The 30 Best Affordable Online Colleges 2014

By Iris Stone
Posted December 2014

Online colleges have become popular in the 21st century, a time when even thousands of miles can’t keep someone from getting the education of their dreams. Over the past few decades, schools offering distance education programs have sprung up all around the country, opening their virtual doors to students in all 50 states and many other countries. These schools make use of the best that technology has to offer – such as video lectures, group chats, multimedia presentations, and interactive software – to provide distance education students with a quality of education that mirrors the traditional experience. If you’re looking for a top online college, consider our list below. We did many, many hours of research to compile a list of the best affordable online colleges in the U.S. for 2014.

Featured Online Schools from this Ranking

Our Methodology:

Badge - Best Value Schools Best Affordable Online Colleges 2014The first step in ranking cheap online colleges was to create a list of all the online schools in the United States. To qualify as an “online college,” an institution might be entirely online, offer a separate wing or division of its school (such as a “world campus”) through distance education, or simply offer a large number of its degrees online. We then collected data on eight indicators:

  1. Tuition (Weighted 18%)
  2. Freshmen Retention Rate (Weighted 14%)
  3. 6-year Graduation Rate (Weighted 18%)
  4. Student-to-Faculty Ratio (Weighted 16%)
  5. Number of Bachelor’s Degree Programs (Weighted 14%)
  6. Breadth of Subjects Available to Study (Weighted 18%)
  7. College Prowler Academics Rating (if available)(Weighted 9%)
  8. Percentage of ”Excellent” or “Strongly Agree” Student Poll Responses on College Prowler (if available) (Weighted 9%)

The last two indicators were given the least emphasis in the ranking because the data was not available for every school. For the last indicator, the College Prowler student polls refer to surveys that ask attendees to respond to questions regarding professor performance, academic support, efficiency of technology, selection of online classes, and more.

Each of the schools was given a score based on its performance and how heavily the category was weighted. For example, the school with the least expensive tuition would get a score of 200 in that category (the higher the score, the better), while the school with the highest College Prowler academic rating would get a score of 100. Theoretically, if a school had the highest possible score in each of the eight categories, it would garner a total score of 1075. None of the schools reached this mark, but the University of Maryland University College came close (see below)! The scores as well as overall rankings are included for each school so you can get an idea of their performance. They are also listed according to affordability so you can scroll right to the schools that are in your price range. Because of the methodology used, these schools are not all the cheapest online colleges out there, but the ranking is meant to introduce you to schools that are a great value – in other words, they blend extremely high quality with overall affordability.

If you need more convincing about their quality, take a look at the list of honors, awards, and rankings we included with each school. Many of them have quite impressive résumés of distinction!

30. Southern New Hampshire University

Hooksett, New Hampshire

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The Southern Hampshire University — its main campus is located in the picturesque town of Manchester, N.H. — offers a robust online college experience with more than 200 undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs to choose from founded on a technologically sound platform. SNHU bolstered its claim to making higher education affordable and accessible to all students by announcing an online tuition freeze in 2014 for the third consecutive year. The SNHU Advantage Program is a proprietary financial aid program offered by the university to help students who wish to pursue an education without committing to a traditional undergrad day program. Hailed by the Boston Globe as “a revelation for recessionary times,” this program offers significant tuition savings, small class sizes, online tutoring options and access to teachers and advisors. Online degree students also have access to a fully-stocked library with access to hundreds of databases, 24/7 tech support and a virtual bookstore.
SNHU is a fully accredited online college: In addition to a regional accreditation in New England (NEASC), the university also holds specialized program accreditations for business (ACBSP), hospitality administration, teacher certification, and sport education (NASSM). Specialized accreditations for nursing and sport management programs are currently in the works.
List of Rankings/Awards:

  • Distinction from Society for Human Resource Management for MS-HRM and BS-Business with HRM concentration
  • Best Online Degree Program in New Hampshire Business Review’s 2014 Best of Business poll
  • Best Buy 2014 by GedEducated.com for online BA-Psychology
  • Online bachelor’s degree programs voted among nation’s Top 20 in 2012 by SuperScholar.org
  • Rated the 12th most innovative company in the world by Fast Company
  • Rated the #8 “Best Online College” in 2014 by SuperScholar.org
  • One of the ”Best Online IT Bachelor’s Degrees” according to GetEducated.com
  • One of the “Best Online Bachelor’s in Business” according to GetEducated.com
  • One of the “Best Online Bachelor’s in Management” according to GetEducated.com
  • Rated a “Best Buy” by GetEducated.com in 2006
  • Rated the best online college in New Hampshire by TheBestSchools.org

Tuition: $28,884
Ranking: 8th
Score: 819

29. Upper Iowa University Online

Fayette, Iowa

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Upper Iowa University offers 17 Bachelor’s degree programs in more than 100 different subjects with the benefit of rolling admissions for online students. Current students rate UIU’s online program highly on College Prowler — most “strongly agree” that there are plenty of good online course options. In addition, UIU’s Self-Paced Degree Program offers students a unique opportunity to attain their degree with maximum flexibility — more than 100 courses, each to be completed in 6 months or less — a useful resource for distance learning students with other life commitments. Accredited by the HLC as well as by other state agencies, this top online college is an active member of various educational organizations, including the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.
Financial aid is available in the form of scholarships and grants for online students, as well as through the university’s Corporate Advantage program. Owing to the school’s collaboration with various companies, a student may be entitled to a tuition discount through their employer. UIU’s current Corporate Advantage members include both in-state and out-of-state companies like Toyota Financial Services, Louisiana Troopers Association, etc. Employment opportunities at graduation also abound thanks to UIU’s strategic partnerships within the community, including the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce and others.
List of Rankings/Awards:

  • U.S. News and World Report Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2014
  • Fayette County ranked 26th Best Place to Live in the Midwest
  • Considered a “Military Friendly College” by Military Advanced Education Magazine
  • Top Military Friendly School according to G.I. Jobs magazine
  • Member of the Yellow Ribbon Program
  • Listed on GetEducated.com’s ranking of “Best Online Bachelor’s Psychology, Human Services
  • Ranked a “Best Online Bachelor’s in Healthcare” according to GetEducated.com
  • Ranked a “Best Online IT Bachelor’s Degree” by GetEducated.com
  • Ranked a “Best Online Bachelor’s in Business” by GetEducated.com
  • Ranked a “Best Online Bachelor’s in Management” by GetEducated.com
  • #12 Most Affordable Human Services Degree according to OnlineU
  • Offers more online degrees than 75% of online colleges, according to OnlineU
  • Best online school in Iowa according to TheBestSchools.org
  • Ranked #9 on TheBestSchools.org list of “Best Online Bachelor’s in Human Resources Degree Programs

Tuition: $24,400
Ranking: 22nd
Score: 685

28. Indiana Wesleyan University Online

Marion, Indiana

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With more than 14 bachelor’s degrees in over 100 subjects to choose from, IWU’s online school division seeks to empower adult learners with degrees earned on their own time and on their own terms. Ranked by the U.S. News and World Report as one of the best Master’s universities in the Midwest, IWU nonetheless offers a variety of options for students preferring to take the non-traditional education route ranging from undergrad to postgrad to certificate and associate degrees. Being a comprehensive Christian university, IWU’s mandate allows it to offer unique majors, such as in Theology and Ministry and Biblical studies. Apart from an HLC accreditation, IWU boasts specialized program accreditations for many degrees including the Wesley Seminary, BA-Music Therapy, among others.
The college assigns each online student an academic advisor to provide information, advice and support in navigating the school’s online education experience. Following IWU’s 2013 collaboration with Pearson education, online students are offered an enriching experience with award-winning digital content, single-sign-on eBooks, a cloud based learning management system, and online course design and development services – all of which contribute to the university’s ranking as one of the best online colleges.
A whopping 81% student satisfaction with their school choice on College Prowler is in no small part due to the range of courses offered, a talented faculty and the bevy of financial aid options available to students. An estimated $146 million in financial aid was distributed by the university in 2013-14, while the university was granted a $3 million grant in 2014 to help students find jobs in Indiana.
List of Rankings/Awards:

  • Partnership with Wesley Institute in Sydney, Australia, as part of global Christian outreach initiative
  • IWU professor awarded Fulbright grant
  • 2012 Quality Matters program award for service to online students
  • Ranked #26 on U.S. News & World Report’s list of Best Regional Universities (Midwest)
  • Ranked #7 on U.S. News & World Report’s list of “Best Value Schools
  • Ranked #11 on U.S. News & World Report’s list of “Best Colleges for Veterans
  • Ranked as a Best Online Bachelor’s Program in Management by GetEducated.com
  • Designated as “Military Friendly” by OnlineU
  • Considered one of the most popular online colleges by OnlineU
  • Ranked #3 by TheBestSchools.org on its list of “Best Online Bachelor’s in Marketing Degree Programs
  • Ranked #19 by TheBestSchools.org on its list of “Top 25 Schools for Online Nursing Degrees

Tuition: $23,164
Ranking: 7th
Score: 830

27. Liberty University Online

Lynchburg, Virginia

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The nation’s largest, private online college, LU offers more than 55 bachelor’s programs in 120 different subjects with a firm base in Christian values. Earning a rare A- academic ranking on College Prowler, and an even rarer A+ for technology, this accredited online college boasts several regional and specialized accreditations including in Athletic Training, Business, Nursing and Engineering disciplines among others.

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The university honors its students’ life experiences and prior learning by offering transferable course credits, in addition to credit for military training. A particularly useful LU online feature is the Degree Completion Plan — an individual goal plan that keeps track of online college students’ courses and their credit value towards a degree, as well as provides documentation of when a course is completed and the grade received. Everything is in one place so you can monitor your advancement at a glance. Opportunities for acceleration are provided in the form of Intensives — weeklong getaways focusing on work and engagement with peers and faculty.
LU’s affordable tuition rates can be further lowered by taking advantage of the various financial aid options available, including public service discounts and corporate affiliate benefits. The online college’s academic excellence is reflected in its illustrious alumni, one of whom has been recognized by Forbes magazine as an under-30 “game changer” while another made it to the Christianity Today readers’ choice “33 under 33” list.
List of Rankings/Awards:

  • Recently ranked 7/10 Top Military-Friendly Online Colleges by OnlineColleges.com
  • Ranked 17th Most Influential College on Instagram by CollegeAtlas.org
  • Ranked in the Top 30 Most Engaged Social Media College Community by CollegeAtlas.org
  • Ranked a “Best Online Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, Human Services” by GetEducated.com
  • Offers more online degrees than 75% of online colleges, according to OnlineU
  • Online of the most popular online schools, according to OnlineU
  • Rated the #15 Most Affordable Online Counseling Degree by OnlineU
  • Rated the #5 Most Affordable Human Services Degree by OnlineU
  • Ranked the Best Online University in Virginia by TheBestSchools.org
  • Ranked #7 on the list of “Best Online Bachelor’s in Information Assurance and Security Degree Programs” by TheBestSchools.org
  • Ranked the 3rd most popular online college by TheBestSchools.org
  • Ranked the 5th on the list of “Best Conservative Colleges in America” by TheBestSchools.org
  • Rated #16 on TheBestSchools.org list of “30 Best Online Colleges for 2014”
  • Ranked the #1 “Best Online Bachelor’s Program in Psychology” by TheBestSchools.org
  • Ranked the #1 “Top Online Christian College” by TheBestSchools.org
  • Ranked the 3rd “Best College for Studying the Bible” by TheBestSchools.org
  • Ranked #3 on TheBestSchools.org list of “Top Online Teacher Education Programs” by TheBestSchools.org
  • Rated #21 on TheBestSchools.org list of “25 Best Online Colleges”
  • Rated the 8th “Best Online Nursing Degree” by TheBestSchools.org

Tuition: $20,768
Ranking: 4th
Score: 853

26. University of North Carolina Charlotte Online

Charlotte, North Carolina

Photography of University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNC Charlotte)

UNC Charlotte is committed to accessible higher education for all through its SACS-accredited and USDLA-certified distance education division that caters to the educational needs of those uninterested in traditional campus education. A low online student-teacher ratio, high student retention rate, and a large number of subject options make this top online college’s distance education an attractive, accredited option for higher education for many. Delivery methods for course content can be a combination of online, site-based and interactive TV. For a well-rounded, hassle-free education, UNCC assigns each DE student an academic advisor to monitor progress and offer relevant advice, while technical assistance from dedicated staff members is available 24/7 to resolve any glitches so students don’t waste any time while studying.
UNCC is a member of the Electronic Campus, a conglomerate of online universities and a comprehensive source for higher education opportunities and services across the South, as well as the University of NC Online, a group of 16 accredited online universities in the state.
Part of what makes UNCC one of the best online colleges is that it also offers a Summer School, where visiting students pursuing other degrees may take courses at the university or online for course credit to advance their educational or professional aspirations.
List of Rankings/Awards:

  • Top-notch faculty member received 2014 Bank of America award for teaching excellence
  • Recipient of the 2013 WCET Outstanding Work award for innovative uses of technology in higher education
  • Labeled a “Low Net Price School” by OnlineU
  • Labeled a “High Graduation Rate School” by OnlineU

Tuition: $18,402
Ranking: 21st
Score: 689

For more information: University of North Carolina Charlotte Online

25. Mercy College Online

Dobbs Ferry, New York

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With over 40 degree programs available entirely online, New York’s Mercy College is a leader in nationally recognized and accredited online colleges. Its geographically diverse student base — from 34 states and 21 countries — brings out the best in a talented faculty and contributes to academically challenging program offerings. Mercy College has strong Social Sciences and Allied Health programs with Business and Management programs coming in at a close second.
For online students, a robust IT department is always on call to offer technical support and resolve issues for an obstacle-free learning environment. Smart boards, smart classrooms, mobile support for various droids and Apple devices, and How-To tutorials ensure a technologically advanced but supportive online environment for optimal learning outcomes in the absence of F2F interactions. Distance education students, like their on-campus counterparts, are assigned personal mentors through Mercy College’s PACT initiative, who will inspire, guide and advise you to reach your educational goals amidst a smooth transition to online college education.
Mercy focuses on and strives to foster a model of Active Learning. Its 1- or 2-year fast track AMCF-member MBA program, for example, is taught by a faculty comprised of field experts and consultants who offer students networking opportunities with Fortune 500 companies like IBM, PepsiCo and E&Y, among others.
List of Rankings/Awards:

  • Mercy academics recognized as “competitive” by Barron’s Profiles of American Colleges
  • Recognized for Online Excellence by U.S. News & World Report and the Sloan Consortium
  • Named a “Best Return on Tuition Investment” college by Payscale.com
  • Named “Best Lifetime Return on Investment” by AffordableCollegesOnline.org
  • #6 highest starting salary for graduates according to OnlineCollegeDatabase.org
  • Mercy recognized as a 2013 national leader in community service by the Corporation for National and Community Service
  • Listed #148 on U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of “Best Online Bachelor’s Programs”
  • Labeled a “Low Net Price School” by OnlineU
  • Considered one of the most popular online colleges by OnlineU

Tuition: $17,556
Ranking: 29th
Score: 642

For more information: Mercy College Online

24. Western Carolina University Online

Cullowhee, North Carolina

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WCU’s undergraduate distance education program works on a “degree completion” model specifically geared toward individuals with prior course credits who are now looking to complete an undergrad degree. Credit requirements can be met through life experiences such as military training or job experience, by passing proctored exams or by transferring prior school credits earned elsewhere. In addition to a SACS accreditation, WCU also holds 21 special program certifications and membership in more than 30 regional and national professional organizations.
Offering a slew of online degrees and certifications in more than 100 different subjects, WCU offers a cheap online college option while being current, award-winning but accessible, accredited, and certified by nationally recognized agencies. In addition to traditional online specializations offered by other universities, WCU has branched out into largely unchartered territory by offering unique degrees, such as the nation’s first Baccalaureate Emergency Medical Care program, offered both on-campus and online, making it one of only 14 universities in the nation to offer that degree.
On top of an affordable tuition rate, WCU offers many of the other standard financial aid options in the form of scholarships, grants, loans and work-study programs. External grant funding for the university has risen to 5.5 million in recent years allowing WCU to enrich its programs and initiatives making it a lucrative education choice for its virtual students.
List of Rankings/Awards:

  • Ranked #34 Best Online Bachelor’s program, and spotlighted as veteran-friendly, by U.S. News & World Report
  • Named one of the “Best Regional Universities” in the South and ranked #15 on the list of public southern universities by U.S. News & World Report
  • Online Criminal Justice program ranked #1 “Best Buy” by GetEducated.com
  • Environmental Studies and Computer Science students won grand prizes at the 2014 Appalachian Energy Summit in Boone, N.C.
  • WCU named Top Adventure College by Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine
  • Listed by The Princeton Review as one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in North America for the fourth consecutive year
  • Rated one of the most popular online colleges by OnlineU
  • Ranked #21 on OnlineU’s list of “Top Online Colleges”
  • Labeled a “Low Net Price College” by OnlineU
  • Ranked the #1 “Best Buy” for online bachelor’s degrees in Criminal Justice by GetEducated.com
  • Ranked #1 on GetEducated.com’s list of “Best Affordable Online BSN Degrees”

Tuition: $15,522
Ranking: 10th
Score: 789

For more information: Western Carolina University Online

23. Florida Tech University Online

Melbourne, Florida

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Regionally SACS-accredited and well-regarded Florida Tech University is a top online school offering a variety of undergrad and grad degrees in subjects ranging from accounting to marketing, homeland security to criminal justice. For graduate professionals looking to advance their careers, Florida Tech also offers graduate certificates that can be completed in as little as 8 months, with special discounts and tuition assistance for military service men and women. This is not to say that regular students can’t avail themselves of the university’s financial aid program; according to school statistics 9 out of 10 applicants receive some form of aid upon application, making FTU an even more affordable online college.
Florida Tech’s success in the online education community is in part because of its highly personalized and customizable programs — particularly evident in its MBA and Business degrees. Most of its online programs can be completed 100% online without the need to visit campus (except, potentially, for the commencement ceremony!) or have F2F meetings with faculty and advisors. The university also does not require any entrance examinations like SAT, GRE or GMAT for enrolment. Many disciplines also provide mentor programs for its students. Top-notch field experts and mentors at Florida Tech share their knowledge and expertise while guiding their mentees toward achieving their career goals and aspirations.
List of Rankings/Awards:

  • Tier 1-ranked Best National University by U.S. News & World Report
  • Named one of Barron’s Best Buys in College Education
  • Ranked one of America’s Best Colleges in 2012 by Forbes magazine
  • Named Best College for Return on Investment in Florida by Bloomberg Businessweek
  • Ranked #19 on OnlineU’s list of “Most Affordable Finance Degrees”
  • Rated a “Military Friendly School” by OnlineU
  • Labeled a “Low Net Price School” by OnlineU

Tuition: $14,724
Ranking: 27th
Score: 651

For more information: Florida Tech University Online

22. Kaplan University

Davenport, Iowa

Kaplan-University-affordable-online-degree

As an accredited online college, Kaplan holds several specialized certifications and has been a pioneer in education since 1938. In 1999 it became one of only 15 schools nationwide to offer its first distance education courses. Today, Kaplan offers more than 140 exclusively online degrees and certificates that can be completed via various media formats, such as through online classrooms and mobile apps and with remote access to course material.
Kaplan’s especially military-friendly mandate, which includes reduced tuition and course loads for military personnel depending on their military occupations, makes it an ideal choice for service people returning to civilian professional life. Financial aid in the form of grants and scholarships is also available for other applicants; independent student reviews indicate “good” financial school support for those requiring tuition assistance. In addition, this affordable online college offers international students a 25% tuition reduction upon acceptance.
The Career Services Department is another of Kaplan’s student-focused strongholds. The university’s Enterprise Learning Solutions initiative has formed collaborative relationships with community employers looking to train their existing employees or to hire new team members. Other services include career assessment, mock interviews, job-search support, online career fairs and 24/7 access to job openings.

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Student satisfaction ranks highly at Kaplan: 89% recent graduates profess satisfaction with their degree and 83% would recommend the college to others. Online students particularly rate the convenience and user-friendly technology as close to excellent on College Prowler.
List of Rankings/Awards:

  • #56 Best Online Bachelor’s Program by U.S. News & World Report
  • Online nursing program ranked among the Top 100 in the country by U.S. News & World Report
  • Ranked #22 on TheBestSchools.org’s list of “Best Bachelor’s in Legal Studies Degree Programs”
  • Ranked the 10th most popular online college by TheBestSchools.org
  • Ranked the #15 “Best Online Bachelor’s Degree Program in Early Childhood Education” by TheBestSchools.org
  • Ranked the #9 “Top Online Teacher Education Program” by TheBestSchools.org
  • Ranked the #10 “Top School for Online Nursing Degrees” by TheBestSchools.org

Tuition: $13,884
Ranking: 3rd
Score: 889

For more information: Kaplan University

21. Fort Hays State University Online

Hays, Kansas

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For a top tier education at an affordable price, FHSU is a serious contender in online college circles. Grounded firmly “in the lowest 2% nationally in terms of online tuition,” FHSU nonetheless prides itself on its faculty excellence and student services egged on by academic rigor. The Virtual College offers more than 40 online undergrad and graduate degrees specifically designed for adult professional learners. One of six state universities in the Kansas Board of Regents system, FHSU ensures quality vetted online education in keeping with the Board’s mandate of facilitating and promoting distance learning through its Kan-ed program initiative.
FHSU has agreements with several educational institutions to enable students to transfer prior credits toward their degree. FHSU works to make an affordable online college education available to everyone, and it has partnered with GetEducated.com to offer online degree and distance learning scholarships to virtual students. Veterans and military personnel are eligible for special tuition benefits in addition to several special scholarships and assistance programs reserved for men and women in uniform. Services for Virtual College students include an online assessment, a virtual bookstore, several media–friendly course completion formats and Smarthinking™, a free online tutoring service.
The online school also offers user-friendly course options, the services of a personal academic advisor and continued access to professors via various media. FHSU Online’s most popular undergrad programs include business studies, nursing, education and I.T.
List of Rankings/Awards:

  • Ranked #16 Best Online Bachelor’s programs by U.S. News & World Report
  • FHSU Virtual College recognized as one of the most affordable degree programs by OnlineU.org
  • Graduate Business and Nursing programs ranked among Top 100 by U.S. News & World Report
  • Top ranked online university in Kansas for all the above categories except Nursing
  • Rated the best online college in Kansas by TheBestSchools.org
  • Ranked #15 on TheBestSchools.org’s list of “Best Online Bachelor’s of Criminal Justice Degree Programs”
  • Ranked #15 on TheBestSchools.org’s list of “Best Online Bachelor’s of Business Administration Degree Programs”
  • Ranked one of the most popular online colleges by OnlineU
  • Rated the #22 Top Online College by to OnlineU
  • #2 Most Affordable Counseling Degree according to OnlineU
  • Rated the #1 Most Affordable Human Resources Degree by OnlineU
  • Given an “A” in Affordability by GetEducated.com
  • Listed among the “Best Online Bachelor’s in Psychology, Human Services” by GetEducated.com
  • Listed among the “Best Online Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice” by GetEducated.com

Tuition: $13,680
Ranking: 25th
Score: 663

 

20. American InterContinental University

Atlanta, Georgia

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Founded in Europe in 1970, American InterContinental University (AIU) offers 30 Bachelors programs covering 60 different subject areas. It is regionally accredited and for-profit. Online students at AIU value its innovative learning technology. Its acclaimed M.U.S.E. (My Unique Student Experience) platform allows students to learn through text, video, audio, or interactive tools, to best suit each student’s style. The adaptive Intellipath™ technology also tailors students’ content by continually assessing their demonstrated knowledge to present less of what they already know and more of what they don’t.

