Best Online Colleges and Universities 2021

Find a program that’s right for you.

Online colleges and universities allow students to earn their degrees in a flexible learning environment. Completing a college degree helps professionals advance their careers and increase their earning potential.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), professionals with a bachelor's degree earned over $27,000 more per year than those with a high school diploma in 2020. By transferring into an online degree completion program, professionals with an associate degree could see over a $19,000 increase in their annual earnings, based on 2020 trends.

Earning a degree also decreases unemployment rates. In 2019, high school graduates faced a 3.7% unemployment rate, while those with a bachelor's degree reported a much lower 2.2% unemployment rate.

Our list ranks the best online colleges and universities to help prospective students find the right fit. This article also introduces what to expect as an online student.


Read the Specifics: Online vs. On-Campus | Cost of Online College | Why Go to College Online? | How to Choose an Online School | Best Online Colleges | FAQs


What Does Online College Look Like?

Online degrees compare to on-campus degrees in some ways. Online colleges typically require the same materials and books as on-campus programs. Both types of programs also rely on teachers, assignments, and assessments to ensure student progress.

However, learners may experience key differences in online and on-campus programs. Degree-seekers should consider these distinctions when deciding whether online colleges are the right fit for them.

How Is Going to College Online Different from Studying On Campus?

Attending college online can vary significantly from the on-campus experience. Online degree-seekers may not get as much interaction with instructors and peers as they would in the classroom. Some learners prefer working on group projects and hands-on activities in a traditional classroom setting rather than online.

Online learners do not have convenient access to extracurricular activities and campus resources as on-campus students. Some online schools may host virtual meetings for clubs and organizations. However, participating in athletics, activities, and labs or projects can prove challenging to students not living within proximity to the school.

Although on-campus and online programs usually cover similar topics, they may vary in cost, class size, graduation time, and scheduling. Therefore, degree-seekers considering an online degree should ensure that their specific program fits their budget, learning, and scheduling needs.

Type of Program Cost Class Size Time to Graduate Scheduling
Online Onlive programs may charge technology fees that increase tuition costs. Students generally pay a similar amount for textbooks. Online classes often include fewer students — ideally 12-15 learners. Asynchronous online programs may allow for accelerated learning. Classes may be synchronous or asynchronous. Asynchronous classes allow for flexible scheduling.
On-Campus On-campus tuition is sometimes more expensive than online tuition for the same program at private schools. On-campus tuition may be less than online tuition in public schools. Students living on campus must budget for housing fees. On-campus classes can be much larger, with as many as 50 or more students. On-campus programs generally follow a fixed class schedule, making the program take longer to complete. Classes have set times and dates, making it more challenging to schedule them around life and work.

Sources: U.S. News & Inside Higher Ed

What Formats Does Online Schooling Follow?

It's important to understand the various formats that online courses may follow as you search for programs. Although schools deliver online courses virtually, the experience varies significantly between schools. For instance, some programs include mostly text-based lessons and coursework, while others require participation in live lectures, webinars, and collaborative group projects.

The best online colleges use different learning management platforms to provide students with lessons, coursework, tests, and grades. Blackboard, Canvas, and Google Classroom are some of the most popular options. Some learners may have prior experience with a platform, easing the transition to attending college online.

Online colleges also feature both hybrid and 100% online programs:

  • Hybrid: Hybrid programs combine online and in-person learning. In-person requirements can include a monthly class, an internship, or cohort-based experiences that occur on campus or in the community. Learners can benefit from a more flexible online schedule while also gaining hands-on experience.
  • 100% Online: Fully online programs allow students to complete all lectures, classes, and assignments online. Some programs may still require students to attend proctored exams in person. Degree-seekers who do not live within proximity to their school might prefer this option.

Students should also determine whether synchronous or asynchronous learning better fits their needs:

  • Synchronous: Synchronous classes require students to attend at a specific date and time to learn and interact with peers and instructors.
  • Asynchronous: Asynchronous classes allow learners to access coursework, materials, and lectures on a schedule that suits their needs. These courses better serve degree-seekers who prefer a flexible schedule.

