To be successful, prospective distance learning students need to match their lifestyle, learning style, academic aspirations, and ultimate career goals to their program of study and higher education institution. As with traditional, campus-based options, students should understand the different types of online programs available. These different options cater to a diverse range of students. The table below can help distance learners discover what type of learning environment may be right for them.
Oregon State follows a quarterly calendar and provides four start times throughout the academic year for online students. Tuition for undergraduate online courses costs the same irrespective of a students residency status. Military veterans and servicemembers also qualify for certain tuition benefits, including financial aid that covers the cost of up to 16 credits per year. Oregon State University receives regional accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

You can find faculty and other students who share your discipline at our SAS research centers. These scholarly communities help students and faculty find others with similar research interests and build relationships. You can take advantage of research courses that help to inform you about methodologies, writing style and requirements. If you have specific questions that require a quick response while you write your dissertation, you can contact a research faculty member who will answer within 24–48 hours.
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.
Online two-year and four-year colleges represent some of the most affordable ways to enter higher education. Academic programs at the two-year level provide a solid foundation in the liberal arts and basics within certain major paths. Vocational programs take a more career-oriented track, helping students acquire specific skills they can apply on the job day one. Beyond the material itself, many junior and community colleges and universities have embraced online learning, opening their doors to a more inclusive student body – from working professionals and stay-at-home parents to those who may not be able to commute to a physical campus. The following two-year and four-year colleges offer some of the best combinations of online program volume, breadth, and affordability available today. See who stands out for 2019.
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.
Free college courses are growing in popularity and they are a great way to learn about a topic that you are interested in. The thing to note about free online college courses is that there are no options to earn credit for any course you take this way. These are a good option for those of you who want to learn about a particular topic or want to test out a few courses to see if college is right for you.
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.
Yale University is committed to meeting 100% of the demonstrated financial need for all students. In light of this, a family making less than $65,000 per year will not be expected to pay anything for the child’s tuition. In addition to this, although the annual expected parent contribution is $10,000 or more, over 10% of all students pay nothing for the education they are receiving.
Online master’s degree programs are a valuable option to students hoping to pursue graduate level education at a flexible pace, as many programs are designed to allow students to continue working while completing their studies. Online master’s degrees typically take two years to complete, and are available online in most subjects. Many schools, such as Dallas Baptist University, Liberty University, and Southern New Hampshire University Online offer over 100 different online graduate degree options.

Northern Arizona University is a large public university in Flagstaff, Ariz., with a strong reputation in its online offerings. With degree programs available at the bachelor’s and master’s levels, students who do study online are able to work toward their degrees while receiving the same quality education they would get on-campus at NAU. The school offers an innovative Personalized Learning program, where students pay a flat subscription rate over 6 months, with no additional fees, not even for books -- an attractive option for many students whose employers are picking up the tuition tab. Students at NAU also benefit from the school’s focus on career readiness in all its degree programs.
Saint Leo University’s online program is designed to help nontraditional adult learners succeed by making higher education more accessible. In the virtual classroom, students will receive a comprehensive education in their field of choice that are taught by dedicated instructors who are trained specifically to teach online courses. While the school was built with Catholic roots, online learners are welcomed into this learning community regardless of their religious affiliation. Before beginning their online courses, students may also receive a free e-book that contains tips to succeed in an online learning environment.
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.
Certificates are available online for students at both the graduate and undergraduate level. Online certificates can serve as a supplement to a degree, or as a standalone qualification. There are over 5,000 online certificate programs to choose from, many leading to job opportunities as physical therapy assistants, occupational therapy assistants, dental assistants, and veterinary technicians.
Founded in 1890, Oklahoma State University-Main Campus serves more than 35,000 at its main campus in Stillwater, online through OCampus, at campus locations in Tulsa, Oklahoma City, and the OSU Institute of Technology in Okmulgee. Popular majors include agriculture operations; business (management and marketing); biological and biomedical sciences; and engineering. OSU also serves distance students as one of the best online colleges in the region, with more than 32 online degree programs leading to baccalaureate and master's degrees through OCampus. Certificate students can select among 10 online programs in the fields of business, engineering, finance, and online teaching.
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.
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.
Timing Self-paced, or asynchronous learning, is a form of instruction where students study at their own time and pace. In this format, students and teachers may not interact in real-time and instruction is conducted through self-study elements such as pre-recorded lectures, individual assignments, and reading course materials. Real-time, or synchronous learning, is a form of instruction where the instructor and students are present at the same time. Instruction is facilitated in real-time by a teacher and includes traditionally classroom-based elements such as group discussions, team projects, and lectures.
Colorado State University is seen as one of the best online schools in Colorado to earn a master’s degree. Each master’s degree is taught by experienced faculty that understands what students need to know to succeed after college. Also, graduate students can study at their own pace, great for students who are working. But education goes well beyond the degree, and CSU’s online school offers plenty of supplemental courses to help students get the education they want and need. Free courses are offered entirely online, and students can also work on their soft skills, which help in day-to-day professional life after school. Bachelor’s degree programs are offered entirely online as well. With their various resources, Colorado State is among the best online colleges for earning an all-around education.
The history of the New Mexico State University-Main Campus dates back to 1888 when Las Cruces College was established in the territory of New Mexico. Home to the first honors program in the state, the university today serves 6,428 students that hail from across the US and more than 70 countries. Students take courses from the major colleges: Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences; Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering; Health and Social Services; and Honors. New Mexico State University is nationally-ranked for its online graduate nursing programs. NMSU Distance Education offers online bachelor degree-completion programs, masters and doctorate programs, and graduate certificates. Teachers can pursue their online New Mexico K-12 educator licensure and endorsements.

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.
Located in Tempe, Arizona, Arizona State University (ASU Online) is one of the top providers of online education in the country. The University serves a huge online student body, with over 25,000 students enrolled in one of their 150+ undergraduate and graduate programs. Through their multiple online education platforms, ASU Online is constantly removing barriers for students to attend a nationally-ranked university.

All bachelor's options are fully online, and instructors deliver most graduate-level degrees primarily online with some minimal face-to-face requirements. Distance learners can participate in online workshops for library training and MS Office software. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act approves several of the university's online bachelor's and graduate programs; this initiative provides financial aid for unemployed or underemployed students who cannot afford course tuition and fees.
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