Accredited Online Colleges

Find a trustworthy and flexible online college learning option that works best for you using U.S. News rankings, data and expert advice.

Online college is no longer just an option for many students – it has become the norm. Experts say colleges are poised to offer even more online degree programs and develop new ones as well. Advancements in technology, course design and high-speed internet availability are moving online learning forward. One reason students enroll in online degree programs is for the flexibility to study from anywhere. Students with family responsibilities or full-time jobs may also be able to work around their own schedules. Online students need to have good time management skills and be able to overcome distractions in their environment. Though online formats still present students with unique challenges, accredited institutions usually offer tailored support for students to adjust to online courses and plan their academic futures however they learn.

Online College Degree Programs

Earning a bachelor's degree – in person or online – can open doors to employment opportunities. According to the National Center for Education Statistics , the employment rate among 25- to 34-year-olds in the U.S. with a bachelor's degree or higher was at 87% in 2022. Compare that with the 73% employment rate for those with only a high school diploma. In fall 2020, about 11.8 million of all undergraduate students were enrolled in at least one distance education courses at degree-granting postsecondary institutions, and 7 million were enrolled exclusively in online classes, according to the National Center for Education Statistics . Students in online programs usually earn the same degree as on-campus students. The curriculum for an online bachelor’s degree typically matches the on-campus curriculum at the same school, and the diploma usually doesn’t state whether that specific degree was earned online or in person. This can help ease fears that employers won’t accept applicants with online undergraduate degrees. Many online bachelor’s programs require students to complete general education requirements in the arts, humanities and sciences if they haven’t already done so at another college or university. Prospective students will likely need to decide between a liberal arts major and one that is more career-focused, with the latter being the route many take to change career fields or advance professionally. Still, experts say it may make sense for some online students to major in a liberal arts discipline if it’s a subject they are truly passionate about. Academic advisers can offer guidance on which route is best for you.

Pros and Cons of Online Degrees

Students can take classes virtually, allowing them to learn anywhere.

Students can pursue the best program for their field of study, even if the school is far from home.

Students can plan around busy schedules to complete their coursework.

Students need greater self-motivation, time management skills and discipline to complete coursework.

There's no face-to-face interaction with an instructor.

Networking with classmates may be difficult.

An online degree can be a great choice for students who want to continue their education and have either an associate degree or no postsecondary education. A variety of online bachelor’s programs exist, so prospective students should explore all options before enrolling. Those who want to earn their online degree as quickly as possible may wish to pursue a competency-based program or one with an accelerated schedule. The majority of incoming online undergraduates have previously earned some college credits. Individuals in this group should check early in the process whether the prospective online program will accept those credits. Students with an undergraduate degree also can earn a master’s degree completely online. This path is a great choice for working professionals who want to advance in their career or change fields completely. You can find out more through U.S. News’ best online master’s degrees rankings and resources.

How to Choose the Best Online College for You

The best online college is the one that fits your needs. As you’re evaluating programs, consider how each school’s research, resources and reputation line up with your career interests and goals. An online program’s accreditation, tuition and flexibility are other factors that come into play. A good place to start your research is the U.S. News rankings of accredited online bachelor's programs . Once you narrow down what colleges you’re interested in, make sure the programs are in your ideal format – whether that’s fully online or a hybrid model. Review admission requirements and application fees and compare the availability of financial aid. Look into the school’s costs beyond tuition, including book, course material and online delivery fees, and research its student services and faculty.

Check the Accreditation Status of the School or Program

When choosing an online degree program, prospective students should ensure the school is accredited by an organization recognized by either the U.S. Department of Education or the nonprofit Council for Higher Education Accreditation. These organizations monitor programs and schools and renew their accreditation every few years. The Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs contains information from recognized accrediting agencies and state approval agencies that reported to the U.S. Department of Education. Information regarding whether an online degree program is accredited is often available on a school’s website. Accreditation is a process that an outside authority conducts to ensure a school or degree program – either on campus, online or a combination of both – meets certain standards of quality and rigor. Accreditation is a voluntary process, though it has several benefits and essentially validates a program to employers and other institutions. There are a few types of accreditation , but the main two are regional and national. Designated regional agencies determine whether a school is regionally accredited. This is a widely recognized type of accreditation. Credits transfer easily between regionally accredited schools. National accreditation is usually less rigorous and awarded to schools of a similar type, like vocational or technical institutions. For-profit online programs are more likely to have national accreditation. Credits from a nationally accredited college are not transferable to a regionally accredited college. Students can speak with their academic adviser to learn more about what types of accreditation are expected from employers in a given career field. Employers may verify that a job candidate’s degree comes from an accredited program, especially if the school name is unfamiliar to them. Should a student decide to change programs, a transfer-friendly school is more likely to accept course credits that come from an accredited institution.

Choose a College Major

Choosing an undergraduate major can seem daunting. As you research options, think about what subjects you enjoy and what majors might prepare you for careers you’d want to pursue. Make sure you understand how salary may vary by field over the course of a career. The right major can set you up for success in college and beyond. The six most common bachelor’s degrees earned in 2020-21, according to the National Center for Education Statistics , were business, health professions and related programs, social sciences and history, biological and biomedical sciences, psychology, and engineering. Students who receive bachelor’s degrees in certain engineering fields have some of the highest starting salaries. According to U.S. Department of Education College Scorecard data on students who received federal financial aid, computer engineering, petroleum engineering and industrial engineering majors make a median starting salary of more than $65,000 per year. Students shouldn’t pick an area of study solely because it is popular or high earning. The same goes for online graduate students – they should weigh the professional benefits of an advanced degree. Those with job experience should consider their professional goals when deciding what to study.

Determine Which Online Learning Option Works for You

The structure of online degree programs varies. That’s why prospective students must research a program thoroughly to ensure it meets their needs. In general, however, online courses require students to regularly log in to a learning management system, or LMS. This is a virtual portal that serves as a classroom, where students can access relevant course materials and monitor their progress on lessons. Different formats require different levels of communication with fellow students. Online students may interact with each other through a variety of channels, including discussion forums, social media, videoconferencing, by phone and through email. Students should not expect an online class to be easier than an on-campus one just because of the format. Programs may require students to attend what are often referred to as synchronous class sessions. These sessions are held in real time through videoconferencing, which can help students interact and build relationships with their classmates and the instructor. This type of program’s activities adhere to a preset schedule of classes, lectures, conversations and assignments. Most online courses have an asynchronous, or self-paced, component. Students complete readings, listen to lectures and participate in discussions with classmates whenever they wish but must follow weekly deadlines. Open-schedule courses give students the freedom to begin courses whenever they want and complete assignments based on their start date. Students don’t adhere to regular semester dates. In this format, communication with other students can be sparse. Students working full time might find the convenience and flexibility of open-schedule courses the most desirable. Then there’s fixed-time courses where students attend all classes virtually, with no in-person meetings required, but must log on to attend class at specific times. This format is the best for those who want the structure of a set schedule but need the class to be entirely online. Lastly, hybrid online courses allow students to do coursework remotely but require a few in-person meetings.

Top Online Colleges

U.S. News evaluated several factors to rank the best online bachelor's degree programs, including graduation rates, faculty credentials and support services available remotely.

Find an Online College

Use the filters below to search ranked online degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

How to Get Financial Aid for Online College

1. Submit the FAFSA. To receive financial aid, the first and most important step is filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. This is available online on Oct. 1 each year. To receive the most financial aid possible, prospective students should check school and state grant deadlines and apply early. The FAFSA requires applicants to fill in basic information, such as their contact information and Social Security number, as well as provide their latest federal income tax returns and bank statements. Undergraduate students who are younger than 24 years old – and not married, veterans or active military members – will need to file as a dependent and provide their parents’ financial information. Nearly all students who apply for financial aid qualify for some form of it. 2. Fill out other financial aid forms and apply for scholarships. Many colleges offer their own source of financial aid in the form of grants, scholarships and loans. You may need to fill out additional forms to receive this aid. This information – including deadlines – is generally available on a school’s website. Applicants can also search online for scholarships available at specific schools or from organizations tied to their discipline. Online learners may be eligible for the same scholarships available to on-campus students, and there may even be additional scholarships for online or adult learners. 3. Review and correct the FAFSA Student Aid Report. A few days after submitting the FAFSA online, applicants will receive a Student Aid Report from the Federal Student Aid office. This report restates answers that applicants provided as well as other relevant information, and it’s an opportunity for applicants to correct any errors on the FAFSA, including adding or removing colleges. 4. Compare awards. Each school will calculate applicants’ financial need, which determines their financial aid eligibility. Students will receive an award letter stating what financial aid they are being offered. They can compare their award packages based on the aid they are eligible to receive, the school’s tuition and other costs. 5. Reapply for financial aid each year. To continue receiving financial aid each year, applicants need to fill out the FAFSA annually for as long as they plan to be a student. A degree can be a major investment, and financial aid can help ease the burden of costly tuition. Much like financial aid for on-campus students, aid for online students is available in the form of grants, scholarships, loans and even federal work-study jobs. That said, some online degree programs may not offer work-study opportunities, as many online students are already working full time. The online degree financial aid process is often identical to that of students earning a degree in person. Online students also need to meet similar – if not the same – requirements to be eligible for financial aid at a given school. Additionally, whether a student is full- or part-time can affect that person’s ability to qualify for financial aid. To receive certain amounts or types of aid, many online programs require students to meet specific credit-hour requirements. Applying for financial aid is a complex process. In a 2022 survey of online students by Wiley University Services, 36% of online students indicated that determining how to pay for school was the most difficult part of the application process, while 27% said completing financial aid forms was the hardest. Luckily, accredited online colleges often have financial aid advisers to answer questions and help applicants through the process. To learn more, read U.S. News’ paying for college coverage . There you’ll find expert advice and resources to help you through the process.

