According to research from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), more than 80 percent of public universities and at least half of private colleges offer online programs. A 2014 study from the Babson Institute estimated that 71 percent of all public-, degree-granting institutions provide distance learning opportunities to students.


Whether someone is a veteran or currently in active service, Davenport University is among the best online colleges students in the military can choose. This military-friendly school allows students to get credit for their work experience, as well as easily take a leave of absence if they are deployed. In addition, the online school offers military student support services, such as counseling, tutoring, and a system to conveniently find information from the Veterans Administration and Department of Defense. For the civilian, Davenport University also offers services to online students including technical support and guidance about coursework. On the graduate level, students can earn online certificates in forensic accounting, health care management, strategic management, and internal auditing, and master's degrees in management, business administration, and accountancy.
WSU’s Global Campus strives to provide online students with a true campus experience—including online events, career fairs, webinars from university experts, and a digital pavilion where students can showcase their research. And at WSU Global Campus busy students—including undergraduates—can take accelerated online courses which propel them through coursework at a faster than usual pace. Top degree programs include:
Brown University currently offers online masters programs, undergraduate courses, and pre-college courses that help to prepare aspiring students of the university. Programs include an MBA, a Master in Cybersecurity, a Master of Healthcare Leadership, and a Master in Science and Technology Leadership. Online classes for undergraduate students and incoming students take place throughout the academic year as well as during special summer and winter sessions. Throughout the year, online classes are the traditional length of 15 weeks. Summer session courses are seven weeks and winter session courses are only four weeks.

Columbia Southern University offers 28 online undergraduate degrees and 12 online graduate degrees. CSU also partners with over 2,500 organizations to offer a 10% tuition discount for working professionals. The recommendation rate for this university is 80% by the 164 students who review their experiences there. Columbia Southern University offers two track schedules to give students flexibility in when they begin their coursework. Track A and Track B dates overlap but have different start and end dates for more flexibility. CSU also offers a program called LifePace Learning that offers even more flexibility where students can either complete a course in four weeks or extend up to 18 weeks. Tuition is an affordable $6,600 per year or $225 per credit hour for undergraduates and $300 per credit hour for graduate courses. Textbooks are included in these tuition costs for online students.

Dedicate a specific amount of time each day or each week to studying and commit to it. A lot can come up in life, and there will always be many distractions. If you are a morning person, then wake up an hour earlier and spend some time studying. If you are a night owl, then dedicate some of that Facebook and Instagram time on an evening to studying.
Regis University is a private, Jesuit University with its main campus located in Denver, Colorado. The online college offers a catalogue of courses to suit students hoping to advance their career path, earn a bigger paycheck, or to fulfill their passions. A long list of flexible programs allows students to pick and choose which suits their needs best as they juggle work, family, and school. The school boasts some impressive statistics, such as 89% placement rate after graduation, and 50% higher than Colorado State average. Regis University is a excellent option for those seeking a reliable online program.

Online learning at UIS is both flexible and convenient for working students. And while online courses are equally rigorous and taught by the same faculty that teach in the classroom, online curricula are designed for online instruction specifically.  And faculty are trained in online instruction so they are able to help students take advantage of the unique resources available to online learners. Some top degrees offered include:
City University of Seattle, or CityU, is a private nonprofit institution offering online and hybrid degrees at all collegiate levels. Undergraduate options include online associate degrees in business or general studies along with 11 online bachelor's programs in fields such as applied psychology, cybersecurity, and information systems. Online graduate-level options at CityU include 10 master's degrees and two doctorates, most of which concentrate in business administration or education.
The university is home to the Peabody College of Education and Human Development, which is where its distance education options are housed. The two degrees you can earn 100% online at Vanderbilt are a Doctor of Education in Leadership and Learning in Organizations and a Master of Education in Human Development Counseling. Classes feature interactive coursework that is accessible 24/7 where you can read case studies and view recorded lectures. Students will also take place in weekly discussions, collaborative projects, and have opportunities for on-campus immersions, internships, and more. Studying online at Vanderbilt will give you a world-class education and foster strong peer relationships without interrupting your lifestyle and responsibilities.
Online courses at Creighton University make use of real-time web-conferencing, audio-visual learning materials, discussion boards, and other technologies to ensure that students are engaged in the learning process. Most courses are asynchronous—but not self-paced—combining flexibility for your busy schedule with the structure of assignment due dates.  And you’ll have access to student supports like online tutoring and library services.
Being able to learn in a comfortable environment is often one of the greatest keys to student success. That's why LeTourneau University gives students the chance to complete their coursework from the comfort of their home with one of their numerous online degree programs. Online classes are fully accredited and can lead to the same careers achieved by taking traditional classes. Also like traditional classes, online classes offer the same opportunities to be transferred, if a student decides that he or she would like to finish their education at a different institution. Full-time faculty teaching online classes have many years of field-specific training.
Meet FAFSA®, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. If you’re applying for financial aid, and you should be regardless of whether you attend a traditional program or an online college, it’s your new best friend. Don’t quake in your boots at the thought of having to complete a federal form. Compared with doing your taxes, the FAFSA® is a piece of cake. Millions of people have gone through the process and survived. You will, too.
Most people assume tuition-free colleges and free online degree programs don’t really exist. Sadly, 68% of college graduates in 2015 completed their education with over $30,000 in student loan debt, and that amount has increased by almost 10% in the past two years. More and more students are starting their lives with the weight of their education bearing down on their shoulders, which shouldn’t be the case — especially while there are free options for college education through online programs at accredited online colleges.
Institutions pursuing accreditation undergo a rigorous review process, which includes the examination of elements such as curriculum planning, course offerings, faculty, admissions standards, graduation rates, facilities, and financial resources. Accredited institutions and programs must undergo regular evaluation to ensure compliance with the standards set forth by the accrediting bodies.
Oregon State University, the state's largest degree-granting institution, offers a wide selection of online programs for undergraduates and graduate students. Many bachelor's degree online options focus on fields related to environmental science and land management, such as environmental economics and policy, fisheries and wildlife sciences, horticulture, and range science; the school also offers a dual degree in sustainability. Online master's programs at Oregon State include four MBA tracks, four teaching pathways, and a master's in public health.
Educators must meet state requirements to maintain their license. This may include taking courses to keep your license active, change positions/subject areas or stay knowledgeable on current education topics and standards. Educators can use continuing education for license renewal, for professional development, toward endorsements and pay scale increases, and for personal growth.
The University of Cambridge offers online courses for free through iTunesU. Apple offers downloadable course materials from a broad selection of universities around the world for free, giving you the chance to learn what you want on your own time. The university boasts that more than 300 audio and video files are now available for free download through the software, which you can access on a Mac or Windows computer as well as on Apple and Android mobile devices. Cambridge’s entire catalog of free educational material has been put in this one convenient place so that students like yourself can take advantage of all they have to offer.
edX offers a total of 2,270 courses online in about 30 different subject areas. All of the courses are eligible to be audited for free and they come from schools such as Harvard, the Rochester Institute of Technology, MIT, the University of California, and many other universities around the globe. Over a thousand of them are self-paced but there are plenty of instructor-led options for those of you who would be interested in that instead. You can sort classes by what level they are (introductory, intermediate, or advanced), browse by subject, and choose from 16 different languages.
Second, make sure all target schools have been accredited by one of the six regional accrediting agencies and/or, if it's an online-only school, by the Distance Education and Training Council. Accreditation means potential colleges and its target programs have been thoroughly vetted by an independent higher education agency endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education (check out the best accredited online colleges of 2016). Finally, make sure you know exactly what you need from an online degree. The flexibility offered by many programs is great, but the curriculum, professors and resources should have the same quality as their campus counterparts. Don't be afraid to call up counselors and talk to current and former students.
Columbia University has no upper limit for financial aid eligibility for any of its students and the financial aid packages present students with grants as opposed to loans, so they will not have to be paid back at any point. In addition to that, Columbia will not charge students any tuition or fees if their family has a calculated annual income under $60,000. Families bringing in under $100,000 see significant reductions in their tuition and fees as well.
At the University of Alabama, non-traditional learners can reach their academic goals through online courses and degree programs. Fields of study include law, nursing, business and arts and sciences along with many others to meet the increasing demand for non-traditional learning formats. Students can research and enroll in their courses through the school's online portal, myBama and then access e-course content through the online learning management system, Blackboard. A technical support team is also available for help with technical issues or general technical questions.

Well known as one of the most innovative institutions in the country, Arizona State University has established itself as a leader in online education. ASU is one of the best online colleges in terms of accessibility, degree offerings and quality, and a lot of their success is due to their innovative spirit. Students that choose to study online will find that there is no shortage of options at any level. ASU has an impressive list of online programs offered, which can be completed entirely online. The online programs are accredited, and classes start each quarter, so students can study toward a degree at their own pace. These degrees are perfect for students who are unable to commute to campus but still want to earn an ASU education.


Usually, assignments in online colleges are submitted through an educational platform such as Blackboard, Desire to Learn (D2L), or something comparable. There will usually be an embedded feature which allows you to upload your assignment so that your instructor can see, review, and grade it. If you cannot find this feature, email your instructor for help.
Murray State University has made a point to be an inclusive institution where all people are able to learn. However, not everyone is able to commute to campus for classes, whether it be because of a job, family or location. To help with this, Murray State offers many of their degrees through their online school. Students can study for degrees at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels online, making Murray State one of the best online schools for students at any point in their education. Each of their graduate degrees is designed to help give their students a deeper knowledge of their field to help them advance in their career. Similarly, the undergrad programs at Murray State give students practical knowledge they need to begin a career. Popular options through their online school include RN to BSN, computer information systems and business administration.

Duke is committed to educating all students, and they accept students based on a “need-blind” policy, allowing students in based on merit alone, regardless of their ability to afford the tuition. As part of this, Duke has promised to meet 100% of the demonstrated need for their students. To receive a full-tuition scholarship, the student’s family must make less than $60,000 annually. However, there are additional aid programs to help students bridge the gap even if they’re ineligible for the free online school full-tuition coverage.
There is no shortage of options for degrees at North Carolina State University. A nationally ranked institution, their faculty are considered some of the best in the nation. One thing to note about NC State is that their faculty also play a large role in crafting their online courses, as well as teaching and assisting students who choose to study through the online school. There are over 350 courses offered online at NC State, as well as more than 90 degree programs to study, including graduate degrees. This allows students the chance to study toward their degree entirely online or with a combination of online and on-campus courses. NC State is considered one of the best online colleges in the nation for MBA candidates.
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Many students find that the best online colleges are the ones that allow them to study at their own pace – even if that means completing a degree faster than normal. Concordia University, Wisconsin does just that with their accelerated learning programs, allowing online students to study at a faster pace. For students who have a busy schedule and prefer to study at a more traditional pace, there are over 50 different online degree options offered by Concordia. Concordia is also one of the best online schools in terms of transferring credits, including military and work-related experience. Students can study toward a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or, in some instances both, such as with the RN to MSN program that accelerates nurses to a master’s degree.
A fully online format versus a hybrid format is another important consideration. Hybrid learning requires students to participate in on-site trainings, group work, and other activities that take them away from their computer. These components foster social interaction but may not be ideal for students with busy schedules. Fully online programs do not offer the same level of personal interaction but are more suitable for students with full-time jobs, childcare duties, and other time-consuming commitments.

The University of Illinois at Chicago takes online student engagement seriously. As a student, you’ll take advantage of learning management system tech tools such as videos, audio, blogs, and discussion boards to keep connected to faculty and peers. Courses are taught by the same full-time, expert faculty that teach on campus. And UIC ensures that programs are accredited by top-notch accrediting agencies. Top degrees offered include:


Most full-time students can earn a online bachelor's degree in four years. If you have a high school diploma or some college credits to your name, an online bachelor's program may be the right choice for you. Some colleges even offer degree completion programs specifically for students who have earned an associate degree and would like to finish a bachelor's program. A bachelor's degree is perhaps the single best way to increase your earning potential. According to PayScale.com, employes with a bachelor's degree can earn over $1,000,000 more over a 20-year career than someone with just a high school diploma. Most entry-level positions at professional organizations require at least a four-year degree. Business, healthcare, tech and other sectors prefer to hire candidates who are well-rounded and have good critical thinking and communication skills. An online bachelor's degree provides students with all of these skills, making them desirable to employers.


Programmatic accreditation, in contrast, applies to individual schools and programs available through larger colleges and universities that qualify for institutional accreditation. Qualifying programs often include law schools, nursing schools, teachers colleges, and graduate degrees in fields such as engineering and psychology. The best accredited online colleges earn institutional accreditation in addition to programmatic accreditation for all eligible programs.

Cleary University is a private, Michigan-based institution that specializes in undergraduate and graduate degrees for business majors. Online students can pursue an MBA with specializations in financial planning, global leadership, healthcare leadership, or analytics, technology, and innovation. The school also offers a master's in culture, change, and leadership online, along with graduate certificates in four MBA specialization fields.


Best known for their dominant athletics, the University of Alabama is much more than just an athletics school. Considered one of the best schools, if not the best, in the state of Alabama, The University of Alabama has a long reputation for helping educate students that go on to do great things. The same can be said about Alabama's online school. One of the best online schools in the nation, Alabama's distance learning program offers the same high-quality, accredited education that they do on campus. Along with that, the distance learning program gives students - including military personnel and adults - the chance to study at their own pace and freedom. Alabama offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees through their online school, so students at all levels can find something to fit their needs.

Two organizations oversee the accreditation process and officially recognize accrediting agencies: the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), a nongovernmental organization. Both the Department of Education and CHEA maintain exhaustive lists of all recognized regional, national, and programmatic accrediting agencies. These organizations also list the accreditation status of each participating school, including the best regionally accredited online colleges and universities. Students comparing colleges and universities should check both lists to ensure a recognized agency has evaluated the school they select.
Students may seek loans from the federal government or private lending institutions, such as banks or credit unions. Federal loans carry a fixed interest rate and the interest may be tax-deductible. These loans do not need to be repaid until the student graduates or leaves school, and those who struggle to repay their loans may be able to postpone or reduce their monthly payments.
Obtaining a doctoral degree is one of the ultimate ways to achieve excellence in a field, and there are a variety of online doctorates available. Time required for completion of these degrees varies, and many degrees are available at a reasonable rate from highly recommended institutions, such as The George Washington University and Texas A & M University-College Station. Prospective doctoral students can explore degree offerings in business, psychology, computer science, and a wide variety of other subject areas.
Midway University, founded in 1847 by Dr. Lewis L. Pinkerton, was one of the nation's first schools to serve disadvantaged or orphaned women. Today, the coeducational Midway offers its 1,005 students over 30 academic majors in many of the region's top-demand fields of business, teacher education, nursing/healthcare, and equine studies. For distance education, Midway is among the best online colleges in the region. Students can earn their associate degree online, one of more than 20 baccalaureate degrees, or a 100-percent-online MBA, M.Ed., or MSN graduate degree. Online options for a bachelor's degree in education include more than 12 areas of specialization. Midway's Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) program may grant course credits for online students based on their work experience or career preparation outside the classroom.
To a certain degree, online degrees have had a persistent stigma—a reputation that they are not on-par with those earned on-campus. However, the tide seems to be shifting because non-profit colleges (both private and public) have created online programs that rival those traditional degrees. In fact, a recent study shows that 76 percent of academic leaders agree that degrees taught online are equal to their on-campus counterparts.
A pioneer in distance learning, Florida’s Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has been offering online programs since the school first launched their online portal in 1993. The school, which is one of the top-ranking STEM-focused universities in the country, uses cutting-edge technology to deliver its undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs to nontraditional students.
Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission, California Baptist University is one of the best online schools for students who want to find their spiritual, social and professional purpose in life. Founded by the California Southern Baptist Convention in 1950, the school encourages students to practice the skills they learn in the classroom with integrity and glory to God. To that end, the school offers a variety of online degree programs that are catered to adult learners looking for quality, flexibility, and Christianity in their education. California Baptist University has bachelor's degrees in public relations, kinesiology, English, human services, Christian ministries, and psychology. On the graduate level, students can study technology management, public administration, counseling psychology, organizational leadership, and communication.
With more than 90,000 online students, Southern New Hampshire University is one of the fastest-growing postsecondary institutions in the U.S. The school offers online bachelor's degrees in a total of 40 fields. These options include business administration, criminal justice, geosciences, and information technology. Graduate students can choose from 29 MBA tracks and five pathways in curriculum and instruction.
The largest university in the Chicago area, the University of Illinois at Chicago has consistently ranked among the top ten schools to get an online Bachelor’s degree (and currently sits at #4 according to U.S. News and World Report). The University has been offering online programs for a decade, and currently offers over 45 degrees at the undergraduate through postgraduate levels.
There are many benefits to enrolling in online classes. SNHU believes in affordable, accessible education that caters to learners’ schedules so that you can reach your goals. Our online platform allows you to personalize your college experience to how you work best, and the projects you’ll work on and the technologies you’ll use are applicable to today’s workplace settings.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University knows how to make education accessible for nontraditional students. Online learners have access to dedicated student advisors that help guide them through their program. And online degree programs feature multiple start times throughout the year, with 12 undergraduate and 10 graduate terms. This accelerated format propels students through the program in nine-week sessions.

Many online undergraduates at Northeastern collaborate with sponsoring organizations to complete an immersive six-week project. Working students, on the other hand, may partner with their employer to tackle a capstone project that addresses a key need or issue in their professional field. The university also offers a co-op program that allows students to work in a paid position related to their major field for up to six months.
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