Welcome to Wyoming, the first state in the nation to have national parks. And yes, if you’ve ever been to Wyoming you would know that is “parks” with an “s.” In fact, Wyoming is home to a number of national parks revered as some of the most unique and beautiful in the nation, including Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Tetons, Rocky Mountains, Thunder Basin National Grassland, and the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area. With all that outdoor space, one might be able to figure some stats about the state’s size.
Wyoming is the 10th largest state in the country by area, but the smallest in the nation by population. Well, that is when it comes to human inhabitants. Wildlife is more prevalent than domesticated life in this “mountain region” state, where you’ll find bison, elk, emu, bobcat, black bear and gray wolf. As you may imagine, city life is small but don’t let that fool you. The cities in Wyoming are run by volunteers and members of the community that host some of the nation’s most beautiful festivals and cultural experiences: the solar eclipse festival held in Jackson, or the world’s largest rodeo AKA “The Daddy of ’em all” in Cheyenne, the state’s capital.
Wyoming residents enjoy the great outdoors all year round and will be out hiking, biking, fishing and boating in the warmer months and skiing, sledding, and ice fishing in the winter. The economy that drives Wyoming is tourism and mineral-extraction, particularly natural gas, goal, and oil. Education in Wyoming is affordable and flexible, with some of the best tuition costs in the country. Even today, you will still find The Crow, Arapaho, Lakota, and Shoshone natives in this state whose official title is the “Equality State.” Opportunities abound in cities like Casper, and Cheyenne. Both are listed as some of the best small cities to raise a family. Tech hubs are popping up and Wyoming has joined in along this new corridor for start ups that joins Denver and Fort Collins, Colorado. The Equality State is providing equal opportunity to all who live here, for students, singles, new families, and retirement communities. Community is perhaps one of the best ways to describe the state of Wyoming, where people live not only in community with each other but with the other species that inhabit the land with them.
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
The top schools in Wyoming offer online programs of study ranging from associates through doctoral degrees. Our top public universities include the University of Wyoming. The University of Wyoming is a top 100 public university according to U.S. News, and offers 17 online degree programs that range from the bachelor’s to doctoral level. In fact there are three fully online doctorates: educational leadership, nursing practice, and instructional technology. Other online degrees include 11 master’s degrees and 3 bachelor degree programs. The four remaining ranked schools are fantastic 2-year colleges that provide affordable and effective educations for both traditional and non-traditional learners. In-state tution costs are below $3,000, and provide career-ready degrees for those looking to enter the industry or change tracks. At Casper College, there are 13 associate degree programs available in fields like accounting, psychology, and general studies. Western Wyoming College offers 11 associate degree programs in fields like criminal justice, business administration, and social work. Laramie County Community College provides 10 associate degrees and has satellite locates across the state. Online, you can study homeland security, health information technology, and others. Eastern Wyoming College offers six associate degrees online in fields like early childhood education, business administration, and interdisciplinary studies. Particularly for practical and career-centered fields, Wyoming has a wide range of quality online degrees to offer.
How to Become a Resident
What qualifies an individual for in-state tuition is residency. However, in the case of the University of Wyoming, in-state tuition comes with a few caveats. It is important to supply the corresponding documentation to be considered a resident for tuition purposes. Wyoming residents who move to Wyoming primarily to enroll in programming will not be considered a resident for tuition purposes. The following are examples of scenarios where individuals do qualify for in-state tuition: any person living in Wyoming and who is employed in Wyoming or the income from his or her spouse is the principal source of income, the individual pays Wyoming taxes, has been employed for at least 12 consecutive months prior to the student’s application for resident tuition. Additionally, graduates from a Wyoming high school active Wyoming National Guard and U.S. Armed Forces members station in Wyoming, Graduate students for the duration of the University-funded fellowship, individuals who have received an associate degree from a Wyoming Community College, and those on a temporary leave of absence may also be considered residents for in-state purposes. Additionally, those entering into Wyoming who desire to obtain residence must cut any former ties with their former state for an entire year, meaning individuals are not residing in two homes simultaneously, have one full year of continual presence, a Wyoming vehicle registration at least one year immediately preceding filing for residency, a valid Wyoming driver’s license and a Wyoming voter registration card.
In 2016-17 the average published tuition prices for Wyoming public four-year universities is $2,998 for in-state tuition. This is $6,402 below the national average for public universities! The highest value schools are also our top picks for online options. The University of Wyoming is one of the top schools in the nation and the tuition rates are well below the national average for public institutions. In fact, the University of Wyoming offers programming for lower than most in-state flagship universities. In-state students will pay just $5,400 for a tier-1 education. The same level of education for out-of-state students is $16,215, nearly three times the cost of in-state tuition. Our next four picks are 2-year universities — which greatly cut the cost for tuition, and provide a solid foundation for those transferring into a 4-year degree program. Community Colleges provide annual tuition costs below $3,000 for in-state individuals and double that cost for those who are out-of-state.
