Schools of Distinction

We are excited to introduce our Schools of Distinction — colleges and universities that lead the way in online education through a diverse selection of accessible and rigorous academic programs. Of the more than 3,500 not-for-profit colleges and universities nationwide, over 2,100 offer online degree programs; of these, only 115 schools qualified for our inaugural Schools of Distinction list.

These top-performing institutions are consistently represented across our program rankings for their academic quality, affordability, and online learning opportunities. Schools earned a gold, silver, or bronze level of distinction based on the number of academic rankings on which they appear: Gold medalists appear on 15 or more of our rankings, Silver medalists are featured 10-14 times, and Bronze medal schools appear 5-9 times.

The Schools of Distinction have devoted time, energy, and resources to developing quality online programs, meeting a growing trend in higher education. We celebrate these institutions by recognizing that their hard work will provide flexible, customized learning alternatives for today’s nontraditional students.

Explore our Schools of Distinction below for more information about their online programs and the rankings they feature in.

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Gold Schools

Our list of Gold Schools includes colleges and universities that appear on at least 15 different BestColleges.com rankings lists. They’ve demonstrated not only a high-level of investment in online education, but also a commitment to excellence in online learning. Learn more about the degrees and subject areas offered by these schools.

  • Liberty University

    Liberty University

    Liberty University is the largest Christian University in the world and offers more than 250 online programs. The Lynchburg, Virginia school has been offering distance education since 1985. Liberty offers associate, bachelor's, master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. Online students can easily transfer any past credits and receive the resources needed to succeed.

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  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University offers more than 200 online programs that help students gain entry into fulfilling positions or to advance in their careers. The school has dedicated online support and allows students to transfer up to 90 credits. Since 2012, SNHU has held the same tuition rates, making it one of the most affordable online schools in the nation.

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  • Nova Southeastern University

    Nova Southeastern University

    All of Nova Southeastern's regional campuses offer online degrees. Offerings include Southern Regional Education Board certified bachelor's, master's, doctoral, educational specialist, and graduate certificate programs. Many courses feature the real-time electronic classroom, giving online students new ways to participate. Distance education is also offered through regional campuses.

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  • University of Central Florida

    University of Central Florida

    Central Florida has 20 years of experience providing an online education and offers more than 80 online degrees. This includes bachelor's, master's, and certificate programs. Online students have access to peer-assisted learning, online tutors, financial, and academic advising. The school also offers 2+2 baccalaureate completion programs.

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  • Drexel University

    Drexel University

    In 1997, Drexel became one of the first universities to offer a completely online program. The school offers more than 140 online bachelor's, master's, doctorate, and certificate programs. Online programs are offered in business, information science, legal studies, and more. Distance learners receive an array of financing options.

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  • Saint Leo University

    Saint Leo University

    Online degrees offered through Saint Leo prepare students for entry-level careers and career advancement. The school has associate, bachelor's, and master's programs. Students learn through video, audio, and textbook formats. Learners also have the opportunity to interact with professors and peers through discussion boards.

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  • Bellevue University

    Bellevue University

    Bellevue offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs. Online students can choose between taking classes in a traditional or cohort format. Learners also receive 24/7 support to academic and library resources. Students have more than 75 online programs to choose from, including accounting, cybersecurity, and graphic design.

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  • East Carolina University

    East Carolina University

    Students can earn a bachelor's or master's degree at East Carolina University. The school also offers graduate certificates, post master's nursing certificates, and teacher licensure. Distance learners have more than 90 online programs to choose from in the areas of health, education, technology, and more.

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  • Fort Hays State University

    Fort Hays State University

    Fort Hays offers more than 40 online programs through the Blackboard learning management system. Students can study in business education, computer science, marketing, and more. The school's bachelor of general studies lets students customize their studies. Associate, bachelor's, master's, doctoral, and certificate programs are offered online.

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  • National University

    National University

    National offers more than 70 of their programs in a completely online format. Students can earn bachelor's, master's, and certificate degrees in business, engineering technologies, and more. Learners have the opportunity to work closely with their peers and professors. Coursework is taught through lectures, readings, and presentations.

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  • Pennsylvania State University

    Pennsylvania State University

    Pennsylvania State has been providing online education since 1998. The school offers online programs through its World Campus. Students can earn associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees through the online school, including undergraduate and graduate certificates and minors. More than 125 program are available. Distance learners can apply for financial aid and scholarships.

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  • Northeastern University

    Northeastern University

    Northeastern University offers online bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees and certificate programs. Programs include criminal justice, graphic design, and human resources. More than 50 programs are offered. Financial aid is available for online learners, and the school offers tuition discounts for military students and veterans.

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  • Colorado State University - Global Campus

    Colorado State University - Global Campus

    Colorado State, a public nonprofit school, offers online bachelor's, master's, and certificate programs through its Global Campus. Undergraduate programs include project management, human services, and criminal justice. More than 20 degrees are offered. Classes begin every four weeks and the programs are offered entirely online. Students have the freedom to learn at their own pace.

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  • Indiana Wesleyan University-Marion

    Indiana Wesleyan University-Marion

    Indiana Wesleyan, a Christian university, offers more than 90 online programs; some programs have on-campus components. Students can earn an associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree online. Certificate programs are also available. The school's online classrooms are capped to ensure an intimate learning experience. Some programs are available in an accelerated format.

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Silver Schools

Schools in the Silver category are featured in 10 to 14 BestColleges.com rankings. These institutions provide an expanding number of options for students interested in online learning, through a wide variety of academic programs. Explore the opportunities available in your subject of interest and location at all degree levels.

  • Regis University

    Regis University
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  • George Washington University

    George Washington University
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  • Concordia University-Saint Paul

    Concordia University-Saint Paul
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  • Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale

    Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale
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  • University of Massachusetts-Lowell

    University of Massachusetts-Lowell
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  • Troy University

    Troy University
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  • University of Memphis

    University of Memphis
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  • University of Maryland-University College

    University of Maryland-University College
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  • Western Governors University

    Western Governors University
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  • Old Dominion University

    Old Dominion University
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  • LeTourneau University

    LeTourneau University
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  • University of Florida

    University of Florida
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  • Dallas Baptist University

    Dallas Baptist University
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  • Brandman University

    Brandman University
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  • Concordia University-Wisconsin

    Concordia University-Wisconsin
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  • Florida International University

    Florida International University
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  • University of St Francis

    University of St Francis
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  • University of South Carolina-Columbia

    University of South Carolina-Columbia
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  • Champlain College

    Champlain College
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  • Arizona State University

    Arizona State University
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  • Michigan State University

    Michigan State University
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Bronze Schools

Bronze Schools are found on 5 to 9 different BestColleges.com rankings pages. These schools have established themselves as online education providers, focusing on multiple degrees and areas of study. Discover more about how these schools are supporting online learners through a growing number of programs.

  • Adelphi University

    Adelphi University
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  • Amridge University

    Amridge University
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  • Appalachian State University

    Appalachian State University
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  • Arkansas State University-Main Campus

    Arkansas State University-Main Campus
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  • Ball State University

    Ball State University
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  • Benedictine University

    Benedictine University
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  • Brigham Young University-Idaho

    Brigham Young University-Idaho
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  • California Baptist University

    California Baptist University
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  • Carnegie Mellon University

    Carnegie Mellon University
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  • Central Michigan University

    Central Michigan University
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  • Chaminade University of Honolulu

    Chaminade University of Honolulu
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  • City University of Seattle

    City University of Seattle
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  • Cleary University

    Cleary University
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  • Colorado Christian University

    Colorado Christian University
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  • Columbia College

    Columbia College
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  • Concordia University-Chicago

    Concordia University-Chicago
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  • Crown College

    Crown College
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  • Dakota State University

    Dakota State University
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  • Davenport University

    Davenport University
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  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

    Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
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  • Excelsior College

    Excelsior College
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  • Florida Institute of Technology

    Florida Institute of Technology
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  • Florida State University

    Florida State University
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  • George Mason University

    George Mason University
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  • Georgia Southern University

    Georgia Southern University
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  • Granite State College

    Granite State College
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  • Johns Hopkins University

    Johns Hopkins University
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  • Kennesaw State University

    Kennesaw State University
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  • Lehigh University

    Lehigh University
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  • Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College

    Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College
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  • Loyola University Chicago

    Loyola University Chicago
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  • Mercy College

    Mercy College
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  • Mississippi College

    Mississippi College
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  • New York University

    New York University
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  • North Carolina State University at Raleigh

    North Carolina State University at Raleigh
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  • North Dakota State University

    North Dakota State University
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  • Northwestern State University of Louisiana

    Northwestern State University of Louisiana
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  • Ohio Christian University

    Ohio Christian University
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  • Oregon State University

    Oregon State University
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  • Park University

    Park University
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  • Philadelphia University

    Philadelphia University
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  • Rowan University

    Rowan University
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  • Rutgers University

    Rutgers University
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  • Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

    Saint Mary's University of Minnesota
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  • Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College

    Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
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  • Seton Hall University

    Seton Hall University
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  • Southwestern Assemblies of God University

    Southwestern Assemblies of God University
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  • Southwestern College

    Southwestern College
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  • Texas A & M University-College Station

    Texas A & M University-College Station
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  • The Baptist College of Florida

    The Baptist College of Florida
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  • The University of Alabama

    The University of Alabama
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  • The University of West Florida

    The University of West Florida
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  • Thomas Edison State University

    Thomas Edison State University
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  • Touro University Worldwide

    Touro University Worldwide
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  • University of Alaska Fairbanks

    University of Alaska Fairbanks
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  • University of Arkansas

    University of Arkansas
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  • University of Cincinnati

    University of Cincinnati
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  • University of Dayton

    University of Dayton
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  • University of Denver

    University of Denver
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  • University of Houston-Clear Lake

    University of Houston-Clear Lake
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  • University of Houston-Victoria

    University of Houston-Victoria
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  • University of Illinois at Springfield

    University of Illinois at Springfield
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  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
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  • University of Louisiana at Monroe

    University of Louisiana at Monroe
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  • University of Massachusetts-Amherst

    University of Massachusetts-Amherst
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  • University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

    University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
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  • University of Missouri-Columbia

    University of Missouri-Columbia
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  • University of Nebraska at Kearney

    University of Nebraska at Kearney
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  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln

    University of Nebraska-Lincoln
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  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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  • University of North Dakota

    University of North Dakota
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  • University of North Texas

    University of North Texas
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  • University of Saint Mary

    University of Saint Mary
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  • University of Southern California

    University of Southern California
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  • University of Southern Mississippi

    University of Southern Mississippi
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  • University of Wisconsin-Platteville

    University of Wisconsin-Platteville
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  • University of Wisconsin-Stout

    University of Wisconsin-Stout
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  • Webster University

    Webster University
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  • Western Carolina University

    Western Carolina University
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  • Wilmington University

    Wilmington University
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