The Best Online Master’s in Education Administration Programs

Education administration refers to the staff who oversee the daily operations and management of pre-K through postsecondary school systems. Administrators in education are responsible for setting goals, evaluating performance and supervising the staff of both public and private schools. If you are an aspiring professional in the field, an online master’s in education administration can open the door to your choice of career opportunities.

Education administration professionals reported an annual average salary of $101,910 as of May 2014, according to the BLS.

Education administrators typically focus their knowledge and training in one age group or specialty, targeting postsecondary education or special needs, for example. Master’s degree-holders with the appropriate certification may become school principals, assistant principals, lead teachers and superintendents, among other opportunities.

Below you will find our top online master’s in education administration programs for 2016, ranked according to our unique methodology. Read on to explore options for earning your education administration degree online.

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

Concordia University – Chicago

 3/557.83%River Forest, IL

Concordia University's online educational administration program emphasizes a combination of leadership, supervision, adaptability and administrative skills. Coursework explores topics such as school evaluation and change processes, curriculum and assessment and research in education. The program culminates in a self-reflective capstone presentation. Students typically complete the required 30 credits of the program in 24 months.

Assignments in the online master's program are self-paced and can be completed at the student's convenience. Each course lasts for eight weeks, taken one at a time in a predetermined order. Students are encouraged to communicate daily with instructors and peers through the university's numerous dynamic online portals, which support A/V presentations and multimedia delivery of learning materials such as textbooks and library archives.

Quick Facts

  • More than 40% of graduate students choose to study entirely online
  • All education programs are certified by the NCATE
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Liberty University

 2/550.41%Lynchburg, VA

Liberty University's online M.Ed in Administration and Supervision prepares students for administration positions in public, private and Christian learning facilities. Coursework covers financial management, school law and community relations. In addition to qualifying graduates for K-12 administration jobs, the program is state-approved for licensure and can transition easily into the education specialist or director of education degrees.

The M.Ed Administration and Supervision cognate at Liberty is almost entirely online, save for mandatory on-campus intensives and an internship. The online program requires 36 course credits; as many as six credits may be transferred from an accredited and un-conferred degree program. Graduates of the online program are prepared for a career as a principal, assistant principal or curriculum instructor.

Quick Facts

  • Program is approved through the NCATE
  • Builds educational administrative skills with a Christ-centered focus
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Emporia State University

 2/538.74%Emporia, KS

Emporia State's online educational administration program is available as a master's degree or as part of a non-degree option for licensure only. Coursework in both versions prepares graduates for state certification and allows students to master the core competencies needed to become principals, assistant principals or building principals, among other career options. All students are required to complete eight hours of practicum and show evidence of at least one year of field experience.

Coursework in the M.Ed program at Emporia may be completed entirely online; once academic courses are completed, two four-hour courses of on-site practicum are required. Students receive extensive support services geared toward online learning, including financial aid, tech support, tutoring and labs. The department of distance education at Emporia hosts its own Facebook page for prospective and current students to feel a part of the school community.

Quick Facts

  • Students complete 27 hours in required courses
  • Emporia created a virtual student handbook specifically for distance learners
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Texas A&M University – Commerce

 2/551.85%Commerce, TX

Students in A&M's online educational administration program are required to satisfy a combination of core and support courses to complete the degree and pursue certification. Coursework consists of 30 course credits in the study of leading effective schools, designing curriculum and law in educational practice, among other topics. A&M is a participant in the SREB electronic campus consortium program.

Coursework in the online M.Ed at Texas A&M may be delivered synchronously or asynchronously via the eCollege platform. The program is designed to provide media-rich content to support the skills needed to adapt to learning in the technology age. In addition to offering a wide variety of Web-based resources to support individual assignments, A&M emphasizes process and practical skills in its online learning environment.

Quick Facts

  • Graduate students may work directly with a student advisor specializing in distance education
  • myLeo portal features comprehensive video tutorials for online enrollment support
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Dallas Baptist University

 3/554.6%Dallas, TX

Dallas Baptist University's online M.Ed in Higher Education offers an optional track in administration. Students in this non-thesis track are required to complete 36 total credit hours in the core curriculum and choose a concentration in community college leadership, student affairs leadership, distance learning or interdisciplinary studies.

The online M.Ed in Higher Education administration track uses asynchronous methods of course delivery. Instructors typically require students to participate in weekly threaded discussions online in order to deepen comprehension of web-based material and promote timely interaction among student groups.


"I have been able to conduct research in areas of interest and learn about aspects of higher education that I had not previously considered." – Mamo Ishida, M.Ed Director

Quick Facts

  • Member of SREB and Sloan-C online education consortiums
  • Online programs maintain a 92% student course completion rate
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Ball State University

 2/559.45%Muncie, IN

Ball State's online education administration and supervision program prepares students for initial licensing in educational administration. In addition to completing 36 course credit hours in specialty, research, curriculum and foundations topics, students must complete an internship and develop a portfolio and career plan. Two years of teaching experience and a written assessment are also required to supplement the degree.

Many courses in Ball State's online M.Ed are fixed-time, also known as synchronous. Generally this includes live-streaming of on-campus courses for distance learners. Students are provided with many of the same academic and interpersonal resources as on-campus students, as well, including tutoring, tech support and career services.

Quick Facts

  • Online courses are taught by the same esteemed faculty as their on-campus counterparts
  • BSU cannot accept students from North Carolina into the online M.Ed program

Quick Facts

  • Applicants who don’t meet the course prerequisites may earn these credits by taking the courses once admitted to the program, or by enrolling in the business essentials certificate program.
  • New and prospective students can get a feel for the online learning system by attending the virtual orientation.
  • Remote students services like writing assistance, disability resources and career counseling are available through the Online and Distance Education department.
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University of South Carolina – Columbia

 3/573%Columbia, SC

The online educational administration program at the University of South Carolina-Columbia is designed for experienced teachers who wish to make a career change from the classroom to school administration. In addition to foundation courses in school personnel administration, principalship and school leadership, students choose between elementary- or high school-focused courses and complete additional recommended courses in special topics.

The online M.Ed in administration at South Carolina is a fast-track program, designed to be completed in 24 months. Online curriculum is designed to offer the same core competencies as on-campus courses but with increased flexibility and opportunities for remote and international students. Additionally, students in the online M.Ed at South Carolina-Columbia receive the same financial aid opportunities as traditional learners.

Quick Facts

  • Professors are experienced principals and high-level administrators
  • Coursework is designed to encourage student diversity
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University of Scranton

 3/580.44%Scranton, PA

The University of Scranton's online educational administration program consists of 39 course credits designed to help students master education law, facilities management and staff supervision and development, among other topics. The program's curriculum focuses on critical-thinking and practical skill-building; students are also required to complete two 150-hour practicums in both elementary and secondary education.

The University of Scranton's online master's program is designed to maximize student support. Through a highly interactive, internet-based platform, students complete assignments at their own pace with the help of online chat rooms, streaming video and discussion boards. Instructors keep virtual office hours and may deliver lectures via streaming or CD-ROM formats, allowing students to replay clips as necessary.

Quick Facts

  • Each student is assigned a dedicated program representative
  • 24/7 tech support available to all online students
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Hope International University

 3/549.43%Fullerton, CA

The online educational administration program at Hope International University encompasses a Master's in Education Administration and a preliminary administrative services credential. Students complete a total of 30 course units in combined research, theory and practice. Graduates are qualified for teaching, superintendent or principal careers in public or Christian-oriented schools.

The online master's at Hope International uses asynchronous course delivery. While the majority of coursework is delivered through video lectures and A/V presentations, a variety of additional multimedia resources are available through the school's eCompanion portal. Materials are shared via group assignments, links to library resources and threaded discussion boards.

Quick Facts

  • Hope International is a member of the eCollege consortium network
  • Online courses are regionally accredited to follow the same standards as students on campus
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Sam Houston State University

 2/553.06%Huntsville, TX

The online M.Ed in Administration at SHSU is ideal for students looking to obtain principal certification. Curriculum covers effective leadership strategies, school regulations and program evaluation, among other topics. The program follows current professional certification standards for principalship.

The online master's at SHSU offers enrollment on a per-semester-basis. Courses may be delivered synchronously or asynchronously, allowing for maximum flexibility in scheduling. Distance learners may take advantage of numerous student incentives, including personalized student advising and mentoring, academic tutoring and career services. The majority of the 30-credit program can be completed online, not including the required internship course that concludes the degree.

Quick Facts

  • Students are required to pass the comprehensive TExES exam during their final semester
  • Online programs are ideal for professionals working full time and military students
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Lamar University

 2/532.89%Beaumont, TX

The online Master's in Educational Administration at Lamar University is designed to focus a variety of skills needed for careers in educational administration, including decision-making, curriculum design, organizational leadership, building parent involvement and more. Students seeking professional certification are required to complete a practicum in addition to the basic degree requirements, which include core classes and an internship.

The online master's at Lamar consists of 36 course credit hours. The online faculty has extensive experience as principals, superintendents and teachers, as well as in other specialties in the field. Coursework delivered through both asynchronous and synchronous methods is centered around integrating theoretical and practical concepts in effective educational administration skills.

Quick Facts

  • GPA and GRE scores of prospective graduate students are of primary concern when applying to this program
  • The online program focuses on specific learning styles of individual learners
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Georgia Southern University

 2/551.32%Statesboro, GA

Georgia Southern's online program in higher education administration is designed to provide the skills needed for a career in postsecondary education administration. Core curriculum explores contemporary issues in education, research and evaluation methods and finance management, among other concepts. Graduates of the 36-hour program are qualified to teach at two- and four-year colleges, universities and vocational institutions.

The online master's in educational administration may be completed via full- or part-time study. Courses are delivered asynchronously and allow students to complete work at their own pace. The degree is almost entirely online, save for a required practicum experience, and online students have the added benefit of being able to register for enrollment during any academic semester. As a program committed to celebrating diversity among students, the online program prepares graduates to implement innovative technology-based techniques in their own practice in the field.

Quick Facts

  • Program alumni have pursued careers in student affairs, community relations and policy analysis
  • Enrollment open for fall, spring or summer semesters
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National University

 3/540%La Jolla, CA

The online Master's in Higher Education Administration at National aims to provide a well-rounded foundation of skills in theory, leadership and management of higher education. Core curriculum explores community relationships, financial management, confronting diverse student needs and legal concepts related to education. In addition to satisfying core requirements, students must conclude the degree with a research course and thesis project.

Coursework in the online master's program at National is delivered asynchronously, though students have the option of requesting a live chat or video conference with their instructors at any time if needed. Students may take advantage of the many benefits of National's long-established online learning system, including multimedia course delivery, user-friendly chat options and extensive tech support.

Quick Facts

  • National has prepared more credentialed teachers than any other California higher learning institution for 13 years
  • Students are assigned an exclusive "student concierge"
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Concordia University – Wisconsin

 2/561.19%Mequon, WI

The online Master of Science in Educational Administration at Concordia is available in either the educational administration (principal) concentration or the director of instruction concentration. Students may choose to pursue both concentrations and accompanying certifications in Wisconsin by taking additional courses.

The degree is available as an online cohort program. Coursework is designed to maintain student motivation and transition students into easily navigating the virtual classroom. Students are encouraged to participate in a comprehensive Blackboard orientation developed by Concordia experts prior to beginning the online program.

Quick Facts

  • Complete 33-39 credits and a thesis or graduate seminar for graduation
  • Concordia offers diverse vocational training programs grounded in Christian principles
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Concordia University – Nebraska

 2/566.3%Seward, NE

Concordia Nebraska's online Master's in Educational Administration prepares students for a career in elementary or secondary school administration; the program also leads to certification in the student's respective area of specialty in Nebraska. The degree requires 36 course credit hours for those seeking principal certification in-line with their current teaching experience, and 45 hours for those seeking higher-level principal certification or dual-certification. Coursework explores curriculum design, supervision of instruction and school law, among other topics.

