Why Study Online?
Online learning offers many benefits, including cost savings. By not living on campus or traveling to campus for classes, students can save money on housing, food, transportation, and other living expenses. Some schools also offer lower tuition rates for online classes and do not charge online students many of the fees they charge students who spend time on campus.
Online programs also offer greater flexibility than on-campus programs, enabling students to more easily balance school with personal and professional responsibilities. Asynchronous online classes do not require set meeting times, allowing students to access course content and assignments at their convenience. Synchronous courses require set meeting times, which typically offer less flexibility but more structure than asynchronous classes.
Featured Online Programs
Figuring out where to apply? These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online degrees. Consider one of these accredited programs, and discover their value today.
Top 10 Value Online Schools in Virginia
This guide ranks the best value online schools in Virginia so students can find the best fit for their budget, schedule, and career goals.
Methodology: Here's How We Rank Schools
|Academic Quality||Full-time faculty percentage, student-to-faculty ratio, student retention and graduation rates||25%|
|Affordability||Tuition rates, median student debt, and financial aid||35%|
|Reputation||Admission and enrollment rates||15%|
|Program Offerings||Number of program options||10%|
|Online Enrollment Score||Portion of learners taking at least one online course||15%|
Does it matter where I live if I go to online school?
Online students can access course materials and assignments from any location, so they can attend programs all over the country without relocating. However, some schools charge out-of-state students higher tuition rates than in-state students.
Do I get in-state tuition if I go to an online school?
Some programs allow all online students to pay in-state tuition rates regardless of where they live, while others only extend tuition discounts to in-state students.
Does an online degree take the same amount of time as an on-campus one?
Online degrees typically require the same number of courses and take the same amount of time to complete as on-campus degrees.
Can I get financial aid for online school?
Yes, online students often qualify for the same financial aid opportunities as on-campus students.
Accreditation for Online Programs
Accreditation is a voluntary review process that colleges and universities undergo to demonstrate that their programs meet high academic standards. Schools may receive regional or national accreditation, with regional accreditation generally considered the more prestigious of the two. One of seven regional accrediting bodies, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges accredits online schools in Virginia.
Programs within a school may also receive accreditation, such as business, social work, and nursing programs. The Distance Education Accrediting Commission ensures that online schools seeking accreditation meet established standards for quality, such as employing qualified faculty and providing support for students. Learn more about accreditation.
Career and Salary Outlook for Graduates
While salaries vary by location and experience, Virginia professionals earned a mean annual salary of $56,740 in 2019, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In the Northern Virginia metropolitan area, workers earned $72,600, on average, which is well above the national average of $53,490. Virginia workers also benefit from a low 2.6% unemployment rate (February 2020).
Graduates from an online school in Virginia enjoy many benefits. For instance, workers typically earn higher average salaries and experience lower rates of unemployment with each level of education they attain. According to the BLS, the median weekly wage for graduates with a bachelor's degree is $1,248, compared to $887 for graduates with an associate degree and $746 for high school graduates.
Financial Aid for Virginia Students
Students attending Virginia online schools may qualify for financial aid opportunities, including loans, grants, and work-study programs. Students can apply for federal aid by submitting the FAFSA. In addition to grants, which do not require repayment, the federal government offers unsubsidized and subsidized loans to eligible students. Students who accept loans must start repaying them once they stop attending school.
Students may also qualify for additional forms of financial aid, such as work-study programs and scholarships. Like grants, scholarships do not require repayment.
Scholarships for Virginia Students
Many organizations, companies, and foundations offer scholarships to Virginia college students to help cover education costs. Organizations may award scholarships based on factors like financial need, academic qualifications, student interests, or other criteria. We cover several scholarship opportunities for Virginia students below.COLLAPSE ALLEXPAND ALL
AdvanSix STEM Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Students from eligible Virginia cities, like Hopewell, planning to major in a STEM field qualify for this opportunity. Applicants must take at least six credits, demonstrate financial need, and possess a minimum 3.0 GPA.
Amount: $1,000Apply for Scholarship
The Esperanza Education Fund Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Students born outside the U.S. (or with parents born outside the U.S.) who are living in Virginia, Maryland, or Washington, D.C., and planning to enroll full time at a public school may apply. Applicants must demonstrate financial need.
Amount: $5,000-$20,000Apply for Scholarship
Scholarship for Survivors
Who Can Apply: Undergraduates from Virginia under age 25 who were diagnosed with or treated for cancer within the last five years may apply. Applicants must submit an essay and verification of their medical diagnosis.
Amount: $3,000 per year ($12,000 total)Apply for Scholarship
Virginia Chapter of HIMSS Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Student members of the Virginia Chapter of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society enrolled in a program related to health information or technology may apply.
Amount: $5,000Apply for Scholarship
VSCPA Educational Foundation Undergraduate Accounting Scholarship
Who Can Apply: U.S. citizens enrolled in an accounting program at a Virginia college or university may apply. Applicants must demonstrate financial need and hold a minimum 3.0 GPA.
Amount: $1,500-$3,000Apply for Scholarship
Since public colleges and universities receive state funding, they typically charge lower tuition rates to in-state students than out-of-state students. In-state students at public, four-year institutions paid an average of $12,637 in tuition and fees in 2016-17, while out-of-state students paid an average of $33,428.
To qualify for in-state tuition at state schools in Virginia, students must demonstrate residency in Virginia for at least one year. Some schools, especially private schools, offer the same tuition rates to all students, regardless of residency. Others offer substantially discounted tuition rates for online classes.
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