Why You Need to Pick an Accredited Online College

An online college might check all the boxes regarding tuition, scheduling, and student resources, but students should also prioritize accreditation. An accredited online college meets high standards of academic excellence. Accreditation agencies verify a school's curriculum, faculty, and program outcomes.

Online colleges can hold regional or national accreditation. Regional accreditation comes from one of seven regional accrediting bodies recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Colleges and universities that meet specific academic and quality standards may receive this endorsement. National accreditation goes to schools with career or religious programs.

Most schools prefer regional accreditation when considering transfer students and graduate degree-seekers. Employers might also favor candidates who attend a regionally accredited school. However, either accreditation status can help learners receive federal financial aid.

An accredited online college meets high standards of academic excellence. Accreditation agencies verify a school's curriculum, faculty, and program outcomes.

Students can also consider specialized accreditation, which endorses specific programs. For example, the American Bar Association accredits paralegal programs that meet or exceed industry standards for program content and outcomes.

Degree-seekers can check the accreditation status of a program by searching the school's website. Usually, schools include a page listing school or program-specific accreditation. Students can also visit an accrediting agency's website, the CHEA website, or the Department of Education website to search for a school's accreditation records.

How Much Does Online College Cost?

Degree-seekers might assume that an online program costs less than an on-campus program. However, online programs may cost slightly more than the on-campus version at the same public school.

According to U.S. News, the average online bachelor's degree at a public school costs $316/credit for in-state and in-district students for the 2019-2020 school year. In contrast, the same students paid an average of $311/credit for on-campus learning. Learners should expect to pay anywhere between $150-$500/credit for an online program, with costs typically rising with higher-level degrees.

Still, tuition rates vary significantly between schools. While some charge out-of-state online students out-of-state tuition, others set a lower tuition rate for online learners. Additionally, some colleges and universities include technology and resource fees for online students that on-campus students do not pay. However, online students save on transportation and housing costs.

Financial aid can help degree-seekers cover tuition and fees at online universities. Learn more about popular options, like loans and scholarships, in the following link.

Why Get an Online Degree?

Attending college online suits some learners more than others. One key consideration is whether a student can make on-campus classes work with their current schedule. Online colleges with asynchronous classes offer degree-seekers flexibility in when and where they review course materials and complete assignments. Students with demanding work or personal schedules might find online courses more accommodating than their on-campus counterparts.

Online learning also favors learners with excellent time management skills and self discipline. Instructors monitor student progress in online courses, but ultimately, the responsibility of viewing lectures and completing assignments falls on the student. Online learners must commit to staying productive and meeting deadlines without instructor supervision.

In contrast, online programs present challenges for learners who prefer in-person lectures and face-to-face interactions with professors and peers. Extracurricular activities and internships may not be as widely available to online students as on-campus students. Additionally, learners may find group projects more difficult to complete virtually.

Who Online Schooling Is Best For

  • Self-motivated learners
  • Degree-seekers with busy schedules
  • Students who prioritize time management
  • Introverts who prefer to communicate digitally
  • Degree-seekers pursuing degrees that do not require many in-person or hands-on activities

Who On-Campus Schooling Is Best For

  • Students who learn better through face-to-face interactions
  • Enrollees who want to participate in athletics, clubs, and organizations
  • Degree-seekers interested in experiencing college life
  • Learners lacking in self-motivation and time management skills
  • Students pursuing degrees that prioritize hands-on learning

Benefits of an Online Degree

An online degree offers several benefits compared to an in-person degree. For example, online learners can complete coursework around their work schedule and choose a top-rated program in another state. Online students can save on transportation, housing, and tuition costs.

At online universities, students complete coursework around their schedules. This flexibility appeals to working students balancing school with personal and professional responsibilities.

Degree-seekers can attend a top-ranked online program without relocating. This makes online programs more accessible than in-person options.