how much are open college courses

How to Apply to Online College

The admissions process for online college is usually similar to that of on-campus programs. Step 1: Fill out the Common App. To start, you’ll need to fill out the application. At the bachelor’s level, the Common Application is accepted by more than 900 schools, including some colleges outside the U.S. It’s likely that an online degree-seeking student will also need to complete this application. Because master’s degree applications are usually tied to a specific program in a school, what application students need to complete may vary. Step 2: Write essays. Applicants at both levels will likely have to submit an essay of some kind. Because many online students already have some work experience, experts recommend that they emphasize their professional skills as part of their application and explain how their experience has prepared them for online college. Step 3: Collect letters of recommendation. Undergraduate and graduate online programs often require letters of recommendation . These may come not only from teachers and school counselors but also current or previous employers who can speak to a student’s work ethic. At the graduate level, a recommendation letter will more likely come from an employer. Step 4: Submit test scores. Applicants may need to submit standardized test scores as part of their application. Many undergraduate online students already have some previously earned college credits and therefore may be able to forgo submitting an SAT or ACT entrance exam score if enough of their credits transfer. At the graduate level, whether the GMAT or GRE graduate school entry exam is required depends on the school and area of study. Some may not require any test scores. This information is typically available on a program’s website. Consult an admissions officer at schools of interest to determine the exact requirements. Step 5: Submit transcripts. Students also may need to submit school transcripts and, depending on the program’s requirements, their prior work experience and previously earned credit hours. Note that just because a program is offered online doesn’t guarantee that getting admitted will be easier. Step 6: Keep track of deadlines. Make sure you follow directions carefully and keep track of deadlines for the school’s admissions application, financial aid and test score submission. Prospective students can find deadline information on each school’s website. Because online program academic calendars may be structured differently from on-campus offerings, deadlines may differ for these applicants.

How to Avoid Online College Scams

Beware of diploma mills, which award illegitimate degrees or certificates to students on the internet. Among the most important steps a prospective student can take is to ensure an online degree program is accredited by an organization recognized by either the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. It’s also essential to look for red flags on a program’s website. Anything that seems too good to be true – earning a degree in a very short time period, for instance, or at an extremely low cost – is a warning sign. The opposite is also true: If a program seems abnormally expensive, conduct further research. Other red flags include a program not listing a campus or business address online, the website having a lot of grammatical or spelling errors or lacking a “.edu” URL, and the school failing to post information about student support services.

For-Profit Online Colleges

When exploring programs, a prospective student may encounter for-profit and nonprofit schools. Students may perceive for-profit online colleges as a more financially risky option, but experts recommend taking what they hear in the media and through word-of-mouth with a grain of salt. For-profit online schools became more prevalent in the late 1990s. At the time, these schools accepted most applicants, including those who weren’t prepared for college. This contributed to low graduation rates and higher debt, as well as a negative reputation toward for-profit schools. That’s changed in recent years, however, as these schools began placing a greater emphasis on student support services and started requiring some students to take entrance exams to gauge their college readiness. Experts say for-profit and nonprofit schools are becoming increasingly similar, but a few primary differences remain. For one, experts say, admissions are typically less selective at for-profit schools. These online colleges are more likely than nonprofits to have rolling admissions, along with academic calendars that don’t operate around the traditional semester schedule. For-profit institutions tend to have national rather than regional accreditation. Experts recommend looking beyond the nonprofit and for-profit classification when choosing an online degree program. Instead, they say, focus on accreditation, tuition, faculty and support services. Prospective students can also look at reviews of different for-profit programs to get a sense of other students' experiences.

For-Profit Schools

  • Historically had a negative reputation due to lower graduation rates and high student debt.
  • More likely to have national versus regional accreditation, which is preferred by employers.
  • Less competitive in the application process than nonprofit schools.

Non-Profit Schools

  • Have historically prioritized student support.
  • Are more likely to be regionally accredited compared with nonprofit programs.
  • Require students to demonstrate readiness through a more competitive application process.

Online Colleges Near Me

While online education offers students the opportunity to study from anywhere in the world, many students still choose a program with a campus close to home. Cost is a big factor in staying local. Online programs at public universities and colleges often charge different tuition rates for in-state and out-of-state students. For example, the University of Florida charges in-state residents $112 per credit hour for enrollment of its online programs, while residents of other states pay $500 per credit hour. That’s a significant savings for Florida residents. Additionally, this in-state tuition is much lower than what Florida residents might pay to attend an online public school based in another state like Ohio or Texas. Sticking with a public school in your state can save you tens of thousands of dollars over the course of your degree. You might also choose a nearby online college so you can easily visit the campus to meet with professors or advisers. Visiting the school can help you better connect with the school community and join on-campus student clubs or attend events. Some students enroll in a local online degree program because they are already familiar with its culture and traditions, or they have family or friends with ties to the institution. The school may also be more recognizable to local employers. Certain online degrees have in-person residency or orientation requirements where students have to visit campus a few times each term or throughout the course of the program. In this case, a local program makes sense.

Online Colleges by State Near Me

  • Connecticut
  • District of Columbia
  • Massachusetts
  • Mississippi
  • New Hampshire
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • West Virginia

Frequently Asked Questions About Online College

How much does an online bachelor's cost.

The cost of an online bachelor’s degree varies based on what school you choose, whether it’s a private school or a public school, and by your state of residence, among many other factors. An online bachelor’s degree cost can differ from that of an in-person bachelor’s when accounting for fees and how tuition is calculated. While on-campus programs may charge fees for housing, transportation, recreational activities and meals, online programs tend to lack these costs. That said, online programs may charge a distance education or technology fee . Online programs may charge tuition by the credit hour instead of by the semester, which may save online students some money. Most schools post information online about tuition and required fees for online programs, just as they do for campus-based bachelor’s programs. You can also request info from the bursar’s office, which is responsible for handling college tuition payments. There are also several ways students can reduce the cost of an online degree. For instance, they can transfer previously earned college credits or enroll in an accelerated program. If they’re in a competency-based program, students demonstrate mastery of specific skills to progress faster through what they already know, spending more time on the new information and paying a set price per billing period. Employer tuition reimbursement – where an employer pays for some or all tuition – and scholarships for online students can also help reduce the price of getting a degree. Prospective students can contact a financial aid adviser to ensure they are on track with paying each term. Generally, online programs accept payments online by credit card, debit card or electronic check; by mail via a check or money order; or by wire transfer. Most online degree programs also permit students to pay tuition for a given term in several sums rather than all at once.

How Long Does an Online Bachelor's Take?

An online bachelor’s degree can take the same amount of time as an in-person bachelor’s, which is four years, since the coursework is the same. Most bachelor’s degrees require around 120 credits, though the number varies by program and degree type. But an online degree can be completed in less time depending on whether you choose a full- or part-time program, for example. Full-time students can take more classes per term, but a part-time program may be easier to manage on top of other obligations. Bear in mind that most online undergraduates do not start their bachelor’s degree from scratch. Many have previously earned college credits that can be applied toward their new degree, which can save them time and money. Students generally need to submit transcripts from their previous college so that the new school can evaluate which credits will transfer. Academic term length is another important factor. While some programs have a traditional monthslong semester system for online courses, others have an accelerated time frame.

How to Talk to Prospective Employers About Your Online Degree?

You can talk about your online degree openly with a potential employer – it’s a good opportunity to showcase the rigor of the program you attended, your time-management and collaboration skills, and your work ethic. In the interview process, let them know how the skills you learned from the degree apply to the role you want. Several years ago, employers were more hesitant to accept online degrees as legitimate, with concerns that online students didn’t gain the same vital skills as they would in a traditional campus environment. But in recent years, that perception has changed dramatically, as even the top-tier schools have embraced online education and launched high-quality degree programs. And now, experts say it usually isn’t necessary to indicate on a resume that a degree was earned online, as the school’s reputation and accreditation will be significantly more important. While some employers may still be hesitant about online degrees, many have come to recognize the value of having their employees further their education while working, in part because students can apply what they learn directly to their careers. In fact, roughly one-third of online college students have access to tuition reimbursement benefits from their employer, according to the Wiley University Services survey.

What Are Some High Paying Online Degrees?

