Virginia Online Colleges & Universities – Top Online Schools for 2014

AC Online: Ranking the Most Affordable Online Colleges in Virginia

Virginia boasts what were some of the first online learning programs in the United States offered by four-year accredited online colleges. Online degree programs in Virginia cater to their students with flexible schedules and convenient admissions. And just like their on-campus counterparts, these programs offer similar tuition assistance and rigorous admissions requirements. Due to the equivalent course expectations and curriculum, online schools in Virginia also grant degrees and certifications that match those issued on-campus. Prospective students can use our list to compare Virginia online colleges. Ordered from lowest to highest tuition, each of these schools provides an excellent online education.

Click here to see our methodology.

Old Dominion University

5115 Hampton Blvd, Norfolk, Virginia 23529

Old Dominion University’s online college programs offer over 60 certificate and degree programs. ODU provides online study for an extensive number of disciplines. Pursue a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree in fields of study as diverse as Health Care, Criminal Justice, Engineering or Leadership. Online courses in some degree programs may require in-person for a practicum or internship.


Norfolk State University

700 Park Avenue, Norfolk, Virginia 23504-8000

Norfolk State University offers Bachelor of Science degrees in an online format for History, Interdisciplinary Studies and Health Service Management. Online college students can pursue a Master of Arts degree online in Teaching, Pre-Elementary Education and Urban Education. Distance learning administered through Blackboard, an online education management system, and the programs are accredited by the Southern Association for Colleges and Schools.


Virginia University of Lynchburg

2058 Garfield Ave, Lynchburg, Virginia 24501

The distance learning program at Virginia University of Lynchburg offers a number of online college degree programs for students who cannot attend on-campus classes. Pursue an associate degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences or a bachelor’s in Religious Studies, Business Administration, Organizational Management, Sociology, or Criminology. Master’s degree programs are offered in Organizational Management and Divinity.


Radford University

801 East Main Street, Radford, Virginia 24141-0672

Radford University’s College of Visual & Performing Arts offers a 100% online college program leading to a Master of Fine Arts in Design Thinking. Study design in the context of cognition, history and politics. Explore the science of design through research. Learn a teamwork approach to design management and create design solutions in a virtual studio.

Approach to Online Learning

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

The MFA in Design Thinking is Radford University’s newest 100% online program. At Radford, we approach online teaching with the student in mind. Our program is predominately taught using an asynchronous format so that individuals who work can access our course materials 24 hours, 7-days a week. Knowing that the online learner may need face-to-face contact, our faculty are always accessible. Many of the faculty in our program hold Skype sessions and use other forms of technology (e.g., Adobe Connect, Second Life, Facebook) to give students a more personalized approach to the class.

Another benefit to our program, is that it is taught by faculty who have a strong background in design, on-ground teaching, and online training. While all of our faculty have received numerous hours of training in developing, implementing, and teaching online, a strength and uniqueness to our program is that it is taught by experienced designers. Many existing programs that teach design thinking do not have seasoned designers as instructors. Furthermore, our class sizes are small which allows us to personally know our students in order to build a community of design thinking learners.


Averett University-Non-Traditional Programs

420 W Main St, Danville, Virginia 24541

Averett University-Non-Traditional Programs cater to the needs of adult learners by offering online college programs leading to associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees as well as graduate certificate. Online degree programs in Business Administration, Sociology and Criminal Justice, and Education offer the working professional a flexible schedule and allow them to build on their previous education and experience.


George Mason University

4400 University Dr, Fairfax, Virginia 22030-4444

George Mason University offers online college study for bachelor’s, master’s and graduate certificate programs among many fields of study. Complete an RN to BSN; a bachelor’s degree in Health, Wellness and Social Services, Applied Information Technology, or Technology and Innovation. Master’s degree programs include Executive MBA; Conflict Analysis and Resolution; Transportation Policy, Operation, and Logistics or Systems Engineering.


Virginia Commonwealth University

910 W Franklin St, Richmond, Virginia 23284-2512

Using a combination of current technology, Virginia Commonwealth University offers online, hybrid and video conferencing class formats for students to participate in many of its popular degree programs including bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and certificate programs. Fields of study include Allied Health Professions, Education, Engineering, Government and Public Affairs, Medicine, Nursing and Social Work.


Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

222 Burruss Hall, Blacksburg, Virginia 24061-0131

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University is committed to serving life-long learners who want to continue their education after receiving a bachelor’s degree. To that end they offer an extensive choice of master’s degree and graduate certificate programs online. Small class sizes, internationally-respected faculty and the latest online college learning tools further that goal.


