Best Online Colleges in Delaware

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While there are only ten four-year colleges in Delaware—only three of which offer online programs—the state has authorized certain out-of-state colleges to grant degrees to Delaware residents. Due to sagging enrollment rates among college-age residents, the state recently launched the Getting to Zero initiative. The program encourages students to apply to post-secondary schools, and aspires to reduce the number of high school graduates who don’t apply to college to zero.

Delaware has also added online and distance learning opportunities into its overall educational system. Three of Delaware’s top colleges—the University of Delaware, Wilmington University, and Widener University—have recently introduced online degree programs. Additionally, in 1999 the Delaware Center for Distance Adult Learning was formed to help residents obtain their high school diploma or GED online.

Online colleges in Delaware have provided vital resources to residents who are interested in college, but discouraged by rising public tuitions. Between 2006 and 2011, in-state tuition rose by 41.8 percent while state appropriations fell alongside at a rate of 8.6%. Taken together, these factors have spurred interest in online education, where costs are generally lower.

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

University of Delaware

 3/578.98%Newark, DE


UD helps online students expand their skills through discovery-based learning and applied research. UD offers an associate in arts degree or a bachelor of science in nursing (RN to BSN) for undergrad students. Graduate students can choose from a wider variety of online programs, including history, engineering, education, and public administration. Professional development programs and individual online courses are also available for distance learners.

UD’s online learning programs allow its students to pursue their degrees on their own time, offering flexible scheduling through an award-winning online learning platform.

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Wilmington University

 2/535.06%New Castle, DE


Wilmington University is among the most flexible and affordable institutions in DE, and allows its students to choose from more than 90 degree programs that are delivered completely online.

Students can access online courses using the Blackboard learning system, and WilmU encourages collaboration among teachers and students through online video conferencing. The school extends its excellent military benefits to online students, including the ability to transfer in up to 90 credits. WilmU also offers an online course for free, so distance students can decide whether the school’s online learning experience is right for them.

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More About Online Colleges in Delaware

Tuition costs in Delaware have increased in recent years, and state spending for education has decreased alongside. In-state tuition for public and private universities increased by 41.8% and 20%, respectively, in the last five years; total state appropriations for higher education decreased 8.6% during that time.

In recent years, Delaware has launched several initiatives to expand higher learning programs in the state. Governor Jack Markell joined forces with the College Board to pursue key initiatives such as “Getting to Zero” and “Pathways to Prosperity.” “Getting to Zero” aims to eliminate the percentage of college-ready students who do not take advantage of college application opportunities in the state (currently 18% don’t), while “Pathways to Prosperity” prepares high school students for specialized training toward earning a degree and securing employment in Delaware.

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

NCES Report

Recent NCES reports indicate that 6.9% (4,185) of students enrolled in Delaware’s Title IV institutions were in exclusively online programs. Additionally:

  • 2.6% of students at two-year institutions studied entirely online
  • 59.7% of exclusively online students live in Delaware
  • 37.8% live elsewhere in the United States

Delaware’s higher education agencies aim to promote online learning in the state through several key initiatives. Secondary school students may choose from a variety of district-sponsored online courses and programs through Delaware’s K12 project, some of which are offered free of charge to students. The state facilitates additional distance learning opportunities for college students as well as other adult learners through the Open Education Database (OEDb) and the Delaware Center for Distance Adult Learning.The majority of Delaware’s postsecondary institutions, including the University of Delaware, Wilmington University and Delaware Technical Community College, offer fully online delivery options.