An online degree can help prepare you for a range of lucrative careers. On the list of U.S. News’ 25 Best Paying Jobs , petroleum engineers , who design equipment that extracts oil from reservoirs, are at No. 17 with an average salary of $142,800 in 2022, according to the BLS . This career path requires a bachelor’s degree in engineering, which is available online. In front of petroleum engineers on the list are information technology managers at No. 12, with an average salary of $173,670 in 2022. Online degrees in the IT field are prevalent at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Business and management degrees, also offered online, can help an employee climb the ladder at a company and earn a higher salary. In May 2022, the average wage for chief executives was $246,440, according to the BLS , and the average annual salary for general and operations managers was $122,860. Also on U.S. News' Best Paying Jobs list, marketing manager ranks No. 15, with an average salary of $158,280 in 2022; financial manager is at No. 14, with an average annual salary of $166,050; and sales manager ranks at No. 19, with an average salary of $150,530.

What Online Degrees Are In Demand?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the jobs projected to have the fastest growth from 2020 to 2030 that require a bachelor’s degree include agents and business managers of artists, performers, and athletes, at 46% growth; and film and video editors and camera operators, at 33% growth. Suitable degrees for these jobs include a bachelor's degree in a field related to business and management or film and broadcasting, respectively. In addition, some of the projected fastest-growing occupations for 2020 to 2030 were in health care and related industries. That’s good news for online students, as programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels are prevalent in this discipline. This increasing demand is due, in part, to an aging population and a rise in individuals living with chronic illnesses. Health care jobs in high demand include nurse practitioners and occupational therapy assistants. Online degrees exist that can prepare students for these roles. According to the statistics bureau, computer and mathematical occupations – for which an online degree in engineering or information technology may be relevant – account for some of the fastest-growing occupations. Demand for statisticians, for example, is expected to rise 35% between 2020 and 2030. Concerns over online security are also leading to a greater demand for employees with cybersecurity experience and knowledge. For positions such as information security analysts, employment is expected to grow by 33% through 2030.


U.S. News has been publishing school rankings in the education sector since 1983 and has done so specifically for online degree programs since 2013. At both the undergraduate and graduate levels, U.S. News calculates rankings based on a variety of factors, which hold different weights depending on the ranking category. A program’s score for each factor, or ranking indicator, is calculated using data that online programs report to U.S. News in an annual survey. The rankings methodologies for online programs are separate from those for U.S. News’ Best Colleges and Best Graduate Schools rankings. Ranking methodologies are typically updated on an annual basis. In developing the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs rankings, U.S. News assessed online colleges based on four general categories. Engagement constitutes 35% of each school’s rank, referring to the extent to which a degree program enables students to effectively interact with instructors and classmates as they would in an on-campus environment. Services and technologies made up 25% of each school’s rank, focusing on how programs incorporate diverse technologies to allow students more flexibility to complete their coursework at a distance. This category also takes into account the quality of student support services, career guidance and financial aid resources. Accounting for 20% of each school’s rank was faculty credentials and training, measuring the degree to which online instructors’ credentials mirror those of on-campus faculty. This category also measures the effectiveness of the resources used to train instructors to teach distance learners. Finally, expert opinions from surveys of high-ranking academic officials make up another 20% of each school’s rank. These insights help account for factors affecting program quality that hard data can’t capture. U.S. News calculates rankings for online graduate programs using similar methodologies, with an additional category taken into consideration. Student excellence is also considered – a category that measures the extent to which students who enter an online program have proven aptitudes, ambitions and accomplishments that enable them to handle the rigors of online learning.

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10 Most Affordable Online Colleges of 2023

portrait of Whitney Sandoval, M.Ed.

Whitney Sandoval

Contributing Writer

Learn about our editorial process .

ACO Rankings Team

Updated October 4, 2023

Hannah Muniz

Contributing Editor

Reviewed by

Stephanie DeBord

Contributing Reviewer

Our Integrity Network is committed to delivering content that is objective and actionable. To that end, we have built a network of industry professionals across higher education to review our content and ensure we are providing the most helpful information to our readers.

Drawing on their firsthand industry expertise, our Integrity Network members serve as an additional step in our editing process, helping us confirm our content is accurate and up to date. These contributors:

  • Suggest changes to inaccurate or misleading information.
  • Provide specific, corrective feedback.
  • Identify critical information that writers may have missed.

Integrity Network members typically work full time in their industry profession and review content for as a side project. All Integrity Network members are paid members of the Red Ventures Education Integrity Network.

Explore our full list of Integrity Network members. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Are you ready to discover your college program?

With the cost of higher education steadily rising, attending an online college can be a cheaper and more flexible way to earn your degree.

Taking classes online can help you save on housing, transportation, and campus fees. Opting for an online program also allows you to continue working as you pursue a degree or certificate.

But not all online colleges are created equal. Here, we rank the most affordable online colleges proven to offer a quality education. Our ranking methodology weighs factors like affordability, academic quality, reputation, and program offerings using the latest government data.

Featured Online Colleges

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below

10 Cheapest Online Universities

The school and/or program descriptions below were drafted using natural language generation technology and have been edited for clarity and accuracy. The data is primarily sourced from government databases such as IPEDS – see sources section for more details.

These rankings include is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site. from our partners. We use publicly available provisional datasets from Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) to inform the data for these schools. All data is current as of the date this article was published. Program-specific information may vary.

#1 10 Most Affordable Online Colleges of 2023

Southern New Hampshire University

  • Manchester, NH
  • Online + Campus

Located in Manchester, New Hampshire, Southern New Hampshire University awards undergraduate and graduate degrees. The school's online programs enroll 128,672 students. Distance learners can save money on their college degree by choosing an online program that doesn't sacrific academic rigor.

Students can expect to pay an average cost of $465 per credit. Online students qualify for federal financial aid, including the Pell Grant. The school reports a 94% admission rate and a 37% graduation rate for its bachelor's programs.

Southern New Hampshire University holds accreditation from the New England Commission on Higher Education.

#2 10 Most Affordable Online Colleges of 2023

University of California, Los Angeles

  • Los Angeles, CA

The University of California, Los Angeles ranks among the most affordable colleges for online learning. A total of 41,906 students enroll in online programs at this public institution.

Online students use financial aid, including scholarships and grants, to furher lower the cost of their degree. Undergraduates receive $18,994 in financial aid each year on average. A total of 73% of undergraduates receive some form of financial aid to pay for their education. The school reports an admission rate of 14% and a graduation rate of 91%.

Distance learners choose from multiple online undergraduate and graduate programs.

The University of California, Los Angeles received accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission.

#3 10 Most Affordable Online Colleges of 2023

Liberty University

  • Lynchburg, VA

From its campus in Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty University offers undergraduate and graduate degrees. LU enrolls 86,390 online learners. LU's affordable tuition rates are a big draw for students seeking a college degree online.

The school charges an average of $750 per credit for its online programs. Financial aid options for online students include federal student aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. The institution reports a 50% admission rate and a 54% graduation rate for its undergraduate programs.

Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#4 10 Most Affordable Online Colleges of 2023

University of Florida

  • Gainesville, FL

The University of Florida welcomes undergraduate and graduate students to its main campus in Gainesville, Florida. The institution also administers online programs that enroll 49,050 distance learners. Online students can earn a college degree at an affordable tuition rate at UofF.

Distance learners at the accredited institution qualify for federal financial aid, such as the Pell Grant. On average, undergraduates receive $11,067 in financial aid to cover college expenses. Taking financial aid into account, undergraduates pay an average price of $10,075 per year to attend the school. UofF reports a 31% admission rate for applicants and an 89% graduation rate for undergraduates.

The University of Florida holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#5 10 Most Affordable Online Colleges of 2023

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

  • Champaign, IL

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign ranks as one of the most affordable colleges for online degrees. The public school enrolls 50,734 students in distance learning programs. Students choose from a variety of undergraduate and graduate degrees.

Grants, scholarships, and other forms of financial aid help distance learners reduce the cost of a degree. About 70% of undergraduates receive some form of financial aid to pay for their education. On average, undergrads receive $16,785 in financial aid each year. The institution reports an admission rate of 63% and a graduation rate of 86%.

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

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Reasons to Apply to Cheap Online Colleges

  • Online tuition is often cheaper than traditional in-person college.
  • Online programs' flexibility allows you to keep working — in 2019, about 70% of online students worked at least part time.
  • You can save money on housing costs, commuting, and campus fees.
  • Earning a degree online is becoming the norm — in fall 2020, around 75% of undergraduates were enrolled in at least one distance-learning course.

Why Accreditation Matters for Cheap Online Colleges

You should always apply to accredited online schools . Institutional accreditation is when an independent organization reviews a college or university to determine whether the school meets certain quality standards in terms of academics, faculty, and support services.

Accreditation also ensures you qualify for federal financial aid and is important when it comes to transferring college credits to other institutions.

In addition, certain fields like healthcare and law require you to complete a program with programmatic accreditation in order to qualify for state licensure.

You can check a school's or program's accreditation status on its official website or using the databases offered by the Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation .

Price Check

In a 2019 survey of 1,500 online students, 46% of undergraduates and 60% of graduate students considered affordability a major factor when choosing an online program.

How Much Do the Most Affordable Online Colleges Cost?

