There are plenty of options for students who study online at the University of Missouri. Mizzou understands that students study online for different reasons, but that the quality of online school should be the same as it is on-campus. There are over 80 online programs offered, some designed to help students who want to further their education and others for students who want to switch their career field. Regardless of what students are looking for when they study at Mizzou Online, they are still getting one of the most affordable online degrees available, largely because of Mizzou's independent study pace. Students who enroll in some courses are able to study however often they want, allowing them to complete a course in six weeks or six months, depending on what's best for them.

Western New Mexico University has made a point to make sure that class sizes are small, allowing faculty to pay more attention to individual students. The same methodology is applied their online school where class sizes are limited to make sure students get the attention they deserve. Despite having small classes and enough faculty to support the online school, it is ranked as one of the most affordable online schools in the nation. Students can study toward one of the online degree programs offered by the school or they can pick from over 200 courses offered entirely online. Courses are also offered year-round, so students can complete their degree at a faster pace than students who study in a traditional manner.

Northwest Mississippi Community College blossomed from the system of rural Mississippi farm high schools that began offering college-level courses in 1926. Today, Northwest has grown into four campuses with an enrollment exceeding 6,200 students. The first online courses at Northwest were offered in 1999. By design, online classes at this college are among the most-affordable online programs in the state, offering the same tuition rate as their on-campus classes. Online students can complete coursework via Canvas, a class management system that allows for classroom participation and access to course materials, research projects, homework and presentations. Full associate degrees can be completed online in majors including accountancy, business administration, marketing communications/public relations management, office administration, criminal justice, general college, psychology, social work, liberal arts, elementary education, business and computer teacher education. Northwest recommends that online students devote eight hours per online course each week.


Each factor is weighted evenly in order to give an objective view and determine the top 19 online colleges and universities with open admissions. To calculate our rankings, we looked at a school’s ranking when organized by a single factor, and then averaged each category’s ranking to find an overall score: admissions rate (20%) + default rate (20%) + retention rate (20%) + graduation rate (20%) + percent of students enrolled in online classes (20%) = final score.
Distance education is nothing new to the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, so their online courses and degree programs are just an extension of what they've been doing for over 100 years. Not only is UNL consistently ranked a top online school for bachelor's degrees, graduate degrees and military education, but it's also one of the cheapest online schools available. All of the online degree programs offered by UNL are fully accredited and are guaranteed to have the same quality and respect as a traditional degree would have. Courses taken at the University of Nebraska can be completed entirely online or through a hybrid of online and on-campus studies, meant for students who want the flexibility of online courses but would still like some face-to-face time.
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.
Read about the descriptions and intended outcomes that you should get from taking online classes. Compare identical courses between the institutions that you find in your search for online colleges. Many colleges publish printed and Web-based catalogs that provide information about class titles as well as subject matter, such as English 1101 or Economics 2102. In some instances, you can contact the instructor for a copy of the online class syllabus. You want to make sure the class does not disappoint your learning expectations.
The University of Illinois at Springfield has transfer agreements with more than 162 community colleges. Transfer, continuing education and first-time students choose a major from 31 bachelor's degrees, 20 master's degrees and one doctoral degree. These degrees are taught in dozens of disciplines, including biochemistry, clinical laboratory science, educational leadership, geographic information systems, learning behavioral specialist, and social responsibility and leadership development. Whether students attend class on campus or through one of the university's online programs, they can receive financial aid. Recognized as one of the most affordable universities, the school awards scholarships, and federal and state aid is also available.

Academics at Murray State University, one of the most affordable universities, are diverse and offered through six colleges and schools and 126 educational programs. Included among the 126 academic programs are agronomy, agricultural systems, technology, engineering graphics and design, environmental geology, learning and behavior disorders, and philosophy and applied ethics. Many of these programs are taught at undergraduate and graduate levels, and online programs and the honors college are also available. Tuition costs vary depending on a student's home state and the numbers of credit hours the student takes. The university provides students with their Racer Aid booklet, a financial aid guide for families, as well as work-study programs and internships as tuition debt-reducing options.


When evaluating a school's educational qualities, the cost of tuition is only one variable to consider. Prospective online learners should also research degree offerings to ensure their major, minor, and specialization options are available. Accreditation status is also key since it can affect the student's eligibility for certain types of financial aid or their ability to transfer credits. Other important factors include the format of online programs and student outcomes such as graduation and retention rates.
Arizona Western College (AWC) has quite a variety of options for students needing a flexible schedule to achieve their educational goals. Some choices include traditional on-campus, Interactive Television Network (ITN), weekend, night, late-start, four-week, weekend, hybrid and completely online college courses, plus several campus locations in the area, serving two counties. Academic programs here are designed for students that plan to transfer to a four-year institution, while occupational programs are career-oriented, with associate degrees or certifications in areas such as health care, public safety, construction, technology, culinary and hospitality. Tuition at AWC is quite reasonable, with non-residents paying only ten dollars more per credit than Arizonians, a special rate for students from WUE states, a reduced tuition rate to students over 60 years of age and credits for military experience. The cheapest tuition option is the Early College Experience plan, for high schoolers aged 17 and under, who can earn college credit through AWC at a greatly reduced per-credit rate.

Central Texas College opened in the fall of 1967, serving an initial 2,068 students. Today, its student population is more than tenfold, providing education to 23,000 students in Killeen and Fort Hood as well as to military personnel in 100 locations across the globe. CTC offers Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degrees for transfer to four-year colleges and universities, Associate of Applied Science degrees, employment-focused certificates and continuing education programs. Its motto, "College on Your Time," reflects CTC's commitment to providing evening and weekend classes and a large selection of online degrees to accommodate students with busy schedules. The online college program at CTC allows students to complete nearly 30 complete degrees from their remote locations as well as more than 30 online certificates. Moreover, CTC offers one of the cheapest tuition rates in the Central Texas 12-county area.

Convenience is one of the main reasons people opt for online college over a traditional on-campus experience, and that's what Auburn University strives to offer. The online school at Auburn gives students the chance to study what they want when they want without a strict schedule. There are both individual courses and degree programs offered entirely online, and both can be accessed from anywhere at any time. Auburn's online school is also one of the most affordable online college options, largely because students can study at their own pace. There are plenty of degrees offered at both the undergraduate and graduate level, so there's no shortage of options for students.


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.
In addition to enrollment in degree-granting institutions, about 383,000 students attended non-degree-granting, Title IV eligible, postsecondary institutions in fall 2016. These institutions are postsecondary institutions that do not award associate’s or higher degrees; they include, for example, institutions that offer only career and technical programs of less than 2 years’ duration.
×