Earning an online degree puts control in the student's hands. Many programs offer a variety of enrollment options, accelerated schedules, and summer courses to complete a degree faster.

Online learners often save money on transportation and housing costs. Many online colleges and universities offer tuition discounts for fully online students.

How to Choose an Online College

While tuition plays a critical role in choosing an online college, prospective students should also consider how a program fits their lifestyle and goals. The following factors can influence a degree-seekers decision:

  • Class Format: Some online programs feature synchronous classes, while others follow asynchronous formats. The latter usually allows more flexibility in completing assignments.
  • Resources for Online Learners: The best online colleges provide virtual resources, learning opportunities, and technical assistance for students.
  • Available Concentrations: Degree-seekers should ensure that their online program offers the concentration they would like to pursue.
  • Reputation: Online programs have made enormous strides in becoming more widely recognized by employers and schools over the years. Look for schools with excellent reviews, a positive reputation, and accreditation.
  • Dedication to Online Education: A school should ensure its online programs are equal to its on-campus programs in their curriculum, faculty credentials, and outcomes. Compare programs on a school's website to determine if the online version offers the same curriculum and benefits.

Explore Online Programs

Explore top online certificate programs in various industries.

Browse accredited online associate degrees that meet academic quality, affordability, and flexibility standards.

Learn more about our top-ranked online bachelor's programs in various areas of study.

Consider advancing your education with an accredited online master's degree program that suits your schedule and goals.

Discover some of the top accredited online master of business administration programs with affordable rates and desirable outcomes.

Pursue an advanced education with an accredited online doctoral program.

How to Apply to Online College

Prospective students will find similarities between applying to online colleges and on-campus programs. Most schools require ACT, SAT, or ACCUPLACER scores, high school or college transcripts, and a minimum GPA. However, some schools prioritize test scores over GPA.

Both program types usually offer online applications and require fee payments. Degree-seekers can also send their transcripts and test scores digitally to the school's admission office. In most cases, students must pay tuition and other fees before they can access their online courses.

Like on-campus programs, many online programs accept transfer credits. This process happens when students transition from an associate to a bachelor's degree or apply for a master's degree. A learner's earned credits may count toward a new program, allowing the student to waive some classes.

Students applying to multiple online colleges may find the Common App helpful. Applicants can use it to submit and manage applications to college programs more efficiently than applying to each one separately.

Best Online Colleges and Universities 2021

Best Online Colleges and Universities badge

The following rankings detail the top 10 online colleges and universities for 2021 with undergraduate and graduate programs. Each school's programs follow either a fully online or hybrid format.

Our rankings include only schools with regional or national accreditation to help readers find quality online programs. Some industry-specific accrediting agencies may also endorse the ranked programs.

Prospective students may explore the rankings below to find an online program that fits their needs.

Read Our Ranking Methodology
University of Florida View School Profile Gainesville, Florida

A public research institution in Gainesville, UF enrolls more than 55,000 students annually. UF offers over 200 online degrees and certificates. Thanks to its many program options, UF appeals to learners seeking online colleges with a variety of majors.

Undergraduates can major in diverse fields like anthropology, business administration, criminology, and computer science. The university offers online master's programs in areas including international business, sustainable design, urban planning, and educational leadership. Degree-seekers can also enroll in an online master of business administration program. Unlike many other online colleges and universities, UF offers online doctoral programs in educational leadership, nursing practice, higher education administration, and classical studies.

Applicants must meet the university's general admission requirements. UF supports distance learners through financial aid opportunities. The university offers a tuition discount for Florida residents.

University of Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

California State University-Bakersfield View School Profile Bakersfield, California

A public university founded in 1965, CSUB grants degrees from its 375-acre campus at the southern end of the Central Valley. CSUB also offers online degrees. Through CSUB Extended Education, students can earn a fully online or hybrid degree.

Undergraduates can earn fully online bachelor's degrees in communication and sociology. The university also offers online master's degrees in education, management, and kinesiology. The school's online master of business administration program helps professionals advance their careers and pursue supervisory positions. In addition to its fully online programs, CSUB offers hybrid degrees in nursing, social work, and education.

CSUB promotes a personalized learning environment by prioritizing small class sizes. Designed for working students, CSUB's programs help students reach their educational goals in a flexible format.

California State University, Bakersfield is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

American University View School Profile Washington, District of Columbia

A private research university in Washington, D.C., AU enrolls 14,000 students annually. AU also offers online programs as one of the nation's best online universities. Online courses at AU meet the same academic standards as in-person courses while prioritizing flexibility.

AU offers fully online master's degrees in areas like economics, international relations, and business. AU also draws on its close relationship with the Department of Homeland Security to offer an online master's degree in counterterrorism and homeland security. Undergraduates can supplement their on-campus classes with online courses. Online learners benefit from access to library services, a writing lab, and tutoring services.

American University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

California State University-Fresno View School Profile Fresno, California

A public institution in San Joaquin Valley, Fresno State enrolls over 25,000 students annually. Fresno State ranks as one of the best online universities thanks to its fully online graduate programs and hybrid undergraduate programs. 

Fresno State offers a variety of fully online graduate programs, including master's degrees in teaching and language arts instruction. Fresno State also offers an online master's in educational leadership program. Nurses can pursue an online doctor of nursing practice. At the bachelor's level, Fresno State offers hybrid programs in business administration, liberal arts, and nursing. 

California State University, Fresno is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

California State University-Sacramento View School Profile Sacramento, California

Founded in 1947 as part of California's state university system, Sacramento State enrolls over 30,000 students annually. The school grants degrees from its 300-acre campus in the state capital and through online programs. The university offers several online and hybrid programs at the bachelor's and master's level.

At Sacramento State, undergraduates can earn a fully online bachelor's in criminal justice or career and technical studies. The university also offers hybrid programs in early childhood education, nursing, and psychology. At the graduate level, learners can enroll in an online master's program in accountancy, curriculum and instruction, or nursing. Sacramento State also offers a hybrid executive master of business administration program. The university reports some of the nation's lowest tuition rates. 

California State University, Sacramento is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

The University of Texas at Austin View School Profile Austin, Texas

The state's flagship public research institution, UT Austin dates back to 1883. Today, the university enrolls more than 50,000 students annually. UT Austin offers online programs through TEXAS Extended Campus (TEC). Designed for traditional students, mid-career professionals, and nontraditional learners, TEC provides continuing education, professional training, and online courses for college credit.

TEC offers self-paced and semester-based online courses. The self-paced options appeal to self-directed learners seeking the greatest flexibility. The semester-based courses adhere to UT Austin's academic calendar. Online learners complete activities and assignments divided into learning modules. Thanks to the variety of course formats and flexible options, UT Austin ranks among the nation's best online colleges and universities.

The University of Texas at Austin is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Connecticut View School Profile Storrs, Connecticut

A public institution that hosts over 32,000 students annually, UConn promotes innovation and a global approach to higher education. Degree-seekers can take online classes or pursue a graduate degree in a fully online format. Designed for working professionals, the flexible online delivery method helps students advance their education and pursue new career opportunities.

At UConn, graduate students can enroll in an online master's program in accounting, educational technology, or engineering. The educational technology program uses a unique two-summer format to help educators expand their skills around the academic calendar. Learners can also pursue an online master's degree in energy and environmental management, human resources management, or family nurse practitioner.

In addition to fully online programs, UConn offers low-residency graduate programs. The university also offers technical support and resources for accessing distance learning materials.

University of Connecticut is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Gallaudet University View School Profile Washington, District of Columbia

A private institution chartered to educate deaf and hard-of-hearing students, Gallaudet University dates back to 1864. Today, the university offers the only interpretation degrees taught in an American Sign Language (ASL) immersive environment. The Washington, D.C., institution also ranks as one of the best online universities thanks to a variety of online programs.

Gallaudet University offers an online bachelor's degree-completion program for students with prior college experience. Learners can major in psychology or deaf studies. The university also offers online master's programs in sign language education, school counseling, and clinical health counseling.

Gallaudet University offers a unique online master's in deaf education, which trains teachers of deaf and hard-of-hearing students. Degree-seekers choose a specialization in educating students with disabilities or ASL and English bilingual early childhood education.

Gallaudet University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

University of San Diego View School Profile San Diego, California

A private Catholic institution founded in 1949, USD prioritizes social innovation, intellectual exploration, and change. USD offers several online graduate degrees, including master's degrees in education, criminal justice, and information technology. Degree-seekers can also earn an online master's degree in applied data science, cybersecurity operations and leadership, or applied data science. USD also offers online master's programs in healthcare informatics and law enforcement and public safety leadership.

USD supports students throughout their educational journey. Prospective students work with a personal enrollment advisor to gain admission. Once admitted, incoming students work with a program advisor to enroll in classes and complete financial aid requirements. Academic advisors for each graduate program also guide learners through their degree requirements.

University of San Diego is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

John Brown University View School Profile Siloam Springs, Arkansas

A private Christian university founded in 1919, JBU grants degrees from its campus in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. As an interdenominational university, JBU emphasizes both faith and learning in its liberal arts programs.

JBU offers some of its most popular undergraduate programs in an online format, including psychology and a general liberal arts degree. Learners can also pursue a bachelor's degree in organizational leadership or management online. Online graduate options include a master of business administration, a master's in leadership, and a master's in counseling. JBU also offers an online master's in cybersecurity and several education master's degrees.

John Brown University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Indiana University-Bloomington View School Profile Bloomington, Indiana

The flagship campus of Indiana's public university system, IU dates back to 1820. Today, IU Online connects degree-seekers with over 170 programs offered by multiple campuses of the IU system. Learners can earn an associate, bachelor's, or graduate degree in a fully online format.

Nurses can earn an online RN-to-BSN degree. The university also offers specialized graduate degrees, including an online master of arts in teaching that emphasizes biology or chemistry education. Students can also enroll in an online master of business administration program. The university's online graduate certificates help learners strengthen their skills in focused areas and prepare for further graduate study.

Many online classes run asynchronously. Distance learners gain access to success coaching and academic advising.

Indiana University Bloomington is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Savannah State University View School Profile Savannah, Georgia

Founded in 1890, Savannah State enrolls around 3,700 students annually. A public historically black college and university, Savannah State offers online programs that incorporate interactive technologies to build a collaborative virtual classroom. Learners collaborate with classmates, communicate with instructors, and participate in real-time meetings to complete their degree.

The school's online business administration degree appeals to working students seeking flexibility. Enrollees complete coursework at their own pace while earning an accredited degree. In addition to fully online courses, Savannah State offers hybrid courses. Online students gain access to leadership development training, virtual connection opportunities, and academic advising.

Savannah State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Illinois Institute of Technology View School Profile Chicago, Illinois

Chicago's only technology-focused university, IIT trains students in engineering, science, business, and applied technology. Founded in 1890, IIT offers several online degrees, including undergraduate and graduate programs in biochemistry, computer science, physics, and applied mathematics. Master's students can also study analytical chemistry or artificial intelligence online.

Distance learners can join a variety of student organizations, many of which hold their meetings virtually to increase participation. Learners can also participate in a first-year experience to connect with their peers and transition to the university.

Illinois Institute of Technology is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Webber International University View School Profile Babson Park, Florida

A private institution located in Babson Park, Florida, Webber dates back to 1927. Today, the university runs several residential campuses and multiple online programs. The school offers online bachelor's degrees in areas like computer information systems, criminal justice management, business, and management.

At the graduate level, Webber students can pursue an online master's degree in criminal justice management or an online master of business administration. The master's programs emphasize leadership and management skills. The university uses rolling admissions, allowing incoming students to submit an application at any time. Nearly 97% of Webber students receive financial aid.

Webber International University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Pacific Union College View School Profile Angwin, California

Located in the Napa Valley, PUC is a Seventh-day Adventist Christian institution. PUC ranks as one of the best online colleges thanks to its free online courses. The college lets students take their first online class for free and choose from two additional classes at a discounted rate. After earning accredited college credits, online students can transfer to another school or pursue an online degree at PUC.

PUC's online class options include introductory courses in biology, French, statistics, and sociology. Applicants must submit an application with transcripts. PUC's online students receive counseling support and access to spiritual and social activities.

Pacific Union College is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

Wesleyan College View School Profile Macon, Georgia

Founded as Georgia's first women's college in 1836, Wesleyan enrolls a small number of undergraduate and graduate students each year. The college offers online degrees designed for women balancing school with other responsibilities.

Students can choose from online bachelor's degrees in business, accounting, or psychology at Wesleyan. The business program offers specializations in strategic management, organizational behavior, sports management, and healthcare administration.

Online learners complete coursework on an accelerated schedule. With five sessions per year and eight-week courses, students can earn more credits faster than they would on a traditional schedule. Wesleyan also offers full-time and part-time schedules. The college accepts applications on a rolling basis.

Wesleyan College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Marian University View School Profile Indianapolis, Indiana

Founded in 1851 as a private Catholic institution in Indiana, Marian educates service leaders and followers of the Franciscan values of peace, stewardship, and justice. Marian offers online programs designed for working learners.

The school offers online bachelor's degrees in business administration, nursing, and health and human services. The business administration program offers concentrations in management, human resources management, and project management. The school also offers an accelerated online RN-to-BSN program and an online associate degree in paralegal studies.

Marian uses an accelerated course format to help learners complete their degree sooner. Online learners can participate in study-abroad opportunities to gain international experience.

Marian University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Florida Institute of Technology View School Profile Melbourne, Florida

Founded in Melbourne in 1958, Florida Tech specializes in educating professionals living on the Space Coast. Through Florida Tech Online, learners can earn undergraduate and graduate degrees through a fully online format. Florida Tech Online uses an asynchronous learning format, which appeals to students balancing coursework with other responsibilities.

Learners can earn online undergraduate and graduate degrees in areas like finance, business, criminal justice, and management. The school also offers online programs in aviation management, cybersecurity, and project management.

Depending on the course, students may participate in interactive media, connect on discussion boards, and watch videos. Courses feature weekly assignments to keep students on track toward earning their degree.

Florida Institute of Technology is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Saint Leo University View School Profile Saint Leo, Florida

A private Catholic university in Central Florida, Saint Leo dates back to 1889. The university emphasizes liberal arts study from its main campus north of Tampa. Learners can also pursue online degrees through Saint Leo WorldWide.

At Saint Leo, undergraduates can earn online bachelor's degrees in business, creative writing, education, information technology, and human services. Saint Leo also offers online bachelor's programs in criminal justice, instructional design, religion, social work, and psychology. The university's online master's programs include business, education, and other high-demand fields.

Saint Leo's online programs blend a liberal arts education with core Catholic values. The university supports online learners through student advising, career services, and student life programs.

Saint Leo University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Trine University View School Profile Angola, Indiana

Based in Angola, Indiana, Trine enrolls 2,200 students annually. The school's online division, TrineOnline, prioritizes accessibility and convenience. Incoming students work with Trine staff to earn transfer credits and schedule their courses. More than 45 courses through TrineOnline use free textbooks, saving students money.

Trine offers online associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees in areas like business administration, criminal justice, technology, and healthcare. Registered nurses can earn their bachelor of science in nursing online at Trine, while business professionals can advance their careers with a master's degree in organizational leadership.

Trine prioritizes hands-on experience in its programs, connecting students with project and internship opportunities in their local community. Academic tutors, financial aid staff, and career services help students complete their degree. The university's generous transfer credit policy gives students credit for prior knowledge and experience. TrineOnline classes start every eight weeks.

Trine University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Simpson University View School Profile Redding, California

A Christian university located in Redding, California, Simpson enrolls over 1,000 students annually. At Simpson, students can pursue bachelor's degree-completion programs and master's degrees through the school's distance-learning division.