Longwood University

201 High St, Farmville, Virginia 23909

Longwood University prides itself on the quality of its instruction and its student-faculty interactions. Online college classes offer the same attention to excellence. To see if online classes are right for you, Longwood offers an assessment tool and recommends that you have the technical skills, hardware and software necessary to benefit from web-based learning.


Regent University

1000 Regent University Dr, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23464

Regent University offers its online college students the opportunity to study Arts and Sciences online in a program leading to the associate or bachelor’s degree. Students at Regent receive an education grounded in Christ. Online peer mentorship, tutoring and even chapel attendance on the web or on-campus provide both educational and spiritual support to students taking classes online.


Hampton University

E Queen Street, Hampton, Virginia 23668-0099

Hampton University offers undergraduate and graduate degrees online as well as on campus. Choose from an ever-expanding list of degree options and fields of study. Attending a web-based, virtual online college campus gives you the flexibility to study anytime, and anywhere you have a computer and an Internet connection. Student support from real people sets Hampton U’s online program apart from others.


Liberty University

1971 University Blvd, Lynchburg, Virginia 24502

Liberty University, a Christian-oriented school, offers over 160 online degree programs. Students can pursue their studies from anywhere. Degrees include associate, bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and certificate programs. Business, education, criminal justice and nursing are a few of the popular areas of specialization. Some online college programs may require minimal face-to-face class time.


Bluefield College

3000 College Dr, Bluefield, Virginia 24605

Bluefield College degree programs are taught online by faculty members with academic credentials, professional experience in their subject fields, and a commitment to a Christian-based education. The school encourages military veterans to use their education benefits in pursuit of degrees in Management and Leadership, RN to BSN Nursing, Human Services and Entrepreneurship.


Marymount University

2807 N Glebe Rd, Arlington, Virginia 22207-4299

Marymount University in Arlington, Va. offers a hybrid RN to BSN nursing degree program. In addition to online college coursework, clinical or laboratory time is required. Marymount also offers a Master of Education in Administration and Supervision degree online for Catholic school administrators and an MA in Criminal Justice Administration and policy online for Criminal Justice professionals.


Averett University

420 W Main St, Danville, Virginia 24541

Averett University credentialed instructors are experienced in the latest online methods of instruction and curriculum to meet the same criteria as on-campus degree programs. The difference between taking on-campus and online college courses is the convenience of participation. Class materials are available 24/7. Pursue an associate, bachelor’s or master’s degree in Business, Nursing, or Criminal Justice.


Eastern Mennonite University

1200 Park Rd, Harrisonburg, Virginia 22802-2462

Eastern Mennonite University has been offering online college courses for over a decade in Anabaptist theology, practical ministry and church history. Study from anywhere and earn credits toward a theological degree, develop your leadership skills or just enhance your personal faith. Courses are administered through Moodle, an online class management system.


Randolph College

2500 Rivermont Ave, Lynchburg, Virginia 24503-1555

Randolph Community College offers associate degrees online in Criminal Justice, Business Administration, Accounting, Entrepreneurship, Healthcare Management, and Office Administration. Online college classes are convenient but require self-discipline. You log in at your convenience but are required to participate as would in on campus classes. The difference is that your interaction with your fellow students and instructors is virtual.


Lynchburg College

1501 Lakeside Dr, Lynchburg, Virginia 24501-3113

Lynchburg College offers a Masters in Nursing online to students holding an accredited baccalaureate degree in nursing and current unrestricted nursing licensure. Choose from one of two emphases, Clinical Nurse Leader or Nursing Education. Nurses who hold a bachelor’s degree in a major other than nursing, can pursue the MSN with the help of bridge courses.

Finding an Affordable Higher Education in Virginia

Virginia, called “Old Dominion” and “Mother of Presidents” has a great distinction that helped it earn those names. Eight United States Presidents have been born there. It is only natural that those who are in the state have a predilection towards education and knowing just how valuable it can be. With a good education, you can go anywhere, even the presidency, as the state proves repeatedly. 86.6% of those in the state have at least a high school diploma, and 34% have a bachelor’s degree or higher. 14.1% of the residents even have an advanced degree, such as a master’s degree or doctorate. While some are going to attend the traditional schools in the state, that’s not the right choice for everyone. Others are finding that affordable online schools in Virginia are more agreeable to their needs.

Pursuing a Degree in Virginia

Those who are looking for traditional schools in the state will find that there are actually quite a few despite the fact that the start is relatively small. Virginia has 50 two-year or more schools, as well as 72 four-year or more schools. These traditional schools may be ideal for some students who want the traditional method of learning and a classroom setting. However, the power of the technology the affordable online colleges in Virginia use could be an entirely different and more convenient way to get the schooling you need. The online schools today are high quality, and they are going to be able to provide you with the education that you need to earn your associate’s degree, master’s degree, bachelor’s degree and doctorate.

