A Guide to Online Colleges in Vermont

| BestCollegeReviews.org Staff

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"The Green Mountain State" is world renowned for its pastoral landscapes, heavily forested regions, and stunning skyline dotted with mountain ranges. Home to Lake Champlain, the next largest body of water after the Great Lakes, residents of Vermont have it all — including beaches! The low population leads to a tight-knit community feel even in the largest city, Burlington. When it comes to winter sports, Vermont residents love them and for good reason. The "powder" as described by the locals is the best kind for skiing and snowboarding: light, fluffy and not too packed. This makes Vermont an obvious choice for a winter wonderland. Dog sledding is even popular in Vermont (and more commonly, snow shoeing, and cross-country skiing). Additionally one of the most popular times to visit "the green mountain state" is when it gets, well, green. To this end, the state is a common location for vacation homes for the summer months. Near Lake Champlain there are plenty of options for water skiing, boating, and fishing. Vermont has traditionally been known for agriculture, and green and sustainable living which is evidenced throughout the state and in the major cities. Because of its location, locals in Vermont have a strong connection to French-American culture. Just head two hours further North and you'll be in Montreal! Vermont is also home to some of the finest schools in the nation and its tremendous law school: the Vermont School of Law. UV Law is particularly known for their focus on environmental law, perhaps one of the reasons why the state has done such a wonderful job preserving its wildlife. When it comes to sustainable practice, green living and eco-activism, Vermont is one of the best states in the nation. The citizens are generally politically active, educated and committed to a sustainable future which is why the locals who truly call Vermont home really can't imagine leaving.

In-state tuition is often applied to public schools offering online programs. Many online programs require some face-to-face time, or more numerous support services at their brick and mortar locations. Intensive study experiences–often on the weekends or in several week long bouts–enable many online students to accelerate their time until graduation. And students looking at online education can drastically expand their educational options if they also look to hybrid degrees (degrees where degrees can be taken partially, or mostly online). Finally, one of the most common stipulations in scholarships is that students be from a certain state or region, often more funds are available to students seeking degrees in-state.

Featured Online Schools

Top Public Schools

The top public schools in Vermont offer online programs of study ranging from associates through master's degrees. Our top three public universities include The University of Vermont, Johnson State College, and Community College of Vermont. The University of Vermont is a top 100 school offering 5 online degree programs — 2 bachelor's degrees, and 5 master's degrees in fields like nursing, public health and sustainability. Johnson State College is a unique small liberal arts college that is one of the best value liberal arts colleges in the nation, and unlike many small liberal arts colleges, this one is public.. This small undergraduate college offers 6 online bachelor's degrees in fields such as psychology, alternative medicine, and accounting. Our third pick is Community College of Vermont — one of the best community college systems in the country. The Community College of Vermont offers 10 fully-online degrees in graphic design, accounting, digital marketing and more.

Top Private Schools

The two private schools that offer online programs are also two of our top picks: Norwich University and Champlain College. Norwich University offers 6 bachelor's degrees and 12 master's degrees completely online in fields that range from interdisciplinary studies, to military history, to nursing. This military school also accepts civilians. Champlain, though considered to be an undergraduate college, offers a wider range of programs online from the associates through the master's level. There are 4 associate degrees, 10 bachelor's, and 7 master's degrees available in a range of courses like an A.S. in Accounting, a B.S. in Healthcare, or an M.ed in Early Childhood Development (among others).

How to Become a Resident

In accordance with the Vermont Statute Title 16, Chapter 75, section 2282, those who have established residency in the state of Vermont are offered a lower rate of tuition. As with most states, establishing domicile is part of the requirements to obtain residency and in turn a lower tuition rate. In-state status requires domicile which is defined by the state of Vermont as your permanent home and where you plan to return to after short periods away. In order to establish domicile — if Vermont is not your current home — you must live and work in the State of Vermont for a full 12 month period. Residing in Vermont for the single purpose of attending a university does not qualify an individual for in-state status. You must have completed a full 12-month period to have established domicile. Those who apply before this period will not qualify. Students who have not reached the age of 18 will be presumed domiciles of his or her parents or legal guardian(s) and a dependent. Individuals who are independent or defined as receiving fewer than 50% of support from parents or guardians and are above the age of 18 must be working in the state of Vermont, paying taxes, and have documented proof of the 12-month domicile period. Documented evidence includes a signed lease agreement where your name is stated on the lease, proof of established utility services such as your electric bill, gas/heating bill, water bill, telephone bill, home/auto insurance and bank account statements as well as miscellaneous documentation like your vehicle registration, voter registration, and W-2 forms (from the previous tax year). Like most state universities, providing in-state tuition is truly reserved for those living in-state. Vermont schools like to see ample documentation as evidence so we recommend collecting that information as soon as possible and keeping that in an area where it can be easily located. Students who have lived and worked and can provide the aforementioned documentation have a greater chance to establish residency and subsequently secure in-state tuition.

In 2015-16 the average published tuition prices for Vermont public four-year universities was $10,971 for in-state tuition. That’s about $1,572 above the national average for public schools. Some of the highest value schools are also our top picks for online options. The University of Vermont is one of the top schools in the nation and the tuition rates are just over $14,600 for in-state tuition. Out-of-Staters will pay over double the price at $39,160 — much close to the average tuition cost for a private institution. Johnson State College's annual tuition is $10,224 and one of the best values for small liberal arts colleges. Again, those out-of-state pay over $22,680 for tuition — more than double those in-state. Students who qualify for the Good Neighbor/New England Award will pay $15,336. There's more information about this award and incentive in our resources section below. Additionally, those studying online, saving $30,000 in room and board costs. For students looking to gain a world-class education for an affordable price, there's definitely something to staying in-state in Vermont. Burlington, Vermont ("Queen City") is the most populous city in the state, and is situated on the eastern shore of Lake Champlain. Within just a couple hours from Montreal, this small city also has a unique international influence and serves as vibrant cultural and commercial center. With a population of just 42,000 this cultural city is capable of maintaining a small intimate community atmosphere, and according to the Center for Disease Control is also considered one of the healthiest cities in the nation. Though healthy, there are still decedant treats to be found in Burlington's dining scene (it's also the home of the nationally beloved Ben and Jerry's ice cream chain). Natives of Vermont love their powder in the Winter and being outdoors when temperatures warm up in the summer. Burlington also has particularly beautiful community gardens and state parks. This vibrant "college town" is home to The University of Vermont and Champlain College and comes complete with all downtown amenities one expects of college towns: live music, theatres, walkable downtown shops and restaurants and world-renowned culinary delights. Burlington is priced slightly above the national average for cost of living, but individuals in Burlington make more money than in other areas across the nation. With great education offerings comes well-paid jobs, and locals of Burlington are fortunate to have both. Essex, Vermont is situated between Lake Champlain and the Green Mountains and about 15 minutes East of Burlington, Vermont. Known for their high quality of life, excellent public school system, and almost resort town qualities, life in Essex is nearly picture perfect. This pastoral town nestled in the foot of the Green Mountains is also home to perfectly intact 19th century buildings, including Essex Junction — the state's largest Amtrack station. The Village of Essex Junction was incorporated in the late 1800s and includes well-kept stores, and three immaculate parks: Maple Street Park, Cascade Park, and Stevens Park. Each park has unique amenities including swimming pools, hiking trails, a skate park, bike part, baseball fields, tennis courts and several acres of park land. Life in Essex is quaint, safe and filled with outdoor options from skiing to kayaking, biking, and canoeing. Like the rest of Vermont, locals love to be in and around nature. For people looking for a high quality of life, great job opportunities, and a real sense of community connection, Essex is the perfect place to call home.

Rutland is located in the heart of Vermont just 65 North of the Massachusetts state line and 20 miles East of the New York state line. One of the many perks of Rutland is its historic downtown neighborhood listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This neighborhood includes 90 contributing properties that date to the late 18th century. The Rutland Free Library, the Paramount Theater, and Merchant's Row all date back to the mid-19th century as well. The 275 acre Pine Hall Park is a place where residents go to mountain bike, hike, and skate. Some popular festivals in this historic town include The Ethnic Festival, Friday Night Live, Art in the Parks as well as the Vermont State Fair. Otter Creek is another great spot to use as look out, picnic area, or simply a place to take the family for a hike. Residents in Rutland — like many of the residents in Vermont — enjoy the balance between outdoor life, fantastic historic amenities and cultural experiences.

Population: 42,211
Cost of Living: 106.5%
Top Industries: Education, Healthcare, Accommodation and Food Services
Local Online Degrees: 2

Population: 19,587
Cost of Living: 110.3%
Top Industries: Education, Healthcare, Computer and electronic products
Local Online Degrees: 2

Population: 15,942
Cost of Living: 91%
Top Industries: Manufacturing, retail, Healthcare, education
Local Online Degrees: 1

Population: 17,067
Cost of Living: 110.3%
Top Industries: Computer and Electronic Production, Educational, Healthcare
Local Online Degrees: 2

Population: 9,074
Cost of Living: 93.3%
Top Industries: manufacturing, Healthcare, retail
Local Online Degrees: 0

The Best Online Colleges in Vermont

1. Norwich University

Online Programs: 18
Type: Private

Norwich University is the oldest private military college located in the United States and is located in Northfield, Vermont. Currently 3,873 student enrolled at Norwich. Classroom size remains small and the student-to-faculty ratio is just 16:1. This selective university is also ranked as the 80th best university in the North, and the 14th best value school according to U.S. News. Northfield is a small town located in the valley of the Green Mountains — a pleasant and quaint college campus and town. One of the notable aspects to Norwich's legacy is that it has been called the "birthplace of the American Education System" and has had many subsequent monumental moments such as the enrollment of females into their core of cadets in 1974, as well as its inauguration as the first private school to teach engineering. Though classified as a military school, it is important to note that Norwich enrolls civilian citizens who all benefit and grow from Norwich's stated "guiding values" some of which are the encouragement to respect diverse viewpoints, dedication to learning, leadership, creativity and critical thinking, and personal responsibility. Norwich made it to the top of our selection for its value, innovative educational approach, and high number of online degree offerings including programs like their online B.S. in Cyber Security as well as the M.A. in International Relations.

2. Champlain College

Online Programs: 21
Type: Private

Champlain College is a private, undergraduate school located in Burlington, Vermont. CU offers both traditional and online undergraduate degree programs. Burlington is the most populous city in the state of Vermont and located along Lake Champlain. U.S. News ranks Chaplain College as the 91st best college in the region, 52nd best college for veterans, and 3rd most innovative school for its faculty, students, technology, and facilities. There are 4,006 students enrolled who benefit from small classroom sizes, and a student-to-faculty ratio of 13:1. The innovation of its programming is best exemplified through the college's upside down curriculum — meaning that the first day of class is focused on their intended major. Additionally, students may elect to study online at their pace, and active duty military individuals may take advantage of "Military trueEd" pricing for Champlain's online programs. Online, Champlain expands its programming to offer more than just undergraduate degrees and also offers fully-online programs from the associate to master's level for a total of 21 degree programs.

3. University of Vermont

Online Programs: 5
Type: Public

The University of Vermont is a public land-grant university located in Burlington, Vermont. Burlington is the most populous city in the state of Vermont and located along Lake Champlain and has been named by Travel and Leisure a top city for outside activities, arts, safety and overall quality of life. This flagship university offers over 100 undergraduate majors, 50 master's degree programs, as well as 22 doctoral programs. The University of Vermont is fully accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Though there are over 12,800 students enrolled, classroom size at the University of Vermont remains small and the student-to-faculty ratio is 17:1. The University of Vermont is also one of the top 100 schools in the nation and the 38th best public school according to U.S. News. The innovative curriculum includes experience-based learning, undergraduate and graduate research initiatives as well as over 600 study abroad programs that span 70 countries. For three years in a row, the University of Vermont has received the Higher Education Excellency in Diversity (HEED) recognition. There are 5 fully online degree programs offered at the bachelor's and master's level.

4. Johnson State College

Online Programs: 6
Type: Public

Johnson State College is a public liberal arts college located in Johnson, Vermont. Johnson is a rural town situated between Long Trail State Forest and Mt. Mainsfield State Forest (and by three ski resorts!). There are 1,538 students enrolled and the average classroom size is just 17. The New England Association of Schools and Colleges accredits Johnson State College to offer associate, bachelor's, and master's degree programs. This small liberal arts college has a lot to boast about — they are military friendly, members of the COPLAC, LGBTQ Friendly, and one of the top ten most affordable small colleges according to Best Value Schools. The Planning Commission recognizes JSC for their long-running student volunteer programming. This is a small campus making big changes. Online, Johnson State College offers 6 bachelor's degrees in majors like Wellness and Alternative Medicine, Psychology, Accounting, and Childhood Education.

5. Community College of Vermont

Online Programs: 10
Type: Public

The Community College of Vermont is one of the best community college systems in the country. There are 12 locations across the state including Bennington, Brattleboro, Middlebury, Montpelier, Morrisville, Newport, Rutland, Springfield, St. Albans, St. Johnsbury, Upper Valley, and Winooski. CCV truly aims to serve the residents of Vermont by offering the most affordable programming in the state. Not only that, but CCV is very military-friendly and provides high-quality courses in small classrooms to help nearly 400 veteran and military student sharpen their skills each semester! Additional services to the state of Vermont include their fantastic online options. There are 10 associate degrees offered completely online in areas like graphic design, applied business practices, marketing, accounting, STEM studies, Liberal Studies, Human Services and more. If you're looking to save some money and have a fantastic jumping off point for your education, Community College of Vermont is a fantastic option.

Monitoring the accreditation of a university you are interested in attending is incredibly important. Accreditation ensures your credits can transfer that you can receive Federal financial aid, and most importantly that certain standards of educational quality are during your schooling. The highest accreditation standard for most programs in the United States is provided by regional accreditation agencies. The regional accrediting agency for Vermont is New England Association of Schools and Colleges, one of six regional accrediting agencies responsible for accrediting schools in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Making sure that a University you're hoping to attend is regionally accredited — or accredited by a real and respected accrediting agency — is one of the most important choices you can make in ensuring the quality of your education.

Three Steps for Securing Financial Aid

  • Submit your FAFSA.
  • Check to see if additional forms are needed at your university of choice.
  • Search and apply for private scholarships.

Through the previous three steps most students find themselves offered some sort of federal grant, work study, private grant, scholarship, or stipend.

Great Vermont Higher Education Resources

State of Vermont Agency of Education
State of Vermont Agency of Education includes resources for students, parents, and teachers and the latest in education policies, climate, and more.
Community College of Vermont
The Community College of Vermont The Community College of Vermont has 12 locations throughout the state of Vermont as well as provides a number of online learning opportunities.
Vermont Higher Education Council
Click here for further assistance in finding your degree, college counseling, and a Vermont college bus tour.
The Vermont Student Assistance Corporation
VSAC is a nonproft agency that advocates for an affordable and accessible college experience through counseling and financial aid.
University of Vermont Undergraduate Scholarships
Click here for The University of Vermont's Undergraduate Scholarships.
Financial Aid and Assistance
Click here for a University of Vermont Financial Services, Work-Study Programs, the Vermont State Colleges Foundation, and the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation.
Niche Scholarships, Vermont
For niche college scholarships based on demographic, skills, or jobs head here.
Merit Scholarships for Johnson State College
Click here for a list of Johnson State College scholarship awards.
Good Neighbor New England
Obtain a break in tuition price through this regional program.

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