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Students at this online college also enjoy the flexibility of its degree programs. If desired, students can mix online with campus learning, or they can change how quickly they move through coursework. A full-time option covers 13.5 credits per quarter, while an accelerated option covers 18 credits per quarter and a decelerated option covers 9 credits per quarter (one course each for five weeks). You can manage your coursework right from your mobile device, including viewing grades and assignments.
Courses are taught by online college specialists with real world experience in their areas, and 94% of surveyed students on College Prowler “rated the general knowledge of professors as above average.” AIU’s own survey of students in 2014 revealed that 90% of students were “satisfied with their overall experience at AIU Online.” Bachelor programs fall into departments of business, criminal justice, healthcare management, IT, education, accounting, and more. Within those departments, degrees are varied, including such areas as entrepreneurship, project management, digital investigations, and instructional design.
List of Rankings/Awards:

  • Computerworld rated AIU’s Virtual Campus one of the “Best of the Best” in its 2009 Honors Program
  • The Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities awarded parent company CEC its 2010 CCA Innovation Award for the M.U.S.E. program
  • Guide to Online Schools ranked AIU #29 in its 2012 Top Online College Rankings
  • Military Times Edge Magazine listed AIU on its Best for Vets list in 2013
  • G.I. Jobs Magazine listed AIU as a Top Military Friendly School in 2013
  • OnlineU.org ranks AIU as the #19 Most Affordable Information Technology Degree
  • OnlineU.org ranks AIU as the #18 Most Affordable Finance Degree
  • 16th most popular online college according to TheBestSchools.org
  • 22nd “Top Online Teacher Education Program” according to TheBestSchools.org

Tuition: $13,345
Ranking: 28th
Score: 642

For more information: American Intercontinental University

19. Penn State World Campus

State College, Pennsylvania

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Penn State World Campus, a top online college according to many sources, works hard to make your experience at this affordable online college as close as possible to a Penn State on-campus experience. Online courses cover exactly the same material as campus courses, and your diploma and transcript will look exactly like those of an on-campus graduate. Nothing will indicate that you took your courses online. You will also be invited to participate in Penn State traditions and social events whenever possible, including the dance marathon called THON, which is the “largest student-run philanthropic event in the world” and raises millions each year for pediatric cancer causes.
Online students have access to the same resources as on-campus students as well, such as career advising, help desk support, and the 8th largest research library in the continent. Of course, some support features are tailored to online learning, such as extended working hours for technical support and academic advising, online tutorials, exam proctoring, tutoring, and an optional course called Transitions to ease students into online learning. Each program has different admission requirements, and acceptance is not automatic. Some programs require previous college credits.
Since the World Campus began offering online courses in 1998, it has grown to comprise 23 Bachelor’s programs across 86 subjects. Programs include business, education, homeland security, nursing, energy and sustainability studies, technology and sciences, and others. Students might major in solar energy, educational leadership, IT security, agribusiness, employment relations, or turfgrass science, among many other fields. While online college courses exactly mirror the traditional courses, they are designed for adult learners and are interactive. Courses are usually 12-15 weeks long and some might involve group projects.
List of Rankings/Awards:

  • U.S. News & World Report ranks Penn State World Campus #3 in Best Online Bachelor’s Programs
  • A Wall Street Journal survey ranked Penn State #1 nationwide for “producing the best prepared, most well-rounded graduates who are most able to succeed once hired”
  • TheBestSchools.org ranked it the #1 Best Online College
  • TheBestSchools.org ranked it the #1 Best Online IT Bachelor’s Program
  • TheBestSchools.org ranked it the #2 Best Online Program in Homeland Security
  • Online U ranked it in the most favorable 25% for costs of education
  • Online U ranked it in the top 25% for number of Bachelor’s degrees

Tuition: $13,202
Ranking: 16th
Score: 744

For more information: Penn State World Campus

18. National American University Online

Rapid City, South Dakota

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National American University is a for-profit online college, regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The school was founded in 1941 and began offering online courses in 1998. NAU works on a quarter system, and students may choose from four start times per year. While some students choose to complete all coursework online, others may choose to complete some of their course requirements at one of more than 35 campus locations throughout the Midwest and South.
NAU offers 26 Bachelor’s programs online, in such areas as management information systems, healthcare management, accounting, entrepreneurship, supply chain management, tourism and hospitality management, human resource management, criminal justice, and computer security and forensics. Courses are either 8 or 11 weeks long. Students have easy access to faculty at NAU, thanks in part to a very low student-faculty ratio of 12:1. The Learner Services department helps to support students in selecting classes and succeeding in their coursework. Many do succeed, as evidenced by NAU’s impressive 83% freshman retention rate.
As graduation looms closer, Career Services help is available for identifying job opportunities and learning techniques for job hunting. For military students, spouses, dependents, and retired veterans, NAU offers a reduced tuition rate and waives some fees, making it an even more affordable online college. Assistance in navigating education benefits by branch is available online and the school even has a dedicated military Facebook page.
List of Rankings/Awards:

  • NAU was listed among the 2104 Military Friendly Schools®
  • Labeled one of the “Most Affordable Colleges” by OnlineU
  • Labeled a “Low Net Price School” by OnlineU
  • Ranked one of the most popular online colleges by OnlineU

Tuition: $12,894
Ranking: 13th
Score: 760

For more information: National American University

17. Troy University “eTROY”

Troy, Alabama

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The online arm of Troy University is called eTROY. The online division complements the traditional campus, often rated as a top online college in the south. Troy University is an accredited online school, regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. eTROY offers an impressive 95 Bachelor’s programs online across 105 subject areas. Programs include business, anthropology, criminal justice, history, political science, psychology, finance, marketing, human resource management, and sports management, among many others. Students can pursue concentrations within their majors, such as homeland security, hospitality management, and international politics.
eTROY is among the best at keeping its students, with a 74% freshman retention rate. Students give academics high praise in College Prowler polls, and 82% of survey respondents on College Prowler “rated the general knowledge of professors as above average.” eTROY uses Blackboard as its learning management platform, and students may avail themselves of online help and a technical help desk that is available for extended hours. One learning resource available to students is the WEBCAT public catalog containing 100,000 complete journals and 400,000 complete books. Library assistance is available 24/7.
Students needing help with their coursework can use the online college’s partner SMARTHINKING, which provides fee-based tutoring for online students, through such varied means as online/email question and answer, live feedback sessions, and writing reviews. After-hours and late night sessions are available. Blackboard offers online help in starting your career search, and each undergrad student is provided with an academic counselor. Students with documented special learning needs can receive adaptive learning accommodations.
List of Rankings/Awards:

  • U.S. News & World Report ranked Troy #74 in Best Online Bachelor’s Programs
  • U.S. News & World Report named Troy as a Best College for Veterans
  • Ranked #15 in Best Online Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice by GetEducated.com
  • Ranked #16 in Best Online Bachelor’s in IT by GetEducated.com
  • Ranked #19 in Best Online Bachelor’s in Psychology, Human Services by GetEducated.com
  • Ranked #21 in Best Online Bachelor’s in Management by GetEducated.com
  • Ranked #25 in Best Online Bachelor’s in Business by GetEducated.com
  • Ranked #11 Most Affordable IT Degree by OnlineU.org
  • Ranked #15 Most Affordable Education Degree by OnlineU.org

Tuition: $12,820
Ranking: 6th
Score: 841

For more information: Troy University

16. Washington State University Global Campus

Pullman, Washington

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When the Washington State University Global Campus says, “online doesn’t mean alone,” they really mean it. Online students at WSU even elect their own student government representatives, the Associated Students of Washington State University Global (ASWSU Global). You can get involved by running for office, participating in a webinar, or attending on-site events like parties, lectures, or the Global Case Competition. You can even represent WSU by doing a service project in your community anywhere on the globe. By your graduation from this top online college, you will have earned a diploma from WSU equivalent to those of traditional campus learners and join the same vast alumni network.
WSU takes its cues for distance learning from its original 1890 mission as a land grant university: “Help students, no matter where they live.” Online students have 24/7 access to technical support, free tutoring online, dedicated support staff, and an assigned academic consultant. WSU Global even holds an online career fair through which students can interact with employers. Online students have a free, dedicated career counselor, and they may also take advantage of the broader university career services such as resume reviews and on-campus interviews. Such a wealth of support services is likely one reason why WSU Global enjoys an 80% freshman retention rate and a 65% graduation rate.
Online Bachelor’s programs include accounting, MIS, management, human development, humanities, social sciences, criminal justice, and psychology, and many of these offer specific fields of concentration. The student-faculty ratio is a low 15:1. Outside the classroom, WSU helps you succeed with a wellness website and student health insurance. Have something to get off your chest? School administrators have been known to hold online feedback sessions to answer your questions and hear what you have to say.
List of Rankings/Awards:

  • U.S. News & World Report ranks WSU #21 in Best Online Bachelor’s Programs
  • Online School Center ranks WSU #12 for online university graduation rates
  • Affordable Colleges Online listed WSU in its “top five online programs in the state to strike the best balance between cost of attendance and lifelong earning potential”
  • Guide to Online Schools in 2012 ranked WSU in the top six for military friendliness
  • GetEducated.com ranks WSU #39 in Best Online Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice
  • GetEducated.com ranks WSU #48 in Best Online Bachelor’s in Psychology, Human Services
  • GetEducated.com ranks WSU #69 in Best Online Bachelor’s in Business
  • TheBestSchools.org ranks WSU #9 Best Online Colleges

