Best Online Colleges in Virginia 2020
Since 2014, the Commonwealth of Virginia has worked to increase higher education access through the Virginia Plan for Higher Education. Online education is a major component of the state's educational landscape, and Virginia passed legislation focused on improving and expanding online offerings.
The state boasts some of the nation's finest colleges and universities, many of which offer online undergraduate and graduate degrees. The Virginia Community College System delivers online education through many of its 23 schools. This guide can help Virginia students explore programs, locate financial aid opportunities, and get details on the best online schools and colleges in Virginia.
|Rank||Logo||School||Tuition||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate||Graduation Rate||Financial Aid||Credit For Experience||Placement Service||Counseling Services||Description & Additional Information||Toggle|
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|1||Northern Virginia Community College Annandale, VA||Tuition $4,890||# of Online Programs 13||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 23%||Financial Aid 19%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|2||Thomas Nelson Community College Hampton, VA||Tuition $4,193||# of Online Programs 27||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 17%||Financial Aid 6%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|3||Tidewater Community College Norfolk, VA||Tuition $4,193||# of Online Programs 10||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 16%||Financial Aid 5%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|4||John Tyler Community College Chester, VA||Tuition $4,148||# of Online Programs 13||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 19%||Financial Aid 2%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service No||Counseling Services Yes||
|5||Southwest Virginia Community College Richlands, VA||Tuition $4,133||# of Online Programs 16||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 37%||Financial Aid 61%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|6||Mountain Empire Community College Big Stone Gap, VA||Tuition $4,133||# of Online Programs 24||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 38%||Financial Aid 51%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service No||Counseling Services Yes||
|7||Southside Virginia Community College Alberta, VA||Tuition $4,133||# of Online Programs 8||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 36%||Financial Aid 19%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|8||Piedmont Virginia Community College Charlottesville, VA||Tuition $4,163||# of Online Programs 8||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 26%||Financial Aid 8%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|9||Patrick Henry Community College Martinsville, VA||Tuition $4,133||# of Online Programs 5||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 25%||Financial Aid 2%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|10||Rappahannock Community College Glenns, VA||Tuition $4,133||# of Online Programs 8||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 28%||Financial Aid 25%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service No||Counseling Services Yes||
|11||New River Community College Dublin, VA||Tuition $4,132||# of Online Programs 6||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 21%||Financial Aid 15%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|12||Virginia Western Community College Roanoke, VA||Tuition $4,193||# of Online Programs 5||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 22%||Financial Aid 33%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service No||Counseling Services Yes||
|13||J Sargeant Reynolds Community College Richmond, VA||Tuition $4,256||# of Online Programs 4||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 17%||Financial Aid 5%||Credit For Experience No||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
|Rank||Logo||School||Tuition||# of Online Programs||Acceptance Rate||Graduation Rate||Financial Aid||Credit For Experience||Placement Service||Counseling Services||Description & Additional Information||Toggle|
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|1||James Madison University Harrisonburg, VA||Tuition $5,896||# of Online Programs 6||Acceptance Rate 72%||Graduation Rate 83%||Financial Aid 20%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
James Madison University is host to an array of distance education alternatives. Undergraduate students can complete their RN-BSN through hybrid coursework, or earn an autism certificate through a fully online, 1-year format. The adult degree program customizes a bachelor's degree to fit your needs and interests by utilizing any academic history and life experience to count toward transferrable credits. Graduate students also have the choice to participate in 100% online master's programs in subjects such as educational technology, computer science, mathematics or speech and language pathology. If travel interests you, there are opportunities to pursue political science, business administration, science, Spanish or nursing in courses that are completed abroad with the combination of online and on-campus studies. The distance education webpage features an online readiness self-assessment to help determine if distance studies are a good fit for your lifestyle. Classes, which are semi-structured, use the web platform Canvas to implement video lectures, group projects and class discussions.
|2||Liberty University Lynchburg, VA||Tuition $15,105||# of Online Programs 41||Acceptance Rate 24%||Graduation Rate 55%||Financial Aid 88%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
With over 250 certificate, associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral-level online degrees, Liberty University is a faith-based institution that is committed to providing affordable schooling. There are a number of scholarships specific to distance education students, military personnel receive a discounted tuition and all students have access to free e-books for every undergraduate course. Program options include aviation, divinity, behavioral sciences, government, nursing and more. In order to stay connected to the campus community, students can submit prayer requests via the web, take advantage of a video library, receive assistance from the writing center and find technical support for the platform Blackboard Learn. You can also sign up for webinars throughout the year, which allow you to ask questions and discuss concerns. The Online Student Advocate Office offers support for issues concerning financial aid and academic advising. Program length, tuition costs and graduation requirements vary depending on the number of credits being transferred over, as well as the degree of choice.
|3||George Mason University Fairfax, VA||Tuition $8,204||# of Online Programs 12||Acceptance Rate 81%||Graduation Rate 70%||Financial Aid 29%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
At George Mason University, there are over 50 hybrid and fully online programs for students to complete undergraduate and graduate degrees in subject areas of science, math, health, engineering, business or education. Some coursework is implemented on a set schedule, requiring students to access their virtual classroom at a specific time of day. Other classes are self-paced, allowing for even more flexibility. GMU faculty members teach all curriculums, and makes use of blogs, social media and discussion boards to engage their classroom. Distance education students can utilize the same resources as those studying on campus. This includes an after-hours nurse who is available for medical advice, counseling resources, and access to the Student Support and Advocacy Center, which assists in developing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. All students will also be connected to an academic advisor, who can provide information regarding transfer credits, tuition, financial aid and graduation requirements for each program.
|4||Regent University Virginia Beach, VA||Tuition $15,900||# of Online Programs 6||Acceptance Rate 81%||Graduation Rate 53%||Financial Aid 87%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Regent University is a Christian-based learning institution offering 129 programs to receive an undergraduate or graduate degree in hybrid or fully online formats. You can find options in business, theology, education, nursing, STEM and more. Semi-structured curriculums are delivered through the web platform Blackboard Learn and Blackboard Collaborate. Students participate in real-time lectures and discussion posts, as well as self-paced assignments, with an average of 17 other students in each virtual classroom. Undergraduate classes run for 8 weeks, and graduate course duration depends on the program of choice. If you are unsure if online coursework is the right choice, you can use the ?test drive? tool to explore a class at no cost. For students with prior credit, the school maintains a generous transfer policy by accepting up to 90 hours. Although you will be learning off-campus, the school involves distance education students in the campus community by welcoming you on mission trips and study abroad experiences.
|5||Virginia Tech Blacksburg, VA||Tuition $10,787||# of Online Programs 8||Acceptance Rate 71%||Graduation Rate 84%||Financial Aid 38%||Credit For Experience No||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Students looking to build upon their undergraduate education can pursue a master's degree or professional certificate in a hybrid or fully online format at Virginia Tech. Twelve graduate programs are available in disciplines ranging from aerospace engineering to information technology. There are 10 certificate options, which include subjects such as nuclear engineering, integrative STEM education, or security studies. As a member of the State Authorizations Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), online programs at VT are recognized within other SARA institutions and states. Most coursework can be completed at a part or full-time pace. However, certain programs require you to follow a specific plan of study. All classes combine readings, discussions, and video conferencing. Online students can take advantage of a number of resources, including career services, a women's center, counseling and academic advising. There are financial aid opportunities for all students, and military personnel qualify for additional incentives and fee waivers.
|6||University of Virginia-Main Campus Charlottesville, VA||Tuition $12,496||# of Online Programs 11||Acceptance Rate 30%||Graduation Rate 95%||Financial Aid 31%||Credit For Experience No||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
At the University of Virginia, students can earn a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies or health science management in a fully online format. You must have enough prior credit in order to transfer to UVA as a third-year student, where you will spend 3-4 years completing 60 credit hours to receive a degree. This option is also available for a master's degree in public safety, which combines both on-campus and online coursework to finish 30 credit hours. There are a number of undergraduate and graduate online certificate options in subjects ranging from accounting to public relations. Coursework is delivered in both asynchronous and synchronous formats through the platform UVaCollab, which uses interactive features such as discussion forums and video conferencing to engage students. Although you will rarely step foot on campus, admitted students are required to attend orientation in Charlottesville. In and out-of-state tuition rates are the same, and you can take advantage of scholarship, financial aid, and payment plan opportunities to help with costs.
|7||Old Dominion University Norfolk, VA||Tuition $6,330||# of Online Programs 37||Acceptance Rate 85%||Graduation Rate 55%||Financial Aid 65%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Old Dominion University has been providing distance education since 1994. Degree options have expanded to over 120 minors, certificates, 4-year bachelor's, bachelor's completion, master's and doctoral-level degrees since that time. Most curriculum follows the ODU on-campus schedule, with certain programs being offered at an accelerated pace. Some classes take place in real time, requiring students to stick to a specific schedule, while others can be accessed at any point throughout the day. All coursework is taught by ODU faculty, and implemented through the web platform Blackboard Learn. For active-duty service members living abroad, certain curriculum is available in DVD format. Military personnel also receive a discounted tuition. All students receive support services such as tutoring, writing center help, online study groups, and library access. Enrollment coaches are available to discuss academic planning, concerns regarding state reciprocity, and financial aid options. Students can also determine their academic standing by using the school's free transfer evaluation tool prior to applying for any program.
|8||Hampton University Hampton, VA||Tuition $21,552||# of Online Programs 14||Acceptance Rate 65%||Graduation Rate 58%||Financial Aid 67%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Hampton University prides itself on its virtual, online campus, which features a number of fully online academic programs. There are 29 options to receive a certificate, associate's, bachelor's, master's or doctoral-level degree in disciplines such as aviation management, counselor education and religious studies. For those interested in nursing, there are both 1 and 2-year alternatives for an accelerated RN-BSN program. Eight and 16-week courses are completed on your own schedule, and most students complete a bachelor's degree in 4 years. Transfer students are encouraged to go over their academic history with an advisor. This is because military training, credit-by-exam, and life experiences often count toward credit hours. Beyond academic advising, online students have access to financial aid and scholarship opportunities, the library, a writing center, counseling and career services, and technical support. Admissions qualifications, graduation requirements, and program length are dependent on degree of choice and student schedule.
|9||Radford University Radford, VA||Tuition $6,991||# of Online Programs 4||Acceptance Rate 81%||Graduation Rate 60%||Financial Aid 18%||Credit For Experience No||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
For those pursuing a graduate education, Radford University is host to 16 online or hybrid certificate and master's degree programs. Subject areas include criminal justice, art design thinking, cyber security, RN-BSN and educational leadership, among others. Certificate programs take 1-3 years, and require 13-18 credit hours to complete. Master's degrees can be earned in 2-3 years, and require 30-36 credit hours for graduation. Courses are mostly self-paced, and students can customize their workload to be part or full-time. Curriculum is applied through the platform Design to Learn, and combines video presentations, webinars and discussion forums to keep students engaged. There are a number of resources to help online students through their programs, including 24/7 technical support, access to the McConnell Library, and online tutoring services from NetTutor. Although you will want to confirm that your degree of choice is acknowledged in your location of residency, the university is approved by the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements.
|10||Mary Baldwin University Staunton, VA||Tuition $30,240||# of Online Programs 16||Acceptance Rate 99%||Graduation Rate 43%||Financial Aid 100%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Mary Baldwin University offers 27 online certificate and degree programs. Environment-based learning, health care administration and sustainable business management are just a few of the available curriculums. The courses are self-paced and implemented through the web platform Blackboard Learn, which combines lectures and discussion forms to create a sense of community. Students can transfer up to 90 credit hours, as well as opt for a half or full-time workload. As a result, the time to complete studies varies depending on the student and their program of choice. Tuition also differs for each degree. Admissions representatives are available to assist you throughout your educational experience via phone or Skype conversations. They can provide information regarding financial aid and scholarship opportunities, including multiple benefits for veterans and active military personnel. Online students can also access online tutoring support. Graduates have entered into fields of health care advocacy, pharmaceuticals, special education and social work.
|11||Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond, VA||Tuition $10,846||# of Online Programs 14||Acceptance Rate 81%||Graduation Rate 63%||Financial Aid 55%||Credit For Experience No||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) offers 3 undergraduate programs with online components. The 32-credit RN to BS Completion Program is offered entirely online. The BS in Clinical Laboratory Sciences consists of a minimum of 40 credits and is offered in a hybrid format and the Clinical Laboratory Science Distance Education program requires a minimum of 60 credit hours and is offered in a video conference format. Upon graduation, students of the Clinical Laboratory Science Distance Education program will be eligible to take the national examination for MLS given by the Board of Certification of the American Society for Clinical Pathology. Programs may be offered part time or full time, and on-campus requirements may be necessary for the completion of different degrees. VCU applicants are assessed based on academic performance, employment experience and extracurricular activities. Interested students must have completed at least 20 credits and submit past official transcripts, essays to be completed within the common application, at least 1 recommendation, and GED and/or SAT or ACT scores. In addition, online students have access to many resources to aid them in their educational journey, including technology services, the library, the campus learning center, the career center and technology services.
|12||Norfolk State University Norfolk, VA||Tuition $5,318||# of Online Programs 8||Acceptance Rate 85%||Graduation Rate 37%||Financial Aid 40%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Norfolk State University offers online undergraduate degrees in various disciplines, such as history, psychology, business-information management and nursing. Courses are available 24 hours a day, allowing students the flexibility of completing their work at times that are convenient to them. Depending on the specific program, students have varying graduation requirements, which may include on-campus courses; however, all students must meet with their academic adviser prior to graduation to review their Academic Evaluation (EVAL). Students have access to an online orientation at the start of every semester to familiarize themselves with the tools that will be used for each online course. In addition, students have access to multiple electronic systems, including online textbooks, academic assistance, and tutoring and career guidance in order to advance their educational and professional goals. The Office of Extended Learning (OEL) provides support to online students as well as faculty to ensure the integrity of the program. Interested students should submit 2 letters of recommendation, SAT or ACT scores (if under the age of 21) and should have completed a minimum of 22 units or have a GED score of a least a 530.
|13||Virginia University of Lynchburg Lynchburg, VA||Tuition $7,200||# of Online Programs 7||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 57%||Financial Aid 75%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Virginia University of Lynchburg provides distance learning courses in order to reach students who can't attend classes at one of their locations or who wish to continue their education in a more flexible manner. Undergraduate programs offered online include religious studies, business administration and organizational management. This historically African-American Christian institution seeks to guide and provide the resources necessary for its students to realize their spiritual, academic and vocational potential. Interested students must have a high school GPA of a 2.0 or a GED score of 530. Those transferring from other institutions must have at least a 2.0 GPA. High school and college transcripts must be submitted along with TOEFL scores for international students. The university will take academic achievement, personality and character traits, along with the physical and emotional health of the student into consideration when determining admission. Students may receive credits based on professional certifications, technical training, national examinations and previous college courses. Students with prior military experience may also receive credit for their training experience. Graduation requirements vary depending on the bachelor's program selected.
|14||Bluefield College Bluefield, VA||Tuition $23,600||# of Online Programs 9||Acceptance Rate 85%||Graduation Rate 51%||Financial Aid 91%||Credit For Experience No||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Bluefield College is a Christ-centered school located in Southwest Virginia that offers a variety of undergraduate programs online. Online areas of study include business administration, criminal justice, nursing, early childhood education, human services, organizational leadership, cybersecurity and ministry leadership. Applicants will need to submit their SAT or ACT scores, high school and/or previous college transcripts as well as the application. Students should also have a minimum 2.0 GPA, a minimum score of 860 on their SAT or 18 on their ACT, and have ranked in the top half of their class. With its small student-to-teacher ratio, students can expect consistent interaction with professors who possess academic credentials, practical experience in their respective fields and a curriculum focused on the Christian faith. Distance learners have access to the school's library for research needs as well as the Academic Center for Excellence, which offers tutoring, math and writing labs, academic coaching, testing and disability services for students. In addition, online students benefit from discounted rates. In order to graduate, students must complete 126 semester hours of general education and major-specific requirements with a GPA of at least 2.0.
|15||Virginia Baptist College Fredericksburg, VA||Tuition $5,160||# of Online Programs 4||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid 17%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Veritas Baptist College offers online bachelor's degrees in Ministry and Christian Education. Accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian colleges and (TRACS), VBC's online Bachelor of Ministry includes concentrations in the Bible, Church Ministries, church business, youth ministry and pastoral studies. The bachelor's degree in Christian Education includes concentrations in Elementary Education and Secondary Education. Both undergraduate degrees require 120 credits for graduation. Courses are self-paced and allow students to access weekly recorded lectures online as they wish. No minimum GPA is needed, but those with a 2.0 GPA or below may be accepted on academic probation. Applicants must submit a list of academic references, official transcripts, application fee and written acceptance of the school's doctrinal statement. Prospective students are also expected to be active in their church communities. All online students pay $225 per credit hour. VBC offers several faith-based scholarships for which students must apply in addition to completing their FAFSA information to help online students cover the cost of tuition.
|16||Jefferson College of Health Sciences Roanoke, VA||Tuition $24,700||# of Online Programs 7||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate 37%||Financial Aid 100%||Credit For Experience Yes||Placement Service No||Counseling Services Yes||
Online students at Jefferson College of Health Sciences choose from bachelor's degree programs in Emergency Services, Health Services, Health Care Management, RN to BSN and Public Health. All required courses are available entirely online. Some of the online degrees are designed for students already working in the field in some capacity but offer satisfactory foundational instruction for students new to the field. JCHS can help learners earn the necessary credentials to advance their careers or enter confidently into new professions in the Health Sciences. Online courses are delivered in a synchronous format with collaborative projects, discussion boards, group participation and live conferencing. Online students have full access to the library with full-text journals, databases and ebooks. Distance learners also receive 24/7 technical support through the Technology Service Center. Interested students need to complete an online application, submit their official high school transcripts and, if applicable, college transcripts. Requirements vary per program, but online students should plan on sending their SAT or ACT scores, as well.
|17||Virginia International University Fairfax, VA||Tuition $9,408||# of Online Programs 14||Acceptance Rate 25%||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid -||Credit For Experience No||Placement Service Yes||Counseling Services Yes||
Virginia International University is a private, nonprofit school established in 1998 and is nationally accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS). VIU's online education program offers 2 bachelor's degrees: a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. Each degree requires 120 credit hours of coursework. Classes can be completed 100% online with no on-campus obligation. Incoming students may be eligible to transfer up to 50% of the credits needed for graduation. VIU offers courses on a flexible 8-week format with 6 starting dates per calendar year. All online students pay $422 per credit regardless of their residency status. Distance learners in these bachelor's programs have access to academic writing services, the Career Center for professional networking and employment assistance and IT help. Prospective students need only to complete an online application form and submit a copy of their high school diploma or GED documentation and a government-issued photo ID.
|18||Bethel College Hampton, VA||Tuition $8,000||# of Online Programs 5||Acceptance Rate -||Graduation Rate -||Financial Aid 100%||Credit For Experience No||Placement Service No||Counseling Services Yes||
Bethel College is a small, private, nonprofit institution affiliated with the Assemblies of God Church. The school offers one online degree: the Bachelor of Science in Church Ministries. Distance learners choose between concentrations in Biblical Studies, Ministerial Leadership, Missions and Christian Counseling. Accredited by the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE), this is a 130 credit degree program that distance learners typically complete in 4 years. Students take 37 credits of General Studies consisting of English, Math, Sciences and the Humanities. Depending on the concentration, Biblical and Theological studies and Professional studies consist of approximately 40 and 35 credit hours respectively. Students also have 18 credits to choose interdisciplinary electives and tailor their degree to fit their academic goals. To apply, prospective students submit a biographical essay explaining why they wish to attend Bethel as well as their official high school transcripts. Applicants also need a letter of recommendation from both a pastoral and personal reference.
How Can I Find Which Online Colleges Offer the Degree I'm Looking for in Virginia?
With so many educational options, Virginia students can feel intimidated by the prospect of researching schools. However, online resources can simplify the process. The State Council for Higher Education in Virginia maintains a list of Virginia schools on its website. Additionally, the council's distance learning programs inventory includes all online programs in Virginia, sorted by institution and degree level. For additional information about online schools and colleges in Virginia, click the icon below.
How Much More Do College Grads in Virginia Make?
Earning a college degree can significantly impact earning potential. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Virginians who hold positions that require a bachelor's degree earn average salaries nearly twice as high as the national average for professionals with a high school diploma. Also, data from the BLS shows that Virginia is one of the top five states for availability of positions requiring a bachelor's degree. The table below illustrates the correlation between educational attainment and earning potential for professionals throughout the nation.
|Less Than a High School Diploma||High School Diploma||Associate Degree|
|Bachelor's Degree||Master's Degree||Doctoral Degree|
Paying for Online College in Virginia: Tuition and Financial Aid
While Virginia ranks sixth in the nation for educational attainment, according to a 2019 report from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, the cost of attending college in the commonwealth continually increases. State officials continue to underwrite studies geared toward improving access to college.
Tuition costs vary by school and program. The learner's residency status and program type also impact cost. The tables below compare average Virginia tuition rates to the national averages.
|In-State Tuition||Out-of-State Tuition||National Average|
|Tuition||Out-of-State Tuition||National Average|
Cost Considerations for Online Students in Virginia
The figures above do not include additional costs, such as room and board. Although online students often save money on housing and transportation, many schools charge distance learners additional fees. Below are some cost considerations for students attending online schools and colleges in Virginia.
Qualifying for In-State Tuition in Virginia
Virginia residents pay discounted tuition rates at public schools in the state. However, learners must meet certain requirements to qualify for state residency. Typically, students must have lived in Virginia for 12 months before their first day of class for a reason other than attending college. Learners must also intend to reside permanently in Virginia after graduation.
Students can prove residency through documents including employment records, voter registration, and state income taxes. Students who live outside of Virginia but who work in the state may also qualify for in-state tuition rates. The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia provides details about statewide residency requirements. Learners should also contact their prospective institution for information about additional requirements.
Paying for College in Virginia: Scholarships and Financial Aid
While online learning is often more affordable than on-campus options, many Virginia students still need assistance paying for college. Virginia learners can apply for scholarships and grants to help defray the cost of earning a degree. The government and private organizations deliver need-based and merit-based awards. Below are some funding opportunities for students attending online schools and colleges in Virginia.
Scholarships for Virginia College Students
- Virginia Commonwealth Award
Who Can Apply: These state funds are available to undergraduate and graduate students. Applicants must demonstrate Virginia residency and financial need.
- Virginia Guaranteed Assistance Program
Who Can Apply: This program supports undergraduate students enrolled full time in an approved degree or certificate program. Applicants must have graduated from a Virginia high school with a minimum 2.5 GPA.
- Granville Meade Scholarship
Who Can Apply: The state administers this scholarship, which helps academically gifted students attend Virginia institutions. Local high school principals nominate candidates.
- Virginia Part-Time Assistance Program
Who Can Apply: Virginia residents attending an in-state community college part time can qualify for this need-based assistance program.
- Virginia Teacher Scholarship Loan Program
Who Can Apply: This program supports future educators who plan to teach in one of five critical areas. Recipients must commit to teaching in state for one year after graduation.
Grants for Virginia College Students
- Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant Program
Who Can Apply: This grant supports full-time students attending a public or private school in Virginia. Applicants must demonstrate state residency and may not be studying theology or ministry.
