Best Online Colleges in New Jersey

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The state of New Jersey is one of a small number of states in the country that has yet to join an interstate student exchange initiative such as the New England Board of Higher Education’s Tuition Break program. Due to this lack of participation in a similar initiative, prospective students in New Jersey are denied a few key benefits, like the ability to enroll in colleges out of state at a reduced price for nonresident tuition.

Not being a part of an interstate student exchange program does not mean students are without educational options, however. Home to dozens of four-year colleges and universities, and a number of county colleges with two-year programs, New Jersey boasts a wide variety of degree programs for students at all levels higher education.

For those interested in distance learning, the Center for Online and Hybrid Learning and Instructional Technologies (COHLIT) at Rutgers University is just one of many providers of online degree programs in the state. The National Center for Education Statistics estimates at least 7.4% of all students enrolled in New Jersey Title IV institutions during the fall of 2012 were exclusively taking distance learning courses.

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Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1 Rutgers University-New Brunswick RANKING SCORE 93.96 COST GRADUATION RATE 80% LOCATION New Brunswick, NJ

With nearly 50,000 undergraduates taking advantage of 100+ baccalaureate programs, Rutgers has built a name for itself by providing high-quality and affordable education that can be completed quickly and flexibly. With nearly 80% of all learners receiving some type of financial aid, prospective students can rest assured that an RU education won’t break the bank.

The New Brunswick location currently offers three different online bachelor’s degrees: a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), a BA in business administration, and a BS in labor and employment relations. In 2012, the university formed a partnership with Pearson eCollege to further enable it to provide online learning opportunities. Known as a managed program, students can look forward to seeing more options for distance learning in the coming years.

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2 Thomas Edison State University RANKING SCORE 78.54 COST GRADUATION RATE 45% LOCATION Trenton, NJ

With nearly 30 online bachelor’s degree programs currently available, TESU in Trenton has a more comprehensive distance education program than most online colleges in New Jersey. Mirroring the expansive degree programs offered on campus, options for online students are varied and include studies in electronics systems engineering technology, nuclear energy technology, entrepreneurship, and organizational leadership.

All of these courses are delivered by the same professors leading classes at the brick-and-mortar campus, ensuring online learners receive the same quality education. In addition to traditional online classes, learners also have the option to complete e-Pack courses -- a 12-week independent study whereby students complete a series of online quizzes without the need to interact with other students. TESU was founded in 1972 and is one of the 11 senior public colleges and universities in the state. Unlike the others, TESU was created specifically for adult learners.

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3 Rowan University RANKING SCORE 78.33 COST GRADUATION RATE 71% LOCATION Glassboro, NJ

In 1923, a group of visionaries got together to create a teacher preparation college for those who wanted to educate future leaders. That small school has evolved into a bustling public research institution that ranks among some of the best New Jersey online colleges. With more than 14,000 students currently taking courses that lead to graduation from over 80 bachelor’s degree areas -- not to mention graduate programs -- Rowan University is a campus committed to providing tailored options for myriad interests.

With a focus on offering accessible, affordable, and flexible learning options, RU has more than 30 online programs, including 12 bachelor’s degrees. These curated offerings span from construction management and disaster preparedness to law and justice studies and sociology, giving online learners many options. The latest technology is utilized in delivering these programs, including chat rooms, online discussion boards, digital slide shows, and live video.

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4 Saint Peter's University RANKING SCORE 68.75 COST GRADUATION RATE 54% LOCATION Jersey City, NJ

As one of only 28 Jesuit institutions of higher learning in the United States, Saint Peter’s takes its calling to provide education rooted in the Jesuit tradition very seriously. The school, chartered in 1872, focuses on creating well-rounded students through a combination of rigorous learning, real-world internship experience, community service initiatives, and a caring community atmosphere.

This last goal is carried out in the classroom, where the student-to-faculty ratio is a low 13:1. The school currently offers more than 50 undergraduate degrees, including two that can be taken fully online. Both the BS in business administration and the RN to BSN programs are taught asynchronously for students with busy schedules outside academics. Although not ever required, all online students are highly welcome and encouraged to visit the Jersey City campus to get a real sense of just what makes Saint Peter’s one of the best online colleges in New Jersey.

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5 Rider University RANKING SCORE 57.50 COST GRADUATION RATE 66% LOCATION Lawrenceville, NJ

With its four bachelor's degrees and five graduate degrees offered completely through distance learning, Rider University distinguishes itself as one of the best online schools in New Jersey. These programs feature the same distinguished faculty who teach on campus, and offer flexibility that online students appreciate in accommodating their busy schedules.

