2020 Top Online Colleges and Degrees
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The rise of accredited Online Colleges has done more than change how students learn. It has also changed when and where they learn. If you’re a busy person and want to earn a degree, we can help you find an online school. Get matched for FREE with our online college finder! Just tell us which programs you’re interested in. We’ll do the rest!
Is there a career goal you want to reach? An online degree may be the solution. Many online students work full time and have needs other students may not have. If this sounds like you, an online degree program could help you balance school, work and family. Take a look at these benefits to an online college.
5 ONLINE COLLEGE BENEFITS
Online colleges may offer several benefits for both undergrad and grad students.
- Cost of Online Colleges
- Online Classes Are Flexible
- Access to Online Colleges
- Rolling and Open Admissions
Featured Online Schools
Southern New Hampshire University
- No application fee for April & June terms.
- Take advantage of some of the nation’s most affordable tuition rates, while earning a degree from a private, nonprofit, NEASC accredited university
- Qualified students with 2.5 GPA and up may receive up to $20K in grants & scholarships
- Multiple term start dates throughout the year. 24/7 online classroom access.
Popular Online Programs
Business Administration, Psychology, Information Technology, Human Services…
Purdue Global University
- Experience world-class education online with more than 175 programs at associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels.
- Competency-based ExcelTrack™ Programs may allow you to earn your degree faster and for less money
- Courses taught by highly respected faculty members who are experts in their fields
- Full range of student services including no cost tutoring in math, science and writing
Available Online Programs
Business, Analytics, Computer Science, Cyber Security, Healthcare Management, RN to BSN, Criminal Justice, Psychology
- Offering two quality, competency-based online learning formats: FlexPath and GuidedPath.
- FlexPath lets you set your own deadlines and move through courses at your own speed.
- GuidedPath offers structured learning with a virtual courseroom and weekly schedule.
- With FlexPath, you can earn your degree in 12 months and under $11,500. Assumes accelerated pace. Price varies based on your pace and transfer credits. Other fees may apply.
Online Programs Include:
Business, Counseling, Psychology, IT, Nursing, Social Work…
1. COST OF ONLINE COLLEGES
It may be more affordable to attend college online. A school with low tuition may offer great value for your money. Tuition and fees are different at each school. But there are some common savings. For example, you save money on travel fees and even study materials. Many online colleges use ebooks and other digital tools. Some schools also loan students a laptop or tablet for the program.
Cheapest Online Colleges and Universities
The NCES tells us that the following list of online colleges offer the cheapest tuition.
|OUT OF STATE BACHELOR TUITION||# of Students|
|Columbia Southern University||$5,415||20,818|
|City Vision University||$5,600||113|
|Western Governors University||$5,780||98,627|
|Huntington College of Health Sciences||$6,155||166|
|Midwives College of Utah||$6,400||247|
|American Public University System||$6,880||46,420|
2. ONLINE COLLEGES ARE FLEXIBLE
When students study on campus, they come to class at a specific time. But many online schools let students choose when they want to complete their course work. If you need a flexible schedule, then online college may be an attractive option for you. Here are the are two types of formats for online learning.
- Synchronous: This is also called real time learning. You and your teacher are present at the same time. This often includes live discussions, group projects and lectures.
- Asynchronous: This is also called self paced learning. You log in to an online learning platform. It is usually available at any time. Think of it as a virtual classroom. The readings and assignments are there whenever you’re ready.
Synchronous vs. Asynchronous Learning
|Real Time||Self Paced|
|When do classes take place?||At a set time||Whenever you want|
|Tools & methods used|
|May suit a student who has these traits|
If you play to your strengths, you may complete your degree on time. An adviser from the online school you want to attend may be able to help you with this choice.
3. ACCESS TO ONLINE COLLEGES
You can save time by enrolling in an online college. Instead of having to travel to school, you simply jump on the Internet. You don’t need to put a career on hold. You don’t have to struggle with trying to balance education with work and family duties. Research shows that a whopping 92% of online students enroll in an online college for career related reasons. The same study shows that close to 80% of online students live within 100 miles of a campus where they are enrolled. This means you may be able to attend your local college online.
The list of online programs available today makes it easier for working adults to earn a degree. These are the top 5 online fields of study according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).
- Information Science
- Social / Behavioral Sciences
According to the NCES, 5.2% of online undergrad students have not declared a major! So, if you’re not sure what to study, you could choose to enroll in a general Liberal Arts program.
4. ROLLING AND OPEN ADMISSIONS
At an online school with rolling admissions, you don’t have to start in the fall or spring. Some online colleges offer new start dates every month, or every other month. You may prefer this type of college if your schedule doesn’t line up with a normal school year.
Open admissions are different from rolling admissions. A school with an open policy would not ask you to provide test scores or recommendation letters as part of the application process. More often than not, these schools accept all students.
An established college will usually provide the same services to campus and online students. But just because there is no school building does not mean there are no resources for online students. Many accredited online colleges offer support services. Do your research ahead of time. That way, you can find out what those resources are, and how to use them. Here are some resources to ask about.
- Orientation for online students
- Web based learning systems (for example, Blackboard)
- Tech support for online students
- Inter library loan system
- Online libraries and digital textbooks
- Online student advising
ARE ONLINE COLLEGES RESPECTED?
Yes. Many more colleges now offer online degree programs. But beware: There are still diploma mills out there. A diploma mill does not care about student outcomes. That’s why you need to be careful about selecting where you pursue your degree. You should rank programs based on these factors.
- Support services offered
- Stats such as retention and graduation rates
When comparing online colleges, take time to talk to people from each school. Learn about the careers that recent graduates have pursued. It’s always good to find out that actual online students are happy!
- About 60% of undergrad students report being completely satisfied with their investment of time and money
- 70% of grad students report the same
- Almost 90% of online students report that online study was equal to or better than classroom study
Reputable & Accreditation
How do you find out about an online college’s reputation? Find out the school’s main accreditation. The best online colleges are accredited by outside agencies. These agencies make sure that schools meet accepted standards of education. The chart below shows what accreditation you should look when deciding on a school to attend.
There are two types of accreditation, regional and national. It’s important to remember that regionally accredited online colleges usually don’t accept transfer credits from nationally accredited schools.
Regional vs National College Accreditation
|Focus||Academics||Typically offers vocational, career or technical programs|
|Who Belongs?||Both nonprofit and for profit colleges hold regional accreditation||Typically for profit schools|
|Recognized by the Department of Ed?||Yes||Yes|
|Recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)?||Yes||Yes|
What is Program Accreditation?
Just like regional accreditation, program accreditation is awarded by an outside agency. These agencies set academic standards for specific professions. Nursing, accounting and psychology are some areas where program accreditation may be important.
A program accreditation is not a replacement for regional or national accreditation. It is an addition. Basically, the main accreditation evaluates the entire school. A professional accreditation evaluates a certain program at the school.
DO ONLINE COLLEGES ACCEPT ANYONE?
Yes, some online colleges accept anyone who applies. There are also some online colleges that have very high acceptance rates. But keep this in mind: Every online college has its own admission standards.
A high acceptance rate is not always an sign of quality. In an online setting, there is no physical classroom. So this may allow some schools to offer unlimited attendance.
It is important to research a school’s online college admission process. An online program may allow more students to pursue a degree. For example, many schools ask for SAT or ACT scores, letters of recommendations or specific GPAs. But there are other online schools that waive requirements such as a GPA.