Best Online Colleges in Indiana

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In 2015, Indiana joined the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), which provides extended benefits for Indiana students who participate in online programs from colleges based out of their home state. This reciprocity agreement has bolstered online learning opportunities, and aims to help the state achieve its goal of providing 60% of the population with higher education degrees by 2025 as part of its “Reaching Higher, Achieving More” campaign.

Online education plays an important role in the state’s goal to fill more than 930,000 projected job vacancies by 2018, as it will provide students with a cost effective way of achieving better career opportunities. This comes at critical time, as Indiana has lagged in per-capita educational achievement against the national average. The state has responded to these challenges by increasing higher education spending by over 10% in 2013-14.

Tuition at public four-year institutions in Indiana rose by 27.1% from 2007-12, making online degrees an attractive option for working students wishing to increase their return on investment while decreasing the cost of education. Achieving these goals will be made easier as opportunities and infrastructure continue to grow across online colleges in Indiana.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1Ball State University73.383/557%Muncie, IN

One of the best online colleges in Indiana, Ball State, in Muncie (about 50 miles from Indianapolis), has been offering web-based classes since the 1990s. Currently more than 10,000 students are enrolled in these courses; about half are pursuing their degrees entirely online.

Ball State offers more than 70 online-only degrees, including associate's, bachelor's, master's, doctoral, and certificate programs. The school offers a wide range of education-related courses; other specialties include business and nursing. Online learning is flexible, with weekly assignments. Classes make use of a variety of web-based communication methods, including file sharing, discussion boards, and email. Online students have access to the school's library, which has numerous eBooks students can view from their computers. Librarians can be reached through chat, text, email, or phone. Students can take advantage of the career center, academic advisors, the Writing Center, tutoring services, tech support, and study skills information.

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2Indiana Wesleyan University71.914/562.53%Marion, IN

Indiana Wesleyan, located in Marion, is one of the best online colleges in Indiana. This private, not-for-profit, evangelical Christian university was founded in 1920 as Marion College and is affiliated with The Wesleyan Church. The university's mission statement emphasizes “commitment, leadership, service, stewardship, innovation and diversity.” Indiana Wesleyan has been educating adult learners since 1985, and offering online education since 1996. More than 5,000 (of over 14,000 total) students are studying for degrees online. The school offers more than 90 online associate's, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in a wide range of subjects, including business, education, counseling, nursing, and theology.

Class sizes are limited, and every student is assigned an academic advisor. The school's library, which boasts more than 110,000 books, plus 650 periodical subscriptions and 200,000 items in other media, has an Off Campus Library Services website specifically for distance learners.

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3Indiana University – Bloomington68.823/575%Bloomington, IN

IU, one of the best online colleges in Indiana, is a renowned public university located in Bloomington. It was founded in 1820 and first began offering online classes in 1989. IU Online began in 2012 and currently has more than 100 online programs available. About 10% of the university's more than 114,000 students are pursuing their studies online, and over 26% take at least one web-based class. All IU campuses use the same online learning portal/platform, Canvas.

The MBA degree is IU's most popular online program, but students can also pursue degrees in business, law, computing, education, humanities, sciences, public health, nursing, and social work. Special subjects include library and information studies, and human physical performance and recreation. There are close to 10 million books, over 1,871 databases, and 60,000 electronic journal titles in the university's library research collection. (All IU campuses on this list have access to the IU system library collections.)

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4Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College66.913/562%Saint Mary of the Woods, IN

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods is one of the best online colleges in Indiana. This small Catholic college is located in Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, near Terre Haute. The school was founded in 1840, and has been educating distance learners since 1973.

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods offers 25 majors, including bachelor's of arts and science degrees in criminology, human resource management, marketing, theology, and equine, music, and art therapies. There are three associate's degree programs. Students at Woods Online have access to multiple resources, including tutoring; a student mentor; the library's Learning Resource Center, and technical and academic support. Saint Mary-of-the-Woods uses the Brightspace learning management system.

Students may receive credit for classes taken at other institutions, professional knowledge, and personal experience. Students take two 8-week-long classes at a time, and classes start throughout the year. Through this format students usually earn their undergraduate degree in four-years. Eighty-two percent of online students receive financial aid.

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5Indiana University – East62.793/525%Richmond, IN

Indiana East, located in Richmond, is part of the highly regarded public Indiana University system. Established in 1971, Indiana East currently enrolls about 4,500 students. The school's online program is a great option for learners who want to complete their education. The school offers online bachelor's of arts, bachelor's of science, and bachelor's of applied science degrees, including graduate certificate programs.

Most of Indiana East's 12 online bachelor's degree programs require new students to have completed 60 credits, though the general studies degree is a four-year program. Popular majors are business, communications, nursing, mathematics, psychology, political science, and applied sciences. Certificates include Composition Studies, Early Childhood Teaching, and Online Instruction and Assessment. Indiana East students have access to the extensive IU system library collection, and the Writing Center and Math and Science Resource Center. Indiana East online students are eligible to qualify for federal grants and loans.

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6Indiana State University60.003/543%Terre Haute, IN

Indiana State, first established in 1865 and based in Terre Haute, is a public university with a total enrollment of more than 13,500. Indiana State offers over 60 online or online-and-campus combination programs. Online students can study for a bachelor's of science in subjects such as business, engineering, nursing, and psychology. Bachelor's of applied science in health sciences and technology are also available. Indiana State offers graduate, doctoral, and certificate programs in the arts, sciences, education, and public administration.

Indiana State University uses Blackboard and Tegrity Lecture Capture; classes and course materials can be accessed at any time. ISU's Cunningham Memorial Library has a webpage specifically for distance learners. The library offers tutorials, research guides, and citation help, including access to the collection. The Student Services Concierge helps online students deal with administrative and academic issues. Online students can take advantage of Indiana State's Career Center. There's a quarterly newsletter specifically for distance learners.

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7University of Southern Indiana59.563/536%Evansville, IN

Southern Indiana in Evansville is a public school that was founded in 1965 and currently educates more than 10,000 students. Most of the school's students commute (or are distance learners), and about 22% are non-traditional students.

There are seven online degree programs available, including an MBA, several master's degrees in nursing, and two bachelor's of science degree completion programs. Southern Indiana provides ongoing education for health professionals.

The school uses Blackboard for online class management, and has a Distance Learning User Support program. Online students can get help from the writing lab and receive math tutoring. At the university's library, there's a special distance learning librarian to assist online students; the library offers multiple tutorials, research and citation information, and distance learning guides. The school's Distance Learning Council meets every month to discuss ways Southern Indiana can improve their online and distance learning programs.

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8Marian University56.183/559%Indianapolis, IN

Marian is a small school of about 3,000 students, most of whom commute or are distance learners. The school is sponsored by the Franciscan Sisters of St. Francis, Oldenburg (Indiana), who began educating students in 1851. Marian College was established under their leadership in 1936, and the school became a university in 2009. The school enumerates its Catholic values as follows: dignity of the individual, peace and reconciliation, justice, and responsible stewardship.

Online programs are part of Marian's Adult Programs (MAP), which began in 2000. Bachelor's degrees, associate's degrees, and non-degree certificates are available in several areas, including business administration, health and human services, nursing, and paralegal studies. (Nursing and business are particularly popular majors.) To enter the school's Business Administration program, applicants must be 23 years of age and meet its GPA requirements.

Classes start 12 times a year, and are either five or eight weeks long. Marian uses the Canvas course management system.

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9Huntington University53.683/559%Huntington, IN

Huntington is a small Christian liberal arts school that began in 1897 as Central College, before becoming Huntington College in 1917 and Huntingdon University in 2005. In 2015, its total enrollment was 1,273.

Huntington's main campus is in the northeastern Indiana city that gives the school its name, but it also has locations in Fort Wayne, Columbia City, and Arizona.
Students participating in Huntington's online degree programs can choose from 9 bachelor's degrees, one associate's degree, and a certificate program; business majors are the focus. Classes are scheduled in five-week sessions, and can be accessed at students' convenience. Students may be eligible to receive college credit for work or life experience.

More than 80% of faculty have received the highest degree in their field, and most students receive financial aid. Almost all of Huntington's graduates are employed within six months of graduation.

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10Bethel College – Indiana52.943/561%Mishawaka, IN

Bethel, located in Mishawaka, is a small evangelical Christian school in northern Indiana. The school educates approximately 1,650 students from all over the U.S.

Online programs for undergraduates include a bachelor's of arts in interdisciplinary studies, a bachelor's of science in business, and a bachelor's of science in behavioral and social sciences. There are five graduate programs, including a two-year MBA, and degrees in education and counseling. Students may receive credit for classes completed at other institutions or knowledge gained in the course of their lives. Online students should be prepared to spend about 15 hours a week on their studies, which include lectures, readings, and discussion forums. Course information is delivered through the school's website as text, audio, video, and powerpoint slides.

The library offers online subject guides in many areas, plus access to numerous general reference sources. Bethel's Career Services offers webinars and job search help.

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11Indiana University – Kokomo52.793/522%Kokomo, IN

Founded in 1932 as Kokomo Junior College, this Central Indiana school became part of the Indiana University system in 1945 and has been awarding bachelor's degrees since 1970. There are 4,180 students enrolled. For students considering online colleges in Indiana, online undergraduate students can pursue a RN to BSN program or a bachelor's degree in applied science or general studies.

The Career and Accessibility Center offers a job board, internship assistance, and resume and cover letter critiques, while Academic Support Services can assist with tutoring in various subjects, and tech support. The IU-Kokomo library collection includes 112,00 books, and many databases, journals, government documents, reference links, and archives.

For distance learners living or working in the area, IU-Kokomo has 40 student organizations, including two for nursing students. Sports fans can cheer for the IU-Kokomo Cougars, who compete in four men's and five women's athletics.

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12Oakland City University52.354/557%Oakland City, IN

Oakland City, founded in 1885 by General Baptists, is a private, not-for-profit, Christian university in the southwestern part of the state. The school welcomes students of all faiths and has a total enrollment of about 2,000. OCU became a university in 1995, and has a main campus in Oakland City, and educational centers in four other Indiana cities.

Oakland City University's online offerings consist of 9 academic majors, including associate's degrees in general or religious studies; bachelor's of science in business administration and criminal justice, and master's programs in business administration, education, and strategic management. The accelerated course model means that classes last just five or eight weeks.

Oakland City's eLearning Center offers tutorials and tech support info, while the learning Resource Center provides online access to ebooks, databases, and the digital collections of 15 private college and university libraries in Indiana.

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13Indiana University – Northwest51.912/522%Gary, IN

Indiana Northwest, located in Gary, is part of the public Indiana University system. The school was established in 1959 and currently serves almost 6,000 students.

Distance learners can take an estimated 100 courses in 11 online and online/hybrid programs. Indiana Northwest's online program awards associate's and bachelor's degrees in subjects including applied science, political science, philosophy, and labor studies. The university offers a graduate certificate in teaching. Students can receive academic assistance from the Student Support Center, the Math Assistance and Writing Centers, and Supplemental Instruction (study groups). Coursework includes exams, readings, online discussions, and group projects. Indiana Northwest's library and Conference Center boasts almost 500,000 books and periodicals, plus 200,000 government publications. More than 80% of IU Northwest faculty have earned the highest degree available in their field, and teachers receive special training in online instruction.

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14Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis48.823/522%Indianapolis, IN

IU-Purdue University Fort Wayne was established in 1964 to allow these two universities to serve students at the same Fort Wayne location. The school, also known as Indiana's Multisystem Metropolitan University, is one of the best online colleges in Indiana. IPFW educates a total of more than 13,000 students. Fort Wayne students can take more than 220 online courses every semester as they pursue online bachelor's degrees in applied science, general studies, information systems, or nursing (for RNs). Eight minors are available, and there's a master's of science degree with a major in nursing for graduates. IPFW also has two business certificate programs.

The Centers for Achievement and Success offers tutoring, supplemental instruction (study groups), and a Writing Center. The school's library has an extensive collection of online databases and provides research tutorials, the Ask a Librarian chat service, and more. Fort Wayne uses the Blackboard course management system.

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15Indiana Institute of Technology45.294/531%Fort Wayne, IN

Fort Wayne's Indiana Institute of Technology, a.k.a. Indiana Tech, was founded in 1930 as Indiana Technical College (it was renamed in 1963). The school has been offering distance education since 1982. In addition to the main campus in Fort Wayne, Indiana Tech has satellite centers throughout Indiana and in Kentucky, Illinois, and Michigan.

The school has been providing online courses since 2006, and is one of the best online colleges in Indiana. Students in the College of Professional Studies can take more than 200 classes in 22 online associate's and bachelor's of arts and sciences programs, including 9 master's degree programs. Online students can pursue majors in business, criminal justice, general studies, psychology, and computer sciences; the business, computer science, and criminal justice programs are some of the most popular. Indiana Tech uses Blackboard online course management, and the academic year begins in July; it's divided into 9 five-week sessions.

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More About Online Colleges in Indiana

Indiana, like all states in the United States, has been experiencing an alarming drop in college enrollment over the past ten years. Following are statistics from the website College Tuition Compare on the increase in in-state tuition and fees from 2006 to 2015:

  • In-state tuition and fees: 48.24% – From $5,037 to $7,467
  • Out-of-state tuition and fees: 39.33% – From $14,399 to $20,062
  • On-campus room and board: 35.42% – From $8,622 to $11,676
  • Off-campus room and board: 61.71% – From $8,720 to $14,101
  • Total in-state tuition, fees, on-campus: 83.66% – $19,143
  • Total in-state tuition, fees, off-campus: 109.95% – $21,568
  • Total out-of-state tuition, fees, on-campus: 74.75% – $31,738
  • Total out-of-state tuition, fees, off-campus: 101.04% – $34,163

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

NCES Report

The National Center for Education Statistics released the following statistics on the percentage of Indiana postsecondary education students enrolled in distance learning programs in 2012:

  • Undergraduate, exclusively online courses: 9.9%
  • Undergraduate, some, but not all online courses: 15.8%
  • Undergraduate, no online courses: 74.3%
  • Graduate, exclusively online courses: 20.7%
  • Graduate, some but not all online courses: 8.7%
  • Graduate, no online courses: 70.7%
Best Online Colleges in Indiana of 2016
Rank School Location
1 University of Saint Francis - Fort Wayne Fort Wayne, IN
2 Ball State University Muncie, In
3 Indiana University - Bloomington Bloomington, IN
4 Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Terre Haute, IN
5 Anderson University - Indiana Anderson, IN
6 Butler University Indianapolis, IN
7 Taylor University Upland, IN
8 Indiana Wesleyan University Marion, IN
9 Indiana University - East Richmond, IN
10 University of Southern Indiana Evansville, IN
11 Indiana University-Purdue University - Indianapolis Indianapolis, IN
12 Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College West Terre Haute, IN
13 Huntington University Huntington, IN
14 Valparaiso University Valparaiso, IN
15 Bethel College - Indiana Mishawaka, IN
16 Purdue University - Calumet Hammond, IN
17 Grace College and Theological Seminary Winona Lake, IN
18 Oakland City University Oakland City, IN
19 Indiana University - South Bend South Bend, IN
20 Indiana State University Terre Haute, IN
21 Indiana University - Southeast New Albany, IN
22 Indiana University - Kokomo Kokomo, IN
23 Trine University - Regional/Non-Traditional Campuses Fort Wayne, IN
24 Indiana University - Northwest Gary, IN
25 University of Indianapolis Indianapolis, IN