Indiana Online Colleges & Universities – Top Online Schools for 2016

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A Guide to Online Colleges in Indiana

Across the nation, traditional colleges are expanding online programs. In Indiana, distance learning formats are making it easier for students to complete courses on their own personal schedule. Indiana University’s IU Online, for instance, offers hundreds of online classes and more than 100 full degree programs to students at multiple academic levels, including associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate. IU’s inclusion of two-year degree programs online makes it stand out. Indiana State University also offers a vast online collection with more than 50 programs across business, education, management and more.

To get a lay of the land regarding higher education in Indiana, let’s examine the state’s largest city, Indianapolis, with an eye on colleges with a substantial online presence. This bustling state capital draws college, university and technical school students from across the state and well beyond to attend campus-based and online programs.

City Focus: Colleges in Indianapolis

Indianapolis hosts an impressive collection of colleges and universities in addition to famous sporting events and a range of industries. With nationally ranked schools and public, religious and vocational schools, Indianapolis has something for everyone interested in a higher education. For example, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) – ranked by the U.S. News & World Report as the number five Up-and-Coming School – combines the advantages of two strong schools. Offering more than 250 degree programs, IUPUI has the largest population of graduate and professional students in the state. Additionally, IUPUI is consistently acclaimed for promoting diversity and for its favorable student-teacher ratio: nearly 75 percent of its classes have 25 or fewer students.

Ivy Tech Community College, which has a higher enrollment than even Indiana University, is another educational option in Indianapolis. Religious students may be interested in Marion University, a private Catholic school, or the University of Indianapolis, which is affiliated with the United Methodist Church and has satellite campuses in Jerusalem, Cypress and Athens, Greece.

Indianapolis Online Colleges and Schools

Indianapolis also offers plenty of quality online schools for an off-campus education. For example, Ivy Tech Community College has approximately 350 different online classes and enrolls more than 32,000 students in web-centered programs. Students can work online towards one of 12 different degrees, including computer information systems, general studies, information security, criminal justice, and manufacturing production and operations. Ivy Tech also offers hybrid programs (online and on-campus) for computer science, early childhood education, human services and paralegal studies.

Alternatively, Fortis Online offers online associate degrees in business management and Internet marketing. Harrison College, which has a strong presence in Indianapolis, awards online degrees in business, criminal justice, IT, health sciences and more subjects.

Indiana Tuition, College Costs and Living Expenses

Depending on the college, its location and in-state residency, students are faced with varying costs associated with degree plans. Tuition is the largest of the costs and should be considered before any of the others. In 2012, the average Indiana undergrad student paid $14,719 per year for resident tuition.

Colleges and universities often charge fees in addition to tuition, and in 2012, Indiana students paid around $1,000 in fees per year, increasing total college costs to just over $15,700 per student. These fees cover things like parking, laboratory materials, technology and admittance to recreation facilities. Fees vary by school and should be considered in any final cost budgeting.

Tuition and fees create the bulk of college expenses, but prospective students should not forget the cost of living (COL) index for a certain area: food, housing, utilities, etc. Against the national COL average, Indiana’s is an estimated 7 percent lower, making it an attractive option for students who may need to watch costs. Consider Indiana’s major cities to see how the COL compares to the national average (100%):

Urban Area Composite Index Housing Groceries Utilities Transportation Health Care Misc.
Indianapolis -12.8% -26.6% -8.6% -13.3% 0.5% -6.4% -6.9%
Richmond -9.2% -15.4% -16.7% 6.4% -1.6% -4.9% -8.3%
Muncie -9.0% -19.7% -9.0% -1.5% -5.5% -12.6% -2.4%
South Bend -8.1% -15.8% -8.7% -7.7% -4.6% -3.7% -2.7%
Elkhart-Goshen -6.0% -7.3% -8.6% -15.5% -0.3% -7.2% -2.5%
Fort Wayne-Allen Country -5.6% -10.7% -6.7% -12.7% 6.9% -6.6% -2.0%
Evansville -3.8% -13.7% -2.1% 20.0% -2.9% -2.6% -3.6%
Lafayette -1.8% -17.6% -4.4% 16.5% 6.2% 16.3% 2.7%

Accreditation Standards in Indiana

Potential Indiana students should research a college or university’s accreditation before applying. The accreditation status of a school dictates whether or not students can receive federal financial aid, and perhaps aid of other types. Regional organizations such as the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools evaluate the state’s public and private non-profit schools to make sure they meet quality standards. Colleges also seek accreditation for specialized programs and their distance learning options. The art education program at Purdue University, for instance, has been accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

Best Online Colleges in Indiana for 2015-2016

Fully online colleges and universities in Indiana bring higher education to students who cannot relocate or commute to class. Distance learners pursue degrees and certificates at their convenience, completing the same curriculum track as those on campus. Providers of online programs in the Hoosier State include four-year universities as well as smaller colleges and schools with a spiritual focus. Out of the many quality institutions in the state, some rank higher than their peers. The colleges cited below excel in the online classroom and in student support, meriting special attention as the Best Online Colleges in Indiana for 2015-2016.

RANK COLLEGE ScoreStudent-Teacher RatioFinancial AidCost MORE INFO
1 Vincennes University 98.9116:189%

Vincennes University, Indiana first college and one of the oldest in America, offers undergraduate students both two- and four-year degree programs. Bachelor degrees are offered in over 200 majors including education, design, healthcare, journalism and nursing. Students choosing to earn their degree through the distance education program have over 400 courses and 27 degrees that can be earned entirely online, including Associate of Arts, Associate of Science and Associate of Applied Science, as well as Bachelor of Science in homeland security and public safety, and Bachelor of Science in education.

2 University of Southern Indiana 95.4516:188%

The University of Southern Indiana offers a limited selection of online course options for students, all of which related to the field of health care. Students can earn either their bachelor's, master's, or doctorates in one of a small number of fields. The college provides several online options, including the Blackboard course management system, as well as additional tools.

3 Ball State University 95.2316:187%

Primarily geared for existing teachers who wish to further their own education, Ball State University only offers two online master's degree options. Students can pursue their master's in either technology education or career and technical education. The college provides a large amount of individual attention to each student and utilizes a variety of resources to facilitate the learning experience.

4 Indiana State University 95.0720:192%

Indiana State University offers a greater range and variety of online degree programs than many online colleges in Indiana, providing opportunities for students to earn their bachelor's or master's degree in a huge range of fields. The college is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and uses a variety of online tools to enhance the learning experience.

5 Indiana Wesleyan University 94.4115:180%

Indiana Wesleyan University, one of many online colleges in Indiana, provides several options for students to pursue their associate, bachelor's, or master's degree in a variety of fields. The college offers online degree programs in such fields as education, criminal justice, business, and many others, and is accredited by the The Higher Learning Commission.

6 Grace College 92.3124:1100%

Grace College and Theological Seminary is an online college in Indiana that provides a number of online degree programs in various fields of study, all of which are influenced by the school's religious roots. Students can primarily earn their master's degrees in a range of fields, and they will enjoy a strong support system with personal attention and interaction throughout.

7 Indiana University-East 91.5715:191%

Indiana University-East offers a number of online degree programs that give potential students the opportunity to earn their bachelor's degree in a number of traditional fields of study. Students can choose from political science, mathematics, business administration, and several more areas, and the college offers a comprehensive support system with numerous education resources.

8 Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College 91.388:1100%

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College provides students with a variety of courses and online degree programs through which they can earn either their associate or bachelor's degree. The college offers a number of fields to focus on, as well as an array of minors to choose from, as well. College professors and staff provide a large amount of assistance and personalized interaction with students.

9 Indiana University 90.9718:185%

Indiana University has a wide range of online programs and certificates available to students, with more than 100 degrees including Bachelor of Science in business administration, math, communications studies, health studies and RN to BSN in nursing. Both degree completion programs and full degree programs are available online, depending on the needs of the student. Students should be self-directedlearners who can demonstrate excellent verbal and written communication skills. Online learners communicate with instructors and other students in the school's online course management system and have access to library resources at their chosen home campus as well as University Information Technology Services.

10 Bethel College-Indiana 89.7113:1100%

Bethel College-Mishawaka is a Christian college that offers a limited selection of online course options. Students can earn either their associate degree or bachelor's degree in business. Despite the small selection, the college supplies a wide array of resources and tools for online students to take advantage of, including virtual classrooms and interactive chat sessions.

11 Indiana University-Purdue University-Fort Wayne 89.6017:187%

Indiana University-Purdue University-Fort Wayne offers a small selection of online degree programs, including one option for earning both a bachelor's and master's degree, as well as a larger selection of fields to minor in. The college uses the Blackboard Learn course management system to assign course work, hold lectures, and facilitate interaction between staff and students.

12 Purdue University-Calumet Campus 88.5820:166%

Purdue University-Calumet Campus is one of the few online colleges in Indiana that focuses almost exclusively on nursing and the field of health care. Students can earn their master's degree in one of several nursing related fields of study, and the college offers a wide variety of tools and resources to help towards that.

13 Indiana Tech 86.7233:199%

The Indiana Institute of Technology offers a range of options for students to earn either their associate, bachelor's, or master's degree online. The college offers a variety of online degree programs, many of which fall under business administration, and they utilize a comprehensive course management system to provide a high quality, interactive education.

Search Indiana Colleges Online

With more than 150 college programs in Indiana, finding the right accredited online school can be a challenge. Web-based programs often offer a powerful solution for students with jobs and family obligations who need a flexible schedule to complete their studies. The custom search tool that follows helps cut through the many options to sort schools by cost, type of degree, accreditation and other key considerations.

Degree Level:
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Talking With Insiders at Indiana’s Online Schools

Indiana is among the most affordable states for online education, but we wanted to get some inside details on the quality of distance learning options in the state. We asked the online departments from some of Indiana’s top schools to tell us what makes their programs unique. Read their responses:

Huntington University

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

Huntington University provides online programs that fit the needs of the job market as well as the schedule and flexibility that our students seek, blending the needs of both audiences to offer high-quality programs.

What makes your online programs so valuable to students?

At Huntington University, we highlight our employment of full-time and adjunct faculty, which results in a strong combination of institutional ideals and real-life application, always with the foundation of a Christian worldview. We help our students discover real ways to live out faith. Our commitment to faith also introduces a higher level of care and concern for our students from our faculty. Our students are not just a number, meaning that we are interested in their success as professionals but also as people.

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

We see the online programs continuing to develop and grow in response to the changing market needs in addition to the needs of our employers and students. Our programs will continue to develop. We're always listening to what our students say they need -- whether that means additional bachelor's degrees or new advanced degrees. As the market expresses needs, we will continue to respond and grow.

Oakland City University

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

OCU offers all of its online courses in asynchronous format. Each course is 5 to 8 weeks long. Being asynchronous makes it possible for students to access their online classroom any time 24/7 to complete the current week of study. Not requiring students to be online at the same time also increases the flexibility and accessibility of academic studies for the student who must study around other life and work commitments.

What makes your online programs so valuable to students?

OCU’s courses are built around current best practices in the field of study. Instructors are practitioners in their respective fields, providing students with insights into real life applications of course principles. The Christian worldview of the university is also reflected in the course objectives and courseware concepts.

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

OCU’s online course and program offerings continue to expand. Additional fully online degree programs are under development, including certificate options that bundle together toward a full academic degree. The university is also exploring additional subject areas to offer online. The university sees the dynamic nature of online learning as an opportunity to upgrade and expand how online course materials are made accessible to students. Advancements in technology over the next five and ten years will allow for more interactive learning activities in the online classrooms.

Purdue University-Calumet Campus

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

Strategically, Purdue University Calumet has approached online degree offerings from a narrow focus, targeting very specific market areas with demonstrated demand. Purdue Calumet online programs are offered in nursing (RN to BSN completion and a Master of Science degree with two areas of specialization: Family Nurse Practitioner and Clinical Nurse Specialist). We also offer online master’s degree programs in Education and Technology.

What makes your online programs so valuable to students?

Our programs are designed for motivated individuals with busy lives who value the opportunity and convenience to advance their education and earn a degree by building their academic schedule around demanding job, home and other responsibilities.

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

Purdue University Calumet plans to continue to assess underserved markets in order to satisfy the needs of those individuals who are committed to earning a degree, but are unable to do so via traditional, on-campus programs.

Resources for Students of Indiana Online Colleges

Students enrolling in online classes for the first time can access a wealth of information about the college system, financial aid and educational benefits for veterans. Resources like the following are 100 percent free and can be accessed from PCs, tablets or smartphones.

Major Indiana Educational Resources: