Online bachelor's degrees are a staple of distance learning; they're also the first step toward pursuing a graduate degree. With so many students seeking an online bachelor's, schools have developed curricula and programs to meet this demand and give students as many options as possible for their online education. The sheer volume of choices, however, can be overwhelming: various online delivery methods, multiple majors, and accelerated programs can make choosing the right online bachelor's degree program confusing or intimidating. This guide is here to help. Below we've provided a comprehensive overview of the online bachelor's degree and demystified some of the options.
While diving into program specifics, it's important to explore what online colleges have to offer. The quality of an online college may determine the quality and value of the online bachelor's program you're considering. For example, does the school have regional accreditation? This accreditation can help with financial aid. Does the college have a quality online platform? Platform type could dictate how easy it is to participate and work fully from home. There are many decisions to make and questions to answer along the way. Read on to get started.
Students exploring potential schools for their bachelor's degree should begin with these rankings. We took multiple characteristics into consideration, and identify those schools that best prepare their students for success.
To find the best colleges of 2016-17 for earning an online associate degree, our researchers and higher education experts collected and analyzed data from every accredited postsecondary institution in the United States. The goal? To see which colleges offered the most notable balances of academic rigor, program availability, student support and affordability for online learning. The specific criteria and scoring metrics for the ranking are as follows:
*PBV: is a proprietary metric that compares the cost of a program to the cost of other programs with the same (or a similar) qualitative score. It also compares the qualitative score of the program to the score of other programs with the same (or similar) cost. In short, the PBV calculation denotes the overall value – or “bang for your buck” – of an online degree.
|Rank||University||Location||Score||Annual Tuition||# of Online Programs||Financial Aid %||Student-Teacher Ratio||Grad Rate||Credit for Experience||Placement Services||Counseling Services||University Information|
|1||Judson College||Marion, AL||99.69||$15,204||14||98%||9:1||41%||yes||yes||yes||
From its home base in Marion, Alabama, Judson College has been providing degrees long before the Civil War. Recognized as one of the oldest women’s colleges in the country (though it’s now co-ed), Judson has a long and notable history of academic rigor, meaningful extracurriculars and a drive for innovation. That drive motivated the school to develop a distance learning department where students from near and far could pursue a bachelor’s degree.
As a liberal arts school, Judson offers a range of degrees for students interested in business administration, criminal justice, elementary/secondary education, interdisciplinary studies, psychology and religious studies. A number of minors are also available, the most unique being church music and ministry skills. As a Christian college, Judson students have the opportunity to combine their academic focus with other studies that contribute to their faith.
Many of the online classes are delivered via Moodlerooms, an innovative learning platform that allows students to manage their courses and engage with their professors and fellow students. Rather than offering a traditional semester-based schedule, students are given six months to complete each course. They can take the full six months or work at an accelerated pace to get through coursework—and, as a result, earn their degree—faster.
Regardless of the path chosen, all students must complete at least 128 semester hours alongside any additional requirements for their major. Aside from federal and state aid and loans, Judson also offers a number of institutional scholarships. These are awarded based on academic excellence, financial need, religious affiliation and intended major.
Distance learners are able to take advantage of many student services available to their campus-based counterparts, such as library assistance, tech help and academic advising. The College Central Network is also available to help current students and alumni find internships and jobs.
|2||The University of Alabama||Tuscaloosa, AL||98.69||$9,826||10||55%||24:1||67%||yes||yes||yes||
As the largest and oldest public research college in the state, the University of Alabama (UA) has provided degrees since 1831 and currently serves nearly 40,000 learners annually. Degrees are divided across 13 academic departments, where campus-based and online students can choose from several different programs. As of the 2018–2019 school year, online students can select from 14 bachelor’s, 42 master’s, and 8 doctoral degrees. A graduate certificate is also available.
The school offers several online bachelor’s degrees in disciplines such as education, commerce and business administration, and nursing, as well as a number of degrees in more unique or specialized fields, such as hospitality management, food and nutrition, and consumer sciences. As one of the first public schools in the nation to offer an engineering degree, UA’s engineering offerings reflect the institution’s ongoing dedication to educating future engineers. Programs available in this area include a hybrid bachelor’s in mechanical engineering, master’s degrees in aerospace engineering and mechanical engineering, and a doctoral program in aerospace engineering and mechanics.
According to the distance learning department, one of the most common questions asked by prospective online students is whether or not they’ll have access to the same levels of academic support as traditional learners. They indeed do—in addition to library services, tutoring assistance and technical support, online students can also take advantage of writing help, disability services and the student alumni association.
The University of Alabama prides itself on supporting active service and military veteran students, and that extends into the online realm. Military students who qualify can receive discounted tuition, specialized scholarships, career resources and help adjusting back to civilian life via the office of veterans affairs.
|3||Siena Heights University||Adrian, MI||98.23||$22,100||26||100%||12:1||43%||yes||yes||yes||
Founded by the Adrian Dominican Sisters nearly 100 years ago, Siena Heights University (SHU) in Adrian, Michigan continues living out its Roman Catholic heritage by graduating competent, purposeful and ethical students—according to the university’s motto. A small liberal arts Catholic university, Sienna Heights currently serves about 2,600 students working towards associate, bachelor’s, master’s and adult degree completion programs.
In recent years, the university started expanding its online learning programs to suit the needs of students near and far. As of 2018, SHU offers 15 fully online programs, 10 of which are bachelor’s degrees in various fields such as accounting, business administration, management, marketing and nursing (RN to BSN). Online undergraduate programs are conducted in flexible eight-week formats and courses are taught by full-time or adjunct faculty. Students also have the opportunity to pursue an undergraduate minor in fields such as accounting, health care management or religious studies. But the school offers online programs at other degree levels too, in various disciplines such as healthcare leadership, higher education leadership, multidisciplinary studies and business administration.
Siena Heights is especially interested in helping adult learners who already have credits from other institutions complete their degree without having to repeat courses. The multidisciplinary studies program in particular allows students to combine coursework from many different disciplines into a four-year degree. The university’s approach seems to be working—the most recent data shows a 94 percent retention rate for students enrolled in the distance education program. Part of the reason could be the successful cohort model. Rather than going it alone, a group of students enter an academic program at the same time and complete coursework and assignments together.
All online students have full access to standard support services, such as academic advising, library support, tech assistance, financial aid and career help.
|4||University of Southern Mississippi||Hattiesburg, MS||97.10||$6,980||14||76%||17:1||45%||no||yes||yes||
The University of Southern Mississippi (USM—or more commonly known as Southern Miss—has campus locations in Hattiesburg and Long Beach, Mississippi, and serves about 15,000 students. As a top public research institution, USM is constantly working to innovate its student services and academic offerings. One of the ways the university achieves this is by continually expanding its online degree offerings.
Southern Miss offers an impressive 55 online certificates, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. Most of its online bachelor’s degree can be earned entirely online, with the exception of its interdisciplinary studies and special education programs. These two bachelors consist of some on campus requirements. It also has a suite of executive format programs, which include studies in human capital development and public health. All the standard majors are available, but the school also provides degrees in areas that aren’t often available through distance learning. At the bachelor’s level, this includes studies in construction engineering, industrial engineering technology, and library and information science. Innovative courses at the graduate level include sport event security management, dyslexia therapy education, educational administration and supervision, medical laboratory science, and sport coaching education.
USM uses both Canvas and Blackboard to facilitate its online courses. Students can access 24/7 tech support for both of these learning platforms. The school also provides online students with complaint resolution services, academic advising, class scheduling assistance, an online writing center, bookstore and disability services. Potential degree seekers who want to get a better sense of what it’s like to study from a distance at USM can check out the department’s blog.
Scholarships are available for both campus and online students, provided applicants meet the stated requirements. Rather than making non-resident students pay substantially more in tuition and fees, USM allows all distance learners, regardless of location, to pay the same rate as Mississippi residents. Both undergraduate and graduate students can expect to pay $8,218 per academic year.
|5||Northern Arizona University||Flagstaff, AZ||97.00||$8,072||24||64%||18:1||49%||no||yes||yes||
Northern Arizona University (NAU) is a public school that serves more than 31,000 degree seekers— 8,000 of whom take advantage of the ever-expanding NAU Online program. Students without easy access to the Flagstaff or Yuma campuses need not worry—NAU offers 44 bachelor’s degrees, 23 master’s degrees and 19 graduate certificates that can be completed fully online. At the bachelor’s degree level, some examples of programs that are available 100 percent online or in a blended format are the BA in Administration, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, BS in Hotel & Restaurant Management, BS in Parks and Recreation Management and BS in Computer Information Technology.
One of the unique aspects of completing a degree at NAU is its competency-based learning. Rather than spending a predetermined amount of time learning a topic, students demonstrate they understand a specific competency before they can move on to the next. This self-paced option allows students to cover materials in ways best suited to their learning style while also receiving one-to-one guidance along the way from a faculty mentor. Students also pay a flat tuition rate known as a subscription that allows them to take as many classes as they can during that time frame. There are also no additional fees or textbook costs for this style of learning.
Though academic excellence is at the heart of NAU’s mission, the school is also committed to ensuring that money isn’t a barrier to higher education. The school provides more than $325 million in scholarships, grants and other forms of financial aid each academic year. As a member of the Western Undergraduate Exchange, students living in one of the 14 participating states, Guam or the Northern Mariana Islands pay 40 percent less than the standard out-of-state tuition rate. NAU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
|6||King University||Bristol, TN||96.84||$24,316||13||86%||16:1||52%||yes||yes||yes||
King University (originally King College) is a Presbyterian-affiliated Christian college that’s accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Since first debuting King University Online, the department has continued to expand its available distance learning programs. Today, the school offers 12 online bachelor’s degrees in fields such as English, psychology, information technology, religious studies and healthcare administration. Distance learners seeking advanced educations can take advantage of an online MBA as well as programs in instructional leadership and nursing.
King University is particularly popular with online students who want to graduate as quickly as possible. A number of programs are made available in an accelerated format, and some students are able to complete all major coursework for bachelor’s degrees in as few as 16 months. And because classes are offered year-round, motivated students don’t have to take time off during the summer. King University is also known as a transfer-friendly school, allowing newly-admitted students to transfer up to 76 credits from an accredited college. However, transfer applicants must have earned at least a C- in prior college-level courses and still complete at least 50 credit hours at King University.
Aside from offering one of the lowest tuition rates for any private online institution in the country, King also offers a number of institutional scholarships and grants to further help offset tuition and fees. As a school that values active military and veterans, students who fall into these categories pay a reduced tuition rate of just $250 per credit hour.
Supporting students is at the heart of King’s mission, and one of the ways the school accomplishes that is by providing excellent resources. Each student receives one-to-one academic advising each semester, as well as tutoring, writing support, career services and tech support whenever needed.
|7||Colorado Christian University||Lakewood, CO||96.83||$20,435||12||98%||15:1||36%||yes||yes||yes||
Located in the Denver suburb of Lakewood, Colorado Christian University (CCU) is an interdenominational Christian college that serves more than 8,100 students at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The school maintains a retention rate of 93 percent - thanks in part to its student-to-faculty ratio of 15-to-1.