Tuition: $12,327
Ranking: 17th
Score: 738

For more information: Washington State University Global Campus

15. University of Nebraska at Kearney Online

Kearney, Nebraska

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The University of Nebraska at Kearney is one of four UN campuses and is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. While many of its 30+ online degrees and 200+ online college classes are part of its highly acclaimed graduate education program, UNK Online also offers undergraduate degrees in business administration, criminal justice, sociology, early childhood, and organizational and relational communication. Most professors have PhDs, and 86% of College Prowler survey respondents say that professors’ general knowledge is above average. College Prowler respondents also give UNK high marks in Academics overall.
Online courses are designed and led by instructors, with heavy interaction among students and professors through chat, discussion forums, and emails. Some courses require proctored exams, and students are responsible for locating an approved proctor. Online college graduates and traditional graduates receive identical diplomas and transcripts, as the online coursework mirrors what takes place in campus classrooms. Online students are therefore held to high academic standards; enrollment is not open to all applicants. Applicants must have a high school diploma equivalent, and students from the top half of their class or with strong test scores are desirable. Others are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
UNK Online students enjoy discounts on hardware and software, including free anti-virus software. Technical help is available 24/7, and students can take school with them on-the-go with mobile apps that help them manage their coursework. With help from library research tutorials, online college students can also take advantage of the wealth of library resources available, such as databases, journals, encyclopedias, ebooks, and inter-library loans, with 24/7 research assistance on hand.
List of Rankings/Awards:

  • U.S. News & World Report ranks UNK’s College of Education #8 of 143 institutions for Online Graduate Programs
  • U.S. News & World Report has ranked UNK a Top 10 Public Midwest Regional University for three consecutive years
  • OnlineU.org ranks UNK the #16 Most Affordable Early Childhood Education Degree
  • OnlineU.org ranks UNK the #22 Most Affordable Teaching Degree

Tuition: $12,190
Ranking: 23rd
Score: 682

For more information: University of Nebraska at Kearney Online

14. University of Minnesota Crookston

Crookston, Minnesota

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Online courses at the University of Minnesota Crookston are designed and supported by the university’s Center for Adult Learning. This group is tasked with ensuring that the university meets the needs of a variety of adult learners, including nontraditional students, groups, working professionals, and senior citizens, among others. Some support staff within the center are dedicated specifically to the 1000+ partly or fully online learners at UMC. Degrees at this affordable online college include accounting, IT, health management, quality management, communication, finance, and sports and recreation management, among others. Some of the majors are also available for students to pursue as a minor or a double-major, if it complements their primary course of study.
Online college courses mirror the on-campus schedule, with two 15-week semesters and a shorter summer semester. Students never need to set foot on the campus until graduation, if they choose to attend, but their transcripts and diplomas will be identical and equivalent to those of traditional campus graduates. Once enrolled, you’ll use a learning management system called MOODLE to manage your classes, assignments, and communications (in addition to email).
Help desk support is available 6 days a week, including extended hours on weekdays. Students with documented disabilities can seek test-taking and other accommodations. Admissions are not guaranteed; applicants should have a minimum 2.0 GPA and ACT of 21 (or similar performance on the SAT). Applicants not meeting these minimums are reviewed individually. Wondering which of your previous college credits will transfer? UMC will review your transcripts for free and help you make an informed decision.
List of Rankings/Awards:

  • Princeton Review listed UMC as a Best Midwestern College in 2014
  • U.S. News & World Report ranks UMC #38 in Best Regional Colleges (Midwest)
  • U.S. News & World Report ranks UMC #69 of 283 in Best Online Bachelor’s Programs
  • Create a Career ranked UMC #17 in its list of Best 25 Colleges for 2014
  • AffordableCollegesOnline listed UMC in the top 10 Most Affordable Online Colleges in Minnesota
  • Guide to Online Schools ranked it #2 of 200 non-profit universities for online education
  • Ranked #15 of the Top 25 Smart Choice Schools for Online Bachelor’s in Business Administration Degrees by SuperScholar.org
  • GetEducated.com ranked UMC the #30 in Best Online Bachelor’s in Healthcare
  • Ranked #4 in Best Online Bachelor in Marketing Degree Programs by TheBestSchools.org
  • Ranked #5 in Best Online Bachelor in Business Management Degree Programs by TheBestSchools.org
  • Ranked #11 in Best Online Bachelor in IT Degree Programs by TheBestSchools.org
  • Ranked #14 in Best Online Colleges by TheBestSchools.org
  • Ranked #14 Most Affordable Healthcare Administration Degree by TheBestSchools.org
  • OnlineU.org ranked it the #15 Most Affordable Accounting Degree
  • OnlineU.org ranked UMC the #21 Most Affordable Marketing Degree

Tuition: $11,456
Ranking: 20th
Score: 690

13. State University of New York Delhi Online

Crookston, Minnesota

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This small SUNY online college in Delhi, NY was recently named by U.S. News & World Report to be have the #1 Best Online Bachelor’s Programs. SUNY Delhi offers a wide variety of coursework online in 78 subjects, including two fully-online Bachelor’s degrees in nursing and criminal justice (a Master’s in nursing education is also available). The program hosts about 700 online students. The undergraduate program in nursing is an RN to BSN degree, intended for professionals who are already registered nurses. Both the BSN and Master’s in Nursing degrees require practicums, to be arranged by the student at an approved partner facility, whether a new or existing relationship. Students should secure a practicum location before matriculating, though they should wait a few semesters before starting the practicum courses.
The criminal justice program is designed for students who have already earned an Associate’s degree in this field. Students access learning management tools through the Vancko Hall portal and use Bronco Web to manage enrollment, grades, etc. much like traditional SUNY Delhi students do. The online university offers technical support for its learning management systems, academic advising, and tutoring as provided by partner organization Sharing Technology & Academic Resources New York Consortium. Late night tutoring is also available.
Thousands of journals and ebooks are just a click away, librarian assistance is available 24/7, and for a hard copy item librarians may even be able to scan and email a copy to you. This type of support helps sustain SUNY Delhi’s 69% freshman retention rate and 39% graduation rate. 92% of survey respondents on College Prowler “believe they are learning a lot of new things that will help them advance in the real world.”
List of Rankings/Awards:

  • U.S. News & World Report ranked SUNY Delhi #1 in Best Online Bachelor’s Programs
  • U.S. News & World Report ranked SUNY Delhi #29 in Best Regional Colleges (North)
  • Online Schools Center.com lists SUNY Delhi in the top 30 “technologically savvy online schools”
  • GetEducated.com ranks SUNY Delhi #7 in Best Online Bachelor’s in Nursing
  • OnlineU.org lists SUNY Delhi as one of the Most Affordable Online Schools
  • OnlineU.org ranks SUNY Delhi as the #14 Most Affordable Nursing Degree

Tuition: $11,260
Ranking: 30th
Score: 637

For more information: University of Minnesota Crookston

12. Herzing University Online

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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Herzing University is the only for-profit, accredited, woman-owned university in the country. The school’s 600+ instructors are industry experts, and graduate professors hold doctorate degrees. The regionally accredited online school is certified by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and comprises 11 campus locations in addition to its online learning programs. Herzing offers 20 online Bachelor’s degrees across a largest number of subject areas. Examples of Bachelor’s programs include accounting, business management, criminal justice, graphic design, health information management, healthcare management, information technology, homeland security, legal studies, nursing (RN to BSN), and software development.
Small class sizes and a student-faculty ratio of 18:1 promote interaction with professors. Herzing prides itself on providing online students with the same personalized focus enjoyed by its campus students. In all aspects of the university they employ the P.R.I.C.E. of Success model, which is now the foundation of the university’s culture. The acronym stands for Professionalism, Respect, Integrity, Caring, and Engagement. Ambitious students may opt for an accelerated program, such as completing a Bachelor’s in two to three years or a combined Bachelor’s and Master’s in four years.
Where applicable, many programs prepare students for certification exams related to their field of study, and some programs incorporate practicums or internships that build knowledge and experience. Did you take a class that didn’t work for you? This top online school allows you to take it again for free (restrictions apply). Students are supported by Career Development staff who can assist with writing resumes, identifying part-time job opportunities, and beginning a post-graduation job search. Herzing CareerConnect is also available to online students, with job hunting tips and links to millions of job opportunities around the globe.
List of Rankings/Awards:

  • U.S. News & World Report ranks it #102 in Best Online Bachelor’s Programs
  • Ranked #35 in Best Online Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice by GetEducated.com
  • Ranked #8 in Best Associate’s in Healthcare Administration by TheBestSchools.org
  • TheBestSchools.org ranked Herzing #8 in Best Graphic Design Online Bachelor’s Programs
  • TheBestSchools.org ranked Herzing #18 in Best Bachelor of Information technology Degree Programs
  • Ranked #19 in Best Online Bachelor of Criminal Justice Degree Programs by TheBestSchools.org
  • TheBestSchools.org ranked it #23 in Best Bachelor’s in Legal Studies
  • Ranked #11 Most Affordable Human Resource Degree by OnlineU
  • Ranked #15 Most Affordable Marketing Degree by OnlineU
  • Ranked #17 Most Affordable Information Technology Degree by OnlineU
  • Ranked #19 Most Affordable Accounting Degree by OnlineU

Tuition: $11,150
Ranking: 14th
Score: 756

 

11. Azusa Pacific University, University College

Azusa, California

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University College is the newly named grouping of online college learning and continuing education programs at Azusa Pacific University, an evangelical Christian university founded in 1899. The school is a private, not-for-profit institution regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. University College enjoys a 91% freshman retention rate, the highest of any school we reviewed, due partly to its intense focus on supporting student success.
To start, each student is paired with a Success Coach, who provides advising and encouragement. The Student Support Central Department offers more logistical and technical support for learners at this online school. Free tutoring is available through Tutor.com 24/7 (except holidays), the APU Writing Center can assist students with any writing project at any stage, and the school offers links to fee-based math prerequisite resources. Many forms of job-related assistance are also available through the Career and Vocational Center, including exploring career interests, resume and cover letter writing, job search strategies, and interview practice. Through the online library students can access many thousands of journals, books and databases with 24/7 reference support.
More than 500 students are pursuing online degrees through University College in health sciences, management, leadership, psychology, and liberal studies programs. Opt for any of six start dates throughout the year. Applicants for admission should have a minimum 2.0 GPA; others must be reviewed individually. This affordable online college is not able to offer admission to students from all states; check their website for your state’s eligibility. The school provides tuition discounts to military members, veterans and their spouses.
List of Rankings/Awards:

  • U.S. News & World Report ranked University College #154 in Physical Therapy Programs
  • U.S. News & World Report ranked University College #173 among National Universities
  • Ranked #184 in High School Counselor Rankings by U.S. News & World Report
  • Ranked #148 in Social Work Programs by U.S. News & World Report
  • TheBestSchools.org ranks University College #2 in Top 10 Bachelor’s in Sports Ministry Degree Programs
  • Ranked University College #12 in Best Bachelor’s in Health Sciences Degree Programs by TheBestSchools.org
  • Ranked #26 in Very Best Online Nursing Programs by TheBestSchools.org

Tuition: $10,300
Ranking: 26th
Score: 652

For more information: Azusa Pacific University

10. University of Phoenix

Phoenix, Arizona

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Beginning with a class of only eight students, University of Phoenix peaked at over two hundred campuses and 600,000 students in 2010, becoming the largest private university in North America and one of the top online colleges in the nation. Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, University of Phoenix has an open-enrollment admission policy, requiring a high school diploma, GED, or the equivalent as criterion for admissions.
University of Phoenix offers over 100 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels. Programs are spread across several areas: business & management, education, nursing, health administration, criminal justice & security, psychology & social sciences, arts & sciences, and technology. Through Phoenix Careers, the University offers career guidance and a portal to exclusive job postings from leading companies. Through its Continuing Education program, University of Phoenix also offers individual courses, noncredit professional development, test-preparation, and certificate programs for continuing students.
University of Phoenix accepts international students and maintains a special Graduation Team for support after graduation. The online college has a Risk-Free Period Program that allows students to “try out the University experience” for three weeks before committing to a degree program. The university has special tuition rates for active-duty service members and their spouses and has been selected as the one of the top military-friendly universities by Military Advanced Education Magazine. University of Phoenix is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
List of Rankings/Awards:

  • Received an Arizona State Quality Award in 1999
  • Awarded a 2002 Global Achievement Award for Innovation from Economist Intelligence Unit
  • Recipient of the 2005 Western Cooperative for Education Telecommunications WOW Award
  • Crescordia Award for excellence in sustainability and communication efforts in 2008
  • CivilianJobs.com Most Valued Employer for Military Award in 2009
  • Rated a “Military Friendly School” by OnlineU
  • Labeled one of the most popular online schools by OnlineU
  • Labeled one of the most affordable online schools by OnlineU
  • Ranked the #1 “Most Popular Online College” by TheBestSchools.org
  • TheBestSchools.org ranked it #14 on its list of “Top 25 Online Teacher Education Programs
  • TheBestSchools.org ranked it #24 on its list of “Very Best Online Nursing Programs

Tuition: $10,188
Ranking: 5th
Score: 842

For more information: University of Phoenix

9. Park University Online

Parkville, Missouri

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Park University, founded in 1875 as a small, religiously affiliated college, operates under six core values: Accountability, Civility and Respect, Excellence, Global Citizenship, Inclusivity, and Integrity. Including its flagship campus in Parkville, Missouri, and a Graduate School in Kansas City, Missouri, Park University has 40 campuses in 21 states and has students from all 50 states and over 100 countries, many of whom attend the online college.
Park University offers degrees at the undergraduate and graduate level in 77 programs, along with Certificate programs in Computer Networking, Military History, Music, and Terrorism and Homeland Security. Park University offers three ways to study: online programs, accelerated eight-week programs, and a traditional semester-based university experience. Park students can also blend online courses and face-to-face courses to accommodate their lifestyle needs.
One of the strategic priorities of Park University’s Park’s Promise campaign is the optimization of the use of technology, meaning that students in domestic and international settings will be connected to Park for “a lifetime of study.” Through this optimization, Park University aims to be recognized as a world leader in innovative online learning. This accredited online college has approval from the Higher Learning Commission, a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
List of Rankings/Awards:

  • Selected as the one of the top military-friendly universities by Military Advanced Education Magazine for five years in a row
  • U.S. News & World Report ranked it 7th on its list of affordable private colleges
  • Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education top 100 list for bachelor’s degrees awarded to Hispanics
  • TheBestSchools.org ranked it #14 on the list of “Best Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Early Childhood Education
  • Rated a “Military Friendly School” by OnlineU
  • Labeled a “Low Net Price School” by OnlineU
  • #16 Most Affordable Education Degree according to OnlineU
  • #15 Most Affordable Human Resources Degree according to OnlineU
  • Ranked a ”Best Online Bachelor’s in Management” by GetEducated.com
  • Ranked a “Best Online IT Bachelor’s Degree” by GetEducated.com
  • Ranked a “Best Online Bachelor’s in Psychology, Human Services” by GetEducated.com

Tuition: $9,788
Ranking: 12th
Score: 761

For more information: Park University

8. Trident University International

Cypress, California

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Trident University International provides an exceptional online educational experience for its students—diverse adult learners, including current and former members of the military family. Trident University International is comprised of four affordable online colleges: The College of Business Administration, The College of Education, The College of Health Sciences, and the College of Information Systems. TUI offers online Bachelor degrees in six disciplines—Health Sciences, Computer Science, IT Management, Human Resource Management, Leadership, and Business Administration. The school also provides Master’s degrees in eight—adding Education and Emergency and Disaster Management—and offers distance education Ph.D. degrees in three disciplines: Educational Leadership, Health Sciences, and Business Administration.
This top online college’s Career Advising and Development Center provides career planning and help with job searches, self-assessment, and career transition/advancement. The Trident University International Career Advising and Development Center is guided by the Principles for Career Services Professionals as outlined by NACE: Integrity, Trust, Respect, Innovation, Connection, and Relevance.
Trident University International is a military-friendly university, as it is partnered with various branches of the military and offers a Military College Discount Program. Additionally, Trident University International’s Free Transcript Evaluation service determines how much of a student’s military education may transfer to college credit. The accredited online college is certified by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
List of Rankings/Awards:

