Best Online Colleges in Wisconsin
| Doug Wintemute & Megan Whitenton
Are you ready to discover your college program?
According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Wisconsin houses 65 nonprofit colleges and universities, including 32 public schools and 33 private schools. Many of the colleges in Wisconsin offer online education, including the 26-campus University of Wisconsin System.
The growing access to education comes at a time when more jobs require a college degree. According to the Wisconsin-based research organization Forward Analytics, about a quarter of the jobs in Wisconsin required an associate degree or higher in 2012. However, 38% of new jobs created from 2012-2018 required a two-year degree or higher.
With so many schools in Wisconsin to choose from, prospective students may find it challenging to narrow down their options. In this guide, we explore the best accredited online colleges in Wisconsin.
Why Study in Wisconsin?
Wisconsin has some of the largest and most prestigious schools in the country. These institutions of higher education offer programs at all levels and in high-demand fields. Graduates commonly go on to pursue careers in fields such as business, biohealth, and food and beverage, according to industry reports.
Through Wisconsin Educational Opportunity Programs and Promoting Excellence for All initiatives, the state aims to better prepare young students for higher education and offer various training avenues for adults from all backgrounds.
Wisconsin also provides access to numerous funding resources to help college and university students afford their education.
Despite the effects of COVID-19 on the state economy, Wisconsin's unemployment rate was significantly better than the national unemployment rate (3.9% vs. 5.9%) as of June 2021. In particular, industries like mining and logging, professional and business services, manufacturing, and leisure and hospitality have rebounded significantly between 2020 and 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
The Wisconsin Department of Revenue projects that the overall economy will return to pre-COVID-19 employment levels by early 2023. Wages in the state should continue to grow at near average levels through 2021 and beyond.
Cost of Living
The relatively low cost of living in Wisconsin makes it an attractive place for students to live and study. According to Best Places, the state features an overall cost of living that is about 10% below the national average, offering relatively affordable housing, transportation, and grocery costs.
Wisconsin's median house price of $188,100 was more than $40,000 lower than the national median, as of 2021. However, some Wisconsin cities, including Madison, do feature a higher-than-average cost of living.
Cultural and Community Offerings
Wisconsin has much to offer students and families who are considering moving to the state. For example, the state holds numerous global cultural events throughout the year, showcasing various communities. Many state schools run outreach and local programs that connect students with communities surrounding campus.
Featuring lower-than-average crime rates and comprehensive community services, the state's goal is to try to ensure that its residents have access to a safe and supportive community.
Home to warm summers and cold winters, Wisconsin offers various seasonal activities for residents and visitors. With the shores of two Great Lakes — Michigan and Superior — the state typically experiences cooler springs and warmer falls than most surrounding areas.
The climate is ideal for many staple crops — one of the reasons why Wisconsin boasts such a robust agricultural industry. Rain falls in the state at lower-than-average rates, though it snows more than average.
Top Online Degree Programs in Wisconsin
Featured Online Programs
Wisconsin Employment Outlook
Wisconsin has recovered from early COVID-19 job losses better than many other states, according to the BLS. The state's biggest industries include transportation, healthcare, and production occupations. Wisconsin's average annual wage of $48,850 is about $4,500 below the national average.
In March 2021, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development projected the addition of around 243,500 new jobs over the next 18 months. Although many of these positions would be replacing those lost during the pandemic, workers in Wisconsin should see positive employment opportunities in the coming years.
5 Wisconsin Jobs in Demand
Annual Mean Salary in Wisconsin (as of May 2020): $94,900 | State Job Outlook: 26.2% growth from 2018-2028
Software developers create software and applications to meet consumer and organizational needs. They work with the end user, programmers, and testers to develop effective solutions. They also may assist in the implementation and maintenance of applications.
Personal Care Aides
Annual Mean Salary in Wisconsin (as of May 2020): $26,150 | State Job Outlook: 21% growth from 2018-2028
Personal care aides assist people with various conditions and illnesses, helping them with everyday tasks, planning services and appointments, and finding connections to the community. They may also offer basic medical services, such as taking patient vitals and helping administer medication.
Market Research Analysts
Annual Mean Salary in Wisconsin (as of May 2020): $61,450 | Job Outlook: 18.8% growth from 2018-2028
Market research analysts look at demand and consumer appetite for products and services. They also may gather information on market conditions, investigate forecasts and models, and assist in launch and pricing strategies. They may create surveys, research strategies, and charts and presentation materials while completing their duties.
Annual Mean Salary in Wisconsin (as of May 2020): $92,550 | State Job Outlook: 14.2% growth from 2018-2028
Management analysts help organizations improve their operations and profitability. These professionals may analyze organizational information, production methods, and employee performances to find solutions. They then present their findings in various ways and may help with the reorganization process.
Annual Mean Salary in Wisconsin (as of May 2020): $56,350 | State Job Outlook: 12.8% growth from 2018-2028
The construction industry encompasses laborers, equipment operators, and skilled tradespeople. These individuals include carpenters, electricians, and masonry workers. Professionals may be involved with new construction, remodeling, or extraction. They can work on a building side, in administration, or in materials handling.
Popular Career Paths in Wisconsin
Best Accredited Online Colleges in Wisconsin
How We Rank Schools
At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you can make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering transparent, inclusive, and relevant school rankings.
Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our ranking methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.
Rankings compiled by the the BestColleges Ranking Team
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Frequently Asked Questions About Online Colleges in Wisconsin
How many online colleges are in Wisconsin?
Many of the 65 nonprofit colleges in Wisconsin offer online programs, including the University of Wisconsin System. The system's campuses are joined through an e-campus, offering over 150 degree programs.
Does Wisconsin have good online colleges?
How much does it cost to go to college online in Wisconsin?
According to NCES, the average total cost for Wisconsin students at a public, four-year, in-state college was about $17,000 in 2018-19. That was more than $3,000 lower than the national average. Online colleges in Wisconsin may offer even lower true program costs by reducing on-campus room and board and other expenses.
What is the cheapest online college in Wisconsin?
Identifying the cheapest online colleges in Wisconsin depends on many factors, including the program, the field of study, and the applicant's residency status. Among the University of Wisconsin locations, however, the lowest average tuition rates belong to the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Fox Cities.
Who qualifies for free college in Wisconsin?
Prospective income-eligible students who attend the University of Wisconsin may qualify for Bucky's Tuition Promise. This program provides up to eight consecutive semesters of free tuition for learners who have a household income of less than $60,000.