Education

What Are The Best Accredited Online Colleges

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 10 minute read

The NCES reports that in the autumn of 2018, 16.6 percent of all U.S. higher education students, or over 3.3 million, were enrolled in schools that provide only distance education courses. Many of the major colleges in the United States are included in the group of hybrid institutions that enroll more than 35 percent of their students.

It’s possible to find yourself at a college or university that provides online learning possibilities even if you aren’t specifically seeking them, whether you’re enrolling for the first time or coming back to school after working full time for years.

And if you’d rather enroll in an online university than live on campus (possibly far from your hometown and likely at a significant premium as compared to affordable rental housing near campus due to room and board markups at many residential universities) or endure a long daily commute to and from class?

Then, you may select a school and degree program that works for you without having to relocate or spend more time than necessary commuting.

Many of the greatest online colleges and universities nowadays have close relationships to prestigious offline universities, such as public research powerhouses and prestigious private research universities.

Although for-profit universities historically dominated the online education market, offering degrees that did nothing to prepare students for the workforce, the field is now much more level and student-friendly. That so many prestigious schools are represented here is evidence of the widespread acceptance that high-quality distance education is an essential component of modern education.

Accredited Degree Programs at Top Online Colleges

You won’t find better online schools or degree programs in the United States than these. All are linked with four-year institutions but have no attendance requirements for online students.

Specifics regarding each institution, such as its location and contact details, are included in the listings.

  • Identifying the Nature of the Institution. The state provides generous financing to public institutions, which are subject to more oversight and regulation from state governments despite their relative autonomy. Private universities remain more independent than their public counterparts; they may be run for profit or not, with the latter typically being considered to be of a lower caliber.
  • Quantity of Virtual College Degrees Available. That’s a ballpark estimate of the total number of accredited online degree programs currently on the market. It’s possible that the precise figure will vary.
  • Accreditation. Under this heading, you may find the primary accrediting body. Accreditation at big universities sometimes varies per school. This is not an exhaustive list of accreditation agencies.
  • Rate of Completion in Six Years. The supplied percentage is the overall proportion of students (including transfers) who complete a bachelor’s degree program at any four-year institution within six years after enrolling. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that, across all institutions in the United States, the average graduation rate after six years is 60% for public universities, 66% for private nonprofit universities, and 21% for for-profit institutions. In-person-only, online-only, and hybrid institutions are the three types of educational facilities. U.S. News reports that students participating in online degree programs have a far lower graduation rate than those attending traditional colleges. However, opinions on the precise magnitude of the gap continue to diverge.
  • Quantitatively, this expression means the total net expense. This measure evaluates the total net cost of attending an online school, which includes tuition and fees but excludes grants, scholarships, and in-state tuition discounts for students who live in the same state as their public university of choice’s campus. Due to individual differences in costs and aid packages, the amount is presented as a four-tiered range, from $ (the cheapest option) to $$$$ (the most costly one) (most expensive).
  1. UCF Online

UCF Online is a branch of Orlando’s large University of Central Florida that specializes in online education. It provides a wealth of opportunities for both new and returning students, with over 50 undergraduate and graduate degree options and another 20 graduate certificate programs.

  • Type of Institution: Public
  • Approximately 70 online degree programs are available.
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges accreditation (SACSCOC)
  • 73% of 6-year graduates graduate.
  • Total net cost (estimated): $$

Notable undergraduate degree programs include:

  • Nursing, psychology, health informatics, and knowledge management all fall under the umbrella of health care.
  • Managing a hotel or a retirement community are two examples of the various facets of hospitality.
  • Law, Politics, and Criminal Justice

Some of the best master’s degree programs are:

  • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), Social Work, Health Care Systems Engineering, and Health Administration are all relevant degrees in the healthcare industry.
  • Civil engineering, industrial engineering, mechanical engineering, and engineering management are all branches of engineering.
  • Management of hotels, resorts, restaurants, and other hospitality establishments; travel analytics and technology
  • Forensic science and computer analysis as they pertain to criminal justice

For many students, the net cost of attending UCF Online is acceptable, despite the fact that it is not as inexpensive as some other public online degree-granting universities.

