Are you looking for the best online colleges and universities for a bachelor’s degree? Then you’ve come to the right place. The College Consensus ranking of the Best Online Colleges & Universities is the most comprehensive and well-rounded ranking of online schools for bachelor’s degree online programs available anywhere.
Let’s face it, online college education has come a long way. While predatory, unscrupulous online “colleges” once threatened to make online degrees a punchline, today the most prestigious colleges and universities – from the Ivy League to research giants like MIT and Stanford – offer 100% online programs. The best accredited online colleges for undergraduates are some of the best colleges, period.
Earning your bachelor’s degree through an accredited college online offers busy working professionals a viable option. Especially if they want to earn their online degree while continuing to work. Online degree programs offer affordable options and unmatched convenience. When compared to their brick-and-mortar counterparts, the cost can vary dramatically. The flexible scheduling allows working professionals to earn their degree at their own pace, on their own time. Online classes can be asynchronous (accessible on the student’s schedule) or “live sessions” that take place simultaneously with an on-campus class.
Recommended Online Colleges & Universities
Visit sites to learn more about enrollment, tuition, and aid
How We Ranked the Best Online Colleges and Universities
College Consensus rankings combine the results of the most respected college ranking systems with the averaged ratings of thousands of real student reviews from around the web to create a unique college meta-ranking. This approach offers a comprehensive and holistic perspective missing from other college rankings. Visit our about page for information on the rankings and review sites included in this year’s consensus rankings.
Our ranking of Best Online Colleges & Universities features the top consensus-ranked schools offering at least three fully-online bachelor’s degree programs, based on National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) data.
Among the top online colleges, the University of Pennsylvania is home to the world-renowned Wharton School of Business. This Ivy League research university is located in Philadelphia, PA, and has undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees. Penn has a diverse student body from all 50 states and over 100 countries. It’s known for its strengths in business, law, medicine, engineering, and the humanities, and it’s one of the top online colleges.
The University of Florida has long been one of the nation’s best schools for an online degree. Ranked by sources like U.S. News & World Report. UF is especially known for top bachelor’s online programs in business and technology. Among the best online schools in the US, the University of Florida stands tall. Online students will experience the same education as their campus counterparts.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison is a public research university that offers undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees in a wide range of fields. This outstanding online college is located in Madison, WI. The school has 45,000 students, and has strong programs in Agriculture, Life Sciences, and Engineering. It’s the top ranking school in Wisconsin, per Niche.com.
The University of Northern Iowa, is located in Cedar Falls, IA. The schools ranks second among the Top Public Schools in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report. UNI offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in fields such as business, education, and the arts. With an enrollment of approximately 9,500 students, including online college students, UNI is known for its strong teacher education program.
New York University is a private research university with undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees in a wide range of fields. NYU has 60,000 students across multiple campuses and a reputation for excellence in the arts and humanities. Located in New York City, it also has a well-respected law school and ranks second among US colleges and universities offering film degrees.
Recommended Online Colleges & Universities
Visit sites to learn more about enrollment, tuition, and aid
With the largest student body in the US, you may expect Texas A&M University to be cold and impersonal, but the Aggies are known for high retention rates and fierce loyalty. With so many rural residents in Texas, TAMU has also become a top-ranked leader in online education, with every college offering distance bachelor’s and master’s programs.
The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, offers a variety of online programs to help students excel in the fields in which they are most interested. Their online courses offer students the flexibility they need while pursuing their degree. Courses are offered in more than 35 undergraduate programs, including their engineering program, which was named one of the top by US News & World Report.
Founded in Minneapolis, MN, the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus is one of five schools to offer all the following degrees: law, medicine, veterinary medicine, engineering, and agriculture. Twin Cities offers online, undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees and has 51,000 students, making it one of the largest public universities in the US.
California State University at Chico is considered one of the best online schools, better known as Chico state. For more than 130 years this best online school has served as an institution catering to the Latinx communities. Their campus counterpart is the home of over 100 undergraduate degrees and graduate study programs.
Winona State University was a pioneer in education as the first teacher’s college west of the Mississippi, and a pioneer in offering every student a laptop. Today, WSU is also a pioneer in distance education, with a wealth of online degree programs available to students across Minnesota.
Recommended Online Colleges & Universities
Visit sites to learn more about enrollment, tuition, and aid
One of the best online colleges, Villanova University takes its name from the town that hosts it. This private Catholic university provides students with numerous undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees in fields such as business, engineering, and the arts. With about 11,000 students, Villanova is known for its strong law, business, and engineering programs. It’s also the only Augustinian Catholic university in the Unites States and has an A+ niche rating in many categories.
Finding a school among some of the best online schools in the US is guaranteed to have the University of Illinois at Chicago on the short list. Well known for their dedication to discovery, curiosity and research. Considered the largest college in the country, learning at one of the best online schools will certainly garner graduates bragging rights. UIC has many online degrees as well as online courses available.
Known as one of the oldest universities in the country, Rutgers University is also one of the pioneers of online learning. They have championed the need for access to affordable education that will promote excellence to both their on-campus and online students. The online school’s most sought after programs are psychology, computer science, and nursing.
Located in Columbus, OH, Ohio State University is a public research university that offers undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees, along with online courses. With around 68,000 students, Ohio State is one of the largest universities in the country and has strong programs in Medicine, Law, and Business. It’s the top ranked public university in the state.
SUNY- New Paltz is an LGBTQ+-friendly campus located in the Hudson Valley. The school has numerous undergraduate and graduate degrees for its 8,000 students to choose from, including robust online options. Known for its strong arts programs, SUNY New Paltz is a cultural hub with an inclusive admission policy.
Penn State University is recognized as one of the biggest and most prestigious online universities globally, with rankings among the top 25 largest universities in the United States. The University is home to some 40+ degree-granting schools, divisions, and colleges. It has been ranked as being one of the top 15 research universities as well as being named as US News & World Report Best Value in Public Colleges.
Charter new paths with the best online colleges in the capital city. George Washington University offers a world class faculty, high quality education, and a distinguished graduate program. GWU has a global reach for internships, strategic educational planning and access to a network of prominent Alumni. It’s no wonder people from all over the world choose to study at this best online school.
Appalachian State University is one of 17 campuses in the University North Carolina system, this is the best online school for students looking to become part of a diverse group of students. Listed in the Princeton Review’s 2021 “Guide to Green Colleges”, App State is unique in being one of the best online schools to engage students in learning about how to create sustainable futures.
California State University-San Marcos, situated in northern San Diego County, boasts a student population of approximately 17,000. With a focus on business programs, CSUSM is recognized for its top-notch faculty and cutting-edge research initiatives. It offers over 147 majors (including many online courses) and doesn’t require SAT/ACT scores. The school proudly celebrates students of Asian-Pacific heritage.
The top-rated public university in the state, the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, is the main campus of the UMass system, enrolls around 30,000 students and offers strong online, undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the sciences and engineering. UMass Amherst is known as a leader in research and innovation.
John Brown University has garnered the title of world-renowned research university, as well as being one of the best online colleges in the nation. Inspiring creativity in students that are passionate about educational excellence is their goal. What classifies as a best online school are all within the key tenets of John Brown University.
There is so much to say about this nationally recognized institution and best online school, the University of Arizona. They serve their online students with pride, and with a passion that is fueled by their majestic surroundings in the Southwest or virtually from the convenience of ones own home. People from all over the country flock to UA’s online school for online programs in business, management, marketing and biomedical sciences.
Florida International University, or FIU Online is one of the best online colleges due to their commitment to the student body and the subsequent resources offered. In fact, they have over 100 online programs and over 54,000 students. In addition, flexibility is the name of the game at this best online school. You can log in at any time from anywhere in the world to complete your interactive coursework.
One of the best online colleges, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, located in Utica, NY, offers an array of degree programs to its student body of approximately 2,500. With strengths in technology and engineering, SUNY Poly is a key player in the region’s innovation economy. It ranks among the top 25 public universities in NY and accepts 73% of students.
San Diego State University, situated in the heart of the vibrant city it is named after, enrolls approximately 35,000 online and on-campus students and offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs. With a focus on interdisciplinary studies, SDSU is at the forefront of research and innovation.
Recommended Online Colleges & Universities
Visit sites to learn more about enrollment, tuition, and aid
George Mason University holds on to the strong ideals that academic excellence is the key to progress. No wonder they are considered one of the best online schools in Virginia. GMU offer over 211 degrees to 40,000 students, that represent 130 countries from all over the world. This best online college sets community progress as the measurement for institutional success.
Mount St Mary’s University is a Roman Catholic institution whose mission is to foster the intellectual, spiritual, and personal growth of its students. The institution has grown from a small college to an international university offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in business administration. In recent years Mount St Mary’s has expanded their online offerings to offer undergraduate degrees in nursing and accounting, as well as graduate degrees.
The University of Iowa is already known as one of the best online colleges, they have also been coined the “Best Buy” of colleges. They are home to the top academic medical centers in the country, and internationally recognized for their writing program as well. What makes this big ten school one of the best online schools is the dedication they have towards student success.
Having one of the highest graduation rates in the country, it’s not hard to call the University of Utah one of the best online colleges in the nation. They are best in the nation for the major of technology commercialization, and are known for affordable in-state-and out-of-state tuition. It’s no wonder that they are one of the best online schools in the Rocky Mountains.
As a regional public university, University of Nebraska at Kearney specializes in programs that benefit the people of Nebraska. They are especially known for their low tuition and high-quality programs in areas like criminal justice, nursing, and social work. As part of that mission, UNK provides a wealth of online and hybrid programs at the bachelor’s and master’s levels.
University of Central Florida is lauded as Florida’s best online school for engineering and computer science. With more than 230 degree programs in 13 campus locations in Florida, UCF is recognized by the US News & world report as the top 20 most innovative colleges.
Prepare to succeed with Central Washington University, one of the best online colleges in Washington. National recognized and honored for diversity, affordability, this online school is known for an extensive array of master’s degree programs. They have an innovative hands-on teaching method that student benefit from learning and studying while working in the real world professional environment.
Point Loma Nazarene University is a private liberal arts college affiliated with the Nazarene church and serving the southwestern US. But in recent years, Point Loma has become known for its exceptional online degree programs, including highly ranked bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminal justice, public administration, and nursing/healthcare.
The University of South Florida offers one of the best online colleges with an extensive list of bachelors and masters degree programs. Whether you want to study cyber crime, health informatics or something else on their extensive list, you can be sure you will be getting a high quality education at one of the best online schools.
Saint Louis University offers one of the best online schools with over 75 degree programs that are all accredited. One aspect about their programming that brings this school to the list of best online colleges is the focus on adult learners in particular. All of their programming emphasizes career preparedness in such fields as accounting, criminal justice, business, and health care management.
Eastern Washington University, located in Cheney, is home to a diverse student body of approximately 12,000 online and in-person students. With a focus on hands-on learning and community engagement, EWU prepares students for success in the workforce and beyond. This 100% online school offers affordable tuition and generous admissions criteria.
The University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, one of the members of the illustrious University of Wisconsin System, is well-known among regional universities. But, like all of the UW System schools, UWEC prioritizes outreach to the people of the Midwest through a growing distance education program. Students can earn degrees in business, communication, and more online.
A small private institution in Indiana, the University of Evansville is known as a top-ranked regional college and a best value, especially for veterans. So it’s only right that Evansville would work to reach more students with its online Adult Education programs, including organizational leadership and elementary education.
SUNY Brockport, situated in western New York, enrolls around 8,000 students and offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs. With a focus on sustainability and social justice, and other popular majors include kinesiology,nursing, and exercise science and is a top online college. Brockport’s mission is to create positive change through its online and on-campus graduates.
Known for its commitment to service and continuing education, Elizabethtown College has offered a number of degrees that can be accessed online. The institution offers a variety of undergraduate degrees in many different fields, such as biology, business, and psychology. There are also graduate degrees in the fields of Counseling Psychology, Marriage & Family Therapy, and Interpersonal & Organizational Communication.
Among the top three universities in the state, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater is a public university located in Whitewater, WI, and has 50 majors and minors across four colleges. With 13,000 students online and on campus, UW-Whitewater is recognized for its strong business and education programs, as well as its commitment to diversity and inclusion.
California State University East Bay has one of the best online schools in California. CSU East Bay is known for their business administration, psychology, and health sciences degree programs. In the last 60 years, CSU East Bay has evolved into a best online college to inspire students to reach for the stars. They are also one of the first schools to adapt to online learning with more than 15 percent of instruction offered online.
It’s easy to be overshadowed as a college in Boston, MA, but Simmons University has built a sterling reputation. With a women-only undergraduate and coed graduate program, Simmons also offers dozens of acclaimed bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in fully online and hybrid formats.
With 8,000 students, SUNY College at Oswego is a public liberal arts college located in Oswego, NY, offering over 110 undergraduate and graduate programs. The college has excellent programs in creative writing, technology, and the sciences. The school has a fairly competitive admission process, admitting just over half of applicants.
With an overall Niche rating of B+, West Texas A&M University is a public university located in Canyon, TX. It offers undergraduate and graduate programs in agriculture, business, and the sciences, among other possible majors. With a student enrollment of around 10,000, WTAMU is known for its focus on experiential learning and its dedication to serving the Texas Panhandle region. The school says it will beat any other offer from schools across the country.
The catch phrase for the University of Missouri-Columbia is “New Normal. Same Quality Education.” There are many things that this school offers making it one of the best online colleges including the over 40 degree programs that they offer. These program offerings span over three schools including school of natural sciences and mathematics, school of humanities, arts, and sciences, and the Robert W Plaster School of Business.
The University of Oklahoma-Norman Campus is a public research university located in Norman, OK, offering over 170 majors across 16 colleges. With a student population of around 28,000, OU is recognized for its strong programs in petroleum engineering, meteorology, and Native American studies. With many online study options, the university has an A rating for diversity and academics, among other categories.
Drexel’s motto says it all: Learn from the Best with the Best, a sentiment that places Drexel University on the list for best online colleges. They make it look easy to offer experiential learning opportunities for virtual students. Their virtual facilities alone, including virtual simulation labs can grant them a place on this list of best online schools. Some of their programs enable students to participate in on campus residencies.
DU Online is one of the best online colleges, especially for adult learners. Their average student age is 33. You will find their students living in 50 different states and 10 countries. Their programs are known for being affordable. One aspect of DU Online that makes it one of the best online schools is their best program offerings including topics like business, leadership, and management, humanities, law/legal studies and policy.
Louisiana State University offers online degrees that are just as easy to pursue as a traditional degree. Instead of the classroom setting, these online degrees offer flexible schedules and much less time commitment. With more than 700 faculty members, online students can study in any area with LSU’s extensive list of online degree programs.
Recommended Online Colleges & Universities
Visit sites to learn more about enrollment, tuition, and aid
Webster University, located in Saint Louis, MO, has a competitive admissions policy, with only half of applicants gaining acceptance. It’s a private university with both undergraduate and graduate programs in business, education, and the arts. With a student enrollment of around 12,000, Webster is known for its commitment to global education and its diverse student body.
The College of Saint Scholastica is a small private Catholic college located in Duluth, MN. It’s among the top three best value colleges in the state, and offers programs in areas such as nursing, education, and health sciences. With 4,000 enrolled students, CSS is committed to sustainability and its focus on Benedictine values, making it an obvious choice for many students of faith. It offers 100% online learning, perfect for remote or busy adult students.
With over 500 faculty members, Saint Joseph’s University, located in Philadelphia, PA, is a private Jesuit university offering bachelor’s and graduate degrees in business, education, and the humanities. With 9,000 students, SJU is recognized for its excellent programs in international business and its dedication to service and social justice since 1916.
Utah State University is ranked one of the top public universities and one of the best values in higher education. Online degrees from Utah State University allow students to study from any location by accessing courses online through video lectures, convenient learning tools such as virtual labs, and interactive textbook modules that provide contextual guidance tailored to your needs with customized time management software that helps you stay on track for success.
Spring Arbor University, a Methodist institution in Michigan, offers numerous, accredited online degree programs in a wide variety of fields, including business, education, nursing, and religious leadership. Spring Arbor is well known for its professional and continuing education for online students as well.
As one of the most trusted institutions in the south, the University of South Carolina offers career-focused undergraduate and graduate degree programs in a wide range of fields. Online courses allow students to earn credit at their own pace, with the job market recognition of a major research university.
Temple University is one of the most renowned institutions in Pennsylvania, known especially for professional education in areas like medicine, law, and engineering. So it should be no surprise Temple has some of the top online degrees in the world, including bachelor’s programs in social work and business administration.
