Wisconsin Online Colleges & Universities – Top Online Schools for 2016

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A Guide to Online Colleges in Wisconsin

Starting in 1978, the University of Wisconsin first began offering distance education programs by correspondence. In 1998, the university offered its first asynchronous online class. Today, the University of Wisconsin system provides students with the option of earning an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degree online through its eCampus. Non-degree certificate programs are also available.

Twenty two other four-year schools in Wisconsin offer online learning, through individual classes, hybrid offerings, or fully online programs. Wisconsin is home to 126 vocational schools, community colleges, and universities, making it 23rd in the country for total number of postsecondary schools and 22nd in the nation for total number of students.

To further understand the higher education options in Wisconsin, take a closer look at the educational landscape in Milwaukee, where traditional and online schools offer degree programs, technical training, and continuing education.

City in Focus: Milwaukee Colleges

Milwaukee places importance on higher education. A 2000 study from McGill University stated that Milwaukee had the 6th highest per capita student population in North America. The city is home to 12 separate colleges and universities. These colleges cover a variety of degree programs and specializations, including medical schools, art & design schools, engineering schools, and technical schools.

The largest of these is the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, located on the East side of the city. UWM offers 188 academic programs and serves more than 27,800 students.

Nearby, the Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) also features numerous educational opportunities. This state-funded school, which educates more students than any other Wisconsin college, offers 87 associate degree programs, 45 technical diploma programs, 33 certificate programs, and 25 apprenticeship programs.

For students interested in visual arts, Milwaukee is also home to the Art Institute of Wisconsin and the Milwaukee Institute for Art and Design.

Online Learning in Milwaukee

The Milwaukee college with the most online offerings is the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Approximately 25 percent of UWM students are enrolled in at least one distance course. More than 500 online and blended courses are offered by the school, as well as undergraduate and graduate degrees and certificates in fields such as communication, administrative leadership, sociology, occupational therapy, history, and computer science. Online students have access to a number of services and resources for support and guidance throughout their program.

Tuition & Cost of Living in Wisconsin

Students planning to attend college in Wisconsin should consider the cost carefully. The biggest college expense is tuition, which can vary based on location and type of school, program level, and whether or not a student is a Wisconsin resident. As of 2012, students with Wisconsin residency paid an average tuition of $13,511 per year.

Tuition and fees, however, are not the only cost in higher education. Costs for room and board, medical expenses, and transportation are also major investments. In Wisconsin, the cost of living (COL) is four percent lower than the national average. The table below provides details about the COL in the state’s metropolitan areas, compared with the national average index of 100:

Urban Area Composite Index Housing Groceries Utilities Transportation Health Care Misc.
Appleton -6.7% -18.2% -7.0% 2.3% 4.4% 4.7% -4.0%
Eau Claire -6.3% -9.5% -2.4% -15.2% 3.1% 5.5% -6.5%
Marshfield -5.8% -7.8% -4.7% -0.1% -3.2% 3.6% -8.3%
Green Bay -4.9% -16.5% -11.2% 18.6% 0.2% 5.9% -2.3%
Janesville -3.8% -8.7% -5.0% -0.7% -0.7% 3.1% -1.8%
Wausau -3.5% -10.4% 0.0% -1.6% -2.5% 1.3% -0.3%
Sheboygan 1.4% -2.5% -5.7% 17.3% 5.9% 5.5% 0.8%
Milwaukee-Waukesha 1.9% 12.7% -1.9% -1.4% -0.8% 8.1% -5.2%

Accreditation Standards in Wisconsin

Accreditation confirms that basic educational standards have been met by Wisconsin colleges, and ensures that students are eligible for federal financial aid. In Wisconsin, accreditation is evaluated and maintained by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Institutions in Wisconsin can also hold programmatic or specialized accreditation for individual colleges, departments, and programs. For example, at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, individual programs have been accredited by the American Chemical Society, the Council on Social Work Education, and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Best Online Colleges in Wisconsin for 2015-2016

Students interested in online colleges in Wisconsin have multiple options at the undergraduate or graduate levels. One of Wisconsin’s distinguishing features is its variety of vocational-tech schools, community colleges, and four-year institutions. Distance learning is also on the rise–over the past decade, private and public colleges in Wisconsin have boosted their online offerings.

Distance programs offer diverse and robust courses and allow students to work from nearly anywhere around the world. Find the Best Online Colleges in Wisconsin for 2015-2016. The following list features affordable online colleges that offer a range of programs, flexibility, and student support.

RANK COLLEGE ScoreStudent-Teacher RatioFinancial AidCost MORE INFO
1 University of Wisconsin-Superior 99.5516:188%

University of Wisconsin-Superior is located in Superior Wisconsin and associated with the University of Wisconsin. UWS offers online college classes to get a Bachelor Degree, Associate Degree, Graduate Degree Certificates, and Minor Degrees. All classes can be completed online or at one of the 14 campus of UW located in all areas of Wisconsin. You will be able to get assistance in acquiring financial aid and will be appointed a student and profession advisor so that you will have the greatest chance of success.

2 University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point 98.6721:184%

The eCampus of Wisconsin includes the all of the University of Wisconsin colleges which are UW, UW-Eau Claire, UW- Green Bay, UW-La Crosse, UW-Madison, UW-Milwaukee, UW Oshkosh, UW_Parkside, UW-Platteville, UW-River Falls, UW-Stevens Point, UW-Stout, UW-Superior and UW-Whitewater. With all these universities to choose from they offer any program you could want and all are offered through online college.

3 University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh 97.5822:183%

Founded in 1871 and located in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, the University of Wisconsin- Oshkosh campus is a public university offering Online Master's and Bachelor's programs. Bachelor's Applied Science- Fire and Emergency Response Management and Leadership and Organizational Studies, Bachelors of Liberal Studies- Leadership Development and Organizational Administration and Bachelors of science- Human Services Leadership.

4 University of Wisconsin-Whitewater 96.8021:180%

The University of Wisconsin Whitewater online programs consist of graduate and undergraduate programs. Financial aid is available for a variety of online college programs. You can choose from MS Education, Library Media, Alternative Education in the graduate programs or Business, Early Childhood Education, Political Science or Liberal Studies in the undergraduate program. With advisors available in all programs getting your degree could not be easier.

5 Viterbo University 95.7212:199%

Viterbo University is located in La Crosse, Wisconsin. They offer Associate Degrees and eight Bachelor Degrees. Viterbo was originally a school for religious sisters to become elementary school teachers. The online college courses include Bachelor Degrees in Health Care, Business Management, Information Systems, Science, Accounting and Criminal Justice. Financial aid and advisors are available.

6 University of Wisconsin-Platteville 95.2621:186%

The University of Wisconsin-Platteville offers Bachelor and Master Degrees online. It is an accredited state university and the online classes are offered in all states. UW-Platteville has served on-campus students for over 150 years and have offered distance education for over 35 years. UW-Platteville offers Master Degrees in Criminal Justice, Distance Education Leadership, Engineering, Integrated Supply Chain Management, Organizational Change Leadership, and Project Management,as well as Bachelor Degrees in Business Administration and Criminal Justice.

7 University of Wisconsin-Green Bay 92.3823:189%

The University of Wisconsin offers over 13 online sites that are connected to the different campuses. They have Bachelor Degree in all of the most wanted subjects. With financial assistance, class advisors, and assistants in the selecting the studies that will help toward the Bachelor Degree anyone wants. With over 125 years of experience in education it is easy to see why they have online students in every state. All campus and online college classes are accredited.

8 University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire 86.9920:182%

At the University of Wisconsin-Eau Clair Bachelor Degrees, Master Degrees, and over 300 non-credit courses are offered. WEC is one of the highest rated universities in Wisconsin. Eau Clair has a very wide variety of programs, financial aid assistance, online college classes, and advisors.

Search Accredited Wisconsin Online Colleges

When planning to attend school in Wisconsin, students should find a program that suits not only their academic needs, but also their financial budget. Students can search the Wisconsin online schools database below to determine what is available, filtering their results by key factors such as tuition cost, acceptance rate, accreditation, or types of programs:

Degree Level:
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Deans Talk: Inside Wisconsin’s Online Colleges

Get the inside story on how Wisconsin colleges deliver academic excellence in the digital space. We asked faculty members from colleges on our best schools list to share what makes their online programs the best. Read what representatives had to say about their distance programs:

Online Departments in Wisconsin

University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

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

UW-Green Bay offers the Interdisciplinary Studies major completely online. In addition, all UW-Green Bay students have access to approximately 75 different sections of courses online each semester, of which the majority are taught by UW-Green Bay faculty and lecturers. Online is used to provide access to place-bound and adult learners, but is also offered as an alternative learning experience for on-campus, traditional students. Our online courses provide the same academic rigor and a commitment to having full-time university faculty teach in the program.

What makes your online programs so valuable to students?

Many of the students who attend UW-Green Bay are working adults who need the flexibility and convenience of an online degree program. These students are not able to attend classes in a traditional face-to-face environment. Our students earn a nationally-recognized University of Wisconsin degree, advance their personal and professional lives and do so in the most flexible and affordable way possible. In addition, access to online classes allows traditional students to enroll in classes that may otherwise be in conflict with their schedules.

Where do you see your online programs in the next five years? Beyond?

Online programs will continue to be a part of higher education, adapting to meet new technologies. Online education will continue to grow as more traditional students continue to incorporate at least one online course into their schedules.

Great Resources for Online Students in Wisconsin

Wisconsin students seeking online degrees and professional certificates are also looking for ways to finance their education. The following list of free resources provides information on financial aid, accreditation organizations, tax-incentive college savings plans, loans, grants, and state scholarships. Get the help you need to attend college in Wisconsin.

Major Wisconsin Educational Resources