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 competency-based online pathway focuses on individualized learning. Students complete their courses asynchronously, allowing them to complete their degree ahead of schedule. The school offers a competency-based online format for students working through bachelor's degrees in computer information technology, liberal arts, management, nursing, and small business administration -- along with five undergraduate minors and two master's degrees.


Texas A&M offers 1 undergraduate and 47 graduate degrees and 24 certificates in total. The undergraduate program is a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Graduate degrees are offered through all ten of the schools that comprise the university. You can earn your masters degree in fields like Forensic Nursing, Public Service Administration, Analytics, and so much more including ten different areas in education, nine areas in engineering, and even law. Certificates are available in in-demand areas like Homeland Security, Nonprofit Management, Hospitality Management, and STEM Education. Online students at TAMU have full access to their course materials any time as well as the same student services and resources as traditional students.
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. 

When Texas A&M University-College Station enrolled its first students in 1876, it became the first public post-secondary institution in Texas. The university, dubbed "Aggieland" is home to 68,625 students. A&M's 19 colleges host nearly 130 undergraduate, 268 post-graduate degrees and certificates. Three A &M graduates are recipients in the Nobel Prize and the university was ranked 3rd nationwide by Washington Monthly for its "research, service, social mobility, and contributions to society." For students who cannot get to campus in College Station, A&M offers one of best online colleges in the region. You can choose among one online undergraduate degree, 48 online graduate degrees, and 26 online certificates. Online studies are delivered as web-based, on-campus and web-based, off-campus courses. Distance-degrees at A&M include the Master of Agriculture (MAG), MED in Curriculum and Instruction, Master of Public Service and Administration (MPS), MS in Education for Health Care Professionals, Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)/Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), and Master of Jurisprudence (MJ).

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.


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.
The university offers flat-rate tuition for all online students regardless of their state residency. Additionally, discounted tuition rates are available for military veterans and personnel and for students seeking a bachelor's in addiction counseling or an RN-to-BSN degree. Ottawa University receives regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
Regionally accredited colleges are typically nonprofit and state-operated. In the U.S., there are seven regional accrediting agencies that evaluate two-year and four-year colleges. Some states also have their own accrediting bodies independent of the regional agencies. You can learn more about each individual agency, and its jurisdiction, through the Office of Postsecondary Education.
Available online master's degrees include 12 programs in specialized fields such as biomedical engineering, government accountancy, music education, and supply chain management. In addition to full degrees, Rutgers students can also draw from three Rutgers campuses for individual online courses. The university hosts an annual online learning conference that includes panel discussions and demonstrations on emerging technology, learning management software, and related topics.
The University of Southern Mississippi began as a small teacher's school, but over time it has grown into a successful university that offers various degree programs. One thing of note about USM is that their online college is considered to be the best online college in the nation in terms of affordability. Via the online schools, students are able to study toward many of the degrees that USM offers on-campus. There are dozens of online degrees offered at different levels, all of which are accredited. The graduate programs make up the bulk of USM's online degrees, many of which are related to the field of education, going back to the school's roots. Undergraduate degrees and certificates are also available online, as are doctoral degrees.
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.
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.

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:

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.
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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