- Two-Year College Transfer Grant
Who Can Apply: This grant is available to graduates of a two-year school enrolling in a four-year program in Virginia. Applicants may not be pursuing religious training.
- New Economy Workforce Credential Grant
Who Can Apply: These state-sponsored funds help students obtain an education or technical training in a high-demand field. Most recipients attend two-year institutions.
- Cybersecurity Public Service Grant
Who Can Apply: Cybersecurity students willing to work in Virginia after graduation can apply for this grant. Recipients agree to begin full-time employment within one year of graduating from an approved Virginia institution.
- Virginia Space Grant Consortium
Who Can Apply: This consortium comprises colleges, universities, NASA, and other agencies interested in space. The consortium awards a variety of grants, scholarships, and fellowships to learners in STEM fields.
The Importance of Accreditation for Online Colleges and Universities in Virginia
Accreditation involves the voluntary review of an institution or program by a third-party agency. Accreditation demonstrates that a school meets set standards of quality. Many employers and graduate schools only recognize degrees earned from accredited institutions, and some financial aid opportunities are only available to learners at accredited schools.
Institutional accreditation applies to an entire school, while subject-specific agencies accredit specific departments and programs. The sections below explore various types of accreditation and methods for identifying the accreditation status of a school or program.
Regional and National Accreditation
Regional accreditation is the most prestigious type of institutional accreditation. Six regional accrediting agencies evaluate U.S. institutions based on geographic location. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges awards regional accreditation to Virginia schools.
Vocational and technical colleges often receive national accreditation. Credits earned from nationally accredited schools rarely transfer to regionally accredited institutions. The U.S. Department of Education oversees both regional and national accrediting agencies.
Specific programs at online schools and colleges in Virginia can hold subject-specific accreditation. For example, Virginia's George Mason University carries regional accreditation, and its online bachelor's in business management program holds accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Individuals in some fields need a degree from an accredited program to qualify for licensure.
How to Know if Your School or Program is Accredited
Most accredited schools prominently feature their accreditation status on their website. Schools that do not display their accreditation status online may not be reputable. Learners can also search databases from the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation to identify or verify the accreditation status of any institution or program.
Online College and Adult Education in Virginia
Online programs can improve the accessibility of education for busy students with personal and professional responsibilities. Additionally, state-funded adult education programs can help residents begin or continue their education. These courses can help individuals gain basic skills and can provide a foundation for higher education. The sections below include information and resources for adult learners in Virginia.
By the Numbers: Adult Education in Virginia
Source: U.S. Department of Education
Adult Education Programs for Virginia Students
- High School Equivalency: Virginia offers high school completion programs online and at locations throughout the state. State funding makes many of these programs free for Virginia residents.
- English as a Second Language: With the high demand for English learning programs, Virginia offers a variety of options for individuals learning English as a second language. These classes often cover speaking and writing skills, and many prepare learners to pursue citizenship.
- Career Pathways: The Virginia Department of Education provides resources to help prepare residents for career opportunities. Adult learners in the state can access training programs, professional development classes, and mentoring opportunities.
Online College Resources for Virginia Students
Students attending online schools and colleges in Virginia can access a variety of resources to prepare for and succeed in higher education programs. The resources below can help learners research programs, apply to schools, locate financial aid, and prepare for their career.
- Virginia Department of Education: This website provides information and tools for students in Virginia. Website visitors can access information about funding opportunities including state scholarships and grants.
- State Council of Higher Education for Virginia: The council's website features information on topics including Virginia public schools, college preparation, and the application process. Students can also learn about financial aid opportunities.
- Virginia Education Wizard: This resource provides information about degree programs, transfer agreements, career advice, and military support in Virginia. Learners can use this tool to research community colleges and compare schools.
- Virginia's Community Colleges: This website provides details about the state's 23 two-year schools. Students can access college planning tools, scholarship information, program details, and links to school websites.
- Virginia Adult Learning Resource Center: Maintained by the Virginia Department of Education, this center offers information about adult education, online education, and career preparation.