Online learning is the fastest growing mode of college education in the nation. Utah colleges have followed the trend by melding the online platform into many existing degrees and courses. In 2013, Utah was home to five 4-year schools offering distance learning programs.
Utah State University offers multiple, fully-online undergraduate degrees, graduate regular semester basis, or in a condensed flex format with a 4- or 7-week timeline. The state has degrees in post-secondary education at every level, with degrees offered by junior colleges, religious institutions, public 4-year universities and private colleges. To understand the scale of opportunities in the state, let’s start with a look at the online higher education landscape in Salt Lake City.
With 16 colleges and universities, Salt Lake City has developed a community of lifelong learners. The Brookings Institute lauds Salt Lake City for its educated residents, as 29 percent of adults in SLC have earned a college degree.
Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) has 10 campus locations in the metro region, with classes starting as early as 6:30 a.m. to provide flexibility for all students’ needs. SLCC also offers developmental education programs for students who require remedial English and math classes.
The University of Utah makes it easier for students without transportation to attend classes by offering shuttle services to nearby neighborhoods. Times Higher Education ranks the University of Utah as one of the top colleges in the world for its industry income and research facilities.
Distance learning allows students to continue their education from anywhere in the world. U of U provides fully online classes using Canvas, a cloud-based learning management system for delivering instruction and interaction among students and instructors. Exams for online courses are administered and proctored on campus.
SLCC also offers more than 200 courses online with degree plans in accounting, child development, business, nursing and culinary arts. Online students can choose between fully-online and hybrid courses to meet their schedule needs.
From online degrees to individual courses, Utah State University has offered distance learning options for more than 90 years. Students can pursue any of the eight bachelor’s or five master’s degree programs, as well as certificates and endorsements. Courses are either semester-based, condensed (4- or 7-weeks) or open entry.
Part of a huge, 120-mile corridor of continuous urban and suburban landscape, Salt Lake City enjoys a strong foundation in outdoor recreation and tourism. CNN named Salt Lake City the least stressed-out city in the country in 2014 because of its low cost of living and plentiful job opportunities. Despite the low cost of living, budgeting is still a necessity for college students in Utah. The most notable expense is tuition, which varies by state residency and by university. In-state students paid an average of $11,727 in 2012 for the school year, landing Utah at number 26 in the nation for affordability.
Living expenses must not be forgotten. The cost of living (COL) index varies by location and includes such things as housing, utilities, food and transportation. Utah enjoys one of the lower COL rates in the nation, at 8 percent below the rest of the country. Discover how Utah’s major cities and towns stack up against the national average of 100.
|Urban Area||Composite Index||Housing||Groceries||Utilities||Transportation||Health Care||Misc.|
|Salt Lake City||0.6%||8.0%||0.1%||-27.5%||2.1%||-1.2%||2.9%|
Accreditation determines whether students can receive federal or private financial aid. Accreditation is decided by a governing board that evaluates the college’s ability to meet quality standards determined by the accrediting institution, and based on professor credentials and course rigor. The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities is the regional body responsible for verifying that Utah colleges offer quality education to their students.
Institutions can also hold specialized or programmatic accreditation for individual colleges, programs or departments. At the University of Utah, more than 35 academic departments and degree programs maintain specialized accreditation from agencies and organizations such as the American Psychological Association, the National Planning Accreditation Board, ABET Engineering Accreditation Commission, and the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education.
