The Best Online Colleges of 2017

A college degree is the best way to advance your career and increase your earning potential, but geography, family, or work obligations can make traditional college degree programs feel unattainable. Thanks to technology, however, it’s possible for you to earn a college degree while you work full-time or take care of your family, and more people are opting in to online colleges and universities than ever before. In fact, online degree programs have outpaced traditional degree programs in terms of growth in the last decade, and, according to Babson, 70% of academic leaders say that online learning is now a fundamental part of their postsecondary institution’s long-term growth strategy. In other words, online programs from accredited online colleges and universities now offer the academic quality and the flexibility professionals need.

There have never been more or better choices when it comes to online associate degrees, online bachelor’s degrees, and online master’s degrees. The team at is here to help you find the top online schools and degree programs that meet your needs.

What are the Best Online Colleges?

Badge (Online) with 1-Line TitleBest Online Colleges2017
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It’s more important than ever to pick the right online degree program. That’s why exists – we’ve reviewed thousands of accredited online colleges and universities to help you find the best online degree program for you. The right online college for you will work with your budget, your schedule, and your learning style to make your goals a reality. Our ranking of the 50 best online colleges and universities gives you a place to begin your search for an online degree program that meets your needs.

We’ve compiled lists of the best online schools in the country, split between schools offering 4-year and 2-year programs. Assessments were made using qualitative measures and data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics and from individual schools themselves. Each ranked school is fully accredited. Our lists will help you find out which schools offer online degrees in the subjects and majors you are interested in. Each school included in our rankings of the best online colleges and universities is a not-for-profit institution that offers at least three accredited, 100% online degree programs.

Following our top picks for the best online colleges, learn more about choosing a school that fits your unique needs.

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Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1 University of Central Florida 76.07 3/5 65% Orlando, FL

Founded in 1963, this Orlando-based university is the largest postsecondary institution in the United States by overall enrollment, as well as undergraduate enrollment. UCF currently serves more than 63,000 students, many of whom are enrolled in online courses and degree programs through the school's robust distance learning program.

All online courses at UCF are led by the same professors and faculty members that teach the same subjects on campus. A total of 18 fully online bachelor's degrees are available for undergraduate distance learners. These include Bachelor of Arts degrees in core subjects like history, English and political science, as well as niche fields like communication and conflict and Latin American studies. A BSN program is also offered for prospective nurses. In addition to full degrees, online undergrads can also choose from 29 minors in five academic areas: arts and humanities; education and human performance; health and public affairs; hospitality management; and sciences. All of these options are available as '2+2 baccalaureate completion' programs for students who have completed some college in the past without earning a four-year degree. As an extra perk, UCF Online students are not charged administrative fees for resources exclusively used by brick-and-mortar students.

UCF also features 24 fully online master's degrees for graduate-level students. These programs cover a wide range of academic subjects. Master of Arts (M.A.) options include degrees in applied learning and instruction, educational leadership and English-technical communication. Alternatively, online students at UCF can earn Master of Science (M.S.) degrees in fields like criminal justice and digital forensics. UCF also offers web-based master's degrees in seven specialized engineering fields, a dual public administration and criminal justice master's, and an MSN option for nurses. Some UCF Online master's programs are 30 to 35 credits in length, and may be completed in as little as one year of full-time enrollment.

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2 Arizona State University 75.99 3/5 58% Tempe, AZ

With nearly 52,000 students during the 2015-16 academic year, ASU is currently the sixth largest university in the U.S. by total enrollment. The Tempe institution also took first place in the 2016 'Most Innovative National Universities' ranking published by U.S. News & World Report. This recognition is largely due to ASU's groundbreaking distance learning program; currently the university offers more than 100 fully online degree programs.

Undergraduate online students can choose from 63 different bachelor's degree programs. These include 28 B.A. and 26 B.S. degrees, as well as applied science bachelor's degrees in health sciences, Internet and web development and operations management. A total of 22 online minors are available, as well; these include niche fields such as family and human development, global health and sustainability. ASU Online also features 'exploratory' undergraduate degrees in four areas: health and life sciences; humanities, fine arts and design; math, physical sciences, engineering and technology; and social and behavioral sciences. These programs are geared toward students who have an interest in certain academic areas but have not yet chosen a major. In 2015, ASU Online announced a new partnership with EdX titled the 'Global Freshmen Academy'. This program is open to all incoming freshmen; candidates do not need to formally apply for enrollment in GFA, and will only asked to pay for courses that they complete with a passing grade.

Online degree programs for graduate students at ASU are also extensive. A total of 47 online master's degrees are available. These options include seven degrees in engineering, six in education and two hybrid MBA/engineering degrees, as well as programs in cutting-edge fields like biomimicry, health innovation and sustainable tourism. Doctorate degrees in education and behavioral health are also offered through ASU Online. In addition to degrees, online students can also choose from 18 undergraduate and graduate certificate programs. Most certificates range between 15 and 20 credit hours, and can be completed in six courses or less.

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3 University of Minnesota-Twin Cities 71.89 3/5 73% Minneapolis, MN

Founded in 1851, UM-Twin Cities currently boasts more than 34,000 enrolled students and a campus in the heart of Minneapolis that covers 1,204 acres. The school's online campus is also impressive: a total of 69 fully, primarily and partially online degree and certificate programs for undergraduate and graduate-level distance learners.

Bachelor's degree programs for online undergrads are primarily compartmentalized in two broad areas of academic study: business and science. In addition to a bachelor's in general management, business-savvy students can also earn degrees in accounting, entrepreneurship, finance, international business and marketing. Students interested in pursuing a science-related bachelor's can take their pick from programs in applied health, information technology management and medical laboratory science. Other undergraduate options include degrees in specialized fields like tribal administration and governance, sports and recreation management and social work. All 20 online bachelor's degrees offered through UM-Twin Cities consist of 120 credit hours, and are designed to be completed after four years of full-time enrollment. Sixteen are delivered in a fully online format and four are partially online. Undergraduates can also earn fully online certificates in the following fields: applied business; autism spectrum disorders; business administration; finance; manufacturing management; and taxation.

Online master's programs at UM-Twin Cities are mostly concentrated in healthcare, science and technology. These include degrees in computer science, health informatics, healthcare administration, public health, dental hygiene and electrical engineering. An executive MPH in Public Health Administration and Policy is also available. The online MBA is 57 credits in length, while the master's in occupational therapy runs 78 credits. Otherwise, the online master's degrees at UM-Twin Cities range from 30 to 42 credit hours, and can be completed in one year to 18 months of full-time study. Seven are partially online, five are fully online and three are primarily online.

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4 Northeastern University Global Network 71.68 4/5 79% Boston, MA

Northeastern University Global Network is the name given to the school's collective satellite campuses and worldwide research partnerships. The online degrees/certificates themselves are offered through Northeastern University.

Established in 1898, this institution of nearly 25,000 students functions as a private research university. In addition to four Boston-area campuses, the university's 'Global Network' extends to satellite campuses in Charlotte, Seattle, Silicon Valley and Toronto. Northeastern also holds partnerships with education and research facilities in more than 150 countries.

Northeastern currently offers 10 online bachelor's degrees for distance learners. Three management-related bachelor's degrees are offered -- general management, finance and accounting management and health management -- as well as a leadership degree. Other undergraduate degrees are available in human services, information technology, liberal studies, political science, professional communication and psychology. All of Northeastern's online bachelor's degree programs are 120 credits in length, and designed to be completed with four years of full-time enrollment or seven years of part-time enrollment. Each degree follows a comprehensive curriculum consisting of one-credit labs and three-credit foundational, major-related and professional elective courses. The psychology degree program culminates in a senior research seminar. Most of the remaining programs culminate in a final project; human services majors must also complete an on-site practicum course, where they will receive supervised training from experienced professionals at a working human services facility. As of Fall 2016, all bachelor's programs at Northeastern follow a semester-based schedule.

Online graduate students enrolled at Northeastern can choose from 37 master's degree pathways. These include nine degrees in business- and management-related fields, seven in health and human services and five in education. The university also offers several highly specialized programs for online master's students, including tracks in energy systems, geographic information technology, homeland security, security and resilience studies and two degrees concentrated in regulatory affairs. Doctorates in education and transitional physical therapy are also available in a primarily online format. Additionally, two undergraduate certificates and 30 graduate certificates can be earned entirely online within one year of full-time study.

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5 Colorado State University-Global Campus 71.30 3/5 63% Greenwood Village, CO

Created by the Colorado State University System Board of Governors in 2007, this institution was the first and only 100% online state university in the country. The online courses offered through CSU's Global Campus are led by professors who teach the same subjects in the university's classrooms. Using the Canvas learning platform, web-based courses may contain a mix of audio, video and text-based components, as well as proctored and unproctored exams.

A total of 13 bachelor's degrees are offered to CSU - Global Campus undergrads in an exclusively online format. Students seeking a B.S. degree can choose from five fields: agricultural business, fire and emergency services administration; horticulture; human development and family studies; and psychology. B.A. degrees in anthropology, economics and interdisciplinary liberal arts are also available online. All of CSU's online bachelor's programs run 120 credits in length, and are meant to be completed within four years of full-time study. In addition to traditional courses, some degree programs carry additional requirements.

At the graduate level, a total of 11 online master's degrees are offered in different academic fields. The engineering master's field is particularly robust, with degree pathways available in seven specialized subjects. Six other disciplines feature multiple online master's options: agriculture; arts leadership and music; computer science and technology; higher education and student affairs; human resources and organizational development; and natural resource management. Additional online master's programs at CSU include degrees in adult education, business administration, dietetics, social work and tourism. Most of CSU's online master's tracks consist of 30 to 40 required credit hours, and can be completed within one to two years.

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6 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide 69.62 3/5 48% Daytona Beach, FL

The University of Florida earned a spot on our list of the best online colleges with its extensive and inclusive online education portfolio. In addition to five levels of online degrees, including traditional bachelor's, master's and doctoral credentials, students can opt to earn one of three specialist degrees, all of which are related to the field of education. International degrees in construction management, pharmacy, and public health are also available. There are several bachelor's degree completion programs that can be earned in two years if applicants already hold an associate's degree.

UF's online students access their classes through e-Learning, powered by the open source learning management system Sakai. Through this platform, students and instructors have access to a number of web-based collaboration and research tools, such as the anti-plagiarism programs Turnitin and iThenticate. Some classes are also accessed through Canvas. Online students have the same support system and services in place as their on-campus counterparts. They can sign up for disability accommodations and remotely access: counseling services, the UF bookstore and library, Career Resource Center and academic advising.

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7 Liberty University 69.31 4/5 46% Lynchburg, VA

Liberty University is a private, not-for-profit Christian doctoral research university with its main campus located in Lynchburg, Virginia. Launched in 1985, the school's distance learning program, Liberty’s online programs, follows a non-traditional academic timetable. Classes are 8 weeks in length, and there are eight start dates each year.

Nearly all online programs are offered nearly 100% online. Only one bachelor's program requires a one week, on-campus class, and that is the B.S. in social work; the remaining bachelor's degree programs are delivered fully online, and are designed to be completed in four years or less. Liberty’s Online programs bachelor's programs span 16 academic departments, and tout tuition that is considerably lower than the on-campus degree programs at $9,360 instead of the traditional $20,300. The online bachelor's degree programs also have no additional fees, and are completely free to apply.

The school's options for business administration degrees are particularly extensive; students may choose from degree concentrations in 16 different fields, including digital marketing and advertising, entrepreneurship, financial planning, green and sustainable management, marketing analytics and project management. Criminal justice majors may also pick a degree specialization from fields like homeland security, juvenile justice and public administration. As a faith-based university, Liberty’s Online programs also offers degrees in religion (with four concentrations), biblical and educational studies and Christian leadership and management, as well as a Christian counseling concentration for psychology majors. A total of 24 online minors are also available to undergraduates, four of which are focused on Christian studies. There also are undergraduate degrees in aviation, communications, education, history, information technology, nursing, and more.

Graduate students enrolled at Liberty’s online programs also enjoy a wide range of online master's degree selections. Aspiring teachers seeking a Master of Education can choose from more than 15 different degree specializations, including obtaining licensure if needed. The school's MBA programs include 36-hour and 45-hour tracks that have 16 possible specializations. Online counseling options are also quite robust. For example, the master of arts (M.A.) degrees in human services counseling and pastoral counseling each feature 11 possible concentrations. Online grad students pursuing a religious master's can also earn degrees in seven different fields through the Rawlings School of Divinity. Finally, Liberty’s online programs offers web-based and blended doctoral degree programs in business, counseling, education, music, nursing and religious studies. The application fee is $40 for master’s degree programs and $50 for doctoral and postgraduate degrees.

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8 Pennsylvania State University-World Campus 68.88 4/5 50% University Park, PA

With the launch of Penn State's web-based World Campus in 1998, the State College institution became one of the first accredited universities to provide online courses. Today, the World Campus features more than 125 degree and certificate programs, and serves students from all 50 states and more than 60 countries worldwide.

