Online Schools and Colleges in Arizona

Accredited Degree Programs, Scholarships and Resources for Top Schools

Nearly 320,000 students are enrolled in Arizona private colleges, and close to 355,000 are enrolled in public and state schools in Arizona. With more than 100 colleges and universities to choose from across the state, aspiring students should do their homework when it comes to trying to find the right college fit. Discover more about Arizona's colleges and online university options, find out the answers to students' frequently asked questions, and explore how higher education can prepare you to thrive in the workforce long term below.

Best Online Colleges in Arizona 2020

Best Online Schools

Arizona hosts a variety of public and private institutions that offer opportunities for online undergraduate and graduate study. Arizona's average public tuition rate is $10,557 per year, but students can take advantage of many things to make their education more affordable.

This guide covers important information about minimizing the costs of earning a degree, including how to take advantage of financial aid opportunities, student resources, and in-state tuition rates.

Rank Logo School Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid Credit For Experience Placement Service Counseling Services Description & Additional Information Toggle
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1 Mesa Community College Mesa, AZ Tuition $2,064 # of Online Programs 28 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 13% Financial Aid 25% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes
2 Chandler-Gilbert Community College Chandler, AZ Tuition $2,064 # of Online Programs 16 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 22% Financial Aid 18% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes
3 Cochise College Douglas, AZ Tuition $1,896 # of Online Programs 10 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 21% Financial Aid 16% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service No Counseling Services Yes
4 Eastern Arizona College Thatcher, AZ Tuition $2,400 # of Online Programs 12 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 31% Financial Aid 34% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes
5 Yavapai College Prescott, AZ Tuition $2,280 # of Online Programs 23 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 27% Financial Aid 20% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service No Counseling Services Yes
6 Pima Community College Tucson, AZ Tuition $1,884 # of Online Programs 7 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 14% Financial Aid 10% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service No Counseling Services Yes
7 Paradise Valley Community College Phoenix, AZ Tuition $2,064 # of Online Programs 5 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 20% Financial Aid 24% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service No Counseling Services Yes
8 Phoenix College Phoenix, AZ Tuition $2,064 # of Online Programs 4 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 16% Financial Aid 16% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service No Counseling Services Yes
9 GateWay Community College Phoenix, AZ Tuition $2,064 # of Online Programs 6 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 14% Financial Aid 27% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes
10 Rio Salado College Tempe, AZ Tuition $2,064 # of Online Programs 43 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 4% Financial Aid 1% Credit For Experience No Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes
11 Arizona Western College Yuma, AZ Tuition $1,920 # of Online Programs 26 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 16% Financial Aid 16% Credit For Experience No Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes
12 Scottsdale Community College Scottsdale, AZ Tuition $2,064 # of Online Programs 11 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 19% Financial Aid 22% Credit For Experience No Placement Service No Counseling Services Yes
13 Mohave Community College Kingman, AZ Tuition $2,430 # of Online Programs 21 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 21% Financial Aid 9% Credit For Experience No Placement Service No Counseling Services Yes
14 Central Arizona College Coolidge, AZ Tuition $2,520 # of Online Programs 4 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 17% Financial Aid 22% Credit For Experience No Placement Service No Counseling Services Yes
15 Coconino Community College Flagstaff, AZ Tuition $3,060 # of Online Programs 3 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 11% Financial Aid 11% Credit For Experience No Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes
Rank Logo School Tuition # of Online Programs Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid Credit For Experience Placement Service Counseling Services Description & Additional Information Toggle
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1 Northern Arizona University Flagstaff, AZ Tuition $8,698 # of Online Programs 55 Acceptance Rate 78% Graduation Rate 54% Financial Aid 82% Credit For Experience N/A Placement Service N/A Counseling Services N/A

Northern Arizona University has 158 degree programs and is the only state university in Arizona whose professional education programs are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Education Preparation. Northern Arizona University's online degrees are referred to as Structured and Guided or Self-Paced Personalized Learning. Structured and guided programs allow students to choose from a range of start dates and choose their own course schedules. Self-paced personalized learning programs do not require a set schedule or classes, giving students the opportunity to complete requirements for their bachelor's degrees at their own pace. NAU offers online technical support, library resources and tutoring. NAU also offers blended degrees which are completed partially on-campus and partially online. For additional flexibility, hybrid courses allow students to complete most of the work online while occasionally attending certain lectures and discussions on campus.

