Best Online Colleges in Utah

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Utah is one of 16 member states of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), which offers a variety of benefits for resident students who want to pursue online learning. For example, thousands of Utah residents have saved millions of dollars while pursuing an online or traditional degree through WICHE’s student exchange program. In addition to financial benefits, its State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement makes online courses accessible to students regardless of their geographical boundaries.

When it comes to online learning, Utah administrators and officials strive to stay ahead of the curve, and the state legislature funded the Statewide Online Education Program (SOEP) in 2011. The SOEP’s purpose is to provide access to high-quality digital courses regardless of where students currently attend high school. Students who enroll in these courses have a significant advantage if they go on to pursue a program through an online college in Utah.

Online classes offer a host of benefits to nontraditional students, who can pursue a degree at their own pace while working full-time, raising a family, and fulfilling other responsibilities. Online courses are also more accessible for those with disabilities, as well as those in the military who must relocate every few years. Ultimately, students who enroll in an accredited online college in Utah get the same high-quality education and marketable credentials as those who take the traditional route.

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

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Location Description

Utah State University

 2/5N/ALogan, UT


Utah State is one of the premier research colleges in the West, and with its expanded distance learning program. From associate degrees to graduate programs, USU offers a range of academic opportunities entirely online. Most courses are offered along the university’s semester schedule, but “FLEx courses” are also available to help students who need to structure their schedule differently. Additionally, USU also provides free one-on-one tutoring for distance learners.

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Weber State University

 1/5N/AOgden, UT


Weber State is one of the most affordable colleges in Utah; all students pay in-state tuition. There are two types of online class: semester-based and independent study. Semester-based classes run concurrently with the on-campus semester, while the independent study courses start at students’ convenience, and can be completed in six months or less. Most courses are taught asynchronously, allowing working professionals or students with other responsibilities to consume lectures and complete assignments on their own schedule.

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Southern Utah University

 2/5N/ACedar City, UT


Southern Utah offers a number of quality graduate programs. With master’s degrees in business administration, professional communication, and education, students looking to advance in their careers will find a quality program at SUU.

One of the benefits of distance learning at SUU is that online classes are taught identically to on-campus courses. These classes offer the same quality of teaching you would find in a residential course, and are taught by the same faculty, along the same semester schedule. Online courses at SUU are also affordable; only 46% of students graduate without student loans.

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Western Governors University

 2/5N/ASalt Lake City, UT


WGU takes a new approach to education, allowing students to progress as they master competencies, instead of earning credit hours. This new approach to teaching has garnered praise from the likes of President Obama and Bill Gates. A faculty mentor guides each student through their courses, ensuring they have all the help they need to succeed. On average, students take fewer than three years to graduate.

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Utah Valley University

 2/5N/AOrem, UT


With a student body of over 33,000, Utah Valley is the largest public university in Utah. Approximately one third of those students take some form of distance learning classes, while 10% study entirely online. One of UVU’s most innovative online programs is its aviation sciences department. Students complete classwork online while learning to fly at an airfield near them. Additionally, UVU’s BS in hospitality management is another quickly-growing online program.

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More About Online Colleges in Utah

Of the 62,089 students enrolled in Title IV postsecondary institutions in Utah, nearly a quarter were enrolled in exclusively online degree programs (according to a 2012 NCES report), and approximately 75% of those students were living outside the state. With data from the same report, it’s clear that such programs trend towards undergraduates; 81.6% of online learners were pursuing their first four-year degree.

While some students worry about missed experiences from opting out of a traditional campus, the numbers above indicate they are not alone in their pursuit of a degree in a remote setting. As such, many colleges with online programs have created off-campus meetup locations and events to allow for the growing population of students to participate in classic university activities and peer-to-peer interaction.

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

NCES Report

A 20-year old initiative to boost technology in the classroom is now the well-established Utah Education Network, which coordinates online learning for both K-12 and higher education institutions. Such progress has been an essential part in reaching Utah’s “Big Goal” to have 66% of the state’s population complete a post-secondary degree by 2020. Because of these achievements, Utah is considered a leader in educational technology and has garnered praised by academic research for its successful use of online distance learning. Whether you choose a two-year, four-year or certificate program, Utah is a great place to pursue an online education.