Best Online Colleges in Arizona

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Through the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), Arizona has been involved in several initiatives to promote online learning for students. As a result, many online colleges in Arizona are highly accessible and greatly developed. Arizona participates in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) to increase student access to online education across state lines, as well as the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET). WCET advocates for more integration of technology into higher education.

Despite the state’s demonstrated commitment to online education resources, tuition rates have increased by 8.3% from 2010 to 2015 across four year public institutions in Arizona. The state’s appropriation budget for higher education has shrunk substantially, contributing to the problem of increased prices for post-secondary institutions. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities , Arizona has decreased state funding and increased tuition more than any other state since the 2008 recession.

The increase in tuition can be viewed as a deterrent from students investing in higher education. However, those who do commit to online learning programs through colleges in Arizona are provided a strong framework to complete their degrees due to the state’s active integration of online education tools into higher education. Arizona’s demonstrated commitment to making distance learning more accessible and technologically innovative makes online college a worthwhile investment for many.

2016 Online Education Trends Report: Learn how online programs are changing the face of higher education.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description

College America – Phoenix

 3/537.42%Phoenix, AZ


College America’s online degrees are offered through Independence University. Students can choose an optional emphasis for several of the programs. The academic calendar is divided into 12 modules; undergraduate programs vary from 20 to 36 months and graduate programs are 15 months.

Undergraduate degrees at College America include Business Management & Accounting, Business Administration, Computer Science, Graphic Arts, Health Information Management, Nursing, and Web Design and Development. Graduate degrees include Master of Business Administration, Healthcare Administration, Healthcare Informatics, Information Systems, Nursing Education, and Nursing Administration.

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Northern Arizona University

 2/551.57%Flagstaff, AZ


Courses at the Northern Arizona University are taken through the Blackboard Learn platform and most are asynchronous. A fully online self-paced Personalized Learning degree program is also available.

NAU offers undergraduate degrees in Applied Science, Business Administration, Career and Technical Administration, Computer Information Technology, Criminology, and Dental Hygiene, among many others. Graduate degrees include Administration, Applied Geospatial Sciences, Communication, English, Human Relations, Nursing, and several fields of Education.

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Arizona State University

 2/563.43%Tempe, AZ


Arizona State University offers highly interactive online programs that start six times per year. Through a partnership with Google, ASU students use Apps for Education to stay organized; every student is also assigned an academic advisor to ensure student success.

Arizona State University offers 60 undergraduate degrees, including Global Logistics Management, Community Advocacy and Social Policy, Film & Media Studies, Graphic Information Technology, Nursing and Urban Planning. ASU’s 50 graduate degrees include Behavioral Health, Construction Management, Educational Technology, Engineering Science, Health Informatics, Social Work, and Sustainability Leadership, among others.

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Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Prescott

 5/558.41%Prescott, AZ


Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University uses its EagleVision virtual classroom system for synchronous learning as well as Canvas for asynchronous courses.

Online undergraduate degrees at Embry-Riddle include Aeronautics, Aviation Business Administration, Communication, Emergency Services, Engineering Technology, Logistics and Supply Chain Management, and Unmanned Systems Applications. Graduate degrees include many of the same subjects as well as Cybersecurity Management, Human Security and Resilience, Information Security, and Assurance and Management Information Systems, among others.

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Ottawa University – Phoenix

  N/APhoenix, AZ


Ottawa University’s online programs utilize the Blackboard learning management system to facilitate discussion. The low student to faculty ratio of 4 to 1 ensures that all students interact directly with the faculty. Each course is offered fully online and lasts eight weeks.

Ottawa University offers undergraduate degrees in Addiction Counseling, Communication, English, History, Human Services, Law Enforcement, Christian Ministries, Accounting, Health Care Management, Human Resources, Marketing, Education, Nursing and Data Science, among others. Graduate degrees include Addiction Counseling, Counseling, Business Administration, Human Resources, and Education.

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The University of Arizona

 3/560.26%Tucson, AZ

Endeavoring to "provide accessible education to all," the online programs at UofA bring students around the world a quality and affordable education. No matter their Arizona state residency status, online undergraduates pay between $490 and $550 per credit hour. They are not charged additional program fees, and they have access to the same support services as their on-campus counterparts.

Online students can pursue an undergraduate or graduate degree, or they may complete a graduate certificate. Among others, bachelor's students can pursue degrees in information science and society and retailing and consumer science; graduates earn their master's in special education and international security; and certificate programs include archival studies and reading instruction.

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More About Online Colleges in Arizona

In 2013, one out of every eight students enrolled at US postsecondary institutions were registered in exclusively online courses, with one in four college students taking at least one online course. The enrollment numbers are growing in Tempe, with ASU seeing a recent 34% spike in online course registrations. Due to Arizona’s long history with and familiarity with distance education, this growth is poised to continue.

Browse our list of the best online colleges in Arizona for more insight into distance learning programs in this state.


According to a recent NCES report , in fall 2012, 48.2% of students enrolled in Title IV institutions in Arizona (360,835 students) were in exclusively online programs.

  • 78.5% of those students were undergraduates
  • 4.4% were in public 4-year institutions
  • 0.7% were in private not-for-profit 4-year institutions
  • 85.15% were in private for-profit 4-year institutions
  • 17.3% were living in Arizona
  • 81.5% were living elsewhere in the United States

Distance learning has become an increasingly popular form of obtaining a higher education, and the state of Arizona has helped lead the charge. Due to Arizona’s strong emphasis on high quality distance learning, in 2013 colleges in Arizona counted 360,835 students registered exclusively in the programs, a majority of whom live out of state. Now that online classes are present in the course catalogues of over 80% of higher education institutions, an online degree has never been more attainable.