Learners with prior college credit can complete a bachelor's degree in psychology or organizational leadership online. The psychology program incorporates behavioral sciences, research methods, and development coursework. Undergraduates also take core courses in the Bible and Christianity.

Simpson offers online master's degrees in areas like organizational leadership, education, and ministry leadership. Learners complete programs in a cohort, progressing through the curriculum with the same group of students.

Simpson University is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

Warner University View School Profile Lake Wales, Florida

A private Christian college located in Lake Wales, Florida, WU dates back to 1968. Today, WU enrolls nearly 1,200 students annually. The university's online programs educate learners from a Christian perspective.

Degree-seekers can earn online bachelor's degrees in areas like agricultural studies, criminal justice, Christian ministry, and education. The university's online bachelor's in business administration program emphasizes management, accounting, and finance training. Majors strengthen their leadership and critical thinking abilities while studying core business concepts.

WU also offers an online general studies program that grants an associate degree and meets the general education requirements for a bachelor's degree.

Warner University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

DePaul University View School Profile Chicago, Illinois

A private institution with campuses in Chicago's downtown loop and Lincoln Park, DePaul is the nation's largest Catholic university. DePaul's online programs let students take classes and earn degrees through a flexible format. The programs rely on digital learning tools, experienced online faculty, and unique courses to offer an exceptional online education.

DePaul offers a variety of online degrees in areas like data science, information technology, and game programming online. DePaul also offers online degrees in education, business administration, computer science, and health informatics.

DePaul prioritizes small classes in its online programs. Online learners can also participate in local internship opportunities. The university's career center connects online learners with job opportunities.

DePaul University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Harding University View School Profile Searcy, Arkansas

A private Christian university founded in 1924, Harding enrolls more than 5,000 students annually. Located in Searcy, Arkansas, the school integrates Christian ideals into its higher education programs. Harding ranks among the best online universities thanks to its variety of online program options.

At Harding, students can choose from 10 fully online programs. The College of Education offers a fully online master's in teaching, as well as online endorsement options in fields like gifted and talented education, special education, and dyslexia education.

Through the Graduate School of Business, learners can pursue online graduate certificates in data analytics, entrepreneurship, information assurance, and project management. The university also offers a fully online master of business administration program.

Harding University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Western Illinois University View School Profile Macomb, Illinois

A public university located in Macomb, WIU dates back to 1899. Today, WIU offers online classes and degrees for undergraduate and graduate students. WIU ranks among the best online colleges thanks to its tuition discount for out-of-state students and multiple degree options.

The school offers an online bachelor's degree in accounting with specializations in management accounting and taxation. The school's RN-to-BSN program offers an online route to nursing education. WIU also offers online business majors in management, human resources management, and supply chain management. Additionally, students can earn online bachelor's degrees in anthropology, sociology, and economics.

At the graduate level, degree-seekers can earn a master of business administration, a master's in education, or a master's in public safety administration online. All online students pay the same tuition rate regardless of residency. 

Western Illinois University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to get an online degree? true

Online degree costs vary by school and degree level. During the 2019-2020 school year, online bachelor's degree programs cost an average of $316/credit. However, associate degrees tend to cost less, while master's degrees often cost more than bachelor's degrees.

Are online degrees recognized?

Yes. Online degrees usually include the same curriculum as on-campus programs. Finding an accredited online college program can help students transfer credits, receive financial aid, and find jobs after graduation.

Can you get a college degree completely online?

Yes. Students can earn a college degree in a fully online format. Some schools cater exclusively to online learners. Others offer fully online options for some degrees and programs.

Do employers like online degrees?

Many employers hire candidates with accredited online degrees. Most online programs confer the exact same degree as in-person programs, so employers do not know if applicants earned their degree online.

Is an online degree as good as traditional?

Accredited online degrees meet the same educational standards as accredited on-campus degrees. Many online colleges offer identical diplomas to online and on-campus graduates.

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