The average cost of tuition and fees at public four-year universities was $9,400 in 2020-2021, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). This is 10% higher than the average cost a decade earlier.

Private colleges, which typically have higher tuition rates, also saw increased tuition costs. In 2020-2021, the average cost of tuition and fees at private nonprofit four-year universities was $37,600 — 19% higher than the 2010-2011 costs for private schools.

As an online student, you may not have to pay the same fees as in-person students. That said, you may face other hidden costs, such as distance-learner fees, laptop and technology purchases, and textbooks and supplies.

How to Make Cheap Online Colleges Even Cheaper: 6 Tips

Make earning an online college degree even more affordable by following these helpful tips.

Apply for Financial Aid

All online college students should submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA determines your eligibility for financial aid , such as low-interest federal loans and need-based federal grants like the Pell Grant .

How much you receive depends on factors like your school's tuition rate, your income and assets, your family size, and whether you have siblings attending college.

You should also apply for independent scholarships . Like federal and institutional grants, scholarships are free money and don't need to be repaid.

College scholarships can have vastly different eligibility criteria, so make sure to apply for the ones you qualify for.

Attend an In-State Public School

Most public colleges and universities charge different tuition rates depending on whether you're an in-state or out-of-state resident. Attending an online college in your state could significantly lower the cost per credit.

Some states even participate in tuition reciprocity programs , which provide discounted or in-state tuition rates to students in neighboring states.

Prioritize Online Colleges Offering Tuition Discounts

While some online programs maintain different rates for in-state and out-of-state students, others provide a discounted tuition rate for all online students, regardless of residency.

For example, the University of Central Arkansas offers flat rates for online students that may be cheaper per credit.

Earn Credit at a Community College

NCES data shows that >community college tuition is generally far cheaper than that at four-year colleges and universities (whether online or in person).

One of the best ways to save money on college is to take general education classes at a local community college and then transfer those credits toward a bachelor's degree at a four-year university.

Choose an Accelerated Program

Some colleges offer accelerated online programs , saving you time and money.

The University of Michigan-Flint , for instance, has online bachelor's degree programs designed for students aiming to graduate in fewer than four years.

Online colleges may offer bachelor's-to-master's programs as well, which can similarly save you money. For example, Southern New Hampshire University provides many fast-track online degrees that let you earn a bachelor's while also earning credits toward a master's.

Opt for Part Time Over Full Time

Earning your degree one or two courses at a time can help you save money by reducing your initial short-term out-of-pocket expenses.

If you can pay for individual courses upfront or by the end of the term instead of taking out thousands of dollars in student loans to pay for a full-time course load, you can save money by not paying interest.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cheap Online Colleges

Is online college cheaper than traditional college.

Online college can be cheaper than traditional college, depending on several factors.

For example, some colleges offer lower tuition rates for online courses. Attending an out-of-state college online could also come with a cheaper price tag than attending that same college in person.

Make sure to check tuition rates for any online programs you're interested in and compare them to any in-person equivalents.

What is the cheapest online college to go to?

Ultimately, the cheapest online college for you will depend on factors like your degree, field of study, and location. Many find that the cheapest online colleges are public universities based in their state. Other cheap online colleges include local community colleges.

Remember, too, that you can reduce your spending on online college by applying for federal financial aid and scholarships.

How do people afford online college?

There are many ways you can save money on online college. Some people enroll in part-time online programs, paying for each course out of pocket. Others may attend accelerated programs or attend full time and apply for financial aid.

Students at online colleges are eligible for scholarships and grants. Some employers even pay part of the cost for employees to take college courses and earn a certificate or degree.

Does free online college exist?

Many colleges, including Ivy League schools like Harvard University, offer free online courses on massive open online course providers like Coursera and edX . Often, these programs provide the content for free and give you the option to pay for a certificate.

University of the People is an accredited online college that advertises tuition-free degree programs. There are fees and exam costs, but the school has scholarships available that can allow you to earn a degree for free.

Is online college worth it?

Online college can be worth it if you're interested in earning a degree and are OK with missing out on the traditional campus experience. Online courses provide the same level of academic rigor as in-person courses, with added flexibility for full-time workers, parents, and caregivers.

Read Reviews From Real Online College Students

We believe the best people to share about online learning experiences are students who have really done it, which is why we surveyed 600 unique students. Filter to find a student like you or sort to read the good, the bad, and everything in between. By leaving a review, students were entered to win a sweepstakes.

Filter reviews by:

Student characteristics

* means this student may have had to visit the campus a few times a year for their program.

  • IT Technology
  • University of Phoenix


Why did you decide to enroll in an online degree or certification program?

"It was move convenient for me, and it cost a lot less."

  • Financial assitance
  • Works in field of study
  • Has support system
  • Business Administration

"Seemed more cost effective"

  • First generation student
  • UTH Florida

"Because of the cost"

  • Master of Social Work
  • Ohio State University

"I was working full time and would not be able to take in person classes. I had thought about getting my master's, and decided to peruse it since my employer paid the majority of the cost."

  • Medical Lab Science

"More flexible and costs less"

  • Master of Business Administration
  • Arizona State University

"Easier to use and work at the same time, with more affordable prices"

  • Bachelor's - Business Management
  • Valdosta State University

"It was more cost effective than living on campus and saves me time"

  • Information Technology
  • The University of Alabama

"Because the cost is affordable and an easier way to study"

  • University of Minnesota

"Covid and cost"

  • Associate Degree- Business Administration, Bachelor of Science - Retail Management
  • Florida State University

"I decided to enroll in an online degree program because I live far from Florida State University. The cost of dorm living is too expensive."

  • Northeastern University

"Because online degree programs take advantage of online's inherent ability for self-paced instruction, flexible adjunct faculty, and student mentors to help adult learners save on tuition, instruction, or other costs."

  • Master of Music
  • Kent State University

"Convenience, cost, and to self-pace my degree"

  • BS - Communication
  • Regent University

"It was convenient and cost effective"

  • Grand Canyon
  • Grand Canyon University

Explore More Online College Resources

All rankings and school descriptions on this page were created and reviewed independently by the ACO Rankings Team .

Survey Methodology: Data was collected May 19-May 26, 2021. All respondents were screened by multiple quality checks, including systems like Relevant ID, and responses were manually reviewed to ensure consistency and accuracy. Survey participants comprised 622 individuals who graduated with an online degree in the past six years. Credentials ranged from certificates to associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees. Respondents were between 21 and 60 years of age and identified as 48% female and 52% male.

Student testimonials have generally been obtained with the offer of compensation for completion of a survey (e.g., entrance into a gift card drawing). Such testimonials are the opinions of students, and surveys are designed to avoid influencing such testimonials either positively or negatively.

All student respondents were supplied by Lucid LLC.

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Do this for you

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  • Best Online Colleges With A 100% Acceptance Rate

Best Online Colleges With A 100% Acceptance Rate Of 2023

Genevieve Carlton Ph.D.

Reviewed By

Published: Nov 8, 2023, 1:18pm

The most selective colleges admit less than 10% of applicants, but most schools accept a much larger percentage of prospective students. Some even have a 100% acceptance rate, also known as “open admissions.” Open admissions policies are particularly popular among online colleges.

Colleges with a 100% acceptance rate admit every applicant who meets their admission criteria. But is it a good idea to enroll in an online college with an open admissions policy? Are there downsides?

Don’t worry—you can receive a high-quality education at a non-selective college. As long as a school with open admissions is properly accredited, you can rest assured that it meets high academic standards. Our ranking of the 10 best accredited, online colleges reporting a 100% acceptance rate can help you find the right fit to earn your degree. Read on to learn more.

Why You Can Trust Forbes Advisor Education

The Forbes Advisor Education team is committed to bringing our readers unbiased rankings and trustworthy, informative articles covering higher learning institutions, individual degree programs, bootcamps, professional credentials and various career paths.

Our team sources data from the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. We also pull information from reputable professional organizations and education providers’ direct websites. Our rankings use a strict methodology to determine the best schools, programs or bootcamps for each category.

Moreover, an expert advisory board of experienced professionals and educators reviews and verifies Forbes Advisor Education content to ensure accuracy and completeness.

Our Methodology

We scored 1,280 accredited, nonprofit, online colleges with 100% acceptance rates in the U.S. using 16 data points in the categories of credibility, affordability, student outcomes, student experience and application process. We pulled data for these categories from reliable resources such as the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System ; private, third-party data sources; and individual school and program websites. Data is accurate as of January 2023.

We scored schools based on the following categories:

Student Outcomes:

  • Overall graduation rate
  • Median earnings 10 years after graduation
  • Pell Grant recipient graduation rate
  • Retention rate
  • Pell Grant graduation rate vs. overall graduation rate


  • Average annual net price for students receiving federal aid
  • Median federal student loan debt
  • Percentage of students in federal student loan deferment
  • Percentage of students who take out federal loans

Student Experience:

  • Student-to-faculty ratio
  • Socioeconomic diversity
  • Program being ranked has 100% coursework available online


  • Fully accredited
  • Nonprofit status

Application Process:

  • Acceptance rate
  • Uses Common App

We chose the 10 best schools to display based on those receiving a curved final score of 78% or higher. Each of the schools on our final list offers at least five online bachelor’s degree programs.

