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Online Colleges Offer Multiple Options Upon Completion

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.

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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.

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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.

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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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