Connecticut has 17 universities and colleges. More than 79,000 students are enrolled in Connecticut’s private institutions, and more than 122,000 students are enrolled in Connecticut’s public colleges. Yet with so many options, how does a student find the right one for them? It’s not easy, but for many it comes down to identifying the school with the cost, quality and amenities they need to maximize their chance for success. Learn which online colleges in Connecticut are changing higher education in the state, and what that means for college students of today and tomorrow.
Each college student is different. The best online school for a single first-year English student may be less-than-ideal for a married dad working on his master’s. It’s this diversity that makes finding the best college unique. In Connecticut for example, the University of Bridgeport offers one-on-one learning opportunities in an asynchronous format. And St. Vincent’s College tailors its programs to working professionals in the healthcare field. That said, some online schools in Connecticut have a variety of resources, affordable tuition and the accreditation to make them stand out across the board. Let’s see which colleges and universities in Connecticut made the list.
Most schools in Connecticut list their complete program catalog on their websites, including which degrees and courses have online elements. Sacred Heart University has a full list of its online degree programs available to all website visitors.
Students can also visit the Connecticut Office of Higher Education’s web page, which lists all the state’s accredited college programs. Additionally, students can find online degrees by using an academic program search feature on the website. Because programs and courses change each quarter or semester, the sooner you can reach out to a college for specific information, the better.
Colleges in Connecticut establish their own policies regarding transfer credits, and some policies vary by field. For instance, Charter Oak State College and Sacred Heart University provide students with life experience or prior learning credits to save them time and money. To qualify, students must document their knowledge and why it should replace specific program courses.
Other schools let students transfer their credit hours from other accredited colleges in the state. Typically, the number of transferable credits is limited. Students can speak directly with an enrollment adviser at the prospective college to see if the school accepts transfer credits.
Many students attend college assuming it’s the path to a higher salary, and in many cases, it is. The following table shows the average pay Connecticut professionals receive based on their jobs’ minimum degree requirements.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017
Looking at the Bureau of Labor Statistics data, it’s clear that college degrees pay. Careers in Connecticut that require bachelor’s degrees pay nearly $40,000 more per year than those that require just a high school diploma. Positions requiring a doctoral degree as the minimum standard pay an estimated $80,000 more than those for diploma earners only. Even though college tuition may be on the rise, a college degree has earning power, and can pay off—literally—in the short- and long-term in Connecticut.
The top jobs in the state’s market span many industries and fields. Connecticut’s most in-demand jobs include financial managers, groundskeeping/landscaping workers, cooks and office supervisors. Other growing occupations in Connecticut are teaching and nursing assistants, accountants/auditors, childcare workers and registered nurses.
With the growth of online schools in Connecticut comes a sharper eye on quality. What signifies quality and how do you know which level of accreditation is actually legitimate? So many colleges out there say they have the proper accreditation when they really don’t. Here’s how to tell the difference.
The most important accreditation a college can receive is regional, granted by one of twelve accrediting bodies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Regional accreditation—as opposed to national accreditation—means the school and its programs have a certain level of quality, a commitment to growth and a coherent mission to back them. A top-ranking online school in Connecticut is the University of Connecticut, which is regionally accredited by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
Along with regional accreditation, many top online universities in Connecticut have specialized accreditation for individual programs. For example, the University of Connecticut’s business school is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). The business school offers an online master’s degree and a certificate program in accounting.
Covering college tuition is a primary concern for students. However, many of Connecticut’s highest-paying career opportunities require a degree. The following sections provide an overview of the current costs of online education in the state.
In-State Tuition, Public Colleges & Universities: $11,106
Change from 2015 $571
In-State Tuition, Private Colleges & Universities: $37,679
Change from 2015 $1,375
Source: National Center for Education Statistics, 2016
These numbers reflect in-state tuition and required fees only. They do not include room, board or additional fees that may be considered optional, e.g. parking.
To attract more online students, some Connecticut online colleges are making their tuition rates more accommodating. For example, undergraduate students at Western Connecticut State University pay an estimated $40 per credit hour more than on-campus resident students. Meanwhile, the tuition rates at Post University differ according to the types and levels of the programs. The fees and costs are the same for residents and non-residents, with lower rates for distance-learning students than for on-campus students. In addition, some colleges place all online programs under the in-state tuition rate, regardless of where the student lives.
The following are some common questions regarding Connecticut’s online college costs.
In Connecticut, students qualify for in-state university tuition by establishing residency for a minimum of one year before the first day of class. These rules don’t apply to distance-learning students who can pay the Connecticut in-state tuition costs described above.
The University of Connecticut-Waterbury is at the lower end of tuition costs in Connecticut, with in-state students paying close to $12,800 in tuition and fees, and out-of-state students paying around $34,900. Meanwhile, the University of Connecticut is at the higher end, with in-state students paying $14,880 and non-residents paying $36,900. Both the lower-end and the higher-end tuition costs in Connecticut are below the average total tuition cost in the United States, which is $16,700.
For online credits, Connecticut’s public universities are a good example of schools that may charge less per credit for an undergraduate degree than their counterparts in other nearby states for 2018-2019:
Comparisons do not include technology and other fees that nay be imposed by different colleges and universities.
The most popular option for funding higher education is federal financial aid. Start by researching and applying for aid via FAFSA. It’s free to apply, is need-based and as long as you’re attending a regionally accredited institution, you should have no trouble. Scholarships are another great option for students of all levels. Check out a few scholarships available to Connecticut online students.
Bob Eddy Scholarship Program to Foster Journalism Careers: This scholarship is for students attending an accredited higher learning institution in Connecticut. The scholarship amount is $2,500.
Eileen Kraus Scholarship: This scholarship is available each year to an outstanding woman in Connecticut who is about to start her first year in college. The scholarship is valued at $5,000.
James P. and Debra Fitzgerald Healy Foundation Scholarship: This scholarship offers financial help to college-bound students who suddenly experienced a financial change and need money for college. Eligible students are in their junior or senior year at a four-year school with a minimum 3.0 GPA. The scholarship amount is $3,000.
Between July 2016 and June 2017, more than 19,000 people in Connecticut participated in adult education programs. These programs often form a cooperative that makes it possible for aspiring students to accomplish their higher education goals.
In Connecticut, adult education programs are helping more females than males, and predominantly serve those between the ages of 25 and 44. Here are some examples of how adult education can help Connecticut students get on their way to earning a college degree:
Complete a High School Diploma Getting a diploma in Connecticut is easier than ever thanks to the State of Connecticut’s adult education program, which offers Adult High School Credit Diploma, National External Diploma Program or GED/ABE options.
Academic and Technical Prep for College From computer learning classes to English as a Second Language, Connecitcut residents can take advantage of low- and no-cost basic education and training programs.
College and Career Counseling Students who aren’t sure what kind of degree they’d like to pursue can take advantage of college and career counseling profiled by Connecticut’s adult education offices.
Connecticut students can find local adult education programs and contact information on the Connecticut State Department of Education website.