Connecticut Online Colleges & Universities – Top Schools for 2016-2017

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A Guide to Connecticut Colleges Online

With the popularity of online education in the U.S., many schools in Connecticut have developed distance learning programs, and students are reaping the benefits. In 2013, 11 four-year Connecticut colleges and universities offered an online program. Quinnipiac University now has 15 fully online degree programs for students at the two-year, four-year and graduate levels. Its School of Business has three master’s degree programs available – including a 46-credit MBA program – for advanced students who require scheduling flexibility. Also, the University of Connecticut has hundreds of online courses across dozens of departments that any student at the school can take.

To offer an idea of the breadth of academic options in the state, here’s a snapshot of Bridgeport, Connecticut’s largest city.

Access to Higher Education in Bridgeport

Bridgeport attracts postsecondary students with its two-year and four-year institutions and flexible study options. The University of Bridgeport (UB) has its main campus in the city, located near the Long Island Sound. This independent university attracts a diverse population of more than 5,000 learners, with a quarter of the student body from other countries. UB also features popular options for cooperative education and accelerated learning. Students can pursue academic goals at both the undergraduate and graduate level, including master’s and doctoral degrees from UB’s professional and health sciences programs.

Another postsecondary option is Housatonic Community College (HCC), which serves numerous towns in southwestern Connecticut, with its base in Bridgeport. HCC has designed programs to meet the diverse needs of area residents, including short-term, noncredit courses and career-oriented certificate programs. Some associate degree programs target prospective transfer students, while others focus on preparation for various occupational paths.

Studying Online in Bridgeport

University of Bridgeport has provided distance learning courses since 1997, and its offerings appear among U.S. News & World Report’s Best Online Programs for 2014. UB’s web-based information technology program, rated 11th nationwide, awards online and hybrid master’s degrees in computer science and technology management. The university also ranks in the top 30 for online bachelor’s programs and graduate engineering degrees.

To give students added flexibility, UB Online has a rolling application schedule, and courses typically take between 8 and 16 weeks. Although students can access lecture materials when convenient, these classes require regular participation. Web-centered courses could entail on-campus attendance, for example, for exams or orientation. Undergraduate online programs encompass majors such as health care administration, organizational leadership and general studies. Online graduate students can seek master’s degrees in areas such as dental hygiene, human nutrition, or global development and peace. UB also offers Internet-based postgraduate continuing education.

At the two-year college level, Housatonic Community College offers self-paced studies such as the iMath program. This computer-based program lets students work on their own schedule, learning step by step and taking on-campus tests when they feel ready to do so.

Tuition & Other College Costs in Connecticut

Before making a decision about where to attend college, students need to consider the financial investment. Tuition is one of the most significant costs involved in higher education, displaying a wide range depending on where a school is located. Being an established resident is one way to reduce tuition. In 2012, Connecticut residents paid $15,300 in yearly tuition, making it the 7th highest in the nation for in-state rates.

Living expenses make up another significant portion of the budget for higher education, especially room and board. Living costs are an estimated 30 percent higher in Connecticut than the national average, which is an important consideration when setting a college budget, particularly if the student is planning to live off campus. This table lists the different aspects included in the cost of living (COL) in Connecticut’s cities and towns and compares them to the national average (shown as 100 percent):

Urban Area Composite Index Housing Groceries Utilities Transportation Health Care Misc.
Hartford 21.8% 37.8% 20.7% 20.7% 9.0% 13.0% 13.5%
New Haven 22.1% 34.9% 17.9% 23.5% 6.3% 12.7% 17.9%
Stamford 46.9% 112.6% 21.8% 21.3% 10.0% 13.3% 22.1%

Accreditation Standards in Connecticut

Connecticut students must attend an accredited institution in order to receive financial assistance. Several regional and national accrediting agencies set the standards for U.S. colleges and universities, and the primary regional accrediting body in Connecticut is the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Regional accreditation can indicate the ultimate peer review of an institution, and most public and private not-for-profit schools seek it. National accreditation works a bit differently, with an agency covering all 50 states. For example, the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) offers accreditations to qualified for-profit online schools in the United States.

Another arm of accreditation is specialized, meaning that a law school or business school may receive official approval by an independent organization focused on that discipline. The University of Connecticut’s business school is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International).

Best Online Colleges In Connecticut For 2016-2017

Online schools in Connecticut – from Ivy League universities to local community colleges – provide a unique opportunity for students to pursue degrees and certificates from the location of their choice. For example, some four-year universities offer not only online degrees, but also a vast collection of open courseware. The schools that made this list of the Best Online Colleges in Connecticut for 2016-2017 have accrued a record of outstanding performance in distance education, based on dollar value, student support services and key factors that encourage academic success.

Score Tuition & Fees Financial Aid % #ONLINE PROGRAMS Student-teacher RatioGrad Rate
Score Tuition & Fees Financial Aid % #ONLINE PROGRAMS Student-teacher RatioGrad Rate
Norwalk Community College
93.64 26% 27 19:1 8%

Norwalk Community College hails itself as the first public, two-year college in Connecticut and offers thousands of courses. Students can work toward two-year associates degree and certificate programs from 10 academic departments. Course are taught on campus and online and accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Students who participate in online and hybrid courses use Blackboard Learn, an online course management system. First-time students who want help to succeed can join the Start2Finish program. As part of the program, students receive success coaching and access to an early alert system where they can get feedback from teachers and see how they are progressing in classes.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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Capital Community College
91.79 23% 3 13:1 9%

Capital Community College is one of 12 community colleges and enrolls more than 4,000 students annually. Students are taught by 249 full and part-time professors to earn associate and transfer degrees as well as educational certificates. Located in Hartford, Connecticut, CCC provides students with a unique learning opportunity through the Hartford Heritage Program. offers classes that use Hartford's history and landmarks as part the educational experience. Classes center around the history, communities and businesses of Hartford and can be taken for course credit or as non-credit community classes. Many of the classes are Hybrid and utilize Blackboard Learning and field trips to get students through the course work.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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Naugatuck Valley Community College
91.62 16% 6 16:1 12%

With two campuses and more than 100 accredited degree programs, Naugatuck Valley Community College provides learning opportunity for new students and continuing education. Students can work toward professional certificates and associate degrees in business, art, science and healthcare. Distance learning is provided for students who can't attend in class instruction through MyCommNet, which utilizes Banner and Blackboard for online learning. NVCC partners with Microsoft to give every students access to Microsoft 365 which gives them access to programs like Word and Excel. Those who do not want to earn a college degree can participate in non-credit lifelong learning classes to enhance professional development skills.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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Score Tuition & Fees Financial Aid % #ONLINE PROGRAMS Student-teacher RatioGrad Rate
Score Tuition & Fees Financial Aid % #ONLINE PROGRAMS Student-teacher RatioGrad Rate
Goodwin College
99.79 91% 36 10:1 23%

Goodwin College is a regionally accredited school located in East Hartford, Connecticut. It is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Founded in 1999, Goodwin College’s academic programs are career focused. Types of careers that the associate and bachelor’s programs prepare students for are accounting, environmental studies, homeland security, social work and public health. Certificates at the college lead to credentials in fields like medical assisting, nursing, business and manufacturing. It’s possible to earn a certificate within one year.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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Charter Oak State College
86.11 N/A 12 16:1 N/A

Charter Oak State College, established in 1973, is a fully online college in Connecticut that offers master’s, bachelor’s and associate degree programs in business, health care, public safety, information systems and more. The college offers four general studies degrees (associate in arts and associate in science degrees, bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees) and a master of science in organizational effectiveness and leadership degree. Students can get a head start on their degree by earning credit through testing and exams, military training, their portfolio program, credit evaluated by ACE or PONSI and by transferring credit from other accredited colleges.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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St Vincent's College
86.00 100% 6 13:1 67%

St. Vincent’s College in Bridgeport, CT, has a comprehensive online learning program that gives students the flexibility to finish their degree program on their time. St. Vincent’s offers three programs that are 100 percent online, including RN to bachelor of science in nursing completion program, bachelor of science in radiologic sciences and a bachelor of science in health care administration. The college offers three types of distance learning options: online, which is a course that only meets virtually through Blackboard Learn, a hybrid class which meets 50 percent in the traditional face-to-face format and 50 percent online and the third option is e-Enhanced, which meets at the scheduled class time but learning goes through Blackboard.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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Search for Top-Ranked Online Programs

Cut through the clutter. Using the tool below, students can search for online colleges in Connecticut that meet their educational and career goals without compromising work or family commitments. This tool filters schools by types of programs offered, tuition cost, rates of student acceptance and other important considerations.

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Best Online Colleges in Connecticut for 2015-2016

RANK COLLEGE ScoreStudent-Teacher RatioFinancial AidCostMORE INFO
1 Southern Connecticut State University 99.3814:181%

Students at Southern Connecticut State University can take individual online college courses in areas such as business administration, computer science, nursing, psychology, and social work. The school also offers a Master's of Science Library degree that can be completed through e-learning. Accreditation of the university is through the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

2 University of Bridgeport 95.7016:193%

The University of Bridgeport offers online bachelor's and master's degrees options to students wanting to pursue distance learning. Example programs offered through the online college include the Bachelor's of Science degree in General Studies and the Master's of Science degree in Human Nutrition. The school provides the Canvas online learning management system, which allows student access to work and assignments any time of the day or night.

3 Albertus Magnus College 95.1614:183%

Albertus Magnus College, a Catholic college in the Dominican tradition, offers an online MBA program to students interested in advancing their business knowledge. The program is based on 48 credits and designed specifically for working adults. Students can also find other coursework and degrees offered online or through hybrid-learning programs.

4 Sacred Heart University 93.9114:195%

Students at Sacred Heart University can take undergraduate and graduate degree programs online that are taught by the same staff providing campus-based instruction. Distance-learning options are primarily available in nursing and applied psychology, but students can complete coursework at their own pace, around the clock. The school is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

5 University of New Haven 91.8016:195%

The University of New Haven offers graduate level instruction to students that is available entirely online. Two of its distance-learning degrees are the Master of Science in Criminal Justice and the Master of Science in Sports Management. The school makes use of the Blackboard learning management system and is accredited through the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

6 Quinnipiac University 90.8812:189%

Quinnipiac University provides many distance-learning options at the undergraduate and graduate levels through its "QU Online" program. Students access coursework through the Blackboard learning management system, and can pursue certificates, and bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees through e-learning. Subject offerings include business administration, information technology and nursing, among others. Accreditation is through the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

7 St Vincent’s College 89.6215:192%

St. Vincent's College has three distance learning options for students who seek a flexible alternative to traditional on-campus courses and degree programs. Students can earn a bachelor of science in radiologic sciences or an RN to BSN at the college. One online option allows students to complete their degree programs completely online using Blackboard Learn, the college's online learning management system. Students interact with peers and instructors on this system, so they must be dedicated and self-motivated learners. Other options allow students to take some courses online while other courses are taken on a traditional campus, with learning enhanced by extended online access.

8 Holy Apostles College and Seminary 88.494:171%

Holy Apostles College & Seminary offers a number of online-only degree programs. All the programs are asynchronous, so students can choose the order of their classes and complete assignments at their own pace. Online degrees are available at all levels of study. These include bachelor of arts in theology,philosophy, English or history. Massive Open Online Classes are also available in a variety of subjects for those looking to develop personally or professionally without earning a degree. Online degree studentshave access to the digital library, online training and orientation as well as the use of an online writing lab.

9 Charter Oak State College 86.6414:1 N/A

Charter Oak State College offers flexible learning options to students interested in distance learning. Coursework is available online in 5-week, 8-week, and 15-week formats, and developed and taught by professionals in the field. Students can take single courses in subjects such as the behavioral sciences, business, history, math, and network security management, and also find certificate programs available fully online.

Deans Talk: Inside Connecticut Online Colleges

To gather an insider’s view of online learning in Connecticut, we asked the colleges on our list to describe what makes their programs unique. Interviews with the University of New Haven and Charter Oak State College show the pivotal role distance education plays at their schools.

Online Departments in CONNECTICUT

Charter Oak State College

How would you describe your institution's approach to online learning?

We believe learning is about the activity, not the location. As Connecticut’s only public online college we feel that access, affordability, individual support and value are the hallmarks of what make Charter Oak a premier institution of higher learning. For us, online delivery is not an extension of our institution’s focus, rather it is the core around which we serve our students. Our student’s success is what drives us to provide the very best possible accredited programs for working adults who are seeking a way to complete their degrees quickly and efficiently.

What makes your online programs so valuable to students?

Our degree programs are created and taught by experts in the field. Plus, we carefully select new programs according to workforce projections so that graduates have the very best chance of advancing or transitioning their careers. Adult students can choose from 5, 8 or 15-week courses which helps them balance their course requirements with their workload and family life.

Where do you see your online programs in the next five years? Beyond?

Charter Oak will increase the amount of competency-based credit on our student’s transcripts. Lower cost competencies, such as tests and portfolios, will replace more expensive courses. This will increase speed to degree, lower costs for students and increase retention rates. Additionally, with will expand our programming by increasing the number of workforce programs that serve as direct conduits to jobs. We will stress degrees that result in third party certifications.

University of New Haven

How would you describe your institution's approach to online learning?

The University of New Haven (UNH) is committed to online learning that provides an active, engaging, and rigorous education that equals and often surpasses traditional on-campus learning. Faculty teaching in our online programs know how to create online communities where learners can share and create knowledge, and develop the 21st Century skills that employers seek.

What makes your online programs so valuable to students?

UNH’s programs are about people and a passion for learning. Students will connect with the university’s research faculty and with instructors who are experienced practitioners in the field as well as with students who may be around the block or across the world. Our online courses provide a real-world education with real people, not just interactions with buttons on a computer screen or cartoon avatars.

Where do you see your online programs in the next five years? Beyond?

The University of New Haven plans to introduce two or more new online programs each year going forward. Current plans include the introduction of two new online master degree programs and a bachelor completion program for Fall 2014. Please go to for information on current programs and to watch for more information and details of the new program roll outs as they develop.

In-Depth Resources on Connecticut Schools

It’s helpful for students to identify free resources so they can make wise choices about higher education. Here are some essential websites with information about Connecticut online colleges, educational benefits for veterans, and financial aid and savings plans.

Major Connecticut Educational Resources: