Best Online Colleges and Universities 2022

Updated September 21, 2022 • 6 Min Read

Find a program that’s right for you.

Best Accredited Online Schools

Attending an online university comes with many benefits. Online programs often feature more flexibility and affordability than on-campus options. Distance learners typically save time on commuting and can complete their studies from anywhere.

Many colleges and universities offer online associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees. Online learning allows students to attend accredited schools anywhere in the country without relocating.

This guide explores common learning formats and the cost of accredited online colleges. The following ranking highlights the best online universities to help prospective students choose a school that fits their goals.

View Our Rankings List Here

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Colleges & University

Can I transfer my credits to an online degree program?

Most accredited institutions accept credits from other accredited schools. Online colleges usually limit the number of credits students can transfer.

Is an online degree as good as a traditional degree?

Degrees from accredited online colleges hold the same value as degrees earned in person.

Do online degree programs have to be accredited?

Accreditation is voluntary and can significantly impact graduates' career opportunities. Learners can verify each prospective school's accreditation status through the Department of Education's online database.

Why Get a Degree Online at one of the Best Universities?

Online degrees provide flexibility for independent learners. The convenient virtual format allows students to complete academic requirements around family and work responsibilities. Many online programs feature asynchronous formats, allowing students to watch recorded lectures and engage in discussion boards at convenient times.

Degree-seekers who need accountability can still benefit from online learning. Some courses use synchronous formats, which require students to attend virtual classes at set times.

Attending an online university allows students to network with learners based around the world. Additionally, online students may have more free time to invest in their community.

Featured Online Programs

Best Online Colleges and Universities

#1

Southern New Hampshire University

School Information
Location Manchester, New Hampshire
Admission Rate 88%
Graduation Rate 44%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 94% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Fast Facts

School Type: Private

Programs Available: Accounting and finance, art and design, business, criminal justice, education, engineering, health, liberal arts, math and science, psychology and counseling, social science, technology

Accredited By: New England Commission on Higher Education 

Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? Yes

Founded in 1932, Southern New Hampshire University offers more than 200 online programs. Learners can pursue certificates or degrees at the associate, bachelor's, and master's levels. Popular programs from this online college include business, healthcare, and technology. SNHU's business school offers more than 20 undergraduate concentrations and 15 specializations for graduate students. 

Online learners benefit from SNHU's career services, including career assessments and personalized career coaching. Enrollees build skills through internships, service learning, and experiential hours.

SNHU has kept its tuition the same since 2012. Students can transfer up to 90 credits toward a bachelor's degree, 45 credits toward an associate degree, and 12 credits toward a graduate degree.

Available Scholarships: The Finlay Family Scholarship, established by SNHU graduate Robert J. Finlay, offers awards to full-time students pursuing a degree from the School of Business.

Visit Site
#2

Liberty University

School Information
Location Lynchburg, Virginia
Admission Rate 51%
Graduation Rate 47%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 92% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Fast Facts

School Type: Private

Programs Available: Accounting, apologetics, aviation, biblical studies, business, business administration, creative writing, criminal justice, early childhood education, elementary education, education, history, information systems, information technology interdisciplinary studies, medical office assistant, military history, paralegal studies, philosophy, politics, economics, psychology, religion, social work, STEM mathematics

Accredited By: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges 

Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? Yes

Founded in 1971, Liberty University features 450 online programs for undergraduate and graduate students. Like many online universities, learners can pursue degrees at all levels. Liberty's online college also offers diplomas through the Willmington School of the Bible and virtual high school programs. 

Most online classes run asynchronously and take about eight weeks to finish. Some classes take 14-17 weeks. Enrollees can transfer up to 75% of undergraduate credits and 50% of graduate credits. Students can also take exams to get credit for their professional training.

Available Scholarships: The Missionary Kid Scholarship benefits children of missionaries. Full-time students under age 24 may apply.

Visit Site
#3

Florida International University

School Information
Location Miami, Florida
Admission Rate 58%
Graduation Rate 63%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 68% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Fast Facts

School Type: Public

Programs Available: Arts and interdisciplinary studies, business, communication and journalism, criminal justice and legal studies, dietetics and nutrition, education and teaching, hospitality and tourism, international and public affairs, language, nursing and healthcare, sociology and anthropology, sustainability

Accredited By: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges 

Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? No

Florida International University ranks among the nation's top online colleges and universities. The school offers more than 100 online programs and 1,500 courses. FIU's online college also offers career readiness services for learners studying engineering, hospitality, and public health. 

Some programs run fully online. Others, like the online RN-to-BSN program, require in-person clinical hours. The online bachelor's in computer science program requires students to take credits outside of the department for certification or a minor. 

Each student receives one-on-one help from a success coach. Enrollees can complete mock interviews, create their LinkedIn profile, and gain certifications. 

Available Scholarships: FIU Online Academic Merit Scholarship offers $2,000 to new students pursuing an online master's in engineering management, master's in hospitality management, or executive master of public administration degree.

