The Greek philosopher Heraclitus once observed that nothing is permanent, except change. Such classical wisdom is once again evident in a recent release of data from the National Center for Education Statistics on the college enrollment patterns of recent high school graduates. Since 1975, when recordkeeping began, a student’s chance of enrolling in college rose reliably with his family’s income. No longer. Low-income students now enroll in college at a higher rate than their middle-income peers.
The United States Department of Education's Integrated Post-secondary Education Data System contains information on all 7,316 officially recognized institutions of higher education in the United States. The following is a list of the thirty largest institutions of higher education by Fall 2013 enrollment, meaning it is the number of unique individuals who were enrolled in at least one class on the 21st day of the Fall 2013 semester. Whether a system of individual campuses is counted as one or multiple institutions depends on how that institution is accredited and chartered. All data can be verified on the IPEDS system website.[1]
When it opened in 1965, Haywood Community College only offered a single program to 39 students. Today, more than 3,300 students are enrolled in more than 50 degree or certificate programs at HCC. Another 4,100 students attend the college's continuing education courses. HCC also caters to online students, with some 70 percent of its students enrolled in at least one online class or hybrid course with online/on-campus components. Students who have busy lives can complete one of seven associate degrees, three diplomas, and 15 certificates through the online college program at HCC. The options available for fully online associate degrees and certifications reflect HCC's commitment to education as many of them include focuses on early childhood education. Other popular online programs at HCC include associate degrees, diplomas or certificates in medical office administration. In addition to providing several online degrees, HCC's tuition rates are attractive too, as some of the cheapest in Western North Carolina.
For instance, the University of Kansas's College of Liberal Arts & Sciences states that students taking only online classes are generally given first shot at enrolling, as the online format is the only way in which they can take courses. The school says that spots for online classes are reserved for a two- to three-week period for online students so they can arrange their enrollment schedules; after this time, students in a hybrid program can then seek to enroll in classes.

Bakersfield College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges, 10 Commercial Blvd., Suite 204, Novato, CA 94949, (415) 506-0234, an institutional accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education. Additional information about accreditation, including the filing of complaints against member institutions, can be found at: www.accjc.org

Between fall 2006 and fall 2016, the percentage increase in the number of students enrolled in degree-granting institutions was higher for students under age 25 than for older students; and this pattern is expected to continue in the coming years. The enrollment of students under age 25 increased by 13 percent from 2006 to 2016, while the enrollment of those age 25 and over was 11 percent higher in 2016 than in 2006. From 2016 to 2027, NCES projects the increase for students under age 25 to be 5 percent, compared with 1 percent for students age 25 and over.
Accessibility and inclusivity are two important parts of Park University's ethic, a large reason why they've made their online program such an important part of their system. The online campus at Park University is fully accredited and designed for adult learners and veterans who want to earn a degree quickly. Each course is offered through accelerated eight-week terms, and there are five times during the year when students can start a term. This means that students can earn a four-year bachelor's degree or master's degree faster than their traditional counterparts, making the online school the cheapest way to earn a degree from Park. There are 40 degree options offered entirely online, so students are likely to find an area of study that fits their professional needs.
Cochise College currently offers 90 degree and technical certificates, including an honors curriculum. The college has been recognized by five college-ranking organizations as one of the most affordable schools in the nation. Its tuition is 77 percent lower than tuition and fees charged at the average university in Arizona. Founded in 1964 as one of Arizona's first community colleges, Cochise College currently enrolls 14,000 students annually, offering associate degrees, diplomas and technical certificates of credit. Online degree programs at Cochise College are offered through the Virtual Campus, which the college founded in 1998. Online students can choose from 12 degree programs and three certificates. The online associate degrees are in economics, general education, humanities, social and behavior sciences, English, business administration, business management, computer information systems, computer programming and intelligence operations studies. Certificates studies include general business and entrepreneurship/small business management.
Most recent high school graduates who enroll in college go to a four-year school, though a substantial minority attend two-year colleges. Among recent high school graduates from families earning below $30,000 per year, 39% enroll in a four-year college, while another 24% enroll in a two-year college. By contrast, 61% of students from wealthy families (those earning above $100,000 per year) enroll in four-year schools and 21% enroll in two-year schools.
Complete our online enrollment application, mail your enrollment form to us, or call an Admissions Advisor at 1-800-957-5412. You will be asked to set up a tuition payment plan starting with a low down payment that fits your budget. Or, pay in full for your best value when you enroll. Our Admissions Advisors can walk you through various flexible payment options available to you.
Located in El Dorado, South Arkansas Community College was established in 1992. Today, it offers its 1,481 enrolled students a selection from nine associate degrees and over 40 certificates in health sciences, business and technology, career technical education and liberal arts. It offers one of the most affordable tuition rates in the region, with 80 percent of the SACC students receiving financial aid to pay for their education. The college's most popular majors are from the allied health sciences: nursing, physical therapy assistantship, practical nursing and occupational therapy assistantship. Students can complete their associate degrees and certificates entirely online through the online college program at SACC. Access to online courses and technical support is available 24/7 though the college's Blackboard class management software program.
This online-only university offers programs at every level for adult students with work and life experience. In addition to upholding an open enrollment policy for general admission, Walden offers a generous transfer-credit policy, accepting prior credit for life experience, work experience, military service, placement exams, and online training. Students may enroll in a two-week, risk-free trial course before committing to a four-year bachelor's degree.
Probably not. The college admission process is separate from the academic calendar. Most brick-and-mortar schools use two start dates – one in the fall and another in the spring, with some schools also offering summer and/or winter start dates. Although some online colleges use the same schedule, many are more flexible and have multiple start dates. It's even possible to see as many as 12 start dates in a year, depending on the school. But even then, you'll likely still have to wait a few weeks.

One of the fastest-growing of the ten Maricopa Community Colleges, Chandler-Gilbert Community College serves 20,000 students through its four locations and online. Campuses are located at Mesa, Sun Lakes, and Queen Creek. The college offers one of the most affordable tuition rates in the region, which is a big benefit for first-time students. CGCC students can select from 60 in-demand degree and certificate programs to prepare for a career or to transfer to four-year colleges and universities. At CGCC, the online college program provides eLearning courses that can be completed entirely on the web or as a hybrid class, combining distance learning with an on-campus component. Recognizing that all students, whether on campus or online, need support, CGCC offers 24/7 online tutoring. Students can also get online help with their essays using the college's Smarthinking software.
Taft College, founded in 1922, offers some of the most affordable online college programs in California. Taft offers 46 associate degrees, 12 of which are designed for transfer to four-year schools in the California State University system. Among the many degree options, the most recent and popular majors are in liberal arts communication, liberal arts allied health, liberal arts health and PE, criminal justice administration and psychology for transfer students. The same degrees designed for transfer are also available as distance education programs through Taft's Canvas distance learning software. Taft also offers Distance Learning Offline, a degree program that does not require internet. Students can receive and submit course requirements by email, in person or by postal mail. Taft currently graduates approximately 500 students each year.
Search for classes at the college when registration becomes available to make sure the online class you want is being offered in the upcoming semester. Schools post Web-based academic calendars that state when classes will open and close for registration, before the semester starts. Some online courses are only taught once a year as a part of degree programs.

One of the main goals of the University of Maryland, College Park is to be one of the top schools for graduate students. Their traditional graduate degree programs have started to become nationally recognized as some of the best, and their online programs for graduate degrees have also started to get attention. There are online courses and degrees offered in many different fields at UMD, many of which are at the graduate level. For example, their online MBA program is seen as one of the top in the nation, as well as one of the cheapest ways to earn an MBA. Students who want to continue their education might be able to find an online program at UMD that fits their needs.


This online-only university offers programs at every level for adult students with work and life experience. In addition to upholding an open enrollment policy for general admission, Walden offers a generous transfer-credit policy, accepting prior credit for life experience, work experience, military service, placement exams, and online training. Students may enroll in a two-week, risk-free trial course before committing to a four-year bachelor's degree.

Educators at the University of Toledo have been teaching courses to adults since the school opened its doors in 1872. Current enrollment at the university is at about 16,200 undergraduates and 4,380 graduates. Research academics take place in astronomy, social sciences and animal science. Admissions counselors are available to direct students toward majors and help students complete the admissions process, including getting access to financial aid. As one of the most affordable universities, UT also offers merit scholarships, like the Toledo Excellence Scholarship, Regents Scholarship, Trustees Scholarship and Deans Scholarship. The school also awards stackable scholarships, grants and loans, and federal and state financial aid are also available.
Accessibility and inclusivity are two important parts of Park University's ethic, a large reason why they've made their online program such an important part of their system. The online campus at Park University is fully accredited and designed for adult learners and veterans who want to earn a degree quickly. Each course is offered through accelerated eight-week terms, and there are five times during the year when students can start a term. This means that students can earn a four-year bachelor's degree or master's degree faster than their traditional counterparts, making the online school the cheapest way to earn a degree from Park. There are 40 degree options offered entirely online, so students are likely to find an area of study that fits their professional needs.

We included only the highest quality schools on our list of the top online open enrollment colleges of 2019. While all these schools have open admissions, they are still being ranked on other standards. We developed our rankings based on the following criteria, which are all weighted equally at 25%: student satisfaction (as measured by graduation and retention rates), peer and instructional quality (as measured by acceptance rate and student-teacher ratio), affordability (as measured by tuition costs and availability of financial aid), and credibility (as measured by years of accreditation, reputation, and awards). All data was gathered from objective, independent sources such as The National Center for Education Statistics and College Results Online, as well as from each school’s website and its respective representatives.

Bakersfield College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges, 10 Commercial Blvd., Suite 204, Novato, CA 94949, (415) 506-0234, an institutional accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education. Additional information about accreditation, including the filing of complaints against member institutions, can be found at: www.accjc.org
When students are looking for one of the most affordable ways to earn a degree from an online school, it typically comes down to two factors: the cost of the program and how long the program will take to complete. At Columbia College, students are not only studying with one of the cheapest tuitions for a private school, but they can also save by graduating quickly. The online school has eight-week courses, and there are six different times during the year when students can take a class. This means that students can study year-round at an incredibly affordable rate, potentially completing their degree program faster than the national average. Of course, students aren't required to study during every period and can study at their own pace.
Students choose to study through the University of Idaho's distance learning program for different reasons, with independent study being among the most popular. The independent study online program allows students to study at their own pace while in individual courses or a degree program. One of the most popular fields of study for online students at the University of Idaho is their graduate engineering program. There are currently eight different master's degrees in engineering offered that can be completed entirely online, ideal for students who have a busy work schedule or family life. Another online option is their summer session which allows students to study the same quality courses in half the time. The summer session offers in-state tuition to all students, making it one of the fastest and cheapest ways to earn your degree online.
Like enrollment in degree-granting institutions for the United States as a whole, the number of students enrolled in degree-granting institutions located within individual states generally has been lower in recent years. Overall, fall enrollment in degree-granting institutions declined 6 percent between 2011 and 2016. Similarly, fall 2016 enrollment was lower than fall 2011 enrollment in the majority of states (44).
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