Online Colleges in Kansas

Updated on: 01/25/2020
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A 2013 report released by the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce projected that 71% of Kansas jobs will require education beyond high school by 2020. Subsequent analyses performed by the Kansas Department of Commerce and the Kansas Board of Regents echo this prediction. The Kansas Department of Labor also expects a sizable majority of the state's fastest-growing occupations will demand at least an associate degree by 2022.

These trends indicate the increasing importance of higher education for those in the Kansas labor market. This page will introduce you to the online educational opportunities in Kansas for both in-state and out-of-state students, along with rankings of the leading online colleges in Kansas. You will also find resources for locating and assessing program options, navigating the transfer credit landscape, and researching financial aid sources.

Kansas's Top Affordable Online Colleges

In compiling this list of the best online colleges in Kansas, we considered factors like affordability and the success rates of graduates in the job market, as well as intangibles like the reputation of the school and its faculty.

Our rankings help indicate where students can get the best value from online Kansas programs. Use this guide to help you search for schools that meet your needs.

  • Accredited public or private not-for-profit institution

  • At least 3 online associate degrees or certificate programs (2-year schools)

  • At least 3 online bachelor’s or master’s degrees (4-year schools)

  • Annual in-state tuition below $5,000 (2-year schools)

  • Annual in-state tuition below $25,000 (4-year schools)

Colleges receive a total score based on performance in the following categories:

  • Average in-state net price for first-time/full-time undergraduates

  • Count and breadth of online programs available

  • Student-teacher ratio

  • 6-year graduation rate (4-year schools only)

  • % of beginning, full-time undergrads receiving scholarship/grant aid from the college

  • Average $ of financial aid students receive directly from the college

  • Availability of academic/career counseling services

  • Availability of job placement services for students and graduates

  • 3-year loan default rate

  • AC Online Peer-Based Value (PBV)*

*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.

Our college rankings are backed by data collected and analyzed from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, a program managed by the National Center for Education Statistics. Surveying over 7,500 colleges annually, it is among the most longstanding and trusted providers of U.S. postsecondary information.

  • Most recent “Final Release” data available as of October 2017

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 Newman University Wichita, KS 100.00 $23,700 10 98% 14:1 50% yes yes yes
2 University of Saint Mary Leavenworth, KS 99.94 $23,750 12 96% 8:1 53% yes yes yes
3 Fort Hays State University Hays, KS 99.54 $3,450 34 74% 16:1 44% no yes yes
4 Southwestern College Winfield, KS 98.68 $24,685 31 91% 8:1 53% yes no yes
5 Tabor College Hillsboro, KS 98.65 $23,100 3 100% 12:1 54% yes yes yes
6 Sterling College Sterling, KS 98.27 $21,700 4 100% 12:1 42% yes yes yes
7 Emporia State University Emporia, KS 97.83 $4,500 20 74% 18:1 41% no yes yes
8 Kansas State University Manhattan, KS 97.79 $8,223 20 68% 19:1 60% no yes yes
9 Washburn University Topeka, KS 97.68 $5,952 14 64% 13:1 37% no yes yes
10 Wichita State University Wichita, KS 97.18 $5,869 11 74% 18:1 46% yes yes yes
11 Ottawa University-Ottawa Ottawa, KS 97.15 $24,370 13 99% 18:1 34% no no yes
12 Barclay College Haviland, KS 97.01 $11,000 6 83% 11:1 50% yes no yes
13 University of Kansas Lawrence, KS 97.01 $8,807 7 61% 16:1 62% no yes yes
14 Friends University Wichita, KS 96.88 $24,450 15 93% 11:1 32% yes no yes
15 Central Christian College of Kansas McPherson, KS 96.39 $15,854 7 58% 24:1 40% yes no yes
16 Pittsburg State University Pittsburg, KS 96.15 $4,936 11 54% 18:1 49% yes yes yes
17 MidAmerica Nazarene University Olathe, KS 95.95 $24,250 4 89% 7:1 55% yes no yes
18 Ottawa University-Online Ottawa, KS 90.42 $11,520 22 N/A 2:1 N/A yes no yes
Explore Online Degree Programs in Kansas

