colleges in the Midwest. The school is home to three fully online bachelor’s degrees:

  • 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, including:

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

Governor’s State also offers an online doctoral degree in education and an online certificate in online teaching and learning. In addition, some hybrid courses are available.

Undergraduate Tuition: $10,108

#83—Louisiana Tech University

Ruston, Louisiana

Website

Points: 5

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Louisiana Tech University’s quality online BS in Health Informatics & Information Management has garnered it a place in our ranking of best online colleges. However, the school offers numerous other online offerings, many of them at the graduate level. Some of these programs include:

  • 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 credentials by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Undergraduate Tuition: $10,065

#82—Lee University

Cleveland, Tennessee

Website

Points: 6

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Despite its relatively high undergraduate tuition for on-campus students, Lee University is still a good option for students looking for the cheapest and best online colleges per credit hour. The school offers over a dozen fully online bachelor’s degree programs, including:

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

Lee University also offers a nationally ranked online MBA program. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has fully accredited the school to confer online credentials at the bachelor’s and master’s levels.

Undergraduate Tuition: $19,540

#81—Mount Carmel College of Nursing

Columbus, Ohio

Website

Points: 6

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Mount Carmel College of Nursing is one of the best accredited online colleges for healthcare professionals. The school offers a fully online RN to BSN program as well as several graduate options 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 online degrees in the health sciences. Its been ranked among the best online schools for a bachelor’s degree by U.S. News & World Report.

Undergraduate Tuition: $14,675

#80—Oakland University

Rochester, Michigan

Website

Points: 6

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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 top best online colleges in the nation, offering low-cost online degree programs for both undergraduate and graduate students. Specific options 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 online. U.S. News & World Report has named Oakland University one of the nation’s best accredited online colleges.

Undergraduate Tuition: $13,934

#79—Western Illinois University

Macomb, Illinois

Website

Points: 6

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One of the oldest best online colleges in our ranking, Western Illinois University has been offering online bachelor’s degree programs since 1998. Currently, the school offers two completely online undergraduate programs:

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

A variety of online minors are also available in areas such as:

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

For graduate students, WIU offers a nationally ranked online MBA program. The school is institutionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission to offer online degree programs.

Undergraduate Tuition: $13,314

#78—Central Michigan University

Mount Pleasant, Michigan

Website

Points: 6

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One of the best online colleges in the Midwest, Central Michigan University offers more than 30 different degree and certificate programs for undergraduate and graduate students alike. Standout bachelor’s degree options 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

Master’s degree programs are also available online, including top-ranked 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 best online schools for undergraduates nationwide by U.S. News & World Report.

Undergraduate Tuition: $12,960

#77—Ohio University

Athens, Ohio

Website

Points: 6

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One of the cheapest online colleges per credit hour in our ranking, Ohio University is also a highly flexible option for distance learners. The school offers a broad range of programs and flexible delivery options, including hybrid and accelerated tracks. Some of the bachelor’s degree programs offered include:

  • Online Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice
  • 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

The school is also home to top-ranked online master’s degree programs in engineering, nursing, and business. The Higher Learning Commission has accredited Ohio University to award online degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Undergraduate Tuition: $12,612

#76—Park University

Parkville, Missouri

Website

Points: 6

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One of the most established of our best online colleges, Park University has been offering online bachelor’s degrees via distance education since 1997. Today, the school offers a full range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs, including more the three dozen bachelor’s options. Some of these four-year degree plans include:

  • Online BS in Business Economics
  • Online Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice Administration
  • Online BS in Information and Computer Science
  • Online BS in Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Online BS in Military History

Numerous online master’s degree programs are also available, including nationally recognized options in business and education. The Higher Learning Commission has accredited Park University to award online college degrees. It’s been ranked among some of the country’s best online schools for a bachelor’s degree.

Undergraduate Tuition: $11,929

#75—University of Alabama

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Website

Points: 6

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One of the leading best online colleges in the South, the University of Alabama offers more than 70 different online degree programs through its College of Continuing Studies. For undergraduate students, the school is home to online bachelor’s degree programs such as:

  • Online BS in Commerce and Business Administration
  • Online BS in Hospitality Management
  • Online BA in Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • Online RN to BSN
  • Online BS in Public Health

UA’s online graduate offerings span master’s and doctoral degrees, including some of the best online college programs in nursing, engineering, education, and business. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to confer online degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Undergraduate Tuition: $11,620

#74—Texas Tech University

Lubbock, Texas

Website

Points: 6

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One of the most comprehensive best online colleges in our ranking, Texas Tech University offers online degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. Among its nearly two dozen online bachelor’s degree offerings are programs like:

  • 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. The school has been regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award online credentials.

Undergraduate Tuition: $11,600

#73—California University of Pennsylvania

California, Pennsylvania

Website

Points: 6

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One of the top best online colleges in the North, California University of Pennsylvania, offers over seventy different online degree programs. At the undergraduate level, students may choose from online bachelor’s offerings such as:

  • 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 school is also home to dozens of online master’s degree programs, some of which have been nationally ranked. The California University of Pennsylvania is accredited to award these online degrees by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Undergraduate Tuition: $11,108

#72—University of North Alabama

Florence, Alabama

Website

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Points: 6

One of the best best online colleges in terms of flexibility, the University of North Alabama offers fully online and hybrid degree programs for undergraduate and graduate students. Its online bachelor’s degree options include:

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

Numerous online master’s degree programs are also available, including nationally ranked offerings in business and nursing. UNA is fully accredited to confer online bachelor’s and master’s credentials by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Undergraduate Tuition: $10,620

#71—Colorado Mesa University

Grand Junction, Colorado

Website

Points: 6

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One of the best best online colleges for adult learners, Colorado Mesa University, offers an array of online degree programs for undergraduate and graduate students. Online bachelor’s degree offerings include:

  • 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 options are also available 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 online bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Undergraduate Tuition: $8,686

#70 (TIE)—Black Hills State University

Spearfish, South Dakota

Website

Points: 6

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One of the best accredited online colleges in the Midwest, Black Hills State University offers a total of nine different fully online degree programs, including options for both undergraduate and graduate students. Examples 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.

Undergraduate Tuition: $8,672

#70 (TIE)—Northwestern State University of Louisiana

Natchitoches, Louisiana

Website

Points: 6

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Among the leading best online colleges in the South, Northwestern State University of Louisiana offers both fully online bachelor’s and master’s degree programs through its Global Campus. Options for undergraduates include:

  • 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 credentials 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

An online Doctor of Nursing Practice and Doctor of Education in Adult Learning and Development are also available. The Northwestern State University of Louisiana has been accredited to offer these online programs by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. U.S. News & World Report has ranked it among the nation’s top accredited online colleges for a bachelor’s credential.

Undergraduate Tuition: $8,672

#69—Colorado State University-Pueblo

Pueblo, Colorado

Website

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Points: 6

One of the leading best online colleges in the Western United States, Colorado State University-Pueblo offers quality online degree programs to students nationwide. For undergraduates, the following online bachelor’s degree 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 division such as:

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

CSU-Pueblo is accredited to award 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.

Undergraduate Tuition: $8,591

#68—Northwest Missouri State University

Maryville, Missouri

Website

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Points: 6

One of the best accredited online colleges in the Midwest, Northwest Missouri State University, first began offering its online bachelor’s degrees in 2000. Today, undergraduate students have half a dozen different online programs to choose from, including:

  • 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 graduate 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. It is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

Undergraduate Tuition: $8,500

#67—Jackson State University

Jackson, Mississippi

Website

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Points: 6

One of the South’s best online colleges, Jackson State University offers five fully online bachelor’s degree options:

  • Online BS in Criminal Justice
  • 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 degree programs are also available from the university. Jackson State is fully accredited to confer these undergraduate and graduate online credentials by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The school has been named one of the best accredited online colleges in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

Undergraduate Tuition: $8,445

#66—West Virginia State University

Institute, West Virginia

Website

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Points: 6

In just a few short years, West Virginia State University has established itself as one of the best online colleges 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:

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

A fully online MEd in Instructional Leadership is also available to graduate students. 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 school among some of the best reputable online colleges in the nation for an undergraduate degree.

Undergraduate Tuition: $8,437

#65— Missouri State University

Springfield, Missouri

Website

Points: 6

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Missouri State University is one of the larger of the best online colleges in our ranking in terms of the number of programs offered. Undergraduate majors, minors, and certificates are all available online as are graduate degree programs such as master’s and even doctoral programs. Standout options include:

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

The Higher Learning Commission has fully accredited 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 a bachelor’s degree.

Undergraduate Tuition: $7,938

#64—Minot State University

Minot, North Dakota

Website

Points: 6

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Well known for its online business degrees, Minot State University is also home to a host of other online degree programs for undergraduate and graduate students alike. Students can choose from synchronous or asynchronous course delivery as they pursue credentials such as:

  • Online BS in Criminal Justice
  • 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

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

Undergraduate Tuition: $7,896

#63—Cambridge College

Charlestown, Massachusetts

Website

Points: 7

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One of the leading private online colleges in our ranking, Cambridge College, has been offering online degree programs since 2009. This includes three fully online bachelor’s degree options:

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

Online graduate programs 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. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the school among the top 40 best accredited online colleges for a bachelor’s degree.

Undergraduate Tuition: $16,266

#62—University of Massachusetts-Lowell

Lowell, Massachusetts

Website

Points: 7

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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 school offers the following programs:

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

The New England Commission of Higher Education has accredited UMass-Lowell to award online degrees and certificates. U.S. News & World Report has called it one of the 35 best accredited online colleges for a bachelor’s degree.

Undergraduate Tuition: $15,698               

#61—University of Massachusetts-Boston

Boston, Massachusetts

Website

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Points: 7

One of the best accredited online colleges in the Northeast, 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 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.

Undergraduate Tuition: $14,677

#60—University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth

Dartmouth, Massachusetts

Website

Points: 7

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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 school offers numerous distance education options for its undergraduate and graduate 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.

Undergraduate Tuition: $14,408

#59—University of Southern Indiana

Evansville, Indiana

Website

Points: 7

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The University of Southern Indiana is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and has been offering online bachelor’s degrees since 2013. Currently, the school is one of the best online colleges in the country, particularly for degree completion programs. Options include:

  • 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 college programs.

Undergraduate Tuition: $9,285

#58—South Dakota State University

Brookings, South Dakota

Website

Points: 7

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Accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, South Dakota State University has been offering online bachelor’s degrees since 1998. Today, the school offers ten online undergraduate majors, including:

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

The university 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 best online college programs for bachelor’s degrees.

Undergraduate Tuition: $9,200

#57—West Virginia University

Morgantown, West Virginia

Website

Points: 7

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One of the oldest and best online colleges in the South, West Virginia University has been offering online bachelor’s degree programs since 2001. Currently, the school offers eight different options for undergraduates interested in obtaining their credentials via distance education. Some of these offerings include:

  • 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 degree programs 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.

Undergraduate Tuition: $8,976

#56—University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley

Edinburg, Texas

Website

Points: 7

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As one of the best online colleges in the country, the University of Texas- Rio Grande Valley offers a wide range of fully and partially online degree programs from its Center for Online Learning and Teaching Technology. Bachelor’s-level programs 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

There are also many options available to the school’s online graduate students, including accelerated online master’s programs such as:

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

UTRGV is fully accredited to award these online bachelor’s and master’s degrees by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. U.S. News & World Report has recognized it as one of the country’s best accredited online colleges.

Undergraduate Tuition: $8,917

#55—SUNY-Oswego

Oswego, New York

Website

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Points: 7

Home to a nationally recognized online MBA program, SUNY-Oswego has also established itself as one of the best online colleges for bachelor’s degrees and degree completion programs. Examples include:

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

In addition to its renowned online MBA program, SUNY-Oswego also offers other graduate degree programs via distance education, 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.

Undergraduate Tuition: $8,651

#54—University of Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah

Website

Points: 7

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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 degree programs 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, and engineering.

Undergraduate Tuition: $8,615

#53—Lamar University

Beaumont, Texas

Website

Points: 7

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

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

Several of the university’s online master’s degree programs have been nationally ranked, including offerings in criminal justice, education, and nursing. Lamar University holds the institutional accreditation to confer these degrees online by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. It’s one of the best online schools for a bachelor’s degree, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Undergraduate Tuition: $8,591

#52—Valley City State University

Valley City, North Dakota

Website

Points: 7

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Valley City State University began establishing itself as one of the nation’s best online colleges in the year 2000. Today, the school offers a number of online degrees and certificate programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Its online bachelor’s degree programs 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 Technology Education

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

Undergraduate Tuition: $7,942

#51—Eastern Washington University

Cheney, Washington

Website

Points: 7

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Eastern Washington University joined the nation’s league of best online colleges in 2010. Today it offers well over a dozen fully online degree programs for both undergraduate and graduate students. Online bachelor’s programs 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

Options for graduate students 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. It’s one of the best regionally accredited online colleges, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Undergraduate Tuition: $7,733

#50—Mayville State University

Mayville, North Dakota

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Website

Points: 7

A top regional university in the Midwest, Mayville State University is also known as one of the best online colleges in the nation. Currently, the school offers several online bachelor’s programs, including:

  • Online BA in Early Childhood
  • Online BS in Agribusiness
  • Online BS in Accounting
  • Online BS in Mathematics
  • Online BA in English

Two distinct graduate degree 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 Tuition: $7,381

#49—Columbus State University

Columbus, Georgia

Website

Points: 7

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Columbus State University is not only one of the best online colleges 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:

  • 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. 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 university. Columbus State is fully accredited to award degrees online by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, making it one of the most respected online colleges in the region.

Undergraduate Tuition: $6,241

#48—University of Illinois- Springfield

Springfield, Illinois

Website

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Points: 8

One of the best online colleges in the Midwest, the University of Illinois- Springfield offers over 50 online degrees and programs, including undergraduate and graduate offerings. 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 best online college programs in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Undergraduate Tuition: $11,911

#47—Bowling Green State University

Bowling Green, Ohio

Website

Points: 8

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As one of the best online colleges in the Midwest, Bowling Green State University offers over 40 online degree and certificate programs. Standout options for undergraduates include:

  • 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, 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. 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 college programs in the country for a bachelor’s degree program.

Undergraduate Tuition: $11,573

#46—Westfield State University

Westfield, Massachusetts

Website

Points: 8

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Westfield State University has been among the nation’s best online colleges 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:

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

A variety of online minors are also available as are hybrid degree 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.

Undergraduate Tuition: $11,139

#45—Old Dominion University

Norfolk, Virginia

Website

Points: 8

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Old Dominion University is one of the best online colleges 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. ODU also offers a host of online master’s degree options, 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

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges 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 best accredited online colleges in the nation for an undergraduate distance education program.  

Undergraduate Tuition: $10,800

#44—University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Lafayette, Louisiana

Website

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Points: 8

One of the best online colleges in the South, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette is well-known for its online master’s in nursing and nursing education programs. The school offers numerous other online programs, though, including undergraduate offerings 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 best accredited online colleges nationwide. The school is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Undergraduate Tuition: $10,358

#43—University of North Dakota

Grand Forks, North Dakota

Website

Points: 8

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The University of North Dakota is one of the best online colleges 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 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 colleges for a bachelor’s degree by U.S. News & World Report.

Undergraduate Tuition: $10,276

#42—University of Northern Colorado

Loveland, Colorado

Website

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Points: 8

One of the nation’s first online schools, the University of Northern Colorado has been offering online bachelor’s degree programs since 1997. Today, the school is home to a variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs via distance education. Some of these programs 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 best online colleges for a bachelor’s degree by U.S. News & World Report.

