The annual data-driven ranking recognizes the best online degree programs with strong student outcomes

May 29, 2019 (Seattle WA) - BestColleges, a leading provider of independent college rankings, planning resources, and higher education research, has announced the 2019 Best Online Colleges ranking to help prospective students and their families research the top online education institutions in the nation.

Of the over 2,100 accredited, nonprofit colleges and universities that offer online degree programs nationwide, just 50 schools, or approximately 2.4%, made this year’s list. The University of Florida and the University of Central Florida again ranked in the top two spots for online colleges respectively. Florida International University, Colorado State University - Global Campus, and Western Governors University round out the top five, each rising several positions from last year’s ranking. New entrants to this year’s list include Old Dominion University, Fort Hays State University, City University of Seattle, Central Michigan University, and Southern New Hampshire University.

The BestColleges ranking methodology focuses on academics and learner support, affordability, and online programming, with schools evaluated on several noteworthy data points aggregated from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and College Navigator, both of which are hosted by the National Center for Education Statistics. Additionally, BestColleges included new institutional and program-level data collected from a proprietary survey of schools offering online bachelor's programs. From these responses, six additional ranking factors were incorporated into this year’s ranking methodology. These new ranking factors further highlight schools that offer both strong student support and return on investment.

“While creating this year's Best Online Colleges list, we aggregated what we believe to be the most relevant school data indicators to provide students with a useful tool to help them in their college search. We encourage individuals to use this abundance of data and information to identify schools that suit their specific needs,” says Stephanie Snider, Director of BestColleges. “While our rankings focus on academic support and affordability, families should also pay close attention to graduation and retention rates, as they are good indicators of student satisfaction and success.”

Beyond the ranking of top online colleges, BestColleges also included a student guide to help learners research important topics like accreditation, career paths, and college costs to help them make more informed academic decisions.

View the complete rankings at:

2019 Best Online Colleges (in alphabetical order)

  • Appalachian State University
  • Arizona State University
  • Arkansas State University
  • Bellevue University
  • Brandman University
  • Central Michigan University
  • City University of Seattle
  • Cleary University
  • Colorado State University - Global Campus
  • Concordia University - Saint Paul
  • Dallas Baptist University
  • Drexel University
  • East Carolina University
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Worldwide
  • Excelsior College
  • Florida International University
  • Fort Hays State University
  • Indiana University - Bloomington
  • Indiana Wesleyan University - National and Global
  • Kennesaw State University
  • LeTourneau University
  • Liberty University
  • Midway University
  • Missouri State University - Springfield
  • Northeastern University Professional Advancement Network
  • Northern Arizona University
  • Northwestern State University of Louisiana
  • Old Dominion University
  • Oregon State University
  • Ottawa University - Online
  • Regis University
  • Rutgers University - New Brunswick
  • Saint Leo University
  • Southeast Missouri State University
  • Southern New Hampshire University
  • Southwestern Assemblies of God University
  • Texas Tech University
  • The University of Alabama
  • Thomas Edison State University
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • University of Arizona
  • University of Central Florida
  • University of Florida - Online
  • University of Illinois at Springfield
  • University of Massachusetts - Amherst
  • University of Massachusetts - Lowell
  • University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
  • Washington State University
  • Webster University
  • Western Governors University

About BestColleges

BestColleges empowers students to make smarter educational decisions and find schools that best fit their needs through proprietary research, user-friendly guides, and hundreds of unique college rankings. As a trusted education advisor, they also provide a wide array of college planning, financial aid, and career resources to help students realize life goals and overcome educational challenges as they prepare for careers after college.