Best Online Schools 2022

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Updated November 28, 2022

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Online college is a great way to earn a degree. Learn more about the top online colleges and the costs of an online degree.

AffordableCollegesOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Are you ready to discover your college program?

Best Online Colleges and Universities

More than seven million college students took online classes in 2019, and nearly 3.5 million enrolled in fully online colleges. Online programs offer students a flexible, convenient way to further their education.

Online enrollees can pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in many fields. Common areas include business, healthcare, and education. Some programs require students to attend virtual classes at set meeting times. Others allow learners to complete coursework at their convenience. Most programs allow online learners to complete any in-person requirements locally.

Our list ranks the best online colleges. Prospective students can use this list to find the right fit for their budget and goals.


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AffordableCollegesOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Featured Online Programs

Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.

Why Get a College Degree Online?

Earning a degree online offers flexibility. Learners can complete coursework from anywhere while managing work and family responsibilities.

An online learning format can also save students money. Many colleges offer tuition breaks for fully online students. They may charge a flat tuition rate regardless of learners' residency.

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Colleges

How much does online college cost?

Cost varies by program and school. Students enrolled at public, in-state schools usually pay the most affordable tuition. As of August 2021, in-state tuition for an online bachelor's degree averages $38,500. Tuition averages $54,180 at out-of-state colleges.

Can I go to college online for free?

Eligible students can apply to tuition-free online colleges. Learners can also research financial aid such as scholarships and grants to lower out-of-pocket costs.

Is it cheaper to get a degree online?

Earning a degree online can help students save money since they do not need to commute to campus or relocate to attend the most affordable program. Many online programs run asynchronously. This delivery format allows students to continue working while earning their degrees.

The Best Online Schools 2022

#1 Best Online Schools 2022

University of Arkansas at Little Rock

  • Little Rock, AR
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

School Type: Public
Concentrations Available: Business, communications, criminal justice, education, health and social sciences, information sciences, interdisciplinary, writing

Accredited By: Higher Learning Commission
Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? Yes

UA Little Rock enrolls more than 9,000 students. The school offers undergraduate and graduate online college degrees at reduced tuition. UA Little Rock's online courses combine face-to-face learning with the flexibility of studying at home. Most courses post weekly deadlines for submitting work. Some classes require occasional onsite attendance.

Online learners can access the same academic resources as on-campus students. These resources include a library, academic advising, and technology support. Undergraduate applicants should submit high school transcripts and test scores. Prospective graduate students need a bachelor's degree and a 2.75 GPA or better.

Available Scholarships: Fall 2022 Scholarship: 50% off Freshman Tuition & Fees

Average Tuition
In-state
$6,495
Out-of-state
$18,750
Retention Rate
66%
Admission Rate
66%
Students Enrolled
9,581
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
54% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#2 Best Online Schools 2022

Franklin University

  • Columbus, OH
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

School Type: Private
Concentrations Available: Analytics, business, education, finance and accounting, healthcare, management, marketing and communications, nursing, public and social sciences, technology

Accredited By: Higher Learning Commission
Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? Yes

Nearly 80% of Franklin's students attend college online. The school also runs a campus in Columbus, Ohio. Learners can pursue certificates and degrees at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels.

Franklin accepts up to 94 undergraduate transfer credits and 12 graduate transfer credits. The school welcomes associate degree-holders. Graduate applicants do not submit GRE scores. Once enrolled, these degree-seekers can complete their programs in 12 months. Applications take about 20 minutes to complete.

Available Scholarships: Community College Transfer Scholarship

Average Tuition
In-state
$9,552
Out-of-state
$9,552
Retention Rate
47%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
6,031
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
80% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#3 Best Online Schools 2022

Brenau University

  • Gainesville, GA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

School Type: Private
Concentrations Available: Education, autism endorsement, human resource management, liberal studies, communication, accounting, business, finance, marketing, organizational leadership, psychology

Accredited By: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? Yes

Founded as the Georgia Baptist Female Seminary, Brenau offers more than 40 degree and certificate programs online. Options include an associate in elementary education, a bachelor's in marketing, and a doctorate in elementary education.

Classes last seven weeks. Brenau counts online students as full-time enrollees. The school offers test-optional admission. Applicants learn their acceptance status within two weeks of applying. Brenau provides discounted tuition to members of the military, their spouses, and civil servants.

Available Scholarships: The Brenau Scholars Program

Average Tuition
In-state
$29,370
Out-of-state
$29,370
Retention Rate
52%
Admission Rate
58%
Students Enrolled
2,817
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
60% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#4 Best Online Schools 2022

Franciscan University of Steubenville

  • Steubenville, OH
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

School Type: Private
Concentrations Available: Dual enrollment, theology, philosophy, management, clinical psychology, Catholic studies, education, business administration, catechetics and evangelization

Accredited By: Higher Learning Commission
Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? Yes

Founded in 1946 by Franciscan friars, Franciscan offers graduate and undergraduate online degrees. These programs help form students in the Catholic tradition. The university also offers online courses for students who want to earn college credits while still in high school.

Franciscan's online degrees include an associate in philosophy, a bachelor's in management, and a master's in Catholic studies.

Admission requirements vary by program. In general, applicants need a high school transcript with a 2.4 GPA or better. They also need either an ACT score of 21 or an SAT score of 1000. Graduate applicants need a bachelor's degree.

Available Scholarships: Chancellor's Scholarship

Average Tuition
In-state
$28,420
Out-of-state
$28,420
Retention Rate
88%
Admission Rate
77%
Students Enrolled
3,039
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
43% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#5 Best Online Schools 2022

Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis

  • Indianapolis, IN
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

School Type: Public
Concentrations Available: Applied science, business, computing and technology, design, education, general studies, health and health sciences, humanities, informatics, labor studies, library science, mathematics, music, parks and recreation, philanthropy, physical education and tourism management, public affairs and administration, public health, science, social work

Accredited By: Higher Learning Commission
Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? No

IUPUI enrolls more than 27,000 students. The school offers online programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels. Some courses run entirely online. Others require in-person campus visits. Online learners may need to participate in synchronous live video classes.

Each program establishes its own admission requirements. Undergraduate applicants may transfer up to 64 credits from community college or up to 90 credits from a four-year college or university. IUPUI follows a traditional calendar. Students can begin in the fall, spring, or summer term.

Available Scholarships: THRIVE

Average Tuition
In-state
$8,580
Out-of-state
$29,589
Retention Rate
73%
Admission Rate
81%
Students Enrolled
29,537
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
41% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#6 Best Online Schools 2022

Campbellsville University

  • Campbellsville, KY
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

School Type: Private
Concentrations Available: Business administration, criminal justice, Christian studies, education, general studies, communication, liberal arts and science, social work, nursing, English, computer science, accounting, sport management

Accredited By: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? Yes

Located in Campbellsville, Kentucky, CU began in 1906 as a Christian university. The school maintains its focus on developing Christian leaders while welcoming diverse perspectives. The school offers 71 college degrees online. Learners can also explore 13 certificates or endorsements.

Programs include a bachelor's degree in social work, a master's in justice studies, and a specialist in educational administration.

Admission requirements vary by program. CU accepts up to 72 transfer credits toward a bachelor's degree. New students can begin at one of six annual start dates.

Available Scholarships: Academic Scholarship Award

Average Tuition
In-state
$24,900
Out-of-state
$24,900
Retention Rate
68%
Admission Rate
70%
Students Enrolled
12,381
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
77% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#7 Best Online Schools 2022

Liberty University

  • Lynchburg, VA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

School Type: Private
Concentrations Available: More than 100 online programs, including business, criminal justice, education, nursing, and counseling

Accredited By: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? Yes

A Christian university located in Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty enrolls more than 100,000 students. Learners can pursue more than 100 online degrees at the associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. Liberty also offers online certificate programs. Most courses run fully online and last eight weeks.

Liberty's online college degrees cover academic disciplines such as nursing, counseling, and business. Applicants submit official transcripts. Admission requirements vary by program. Students can begin at one of eight annual start dates.

Available Scholarships: Middle America Scholarship

Average Tuition
In-state
$15,417
Out-of-state
$15,417
Retention Rate
81%
Admission Rate
51%
Students Enrolled
85,586
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
92% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#8 Best Online Schools 2022

Southern Utah University

  • Cedar City, UT
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

School Type: Public
Concentrations Available: Accounting, arts administration, business administration, communication, criminal justice, cybersecurity, education, family studies, history, interdisciplinary studies, library media, management, music education, music technology, nursing, online teaching, political science, public administration, sports conditioning and performance

Accredited By: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? Yes

Located in Cedar City, Utah, SUU began in 1897 as Branch Normal School. Learners can explore more than 140 online undergraduate degrees. SUU also offers 21 graduate and certificate programs. The school features a 19-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. SUU owns a farm and ranch in addition to its 133-acre main campus.

SUU offers online degrees in fields such as aviation administration, communication, and cybersecurity. Online students can take advantage of the Finish Line Scholarship. This award covers 100% of undergraduate learners' tuition for four semesters. Applicants can contact their admissions representative to learn program requirements.

Available Scholarships: Finish Line Scholarship

Average Tuition
In-state
$6,006
Out-of-state
$19,822
Retention Rate
74%
Admission Rate
78%
Students Enrolled
11,224
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
35% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#9 Best Online Schools 2022

City University of Seattle

  • Seattle, WA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

School Type: Private
Concentrations Available: Leadership, education, business and management, computer and information sciences, health and social sciences, project management

Accredited By: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? Yes

A nonprofit institution affiliated with the National University System, CityU offers degrees at all levels. Students can pursue their degrees online, onsite, in a hybrid format, or in a performance-based program. Online degrees include a doctorate in leadership, a bachelor's in data science, and a graduate certificate in data analytics.

New terms begin quarterly. Applicants submit all admissions documents at least 30 days prior to the quarter's start date. CityU can translate qualifying non-academic experiences into college credits. Prospective students with work or military experience should submit a prior learning assessment form.

Available Scholarships: Community College Transfer Scholarship

Average Tuition
In-state
$13,120
Out-of-state
$13,120
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
1,960
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
80% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#10 Best Online Schools 2022

Alfred University

  • Alfred, NY
  • 4 years
  • Campus

School Type:Public
Concentrations Available: Business leadership, construction management, court reporting, healthcare information, healthcare leadership, human services leadership, imaging field specialization, individualized studies

Accredited By: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Do Distance Learners Pay In-State Tuition? Yes

A career-focused college enhanced with liberal arts coursework, Alfred State offers more than 80 majors. Online college degrees include a bachelor's in business administration, a bachelor's in construction supervision, an associate in court and realtime reporting, and an RN-to-BSN program. Learners can enroll part time or full time.

Students can take advantage of online tutoring in subjects such as math, biology, and chemistry. Prospective enrollees submit an application and a postsecondary activity form. Students may begin in the summer, winter, spring, or fall semester.

Available Scholarships: Excelsior Scholarship

Average Tuition
In-state
$29,635
Out-of-state
$30,211
Retention Rate
73%
Admission Rate
62%
Students Enrolled
2,382
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
4% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

How Much Does an Online Degree Cost?

Degree costs vary by program and school. Bachelor's programs generally cost more than associate programs. Private schools usually charge more than public schools.

Students earning a bachelor's degree online pay an average of $9,350 per year in tuition and fees at public, in-state colleges, according to 2019-20 data from the National Center for Education Statistics. Learners at private colleges pay $32,770 in tuition and fees. Scholarships and grants can help enrollees pay for their degree.

Additional Online College Student Fees

Online learners should budget for additional fees, such as upgrading their internet or buying a new computer. Some online colleges charge distance-learning and graduation fees. Students also need to buy books and class materials, which cost an average of $1,240 per year.

Some online programs include on-campus components. Learners should reserve money for travel and lodging. Before choosing an online college, prospective students can ask advisors about a degree's total cost.

Available Online College Degrees

Colleges and universities offer online programs in popular fields like business, healthcare, and education. Students can pursue degrees at the associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. Online programs help build strong critical thinking and analytical skills. They also hone problem-solving, research, writing, and communication skills.

Learners pursuing an online bachelor's degree complete general education courses, major courses, and electives. Master's programs include advanced coursework and specialization options. See below for information on three common online degrees.

Online Colleges by State

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