2021 Best Online Colleges in the South

| Doug Wintemute

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Colleges in the South include some of the nation's most enduring and recognizable educational institutions. The American South boasts many popular state schools, known for their strong academics and athletics. Additionally, many of these institutions offer options for distance learners.

Online programs attract students from around the country thanks to their increased flexibility. The best online colleges in the South provide distance learners with a suite of support services, and online students at many schools all pay the same tuition rates — regardless of where they live. Additionally, students completing a degree online can avoid campus housing and commuting costs. The best online colleges in the South may also offer accelerated paths to graduation.

Read on to explore our list of the best online colleges in the South.

What Are the 2021 Best Online Colleges in the South? Here Are Our Top 10:

Ranking compiled by the BestColleges Ranking Team

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#1 University of Florida-Online Gainesville, FL
#2 University of Georgia Athens, GA
#3 University of Virginia-Main Campus Charlottesville, VA
#4 University of Central Florida Orlando, FL
#5 University of South Florida-Main Campus Tampa, FL
#6 Florida International University Miami, FL
#7 Texas A & M University-College Station College Station, TX
#8 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide Daytona Beach, FL
#9 Louisiana Tech University Ruston, LA
#10 Appalachian State University Boone, NC
How We Rank Schools

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you will make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering school rankings that are transparent, inclusive, and relevant for online students.

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.

2021 Best Accredited Online Colleges in the South

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University of Florida-Online View School Profile Gainesville, FL

Since creating a dedicated online division in 2014, UF has become one of the best online colleges in the South. The university offers more than 200 online programs, including 24 bachelor's degrees, more than 85 master's degrees, and over 100 certificates. Program options include biology, health education, and sport management.

Most of UF's online programs deliver coursework asynchronously and allow learners to create a schedule and course load that suits their needs, including part-time and accelerated pathways. UF also offers some of the lowest tuition rates in the country for in-state students. Undergraduate applicants typically need a minimum 2.0 GPA for entry, whereas graduate applicants may need a minimum 3.0 GPA.

UF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Georgia View School Profile Athens, GA

Since offering its first online degree, UGA has grown into one of the best accredited online colleges in the South. The university now offers more than 20 online degrees, including a bachelor's completion degree and graduate programs in workforce education, food and nutrition, and avian health and medicine. UGA also offers many online endorsements and certificates.

Online classes at UGA run asynchronously throughout the spring and fall and an accelerated summer semester. Undergraduate applicants need at least 60 completed college credits with a minimum 2.8 GPA. Admission requirements for prospective graduate students vary, but they should possess a competitive GPA and strong test scores.

UGA is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Virginia-Main Campus View School Profile Charlottesville, VA

U. Va. offers 18 online degrees at various levels and many more online courses and certificates. Degree options include a bachelor's in health sciences management, a master's in chemical engineering, and a doctorate in curriculum and instruction.

U. Va.'s online programs usually blend asynchronous and synchronous elements, offering students a combination of flexibility and classroom immersion. In addition to their online courses and degrees, online learners can access various open education resources and residential programs. Admission requirements do not include a minimum GPA or standardized test scores.

U. Va. is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Central Florida View School Profile Orlando, FL

UCF's more than 100 online programs help make the university one of the best accredited online colleges in the South. Online learners can choose from more than 25 bachelor's programs and over 40 graduate programs, including majors in senior living management, healthcare systems engineering, and nursing. Additional online options include certificates, minors, and standalone courses.

Offering online courses since 1996, UCF brings plenty of experience to distance learning and student support services. Most courses run asynchronously, and all online learners pay the same tuition rate no matter where they live. Prospective undergraduate students need a minimum 2.0 GPA.

UCF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of South Florida-Main Campus View School Profile Tampa, FL

USF launched its virtual campus in 2012 and now offers more than 30 online programs. USF's online learners can pursue certificates, bachelor's completion degrees, and master's degrees in public health, environmental policy, and engineering management.

USF's online classes run both synchronously and asynchronously, and hybrid study options may be available. USF offers extensive career services, academic support, technical support, and wellness services for online learners. Prospective graduate students need a minimum 3.0 GPA.

USF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Florida International University View School Profile Miami, FL

Providing online courses since 1999, FIU now offers over 140 online programs. More than 48,000 online students take classes at FIU each year. Programs include a bachelor's degree in biological sciences, a master's in construction management, and a doctorate in nursing.

Most of FIU's online classes run asynchronously, and online learners can access student coaching, tutoring, and development opportunities. Prospective undergraduate students need a competitive GPA and test scores, and graduate applicants need a minimum 3.0 GPA.

FIU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Texas A & M University-College Station View School Profile College Station, TX

Offering an online bachelor's degree in nursing and more than 50 online graduate degrees, Texas A&M is among the best online colleges in the South. Degree options include a master's in analytics, a master's in learning design and technology, and a doctorate in agricultural education.

Texas A&M's online students can take advantage of the same student services and resources as on-campus learners, including more than 1,200 student organizations. Prospective graduate students typically need a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA and test scores.

Texas A&M is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide View School Profile Daytona Beach, FL

Upon opening its online division in 1993, Embry-Riddle became one of the first public online colleges. The university now offers more than 60 online programs, including a bachelor's in aviation maintenance, a master's in emergency services, and a doctorate in aviation.

Embry-Riddle's online programs feature synchronous and asynchronous delivery, along with five annual start dates for graduate students and 10 for undergraduate students. Most prospective students need a minimum 2.5 GPA. Online learners pay the same rate no matter where they live, though current and former military professionals may receive tuition discounts.

Embry-Riddle is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Louisiana Tech University View School Profile Ruston, LA

Louisiana Tech offers more than 10 online programs, including bachelor's degrees in health informatics and engineering and master's degrees in history and engineering, along with an online MBA. The university offers extensive academic support for online students, and most degrees can be completed entirely online.

Louisiana Tech delivers most online coursework asynchronously and offers four annual start dates. All online learners pay the same tuition rate regardless of residency. Admission requirements vary, but prospective students may need a minimum 2.5 GPA.

Louisiana Tech is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Appalachian State University View School Profile Boone, NC

Appalachian offers more than 50 online programs. Online learners can pursue degrees at various levels, including a bachelor's in workforce leadership, a master's in library science, and a doctorate in educational leadership. While most programs run entirely online, some may feature on-campus requirements.

Courses run during full-semester and half-semester sessions in the spring and fall and in five-week sessions in the summer. Admission requirements vary by program, but prospective undergraduate applicants usually need a minimum 2.5 GPA, whereas graduate applicants often need a 3.0. North Carolina residents enjoy significantly lower tuition rates than out-of-state learners.

Appalachian is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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