Kansas Online Colleges & Universities – Top Online Schools for 2016

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Kansas Colleges Online: An Introduction

While Kansas online education was once dominated by private, for-profit institutions, traditional schools have now wholeheartedly entered the arena. Community colleges, public universities and others have gotten into the game, creating more distance learning programs every year. At the two-year level, this allows the career-minded to earn credentials such as diplomas, certificates or associate degrees. Other undergraduate students who need flexibility can work toward a bachelor’s degree while balancing work and family responsibilities.

Kansas State University represents one of the state’s largest institutions making waves in online education. The school’s Global Campus boasts a series of bachelor’s degree completion programs, master’s degrees, doctoral degrees and certificates. It also has a healthy collection of professional development and minor program options. The University of Kansas offers a growing online catalog, as well. KU Online has full online master’s degrees in nursing, education and social work.

To sample the broad scale of higher education in Kansas, let’s take a look at Wichita, the state’s largest city.

Focus on Wichita Colleges and Universities

Wichita features educational opportunities on campus and online, ranging from high-tech avionics labs to virtual classrooms for health care professions. For example, Wichita Area Technical College offers more than 75 programs of study, including specialized technical courses and general education classes for guaranteed transfer to Kansas public colleges and universities. WATC takes pride in hosting a branch of the National Center for Aviation Training.

Wichita is also home to Wichita State University, which serves more than 14,000 students at its 330-acre campus. WSU describes itself as the only urban public university in Kansas, with the most diverse student body. WSU organizes experience-based opportunities through the state’s largest cooperative education program. Real-world learning meets college credits in initiatives such as a media/communications project involving the Kansas City Symphony’s annual performance on the prairie.

Also in Wichita is the University of Kansas’ Schools of Medicine and Pharmacy. Among the many local private institutions is Southwestern College, a Methodist-affiliated university that boasts a partnership with the Naval Postgraduate School.

Wichita and Online Learning

Wichita Area Technical College is known for its open policies toward nontraditional didactic methods such as home schooling. WATC online students can pursue an associate degree in administrative office technology as well as certificates of completion in various areas such as e-marketing. WATC delivers courses electronically in disciplines ranging from accounting to aerospace technology to sociology. For online courses requiring proctored final exams, students outside the Wichita area can request proctoring near their homes.

Wichita State University students can enroll in a variety of web-based courses, and the school is ramping up bachelor’s degree options for distance education such as an RN to BSN program. WSU’s online courses follow the same semester schedule as on-campus classes. The KU School of Pharmacy in Wichita relies on high-definition video conferencing and two-way classrooms. Local students have access to lectures and lab demonstrations provided at the Lawrence campus or the KU Medical Center in Kansas City.

Kansas Colleges: Tuition and Living Costs

Higher education comes at a price, wherever it takes place. Prospective students should be aware of the costs associated with earning their degree in Kansas. Tuition varies widely depending upon the school, location and residency status of the student. In 2012, Kansas students who qualified for in-state rates paid an average of $9,658 per year in tuition. The in-state tuition ranks Kansas at 17th nationwide in terms of cheapest tuition rates.

In addition to the costs of tuition, there are fees to consider. Fees can include basic admissions and registration fees or charges for things that students might not initially consider, such as parking, technology resources, recreational facilities, laboratory use and the like. In 2012, the fees for students in Kansas averaged $260 per year. That brings the total cost of tuition and fees for Kansas college students to $9,918 per year.

Tuition and fees usually make up the bulk of education expenses for students, but room and board is also a factor. Finding appropriate housing, whether on campus or not, as well as regular meals, is a must for every student. Kansas has a comparative advantage with a cost of living that is 8 percent lower than the national average. Here’s an in-depth look at the cost of living (COL) for the major metro areas of Kansas, and how that number compares to the national average (100%).

Urban Area Composite Index Housing Groceries Utilities Transportation Health Care Misc.
Salina -13.1% -24.0% -13.1% -13.0% -5.3% -5.1% -6.9%
Dodge City -10.7% -22.4% -10.0% -14.5% -4.4% -10.1% -1.5%
Hays -10.6% -21.2% -8.0% -7.6% -2.5% -9.3% -5.8%
Garden City -10.3% -20.1% -8.8% -13.5% -6.0% -10.4% -2.5%
Hutchinson -6.0% -7.7% -11.0% -15.6% -3.5% -5.8% -0.4%
Lawrence -5.4% -4.0% -10.9% -8.1% -3.8% -2.5% -4.4%
Manhattan -5.0% -1.3% -7.5% -13.1% -1.0% -8.4% -5.6%

Accreditation Standards in Kansas

In order to receive financial aid, students must choose an accredited school. Accreditation means that a college or university meets certain standards of quality set forth by the accrediting body. Keep in mind that accreditation is required not only for financial aid eligibility, but also for potentially transferring credits from one school to another. In some cases, employers may not consider applicants that graduate from anything but an accredited school.

Accreditation is awarded by regional and national organizations as well as specialized accreditors for specific academic disciplines. The Kansas Board of Regents and the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools have information on accreditation for this state.

Best Online Colleges in Kansas for 2015-2016

Online schools in the Jayhawk State offer accessible, convenient education with a streamlined format. Two- and four-year colleges provide degree programs equivalent to those found on campus, allowing students to log on to classes at their chosen time and place. Kansas online colleges boast the same access to respected professors and rigorous admission requirements. Among numerous respected colleges and universities, the following were selected for the Best Online Colleges in Kansas for 2015-2016. These institutions rank high on the list because of their superior record of delivering online instruction and student support.

