Accredited Degree Programs, Scholarships and Resources for Top Schools
There are six state universities, 26 community colleges, and several more technical schools in the state of Kansas, with more than 226,000 students enrolled between them. But the value of college is underrated in parts of the state, despite well-paying jobs that require a college degree, such as nurses and engineers, being highly in-demand. With the expansion of online learning, earning a degree is more accessible and flexible than it used to be; if you want to learn more about how a college degree can increase your career and salary opportunities and how to find the right college for your needs, take a look at our guide to identifying the best online colleges in Kansas below.
Earning an online degree can lead to advanced career opportunities and higher earning potential. Online schools and colleges in Kansas offer a variety of affordable, accredited programs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, professionals with a bachelor’s degree earn a median of $461 more per week than those with only a high school diploma.
This guide includes details about some of the best online schools and colleges in Kansas, along with information about choosing the best program for your needs and securing financial aid.
Located in Baldwin City, Kansas, Baker University is a private, Christian university affiliated with the United Methodist Church. BU offers a variety of both bachelor's and master's degrees that can be earned entirely online, with an emphasis on the fields of business, finance, education and leadership and management. In addition, education professionals can choose from among dozens of online professional development and recertification courses to help meet their continuing education certification requirements. Courses are provided in an asynchronous format, allowing students to access course materials and complete assignments at any time during a course's weekly modules.
Established in 2013, Wichita State Online allows students to earn bachelor's and master's degrees and degree completion programs in a wide range of disciplines through distance learning. Of particular note are a number of healthcare-related degree options, including a registered dental hygienist to Bachelor of Science in dental hygiene, Master of Arts in aging studies, and MSN to DSN. Online students pay in-state tuition rates regardless of where they live. Each student is assigned a dedicated Online Success Specialist who acts as the student's first stop in connecting with all support services, including tutoring, money management, Veterans services and more.
Through its Global Campus, Kansas State University offers more than 60 degrees and certificates that can be earned fully or partially online in fields ranging from agriculture and the arts and sciences to education and engineering. The field of human ecology is substantially represented with over a dozen undergraduate and graduate online degree options. Additionally, KSU's Global Campus has partnered with the state's network of 19 community colleges to offer 2+2 bachelor's degree completion programs that allow a student to earn an associate degree at his/her local community or technical college and complete a bachelor's degree in 1 of 3 majors (general business, interdisciplinary social science, or technology management) entirely through distance learning.
Pittsburgh State University offers an impressive number of online degree and certificate options, with particular emphasis on master's degrees in the fields of business, education and technology. Programs of particular note include a Master of Science in technology with an emphasis in automobile techology, a Master in Business Administration - International Business, and Ed.S in advanced studies in leadership with 2 emphasis options (general school administration and special education). All non-resident, part-time PSU online students pay the same in-state tuition rates as their Kansas resident counterparts.
Fort Hays State University, the third-largest school in the Kansas public university system, is home to a substantial distance learning program known as the Virtual College. FHSU currently offers a large variety of associate, bachelor's and master's degrees in subjects that include accounting, business, computer science, criminal justice, education, information networking and telecommunications and many more. Additionally, FHSU offers 2 Ed.S degrees and a Doctorate of Nursing Practice that can be completed through online study. FHSU's online tuition prices rank among the lowest in the nation.
Barclay College is a private, four-year, Christian institution whose mission is to prepare students in a bible-centered environment that results in effective Christian life, service and leadership. Barclay offers 4 bachelor's degrees (Biblical Studies, Business Management, Christian Leadership and Psychology) through its online degree-completion program. A general studies associate degree and 5 undergraduate certificates are also available. Students are required to earn a minimum of 40 college credit hours prior to beginning an online degree program at Barclay. Students with less than 40 credit hours can earn the needed credits by enrolling in the college's online AA degree program. Additionally, master's degrees in 7 Christian-related concentrations can be completed through distance learning.
The University of Kansas is the largest public university in Kansas and the flagship school of the state's public university system. KU Online is currently home to a substantial number of bachelor's, master's and doctorate degree programs, as well as several undergraduate certificate programs. Degrees can be earned either fully or partially online depending on the specific degree. Areas of study include business, health care, education, engineering, journalism, nursing, social work and many more. Of particular note is KU's fully online RN to BSN degree program, which can be completed in as little as 1 year.
Newman University, a private, Catholic university based in Wichita, Kansas, offers 5 online degree programs, including a Bachelor of Arts in business studies, a Master of Arts in theology, a Master of Theological Studies, a Master of Education and a Master of Business Administration. Students interested in NU's BA in business studies who are returning to complete their degree after being out of school for four years or longer may be eligible for a reduced tuition rate or community college transfer scholarship through the university's Adult Re-Entry program.
MidAmerica Nazarene University is a private, Christian, liberal arts college located in Olathe, Kansas. MNU offers 11 online degrees and certificate options, including 6 master's degrees, 3 certificate programs, a Bachelor of Business Administration degree, and an accelerated Associate of Arts degree. Of particular note is the university's MSN/MBA, a dual-degree program designed for licensed nurses with BSN degrees who want to earn both the MS in nursing and an MBA. The program combines online coursework presented in an asynchronous format with attendance at a once-per-week online or on-campus class.
Washburn University offers 3 bachelor's degrees (health services administration, medical imaging, and clinical laboratory science) and four professional certificates (diagnostic medical sonography, magnetic resonance imaging, health information technology, and radiation therapy) that can be earned online through its School of Applied Sciences-Allied Health Department. All programs combine online coursework with a required clinical component. For example, the clinical component for both the bachelor's and certificate diagnostic medical sonography programs requires 24 hours per week in clinical participation by the student at a program-approved clinical site for the entirety of the program. Approved clinical sites are available throughout the U.S. and Canada, and a few are available worldwide.
The two campuses that make up Flathead Valley Community College serve two northern Montana counties with a population of 100,000. FVCC students can find their associate degree to prepare for a four-year education or choose among 50 career and technical programs that ready them for the workplace. Flathead's criminal justice program offers the option of an associate of science or associate of applied science degree. Graduating AS transfer students can complete their four-year CJ degree at The University of Montana _ Missoula or at Montana State University _ Northern. The AAS degree focuses on preparing graduates to take entry level CJ jobs after completing the two-year program.
Established as a Montana public community college in 1940, Dawson Community College specializes in a college-transfer education, technical and career training, and continuing education. DCC's 400 undergraduates can choose from 35 plans of study leading to associate degrees, four vocational programs and six online programs. The associate of applied science degree in criminal justice is designed as a pre-academy program offering a curriculum in law enforcement, corrections, probation and parole, criminology, and penology. Graduates can seek entry into CJ roles that do not require academy training, or they may transfer to a four-year CJ program.
Long affiliated with Montana's Flathead Valley Community College, Blackfeet Community College became an independent intuition in 1979 in order to provide curriculum in line with its service population. BCC's associate of arts in human services program administers the criminal justice specialization. The two-year program focuses on behavioral, cognitive, and psychological impacts on criminal behavior. Students completing the AA are qualified to take entry level roles in criminal justice or tribal law enforcement organizations. Or, they may transfer to a bachelor degree program in a related field. First-time students who complete their programs in one year are eligible for tuition waivers.
How Can I Find Which Online Colleges Offer the Degree I’m Looking for in Kansas?
Kansas offers many options for online learners. Prospective students can find information about each school’s online offerings by reviewing the school’s website and by contacting the institution directly. Wichita State University maintains a separate page listing online majors. The Kansas Board of Regents provides a list and interactive map of all public postsecondary institutions in the state.
Paying for Online College in Kansas: Tuition and Financial Aid
Mirroring the nationwide trend, Kansas tuition rates have steadily increased in recent years. The tables below compare tuition costs in Kansas to the national averages. The average tuition rate for in-state students at public colleges in Kansas is on par with the national average. Out-of-state learners pay about $3,000 less than the national average. Private institutions in Kansas charge about $9,000 less per year than the national average.
Average Undergraduate Tuition and Fees: Public Colleges and Universities
The figures above do not include additional costs, such as room and board. Learners should research fees and expenses at each prospective school. Below are some cost considerations for online students.
Required Travel: Some online programs require one or more campus visits for orientation or residencies. Learners should consider the cost of transportation and lodging.
Specific Degree Costs: Costs vary by major. For example, a nursing program may require a fee to cover laboratory practice or clinical experiences.
Tuition Agreements for Out-of-State Students: Kansas participates in the Midwest Student Exchange Program which reduces the cost of tuition for students in some nearby states who attend college in Kansas.
Recurring Technology Costs: Some online programs’ tuition rates include the cost of a computer or online textbooks. However, most distance learners must pay for these resources separately.