2-Year Best College Rankings

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 Allen County Community College Iola, KS 100.00 $1,824 76 72% 16:1 N/A no no yes
2 Hutchinson Community College Hutchinson, KS 97.96 $2,432 25 65% 15:1 N/A yes yes yes
3 Barton County Community College Great Bend, KS 97.56 $1,984 33 55% 23:1 N/A yes yes yes
4 Kansas City Kansas Community College Kansas City, KS 96.87 $2,190 29 21% 13:1 N/A yes yes yes
5 Seward County Community College and Area Technical School Liberal, KS 96.82 $1,632 10 68% 14:1 N/A yes yes yes
6 Cowley County Community College Arkansas City, KS 96.40 $1,922 15 65% 23:1 N/A yes yes yes
7 Highland Community College Highland, KS 96.13 $2,112 12 62% 20:1 N/A yes yes yes
8 Pratt Community College Pratt, KS 96.10 $1,792 6 73% 24:1 N/A yes yes yes
9 Neosho County Community College Chanute, KS 94.86 $1,920 4 69% 12:1 N/A yes no yes
10 Coffeyville Community College Coffeyville, KS 94.02 $960 4 84% 25:1 N/A no no yes
11 Butler Community College El Dorado, KS 93.53 $2,850 21 41% 18:1 N/A no no yes
12 Johnson County Community College Overland Park, KS 92.97 $2,610 5 18% 20:1 N/A yes yes yes
13 Colby Community College Colby, KS 92.89 $1,950 5 71% 13:1 N/A no no yes
14 Flint Hills Technical College Emporia, KS 89.27 $3,616 4 10% 14:1 N/A no yes yes

Why Choose Kansas for Online Higher Education?

The higher education network in Kansas offers online learners many degree options. Single parents, underserved populations, professionals seeking convenient retraining opportunities, and those looking to transition out of jobs in declining industries enjoy particular advantages thanks to the rise of online education in Kansas. Consider the following statistics, published in 2016 by the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) of the U.S. Department of Education (ED):

  • Number of Programs offered Completely Online in Kansas 63

  • Undergraduate Students enrolled Exclusively Online in Kansas 13,406

  • Graduate Students enrolled Exclusively Online in Kansas 8,579

  • Total International Students enrolled Exclusively Online in Kansas 3,456

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Cost of Attending an Online College in Kansas

In Kansas, colleges and universities typically offer lower tuition to state residents. This trend sometimes translates to online education. Some online schools in Kansas charge all students the same tuition fees, regardless of where they live. Others charge nonresidents higher rates. Each school sets its own tuition policy.

To qualify as a resident of Kansas for tuition purposes, applicants must reside in Kansas for at least 12 months before applying to college. Dependents of parents who reside out of state do not usually qualify for Kansas resident status for tuition purposes. Applicants must also establish ties to Kansas by obtaining Kansas ID documents, registering as a Kansas voter, or working full-time in the state. Some in-state tuition rates may extend to eligible residents of neighboring states, depending on whether the school participates in higher education reciprocity agreements.

The following table summarizes average tuition fees in Kansas for both in-state and out-of-state students:

In-state tuition
$16,783 – public, four-year institution
$3,201 – public, two-year institution
Out-of-state tuition:
$20,901 – public, four-year institution
$4,395 – public, two-year institution

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, 2017

Explore Online Degree Programs in Kansas

Kansas tuition rates compare favorably to the national average. In-state rates for public universities in Kansas rank below the national average. As of the 2017-18 school year, Kansas ranked 20th in the U.S. for college affordability.

On-campus and online costs vary, depending on the length of the program and whether the institution is public or private. The following list illustrates the tuition rates students can expect to pay at two-year community colleges in Kansas, as well as typical rates for public and private four-year, degree-granting institutions:

Considering a Kansas School as an Out-of-State Student

To get the maximum value from your educational investment as an out-of-state student, carefully research your options to find the most affordable online colleges in Kansas. Applying reciprocity or good neighbor discounts can help you qualify for lower, in-state rates if the school charges residents and non-residents differing fees. Before applying to an online college, check to see if the institution participates in any reciprocity agreements, and make sure non-resident online students do not face any attendance restrictions.

The following data, published by IPEDS in 2016, shows that Kansas has a significant out-of-state, exclusively online student population:

Out-of-state undergraduate students studying exclusively online in Kansas 3,942

Out-of-state graduate students studying exclusively online in Kansas 3,574

Tuition Discounts

Kansas participates in the Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC), an interstate agreement with 12 members including Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Residents of MHEC states qualify for tuition discounts in other member states through the Midwest Student Exchange Program (MSEP), which caps tuition fees at 150% of what an in-state resident would pay to attend a participating institution. Schools take part in the MSEP on a voluntary basis, and as of the 2018-19 school year, over 100 colleges across the 12 member states provide these discounts.

State Authorizations for Online Learning

The National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) upholds the integrity of online education by ensuring that participating institutions meet high standards. NC-SARA protects students, particularly out-of-state students enrolled in online programs, by guaranteeing member schools offer quality educational opportunities that employers and other accredited institutions will recognize. To qualify for SARA membership, a school must hold accreditation from an agency endorsed by the ED. Non-residents considering online programs in Kansas should check to see if the school holds voluntary NC-SARA membership.

Check with an admissions or financial officer.

Tuition rates are ultimately program- and institution-based. Ask someone from a prospective program about what rates apply to you specifically as a potential member of a specific program.

Explore Online Degree Programs in Kansas

One-Stop College Research Resources for Kansas's Online Schools

The following resource roundup offers detailed answers to commonly asked questions about accredited online Kansas universities. This information considers general trends, so check the answers against the official materials published by schools you are considering.

Do online credits cost more or less in Kansas?

By and large, online universities in Kansas charge the same tuition fees, regardless of whether a student enrolls in traditional or internet-based classes. For example, the University of Kansas makes no distinction between on-campus and online classes in its tuition fee policy. However, other factors can influence the per-credit cost of Kansas online degrees. For example, schools frequently charge different tuition rates for undergraduate and graduate courses, while other institutions feature variable fees depending on the program.

Additionally, at some schools, certain colleges and departments levy further mandatory charges like technology fees and proctoring fees for examinations administered over the internet. Institutions do not specifically include these costs in their tuition fee schedules, but these fees increase the price of earning a degree since students have no way to opt out of them.

Which Kansas schools accept the most transfer credits?

In Kansas, schools set their own transfer credit policies. The maximum number of transfer credits a school accepts as well as the requirements for transferring college credits vary by institution. Some online schools in Kansas feature more generous policies than others. For example, schools such as Bethel College, Fort Hays State University, and Kansas State University tend to attract larger numbers of transfer students thanks to their inclusive policies.

In most cases, students must have earned at least a C grade in order to transfer previously earned college credits to a new institution. Many schools also use the grades earned in transfer credit courses to calculate a student's cumulative GPA.

The Kansas Board of Regents offers a resource that lists university and college transfer credit information for dozens of major Kansas institutions. Use it to make efficient side-by-side comparisons of the transfer credit policies of various schools.

Will any online colleges in Kansas accept a GED?

According to the Kansas Board of Regents, almost every higher education institution in the state recognizes and accepts the GED in place of a traditional high school diploma. However, some institutions may require applicants holding GEDs instead of high school diplomas to take additional admissions examinations, such as SAT or ACT tests.

How many academic terms per year do online colleges in Kansas offer?

Most accredited online Kansas schools feature fixed start times that offer a limited number of program entry dates throughout the year. Most schools admit new students during the fall, spring, and summer semesters. At other online colleges and universities, start dates depend on the program, with some programs offering more entry opportunities.

However, enhanced flexibility is one of the benefits of distance learning, and it often acts as a major determinant of a student's choice to enroll in online classes instead of traditional ones. As such, institutions with a strong focus on internet-based education tend to offer more flexible start dates. In such cases, learners benefit from two alternative course launch structures.

First, some online Kansas programs run on compressed schedules, with shortened quarters or semesters that run six to eight weeks in length. Incoming students can start the program at the beginning of the next quarter or semester. Second, a limited number of online Kansas universities host programs that allow students to begin virtually anytime. These accelerated options apply to general education classes as well as specific programs that lead to associate and bachelor degrees.

Which online colleges will accept FAFSA in Kansas?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) serves as an important tool for college students in need of financial assistance to meet their tuition and living expenses. It provides an early aid estimate that evaluates an applicant's eligibility for financial assistance, including Pell Grants, subsidized and unsubsidized loans, federal work-study programs, and some scholarships.

The ED offers an easy-to-use online tool that allows students to search for colleges that participate in FAFSA aid programs. Known as the Federal School Code Search, the tool lists 73 Kansas colleges and universities as of the 2018-19 school year. The top online colleges in Kansas participate in FAFSA. Simply conduct a search, then look for the school of your choice in the list of results.

Are there any free online classes I can take from Kansas colleges?

Major universities around the world began a collaborative project in the early 2010s that developed thousands of high-quality, free online classes. Hundreds of institutions now offer these classes, massive open online courses (MOOCs) at low or no cost to students, who can enroll and start anytime.

While students in MOOCs cannot apply the coursework toward an undergraduate or graduate degree, they can earn professional certificates and digital badges that confirm their participation. Kansas State University offers free courses through Kansas State University Global Campus.

For those seeking cheap online programs in Kansas that lead to recognized credentials, community colleges offer the next-best solution. They offer comparable educational opportunities at lower tuition rates than typical four-year, degree-granting colleges. After earning a diploma or associate degree, students can then transfer to a four-year degree program.

How can I find the online program options at Kansas's colleges?

Kansas institutions make it easy for prospective students to find their online offerings. Many schools place a tab on the main menu of their homepages that allow students to navigate directly to online-only programs. Alternately, you can research a school's online courses and degrees by entering a search term like "online learning" or "distance learning" into the website's search feature.

Larger schools often maintain separate web portals for their online programs. For example, the University of Kansas system features the KU Online site, which contains everything current and potential online students need. Kansas State University offers a similar setup through its K-State Online web portal.

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Kansas Scholarships and Grants

Students in need of financial assistance should start by considering Pell Grants, which do not require repayment. However, eligibility for Pell Grants only extends to undergraduate students pursuing their first degrees. Bachelor's degree holders do not qualify.

Students with funding gaps may want to seek out Kansas-specific scholarships. Start your search with these scholarships:

  1. Jellison Benevolent Society, Inc. Scholarships

    This renewable grant offers financial assistance to college-bound high school seniors and undergraduate students based in the Geary County, Kansas area. Applicants must demonstrate financial need and provide copies of their high school transcripts, SAT scores, ACT scores, and at least two letters of recommendation from current or former teachers. Candidates must also supply copies of their parents' tax returns to confirm their eligibility.

    Scholarship Amount: Varies

    View Details
  2. Tortoise Young Entrepreneurs Scholarship

    Open to applicants with GPAs of at least 3.3, SAT scores of at least 1680, and/or ACT scores of at least 24, this scholarship provides financial assistance to Kansas and Missouri residents enrolled or planning to enroll in a bachelor's program in either state. Non-residents can also apply if they attend or plan to attend an accredited bachelor's program in either state.

    Scholarship Amount: $1,000 to $3,000

    View Details
  3. Kansas Scholars Program

    College-bound Kansas high school seniors who have completed the Kansas Scholars Curriculum and earned state scholar status may apply for this scholarship. Applicants must also demonstrate financial need and place within the top 20% to 40% of high school graduates statewide in terms of academic achievement.

    Scholarship Amount: Up to $1,000 per academic year

    View Details
  4. Kansas Ethnic Minority Scholarship Program

    This scholarship provides financial assistance to members of ethnic minority communities who attend college in Kansas and maintain high levels of academic performance. Applicants must identify as one of the following: African American/Black, Native American or Native Alaskan, Hispanic or Latino/Latina, Asian/Asian American, or Pacific Islander.

    Scholarship Amount: Up to $1,850 per year, based on need

    View Details
  5. Kansas Teacher Service Scholarship

    This scholarship rewards Kansas students in bachelor's education programs and trained teachers seeking licensure in educational disciplines that meet the benefactor's "hard to fill" criteria, which changes annually. Applicants must also file FAFSA forms, hold Kansas residency status, and maintain enrollment in an accredited Kansas higher education institution.

    Scholarship Amount: Up to $5,514 per academic year ($2,757 per semester)

    View Details

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