A public, four-year university, University of Minnesota Crookston (UMC) is a member of the acclaimed University of Minnesota system and a provider of nationally-ranked online Bachelor’s degrees. UMC prides itself on their high-quality educational programs designed for nontraditional or continuing students, community organizations, and the workforce.
According to a report from the Society of Human Resource Management, more than half of private organizations offer tuition reimbursement plans to employees who wish to earn a postsecondary degree or certificate. These plans are mutually beneficial. Employees who receive assistance can offset some of the out-of-pocket costs for their education, and employers strengthen their workforce with workers who have advanced training in their field. However, tuition reimbursement will not cover all of the student's expenses. The average organization reimburses roughly $4,600 in tuition expenses per year. Additionally, the employee may be required to work for the organization for a certain length of time after they have received their degree or certificate.
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.

Consider the rapid growth in the number of online degree programs available between 2012 and 2014. Over the last three academic years, we've seen a 45% increase in the number of online programs offered across the United States, for a total of 13,092 in 2014-2015. You can choose from over 550 individual degree programs alone that are offered by the 4-year colleges featured within our list of the best online universities.
Although online and brick-and-mortar courses share similarities in terms of readings, lectures, and assignments, these programs also differ in several ways. Additionally, finding great online colleges can be difficult due to the wealth of differences between each institution. Here are answers to some of the most common questions about online versus brick-and-mortar programs.

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.


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.
Harvard University, a private Ivy League university in Cambridge, Mass., is the top-ranked online college due to the high-quality education it provides to students in its 41 online programs. Students enrolled in Harvard’s distance learning programs have access to all the same benefits as their on-campus peers, including counseling services, academic advising, financial aid and tutoring assistance. Just like many of Harvard’s traditional courses, many online classes are transferable to other colleges and universities, giving students the chance to complete their education at whichever location they are most comfortable with. For students enrolled in programs requiring on-campus participation, the Harvard Extension School provides degree, certificate and professional programs in a hybrid format, allowing some credits to still be completed online. For students not pursuing a full degree, Harvard Online Learning offers many free courses open to the public.
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.

With monthly starts and accelerated eight-week courses, CSU-Global makes higher education both immediately accessible and remarkably efficient. The University also insists on absolute transparency in costs and fees—which includes a tuition guarantee so you know exactly what you will have to pay. They also integrate a data-driven approach that measures key student performance metrics to ensure that their courses are doing what they need to.
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.
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.
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.
Specific requirements vary by program, but most online students log into their school's learning management system (LMS) to participate in course lectures. Asynchronous programs allow students to view lecture recordings on their own time. Alternatively, synchronous programs may require students to watch live-streaming lectures. In some cases, synchronous courses feature video conferencing components that allow students to ask questions and interact with their professors and fellow students.
Considered the oldest and largest online degree-providing institution in the state, Northwestern State University of Louisiana offers web-based programs at all degree levels. Bachelor's options include degrees in fields such as addiction studies, business administration, and social work; the psychology and unified public safety administration fields offer multiple concentrations.
Distance learning has a wide appeal to a diverse population of Americans. It offers students a number of advantages, many of which dovetail with other social or lifestyle needs. Online courses and degree programs suit working professionals who are looking to move up to management roles, often with their employers paying part or all of their tuition. It's a powerful option for stay-at-home parents who are preparing for a new or re-entry career when they head back to work. Pearson Learning Solutions Senior VP Todd Hitchcock reports:
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.
If you have credits to transfer to a university program, Pace University may be a good fit. Pace University Online maintains a generous transfer credit policy that aims to give students the maximum amount of transfer credit from previous college experience towards your desired program. And U.S. News & World Report currently ranks Pace University’s online Bachelor’s program as one of the top ten best programs for veterans.

UIC offers a range of student supports to ensure your success as an online student. Live technical support is available, as well as access to tutorials on how to access information within your online courses. And students can access learning software from computers and mobile devices. UIC also offers flexible scheduling so students can attend lectures, complete assignments, and engage in discussions at their convenience.
Roughly 90% of the university's students receive some form of financial aid, and Midway charges online students a flat, per-credit rate for in-state and out-of-state students. Transfer students from institutions in the Kentucky Community and Technical College System qualify for a $1,000 transfer scholarship. Additionally, the school charges lower tuition rates for those seeking an online RN-to-BSN degree. Midway University receives regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Texas Tech helps veteran students and holds the designation of a Purple Heart University. The school also welcomes transfer students with scholarships of $4,500 for those who enroll with up to 30 transfer credits and $6,000 for those with up to 60 transfer credits. Those who place in the top 10% of their graduating high school class qualify for automatic admission to Texas Tech.
CSU Global features a total of 26 online bachelor's and master's degrees, most of which concentrate in business-related fields. Undergraduate students choose from degrees in foundational fields such as accounting, business management, marketing, and project management. Opportunities for graduate students include degrees in advanced subjects such as healthcare administration, IT management, data analytics, and an organizational leadership executive track.
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