Online students in this program use Blackboard to complete all coursework. A number of comprehensive resource guides were assembled specifically for distance learners and are available online via Concordia's research library. Enrollment in the online cohort program is available at multiple intervals throughout the academic year. Many online graduate programs include complimentary iPads or textbooks to supplement virtual learning.

Quick Facts

  • Programs combine academic rigor with Christian beliefs in the Lutheran tradition
  • 81% of faculty have the highest-possible degree in their respective field
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Drexel University

 4/567.36%Philadelphia, PA

Drexel's online Master's in Educational Administration includes a concurrent principal certification option. The program is designed to combine coursework in core competencies such as facilities management, student advocacy and community collaboration with unique internship opportunities. Students may choose a concentration in special education leadership; others interested in obtaining principalship may pursue the program for principal certification only.

Coursework in the online master's degree is typically delivered asynchronously and may be completed in two years. Online instructors are not only experts in their respective areas of study in the field of educational administration, they are also expertly trained in effective methods of online learning. The distance learning experience at Drexel is rooted in collaboration, designed to provide full academic support and avoid student isolation during the learning process.

Quick Facts

  • Graduates work with an academic advisor to map out degrees
  • The online program is identical to the on-campus degree
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Western Carolina University

 2/558.29%Cullowhee, NC

The 39-credit, online Master's in School Administration at WCU is designed to prepare students for principal licensure in the state of North Carolina. Coursework encompasses two years of combined core competencies in principalship, as well as a year-long internship experience. The program culminates in a final seminar after the internship requirement is satisfied.

Distance learners in the educational administration master's program have access to free academic tutoring via the Smarthinking app. Online courses may be synchronous or asynchronous, delivered through the Catamount Online Readiness Experience (CORE) system.

Quick Facts

  • Enrollment is offered during both fall and spring
  • Admission into this program requires three years of teaching experience
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Prairie View A&M University

 2/537.83%Prairie View, TX

Prairie View A&M's online educational administration programs are available in two tracks: the certification option leading to either principal or superintendent certification or to the thesis-based degree. The M.Ed with certification program is intended to prepare graduates who want to become school administrators for the Texas state certification exam, while the MS.Ed thesis option is ideal for students aspiring to a career outside of public schools or in higher education. Curriculum in both programs covers fundamentals of school administration, community relations and planning and management; both also require either a thesis project or clinical practicum.

Master's degrees in educational administration are offered entirely online, save for the clinical practicum requirement. Coursework may be synchronous or asynchronous, delivered through eCourses with the support of Web-Assist and two-way live video conferencing. Prairie View's Office of Distance Learning offers unique services to encourage creativity in its online programs, including video production services, large-format printing and iTunes U editing options.

Quick Facts

  • Online instructors are required to cap synchronous coursework at 15%
  • Distance learners have full search capabilities of all library resources on all campuses
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Mississippi College

 2/553.52%Clinton, MS

The online Master's in Higher Education Administration at Mississippi College is designed for those looking to pursue a career specifically in higher education administration. The curriculum includes student development theories, law in higher education and finance in higher education.

Including fall, spring and summer terms, students complete two to three courses online per semester to satisfy at least nine credit hours before beginning the required practicums on-site at a location convenient to their place of study. Online coursework is asynchronous, allowing ongoing collaboration among students and instructors through Moodle and other multimedia applications.

Quick Facts

  • Students are required to complete 27 credit hours and two practicum experiences
  • The degree can be completed as an accelerated program in 18 months
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Eastern Michigan University


The online Master of Arts in Educational Leadership at Eastern Michigan University features a focus in K-12 administration. Students complete 38 credit hours in basic concentration courses, general administration emphasis courses, electives and an internship. In addition, creating a comprehensive portfolio of skills learned is required upon exiting the program.

Eastern Michigan's online educational leadership program follows the same academic standards as the on-campus degree. Online curriculum is delivered via Canvas and eCollege, taught by on-campus instructors. Students have access to 24/7 tech support, as well as numerous additional multimedia resources designed to enhance the virtual classroom.

