Guide to New Jersey’s Best Online Colleges, Tuition Rates and Resources
New Jersey is home to some of the country’s most prestigious schools. Recently these institutions have begun making way for evolving learning options; the U.S. Department of Education reports that more than 45,000 students enrolled in New Jersey’s colleges and universities are pursuing their degree online. With online course catalogs growing, both residents and students from out-of-state are considering New Jersey colleges as a viable option. Read on to learn about the colleges that provide the best online education in New Jersey, and get answers to questions on transfer credits, paying for an online degree and more.
For this year’s college rankings, our analysts carefully reviewed statistical data from multiple sources for more than 7,500 postsecondary institutions so that you could easily evaluate schools based on what matters most to you. For each school, we applied the eligibility criteria outlined below, then ranked schools and programs based on four ranking factors.
Eligibility Criteria for All Postsecondary Institutions:
Must be a not-for-profit institution
Must be regionally or nationally accredited
Must offer at least one online program1
Must be located in a state (schools in US territories and Washington DC were not considered)
Dozens of data points were used to calculate a weighted score for four ranking factors: quality, affordability, flexibility and program (in order of significance). To determine quality, which was the most important consideration for all AS Online rankings, the most impactful data points were acceptance and graduation rates; for affordability, tuition2 and grants; for flexibility, part-time enrollment offerings; and for program, degrees conferred in that program area.
Some of our nursing program rankings used exam pass rates from NCLEX
How to Read Our Rankings Tool:
A dash indicates IPEDS data was not available
Annual in-state tuition is displayed unless stated otherwise
1 Our Best Vocational Programs rankings included data for both online and campus programs.
2 Both annual in-state and out-of-state tuition rates were used in our methodology; however, our Rankings Tool currently only displays annual in-state rates.
According to New Jersey’s Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, the state has more than 80 schools, many of which offer online degree programs. Making a choice among them may seem intimidating, but prospective students can simplify this process by looking at a few key standards. Tuition rates, graduation rates, and financial aid are a few examples of standards that students should pay close attention to. We’ve used these standards and other quantitative and qualitative measures to rank New Jersey online programs for you; take a look to see which stand out.
How can I find which online colleges offer the degree I’m looking for in New Jersey?
While many schools in New Jersey offer online bachelor’s programs, most restrict their web-based offerings to a handful of majors. Finding a program that aligns with your academic and career goals requires a great deal of careful research. Applicants can check out the Inventory of Program Offerings through the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education. The New Jersey Council of County Colleges offers a program guide for online community college courses and programs.
Online students can also find program information and class schedules for distance learning through individual institutions’ web sites and course catalogs. Thomas Edison State University, for example, is home to a wide variety of online bachelor’s degrees. Candidates have their choice of more than 30 fully online majors, including entrepreneurship, homeland security and emergency management, marketing communications and criminal justice.
Rutgers University, New Jersey’s flagship university, is the state’s largest postsecondary institution. Thanks to a recent partnership with Coursera, the university has begun offering a plethora of open online courses.
Which online schools in New Jersey will accept my transfer credits or work/life experience?
If you’re one of many New Jersey students who have already taken college courses, or are coming into college with years of working knowledge, getting to know transfer credit policies in New Jersey is important. Transfer rules and regulations vary by school; some examples include:
Centenary University celebrates returning and first-time adult students by providing college credit for life and professional experience. Students who complete a prior learning assessment may translate their out-of-classroom learning into course credit and finish their degrees in less time.
Thomas Edison University employs prior learning assessments to grant credit for military training, professional certification and other experience.
Saint Peter’s University has “Transfer Thursdays,” on which prospective students can visit the campus and ask questions. In addition, Saint Peter’s also participates in the NJ Transfer Program, which helps New Jersey community college students transfer to one of the state’s participating four-year institutions.
How Much More Do College Grads in New Jersey Make?
