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.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1 Western Governors University 74.38 3/5 27% Salt Lake City, UT

Numerous online program offerings in combination with affordable tuition rates makes Western Governors University one of the best online colleges in Utah for in and out-of-state students to invest in. While the school is headquartered in Salt Lake City, all course instruction is delivered completely online via the school’s distance learning platform. Within each subject area of the 20 bachelor’s degree options WGU offers, students will be assigned a personal mentor whose goal is to help individuals succeed from the time they start classes through graduation.

Unlike other Utah online colleges, Western Governors University does not require students to submit entrance exams such as the SAT, ACT, GRE, or GMAT. The online college -- which has been around for fifteen years -- also differentiates itself from other schools through their tuition and fee schedule. Instead of charging per-credit, Western Governors University bills students a flat-rate every six months, incentivising students to quickly complete their degrees.

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2 Independence University 72.19 4/5 63% Salt Lake City, UT

Independence University, located in Salt Lake City, features many online degree program options that students can select from in the following academic areas: graphic arts, technology, business, and healthcare. IU supports their distance students by assigning each student an associate dean who works with individuals one on one to ensure they can complete their degree program successfully and on time. Free career development is available not only to current students, but also to all graduates of the university.

To assist students in their career endeavors post-college, the school utilizes their connections with local and national employers and alumni to help online students network in job fields relevant to their studies. Independence University’s student resources are among the best of all Utah online colleges; the school provides all equipment (such as a laptop), supplies, and textbooks necessary for distance learners to complete their coursework at no extra cost.

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3 University of Utah 71.88 3/5 59% Salt Lake City, UT

The University of Utah is one of several in the state to offer degree programs in addition to individual web-based courses to their online student population. The school provides those who are enrolled with access to hundreds of online classes required to obtain a bachelor’s degree. Unlike other Utah online colleges, the University of Utah offers one online minor track: an undergraduate minor in gerontology.

All courses in these programs and otherwise are created and instructed by on-campus faculty, and follow the same 16-week semester schedule as those taught in the classroom in Salt Lake City. As students complete their classes online, faculty members at the University of Utah are positioned to serve as knowledgeable, accessible mentors. To further support online students, the school offers multiple student resources that range from remote library access, web-based tutoring, and academic advising.

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4 Utah State University 67.50 3/5 50% Logan, UT

The seven bachelor’s degree programs offered online through Utah State University can be a financially strategic investment for in-state students looking at online colleges in Utah. The different online undergraduate degree programs are cheaper for residents to complete. Tuition is less than $300 per credit hour, and online students can further offset the cost of college through the school’s extensive financial aid options.

Utah State University, which started offering online courses in 1997, has developed their web-based learning program to include a robust selection of student services that expands beyond their campus in Logan. Remote learners can have access to online tutoring, remote library access, technology help, academic advising, and financial aid counseling. The school also gives online students the option to get involved in the Center for Women and Gender, and provides them with discounts on software -- two unique features that distinguish this online university from other Utah online colleges.

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5 Weber State University 66.88 3/5 45% Ogden, UT

Weber State University offers a wealth of subjects for online students to choose from in their pursuit of an advanced degree. Their six undergraduate degree programs focus on different areas of healthcare -- from Health Information Management to Radiologic Sciences -- making it an appealing remote learning option for students looking into online colleges in Utah who want to pursue careers in the greater healthcare field.

As students take classes, they have two online course delivery options to choose from: semester-based classes and independent study classes. Semester-based courses follow the same timeline as on-campus classes in Ogden. Students looking for more flexibility can take advantage of independent study classes, which can be taken anytime so long as they are completed within six months of the start date. These different course delivery options are one example of the many ways Weber State University supports students as they earn their undergraduate degree online.

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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.

Best Online Colleges in Utah of 2016
Rank School Location
1 Utah State University Logan, UT
2 Weber State University Ogden UT
3 Southern Utah University Cedar City, UT
4 Western Governors University Salt Lake City, UT
5 Utah Valley University Orem, UT