Students should check with their academic or major advisor in order to see what options they have for hybrid and blended courses. Undergraduate students must complete 120 credits, core requirements and requirements for their major with an overall grade point average of at least 2.0 to obtain a bachelor's degree. Majors and minors require additional credits and courses. Bachelor's degrees are usually completed in 4 years. Graduate degrees require a minimum of 30 credits. Different master's degrees have different requirements - as an example, some programs require a thesis with at least 18 units of formal coursework, while those not requiring a thesis may require at least 24 units of formal coursework. Students looking to transfer will be granted admission to NAU if they have attended community college and completed specific Arizona education curriculums and have a minimum 2.0 GPA, 12-23 transferable credits and a high school GPA of at least a 2.0.

2 Arizona State University Tempe, AZ Tuition $9,684 # of Online Programs 10 Acceptance Rate 83% Graduation Rate 66% Financial Aid 85% Credit For Experience N/A Placement Service N/A Counseling Services N/A

Arizona State University offers more than 110 undergraduate and graduate degrees entirely online and serves more than 20,000 distance learners. While ASU offers bachelor's and master's degrees online, doctoral courses must be attended on campus. ASU has been established as a "top-tier" hiring and recruiting institution by over 50 top corporations around the country. In order to obtain a bachelor's degree at ASU, students must complete about 120 credits hours, with a minimum of 45 upper-division credits. Students must also achieve a minimum GPA of 2.0 while fulfilling the university's general studies and major requirements. Students can typically complete a bachelor's degree in 4 years, whereas completion of master's degrees varies by specific program. Students interested in transferring to ASU must have completed 12-23 transferable credits from a regionally accredited college with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5, as well as meet freshman admission requirements. There may also be additional requirements for specific majors. As ASU is ranked as one of the top schools for veterans, military credits are accepted. ASU assesses how to transfer military credits using the American Council on Education's Guide to the Evaluation of Education Experiences in the Armed Services. ASU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges.

3 University of Arizona Tucson, AZ Tuition $10,160 # of Online Programs 30 Acceptance Rate 79% Graduation Rate 63% Financial Aid 74% Credit For Experience N/A Placement Service N/A Counseling Services N/A

The University of Arizona offers innovative education to better Arizona as well as the rest of the world. UA is a long-time partner with NASA and has an emphasis on research. It offers over 300 undergraduate and graduate programs in a range of science and technology fields as well as liberal arts degrees. When it comes to distance learning, UA boasts over 150 degree programs that can be completed entirely online. Online students can obtain a bachelor's, masters or certificate. In order to graduate, students must complete at least 120 credits within a degree program, 42 of which must be upper division. Certain majors may have additional requirements. Students must also have a cumulative GPA of 2.0. The typical length of a bachelor's program is 4 years. UA accepts credits from regionally accredited colleges and universities, but these credits must meet certain additional stipulations. Academic advisors in the student's major department will determine whether a credit is eligible for transfer, and transfer coursework will not be averaged into the students' University of Arizona grade point average. Graduate students transferring to UA will also need approval from the graduate director and major/minor advisor in order for their credits to be accepted. In most cases, courses must be at the graduate level from accredited universities or colleges and must be above a B average.

Veterans can obtain military credits by submitting past transcripts for evaluation. Up to 30 American Council of Education (ACE) approved credits may be applied towards an undergraduate degree. Recruit, basic training and knowledge of a second language may also be transferrable as credit towards a degree based on certain conditions which can be found under the transfer credits guide or through an academic advisor.
4 Prescott College Prescott, AZ Tuition $27,528 # of Online Programs 65 Acceptance Rate 68% Graduation Rate 43% Financial Aid 100% Credit For Experience N/A Placement Service N/A Counseling Services N/A

Prescott College has a mission to produce leaders and global citizens to address the many issues facing our society today. In order to achieve this, the school emphasizes student designed programs and experimental education. Prescott is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and prides itself on its diverse population and services that promote diversity. The school also accepts undocumented students and veterans, and offers programs to support these groups. Students can earn their bachelor's, master's or doctoral degrees by attending programs on campus as well as online. In order to graduate, undergraduate students must complete at least 120 semester credits. The typical length to program completion is 4 years. For those interested in distance learning, Prescott offers the option of 100% online degrees as well as hybrid learning programs where students travel to campus for orientation and to work with mentors and faculty advisors. The master's degrees offered through distance learning include Adventure Education, Education, Environmental Studies, Humanities and Counseling. For an online PhD, students can pursue Sustainability Education.

