Locating the best online degree program takes time, effort, and a bit of patience. Before starting the search, prospective students should carefully consider both their current situation and ultimate career goals to help determine the course of study they wish to pursue, how to balance family and work commitments, and ways of financing their education. Students can then begin their search to find the right online program to match those goals and needs. The following search tool is designed to help students filter through the numerous academic options to find an online program uniquely matched to their needs.
Nebraska hosts a variety of institutions providing quality online programs benefiting students within and outside its borders. As with many Midwest states, Nebraska’s population is relatively small and spread out across a large geographic area, making it ideal for anyone interested in pursuing an online college degree. Not all distance learning programs are equal, but those listed in this guide exhibit academic excellence that sets them apart. These top achievers are acknowledged below in our list of the Best Online Colleges in Nebraska for 2016-2017.
|Rank||University||Location||Score||Annual Tuition||# of Online Programs||Financial Aid %||Student-Teacher Ratio||Grad Rate||Credit for Experience||Placement Services||Counseling Services||University Information|
|1||University of Nebraska at Omaha||Omaha, NE||99.79||$6,750||36||49%||16:1||45%||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Accredited by Higher Learning Commission the University of Nebraska at Omaha offers more than 200 degrees. The four-year institution located in the heart of Omaha is a metropolitan university where students can earn bachelor, graduate and doctoral degrees. They service 15,000 students each year and boast an average class size of 17 students to one teacher. UNO is one of only 94 universities in the country to provide military veterans with a VA Vet Success on Campus program and a business school geared toward vets. Students have the option to earn degrees in more than 20 programs offered completely online, including six graduate degrees.
|2||Chadron State College||Chadron, NE||99.77||$5,737||24||66%||21:1||36%||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Online options include several undergraduate degree-completion programs, as well as a selection of full graduate degrees. Many courses are available in an accelerated, eight-week format, and all courses are asynchronous, meaning they don't follow a set schedule or require students to be online at a specific time. Some classes require physical textbooks, which students can order over the phone without visiting the on-campus bookstore. Students will also engage through the MyCSC web portal, and will be able to seek tech help and support all day, every day. Online classes start in the spring, summer and fall. The college is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
|3||Peru State College||Peru, NE||99.69||$5,922||18||80%||20:1||37%||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Undergraduate students can pursue bachelor's degrees across eight different fields of study completely online, with a degree-completion program available to distance learners who already earned an associate degree. There are also online options at the graduate level. All programs are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. With both eight-week and 16-week options available, students can work toward their degrees at their own pace. Incoming students can transfer up to 90 credits from an accredited college or university, and up to 66 credits from a community college or vocational school. The school also awards prior learning/life credits for non-academic endeavors.
|4||Summit Christian College||Gering, NE||99.44||$5,875||6||100%||6:1||56%||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Distance learners can choose from two different degree completion programs, both of which result in bachelor of science degrees, with either a management and ethics major or a major in leadership and ministries. There are also two certificates available for students who either already have a bachelor's degree, or who are pursuing education solely for self-improvement. Incoming distance learners can apply as many as 36 credit hours toward a BA or BS degree, 18 semester hours toward an associate degree, or 10 credits toward a certificate program. Only credits earned from online programs delivered by accredited institutions are eligible for transfer.
|5||University of Nebraska at Kearney||Kearney, NE||99.12||$6,584||12||55%||15:1||56%||No||Yes||Yes|
More than 400 individual online courses and more than 40 full degree programs are offered to distance learners through the Kearney campus of the University of Nebraska, which is a public, university that is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. More than 30 of the online programs result in graduate degrees. Prospective eCampus students are invited to participate in an online orientation, which introduces them to the resources available to distance learners, including the online writing center, web-based library services and online advising.
|6||Clarkson College||Omaha, NE||98.85||$11,664||9||59%||11:1||59%||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Clarkson College boasts an online delivery uptime of 99.99 percent and student-to-teacher ratios of roughly 25:1. Professors often respond to online student questions the same day, and always within 48 hours. Students can communicate with faculty and peers through a range of media, including their assigned school email accounts. The online campus offers a new student orientation tutorial, and distance learners can get all required books and materials through the online bookstore. The college IT desk is available to help students with technical issues. Program directors assign advisors to each online learner during the student's first semester.
|7||York College||York, NE||98.79||$16,080||6||97%||14:1||37%||No||Yes||Yes|
Undergraduate students can pursue a BBA degree or two different BS degrees completely online. There is also an MA graduate degree and a variety of general education courses available to distance learners. The college is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and maintains membership in the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. According to the school's Christian mission, all curriculum incorporates biblical teachings and spirituality. Coursework is delivered through Moodle, which is York College's online learning management system, but distance learners will also use the PantherNET system, as well as the Levitt Library.
|8||University of Nebraska-Lincoln||Lincoln, NE||98.60||$8,070||5||69%||21:1||67%||No||Yes||Yes|
There are two bachelor's degrees and two minor degrees available to distance learners through the Lincoln campus of the University of Nebraska. The University of Nebraska Online Worldwide, however, offers more than 100 programs through four different institutions. Coursework is delivered through the Blackboard learning management system, as well as through the Internet, email, CD-ROM and videoconferencing. Classes are asynchronous, and do not require students to be online at any specific time, but instead allow students to log on whenever they want, as long as they complete assignments by deadline. The school has been accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools since 1913.
|9||Bellevue University||Bellevue, NE||94.04||$6,450||118||51%||32:1||29%||Yes||No||Yes|
Online education at Bellevue University is delivered through the accelerated cohort format, which pairs students with a team of peers who share their academic and career goals, and who have chosen the same degree track. The programs are open to students who have earned an associate degree or 60 credits of coursework, which will be applied toward the 127 credits needed for completion. All cohort programs are delivered over the course of 72 weeks, and consist of three parts: foundations for professional success, major coursework requirements and Kirkpatrick signature series. The cohort format allows students to focus on just one class at a time.
|10||Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health||Omaha, NE||92.20||$13,614||21||83%||12:1||66%||No||No||Yes|
Nebraska Methodist College is a small school based in Omaha with an average enrollment of just over 1,000 students. NMC is affiliated with the Nebraska Methodist Health System and specializes in degrees in nursing and allied health. Their 22 degree programs include graduate, bachelor and certificates in areas including sonography and occupational therapy. Online courses are offered in eight, five-week modules, allowing students to complete courses in less time than they would by taking classes on campus. Programs can be completed on a full or part-time basis and are accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
|11||University of Nebraska Medical Center||Omaha, NE||86.00||$9,293||12||N/A||5:1||N/A||Yes||No||Yes|
The University of Nebraska Medical Center is the only public health sciences center in the state of Nebraska and the state's first medical college. Currently, almost half of all the medical professionals in the state graduated from one of UNMC's campuses. UNMC is made up of six colleges and two institutes across the state and enrolls nearly 4,000 students. They offer more than 40 different academic departments in various medical fields. Students have the opportunity to earn certificates, bachelor degrees, master degrees and doctoral degrees including PhD and MD. Many classes are offered online through Blackboard, an online learning tool.
|Rank||University||Location||Score||Annual Tuition||# of Online Programs||Financial Aid %||Student-Teacher Ratio||Grad Rate||Credit for Experience||Placement Services||Counseling Services||University Information|
|1||Western Nebraska Community College||Scottsbluff, NE||96.65||$2,496||15||60%||15:1||23%||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Online courses provide flexibility to students who find it difficult to attend classes on campus. Western Nebraska Community College offers online courses through its Blackboard Learning Management System. Programs include courses such as introduction to business, personal finance, microcomputer applications, project management principles, mathematics, environment science, sociology, introduction to psychology, american history and public speaking. Some programs are offered entirely online while some require a combination of online and on-site classes. Students who take online classes are required to take the introduction to online learning, an eight-week course that prepares students for the e-learning environment.
|2||Northeast Community College||Norfolk, NE||96.08||$3,030||44||38%||17:1||43%||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Taking classes online is a flexible way for students to complete their education. At Northeast Community College, the school offers different online general education as well as program courses. It offers a few online associate degree programs that allow students to begin careers in their chosen industries. These programs include business, academic transfer, accounting, behavioral science, criminal justice, social science, education elementary and general studies. The school also offers online diploma programs in business and online certificate programs in food service and dietary management. The classes are available 24/7 so that the students can complete the course at their own pace.
|3||Metropolitan Community College||Omaha, NE||96.07||$2,610||33||20%||14:1||12%||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Metropolitan Community College embraces modern education methods. The school delivers relevant education to its students through its online education initiative. The online programs offered include associate’s degrees in business management, computer technology, criminal justice, general information technology, healthcare information management systems, information technology and liberal arts. For working professionals who want to improve their career opportunities, the school also offers online certificate programs like bookkeeping, general information technology, business management, information technology, medical office, technology and microcomputer office technology. Individual online courses are also available for traditional degrees. Classes begin at regular starting dates–September, December, March and June.
|4||Mid-Plains Community College||North Platte, NE||94.38||$2,820||6||67%||9:1||34%||No||No||Yes|
At Mid-Plains Community College, students can earn a degree through the distance education initiative. Catering to working students, the online programs are designed to be flexible and accessible so students can learn at their own pace. The school offers online associate degrees in fields like criminal justice, library technical assistance and business administration. All courses allow the students to attain entry-level careers in their respective fields. Students also have the opportunity to transfer to a four-year university and pursue higher education. With the online interface, students have access to online libraries, one-on-one tutoring and get advice from a personal education advisor.
|5||Nebraska Indian Community College||Macy, NE||94.06||$4,080||20||83%||6:1||13%||Yes||No||Yes|
With its aim to provide excellent, flexible learning experiences, Nebraska Indian Community College offers online classes to students. Students can take online courses simultaneously with on-campus classes to achieve their degrees on a faster track. Some of the online classes offered by the school include accounting, microeconomics, business communications, introduction to computers, Native American literature, early childhood education, English, biochemistry, statistics and math. Admitted students can log in to the distance learning education portal to complete different requirements of the courses, and may do so at their own pace. Some courses may have in-person requirements, such as proctored tests or meetings with the teacher.
|6||Southeast Community College||Lincoln, NE||93.61||$2,689||6||47%||18:1||27%||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Rather than working on a semester basis, Southeast Community College offers online courses to students through quarterly calendar schedules–July, October, January and March. The online programs provide complete academic experience and environment to the students. Associate degree programs that are offered online by the school includes business administration, computer information technology, dental assisting, early childhood education, geographic information systems technician, human services, radiologic technology, respiratory care and surgical technology. The school also offers a food service certificate program through its online delivery system. Some of the programs require supervised practicum, during which students will go to an affiliated training institution and receive on-the-job training.
While the early days of online education saw private for-profit institutions taking center stage, today a growing number of traditional colleges in Nebraska have added online learning to their educational offerings. Students are responding positively, with an increasing number taking advantage of the convenience and flexibility offered by online programs.
The prominent provider of online learning in the public college sector is the University of Nebraska. Through its distance education portal, Online Worldwide, the university offers over 100 degrees, certificates, endorsements, and minors originating from four campuses. Three state colleges and eight community colleges also provide online education courses and other services. Over a dozen private not-for-profit colleges offer students further alternatives in online degree programs and courses, including Bellevue University and Nebraska Wesleyan University.
Omaha and Lincoln are the two biggest cities within the state and are also home to a majority of the largest colleges and universities. The following two sections offer a spotlight on college happenings in Omaha.
Students in Omaha can take advantage of undergraduate and graduate opportunities at institutions such as Metropolitan Community College and the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Also located in Omaha is Grace University, a private Christian school encompassing Grace College of the Bible, Grace College of Graduate Studies, and Grace College of Continuing Education.
Omaha’s public postsecondary institutions focus on recruiting diverse groups of students, including personnel at Offutt Air Force Base. The University of Nebraska at Omaha proudly reports that nearly one-third of its students are the first in their families to attend college. At the community college level, MCC provides easy access to education through multiple campuses, including one in Elkhorn near West Omaha. MCC also serves the community through five off-campus centers and provides courses at several local high schools. The college’s broad outreach efforts include the Gateway to College program, a high school diploma completion initiative targeting at-risk students. Part of a nationwide network, the Gateway to College program at MCC is the first of its kind in Nebraska.
The University of Nebraska system boasts numerous online and hybrid offerings in addition to opportunities available for campus-based students. The bachelor’s degree in general studies offers personalized learning in 50 areas of study. U.S. News & World Report ranked this degree among the nation’s 20 top online bachelor’s programs in 2014. UNO has a number of innovative certificates and graduate degrees available, including a master’s program in social gerontology.
Thanks to MCC, Omaha students have access to a variety of online courses and degree programs at the two-year college level. More than 40 web-based options include a variety of associate degrees as well as career certificates and certificates of achievement. MCC students can select from online degrees aimed at professional paths, including database administration or medical office management. Other online offerings focus on preparing students for the transition to four-year institutions, with degrees available in business, computer technology, general studies, and liberal arts.
For students reviewing the logistics of their college education, financial planning often tops the list of considerations. The biggest expense comes in the form of tuition, which varies according to school, location, and resident status. Tuition for Nebraska colleges is lower than in many other states, costing an average of $11,392 per year in 2012.
Prospective students should be aware that many colleges and universities also charge additional fees to cover expenses such as extracurricular activities, health services, parking, and technology. Nebraska college fees averaged approximately $1,300 in 2012, bringing the total cost of educational expenses to $12,700 per year.
Tuition and fees are the primary financial consideration for college students, but living expenses such as room and board can also make a major dent in the budget. In Nebraska, the cost of living is approximately 10 percent lower than the national average, which can make a world of difference for cash-strapped college students. Take a closer look at the cost of living (COL) for Nebraska’s major metropolitan areas compared to the national average (100%):
|Urban Area||Composite Index||Housing||Groceries||Utilities||Transportation||Health Care||Misc.|
When comparing the financial costs and benefits of a college education, future students often focus on tuition. Yet considering that college is an investment, it’s perhaps more important to think about the potential return on that investment (ROI). The list below includes the colleges in Nebraska with the highest ROI in the state, which has been calculated by averaging a graduate’s lifetime earnings and subtracting the total cost of attendance:
Students in Nebraska hoping to be eligible for any form of financial aid must select a college that is properly accredited. Accreditation means that a school or program has met a specific set of quality and educational standards, making it eligible to receive federal funding. The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (www.northcentralassociation.org) is the regional accrediting organization for Nebraska. Postsecondary institutions can have multiple accreditations, including those for specific departments or programs. In addition to holding regional accreditation, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has many programs that maintain programmatic accreditation: the Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission accredits the forensic science department.
To succeed in an online college program, students must become accustomed to a new way of interacting with course lectures and materials. They must also adapt to using the Internet and a variety of educational software programs and applications. There are countless are online tools and support services available to students in Nebraska to make distance learning easier and more effective. Below is an introductory look at the types of resources offered online and free of charge.