Studying online means saving on residential costs — residential costs in Wyoming are more expensive than tuition costs! For many this means anything from $40,000-$80,000 in savings just by studying from home. You also save on the cost of commuting as well as — for many — childcare. Childcare in the state of Wyoming can be more expensive than tuition costs amounting to an astronomical savings just by studying online and staying in state. Hold on to your hats and head to Cheyenne, Wyoming, the really-windy city filled with the spirit of the West. Cheyenne is the capital and is located in the Southeastern corner of the state. It is also the most populous city with 62,448 residents. Cheyenne is home to the world’s largest outdoor rodeo which was established in 1897. This week-long event takes place at the end of July. The “Daddy of ’em all” includes concerts, parades, and lots of ruckus all run primarily by volunteers. Just 7 miles outside of Cheyenne is a unique opportunity to see bison at the Terry Bison Range home to over 2,000 bison, longhorn steer, camels, llamas, emu, and more. The downtown western experience is a lot of fun, with a mercantile, pipe shop, and plenty of opportunity for rancher attire at the Wrangler: America’s largest western store.
The real “magic of the plains” comes in the form of its people and how they take pride in the land, their business, and their community. The people take pride in their volunteer work, participate in projects that improve their cities and land, and are generally friendly. New parks, restaurants, breweries, and tech start ups continue to open, making Cheyenne a great choice for students, folks starting a family, or those embarking on new careers. Not to mention, Cheyenne is a day trip away from Grand Canyon National park, Denver, and Aspen. For a longer journey, head to the opposite corner of the state where you’ll find the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Park.
Jackson, Wyoming or “Jackson Hole” is called that not for its “hole in the wall-like” qualities, in fact Jackson is quite the opposite of a hole in the wall. It is encompassed on all sides by mountains and is the land in the midst of them. Jackson is just a short journey from the Grand Tetons. Literally surrounded by mountain ranges and multiple river convergences, Jackson is an outdoor paradise for those fortunate enough to live there. Residents are part, of the land and their homes echo this sentiment. There are just over 10,000 residents living in Jackson, Wyoming and many of the residential homes are as breathtaking as the natural beauty that surrounds them. As you may have guessed, witnessing wildlife is part of life in Jackson, where you will regularly see elk, deer, and diverse species of birds. The National Elk Refuge is located just northeast of the town of Jackson where this elk herd is used to replenish and maintain herds across the nation. In less than 10 minutes by car, residents in Jackson are in Grand Teton National Park, one of our nations’ most beloved national parks. The Grand Teton mountain is over 13,700 feet and overlooks cascading streams, glacial debris, valleys and so much more. An hour farther north and you’re in Yellowstone National Park, famous for Old Faithful, Lower Falls, and Yellowstone Lake. That’s why Jackson is considered the”gateway” to Yellow Stone and the Grand Tetons. This tight-knit community has a great downtown, in addition to access to wildlife. In fact, some of the top industries are arts and entertainment. With the picture perfect neighborhood, great community and some of the best preserved land in the country, living in Jackson for many, feels like living in a dream — an ideal town for anyone looking to live life to the fullest.
Cost of Living: 83%
Top Industries: Healthcare, Public Administration, Retail, Education
Local Online Degrees: 1
Cost of Living: 80.9%
Top Industries: Construction, Healthcare, Mining Quarrying Oil and Gas Extraction, Retail
Local Online Degrees: 1
Cost of Living: 87.3%
Top Industries: Education, Healthcare, Retail, Accommodation
Local Online Degrees: 1
Cost of Living: 85.3%
Top Industries: Educational Services, Mining Quarying Oil and Gas Extraction, Healthcare, Retail
Local Online Degrees: 1
Cost of Living: 103.1%
Top Industries: Accommodation & Food Service, Healthcare, Arts and Entertainment
Local Online Degrees: 0
The Best Online Colleges in Wyoming
1. University of Wyoming
Online Programs: 17
The University of Wyoming is a public institution situated on the Laramie Plains. The Laramie Plains are located between the Laramie Mountains and the Snowy Range in the Southeast corner of the state. There are 12,648 students enrolled, and the student-to-faculty ratio is just 14:1. The University of Wyoming is an academic powerhouse, offering over 200 areas of study to undergraduate and graduate students. The Higher Learning Commission accredits UW to offer bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degree programs. According to U.S. News, US ranks as the 171st best school in the nation, 90th best public school, 183rd best business program, and 135th for their engineering program. Though the breadth of degree opportunities, the setting, and other unique campus groups are truly what make UM shine. Students have the privilege to study animal and veterinary science, agronomy, molecular biology, art history, Russian, Journalism and everything in between. If you’re looking for adventure sports, the two surrounding mountain ranges provide ample opportunities for climbing, exploring, and mountain biking. Students on campus play cricket, lacrosse, and ski. This unique learning experience is extended through their online programming which includes 3 bachelor’s degrees, 11 master’s, and 3 doctoral degree programs including a very unique online speech and language pathology program.
2. Casper College
Online Programs: 13
Casper College is a two-year public institution established in 1945. It is located in Casper, Wyoming. Casper is the second largest city in Wyoming and is situated along the North Platte River and Casper Mountain. There are 4,082 students enrolled representing all ages. More than half of students are enrolled part time. Casper College offers affordable tuition and comprehensive associate degrees in everything from accounting to world languages. The Higher Learning Commission fully accredits Casper College to offer associate degree programs. The strength of its programing lies in its instant applicability. These career-ready degrees are not only offered on-campus but also online. In fact, Casper College offers 13 fully-online associate degrees in fields like accounting, fire science, office management, health services, and hospitality and tourism management. These degrees correspond to the top industries not only in Casper, Wyoming but in many places across the nation. We like Casper for its high value education and high freshmen retention rate, an indicator of student satisfaction.
3. Western Wyoming Community College
Online Programs: 11
Western Wyoming Community College (Western) is a public two-year institution located in Rock Springs, Wyoming. Rock Springs is located in Southwestern region of Wyoming and is known for its diverse population. Western does a phenomenal job with course completion compared to the national average. As is stated in their mission statement, Western aims to provide differentiated high quality learning for students at all stages of life. This makes Western a fantastic option for traditional students just out of college, and non-traditional students. Supplemental support comes via programming outside of the classroom including internships, performances, and exhibitions. Westerns aims to “provide students a foundation for succeding in an ever-changing global environment.” It is fully accredited through the Higher Learning Commission. Online, Western provides 11 career-ready associate degrees in fields like criminal justice, accounting, marketing, and computer information systems. The cost of tuition is just $2,282 for in-state students.
4. Laramie County Community College
Online Programs: 10
Laramie County Community College is a public two-year institution located in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Cheyenne is the capital and most populous city in the state and is located in Laramie County. There are 4,780 students enrolled in small classes where the student-to-faculty ratio is just 9:1. Students benefit from low cost of tuition and nearly 80 degree choices offered both on-campus and online. Some of the most popular fields of study are in health care, liberal arts and sciences, information sciences, and support services. Additionally, there are almost 30 professional certificates available. Academic support includes advising, adult education, and tutoring. Learning is done in classrooms, in online classrooms and in a hands-on manner in labs and other facilities across the campus. When it comes to sports, in addition to men’s basketball, women’s volley ball, and men and women’s soccer, the college also has a rodeo team and is a member of the National Collegiate Rodeo Association. Online, Laramie County Community College offers associate degrees in fields such as accounting, cyber security, and government studies.
5. Eastern Wyoming College
Online Programs: 6
Eastern Wyoming College is a community college located in Torrington, Wyoming. Torrington is located in Eastern Wyoming and is known for its agriculture industry. There are 1,788 students enrolled and the student-to-faculty ratio is 19:1. Students are offered associate degrees in nearly 20 different fields. Some of the most popular degree programs include liberal arts and sciences, management, and business. The mission statement includes providing comprehensive and affordable education for the community. This is certainly the case as classroom size remains small, labs are fully equipped for hands-on learning and the cost of tuition is affordable as just $2,472 for in-state students. Other unique programs offered through Eastern include rangeland ecology and watershed management, wildlife and fisheries biology management, cosmetology, and animal science. Additionally, there are 15 certificate programs in fields that from aquaculture technician to welding and joining technology. Online, EWC offers 6 associate degree programs.
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 Wyoming is the Higher Learning Commission, one of six regional accrediting agencies responsible for accrediting schools in Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
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 Wisconsin Higher Education Resources
- Wyoming State Board of Education The Wyoming State Board of Education includes resources for students, parents, and teachers and the latest in education policies, accreditation, and college success.
- Wyoming Community Colleges Head here for a comprehensive directory of Wyoming Community Colleges.
- Wyoming Department of Education The Wyoming Department of Education sets the standards for classrooms, provides a window into career and technical information, and the latest standards for educators and students alike.
- University of Wyoming In-State Tuition Policies For more information on how to obtain in-state tuition rates in Wyoming check here .
- Wyoming Community Foundation The Wyoming Community Foundation hosts a list of statewide scholarships by country, town, or high school.
- Western Undergraduate Exchange Check out the Western Undergraduate Exchange for more information on how to qualify for a reduction in tuition rates for out-of-state students.
- University of Wyoming Scholarships Click here for a list of University of Wyoming Scholarship opportunities.
- Bureau of Indian Education The Bureau of Indian Education provides a list of scholarships for Native American students across the nation.