Although Kansas does not have the high number of major colleges and universities as many other states, what it lacks in numbers it makes up for in quality. Private schools are common, though they vary considerably in size and focus. The Kansas Board of Regents manages 32 public institutions, including the highly regarded University of Kansas and Kansas State University. An expansive community college system completes the scene. These two-year programs are notable not only because they consistently earn high marks from publications like Washington Monthly, but because they considerably extend statewide opportunities. Online schools in Kansas are further expanding educational access.

Online education can be a game-changer for anyone short on time or options, but in states like Kansas, where more than 70 percent of the population is classified by the Census as rural, it can be the difference between earning a degree and not. This is precisely why Kansas schools were quick to adopt online learning. Private schools like Baker University and Ottawa University offer hundreds of online courses, as do major public schools like the University of Kansas and Kansas State University. Even community college students can now earn associate degrees 100 percent online through a state-funded initiative called eduKan.

Online schools in Kansas may have something for everyone, but there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all program. Let’s review the full breadth of the state’s higher education options, including distance learning.

The varied learning options in Kansas attest to its commitment to providing top-notch higher education. Here are some of them.

Online Colleges in Kansas

Online schools in Kansas are a key component of its higher education system. The Board of Regents accredits more than 40 such programs, including those offered through major state-funded institutions. The eduKan initiative connects students with online associate degrees from several community colleges statewide, while the University of Kansas offers online certificates and degrees (both undergraduate and graduate) in areas like education, nursing, occupational therapy and science. Many more state institutions, like Kansas State University, have substantial online course catalogs.

Private online schools in Kansas were among the first to adopt Web-based learning, and their contributions have only grown. Baker University offers more than a dozen online certificates and degrees at the associate, bachelor’s and master’s levels. Ottawa University offers even more online programs, including several highly ranked degrees. There are also several private for-profit online schools throughout Kansas. Despite their differences, most of these institutions offer targeted career training in areas like business, computer science, criminal justice, education and health care. We will discuss and rank several of these online schools in Kansas.

Community Colleges in Kansas

The network of community and technical colleges in Kansas serves more than 78,000 students each year across 26 distinct campuses. These schools offer career-focused certificates and academic associate degrees in several content areas. Students can carry these credentials directly into the workforce, or use them as stepping stones to advanced degrees through four-year institutions. Many community colleges also host adult education programs designed to help students learn to read, speak English or earn their GEDs.

Because Kansas community colleges often cater to working adults, there are abundant evening, weekend and online programs. An online initiative called eduKan links students with online courses and degrees from several such institutions, like Dodge City, Seward County and Colby Community Colleges.

Public Universities in Kansas

The Kansas Board of Regents oversees six state universities and one municipal four-year institution. The University of Kansas, a research institution, is the largest publicly funded university in the state, but Kansas State University, Wichita State University and other public schools still serve thousands of students each year. Haskell Indian Nations University, a public Native American tribal institution, is also recognized as a state university. Together, these institutions offer more than 1,000 certificate and degree programs in fields like agriculture, business, computer technology, education, health care and more. Public institutions also account for many online schools in Kansas.

Private Colleges in Kansas

Private schools in Kansas do not outnumber its public institutions, but they are a popular option for students seeking certain programs or learning experiences. More than half of the state’s undergraduate students are enrolled in such programs. There are more than 20 private schools statewide, from small theological and liberal arts colleges to targeted career schools specializing in areas like business, education, engineering and medicine. Each school has its own goals and governing boards, so degrees and disciplines vary. Private institutions account for several online schools in Kansas.

Kansas Online School and Program Spotlights

The University of Kansas

The University of Kansas offers several distance learning programs. Students can earn 100 percent online bachelor’s degrees in health-related areas like nursing and respiratory care. Graduate students have a wider selection of Web-based options, including online master’s degrees in dietetics and nutrition, educational administration, occupational therapy, social work and more. KU offers two online doctoral degrees in nursing, as well as online graduate certificates in aerospace, medical, law enforcement and bioscience. Students don’t need to enroll in these programs to take advantage of online learning: the school offers hundreds of Web-based courses that apply toward traditional degrees and certificates.

KU’s online students go through the same admissions process as their campus-based peers and, once admitted, follow the traditional semester schedule.

