About 25,000 students are currently enrolled in Vermont's public colleges, and more than 18,000 attend private schools in the state. With more than a dozen schools to choose from, prospective students in Vermont may have trouble deciding which institution meets their needs. Especially designed for students looking for high-quality online programs that provide flexible learning, this page aims to aid aspiring students in their decision by answering their important questions regarding education standards, financial aid, and earning potential in Vermont.
Students' priorities for online schools vary based on their individual needs and goals. Vermont students can choose from a variety of amenities, such as the desirable teacher-to-student ratio at Vermont Tech, or the hybrid online/on-campus courses at the University of Vermont. Moreover, Champlain College offers seven- and eight-week accelerated courses for students who want to complete their degrees faster. But before narrowing down results, it’s important to understand the how the quality standards and student support structures at each college stack up against one another. With these factors in mind, we’ve made our picks for the best online colleges in Vermont:
No matter what level of degree prospective students want to earn, or what discipline they're interested in, the best way to find specific online programs is to look at the colleges' websites directly. Some schools, such as Norwich University, Champlain College, and the University of Vermont, have web pages devoted entirely to their online programs. Aspiring learners can start their search with a complete list of Vermont's colleges, found on the state's official website.
Students in Vermont can often save money on tuition by translating their work and life experience into college credits. Each school can choose whether to award credits for prior work or life experience, but many in Vermont do offer this option for students. For example, Norwich University allows students with previous law enforcement experience or military work training to apply it as credit toward a bachelor's degree. Similarly, students at Champlain College who have completed professional development training can receive credits, and students in the Vermont State Colleges System can undergo an assessment process to have their professional experience considered for credit.
Generally speaking, the higher a worker's degree level is, the higher their earning potential. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) supports this correlation in the state of Vermont. The chart below illustrates the relationship between degree level and average income for Vermont workers.
Source: BLS, 2017
As the data indicates, as workers obtain jobs that require higher degree level minimums, their salaries increase. A report from Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce project that by 2020, 65 percent of all jobs in Vermont will require some level of postsecondary education.
At the moment, about 47 percent of workers in Vermont have at least an associate degree, according to the Lumina Foundation, meaning there is still a ways to go to meet projected employers' demands. Manufacturing jobs in Vermont are dwindling, as reported by the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, while industries such as healthcare are expected to surge. Because those industries tend to require their employees to hold degrees, workers should prioritize their education.
Online schools in Vermont provide a convenient way for students to get their degree, especially if they are juggling work and family responsibilities. However, students shouldn't have to trade quality for convenience in choosing an online college. To ensure that they receive the quality education they need, students should only consider schools with the proper accreditation.
Colleges in Vermont—such as the University of Vermont, Vermont College of Fine Arts, and Goddard College—are accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges Accreditation (NEASC). To earn accreditation from the NEASC, schools must undergo a peer review of their curricula and policies.
In addition to NEASC accreditation, schools can also obtain specialized and subject-specific accreditation for their individual programs. For example, the Vermont Department of Education provides accreditation to teaching programs at the University of Vermont, while the American Psychological Association verifies the university's clinical psychology program. Moreover, the school's social work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.
The cost of education is a huge concern for students around the state, and it's no wonder: according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the average personal income of Vermont residents was $51,114 in 2017—up from $38,866 in 2007. This means many students have extremely tight finances, which might prevent them from paying to continue their education. However, as industries that require college degrees continue growing in Vermont, paying for higher education is becoming increasingly necessary.
College Tuition Rates in Vermont
In-State Tuition, Public Colleges & Universities: $15,062
Change from 2015 $567
In-State Tuition, Private Colleges & Universities: $39,518
Change from 2015 $2,127
Source: National Center for Education Statistics, 2016
Out-of-state students are typically charged a significantly higher per-credit rate for attending college in Vermont, but those from Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New Hampshire may be able to qualify for in-state tuition rates through the New England Board of Higher Education Tuition Break program. This only applies for students who enroll in certain programs at participating schools.
To find out more about paying for college in Vermont, continue below.
To save money on tuition, students from other states may consider establishing residency in Vermont. To do this, people must live in Vermont continuously for one year before starting school. They must also demonstrate community involvement by getting a state driver's license, paying state income taxes, or registering to vote.
The per-credit rate for online schools varies between colleges in Vermont, but some schools in neighboring states are comparable to the rates that Vermont students pay. Take a look at some of the online undergraduate costs per credit reported for 2018-2019 school year below:
College of St. Joseph (Pennsylvania)
$320 per credit
Keep in mind, some schools charge more in fees and lower tuition per credit for online students—be sure to understand the full cost of earning an online degree in Vermont before enrolling.
Vermont residents may be eligible to receive financial aid from the federal government, their individual school, or from the state. To begin the process of winning grants and scholarships, students should fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, which allows schools to evaluate how much aid students can receive based on their household income.
There are several scholarships available to state residents from the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation, including the following:
Armed Services Scholarship: This scholarship provides aid to Vermont's military families. Eligible students must be the spouse, child, or stepchild of someone who is active in the armed forces or who died during active duty. This scholarship is available to students attending the University of Vermont, Castleton University, Johnson State College, and Lyndon State College.
Emily Lester Vermont Opportunity Scholarship: This scholarship is for students who have been in foster care. People must enroll in an accredited school in order to receive this funding.
Sunrise Scholarship: This scholarship is for students from Windham County who demonstrate financial need and entrepreneurial skills.
Vermont Retail and Grocers Association Scholarship: The children of people who work for a VRGA-member company can receive this scholarship.
St. Johnsbury Rotary Community Service Award: Members of St. Johnsbury Rotary Club can receive this scholarship. Applicants must be graduating seniors from Hazen Union High School, Danville High School, or St. Johnsbury Academy.
Getting a college degree is a great way to begin a career in Vermont, but for many aspiring college students, it’s been a while since their last classroom experience. Adult education in Vermont helps students from different walks of life get the education they need to feel prepared to earn a college degree and achieve their career. People living with disabilities, single parents, foreign immigrants and those who have been unemployed for a long time all benefit from the following adult education programs in Vermont:
College and career preparedness – Anyone who is facing growing skill challenges at work can benefit from college counseling and preparedness training to meet career goals.
Foundational skill training – For students who may need to improve their reading, writing, math and computer literacy skills before attending college.
English language (ESL) – Those who speak foreign languages can benefit from Vermont’s ELS classes to improve English language and literacy skills.
High school equivalency – Adults who have not earned their high school diploma can earn a GED credential through Vermont adult education.
Vermont’s adult education programs served more than 1,400 Vermont residents between 2016 and 2017, according to the U.S. Department of Education. To find an adult education program near you, visit the State of Vermont’s Agency of Education website.