Nebraska Online Colleges & Universities – Top Online Schools

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Best Online Colleges in Nebraska

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 School Name Score Tuition & Fees #ONLINE PROGRAMS
1 University of Nebraska at Omaha 99.79 $$ 36
2 Chadron State College 99.77 $$ 24
3 Peru State College 99.69 $$ 18
4 Summit Christian College 99.44 $$ 6
5 University of Nebraska at Kearney 99.12 $$ 12
6 Clarkson College 98.85 $$$ 9
7 York College 98.79 $$$$ 6
8 University of Nebraska-Lincoln 98.60 $$ 5
9 Bellevue University 94.04 $$ 118
10 Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health 92.20 $$$ 21
11 University of Nebraska Medical Center 86.00 $$ 12
Rank School Name Score Tuition & Fees Financial Aid % #ONLINE PROGRAMS Student-teacher RatioGrad Rate
1 University of Nebraska at Omaha 99.79 $$ 49% 36 16:1 45%

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.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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2 Chadron State College 99.77 $$ 66% 24 21:1 36%

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.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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3 Peru State College 99.69 $$ 80% 18 20:1 37%

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.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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4 Summit Christian College 99.44 $$ 100% 6 6:1 56%

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.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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5 University of Nebraska at Kearney 99.12 $$ 55% 12 15:1 56%

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.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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6 Clarkson College 98.85 $$$ 59% 9 11:1 59%

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.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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7 York College 98.79 $$$$ 97% 6 14:1 37%

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.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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8 University of Nebraska-Lincoln 98.60 $$ 69% 5 21:1 67%

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.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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9 Bellevue University 94.04 $$ 51% 118 32:1 29%

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.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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10 Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health 92.20 $$$ 83% 21 12:1 66%

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.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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11 University of Nebraska Medical Center 86.00 $$ N/A 12 5:1 N/A

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.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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Guide to Online Colleges Nebraska

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.

Focus on Omaha: The College Landscape

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.

Online Learning Options in Omaha

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.

Colleges in Nebraska: Tuition, Fees & Cost of Living

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.
Omaha -11.7% -20.7% -8.0% -10.1% 0.0% -3.2% -10.3%
Hastings -6.6% -10.9% 3.7% -6.0% -12.4% -14.2% -4.4%

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:

  1. Creighton University
  2. University of Nebraska – Lincoln
  3. Clarkson College
  4. University of Nebraska – Omaha
  5. Nebraska Wesleyan University

College Accreditation

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.

Great Resources for Students of Online Colleges in Nebraska

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.