Online Schools and Colleges in West Virginia

Accredited Degree Programs, Scholarships and Resources for Top Schools

The state of West Virginia has major higher education aspirations for its residents over the next decade; the goal of the new West Virginia Climb initiative's is to help 60 percent of the workforce hold a college certificate or degree by the year 2030. In order to do so, the state’s colleges and universities have committed to offering greater access to educational opportunities. One way to facilitate this is through online education. West Virginia students have 45 degree-granting institutions in the state to choose from, several of which offer online learning options. Read on for more information on how online college works, find answers on common online tuition and transfer credit questions and learn what makes the best online colleges in West Virginia stand out from the pack.

Best Online Colleges in West Virginia 2020

Best Online Schools

Many online schools and colleges in West Virginia offer excellent educational options at affordable costs. According to CollegeCalc, West Virginia had the 17th most affordable tuition rates for the 2017-2018 academic year. Distance education programs often provide flexible scheduling options, and many distance learners work full time while earning their degree.

This guide explores college options in West Virginia and covers tuition costs, salary potential by degree level, and the importance of accreditation. The following sections also include links to scholarships, grants, and free online resources for college students.

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 Mountwest Community and Technical College Huntington, WV Tuition $3,888 # of Online Programs 10 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 16% Financial Aid 10% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes
2 Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College Mount Gay, WV Tuition $3,336 # of Online Programs 3 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 12% Financial Aid 6% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes
3 West Virginia Northern Community College Wheeling, WV Tuition $3,144 # of Online Programs 8 Acceptance Rate - Graduation Rate 11% Financial Aid 14% Credit For Experience Yes 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 West Virginia University Morgantown, WV Tuition $7,992 # of Online Programs 10 Acceptance Rate 76% Graduation Rate 59% Financial Aid 66% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

At West Virginia University, students have to the choice to enroll in over 30 different certificates, undergraduate, and graduate online programs. Options include bachelor's degrees in child development, business, nursing, and multidisciplinary studies, as well as master's degrees in music industry, safety management, and more. Nontraditional learners can earn a Regent Bachelor of Arts, which grants credit for work and military experience. While certain programs require residency, others are offered in a fully online format, and often include live lectures via eCampus. Required credit hours and length of time for completion vary by degree type. Graduates of WVU Online, which is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, have entered the workforce as special education teachers, accountants, fraud examiners, and music producers.

2 Marshall University Huntington, WV Tuition $6,032 # of Online Programs 9 Acceptance Rate 89% Graduation Rate 48% Financial Aid 65% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

Students enrolled in distance learning at Marshall University reap the benefit of paying tuition comparable to the school's in-state rates. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, fully online programs are available to complete a number of certificates, undergraduate, and graduate degrees in disciplines ranging from geography to nursing. Students can also participate in hybrid courses, which incorporate both online and on campus work. Due to the flexible nature of online coursework, graduation requirements and program duration vary. As an online student, you will have access to a number of resources, including advising, career assistance, the writing center, the library, and financial aid opportunities. There is also 24/7 technical support to assist students in navigating Blackboard Learn, the platform used for online courses.

3 Wheeling Jesuit University Wheeling, WV Tuition $27,000 # of Online Programs 5 Acceptance Rate 93% Graduation Rate 64% Financial Aid 100% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service No Counseling Services Yes

Wheeling Jesuit University provides an education rooted in faith and service to others. Although most academic programs are held on campus, students already possessing a bachelor's degree have the option to complete an Accelerated Certification for Teaching (ACT), or a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in a fully online format. The 18-month ACT program, which is accredited by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council, builds a customized Academic Action Plan for each student. The MSN program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and makes use of a cohort model to prepare students for careers as nursing administrators, family nurse practitioners, and nursing education specialists.

4 University of Charleston Charleston, WV Tuition $20,564 # of Online Programs 6 Acceptance Rate 52% Graduation Rate 37% Financial Aid 94% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, the University of Charleston is a nonprofit academic institution offering 10 online bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree programs in disciplines such as business administration, nursing, and leadership. Students can speak to an academic advisor regarding their degree of interest, as programs vary in duration, workload, and prior credit requirements. Financial aid and military discounts are available to assist in paying for courses, which are semi-structured and administered through the platform eLearn. Graduates of UCWV online programs find employment as business managers, network administrators, and case managers.

5 West Virginia State University Institute, WV Tuition $6,996 # of Online Programs 3 Acceptance Rate 96% Graduation Rate 28% Financial Aid 54% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

Founded in 1890 and continuing its tradition as an HBCU, West Virginia State University offers undergraduate students a choice of 6 fully online degree programs, while graduate students can pursue an online master of education degree. The school's library comports with ACRL online learning standards and offers distance learners the same full menu of services as on-campus students. Transfer students must have achieved a GPA of at least 2.0 and earned at least 30 credits. Those with fewer than 30 credits must submit high school transcripts.

6 Bluefield State College Bluefield, WV Tuition $6,408 # of Online Programs 3 Acceptance Rate 83% Graduation Rate 29% Financial Aid 30% Credit For Experience Yes Placement Service Yes Counseling Services Yes

Distance education at Bluefield State College is delivered not only online, but also through DVDs, CDs and television, although Moodle is the central learning management system. Bluefield's online classes are kept to a small 11:1 student-to-teacher ratio, and with the appropriate course selection and having prior credits to apply to their degree, students can earn online bachelor's degrees in as little as 13 months. There are also 4 graduate programs for students pursuing master's degrees or a teacher's certificate.

How Can I Find Which Online Colleges Offer the Degree I'm Looking for in West Virginia?

West Virginia institutions offer a variety of online programs. Prospective students should research options to find a program that suits their needs. Learners can find information about West Virginia universities on the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission website. They can also click the icon for details about accredited online schools and colleges in West Virginia.

How Much More Do College Grads in West Virginia Make?

While no degree guarantees a particular salary, degree-holders tend to earn more than those with less education. According to data from PayScale, professionals with a bachelor's degree from West Virginia's top universities earn median early career salaries of $77,000 to $100,000.

The table below features the median annual salaries of U.S. professionals by degree level. Throughout the nation, higher levels of educational attainment correlate with higher earning potential.

Annual Full-Time Wage and Salary by Educational Attainment in the U.S.
Less Than a High School Diploma High School Diploma Associate Degree
$28,756 $37,960 $44,824
Bachelor's Degree Master's Degree Doctoral Degree
$62,296 $74,568 $94,900

Source: BLS

Paying for Online College in West Virginia: Tuition and Financial Aid

The tables below compare West Virginia tuition rates to the national averages. As the data shows, the average tuition rates for both in-state and out-of-state learners at West Virginia institutions fall well below the national averages.

Even with affordable tuition rates, students should consider options for funding their education. Many learners pursue financial aid, loans, and scholarships. The following sections explore cost considerations for online learners and methods for financing a college education.

Average Undergraduate Tuition and Fees: Public Colleges and Universities
In-State Tuition Out-of-State Tuition National Average
$7,924 $20,061

$9,037 (In-State)

$25,657 (Out-of-State)
Average Undergraduate Tuition and Fees: Private Colleges and Universities
Tuition Out-of-State Tuition National Average
$36,807 N/A $30,731

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Cost Considerations for Online Students in West Virginia

The figures above only include the cost of tuition and fees. However, students should factor in other costs when creating their college budget. Below are common fees and expenses for students attending online schools and colleges in West Virginia.

Evening/Weekend/Summer Classes: Some Schools charge higher tuition rates for evening, summer, or weekend classes. Students should contact their school to determine the rate for each course they plan to take.
Program-Specific Tuition: Some universities charge higher tuition rates for more popular degree programs. Additionally, some programs require extra fees.
Flat Online Fee: Distance learners sometimes pay a one-time fee, which is typically due at the time of the first tuition installment.
Required Travel: Some online degree programs require students to travel to take exams, complete internships, or visit campus. Students should budget for travel costs each year.
Textbook and Resources: Online learners should budget for physical or digital textbooks, supplies, and additional learning materials.

Qualifying for In-State Tuition in West Virginia

Typically, to qualify for in-state tuition rates, students must prove that they have lived in West Virginia for a certain amount of time. However, some schools charge all online learners in-state or discounted tuition rates, regardless of residency. Students should contact their school's financial aid office for details about tuition rates.

Out-of-state learners can qualify for lower tuition rates through reciprocity agreements. West Virginia participates in the Academic Common Market, a reciprocity agreement between southern states. This agreement provides reduced tuition rates for learners who reside in a participating state and attend a West Virginia school.

Paying for College in West Virginia: Scholarships and Financial Aid

Students attending online schools and colleges in West Virginia can qualify for various financial aid opportunities. Learners can reduce their student debt by applying for scholarships and grants, which do not require repayment. The list below includes scholarships and grants available to West Virginia students.

Scholarships for West Virginia College Students

West Virginia PROMISE Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This scholarship is awarded based on merit and financial need. Applicants must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and must have a minimum 2.75 GPA.

Amount: Up to $4,750

Apply For Scholarship

West Virginia Engineering, Science, and Technology Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This scholarship supports learners pursuing a degree in an engineering, science, or technology field. Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA and agree to work in a STEM industry in West Virginia for one year after graduation.

Amount: Up to $3,000

Apply For Scholarship

Underwood-Smith Teaching Scholars Program

Who Can Apply: Applicants must be enrolled in an education degree program for math, science, elementary education, or special education. This scholarship is renewable, and winners work with a mentor in their field.

Amount: Up to $10,000

Apply For Scholarship

Air & Waste Management Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This scholarship supports learners pursuing a degree in environmental studies. Applicants must be enrolled in an undergraduate program at an eligible school.

Amount: Varies

Apply For Scholarship

Innovation in Education Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Candidates for this award must demonstrate innovation within their community. Applicants submit an essay detailing a personal project that improved their community or school.

Amount: $500

Apply For Scholarship

Grants for West Virginia College Students

West Virginia Higher Education Grant

Who Can Apply: Students with a high school diploma or GED credential who demonstrate academic promise and financial need can apply for this grant. Applicants must be first-time college students.

Amount: Varies

Apply For Grant

Higher Education Adult Part-Time Education Grant

Who Can Apply: This grant is available to West Virginia residents with a high school diploma who submit a FAFSA form. Recipients must enroll part time in a degree program.

Amount: Varies

Apply For Grant

Federal Pell Grant

Who Can Apply: This federal grant assists learners who demonstrate financial need. Applicants must submit a FAFSA form, and recipients can renew the grant each year.

Amount: Varies

Apply For Grant

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant

Who Can Apply: Individual schools administer this grant to students who demonstrate financial need. Learners at participating schools must submit the FAFSA form for consideration.

Amount: Varies

Apply For Grant

Federal TEACH Grant

Who Can Apply: Description

Amount: Up to $4,000

Apply For Grant

The Importance of Accreditation for Online Colleges and Universities in West Virginia

Accreditation demonstrates that a school meets high educational standards. The U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) oversee accrediting agencies in the U.S. and ensure that the evaluation process is fair and accurate.

Students should verify their school's accreditation status before applying. Certain types of financial aid are only available to learners at accredited schools, and many employers and graduate schools only recognize degrees earned from accredited institutions. The sections below explore various types of accreditation for online schools and colleges in West Virginia.

Regional and National Accreditation

The two main types of institutional accreditation in the U.S. are regional and national accreditation. National accrediting agencies typically evaluate vocational schools and technical colleges.

Regional accreditation, the more prestigious form, generally applies to public and private degree-granting institutions. Six accrediting agencies award regional accreditation based on geographic location. The Higher Learning Commission confers regional accreditation to West Virginia schools.

Subject-Specific Accreditation

While regional and national accreditation apply to entire institutions, subject-specific accrediting agencies evaluate individual degree programs. These accrediting bodies ensure that programs prepare learners to succeed in the field, and individuals in some industries need a degree from an accredited program to qualify for licensure. Students can learn about programmatic accrediting agencies and accredited programs through the Department of Education database and the CHEA directory.

How to Know if Your School or Program is Accredited

To ensure that they receive a high-quality education, students should only consider accredited schools. Most accredited institutions display their accreditation status on their official website and note programmatic accreditation on each degree program's page. Learners can identify or verify the accreditation status of any U.S. school using the Department of Education database or the CHEA directory.

Online College and Adult Education in West Virginia

Online schools and colleges in West Virginia deliver flexible programs that are often ideal for adult learners. Additionally, the state offers programs to help residents gain basic skills and career training. The sections below include facts and resources related to adult education in West Virginia.

By the Numbers: Adult Education in West Virginia

Nearly 42% of West Virginia college students enrolled exclusively in online courses in 2015.

About 82% of exclusively online learners in West Virginia lived out of state in 2015.

Nearly 55% of all West Virginia college students took at least one online class in 2015.

Source: Distance Education State Almanac 2017

Adult Education Programs for West Virginia Students

  • WV Adult Education: The West Virginia Department of Education offers resources for adult learners, including GED classes, digital literacy courses, and distance education classes. Students can choose from in-person and online options.
  • West Virginia Adult Education: This website helps adult students with distance education options, career development opportunities, and English as a second language classes.
  • Intensive English USA: The website helps users find intensive English programs. Participants improve their writing, reading, and comprehension skills in preparation for academic programs and career advancement.

Online College Resources for West Virginia Students

Learners applying to online schools and colleges in West Virginia can use online resources to simplify their college search. The resources below include information and tools that help students learn about academic options in the state, complete applications, and locate financial aid opportunities.

  • College Foundation of West Virginia: This foundation guides students through the college application process. The organization provides resources and information about college and career planning and financial aid.
  • West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission: Part of the West Virginia Department of Education, this commission helps students research West Virginia institutions and access financial aid resources from the state government.
  • West Virginia Department of Education: This department provides information for all types of learners in the state. Through the department's website, students can learn about state initiatives, government programs, and free online resources.
  • StudentAid: This website provides information about federal financial aid programs, scholarship options, and federal aid requirements. Site visitors can also learn about federal grant and loan opportunities.
  • BigFuture: This resource from the College Board offers college planning tools. Students can access information about budgeting for college, submitting applications, and improving their chance of acceptance.

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