Penn State's online bachelor's degree programs cover a wide range of academic fields, from core subjects to less traditional areas of study. Students can pursue bachelor's degrees in more than a dozen business-related fields, including accounting, agribusiness management, finance, marketing and security and risk analysis. Registered nurses can also complete their four-year education through the World Campus's RN to BSN online degree program. Eco-minded undergrads can also earn online bachelor's in biobehavioral health, energy and sustainability policy or turfgrass science. Online degrees in four different fields are available as either a B.A. or B.S.: economics, labor and employment relations; organizational leadership; political science; and psychology. In addition to degree fields of study, a total of 18 online minors are available. These include nine minors in business-related fields and six in liberal arts subjects. Seventeen online undergraduate certificates are also offered, including three nursing options.

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9 Kennesaw State University 68.70 3/5 42% Kennesaw, GA

Originally founded as a junior college in 1963, this Georgia institution's main campus is located roughly 20 miles from downtown Atlanta. Kennesaw State's extensive distance learning program includes a mix of fully-online, hybrid and 'mixed-model' learning formats. Some of the university's courses are 95% online, with a single on-campus requirement (typically an exam or an orientation session); other courses are delivered 100% online.

Business degree-seeking students at Kennesaw State can choose from six online bachelor's degree options. The B.S. in business administration features three possible concentrations: information security and assistance; management; and marketing. Additionally, the Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.S.) in logistics and operations features concentrations in manufacturing operations and supply chain logistics; a Bachelor of Business Administration in information security and assurance is also available. Computing students also have multiple online degree options; these include both a B.S. and B.A.S. in information technology, as well as a B.S. in industrial engineering technology. Other online bachelor's programs at Kennesaw State are available in integrative studies, geography and sociology. Undergrads may also pick from 15 online minors. Minor choices include some core academic subjects, as well as specialized areas of study like African and African-American diaspora studies, engagement marketing, quality principles and sports marketing.

At the graduate level, online master's degrees are available in five engineering fields: engineering management, software engineering, electrical engineering, civil engineering and systems engineering. A fully online Georgia MBA program is offered through Kennesaw State's Coles College of Business, and the university also offers an online MSN program for nursing students. Other online master's options include degrees in first-year college studies, information technology, international policy management and quality assurance.

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10 Brandman University 68.47 3/5 N/A Irvine, CA

Headquartered in Irvine, California, Brandman was founded in 1958 as a residential education center for Chapman University. Brandman's online programs are developed using the innovative Instructional Design for Engaged Adult Learning (iDEAL) model, which takes student flexibility and preferred learning methods into account. As a result, many of the school's courses are exclusively online and follow an asynchronous (or self-paced) timetable. A demo course created with iDEAL is available.

Brandman's online bachelor's degree programs are categorized into four core academic departments. The 'Arts and Sciences' branch features 25 B.A. degree options, including seven in criminal justice, five in psychology and four in applied studies. In the 'School of Business and Professional Studies', students can choose from three online bachelor's in organizational leadership, 11 in business administration and three in computing technology. Undergrads seeking a teaching degree can earn a B.A. in liberal studies (multiple subjects teaching), as well as two educational credentials and five authorizations in the online format. Finally, the 'Nursing and Health Professions' branch features an online RN to BSN program, as well as three BSN to Doctor Nursing Practice (DNP) pathways. The nursing and B.S. in social work tracks feature practicum course components, which require students to receive onsite training. Several of the other online bachelor's programs at Brandman culminate in a capstone project.

All of Brandman's online master's degree programs are offered through the 'School of Business and Professional Studies' and 'Education' branches. A total of 10 MBA specializations are available online; these options include degrees in e-business strategic management, entrepreneurship, human resources and international business. Additional online master's in this department include an M.A. in organizational leadership, an M.S. in human resources and two Master of Public Administration (MPA) tracks. Aspiring teachers can earn a Master of Education in six specialized tracks, as well as degrees in school counseling, educational leadership and four special education concentrations.

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11 East Carolina University 68.49 3/5 58% Greenville, NC

Established in 1907, this Greenville-based school is currently the third-largest university in North Carolina by overall student enrollment. In 2007, ECU became the first postsecondary institution to feature an accredited online MBA degree program; today, the university offers more than 80 web-based degree and certificate options for distance learners.

Undergraduates seeking an industrial studies program can select from several online bachelor's degree options. B.S. in industrial technology degrees are available in six specialized fields: bioprocess manufacturing; health information logistics; industrial distribution logistics; industrial supervision; information and computer technology; and manufacturing systems. A B.S. in industrial distribution and logistics is also offered. Business majors can take their pick from multiple degrees, as well. These include a B.S. in business management with concentrations in general business, management, management information systems and operations and supply chain management, as well as B.S. degrees in health services management and hospitality management. ECU's online options for teachers include a hybrid 'part-time cohort' program for students transferring from community colleges; elementary education, middle grades education and special education degrees are available with this track. Other online bachelor's programs include degrees in communication, university studies and an RN to BSN pathway for registered nurses.

Online master's degree opportunities at ECU are even more extensive. A total of 26 master's degrees are delivered fully or partially online. Students pursuing a Master of Education degree can choose from 13 different teaching concentrations. Additionally, an online alternative licensure program is offered to students who have received a bachelor's in education and wish to become fully licensed. The master's in nursing track features five specializations: clinical nurse specialist; neonatal nurse practitioner; nurse midwifery; nurse education; and nurse leadership. The remaining master's options include degrees in core subjects like criminal justice and computer science, as well as niche fields of study like communication sciences and disorders, construction management, music education and occupational safety.

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12 Indiana Wesleyan University-Marion 66.25 4/5 70% Marion, IN

Founded in 1920, this private, evangelical university is both the largest university in the state of Indiana and the largest member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. IWU currently offers 100 degree and certificate programs online. The university follows an asynchronous curricular timetable; students usually take courses sequentially, one at a time, and can advance to the next course as soon as their current course has been successfully completed. This schedule allows students to earn a degree at their own pace -- and, often, in less time than other structured degree programs.

A total of 18 online bachelor's programs are available to undergrads at IWU. Seven bachelor's options are concentrated in business; these include two business administration tracks and a degree in marketing with four possible concentrations. All of the university's business bachelor's options range from 40 to 50 credit hours in length. Aspiring teachers may pursue an online bachelor's in early childhood education; this program is offered with a licensure track that includes a practicum student teaching component, or as a non-licensure track with no on-site requirements. Clinical degree options include a bachelor's in counseling and an RN to BSN pathway for nursing students; both of these programs feature on-site practicum requirements. Other online bachelor's programs at IWU cover fields like computer science, criminal justice, communication, psychology and social work. As a faith-based university, IWU also provides an online bachelor's degree in biblical studies.

The majority of IWU's online degree opportunities are available at the graduate level. The university's seven online MBA pathways include a general MBA, as well as dual-study MBA tracks in school administration, healthcare administration and Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). Other master's programs carry multiple specialization options, as well. These include a master's degree in counseling with six areas of concentration; a master's in education with 10 specialized tracks (many of which are subject-specific); and a master's in nursing track with seven possible specializations. Finally, grad students seeking a religious studies degree from Wesley Seminary can pursue a master's in four areas: divinity (with seven specializations); Maestría en Divinidad (Spanish-language divinity); ministry; and practical theology.

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13 The University of Alabama 66.38 4/5 67% Tuscaloosa, AL

Considered the largest and oldest public university in the state of Alabama, UA first opened its doors in 1820 and today boasts an enrollment of more than 37,000 students. The school's Bama by Distance program features a wide selection of degree and certificate programs delivered in fully online and hybrid formats. The university also strives to make online education more accessible through the GoArmyEd program aimed at military personnel re-entering civilian life, as well as the Back to Bama and New College LifeTrack programs geared toward adults who have completed college courses in the past without earning a degree.

Bama by Distance offers a total of 13 online bachelor's degree pathways. These include a B.S. in human environmental sciences with eight possible concentrations: food and nutrition; general studies; consumer sciences; family financial planning and counseling; early childhood education; child development; child life; and restaurant, hotels and meetings management. All of these fully online programs are 120 credit hours in length, and full-time students typically complete all of their degree requirements within four years. An online B.A. or B.S. in interdisciplinary studies is also available through the New College LifeTrack program. Other Bama by Distance options for undergrads include a B.S. in commerce and business administration and a hybrid B.S. in mechanical engineering. Nursing students may also choose from online RN to BSN and RN to BSN/MSN pathways.

UA online students seeking a master's in education can select from fully online programs in four subjects: educational psychology learning and assessment; elementary education; secondary education (with a preschool to 12th grade reading specialist certification); and secondary education English language arts. Blended M.A. programs in educational psychology and special education are also available. Other fully online opportunities for master's students are available in business, communication and information sciences, aerospace engineering and mechanics, human environmental sciences, nursing and social work.

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14 University of Massachusetts-Lowell 66.30 3/5 54% Lowell, MA

The second largest school in the UMass system (behind Amherst), this institution first opened its doors in 1898 and currently hosts more than 18,000 enrolled students. UMass-Lowell's distance learning branch features more than 50 degree and certificate programs, most of which are delivered in an exclusively online format.

A total of seven online bachelor's degrees are available through UMass-Lowell. Students seeking a web-based degree in liberal arts can choose from nine concentrations: art history, economics, English, history, legal studies, political science, philosophy, psychology or gender studies. Program length for this pathway varies by concentration. In addition to a standard bachelor's degree in information technology, the university also offers an IT bachelor's degree with a business minor, as well as a 30-credit IT specialization for students who have already earned a bachelor's in a different field. The university recently unveiled its latest online program, a 120-credit bachelor's degree in English that culminates in a capstone project. Other new additions to UMass-Lowell's web-based lineup include online bachelor's degrees in criminal justice and business administration. Additionally, 11 undergraduate certificates are available online; eight of these options are concentrated in IT and digital design.

UMass-Lowell's online programs also feature 11 master's degree tracks. These include master's in securities studies degrees with five cutting-edge specialization options: cybersecurity; critical infrastructure protection; homeland defense; international security; and industrial and economic security. Multiple areas of focus are also available for MBA students, who can choose from degree specializations in accounting, finance, IT or marketing; standalone master's degrees in accounting, IT and finance are also offered online. Master's in education students can pick from five specializations, as well. Other opportunities for online grad students include degrees in engineering management and criminal justice. Thirteen online graduate certificates are offered, including four new programs in network security, new venture creation, systems models and management, and victim studies.

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15 Thomas Edison State University 66.73 3/5 N/A Trenton, NJ

Established in 1972, Thomas Edison State University is located in the New Jersey capital of Trenton. In addition to standard online courses delivered through the school's MyEdison portal, distance learners at TESU may also choose to take asynchronous guided study courses utilizing DVDs and streaming video, 'e-pack' self-assessment courses and TESU’s own credit-by-exam program, TECEP exams, aimed at students who wish to prepare for rigorous final exams.

TESU offers a total of 27 online bachelor's degrees. One-third of these programs are concentrated in business administration; these include degrees in accounting, entrepreneurship, finance, human resources, management and marketing. For undergrads seeking a technology-oriented online degree, TESU features programs in electronics systems engineering, information technology and nuclear engineering. The online BSN program features is offered completely online, and is reserved for students who have already obtained licensure as a registered nurse. For adults who have earned a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field and are interested in becoming registered nurses, TESU offers an Accelerated 2nd Degree BSN program that prepares graduates for the National Council Licensure Exam for RNs (NCLEX). This rigorous program includes an online and on-site component. Other BS pathways include degrees in two cutting-edge fields, homeland security/emergency management and organizational leadership. BA degrees are available in eight different subjects, including communications, computer science, international studies, psychology and sociology. In addition to standard degree programs, 16 online undergraduate certificates are offered through TESU. With the exception of a 15-credit gas distribution certification and a 33-credit certification, these programs are 18 credits in length and can be completed in one year or less of full-time study.

At the graduate level, online Master of Science degrees are available in seven fields: applied science and technology; hospitality management; human resources management; information technology; international business finance; management; and nursing. Other affordable web-based master's options include an MBA, two degrees in education and a Master of Public Service Leadership (MPSL). A dozen online graduate certificates are also offered, including programs in niche fields like clinical trials management, digital humanities, geropsychology, industrial-organizational psychology and online learning and teaching; all of these certificate programs are 15 credits in length.

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16 LeTourneau University 65.23 4/5 61% Longview, TX

Located in the town of Longview, Texas, this interdenominational Christian institution was primarily founded in 1946 to provide education and specialized for returning WWII veterans. LeTourneau's online programs are centered around the philosophy that higher education shouldn't interfere with the lives of working adults; many degrees and courses are available in accelerated web-based formats, and most follow an asynchronous schedule that allows students to complete degree requirements at their own pace.

The school's online bachelor's selection offers a mix of technical, business, liberal arts and religious studies. Two bachelor's degrees, aviation studies and aviation management, are offered through LeTourneau's aviation and aeronautical science department; these options are geared toward military veterans and retired personnel seeking a college degree as they transition back to civilian life. Business-minded undergrads can select from bachelor's programs in business administration, business/nonprofit management, computer information systems, health care management and health care systems. Aspiring educators can also pursue two bachelor's pathways -- early childhood to 6th grade, and 4th to 8th grade -- that result in full certification in the state of Texas. Other online bachelor's degrees are available in biblical studies and ministry, criminal justice, human services and psychology. LeTourneau's accelerated course structure allows students to complete most courses in three to seven weeks.

All of LeTourneau's online master's programs are concentrated in three academic departments. The 'Business and Technology' branch features five online master's degrees, including two MBA tracks with five possible specializations and innovative management pathways in engineering, strategic leadership and health care administration. The online Master of Education program includes four possible specializations: curriculum and instruction; education administration; teaching and learning; and teacher leadership. Finally, the 'Psychology' branch features a general Master of Psychology degree, as well as a Master of Counseling with specializations for licensed professional counselors, marriage/family therapists and school counselors.

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17 Florida International University 64.57 3/5 49% Miami, FL

The second largest public university in the state of Florida, FIU's main campus is situated in the heart of downtown Miami. According to the school's website, more than 200,000 students worldwide have successfully completed web-based degree and certificate programs through FIU Online coursework. FIU's online business, engineering, MBA and bachelor's degree programs also earned spots on 2016 best-of rankings by U.S. News & World Report.

FIU Online features a total of 21 online bachelor's degree programs. These include degrees in eight business-oriented fields: organizational communication studies; finance; hospitality management; human resource management; international business; logistics and supply chain management; management; and marketing. Bachelor's programs in core academic subjects include degrees in criminal justice, early childhood education, health services administration, psychology, religious studies and sociology, as well as an RN to BSN track for registered nurses. The university also offers bachelor's pathways in less traditional areas of study, including sustainability and the environment, women's and gender studies and two tracks in recreation and sports management. All online bachelor's degree options at FIU are 120 credits in length, and are typically completed after four years of full-time study; each online student is paired with a 'success coach' to ensure they meet key deadlines and complete their degree requirements in a timely, cost-effective manner. With the exception of the RN to BSN program, all bachelor's degree pathways at FIU are delivered fully online.

Most of the online master's programs available through FIU Online are fully online, and many are available in accelerated formats that allow students to earn their degree in 12 to 18 months. Options for business students include corporate and healthcare MBA tracks, as well as master's degrees in hospitality management, human resources management and international business. The university also features master's degrees for teachers in curriculum/instruction and special education. Additional online master's options include degrees in construction management, computer engineering/network security, forensic science, music education and real estate.

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18 Excelsior College 63.62 3/5 N/A Albany, NY

Established in 1971, this private non-profit school is based in the capital city of Albany, New York. Excelsior, along with Thomas Edison State University in New Jersey (see #15) and Charter Oak College State College in Connecticut, are collectively known as the 'The Big Three' due to their lenient residency requirements for online students.

Online bachelor's degrees at Excelsior fall into six academic departments. The school's most robust online branch is 'Technology', with multi-concentration bachelor's degrees in cybersecurity, electrical engineering, information technology, technology management and general technology. An innovative dual program also allows students to earn a bachelor's in nuclear engineering and an MBA in just 151 credits. Online liberal arts options are also extensive, with a total of 15 online degrees in humanities, liberal arts, natural science and social science subjects. Business students can pursue a web-based degree in general business, as well as seven concentrated subjects. Additionally, eight B.S. to MBA dual tracks span 147 credits in length. The bachelor's in health sciences option includes possible concentrations in health and wellness, health education, health care management and public health. Online degree tracks in the 'Public Service' department include bachelor's degrees in criminal justice and national security -- each with five possible concentrations -- and a B.S. in military leadership. Finally, an RN to BSN pathway is available to registered nurses.

At the graduate level, Excelsior allows business students to take their pick from 10 MBA specializations and four management specializations. Specialized Master of Health Sciences degrees are also available in health professions education, public health and healthcare informatics. In addition to the RN to BSN pathway, registered nurses may also enter an RN to MSN track with three specializations; these specializations are available in the standard MSN program, as well. Additional possibilities for online grad students at Excelsior include master's degrees in criminal justice, public administration and cybersecurity.

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19 Fort Hays State University 62.07 3/5 41% Hays, KS

Named for the Kansas military facility where its main campus was constructed, Fort Hays State first opened its doors to students in 1902. The university's Virtual College was launched more than two decades ago, and today serves roughly 6,000 distance learners in more than 20 countries across the globe.

Many of the online bachelor's degree programs at Fort Hays State are concentrated in business studies. These options include three degrees in business education, two in management and single degrees in accounting, marketing, organizational leadership and tourism/hospitality management. Online students can also choose from several technology-oriented degree plans in subjects like computer science, information networking and telecommunications, medical diagnostic imaging and technology leadership. Bachelor's of education pathways include two elementary education tracks (general and special education), as well as an early childhood education program. Sociology majors may also choose between two tracks, general and an addiction counseling minor. Other online bachelor's opportunities include degrees in health studies, justice studies, philosophy, political science, psychology and an RN to BSN pathway for registered nurses. Most online bachelor's programs at Fort Hays State range between 120 and 135 credits, and can usually be completed after four to five years of full-time study.

At the graduate level, two master's degrees -- counseling and school psychology -- follow a blended schedule that includes occasional on-campus components. Otherwise, master's programs offered through the Virtual College are fully online. Five of these options are concentrated in education: a general Master of Education degree, as well as programs in education administration, higher education student affairs, nursing education and special education. Other master's tracks allow online students to earn online degrees in health and human performance, history, instructional technology, public history and nursing administration. Two general master's degrees are also available online: a Master of Liberal Studies (MLS) and a Master of Professional Studies (MPS).

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20 Oregon State University 61.66 3/5 61% Corvallis, OR

The largest public university in the state of Oregon by total enrollment, OSU is a land-, sea-, space- and sun-grant institution located in the town of Corvallis. All online courses offered through the university are developed and taught by on-campus faculty members, and the university's current catalog includes more than 1,000 fully or partially online courses.

OSU has a long history of eco-minded education, and many of the school's current catalog are concentrated in environment-related fields. These include degrees in agricultural sciences, environmental economics and policy, fisheries and wildlife sciences, horticulture, natural resources and sustainability. Online bachelor's degree programs are available in three foreign languages: French, German and Spanish. Other web-based undergraduate degrees focus on core academic subjects like business administration, computer science, economics, history, psychology and sociology. Online students who are unsure about which major to pursue are invited to enroll in OSU's University Exploratory Studies Program (UESP), a non-degree plan that allows them to try out different majors while completing standard baccalaureate courses. Additionally, students who hold a degree in certain fields (such as agriculture or natural resources management) or have relevant work experience may be eligible for the Interagency Fire Program Management plan; this primarily online interagency program enables students to earn the GS-401 fire management specialist credential.

At the master's level, online business students can choose two MBA specializations: business analytics or organizational leadership. Aspiring teachers also have multiple options; these include a master's in education with two specialization tracks (Adult or K-12), as well as degrees in art education, school counseling and English as a Second Language (ESL). And like OSU's online bachelor's programs, the master's list includes three environment-oriented degrees: natural resources, environmental sciences and fisheries/wildlife administration. Other online master's tracks include degrees in industrial engineering, radiation health physics, data analytics and public policy. A total of 11 online graduate certificates are offered, as well; seven are focused on environmental subjects.

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21 Drexel University 60.05 5/5 65% Philadelphia, PA

Named for its founder, this Philadelphia-based private research university first opened its doors to students in 1894. Long touted as a national leader in technology-oriented education (and named among the top 20 most innovative national universities in a 2017 ranking by U.S. News & World Report), Drexel Online currently offers more than 140 web-based degree and certificate programs.

Drexel Online features two web-based options for undergraduate nursing students: a B.S. in health services administration, and an RN to BSN pathway reserved for students who are already registered nurses. The latter program supplements onsite clinical courses with an innovative Health Assessment Simulation Lab, which allows students to interact with virtual patients and diagnose different medical conditions. The B.S. in general studies also includes a customizable 'individual studies' plan, and a bachelor's in general studies track with a business minor. Additionally, fully online bachelor's degrees are available in five core academic areas of study: business administration; communications; criminal justice; psychology; and computing and security technology. A blended bachelor's of education degree with student-teaching components is also offered. Most of Drexel Online's bachelor's degree programs are roughly 180 credits in length; since the school operates on a quarter schedule, this means students can generally complete all degree requirements after four years of full-time study.

Master's degree programs available through Drexel Online include two MBA tracks: a 42-month 'flex' program and a 24-month 'accelerated' program. An additional 13 Master of Science degrees are available online through Drexel's business and management department. Grad students with an interest in clinical/medical research can pursue master's degrees in six niche fields, including laboratory animal science, drug discovery/development and molecular medicine. Other specialized master's options at Drexel Online include degrees in television management, cyber security, project management, sports management and 14 education specialization tracks. Many of Drexel's master's programs include practicum or field-based components.

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22 Champlain College 59.67 5/5 64% Burlington, VT

Established in 1878, this Vermont institution maintains an annual enrollment of roughly 2,000 full-time students. Most of Champlain's online degree programs are asynchronous, or self-paced; in addition to standard degree plans, many courses follow an accelerated seven- or eight-week schedule that enables students to complete their program requirements ahead of schedule.

Undergraduates enrolled at Champlain can choose from a list of 11 online bachelor's degree programs. Some of these programs are highly specialized, and concentrated in cutting-edge fields of study. Degrees in cybersecurity and computer forensics focus on strategies for investigating and preventing digital crimes, while a degree in economic crime investigation covers fraud, identity theft and other crimes that result in financial losses. Other tech-related options for undergrads include online bachelor's degrees in computer and information systems, management information systems, software development and web design/development. Champlain also offers online bachelor's programs in accounting, business management, integrated studies and health care administration. All of the college's online bachelor's tracks are 120 credits in length, and standard courses are 15 weeks in length; choosing the accelerated seven-week option when available can allow students to complete their bachelor's requirements in as little as two to three years. A total of 27 online undergraduate certificates are also available, including 14 in technology/computer science and nine in business-related fields.

Champlain's distance learning options also include nine online master's degrees. In addition to a standard MBA, master's programs also include three specialized fields: executive leadership, health care administration and mediation/applied conflict studies. Additionally, three online master's degrees focus on the tech fields of digital forensic science, emergent media and information security operations. Master's degrees in early childhood education and law are available online, as well. All master's programs at Champlain range from 30 to 42 credits in length, and may be completed in as little as 12 months with an accelerated curriculum plan. A total of 11 online graduate certificates are also available, including nine related to business studies.

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23 Old Dominion University 58.85 3/5 49% Norfolk, VA

Established in 1930, this Virginia institution began to offer distance learning courses in 1994 with a satellite-based program dubbed TELETECHNET. Old Dominion has been considered a leader in online education ever since, and this trend has continued to the present day; a 2015-16 senior survey found that 96% of students who took online courses at the university in were 'satisfied' or 'very satisfied' with their experience.

Undergrads at Old Dominion can choose from 33 online bachelor's degree programs that cover a wide range of academic fields. These include 10 degrees in business-related fields, seven in engineering, seven in social sciences and six in education. In addition to an RN to BSN pathway, students can pursue healthcare-oriented bachelor's degrees in dental hygiene, medical technology and three health sciences concentrations. The university also offers 'military-affiliated' degrees in three areas: engineering technology (electromechanical systems); health services administration; and nuclear systems. These programs are geared toward students with previous military training. Unlike many other accredited online colleges on our list, Old Dominion's web-based bachelor's options are primarily 'degree completion' programs aimed at students who are transferring from a two-year school or returning to college after an extended time. Students in degree completion tracks must earn at least 30 of the 120 required degree credits through Old Dominion coursework. A select number of bachelor's subjects are also available as full degree plans.

Old Dominion's online master's degree options also include two programs designed for students with military experience: a master's in engineering management, and a master's in education that includes full teaching licensure in the state of Virginia. The university features 17 additional master's degree opportunities for aspiring teachers with no military experience. Other options for online master's students include eight degrees in engineering fields, six in business/ management, six MSN specializations and two Master of Public Health (MPH) degrees concentrated in environmental health and health promotion/education.

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24 Anderson University 58.78 3/5 48% Anderson, SC

Named for the South Carolina town where its main campus was established in 1911, Anderson University is a private Christian institution with an annual enrollment of roughly 3,200 students. Each online student is paired with a 'journey coach', who will regularly contact students throughout their degree program and help them meet critical deadlines.

Anderson's online bachelor's programs include several fields with multiple concentration options. Students seeking a business-oriented education can pursue a standard business administration degree, as well as concentrated tracks in applied computing and healthcare management. The university also offers several options for those with an interest in homeland security. These include three emergency management degree plans: a standard track, as well as concentrations in homeland security operations/administration and community preparedness; criminal justice concentrations in homeland security/emergency preparedness and law enforcement are also available. Additional online bachelor's degrees cover subjects like Christian studies, human resource administration, human services and organizational leadership. An RN to BSN track is also offered for students with registered nursing credentials; accelerated five-week courses allow them to complete this program in as little as 15 months. Many of the other bachelor's programs are also offered in a 'degree completion' track; students on this schedule must complete at least 36 credit hours of their degree requirements at Anderson.

Online master's degrees at Anderson are available in four areas of study. The 36-credit MBA program is formatted into six-week course blocks, allowing students to earn their degree in less than two years. The general master's of education is also accelerated, and delivered fully online; students can complete this program in one year. The master's in education features a comprehensive 30-credit curriculum that culminates in a portfolio capstone project. Finally, the Master of Ministry is Anderson's most extensive graduate-level online program: 42 credit hours, and typically 24 months of full-time study. A doctoral degree in Ministry is available online, as well.

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25 Northwestern State University of Louisiana 58.42 3/5 36% Natchitoches, LA

Based in the town of Natchitoches, this public four-year university was established in 1884 and was the first Louisiana school to feature a degree program in nursing. Students who enroll in the eNSU Global Campus pay the same tuition rates regardless of their state of residence, and the university has also been recognized as a top online academic destination for veteran students.

eNSU's current selection features a total of 16 online bachelor's degrees. These options include a B.S. in unified public safety administration with four available concentrations: law enforcement administration; fire and emergency medical service administration; emergency management; and public facilities management. Psychology majors can also select prevention specialist or substance abuse concentrations for their online bachelor's studies. A hybrid RN to BSN pathway offered for registered nurses features online coursework supplemented with onsite clinical training, and a similar transitional program is available for radiologic technologists seeking a B.S. in radiologic science. Additional healthcare-related options include online degrees in allied health and addiction studies. Students pursuing a liberal arts education may choose from degrees in fields like criminal justice, history, psychology and social work. eNSU also features a blended Bachelor of Applied Science degree in resource management with two possible concentrations, culinary science or environmental science.

Opportunities for online grad students at eNSU are even more extensive -- 20 degree programs in all. Fourteen of these options are concentrated in education studies. Three master's tracks for teachers feature multiple specializations: adult learning and development; curriculum and instruction; and special education. Additional education master's programs include seven grade-specific specializations, as well as degrees in student affairs in higher education, early childhood education and educational leadership. Nursing students may choose from five different MSN concentrations; master's degrees are also available in health and human performance (with a health promotion concentration) and radiologic science.

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Best Online Colleges of 2017 - Honorable Mentions
Rank School Location
26 University of Cincinnati Cincinnati. OH
27 Bellevue University Bellevue, NE
28 California University of Pennsylvania California, PA
29 City University of Seattle Seattle, WA
30 Concordia University - Saint Paul Saint Paul, MN
31 Dakota State University Madison, SD
32 Dallas Baptist University Dallas, TX
33 Eastern New Mexico University Portales, NM
34 Florida Institute of Technology Melbourne, FL
35 Gardner-Webb University Boiling Springs, NC
36 Missouri State University - Springfield Springfield, MO
37 Northern Arizona University Flagstaff, AZ
38 Park University Parkville, MO
39 Regis University Denver, CO
40 Saint Joseph's College of Maine Standish, ME
41 Saint Leo University Saint Leo, FL
42 Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH
43 Southwestern Assemblies of God University Waxahachie, TX
44 Southwestern College Winfield, KS
45 Troy University Troy, AL
46 University of Louisiana at Monroe Monroe, LA
47 University of Wisconsin - Stout Menomonie, WI
48 Washington State University Pullman, WA
49 Western Governors University Salt Lake City, UT
50 Western Kentucky University Bowling Green, KY

See Methodology
Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1 Florida Institute of Technology-Online 87.42 5/5 57% Melbourne, FL

Founded in 1958 as a private engineering college, Florida Tech earns the top ranking on our list for its extensive number of STEM-related online associate programs. The school is particularly well-renowned for aviation studies; the university operates a full research center on its main campus in Melbourne, as well as a satellite training facility at the city's international airport. Florida Tech is also a core partner in the Federal Aviation Administration’s Center of Excellence Partnership to Enhance General Aviation Safety, Accessibility and Sustainability (PEGASAS).

Aviation-related options are open to online students at FIT, as well. The web-based online associate degree in aviation management covers transportation costs and operations, aviation laws and safety, international business and other fundamental areas of the industry. The university awards transferable academic credit to aviation students with a valid private, instrument and/or commercial pilot's license. Additionally, Florida Tech offers online associate degrees in five business-related fields: accounting; business administration; healthcare management; management; and marketing. Associates in applied psychology, criminal justice, liberal arts and computer information systems are also available.

All of Florida Tech's online associate degrees are delivered fully online, and no campus visits will be required. Each program contains 20 or 21 total courses; because each course is eight weeks in length, most students are able to complete all of their associate degree requirements after two years of full-time enrollment. The university also eases the burden of college costs for military personnel by offering a flat undergraduate tuition rate of $250 per course to active-duty service members and reservists, as well as their spouses. Honorably discharged veterans, their spouses and dependents of deceased or disabled military veterans will receive a 10% tuition discount, as well.

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2 Southern New Hampshire University 86.27 4/5 59% Manchester, NH

Founded as New Hampshire College in 1932, SNHU is today one of the nation's largest accredited online colleges; according to Fall 2016 enrollment data, the school currently serves more than 60,000 online students (as well as roughly 3,000 on-campus students). The New Hampshire Business Review named SNHU as the state's 'Best Online Degree Program' in 2015, citing the university's "flexible" study options and a "tradition of academic excellence".

SNHU's online catalog includes eight fully online associate degree programs. One of these options is an Associate of Science (A.S.) in Fashion Merchandising. This program follows a comprehensive curriculum that covers accounting and economics, design, color theory, textile silence and other core subjects. This degree prepares students to progress into SNHU's Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in fashion merchandising, or pursue entry-level careers in the fashion retail industry. In addition to this pathway, SNHU offers associate degrees in three other business-related areas: accounting; business management; and marketing. Online associate degrees are also available in criminal justice, digital photography, information technologies and liberal arts.

SNHU's associate programs are each 60 credits in length, and designed for completion after two years of full-time study. Active-duty military servicemembers and their spouses receive a 30% tuition discount when they enroll at SNHU. Online students are paired with an admission counselors and an academic counselor to assist them throughout their degree track. The university also offers courses aimed at first-time virtual learners, such as SNHU 107 (Strategies for Online Learning).

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3 Minnesota West Community and Technical College 85.29 3/5 59% Granite Falls, MN

One of the newest learning institutions on our list, MWCTC was founded in 1997 when two local schools -- Worthington Community College and Southeastern Technical College -- joined forces to serve students in southeastern Minnesota. The college currently operates five campuses throughout the region, as well as an extensive online campus that emphasizes tech-based professional training programs.

A total of 40 online associate degree, certificate and professional diploma pathways are available through MWCTC. Degree-seekers can choose from 11 fields of study. These include programs in five business-oriented areas: accounting; administrative assistant; business management; management and supervision in healthcare; and office administration. An A.S. in Nursing program is also offered to students who have earned their Licensed Practical Nursing license and wish to augment their credentials with a two-year degree. Aspiring medical professionals may pursue the Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) for medical administrative secretaries, as well. Other degree options include A.A.S. programs in computer information security/assurance and energy technical specialist, as well as an A.S. in individual studies and an Associate of Arts (A.A.) in liberal arts. Of the 29 online certificate and diploma pathways at MWCTC, 12 are concentrated in computer science and seven are focused on business studies. Other options include programs in biofuels technology, community health, education, pharmacy technology and windsmithing.

Online associate degree programs at MWCTC are generally 60 credits in length, and can be completed fully online within two years. Most certificates fall between 15 and 30 credits; in many cases, all required courses may be completed within a single semester. The accountant diploma is 64 credits, and generally requires two years of full-time study; the remaining diplomas are 32 to 39 credits in length.

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4 Northcentral Technical College 84.49 3/5 47% Wausau, WI

Founded as an industrial training academy in 1912, this Was-based institution is a member of the Wisconsin Technical College System. NCC today offers two options for web-based students: online associate degree plans that follow a traditional semester schedule, or asynchronous (self-paced) programs available through the Virtual College that feature more flexible start dates and course deadlines.

Synchronous online associate degree options at NCC are further subdivided into fully, primarily and partially online options. Fully online associate degrees are available in a total of 11 fields. These include business-oriented programs in accounting, business management, small business entrepreneurship and supervisory management. Fully online plans are also available in applied engineering technology, health navigator, human services, information technology and safety engineering technology. NCC's primarily online associate options cover five careers: administrative professional; human services (general and alcohol/drug abuse studies); insurance; and marketing/promotional graphics. Hybrid associate programs include degrees in dental hygiene, graphic communications technology, nursing, pharmacy services and nine information technology specializations. Those who pursue an online associate through NCC's Virtual College can choose from 15 pathways; these include seven business fields, four IT specializations and two human services programs. The Virtual College also offers one exclusive program, an A.A.S. in health care business services. A wide range of professional certificates and diplomas are also available in all of these different formats.

Regardless of whether students choose synchronous or asynchronous programs, each associate degree at NCC consists of 65 to 70 course credits. The Virtual College is geared toward students with part-time jobs, childcare duties and other commitments that may prevent them from completing their degree requirements within two years. Outside the Virtual College, most full-time students finish their degree programs within two years (or four semesters) of full-time enrollment.

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5 University of Alaska Fairbanks 84.25 2/5 53% Fairbanks, AK

Originally established in 1917 as a vocational training center for farmers and miners, UAF is today a land-, sea-, sun- and space-grant public university. Roughly 9,870 students were enrolled at the university in Fall 2015, and more than a quarter of them attended the school via eLearning and distance education coursework. UAF also boasts a low student-faculty ratio of 12 to 1.

Online students at UAF may choose to earn an Associate of Arts degree. This general track includes coursework in five core areas: communication; perspective on the human condition; mathematics; natural sciences; and library and information research. The A.A.S. in applied business program enables students to choose from 13 different concentrations, such as administrative management, entrepreneurship, finance, human resources and tourism. An online A.A.S. for information technology specialists also allows concentrations in computing technology, network and cybersecurity and network administration. A.A.S. degree programs are available without concentrations in two other fields, applied accounting and early childhood education. In addition to degree programs, UAF offers online certification in five professional fields: accounting technician; applied business management; health care reimbursement; information technology specialist; and medical and dental reception. Web-based occupational endorsements are available in bookkeeping, financial services, medical billing/coding and medical office reception, as well.

All five associate degree programs offered online at UAF are 60 credits in length; most students complete all course requirements and earn their degree within two years of full-time enrollment. All of UAF's certificate programs are 30 credits in length, while the occupational endorsements each consist of 12 to 15 credits.

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6 Thomas Edison State University 83.28 3/5 46% Trenton, NJ

Thomas Edison was a lifelong proponent of self-guided education, and this Trenton-based learning institution named for the inventor is dedicated to "flexible, high-quality, collegiate learning opportunities for self-directed adults". In addition to traditional courses and degree tracks, online students at TESU may pursue 'e-Pack courses'. These self-taught 12-week courses do not carry assignments; students review required readings and assess their knowledge with online quizzes leading up to a proctored final exam. A full list of e-Pack course options is available online.

A total of 12 online associate degrees are available through TESU, and many of these options are geared toward students with STEM-related career goals. A.A.S. degrees are offered online in applied computer studies and applied electronic studies. Additionally, Associate of Science in Applied Science Technology (A.S.A.S.T.) degrees can be obtained in four fields: computer and information technology; electronics engineering technology; nuclear engineering technology; and technical studies. All four A.S.A.S.T. pathways culminate in a capstone project. Associate of Science in Natural Sciences and Mathematics (A.S.N.S.M.) are offered in computer science and mathematics, as well. Other online associate options include a general A.A. pathway, an A.A. in human services (including a capstone requirement), an A.A.S. in criminal justice and an A.S. in business administration.

All online associate degree programs at TESU are 60 course credits in length, and can be completed within two years of full-time study. As a postsecondary learning institution in New Jersey, TESU is part of the Comprehensive Statewide Transfer Agreement. Under this agreement, any student who earns an associate degree from TESU is guaranteed admission into a four-year state college in New Jersey.

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7 Foothill College 82.85 2/5 75% Los Altos Hills, CA

Founded in 1957, this community college based in the Los Altos Hills of California recorded a Fall 2015 enrollment of more than 13,500 students. Online students gain access to DegreeWorks, a comprehensive online portal that allows them to track and organize their required courses, class schedules, deadlines and other specific program components.

Online students enrolled at Foothill may choose from 14 A.A. degree programs. Many of these options are grounded in the arts and humanities. Two programs are geared at aspiring music professionals: a general degree in music, as well as a music technology that covers studio recording, dubbing, video production and other related areas of the industry. Another cutting-edge option is the A.A. in graphic and interactive design. This program delves into topics like modeling, typography, digital art and web design. Other associate programs for liberal arts students include degrees in anthropology, art history, English, general social science, history, humanities, psychology and sociology. Degree plans are also available in three business-related areas of study: accounting, business administration and economics. Other options for online students include 13 online career certificates and certificates of achievement; seven of these programs are concentrated in business studies, and another four are focused on technology-oriented subjects. Additionally, 14 certificates of proficiency are available in specialized fields like bookkeeping specialist, enrolled agent preparation, medical anthropology and songwriting.

All online associate degree programs at Foothill are 90 credits in length. Because the college follows a quarter-based calendar, most associate degree-earners complete their course requirements after two years of full-time study.

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8 Excelsior College 82.72 3/5 46% Albany, NY

Established in 1971, Excelsior is a private, nonprofit online college made up of schools in five core subjects: business and technology; health sciences; liberal arts; nursing; and public service. The school is a premier destination for non-traditional learners. Out of more than 39,000 students enrolled at Excelsior in Summer 2016, the average student age is 37.1 years.

Most of Excelsior's online associate degree options are concentrated in technology-oriented fields. The associate degree in technology is available with five different concentrations: computer technologies; electromechanical technology; electronic instrumentation; nuclear technologies; and power plant technologies. Additionally, an associate degree in technical studies is offered with the same specializations. Most of these technical-based degrees offer credit to students who have completed relevant training through the U.S. military or other certified employers. A similar offer is made for students who pursue the associate degree in criminal justice; up to 57 credits may be transferred from other institutions, including some types of official law enforcement training. Aspiring nurses can choose between an A.S. or an A.A.S. in nursing. Additional options for students seeking an associate degree include an A.A.S. in administrative and management studies, an A.S. in human services and general A.A. and A.S. liberal arts pathways.

Excelsior's online associate degrees are delivered in a fully online format. Many programs feature the opportunity to accelerated eight-week courses, allowing students to potentially complete all of their associate degree requirements in less than two years.

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9 Pennsylvania State University-World Campus 82.52 4/5 50% University Park, PA

The oldest institution to earn a spot on our ranking, Penn State first opened its doors in 1855. The university's World Campus was established in 1998, and today features courses taught by the same professors and faculty members that lead on-campus courses. According to data from Fall 2015, 12,242 students were enrolled at the World Campus -- a figure representing roughly 14.4% of the university's entire student body.

Six online associate degree programs are available through the Penn State World Campus. One option is the A.S. in turfgrass management. Penn State became one of the first postsecondary schools to offer a turfgrass-oriented degree program in 1929, and the current 61-credit program incorporates a mix of chemistry, biology, horticulture and environmental ethics. Students seeking a more generalized program may opt for the A.A. in letters, arts and sciences. This multidisciplinary liberal arts track is available with concentrations in business, history or mathematics. The A.S. in human development and family services also comes with multiple pathway options: students can choose between concentrations in 'adult development and aging services' or 'children, youth and family services'. The A.S. in information sciences and technology allows students to specialize in business or networking; other options include a baccalaureate track for aspiring transfer students, as well as a flexible 'individualized' schedule. The final two associate degrees are concentrated in business fields: a general business administration curriculum, as well as a 'labor and employment relations' track aimed at future human resources personnel.

All six associate degree programs offered through Penn State World Campus are 60 to 61 credits in length. The turfgrass management and human development/family services degrees include required internships that must be completed offline, while the A.S. in information sciences/ technology allows students to choose between an internship or capstone project. The remaining three associate programs are delivered in an exclusively online format.

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10 Liberty University 82.49 4/5 66% Lynchburg, VA

Founded in 1971 by Pastor Jerry Falwell, Liberty is a nonprofit, private Southern Baptist university headquartered in Lynchburg, Virginia. With a total enrollment in excess of 110,000 students, Liberty is considered the largest Christian postsecondary institution in the world. The university also recorded 94,000 online students in 2016, and roughly 80% of Liberty's graduates earn their degrees through web-based coursework.

Liberty students seeking a religion-centered education can choose from several faith-based online associate degree programs. The A.A. in religion covers the fundamentals of theology and biblical study, while the A.A. in psychology is offered with a Christian counseling emphasis. The associate degrees in general education and interdisciplinary early childhood education also focus on Christian learning facilities; both of these options are non-licensure tracks. Other programs, such as the A.A. in paralegal studies, incorporate scriptural laws into lessons about ethical practices. Secular online associate programs offered at Liberty include A.A. degrees in accounting, business, information systems and medical office assistant. All online associate programs at the university are 60 credits in length; according to the transfer agreement, at least 15 of these required credits must be obtained through Liberty courses.

All of Liberty's online associate degree programs are delivered in an exclusively web-based format, and students will not be required to make any campus visits. Military personnel and their spouses receive a substantial tuition discount when they enroll in online courses at Liberty; veterans, active-duty members and reservists pay a flat rate of $250 per credit hour, while military spouses pay $275 per credit hour.

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11 Wake Technical Community College 82.21 3/5 48% Raleigh, NC

Founded in 1963 as an industrial training center with just over 300 students, this Raleigh-based institution today enrolls more than 70,000 students on a yearly basis. Students can evaluate their own readiness for WTCC online coursework using the eLearning Intro: Online Learning Readiness Assessment tool; this comprehensive webinar includes three separate modules, and requires students to earn a minimum score before they are able to enroll in web-based courses.

The college offers a total of 17 online associate degree programs. Seven of these associate degrees are concentrated in business studies. These include pathways in two areas of supply chain management: global logistics technology and distribution management. Other business-oriented tracks include degrees in general business administration, accounting, business analytics and office administration. On the technical side, WTCC offers cutting-edge associate degree programs in computer programming and development, criminal justice technology, fire protection technology and information system security, as well as three pathways dedicated to web design and development. In addition to associate degree plans, more than 70 professional certificates are also available online. These cover 17 different professional fields, including advertising and graphic design, computer programming and data science, lateral entry teaching, mechanical engineering and network management.

Eight of the college's online associate options feature at least one hybrid (or blended) course, which may require campus visitations; the remaining nine options are delivered in an exclusively online format. All of the online associate degree programs offered through WTCC may be completed after two years of full-time study.

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12 Northwest Iowa Community College 82.19 3/5 63% Sheldon, IA

This Sheldon-based community college boasts a student-faculty ratio of 13 to 1 and low tuition rates for both in-state and out-of-state students. A member of the Iowa Community College Online Consortium, NCC allows online students to select from a pool of more than 750 online courses offered at postsecondary institutions throughout the state.

Distance learners enrolled at NCC can choose from 13 different online associate degree pathways. These include 'pre-professional' A.A. degree programs in seven different fields: accounting; business; criminal justice; early childhood education; education; human resources management; and paralegal. An A.A. in business is also offered with two possible concentrations, management or financial/insurance services. The four remaining associate options are A.A.S. tracks in health information technology, agriculture, accounting and powerline technology. Although some online courses at NCC are asynchronous, most are not self-paced and students will be expected to meet weekly deadlines. The timetable for these courses will also vary; in addition to traditional semester-length (16-week) courses, students may also select from accelerated four-, eight- and 12-week modules. Regardless of course length, the curriculum and course content will be identical, and students will be expected to complete the same amount of work.

As part of the Iowa State University Admissions Partnership Program, NCC strives to serve students who plan to transfer into a bachelor's degree programs. NCC's 2 Plus 2 Transfer Guarantee plan ensures admission into the University of Iowa for students who have completed at least 30 credit hours. The college also holds articulation agreements with 19 four-year institutions throughout the state.

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13 Bismarck State College 82.12 2/5 46% Bismarck, ND

Established in 1939, this comprehensive community college is today recognized for its extensive renewable and non-renewable energy education opportunities. BSC is currently the third largest institution in the North Dakota university system, with an annual enrollment of roughly 3,800 students and a student-faculty ratio of 15 to 1.

Online associate degree programs at BSC include A.A.S. tracks in several energy-related fields, including electric power and transmission systems, nuclear power, petroleum production and plant technology. A blended A.A.S. in energy service and energy technician is also available; this pathway explores the fundamentals of wind power, hydroelectricity and other sources of renewable energy. Other technical associate options include degrees in computer support, geographic information systems, information processing, instrumentation/control technology and web page development/design. Bismarck State also offers business-oriented associate programs in administrative assistant, business administration and management. In addition to degree plans, professional certificates are also available in each of the associate fields.

The college's online associate degree tracks generally run 50 to 60 credit hours in length, and can be completed within two years; some require occasional on-campus lab courses, while others are delivered exclusively online. Certificate programs vary by credit requirement from 30 to 60 credits; depending on the length, certificates will require one to two years of full-time study. Although the tuition rates for online courses vary by delivery (synchronous or asynchronous), web-based students pay the same rate regardless of their state of residence.

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14 Shoreline Community College 81.65 2/5 49% Shoreline, WA

Located just a few miles north of Seattle, this community college first opened its doors in 1964. Of the roughly 10,000 students enrolled at Shoreline each year, 14% exclusively enroll in online courses while another 27% complete their degree requirements through a combination of online and on-campus coursework.

A total of six online applied associate degrees are available to students at Shoreline. These include pathways in three business-oriented fields: accounting; general business; and business technology. The latter associate program culminates in a comprehensive individual project. The A.A.S. in health information technology, concentrated in informatics and information management, also features a capstone requirement for second-year students. The final two associate programs require students to supplement their online coursework with supervised training. Students who pursue the A.A.S. in criminal justice must complete internships in criminal investigation and police operations, while those earning an A.A.S. in early childhood education/paraeducator must complete a practicum 'observation' course in a functioning classroom. All six online associate degree programs offered through Shoreline are between 90 and 94 course credits in length -- but due to the school's quarter-based calendar, these programs can be completed in two years of full-time study.

Additionally, online students at Shoreline may choose to participate in the Direct Transfer Agreement program. This pathway allows students to transfer into participating four-year schools throughout the state of Washington. DTA opportunities are available in the following academic fields: business; criminal justice; economics; elementary education; English language and literature; health information and information management; history; political science; and psychology.

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15 Western Wyoming Community College 81.35 2/5 60% Rock Springs, WY

Founded in 1959, this two-year institution is headquartered in the town of Rock Springs. WWCC's relatively small enrollment (3,620 students) allows the school to maintain a favorable student-faculty ratio of 18 to 1. Online students utilize the Mustang Cruiser, a comprehensive eLearning portal that allows students to access all web-based courses (powered by the Blackboard LMS platform).

Students enrolled at WWCC can choose from a total of 11 online associate degree plans. A.S. degree options include three business concentrations -- accounting, business administration and marketing -- as well as computer information systems and general studies pathways. Those seeking an A.A. degree can choose from five fields: criminal justice; general studies; social science; social work; and sociology. An A.A.S. in office information systems is available, as well. In addition to full associate degree programs, six online professional certificates are offered through WWCC. These include: 15-hour tracks in journalism and Western American studies; an 18-hour track in website development; a 20-hour track in digital design; a one-year track in accounting; and a self-paced track in emergency management. Most online courses run the entire semester and follow a synchronous schedule, although select courses may be available in an accelerated format.

WWCC maintains a transfer agreement with the University of Wyoming for associate degree-holding graduates who wish to enter a bachelor's degree program. The college also holds articulation agreements with some of the nation's top online colleges and universities, including Ashford University, Kaplan University, Southern New Hampshire University ad Western Governors University.

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16 Surry Community College 80.70 2/5 46% Dobson, NC

Based in the Blue Ridge foothills of North Carolina, this two-year institution was established in 1964 and today honors an open-door admissions policy for any applicants who have received a high school diploma. Online degree pathways at SCC are designed to mirror their brick-and-mortar counterparts; most courses follow a synchronous schedule, and span the entire semester.

Online students enrolled at SCC may select from eight associate degree programs. The most extensive option is a 73-credit early childhood associate pathway. This option covers fundamental concepts like child psychology, educational technology and curriculum planning; the program culminates in a final capstone project. The remaining online associate tracks range from 65 to 68 course credits in length. These include degrees in four business-oriented areas of study: accounting; business administration; medical office administration; and office administration. Students with an interest in marketing and design may pursue an associate in advertising and graphic design technology, which covers concepts like modeling, digital photography and web design. SCC also offers a criminal justice technology associate program; students who have completed official law enforcement training may receive credit for up to four of the required courses. Finally, a general A.A. pathway is available; with the exception of this option, online certificates in all associate degree subjects are offered, as well.

All online associate degree tracks at SCC are designed for completion after two years of full-time study. Free tutoring services are available for all online students.

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17 Southwest Virginia Community College 79.77 2/5 39% Richlands, VA

This two-year institution located near the city of Richlands first opened its doors in 1968. The most recent school records cite an overall enrollment of 2,630 students and a student-faculty ratio of 20 to 1. In addition to its traditional academic programs, SVCC recently received a $1.4 million grant to retrain professional coal miners who have been displaced by poor economic conditions.

SVCC offers a total of seven online associate degree pathways. Students seeking a tech-oriented education may pursue an A.A.S. degree in administrative support technology; this plan features two possible specializations, electronic medical records or information systems technology. Options for business-oriented students include an A.A. in business administration, an A.A.S. in accounting or an A.A.S. in management with an insurance emphasis. Two programs are geared toward aspiring teachers. The A.A. in education with a teacher preparation specialization offers concentrations in early childhood (PK-3), elementary (PK-6), middle school (6-8) and special education. An associate in early childhood development is also available. The final associate option, an A.A. in general studies, allows students to choose psychology or liberal arts specializations. In addition to traditional associate degree programs, online certificates are available in six fields: early childhood education; legal studies; general education; electronic medical records specialist; management specialist; and network administration.

All online associate degree plans at SVCC range from 61 to 67 credits in length, and can be completed by full-time students within two years. All three A.A. programs are geared toward transfer students, while the A.A.S. plans are designed for students who plan to immediately enter the workforce after earning their degree.

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18 Hodges University 79.57 3/5 47% Naples, FL

Founded as 'International College' in 1990, this private nonprofit institution maintains a main campus in Naples, Florida. In addition to traditional two-year online associate degrees, Hodges allows students to take part in the UPOWER Self-Paced Learning program; students who pay a flat rate of $2,750 are able to complete as many courses as they wish within a six-month timeframe.

Hodges features a total of eight online associate degree programs, although the course delivery will vary by subject. Students seeking an associate in accounting or business administration may choose to follow traditional semester (15-week) or accelerated timetables. Two additional online associate degree options -- computer information technology and digital design/graphics -- are offered in the UPOWER self-paced format, as well as a synchronous two-year schedule. Other associate options include fully online tracks in four subjects: criminal justice; healthcare office administration; interdisciplinary studies; and paralegal. Additionally, Hodges offers a cutting-edge online certification program titled 'eDiscovery/eLitigation'; this pathway is designed for legal professionals hoping to learn more about the digital tools and platforms commonly used in their industry.

The online associate degree plans in criminal justice and healthcare office administration follow flexible tracks, allowing students to typically complete their program requirements within one year and eight months. The remaining six associate options consist of 60 credit hours, and are designed for completion after two years of full-time enrollment. Transfer students must complete their final 20 credits at Hodges before being able to earn their associate degree.

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19 Southwestern Assemblies of God University 79.03 4/5 70% Waxahachie, TX

Located within the greater Dallas-Fort Worth Area, this private Christian institution has received official endorsement from the Assemblies of God USA -- the only school to do so in the state of Texas. The university has offered distance-based education for more than 25 years, and today's students with a professional background may qualify for up to 25% of their programmatic degree requirements through the Experiential Learning Credit program.

SAGU's current catalog includes a total of 10 online associate degree programs. As a faith-based learning institution, these options include a degree in bible studies and a mission-oriented intercultural studies program. Other study plans integrate Christian teachings into the curriculum. For example, the associate in psychology includes lessons in 'psychology of selfhood and the Christian faith', while the associate in business administration track incorporates 'a Christian vision of business' to guide entrepreneurs and management professionals. Additionally, all associate degree curricula require at least 12 credit hours of general biblical studies courses. On the secular side, online associate programs include degrees in addictions counseling, education (general and early childhood), English and social studies. The general studies associate track allows students to follow a customized curriculum of courses in social/behavioral sciences, natural science/mathematics and physical education.

All online associate degree programs available through SAGU are delivered in a fully online format. Degree plans range from 60 to 65 credits in length, and are typically completed after two years of full-time study.

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20 Tiffin University 78.76 4/5 55% Tiffin, OH

Named for the city in which it was originally founded, Ohio's Tiffin University first opened its doors in 1888. With a current enrollment of roughly 3,500 students, the school boasts a stellar student-faculty ratio of 11 to 1. Additionally, more than half of Tiffin's courses feature a class size of 20 students or less.

Students at Tiffin seeking a business-related education may pursue an online associate degree in business administration with four available specializations: accounting; business; computer and information systems; and health administration. All four of these options consist of 61 credit hours; 30 of these credits consist of specialization-related coursework, while the remaining 31 are classified as 'knowledge skills and liberal education core' courses or electives. Tiffin also offers an associate degree in criminal justice with a law enforcement emphasis. The curriculum for this program covers the fundamentals of juvenile justice, forensic technology, criminology and other topics related to this field. Lastly, the online associate degree in general studies consists of a 60-credit curriculum in five core areas of study: humanities (18 credit hours); knowledge skills (15 credit hours); social sciences (12 credit hours); open electives (nine credit hours); and natural sciences (six credit hours). Available courses in this degree plan cover a diverse range of subjects, including algebra, art appreciation, philosophy, earth science, oceanography, economics and psychology.

Most students who enter an online associate track at Tiffin will finish their programmatic requirements and receive their degree within two years. All associate programs at the university are delivered in a fully online format.

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21 West Kentucky Community and Technical College 78.37 2/5 52% Paducah, KY

Headquartered in the town of Versailles, this two-year institution first opened its doors in 1997. As part of the Kentucky Community and Technical College (KCTC) consortium, WKCTC offers online degree programs in two formats: 'Learn by Term', a synchronous system that follows a traditional semester calendar; and 'Learn on Demand', which allows students to parse 15-week courses into asynchronous 'module' classes that run three to five weeks in length.

A total of eight online associate degree programs are available at WKCTC in the Learn by Term format. These options include degrees in three technology-driven fields: computer and information technologies; marine technology; and medical information technology. Aspiring business students may choose to earn an associate degree online in business administration systems or logistics/operations management. An online associate degree in criminal justice is also available, as well as pre-baccalaureate A.A. and A.S. programs. In addition to two-year degrees, online certificates in computer-aided drafting (CAD)/design and interdisciplinary childhood education are also offered through Learn by Term. On the Learn on Demand end, seven full associate degree plans are offered online: business information systems; computer and information technologies; logistics and operations management; marine technology; medical information technology; and general A.A. and A.S. degrees.

Because Learn on Demand courses are self-paced, expected degree completion time will vary from student to student. Most students finish Learn by Term degree programs after two years of full-time enrollment. While most of the courses will be delivered over the web, some online courses/associate degrees feature labs, practicums and other components that require occasional campus visits.

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22 Alexandria Technical & Community College 78.14 3/5 67% Alexandria, MN

Founded as a vocational academy in 1961, this two-year college joined the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system in 1995. As part of the Distance Minnesota consortium, Alexandria allows students to select from a pool of online courses offered at postsecondary institutions throughout the state.

Nine online associate programs are available to Alexandria students. Aspiring administrators can select from degrees in business administration, legal administrative assistant or medical administrative specialist. The college also offers an A.A.S. in paralegal, as well as a transitional diploma for trained law enforcement officers that can be completed within three semesters. Alexandria's other online associate options include degrees in computer information systems, human services practitioner, liberal arts and sciences and speech-language pathology. Additionally, a medical coding specialist diploma is available in an accelerated five-semester curriculum. Finally, generalized liberal arts/sciences and individualized studies pathways are offered for students who eventually plan to enter a bachelor's degree program. Following the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (MnTC) guidelines, these options include possible concentrations in 10 areas of academic study, such as natural sciences, history and the social/behavioral sciences, the humanities and global perspective.

All of Alexandria's online associate programs are 60 to 64 credits in length, but study requirements vary by degree ranging from 62 to 79 hours per week. The human services practitioner, medical administrative specialist and paralegal tracks feature required internships, while the speech-language pathology program includes a clinical practicum requirement. The remaining associate programs are delivered fully online. The medical coding specialist diploma features a required internship, as well.

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23 Hutchinson Community College 78.14 2/5 59% Hutchinson, KS

Named for the Kansas town where its original campus was built, this two-year institution first opened its doors in 1928 and today enrolls between 5,000 and 6,000 students on an annual basis. The school's academic offerings have grown over the years to include programs in high-demand public service fields like firefighting, law enforcement and homeland security.

The OnlineEd branch at HCC offers roughly 200 web-based courses each semester, as well as a selection of 11 online associate degree programs. A.A.S. pathways represent the largest number, with programs in six areas of study: business administrative technology; criminal justice; early childhood education; health information management; and paralegal. Aspiring teachers can choose from A.A. and A.S. tracks in general education, as well as an A.A. degree in early childhood education. A.S. pathways are also offered in accounting and general business. In addition to standard degree plans, Hutchinson allows students to pursue online certification in the following areas: business technologies; accounting or office support; early childhood; health coding specialist; information technology in healthcare; medical transcription; pharmacy technician; and paralegal.

Most online courses at HCC feature flexible start dates and follow an asynchronous schedule; courses may be accelerated or run the length of the entire semester. The college's associate programs are designed for completion after two years of full-time enrollment. Most online courses at HCC are delivered fully online, although some feature proctored exams that require visits to campus or a predesignated testing site.

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24 Gateway Community and Technical College 77.15 2/5 46% Florence, KY

The newest school to earn a spot on our ranking, this two-year institution first opened its doors to students in 2002. Like West Kentucky Community and Technical College (#21), Gateway is a member of the Kentucky Community and Technical College (KCTC) consortium. This enables students to choose from two formats for their online two-year education: Learn by Term, a synchronous system that follows a semester-based calendar; and the asynchronous Learn on Demand option, in which students divide their courses into class 'modules' that span three to five weeks in length.

Seven online associate degree programs are available to Gateway students through KCTC's Learn on Demand wing. One cutting-edge option is the associate in marine technology. This business-meets-technical pathway comes with four possible concentrations: wheelhouse management; marine culinary management; marine engineering; and marine logistics operations. Other STEM-related Learn on Demand programs include degrees in computer/information technologies and medical office administration; both come with four possible concentration tracks, as well. Students seeking a corporate-oriented education may pursue an associate in business administration systems with human resources and management concentrations, as well as a standalone degree in logistics and operations management. General A.A. and A.S. pathways are also offered for students who plan to transfer into a bachelor's degree program. In addition to associate degree options, an online nurse aid certification program is available through Learn on Demand; this pathway includes onsite practicum and clinical requirements. Although individual associate degree plans are not available at Gateway through the Learn by Term system, students may choose to primarily enroll in online courses and satisfy their degree requirements using a blended format.

Learn on Demand associate degree programs generally run 60 to 65 course credits in length, and are typically completed after two years of full-time study.

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25 Allen County Community College 76.84 2/5 49% Iola, KS

Originally named Iola Junior College after the Kansas town where the main campus was built in 1923, Allen Community College is a public community college that enrolls roughly 2,500 students every year. The college allows students to earn associate degrees in 36 academic subjects -- and many of these pathways can be completed partially, primarily or entirely online.

Allen Community College students seeking an associate degree online may pursue an A.A. track in 17 different fields. For aspiring teachers, degrees are available in five fields: early childhood education; elementary education; secondary education; and two tracks for health and physical education teachers. These also include fields related to the performing and visual arts, as well as tracks in subjects like anthropology, English, history, psychology and sociology. Allen also offers 15 A.S. degree programs, including pre-professional studies in engineering, medicine, nursing and veterinary medicine. A.A.S. degrees are available in seven areas: addictions and prevention studies; business: management development; early childhood education; farm and ranch management; information technology; pharmacy technician; and production media. Finally, an Associate of General Studies (A.G.S.) pathway is geared toward students who plan to eventually transfer into a bachelor's degree program.

Although credit requirements vary by program, most Allen students are able to complete their associate degree within two years' time. Online courses at Allen Community College follow a synchronous schedule with the same assignments and deadlines as on-campus classes; online students should plan to study at least six hours per week for each course in their current schedule.

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What is Accreditation and Why Does it Matter?

Any research into an online college should begin with confirmation that the school is, in fact, an accredited online college. Accreditation is the process by which universities, colleges, and other higher education institutions are evaluated. Peer review boards, whose members include faculty from various accredited schools, set evaluation standards. As with campus programs, online programs must meet those standards in order to achieve accreditation. Typical assessment criteria includes, but is not limited to, admissions requirements, quality of education, and faculty reputation.

Accreditation matters because it sets quality standards meant to ensure that your degree holds some value upon graduation. Employers and graduate schools know that if you hold an accredited online degree, you graduated from a program that meets the rigorous requirements for accreditation. In contrast, an unaccredited degree can cost you more than job offers — graduates of diploma mills risk leaving school tens of thousands of dollars in debt with nothing to show for it but a degree that isn’t recognized by employers, graduate schools or professional certifying agencies. Accreditation of any online college you’re considering can be verified through the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) Database of Institutions and Programs Accredited by Recognized United States Accrediting Organizations.

National Versus Regional Accreditation

Colleges are accredited by either national or regional accrediting bodies. Regionally accredited colleges are typically state-operated, nonprofit, or academically-oriented schools. Generally, most nationally accredited colleges are for-profit schools, and many of the accrediting bodies have lower academic standards than their regional counterparts. Students who are interested in a nationally accredited school should diligently research that school’s academic reputation, and compare that college’s accrediting agency with the standards set by the regional organizations.

Students should also be wary of accreditation mills that offer genuine-looking but ultimately bogus accreditation to schools. In the United States, there are seven regional accrediting agencies that evaluate two-year and four-year colleges; some states also have their own accrediting bodies independent of the regional agencies. You can learn more about each individual agency, and its jurisdiction, through the Office of Postsecondary Education.

It’s also important to note that most nationally accredited colleges and universities will accept transfer credits from regionally accredited colleges and universities, but the inverse is not always true. Always verify credit transferability.

Programmatic Accreditation

In some cases, individual programs may also be accredited by an independent board. One example is the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, which accredits academic programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and technology. These agencies testify to the competence of individual programs offered at specific schools, and allow students to have the peace of mind that their school’s department offers a reputable program. These boards certify both online and campus-based programs. Some state-level professional certifications mandate that students graduate from a program with programmatic accreditation. Requirement should be independently verified.

Of course, after confirming accreditation, it can still be difficult to weigh the value and quality of one online degree over another. It’s good to keep in mind that whether a program is offered online or on campus, all regionally accredited programs in the U.S. are held to the same academic and professional standards. These standards also extend to the full-time faculty and adjunct professors that these schools hire. Any accredited online school that fails to meet program and faculty quality requirements risks losing accreditation.

Due to the rapid evolution and development of online coursework, accredited online programs are quickly becoming some of the most high-quality degree path options available. To date, well over 2000 colleges offer accredited online programs. While our list of the best accredited online colleges and universities is a good starting point for researching programs, we’ve outlined some additional steps you can take to narrow your list of schools under consideration.

How do you choose the best online college for you?

In the world of online education, there is no overall best online college or online degree program. But there is a best option for you – you just have to know what questions to ask. Ask yourself these five questions to begin the search for the best online colleges and universities for you:

  • What do you want to do with your degree?
  • What degree level do you want to earn?
  • What majors will help you achieve your career goals?
  • How much flexibility do you need?
  • How much can you afford to spend on an online degree program?

The rapid growth in online colleges and universities means that you have more choices than ever before – and therefore you have to think even more carefully about which online school is right for you. If you know exactly what you want out of a particular degree, then you can make educated choices about which schools and programs will give you an acceptable return on investment.

Know Your Career Goals

A college degree is the best way to increase your earning potential – but different careers require different degrees. Think specifically about the types of job titles you hope to be eligible for after you graduate and the types of employers you want to work for. Research the kinds of skills and degrees people at those jobs have, and use that research to narrow down the degree programs you are considering.

To help get you started on researching career options, check out these guides:

Business Careers
Technology Careers
Healthcare Careers
Education Careers
Criminal Justice Careers

Pick a Degree Level

There are a couple of considerations to make before choosing a degree level to pursue. One, what level of education have you achieved to date? Two, what are your career goals? After all, college degrees aren’t one-size-fits-all. In addition to the multitude of online bachelor’s degrees out there, you can also consider online associate degrees and online master’s degrees. The following list can help you better understand your options:

  • Online Associate Degree: Full-time students can typically complete an associate degree program in two years. If you have a high school diploma and are looking to quickly gain practical career skills, an online associate degree program may be a good fit. Less expensive than a 4-year degree, many online community colleges and online career colleges have programs that will open the door to vocational and administrative support positions such as legal assistant, medical assistant, and medical biller and coder. An online associate degree program is also a cost-effective way to complete general education requirements before transferring to a 4-year program.
  • Online Bachelor’s Degree: It is expected that full-time students can complete an online bachelor’s degree program in 4 years. If you have a high school diploma and/or some college credits to your name, an online bachelor’s degree program may be the right fit. Some colleges even offer degree completion programs specifically for students who have earned an associate degree and would like to finish a bachelor’s program. A bachelor’s degree is perhaps the single best way to increase your earning potential. According to, a worker with a bachelor’s degree can earn over $1,000,000 more over 20 years than a worker with just a high school diploma. Most entry-level positions at professional organizations require, at a minimum, a 4-year degree. Business, healthcare, tech and all manner of other sectors are looking for well-rounded, critical thinkers with communication skills. An online bachelor’s degree program can position you to bring all three and more the table of potential employers.
  • Online Master’s Degree: Most online master’s programs can be completed in less than three years. Many schools offer accelerated online programs allowing you to complete your graduate degree in as little as 12 months. If you already have a bachelor’s degree but want to switch careers, qualify for more advanced leadership roles, or increase your earning potential you may want to consider a graduate degree. Programs from accredited online colleges and universities, in particular, allow those in the workforce to earn a master’s degree online while balancing work and family obligations. It should be noted that a master’s degree is required in some fields for professional licensure and certification. These include, but are not limited to licensed counselors, social workers, and certified public health employees.


Choose a Major

Once you know what degree level you want to pursue, think carefully about what majors will have the biggest impact on your current career or future job prospects. Different majors teach different skills and have different points of emphasis. Multiple studies have shown that what you study has a bigger impact on future earning potential than where you go to school.

Look at the different majors that a variety of top online colleges and universities offer related to the field of study you are interested in. Research what specific courses you will take with each one. Think about what specific hard and soft skills will be most valuable to the work you want to be doing.

Explore our collection of degree program rankings to learn more about other fields of study and potential career paths.

Decide How Much Flexibility You Need

Different online degree programs offer different amounts of flexibility. Here are some common types of online degree programs and online college classes you’ll find. Each offers a different level of flexibility and different types of instruction.

  • Synchronous: Students are expected to attend classes, view lectures, participate in group chats and conversations and complete assignments at the same time according to a pre-set schedule or syllabus.
  • Asynchronous: Students are given regular deadlines for completing assignments, reading, viewing or listening to lectures and participating in group discussions (often using an online message board), but can complete these tasks at any time before the due date.
  • Open Schedule: A type of asynchronous class, Open Schedule courses allow students to begin courses at any time, independent of traditional quarter or semester systems. Students complete assignments at set points during the class based on their start date. Discussion and interaction with other students is usually minimal.
  • Fixed-Time Online Courses: Students access all academic materials from a computer (no in-person meetings are required), but must log in to virtually attend and participate in class at specific times.
  • Hybrid Online Courses: The majority of course materials and instruction are provided online and can be done remotely, but students are required to meet in person one or more times during the course.

How Much Does an Online Degree Cost?

There is no doubt that a college education pays off – on average, a college graduate earns $1,000,000 more than a high-school only graduate over the course of their lifetime, according to the College Scorecard. Individual earnings vary greatly from person to person based on what level of degree you earn, what you study, and what kind of career you choose to pursue.

The cost of a college degree can vary wildly as well. It’s no secret that tuition prices have skyrocketed in the last few decades. Online degrees aren’t necessarily cheaper than traditional on-campus degree programs, but choosing an online degree program can save you money in commuting costs and materials, and most importantly, give you the flexibility to work while you earn your degree more easily than if you had to take classes in-person.

In-state vs. Out-of-State Online Colleges

One of the main reasons that you might be considering an online college is because it frees you up from having to visit a campus, meaning you could attend college anywhere, regardless of where you live or work. This is absolutely true, and it means that you can consider colleges and online degree programs that wouldn’t be available to you if you had to attend traditional in-person classes.

Many students enroll at public colleges in their own state to qualify for lower in-state tuition rates. However, several public colleges now offer in-state tuition rates to all online students, even if you don’t live in the same state as the school. This can mean savings of thousands of dollars a year, which means you pay less out-of-pocket and take out fewer loans. If you are looking for a degree with a high return on investment, or are entering a field that doesn’t pay a six-figure salary, do your research to find out if the program you are interested in can be found somewhere where you qualify for in-state tuition.

Consider Your Options

There are four main types of online schools, and each offers different advantages when it comes to cost:

Community Colleges

At a community college, you can pursue your associate degree online, either to qualify for introductory positions in your chosen field or as preparation for a four-year program down the line. Tuition at two-year schools is lower than at most colleges, and for students just starting college, it might make sense for you to begin here.

Professional & Career Colleges

If you want to attend school and prepare for a specific career, you can develop industry-specific skills in a career college. Whether you’re interested in nursing, secretarial work, or anything else, a professional college can help you take the next step in your career.

Public Colleges

These are the traditional four-year state schools. As a general matter, public colleges are usually cheaper than private schools. Some online schools offer reduced tuition rates to in-state students, while others are able to offer in-state tuition to students throughout the country.

Private, Not-for-Profit Colleges and Universities

Many, though not all, of the private schools offering online programs are religious schools. Some of these schools incorporate scripture into their online program, though others do not, and have no religious requirements for distance learners. Private non-profit schools are often more expensive than other four-year options, so be sure to do your research and find a school that fits with your budget.

Private, For-Profit Colleges and Universities

There are a number of reputable private for-profit colleges as well. When researching for-profit schools, it is vital that you research their accreditation and reputation, as there are a number of diploma mills in this category.

Even though one big advantage of an online college or university is the fact that you can take courses anywhere in the world, most online students take classes from a school within 100 miles of where they live. Online programs offer a great deal of flexibility, but enrolling in an online degree program close to your home can offer some big advantages. If you enroll in an online program close to home, you can save money with in-state tuition, easily access campus resources like libraries, gyms or in-person office hours with professors, and you can access hybrid programs, which require you to spend some time on campus in addition to online curriculum.

Ready to learn what online college degrees are available in your state? Select from the map below to learn about online degree programs where you live.

Online Colleges by State All states in the U.S. Hawaii HI Alaska AK Florida FL New Hampshire NH Michigan MI Vermont VT Maine ME Rhode Island RI New York NY Pennsylvania PA New Jersey NJ Delaware DE Maryland MD Virginia VA West Virginia WV Ohio OH Indiana IN Illinois IL Connecticut CT Wisconsin WI North Carolina NC Massachusetts MA Tennessee TN Arkansas AR Missouri MO Georgia GA South Carolina SC Kentucky KY Alabama AL Louisiana LA Mississippi MS Iowa IA Minnesota MN Oklahoma OK Texas TX New Mexico NM Kansas KS Nebraska NE South Dakota SD North Dakota ND Wyoming WY Montana MT Colorado CO Idaho ID Utah UT Arizona AZ Nevada NV Oregon OR Washington WA California CA

Earning a bachelor’s degree is a huge commitment of time and money, so you need to be smart and purposeful about choosing which programs to apply to. To make the best choice, focus your search on the best accredited online colleges and universities that offer online bachelor’s degree programs in the subject areas you want.


Choose Your Major Before You Choose Your School

For a number of reasons, knowing what you want to study before you pick a school is especially important for those considering earning a degree online. First, even though there are more online colleges and universities than ever before, most schools only offer a select number of bachelor’s degree programs in an online format. Knowing what you want to study will help you narrow your choices and make your search much faster.

Second, knowing what you want to study gives you a better idea of what kind of return on investment you’ll get with your degree, and therefore informs how much you should spend on an online degree program. What you study in college, whether online or on-campus, has a much bigger effect on post-graduate income than which college you attend.

If you aren’t sure what you want to major in, do some research. Think about what you want to do after you earn your degree. Find out what other people in that job-type or industry studied and what kinds of degrees they have. In short, talk to people who have the kinds of jobs you want.

Explore More Options for Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs

Our list of the best accredited online bachelor’s degree programs is a good place to start your search of the online education space. If you already know what you want to study, however, you may wish to explore further by browsing our collection of online program rankings or read up on some of the more popular programs for undergraduates:

How to Choose an Online Master’s Degree Program

If you’re looking for a way to jumpstart your career or make a career change without having to give up your full-time job, an online master’s degree may be the best way to accomplish your goal. And since most people considering a graduate degree have already started down a chosen career path, it’s not surprising that online master’s degree programs, in particular, are more popular than ever. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, almost one quarter of graduate students were enrolled in exclusively online courses in 2013, and the number of online courses offered has grown since then.


To make sure you choose from the best online master’s degree programs for you, you must be clear about your career goals and what you want out of the degree program. Most people who earn online master’s degrees do so with the goal of getting a higher-paying job. If you fall into this category, it’s important to really understand the job market for the industry or career you are interested in. For some fields, like social work or psychology, a graduate degree is required for even entry-level jobs. In other fields, like business, the online master’s programs and MBAs can prepare you for significant salary increases or senior leadership roles. Finally, in fields like education, a master’s degree can automatically qualify you for a higher salary, and choosing one of the best online master’s programs can allow you to earn that degree while you work full-time.

Not all jobs benefit equally from graduate school. For example, the typical salary of a worker with a master’s degree in Petroleum Engineering is only $5,000 more per year than the salary of a worker with only a bachelor’s degree in the same subject.

Once you know what you want from your educational investment, spend time networking with people in your desired field and doing online research to find out what kind of educational choices they made. Look at the kinds of companies you want to work for and see where their employees went to school. A big benefit of graduate school, even through an online degree program, is the relationships you develop with other students and instructors. The relationships you build can help you get the job you want after you graduate.

Explore More Options for Accredited Online Master’s Degree Programs

Most people researching online master’s degree programs already have a good idea of what they want to study. Whether you’re looking to change careers or set the stage for career advancement, it’s prudent to research your options. You can either browse our broader collection of rankings or go directly to one of our most popular program pages:

How to Choose an Online Associate Degree Program

When we talk about the importance of a college education, most people immediately think of a bachelor’s degree. But a bachelor’s degree isn’t the only educational route you can take to qualify for a high-paying career. For many people, earning an associate degree can provide you with the training you need in just two years for jobs that are rewarding and high-paying. If you have a full-time job or have other commitments that make it difficult to attend a traditional on-campus, 2-year college, there are more online associate degree programs than ever before for you to choose from.


Use the tips below to find the best online schools offering associate degrees in the subjects you are researching.

Salary for Associate Degree Graduates

The typical salary for a worker with an associate degree is $41,500, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Not only is this a substantial increase over the typical salary of a high-school only graduate ($35,000), but the unemployment rate for workers with associate degrees is significantly lower (3.8%) than that of high school-only graduates (5.4%). So earning your associate degree will not only increase the amount of money you earn, but it will also make it more likely that you can find a job in the first place. By choosing an associate degree program from an online community college or online career college, you can earn the degree you need to increase your salary without giving up your full-time job.

Just like with other degree levels, different subjects and majors have different impacts on your post-graduate earning power. In general, associate degrees in healthcare, technology, and engineering have the highest return on investment and lead to the highest-paying jobs. According to, workers with an associate degree in management information systems, construction management, and economics can earn over $70,000 a year.

Online Trade Schools, Technical Colleges, and Career Colleges

Online associate degree programs are especially useful if you are looking for a job in a specific trade or one that requires a narrow and specialized skill-set, like a paralegal, nursing assistant or IT professional. Many 2-year schools offer degrees specific to industries and subjects and focus on preparing students for a particular set of jobs. These schools, often known as trade schools, technical schools, or career colleges, tend to center around industries like healthcare, information technology (IT), and specific trades such as computer drafting. As online education becomes more common, more online trade schools and online career colleges have emerged. Our rankings can help you find the best online technical education options.

The First Step to a 4-Year Degree

In addition to boosting your earning potential in just two years and giving you the qualifications you need to get your foot in the door to certain career paths, earning an online associate degree can also be the first step on your journey to a bachelor’s degree. Before you enroll in an online community college or other online school, make sure to confirm that the credits you earn are transferrable and will count toward other degree programs you pursue. This can cut down the time you need to complete a bachelor’s degree in the future.

You should also ask admissions counselors if their school has any special transfer agreements with colleges or universities that offer bachelor’s degrees. It’s common for a community college, even an online community college, to have relationships with other schools that give students priority acceptance to bachelor’s degree programs after they earn an associate degree.

To make sure the credits you earn as part of your associate degree are transferable, start your research with our ranking of the best online community colleges. We’ve done the research to identify which accredited 2-year colleges offer the best quality education to help you reach your academic and career goals.

Why Choose Online Education?

A big reason for the growth in online education is demand. Online college programs make college more accessible to a much larger population than traditional on-campus learning. Thanks to technology, you can earn an online associate degree, online bachelor’s degree or online master’s degree without having to sacrifice your job or time caring for your family.

What Programs Are Students Pursuing Online?


In a recent survey conducted by of over 1,000 online learners, an overwhelming 65% of respondents cite flexibility as the top reason for pursuing an online education. These respondents were also less concerned about curriculum specifics or access to on-campus activities. While traditional factors such as affordability, academic excellence and delivery format remain major determining factors, our survey results suggest a majority of students choose to take courses online because they are more convenient.

The advantages of online courses are more than just a sense of freedom. Online courses eliminate the need to commute to a campus, which saves money as well. There are several costs associated with this type of long-term campus commute, and as 29% of respondents report a household income of less than $50,000 a year, affordability matters. In addition, 46% of online students cite choosing the convenience of an online course due to a lack of a local campus or an inability to regularly commute to one.

About 81% of online students are also employed, so the convenience of distance education works in their favor, allowing them to complete classes around their employment schedule. While almost 63% of students say that the courses they took were to further their career, only 17% claim that taking courses was due to a desire to change careers. These responses may suggest that many online students are looking to expand their current professional skills, including the skills needed for a job promotion, rather than shift career paths entirely.

But full- or part-time employment is not the only hurdle to completing higher education; nearly 34% of respondents say they chose online classes due to flexibility surrounding their family’s scheduling demands. In fact, 33% of those surveyed had dependent children living with them when they took courses, offering some insight into what types of external factors students may have to consider when selecting a learning format, such as childcare arrangements.

How the Best Online Colleges and Universities of 2017 Stack Up


Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Our rankings of the best online colleges and universities are a jumping off point to help you build your own list of prospective programs that meet your needs. Remember, many factors that contribute to the quality of a degree program are intangible. You won’t find data points here or elsewhere that fully capture the level of faculty support, peer networking or academic and professional stimulation found in one program versus another. Please contact your schools directly for more information.

Growing Popularity of Online Programs

One in three U.S. college students is now taking at least one class online, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Many leaders in education predict digital learning will become even more of an everyday experience for college students and recommend that high schools require students to take one online course before graduation, a requirement many high schools have already adopted.

In terms of total enrollments nationwide, growth rates of online enrollment have exceeded traditional enrollments since 2002, when fewer than 10% of new students were enrolled in at least one online class.

Growth of Online College Enrollment


Source: Sloan Consortium Annual Survey of Online Education

Digital learning is easily the most dramatic change to sweep higher education in more than a century. Colleges are under pressure to expand their online program offerings to meet the rising demand for distance learning options across the country. Learners can choose to take individual courses online, or to pursue a formal certificate or degree program. In fact, 63% of the students responding to our survey were working towards a degree, with the majority of them working towards a four-year bachelor’s degree. The rest were enrolled in online classes for personal learning and growth rather than college credit.

Recent declines in online enrollment can be attributed to an overall, post-recession decline in college enrollment as well as a significant decline in enrollment at online for-profit colleges. Overall, enrollment in online degree programs is growing at a faster pace than general college enrollment.

Growth of Available Online Degree Programs

This is great news for prospective students. Academia, once synonymous with tradition and the slow and careful adoption of all things new, is changing more quickly than ever and for the better. There have never been more opportunities for a more diverse group of degree-seekers.

Consider the rapid growth in the number of online degree programs available between 2012 and 2014. Over the last three academic years, we’ve seen a 45% increase in the number of online programs offered across the United States, for a total of 13,092 in 2014-2015. You can choose from over 550 individual degree programs alone that are offered by the 4-year colleges featured within our list of the best online universities.


Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Financing Your Online Degree

Despite the relative affordability of online programs, the need for financial aid is still a reality for most students. 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.

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.

Scholarships for Military Dependents

Military spouses and children are often faced with uncertainty, making online education a good option for those on the move. We’ve compiled a list of scholarships specifically for military dependents.

Resources to Help You Succeed

Are you considering a return to school? Do you feel uncertain about your ability to pick up where you left off? Browse our collection of student resources for a little peace of mind. Our guides are designed to help students at any level enter the classroom with confidence. Whether at home or on campus, find the help you need to get the most out of your education. Below you’ll find some of our more popular resources.

Guide to Online Research

There’s a lot of misinformation circulating online for inexperienced researchers. With the help of our online research guide, you can learn how to find reputable sources and discern fact from fiction.

Guide to Academic Writing

For those returning to school, the thought of academic writing can feel intimidating. From research papers to essay exams, our guide provides a high-level overview of how to tackle the usual suspects.

Information on Choosing a Major

Choosing a major can feel overwhelming, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Let us walk you through the process of narrowing your choice and take the next step with confidence.

Understanding Stress

Returning to college? Know that stress comes with the territory, especially if you’re trying to also balance the demands of work and family. Let us help you better understand stress and how to manage it.

Living on a Student Budget

Whether it’s your first time away from home or you’re returning to school, paying for college means living on a tighter budget. Our guide walks you through tracking expenses, establishing a budget, and saving money.

Rankings Archive

Best Online Colleges of 2016
Rank School Location
Accredited Online Bachelor's Degree Programs
1 East Carolina University Greenville, NC
2 Appalachian State University Boone, NC
3 University of Illinois at Springfield Springfield, IL
4 Eastern Illinois University Charleston, IL
5 University of Florida Gainesville, FL
6 Northern Kentucky University Highland Heights, KY
7 Asbury University Wilmore, KY
8 Minot State University Minot, ND
9 University of North Carolina at Greensboro Greensboro, NC
10 University of Arkansas Fayetteville, AR
11 Colorado State University - Global Campus Greenwood Village, CO
12 University of Central Florida Orlando, FL
13 Central Washington University Ellensburg, WA
14 Arizona State University Tempe, AZ
15 Florida International University Miami, FL
16 California State University - Chico Chico, CA
17 Misericordia University Dallas, PA
18 Buena Vista University Storm Lake, IA
19 University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN
20 Indiana University - East Richmond, IN
21 Old Dominion University Norfolk, VA
22 Clarkson College Omaha, NE
23 Pennsylvania State University University Park, PA
24 University of Memphis Memphis, TN
25 Florida Institute of Technology - Online Melbourne, FL
Accredited Online Associate Degree Programs
1 Mitchell Technical Institute Mitchell, SD
2 Alexandria Technical & Community College Alexandria, MN
3 Northwest Iowa Community College Sheldon, IA
4 Foothill College Los Altos Hills, CA
5 Moraine Park Technical College Fond du Lac, WI
6 Western Wyoming Community College Rock Springs, WY
7 Northeast Community College Norfolk, NE
8 Olney Central College Olney, IL
9 Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College Shell Lake, WI
10 Citrus College Glendora, CA
11 Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture Curtis, NE
12 Santiago Canyon College Orange, CA
13 Minnesota West Community and Technical College Granite Falls, MN
14 Seward County Community College and Area Technical School Liberal, KS
15 Kennebec Valley Community College Fairfield, ME
16 Casa Loma College - Van Nuys Van Nuys, CA
17 Big Bend Community College Moses Lake, WA
18 Northcentral Technical College Wausau, WI
19 North Dakota State College of Science Wahpeton, ND
20 City College of San Francisco San Francisco, CA
21 West Kentucky Community and Technical College Paducah, KY
22 Palomar College San Marcos, CA
23 Ridgewater College Willmar, MN
24 Fox Valley Technical College Appleton, WI
25 Gateway Community and Technical College Florence, KY

Best Online Colleges of 2015
Rank School Location
Accredited Online Bachelor's Degree Programs
1 University of Florida Gainesville, FL
2 George Washington University Washington, DC
3 University of Central Florida Orlando, FL
4 Georgia Southern University Statesboro, GA
5 Florida State University Tallahassee, FL
6 Pennsylvania State University University Park, PA
7 University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN
8 University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL
9 Appalachian State University Boone, NC
10 Misericordia University Dallas, PA
11 Mississippi State University Starkville, MS
12 University of North Carolina at Wilmington Wilmington, NC
13 East Carolina University Greenville, NC
14 Asbury University Wilmore, KY
15 Florida International University Miami, FL
16 University of Oklahoma Norman, OK
17 Rowan University Glassboro, NJ
18 University of Missouri - Kansas City Kansas City, MO
19 Dallas Baptist University Dallas, TX
20 Clarkson College Omaha, NE
21 Texas Tech University Lubbock, TX
22 Kennesaw State University Kennesaw, GA
23 University of Missouri - Columbia Columbia, MO
24 University of North Dakota Grand Forks, ND
25 University of Cincinnati Cincinnati, OH
Accredited Online Associate Degree Programs
1 Mitchell Technical Institute Mitchell, SD
2 Alexandria Technical & Community College Alexandria, MN
3 Northwest Iowa Community College Sheldon, IA
4 Foothill College Los Altos Hills, CA
5 Moraine Park Technical College Fond du Lac, WI
6 Western Wyoming Community College Rock Springs, WY
7 Northeast Community College Norfolk, NE
8 Olney Central College Olney, IL
9 Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College Shell Lake
10 Citus College Glendora, CA
11 Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture Curtis, NE
12 Santiago Canyon College Orange, CA
13 Minnesota West Community and Technical College Granite Falls, MN
14 Seward County Community College and Area Technical School Liberal, KS
15 Kennebec Valley Community College Fairfield, ME
16 Casa Loma Collge - Van Nuys Van Nuys, CA
17 Big Bend Community College Moses Lake, WA
18 Northcentral Technical College Wausau, WI
19 North Dakota State College of Science Wahpeton, ND
20 City College of San Francisco San Francisco, CA
21 West Kentucky Community and Technical College Paducah, KY
22 Palomar College San Marcos, CA
23 Ridgewater College Willmar, MN
24 Fox Valley Technical College Appleton, WI
25 Gateway Community and Technical College Florence, KY

Best Online Colleges of 2014
Rank School Location
Accredited Online Bachelor's Degree Programs
1 University of Florida Gainesville, FL
3 Fashion Institute of Technology New York, NY
4 Cabarrus College of Health Sciences Concord, NC
5 University of Georgia Athens, GA
6 George Washington University Washington, D.C.
7 Oakland City University Oakland, CA
8 Pennsylvania State University University Park, PA
9 University of Central Florida Orlando, FL
10 World Mission University Los Angeles, CA
11 The University of Alabama Tuscaloosa AL
12 Villanova University Villanova, PA
13 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL
14 Bethesda University of California Anaheim, CA
15 University of Wisconsin - Madison Madison, WI
16 Northeastern University Boston, MA
17 Rowan University Glassboro, NJ
18 University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN
19 Lancaster Bible College Lancaster, PA
20 University of North Carolina Wilmington Wilmington, NC
21 LeTourneau University Longview, TX
22 University of Delaware Newark, DE
23 Andrews University Berrien Springs, MI
24 Purdue University West Lafayette, IN
25 Misericordia University Dallas, PA
Accredited Online Associate Degree Programs
1 Virginia College Montgomery, AL
2 Sumner College Portland, OR
3 JFK Medical Center, Muhlenberg Harold B. and Dorothy A. Snyder Schools-School of Nursing Plainfield, NJ
4 Southwest Institute of Healing Arts Tempe, AZ
5 Pima Medical Institute-East Valley Mesa, AZ
6 FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising - Orange County Irvine, CA
7 Advanced College South Gate, CA
8 College of Health Care Professions - Northwest Houston, TX
9 Tennessee Technology Center at Murfreesboro Murfreesboro, TN
10 Dade Medical College - Miami Miami, FL
11 Pinnacle Career Institute North Kansas City, MO
12 North Central Kansas Technical College Beloit, KS
13 Vista College Clearfield, UT
14 Concorde Career College - Aurora Aurora, CO
15 Bryan University Columbia, MO
16 West Virginia Junior College - Morgantown Morgantown, WV
17 Daytona College Ormond Beach, FL
18 Heald College Salinas, CA
19 Community Care College Tulsa, OK
20 Eagle Gate College-Salt Lake City Salt Lake City, UT
21 Daymar College-Chillicothe Chillicothe, OH
22 Valley College-Beckley Beckley, WV
23 Western Wyoming Community College Rock Springs, WY
24 Career Point College Tulsa, OK
25 Wright Career College Overland Park, KS