Quick Facts

  • Cost of online courses is the same for all students, regardless of residency location
  • The program is state-approved for principal certification in Michigan
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Central Michigan University

 3/555.54%Mount Pleasant, MI

The online Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration at Central Michigan is completely customizable according to student needs. The degree combines courses in contemporary topics in higher education with electives and a practicum experience. Courses explore higher education law, student development theory and financing of higher education, among other subjects.

Coursework may be delivered asynchronously or synchronously through Blackboard, using podcasts, A/V presentations and other innovative technologies to manage assignments. Aside from the intrinsic qualities of a flexible online program, master's coursework can be further customized to include specialized electives according to each student's preferred area of study.

Quick Facts

  • The degree is completed entirely online except for the practicum
  • Programs offer "online student ally" services through which new distance learners are mentored by experienced online students
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The University of Texas at Tyler

 2/544.86%Tyler, TX

The online Master's in Educational Administration at UT Tyler encompasses the M.Ed and principal certification for Texas educators and administrators. The program can also serve to provide a certification to interested students already holding a master's degree. Coursework consists of four primary areas: introduction to educational administration, best practices, special demographics and principalship.

The degree can be completed entirely online; instead of a formal thesis project at the end of the program, online students are required to complete a written report of all research conducted during their study in this degree. Coursework is delivered through Blackboard and can be accessed through UT's own mobile app. Students use iChat and a variety of additional multimedia tools to communicate with professors and each other.

Quick Facts

  • Online coursework uses written communication as a primary component
  • Prospective students must be certified to teach in Texas
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Columbia International University

 3/567.86%Columbia, SC

The online M.Ed in Educational Administration at Columbia International University provides prospective Christian professionals with the tools they need to lead administration in Christian or multicultural school environments. Students are trained in curriculum development, evaluation techniques and collaboration and communication methods, among other topics. Graduates of the program are qualified to bring Christ-centered principles to their administrative work.

Coursework is delivered comprehensively through the university's online platform with no on-site visits required. Online coursework does not typically require attendance of real-time virtual classes; however, if synchronous meetings are scheduled, students receive advanced notice via their online syllabus.

Quick Facts

  • Distance learners receive the same diploma as their on-campus counterparts
  • Adopts holistic student development as the basis for all Christ-centered programs
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Purdue University – Calumet

 2/531.41%Hammond, IN

The online Master's in Educational Administration at Purdue is intended to prepare students for a career in leadership and administration in the field of education. The program covers contemporary topics in educational administration and provides the skills needed to move from teaching to principal or administrator. Curriculum is designed with working professionals in mind.

The degree is available as a fully-online program. Instead of in-person requirements via an internship experience, students in the online program develop a portfolio of academic and professional accomplishments during their study at Purdue. Distance learners are afforded the same vast support and financial aid opportunities as their on-campus counterparts. Students may complete the online program in as little as 15 months.

Quick Facts

  • No GRE requirement for admission
  • Purdue offers separate initial licensing and license renewal options for Indiana teachers
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Stony Brook University

 2/568.57%Stony Brook, NY

Stony Brook's online Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration prepares professionals already working at colleges or universities for advancement in their careers or to begin working in campus student affairs or administration departments. Master's candidates are able to complete the 30 required credits online; students take five core courses, resulting in half of their graduation requirements, and five electives of their choice.

Online terms are 10-weeks long during the fall, spring and summer. Students access their online courses asynchronously through the Blackboard learning management system; they are not required to login at set times, though they must participate on class discussion boards every week to show they are engaging with their lessons. The master's degree culminates in a research and capstone project that most students complete during their last term.

Quick Facts

  • Enrollment in project seminar allowed after 24 credits
  • GRE scores not required for admission
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Career opportunities in education administration span numerous specialties, although foundation courses in a master’s program are designed to address universal competencies in both the theoretical and practical application of skills. Completing a master’s degree in education administration typically involves fulfillment of core requirements, as well as a practicum, internship or field experience. Additionally, students interested in pursuing a career as a public school principal may be required to obtain state-issued certification in their state of practice.

Prospective education administrators may choose a concentration based on their preferred student demographic. Graduate students focused on preschool, elementary, middle and high school or postsecondary education, respectively, will explore unique courses according to their specialty. In addition to general core requirements, in-depth course topics may include:

  • Supervision and Instruction
  • Teaching and Learning Culture
  • Technology and Data Analysis
  • Curriculum and Instruction in Higher Education
  • Resource Management in Charter Schools
  • Psycho-Academic Assessment


Many schools are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) at the program level. Accreditation is an additional measure of standardization and quality for institutional programming in this field. Governing agencies include the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC), both of which consolidated into the CAEP in 2013. As accreditation is optional and not a requirement of the M.Ed degree or the individual certification process, schools may opt out of obtaining accreditation for education administration programs in order to adopt unique curriculums that incorporate self-improvement-based coursework in addition to universal competencies.

Students specializing in pre-K through high school education may pursue a role as a school principal or instructional coordinator, while those specializing in postsecondary education may be eligible for additional positions as registrars or academic deans, among many options. While career options may vary depending on preferred student demographic, the majority of graduates of master’s programs in education administration seek jobs as principals, directors and postsecondary school administrators.

Students interested in postsecondary education administration may see high growth potential in this industry over the next seven years. According to the BLS, postsecondary administrator jobs are expected to grow 15% between 2012 and 2022, due to an expected increase in student enrollment at postsecondary institutions during this time. Professionals in this field reported an annual average salary of $101,910 as of May 2014.

Top Industries for Postsecondary Administrators

Elementary, middle and high school principal jobs are also expected to increase in proportion to student enrollment; the BLS projects a growth of 6% in this field between 2012 and 2022, with professionals in this area making an annual average salary of $91,780, according to 2014 reports. Most education administrators aspiring to become principals in this area have teaching experience in addition to holding at least a master’s degree. Nearly 230,000 administrators work in the K-12 school setting.

Top Industries for K-12 Administrators

Some graduates are attracted to preschool or childcare-based opportunities. As the number of preschool-aged children in the U.S. increases, so does the need for preschool and child care center directors, according to the BLS. Qualified education administrators in this specialty can expect to see job growth of 17% by 2022; professionals working in this area reported an annual average salary of $52,190 as of May 2014.

Top Industries for Preschool Administrators

Despite the relative affordability of online programs, the need for financial aid is still a reality for most students. But rest assured, loans aren’t your only option. Explore our collection of financial aid resources or dig into one of the following guides to read more about financing your education.

Scholarships for Education Majors

An Overview of Financial Aid

Approximately two-thirds of today’s college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options savvy students can use to reduce the total costs of their education.

Understanding the FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first and most crucial step for any student seeking financial aid. Follow our step-by-step guide for answers to frequently asked questions.

Financial Aid for Online College Students

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you’ll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn’t always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place and funding opportunities for online students.

Scholarships for Single Parents

Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for single parents looking for a more secure financial future for their children. We’ve compiled a list of scholarships for these hard-working parents.

Financial Aid for Veterans and Active Military

Millions in education benefits are available for veterans and active members of the military. Unfortunately, much of this goes unused. Find out if you’re entitled to help with college and start planning for your future.

The methodology behind our rankings is grounded in statistical data and a few consistently applied guiding principles. Our 2017 rankings reflect the most recent data compiled from IPEDS and the College Navigator, both of which are hosted by the National Center for Education Statistics. Our goal is to objectively assess relative quality based on academic outcomes, affordability, and the breadth and depth of online learning opportunities. The following criteria was used to make these assessments:

Minimum Requirements

  • Each school must be an accredited public or private, not-for-profit institution.
  • Must offer an online master’s in Master’s in Education Administration degree program
  • Must submit an annual report to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Ranking Factors

All eligible institutions are ranked on a 100 point scale. A perfect score of 100 is earned by ranking #1 for all ranking factors.