  • Ranked on U.S. News & World Report list of “Top Universities” in 2015
  • Received a B+ in Affordability from GetEducated.com
  • Received an A- in Student Satisfaction from GetEducated.com
  • Listed #19 on TheBestSchools.org’s list of “Best Online Bachelor in Human Resources” degree programs

Tuition: $9,750
Ranking: 24th
Score: 680

For more information: Trident University International

7. Brandman University Online

Irvine, California

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Brandman is a separate, non-profit, fully accredited online college within the Chapman University System. It was born in 1958 at El Toro Marine Corps Air Station to serve the specific needs of military students and is consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report for Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans.
Today, Brandman University has over 25 campuses in California and Washington in addition to its virtual campus online. Brandman offers over 50 undergraduate, graduate, credential, and certificate programs in Arts and Sciences, Business and Professional Studies, Education, and Nursing and Health Professions. As a top online college, Brandman approaches its adults students with iDEAL (Instructional Design for Engaged Adult Learning), an innovative approach using technology to enhance and activate the learning experience with a combination of face-to-face instruction and independent and collaborative online learning.
Brandman University accomplishes its mission by living five values: Respect, Innovation, Service-Orientation, Teamwork, and Integrity. The school maintains a reflective relationship with over 100 corporate and community organizations to invest in the success of its students. In line with Brandman University’s mission to provide students with a dynamic education based on excellence and flexibility that creates lasting value and relevance for evolving careers, its leadership programs have proven to be an effective tool to drive needed changes in leadership style and organizational structure, culture, and productivity in a wide variety of organizations and industries. Brandman University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
List of Rankings/Awards:

  • Awarded a grant of $99,600 from the Ahmanson Foundation to support the University’s Office of Disability Services-Accessible Education
  • HR.com awarded the school the 2014 Leadership 500 Excellence Award
  • U.S. News & World Report listed it as one of the “Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans”
  • U.S. News & World Report listed it #40 on its list of “Best Online Bachelor’s Programs”
  • Labeled a “Military-Friendly School” by G.I. Jobs Magazine and Military.com
  • Branded a “Yellow Ribbon School” because of its reduced tuition rates for veterans
  • Listed as the #1 Online School in California according to TheBestSchools.org
  • Ranked #25 Best Legal Studies Bachelor’s Degree Program by TheBestSchools.org
  • Ranked #25 on TheBestSchools.org list of “30 Best Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs in 2014”
  • Ranked #10 Best Online Bachelor’s Degree Program in Early Childhood Education by TheBestSchools.org

Tuition: $9,611
Ranking: 19th
Score: 697

For more information: Brandman University Online

6. Thomas Edison State College

Trenton, New Jersey

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Thomas Edison State College has been identified by Forbes magazine as one of the top 20 colleges and universities in the nation in the use of technology to create learning opportunities for adults. Founded in 1972 by the New Jersey State Board of Higher Education to provide diverse and alternative methods of achieving a collegiate education for adult learners, Thomas Edison State College offers courses and programs in more than 100 areas of study, including a variety of career-focused options. Additionally, Thomas Edison State College offers Learner Designed Areas of Study, which allows learners to customize studies within a discipline or blend of disciplines – just one of the factors that makes TASC one of the best online college choices. Thomas Edison State College does not award credit for life experience, but it does provide students the opportunity to earn credit by demonstrating that they possess college-level knowledge.
Since 2007, Thomas Edison State College has been named one of the country’s top ten military-friendly institutions by Military Advanced Education Magazine. TASC is a fully accredited online college with approval from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, with individual programs accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Education in Nursing, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, the New Jersey Board of Nursing, and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs, as well as the Teacher Education Accreditation Council and the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET.
List of Rankings/Awards:

  • Named to Forbes’ list of “Top 20 Wired Degrees”
  • Listed as one of the “Top 20 Colleges and Universities in the Nation” in the use of technology to create learning opportunities for adults by Forbes in 1997
  • Deemed “One of the Brighter Stars in Higher Education” in 1994 by The New York Times
  • Called “The College that Paved the Way for Adults” in 2013 by The New York Times
  • Psychology, Social Sciences, and Sociology Bachelor’s Degree Programs ranked “Best Buys” by GetEducated.com
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration rated a Top 5 “Best Buy” by GetEducated.com
  • Technology Network in 2011 for the development of its FlashTrack® course delivery system
  • In 2013, TESC graduates had the highest pass rate on the CPA exam in New Jersey
  • Named a top school for veterans and military personnel

Tuition: $8,111
Ranking: 11th
Score: 785

For more information: Thomas Edison State College

5. Granite State College

Concord, New Hampshire

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Granite State College, located in New Hampshire, seeks to expand access to public higher education for adults. It achieves this mission through learner responsive curricula, innovative teaching methods, and ongoing assessment of learning outcomes. Adult students are a primary focus for Granite State College, which offers flexible schedules with once-a-week evening classes and weekend courses in addition to online courses, and its degree programs in 84 subject areas are practical, relevant, and built to complement workforce needs. Beginning fall 2014, Granite State College will provide all instructional candidates interested in teaching college online with access to an expansive selection of innovative resources and software through the Educator Toolkit.
Granite State College offers associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees, post-baccalaureate programs for teacher education, transfer opportunities, and online degree programs. The online college fosters partnerships with area businesses, local and state organizations, and other higher education institutions to bring high quality academic experiences to its students. Fifty-nine percent of bachelor’s degree seekers at Granite State College graduate within six years. Granite State College is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges through its Commission on Institutions of Higher Education.
Granite State College has been selected as the one of the top military friendly universities by Military Advanced Education Magazine.
List of Rankings/Awards:

  • Ranked on U.S. News & World Report’s list of “Best Online Degree Programs” in 2014
  • Named to the Top 5 of Washington Monthly’s liberal arts college rankings for “Social Mobility” in 2013
  • Labeled the “Least Expensive College in New England” in 2014 by the U.S. Department of Education
  • Received a B+ in Affordability from GetEducated.com
  • Rated on GetEducated.com’s list of “Best Online Bachelor’s in Management”
  • Ranked #10 on the list of “Best Online Bachelor’s in Business Management” by TheBestSchools.org
  • Ranked #1 on the list of “Best Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Early Childhood Education” by TheBestSchools.org

Tuition: $7,305
Ranking: 9th
Score: 812

For more information: Granite State College

4. University of Maryland, University College

College Park, Maryland

university-of-maryland-university-college-affordable-online-college

University of Maryland, University College is not only the best online college on this list, it is also the senior academic institution delivering higher education to our military, with 56,000 active duty military, reserves, dependents, and veterans enrolled at more than 150 worldwide locations on four continents. Seventy-eight percent of University of Maryland, University College’s undergraduate students work full time and 49 percent are working parents, making it the perfect choice for those who want to attend college online. As the public, state, and national leader in distance and distributed education,
This top online college’s mission to its adult student results in an emphasis on workforce relevant programs. University of Maryland, University College offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees as well as undergraduate and graduate certificates in 120 academic programs in instructor-led and online classes. Program areas include the arts and humanities, behavioral and social sciences, business and management, health-related fields, computing, and education and technology, including cybersecurity, information assurance, and teacher training in STEM areas (See our write-up of University of Maryland’s undergraduate physics program here: Top 25 Ranked Bachelor of Physics Programs With the Best Return on Investment (ROI) 2014))
University of Maryland, University College operates under seven central and enduring tenets, its Core Values: Students First, Accountability, Diversity, Integrity, Excellence, Innovation, and Respect. Support services include access to the University System of Maryland library system, 24-hour tech support, online writing feedback, academic and career advising, and job search assistance. This fully accredited university is certified by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
List of Rankings/Awards:

  • Global Learning Consortium awarded it the 2010 Learning Impact Award
  • Rated Best in Category, “Faculty Development Network” from the IMS Global Learning Consortium in 2010
  • Rated Best in Category, “Online Laboratory” from the IMS Global Learning Consortium in 2010
  • Labeled a “Military and Veteran Friendly School”
  • Recipient of the 2011 “Institution Award” from the Council of College and Military Educators for its quality education programs for the armed services
  • Labeled a “Low Net Price” School by OnlineU
  • Ranked a “Most Affordable” school by OnlineU
  • Ranked #23 on OnlineU’s list of “Most Affordable Marketing Degrees”
  • Ranked #22 on OnlineU’s list of “Most Affordable Finance Degrees”
  • Ranked #19 on OnlineU’s list of “Most Affordable Teaching Degrees”
  • Rated the Best Online College in Maryland by TheBestSchools.org
  • Ranked #17 on the list of “Best Legal Studies Bachelor’s Degree Programs” by TheBestSchools.org
  • Ranked #12 on the list of “Best Online Bachelor’s in Human Resources Degree Programs” by TheBestSchools.org
  • Ranked #12 on the list of “Best Online Bachelor’s in Marketing Degree Programs” by TheBestSchools.org
  • Rated the 9th most popular online college by TheBestSchools.org
  • Ranked #18 on the list of “Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in Psychology” by TheBestSchools.org
  • Ranked #17 on the list of “Best Online Bachelor’s of Criminal Justice Degree Programs” by TheBestSchools.org
  • Ranked #19 on the list of “Best Online Bachelor’s of Business Administration Degree Programs” by TheBestSchools.org

Tuition: $6,552
Ranking: 1st
Score: 1026

For more information: University of Maryland, University College

3. American Public University

Charles Town, West Virginia

Profile

american-public-university-affordable-online-college

Founded in 1991 by a retired Marine Corps officer who envisioned an innovative way to offer quality and affordable education to military personnel, the American Public University System has grown to serve a diverse population of more than 100,000 military, public service, and corporate professionals through two 100% online universities: American Public University and American Military University. American Military University was designed to meet the unique educational needs of the military with a range of program offerings from traditional courses such as criminal justice to unique courses such as counterterrorism and military intelligence, which are not readily available at most institutions.
The American Public University System is the more traditional online college and operates around ten Core Values: Learning, Quality, Integrity, Diversity, Freedom of Inquiry and Expression, Accountability, Access to Underserved, Adaptive and Responsive, Innovation, and Collaboration. An American Public University System Book Grant provides required texts and other reading, at no charge, to all undergraduate students who are earning academic credit, making APU an especially cheap online college option.
American Public University System is a founding member of the Transparency by Design initiative, which seeks to better inform consumers by promoting greater transparency and accountability among accredited, adult-serving, distance higher education institutions and by providing information on a variety of metrics including student demographics, completion rates, costs, survey ratings, student satisfaction, program level outcomes, and other comparative data analysis tools to help adult learners focus on selection factors important to their educational goals. American Public University System is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, a member of the North Central Association.
List of Rankings/Awards:

  • Ralph E. Gomory Award for Quality Online Education in 2009
  • Recipient of the Sloan Consortium Effective Practice Award from Sloan in 2009/2010
  • Environmental Excellence Award for Clean Energy from West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection in 2013
  • Association for Continuing Higher Education Award in Creative Use of Technology
  • Ranked #34 on U.S. News & World Report’s list of “Best Online Bachelor’s Programs”
  • Ranked on the list of “Best Online Bachelor’s in Psychology, Human Services” by GetEducated.com
  • Ranked #8 on TheBestSchools.org list of “Best Online Bachelor’s in Information Assurance and Security Degree Programs”
  • Rated the 2nd most popular online college by TheBestSchools.org

Tuition: $6,400
Ranking: 2nd
Score: 986

For more information: American Public University

2. Bellevue University

Bellevue, Nebraska

Profile

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Operating out of Bellevue, Nebraska, Bellevue University’s undergraduate and graduate level online college classes are designed for students who need to juggle the many responsibilities that come with family and a full-time job. Ranked ninth by the U.S. News & World Report 2013 Top Online Education Program Rankings in the category of best online bachelor’s degrees, Bellevue University has offered its online degrees for more than ten years and works to ensure that every student receives a rich and interactive learning experience.
Bellevue University offers bachelor’s degrees and master’s degrees with both cohort and traditional programs, and the University was recently approved by the Higher Learning Commission to offer a Ph.D. in Human Capital Management. Additionally, Bellevue University’s Continuing and Professional Education provides customized non-credit solutions in the areas of leadership, human services, information technology, and advanced facilities engineering.
Bellevue University’s Career Services offers a comprehensive program of resources and services to help students blend online college education with career aspirations. The university has received specialized accreditation for its business programs through the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education. It has also been designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education by the National Security Agency. Bellevue University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
List of Rankings/Awards:

  • Silver “Excellence in Academic Partnership” Award from Chief Learning Officer in 2011
  • Bronze “Excellence in Social Learning” Award from Chief Learning Officer in 2011
  • U.S. News & World Report ranked it 9th in Top Online Education Program Rankings – Best Online Bachelor’s Degrees
  • U.S. News & World Report listed it as a Top Ten University for Military Veteran Students in 2014
  • Ranked on GetEducated.com’s list of “Best Online Bachelor’s in Healthcare”
  • Ranked one of the “Best Online IT Bachelor’s Degrees” by GetEducated.com
  • Ranked one of the “Best Online Bachelor’s in Management” by GetEducated.com
  • Rated the #13 “Best Online Bachelor’s Program in Psychology” by TheBestSchools.org

Tuition: $6,300
Ranking: 15th
Score: 746

For more information: Bellevue University

1. Western Governors University

Bellevue, Nebraska

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Western Governors University was born at a bipartisan meeting of the Western Governors Association in 1995. The chair of the association, Utah governor Mike Leavitt, saw that rapid population growth confronted by limited public funds for educational services could be tackled, in part, by distance learning technology. Nineteen governors along the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education and the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems created the new university around five themes: responsiveness to employment and societal needs, focus on competency-based education, expanding access, cost-effectiveness, and development of a technology infrastructure.
This top online college has students in all 50 states and serves active-duty military personnel and their spouses at overseas military installations. WGU offers more than 50 bachelor’s degree and master’s degree programs online in business, information technology, K-12 teacher education, and health professions. Students going to college online love the distance-education, competency-based learning model that measures learning rather than time, allowing them to earn degrees by demonstrating mastery of a subject rather than simply spending time in class.
Western Governors University was the first and only school to receive regional accreditation simultaneously from four regional accrediting commissions. It was also the first online college to have its teacher-preparation programs accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. Western Governors University is accredited today through the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

List of Rankings/Awards:

  • United States Distance Learning Association 21st Century Award for Best Practices in Distance Learning in 2012
  • 21st Century Award for Best Practices in Distance Learning in 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014
  • U.S. News & World Report ranked it #1 in the nation for Secondary Teacher Education Programs among both online and traditional universities in 2014
  • Ranked one of the “50 Most Innovative Companies” by Fast Company in 2013
  • Ranked #1 in 2013 on GuidetoOnlineSchools.com list of “Top Online Colleges”
  • Rated the best online school in Utah by TheBestSchools.org
  • Ranked the #10 “Best Online Bachelor’s in Information Assurance and Security Degree Program” by TheBestSchools.org
  • Ranked the #14 “Best Online Bachelor’s in Marketing Degree Program” by TheBestSchools.org
  • TheBestSchools.org listed it at #14 on the list of “Best Online Bachelor’s in Business Management Degree Programs”
  • TheBestSchools.org listed it at #13 on the list of “Best Online Bachelor’s of Information Technology Degree Programs”
  • Ranked the 8th most popular online college by TheBestSchools.org
  • Ranked the 26th best online college for 2014 by TheBestSchools.org
  • TheBestSchools.org rated it #4 on the list of “Best Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Early Childhood Education”
  • Ranked #2 on TheBestSchools.org list of “Top 25 Online Teacher Education Programs”
  • Ranked #11 on TheBestSchools.og list of “25 Best Online Colleges”
  • Ranked #6 on The BestSchools.org list of “Top 25 Schools for Online Nursing Degrees”

Tuition: $6,070
Ranking: 18th
Score: 715

For more information: Western Governors University 

Sources:

Wikipedia
College Navigator
GetEducated.com
U.S. News & World Report
Read Media
Forbes
PayScale

About the Author:

Iris Stone got her start in the industry when she began working as a freelance writer and researcher in 2011. Her freelance business soon took off and she now owns and operates a writing and editing firm that works with clients all across the country. Despite the time it takes to run a business she still does much of the writing herself, and her work has included a variety of content related to education policy, colleges and universities, academic programs, and graduates’ careers. Check out her Google+ profile.

Also see: Best Online Colleges 2014

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