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Wyoming Online Colleges & Universities: Top Schools for 2018

Updated on: 01/04/2018
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When most of us think of Wyoming we think of wide open spaces—and not a lot of people. If you live in Wyoming, you’re also probably keenly aware of the difficulties of obtaining a college degree when the nearest campus is a hundred miles away. That’s where accredited online colleges and universities come in. Below you’ll find useful information on Wyoming’s top online schools to help you find the distance learning degree program that’s right for you. Plus, you’ll find out how to qualify for financial aid at an accredited college.

2018 Best Wyoming Online Colleges

There are a wide range of quality online degree and certificate programs to choose from in Wyoming, they just happen to be offered by a relatively small number of schools. Determining the best schools in specific categories – such as best accredited online colleges in Wyoming or best affordable online colleges in Wyoming – will therefore yield many of the same winners. The following rankings – based on a number of relevant metrics – are designed to help you decide on the program that best suits your academic and personal 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 RatioGrad RateCredit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1 University of Wyoming Laramie, WY 100.00 $2,712 3 66% 14:154%yes yes yes
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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 Western Wyoming Community College Rock Springs, WY 100.00 $1,992 40 62% 12:1N/Ayes yes yes
2 Eastern Wyoming College Torrington, WY 98.42 $1,992 8 87% 18:1N/Ano yes yes
3 Laramie County Community College Cheyenne, WY 96.91 $1,992 42 43% 14:1N/Ano no yes
4 Casper College Casper, WY 96.13 $1,992 10 46% 13:1N/Ano yes yes
5 Central Wyoming College Riverton, WY 96.07 $1,992 11 66% 13:1N/Ayes no yes
6 Sheridan College Sheridan, WY 95.80 $1,992 8 57% 17:1N/Ayes no yes

How Many Online Colleges are in Wyoming?

Wyoming’s online college options may seem limited when compared to other states. But relative to its size and population, the state’s distance learning offerings are actually quite substantial. Wyoming is home to one public four-year university, the University of Wyoming, with its main campus in Laramie, and seven public community colleges located throughout the state. All eight schools offer a surprisingly healthy selection of degrees and courses that can be completed either entirely or partially online.

UW, for example, currently offers eight bachelor’s, 14 master’s and three doctoral degrees, as well as 16 certificates, through its UW at a Distance program. Detailed information on all Wyoming public online programs and classes can be found through the Wyoming Distance Education Consortium’s WyClass website.

Tuition & Financial Aid for Wyoming Colleges

Fortunately, practically all otherwise-qualifying students can obtain financial aid to attend an accredited online college in Wyoming. Nevertheless, tuition costs vary significantly depending on the type of school you attend (public or private) and the particular degree or certificate you choose. And, in most cases, students who reside outside the state will pay substantially higher tuition costs than their in-state counterparts.

The range of Wyoming tuition costs can be seen in these recent (2015-2016) figures from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics:

Public 4-year in-state: $4,178

Public 4-year out-of-state: $12,770

Private 4-year: $18,021

Public 2-year in-state: $2,788

Public 2-year out-of-state: $6,733

Source: U.S. Department of Education, 2017

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

College tuition costs can be particularly high for students who choose to study at a college outside their home state’s borders. Not all students from outside of Wyoming, however, will have to pay full out-of-state tuition to obtain a degree from a Wyoming distance learning program. Wyoming participates in the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), a non-profit organization of 15 western states (plus Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands) that offers students discounted tuition rates through three programs:

To qualify for discounted tuition under one of the these programs, a student must be a resident of one of the organization’s member states or territories. Not all Wyoming online programs participate in WICHE, and other restrictions may apply. For more information on WICHE eligibility, students should contact the online programs they are interested in directly.

Quick summary on tuition:
  • 1. Residents of Wyoming are eligible for in-state tuition rates for online programs offered by the state’s public colleges and universities.

  • 2. Residents of WICHE-member states and territories may be eligible for tuition discounts on Wyoming public postsecondary distance learning programs.

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How do I apply for financial aid for Wyoming colleges?

To apply for federal financial aid, as well as many state and college-specific scholarship and grant programs, Wyoming students will fill out and submit the U.S. Department of Education’s Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) form. This includes the need-based Hathaway Scholarships.

FAFSA forms are currently being accepted from October 1 through June 30 for the upcoming academic year. Bear in mind that information from FAFSA forms is often used by other financial aid sources to determine award eligibility, so students are advised to submit their applications as soon as possible in order to meet any earlier deadlines. For more information on federal and state financial aid options, contact your online program’s financial aid administrator.

Regardless of type, students must meet specific requirements to qualify for and continue to receive their financial aid awards. This is known as maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). Requirements differ depending on the specific aid source. For example, to maintain their federal financial aid, UW students must (among other requirements):

  • Maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA (3.0 for graduate students).