Rider's generous transfer policy allows 60 to 90 credit hours to transfer from accredited colleges and universities. Students need to achieve a C average for a course to transfer into the school. First-time students must submit their high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores. Once enrolled, both residents and non-residents of New Jersey pay the same tuition for online courses. Located in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, the school was founded in 1865 and currently serves more than 5,400 students.

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6 William Paterson University of New Jersey RANKING SCORE 56.04 COST GRADUATION RATE 51% LOCATION Wayne, NJ

William Paterson University offers an online bachelor's degree in liberal studies (with two concentrations), as well as two online master's degree options. The university developed these programs with the needs of nontraditional learners in mind, making the institution one of the top online schools in New Jersey.

The online liberal studies program caters to those seeking a broad educational experience. Many of its students are over the age of 25 and come to the program with transfer credits from other colleges or universities. Students sometimes take classes at the school's campus in Wayne, New Jersey.

To apply, first-time students must provide their high school transcripts and official ACT or SAT scores. Prospective transfer students need to submit transcripts from any previously attended accredited institutions of higher learning.

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7 Fairleigh Dickinson University RANKING SCORE 55.83 COST GRADUATION RATE 38% LOCATION Teaneck, NJ

With campuses in both Madison and Teaneck, students looking for the best online colleges in New Jersey have lots of choices when considering Farleigh Dickinson. As the largest private university in the state, FDU serves more than 11,000 students through its 100+ degree programs. FDU currently offers a fully online BA in individualized studies, allowing students to craft a plan of study fitted to their future goals -- specifically at the intersection of business theory and technological skills.

Learners are required to complete 120 credit hours, although they have the option to transfer up to 90 existing credits to expedite their learning. Year-round scheduling is also available, with four different start times for beginning the 10-12 week courses. Because not all states authorize online programs from FDU, prospective students should research state authorizations to ensure their location is on the list of approved states.

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8 Felician University RANKING SCORE 52.92 COST GRADUATION RATE 41% LOCATION Lodi, NJ

With its eight-week terms and discounted tuition, Felician University is an ideal option for those looking for the best online schools in New Jersey. In all, the school offers online degree-granting programs in nursing, psychology, business administration, and healthcare administration.

The university enables many of its incoming students to complete general education credits at one of its partner community colleges before transitioning into a Felician bachelor's degree. The school accepts up to 90 credits from most accredited colleges and universities. To apply as a transfer student, an individual must submit official transcripts from any previously attended institutions. Admissions may require ACT and SAT scores for students in possession of fewer than 24 credits of college-level credits.

All Felician students pay the same tuition, even if they live outside of New Jersey. The school's campus is located in Rutherford, which is just a short drive from Midtown Manhattan.

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9 Kean University RANKING SCORE 51.67 COST GRADUATION RATE 50% LOCATION Union, NJ

Through its Kean Online platform, this university offers a variety of online degree programs, including undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees, certificates, and pre-professional programs.

Kean University, known as one of the top online colleges in New Jersey, makes it easy for students to transfer into its programs. It accepts up to 92 credits from most accredited colleges and universities. In most cases, individuals need at least 30 credit hours before transferring to Kean.

Enrolled students also benefit from affordable tuition, with both residents and non-residents paying the same rates. The school offers financial aid counselors for those who need to explore their financial options. Kean's campus is located in Union, New Jersey, not far from Staten Island and Manhattan.

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10 Caldwell University RANKING SCORE 49.17 COST GRADUATION RATE 58% LOCATION Caldwell, NJ

Recognized statewide as one of the best online colleges in New Jersey, Caldwell University offers an RSN to BSN undergraduate program and master's degrees in educational administration, higher education, and business administration. The school also offers several post-master's degree certificates. Caldwell admits students from all states except for Massachusetts or California.

Caldwell provides an accelerated format that enables students to pursue their degrees as quickly as possible. Additionally, the school gives online students access to the same resources and personal attention that on-campus learners enjoy. Those over 23 years old may apply to Caldwell by providing their high school transcripts or official GED scores, as well as their transcripts from previously attended colleges or universities. Younger, first-time students must submit their ACT or SAT scores to be considered for admission.

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

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

See Methodology
Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1 Thomas Edison State University RANKING SCORE 78.75 COST GRADUATION RATE N/A LOCATION Trenton, NJ

Located in Trenton, Thomas Edison State University offers more than 80 online programs, including associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees, graduate degrees, and undergraduate and graduate certificates. Bachelor's programs include computer science, electrical technology, technical studies, and accounting. Online courses primarily use asynchronous learning. TESU has a flexible transfer policy, students may apply up to 80 credits from a regionally accredited community college or 117 credits from a regionally accredited four-year institution toward their program. In-state students pay a lower tuition rate, which makes TESU one of the most affordable online colleges in New Jersey.

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2 Rutgers University-New Brunswick RANKING SCORE 77.50 COST GRADUATION RATE 80% LOCATION New Brunswick, NJ

Rutgers, one of the flagship New Jersey colleges, enrolls the most students out of all the colleges in New Jersey. The New Brunswick-based school offers nine graduate-level online programs and two bachelor's degrees. Each program operates independently instead as part of an online department, so transfer credits, admissions, and course formats vary.

One element that all 11 programs do share is affordability, as Rutgers is one of the most affordable online colleges in New Jersey. Though Rutgers does not offer in-state tuition to out-of-state online students, 78% of undergraduates receive financial aid, and the school offers many financial aid opportunities.

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3 Rowan University RANKING SCORE 67.50 COST GRADUATION RATE 68% LOCATION Glassboro, NJ

Rowan, based in Glassboro, extends its influence across the country through its 46 online undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs. Most of Rowan’s programs are accelerated and asynchronous. Courses use chat rooms, discussion boards, and digital media. The school offers some program in a hybrid format.

As one of the most affordable online colleges in New Jersey, Rowan allows out-of-state online students to pay in-state tuition. Transfer students should submit their transcripts and credits, which are evaluated and applied on a case-by-case basis. There is no minimum GPA for freshman acceptance, as the school evaluates each application holistically.

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4 Fairleigh Dickinson University-Metropolitan Campus RANKING SCORE 54.38 COST GRADUATION RATE 47% LOCATION Teaneck, NJ

Fairleigh Dickinson University-Metropolitan Campus is the largest independent university out of all the colleges in New Jersey. The school concentrates all of its resources into two online programs: a BA degree in individualized studies and an AA degree in liberal arts. The option to accelerate either program makes Fairleigh Dickinson one of the most affordable online colleges in New Jersey. Learners can earn up to 90 credits toward a BA or 30 credits toward an AA through prior coursework, military experience, experiential learning, and proficiency exams.

The SAT and ACT are not required for admission. Applicants only need to submit all previous transcripts, including college and high school.

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5 Saint Peter's University RANKING SCORE 52.50 COST GRADUATION RATE 53% LOCATION Jersey City, NJ

Saint Peter’s University, a Jesuit-affiliated school located in Jersey City, offers four online programs: a BS in business administration, a doctorate in education, an RN to BSN program, and an M.Ed in general administration. Most coursework is taught asynchronously. Transfer applicants only need to submit prior transcripts, no minimum GPA is required. Freshman applicants should submit their high school transcripts and may need to submit a writing sample or resume after initial review. With a number of need-based, incentive, and academic scholarships and grants available, Saint Peter’s is among the most affordable online colleges in New Jersey.

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More About Online Colleges in New Jersey

With such a large majority of postsecondary institutions in New Jersey not only offering, but continually expanding, online degree programs, distance education is quickly gaining steam.

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

NCES Report

In 2012, NCES reported the following stats about online learning in New Jersey:

  • 7.4% of all students in the state were exclusively enrolled in online learning.
  • A further 10.3% enrolled in an on-campus program supplemented their educations with at least one online course.

Students enrolled in online courses or degrees frequently benefit from lessons taught by the same professors leading classes on-campus, but don’t have to deal with the hassle of traveling to campus or attending at a certain time. With USA Today reporting New Jersey residents have some of the longest commutes in the nation, the 60-minute commute endured by nearly 15% of residents is just another benefit of online learning worth mentioning.

According to data from the 2016 IPEDS report (published in November 2017), most online bachelor’s degrees offered in 2016 in New Jersey were in Business Administration and Management:

Business Administration and Management

In New Jersey, employment growth in this profession is moderate. According to the State of New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, long term projections show an increase of 11% in the total number of jobs between 2014 and 2024. Wages increased by 4% from 2011-2016.

Top Careers in Business Administration and Management

What were the top careers in New Jersey in 2016 for people who had a degree in Business Administration and Management?

Career Name Number of Jobs Average Annual Wage
General and Operations Managers 44,800 $168,510
Managers, All Other 21,280 $136,480
Sales Managers 12,840 $157,580
Management Analysts 12,720 $98,630
Administrative Services Managers 8,510 $130,400
Cost Estimators 5,100 $72,200
Construction Managers 5,070 $141,500
Industrial Production Managers 4,930 $128,870
Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Managers 4,550 $122,010
Social and Community Service Managers 3,290 $86,100
Business Teachers, Postsecondary 2,530 $103,560
Chief Executives 700 $218,500
Career Outlook for General and Operations Managers in New Jersey

Data source: State of New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data may not be available for every year.

Wages - General and Operations Managers (2011 - 2016)

Data source: State of New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data may not be available for every year.

Best Schools for Business Administration and Management

In New Jersey, the best online business administration and management bachelor’s degrees are offered by:


Registered Nursing

Employment growth in this profession in New Jersey is strong. According to the State of New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, long term projections show an increase of 20% in the total number of jobs between 2014 and 2024. Wages increased by 4% from 2011-2016.

Top Careers in Registered Nursing

In New Jersey, what were the top careers in 2016 for people who had a degree in registered nursing?

Career Name Number of Jobs Average Annual Wage
Registered Nurses 79,400 $80,580
Nursing Instructors and Teachers, Postsecondary 2,060 $94,530
Career Outlook for Registered Nurses in New Jersey

Data source: State of New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data may not be available for every year.

Wages - Registered Nurses (2011 - 2016)

Data source: State of New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data may not be available for every year.

Best Schools for Registered Nursing

In New Jersey, the best online registered nursing bachelor’s degrees are offered by:


Psychology

Employment growth in this profession in New Jersey is strong. According to the State of New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, long term projections show a increase of 176% in the total number of jobs between 2014 and 2024. Wages increased by 14% from 2011-2016.

Top Careers in Psychology

In New Jersey, what were the top careers in 2016 for people who had a degree in psychology?

Career Name Number of Jobs Average Annual Wage
Managers, All Other 21,280 $136,480
Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists 3,600 $94,650
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary 1,490 $92,390
Psychologists, All Other 100 $92,080
Industrial-Organizational Psychologists 30 $110,410
Career Outlook for Management in New Jersey

Data source: State of New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data may not be available for every year.

Wages - Management (2011 - 2016)

Data source: State of New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data may not be available for every year.

Best Schools for Psychology

In New Jersey, the best online psychology bachelor’s degrees are offered by:


Political Science and Government

Employment growth in this profession in New Jersey is strong. According to the State of New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, long term projections show an increase of 176% in the total number of jobs between 2014 and 2024. Wages increased by 14% from 2011-2016.

Top Careers in Political Science

In New Jersey, what were the top careers in 2016 for people who had a degree in political science and government?

Career Name Number of Jobs Average Annual Wage
Managers, All Other 21,280 $136,480
Political Science Teachers, Postsecondary 800 $91,670
Career Outlook for Management in New Jersey

Data source: State of New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data may not be available for every year.

Wages - Management (2011 - 2016)

Data source: State of New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data may not be available for every year.


Criminal Justice/Safety Studies

Employment growth in this profession in New Jersey is moderate. According to the State of New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, long term projections show an increase of 3% in the total number of jobs between 2014 and 2024. Wages increased by 12% from 2011-2016.

Top Careers in Criminal Justice/Safety Studies

In New Jersey, what were the top careers in 2016 for people who had a degree in criminal justice/safety studies?

Career Name Number of Jobs Average Annual Wage
First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives 3,200 $128,000
First-Line Supervisors of Correctional Officers 580 $106,680
Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Teachers, Postsecondary 570 $75,630
Career Outlook for First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives in New Jersey

Data source: State of New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data may not be available for every year.

Wages - First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives (2011 - 2016)

Data source: State of New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data may not be available for every year.

Best Schools for Criminal Justice/Safety Studies

In New Jersey, the best online criminal justice/safety studies bachelor’s degrees are offered by:


Rankings Archive

Best Online Colleges in New Jersey of 2017
Rank School Location
1 Rutgers University-New Brunswick New Brunswick, NJ
2 Rowan University Glassboro, NJ
3 Thomas Edison State University Trenton, NJ
4 Saint Peter's University Jersey City, NJ
5 Fairleigh Dickinson University Teaneck, NJ

Best Online Colleges in New Jersey of 2016
Rank School Location
1 Rutgers University - New Brunswick New Brunswick, NJ
2 Rutgers University - Newark Newark, NJ
3 Rutgers University - Camden Camden, NJ
4 Rowan University Glassboro, NJ
5 Caldwell College Caldwell, NJ
6 Rider University Lawrenceville, NJ
7 Fairleigh Dickinson University - Metropolitan Campus Teaneck, NJ
8 Kean University Union, NJ
9 Fairleigh Dickinson University - College at Florham Madison, NJ
10 Thomas Edison State College Trenton, NJ