Best Online Colleges in West Virginia

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Badge (Online) with 2-Line TitleBest Collegesin West Virginia2017
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Several online colleges in West Virginia belong to the West Virginia Remote Online Collaborative Knowledge System (WVROCKS), which was launched four years ago to help students earn a Regents bachelor of arts. The program has since awarded 5,000 credit hours to online students and currently offers more than 40 courses with compressed time frames, work experience course credits, and evening/weekend classes. Beginning in fall 2016, a $500,000 grant will be used to install video equipment for synchronous learning.

West Virginia is also a participant in the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) Academic Common Market, which allows students in the Southeast to earn in-state tuition in West Virginia. There are 16 participating states in the program. West Virginia is also a part of the Electronic Campus system, which combines programs across universities to offer 37,000 online courses and 3,400 degree programs for students to choose from.

For more information about pursuing online courses in West Virginia, the College Foundation of West Virginia is an excellent resource. Its website allows students to apply to multiple schools at once, fill out a practice application, and explore schools that match the specific criteria they are looking for.

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Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1 Wheeling Jesuit University 71.25 61% Wheeling, WV

Founded in 1954, Wheeling Jesuit is the only jesuit higher education institution in the Mountaineer state. Located on a scenic 65-acre campus in Wheeling, West Virginia, WJU combines faith, community, and culture into every academic discipline. WJU is one of the best online colleges in West Virginia. The school specializes in online nursing education with a master’s of science in nursing and an RN to BSN/MSN program. Other online college programs at WJU include a master’s in education leadership, special education certificates, accelerated teaching certificates, and superintendent licensure. The accelerated teaching certificate requires student teaching work, and students of this program must have already obtained a bachelor’s degree. WJU classes can be completed entirely online. Distance learners have access to many of WJU’s students resources including technical support ensuring smooth-running classes. Distance learners are required to attend an on-campus orientation during their first semester.

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2 West Virginia University 70.83 56% Morgantown, WV

The land grant institution, founded in the 1860s, is home to nearly 30,000 students on its Morgantown campus with more in-state residents taking courses online. WVU offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees online. The school’s online bachelor’s degree in child education prepares students for a career in Pre-K education; other degrees focus on nursing or multidisciplinary studies. Graduate degree offerings include Ph.D. and Master’s programs in special education, sports management, software engineering, social work, nursing, communications, and more.

WVU’s regents bachelor of arts degree (RBA) is a unique program geared specifically toward adult learners and military members. The RBA gives students credit for life experience to help them earn their degree quicker. Students studying online with West Virginia have access to numerous student services, including enrollment coaches, academic advisors, and individual faculty attention. West Virginia offers eight online certificates.

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3 Marshall University 62.08 44% Huntington, WV

Students from around the country can join the famed Thundering Herd through MUOnline by Marshall. One of the premier West Virginia online colleges, Marshall offers students a number of graduate and undergraduate degrees, and one online undergraduate certificate in public health. Bachelor’s degrees available include geography, nursing, and medical laboratory science. Master’s degrees include education, leadership, mathematics, and others. There are numerous graduate certificates for education, aimed at helping busy teachers get ahead in their careers without time-consuming night classes. Marshall distance students have access to career services, academic advising, and other university resources. Some classes require live, online meetings with the instructor; all others are 100% online.

Marshall, named for the influential fourth supreme court justice of the United States, John Marshall, is a land grant public university with its main campus Huntington, West Virginia. The school is well known for its excellent athletics and academics.

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4 University of Charleston 59.58 41% Charleston, WV

Charleston, located in the state’s capital city, has also made a name for itself as one of the best online colleges in West Virginia. The small private university has campuses in Beckley and Martinsburg. The school was founded in 1888 as Barboursville Seminary of the Southern Methodist Church. UC offers graduate and undergraduate programs. Students can earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting, business administration, psychology, leadership, and nursing. Masters and doctoral programs are available to distance learners in forensic accounting, executive leadership, and strategic leadership. All UC online courses are delivered 100% online. Students have access to UC academic counselors who help students navigate the program, pick classes, and thrive in the digital classroom. Other online student resources include online tutorials. UC boasts a 90 percent career placement rate within six months of graduation and is friendly to military members.

