The 25 Best Colleges Online For 2019

Do you ever just want to sit at home in your pajamas instead of getting up to go to school? Online programs offer the convenience and flexibilty you’re looking for in a college. The colleges on this list all offer online programs with a range of different degree types and major options. Many colleges offer a certifcate, associates, bachelor’s, or graduate program completely online, although most schools offer a combination of different degrees. A lot of colleges offer a combination of 100% online, fully online, and partially online programs. Although 100% online colleges are common among bachelor’s degrees, many graduate degrees have on in-person requirement. Online colleges offer the flexbility that working professionals need and also allows those with personal or family commitments to complete or pursue an college degree.

Rating and Ranking Methodology

Cost Per Credit Hour

  • Under $250: 4 points
  • Under $300: 3 points
  • Under $350: 2 points
  • Under $400: 1 point

U.S. News & World Report Recognition: Best Online Bachelor’s Programs

  • Top 10 Ranking: 10 points
  • Top 20 Ranking: 9 points
  • Top 30 Ranking: 8 points
  • Top 40 Ranking: 7 points
  • Top 50 Ranking: 6 points
  • Top 60 Ranking: 5 points
  • Top 70 Ranking: 4 points
  • Top 80 Ranking: 3 points
  • Top 90 Ranking: 2 points
  • Top 100 Ranking: 1 point

Customization Options

  • Format Customizations (e.g. Hybrid/Online, Full-time/Part-Time, etc.): 1 Point

Wow Factor

  • 1 point awarded for each unique feature or program that “wowed” us

To compile this ranking, our editors began with an initial pool of 85 colleges and universities. After narrowing the pool to those schools with a top 100 US News and World Report ranking and a cost per credit hour of under $400, we applied the rating and ranking methodology above. In cases of a tie, we considered the cost per credit hour and awarded the more affordable school the higher ranking.

#25 – Missouri State University

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Points: 7

Missouri State University prides itself on offering an affordable education to both on-campus and online students. The colleges online program has flexible options for bachelor’s, certificates, and learners who are looking to earn a minor. The university has a range of minors available, including a minor in fire administration, psychology, and screen writing, among others. For graduate students there are several 100% online programs and a few online certificates, such as a philanthropic studies certificate.

#24 – Indiana University

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Points: 8

Indiana University’s online college program is geared towards students who are seeking a flexible online course experience. Degrees include a bachelor’s in adult education, dental assisting, human resource management, nutrition, safety management, and tourism planning and development, among others. Most online programs are 100% online. Others, such as the Ph.D. in nursing science are 80% to 90% online. A flexible program like nursing stull allows students to complete coursework online, but conduct research and real-world applications in person.

#23 – University of North Texas

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Points: 8

With bachelor’s, master’s, and certificates all offered online, the University of North Texas. The online college offers more 20 graduates degrees online, and has four solid bachelor’s completion degrees, which are a good fit for students who have personal or professional obligations and never finished a college degree. A degree completion program also offers a flexible schedule for working students. For students who are interested in transferring to the college, the school offers a transfer process for accredited community college and 4-year universities.

#22 – The University of Texas of the Permian Basin

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Points: 8

The University of Texas of the Permian Basin offers accelerated courses that allow students to finish programs quickly. Not only does the online college offers bachelors programs such as an accelerated BA in communications and an accelerated RN to BSN program, but the school also has a range of masters programs and certificates for students. The masters programs include an accelerated MA in bilingual/ESL and an MA in English, which is not accelerated.

#21 – Regent University

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Points: 9

Based in Virginia Beach, Virginia, Regent University is a Christian university that offers a wealth of online degree programs. The college has over 130 areas of study both online and on-campus. The online college has 8-week and 15-week options for online study and promotes the flexibility of their online school. Regent University offers degrees ranging from an associates in information systems to a Ph.D. in communications. The university allows students to transfer up to 90 credits, which allows students to finish degrees very quickly.

#20 – Florida International University

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Points: 9

Offering a 100% online bachelors program Florida International University (FIU) is a great college to consider in the online college search. FIU offers multiple online courses and has a filter system for students to search degrees by academic interest. Bachelor’s degrees range from Asian studies to women’s and gender studies programs. Most degrees, such as the bachelors in criminal justice, are fully online courses and begin in fall, spring, and summer. When students enter the college they are paired with an online success coach who helps with choosing classes and maintaining a student’s schedule.

#19 – Lamar University

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Points: 9

Located in Beaumont, Texas, Lamar University has over 15,000 students. The college offers an array of online courses for students through Blackboard, an online support and educational system. If students are not familiar with Blackboard they can get learning support via online support services. Uniquely, the online college does not offers accelerated courses. Students can enroll in August for an 8-week course, October for the second 8-week course, or enroll in an 15-week course that also begins in August.

#18 – University of Massachusetts – Amherst

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Points: 10

The University of Massachusetts (UMass) – Amherst offers an online education that is exactly the same as an on-campus degree. Faculty from the UMass flagship college and other colleges in the UMass system teach the online courses with the same content that is taught in an in-person course. Students not only have 24-hour access to the digital classroom, but they can also engage in coursework at a schedule that is accommodating to personal and professional obligations. Another benefit of the UMass system is that students gain access to all online resources and a the university’s catalog.

#17 – University of Central Florida

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Points: 10

University of Central Florida (UCF) online offers students more than 80 online degrees and certificates. The university has flexible courses that allow students to begin or finish their education, whether as a non-traditional student or recent high school graduate. All online courses at UCF are held to the same standard as on-campus classes and are taught by high-ranking faculty. There are also many certificate programs that students can choose from through the online course availability.

#16 – Westfield State University

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Points: 10

Located in Massachusetts, Westfield State University offers both online and hybrid programs. These programs are interactive and self-paced, with a focus on developing mentoring relationships. There are seven bachelors programs, four online minors, and three hybrid programs. Westfield uses the PLATO online learning platform for students to access online courses. The university offers a unique feature where students can take an online self-evaluation to see if online learning is the right choice for their continued or beginning educational career.

#15 – University of Maine at Augusta

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Points: 10

The University of Maine at Augusta offers many of its degrees in an entirely online format. The online college highlights business administration, computer information systems, state authorization reciprocity agreements, information and library science, and justice studies. Most programs utilize video conferences and learning sites. The college offers the option for community course sites, where students go to turn in assignments, use computers, or take exams for an online course. There are several sites located throughout the states which are convenient for distance learners.

#14 – Colorado State University

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Points: 11

Colorado State University (CSU) online is focused on providing an education that students can access from anywhere in the world at anytime. Students learn from the same faculty as on-campus students. Bachelor degrees are offered in subjects ranging from agricultural business to fire and emergency services administration. CSU also offers online masters and two Ph.D. programs, one in higher education leadership and the other in systems engineering. The online college also has hybrid courses that bridge on-campus learning with online instruction.

#13 – University of Arkansas

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Points: 11

University of Arkansas offers a flexible online program for students who are currently working or have family commitments. The online college offers support services to all online students. The school confers degrees in communication, accounting, and interdisciplinary studies, among others. The college also has online graduate school that has multiple masters degrees and a few doctorate degrees. All bachelors degrees are 100% online, other advanced degrees and certificates have an on-campus component that can be completed at the Fayetteville campus.

#12 – SUNY – Delhi

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Points: 11

The State University of New York Delhi (SUNY – Delhi) online courses are designed for working students to earn a degree and benefit from the flexibility of an online program. Students can enroll in the program either part-time or full-time and do not need to meet a resident requirement. The school offers degrees in RN to BSN, MS nursing administration, MS nursing education, BS criminal justice, culinary arts Management BBA, event management BBA, hotel and restaurant management BBA, and AOS electrical construction and management.

#11 – Sam Houston State University

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Points: 11

This online college offers an education that is similar to an in-person education. Students learn from faculty that use innovative online teaching techniques. The online program stresses flexibility and allows students to learn from anywhere in the world at anytime. Sam Houston also provides very affordable programs for online learners. The program itself offers more than 40 different degree options for students, including bachelors degrees in criminal justice, nursing, psychology, and sociology, among others.

#10 – Ohio State University

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Points: 12

Ohio State University (OSU) has an online school known as Ohio State Online, which offers a test drive program for students to try out an online course before enrolling. The test drive program is perfect for students who are not sure if they want to commit to an online degree. OSU online also provides students with tips about online courses and advice from online instructors. Students can earn an array of degrees, such as an associate of arts in early childhood development and education.

#9 – Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

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Points: 12

A college specifically for aeronautical training and degrees, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University offers several online programs for students. Degrees are broken down on the website into online and worldwide programs, where students can enter the same program in different areas and also take courses online. The masters of science in aviation and aeronautics sustainability offers an online format that helps students earn a degree while still having flexibility. The online courses are ideal for working professionals or those that are looking to progress and grow within their field.

#8 – Utah State University

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Points: 12

Utah State University (USU) online is offers resources to make sure students succeed in online courses the online college offers advising and tutoring services to all students. Tutoring is available for online or face-to-face sessions and can be accessed via the campus and through etutoring.org. Students can work with an advisor for one-on-one counseling and develop plans that help students achieve their academic and career goals. USU online offers a few associate’s and bachelor’s degrees, and a huge selection of minors and certificates.

#7 – CUNY School of Professional Studies

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Points: 12

A school of the City of New York, the CUNY School of Professional Studies offers an online program that emphasizes the flexibility of online learning. Students have the opportunity to interact with professors via online instruction, emails, discussion boards, and eportfolios, among others. The school offers several bachelor’s programs, including degrees in psychology, nursing, and human relations among others. The school also offers online degrees in master’s such as disability studies, data science, and nursing education. The college specializes in advanced certificates and three specialty non-degree programs, a children’s program administrator credential, implementing ERP business software, and seminars on science.

#6 – Southeast Missouri State University

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Points: 12

Southeast Missouri State University has an excellent online college, called Southeast online, that offers a wealth of online. Bachelor’s degrees are offered in applied technology, business administration, healthcare management, and nursing, among others. Aside from bachelor’s degrees, the online college offers several masters in topics such as elementary education and criminal justice. Some programs offer shortened term lengths and accelerated classes that can be completed in only a few weeks. Since classes can be accelerated, students can finish degrees on time or at a quicker past than normal.

#5 – West Texas A&M University

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Points: 14

West Texas A&M University offers 100% online and fully online degrees, which are 86-99% online. The online college also offers a hybrid and blended courses degree, which fuses together online courses with in-person instruction, although the college says that the majority of instruction happens online in these programs. The range of different online degrees caters to a range of students. This online college is excellent for core degrees, such as a BA in communications or an MA is counseling, both of which are 1005 online programs. For fully online degrees, there may be a practicum requirement that allows the student to complete courses online while still obtaining real world experience.

#4 – California University of Pennsylvania

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Points: 13

Located in California, Pennsylvania, this university has a range of online programs from athletics to law. Among online programs the university offers cyber security degrees and certificates, and a homeland security certificate. The homeland security certificate focuses on career development in law enforcement and security. Students can also earn a gifted education endorsement, this unique program is an online four-course online certification that combines curriculum with hands-on fieldwork experience. The online college has a wealth of degrees and offers a whole range different certificates, associates, bachelor’s and graduate degrees.

#3 – Fort Hays State University

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Points: 13

Among online colleges Fort Hays University offers certificate programs, associate, bachelors, masters, a specialist in education, and a doctorate in nursing. Students receive online instruction from on-campus faculty and can benefit from the flexibility of online courses. For students who are looking to complete an associate online, two degrees are available: an associates in applied science in applied technology and a general studies. Both degree options can lay a solid groundwork for a bachelor’s degree. The university recently added an online finance degree to the long list of available bachelor’s degrees.

#2 – Oregon State University

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Points: 13

Not only does Oregon State University offer undergraduate and graduate degrees, but the online college also features unique online courses and programs that are not degrees. Undergraduate programs include anthropology, business administration, horticulture, political science, and sustainability, among others. Graduate degrees include several MBA options, and a range of teacher and education degrees. Aside from traditional degrees, OSU offers several degree completion programs. Programs are delivered online through Ecampus and help with career development. Courses are offered in chemistry, foreign language, and veterinary medicine courses.

#1 – New England Institute of Technology

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Points: 15

New England Institute of Technology offers multiple online programs for bachelor’s, master’s, and even a post-professional doctorate degree program. Online courses at this university are offered completely online and in hybrid format. Programs, such as the master of applied design, are hybrid programs and combine accelerated courses paired with online curriculum. Most online courses, including a construction management masters and a RN to BSN programs, are offered completely online. Students are able to access materials anytime and can adjust coursework to personal schedules. Online colleges are a great option for working professionals, those looking to finish a degree, or achieve a higher salary.

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