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Oregon Online Colleges & Universities: Top Schools for 2018

Updated on: 01/04/2018
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Online colleges in Oregon continue to raise the bar when it comes to distance learning. Leading the way is Oregon State University, with over 45 undergraduate and graduate online programs. Chemeketa Community College offers over 25 degrees and certificates online, including the opportunity to complete the Oregon Transfer Module online which allows students to complete general education coursework and transfer to an Oregon community college or public university in one year.

Not all Oregon colleges have such a wide selection of online programs, but many at least offer online courses. Some of these schools include Southern Oregon University and Clackamas Community College.

You’ve thought about attending an Oregon college online, but you’re not sure where to start. Ideally, you want something that’s flexible, especially when it comes to how and when you complete your work and attend class. But you also need something that’s affordable. This guide offers an overview of online colleges in Oregon, including how to choose an accredited school that fits your budget and meets your academic and career goals.

Best Online Colleges in Oregon: 2018

Choosing among the best accredited online colleges in Oregon means finding the school that most effectively meets your needs. This means a variety of school characteristics should be considered, including school size, location and academic offerings. Looking at a number of variables can help you choose among the best affordable online colleges in Oregon, but also balance what you want to achieve by attending college. Take a look at the online colleges that ranked among the best in Oregon.

  • 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 RatioGrad RateCredit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1 Oregon State University Corvallis, OR 100.00 $7,650 30 59% 18:161%no yes yes
2 Warner Pacific University Portland, OR 99.02 $19,640 3 100% 11:132%yes yes yes
3 Oregon Institute of Technology Klamath Falls, OR 97.15 $6,975 11 56% 19:143%yes yes yes
4 Portland State University Portland, OR 97.03 $6,525 7 54% 19:142%no yes yes
5 Western Oregon University Monmouth, OR 96.22 $7,560 5 59% 14:144%no yes yes
6 Eastern Oregon University La Grande, OR 95.74 $6,030 15 56% 17:123%yes no yes
7 Marylhurst University Marylhurst, OR 89.68 $20,295 4 N/A 5:121%yes yes yes
8 Linfield College-Adult Degree Program McMinnville, OR 88.44 $12,150 8 N/A 11:1N/Ayes no yes
9 Warner Pacific College Adult Degree Program Portland, OR 87.89 $10,800 4 N/A 20:1N/Ayes no yes
10 Oregon Health & Science University Portland, OR 87.66 $12,492 5 N/A 8:1N/Ano no yes
Explore Online Degree Programs in Oregon

2-Year Best College Rankings

Rank University Location Score Annual Tuition # of Online Programs Financial Aid % Student-Teacher RatioGrad RateCredit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1 Southwestern Oregon Community College Coos Bay, OR 100.00 $3,915 14 47% 15:1N/Ayes yes yes
2 Chemeketa Community College Salem, OR 97.67 $3,600 18 5% 23:1N/Ayes yes yes
3 Linn-Benton Community College Albany, OR 96.00 $3,940 9 6% 20:1N/Ayes yes yes
4 Clackamas Community College Oregon City, OR 93.99 $3,780 8 7% 19:1N/Ayes no yes
5 Portland Community College Portland, OR 92.94 $3,312 8 N/A 21:1N/Ano yes yes

Tuition & Financial Aid in Oregon

Depending on the school, Students in Oregon can expect to pay one of five types of tuition rates – in-state, in-state but out-of-district, border state rate, a Western Undergraduate Exchange rate or an out-of-state rate.

Each school makes its own determination as to whether a student qualifies as an in-state or out-of-state resident, although all schools will focus mainly on a student’s primary purpose for being in Oregon and how long they’ve been a resident. As a general rule, a student will be considered an Oregon resident if the student:

  • Is financially independent and has lived in Oregon (for reasons other than to attend school) for at least one year before taking classes, or

  • Is financially dependent on a parent or guardian and that parent or guardian has lived in Oregon (for reasons other than to allow their dependent child to attend school) for at least one year before the student begins taking classes

In-state tuition (public, 4-year institution): $9,406

Out-of-state tuition (public, 4-year institution): $28,676

In-state tuition (public, 2-year institution): $4,148

Out-of-state tuition (public, 2-year institution): $7,874

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Explore Online Degree Programs in Oregon

Do online college students pay in-state or out-of-state tuition?

The precise tuition rate will depend on your state of residency, field of study and the particular school. At some schools, such as community colleges, a student’s tuition is based on their residency status. If an Oregon student lives in the same district as the school they attend, they will be subject to in-state rate and in-district rate. If they are an Oregon resident, but live out of the school’s district, they will pay a slightly higher “out-of-district” rate.

Some students who are residents of states that border Oregon may be eligible for a border state tuition rate, which is less than the out-of-state tuition rate, but not as low as in-state.

Lastly, there are a number of Oregon colleges with online programs that charge one tuition rate for all online students, regardless of residency status. Oregon State University, for example, says its Ecampus students will never be charged out-of-state tuition and fees even if they do not live in Oregon.

If students attend an Oregon school that participates in the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) program, they can receive a reduced out-of-state tuition rate. To take advantage of the WUE program, students must choose an eligible field of study and also be a resident of any of the following Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) member states:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Montana
  • New Mexico
  • North Dakota
  • Nevada
  • South Dakota
  • Utah
  • Washington State
  • Wyoming

The WUE equivalent for graduate students is the Western Regional Graduate Program (WGRP). WGRP eligibility depends on each school’s participation.

Quick summary on tuition:
  • 1. Oregon students will need to pay one of five tuition rates, although many Oregon schools have specific online program tuition rates that apply to all students, regardless of residency. If a universal fee doesn’t apply, students will usually pay tuition in accordance with their residency status.

  • 2. Oregon is a member state of the Western Undergraduate Exchange and Western Regional Graduate Program, which means students from non-Oregon member states can pay reduced tuition rates if they pursue an eligible field of study at participating schools.

Explore Online Degree Programs in Oregon

What do I need to do to receive financial aid?

Students will need to complete the FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This is needed to receive federal financial aid, but many schools also require it to determine recipients of their own institutional aid.

One unique thing about applying for financial aid in Oregon is that there is a special application for undocumented students who cannot complete the FAFSA. This special application is called the ORSAA, or Oregon Student Aid Application.

Regardless of which application you choose, aim to complete the application as soon as possible after October 1, which is when applications are eligible for submission. Not everyone who asks for financial aid will receive what they request, although earlier filers have a better chance of receiving more generous awards.

Even though students may initially qualify for financial aid, they must perform at a minimum academic level to continue receiving aid. Most schools in Oregon follow the federal Satisfactory Academic Progress, or SAP guidelines. They consist of three primary components, although some schools may slightly adjust these requirements.

  • GPA

    Undergraduate students must have at least a 2.00 cumulative GPA, while graduate students must maintain a 3.00 cumulative GPA.

  • Pace

    At least 67% of the courses students enrolls in must be completed with a passing grade.

  • Maximum timeframe

    Students must complete their degree program and graduate within 150% of the required course credits. As an example, if a bachelor’s degree takes 150 credits to complete, the student must graduate before taking 225 credits.

Scholarships & Grants for Oregon Students

There are plenty of scholarship and grant opportunities available to help make a college education in Oregon affordable. Keep in mind, however, that most financial aid awards – including grants and scholarships – require attending an accredited postsecondary institution. The following question and answer section highlights a few grants and scholarships, but more information and a number of other scholarships can be found at Oregon.gov.

What kind of scholarships are available?

Three popular scholarships and grants for Oregon residents include:

  • Oregon Student Child Care Grant: This grant provides financial assistance to Oregon students who have dependent children under 12 years of age. The grant helps them obtain quality childcare so they may finish their postsecondary education.

  • Oregon Opportunity Grant: This is a need-based grant that provides up to $2,250 per year to each qualified student who attends a participating Oregon college.

  • Oregon Promise: Any Oregon resident who graduates high school (or has a GED) and attends an Oregon community college will receive a state grant that will pay for the majority of that student’s community college tuition.

How do I apply?

For state-based scholarships and grants, students wishing to apply must complete one of three types of applications. First, there is the FAFSA. Second, the ORSAA is available to undocumented children. Finally, specific scholarship or grant application forms may exist, such as with the Oregon Student Child Care Grant and Oregon Promise grant.

Students wishing to apply to outside scholarships and grants, such as those offered by private organizations, must follow the unique set of instructions for each respective opportunity. Most of the time, students are required to provide test scores and transcripts, complete an application, write an essay and attend an interview or provide letters of recommendation.

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FAQs About Finding an Online College

Looking to choose the right online college in Oregon? You’re probably going to want a lot of questions answered before making that decision. Here are a few of the more commonly asked questions.

Do Oregon colleges accept transfer credits and work experience?

Several schools in Oregon offer the opportunity to earn college credit for work or life experience.

One school with a generous credit policy is Linfield College. Students will need to complete a portfolio that describes the experience for consideration and faculty members examine the portfolio to determine which college credits may be awarded. Almost any experience is eligible for college credit, including professional experiences, hobbies and community service.

Oregon State University and Portland State University also offer college credit for military experience. Portland State University also has the Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) program, which allows students to take a variety of paths to get college credit. This includes the Challenge Exam process, where students identify a CPL eligible course, then take an exam to demonstrate their knowledge and skills.

If I’m an Oregon resident, do I have to attend an online college in Oregon?

No, you can choose to attend any online college, whether you’re a resident of the state where the school is located or not. So, if you live in Oregon, you can enroll in an online college in California, Texas, Florida or anywhere else in the country. However, choosing a college in Oregon can be a benefit – because you are a resident, you can take advantage of your in-state residency designation for a lower tuition rate.

What should I look for when choosing an online college?

One of the first things you need to do is make sure that the Oregon colleges you are considering are properly accredited. Accreditation is a process in which an independent entity reviews a school’s academic programs and to ensure that the school provides students with a quality education. Accreditation is especially important with online schools, where the possibility of being a diploma mill is more of a concern. And in case you were wondering, every school mentioned on this page is accredited.

Another thing you need to do early in the research phase is identify what is most important to you. For example, if you’re tight on money, choosing a school with a low cost of attendance will be a major factor. On the other hand, if you are looking to earn a particular degree, you’ll need to choose a school that offers that degree, even if it is the more expensive option.