Because CCU is a well-respected institution, there are lots of students who want to complete a degree there but don’t have easy access to Colorado. To ensure every learner has the opportunity to attend, the institution provides 61 associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees fully online through CCU Online. These distance learning programs are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Some examples of available online bachelor’s degrees include BA in Communication Studies, BS in Criminal Justice, BA in Early Childhood Education, BS in Human Resource Management and Nursing (RN to BSN). Students who aspire to work in the ministry can choose from programs in biblical studies, organizational management in Christian leadership, psychology with an emphasis in biblical studies or theological studies. Undergraduate online certificates are also available. Those who have specific questions about the school’s online bachelor’s degrees can visit their FAQ page or contact a CCU enrollment counselor.
Recognizing that many online students have to balance professional and personal responsibilities with their academics, CCU provides a streamlined distance learning program that focuses on one class at a time via the learning management platform Blackboard. Each class lasts just five to 10 weeks, meaning it’s possible to graduate more quickly compared to the traditional semester-based schedule. All courses are taught asynchronously. Students can study from any location with an internet connection without worrying about logging in at specific times to listen to a live lecture. Adult students with prior work/life experience may also be able to receive prior learning credits to lessen the number of required courses for graduation.
Colorado Christian maintains a sizable endowment and is therefore able to offer numerous scholarships and grants to offset the cost of getting a degree from a private college.
|8||University of Illinois at Springfield||Springfield, IL||96.83||$9,265||10||89%||14:1||43%||yes||yes||yes||
The University of Illinois at Springfield (UIS) provides undergraduate and graduate degrees to 4,700 students annually - 900 of whom are enrolled via distance education. As a member of the University of Illinois System, UIS has a significant endowment and many resources that are passed on to both traditional and online students.
UIS offers 12 online degree completion programs at the bachelor’s degree level in a range of disciplines, from business administration to mathematics to philosophy. It also offers on online minor in teacher education, secondary education. As of August 18, 2017, UIS was in the final months of reaffirming its accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). For the most up-to-date information on the school’s accreditation status, please visit it’s accreditation page.
UIS is committed to ensuring distance learners have access to all the same opportunities as their peers studying at the brick-and-mortar campus. In addition to providing an orientation to online learning, the institution also offers 24/7 help with the Blackboard learning management platform and assistance in areas of choosing a major, receiving tutoring, using disability services and retrieving materials from the library. The department maintains an active YouTube channel with lots of information for prospective and current online undergraduate students.
To ensure that students who completed their first two years of education at a community college don’t have to repeat courses, UIS maintains a number of transfer agreements with two-year schools. Financial aid is important at UIS. Scholarships and grants awarded directly by UIS are typically available based on need, merit or specific academic disciplines.
|9||Davenport University||Grand Rapids, MI||96.37||$14,472||21||92%||11:1||42%||yes||yes||yes||
In addition to its 12 campuses located throughout the state of Michigan, Davenport University (DU) also has a thriving online student body. Of the 80 degree programs offered at the various campuses, students enrolled via distance education can take advantage of more than 50 of them, completely online.
When it comes to bachelor’s degrees, online students have several options, such as international business, sport management, finance, cyber defense, health services administration, nursing completion and medical case management. Post-baccalaureate certificates are also available. Examples of subject areas include global project management, risk management and insurance, and human resource management. All new and current students who live out of state and are pursuing a bachelor’s degree fully online at DU receive a 33 percent tuition discount. The same holds true for online learners working towards their associate degree.
DU Online aims to be an innovator in online education. Its programs are offered in various growing fields to help distance learning students qualify for the most in-demand careers. Experiential learning and internship opportunities are built into many of its programs in a way that allows students to participate anywhere in the country. And those with military and/or relevant professional experience can receive credit for their skills and knowledge.
Degree seekers interested in gaining a scholarship or grant to reduce the costs of their degree should familiarize themselves with the Davenport Foundation, which is responsible for overseeing the disbursement of all funds within these categories. Scholarships are awarded based on specific campuses, meaning those who are enrolled via the global campus don’t have to complete with campus-based peers for funding. As a Yellow Ribbon school, students who are currently or were previously members of the U.S. Armed Forces are eligible to receive tuition discounts.
|10||Saint Leo University||Saint Leo, FL||96.26||$19,740||22||99%||15:1||46%||yes||yes||yes||
As the first Roman Catholic school in Florida and one of the five largest in the whole country, Saint Leo University takes its religious heritage seriously while also being fully committed to academic excellence. The school has been known as an innovator since its 1889 inception and proved that by becoming one of the first universities to offer distance learning. What started as a mission to offer educational paths to active service members in 1973 has expanded into a thriving online education department.
Uniquely focused on serving the needs of adult students, SLU’s global campus is staffed with faculty members who have the academic training and real-world experience needed to guide degree seekers through the coursework and help them be competitive in the job market upon graduation. Undergraduate and graduate degree options currently total 67 programs in areas ranging from creative writing and emergency/disaster management to developmental psychology and social work. There are 22 bachelor’s programs on offer, all of which can be taken entirely online, and many that can be taken both on campus or online. Each of these programs is available with numerous paths to graduation to suit the need of both students who want to progress through the program on a part-time basis and those who are looking for an accelerated path.
Because Saint Leo’s online campus is one of the oldest in the nation, its student services extend well beyond those offered by institutions that are just delving into distance education. In addition to providing advising and career services, the department of student life is home to an impressive array of online clubs and associations. Some of these include the Pacioli online accounting club, psychology association, student peer mentoring club, and the criminal justice association. Each has specific meeting times and is facilitated via a virtual meeting room. Students can also take part in virtual open houses, view regular social media posts from the department, and receive assistance with coordinating graduation.
|11||Wayland Baptist University||Plainview, TX||96.15||$11,880||14||91%||10:1||33%||yes||yes||yes||
As one of the oldest Christian colleges in Texas, Wayland Baptist University offers students a range of programs through nine academic schools. The college has a home campus in Plainview, Texas, with additional campuses around Texas and in Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Alaska, and Hawaii. Wayland Baptist also has a full degree program in Kenya, Africa, and programs on 21 military bases. On these various Wayland Baptist campuses, students can choose to participate in community-specific service projects, connecting and giving back to local populations. The college’s emphasis on service includes a commitment to green initiatives and environmental stewardship.
Military students may apply their professional and technical training towards college credits through the Applied Science Program, where previous work experiences, training, and trade school credits can contribute to the requirements for a technical degree. This program is available on 15 of Wayland Baptist campuses and through the college’s online degree programs. Students can also earn certain undergraduate, masters, and doctorate degrees through distance learning programs. The college offers online undergraduate majors that range from business administration, to Christian ministry, to psychology. There are over 100 bachelor degree programs on offer. It is also possible to earn a degree through a hybrid program of online and on campus classes, or to complete a degree at Wayland Baptist online, or through the college’s evening and weekend classes. Law enforcement personnel and their families can earn a scholarship as full-time students working to earn their undergraduate or graduate degrees, either on campus or through online classes.
All students and alumni of Wayland Baptist have access to a web-based career planning service. This service, called MyPlan, can help students choose a major or a career path. There are short video overviews of potential jobs available for certain degrees or certifications, and resources to match students with their ideal career. Counselors through this service can also help guide students to achieve their academic and professional goals.
|12||University of Toledo||Toledo, OH||95.95||$8,052||11||89%||20:1||46%||yes||yes||yes||
The University of Toledo offers nationally-ranked programs in the fields of business, engineering, law, and occupational therapy. The college has a commitment to academic research with an emphasis on environmental studies around water quality, as the Ohio college campus is close to Lake Erie. Students interested in earning an online undergraduate degree at this college will find dozens of possible majors in the field of business and management, and can pursue degrees in engineering, healthcare and medicine, law, science and mathematics, social sciences, and education. Online students can also design their own degrees through the college’s individualized degree program, which prepares students for graduate school or for careers in arts and nonprofit organizations, corporations, and government agencies. Through some online undergraduate degree programs, students can earn their degree in two years or less.
The University of Toledo participates in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA), which allows students from approved states to enroll in online degree programs that include internships, field experiences, and clinical placements in their home state. The only state that does not participate in NC-SARA is California; students in all other states can earn their degree through the University of Toledo’s online programs while gaining practical experience in their own communities.
The University of Toledo Medical Center is a teaching hospital connected with the college and the only medical center in Ohio to be recognized as a “Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality” by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. The hospital provides primary care, behavioral health, surgical services, and specialty care for the Toledo, Ohio community and the surrounding area. Healthcare and nursing students attending the University of Toledo can gain clinical experience through health-science research and education programs at the hospital.
All students on campus and online have access to Rocket Solution Central, an online portal that helps students with online processes such as registering for or dropping classes, paying bills, applying for student aid, getting transcripts, and troubleshooting student account issues.
|13||Troy University||Troy, AL||95.85||$6,528||14||54%||15:1||36%||yes||yes||yes||
Active members of the US military can enroll in a strong, flexible degree program at Troy University, which has been serving military students for over 60 years. Troy’s undergraduate online programs engage students in online discussions, assessments, and collaborative opportunities with their peers and professors over the course of their college careers. The college offers undergraduate degrees that range from criminal justice to global business. Online classes at Troy last nine weeks and have flexible hours, as the military students enrolled at Troy may not be able to keep to a set schedule, or even a set location, as they are deployed around the US or around the globe. The college has five campuses in its home state of Alabama, but to assist students attending classes online, Troy has service centers in Georgia, Florida, Texas, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee. The college also operates on several military bases nationally and internationally. Courses travel with students from one Troy location to another.
Troy’s ACCELERATE program allows high school students to enroll in online college classes and earn general education credits to help them earn their undergraduate degree more quickly. Online course credits are designed to transfer to any university. Students who choose to earn their degree fully online are supported throughout their academic careers, from the first self-assessments to make sure they are prepared for the technology aspect of online learning, to the in-person help available at Troy’s service centers. Enrolled students also have access to Trojan Cafe, an online networking site that provides academic, social, and professional resources as well as community engagement for remote learners. Online students have access to several merit- and need-based scholarships. Throughout college courses and career choices, Troy students and alumni can access the college’s career services, including networking opportunities, job postings, and visa or work permit advice.
|14||Midway University||Midway, KY||95.84||$22,000||18||86%||15:1||48%||yes||yes||yes||
With a campus set in rural Kentucky’s horse country, Midway University offers students career-focused majors and a set of values based on the Christian church, though students of all faiths are welcome to attend. On-campus students can enroll in a degree program focused on equine studies, either to engage with the regional sport or to continue with graduate school in equine science.
Students who enroll in Midway’s online degree programs are assigned an advisor who helps them plan their academic and career path, including any minors a student chooses to take on. At the bachelor’s degree level, most of Midway’s online programs are within the field of education. But students can also earn online bachelor’s degrees in business, marketing, criminal justice, psychology and healthcare administration. The college is only authorized to provide online education in certain states, and some states do not accept certain programs, particularly those that require practical experience. Courses run for four, six or eight weeks, and taking two courses or more per term qualifies students for need-based financial aid. It is possible to earn up to 21 credits for prior learning or professional experience if students are able to prove their knowledge through transfer credit from another educational institution, military credit, credit from a workshop or program approved by the American Council of Education, or an exam or portfolio assessment.
Students who enroll in the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) and then wish to transfer to Midway can apply 30 hours of their previous credits towards an associate degree and 80 hours towards a bachelor’s degree. Midway offers KCTCS students a $1,000 scholarship if they graduated with an associate degree and a minimum of 3.0 GPA. Current students and alumni at Midway have access to the Student Career Services center, which has a job board that may also lead to internships or graduate school.
|15||Fort Hays State University||Hays, KS||95.79||$3,450||22||74%||16:1||44%||no||yes||yes||
Founded in 1902, Fort Hays State University (FHSU) is a public co-educational university located in Hays, Kansas. FHSU is institutionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, educates just over 15,000 total students and offers over 30 fully accredited bachelor’s degree programs in subjects such as Technology Leadership, Nursing, Human Health and Performance, Finance and Agricultural Business. For students who have a bit of trouble choosing a major, FHSU offers its Bachelor of General Studies (BGS) degree, which effectively allows students to choose their own major. A BGS degree is intended for students who know exactly what career they want to pursue and would like to tailor their learning to most effectively prepare them for their chosen profession.
While FHSU encourages its students to enjoy learning and living on campus, it understands the need for distance education options. To meet this need, FHSU provides the Virtual College, with more than 50 online degrees available. Unlike many other schools where the online offerings are relatively sparse compared to traditional degree programs, FHSU’s Virtual College has basically the same bachelor’s degree programs available online as on campus.
FHSU has several programs to accommodate a variety of incoming first year students. For example, students who are a little nervous or unsure about college life can take part in the First Year Experience (FYE) program. FYE is designed to help students adjust to both college living and learning. Students with exceptional academics are encouraged to apply for the Honors College. Here, honor students receive a host of benefits, including access to enhanced courses, priority enrollment, additional opportunities for research, greater chances to receive academic scholarships, leadership opportunities, peer mentorship and exclusive on campus housing choices. Both high school seniors and transfers students are encouraged to apply to the Honors College. Basic eligibility requirements include a minimum cumulative GPA of a 3.5 and at least a 28 on the ACT.
|16||Lakeland College||Plymouth, WI||95.52||$23,050||10||100%||15:1||51%||no||yes||yes||
Lakeland College, now known as Lakeland University, is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the United Church of Christ. Founded in 1862, Lakeland University started out as a simple group of buildings with no running water or electricity. Today, it has grown to a university offering undergraduate and graduate programs to almost 3,500 students.
Despite its relative small size, Lakeland University offers several dozen majors and minors at the bachelor’s degree level, including accounting, aviation, business administration, computer science, hospitality management, psychology and studio art. Most of these are available at multiple Lakeland University campuses, such as those in Sheboygan, Madison, Green Bay and Chippewa Falls. As if having campuses all over the state of Wisconsin wasn’t enough, most classes in these and many other majors are also available online through the BlendEd instructional format. With BlendEd, students sign up for a traditional course and can attend classes on campus. However, if they choose to attend a class online, they can participate remotely in a live in class or “attend” the class later at a time that’s more convenient for them.
Lakeland University also has two notable programs for its undergraduate students. First is the Honors Program, where incoming freshmen form a cohort of around 20 students. This group will take all of their freshman courses together. But starting their sophomore year, each student will have the ability to choose their own plan of study. The program ends with a senior project on a topic of the student’s choosing. Acceptance into the Honors Program is competitive and only students with at least a 3.25 cumulative GPA or a score of 24 or higher on the ACT are eligible to apply. The second special program is LURE, which stands for Lakeland University Research Experience. As its name implies, students gets to pursue their scientific research interests. The program lasts 10 weeks over the summer and allows students to work under the supervision of a faculty member to design and conduct research for future publication.
|17||Amridge University||Montgomery, AL||95.52||$6,000||11||100%||10:1||67%||yes||no||yes||
Founded in 1967, Amridge University is a very small private school, with a total enrollment well under 1,000 students. It is institutionally accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and prides itself on its flexible learning options; the school is proud of its online learning options, in particular. Amridge University has plenty of experience providing college instruction in an online format, as it has been doing so since 1993.
Amridge University offers in excess of 30 online programs, including eight bachelor’s degree offerings in business administration, human resources leadership, information systems management, criminal justice, human development, management, biblical studies and ministry/Bible studies. The Amridge University distance learning curriculum was specifically designed for the adult student, who may be juggling various work, family and academic responsibilities. Therefore, the majority of the course instruction is asynchronous to allow students to learn on their own schedule.
Amridge delivers its online course instruction through the Canvas learning management system. Each of these degrees requires the completion of 128 semester hours. All degree programs will include 40 semester hours of general education, with the remaining 88 semester hours split among program specific courses and electives. However, depending on the program, students may need to take either 40 or 60 semester hours in program specific coursework. Regardless of a student’s bachelor’s degree program of choice, they will have the opportunity to take at least 28 semester credits as electives, providing ample opportunity for all students to explore their academic topic of choice.
When it comes to paying for a degree from Amridge University, most students should be eligible for a variety of academic financial assistance. In fact, over 90 percent of its student body will receive some form of federal financial aid. Additionally, Amridge University provides special scholarships and discounts for certain types of students, including those in the military, students attending college for the first time, homeschool graduates and first responders. There is also a waiver of the $50 admissions fee for qualified first responders and law enforcement officers.
|18||The University of Texas of the Permian Basin||Odessa, TX||95.51||$4,029||11||88%||20:1||27%||no||yes||yes||
The University of Texas of the Permian Basin (UTPB) is the only university named after a geological formation. However, unlike the Permian Basin for which it is named, UTPB is relatively new, founded in 1969. Today it educates over 7,000 students and holds institutional accreditation from the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Comprised of five colleges, UTPB offers over 45 programs, including 35 undergraduate degree offerings. Bachelor’s degrees are available in areas such as kinesiology, business, chemistry, drama, geology, petroleum engineering and Spanish. To help students obtain their college degree faster, UTPB offers several programs. First, there’s the UTPB Dual Credit Academy, where students can earn college and high school credit at the same time. Eligible students can complete up to 30 college credits before stepping foot on UTPB’s campus.
Next, there are UTPB’s online programs, which are available at the undergraduate, graduate and certificate level. UTPB’s bachelor’s offerings include degrees in child and family studies, communications, humanities, psychology and sociology, to name a few. The coursework is asynchronous, which allows students to attend class and complete assignments when it’s most convenient for them. To add additional flexibility, courses last between seven and eight weeks and students have up to six start dates throughout the year to choose when to begin their coursework.
To help students reach their potential, UTPB has a variety of programs to enhance the educational experience. One is the Honors Program, which provides additional assistance and one-on-one guidance for students so they can reach their academic and professional goals. To be eligible for acceptance into the Honors Program, students must have at least a 3.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale and have scored at least a 1100 on the SAT or 24 on the ACT. Students will be automatically accepted if they are a National or Hispanic Merit Scholar or have their International Baccalaureate degree.
|19||Hampton University||Hampton, VA||95.48||$19,548||17||60%||9:1||68%||yes||yes||yes||
Founded in 1868, Hampton University has a long and storied history of educating students. In fact, Hampton University’s origins can be traced back to teaching freed slaves shortly after the American Civil War. Today, Hampton University is a private historically black university with over 4,500 total students. It is accredited at the institutional level by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Seven schools make up Hampton University, which offers a plethora of various programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Students seeking a bachelor’s degree can choose from programs in subjects including nursing, accounting, business administration, aviation computer science, electrical engineering, fine and performing arts, biology and public relations, just to name a few. For those who already have a degree or professional career, Hampton University offers University College which provides continuing education and professional development courses for adults.
One of Hampton University’s more recent academic offerings is Hampton U Online, where students can choose among more than 25 undergraduate, graduate and professional development courses. The greatest number of offerings can be found at the bachelor’s degree level and include programs in general studies, aviation management, nursing and systems organization and management. The online curriculum is delivered asynchronously through Blackboard, allowing students to attend their classes at a time that’s most convenient for them. Except for assignment deadlines, course requirements can be completed at the student’s chosen pace. Students should note that a few online courses and programs will have some on campus requirements.
Online students have ample opportunity to receive credit for prior knowledge. Current and former military personnel who have at least two years of service are eligible to have some of their military training and experience translate into academic credit. These credits are transferred based on the American Council on Education standards. Students may also participate in College Level Examination Program (CLEP) to receive college credit.
|20||Campbellsville University||Campbellsville, KY||95.45||$22,342||10||97%||13:1||41%||yes||yes||yes||
Campbellsville University is a liberal arts Christian university that has been educating students since 1906. Although based in Campbellsville, Kentucky, it also has several other instructional sites in locations such as Elizabethtown, Owensboro and Summersville in Kentucky; and Costa Mesa in California. Campbellsville University offers a variety of certificate, associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees to its approximately 4,500 students. The school is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Students interested in earning a bachelor’s degree have over 50 programs to choose from. A sample of available programs includes art and design, biblical studies, biology, business administration, education, economics, history, international studies, nursing and sport management. The majority of these bachelor’s degrees require 120 credit hours for completion, with roughly one-third of these credits consisting of general education requirements.
A few bachelor’s degree programs are also available online, including social work, business administration, criminal justice administration, general business, leadership and missions, pastoral ministries and nursing. Many of these programs are fully online, with no on campus requirements. Campbellsville University’s online course delivery system is Moodle; in addition to being the central hub for online student learning, Moodle also contains informational resources and troubleshooting assistance for students. Much of the online coursework is available for later viewing, allowing online students the maximum amount of flexibility to complete their course requirements while meeting other family and professional obligations.
To be admitted into Campbellsville University’s undergraduate programs, applicants must complete an application and submit their SAT or ACT test scores. This test score requirement may be waived if the student is transferring from another school and has at least 24 transfer credit hours. Campbellsville University is especially friendly to military students, providing a reduced tuition rate and special resources dedicated to their needs.
|21||Chaminade University of Honolulu||Honolulu, HI||95.44||$20,810||10||98%||11:1||38%||yes||yes||yes||
First established in 1955, Chaminade University of Honolulu (CUH) is the only university affiliated with the Catholic Church in the state of Hawaii. CUH is also one of only three Marianist postsecondary schools in the United States. CUH has been accredited since 1960 and currently has its institutional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
Besides its religious oriented education traditions, the student population of just over 2,400 means CUH can provide strongly student focused instruction. This results in a student-to-faculty ratio of just 11- to-one and an average class size of less than 20 students.
CUH offers almost 30 degree programs spread out over six schools and divisions. Of these degree programs, more than 20 are offered at the undergraduate level. For students looking to earn a bachelor’s degree, they can choose from programs such as early childhood education, biochemistry, psychology, forensic sciences, social studies, environmental and interior design, nursing and accounting.
CUH also has a robust online learning program called PACE, or Professional and Continuing Education. PACE has undergraduate, military, graduate, certificate and nondegree programs available. All of the undergraduate online programs are 100 percent online, with courses lasting 10 weeks. Students also have the option of enrolling in any one of the four start dates throughout the year.
One especially unique feature about CUH is its Four-Year Graduation Guarantee. Available to on campus students who enter CUH in the fall terms, this guarantee promises that students will graduate within four years with a bachelor’s degree. If they don’t, CUH promises that there will be no additional cost for the necessary coursework to complete their degree. In return, students must promise to meet certain basic guidelines, which any student wishing to graduate in four years with a bachelor’s degree will likely be doing anyway. Some of these guidelines include meeting with a faculty advisor, completing at least 30 credit hours of coursework each academic year and maintaining satisfactory academic progress.
|22||Arkansas State University-Main Campus||Jonesboro, AR||95.33||$5,760||11||69%||17:1||36%||no||yes||yes||
With one of the largest campuses in the state and a student body of over 14,000 students, Arkansas State University (ASU) is the flagship institution for the Arkansas State University System. Despite its large size, it boasts small classes, with an average class size of 29 students and a student-to-faculty-ratio of 17-to-1. Established in 1909, ASU has multiple campuses and instructional sites across the state and even one in Mexico. However, ASU’s main campus is in Jonesboro, the fifth largest city in Arkansas.
The Higher Learning Commission North Central Association is the institutional accreditor of ASU. It also has various programmatic accreditations for numerous undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs spread across seven colleges. At the bachelor’s level, students can choose from among more than 70 degree programs and even more minors. ASU offers the typical college majors you might find at a major state university, such as nursing, mechanical engineering, marketing and computer science. But it also offers some less well-known degrees, including plant and soil science, health promotion, world language and cultures, biotechnology and strategic communications.
ASU has a robust online presence and numerous online options available for students—it was also one of the first schools in Arkansas to do so. Known as A-State Online, ASU’s distance learning program offers more than 25 degree options, including nine bachelor’s degrees in strategic communication, nursing, general studies, sociology, political science, disaster preparedness and emergency management, communication studies, applied science and criminology. Most of these require 120 credit hours for completion and some can be completed 100 percent online. Transfer students may be able to complete their respective ASU degree with fewer credits, as ASU has a generous online transfer policy that allows up to 90 transfer credits. All online programs are primarily delivered asynchronously, to allow students to complete their online coursework anytime and anywhere there’s an internet connection.
|23||Washburn University||Topeka, KS||95.07||$5,952||10||64%||13:1||37%||no||yes||yes||
Washburn University has an extensive history that dates back to 1865. Today, it educates roughly 7,500 students across more than 200 academic programs. Despite its large size and diverse course offerings across graduate and undergraduate levels, Washburn University students receive maximum attention from faculty members. For example, no classes are taught by graduate teaching assistants and students enjoy a student-to-faculty ratio of 15-to-1. In fact, 40 percent of undergraduate courses have fewer than 20 students.
Washburn University receives its institutional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission: A Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Even though Washburn University is a public school located in Kansas, students from Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma or Texas will receive in-state status when it comes to tuition rates.
Students seeking a bachelor’s degree can choose from a large number of programs in areas such as nursing, mass media, forensic chemical science, elementary education, sociology, international business, religious studies and computational physics. Regardless of their chosen area of study, students will receive a well-rounded education that should help provide the skills and knowledge necessary for the best chances of future success. Before graduating, students must complete an array of coursework across multiple disciplines that will provide skills in communication, quantitative and scientific reasoning and literacy, information and technology literacy, creative and critical thinking, ethics, diversity and global citizenship.
When it comes to online learning, students have several options provided through the Desire2Learn learning management system. While Washburn University does not have an online bachelor’s degree program, it does provide for various distance learning opportunities for professionals, high school students looking for college credit (through the Concurrent Enrollment Program), individuals 60 years of age and older who want to audit courses without paying tuition and those seeking a graduate degree. Additionally, students in a traditional bachelor’s degree program will have the opportunity to take some individual courses online during their tenure at Washburn University.
|24||Anderson University||Anderson, SC||95.01||$21,660||13||99%||16:1||41%||no||yes||yes||
Located in the Upstate of South Carolina, Anderson University began in 1911 as an all-women’s Christian college. Today, it maintains its religious roots but accepts both male and female students. Anderson University offers roughly 40 majors and more than 30 minors to a 3,400 strong student body.
Anderson University is accredited at the institutional level by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and offers many bachelor’s degree options. A sample of some of the areas of study available include: nursing, art, biology, creative writing, business, homeland security and emergency services, psychology and theater. Regardless of degree program or major, students will need to complete the University Core Curriculum. Based on Anderson University’s Christian philosophies and liberal arts background, the University Core Curriculum consists of 18 Common Learning Goals that are achieved through 41 credit hours of coursework. By completing these Common Learning Goals, students will earn skills and knowledge in areas such as information literacy, critical thinking, moral reasoning, written and oral communication, intercultural awareness and global citizenship.
One of Anderson University’s points of pride is its use of technology to improve student learning. This is readily apparent in two areas. First, Anderson University has integrated Apple iPads and mobile apps into the classroom. All full-time on campus students will receive an iPad, which they and their professors can use to enhance their learning experience. Second, Anderson University offers robust online options for undergraduate and graduate degrees through AU Online, all taken through the popular Canvas learning platform. At the bachelor’s level, students can choose from among 16 programs that are completely or almost totally online, such as business administration, criminal justice, human services, liberal studies and organizational leadership. Anderson University also offers a variety of online blended degree programs, but those are exclusive to graduate level degree pathways.
|25||Dickinson State University||Dickinson, ND||94.97||$4,891||19||60%||10:1||38%||yes||yes||yes||
Starting with a class of only 100 aspiring teachers, the Dickinson Normal School launched in 1916. By 1931, the school had begun offering four-year degrees. In 1963, the institution became Dickinson State College. As the curriculum and offerings continued to broaden, the school received university status in 1987. Today, Dickinson State University offers 40 bachelor’s programs, four associate programs, three completion programs and three certificates. Classes can be taken at campuses in Dickinson, Williston, Bismarck and online.
Those who choose to study at DSU can take advantage of degree programs in numerous fields of study at the bachelor’s level, including fine and performing arts, health and physical education, business and entrepreneurship, language and literature, agriculture and technical studies, nursing and more. Several online degrees are offered across all levels; those at the bachelor’s level include business administration, finance, human resource management, accounting, nursing, applied science and university studies.
DSU Online courses make use of Moodle, Hoonuit and Blackboard Collaborate as delivery methods, and students can reach for help from NetTutor, an online tutoring system. They can also opt for tutoring through the on campus tutoring center, as well as use Tegrity, a program that allows students to view course content and classroom instruction at any time.
Dickinson State University provides a wealth of resources for students, no matter their campus or learning format. The Academic Success Center leads the way with an advising center, testing center, peer mentoring, tutoring, TRiO Support Services, career development and much more. Students can also take advantage of One Stop, a student service center that allows management of scholarships, financial accounts and the like, all in one place. The Student Opportunity and Resource Center (SOAR) provides unique, tailored assistance to students from various cultures and situations around the world. Finally, disability services and a robust set of clubs and organizations round out the educational and social assistance at Dickinson State University.
|26||University of the Incarnate Word||San Antonio, TX||94.94||$24,900||14||99%||13:1||40%||yes||yes||yes||
In 1881, Incarnate Word College was founded in San Antonio as Incarnate Word College, a center for the education of young women. The institution gradually grew, adding four-year degrees, then graduate degrees, and eventually allowing men to attend. In 1996, the school became University of the Incarnate Word, the largest Catholic university in Texas and the fourth largest private university in the state. More than 60 percent of the students are from racial or ethnic minority groups; UIW is considered a Hispanic Serving Institution as well as a college with a strong faith-based component.
Students can pursue a wealth of programs at UIW. There are 80 programs of study available from the bachelor’s to the doctoral level. Students who pursue the bachelor’s degree can choose programs in education, art, criminal justice, English, history, music, pastoral ministry, theater, religious studies, philosophy and more. Those who work towards a degree online can find many programs available to them as well, such as the bachelor’s in human resources, organizational development, leadership studies, criminal justice, nursing (RN to BSN) and more. Accelerated programs allow for six start dates each year, thus offering maximum flexibility for working professionals.
For those who want to spread their wings and horizons, University of the Incarnate Word has a robust international presence. UIW has locations in Mexico and Germany, as well as a strong study abroad program and exchange program. No matter where a student chooses to study, there are some resources available to all, such as the peer mentor program, academic advising center, tutoring and testing services, and a writing and learning center. Career services and professional development is available for those approaching graduation, while First Year Engagement and Orientation are both available for those who are just starting out in their college career at UIW.
|27||Tiffin University||Tiffin, OH||94.85||$21,510||12||89%||15:1||42%||yes||yes||yes||
Established in 1888, Tiffin University is a private, nonprofit institution on a cozy 135 acre campus. Total enrollment is just over 3,300 students who study in three colleges: the School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business and the School of Criminal Justice and Social Services. Tiffin University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Those interested in obtaining a bachelor’s degree can choose from numerous programs and fields of study, including pursuits in healthcare administration, corrections, software development, human services, digital forensics, education, and music. Students who choose to attend Tiffin University online can choose between 13 different programs, including: marketing, psychology, system administration, human services, justice administration, law enforcement, managerial studies, homeland security and terrorism, human resources management, human services, accounting, corrections and healthcare administration.
Those who choose to pursue online learning enjoy flexible scheduling, including six start times throughout the year for accelerated courses. Courses are delivered asynchronously, which is a huge help for those who are working a full-time job, raising a family, caring for a loved one or otherwise juggling important obligations outside of school. Though courses are asynchronous, students can still connect with their peers and professors through chat rooms and discussion forums. Online writing tools, one-on-one tutoring and professional skill-building workshops are among the resources available for online students.
Ninety percent of students receive financial aid, which is a nice boost for those who are carefully watching their financial bottom line. Those who graduate from Tiffin University are well-rounded and ready to serve—27 percent go on to graduate school, and 74 percent do community service or volunteer work. Students who desire on campus work can complete their classes at the main campus in Tiffin, or satellite campuses in Columbus, Fremont, Toledo and the greater Cleveland area. Those who are interested in traveling the world can even complete their master of business administration at a far-flung campus in Bucharest, Romania.
|28||Oregon State University||Corvallis, OR||94.77||$7,650||20||59%||18:1||61%||no||yes||yes||
A world-renowned research university with students from all 50 states and over 100 countries, Oregon State University has over 200 academic programs spread out over 11 colleges. A whopping 83 percent of the school’s 31,000 student body is pursuing an undergraduate degree. OSU has numerous degree options that rank among the top in the world, including forestry, oceanography, mycology, marine biology, agriculture and robotics.
Online education enjoys a vibrant presence at OSU with over 50 degree programs in over 100 subjects. Over 21,000 students worldwide take advantage of the 1,100 classes offered online by OSU. Those seeking a bachelor’s degree can opt for one of more than 20, including those in anthropology, economics, horticulture, chemistry, fisheries and wildlife science, sustainability, liberal studies, history, political science and more. Oregon State Ecampus uses the Canvas learning management program, as well as video conferencing software such as Skype and Google Hangouts. As a military friendly college, OSU provides a wealth of support for those who want to attend from wherever they might be deployed across the world. To learn more about how online courses work at OSU, students can take the Ecampus course demo.
OSU offers numerous resources for students, including those who use the Ecampus. Career services, online tutoring, large and comprehensive libraries, a success blog filled with tips for students, the ASC learning corner and OSU learning centers are just a few of the popular options to help students succeed. Academic Learning Courses are unique classes offered by OSU for those who need help in a variety of areas, including academic success, online learning and career decision making. Students can also turn to their peers for help through a wide variety of clubs and organizations, both online and on campus, that work to bring students together; social media communities, honor societies, cultural centers and the like round out the options that allow students to help each other through higher education.
|29||Northwestern State University of Louisiana||Natchitoches, LA||94.73||$4,934||14||58%||20:1||38%||yes||yes||yes||
Established in 1884 as the Louisiana State Normal School for teachers, Northwestern State University of Louisiana began with granting two-year degrees. By 1941, it was offering four-year degrees. Northwestern State University of Louisiana gained university status in 1980, and since then the offerings have grown rapidly. Today students at NSU can study at the flagship campus in Natchitoches, take advantage of satellite campuses in Shreveport, Alexandria and Fort Polk, or choose online programs.
Degree programs are available in a wide variety of fields through NSU, including those in accounting, business, allied health, creative and performing arts, engineering, biology, nursing and more. Numerous options are open to students on the bachelor’s degree level, including degrees in social work, allied health, psychology, criminal justice and addiction studies, among others. Those seeking online bachelor’s degree programs can choose from over 15 paths of study through the eNSU Global Campus. A few options include degrees in computer information systems, child and family studies, liberal arts, history and unified public safety administration.
Those who attend NSU can take advantage of many programs for first-time students, including the Freshman Connection. This two-day program is designed to ease the transition into college through meetings with faculty and staff, education about campus life and an introduction to the variety of resources available at NSU. Building on this is the First Year Experience, an opportunity for students to engage in a variety of activities throughout their first year that build connections and provide students with a kind of “safety net” to help them through those unique first-year challenges.
Special services and resources don’t end at the conclusion of freshman year. The Student Experience is a program that focuses on student success throughout their career at NSU. This might include counseling and career services, disability support, support services and the like, all designed with the overall well-being of the student in mind.
|30||Park University||Parkville, MO||94.71||$10,500||20||65%||17:1||43%||yes||yes||yes||
Founded in 1875 in Parkville, Missouri, Park University is now home to almost 17,000 students pursuing associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Though the Parkville campus remains the flagship location, Park University has expanded greatly over the years and now includes over 40 additional locations, most of which can be found on military bases.
Undergraduate degrees in over 80 fields are available to both those on campus and those online. Popular bachelor’s degree programs at Park University include those in business, communication studies, computer information systems, economics, finance, fitness and wellness, geography, graphic design, nursing, Spanish and more. In keeping with the long tradition of serving the military, Park University offers programs that are integral to some military careers, such as logistics, social psychology, organizational communication, military history, geography and construction management. The vast majority of undergraduate degrees offered on campus are also offered online.
Students seeking support and resources can find numerous options for help at Park University. The Academic Support Center provides help with writing, subject area tutoring, a proctored testing center, an online academic support course for distance learning students, and the StepUP Mentoring program. Those who choose the mentoring program can work one-on-one with a seasoned mentor, with sessions offered face-to-face, via video conference or by phone. For those struggling with technical issues, Information Technology Services can help students get back on track.
As a veteran-friendly school, Park University offers many perks for military members and their families, all of which begin at the Global Warrior Center, which is dedicated to helping those in the military further their education no matter where in the world they are. In addition to discounted tuition rates and the opportunity for flexible scheduling via online courses, those in the military can take advantage of the Zero Textbook Cost program, which allows them to focus on their studies and not worry about the costs of textbooks and related class materials.
|31||University of Minnesota-Crookston||Crookston, MN||94.68||$10,030||12||85%||17:1||44%||yes||yes||yes||
The University of Minnesota – Crookston (UMC) is one of five public universities that make up the University of Minnesota system. Although it was established in 1966, UMC began awarding bachelor’s degrees in 1994. In addition to being a relatively young school, UMC has a small student population, with roughly 1,800 students, approximately half of which attend class online.
UMC is accredited at the institutional level by the Higher Learning Commission. The school’s four academic departments provide students earning their bachelor’s degree the opportunity to major in areas such as agricultural science, accounting, golf and turf management, aviation, biology, communication and software engineering. To help facilitate the teaching of these programs, UMC provides all students and faculty with top-of-the-line laptop computers. UMC was one of the first schools in the United States to do this, starting way back in 1993.
All UMC’s bachelor’s degree programs require at least 120 total credit hours, 40 of which consist of liberal arts courses. Students are also expected to graduate with real-world experience by interning or finding other ways to gain field experience in their chosen areas of study. Another unique feature of UMC is the level of individualized attention and mentorship opportunities for all students. At other schools, this level of attention is only available for those willing to pay for a private education or only after being accepted into a special program. But at UMC, it’s something all students enjoy.
As the first campus of the University of Minnesota system to offer online bachelor’s degrees, UMC is a leader in online education in Minnesota. UMC’s robust online program offerings allow it to provide up to 14 fully online degrees in a variety of areas, such as applied health, entrepreneurship, health management, marketing and manufacturing management. Online coursework is delivered asynchronously, allowing online students to fit classes around their work or family obligations.
|32||Oklahoma Wesleyan University||Bartlesville, OK||94.48||$21,930||15||100%||15:1||57%||yes||yes||yes||
Oklahoma Wesleyan University (OWU) is an evangelical university affiliated with the Wesleyan Church. Although OWU can trace its roots back to 1909, it officially took on its current name in 2001. Today, OWU is home to approximately 1,400 students and is accredited institutionally by the Higher Learning Commission. As a small private school, OWU has a student-to-faculty ratio of 14-to-1; over 80 percent of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
Students pursuing a bachelor’s degree can choose among a large number of programs in a variety of fields, such as English, exercise science, nursing, management information systems, Biblical and theological studies, music and criminal justice. For students hoping to get a bachelor’s degree online, they have the following five programs to choose from: Business Administration, Ministry and Leadership, Nursing, Organizational Management and Psychology. Most of these degrees require the completion of 126 credit hours, with roughly 40 to 45 credit hours consisting of general education requirements. As long as the student has internet access, they can attend their class anytime and anywhere they choose. This asynchronous learning allows students to meet their other family or professional obligations while working toward their college degree. But getting college credit isn’t limited to just college students. As a part of OWU’s Accelerate program, high school students in their junior or senior year can take courses online for college credit as well.
As a religious institution, OWU recognizes the need to train individuals looking to be ordained through the Wesleyan Church. Therefore, OWU has established its Cross Training program, which allows students to complete the academic requirements needed for ordination. This program is only offered online, with most classes lasting just three weeks. Students pursuing a degree in ministry can receive student loan assistance through PURSUE, which allows helping incoming ministry students pay off their federal and private student loans.
|33||Hawaii Pacific University||Honolulu, HI||94.34||$20,930||10||89%||13:1||40%||yes||yes||yes||
Shortly after Hawaii became a state in 1959, the need for private education on the island became pressing; the result was the founding of two liberal arts colleges, which would eventually become Hawaii Pacific University. Today, HPU has an enrollment of about 5,000 students across five colleges; those students enjoy a cozy student-faculty ratio of 12-to-1, allowing for more personalized attention. The school is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges; in addition, HPU holds accreditation for programs in social work, nursing, education and public health.
Dozens of bachelor’s degrees are available to those at HPU. Top undergraduate programs at HPU include those in business administration, nursing, biology, computer science, marine biology/oceanography, psychology and criminal justice.
Students at Hawaii Pacific University have a wealth of resources at their fingertips. One of the most unique is the First Year Experience, a program that welcomes freshmen through in-depth student orientation, meetings with professors, peer mentoring and opportunities for leadership. Family orientation is also available for those who are nervous about sending their kids away from home for the first time. Finally, the First Year Experience includes programs and activities that allow students to truly experience all the surrounding area has to offer.
Academic advising is seen as a cornerstone of success; therefore, students at all levels can take advantage of a cohort advising model that allows for a collaborative working relationship with a professional advisor. The Center for Academic Success builds on the strength of academic advising with one-on-one tutoring sessions, placement testing and comprehensive accessibility services. As students prepare to move into the working world, they can turn to the Career Development Center for internships, job postings and the resources necessary to make their mark when starting a career.
|34||University of Louisiana at Monroe||Monroe, LA||94.33||$4,986||14||58%||21:1||40%||no||yes||yes||
With over 9,000 students and an 18-to-1 student-teacher ratio, students at University of Louisiana Monroe can expect personalized attention, no matter their degree path. With 96 majors and minors and scholarships for over 48 percent of incoming students, ULM provides a well-rounded educational experience at a more affordable price. Graduates are well-prepared for work after college, as evidenced by the 100 percent pass rate in several fields, including nursing, dental hygiene, radiologic technology, speech language pathology, counseling and marriage and family therapy.
Those seeking a bachelor’s degree program can choose from dozens of options, including those in finance, art, biology, business, psychology, social work and more. ULM is home to several specialized degrees that are tough to find elsewhere, including those in toxicology, risk management and insurance, atmospheric sciences and aviation. Students who choose online learning can choose between 14 degree paths, such as criminal justice, counseling, health studies, history, marketing and French. Some of those degrees, such as the one in dental hygiene, require students to already hold an associate degree in the field—and thus, have already completed in-person requirements during their two-year program.
The typical bachelor’s degree at ULM requires 120–125 credit hours of coursework to complete, which usually takes four years. However, accelerated courses and abbreviated sessions through online learning can cut that time down to about two years.
Numerous resources are available for students on the ULM campus, those who attend class online, and the surrounding community at large. The Student Success Center assists students via academic advisors, tutoring, supplemental instruction, the First Year Experience for incoming freshmen, Emerging Scholars Program and more. The Office of Career Connections helps those who are preparing to move into the world beyond ULM by providing job fairs, workshops, job shadowing, mentorships and the like.
Students can put their learning to work in the greater community near ULM through a variety of outreach programs, including an Autism Center, a dental hygiene clinic, a speech-language pathology clinic and others.
|35||Ferris State University||Big Rapids, MI||94.09||$10,556||14||67%||16:1||49%||yes||yes||yes||
Founded in 1884, Ferris State University began as a private institution dedicated to career-oriented education. It became a state university in 1950 when it joined with the state university system. Today the institution sits on 941 acres in Big Rapids, Michigan and boasts eight academic colleges. Those colleges serve just shy of 14,000 students through more than 190 educational programs.
Those seeking a bachelor’s degree can find their path among numerous options, including programs in chemistry, history, sociology, computer science, biology and more. Some degree programs are unique, such as those in automotive management, actuarial science and PGA golf management. Those interested in distance learning can opt for 100% fully online programs, or they can look to hybrid programs that provide virtual instruction combined with hands-on work. Popular online degrees at the bachelor’s level include those in allied health sciences, business administration, dental hygiene, respiratory therapy and information security and intelligence, among others.
Undergraduate tuition rates for online students are slightly higher than rates for those who take their courses in the classroom setting; however, online students are eligible for financial aid, as well as scholarships designed specifically for online Ferris State University students.
Numerous resources are in place for students at FSU, whether they choose the online or on campus options. Some of these resources include an academic support center, tutoring options, educational counseling and disability services, the Diversity and Inclusion Office, a Leadership Center and Career Center. Structured Learning Assistance is especially helpful for those students who are struggling with some of the more difficult courses in their itinerary. Regular workshops and weekly study groups help students understand the material, as well as keep them on track with attendance and academic attention. All students are welcome to attend SLA programs attached to high-risk of failure courses throughout their time at Ferris State University.
|36||Western New Mexico University||Silver City, NM||94.02||$3,562||13||41%||16:1||17%||no||yes||yes||
Established in 1893 in Silver City, Western New Mexico University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. More than 3,500 students are enrolled in on campus or online programs, with an average of 18 students in each class. A full half of undergraduates are Hispanic, making WNMU a Hispanic Serving Institution.
Students at WNMU can choose from more than 50 bachelor’s degree programs, 10 graduate degrees and 28 associate degree or certificate programs. Fields of study available for bachelor’s degree seekers include biology, accounting, art, economics, criminal justice, fine arts, graphic design, history, liberal studies, music and more. Many programs are offered in an online format; distance learning students can obtain their bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, general business, English, interdisciplinary studies, nursing, psychology, rehabilitation services, social work and numerous areas of education. Online programs are offered through the Canvas learning system, and WNMU helps students succeed through online tutoring, tech support and online student advisors.
Whether students are learning online or in person, there are many resources available to help them succeed. In addition to the aforementioned online options for help, there is also the Center for Student Success, which provides new student orientation, testing, a variety of career services and outreach programs, such as dual enrollment and summer programs, to reach more students. Academic advising with student service specialists and a dedicated writing center are two of the more unique options available to students at WNMU.
Many avenues of financial aid are available to Western New Mexico University students. In addition to scholarships that are specific to the school, students can also apply for federal and state financial aid. They also have the advantage of a tuition guarantee; as long as an undergraduate student maintains a 2.0 or higher grade point average (3.0 for graduate students) and at least 30 credit hours per year (18 credit hours for graduate students), their tuition is guaranteed not to go up during their tenure at WNMU.
|37||East Carolina University||Greenville, NC||93.94||$3,959||19||48%||18:1||56%||no||yes||yes||
East Carolina University was founded in North Carolina over 100 years ago; today it is home to more than 29,000 students who pursue over 200 educational paths, including 84 bachelor’s degree programs. With a solid student-teacher ratio of 18-to-1 for most classes, ECU helps ensure personalized attention from world-class faculty. The college is tops in a number of areas, such as preparing the largest number of new nurses in North Carolina each year.
The sciences are quite popular at ECU, with 43 percent of degree-seeking students enrolled in a STEM or healthcare program. Undergraduate programs cover many of the most commonly sought-after degrees, such as those in business, accounting, education, computer science and more. But ECU also boasts unique degree paths, such as those in urban and regional planning, recreation and park management, neuroscience and geography.
Online programs can become even more interesting, with over 40 degree programs that can’t be found at any other institution. At the bachelor’s level, students can choose Undergraduate Degree Completion Programs in education, business, communication, industrial technology and nursing, among others. Though many courses are presented asynchronously, allowing for ultimate flexibility, some courses do require synchronous “chat sessions” between peers and professors, during which time the subject matter is covered through in-depth discussion. A strong system of support services is in place specifically to meet the needs of ECU students who choose online learning.
Regardless of the format of learning, students at ECU have a wealth of resources available to enhance their educational experience. ECU boasts three comprehensive libraries: The J.Y. Joyner Library, the Music Library, and the Laupus Health Sciences Library. IT support is available to all, as is the Career Services office and the University Writing Center. To ensure a well-rounded education that includes service as well as learning, ECU offers the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement, where students are encouraged to give back to their communities.
|38||Columbia College||Columbia, MO||93.90||$6,582||23||22%||32:1||41%||yes||yes||yes||
A private, non-profit liberal college, Columbia College began in 1851 as Christian Female College, the first women’s college west of the Mississippi to be chartered by state legislature. In 1970 it became a four-year co-educational college. Today it welcomes students to learn at 35 nationwide locations, two campuses (the Day Campus and the Night Campus) in its hometown of Columbia, Missouri, and the Online Campus.
Students on campus can choose from 39 bachelor’s degrees, all of which offer small class sizes for a more personalized experience. For instance, most courses taken at the Day Campus in Columbia have a student-teacher ratio of 11-to-1. In addition to bachelor’s degrees in the common in-demand areas, such as accounting, business, computer science, education, nursing and psychology, students can also opt for lesser-known degrees, such as those in ceramics, creative writing, forensic science, printmaking and international business.
Those who choose to attend via the Online Campus will find 27 bachelor’s degrees available to them, as well as more than 350 undergraduate courses, all delivered with the same educational standards as what students would encounter in the physical classroom. Courses are on an accelerated eight-week schedule and start six times per year; though students do not have any set time to be “in class” for their online work, they are required to complete their work by certain weekly deadlines in order to keep up with their peers.
Students who attend Columbia College pay the same tuition rates whether they choose online courses or those in a classroom setting; however, members of the military and their family members receive a discount on tuition. In addition to financial aid through governmental sources, students might also be eligible for scholarships; Columbia College offers a Scholarship Finder that helps students locate school-specific scholarships that can help them afford the cost of tuition and other expenses.
|39||University of Massachusetts-Lowell||Lowell, MA||93.90||$1,454||12||59%||17:1||54%||no||yes||yes||
With over 17,000 students attending degree programs in six colleges, University of Massachusetts – Lowell offers every student the opportunity to find the program that is right for them. UMass Lowell focuses strongly on learning through experience, which translates into strong attention to hands-on work. This is true not only for those who choose the campus experience, but for those who attend through online education as well.
UMass Lowell offers dozens of bachelor’s degrees, including those in common areas; however, students can also take advantage of more unusual programs, such as those in atmospheric science, animation and interactive art, biotechnology, communications and critical thinking, geoscience, music performance and peace and conflict studies. Online students can pursue bachelor’s degrees in English, liberal arts, psychology, information technology, criminal justice, management and business administration. Many more programs are available through hybrid education, with numerous courses available to be taken online. With new programs becoming available online each year, students can look forward to wider options in the near future.
Students who need a little extra help can turn to the Center for Learning and Academic Support Services (CLASS), where they can take advantage of the advising center, tutoring services, and services designed specifically for students who are dealing with academic or attendance issues. Students with an eye toward the future can stop in at Career and Co-op Services, where they will find numerous workshops, events, career fairs, instructional videos and more, all designed to help them succeed in the world beyond college.
UMass Lowell offers students a wealth of opportunities to explore beyond the classroom. Beyond U programs include working with co-ops, study abroad opportunities, internships, clinicals, campus jobs and service learning. Students can also participate in the DifferenceMaker program, including workshops and contests that help students learn how to problem-solve and implement new ideas.
|40||University of Houston-Victoria||Victoria, TX||93.89||$4,151||12||89%||17:1||N/A||no||yes||yes||
Established in 1973 in the tiny town of Victoria, Texas, University of Houston – Victoria is home to around 4,500 students. Those students hail from at least 19 states and 38 countries, creating a quite diverse body. With some of the lowest tuition rates and fees in the state, UHV is quite attractive to those who are watching their finances. Students can attend class at the main campus in Victoria, a sister campus in Katy, or through online education.
Those seeking a bachelor’s degree from UHV can choose from dozens of options, including programs in accounting, art, communication, criminal justice, education, business, mathematics, political science and more. Online learning options include numerous certificates and master’s degrees, though there are some bachelor’s degrees available, including those in criminal justice, supply chain management, creative writing and psychology, among others.
Those who have already earned their associate degree can turn to the bachelor of applied arts and sciences degree, with concentrations that include biotechnology, digital gaming and simulation, legal assistance and administration, petroleum technology, marketing and more. Those who have received an associate degree from an accredited community college or technical college or earned at least 24 hours of credit at an accredited institution but did not graduate with an associate degree are eligible to apply. Students can apply between 24 and 44 semester hours of credit toward their bachelor’s degree.
Student support abounds for those who need assistance throughout their tenure at UHV. Support services include writing help, tutoring and more from the Student Success Center, access to academic advisors, help with finding a job and preparing a resume, as well as technology services that can prove especially helpful to those who choose to take online courses. Those who have less than 45 credit hours can take advantage of Student Success Coaches, who provide advising, registration help, skill building and success coaching.
|41||University of Nebraska at Omaha||Omaha, NE||93.68||$5,312||14||51%||16:1||42%||yes||yes||yes||
Founded in 1908 as a private, co-educational institution, University of Nebraska at Omaha began with the mission of making “sound learning and practical education” available to anyone who wanted it. In keeping with that promise, UNO began Adult Education and Continuing Studies programs in the 1930s, well before most other universities even considered the proposition. Today, UNO is home to well over 15,000 students who take advantage of some of the most affordable tuition in the region.
Those who want to pursue a bachelor’s degree can choose from dozens of undergraduate majors in many diverse fields. In addition to the more common programs, such as business administration, computer science or education, UNO also offers unusual programs for those at the four-year level. A sampling of those includes degrees in aviation, creative writing, music performance, IT innovation, pre-turfgrass and landscape management, religion and studio art.
Those who opt for online learning also have numerous options available to them, including fully online programs in emergency management, library science, management information systems, religious studies, sociology, criminology and criminal justice, as well as the Bachelor of Multidisciplinary Studies, which offers a variety of concentrations specifically designed for adult, military and transfer students. The faculty who teach the on campus courses also helm the online programs, so students can rest assured that their distance learning experience is just as robust and thorough as what they might receive in the physical classroom.
No matter the format in which the class is delivered, students at UNO are eligible for numerous resources to help them succeed. Some of these include the Academic and Career Development Center, the Office of Military and Veteran Services, the Writing Center and the UNO Speech Center, an academic advising office and the Office of Research and Creative Activity, which provides strong support for students, faculty and staff in their ongoing academic pursuits.
|42||Southwestern College||Winfield, KS||93.66||$24,685||20||91%||8:1||53%||yes||no||yes||
Founded in 1885 in Winfield, Kansas, Southwestern College began with a graduating class of only three students. The main campus is nestled on 85 wooded acres and is home to students from at least 25 states and 10 foreign countries. In 1994, the school extended its reach through the Professional Studies Center, an option that takes into account working professionals, military personnel and others who must have a more flexible schedule.
Bachelor’s degrees abound at Southwestern College, with more than 40 majors and 16 professional study tracks for undergraduate students. Degrees at the bachelor’s level are available in 22 areas, including biology, business, athletic training, leadership, education, mathematics, music, psychology and much more.
Those who choose to pursue their education through Southwestern College Professional Studies can choose from 16 bachelor’s degrees, including those in nursing (RN to BSN), operations management, Christian ministries and criminal justice. Students attend six-week courses that begin eight times per year, and most classes have less than 15 students, which allows for ample personal attention from professors and an opportunity to truly connect with classmates. Adult students with a rich professional history can opt for credits that take into account military training, corporate work, credit by exam, transfer credits and credits for prior learning. Those who aren’t sure what their options are can find more information through their Academic Success Coach, a person dedicated to guiding each student through their time at Southwestern College.
Military learners and their spouses are especially welcome at Southwestern. In addition to flexible online options and academic coaches, they also receive tuition discounts. Outreach admissions officers are available at nearby McConnell Air Force Base and Ft. Riley.
No matter the major, incoming on campus students are welcomed with a top-of-the-line laptop, which is replaced with a newer model every two years. This helps facilitate online learning, communication with peers and professors and research endeavors.
|43||Wilberforce University||Wilberforce, OH||93.56||$12,020||23||67%||8:1||24%||yes||yes||yes||
A private liberal arts university in Ohio, Wilberforce University was the first college to be owned and operated by African-Americans. Founded in 1856, the unique name honors famed abolitionist William Wilberforce. Those first years were difficult for the university – it even closed for a year due to financial pressures during the Civil War – but today it’s a thriving institution offering over 20 academic concentrations for undergraduates.
Those seeking a bachelor’s degree have a variety of paths to choose from at Wilberforce, including accounting, biology, computer science, electrical engineering, health services, mass media communications, organizational management and social work. There are even unique or niche programs available, such as advanced technical intelligence and nuclear engineering. Entrepreneurship is offered as a minor for those with an eye toward creating their own business upon graduation. All academic programs at Wilberforce include the Cooperative Education Program, as well as the WU Media Experiential Learning Program, both of which are designed to enhance a student’s educational experience.
Those who have already earned at least 45 credit hours and then left school are encouraged to come back and complete their bachelor’s degree through the CLIMB program. Students can attend school one night per week for 18 months through online, on campus or blended formats. Programs in criminal justice administration, health and human services, information systems management or organizational management are among those available through CLIMB.
For incoming freshmen, Wilberforce University offers the First Year Experience, a program that begins during the summer before freshman year. This collaborative effort between Student Services and Academic Affairs includes community activities, summer registration, common courses taken by all students, First Year Seminar, the First Year Leader Experience Program and much more. Wilberforce also offers the L.E.G.A.C.Y. Program (Leading Empowered Generations Actively and Cheerfully Yearly), which matches incoming freshmen with a WU alumni to serve as their mentor throughout the college experience. Though the university does provide events during which mentors and students can connect, one-on-one communication is also encouraged throughout the year.
|44||University of Memphis||Memphis, TN||93.55||$7,056||17||40%||14:1||44%||yes||yes||yes||
Founded in 1912, University of Memphis sits in a quiet residential area that 21,000 students call home. A major research university, the school has been honored with 25 Chairs of Excellence and five state-approved Centers of Excellence. With over 250 fields of study, UM offers bachelor’s degrees in almost every subject a student might wish to pursue. And with a 15:1 student-faculty ratio, students can count on getting individualized attention, even on such a large and diverse campus.
University of Memphis offers the wealth of degree options someone might expect from such a large university, including dozens of majors and minors at the undergraduate level. A sampling of bachelor’s degree programs includes those in civil engineering, nursing, physics, education, theater, computer sciences, fashion, art, chemistry, communication and much more. Those who prefer a virtual college experience can explore U of M Global, where more than 20 bachelor’s degree programs await in social science, health, business and humanities. Most online bachelor’s programs require 120 hours of study to complete, much of which can be met through transfer of existing college credits. Most courses are delivered asynchronously, and all classes are semester-based.
University of Memphis offers numerous programs specifically for incoming undergraduates, as well as programs that aim to make online study a little easier. Student services include a robust Career Center, academic counseling services, testing centers and an Educational Support Program. Undergraduate students might also take advantage of the First Scholars program, designed for those who are first in their family to go to college, as well as the Student Success Program, which focuses on students who are first-generation, low income or disabled. One program of particular interest to online students is the Finish Line Program, designed for those who previously attended college and earned 90 or more credit hours before they had to step away from higher education; the program specifically caters to those who earned good grades but were forced out of their educational path by financial constraints.
|45||Dallas Baptist University||Dallas, TX||93.55||$23,250||13||91%||13:1||55%||no||yes||yes||
Located in southwest Dallas, Dallas Baptist University has been providing higher education with a Christian influence for 120 years. The integration of faith into all their undergraduate degrees is one of the defining characteristics of Dallas Baptist. While early graduates of Dallas Baptist would go on to be leaders in their spiritual communities, today’s graduates have many more degree options to prepare them for a variety of career paths.
Dallas Baptist offers many undergraduate degrees, but students often study in a non-traditional way. Eight-week courses are a popular method for students that are too busy for traditional semester-long courses, and many of Dallas Baptist’s undergraduate programs are available as part of an accelerated degree. Not only do students earn an undergraduate degree through the accelerated program, but they also receive a master’s degree by the end of the five-year period. There are various accelerated programs available. For example, a student in the accelerated degree program can earn a bachelor’s in Biblical studies, but then go on to earn a master’s degree in one of nine different fields.
Dallas Baptist also has a robust online school, complete with over 75 fully online degree programs. Bachelor’s degrees are the most popular option, and most degree that are available on campus are also available entirely online. Students can also enroll in dual degree and accelerated degree programs through the online school. While some online schools only accept students from specific areas, Dallas Baptist accepts students around the world. With their reputation for providing quality education through an online portal, Dallas Baptist online has routinely been recognized as one of the best online schools in the nation.
|46||Eastern Kentucky University||Richmond, KY||93.55||$7,920||15||41%||16:1||39%||no||yes||yes||
With campuses across the state, Eastern Kentucky University has established itself as one of the top undergraduate programs in Kentucky. The main campus, located in Richmond, originated as an institution to educate teachers. Since opening in 1906, Eastern Kentucky has opened multiple colleges, and they now offer 80 different undergraduate programs.
On top of offering a variety of undergraduate degrees, EKU also offers different ways students can earn their bachelor’s degree. While the majority of students choose a traditional four-year on campus experience, other options include online education and accelerated programs. The online school is a point of distinction for EKU, and it is often ranked as one of the top schools in the nation to earn a bachelor’s degree online—particularly for veterans. Over 30 degrees are offered online, most of which are at the undergraduate level. Perhaps the highlight of the online school is their graduate degree in nursing, which is regularly ranked among the best in the nation. The program, like most of the online programs at EKU, allows for students to study full time or part time, depending on what works best for their schedule. For nursing, classes are in 8-week terms, and an RN to BSN program is also available entirely online.
Many students that study at Eastern Kentucky don’t end their education with a bachelor’s degree. For students that come into college wanting a graduate degree, EKU offers accelerated programs. These programs are generally five years in length, with the bachelor’s degree being earned in three years and a master’s in the final two. As an example, students that want to earn a master’s degree in accounting will study for three years, earn a BBA in accounting, and then complete their MBA in accounting over the next two years. These accelerated programs are designed for students that likely need graduate-level education to begin their desired career, so the courses prepare students for a professional degree.
|47||Limestone College||Gaffney, SC||93.44||$23,000||14||96%||18:1||36%||no||yes||yes||
Limestone College began as the first women’s college in South Carolina, and its main campus has a rich history of famous buildings and landmarks. However, the majority of the students that attend Limestone are non-traditional and don’t study at the main campus. Of the 3,500 students, 2,500 study at an extended campus or online, an interesting imbalance that isn’t seen at many colleges. This shows that Limestone is a progressive institution that understands the modern needs of students— that commuting, relocating and studying full time are not necessarily options, even for undergraduates.
South Carolina locals have the luxury of being able to study at one of the nine Limestone campuses while working toward one of over 50 bachelor’s degrees. Students that do study on campus also tend to save money on tuition as 98% of all students receive some form of financial aid. One of the benefits of studying on campus is the low student to faculty ratio of 13-to-one, along with being able to study on a historically significant campus.
Not all students are able to study in-person or in a traditional format, which is where Limestone’s online and evening programs come in. Both use eight-week courses to allow students to study at their own pace. The online school at Limestone is also relatively affordable, especially after factoring out costs associated with studying on campus. In addition, discounts are given to veterans and military members. Cost and convenience of studying online are matched with a sizable catalog of courses. Over 20 undergraduate degrees are offered entirely online, and students can study wherever and whenever they want. For students that want to continue their education, Limestone also has an MBA program.
|48||Chadron State College||Chadron, NE||93.44||$4,200||10||64%||20:1||33%||yes||yes||yes||
The college town of Chadron, Nebraska is home to Chadron State College, a school most well-known for its undergraduate appeal. Traditional undergraduate students may choose Chadron for its prime location for outdoor activities, but the quality of their four-year programs is what sets this school apart from similar schools in Nebraska. Chadron State may have a modest undergraduate class of just over 2,300 people, but that doesn’t take away from their push to constantly improve their degree programs. The small undergraduate class allows Chadron State to keep class sizes small with the average class containing just 14 students.
Of the 52 undergraduate programs offered at Chadron, the most noteworthy are those under the agriculture umbrella. There are four bachelor’s degree programs offered in agriculture, each designed to help students begin a career in rangeland or agriculture. Thanks to the close proximity of numerous farms and ranches, Chadron State provides students with a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in their agricultural studies while also gaining valuable hands-on experience. Perhaps the most popular option in this school is the BS in rangeland management which aptly prepares students for a life of managing all that goes into agriculture and ranching.
For non-traditional students, Chadron State does offer courses online. These courses are offered in eight-week formats to give students the chance to accelerate their education. Students who do study online are also able to study part time or full time, letting them learn at their own convenience. It is worth noting that all online undergraduate programs are degree completion, meaning students will need to have previously earned credits either on campus at Chadron State or through another institution. Also, not all degree completion programs can be completed entirely online, something students who don’t live in the area should keep in mind. But anyone who does study online will receive in-state tuition, making it an affordable way to complete a bachelor’s degree.
|49||Ottawa University-Ottawa||Ottawa, KS||93.32||$24,370||12||99%||18:1||34%||no||no||yes||
Ottawa University, located in Ottawa, Kansas, has been a leader in education for 150 years. While OU began in Ottawa, the school has since expanded to different cities across the nation, with each campus providing different types of education. However, the Ottawa campus remains the school’s home, and there are more undergraduate degrees offered for traditional students in Ottawa than on any other campus location.
Undergraduate education at OU is grouped into three different schools: business, education, and arts & sciences. Depending on the school that students study in—and the degree they choose to pursue— they’ll have to study on a specific campus. For students that don’t want to study on campus, OU also offers many of their school of business undergraduate degrees online. Every online bachelor’s degree can be completed entirely online, and are accessible at any time of day.
Another popular undergraduate degree is adult education, intended for those who desire to teach adults. The Adult Education concentration is offered in the Communication and Human Resources program through the School of Business.
Because many careers demand education beyond a bachelor’s degree, OU also offers graduate degree programs, such as an MBA in Accounting, Finance and Human Resources. By combining both undergraduate education with a graduate degree, OU students can boost their career potential, all while studying either on campus or online.
|50||Missouri State University-Springfield||Springfield, MO||93.23||$6,120||16||55%||21:1||53%||no||yes||yes||
With over 26,000 students and over 180 undergraduate degree options, Missouri State University is one of the largest schools in the state. Primarily located in Springfield, Missouri State spans across four campuses, including a satellite campus in China. While the different campuses have their own focuses, the Springfield campus is where most undergraduates go to study. Also, being a state school, incoming undergraduate students that are residents of Missouri receive in-state tuition, largely reducing the cost of attending school. On top of that, Missouri State students receive roughly $150 million in financial aid each year.
Because of their scope of undergraduate options, just about any student should be able to find a program that fits their needs. There are plenty of programs that you would expect to find at most schools, such as finance and psychology, as well as unique programs like audiology and entertainment management. While no individual program stands out over others, students can be secure in knowing that Missouri State is one of the top ranked schools in the region. Any bachelor’s degree earned through Missouri State carries respect both in the region and nationwide.
Missouri State also offers online degree programs, although there are not as many options available as there are to traditional students. But there are benefits to studying toward a degree online, particularly for students that cannot commute to campus or are busy with work. There are currently 10 undergraduate degrees offered entirely online in fields such as psychology and finance. Also, the online school at Missouri State is often ranked among the best in the nation, and many of their online undergraduate degrees are ranked among the best as well. One final benefit of the online school is that in-state tuition is extended to students from other states, making it a more affordable option than studying toward a traditional degree.
|High School Diploma||Associate Degree||Bachelor's Degree|
Source: CEW Georgetown
While online and on-campus bachelor's degrees both lead to higher earnings over a lifetime, an online bachelor's degree is often more convenient and accessible for learners. Distance education programs allow students who work full-time, care for children, or live in remote areas to earn their degrees on their schedules.
Whether schools offer online courses synchronously or asynchronously, learners can access coursework from anywhere with an internet connection. Online learning also gives students access to universities they otherwise could not commute to, or those in areas in which they cannot afford to live. For example, a student living in rural Alaska can take online courses from universities in Southern California. Interstate agreements and online tuition discounts may also allow students to pay in-state tuition.
The ability to accommodate a student's busy schedule is one of the biggest draws to an online bachelor's degree. Degree candidates can study without interrupting their personal commitments, such as a full-time job or childcare. Students can watch lectures on the way to work on the bus, participate in online discussions after dinner, or take tests when the kids go to bed.
On-campus learners often find themselves surrounded by classmates with similar ages or backgrounds. Online learning allows older, working, interstate, and international students to learn from one another. The discussion boards can help students see issues from different perspectives, while networking with a diverse collection of people can lead to a rich education and more career opportunities after graduation. Online learning also gives degree candidates an array of choices for universities.
Graduates of an online bachelor's degree can access lucrative career paths that would otherwise remain closed. These positions often require expertise and specialized training that students do not receive in high school or associate programs. Bachelor's degrees can also lead to graduate degree opportunities.
With or without graduate degrees, careers that require bachelor's degrees can be financially fulfilling. For example, petroleum engineers earn an average of $82,000 over the first five years. Once they make it to mid-career levels, the mean is $183,600 annually.
|Degree||Early Career Salary||Mid-Career Salary|
|Operations Research and Industrial Engineering||$79,600||$166,300|
|Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering||$71,900||$138,100|
Students can pursue all kinds of online bachelor's degree subjects; however, some subjects are more popular than others. Business, health, social sciences, psychology, and biological science majors are more popular than most subjects. The number of jobs, projected growth, and earning potential usually drive students to these subjects. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), physician assistants, nurse practitioners, physical therapy assistants, and software developers are all among the fastest-growing occupations in the country. Furthermore, many of the top-paying positions in the nation are in business, engineering, and healthcare. Social sciences and history degrees can be great launching points for professional credentials, including law degrees and teaching licenses.
|Major||Percentage of Degrees Conferred||Description|
|Business||19%||These programs teach the fundamentals of running businesses, and often offer concentrations such as accounting, finance, and human resources. Payscale reports that the average salary for these graduates is $61,000 annually. The BLS suggests several business and finance careers that require only bachelor's degrees and pay higher salaries, including budget analysts and financial examiners.|
|Health Professions and Related Programs||11%||While doctors and nurse practitioners need advanced degrees, online bachelor's degrees in health-related fields lead to exciting careers. For example, the BLS lists athletic trainer, dietician, and registered nurse as healthcare positions that require bachelor's degrees. Nurses earn an average of $70,000 per year and the BLS projects the job to grow 15% in ten years.|
|Social Sciences and History||9%||Learners working toward these online bachelor's degrees learn about the known history of civilization, the motivations behind specific actions in the past, and how societies function. Payscale reports that graduates with these degrees earn $61,000 per year on average. They work as high school teachers, operations managers, and executive assistants, among others.|
|Psychology||6%||Many psychology-related careers require master's degrees. However, graduates with bachelor's degrees can be exercise psychologists, recreational therapists, or human resources managers. Payscale estimates that people with this degree earn an average of $57,000 annually on average. Some of these graduates work in social services as case managers or in psychology support roles.|
|Biological and Biomedical Sciences||6%||Students learn about natural processes in life forms such as humans, animals, and plants. Many go on to earn professional degrees and become veterinarians or doctors. Others can work in laboratories as research managers or as technologists in medical facilities.|
An online bachelor's degree usually takes four years to complete, although many online programs allow students to work at their own pace, which can change this timeline. For instance, some students may take an extra few years to complete the program, while others can finish in three years or less if they are willing to overload on courses and attend summer classes. Students should expect to take about four years to complete the 120-130 credits necessary to earn their bachelor's.
Earning college credit in high school is one of the best ways to save time and money on your higher education. Students can take Advanced Placement (AP) courses — usually during their junior and senior years — and then obtain a passing score on the AP exam. Many colleges and universities grant college credit for general education courses to students who earn a passing score on the exam. A passing score means students can skip one or more college classes, putting them as much as one semester ahead of their peers when they begin their freshman year. Tack on summer courses and an extra class every few semesters, and a student can earn their bachelor's degree in three years.
During the first half of their senior year, students also need to take entrance exams such as the SAT or ACT, and then complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
In most programs, students take general education classes during their freshman year. If they require extra help with fundamental concepts, students may begin their freshman year with remedial classes, such as mathematics or English. Most classes taken during the freshman year teach or reinforce the basic skills necessary for success in college, such as reading comprehension, writing, and critical thinking. Throughout this first year, students may want to start thinking about choosing a major and/or minor.
This is when students usually declare their major — or at least begin to take prerequisite courses related to their intended major. Students also continue with general education requirements and may even take an elective or two. An elective is a course that isn't required for a major, or needed to meet general education requirements. Rather, it may cover a topic in which a student is interested.
During a student's third year, they should fulfill the requirements of their major by completing coursework in the discipline. General education courses may continue, although most students should have completed the courses. Learners also begin taking electives, exploring internships, and searching for other opportunities that grant vital experience in their chosen field.
Students in their final year of college finish the last of their major course requirements, and begin making post-graduate plans. During the first semester, senior students should meet with their academic adviser and make sure they have the necessary credits to graduate with their chosen major. If something is missing or incorrect, the student has time to make necessary course changes in order to graduate on time. Senior year is also when students have the greatest opportunity to take elective courses and learn about an area of study purely for the sake of learning something new.
If a student plans to attend graduate school, senior year is the time to select and apply to prospective schools. Preparation for applications may include studying for and taking a graduate entrance exam, such as the GRE or GMAT. If entering the workforce is the plan, students use this time to attend job fairs, polish a resume, participate in networking events, and apply for jobs. Senior papers or projects are also completed during these last two semesters of the undergraduate college career.
Though the cost of an online bachelor's degree can vary widely depending upon the school, student's location and chosen field of study, it isn't unusual to find online programs that are cheaper than a brick-and-mortar school. Despite often being more affordable, online bachelor's degree programs can have costs not normally associated with an on-campus program. Let's take a look at the various costs for an online program.
|Type of College||Average Published Yearly Tuition and Fees|
|Public Two-Year College (in-district students)||$3,440|
|Public Four-Year College (in-state students)||$9,410|
|Public Four-Year College (out-of-state students)||$23,890|
|Private Four-Year College||$32,410|
Each school has its own tuition policies for online programs. At some schools, online students pay a special tuition rate that's different from what on-campus students pay. At other schools, online students pay the in-state rate. Then there are some schools that charge online students their respective in-state or out-of-state rate. This tuition policy is relatively unusual; most online students either pay a special online tuition rate, lower than the out-of-state rate, or an in-state tuition rate.
Avoiding the costs of moving to a new location or the expenses of living on campus can lead to major savings for those enrolled in distance education. Even when enrolled in a local school, attending class from home or work can help students avoid the additional commuting costs of going to campus several times a week. This can easily amount to several hundred dollars and hours lost — hours that could otherwise be spent working or taking on an additional course to graduate sooner.
Many online programs impose fees not found in traditional programs, usually to cover the course delivery software, like Blackboard or Canvas. The costs of these technology fees can vary from a nominal fee each semester to over $100 per class. Over the course of four years, these fees can result in significant costs. However, these costs are usually not high enough to make online learning more expensive than on-campus learning.
Even though a course or program is online, there may still be on-campus or in-person requirements. This requirement is common for majors and areas of study that are inherently hands-on, such as medicine and engineering. To meet these requirements, students may have to travel to the campus or a particular location approved by their school. Depending on the student's distance from that necessary destination, this can result in hefty travel expenses several times each academic year.
Online students must have easy and extended access to a personal computer with broadband internet. For on-campus students, having a personal computer with broadband internet in their home or dorm room is a convenience, but for online students, it is a necessity. Prospective college students without a personal computer or consistent broadband internet access will need to factor in these purchases when calculating the overall cost to attend their chosen online program.
Students pursuing a bachelor's degree online generally have the same opportunities for financial aid as their on-campus counterparts. Meaning tuition discounts for military service, private scholarships, grants and federally subsidized loans are fair game. However, the school must be accredited in order for students to receive the maximum amount of financial aid available to them. Practically all financial aid — even private scholarships — will include eligibility rules that require students to attend a postsecondary institution that is accredited by an agency recognized by the Department of Education (ED).
The financial aid application process begins when students complete the FAFSA. The official application for those seeking federal financial aid, such as subsidized loans, grants, and work study. Students interested in learning more about federal financial aid can check out the official government website, Federal Student Aid.
People often regard scholarships as the preferred kind of student financial aid because they never require repayment. Schools, private companies, and nonprofit organizations all award scholarships — some based on merit, and others only based on financial need. Scholarships can be anywhere from just a few hundred dollars to fully paid tuition.
Like scholarships, students do not repay grants; however, some grants have specific requirements. For example, if awardees do not meet a grant's criteria in the allowed time, they may need to refund the money. Grants are distributed by many types of organizations, but federal and state governments are the primary sources of these awards.
These programs guarantee jobs that pay up to what a student needs to attend. For example, students who have a combined estimated family contribution and financial aid package of $20,000 — and an expected cost of attendance of $30,000 — can find jobs that pay up to $10,000 for that year.
Learners can find student loans through the ED, some state governments, and private lenders. In most cases, loans from federal and state governments have lower interest rates and can be easier to obtain than private money. Borrowers must repay the loans after they graduate or drop below half-time enrollment.
An online bachelor's degree can lead to a lucrative career. However, students may need additional education to qualify for their prospective careers, such as a master's degree, professional licensure, or post-bachelor's certification. Each of these levels requires different time and financial commitments. Even when employers don't expect further education, obtaining it can make candidates more competitive and often lead to increased salaries. Graduates of an online bachelor's degree who want to further their careers or learn more about their fields can pursue one of the following paths.
This degree is the next step after a bachelor's degree. Students in these programs conduct focused research on a subject or specialized area; they usually take about two to three years to complete. For example, a master's in nursing allows a nurse to become a nurse practitioner in a specialized area of medicine or a healthcare administrator.
Professional licenses often come from state or federal governments after a candidate earns a relevant degree. For example, obtaining a bachelor's of nursing does not allow a nurse to practice legally; these candidates must pass exams to earn their licenses. Such programs require no more formal schooling, but testers may allow time to study.
Unlike licenses, states do not require certifications for professionals to work. Instead, these credentials set candidates apart and demonstrate their expertise. Professional organizations award these certifications to qualifying applicants who pass the exams. Graduates do not need additional schooling for these qualifications, but they may need to study for the tests.
Students looking for the best bachelor's degree programs must consider a number of factors. What's best for one student may not be best for another. That's why we developed the following rankings. These rankings examine multiple factors, such as cost of attendance, programs offered, and location of the school. This makes it easier for prospective college students to find the best bachelor's degree program to meet their needs.