University of Kentucky, located in Lexington, KY, offers a range of degree programs across 16 colleges, including undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The online school has an enrollment of approximately 30,000 students and boasts a strong research portfolio. Nearly all applicants are accepted.
Virginia Commonwealth University began as a medical school in the 19th century, but today is known as a top-tier research university and world leader in healthcare and medicine. VCU’s online offerings range from bachelor’s to doctorates, including accounting, marketing, and mass communication.
Lewis University is a highly-regarded Roman Catholic institution in Illinois under the leadership of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. Today they are well-known for their excellent online programs, including computer science, criminal justice, and healthcare management.
One of the best online colleges in the US is Westfield State University. Many adult learners are attracted to their vast offerings for degree completion programming. They also have many minors that are delivered online including in subjects like art, sociology, business, finance, psychology, economics and finance. In addition, this best online school has many mentoring opportunities for students.
University of Wisconsin-River Falls has been ranked one of the top regional institutions in the Midwest. With its roots in teacher education, UWRF offers numerous online bachelor’s degree completion programs, as well as professional certificates in sustainability.
Oregon State University is known for being one of the best online colleges. Their campuses span throughout the lush state of Oregon in such cities as Portland, Newport, Corvallis, and Bend. In addition, their online campus also offers a lot to write home about. In fact, they have their own eCampus that boasts over 80 distinct programs and over 1500 online classes. The eCampus enrolls over 24,000 students that live across the globe. It comes as no surprise that this is one of the best online colleges.
Thomas Jefferson University has offered online programs for more than a decade. Jefferson Online offers live video lectures from your instructors and recorded lectures from other experts in the field. With options in synchronous and asynchronous formats, online students can earn their online degree around their own schedule.
Among the top three public universities in New Jersey, Rutgers University-Newark offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs, including psychology, finance, and logistics. The online college has over 13,000 students and is renowned for its research accomplishments. It accepts three out of four applicants.
Kansas’ flagship institution, the University of Kansas is an R1 doctoral university, the highest level of research, and a key to education in every area of Kansas, from agriculture to medicine. KU online offers numerous fully-online degrees, including cybersecurity, health science, and project management.
East Carolina University’s profile has risen considerably in the last decade due to its excellent online programs. The intent of ECU’s online program is to provide flexibility and access for any student to complete their undergraduate degree at East Carolina University. The university offers bachelor’s degrees in the fields of health sciences, business, engineering, education and liberal arts.
Texas Tech University is a top school in Lubbock, TX, offers a wide range of undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree programs. The popular online college has an enrollment of over 40,000 students and is known for its strong research programs. It stands out among online colleges for students looking to study online from remote Texas locations.
Washington State University is definitely one of the best online colleges, with their large offering of classes that are delivered one hundred percent online. They pride themselves on serving many adult learners, as their average student age is 31. They also boast a diverse student body with many clubs and organizations available for student involvement.
Among the top universities in the state, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, located in La Crosse, WI, offers online, bachelor’s and graduate degrees. The university has approximately 10,000 students and has a strong focus on teaching and research. It accepts three out of four students who apply, creating an opportunity for students who may not have the best GPA or test scores.
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, situated in Green Bay, WI, is among the top online colleges in the nation. It offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs, and ranks among the top 5% best value colleges in the nation. The university has an enrollment of approximately 8,000 students and is known for its sustainability initiatives.
The University of Tennessee Knoxville is offering a number of different programs and courses through the Online Education Center in the Fall. Students attending classes that are offered at this institution can take advantage of their BBA or MBA programs, specializing in Accounting, Finance, Agricultural Business, and Entrepreneurial Management.
Colorado State University located in Fort Collins is known for their research work in sustainability with their research investment surpassing 300 million dollars. This best online college is passionate about going green! Some of Colorado State’s popular programs are biomedical sciences, engineering, and marketing. No other school can compete with the dedication to excellence experience at CSU Fort Collins.
Gordon College, located in Wenham, MA, offers 90 undergraduate degree programs. This Christian college has 2,000 students and is among the nation’s top online colleges. The school is a noted online college and accepts 68% of applicants. As a bonus, it doesn’t request SAT/ACT scores.
Assumption University, situated in Worcester, MA, offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs. With nearly 40 majors and 50 minors, the university has an enrollment of approximately 2,500 students and is known for its Catholic identity and liberal arts focus. Assumption University accepts nearly 80% of applicants.
Oklahoma State University offers undergraduate and graduate online degree programs, as well as certificate programs. The university offers convenient scheduling options for its students. Students have the ability to choose from traditional face-to-face courses, evening courses, weekend courses, or a combination of these. Online students who are considered distance learners can also pursue their studies through synchronous formats
Florida Atlantic University is among the top online colleges, and this public research university is located in Boca Raton, FL. The university has bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees and enrolls over 30,000 students. Its strength lies in its research initiatives, particularly in biotechnology, oceanography, and neuroscience. It’s among Florida’s top 10 public universities.
Another one of the top online colleges, the University of Illinois Springfield is a public liberal arts university located in Springfield, IL, offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees. With 5,000 students, the school boasts small class sizes and individualized attention. Their strengths lie in their emphasis on community engagement and their strong programs in public administration and computer science.
The online degree programs at Auburn University have a lot of different concentrations and courses. From nursing to business to engineering, students have an opportunity of learning more about certain specializations within their chosen concentration, which makes them more knowledgeable and competent leaders in the field as well.
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro is a public research university located in Greensboro, NC, offering bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. With an enrollment of over 20,000 students, including online students, the university has a diverse student body. Popular majors include education, nursing, and business. UNCG’s award-winning academic degree programs and hands-on research opportunities offer additional benefits for hybrid students.
Fitchburg State University is a public university located in Fitchburg, MA, offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees. With a student enrollment of around 5,000, the university offers small class sizes and individualized attention. T strengths lie in their strong programs in education, nursing, and business, as well as their commitment to community service.
Loyola University Chicago is a private Jesuit university located in Chicago, IL, offering bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. With an enrollment of over 16,000 students, the university has a diverse student body. The university places an emphasis on social justice, and has popular programs in business and law. Among the best online colleges, Loyola is also among the top 20 Catholic colleges in the country.
Kansas State University offers a range of online degree programs and courses for students. Some of these classes are made available through its two-year certificate program, as well as associate and bachelor’s degrees. The four-year bachelor’s degree is available in many different fields including business, health sciences, engineering, information technology, liberal arts and education.
Molloy College is a private Catholic college located in Rockville Centre, NY, offering bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. With a student enrollment of around 5,000, the college offers small class sizes and individualized attention. Their strengths lie in their strong programs in nursing, education, and social work, as well as their commitment to service. Among the top online universities, Molloy focuses on service and spirituality.
With 22,000 students, DePaul University is a large private Catholic university located in Chicago, IL, offering bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, including online degrees. Top ranking programs in business, law, and education, as well as their commitment to community engagement. It ranks #17 among top US Catholic universities. Finance, Accounting, and Psychology are among the most popular majors.
Among the top online colleges, University of North Carolina Wilmington is a public research university in Wilmington, North Carolina. It offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to over 17,500 students. UNC Wilmington is known for its marine biology and coastal sciences programs and has an excellent student-to-faculty ratio of 16:1, making personal attention possible, even in online courses. It dpesn’t require SAT/ACT scores.
Founded in 1848, the University of Mississippi is a public research university in University, Mississippi. It offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to over 23,000 students. The university is known for its business, accounting and law programs. The student-to-faculty ratio at Ole Miss is 17:1.
Offering full online programs, the University of Massachusetts-Lowell is a public research university in Lowell, Massachusetts. It offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to over 19,000 students. Among the top online colleges, the university is known for its engineering and business programs and offers over 200 degree programs. The student-to-faculty ratio is 17:1 and SAT scores aren’t required.
Duquesne University is a private research university in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to over 8,000 students, both on campus and online. It’s among the top 40 Catholic colleges in the US and has a B+ rating in academics, diversity, and other areas and has a 79% graduation rate.
Mercer University is a private research university in Macon, Georgia. It offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to about 8,600 students. Popular degrees include biology, nursing and engineering. The student-to-faculty ratio at Mercer is 13:1, making it ideal for online students looking for personal attention. It’s among the top four universities in Georgia.
Among the top 2 online colleges in Ohio, the University of Cincinnati-Main Campus is a public research university in Cincinnati, Ohio. It offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to 38,000 students. The university is known for its marketing and nursing majors.
Western Carolina University offers a variety of online undergraduate and graduate programs and courses, including classes for accounting, business administration, computer information systems, education, criminal justice, teacher certification programs, and more. The university has been ranked as a best value in the Southeast by US News & World Report with an average cost of $7,614 per academic year. Online students will receive the same solid education as campus students.
Bethel University (MN) is a private Christian liberal arts university in Saint Paul, Minnesota. It offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to over 5,000 students. The university is known for its nursing and education programs. The student-to-faculty ratio at Bethel is 12:1, promising plenty of opportunities for online students to engage with knowledgeable faculty members.
The University of Missouri-St. Louis is a public research university located in Saint Louis, MO. It offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in fields such as business, education, and nursing. With around 16,000 students, the school offers numerous ways for students to expedite their degrees.
The University of Hawaii at Manoa is a public research university located in Honolulu, HI. It offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in fields such as biology, engineering, and social work. The university has an enrollment of approximately 17,000 students. One of the nation’s premier online universities, the school is the best college in the Aloha State.
Among the top 6 public college in the state, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte is a public research university located in Charlotte, NC. It has undergrad and grad programs that include accounting, computer science, and psychology. The university has an enrollment of approximately 30,000 students.
Among the top online colleges in the country, the University of North Florida is a public university located in Jacksonville, FL. It offers BA, BS, and graduate degrees in fields such as education, health, and business. There are 16,000 students studying online or on campus.
The University of Louisville is a public research university located in Louisville, KY. It offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in fields such as nursing, education, and psychology. The university has an enrollment of approximately 22,000 students.
The University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus is a public research university located in Denver, CO. It offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in fields such as architecture, public health, and music, and there are over 166 programs to choose from. The university has 27,000 students, making it one of the most diverse online colleges for students.
Rowan University is a public university located in Glassboro, NJ. It offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in fields such as education, engineering, and performing arts. Its 19,000 students have a choice of 100 majors and it’s among the top online colleges.
How Credible Are Online Programs?
The online education process required to accredit a college or university includes an intensive investigation by a federally recognized accreditation organization. The U.S. federal government hand-picks these associations and gives them their stamp of approval. With the authorization bestowed, these councils then evaluate the credibility of an entire school or just a specific program. Accreditation associations follow strict requirements to determine the answer to the question – How credible are online degrees? When an institute of higher learning meets (or surpasses) the established, rigid accreditation standards, the government-sanctioned councils receive authorization to issue an accreditation to the school or a program.
Accredited online degrees are available in many fields of study from several of the top colleges and universities. The best online programs are evaluated from differing perspectives, by a diverse set of industry experts (according to each national publisher’s choice of methodology), then aggregated here on College Consensus. Online schools are ranked in descending order of their 2022 College Consensus score. Prospective students should also consider other metrics when choosing a distance learning program. These include: just how affordable the school is, how convenient and accessible the online program is, and, the overall reputation of the school and/or the degree program. Students are advised to take the time to define their education goals, their scheduling needs, and their career aspirations before they begin to narrow down potential online degree programs of interest.
When you’re considering going to school, your schedule or current situation may not allow you to go away. Many people ask why get an online college degree, but there are a number of online college programs available that can accommodate these needs.
There are a couple of things to consider when choosing an online college:
- Does the online college have your major?
- Make sure the program and all classes you need are offered online.
- Look at the fees and admission requirements.
- Compare with other online colleges.
- Find out their financial aid policies.
- Research the faculty.
Why Does Accreditation Matter for Online Colleges?
If you go through an online degree program that is not accredited, your online degree may be viewed as worthless. If your major is one that also needs to be certified or licensed, they will not accept credits from a program that is not accredited. Additionally, employers may frown upon degrees obtained from colleges that do not have accreditation.
National vs Regional Accreditation
While many people may just think about a school being accredited, there is a huge difference between national and regional accreditation. Regional accreditation is for a specific region in the country and may not want to accept transfer credits from nationally accredited institutions. There are six regional accreditation agencies:
- Middle States Commission on Higher Education
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges
- North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges
National accreditation schools are usually for-profit and have technical, career, or vocational programs. They offer accreditation to schools that focus on religious education or career. These schools also generally accept credits from other designated nationally accredited schools as well as regionally accredited schools.
Individuals pursuing an online degree program will be able to determine the best one by doing the research. That means looking carefully at the online degree program, reading all the online course descriptions, speaking with a counselor, looking at credit transfers, how well the technology is, and their support. These areas will give you a broader picture of whether the school is one that will be a good fit. Looking at a ranked list of the best online colleges to compare each one can help with your selection process.
How Much Do the Top Accredited Online Colleges Cost?
Online programs are very popular, with more people choosing online education to further their careers or attend colleges or universities that may have otherwise been unattainable. Depending on the program, online college may be cheaper than a traditional program making it an even more attractive option. Costs vary depending on the school and program, so it is very important to look at all the costs associated with the online degree. While the tuition and fees may be the same in some instances, personal expenses will not be a factor. Some colleges do have technology fees based on the materials students receive. This should be helpful for prospective online students who are wondering how much does it cost to get an online degree.
It does not really matter if an online student is in-state or out-of-state, but there are some schools that will charge an in-state tuition rate for their online degree program. Even with students in-state, the college may choose to charge an online tuition charge. Speaking with the admissions counselor and financial aid personnel will help determine whether an out-of-state charge will apply for all online students.
Paying for an online degree is almost the same as paying for a traditional degree. The online student should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine whether they qualify for grants and loans. If the student works, asking the employer whether they have a tuition reimbursement program can help offset additional costs. Students should apply for tax credits and use any Veterans benefits that may be available. There are tons of scholarships out there that can also help pay for an online degree. The financial aid person at the college should be able to assist with this process.
Beyond being convenient, online schooling provides opportunities and flexibility for students who have other things going on. Online schools give you choice even if you live across the country. Online classes work around the student’s schedule, allowing them to have a job, take care of children, or learn at their own pace. Students who choose online schooling also build a network of colleagues they can tap into well after those classes are over.
One of the most convenient things about online school is not having to go anywhere. Students can learn from the comfort of their home, or anywhere they have a remote connection. Open scheduling helps solve the challenges of life, and it saves time and money. With online colleges, students are exposed to instructors all over the world they would not have access to. Guest lecturers and the top professors are the norm. Online education also provides different ways of testing and is very effective for students who can learn in a technology-based setting.
How Do Online Colleges Work?
Students log into the school’s online portal to access teacher lectures and online class materials. There, the students are also put into groups when needed and have a chance to interact with other students via the discussion board. Virtual lectures are at a set time each week. The beauty of online classes is that they take the same time and have the same assignments that occur within the traditional classroom. As long as the student logs into the class and participates as required by the professor, they will have a good chance of passing the class if their grades are up to par.
An online degree has the same learning requirements as a traditional degree in a different setting. The quality and level of education are not diminished. This type of learning style just offers flexibility and convenience to students who may have other obligations that interfere with them attending classes at a brick-and-mortar institution. Students attending accredited online colleges go on to have lucrative careers just like individuals who sat in a classroom. The learning style is different, but the degree is the same.
Will a Degree from an Online College Help Me Make More Money?
The pay scale for most workers depends upon a host of factors that include one’s experience, background and work-specific factors. However, one’s educational background is likely to be one of the most important determinants that holds the key that opens the doors to increased responsibilities and compensation. Even if the diploma you hold is from one of the top online degree programs, you may only realize a significant bump in salary if the degree you hold is related to the job you are applying for. The higher the degree you attain, the higher the salary.
Graduates of top online degree programs find job opportunities where there once were none; salary amounts that far exceed their current pay scale. Undergraduate online programs are the first step towards a more advanced degree that will ultimately, provide leadership opportunities in the industry of your choice. It is best to match an online degree program with a student’s salary and career objectives.
What About Accelerated Online Bachelor Degree Programs for Working Adults?
Working professionals must earn their online degree in a way that allows them to continue to receive a paycheck, and to continue living their preferred lifestyle. Accelerated Bachelors Degree programs for adults are designed for working learners to quickly learn new skills that will help advance their career and improve the salaries earned.
Accelerated bachelor degree programs for working adults essentially condense coursework that is typically covered in four months, into five through eight-week semesters, depending upon the density of the material taught. Accelerated bachelor’s degree programs are a great option for working professionals who prefer to focus on one course each semester. Fast track online programs typically require students to attend classes year-round. This is one of the ways that allow students to earn their degrees quickly.
Fastest Online MBA Programs
Guide to Online Communication Degrees