Best Online Colleges in West Virginia

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

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

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

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Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1 Marshall University RANKING SCORE 73.57 COST GRADUATION RATE 45% LOCATION Huntington, WV

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

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

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2 West Virginia University RANKING SCORE 72.14 COST GRADUATION RATE 57% LOCATION Morgantown, WV

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

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

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3 University of Charleston RANKING SCORE 70.00 COST GRADUATION RATE 40% LOCATION Charleston, WV

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

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4 Wheeling Jesuit University RANKING SCORE 64.64 COST GRADUATION RATE 58% LOCATION Wheeling, WV

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

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5 Concord University RANKING SCORE 61.07 COST GRADUATION RATE 34% LOCATION Athens, WV

Concord University was founded in 1872 in Athens. In 2007, Concord University, Bluefield State College, and Marshall University collaborated to create the Erma Byrd Higher Education Center, an access point that allows students to take different classes from multiple institutions in one place. By including available online degree programs from several schools, the EBHEC is positioned as one of the leading online colleges in West Virginia.

EBHEC offers completely online bachelor's and master's degrees, which deliver courses asynchronously. The center also hosts evening and weekend classes for students seeking a hybrid study option. Students can use the computers, library, and learning center at the EBHEC. Applicants must meet the admission requirements of the school that offers the program, which varies by institution, but the typical minimum GPA requirement is 2.0 for freshmen and transfer students.

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

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

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Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1 West Virginia University at Parkersburg RANKING SCORE 72 COST GRADUATION RATE 32.08% LOCATION Parkersburg, WV

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

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2 University of Charleston RANKING SCORE 61 COST GRADUATION RATE 40.47% LOCATION Charleston, WV

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

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3 West Virginia University RANKING SCORE 60 COST GRADUATION RATE 57.34% LOCATION Morgantown, WV

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

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4 Marshall University RANKING SCORE 54 COST GRADUATION RATE N/A LOCATION Huntington, WV

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

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5 Wheeling Jesuit University RANKING SCORE 53 COST GRADUATION RATE 58.06% LOCATION Wheeling, WV

Wheeling Jesuit University offers seven online programs, including certificates and master’s degrees. The school’s online MBA and RN to BSN/MSN programs are particularly popular. These programs are primarily professionally-focused and designed for working adults who either want a career change or are seeking advancement in their field. Wheeling Jesuit strives to make college a reality for these working professionals by delivering courses in a flexible asynchronous format. Out-of-state online students pay the same tuition as their in-state counterparts, making WJU one of the most affordable online colleges in West Virginia. WJU is the only Catholic institution of higher learning in West Virginia.

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More About Online Colleges in West Virginia

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

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

NCES Report

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

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

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

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

According to data from the 2016 IPEDS report (published in November 2017), most online bachelor’s degrees offered in 2016 in West Virginia were in registered nursing:

Registered Nursing

Employment growth in this profession is strong in West Virginia. According to the WorkForce West Virginia, long term projections show an increase of 21% in the total number of jobs between 2014 and 2024. Wages increased by 7% from 2011-2016.

Top Careers in Registered Nursing

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

Career Name Number of Jobs Average Annual Wage
Registered Nurses 20,880 $59,380
Nursing Instructors and Teachers, Postsecondary 350 $63,110
Career Outlook for Registered Nurses in West Virginia

Data source: WorkForce West Virginia, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data may not be available for every year.

Wages - Registered Nurses (2011 - 2016)

Data source: WorkForce West Virginia, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data may not be available for every year.

Best Schools for Registered Nursing

In West Virginia, the best online registered nursing bachelor’s degrees are offered by:


Business Administration and Management

Employment growth in this profession is strong in West Virginia. According to the WorkForce West Virginia, long term projections show an increase of 16% in the total number of jobs between 2014 and 2024. Wages increased by 6% from 2011-2016.

Top Careers in Business Administration

In 2016, what were the top careers in West Virginia for people who had a degree in business administration and management?

Career Name Number of Jobs Average Annual Wage
General and Operations Managers 10,200 $84,300
Management Analysts 1,860 $69,240
Administrative Services Managers 1,590 $73,320
Chief Executives 980 $134,750
Managers, All Other 950 $109,430
Cost Estimators 780 $61,300
Industrial Production Managers 700 $106,420
Sales Managers 600 $108,280
Business Teachers, Postsecondary 560 $72,840
Construction Managers 550 $95,480
Social and Community Service Managers 480 $56,090
Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Managers 460 $81,580
Career Outlook for General and Operations Managers in West Virginia

Data source: WorkForce West Virginia, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data may not be available for every year.

Wages - General and Operations Managers (2011 - 2016)

Data source: WorkForce West Virginia, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data may not be available for every year.

Best Schools for Business Administration

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


General Studies

Employment growth in this profession is poor in West Virginia. According to the WorkForce West Virginia, long term projections show a decrease of 18% in the total number of jobs between 2014 and 2024. Wages increased by 10% from 2011-2016.

Top Careers in General Studies

In 2016, what were the top careers in West Virginia for people who had a degree in general studies?

Career Name Number of Jobs Average Annual Wage
Postsecondary Teachers, All Other 210 $49,080
Career Outlook for Postsecondary Teachers in West Virginia

Data source: WorkForce West Virginia, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data may not be available for every year.

Wages - Postsecondary Teachers, All Other (2011 - 2016)

Data source: WorkForce West Virginia, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data may not be available for every year.

Best Schools for General Studies

In West Virginia, the best online general studies bachelor’s degrees are offered by:


Criminal Justice/Safety Studies

Employment growth in this profession is poor in West Virginia. According to the WorkForce West Virginia, long term projections show a decrease of 24% in the total number of jobs between 2014 and 2024. Wages increased by 13% from 2011-2016.

Top Careers in Criminal Justice

In 2016, what were the top careers in West Virginia 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 250 $63,920
First-Line Supervisors of Correctional Officers 110 $65,000
Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Teachers, Postsecondary 70 $49,990
Career Outlook for First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives in West Virginia

Data source: WorkForce West Virginia, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data may not be available for every year.

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

Data source: WorkForce West Virginia, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data may not be available for every year.

Best Schools for Criminal Justice

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


Information Technology

Employment growth in this profession is strong in West Virginia. According to the WorkForce West Virginia, long term projections show an increase of 51% in the total number of jobs between 2014 and 2024. Wages increased by 9% from 2011-2016.

Top Careers in Information Technology

In 2016, what were the top careers in West Virginia for people who had a degree in information technology?

Career Name Number of Jobs Average Annual Wage
Software Developers, Applications 880 $88,490
Computer Systems Analysts 880 $73,150
Computer and Information Systems Managers 720 $114,650
Software Developers, Systems Software 580 $76,080
Computer Network Architects 290 $81,160
Information Security Analysts 170 $76,320
Career Outlook for Software Developers, Applications in West Virginia

Data source: WorkForce West Virginia, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data may not be available for every year.

Wages - Software Developers, Applications (2011 - 2016)

Data source: WorkForce West Virginia, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data may not be available for every year.

Best Schools for Information Technology

In West Virginia, the best online information technology bachelor’s degrees are offered by:

  • No schools in West Virginia currently offer an online bachelor’s degree program in information technology.

Rankings Archive

Best Online Colleges in West Virginia of 2017
Rank School Location
1 Wheeling Jesuit University Wheeling, WV
2 West Virginia University Morgantown, WV
3 Marshall University Huntington, WV
4 University of Charleston Charleston, WV
5 West Virginia University at Parkersburg Parkersburg, WV

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