Transfer students may be drawn to Prescott College for its generous transfer policy as well as the ample support services. At a minimum, transfer students must complete two terms of full-time enrollment at Prescott College or the equivalent. The school accepts higher level college course credits from accredited universities, CLEP (College-Level Examination Program) tests, as well as credits via programs verifying US military services training so students don't have to retake introductory courses. There's also the option to apply to Prescott's Accelerated master's program to more efficiently and quickly finish a bachelor's degree and a Master of Arts, Master of Science or Masters of Education.

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How Can I Find Which Online Colleges Offer the Degree I'm Looking for in Arizona?

Home to some of the largest distance education institutions in the world, Arizona provides so many online college options that finding the right program may feel overwhelming. Prospective students can visit the Open Education Database and the AZ College & Career Guide to find annotated lists of the state's schools. Students can find additional information on online colleges and universities in Arizona below.

How Much More Do College Grads in Arizona Make?

Higher degrees typically correlate with increases in annual salaries for American workers. The following table features the median annual earnings in the U.S. by level of education. According to PayScale, the average salary in Arizona is $62,000 a year, higher than the national average. Arizonans' comparative wealth comes in part from an educated workforce that provides management and technical proficiency to the state's growing healthcare, software, manufacturing, and mining industries.

Less Than a High School Diploma High School Diploma Associate Degree
$28,756 $37,960 $44,824
Bachelor's Degree Master's Degree Doctoral Degree
$62,296 $74,568 $94,900

Source: BLS

Paying for Online College in Arizona: Tuition and Financial Aid

Arizona residents who attend a public, in-state university pay an average tuition rate of $10,557, which is higher than the national average. However, Arizona also offers some of the nation's best public aid packages, including free tuition for qualifying residents at some public universities. The tables below outline how Arizona's average tuition prices compare to national averages.

Average Undergraduate Tuition and Fees: Public Colleges and Universities
In-State Tuition Out-of-State Tuition National Average
$10,557 $26,067

$9,037 (In-State)

$25,657 (Out-of-State)
Average Undergraduate Tuition and Fees: Private Colleges and Universities
In-State Tuition Out-of-State Tuition National Average
$13,487 N/A $30,731

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Cost Considerations for Online Students in Arizona

When weighing education costs, students should consider several factors. We outline several important cost considerations for prospective students below.

Cost Differences Among Online Colleges: The cost of attending college online varies by institution. For instance, private schools typically charge more than public universities.
In-State vs. Out-of-State Tuition Fees: Most state-sponsored universities and colleges provide significant tuition discounts for in-state students. However, some programs allow all online students to pay in-state tuition rates regardless of where they live.
Military or Veteran Discounts: At many universities, members of the U.S. military and veterans qualify for reduced tuition rates and other financial benefits that affect the cost of their education.
Rates Are Based on Degree Level: The type of degree that a student pursues also affects the cost of their education. Undergraduate degrees typically take longer to complete than graduate degrees, so they often come at a higher cost.
Corporate Education Reimbursements: Some companies offer reimbursement for part or all of an employee's educational expenses, provided the recipient meets certain criteria, such as agreeing to work for the company for a designated time period.

Qualifying for In-State Tuition in Arizona

To qualify for in-state tuition rates at a public college or university in Arizona, students must live in the state for at least one year prior to the last day of registration for the semester.

Students must provide evidence of financial independence, such as proof of employment. However, some programs allow all online students to pay in-state tuition rates regardless of residency, so prospective students should research the requirements of each potential school.

Paying for College in Arizona: Scholarships and Financial Aid

Arizona residents can take advantage of a variety of financial aid opportunities to help pay for their education, such as scholarships, grants, and loans. Scholarships and grants are typically ideal as, unlike loans, they do not require repayment. We highlight several scholarship and grant opportunities for Arizona students below.

Scholarships for Arizona College Students

Chief Manuelito Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Full-time undergraduate students pursuing a bachelor's degree can apply for this scholarship provided that they meet the scholastic requirements as determined by their ACT/SAT scores. Recipients must complete courses in Navajo language and Navajo government before graduation.

Amount: $3,500 per term

Apply For Scholarship

Arizona Section Halls of Knowledge Scholarship - American Welding Society

Who Can Apply: Candidates for this scholarship must reside in Arizona; study at an accredited technical college, community college, or university; and major in welding technology, manufacturing, or engineering studies.

Amount: Varies

Apply For Scholarship

The ACMPE Scholarship Fund Inc.

Who Can Apply: Residents of Arizona or another state in the MGMA Western Section can apply for this scholarship. Applicants must have career plans to advance the organization's mission to transform healthcare.

Amount: $2,500

Apply For Scholarship

PMI Phoenix Chapter Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Arizona residents seeking undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral degrees in project management or a related field can apply for this annual scholarship.

Amount: Up to $2,500

Apply For Scholarship

The Arizona Business and Professional Women's Foundation

Who Can Apply: Women who are at least 21 years old and earning a degree at a community college to advance their careers can apply for this scholarship.

Amount: Varies

Apply For Scholarship

Grants for Arizona College Students

Arizona Community Foundation

Who Can Apply: The Arizona Community Foundation manages funds that support various scholarships and grants for Arizona residents. Applicants complete one form that foundation staff members use to determine the applicant's financial aid qualifications.

Amount: Varies

Apply For Grant

TEACH Grant

Who Can Apply: Education majors can apply for a federal TEACH grant. Recipients must agree to teach in a high-need school for at least four years following graduation.

Amount: Up to $4,000

Apply For Grant

Arizona Financial Aid Trust Grant

Who Can Apply: Funded by the state legislature, this grant supports Arizona residents who attend state colleges.

Amount: Varies

Apply For Grant

Arizona Teacher Student Loan Program

Who Can Apply: Arizona residents enrolled at least half time in a teacher certification program who have completed at least 55 credits qualify for this loan. Recipients must agree to teach in an Arizona public school for the same number of years that they receive aid, plus one year in exchange for loan forgiveness.

Amount: Up to $7,000 per year

Apply For Grant

Arizona Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership

Who Can Apply: Undergraduate Arizona residents with financial need as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can apply for this grant. Recipients must maintain satisfactory academic progress.

Amount: Up to $2,500

Apply For Grant

The Importance of Accreditation for Online Colleges and Universities in Arizona

When researching prospective schools and programs, students should look for accreditation status. Accreditation expands employment, financial aid, and education opportunities and indicates that a school meets high academic standards.

Regional and National Accreditation

Schools may receive regional or national accreditation. Nonprofit, degree-granting institutions typically hold regional accreditation, while for-profit, vocational schools hold national accreditation. Regional accreditation is generally considered the more prestigious of the two. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) oversees various regional accrediting bodies that accredit schools depending on location. The Higher Learning Commission accredits Arizona schools.

Subject-Specific Accreditation

Programs within a school may also receive accreditation, such as nursing, business, and social work programs. Like regional accreditation, programmatic accreditation indicates that a program meets high academic standards and adequately prepares students for the workforce.

How to Know if Your School or Program is Accredited

Students can typically find a program or school's accreditation status through the school's website. Additionally, students can search the CHEA database or the Department of Education's Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs to verify accreditation status.

Online College and Adult Education in Arizona

Arizona hosts some of the largest online higher education programs in the world. Arizona learners can take advantage of many programs and resources to support their studies, many of which we highlight below.

By the Numbers: Adult Education in Arizona

383,696 students took at least one online course in 2015.

299,213 Arizona students take exclusively online courses.

244,678 of Arizona's distance education students are enrolled in private, for-profit schools.

Source: The Distance Education State Almanac 2017

Adult Education Programs for Arizona Students

  • Arizona Language Center: This center offers language classes, including specialized English language courses, to prepare students for college-level study. The center maintains headquarters in Scottsdale, but it offers mobile sites around the state.
  • College and Career Ready Center: This program provides various resources to help high school students and other pre-college learners create and execute a career and education plan. The center also provides dropout prevention and counseling services.
  • Adult Literacy Plus of Southwest Arizona: Adult learners in southwest Arizona can take advantage of high school and GED preparation classes and English language acquisition training through this resource. The agency also offers some programs online.

Online College Resources for Arizona Students

Current and prospective online students in Arizona can take advantage of several resources to support their studies. The following resources offer information on topics like financial aid opportunities and Arizona's postsecondary education options.

  • AZ Grants Portal: This website offers information about Arizona's two state-sponsored higher education grants, as well as links to scholarship resources and federal financial aid opportunities.
  • College & Career Guide Publication: This publication from the State of Arizona covers every postsecondary education option in the state, including information about accreditation and financial aid.
  • AZ Family College Savings Program: This state-sponsored program helps people save for their family's college education in tax-deferred accounts. Arizonans can open an account for as little as $25.
  • AZ Commission for Postsecondary Education: This commission identifies and addresses ways to expand access to education and increase college success. Students can use the website to plan for college and discover learning resources.
  • College Goal Arizona: This state-sponsored online resource helps Arizona students complete college applications and the FAFSA.

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