Maybe you’re balancing a full time job and family, but still want to earn a degree. Good news is that anyone can earn a degree online. The right online program can help you advance your career, or even help you enter a new industry. For those interested in furthering their education, there are thousands of online colleges to choose from. While there are several excellent online colleges to choose from, it can be overwhelming to find the right school for your needs. To help you in your search, we have put together a list of our top online colleges to help narrow it down.
The Savannah College of Art and Design eLearning experience balances flexibility with structure. Students can access lectures and course materials on their own schedules (in an asynchronous format) while completing assignments by designated due dates and participating in online class sessions. And students have access to cutting-edge technology and extensive student services like the Writer’s Studio, Academic Advising, and Counselling Services.
The tuition is entirely free for all students that meet only three requirements, which are: a high school diploma or equivalent, proficiency in the English language, and 18 years of age or older. There is a registration fee of $60 per student, as well as a $100 fee for each end-of-course exam a student is required to take in the undergraduate programs, and a $200 fee for each exam in the MBA program. The total cost of an Associate’s degree is $2000 (20 exams), a Bachelor’s degree $4000 (40 exams), and for the MBA the total cost is $2460 (12 exams). There are also scholarships and grants available for eligible students who cannot afford the nominal processing fees of the university.

Finding the right online learning opportunity may seem challenging. Whether new to distance learning or a seasoned veteran, it's important to identify the situation that meets your education, professional and financial needs. One starting point is to research and review a ranking of top online colleges. Browsing schools with demonstrated online learning excellence can give students a great place to start.
Many adults return to college only to drop out three weeks into their studies. Why? One of the most common reasons is that online learning is hard work. It takes time. It takes discipline. It takes quiet. How can you guard against prematurely dropping out? The first step is to look around your house and find a place to claim as your own. Some students have found a quiet space in the garage, basement, attic or laundry room. After you’ve claimed your study space, make sure everyone in the family understands it is your sacred spot. Put up a DO NOT DISTURB sign and enforce it! Even if you can’t follow all the tips for success in online courses, your odds of staying in school will increase if you find a study spot.

In addition to the standard bachelor's pathways listed above, transfer students with an associate degree can follow an accelerated cohort track with the same group of students and complete their undergraduate studies in two years or less. Other available options include course clusters that combine three interrelated courses into a single 12-week term. The school offers open enrollment, so students may begin their coursework at various points throughout the calendar year.

Tuition rates vary by degree subject, but most courses cost the same per credit regardless of the student's state residency status. Military servicemembers and veterans qualify for discounted tuition rates and fee waivers. Additionally, prospective students with a military background seeking a non-nursing degree do not need to submit an application in order to earn admission.
For over a century, Colorado Christian University has been providing students in Colorado with some of the best education in the state and nation. Nationally recognized as one of the best online schools for adult learners, CCU's online degree programs are largely designed to give adults a stronger education. This often translates to a better career, or the opportunity to advance through their current career. One impressive part of CCU's online school is the number of degree programs offered at each level. Students can study toward an undergraduate, graduate or associate degree, and these degrees can be completed entirely online. For adult learners looking to make a change or jump in their career, the flexibility and size of this program is a big part of why it's nationally respected.
UMass Amherst offers a selection of online degrees for undergraduates and graduate students. The school makes bachelor's in business degrees available through The Isenberg School of Management, and offerings include an online business administration bachelor's degree with concentrations in accounting, finance, management, marketing, and operations and information management.
Online learning is transformative, not only reshaping how students learn, but how colleges and universities deliver instruction. Non-profit colleges and universities (both two- and four-year) have quickly adopted online education as a way to improve academic access and program diversity for students. Furthermore, the growing acceptance of online learning at non-profit colleges is important because—in most cases—non-profit colleges represent the best educational choice for adults who have jobs or family commitments that preclude traditional campus attendance.
The cost of a college degree can vary wildly as well. It's no secret that tuition prices have skyrocketed in the last few decades. Online degrees aren't necessarily cheaper than traditional on-campus degree programs, but choosing an online degree program can save you money in commuting costs and materials, and most importantly, give you the flexibility to work while you earn your degree more easily than if you had to take classes in-person.
Founded in 2007, Colorado State University-Global Campus (CSU-Global)is the online campus of the Colorado State University system. CSU-Global was the first independent, 100% online state university in the U.S. and now has an online student body of over 15,000 students. CSU-Global currently offers 24 accredited degree programs at the Bachelor’s and Master’s level.
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.

Most nationally accredited colleges are for-profit and meet lower academic standards than their regional counterparts. Students considering a nationally accredited online college should research the school's reputation and understand how academic standards differ from regionally accredited schools. It's important to note that most nationally accredited schools will accept transfer credits from regionally accredited colleges and universities, but the opposite is not always true.
Are you interested in pursuing a career related to law enforcement, the correctional system, the courts, or perhaps all three? If so, an online degree in criminal justice, or related subjects such as forensics, corrections, and criminology may be of interest to you. Learn about crime from a social perspective with an online criminology degree, of which there are multiple levels available, even an online doctorate. Or, take a more hands-on approach to dealing with crime by studying law enforcement online, and preparing for career in the police force or police administration. Those interested in cracking cases might be interested in exploring available online options for degrees in crime scene investigation or forensic science.

North Greenville University, in Tigerville, SC, is a private institution founded in liberal arts traditions of the South Carolina Baptist Convention. Students can complete one of more than 50 undergraduate and graduate degrees at NGU's main campus, at its sister campus in Greer, SC, or entirely online. The university has one of the best online schools in the region, ranking second among the "Best Online Colleges in South Carolina." NGU offers wholly online bachelor degrees in business & leadership, Christian ministries, criminal justice, elementary education, applied psychology, and general studies. Online graduate studies lead to degrees in business, ministry, education, music education, and health science. Students can complete their Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree in as little as 18 months with classes that have five starting dates annually.
The Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph founded Brescia University in 1950. While offering an extensive range of academic programs on its campus in Owensboro, the Roman Catholic university began offering online courses in 2007. Ranked among the Top-30 Regional Colleges in the South, Brescia has also become one of the best online schools in the region. Students will benefit from online tuition, which has been frozen at its current level through 2022. Online courses are offered in accelerated 8-week formats. Programs at Brescia Online culminate in four associate degrees, six bachelor degrees (including degree-completion), and two master's degrees. Students can also complete an online certificate in accounting.

UMass Amherst also offers these majors in degree completion pathways for transfer students. Additionally, those with previously earned credits may choose the University Without Walls track, enabling them to complete degrees in fields such as advocacy and social justice, children's learning and development, human services, and writing. The school's transfer policy allows incoming students to apply up to 105 credits toward their bachelor's degrees.
Campbellsville University, a comprehensive, Christian institution, offers students a wide range of associate degrees, undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as non-credit technical programs. As one of the best online colleges, Campbellsville University offers programs like certificates in Christian ministry, five associate degrees, and 20 different wholly-online master's degrees. In addition to its celebrated graduate business studies, the university focuses on teacher training, offering a selection of online master's degrees in education with 13 different specializations.
The University of Illinois at Springfield has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report as one of the best online colleges for its bachelor's programs, as well as its MBA. Part of what makes the University of Illinois at Springfield a good choice is its partnerships with numerous community colleges, which allows students to easily transition from associate's degree programs to higher-level degrees. In addition, there are 2+2 Agreements that give students the opportunity to begin their bachelor's degree programs as they're still working on their associate's degree. And once students do transition into the school, they can earn a variety of graduate and undergraduate degrees. For example, the college has bachelor's degrees in history, psychology, math, computer science, and philosophy, as well as master's degrees in education, public health, legal studies, political science, and data analytics.
The important thing is sleep. We as human adults need seven to eight hours of sleep to function. I understand that the need to cram all knowledge before a quiz is a well-known idea of college but studying is key. I am not talking about studying the night before, but possibly the month before. The night before a quiz should be dedicated to a good meal and sleep. When the brain is asleep, the mind can think clearly and go over past studying tips.
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.
Illinois Online, which is available through the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is one of the best online colleges for adult learners and traditional students alike. One of the reasons the school receives such high marks is because of its Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning, which is a one-stop shop for online students to get their questions answered about the distance learning experience. Academically, the school offers dozens of online degree programs, including a bachelor's degree in earth, society, and environmental sustainability and master's degrees in aerospace engineering, translation and interpreting, strategic brand communication, executive human resource development, and food science and human nutrition. There are also certificate programs available on the undergraduate and graduate levels. Students who want to take advantage of Illinois Online without enrolling in a degree program can also choose from dozens of massive open online courses.
Harvard offers hundreds of free online school courses for- and non-credit for all of their students. To be eligible for the free tuition at Harvard University, a student’s family has to have an annual income of less than $65,000. Additionally, students whose families earn between $65,000 and $150,000 will pay between 0% and 10% of their full tuition costs.
A name brand school, Penn State World Campus (part of the Pennsylvania State University system), has been offering students an alternative to traditional on-campus education since 1998. Penn State World Campus offers over 150 degree and certificate programs all delivered online. These courses are developed and taught by Penn State professors, ensuring the highest quality course content. The university is focused on offering an education to suit current market-based needs. Online courses are offered from the Bachelors to the Doctoral level, and include programs such as Nursing, Nutritional Science, and Geographic Information Systems.
Adult students looking to earn a degree from one of the best online schools for bachelor's degree should consider Siena Heights University. Founded on Catholic ethics, Siena Heights has gained a reputation for being one of the best liberal arts schools for adult learners and working students. Their degree programs are designed to help students further their careers, giving them the knowledge they need to make a jump from one career to another or advance further in their current field. The online school at Siena Heights is nationally recognized for the quality of their bachelor's degrees as well as their incredibly high graduation rate. Students who study at Siena can also choose to study in a hybrid format, allowing them to study both online and on-campus. There are many resources students can use as well, most of which are available entirely online.
The most recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics reveals that approximately 2.6 million college students enrolled in fully online degree programs, while more than 5.5 million students were taking at least one online class. In 2013, according to AASCU, 65 percent of online students attended a nonprofit college and of those students, 45 percent attended public colleges and 20 percent attended private nonprofit institutions.
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.
Brown University offers free tuition through its commitment to meet 100% of the demonstrated financial need of all students. Beginning in 2018, the university has replaced all its financial aid with free scholarships that do not have to be repaid. Going back even farther, though, the university has been offering free tuition for a decade. If a family has total earnings of less than $60,000 per year, the university does not require any financial contribution from the student, meaning the tuition is free. Additionally, if a family makes over that limit but does not exceed $100,000 each year, the university offers generous grants to help cover the cost of attendance.
The cost of attending college typically depends on the type of school you attend, as well as your state of residence. According to College Board, private nonprofit institutions carry the highest price tag, on average — $35,380 for the 2019 academic year. Tuition prices are also relatively high for out-of-state students attending four-year public universities. These students will pay an average of $26,290 in tuition during the same year.

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.
Western Governors University is a non-profit regionally accredited school that has a 72% recommendation rate from 622 student reviews. WGU offers 23 bachelor's degrees, 31 master’s degrees, and 3 certificates and diplomas. The most unique aspect of Western Governors University is their competency based learning policy. This policy allows students to accelerate their program if they already have the knowledge or experience regardless of how it was gained. In fact, on average students finish their programs in three years or less. Students take assessments in the form of assignments, projects, or tests to prove their competency and move forward in the program. Tuition for online undergraduate students is an affordable $6,380 per year.
Fort Hays State University has established itself as one of the best online colleges, largely due to their affordability and quality of education. Each program is designed to give students the knowledge they need to enter the global community as a leader and expert. This can be seen with their online bachelor’s degrees, all of which are fully accredited. Popular bachelor’s degree options include criminal justice, elementary education and accounting. Along with their bachelor’s degrees, Fort Hays also has extensive master’s degree programs that give students the experience and knowledge they need to make a leap in their career. The best online schools are the ones that prepare students for their future, and Fort Hays does just that.
Some online courses are self-paced, or asynchronous. In this format, students may complete their assigned readings and lectures, in addition to exams, on their own timetable — though some asynchronous courses may require weekly check-ins. Courses that are synchronous, or not self-paced, typically mirror the weekly assignment format of campus-based courses. Good online colleges offer a mix of asynchronous and synchronous pathways to accommodate students with different preferences and schedule restrictions.
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:
In March 1906, the Kentucky General Assembly approved the establishment of the Bowling Green school that was to become Western Kentucky University. Today, more than 100 majors lead to the baccalaureate degree, and students can choose from 111 academic minors. U.S. News and World Report has ranked WKU 12th in The Best Online Bachelor's Programs and 12th in Best Online Graduate Criminal Justice Programs . Among the best online schools in the region, WKU offers 20 online undergraduate degrees, 30 wholly online master's degrees, and online 45 graduate/undergraduate certificates. Students may also enroll in one of more than 100 courses offered through the on-demand program that offers for-credit classes in 7-week semesters.
The school offers a cutting-edge experience for distance learners that integrates online proctoring for exams and biometric identification technology to prevent cheating. Programs allow for full accessibility, with closed captioning for students with impaired hearing and specialized software for the vision impaired. All video lectures come with complete transcripts for students to use as study aids.
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