For more information on distance learning or specific online degree programs at the University of Kansas, visit

Southwestern College

Southwestern College, a four-year private college affiliated with the United Methodist Church, offers several online certificates and degrees. These include more than 15 online bachelor’s degrees in areas like business and leadership, education, health care, social science, ministry, technology and more. Online graduate degrees are available in accounting, management, teaching, special education, theological studies and security administration. SC’s online certificates offer undergraduate- and graduate-level training in cybercrime investigation, operational leadership, executive accounting and emergency planning. All online courses last six weeks.

SC offers several support services for online students, including academic and career advising. Students can also participate in competency-based programs that convert knowledge and experience into college credit, usually via exams or military training records.

To learn more about online education options at Southwestern College, visit

Kansas State University Global Campus

Kansas State University offers several online degree programs. Online bachelor’s degree completion programs span nine majors, including animal science, early childhood education, general business and technology management. Web-based master’s degree programs are offered in 27 subject areas, such as engineering, business, agriculture, education and arts and sciences. Undergraduate and graduate certificate programs are also available through the global campus, with most programs requiring less than 18 credits to complete.

All of K-State’s online undergraduate programs require students to have at least 30 credits of coursework from an accredited institution. Admission requirements for master’s degree programs vary by program, but most require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree with at least a 3.0 GPA.

Online courses are delivered through K-State Online, the university’s online learning system. Students use a number of additional technologies designed to enhance the online interactive learning environment, like streaming video, Web conferencing and message boards.

For a full list of K-State’s online degrees and certificates, visit its Global Campus website at

Ottawa University

Ottawa University offers 19 online bachelor’s degree programs through its schools of arts and sciences, business and education. Some online undergraduate programs feature customizable tracks targeting specific subject areas within students’ majors. Graduate students can earn online master’s degrees in business administration, counseling, human services or education. Ottawa University requires undergraduate applicants to have at least a high school diploma or GED. Online graduate students must submit a personal statement essay, resume and three letters of recommendation. GMAT and GRE scores are generally not required, but some master’s degree programs may have additional requirements.

OU’s online courses rely on the Blackboard learning platform to manage lectures, assignments, class announcements and more. Students can install the Blackboard app on their smartphones and tablets.

For a complete list of Ottawa University’s online program offerings, visit Ottawa University’s online program page at


Best Online Schools in Kansas for Service Members

Online schools in Kansas are known for providing strong educational programs to military service members, veterans and their families. Distance education is a natural fit for students who want to advance their educations without worrying about disruptions from deployments and relocations. Many online schools offer tuition discounts or special grant and scholarship programs to military personnel. Some, like Southwest College, allow students to convert military training into college credits via exams or military records. Online students attending schools with nearby campuses may also have access to on-site military resources, like academic tutoring, education benefit advising and transition support.

Tuition City ROTC - Army ROTC - Navy ROTC - Air Force
Haskell Indian Nations UniversityN/A Lawrence Yes Yes Yes
Washburn University$5,400 Topeka Yes Yes Yes
University of Kansas$8,000 Lawrence Yes Yes Yes
Kansas State University$7,317 Manhattan Yes No Yes
Manhattan Christian College$12,768 Manhattan Yes No Yes

Best Online Schools in Kansas for Personal Attention

Online schools in Kansas are known for their flexibility, but some students wonder if they will have to sacrifice personalized learning for the sake of convenience. With today’s innovative technologies and policies, distance learning programs enable online students to stay connected with peers and instructors from anywhere. Collaborative technologies include Skype, cloud-based project management tools, scheduled chats and interactive, live-streamed lectures. Virtual office hours make it easier for instructors to answer questions and provide individualized support. Some schools significantly limit online course enrollment to preserve personalized learning opportunities. For example, Ottawa University boasts a 4:1 student-instructor ratio. The following online schools in Kansas rank among the best in the state for personal attention.

