Releases 2017 Rankings of Premier Online Higher Education Academic Institutions

January 27, 2017

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Rankings expand to include a greater number of eligible institutions as online learning expands and grows with more schools and students.

January 24, 2017 (Seattle WA) -, a leading provider of higher education information and resources, today published its annual ranking of America's Best Online Colleges. The University of Central Florida, Arizona State University, and University of Minnesota-Twin Cities top 2017's list of 25 accredited, not-for-profit schools. expanded the requirements for eligible schools to reflect the increasing interest and opportunities students are seeking when it comes to online higher education. Each institution included in the rankings must offer at least ten undergraduate and three graduate degree programs online. Furthermore, affordability metrics, which utilize National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) data to show a school's return on investment for potential students, played an expanded role this year.

“The Best Online Colleges ranking is intended to inform and guide prospective students toward institutions that provide a quality education and a meaningful learning experience at an affordable cost. As online higher education demand grows and more schools bring programs online, it's important and necessary to hold institutions to a standard of excellence that students can depend upon when making their college choice,” said Stephanie Snider, General Manager of

Adds Snider: “Like so many institutions, higher education is undergoing significant disruption from a technological and access perspective. At, we believe distance learning is a powerful educational opportunity for schools and students. It serves as a flexible option for students who cannot attend traditional campus classes, like those working full-time or with childcare restrictions. We want to give those individuals who might miss out on an opportunity to go back to school, or advance their career, the information needed to start their college search.”

In addition to the ranking of top online schools, also equips prospective students with a guide for how to navigate their college choice, covering the importance of accreditation, career considerations, and the costs and types of online colleges available to them.

2017 Best Online Colleges:

  1. University of Central Florida
  2. Arizona State University
  3. University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
  4. Northeastern University Global Network
  5. Colorado State University-Global Campus
  6. University of Florida
  7. Liberty University
  8. Pennsylvania State University-World Campus
  9. Kennesaw State University
  10. Brandman University
  11. East Carolina University
  12. Indiana Wesleyan University-Marion
  13. The University of Alabama
  14. University of Massachusetts-Lowell
  15. Thomas Edison State University
  16. LeTourneau University
  17. Florida International University
  18. Excelsior College
  19. Fort Hays State University
  20. Oregon State University
  21. Drexel University
  22. Champlain College
  23. Old Dominion University
  24. Anderson University
  25. Northwestern State University of Louisiana

View the complete ranking at: Methodology

The methodology behind our rankings is grounded in statistical data and a few consistently applied guiding principles. Our 2017 rankings reflect the most recent data compiled from IPEDS and the College Navigator, both of which are hosted by the National Center for Education Statistics. Our goal is to objectively assess relative quality based on academic outcomes, affordability, and the breadth and depth of online learning opportunities. The following criteria was used to make these assessments:

Minimum Requirements

Ranking Factors

All eligible institutions are ranked on a 100 point scale. A perfect score of 100 is earned by ranking #1 for all ranking factors.

Academic Quality - 50% of total score

Affordability - 25% of total score

Online Programming - 25% of total score

Online Education Reports: helps prospective students find the school that best meets their needs through proprietary research, user-friendly guides, and hundreds of unique college rankings. They also provide a wide array of college planning, financial aid, and career resources to help all students get the most from their education and prepare them for the world after college.

Hear from one of our experts on which factors are the most important for you to consider when choosing a college. Students launched the #BlackburnTakeover movement on October 12 with a sit-in and social media campaign documenting poor living conditions. The ruling was in response to a lawsuit filed by Students for Fair Admissions, a group founded by a conservative, anti-affirmative action activist.