Accreditation is regional, national, and programmatic in nature, with 15 accrediting agencies currently recognized by the Department of Education to conduct regional and national accreditation. Specialized accrediting organizations handle subject- and program-based review in areas such as community and social services, healthcare, law, and counseling. Choosing an accredited program of study is important because students receive a level of assurance their institution provides an education that is of value. It also important because it ensures the following:

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.
Learning in an online program at Prescott College promotes self-discipline, accountability and a strong sense of initiative. Not only does the faculty in charge of online classes have several semesters of experience teaching in a virtual format, but that also have several years of professional experience, ensuring students will be learning the skills they need to succeed in their future careers. Prescott offers online certification programs, as well as bachelor’s and graduate degrees fully-online. If a student chooses to study in a hybrid program, they may also choose to use their extra campus time to participate in a number of campus activities.
Texas Tech University offers a wide selection of fully online and hybrid degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The school offers online bachelor's degrees in specialized fields such as restaurant, hotel, and institutional management; plant and soil science; and wind energy. Master's degree online options include eight education degrees with concentrations such as family and consumer sciences, agricultural education, and curriculum and instruction. Graduate students may also select master's degrees in technical fields such as healthcare engineering, horticulture, and data science, along with six doctoral degrees for aspiring educators.
Online students face a set of unique issues. Whether you’re wondering about online student disability services, LGBT support at online colleges, or paying for your online degree, our library of guides is here to help you. Planning to transfer credits from an online college? We’ll walk you through the importance of enrolling in accredited online colleges to ensure your hard work does not go to waste. We collected questions from parents, educators, and students to discover the most pressing issues they faced, and then put our team of experts to work finding in-depth answers.
While researching bachelor programs, online certificate programs, accelerated online masters degree or doctorate programs offered by online schools, most prospective students place importance on the average net price of each college or university degree program. High quality degree programs can be expensive and many students are forced to get student loans to cover costs, but free online courses can help reduce or eliminate student loan debt.
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.
Since 2006, the University of Alabama—a public research university—has been offering high-quality online programs through Bama by Distance, their distinctive online portal. Bama by Distance currently offers around 60 accredited online degrees and certificates—primarily in the areas of education, engineering, healthcare, and business—at the undergraduate through the doctoral levels.
The University of Alabama is the oldest and largest public degree-granting institution in the state, and the school's Bama by Distance platform offers online degree options. Online undergraduates can select from eight degrees in human environmental sciences fields, such as food and nutrition, early childhood education, consumer sciences, and hospitality management.
A public research university, the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) is a member of the four-campus University of Missouri System and home to an eLearning campus of excellence. UMKC offers well over 50 online degree programs—in diverse areas but with a special emphasis on healthcare degrees—at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels.
Park University has a recommendation rate of 79% from 14 student reviews. Park University offers 40 undergraduate degrees and 19 master’s degrees. There are five start dates throughout the year in January, March, June, August, and October. All courses are offered in 8 week segments and students are able to access the material on their own timetable. Online courses are certified by Quality Matters. Park University also has a Zero Textbook Cost program that allows students who are pursuing their degree online or at a distance campus center to qualify for free textbooks. Annual tuition is $11,470 for online undergraduate students and an affordable $7,575 for online graduate students. 
Ottawa University is a private school affiliated with the Baptist denomination that offers a wide selection of online bachelor's programs for business majors. These options include degrees in accounting, business economics, healthcare management, human resources, management information systems, and business administration, all of which carry multiple concentration options.
Central Michigan University, established in 1892 as a teacher's college, today offers more than 200 majors through its undergraduate, master's, specialist and doctoral degree programs. It serves more than 20,000 students at its Mount Pleasant campus and another 7,000 students pursuing degrees and certificates wholly online. CMU is one of the small number of educational institutions to hold the two highest Carnegie research classifications. CMU Online offers wholly online degree and certificate programs held in 8-, 12- and 16-week sessions. One of the nation's best online schools, CMU Online has been ranked among the best colleges for online bachelor degrees, MBA degrees, and graduate education. Distance students have full access to CMU's Online Learning Resource Center.
Beginning with the establishment of a campus in Moscow in 1889, the University of Idaho today serves more than 12,000 through its home campus, education centers in Coeur d'Alene, Boise and Idaho Falls. U of I also provides educational programs at extension offices in 42 Idaho counties and online. Students have a selection of 93 undergraduate and 67 graduate majors, leading to degrees and certificates. Graduates of the university have received National Science Foundation Fellowships, Rhodes Scholarships, and Fulbright Awards. The university has one of the best online colleges in the region, and was has been recognized for its online graduate education programs. Master's level education degrees are offered in adult organizational learning and leadership, educational leadership, curriculum and instruction, physical education, and special education. More than 25 online degrees are offered at U of I, including the M.S., M.Ed., M.S., M.Engr., P.S.M., M.A.T., M.P.A., and Ph.D.
Choosing your field of study is the first step in your online education, a process that takes time, commitment, and energy. The online degree program you decide to pursue will affect your career path, income potential, and level of employment. Online colleges offer a number of diverse options, and your area of interest may cross over several different degree programs. To help you find the online degree program that matches your interests and gives you best chance of financial success, explore our online degree comparison tool for information about earning potential, degree costs, and time commitments.

Another school that is no stranger to national rankings, the University of Florida—located in the city of Gainesville—is breaking down geographical barriers to higher education. The University of Florida offers access to more than 200 online undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs. And as a student, you’ll be a member of The Gator Nation, along with thousands of students and alumni around the world.
Regent Online students participate in each course with an average of 17 other classmates (an impressively small class size). A faculty member—with training in online learning—oversees each course, guiding students through the learning process. Ranked No. 1 for Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Virginia, Regent’s online bachelor degree programs and online master’s degree programs provide students with a quality education from a Christian worldview.
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.
Duke is one of the more extensive online universities in this article, offering a pretty substantial variety of degrees. These include a Master of Science in Nursing; a Doctor of Nursing Practice; a Master of Engineering Management; a Master of Environmental Management; a Master of Business Administration; a Master of Quantitative Management in Health Analytics; a Master of Arts in Christian Practice; a Doctor of Ministry and; more than ten professional certificate programs. Some of the programs feature on-campus residencies but they are all distance-based, with many of them available entirely online. Distance learning programs at Duke are flexible but still held to the same top-ranked standards as all of the university’s programs of study.
Missouri State University offers a handful of online bachelor's degrees suitable for first-time undergraduates or transfer students. A total of 10 major options include criminology and criminal justice, finance, health services, hospitality leadership, and an RN-to-BSN. The school also offers two undergraduate certificates and 12 bachelor's degree minors fully online. Graduate students can choose from 14 online master's programs, including seven pathways for teachers, and two doctorate in nursing tracks.
Make a weekly plan the day before a new week starts so you know what you are going to do as far as homework and research. Divide everything up during the week so you know what to complete on a daily basis. Review materials in small portions so you’re not cramming everything into one day, stressing out, and trying to hurry and get everything done at the last minute.
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.
Brandman offers a flat tuition rate to all undergraduates regardless of their state residency status. Military veterans and spouses seeking an undergraduate degree qualify for discounted tuition; military veterans also receive six course credits for their service. Online undergraduates at Brandman can connect with enrollment counselors, academic advisers, and career services throughout their studies.
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