Best Online Colleges in Oregon

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Badge (Online) with 2-Line TitleBest Collegesin Oregon2017
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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.

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Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1 Oregon Institute of Technology 74.62 48% Klamath Falls, OR

Oregon Tech offers five online undergraduate degree programs in the professional and technical fields: applied psychology; health informatics; information technology; operations management; and technology & management. Online courses are delivered through the Blackboard Learn platform with available mobile access. Oregon Tech graduates 90% of its students, and 83% of graduates find a job within six months. Degree programs are added every year to keep up with student interests and demand in the field.

The applied psychology program, available through one of the top online colleges in Oregon, allows students to explore several potential career options in the field through an externship, which pairs students with agencies, organizations, or businesses in a student’s town of residence. Students with an associate degree or no college experience can apply to the operations management program, while the technology and management degree is designed specifically for students who have completed an associate degree in a technical field.

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2 Oregon State University 72.88 61% Corvallis, OR

With its main campus in the smart and green city of Corvallis, Oregon State serves over 30,500 students through its multiple on-campus and virtual locations.

The school’s offering of bachelor’s degrees in the arts and sciences ranks high among all Oregon online colleges, with recently added options in French, history, and business administration. A unique post-baccalaureate program is offered in computer science with one- to four-year track options; candidates do not need previous experience in the CS field to apply. Oregon State’s BS in sustainability program is a double degree, which can be completed alongside any other OSU degree. It prepares socially and environmentally savvy leaders in business, economics, and politics. The school offers competitive tuition rates and a full suite of student services, from online tutoring to career services. All students work with a personal advisor to craft a program of study that fits their schedule and career objectives. Courses are delivered through the Canvas online learning portal.

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3 Corban University 67.88 52% Salem, OR

Students can choose from two flexible and versatile online bachelor’s degree programs in business or psychology at Corban, one of the best online colleges in Oregon. Though no previous college coursework is required for these programs, an admissions counselor works with students to help determine the maximum number of transfer credits that can be applied towards the 129 credits required for degree completion.

Both programs offer multiple areas of concentration to align with students’ desired expertise. Programs are self-paced and structured over eight-week terms, with most students taking between one and three classes each term. Corban’s curriculum is rooted in biblical teachings and Christian values. The name Corban is borrowed from the Old Testament, a Hebrew term that the university has interpreted as an “offering to the Lord”. Corban maintains an active blog and Twitter presence to help keep students engaged and connected with events and news on campus.

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4 Linfield College-Online and Continuing Education 66.73 20% McMinnville, OR

Linfield’s Online and Continuing Education program offers students the opportunity to earn one of several online business degrees, including international business and business information systems, or a CCNE-accredited (Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education) RN-BSN degree. All faculty are hired based on their expertise in the field and ability to bring real-world applications into the classroom of one of the top-ranked online colleges in Oregon.

Students can take advantage of virtual library services and one-on-one academic advising throughout their program. Most degrees are appropriate for both adults with professional experience, and those with no prior college coursework or experience in the field. With locations in McMinnville and Portland, Linfield offers a liberal arts education to a diverse student body, with over 39% of the students identifying as POCs. The college celebrates its multicultural environment through strong theater and communication arts programs.

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5 Concordia University-Portland 62.88 45% Portland, OR

CU offers three reputable online bachelor’s degrees in early childhood education, healthcare administration, or homeland security & emergency preparedness. Online programs through one of the best online colleges in Oregon are as rigorous as those offered on campus. An average class size between six and 18 students allows for collaborative work with peers from all 50 states and 11 countries. Students work with an enrollment specialist upon being admitted and explore scholarships, grants, and other funding opportunities.

CU was founded based on Lutheran theology and traditions, and the university maintains partnerships with businesses, nonprofits, and other community organizations to leverage opportunities for students in service, internships, and curriculum development. Students and alumni stay connected with Concordia through social media, from Facebook to Instagram to YouTube. In a 2016 student survey, 91% of Concordia students expressed satisfaction with their education experience at CU.

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6 Multnomah University 59.23 45% Portland, OR

MU offers a choice of four online bachelor degrees in Bible and theology, business administration, business and organizational psychology, and psychology. All 124-credit programs at one of the best online colleges in Oregon open doors to a variety of career options, with curriculum grounded in ethics and Christian values. Multnomah also offers two accelerated degree completion programs, for students with previous college experience, in applied psychology and business management.

The MU Online classroom is accessed through the user-friendly Canvas learning management system, complete with mobile access and videoconferencing tools. Courses are asynchronous and most students dedicate a minimum of 10 hours each week to coursework. Although students are not required to come to campus, they’re invited to set up face-to-face meetings with professors at anytime. Students may be eligible to transfer up to 80 credits from an accredited institution towards their degree requirements. Notable MU alumni include Author Randy Alcorn and global businessman Dave Munson.

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7 Eastern Oregon University 58.46 32% La Grande, OR

In addition to its main campus in La Grande, EOU maintains regional advising centers throughout the state and offers online programs as one of the top-ranked Oregon online colleges. Bachelor’s degree programs are available in business administration or emergency medical services administration, the latter of which is an exclusive online program designed for EMTs and the only one of its kind on the West Coast that is approved by the National Fire Academy.

The emergency medical services program is designed based on the academy’s FESHE model curriculum, and prepares paramedics to become managers and administrators in the field. Cost-per-credit tuition rates for both programs are very competitive, and students work one-on-one with an academic advisor to personalize a course of study that fits their life experience and future career goals. Students access all online coursework and engage with peers and faculty through the Canvas learning management platform. Online academic resources include eTutoring, an online writing center, librarian chat services, and more.

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8 Portland State University 56.54 42% Portland, OR

One of the best online colleges in Oregon, Portland State offers innovative undergraduate degrees and certificates, with bachelor’s programs in arts and letters; criminology and criminal justice; liberal studies; management and leadership; social work; and supply and logistics management. Several programs, including its business degrees, are accredited by national professional organizations. The arts and letters program, with an interdisciplinary degree in subjects like applied linguistics and art history, is an ideal option for independent and self-directed learners.

All programs include an assigned personal program manager to help keep students on track with their academic and professional goals. PSU courses are taught by the same faculty as those on-campus, and include opportunities to collaborate with peers through video-conferencing and team projects. Portland State is a public research university with a mission to “let knowledge serve the city" in finding innovative solutions to local and global issues. The university is one of only 30 colleges in the country to hold the status of “Changemaker Campus” for its dedication to socially and environmentally conscious educational programs.

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9 George Fox University 55.19 64% Newberg, OR

George Fox offers a hybrid online management and organizational leadership degree, designed specifically for working adults and one of the only of its kind among online colleges in Oregon. Delivered in an accelerated, 16-month format, content is identical to that of the on-campus program. One in-person weekend orientation is required at the start of the program, allowing students to form connections with fellow peers and their professors.

Applicants are required to have 62 college credits to enter the program, and students can complete online general education courses through George Fox to meet that minimum. George Fox offers a 14:1 student-to-faculty ratio with online class sizes less than the average on-campus class size of 21. George Fox is one of 11 universities in the nation, along with others like Yale and Cal Tech, to be part of the Richter Scholars Program, which helps fund students’ independent research projects. Notable alumni include former President Herbert Hoover, famed basketball coach Ken Carter, and award-winning Journalist Scott Jensen.

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10 Marylhurst University 52.50 38% Marylhurst, OR

Marylhurst is a nonprofit liberal arts and business university located in Portland, Oregon, and one of the top-ranked Oregon online colleges. The university offers a fully-online BA or BAS in business management, as well as a BA in English literature & writing. Students can also opt for a hybrid program that combines online and on-campus courses for either degree. Only the English literature concentration is available online for the bachelor’s in English program.

Full-time faculty and established authors for this program include Jay Ponteri and Natalie Serber. Students enrolled in the IACBE-accredited business program can earn prior credit for life or work experience. A business program focus on social justice and advocacy gives students a strong foundation for careers in nonprofit organizations and the public sector. All courses are accessed through the Canvas learning management platform. Marylhurst is recognized as a military-friendly school and honors all military benefits and scholarships.

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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.

Best Online Colleges in Oregon of 2016
Rank School Location
1 Oregon State University Corvallis, OR
2 Corban University Salem, OR
3 Northwestern Christian University Eugene, OR
4 Multnomah University Portland, OR
5 Marylhurst University Marylhurst, OR
6 Oregon Tech Klamath Falls, OR
7 Linfield College McMinnville, OR
8 Pacific University Oregon Forest Grove, OR
9 Portland State University Portland, OR
10 Eastern Oregon University La Grande, OR
11 Warner Pacific College Portland, OR
12 Southern Oregon University Ashland, OR