New Jersey residents who earn a bachelor’s degree can potentially earn nearly $42,000 more per year than individuals who immediately enter the workforce after high school. That’s according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, who publish average incomes and minimum degree requirements for all occupations across the nation yearly. In contrast, those with a two-year associate degree bring in around $24,000 less per year than workers with a four-year degree, making an online bachelor’s degree a valuable investment in New Jersey.
Mean Annual Salary for All Occupations in New Jersey, by Minimum Degree Level Required:
Some industries are growing faster than others in New Jersey. The professional and business services sectors are expected to add 81,750 jobs by 2024. These industries encompass many positions that require bachelor’s degrees and beyond, such as accountant, financial planner, lawyer, and engineer. With New Jersey’s unemployment rate hovering at a higher-than-average 4.6 percent, workers interested in advancing or changing careers face prime opportunities to do so by earning a bachelor’s degree at an online school in New Jersey.
The Impact of Accreditation for Online Colleges and Universities in New Jersey
A surefire way to know if the online degree you’re interested in pursuing will be well-respected when you go to advance your career is to earn it from an accredited online university. Accreditation is the standard by which online schools in New Jersey are evaluated. A peer-group from other colleges judges each program against a set of standards to assure quality measures are being met.
There are many different accrediting bodies around the country, including those that are regional and those that are industry- and field- specific.
Regional Accreditation in New Jersey
Most online colleges in New Jersey, including Rutgers University, Farleigh Dickinson, Rider University, Thomas Edison State University and Centenary University, receive regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
The state’s Department of Higher Education dashboard offers online tools to help prospective students explore their program options and financial aid opportunities. More answers to frequently asked college cost questions are included below.
What are New Jersey’s requirements to qualify for in-state university tuition?
Prospective students are considered non-residents in New Jersey until they have lived in the state for 12 months prior to enrollment. This assumes that the student did not move to the state for tuition purposes. Documents needed to prove residency include a certified New Jersey income tax return from the previous year, a New Jersey driver’s license, a state motor vehicle registration, and the deed or lease to a New Jersey residence.
Are online credits more affordable in New Jersey than other places?
Online and traditional courses often cost the same, but there are some programs that have lower costs for online education. That said, education in New Jersey is generally more expensive than other states.
Thomas Edison State University is among the more affordable institutions in New Jersey, charging residents $396 per credit and $499 for non-residents enrolled in the school’s payment plan.
Online learners at Rutgers pay $963 per course, plus a $300 distance learning fee and around $695 for books. This does seem pricey, but when comparing these rates to a traditional, on-campus Rutgers education, which costs $11,999 in tuition, $2,971 in fees, and $1,350 for books, one can find the added benefit of learning online.
Some online schools in New Jersey charge the same rates for on-campus and distance education. At Rowan University, tuition varies according to program, although most bachelor’s degrees cost $470 per semester hour.
Online tuition at William Paterson includes a $120 per-course distance learning fee.
In summary, when researching costs for online programs in New Jersey, one should keep in mind a few factors: in- or out-of-state residency, online class-specific fees, and special programs that discount or mitigate online learning.
How can I get help paying for online college in New Jersey?
In addition, many colleges and universities offer institutional financial aid. The overwhelming majority of students at Saint Peter’s University receive grants or scholarships directly from the school. Most online schools in New Jersey also provide substantial discounts for veterans, military personnel and their spouses.
Many people aren’t able to make college a priority right after high school. Whether they start work right away, have kids young, or hit legal speed bumps along the way, there are always paths that adults can take to further their skills and put them on a path to a college degree.
New Jersey’s State Department and numerous federal and non-profit organizations provide programs to set learners on the path to developing skills, rehabilitation and even eventual college degree completion.
As data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows, even a two-year degree can mean a big difference in wage potential and career opportunities. Online schools in New Jersey, plus adult education and continuing education programs, make it easy to take the first step toward higher earning power.