Benefits of Choosing Online Classes in Virginia

Why would you want to choose online courses for your schooling? Since there are traditional schools in Virginia, some people who have not fully explored their schooling options might be wondering this. Of course, looking at just some of the benefits of online schooling can show you why many people are now choosing this option. With online schools, you will find many different courses available, and you can earn degrees in business, art, computer science, criminal justice, engineering, psychology and more. You will also find that the degrees you earn through the best online schools are going to be equal to traditional degrees. In addition, the affordable online colleges in Virginia are simply going to be a more convenient option. You are going to be able to go to school and take your classes when you have the time, and you do not have to adhere to the same strict schedule you would with traditional schooling.

Saving Money with Online Education

While the brick and mortar schools might still be tempting for some, before you choose one, it is a good idea to look at just how much they are going to cost. The tuition and fees for a traditional two-year public school in Virginia are going to be $4,184. The cost of a four-year school is $9,907. You will also have to figure other costs into this number, such as the room and board. The cost of a private school is even more. For this reason, many students are looking at the affordable online colleges in Virginia instead. The online schools offer convenience and affordability.

If you are going to be attending an online school, you have to make sure that you first check into the school’s reputation and history. Does the school have a good reputation and accreditation? Without those things, you might find that the degree you earn is not worth very much. Online schooling has the potential to be great, but you have to make sure that you are working with the best schools.

Previous Rankings
AC Online: Ranking the Highest ROI Colleges in Virginia
AC Online: Ranking the Highest ROI Colleges in Virginia

There are many colleges and universities in the Commonwealth, but which ones offer lasting value on your educational investment? We’ve taken the guesswork out of it for you in creating this list of the top colleges in Virginia based on ROI (low cost tuition and fees combined with lifelong earnings of graduates). Data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Integrated Post-Secondary Education Data System (IPEDS), and the Carnegie Foundation, and's 2013 College Earnings Report all contributed to our findings. These schools should brighten your outlook:

Click here to see our methodology.
Virginia Colleges Analyzed: 173
Virginia Colleges Ranked: 28
# College Name City ROI Tuition Type Photo
1 Washington and Lee University Lexington $1,053,000 $43,362 Private not-for-profit
2 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) Blacksburg $1,037,000 $10,923 Public (In-State)
3 The College of William and Mary Williamsburg $1,036,000 $13,570 Public (In-State) The College of William & Mary
4 University of Virginia (UVA) - Main Campus Charlottesville $924,000 $12,216 Public (In-State)
5 George Mason University Fairfax $857,400 $9,620 Public (In-State)
6 James Madison University (JMU) Harrisonburg $782,900 $8,808 Public (In-State)
7 University of Mary Washington Fredericksburg $670,300 $9,306 Public (In-State)
8 University of Richmond University of Richmond $636,400 $44,210 Private not-for-profit
9 Hampton University Hampton $584,800 $19,738 Private not-for-profit
10 Old Dominion University Norfolk $584,600 $8,190 Public (In-State)
11 Shenandoah University Winchester $513,000 $28,800 Private not-for-profit Shenandoah-University
12 Marymount University - Arlington, VA Arlington $511,800 $25,178 Private not-for-profit
13 Christopher Newport University Newport News $448,600 $10,572 Public (In-State)
14 Lynchburg College Lynchburg $410,600 $32,005 Private not-for-profit
15 Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Richmond $410,200 $9,886 Public (In-State) Virginia-Commonwealth-University
16 Radford University Radford $364,600 $8,590 Public (In-State)
17 Virginia Wesleyan College (VWC) Norfolk $270,900 $30,998 Private not-for-profit
18 Bridgewater College Bridgewater $253,000 $28,000 Private not-for-profit McKINNEY
19 Longwood University Farmville $251,000 $10,890 Public (In-State)
20 Liberty University Lynchburg $237,500 $19,968 Private not-for-profit
21 Randolph College Lynchburg $235,200 $33,525 Private not-for-profit Randolph College
22 Roanoke College Salem $217,800 $34,971 Private not-for-profit
23 Averett University Danville $206,800 $25,950 Private not-for-profit
24 Norfolk State University Norfolk $196,800 $6,860 Public (In-State)
25 Eastern Mennonite University Harrisonburg $115,600 $27,970 Private not-for-profit
26 Virginia State University (VSU) Petersburg $108,600 $7,420 Public (In-State)
27 Bluefield College - Bluefield, VA Bluefield $88,770 $21,060 Private not-for-profit Bluefield-College
28 Sweet Briar College Sweet Briar $39,080 $32,325 Private not-for-profit