Online programs in Utah allow students to take advantage of the same educational tools that on-campus students receive. Prospective distance learners should investigate all of the public and private online degree options in Utah when searching for an accredited, fully-online program. Based on criteria including affordability, quality, cost and flexibility, we’ve compiled a list of the Best Online Colleges in Utah for 2016-2017.
|Rank||School Name||Location||Score||Tution & Fees||# of Online Programs||More Info|
|1||Weber State University||Ogden, UT||99.78||24||
Innovation, creativity and critical thinking are encouraged and developed at Weber State University. Weber State dates back to 1889. The coed school operates as a liberal arts institution that confers more than 225 degrees and certificates. Fourteen of the school’s degrees lead to the completion of a graduate education. Most of the students enrolled at Weber State live in Utah. It’s possible to pursue academic disciplines in a wide range of fields, including math, business, technology, engineering, medicine, science and humanities.
|2||Utah State University||Logan, UT||99.76||21||
Both undergraduate and graduate degree requirements in a range of disciplines can be completed online through Utah State University. USU online includes courses aligned with traditional semester-based timelines, as well as FLEX options which allow students to choose which week their class begins (FLEX open entry), or to opt for an accelerated timeline (FLEX condensed). The Student Success Webinar Series offers 30-60 minute instructional tools to offer new study options and support tools for online students. Free online e-tutoring provides an additional student resource with live chat and email options to request assistance in a variety of subjects.
|3||Utah Valley University||Orem, UT||99.14||9||
Using Canvas as an online learning interface, Utah Valley University offers both hybrid and fully-online classes, as well as digital course content for on-campus classes. Satellite campuses increase the options for attending classes in an on-campus environment for completion of certificate programs, as well as associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees through UVU, which is accredited thorough the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. The Office of Teaching and Learning serves as an additional resource for all students, offering technical support, as well as exam proctoring for occurrences when an in-person exam is required.
|4||Stevens-Henager College||Murray, UT||98.98||21||
With locations and satellite campuses throughout Idaho and Utah, Stevens-Henager College provides a range of options for on campus undergraduate and graduate degree programs, in addition to fully online options. Offering associate degrees with an approximate completion time of 20 months and estimated completion of a bachelor’s degree in approximately 36 months, a wide range of disciplines can be applied to a careers like business management and graphic arts. Resources and advantages include tutoring and small class occupancy and many programs include texts and equipment needed to complete the program.
|5||University of Utah||Salt Lake City, UT||98.74||3||
The University of Utah offers hundreds of online classes to supplement a busy on-campus schedule, or to provide a flexible option to complete one of over 80 degree or certificate programs. Distance learning classes follow a semester-based schedule, beginning on the first day of the term and lasting for a duration of 16 weeks. Academic advisors are available for assistance with degree program questions or determining whether online learning is a good fit. With options for undergraduate or graduate degrees, as well as certificate programs, the university is accredited through the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
|6||Independence University||Salt Lake City, UT||98.68||15||
Independence University is a non-profit online education institution which offers online associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degree options with instructors available for support five days a week. Accredited through the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC),undergraduate and graduate degrees are offered in the areas of graphic arts, business, technology, and healthcare. IU offers accelerate degree programs and personalized support, as well as monthly program starts; to better facilitate a career-specific curriculum for career-focused adult learners, programs are focused on offering career placement and development resources, while classes are geared to suit career objectives without incorporating elective courses.
|7||Southern Utah University||Cedar City, UT||91.72||3||
Bringing a flexible resource for fulfilling requirements, Southern Utah University offers at least one online course in every general education category. With seven graduate degree programs, in addition to associate and bachelor’s programs, students will utilize the Canvas online learning interface to access course content and required materials. With informative in-person events, ad workshops, combined with online modules to orient each student with the Canvas interface, as well as the SUU online Help Center, the university provides diverse resources to facilitate distance learning success. Following Canvas and SUUonline on Twitter provides up-to-date information on product updates and new features.
|8||Western Governors University||Salt Lake City, UT||87.44||78||
As a fully online university founded by U.S. governors, Western Governors University is a non-profit learning institution offering flexible education options aimed towards working adults. With fully accredited bachelor’s and master’s degree programs, WGU offers student support through mentoring and personalized degree plans; the student mentor and enrollment counselor work as a team to assess student competencies, while the personalized degree plan serves as a roadmap for degree completion that is catered to student strengths, goals, and educational background. With an online library and e-textbooks, WGU provides the tools and resources needed to facilitate a fully online degree program.
|9||Midwives College of Utah||Salt Lake City, UT||86.00||3||
With a unique combination of online academic learning and hands-on clinical fieldwork, the Midwives college of Utah provides flexible options to complete a midwifery degree. Accredited by the Midwifery Education Accreditation Council, MCU offers programs to complete the associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degree programs. Student resources include mentoring and lectures from live online instructors, personal advisors to guide the education plan and process, and peer groups to foster support and engagement for distance learning students. Support and guidance for job placement and clinical preceptorship placement is also available, including a student bulletin board and recommendations for programs following graduation.
Utah boasts a multitude of fully-online 2- and 4-year institutions that grant degrees and certifications to students for multiple career paths. The customizable search tool below filters prospective online degree programs by type of degree, tuition cost and accreditation to help students find the best match for their educational goals.
|RANK||COLLEGE||Score||Student-Teacher Ratio||Financial Aid||Cost||MORE INFO|
|1||Weber State University||99.60||20:1||82%|
Weber State University, nestled in the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains in Ogden, Utah, offers two online college learning programs; semester based and self-paced. The university has 16 Online Degree & Programs to choose from including; 4 Associate Degree Programs, 6 online Bachelor Degree Programs and 3 Certificate Programs. Online college courses are not available in Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky or Minnesota.
|2||Utah State University||90.64||21:1||81%|
Home of the ?ig Blue?and located in the state of Utah, Utah State University offers programs in business, economics, engineering, liberal arts, natural resource sciences, as well as nationally ranked elementary & secondary education programs. Online programs offered at Utah State University include; 8 Associate Degree Programs, 26 Bachelor Degree Programs, 19 Master Degree Programs, 5 Minor Programs, 7 certificate programs, 4 Professional Education Licensures, 7 Professional Education Endorsements and 1 Doctorate Program.
For its online learning program, Westminster College employs a concept known as competency-based learning, which puts an emphasis on the gain of a predetermined set of knowledge, skills, and abilities, called 'competencies.' Without these competencies, a student cannot move on to the next class or level. This ensures Westminster students can demonstrate what they learn in measurable ways that can be applied in the workplace, rather than receiving a list of grades that do not specify whether a student knows how to perform a particular task or understand a particular concept related to a subject. The college's competency-based online learning programs include undergraduate and graduate level studies as well as executive education.
|4||University of Utah||88.43||13:1||64%|
Through its UOnline program, the University of Utah promotes its extensive selection of hundreds of online courses, which cover a plethora of academic subjects. There are a few areas the university focuses on more specifically and for which it offers a more robust set of courses. Students can mix online classes with on-campus classes, or they can earn a certificate or degree completely online via one of UOnline's growing list of programs. Focus areas include business, economics, nursing, psychology and social work.
|5||Southern Utah University||88.08||21:1||88%|
Founded in 1898 and located in Cedar City, Utah, Southern Utah University is the state's main institution for Science and Liberal Arts and it has an online college program. Degree Programs offered at the university include; Master of Accountancy, Masters of Arts in Arts Administration, Master of Education, Masters of Public Administration, Masters of Science in Professional Communication, Masters in Science in Sports Conditioning and Performance, Associates for Applies Science in Early Childhood Development, Bachelors of Science in General Studies, Masters of Business Administration, Bachelors of Science in Management and Associates of Applied Science- Paralegal.
|6||Western Governors University||86.92||41:1||100%|
Founded by 19 U.S. Governors in 1997 and located in the state of Utah, Western Governors University is a private, non-profit institute for education. Online courses offered at Western Governors University include; Online Teacher Licensure Degree Programs, Online Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Licensure Programs, Online Master in Education with Teacher Licensure Programs, Online Graduate Programs for Licensed Teachers, Online College of Business, Online College of Information Technology and Online College of Health Professions.
The following links are resources from the state government with key information about grants, loans, work study, GI Bill benefits, scholarships for high school students, and continuing education for Utah adults: