Connecticut Online Colleges & Universities: Top Schools for 2017-2018

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Best Online Colleges In Connecticut

Online schools in Connecticut – from Ivy League universities to local community colleges – provide a unique opportunity for students to pursue degrees and certificates from the location of their choice. For example, some four-year universities offer not only online degrees, but also a vast collection of open courseware. The schools that made this list of the Best Online Colleges in Connecticut for 2016-2017 have accrued a record of outstanding performance in distance education, based on dollar value, student support services and key factors that encourage academic success.

Rank University Location #of Online Program Acceptance Rate Financial Aid %Annual Tuition score Student-Teacher Ratio Grad Rate Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services Description
1 Goodwin College East Hartford, Connecticut 36 N/A 91%$19,400 99.79 10:1 23% Yes Yes Yes

Goodwin College is a regionally accredited school located in East Hartford, Connecticut. It is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Founded in 1999, Goodwin College’s academic programs are career focused. Types of careers that the associate and bachelor’s programs prepare students for are accounting, environmental studies, homeland security, social work and public health. Certificates at the college lead to credentials in fields like medical assisting, nursing, business and manufacturing. It’s possible to earn a certificate within one year.

2 Charter Oak State College New Britain, Connecticut 12 N/A N/A$7,014 86.11 16:1 N/A Yes No Yes

Charter Oak State College, established in 1973, is a fully online college in Connecticut that offers master’s, bachelor’s and associate degree programs in business, health care, public safety, information systems and more. The college offers four general studies degrees (associate in arts and associate in science degrees, bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees) and a master of science in organizational effectiveness and leadership degree. Students can get a head start on their degree by earning credit through testing and exams, military training, their portfolio program, credit evaluated by ACE or PONSI and by transferring credit from other accredited colleges.

3 St Vincent's College Bridgeport, Connecticut 6 38% 100%$18,677 86.00 13:1 67% No No Yes

St. Vincent’s College in Bridgeport, CT, has a comprehensive online learning program that gives students the flexibility to finish their degree program on their time. St. Vincent’s offers three programs that are 100 percent online, including RN to bachelor of science in nursing completion program, bachelor of science in radiologic sciences and a bachelor of science in health care administration. The college offers three types of distance learning options: online, which is a course that only meets virtually through Blackboard Learn, a hybrid class which meets 50 percent in the traditional face-to-face format and 50 percent online and the third option is e-Enhanced, which meets at the scheduled class time but learning goes through Blackboard.

Best 2-Year Online Colleges In Connecticut

Rank University Location #of Online Program Acceptance Rate Financial Aid %Annual Tuition score Student-Teacher Ratio Grad Rate Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services Description
1 Norwalk Community College Norwalk, Connecticut 27 N/A 26%$3,866 93.64 19:1 8% Yes Yes Yes

Norfolk Community College hails itself as the first public, two-year college in Connecticut and offers thousands of courses. Students can work toward two-year associates degree and certificate programs from 10 academic departments. Course are taught on campus and online and accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Students who participate in online and hybrid courses use Blackboard Learn, an online course management system. First-time students who want help to succeed can join the Start2Finish program. As part of the program, students receive success coaching and access to an early alert system where they can get feedback from teachers and see how they are progressing in classes.

2 Capital Community College Hartford, Connecticut 3 N/A 23%$3,892 91.79 13:1 9% Yes Yes Yes

Capital Community College is one of 12 community colleges and enrolls more than 4,000 students annually. Students are taught by 249 full and part-time professors to earn associate and transfer degrees as well as educational certificates. Located in Hartford, Connecticut, CCC provides students with a unique learning opportunity through the Hartford Heritage Program. offers classes that use Hartford's history and landmarks as part the educational experience. Classes center around the history, communities and businesses of Hartford and can be taken for course credit or as non-credit community classes. Many of the classes are Hybrid and utilize Blackboard Learning and field trips to get students through the course work.

3 Naugatuck Valley Community College Waterbury, Connecticut 6 N/A 16%$3,886 91.62 16:1 12% Yes Yes Yes

With two campuses and more than 100 accredited degree programs, Naugatuck Valley Community College provides learning opportunity for new students and continuing education. Students can work toward professional certificates and associate degrees in business, art, science and healthcare. Distance learning is provided for students who can't attend in class instruction through MyCommNet, which utilizes Banner and Blackboard for online learning. NVCC partners with Microsoft to give every students access to Microsoft 365 which gives them access to programs like Word and Excel. Those who do not want to earn a college degree can participate in non-credit lifelong learning classes to enhance professional development skills.

A Guide to Connecticut Colleges Online

With the popularity of online education in the U.S., many schools in Connecticut have developed distance learning programs, and students are reaping the benefits. In 2013, 11 four-year Connecticut colleges and universities offered an online program. Quinnipiac University now has 15 fully online degree programs for students at the two-year, four-year and graduate levels. Its School of Business has three master’s degree programs available – including a 46-credit MBA program – for advanced students who require scheduling flexibility. Also, the University of Connecticut has hundreds of online courses across dozens of departments that any student at the school can take.

To offer an idea of the breadth of academic options in the state, here’s a snapshot of Bridgeport, Connecticut’s largest city.

Access to Higher Education in Bridgeport

Bridgeport attracts postsecondary students with its two-year and four-year institutions and flexible study options. The University of Bridgeport (UB) has its main campus in the city, located near the Long Island Sound. This independent university attracts a diverse population of more than 5,000 learners, with a quarter of the student body from other countries. UB also features popular options for cooperative education and accelerated learning. Students can pursue academic goals at both the undergraduate and graduate level, including master’s and doctoral degrees from UB’s professional and health sciences programs.

Another postsecondary option is Housatonic Community College (HCC), which serves numerous towns in southwestern Connecticut, with its base in Bridgeport. HCC has designed programs to meet the diverse needs of area residents, including short-term, noncredit courses and career-oriented certificate programs. Some associate degree programs target prospective transfer students, while others focus on preparation for various occupational paths.

Studying Online in Bridgeport

University of Bridgeport has provided distance learning courses since 1997, and its offerings appear among U.S. News & World Report’s Best Online Programs for 2014. UB’s web-based information technology program, rated 11th nationwide, awards online and hybrid master’s degrees in computer science and technology management. The university also ranks in the top 30 for online bachelor’s programs and graduate engineering degrees.

To give students added flexibility, UB Online has a rolling application schedule, and courses typically take between 8 and 16 weeks. Although students can access lecture materials when convenient, these classes require regular participation. Web-centered courses could entail on-campus attendance, for example, for exams or orientation. Undergraduate online programs encompass majors such as health care administration, organizational leadership and general studies. Online graduate students can seek master’s degrees in areas such as dental hygiene, human nutrition, or global development and peace. UB also offers Internet-based postgraduate continuing education.

At the two-year college level, Housatonic Community College offers self-paced studies such as the iMath program. This computer-based program lets students work on their own schedule, learning step by step and taking on-campus tests when they feel ready to do so.

Tuition & Other College Costs in Connecticut

Before making a decision about where to attend college, students need to consider the financial investment. Tuition is one of the most significant costs involved in higher education, displaying a wide range depending on where a school is located. Being an established resident is one way to reduce tuition. In 2012, Connecticut residents paid $15,300 in yearly tuition, making it the 7th highest in the nation for in-state rates.

Living expenses make up another significant portion of the budget for higher education, especially room and board. Living costs are an estimated 30 percent higher in Connecticut than the national average, which is an important consideration when setting a college budget, particularly if the student is planning to live off campus. This table lists the different aspects included in the cost of living (COL) in Connecticut’s cities and towns and compares them to the national average (shown as 100 percent):

Urban Area Composite Index Housing Groceries Utilities Transportation Health Care Misc.
Hartford 21.8% 37.8% 20.7% 20.7% 9.0% 13.0% 13.5%
New Haven 22.1% 34.9% 17.9% 23.5% 6.3% 12.7% 17.9%
Stamford 46.9% 112.6% 21.8% 21.3% 10.0% 13.3% 22.1%

Accreditation Standards in Connecticut

Connecticut students must attend an accredited institution in order to receive financial assistance. Several regional and national accrediting agencies set the standards for U.S. colleges and universities, and the primary regional accrediting body in Connecticut is the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Regional accreditation can indicate the ultimate peer review of an institution, and most public and private not-for-profit schools seek it. National accreditation works a bit differently, with an agency covering all 50 states. For example, the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) offers accreditations to qualified for-profit online schools in the United States.

Another arm of accreditation is specialized, meaning that a law school or business school may receive official approval by an independent organization focused on that discipline. The University of Connecticut’s business school is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International).

Deans Talk: Inside Connecticut Online Colleges

To gather an insider’s view of online learning in Connecticut, we asked the colleges on our list to describe what makes their programs unique. Interviews with the University of New Haven and Charter Oak State College show the pivotal role distance education plays at their schools.

Online Departments in CONNECTICUT

Charter Oak State College

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

We believe learning is about the activity, not the location. As Connecticut’s only public online college we feel that access, affordability, individual support and value are the hallmarks of what make Charter Oak a premier institution of higher learning. For us, online delivery is not an extension of our institution’s focus, rather it is the core around which we serve our students. Our student’s success is what drives us to provide the very best possible accredited programs for working adults who are seeking a way to complete their degrees quickly and efficiently.

What makes your online programs so valuable to students?

Our degree programs are created and taught by experts in the field. Plus, we carefully select new programs according to workforce projections so that graduates have the very best chance of advancing or transitioning their careers. Adult students can choose from 5, 8 or 15-week courses which helps them balance their course requirements with their workload and family life.

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

Charter Oak will increase the amount of competency-based credit on our student’s transcripts. Lower cost competencies, such as tests and portfolios, will replace more expensive courses. This will increase speed to degree, lower costs for students and increase retention rates. Additionally, with will expand our programming by increasing the number of workforce programs that serve as direct conduits to jobs. We will stress degrees that result in third party certifications.

University of New Haven

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

The University of New Haven (UNH) is committed to online learning that provides an active, engaging, and rigorous education that equals and often surpasses traditional on-campus learning. Faculty teaching in our online programs know how to create online communities where learners can share and create knowledge, and develop the 21st Century skills that employers seek.

What makes your online programs so valuable to students?

UNH’s programs are about people and a passion for learning. Students will connect with the university’s research faculty and with instructors who are experienced practitioners in the field as well as with students who may be around the block or across the world. Our online courses provide a real-world education with real people, not just interactions with buttons on a computer screen or cartoon avatars.

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

The University of New Haven plans to introduce two or more new online programs each year going forward. Current plans include the introduction of two new online master degree programs and a bachelor completion program for Fall 2014. Please go to for information on current programs and to watch for more information and details of the new program roll outs as they develop.

In-Depth Resources on Connecticut Schools

It’s helpful for students to identify free resources so they can make wise choices about higher education. Here are some essential websites with information about Connecticut online colleges, educational benefits for veterans, and financial aid and savings plans.

Major Connecticut Educational Resources: