Amridge University, founded in Montgomery, AL in 1967, was among the first 15 universities to offer online degree programs as part of a U.S. Department of Education initiative. The study culminated with a change in Federal laws to allow more students to receive online degrees. Ranked among the best online schools, AU currently offers programs leading to an Associate or Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Master of Arts or Science, Master or Doctor of Ministry, and Doctor of Philosophy. Its online programs are administered by the College of Business, College of General Studies, School of Human Services, and Turner School of Theology.
Today’s students should expect convenient access, affordability and academic value from online colleges. That’s why we only consider accredited online colleges for our rankings. The accreditation process guarantees that a school’s facilities, instructors, and curriculum meet a rigorous set of standards established by industry leaders. To ensure they invest in a universally respected degree, students should only consider accredited online colleges, like those on our list.
Vanderbilt University also has a partnership with Coursera and Class Central, which allows students to take free MOOCs and take individual courses online. Certificates of completion are available for a small fee. Committed to providing all students with a high quality and rigorous education regardless of their financial status, Vanderbilt University does meet 100% of the demonstrated financial needs of their students. To qualify for entirely free tuition, the family of the student must have an annual income of less than $60,000.
Are you considering a return to school? Do you feel uncertain about your ability to pick up where you left off? Browse our collection of student resources for a little peace of mind. Our guides are designed to help students at any level enter the classroom with confidence. Whether at home or on campus, find the help you need to get the most out of your education. Below you'll find some of our more popular resources.
Indiana Wesleyan University is a private, religiously affiliated school with a wide selection of online undergraduate and graduate degrees. Those seeking an online bachelor's can choose from eight business pathways, along with degrees in fields such as digital communication, addictions counseling, criminal justice, and licensure or non-licensure early childhood education. Indiana Wesleyan also offers several online graduate programs, including English-language and Spanish-language master's degrees in divinity and ministry; several graduate-level nursing tracks are also available.
The best online colleges offer career support services that are on par with their brick-and-mortar counterparts. However, these resources vary from school to school. According to U.S. News & World Report, students should look for online institutions that offer one-on-one career counseling, virtual networking, access to online career fairs, and opportunities to meet and network with other students. Some schools also provide students with access to webinars and livestreamed lectures related to their career path.
All online students pay the same per-credit tuition rate regardless of their major or state residency status. Active-duty military personnel receive a substantial tuition discount. Additionally, students do not need to pay for application fees or transfer credit evaluations. Concordia University receives regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
When I first started studying online, I found it difficult to listen to videos 3 hours straight and remember everything. Take breaks! Also, you could record teaching videos if they are only streamed online. Divide the video into several parts, depending on topics and sub-topics. Give the file a name (Psychology: An Introduction) and a date (27.09.2015) so it is easier to find at a later point. Write down in bullet points what you can hear (Psychology is…) in each section and put the time (01:35 or 00:57-2:13) behind it.

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.

Davenport University, founded in 1866, is a private, non-profit university serving 7,500 students at its Michigan campuses and through its extensive online programs. There are more than 50 academic programs at Davenport's Colleges of Business, Arts & Sciences, Technology, Urban Education, and Health Professions. Among the best online schools in the Midwest, Davenport University has been an annual recipient, from 2012-2017, of the INSIGHT into Diversity's "Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award". At DU, online students can prepare for the workplace or advance their careers in some of the most in-demand fields of employment. There are 25 online master's degrees and graduate certificates at DU. Online baccalaureate degree majors include accounting, finance, computer science, nursing, general business, human resource management, international business, leadership and organizational performance, management, marketing, and sport management. Students may also complete an associate degree in computer science, health information technology, accounting, business administration and finance.
Only about 1/5th of all students live on campus at the University, the rest live elsewhere in the area, are distance-learners, or are in the military. To be eligible for the free tuition program at the University–which covers everything except for fees– students’ families must have an income of less than $60,000 annually. Students that are covered by this program typically receive additional scholarships and grants to bridge that gap and cover the entirety of their higher education costs.
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.
The University of Arizona Online offers multiple bachelor's programs for distance learners. Students pursuing technical careers can choose degrees in STEM fields such as cyber operations, geographic information systems technology, network operations, and meteorology. Options for those seeking a liberal arts education include bachelor's degrees in Africana studies, economy and industry, public health, and sustainable built environments. The university also offers 31 online master's degrees and six online nursing doctorates.
Graduate students may be interested in continuing their education with an online program offered at Columbia University in the City of New York. The school’s online programs lead to either a master’s degree or a graduate level certificate of professional achievement, and the Columbia also offers many free learning opportunities through MOOCs and other online programs. Online students who wish to integrate with their campus community may wish to consider studying in a hybrid format, which will allow the student to spend half of their time at home and the other half on the Columbia University Campus. Hybrid students will have more schedule flexibility, as well as the option to participate in campus clubs and organizations.
Over the past 150 years, Oregon State University has built its reputation for innovative solutions to many of the world's problems, whether dealing in forestry, oceanography, marine biology, agriculture or natural resources. Today, OSU has added the field of robotics to its acclaimed specialties. The university's two campuses serve nearly 32,000 students, offering more than 200 academic programs at 11 colleges, 35 extension offices, and 15 experiment stations. OSU's eCampus degree program has been recognized among the best online colleges in the nation. There are 22 online bachelor degrees available through the eCampus, along with online master's degrees in the fields of business, natural resource sciences, science and engineering, public policy, adult education and higher education leadership, and teacher and counselor education. Online students may also complete one of 12 graduate certificates.
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.

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:


For those that want to travel as they study, UMC online students can take advantage of extensive study-abroad opportunities.  And online learners at UMC  have the opportunity to participate in hands-on internships that give you the chance to practice what you’ve learned and make contacts with potential employers. The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program also opens doors to conducting research as an online student.

The best online schools don't just teach students and give them a degree – they also see the students through school and help them along the way. Stevens Institute of Technology has spent a lot of time on their online program, making sure that it’s one of the best online colleges in New Jersey. There are plenty of programs available, including 17 different master’s degrees, all of which are fully accredited and available entirely online. Along with their different programs, Stevens also offers students additional benefits. For example, their online platform is considered one of the best, making it easier for students to learn and earn their degree. Students also have access to instructors and often collaborate with other students, making their online program feel more like a traditional college experience.
For those that want to travel as they study, UMC online students can take advantage of extensive study-abroad opportunities.  And online learners at UMC  have the opportunity to participate in hands-on internships that give you the chance to practice what you’ve learned and make contacts with potential employers. The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program also opens doors to conducting research as an online student.
Flexibility is important to students that choose to study online, and Troy University offers just that. Online programs at Troy can be completed entirely online or through a hybrid of online and on-campus courses, allowing students to choose what works best for them. Also, online courses are only nine weeks long, so students aren't committed to courses for a whole semester. Troy is one of the best online colleges for earning a bachelor's degree because of their flexibility and the number of programs offered. Students can study in just about any field online through Troy, and each degree is designed to prepare students to begin a career in their field of choice. Associate and graduate degrees are also available through the online school.
Even though online students may never set foot on campus doesn’t mean they don’t have access to the same support and student resources. Regardless if the student is on-campus or online, nonprofit colleges traditionally offer an array of resources to their students, ranging from libraries to access to laboratories. Below is a list of commonly offered support services for online students at nonprofit colleges:

Communication with other students is vital. People may think that online schooling is a way to avoid talking to other students. However, this is not true. In order to fully comprehend certain material, it is sometime necessary to see another person’s point of view on the subject matter. Talking to other students by messaging or posting comments can sometimes open a student’s mind to other opinions or help them understand an assignment. Students learn from each other and cooperative learning is the same online as it is in any traditional college.
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.

Once you know what degree level you want to pursue, think carefully about what majors will have the biggest impact on your current career or future job prospects. Different majors teach different skills and have different points of emphasis. Multiple studies have shown that what you study has a bigger impact on future earning potential than where you go to school.
Central Michigan University welcomes transfer students at all stages of their academic careers and from around the country (and even the world). The school simplifies the often stressful work of assessing transfer credit and has a generous transfer policy of 64 credits per degree program. Military students are also well supported at CMU Global Campus, with Military Transfer Credits and various support programs.
Like classroom learners, online students need to be motivated. Beyond the desire to learn you need to be self-disciplined, have good time management skills, and be comfortable in an environment where it's just you and your computer. You need to be proactive and access the course frequently so you stay on top of the work. You’ll also need to be at ease communicating and interacting with other people without face-to-face contact.

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. 
Duke University is a private research university that is based in Durham North Carolina. Though Duke now has a campus including 254 buildings spanning 8,691 acres, it began in one building in the year 1838, a private subscription school called Brown’s Schoolhouse. It has also grown to serve more than 16,000 students from every corner of the world. The university has ranked among the top 10 in America in publications such as Forbes and U.S. News & World Report.

The university offers rolling admissions for online students with six enrollment periods throughout the calendar year. In addition to these traditional degree pathways, Saint Leo is home to the Flexible Learning EXperience program. This initiative invites educational institutions in Florida to enroll students in online courses at Saint Leo to supplement their on-campus studies.
Appalachian State University, the sixth-largest institution in the University of North Carolina system, offers online college degrees through blended degree completion bachelor's programs for transfer students with an associate degree. These include several options for aspiring educators, including online degrees in career and technical education, workforce education and development, child development, and a hybrid middle grades education track. Online bachelor's degrees in communications, management, and RN-to-BSN are also available.

Concordia University-Chicago is one of the best online colleges for students who want to combine a liberal arts education with the tenets of the Lutheran tradition. As one of only 10 schools part of the Lutheran college system, Concordia University-Chicago has a long tradition of promoting the faith and helping students explore their spirituality as they complete their degrees. As a result, the school has been listed multiple times on the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for the acts of service performed by students, professors, and staff. In the classroom, the university has a variety of degree programs, including bachelor's degrees in human resource management, organizational management, kinesiology, sports and recreation management, and health care management. Those who want to earn a graduate degree can enroll in the school's grant writing, management and evaluation, religion, leadership studies, early childhood education, and curriculum and instruction master's degree programs.
Liberty University is one of many online colleges that offers flat-rate tuition for all online undergraduates regardless of their state residency status, and some RN-to-BSN students qualify for lower tuition rates. Additionally, police officers, EMS personnel, and other first responders receive a 25% tuition discount. Liberty University receives regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
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