  • Successfully complete a minimum of 67% of all coursework taken (including transfer credits accepted) at University of Wyoming.

  • Undergrads may not exceed 180 credits in working on their first undergraduate degree. Students seeking multiple degrees or majors may not exceed 220 credits. Graduate students may not exceed 150% of their primary degree program’s limits.

Failure to Maintain SAP, and Financial Aid Eligibility Reinstatement

Failure to maintain SAP minimum requirements will usually result in loss of financial aid benefits. Most colleges, however, have established rules for eligibility reinstatement. In the case of the University of Wyoming, students failing to meet SAP minimums will receive no further federal financial aid until they make up their academic deficiencies. Students who fail to meet the GPA and hours completed requirements in their first semester receive a one-time one semester warning to resolve deficiencies. Students who are issued a warning and continue with their deficiencies may appeal their loss of aid based on mitigating circumstances.

Wyoming College Scholarships & Grants

Along with student loans, scholarships and grants make up the three major components of college financial aid. The biggest advantage of scholarships and grants over loans is that students aren’t required to pay them back. Factors considered in awarding scholarships and grants vary from program to program, but often include: specific major or field of study; educational accomplishment; civic and charitable activities; geographic location; artistic and athletic talent; and more. Financial need is also a common factor, particularly with grants.

There are countless scholarships and grants offered to students attending online colleges in Wyoming. Here’s some important information on what’s available:

Which scholarships and grants can students in Wyoming apply for?

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of scholarship and grant opportunities available to Wyoming online college students. Students are advised to search a variety of online scholarship databases for potential college funding sources. Two great national databases are Peterson’s and The College Board. There are also plenty of scholarships and grants offered exclusively to students at a particular college or enrolled in a specific program. UW provides a good example of such school-specific scholarships and grants.

An excellent source of scholarships available to students attending UW or a Wyoming community college is the Hathaway Scholarship program. All middle and high school students in Wyoming are eligible for Hathaway Scholarships. Awards are either need-based or merit-based. Merit-based awards are made in four amount levels determined by the student meeting certain GPA, test score and other class requirements.

How do I apply for Wyoming scholarships and grants?

The application process for a particular scholarship or grant depends on the program, so be sure to carefully review the requirements for each you’re considering. Many scholarship and grant programs also use the information provided on an applicant’s FAFSA form in making their awards, so students are advised to submit their properly-completed FAFSA form as soon as possible.

Common application requirements include:

  • A properly and fully completed application form;

  • Standardized test scores, such as the SAT and ACT;

  • All personal, financial and academic information, including all high school and postsecondary transcripts;

  • Letters of recommendation;

  • An essay on given subject.

Pay particular attention to application deadlines. There’s no easier way to miss out on a great funding opportunity than by failing to meet a program’s hard deadline.

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Finding the Right Wyoming Online College

Finding the right online college begins with some serious thought about your professional and personal life goals, followed by spending some serious time researching the degree and certificate programs best suited to helping you reach those goals.

Which colleges accept transfer credits and work/life experience in Wyoming?

The vast majority of Wyoming colleges will accept transfer credits from other properly accredited postsecondary schools as long as those credits meet certain criteria. For example, in most cases the University of Wyoming readily accepts credits for its undergraduate programs from Wyoming two-year community colleges and regionally accredited four-year colleges and universities.

Credits from out-of-state community colleges, out-of-region four-year institutions and certain vocational/technical schools are typically evaluated on a course-by-course basis. However, credits from a two-year community college for developmental, technical or vocational courses are generally not accepted.

In addition, UW limits the total number of credits that can be transferred from other institutions. More information on acceptance of transfer credits by UW can be found on the university’s Transfer Equivalency Self-Service (TreQ) and Wyoming Transfer Catalog web pages.

Credits may also be obtained through certain accepted non-traditional sources, such as military service and work experience. UW, for example, awards credits such sources as departmental examinations and AP, CLEP, and other tests, portfolio evaluation of extra-institutional college-level learning, study abroad coursework, and military service courses.

For information on transfer credit evaluation and acceptance, and on earning credits through non-traditional means, contact the registrar’s office at each school under consideration, preferably before enrolling in a degree or certificate program.

Do I need to pick an online college in Wyoming if I live in Wyoming?

No. Although the tuition costs for attending an in-state college program are typically significantly lower than those for an out-of-state program, Wyoming residents are not limited to choosing strictly from Wyoming-based online colleges. In most cases an otherwise-qualified student may enroll in a postsecondary distance education program regardless of where he or she – or the program – is located.

How do I pick a Wyoming online college?

There are several things to consider when choosing on online college program. Most importantly, be sure that both the Wyoming online college and the programs they offer are fully and properly accredited, like all of the schools listed on this page. Other factors to consider include program costs and time requirements, support services provided and school reputation.