Undergraduate Tuition: $10,062

#41—Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania

Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania

Website

Points: 8

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A comprehensive provider of some of the best online college programs 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 students include:

  • 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 graduate degree programs are also available, mostly in the field of education. 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.

Undergraduate Tuition: $9,984

#40—Eastern Oregon University

La Grande, Oregon

Website

Points: 8

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Eastern Oregon University has a long history of being one of the nation’s best accredited online colleges. Offering its first online program in 1997, the school is now home to nearly two dozen online options for undergraduate and graduate students alike. Online bachelor’s degree plans 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 degree 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 Tuition: $9,405

#39—Auburn University-Montgomery

Montgomery, Alabama

Website

Points: 8

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Among the best online colleges 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 include:

  • Online RN to BSN
  • Online MBA
  • Online Master of Liberal Arts (MLA)
  • Online Master’s in Elementary Education
  • Online MS in Criminal Justice
  • 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 undergraduate 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 Tuition: $8,860

#38—SUNY College of Technology–Alfred

Alfred, New York

Website

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Points: 8

SUNY College of Technology- Alfred has a long history as one of the best online colleges 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 undergraduates include:

  • 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

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 colleges nationwide.

Undergraduate Tuition: $8,726

#37—SUNY College of Technology-Canton

Canton, New York

Website

Points: 8

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

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education has accredited SUNY College of Technology–Canton to confer online degrees at the undergraduate level. U.S. News & World Report has ranked it among the nation’s best online college programs for a bachelor’s degree.

Undergraduate Tuition: $8,689

#36—SUNY College of Technology-Delhi

Delhi, New York

Website

Points: 8

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SUNY College of Technology-Delhi is one of the best online colleges for working professionals. The school offers ten distinct online degree options, including:

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

These programs are offered fully online and can be pursued on a part-time or full-time basis. 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 online college programs.

Undergraduate Tuition: $8,640

#35—SUNY Polytechnic Institute

Utica, New York

Website

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Points: 8

SUNY Polytechnic Institute is one of the best online colleges 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 include:

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

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. U.S. News & World Report has ranked it among the best reputable online colleges in the nation.

Undergraduate Tuition: $8,427

#34—Southeast Missouri State University

Cape Girardeau, Missouri

Website

Points: 8

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One of the best online colleges for undergraduate students, Southeast Missouri State University, offers 15 different online bachelor’s degree programs, including a nationally ranked offering in business. Other options 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

The 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 Tuition: $8,033

#33—Granite State College

Concord, New Hampshire

Website

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Points: 8

Granite State College is one of the best online colleges for career preparation. At the undergraduate level, the school offers fully online bachelor’s degree programs along with degree completion options. Some of these programs 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. 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 best accredited online colleges.

Undergraduate Tuition: $7,791

#32—New Mexico State University

Las Cruces, New Mexico

Website

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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 include:

  • Online Bachelor’s in Business Administration
  • Online Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice
  • Online Bachelor’s in Gender and Sexuality Studies
  • 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 best online colleges nationwide.

Undergraduate Tuition: $7,301

#31—Kennesaw State University

Kennesaw, Georgia

Website

Points: 8

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One of the most affordable best online colleges 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

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.

Undergraduate Tuition: $6,436

#30—Middle Georgia State University

Macon, Georgia

Website

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Points: 8

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

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

Two online master’s credentials are also available through the 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

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

  • 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

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 best accredited online colleges in the nation.

Undergraduate Tuition: $11,221

#28—Clarion University of Pennsylvania

Clarion, Pennsylvania

Website

Points: 9

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One of the best online colleges in the North, Clarion University of Pennsylvania offers online degrees and programs in nearly two dozen different areas of study. Some of these offerings 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 degree 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

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One of the leading best online colleges 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 undergraduate and graduate levels. Current online bachelor’s degree offerings 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

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 best online colleges for a bachelor’s degree.