Visit Site
#4

University of Maryland Global Campus

School Information
Location Adelphi, Maryland
Graduation Rate 15%
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 90% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Fast Facts

School Type: Public

Programs Available: Accounting, African American studies, art, art history, biology, biotechnology, business administration, business and management, communication studies, computer network cybersecurity, computer science, computer studies, criminal justice, cybersecurity, cybersecurity management and policy, digital media and web technology, diversity awareness, east Asian studies, economics, emergency management, English, foreign language area studies, legal studies, management studies, mathematics, military history, psychology, women's studies 

Accredited By: Middle States Commission on Higher Education  

Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? No

The University of Maryland Global Campus offers more than 90 online degrees and certificates. Working students can get credit for workplace learning and prior learning. Degree-seekers can get 3-6 credits for workplace learning by completing project tasks over 15 weeks at their job. They must work under the supervision of their employer or college mentor. UMGC's online college also lets enrollees save time and money through prior learning credit offered by an exam or portfolio review. 

Students earn their degree in a cohort, but study on their own time. They complete asynchronous work individually and in groups. Students can save money by using free digital materials instead of buying textbooks. 

Available Scholarships: The Maryland Completion Scholarship offers associate degree-holders from Maryland community colleges up to $12,000 to apply toward a bachelor's degree.

Visit Site
#5

University of Florida

School Information
Location Gainesville, Florida
Admission Rate 37%
Graduation Rate 88%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 46% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Fast Facts

School Type: Public

Programs Available: Advertising, business administration, environmental management, health education, journalism, public relations, sport management, tourism, hospitality and event management

Accredited By: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges 

Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? No

The University of Florida opened UF Online in 2014. This online college offers more than 200 degrees and certificates. UF offers more than 25 undergraduate majors. Online learners can take 15-18 credits a semester. Most classes run asynchronously. 

Graduate students can pursue master's degrees in fields like biostatistics, civil engineering, and international business. Online doctoral degrees include classical civilization, educational leadership, and nursing practice. This online college also offers career services such as job postings and access to virtual career fairs.

UF requires the same online application and fee for all students. Candidates must meet admission requirements depending on their applicant status. 

Available Scholarships: UF offers out-of-state tuition waivers to offset the cost of out-of-state tuition

Visit Site
#6

Purdue University Global-Indianapolis

School Information
Location West Lafayette, Indiana
Graduation Rate 27%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 99% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Fast Facts

School Type: Public

Programs Available: Agriculture, arts and sciences, aviation and aerospace, business and  economics, communication, education, engineering, health and human sciences, law and legal studies, nursing, pharmacy, psychology, technology and computer science, veterinary medicine 

Accredited By: Higher Learning Commission 

Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? Yes

Purdue Global offers more than 200 online and hybrid degrees and certificates. Students can earn associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in areas like business and economics and health and human sciences. Most programs offer self-paced work that students complete on deadline.

Online learners can take as many accelerated classes as they want for a flat price through Purdue Global's ExcelTrack. The program features master's degrees in business administration and nursing. Degree-seekers can also enroll in bachelor's programs in analytics, criminal justice, and nursing. 

One of the nation's best online universities and colleges, Purdue Global offers multiple annual start dates. Online learners can take free classes for three weeks on a trial basis. 

Available Scholarships: Returning Student Relief Grants encourage students who have withdrawn from a Purdue Global program to return to t school. Students receive repayment of their student debt up to $4,500.

Visit Site
#7

Florida State University

School Information
Location Tallahassee, Florida
Admission Rate 36%
Graduation Rate 83%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 47% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Fast Facts

School Type: Public

Programs Available: Applied studies, arts and sciences, business, communication and information, criminology and criminal justice, education, engineering, entrepreneurship, fine arts, hospitality, law, nursing, social sciences and public policy, social work 

Accredited By: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges 

Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? No

Florida State University offers several online programs, many of which lead to licensure. Students can prepare for licensure in their respective state by earning degrees such as a doctor of nursing practice, juris doctor, or master of social work degree. Programs offer asynchronous, synchronous, and hybrid formats that follow the semester schedule. Prospective students need at least 60 or more transferable college credits. 

Online learners can access tutoring, career advising, and mentoring services.

Available Scholarships: The National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program awards full-time students studying healthcare majors. Applicants must commit to work in underserved areas for at least two years. Students receive funds for tuition and college expenses and monthly stipends. 

Visit Site
#8

San Diego State University

School Information
Location San Diego, California
Admission Rate 34%
Graduation Rate 73%
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 50% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Fast Facts

School Type: Public

Concentrations Available: American Indian studies, business administration, communication, criminal justice, economics, computer engineering, public health, child development, civil engineering, teacher leadership, public health, public administration, big data analytics, electrical engineering, regulatory affairs, rehabilitation counseling, hospitality and tourism management, meeting and event management, fine arts in screenwriting 

Accredited By: WASC Senior College and University Commission 

Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? No

San Diego State University offers several online programs. This online college also offers career training and personal enrichment classes. Many programs offer self-paced classes that let students design their own schedules. 

SDSU Global Campus offers fully online programs that include a bachelor's in economics, master's in screenwriting, and master's in public health. Students can also complete professional certificates in areas like marketing and construction.