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5 West Virginia University at Parkersburg 54.58 26% Parkersburg, WV

WVU at Parkersburg is among the best online colleges in West Virginia. The school has both associate and bachelor’s degree programs offered online; students have the chance to pursue a variety of career options. Bachelor's degrees are available at WVU-Parkersburg in nursing and child development. Students across the state have the opportunity to earn a certificate or associate degree in areas such as business, criminal justice, and technology. WVU-Parkersburg has online classes to help students prepare to transfer to a residential college or to get ahead in their career. Students have access to a variety of resources including career services, tutoring, advising, and counseling. Distance learning at WVU-Parkersburg is designed to be simple, flexible, and affordable, allowing students of all ages and backgrounds to study at their pace.

Although WVU-Parkersburg now grants BA degrees, it still maintains the services and small feeling its began with as a community college. It is the largest community college in the state and among the largest public universities in the state.

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Young college students and experienced professionals alike can benefit from attending an online college. Whether you’re seeking a higher income, greater expertise, or a more rewarding career, an online program can help you pursue your academic interests and professional ambitions. Today, with so many online options available, it is important for prospective distance learners to consider both their educational goals and their budget to help them find the right program.

Our affordability methodology considers value-driven metrics and ranks schools that have low tuition rates, as well as proven graduation rates and employment outcomes that provide a high ROI for students. For students in West Virginia, there are plenty of opportunities to find an affordable program locally. While distance education provides more flexibility than an exclusively residential curriculum, there are still plenty of advantages to attending a local online college, including access to lower tuition prices and local scholarships. If you’re considering going back to school, and are thinking about studying online, the following list of cheap accredited online colleges in West Virginia will help you start your search.

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Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1 West Virginia University at Parkersburg 72 32.08% Parkersburg, WV

Contrary to popular belief, West Virginia University at Parkersburg has no affiliation with West Virginia University. WVUP is a stand-alone school of strictly undergraduates, offering seven online programs that include certificates, associate degrees, and bachelor’s degrees. Since WVUP designed its online programs with parents, working professionals, and veterans in mind, the school delivers coursework in a flexible asynchronous format. There are no minimum GPA or testing requirements for freshman or transfer students. Applicants need only submit all previous transcripts to be considered for admission. Though out-of-state online students still pay a higher tuition rate than West Virginia residents, that rate is so low that WVUP is still one of the most affordable online colleges in West Virginia.

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2 University of Charleston 61 40.47% Charleston, WV

Located in the state’s capital city, the University of Charleston is a small private college offering 11 online programs, including bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. UCWV is one of the most ambitious and up-and-coming colleges in West Virginia. The school currently offers its online programs in 30 states, but is in the process of seeking authorization to provide programs in all 50 states. UCWV is also one of the most affordable online colleges in West Virginia, as all online students pay in-state tuition rates. Freshman applicants to UCWV must have earned a minimum high school GPA of 2.25 and a minimum ACT score of 19 (or SAT score of 900). Transfer students must have completed at least 12 college credits with a minimum GPA of 2.25.

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3 West Virginia University 60 57.34% Morgantown, WV

One of the flagship colleges in West Virginia, West Virginia University offers 34 online undergraduate, certificate, and graduate programs. While some programs feature completely asynchronous coursework, many of WVU’s online programs utilize blended learning, requiring certain on-campus residency periods. In addition to being one of the biggest colleges in the state, WVU is also one of the most affordable online colleges in West Virginia. Out-of-state students in many of the school’s online programs can still pay in-state tuition rates. Freshman applicants to WVU should have earned a 2.5 high school GPA and a 19 on the ACT (or a 990 on the SAT). Transfer applicants must have completed at least 24 college credits with a minimum 2.0 GPA.

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4 Marshall University 54 N/A Huntington, WV

Named for Chief Justice John Marshall, Marshall University’s MUOnLine department offers 23 undergraduate, graduate, and certificate distance learning programs. Fully online courses are delivered completely asynchronously through Blackboard. Some programs are delivered in a hybrid format that combines asynchronous elements with scheduled course meetings. A few programs may require face-to-face meetings. While out-of-state online students do not receive in-state tuition rates, the school’s wide variety of merit-based scholarships and relatively low out-of-state costs still earn Marshall a spot among the most affordable online colleges in West Virginia. Freshman applicants should have earned a minimum high school GPA of 2.0 and a minimum ACT score of 19 (or 3.0 and 16, respectively). Transfer applicants who have earned less than 30 credits must meet freshman requirements hold at least 12 college credits.

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5 Wheeling Jesuit University 53 58.06% Wheeling, WV

Located in the foothills of the Appalachians, Wheeling Jesuit University offers seven online programs, including certificates and master’s degrees. The school’s online MBA and RN to BSN/MSN programs are particularly popular. These programs are primarily professionally-focused and designed for working adults who either want a career change or are seeking advancement in their field. Wheeling strives to make college a reality for these working professionals by delivering courses in a flexible asynchronous format. Out-of-state online students pay the same tuition as their in-state counterparts, making WJU one of the most affordable online colleges in West Virginia. WJU is also amenable to transfers; students may apply up to 90 credits toward their degree. WJU is one of the few Christian colleges in West Virginia.

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More About Online Colleges in West Virginia

To reach a broader student base and encourage a higher student enrollment, schools in West Virginia have expanded their online course offerings in recent years. While tuition and fees at public, four-year West Virginia colleges have increased by 32.8% over the last five years, state funding for postsecondary education has decreased significantly since the 2008 recession. Accordingly, students have begun pursuing online programs in greater numbers, attracted by the lower costs inherent in web education.

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

NCES Report

As of fall 2012 enrollment, NCES reports indicate that 37.8% (47,917) of students in West Virginia’s Title IV institutions enrolled in exclusively online programs.

  • 4.8% of students at four-year institutions studied entirely online
  • 5.9% of students at two-year institutions studied entirely online
  • 8.5% were living in West Virginia
  • 84.3% were living elsewhere in the United States

West Virginia has initiated several measures to provide higher education options to a broader student base and to increase the number of qualified professionals in the local workforce. Through the 15 to Finish initiative, the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission encourages all college students to enroll in at least 15 credits in a two-year or four-year program. Additionally, the WVU Tech Revitalization Committee was assembled to “recruit, retain and rebuild” technology-based programs at the West Virginia University Institute of Technology; graduates are qualified to work well-paying jobs in local industries.

As one of the state’s largest providers of online degrees and certificate programs, West Virginia State University has developed the Center for Online Learning. It helps educators learn to use web-based tools and new technology in their classrooms as they build effective online learning methods. Additionally, the West Virginia Department of Education has implemented Hit the Ground Running, an online pre-employment certification program that helps adult learners pursue professional training in a career of their choice. Altogether, these initiatives demonstrate West Virginia’s commitment to online education. Students interested in an online program will find several excellent options in West Virginia’s colleges and universities.

Rankings Archive

Best Online Colleges in West Virginia of 2016
Rank School Location
1 West Virginia University Morgantown, WV
2 Wheeling Jesuit University Wheeling, WV
3 Bluefield State College Bluefield, WV
4 University of Charleston Charleston, WV
5 West Virginia State University Institute, WV
6 Alderson Broaddus University Phillippi, WV
7 Davis & Elkins College Elkins, WV
8 West Virginia University at Parkersburg Parkersburg, WV