Flat Online Costs: Many schools charge an online learning fee to help cover costs associated with offering distance education classes.
Qualifying for In-State Tuition in Kansas
In-state students typically pay lower tuition rates than out-of-state learners. To qualify for in-state tuition in Kansas, students must have resided in the state for at least one year for a purpose other than education and must intend to remain in the state permanently. Learners can prove residency through a driver’s license, voter registration records, or full-time employment records.
Some online schools and colleges in Kansas charge all online learners the same tuition rates, regardless of residency status. Students who live in a state that participates in the Midwest Student Exchange Program can qualify for reduced tuition rates at Kansas schools. Learners should consult their prospective school for specific residency requirements.
Paying for College in Kansas: Scholarships and Financial Aid
Most students need assistance to fund their college education. Scholarships and grants are ideal forms of funding, since they do not require repayment. Below is a sampling of some scholarships and grants available to students at online schools and colleges in Kansas.
Scholarships for Kansas College Students
Kansas Ethnic Minority Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Applicants must be part of an ethnic minority group and must demonstrate financial need. Applicants for this renewable scholarship must meet minimum academic requirements.
Who Can Apply: This renewable scholarship is available to high school seniors in Kansas. Applicants must have completed the required high school curriculum and received designation as a Kansas State Scholar from the Kansas Board of Regents.
Who Can Apply: Applicants must be accepted to a Kansas nursing program. Recipients agree to work one year as an LPN or RN in Kansas for each year they receive the scholarship. Recipients who do not fulfill their service obligation must repay the scholarship.
Who Can Apply: Preference for this renewable scholarship is given to licensed teachers in their junior or senior year of college pursuing a specialization in a high-need discipline or who work in an underserved part of Kansas.
The Importance of Accreditation for Online Colleges and Universities in Kansas
Accreditation demonstrates that a school meets set academic standards and prepares learners to succeed in the workforce. Independent accrediting agencies evaluate schools based on factors including curricula, support services, and faculty. The following sections detail various types of accreditation and how to confirm an institution’s accreditation status.
Regional and National Accreditation
Regional accreditation, considered the most prestigious type of institutional accreditation, demonstrates that a school meets minimum academic standards. Learners who attend a school without regional accreditation cannot qualify for federal financial aid. Kansas institutions earn regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
National accreditation typically applies to technical and vocational schools. Degrees and credits earned from nationally accredited institutions do not generally transfer to regionally accredited schools.
In addition to institutional accreditation, learners can look for programs that hold specialized accreditation. Subject-specific accreditation shows that a program meets educational and professional standards for the field. For example, the Department of Nursing at Fort Hays State University offers programs with accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
How to Know if Your School or Program is Accredited
To find out whether a school or program holds accreditation, you can consult the online directories from the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Students can search the directories by institution, program, and accrediting agency.
Online College and Adult Education in Kansas
Online learning options can help adult students obtain education and training to pursue new careers and higher salaries. The following sections include statistics and information about online learning and adult education in Kansas.
By the Numbers: Adult Education in Kansas
Adult learners in Kansas can earn their high school diploma online for free.
In 2019, more than 6,600 adult students participated in Kansas adult education programs, including adult basic education, English as a second language, and adult secondary education programs.
Kansas technical and community colleges helped more than 3,000 adult learners complete career pathway programs between 2012 and 2015.
Accelerating Opportunity in Kansas: This state program helps adult students earn postsecondary credentials. Learners in the program gain technical and career education while improving their basic skills.
GED Accelerator: This program provides funding for adult learners who are concurrently earning their GED and a postsecondary credential.
Online College Resources for Kansas Students
Many organizations provide resources to support learners attending online schools and colleges in Kansas. The resources below can help students locate financial aid opportunities, learn about online programs, and access services for distance learners.
Kansas Online Learning Program: This program offers online learning resources for students of all ages, including adult learners. The program charges minimal student fees.
Kansas Residency FAQ: This webpage provides information to help prospective online students learn whether they qualify for in-state tuition rates in Kansas.
Student Financial Aid in Kansas: Managed by the Kansas Board of Regents, this website provides information about scholarship and grant opportunities for Kansas students.
KU Online: This page provides information about online programs and courses available from the University of Kansas.
Whether you’re looking to earn your online degree or you’re a parent looking for answers, you can find all of your questions covered here. Explore these resources to help you make informed decisions and prepare for whatever is thrown your way.
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