RANK COLLEGE ScoreStudent-Teacher RatioFinancial AidCost MORE INFO
1 Emporia State University 99.6515:196%

Students researching online colleges in Kansas will want to check out Emporia State University (ESU). ESU has been offering online degree programs since 1996 and now offers a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate programs. Students can choose from degree programs in business, education, mathematics and other popular fields.

2 University of Saint Mary 95.2510:1100%

University of Saint Mary is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA) and was named a ?est Midwestern College?by the Princeton Review. The university offers online open house events for students considering online colleges in Kansas.

3 Baker University 95.059:1100%

Baker University offers online programs and courses in fields such as business administration, education, mass media and nursing. The school offers six bachelor's programs and five graduate degree programs. Some program are available exclusively online. All online courses are offered through Moodle, a learning management system.

4 Newman University 95.0114:199%

Newman Online, a division of Newman University, is an option for students interesting in online colleges in Kansas. The university offers two online undergraduate programs in nursing and business studies. Two online master's degree programs are also available in theology and theological studies. Newman Online utilizes the Blackboard Learning system.

5 Tabor College 94.8215:1100%

Tabor College offers students a Christian framework for their bachelor's, master's or associate degree. Students have a wide selection of majors to choose from, including art-design, athletic training, business, criminology, political science, mathematics and education. Online programs are offered for associate degrees in urban ministry or business administration; and Bachelor of Science degrees in entrepreneurship, operations management, accounting, healthcare, professional sales, or human resources. Master of Business Administration degrees can also be earned either on campus or online in leadership, sales management, accounting, or entrepreneurial ministry leadership. Students in these programs can complete all coursework in 22 months using the one class at a time format

6 MidAmerica Nazarene University 94.645:199%

MidAmerica Nazarene University, also known as MNU, is located in Kansas and offers a few accelerated associate's and bachelor's degree programs that can be completed entirely online. Online students at MNU can choose from programs in nursing, business and education. Many programs can be completed either part or full-time.

7 Central Christian College of Kansas 94.4814:193%

Central Christian College offers a range of online degree programs designed for working students. Online programs are flexible and can be completed part-time. Online courses are available in business, organizational leadership, ministry and leadership. Coursework includes watching videos, participating in online discussions and viewing web pages.

8 Pittsburg State University 94.4219:191%

Students look for online colleges in Kansas may want to consider Pittsburg State University. The university offers a variety of flexible online programs geared toward self-motivated students. Part-time, non-resident students enrolled in online degree programs at Pittsburg State University are eligible for in-state tuition rates.

9 Washburn University 92.9614:192%

Washburn University offers a number of online courses in arts and sciences, business, nursing, applied studies. Some programs can be completed entirely online. Washburn is in partnership with Partnership for Learning and Networking (PLAN) to offer online completion programs for students who have completed an associate's degree at any of the partner colleges.

10 Ottawa University-Online 87.682:1 N/A

Ottawa University offers bachelor's and master's degree programs that can be completed entirely online. Courses have a low 4-1 ratio of student-to-faculty, with academic advisors to assist students in course selection and degree completion. Courses are asynchronous, allowing students to view materials and complete assignments at their convenience, without logging on to a virtual classroom at a specific day or time. The school uses the Blackboard management system for communication, distribution of course materials, and submission of assignments. Prospective students can view a sample online class to understand how courses are conducted at the university and consider the fit for their individual learning styles.

Search Tool: Find Top Online Programs

With 91 institutions serving over 310,000 students, Kansas colleges provide opportunities at the vocational, certificate, undergraduate and graduate levels. Students take advantage of distance education offered by four-year public and private universities, community and junior colleges, schools with a religious orientation and for-profit online colleges. The search tool below can give students a head start in evaluating their choices for online degree programs. To help narrow down the field, it can be customized to filter online programs by tuition costs, student acceptance rate, type of college and accreditation.

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Insider’s Perspective on Kansas Online Colleges

What makes these noteworthy Kansas colleges so unique? The following interview with representatives of Manhattan Christian College sheds light on distance learning opportunities in the state. College officials describe the sharp focus on online education that sets this school apart.

Online Departments in Kansas

Manhattan Christian College

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

Manhattan Christian College has made a commitment to global ministry leadership training. MCC ’s accredited distance education degrees in Biblical Leadership and Management and Ethics are designed to provide busy adults the opportunity and flexibility to complete their degrees with the same regionally accredited biblical education that our on-campus students experience.

These degrees are designed to enhance your current ministries and careers and help you complete your bachelor’s degree. Adult students who have a minimum of 40 transferable hours can start throughout the year to complete their degree.

The primary goal of our programs is to not only provide excellent career training but more importantly to improve your ability to study and understand the Bible, and apply proper principles of interpretation to any biblical text. Our curriculum is designed to provide those sent into a lost world a thorough knowledge of the Bible and a sound understanding of theology necessary for spiritual leadership in the ministry at all levels - regardless of your chosen profession.

Resources for Students at Kansas Colleges Online

Students enrolling for the first time in an online degree program have questions about paying for school, among other concerns. These resources provide information on financial aid and scholarships as well as college accreditation. All the organizations below offer useful information for free.

Major Kansas Educational Resources: