Best Online Colleges in Oregon

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Oregon is one of 16 member states participating in the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). Inclusion in this commission grants numerous benefits to online learners, such as significantly lower tuition rates and interstate cooperation that allow students to pursue degree and certificate programs that are not offered in their home state.

Efforts to improve online education in Oregon began in 1995 with the creation of the Oregon Public Education Network (OPEN), a coordinated online network that gave students and teachers access to technology-based instruction. Though OPEN disbanded in 2006, online education remains strong in Oregon. By the 2002-03 academic year — just 7 years after the founding of OPEN — more than 30,000 community college students were participating in online learning opportunities and the Oregon University System was offering more than 800 web-based courses.

The asynchronous course format of online education makes it an attractive choice for working students, as lectures and readings can be completed at the student’s desired pace. For students who still want to attend some on-campus instruction, hybrid courses feature a combination of online learning and on-campus sessions, such as labs and lectures. WICHE membership provides generous tuition breaks for out-of-state programs and, as is the case in most states, online colleges in Oregon generally offer lower tuition fees to students who remain in their home state for higher education.

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

Oregon State University

 2/563.07%Corvallis, OR


Oregon State, one of the top distance education colleges in the country. OSU offers over 1,000 online courses in more than 90 subjects. Full undergraduate and graduate degrees are available entirely online. OSU’s online programs include an innovative bachelor’s program in sustainability.

The school is renowned for its online graduate programs in higher education leadership, science and mathematics education, and teacher and counselor education. OSU’s Ecampus resources include access to support counselors, online study groups, online tutoring, and a variety of student organizations.

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Corban University

 4/555.91%Salem, OR


Corban’s online programs afford students the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree in business or psychology. Business majors can pursue a concentration in accounting, marketing, or leadership and management. All of Corban’s courses are grounded in the school’s biblical worldview.

Students attend classes part-time or full-time, taking between one and three classes in each eight-week term. Incoming freshman are welcome; Corban also accepts transfer credits and gives credit for prior professional training. Students can complete all of their courses entirely online.

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Northwest Christian University

 4/566.25%Eugene, OR


At Northwest Christian, new classes start every eight weeks, and students can begin a program at any time of year. Online students receive substantial support, including financial aid, career development, supportive faculty, and one-on-one enrollment specialists.

NCU’s online programs are flexible, and most can be either accelerated or decelerated, depending on your preferences and needs. The school also evaluates each student’s prior learning experiences, offering course credit to students with demonstrable experience in a particular subject.

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Multnomah University

 4/553.52%Portland, OR


Multnomah’s online undergraduate, graduate, and seminary programs foster a strong sense of community among faculty and students. Multnomah is renowned for its success in incorporating technology into its programs, with iOS and Android apps that make it easy for students to access class materials on the go.

Multnomah’s 124-credit bachelor’s degree in Bible and Theology provides a detailed study of every book and section of the Bible, connecting students with the best linguistic, historical, and literary resources to interpret scripture.

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Marylhurst University

 3/530.77%Marylhurst, OR


Marylhurst has embraced distance education since the 1990s, and students can complete their degree entirely online, or combine online and classroom study in a hybrid program. Online courses at Marylhurst are identical to on-campus offerings, taught by the same faculty and following the same curriculum as residential classes.

Undergraduate programs include:

  • BS in Business Management
  • BS in Real Estate Studies
  • BA in Interdisciplinary Studies

Marylhurst also has a master’s program in food systems and society, which focuses on advancing equitable food systems through analysis and inquiry.

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Oregon Tech

 2/547.09%Klamath Falls, OR

Oregon Tech is among the top technical colleges in Oregon and the school offers more than a dozen online degrees in fields like Applied Psychology, Information Technology, Management, and multiple B.S. degrees in the healthcare field. The school also offers a Master of Science in Allied Health degree. Registered Healthcare professionals can apply for this unique degree focused around leadership in the healthcare industry.

The academic calendar follows a quarter schedule with three ten-week terms and an additional eight-week summer term. All students taking 6 or more credits and admitted to an online Oregon Tech program are eligible for financial aid. Most classes are offered asynchronously, although some instructors schedule optional real-time sessions.

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Linfield College-McMinnville Campus

 5/570.68%McMinnville, OR

Linfield offers accredited online undergraduate degrees and programs in accounting, business, information systems, international business management, and marketing. Three online minors are available as well, and students can pursue 12 online certificates in subjects ranging from yoga instruction to cyber security to wine marketing.

Linfield is committed to ensuring that online students receive the individual attention they need to succeed. The school dedicates several services to help online students, including online tutoring through the Western eTutoring Consortium, a library with a variety of digital resources, and access to individual advisors and admissions counselors.

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Pacific University Oregon

 5/559.42%Forest Grove, OR

Pacific features an online degree-completion program in health science. The program is delivered online with live, weekly interactive sessions between instructors and students, and is developed by both faculty and healthcare practitioners. Students who have already completed two years of college coursework can finish the program in less than a year.

In addition to the health science program, Pacific offers a number of individual courses online as well. Like residential students, distance learners are required to complete a capstone to graduate.

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Portland State University


Portland State offers a variety of undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs entirely online. The school also offers several certificate programs, including business of craft brewing, Asperger’s syndrome and high functioning autism, and criminal behavior. The school offers undergraduate degrees in management, arts and letters, social science, criminology, and supply and logistics management.

PSU provides an easy-to-use online platform and a high level of interaction with faculty and classmates through email, chats, phone calls, and real-time video conferencing. Online students also have access to all the support resources offered to on-campus students, including tutoring and digital library resources.

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Eastern Oregon University


EOU offers a range of online majors and minors, including:

  • Emergency Medical Services Administration
  • Physical Activity and Health
  • Fire Services Administration

The emergency medical services administration program is designed primarily for paramedics, and course material draws from the National Fire Academy’s FESHE model curriculum.

Eastern Oregon’s average online cost per credit is about $150 less than many other institutions. The university provides individualized attention to each online student to help them create the best possible program plan for their academic and professional interests.

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Warner Pacific College

 3/541.33%Portland, OR

Warner Pacific takes a Christ-centered, liberal arts approach to education. The school offers some of its most popular programs online through its Adult Degree Program, including bachelor’s degrees in business and healthcare administration and master’s degrees in human services, and management and organizational leadership. The new MA in human services degree is a two-year program in which students can concentrate on general human services or family studies.

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Southern Oregon University


Southern Oregon offers programs in business administration, criminology, and education. Some degree completion programs, where prospective students must finish prerequisites before they are admitted to the program. Program coordinators help students determine prerequisites and plan their programs.

SOU’s student services for distance learners include help with information technology troubleshooting, library services, financial aid, and academic support. Students who have already earned bachelor’s degrees can enroll in a number of online endorsement/licensure programs, including English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) and non-profit management.

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More About Online Colleges in Oregon

Oregon has been a leader in online education in recent years, and institutions like Oregon State University continue to lead the way into the online education future. A recent Babson Survey reinforces the belief among academic leaders that online education is critical to the long-term strategy and success of their institutions and shows these leaders still have a high degree of confidence in the quality and learning outcomes of online education, with 74.1% rating online education as the same or better than traditional face-to-face instruction.

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

NCES Report

According to a recent NCES report on online education in U.S. states:

  • Of the 258,357 students enrolled in postsecondary Title IV institutions in Oregon in 2012, 8.9% (22,948 students) were enrolled exclusively in distance education courses
  • An additional 13.5% (34,929 students) enrolled in some distance education courses
  • Growth trends are slowing however, but are still considered to be a major component of higher education programs and will not be disappearing anytime soon.

Online distance education is often cheaper and more affordable than traditional on-campus learning; Oregon Universities offer the same high-quality instruction online as they do on-campus.

Debt is a major concern as tuition rises, and students who are seeking funding for college should be sure to plan carefully and explore the numerous grants, financial aid and scholarship options available. In 2012-2013, Oregon distributed $139.6 million in financial aid. A number of higher education funding initiatives are underway, including Oregon Promise, a campaign to offer free community college tuition. The Office of Student Access and Completion offers additional resources for postsecondary funding.