Undergraduate Tuition: $9,876

#26—University of Southern Mississippi

Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Website

Points: 9

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Known for its quality online business programs, the University of Southern Mississippi also happens to be one of the more affordable colleges in the country. It isn’t just a business school, either; the university offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs via distance education. This includes online bachelor’s degree programs like:

  • 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 degree options span disciplines such as education, criminal justice, 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.

Undergraduate Tuition: $8,896

#25—Sam Houston State University

Huntsville, Texas

Website

Points: 9

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A clear leader in distance education, 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 degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, including:

  • 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

U.S. News & World Report has ranked Sam Houston State among the 75 best accredited online colleges in the country for a bachelor’s degree. 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

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One of the best online colleges in the South, the University of South Alabama offers some of the best and cheapest online college degrees in the region. Offerings for undergraduate and graduate students interested in distance education 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

The University of South Alabama is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to confer these online degrees. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the university among the best reputable online colleges for undergraduates.

Undergraduate Tuition: $8,396

#23—University of Maine-Augusta

Augusta, Maine

Website

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Points: 9

One of the first and best online colleges in the country, the University of Maine- Augusta has been offering online programs for more than three decades. Today, the school offers an array of quality online bachelor’s degrees, 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

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.

Undergraduate Tuition: $8,378

#22—Troy University

Troy, Alabama

Website

Points: 9

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One of the largest and best online colleges in the country, Troy University offers over 100 online degree programs for undergraduate and graduate 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 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: $8,112

#21—University of Alaska-Fairbanks

Fairbanks, Alaska

Website

Points: 9

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A long-time leader in distance 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. Undergraduate students have more than a dozen different online bachelor’s degrees 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

A handful of online master’s degree programs 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

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

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

Even more options are afforded to graduate students interested in distance education. These online master’s degrees include nationally-ranked programs in education and business administration. U.S. News & World Report has ranked Valdosta State among the nation’s leading best online colleges.

Undergraduate Tuition: $6,583

#19—University of West Georgia

Carrolton, West Georgia

Website

Points: 9

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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 distance education 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, 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

Graduate programs are also available virtually, including top-ranked online master’s degree options in nursing, business administration, education, and computer information technology. 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 by U.S. News & World Report.

Undergraduate Tuition: $6,521

#18—Fort Hays State University

Hays, Kansas

Website

Points: 9

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A trailblazer in distance education, Fort Hays State University is also one of the best online colleges 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 include:

  • Online BS in Computer Science
  • Online BS in Elementary/Secondary 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 degree programs, including those in education, business administration, and nursing. 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

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At a rate of less than $200, Western Carolina University is one of the best online colleges in cost per credit hour. The school doesn’t skimp on quality; however, several of its online degree programs have been highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report. Distance education options for undergraduate 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

The school also offers a comparable number of online master’s degrees 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 undergraduate and graduate degrees 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

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An early adopter of distance education, the University of Georgia has been offering online degree programs 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 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

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

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One of the highest-ranking online colleges in the nation, Oregon State University offers an impressive array of online degree programs through its Ecampus. The school is home to over 80 different degree programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, including fully online and hybrid options. Standout online bachelor’s degree offerings 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 best online college 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.

Undergraduate Tuition: $11,858

#14—University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Website

Points: 10

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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 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. 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.

Undergraduate Tuition: $9,254

#13—Boise State University

Boise, Idaho

Website

Points: 10

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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 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 degree programs online in nursing, education, and business disciplines. 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 40 best online colleges for a bachelor’s credential.

Undergraduate Tuition: $8,068

#12—Purdue University-Northwest

Hammond, Indiana

Website

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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 include:

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

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 best accredited online colleges for a bachelor’s degree.

Undergraduate Tuition: $7,942

#11—Arkansas State University

Jonesboro, Arkansas

Website

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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 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. 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

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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 school can offer quality online degrees at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Examples 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

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

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Perhaps best known for its online master’s degree programs 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 undergraduate students interested in distance 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 Information Technology

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.