  1. Southern New Hampshire University

When it came to the high cost of a traditional four-year private university education, Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) spotted the writing on the wall before many of its larger and more well-known competitors.

Many of SNHU’s rival schools are now staring into the financial abyss as the next generation of college students questions if the rising expense of a college education is worth it.

Although SNHU’s published price is the highest on this list, the actual cost for four years of study by distance education students is often far lower. Quite a few students who have started their education at another institution (often a community college) transfer to SNHU in order to finish their degrees or move up in education level (from an associate’s to a bachelor’s).

  • Private, non-profit institution
  • More than 200 online degree programs are available.
  • 6-Year Graduation Rate: 52% Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education
  1. OSU Online

Oklahoma State University’s remote learning division, OSU Online, offers roughly 50 online undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs at a reasonable cost. This format is especially well-liked by transfer students and working adults who wish to complete their degrees in the shortest amount of time.

In addition, OSU’s extensive catalog of courses tailored to active-duty military and honorably discharged veterans is an invaluable tool for those in the armed forces who wish to further their careers either inside or outside of the military.

  1. Bellevue University

Bellevue University in Nebraska is remarkably cheap for a private institution, with in-state tuition typically being lower than that of the top public colleges on our list.

Its modest class numbers, decent faculty-student ratio, and extensive offering of online graduate and undergraduate degree programs are all the more surprising in light of the school’s remarkably inexpensive tuition rates and fees.

The NCES reports that in the autumn of 2018, 16.6 percent of all U.S. higher education students, or over 3.3 million, were enrolled in schools that provide only distance education courses. Many of the major colleges in the United States are included in the group of hybrid institutions that enroll more than 35 percent of their students.

It’s possible to find yourself at a college or university that provides online learning possibilities even if you aren’t specifically seeking them, whether you’re enrolling for the first time or coming back to school after working full time for years.

And if you’d rather enroll in an online university than live on campus (possibly far from your hometown and likely at a significant premium as compared to affordable rental housing near campus due to room and board markups at many residential universities) or endure a long daily commute to and from class? Then, you may select a school and degree program that works for you without having to relocate or spend more time than necessary commuting.

Many of the greatest online colleges and universities nowadays have close relationships to prestigious offline universities, such as public research powerhouses and prestigious private research universities.

Although for-profit universities historically dominated the online education market, offering degrees that did nothing to prepare students for the workforce, the field is now much more level and student-friendly. That so many prestigious schools are represented here is evidence of the widespread acceptance that high-quality distance education is an essential component of modern education.

  1. ASU Online

The online program from prestigious Arizona State University, ASU Online, offers more than 200 online degree options. And the cost is minimal compared to similar products. 

Furthermore, ASU provides students with six distinct enrollment periods each year, whereas the majority of hybrid schools only provide the typical semester and quarter options. That’s great news for working professionals who would want to begin their education whenever they have the time, rather than having to wait for the traditional start dates of August or January.

  1. PennState World Campus

Students from all around the United States have access to PennState World Campus, the online-only branch of Pennsylvania State University. The University of California is not the cheapest option for those seeking an online degree, but in-state students benefit greatly from the steep discounts they provide. Here are some of Penn State’s most sought-after online bachelor’s programs:

  • Human resources and labor
  • Health administration and policy
  • The criminal justice system
  • Cybersecurity operations and analytics
  • Accounting\sPsychology
  • Software development

Popular choices for advanced study include:

  • Accounting
  • Finance for educational leadership
  • Engineering in industry
  • Nuclear technology
  • Communication strategy
  1. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is a worldwide and online university.

Students at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University: Worldwide & Online tend to be very focused on aviation and aeronautics. It has strong links to the defense sector and provides full tuition assistance to all active duty military personnel, making it a top choice among veterans.