Wichita State University 20 to 1 15,517$5,205 Public Wichita
Kansas State University 20 to 1 21,513$7,317 Public Manhattan
Haskell Indian Nations University 19 to 1 991N/A Public Lawrence
Pittsburg State University 19 to 1 7,007$4,386 Public Pittsburg
University of Kansas 19 to 1 21,710$8,000 Public Lawrence
Fort Hays State University 18 to 1 12,980$3,249 Public Hays
Emporia State University 17 to 1 4,309$4,102 Public Emporia
Ottawa University-Kansas City 16 to 1 406$10,740 Private not-for-profit Overland Park
Manhattan Christian College 16 to 1 461$12,768 Private not-for-profit Manhattan
Washburn University 16 to 1 7,632$5,400 Public Topeka
Kansas Wesleyan University 15 to 1 928$22,600 Private not-for-profit Salina
Benedictine College 15 to 1 2,329$22,550 Private not-for-profit Atchison
Cleveland Chiropractic College 14 to 1 172$7,920 Private not-for-profit Overland Park
Sterling College 14 to 1 721$20,950 Private not-for-profit Sterling
Tabor College 14 to 1 829$21,160 Private not-for-profit Hillsboro
Newman University 14 to 1 3,013$21,388 Private not-for-profit Wichita
Bethany College 13 to 1 656$22,024 Private not-for-profit Lindsborg
McPherson College 13 to 1 677$21,216 Private not-for-profit McPherson
Central Baptist Theological Seminary 12 to 1 27$6,480 Private not-for-profit Shawnee
Bethel College-North Newton 12 to 1 580$22,600 Private not-for-profit North Newton
Ottawa University-Ottawa 12 to 1 610$22,400 Private not-for-profit Ottawa
Central Christian College of Kansas 12 to 1 766$18,750 Private not-for-profit McPherson
Donnelly College 12 to 1 841$6,552 Private not-for-profit Kansas City
Barclay College 11 to 1 251$11,000 Private not-for-profit Haviland
University of Saint Mary 11 to 1 969$21,500 Private not-for-profit Leavenworth
Baker University 11 to 1 2,652$24,470 Private not-for-profit Baldwin City
Friends University 10 to 1 2,725$22,320 Private not-for-profit Wichita
MidAmerica Nazarene University 9 to 1 1,710$20,500 Private not-for-profit Olathe
Southwestern College 9 to 1 2,645$22,606 Private not-for-profit Winfield
Ottawa University-Online 5 to 1 719$10,920 Private not-for-profit Ottawa

Best Online Schools in Kansas for Women in Tech

The technology industry is growing quickly, but studies show that women remain underrepresented in the field. This disparity often begins in college, where male students outnumber female students by wide margins. Some online schools in Kansas offer programs and features that support young women aspiring to tech careers. They might offer a higher-than-average ratio of female instructors to serve as role models, or offer mentorship programs that pair young women with seasoned students. Access to special conferences for women, including professional and networking events, can also help. But perhaps the best way schools can support these young women is by providing high-quality online degree programs. Below, we’ve ranked the top online schools in Kansas for women in tech.

Kansas State University$8,047 Manhattan 107 19,605 Public
University of Kansas$9,678 Lawrence 102 23,737 Public
Wichita State University$6,442 Wichita 86 9,800 Public
Pittsburg State University$5,494 Pittsburg 60 6,254 Public
Emporia State University$5,272 Emporia 22 3,772 Public
Fort Hays State University$4,320 Hays 15 5,694 Public
Washburn University$5,486 Topeka 9 4,784 Public

Online Colleges in Kansas Fighting for Families

Social science degrees are a magnet for students who want to help families and children in their communities, but not all programs are created equal. This is just as true for online programs as traditional programs. Several online schools in Kansas offer highly regarded social services programs. They may start by crafting quality curricula that draws national rankings, but for many, this is only the beginning. For example, some online social science programs offer students a chance to complete supervised, hands-on internships within their local communities to build practical skills and knowledge. Scholarships and fellowships can make these academic programs even more valuable (and affordable). Which programs are the best? We’ve listed the top online schools in Kansas for social work degrees here.

University of Kansas Lawrence 309 259 50 $9,678 23,737
Kansas State University Manhattan 156 87 69 $8,047 19,605
Wichita State University Wichita 152 130 22 $6,442 9,800
Washburn University Topeka 112 94 18 $5,486 4,784
Newman University Wichita 71 57 14 $22,238 1,305
Fort Hays State University Hays 59 53 6 $4,320 5,694
Pittsburg State University Pittsburg 40 34 6 $5,494 6,254
Emporia State University Emporia 23 17 6 $5,272 3,772
Bethel College-North Newton North Newton 12 8 4 $22,600 497
Baker University Baldwin City 10 7 3 $24,550 1,463
Kansas Wesleyan University Salina 7 1 6 $22,600 733
Benedictine College Atchison 6 5 1 $22,800 1,713
MidAmerica Nazarene University Olathe 5 4 1 $21,500 1,432