Undergraduate Tuition: $6,565

#8—University of West Florida

Pensacola, Florida

Website

Points: 10

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The University of West Florida established itself as one of the best online colleges in the United States, beginning in the early 2000’s. Today, the school offers a wide range of online degree and certificate options for both undergraduate and graduate students. 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

UWF’s online master’s degree programs in computer information technology have been recognized as some of the very best such programs nationwide. 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

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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 degree programs and certification options via distance education. Popular degree plans 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

The school’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

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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 degrees, 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. 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

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Utah State University 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 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 degree programs are also available, 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 best 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

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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 degree programs at every level of postsecondary education, including doctoral programs. Offerings for undergraduate students 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. The school’s master’s degree online programs in business, education, and computer information technology have also been noted for their quality. 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

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

CSU-Global tops our list of best online colleges due to its low cost and high-quality offerings. 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 Tuition: $8,400

#2—University of North Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Website

Points: 11

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The University of North Florida tops our list of the best best online colleges in part because it is one of the cheapest online colleges per credit hour in the country. The school also offers an array of online degrees and programs in high-demand areas such as healthcare, business, and education. Examples 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

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

Undergraduate Tuition: $6,389

#1—St. Petersburg College

St. Petersburg, Florida

Website

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Points: 11

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

  • 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

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 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. As a result, students of all ages and lifestyles are flocking to accredited online colleges 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.

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. Below, we’ll discuss some of the major benefits distance education has to offer.

The Convenience Factor

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 significant 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 fantasy.

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 costs, many of the best accredited online schools can offer their degree programs 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.

The Quality of Online Colleges

Despite the rising popularity of online learning and the many undeniable benefits of pursuing a degree online, some students are still hesitant. 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 done right.

Challenges of Taking Online College Courses

Of course, nothing worth doing comes without challenges. To decide whether online learning is right for you, it’s important to take stock of 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 could prove ineffective for you.

Technical Difficulties Inherent 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. 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 at some point. Fortunately, there are things you can do to prepare for this unique distance education challenge and thereby mitigate its damage. For instance, it’s a good idea to choose your school wisely. The best online colleges offer technical support services to their distance learning students. Make sure you have someone to contact if and when you have trouble accessing your online classroom or using virtual resources.

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 could include interaction with your professors and classmates 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 a course concept.

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. Students accustomed to the structure of a traditional classroom may find themselves particularly vulnerable to missteps when it comes to completing 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, 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 Online Colleges and Degree Programs

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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 programs. Educating yourself about these different options will help you select the best online university for you.

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. All reputable online colleges have some sort of accreditation, whether it be national or regional accreditation. These accrediting bodies are usually the same agencies that accredit traditional 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.

Hybrid Versus Fully Online College Programs

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

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 some college credits, either online or otherwise. These programs enable you to transfer these credits toward a bachelor’s credential and then finish your 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.

Accelerated Online College Degrees

Students who are particularly eager to earn the credentials they need to launch or advance their careers may select an accelerated online degree program.These programs put ambitious students on the fast-track toward earning a college credential online.  If you’re considering one of these options, 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.

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 enabling students to make their own schedules. Students who elect asynchronous programs are those distance learners who want to work 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 students 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 programs afford them.

Frequently-Asked Questions About Online Colleges

No matter how committed you are to the process of finding and attending one of our nation’s best accredited online colleges, 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 an admissions counselor or other school representative for more specific information about online schools. You may also find valuable information on the school’s official website.

Q: Do online colleges accept anyone?

A: No. Depending on the online college or university you’re planning to attend and the degree program you choose, you will be required to meet certain admissions requirements. These could include various academic qualifications such as credentials earned or GPAs maintained, for instance. Other requirements could include test scores, personal statements, writing samples, and letters of recommendation.

Q: Are online colleges reputable?

A: The majority of them are, yes. If you’re concerned about the legitimacy of an online school, check to ensure that the college or university is institutionally accredited by an accrediting body approved by the U.S. Department of Education.

Q: How much do online colleges cost?

A: The cost of education, online or otherwise, will depend on the school 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.

Q: Are online colleges worth it?

A: Taking steps to earn a college degree, online or on campus, is usually a worthwhile endeavor so long as you choose a reputable and accredited school. 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.

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