Many students enroll for specialized courses or concentrations without expecting to earn four-year degrees, contributing to the low graduation rate.

Aeronautics, aviation maintenance, and aviation business management are just a few examples of the many aviation-related majors and minors offered at Embry-undergraduate Riddle’s and graduate levels. However, there are also more generic choices available, such as communication and supply chain management.

  1. Ohio State University

Ohio State University is one of the largest and most prestigious public universities in the United States, and it has an online campus known as Ohio State Online. Ohio State Online is not the least expensive public alternative, similar to PennState World Campus.

However, it’s a wonderful alternative for returning students due to the high level of instruction and solid range of degree program possibilities for graduate learners.

  1. FIU Online

Florida International University’s online division, FIU Online, offers more than a hundred degree programs at both the bachelor’s and master’s level at very low tuition rates for a public institution.

Although its graduation rate isn’t particularly impressive, the variety of courses available makes it an attractive option for independent learners who can take advantage of the reduced out-of-state fee structure.

  • Type of Institution: Public
  • More than 100 online degree programs are available.
  • SACSCOC accreditation; 6-year graduation rate: 58%
  • Total net cost (estimated): $
  1. University of Appalachia

Appalachian State University offers a distance learning option called App State Online. However, students who choose this option miss out on the opportunity to visit the university’s picturesque mountainous campus near Boone, North Carolina, a great college town to reside in all year round. However, they do have some benefits, like low tuition and a comprehensive selection of undergraduate and graduate courses.

  1. Florida Atlantic University

Both Florida International University and Florida Atlantic University share a tropical setting and remarkably cheap tuition rates in South Florida. Unfortunately, compared to Florida International University (FIU), it has a far smaller range of academic offerings (now only 20). 

Still, it’s a great option for students who prefer not to cope with Boca Raton’s traffic and expensive living because of their studies.

  1. Ecampus at Oregon State University

If you’re interested in attending Oregon State University but live too far away from lovely Corvallis, you may consider enrolling in one of the more than 70 online-only or hybrid classes offered through the university’s Ecampus.

However, unlike some of its flagship competitors, the Ecampus isn’t a steal; if affordability is your first priority and you don’t live in Oregon, you’re better off with a plan that just has one dollar sign.

  1. UNM Online

Since the Albuquerque metro region is a long way from the main campus of the University of New Mexico, many students choose to take advantage of UNM Online, the school’s online learning platform.

UNM Online, fortunately, is among the most cost-effective choices on this list, making it an excellent alternative for out-of-state students with a desire to study from home as well as students from all across the United States.

  1. U of M Global

The University of Memphis now has a virtual campus known as U of M Global. U of M Global is home to thousands of students who don’t live close enough to Memphis for a campus commute to make sense, thanks to its wide selection of graduate and undergraduate programs and affordable tuition that is especially kind to the wallets of Tennessee residents.

  1. Thomas Edison State University

Among New Jersey’s 11 public universities, Thomas Edison State University (TESU) has the most robust internet presence. Its program is tailored especially to the needs of working adults who are interested in furthering their education.

Despite its roots as a commuter college, TESU has invested heavily in online education in recent decades, yielding a wide range of excellent degree options at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. For students in New Jersey, TESU is also one of the most cost-effective choices here.

  1. Dakota State University Online

Dakota State University Online (not to be confused with South Dakota State University, another public institution based in South Dakota) provides access to its nearly 50 online graduate and undergraduate programs to students from all over the world, not just those living in the sparsely populated state of South Dakota.

Dakota State University was founded as a school for future educators, although it has since broadened its focus significantly. Especially in the areas of information technology and computer science, its degree offerings are catching up to those of larger competitors.

Bottom Line

You may get a quality education from any of these highly regarded institutions, regardless of where you live in the United States, because they all offer at least some degree programs online.

However, nowadays there seems to be a seemingly endless supply of new online degree programs and even new digital education organizations. You should reconsider your alternatives if you are considering delaying your college application until next year, taking a gap year, or doing neither.

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