Home to some of the oldest, most reputable schools in the country, Virginia has close ties with the history of U.S. higher education. These days, though, you don't have to live in Virginia to be a student at the state's prestigious schools. The growth of online colleges in Virginia has made it easier than ever to attend some of the country's best programs.
In this guide, we introduce the best online colleges in VA, highlighting what to look out for and what to expect when you enroll.
Why Consider Online Colleges in Virginia?
- Online course flexibility makes it easy to balance school with other responsibilities.
- Many online degree programs in Virginia offer asynchronous classes that don't require set log-in times.
- Degree-seekers can attend top online programs without having to relocate.
- Many accredited online colleges in Virginia provide tuition discounts to distance learners.
- Virginia boasts a number of renowned institutions, like the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech.
Did You Know?
Higher education in Virginia started with William & Mary in 1693, the second-oldest school in the U.S.
The largest online college in Virginia is Old Dominion University, with more than 175 online programs.
Both the Virginia State University and Virginia Community College systems offer online programs and courses.
You can compare state schools and programs using the Virginia Education Wizard from the Virginia Department of Education.
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Does Accreditation Matter for Online Schools in Virginia?
Online learners should always choose an accredited school. Accreditation ensures the school or program meets the highest standards for educating students.
Accreditation can benefit you in several ways. For instance, only students at accredited schools can qualify for federal financial aid. Also, many colleges and graduate schools only accept degrees and credits earned from accredited institutions.
Most online colleges in Virginia will be accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
Top Online Colleges in Virginia
These rankings include
#1 Best Online Colleges in Virginia
Averett University-Non-Traditional Programs
- 4 years
- Online + Campus
Learners can access flexible online programs from Averett University-Non-Traditional Programs. Students based anywhere in the country can enroll in the school's 24 online programs. The institution delivers its remote programming to 469 online enrollees.
The institution fosters a strong online learning community, featuring collaborative opportunities. Through online learning, participants can develop long-lasting connections with colleagues throughout the country. In addition to completing internships, learners can conduct original research to gain professional experience and impress employers after graduation. Institutional resources including online academic advising to help distance learners select classes that match their professional goals. During job fairs, enrollees can network with prospective employers and make professional connections.
To reduce the financial burden of higher education, eligible students can apply for financial aid. Learners can also apply for scholarships from third-party organizations. According to the institution, 50% of enrollees use financial aid to fund their education.
#2 Best Online Colleges in Virginia
- 4 years
- Online + Campus
Students attending Liberty University can choose from online and in-person academic programs. In addition to in-person programs at its Virginia campus, the private school's academic options include 161 online programs. The institution enrolls 78,511 learners in its online programs and delivers virtual resources to foster their academic success.
Online enrollees communicate with peers and professors in a virtual classroom environment. Online programs feature advanced coursework, during which learners gain the specific skills necessary for their profession. Before registering for classes, degree-seekers consult with academic advisors to identify course options aligning with their goals. To be more competitive for professional roles, enrollees can conduct original research and complete internships while earning their degree.
Applicants should contact the financial aid office to receive information about potential costs and funding options. Students who demonstrate financial need may qualify for federal grants, scholarships, or work-study programs.
#3 Best Online Colleges in Virginia
George Mason University
- 4 years
- Online + Campus
Learners who need scheduling flexibility can consider George Mason University's online programs. Along with 32 online programs, the school delivers in-person classes at its Virginia campus. The institution delivers its remote programming to 12,614 online enrollees.
The school fosters a strong online learning community, featuring collaborative opportunities. Through online learning, participants can develop long-lasting connections with colleagues throughout the country. Students can complete research projects to contribute to the field while improving their resume in preparation for their job search. Online resources for distance learners include access to academic advisors, who help with course selection. Networking opportunities and career services help enrollees prepare to succeed in the workforce.
Students can submit the FAFSA to determine their eligibility for federal financial aid. Along with providing information about institutional funding, the school's financial aid office can help degree-seekers explore additional funding options, such as third-party scholarships. To help pay for their educational program, 74% of enrollees receive financial aid, according to the institution.
#4 Best Online Colleges in Virginia
Old Dominion University
- 4 years
- Online + Campus
Looking for a premier online education? Consider Old Dominion University. Students located anywhere in the world can take advantage of the public institution's 62 online programs. Online learning features flexibility which can make obtaining a degree easier for working professionals, who often need to set their own schedule.
Online enrollees participate in class discussions through forums and chat. Participants can collaborate with peers and instructors while conducting original research. Academic advisors help learners select classes and ensure they are on track to graduate.
Degree-seekers with financial need can apply for federal scholarships, grants, and loans. Students can consult the institution's financial aid officers for details about funding options, which can reduce out-of-pocket expenses. At the school, 94% of enrollees obtain financial aid to help cover the cost of earning a degree.
#5 Best Online Colleges in Virginia
- 4 years
- Online + Campus
Hampton University is a leader in online education. In addition to on-campus programs in Hampton, the school delivers 20 online programs. Many online programs feature enrollment and scheduling flexibility, making higher education more accessible for busy learners.
The institution's online learning environment helps students make professional connections and receive academic support. In addition to internships, research projects provide opportunities for learners to collaborate with professionals in their field and gain practical experience. Academic advisors assist enrollees with course enrollment and provide insights into the field. Students nearing graduation can participate in opportunities such as career workshops to prepare to pursue their professional goals.
Exploring various funding options with the help of financial aid counselors can help applicants reduce the financial burden of earning a degree. Enrollees can apply for both institutional funding and private scholarships. Of the school's student body, 96% of degree-seekers qualify for some form of financial aid.
How Much Do Online Colleges in Virginia Cost?
According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the average annual undergraduate tuition was $13,931 for in-state students at Virginia four-year public schools and $23,220 for students at four-year private schools in 2020-2021.
Out-of-state students attending public schools in Virginia paid a considerably higher annual average tuition of $36,193.
While online schools typically have similar in-state tuition prices as on-campus programs, being an online student can save you money on commuting or paying campus fees.
You should always submit the FAFSA to apply for federal financial aid. In addition, you can apply for many Virginia-based scholarships and grants, such as:
- Virginia Commonwealth Award
- Virginia Guaranteed Assistance Program
- Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant Program
- Two-Year College Transfer Grant
- Virginia Military Survivors and Dependents Education Program
- Workforce Credential Grant
Some online colleges in Virginia offer standard tuition rates for all online students, regardless of where they live.
As a member of the Southern Regional Education Board, Virginia maintains a reciprocity agreement that provides reduced out-of-state tuition to students living in member states, which include Florida, Texas, West Virginia, and North Carolina.
Popular Majors in Virginia
What Are the Most In-Demand Jobs in Virginia?
The fastest-growing jobs in Virginia are in a variety of sectors, such as healthcare, construction, and technology. These jobs maintain various educational requirements, including high school diplomas and associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees.
Nurse practitioners and information security analysts boast some of the highest median annual salaries, with each earning above $100,000 in Virginia in May 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). They are also among the most in-demand occupations in the state.
|Job||Median Annual Salary in VA (May 2021)||Job Growth Rate in VA (2020-2030)||Minimum Education Required|
|Solar Photovoltaic Installers||$45,680||52%||High school diploma|
|Cooks, Restaurant||$28,780||50%||High school diploma|
|Rotary Drill Operators, Oil and Gas||Unavailable||50%||None|
|Occupational Therapy Assistants||$62,640||38%||Associate|
|Information Security Analysts||$126,230||37%||Bachelor's|
|Flight Attendants||$48,940||36%||High school diploma|
|Animal Trainers||$36,060||35%||High school diploma|
|Physical Therapist Assistants||$60,730||33%||Associate|
Sources: BLS, Projections Central
Frequently Asked Questions About Online Colleges in Virginia
How many four-year colleges are there in Virginia?
Virginia is home to 69 four-year degree-granting colleges in total, according to NCES data. This comprises 16 public four-year colleges, 38 private nonprofit schools, and 15 for-profit schools.
What schools are online in Virginia?
There are currently more than 50 online colleges in Virginia. Many of the state's largest colleges and universities offer online programs, including Northern Virginia Community College, George Mason University, Virginia Tech, Virginia Commonwealth University, and the University of Virginia.
How do you qualify for in-state tuition in Virginia?
You need to live in Virginia for at least one year to qualify for in-state tuition, according to the Code of Virginia. You can temporarily live in out-of-state residences while attending school as long as you return to your permanent in-state residence and plan to live there after graduation.
What is the cheapest online college in Virginia?
Several online colleges in Virginia could qualify for the lowest tuition rates in the state, including Northern Virginia Community College and Potomac State College. Both of these schools have annual tuition prices of around $5,000.
For four-year schools, Norfolk State University remains one of the few with annual tuition costs below $10,000. Old Dominion University and Radford University come in just above that marker.
Does UVA have online school?
Yes, the University of Virginia offers a variety of online degrees, certificates, and courses. The university has two online bachelor's programs, 16 online graduate programs, and 30 online certificates.