SDSU offers online programs through the Global Campus in every location except Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, West Virginia, and Washington D.C.

Available Scholarships: California undergraduate students with a reported family income less than $184,000 and household assets less than $184,000 may apply to the Middle Class Scholarship. Award amounts depend on income and other financial aid received.

Visit Site
#9

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

School Information
Location Minneapolis, Minnesota
Admission Rate 57%
Graduation Rate 83%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 30% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Fast Facts

School Type: Public

Concentrations Available: Psychology, tribal administration and governance, manufacturing management, manufacturing management in quality management, accounting, agricultural business, applied health, communication, criminal justice, English, finance, health management, information technology management, international business, management, marketing, sports in recreation management, public health administration and policy, healthcare administration, public health administration and policy, public health practice, applied child and adolescent development, integrative health and wellbeing, business administration, computer science, education, education in family education

Accredited By: Higher Learning Commission 

Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? No

One of the nation's best online colleges and universities, University of Minnesota Twin Cities features fully online and partially virtual undergraduate and graduate degrees, certificates, and minors. Enrollees study at their own pace. Online learners can receive academic help through the Crookston Tutoring and Duluth Tutoring Center, Crookston Writing Center, and Twin Cities Academic Success Center.

Learners can access research materials and resources through the Crookston Library, Duluth Martin Library, Morris Briggs Library, Rochester Library and Information Commons, and Twin Cities Libraries. Online learners can also access internships and online career services.

Available Scholarships: UMN considers all students for scholarships with no additional application. Learners can apply for additional scholarships like the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Endowed Scholarship for American Indian students. Recipients can renew this award for up to four years.

Visit Site
#10

University of North Texas

School Information
Location Denton, Texas
Admission Rate 74%
Graduation Rate 56%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 49% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Fast Facts

School Type: Public

Programs Available: Advanced data analytics, applied anthropology, applied behavior analysis, applied arts and sciences, criminal justice, justice policy and administration, curriculum and instruction, digital communications analytics, early childhood education, psychology, educational leadership, general business, health services administration, higher education and general administration, hospitality management, information science, integrative studies, interdisciplinary studies, learning technologies, library science, marketing, rehabilitation studies, sport entertainment management, and more.

Accredited By: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges 

Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? No

The University of North Texas features 14 colleges and schools. Among the nation's best online colleges and universities, UNT offers 86 online programs. Learners can complete accelerated programs in 12-18 months. 

Students can pursue certificates or bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees. UNT also offers accelerated master's programs. Learners can complete the 36-credit master's in business administration with a focus in marketing in 18 months. Each class takes about eight weeks. The 30-credit master's in early childhood education includes 10 classes and takes 12 months to complete. 

UNT offers five annual start dates for accelerated programs. Learners can attend optional in-person classes at the Denton and Frisco campuses. 

Available Scholarships: The Westurn Family Scholarship helps working students who attend the G. Brint Ryan College of Business.

Visit Site

How Much Does an Online Degree Cost?

In most cases, an online degree from one of the best online colleges costs less than an in-person degree. According to a 2021 report by the Education Data Initiative, an online bachelor's degree costs an average of $51,090.

However, residency status and school type impacts overall cost. In-state tuition averages $38,496 for online bachelor's programs, while out-of-state tuition costs an average of $54,183. Online learners at private schools pay an average of $60,593 in tuition.

Online learners may also save money on commuting costs and living expenses. Distance students often live with relatives or roommates to save money.

Additional Online College Student Fees

Only 17% of schools the Education Data Initiative surveyed reported waiving student activity and campus fees for online learners. Additionally, many online colleges charge a technology fee. This fee usually covers technical support and virtual learning platforms. Online students may need a subscription to an online library database.

Online students should also budget for a reliable computer and internet connection. Certain online classes require software subscriptions. Online learners can save money on textbooks by purchasing used or digital versions.

Available Online Degrees

Many programs translate well to an online format. Degrees in fields such as medicine, teaching, and counseling require in-person supervised experience. Online learners in these programs typically complete in-person components at a local facility.

Before enrolling in an online university, learners should research their prospective program's in-person requirements. Some programs feature annual seminars on campus. Learners can also consider hybrid programs, which blend online and on-campus instruction.

The following list highlights three common online degrees. Not all online colleges offer these programs.

  • Public Relations

    Students learn how to communicate with company stakeholders. They explore best practices for forming relationships with customers and the local media. Coursework covers event planning, strategic campaigns, and press release writing. Graduates often become public relations, marketing, and communication directors.
  • Business

    Business programs prepare learners for roles as entrepreneurs and company leaders. This multidisciplinary degree covers topics such as management techniques, marketing skills, and accounting basics. Most business programs require an internship.
  • Elementary Education

    Learners studying elementary education prepare to teach K-5 students. Degree-seekers discover how students develop and advance between grades. Coursework explores age-appropriate instruction techniques and methods for tailoring lessons to diverse learners. Elementary education programs usually require in-person student teaching.

Popular Resources

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.

See All Posts

AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Shape your future with an online degree

Connect with a community of peers, and find a program that will allow you to continue your education in a fast and flexible way.