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.
When researching online colleges in Kansas, first and foremost consider your interests and how they match up with programs available for distance learners. From there, a number of personal priorities become factors: personnel in the armed forces may want to find a military-friendly college that works around moves and deployments, while other students may prefer a college that allows them to blend multiple fields of study to form a custom curriculum. But before narrowing the list too far, there are some baseline factors to consider, such as cost and student support systems, that could heavily impact your college success. This is why we’ve identified the online programs in Kansas that provide the best mix of qualitative and quantitative features for online students:
The best way to discover which college offers your degree of choice is to connect with schools directly. The Kansas Board of Regents offers a list of all of the state's public institutions and an interactive map of Kansas. The state university data book that provides details about each of Kansas's six state universities.
Many schools list available online degrees on their website. For instance, Wichita State University provides a directory of their online associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees.
Most online colleges in Kansas accept transfer credits from other accredited schools. Public colleges maintain articulation agreements with community colleges, allowing students to easily transfer their associate degrees to four-year schools, and the University of Kansas CredTran system allows you to search for the courses you’ve taken at other institutions to see how they’ve transferred over for other students in the past.
Previous military service or work experience might also be eligible to translate to college credit. Examples include:
Students at the University of Kansas can receive four credit hours in exercise sciences, sport, and health for completing basic military training.
Credits for prior knowledge are assessed based on a variety of exams at the University of Wichita, including their Life Experience Evaluation, College Level Exam Program (CLEP) and DANTES military service assessment.
Students repeatedly hear that they must earn a college degree to earn higher salaries over the course of their careers. While it’s not true for every job in every industry, in Kansas there’s a clear distinction in pay for jobs that require a college degree over those that don’t. On average, Kansas careers that require a bachelor's degree pay $30,000 more per year than positions that require just a high school diploma. As education-level requirements increase, so does average pay in Kansas, across the board.
Mean Annual Salary for All Occupations in Kansas, by Minimum Degree Level Required:
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017
State economic reports show the fastest-growing jobs in Kansas are in data communications and computer network systems. Other rapidly growing jobs include personal financial advisers, home health aides, enrichment education teachers and computer software engineers—all of which hold additional education as a minimum requirement.
Accreditation is an important quality assurance mechanism in the age of online college scams. Students should always attend a regionally accredited college, since these schools are closely monitored to meet the highest standards of academic excellence and offer the best academic programs. Students who do not attend regionally accredited schools may not qualify for federal financial aid or receive employment after graduation.
The Higher Learning Commission grants regional accreditation to colleges in Kansas that meet all of the commission's standards. Here’s more on how accreditation impacts online colleges in the state.
In Kansas, students should look for schools accredited by the HLC, which regulates colleges and universities online and on-campus programs and services in more than a dozen midwestern states, including Missouri, Oklahoma, Colorado and Nebraska.
In addition to regional accreditation, top online schools in Kansas may have subject-specific accreditation in certain fields. For instance, Newman University's education program holds accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. This ensures both educational and industry standards are being met for new students training to enter specialized fields.
Paying for college is one of the leading factors determining college choice. In Kansas there are many financial aid and tuition break programs to take advantage of, you just need to know where to look.
Out-of-state students attending Kansas universities online might be able to receive reduced tuition through the Midwest Student Exchange Program. As part of this reciprocity agreement, students can avoid paying out-of-state tuition if they reside in neighboring states like Indiana, Ohio, or Michigan.
Local students can check their county of residency for deals on college tuition, such as at the University of Kansas City, where a Kansas rate is offered despite the school’s location on the border of Missouri.
Military status could mean a discounted tuition rate beyond the GI Bill and other federal education benefits that students in the service receive, like Ottawa University’s dedicated Military Tuition Rate.
These are just a few answers to the financial questions on the minds of Kansas students—take a look below for more information on funding your online degree.
You can qualify for in-state tuition if you live in Kansas and remain financially independent for at least one year before classes begin. In addition, you must show your intent to permanently reside in Kansas. You should provide proof that you work full time in the state, have registered to vote in Kansas, or possess a state driver's license. Furthermore, you must have moved to Kansas for some purpose other than in-state tuition, ane may take no more than three credit hours per semester during the year leading up to the session for which you request residency.
Public college tuition in Kansas costs $9,200 for in-state students. This number falls slightly below the national average of $9,400. However, specific costs vary from school to school. For instance, Fort Hays State University charges just $5,000, while Kansas Wesleyan University costs nearly $29,000. While that seems like a large difference, it doesn’t take financial aid into account—Kansas Wesleyan University offers financial aid to 99 percent of new students.
But what about online tuition rates? They aren’t always the same as in-state tuition totals. Residency plays a factor at some schools, as well as your desired program length (whether you choose an part-time, full-time or accelerated timeline). Stripping away the fees and additional charges, lets take a look at what the 2018-2019 Semester online undergraduate cost per credit is at some Kansas colleges and universities compared to schools in neighboring states:
Besides taking advantage of federal college aid and filling out the FAFSA, you can find a wide variety of scholarship and grants to help fund your education. Below are a handful of funding opportunities available to college-bound students who study online in Kansas.
Examples of adult education programs that can kickstart a college education in Kansas:
Kansas Ethnic Minority Scholarship: This scholarship assists minority students who demonstrate financial need. Students must also have a history of academic excellence.
Kansas State Scholarship: Kansas students who finish high school in the top 20 percent-30 percent of their class qualify for this scholarship.
Kansas Comprehensive Grant: This scholarship benefits Kansas students who decide to study full time at an approved private or public college in the state. The grant awards $200-$3,500.
Between July 2016 and June 2017, more than 7,000 people across Kansas participated in adult education programs. These include college preparation and basic education courses for adults who have been out of the classroom and need to brush up on their skills before feeling comfortable enrolling in an online degree program. In Kansas, adult education programs serve mostly students between the ages of 25 and 44.
Examples of adult education programs that can kickstart a college education in Kansas:
Dual credits towards a college degree – Provides dual enrollment opportunities for Kansas students to earn credit for their degree programs while completing adult education courses.
GED / High School Equivalency preparation and testing – For adults who have not received their high school diploma, completing Kansas’ GED can be the first step towards a college degree.
Language courses for English learners – English language and literacy classes help prepare students learning the English language to take college-level courses.
A complete list of adult education centers in Kansas is available from the Kansas Board of Regents.