Find our full list of methodologies here .

  • Best Online Colleges
  • Best Affordable Online Colleges
  • Best HBCUs With Online Degrees
  • Best Online Ministry Degree
  • Best Online Public Universities
  • Best Online Political Science Degree
  • Best Online Trade Schools
  • Best Test-Optional Colleges Online

Degree Finder

Best colleges with a 100% acceptance rate, should you enroll in an online college with a 100% acceptance rate, accreditation for online colleges, how to find the right online college for you, frequently asked questions (faqs) about online colleges with a 100% acceptance rate, touro university worldwide, bellevue university.

  • University of Maine at Augusta

Unity Environmental University

The university of texas at el paso, idaho state university, western governors university, wilmington university, hobe sound bible college, utah valley university, featured online schools.

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial credit and much more by clicking 'Visit Site'

Touro University Worldwide

Undergraduate Tuition


Overall Student Retention Rate

Overall graduation rate.

Designed with working professionals in mind, the online programs at Touro University Worldwide prioritize flexibility. The private institution also reports a 100% acceptance rate.

Online courses blend academic quality with convenience. Courses encourage students to apply their learning to gain hands-on experience. Distance learners choose from online bachelor’s programs in business administration, health sciences, social work and psychology. Many TUW students transfer previously earned college credits toward their four-year degrees.

  • Our Flexibility Rating: Learn around your 9-to-5
  • School Type: Private
  • Application Fee: Free
  • Online Enrollment Options: Part time, full time
  • Notable Online Programs: Psychology, social work, business administration and management
  • Notable Scholarships Available: Achieve Your Success Scholarship
  • In-Person Requirements: No

Bellevue University


At Bellevue University , distance learners can choose from more than 75 online degrees, including career-focused programs and majors that follow a cohort format. Students complete course material on their own schedules and interact with classmates using a variety of technologies.

The private university caps online classes at 24 students to encourage personalized attention from faculty. Professors bring real-world experience to the virtual classroom and learners benefit from online tutoring, tech support and library services.

  • Our Flexibility Rating: Learn on your schedule
  • Application Fee: $50
  • Online Enrollment Options: Accelerated, part time, full time
  • Notable Online Programs: Computer science, legal studies, public health
  • Notable Scholarships Available: Bellevue University Scholarship Program

Unity Environmental University


A unique, environmentally focused college, Unity Environmental University offers online degrees that incorporate fieldwork and experiential learning. Immersive technologies and applied, real-world learning keep students engaged. The college’s small class sizes and focus on environmental degrees foster a tight-knight community with an emphasis on stewardship and sustainable ecosystems.

  • Notable Online Programs: Environmental studies, animal studies, sustainable business management
  • Notable Scholarships Available: Nicholas Holt Challenge Scholarship
  • In-Person Requirements: Yes, field work

The University of Texas at El Paso

$336 to 420/credit (in state)

Earn a degree in business, education, nursing or criminal justice at the University of Texas at El Paso . The public institution also offers bachelor’s programs in security studies, media advertising and Chicano studies. These online programs make higher education more accessible for underserved communities, including military service members and other nontraditional learners.

Enrollment counselors help applicants apply to the college, which has a 100% acceptance rate. Admitted students work with a student success advisor to complete their program. Support services help degree-seekers reach their academic goals.

  • School Type: Public
  • Notable Online Programs: Criminal justice, media advertising, early childhood care and education
  • Notable Scholarships Available: Hawkins Scholarship, Terry Foundation Scholarship
  • In-Person Requirements: Varies by program

Idaho State University

$265-300/credit (in state)

Idaho State University has a 100% acceptance rate and offers student-centered online degree programs. Faculty apply research-based principles to continuously improve the quality of online courses.

Degree seekers take both asynchronous and synchronous classes, with some programs requiring in-person activities in students’ local communities. Online courses undergo accessibility checks, including captioning for all courses. Learners also benefit from online tutoring and support services.

  • Notable Online Programs: Fire service administration, management, psychology
  • Notable Scholarships Available: Bengal Online Scholarship System

Western Governors University

With a focus on career-aligned online degrees, Western Governors University offers distance learning programs in education, business, healthcare and tech.

The private institution uses a unique competency-based model. Learners progress through programs as they demonstrate mastery of key skills and knowledge rather than on a set semester schedule. This format allows experienced students to complete courses in less time. Degree-seekers pay a flat tuition rate per term regardless of how many courses they take.

  • Application Fee: $65
  • Notable Online Programs: Health information management, information technology, RN-to-BSN
  • Notable Scholarships Available: Back to School Scholarship, Online Access Scholarship

Wilmington University


Wilmington University features more than 130 online programs, making it a good choice for undecided majors looking for a college with a 100% acceptance rate. Distance learners connect with classmates and instructors using online collaboration tools. The asynchronous format prioritizes flexibility, with learners completing coursework at any time.

Online students benefit from accessible tutoring and advising support. The private institution also accepts up to 90 transfer credits. After completing the open admissions process, accepted students choose from six start dates throughout the year.

  • Application Fee: $35
  • Notable Online Programs: Cybersecurity, marketing, health sciences
  • Notable Scholarships Available: Wilmington University Scholarship, STAR Scholarship

Hobe Sound Bible College


At Hobe Sound Bible College , distance learners can earn a degree in counseling, education or Christian studies. The private Christian institution also offers a ministerial studies degree online.

Online courses promote spiritual development and emphasize the Wesleyan-Arminian approach to Biblical theology. Learners develop a Christian worldview while earning a bachelor’s degree online. Courses last seven weeks, with six weeks of course content followed by a week focused on final projects and exams.

  • Application Fee: $25
  • Notable Online Programs: Counseling, elementary education, general Christian studies
  • Notable Scholarships Available: N/A

$260/credit (in state)

A public institution with 43,000 students, Utah Valley University uses open admissions. That means 100% of applicants receive an acceptance offer. UVU offers 40 online programs, including 23 bachelor’s degrees. The online programs emphasize real-world experience and a supportive learning environment.

Faculty and UVU’s instructional design team develop online courses that encourage engagement. Each online course undergoes a quality review that incorporates student input. The process promotes high-quality courses that improve student learning outcomes.

  • Notable Online Programs: Emergency services administration, hospitality management, technology management
  • Notable Scholarships Available: Academic Merit Scholarship, Sterling Scholars

Colleges with a 100% acceptance rate accept every applicant, which might sound ideal if you’re worried about getting into college. But is an open-admission college the right choice for you? Here are some factors to consider when applying to open-admission schools:

  • Automatic acceptance. Submit an application, meet the admission criteria and you can attend. A 100% acceptance rate means you don’t need to stress for weeks about whether you’ll get into the school, giving you more time to prepare for your program.
  • Minimum admission requirements: Open admissions does not mean that every student gets in. These colleges set minimum standards for admission, which often include a 2.0 GPA. Make sure to review the admission requirements before submitting an application.
  • Academic quality. Accredited online colleges must meet standards for academic quality, so you can feel confident you’ll get a good education at these schools.
  • Graduation rates. Colleges with a 100% acceptance rate often report lower graduation rates. When researching schools, check the graduation rate. A higher rate may indicate more student support services.

Reputable online colleges may seek accreditation from independent, nonprofit accrediting agencies. These agencies conduct rigorous evaluations of colleges and universities focused on their academic mission, student learning outcomes and quality. Only institutions that meet high standards receive accreditation. Accredited institutions must regularly repeat the review process to maintain their status.

Institutional accreditation matters for online students. In addition to signaling academic quality, accreditation also determines eligibility for financial aid. Distance learners at accredited institutions qualify for federal student aid programs like the Pell Grant, for example. In many fields, you need an accredited degree to qualify for jobs or apply for professional licenses. And many graduate programs admit only applicants with accredited bachelor’s degrees.

Check a school’s accreditation status by visiting the Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs . Run by the U.S. Department of Education, the database lists the accreditation status of colleges and universities.

Once you have a list of accredited, online colleges with open admissions policies, it’s time to narrow down your options. Here’s how.

Consider Your Future Goals

A bachelor’s degree can boost your earning potential and lead to new job opportunities. But before choosing an online college, consider your personal goals. Are you earning a degree to enter a new field or to move up the ladder in your current field? Will you need to earn licensure or certification to work in your desired profession? Are you considering graduate school, or do you want to enter the workforce after graduation?

Understanding your goals and needs can help you find the best fit. Some colleges offer career services programs to help you compare different career paths and break into competitive fields. Schools may also provide academic support services like advising and tutoring to keep you on track for graduation.

Understand Your Expenses and Financing Options

Earning a bachelor’s degree can be expensive. The average cost of tuition and fees at four-year institutions reached $17,250 in the 2021–22 academic year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics . This adds up to $69,000 for a four-year bachelor’s degree.

Online programs can save you money. The most affordable colleges on our list charge around $250 per credit, or $30,000 for a 120-credit bachelor’s program. And if you have transfer credits, you can save even more. Keep in mind that in addition to tuition, you’ll also need to budget for textbooks, fees and other required expenses.

Distance learners at accredited institutions can qualify for many forms of financial aid to make college more affordable. Fill out the FAFSA to ensure your eligibility for federal grants and loans. You can also apply for private scholarships and pursue financial aid through your state or school.

What is the easiest online college to get into?

Many colleges report a 100% acceptance rate, indicating that every applicant who meets the admission requirements gets into the school. Most community colleges also use open admissions policies. Reviewing different schools’ admission rates can help you find the easiest online college to get into.

Are colleges with a 100% acceptance rate good?

Yes, colleges with a 100% acceptance rate can provide a quality education. When looking at these open admission schools, make sure to check the institution’s accreditation status. Accredited schools meet high standards for academic quality.

Genevieve Carlton Ph.D.

Genevieve Carlton is a freelance writer with a Ph.D. in history. She has over a decade of experience writing about higher education.

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portrait of Meg Embry

Editor & Writer is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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  • An online degree can get you the education you need for the career you want on the schedule you have.
  • But picking the right online university is crucial for success.
  • The best online school needs to be a match for your lifestyle, your career goals, and your budget.
  • We've ranked the top 25 schools that offer great programs, lots of support, and strong student outcomes for online learners.

Remember when people used to go to college? Like actually get in a car, drive to a physical campus, and attend class at a set time in a real classroom with a bunch of other people? Wild.

The pandemic fundamentally changed the college experience for many. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the number of undergrads exclusively enrolled in online college courses jumped from 2.4 million to 7.0 million between 2019 and 2020.

Today, more and more students see online education as the most pragmatic path to career readiness. And with new online programs popping up everywhere, it's important to pick the right online university for the job.

Never fear: We've sorted through all the options to find the 25 best online schools in 2023.

Featured Online Schools

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

How We Rank Top Online Colleges

Each year, BestColleges evaluates hundreds of schools in order to produce our annual Best Online Colleges ranking, using the most recent data from sources like the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (hosted by the NCES) and College Scorecard (hosted by the U.S. Department of Education).

We select schools according to the following criteria:

  • Each school must be an accredited, public or private, nonprofit institution.
  • Each school must be a four-year institution.
  • Each school must offer at least 10 online bachelor's degrees and three online master's degrees in a variety of subjects.
  • Schools must be in the continental U.S., Alaska, or Hawaii.

From there, we apply our proprietary methodology to identify the 25 best online colleges nationwide — carefully weighing the quality of online offerings, student outcomes, and your expected return on investment.

Review our Editorial Policy to learn more about the standards we uphold.

Our Methodology

50%: Expected Early Career Earnings (ROI)

To figure out your ROI, we subtract your net cost from your expected earnings as a new grad (compared to what you would be making if you only had a high school degree).

15%: Full-time Retention Rates

We only select schools that have consistently strong retention rates: because if students aren't sticking around, they aren't getting their money's worth.

15%: Online Offerings

Schools must offer a variety of high-quality online programs, degrees, and certificates to make the cut.

20%: High Graduation Rates

We prioritize schools that will get you to the finish line.

Top Accredited Online Colleges and Schools

These rankings were compiled by our BestColleges Ranking Team and include is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site. from our partners. We use publicly available provisional datasets from Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) to inform the data for these schools. All data is current as of the date this article was published. Program-specific information may vary. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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University of Florida

  • Gainesville, FL
  • Online + Campus

The University of Florida is a public university in Gainesville, Florida — a city known for its historic architecture and natural beauty. UF offers over 300 undergraduate and graduate degrees across 16 schools of study.

The University of Florida secures the top spot on our list this year thanks to its strong student outcomes, affordability, and excellent online program offerings. UF offers top-tier academics, a 17-to-1 student-to-staff ratio, Division I sports (go Gators!), and many cutting-edge research facilities. 

Notable Fact: UF recently announced that sitting U.S. senator Ben Sasse will become the school's 13th president in early 2023.

ROI Value Score: High

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Golden Gate University

  • San Francisco, CA

Golden Gate University is a private university in San Francisco, California. The campus is right in the heart of the city's financial district. GGU offers over 60 degree programs in fields like business, accounting, technology, taxation, and law.

A self-described "university for professionals," Golden Gate University is a great choice for working adults looking to boost their careers. You can choose from online, weekend, and evening classes. GGU is known for its high-quality curriculum, small class sizes, strong career placement support, and robust alumni network. The school is also committed to removing financial barriers to education, with most students receiving financial aid.

Notable Fact: Golden Gate University has a storied history serving members of the U.S. military. For roughly 100 years — ever since returning WWI soldiers first came home to enroll in GGU law programs — the school has been turning out distinguished military graduates and helping veterans meet post-service career goals.

Union Institute & University

  • Cincinnati, OH

Union Institute & University is a private university in Cincinnati, Ohio, that offers 100% online and hybrid options. You can pursue degrees in business and leadership, education, healthcare and mental wellness, or public service and social justice.

Union has been recognized for the diversity of its student body and its success in helping older adult learners. It also offers a low 7-to-1 student-to-staff ratio — you can be confident you'll get the support and attention you need to find success. As a result, the school is widely recognized as one of the best online colleges available. 

Even better: It's free to apply and test scores are not required! 

Notable Fact: In 2018, the school launched The Institute for Social Justice , an initiative that seeks to advance social justice at home and abroad by reducing economic disparities and eliminating racism.

Thomas Jefferson University

  • Philadelphia, PA

Thomas Jefferson University is a private research institution in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It offers more than 200 undergraduate and graduate programs across 10 colleges and four schools. 

Jefferson is known for offering a distinctive, hands-on, inter-professional approach to learning called "Nexus learning." The idea is to equip graduates for a rapidly changing world and workplace where their future professions may not even exist yet. As a result, Jefferson grads have a competitive edge that many employers are looking for. The school reports that 97% of its 2021 graduates are employed or enrolled in graduate school.

Notable Fact : Jefferson's nursing graduates regularly score among the highest in Pennsylvania on national licensure and certification examinations. For example, the licensure pass rate for the most recent class graduating from Jefferson's College of Pharmacy was 98%.

University of Central Florida

  • Orlando, FL

The University of Central Florida is a large public research university based in the suburbs of Orlando, Florida. The school offers more than 220 degree programs across 13 colleges. Popular majors for UCF undergrads include psychology, computer science, biology, health sciences, and mechanical engineering.

The University of Central Florida is known for being a destination for space science. For over 50 years, the school has played a big role in space research and exploration. Students and researchers at UCF's Stephen W. Hawking Center for Microgravity Research and Education are leading the charge to develop safer space travel to the moon and Mars.

Notable Fact: Nearly 30% of Kennedy Space Center employees are UCF alumni.

Florida International University

Florida International University is a public university with campuses in North Miami and West Miami-Dade County. The school offers more than 190 degree programs and certificates, with over 130 available online.

Florida International University is recognized for the high quality of its online bachelor's degree programs — especially in business — as well as for excellence in teaching. FIU is the only public university in Southern Florida to receive the R1-Very High Research Activity classification from the Carnegie Foundation. 

Notable Fact: FIU has a famously good hospitality school, and it hosts the massive Food Network South Beach Wine and Food Festival every year to prove it.

Thomas Edison State University

  • Trenton, NJ

Thomas Edison State University is a public university in Trenton, New Jersey. You can choose from more than 100 undergraduate, graduate, and professional certificate options, most of which are also available online.

Adults looking to go back to college to boost their career prospects should feel right at home at Thomas Edison State University — most TESU students are non-first-time, part-time students balancing school with other responsibilities. TESU awards an average of 38 credits for prior work, life, or military experience, saving you time and money. As a result, 95% of recent graduates say they would recommend the school to others.

Notable fact: The average age of a TESU student is 35. Millennials, you've got this! Way to be life-long learners.

Pennsylvania State University-World Campus

  • University Park, PA

Pennsylvania State University - World Campus is the fully online branch of Penn State. You can choose from more than 175 career-enhancing degrees and certificates.

The idea behind Penn State World Campus is to make the Penn State educational experience available to people who can't travel to a physical campus. Since 1998, the school has provided a career-focused curriculum taught by experts in business, engineering, tech, healthcare, and more. A degree from Penn State is a big deal: According to the Wall Street Journal , Penn State undergrads are some of the best-prepared on the market.

Notable Fact: Penn State World Campus has over 750,000 alumni in 171 countries — talk about a strong network for new grads to lean on as they start their careers.

ROI Value Score: Medium

University of missouri.

  • Columbia, MO

The University of Missouri is a public university in Columbia, Missouri. It operates as the flagship campus of the four-campus University of Missouri System. The school offers more than 280 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, including over 75 online degrees.

The University of Missouri (or "Mizzou) is known for excellence in many academic areas, including journalism, medicine, writing, and law. Mizzou students go on to find success, with 95% enrolled in higher education or employed within six months of graduation. More than 100 different Fortune 500 companies currently employ Mizzou grads. Top industries for recent alumni include healthcare, education, finance, marketing, and information technology.

Notable Fact: Mizzou has an impressive list of famous alumni that (along with athletes, astronauts, performers, and Pulitzer-prize winners) includes playwright Tennessee Williams and actor Brad Pitt.

Oklahoma State University

  • Stillwater, OK

Oklahoma State University is a large, nationally ranked, public research university in Stillwater, Oklahoma. It offers over 300 undergraduate majors and minors, and over 200 master's, Ph.D., and graduate certificate options.

OSU is known for elite academics, affordability, and quality of student life. More than 50% of recent students graduated with zero student loan debt . And the school boasts the largest university student union in the world. OSU students report that the campus is beautiful, the community is friendly, and the professors are helpful.

Notable Fact: The OSU student body cares about democracy: In 2022, OSU won ALL IN's "Most Engaged Campus for College Student Voting."

Excelsior University

Excelsior University (previously Excelsior College) is a private online university in Albany, New York. It offers more than 35 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in business, health sciences, nursing, technology, liberal arts, and public service.

Excelsior is committed to helping nontraditional students "pursue your passion and achieve your career goals without putting the rest of life on pause." That means a generous acceptance rate; awarding credit for previous college, work, volunteer, and military experience; and a flexible approach to learning.

Notable Fact : An Excelsior degree can really boost your career. Nearly 60% of Excelsior grads report post-graduation career advancement — and of those, nearly 70% report a pay increase.

Northeastern University Lifelong Learning Network

Northeastern University is a private research university located in Boston, Massachusetts. The Lifelong Learning Network is Northeastern University's school for nontraditional learners. It offers over 200 professional bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees, as well as certificate options and bootcamps.

The Lifelong Learning Network is built with flexibility in mind. You can choose from online, in-person, and hybrid learning channels. Each credential can stand alone or be built into a future degree. You have the opportunity to develop a customized career plan, receive professional support, study an industry-aligned curriculum, and join a large global network of alumni and peers.

Notable Fact: Successful Northeastern alumni include U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan, Emmy-award winner and original SNL cast member Jane Curtin, and Challenger space shuttle astronaut Gregory Jarvis.

University of Massachusetts-Lowell

The University of Massachusetts at Lowell is a public research university located just north of Boston. The school offers nearly 150 undergraduate majors and certificates, as well as 50 master's programs, 28 doctoral degrees, and 31 certificates.

UMass Lowell takes pride in preparing students for "solving real problems and helping real people" by providing a top-notch education. The results of a Lowell education speak for themselves: 96% of the 2021 graduating class are either employed or in graduate school. The school also reports that the average mid-career salary for UMass Lowell graduates is $116,000. 

Notable Fact: Lowell, Massachusetts, is the birthplace of the famous American novelist and poet Jack Kerouac.

University of North Dakota

  • Grand Forks, ND

The University of North Dakota is the state's oldest and largest public university. It's located in the city of Grand Forks. The school offers more than 225 academic programs. Nearly 40% of UND students attend classes exclusively online.

The University of North Dakota is known for being a leader in engineering, medicine, space, aviation, and unmanned aircraft systems. Student life at UND is about more than studying: the school boasts 17 NCAA Division I athletic teams and has over 250 student clubs and organizations. 

Notable Fact: The first graduating class of UND (in 1889) was made up of two men and six women. One of those graduates was Dr. Cora Smith King, who became the first woman to receive a medical license in North Dakota.

Oregon State University

  • Corvallis, OR

Oregon State University is a public institution located in Corvallis, Oregon. The school offers over 200 academic programs, including undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs.

Oregon State University is one of only two designated land-, sea-, space-, and sun-grant universities in the country. This quadruple honor acknowledges that Oregon State is at the forefront of research projects that address society's most urgent challenges, including climate change. And online students are a part of that effort as well: Oregon State offers some of the best online programs in environmental science, computer science, and horticulture (to name just a few).

Notable Fact: Without Oregon State professors and alumni, we would be without useful inventions like video conferencing, the computer mouse, and the artificial heart valve. 

East Carolina University

  • Greenville, NC

East Carolina University is a large public university in Greenville, North Carolina. It offers 89 bachelor's degrees and 87 graduate degrees. Currently, ECU has roughly 130 degree and certificate programs approved for online delivery.

East Carolina University is known for providing an affordable education. More than 80% of full-time undergraduate students receive some kind of financial aid. Popular majors at ECU in 2021 included nursing, management, biology, marketing, and psychology.

Notable Fact: In 2019, an ECU archaeology student detected the ruins of a lost colonial tavern in nearby Brunswick Town, North Carolina. The discovery launched a month-long excavation led by ECU's archaeology department.

Kansas State University

  • Manhattan, KS

Kansas State University is a public institution in Manhattan, Kansas. It offers more than 250 undergraduate programs and 165 graduate programs, as well as more than 100 fully online options.

Kansas State University operates according to what it calls the "purple rule" — family comes first . The school puts this mantra into practice by prioritizing student success, embracing diversity and inclusion, and leading with compassion. The American Association of Colleges and Universities recently selected K-State to become a Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Campus Center. 

Notable Fact: K-State is also home to the new $1.5 billion National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, which was recently developed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

University of Massachusetts Global

The University of Massachusetts Global is a private institution focused on educating nontraditional students. It currently offers over 80 online degrees and certificates for associate, bachelor's, and master's students.

In 2021, Brandman University partnered with the University of Massachusetts to become the University of Massachusetts Global . Students may study fully online or opt for a hybrid learning model by taking some classes at locations in California or Washington. UMass Global is committed to the professional development of adult learners, so most of its faculty have both doctoral degrees and relevant real-world industry experience. 

Notable Fact: A full 90% of UMass Global students are working adults, and 56% of them are parents. It's never too late to build a better future!

The University of Alabama

  • Tuscaloosa, AL

The University of Alabama is a large public university located in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. It offers more than 100 undergraduate majors and programs across eight schools of study, and more than 120 graduate programs. Many of its course offerings are available online.

The University of Alabama is devoted to teaching, research, and service. Your peers at UA will be among the very best — the school currently has over 1,000 national merit scholars. The university is celebrated for its highly ranked schools of business, law, and social work. But perhaps more than anything else, the school is famous for its football team — nicknamed the "Crimson Tide" — which has won 16 national championships.

Notable Fact: The UA football team got its name during a rainy 1907 game against Auburn when the muddy field stained the players' white jerseys a dark red. A local newsman wrote that they played like a "crimson tide."

Washington State University

  • Pullman, WA

Washington State University is a public university with six campuses across Washington. WSU offers over 350 undergraduate and graduate courses of study through 11 academic colleges.

Washington State Cougars are serious about serving the public good and log around 66,500 student volunteer hours every year. Part of serving the public good also means making sure education is as accessible as possible, which is why WSU students received a total of over $400 million in financial aid and scholarships in 2020. 

Notable Fact : WSU's Vancouver campus was one of the first institutions to use an "interactive electronic classroom" all the way back in 1993. Trendsetters! (Zoom classes would have blown their minds.)

Park University

  • Parkville, MO

Park University is a private liberal arts school with campuses all over the U.S. The flagship campus is located in Parkville, Missouri, on a wooded campus near the Missouri River. Park offers over 100 associate, bachelor's, and graduate degrees and certificates.

Park University is known for its engaging classes, personable faculty, academic excellence, and commitment to inclusivity. Small classes make learning an intimate, interactive experience. The school is especially popular among international students — it currently has students from over 60 countries.

Notable Fact: Because more than 60% of Park students have some kind of military affiliation, the university recently launched a scholarship to benefit dependents and spouses of disabled or deceased veterans who are not eligible for VA benefits.

University of Arizona

The University of Arizona is a public university in Tucson, Arizona. It offers more than 300 undergraduate and graduate degrees across 20 colleges. You can study in person, online, or via "Near You Networks'' throughout Arizona.

The University of Arizona is known for being a highly diverse, top-tier research and development university. The school is helping to close gender employment gaps in higher education with a 56% female workforce. Students — including almost 3,000 transfer students in 2021 — come from all over the world to excel as Wildcats. Additionally, the University of Arizona boasts an impressive first-year retention rate of nearly 90% . 

Notable Fact: The University of Arizona helped map the moon so that we could land humans on it for the first time in 1969.

Florida Institute of Technology-Online

  • Melbourne, FL

The Florida Institute of Technology is a private STEM institution in Melbourne, Florida. Florida Tech Online provides over 40 completely online degrees for nontraditional students and working professionals.

Florida Tech Online is known for its great instructors and engaging classes. The school ranks highly for the quality of its online bachelor's degree programs, especially in business and psychology. Classes are asynchronous, meaning you can study entirely on your own schedule. And great news: No test scores or application fees are required to apply.

Notable Fact: Florida Tech has lived up to its motto ("To the stars through science") by sending five alumni into space.

Bellevue University

  • Bellevue, NE

Bellevue University is a private, religious university in Bellevue, Nebraska. It offers over 80 career-focused programs with the option for online or hybrid learning. You can pursue associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees.

Bellevue has leaned into the online education model over the past 25 years. In fact, 95% of Bellevue students are online students! Class sizes are small, faculty have real-world experience, and many support services are available to students. You can choose from career-building programs in the humanities, business, education, healthcare, psychology, human services, or STEM subjects. 

Bellevue is especially appealing to many adult learners, thanks to its generous credit transfer policies and robust student support systems.

Notable Fact: Bellevue's online student cohort has representatives from all 50 states , as well as international students from countries across the globe.

Old Dominion University

  • Norfolk, VA

Old Dominion University is a public research institution in Norfolk, Virginia. It offers over 90 bachelor's degrees, 50 master's degrees, and 40 doctoral degrees. More than 120 ODU degree programs are available online.

Old Dominion University is consistently recognized as one of the best universities in the country and ranks especially well for its IT, education, engineering, nursing, and MBA programs. ODU has a dedicated center for social mobility to ensure the success of students and address systems of inequity. 

Notable Fact: Old Dominion educates leaders. Two ODU alumni — Democratic incumbent Elaine Luria and Republican challenger Jen Kiggans — went head-to-head in the 2022 midterms race for Virginia's 2nd Congressional district. The race went to Kiggans, who won by about 12,000 votes.

Pros and Cons of Online Degrees

After almost three years of a pandemic, we've all got a pretty good idea of what it looks like to do life over Zoom. But that doesn't mean online learning is the best fit for everyone.

If you think you want to pursue an online degree, take a moment to consider the pros and cons.

  • Flexible: Move quickly through an accelerated program. Or, slow down to part time. Watch recorded lectures on the treadmill, do assigned readings on your lunch break, fit school into your schedule.
  • Accessible: You can log in and work from anywhere, any time. Forget relocating, forget commuting, forget finding childcare or requesting time off from work to attend class.
  • Affordable: Online tuition isn't always cheaper than in-person tuition, but you will likely be spared many on-campus fees and expenses. And there are some really affordable online schools out there.
  • Minimize opportunity costs: Many online students study and hold down a job at the same time. Instead of losing years of income and work experience, you can keep building your career and your bank account as you work towards a degree.
  • Student satisfaction: According to our 2023 Online Education Trends Report , 75% of students think online education is better than or equal to on-campus learning, compared to 70% in 2022. And 96% of graduates said their online degree provided a positive return on investment, compared to 90% in 2022.
  • Less in-person interaction: Some students may learn better in a traditional, in-person classroom setting.
  • Harder to network: Building a network can be more challenging in a distance learning environment.
  • Requires self-motivation: Some students may need the accountability and structure of in-person learning to manage their time and assignments.
  • Low persistence rates: Dropout rates are higher for online learners than in-person learners. According to a 2022 report published in Frontiers in Psychology , this is due to several factors, including low motivation, inadequate technical or time management skills, and workload conflicts.

How to Choose an Online College

Choosing the right school will shape your education and future career. Here are the big-ticket factors you need to consider before enrolling:

  • Costs: On top of tuition, you need to budget for additional tech costs, books, supplies, and fees.
  • Financial aid: Some schools offer better financial aid packages than others. Grant-based aid and scholarships can help lower your out-of-pocket costs.
  • Accreditation: Don't waste your time and money on a school that isn't properly accredited . This is especially true if you want to qualify for a professional license, certifications, or federal financial aid.
  • Learning format: Can you handle some in-person requirements, or do you need a fully online program? Will you attend on a full-time or part-time basis? Do you prefer synchronous or asynchronous courses?
  • Student resources: The best online colleges have robust systems and resources to help students succeed, including advisors, tutors, library access, career services, internship programs , and mentorship opportunities .

How to Apply to an Online Program

Most online schools have similar admission requirements :

  • An online application
  • Official transcripts
  • Standardized test scores (though some schools are test-optional)
  • A personal essay
  • 1-3 letters of recommendation

You may also need to meet additional requirements, such as sitting for an interview or submitting financial aid forms, application fees, or transcript evaluations .

Keep in mind: The average student applies to about six colleges , so budget enough time for the application process.

Explore Online Degree Programs

If there's a career you want, there's almost certainly an online degree program that can help you achieve your goals.

Some of the most popular degrees for our readers are psychology , education , social work , business , and healthcare .

What are your career goals? Our rankings and program information page has everything you need to find the right course of study.

Associate Degrees

Bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, doctorate degrees, online colleges and schools near me.

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Financial Aid for Online College

College isn't getting any cheaper , and most online students require some kind of financial aid .

To qualify for federal aid, you have to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year. The FAFSA determines your eligibility for federal grants, loans, and work-study programs .

The FAFSA always opens on October 1 — make sure to get your application in as quickly as possible. If you wait too long, the money might run out.

Make sure to look into scholarships , as well. You may be able to find online-specific scholarships just for distance learners.

Everything Else You Need to Know About Online Degrees

Are online college degrees legitimate.

Yes! If you pick an accredited school with a good program, your online degree is just as legitimate as a traditional on-campus degree.

In the past, some employers may have been skeptical about the value of an online degree. But today, with more than 70% of students having taken at least one online course and 30% of undergrads studying fully online , online college degrees have become very common.

Once you have that degree, pretty much no one is going to ask you: Did you get this online?

What can I do with an online degree?

You can do all the same things with an online degree that you can do with an in-person degree: expand your knowledge, master a subject area, build a network, become career-ready, qualify for interesting jobs, apply to graduate school, and have a robust and fascinating life — the list of opportunities is endless.

Is an online degree worth it?

An online degree can get you the training you need for the career you want on the schedule you have. If that's what you're looking for, then an online degree can definitely be worth it.

How much does an online degree cost?

According to a BestColleges' data summary , the average net cost of online college is $516 per credit .

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Saylor Direct Credit

Saylor Direct Credit courses can help you complete your degree with significant tuition savings! We work with colleges and universities to provide zero-tuition transfer credit for many of our free, self-paced, online courses that are recommended for credit by the American Council on Education (ACE). Our Saylor Direct Credit courses help degree-seekers overcome barriers of cost, time, and location.

What does it mean to get credit?

Some Saylor Academy courses can be used to earn transfer credit toward degree programs at our Degree Completion Partners . Saylor Academy does not issue degrees. Read more about how to send a record of your completed Saylor Direct Credit course below in the Transcripts section.

Please double-check with your school for details! Even if your school is not an official partner, they may still accept the ACE credit recommendation.

If your school is not on our list of Degree Completion Partners , ask them to contact us about becoming a partner.

What is ACE?

The American Council on Education (ACE) is a non-profit organization that represents the presidents of U.S. colleges and universities. It was founded in 1918 and is based in Washington, D.C., with a mission to provide leadership, advocacy, and support for higher education on a national level. ACE is known for its work on federal policy, education research, and student access and success.

ACE provides various services and programs for its member institutions, including training and professional development, research and data analysis, and networking opportunities. It is also known for its Credit Recommendation Service , which evaluates courses and educational programs offered outside of traditional degree-granting institutions and makes recommendations for college credit. This service helps individuals and organizations enhance their education and professional development. The following Saylor Direct Credit courses are for transferable college credit.

How much does it cost?

The only cost is for proctoring – each Saylor Direct Credit final exam attempt using our automated proctoring service will cost $5 USD. Read more below in the Proctoring section.

How do I retake the test?

You can take any Saylor Direct Credit exam up to 3 times total. You must wait at least 14 days between any two attempts. You may only use 1 account to take your exam.

Ready? Here’s what to do:

  • Find a recommended course .
  • Double-check with your school that they will accept that course for credit! You can ask your advisor or registrar for more info.
  • Take the course! Learn, study, and practice by taking the certificate exam.
  • Pass the Saylor Direct Credit final exam in your chosen course – you can take it at any time with our automated proctor !
  • For most partners, that’s it! You will be automatically issued a badge through ACE after passing a Saylor Direct Credit final exam. Check our transcripts information below for more details.

We are partnering with SmarterProctoring to help make proctoring more affordable and more accessible – the cost for each exam attempt is only $5, and you can attempt an exam whenever you like. No more scheduling an exam time! Whenever you are ready, click on the “Saylor Direct Credit Final Exam” in a Saylor Direct Credit Course and follow the instructions.

During the exam, we will be recording you, your screen, and the audio in your room. This is an automated proctoring service, but no decisions are automated; our staff only views recordings to make sure it is you taking the exam or to verify any questions about exam integrity. We understand that there are challenges with learning at home – we won’t invalidate your exam just because your child ran into the room!

SmarterProctoring has a good video and article to help you begin your proctored exam session: How do I start an Automated Proctoring Session? You can find comprehensive help for automated proctoring questions and issues in SmarterProctoring’s Automated Proctoring help topics .


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ACE works with the Credly service to provide records for passed Saylor Direct Credit courses, at no cost to students. Through Credly, you can send a consolidated transcript to your college or university that includes ACE credit recommendations for your completed Saylor Direct Credit courses.

You’ll receive an email each time you complete a credit course, once your course credential is available (typically within 3 business days). Your course badge is not the same as your transcript – when you wish to transfer your course(s), you should send your transcript via Credly .

If your college or university does not accept electronic ACE transcripts from Credly, you can request a paper or digital transcript from Saylor Academy here . Paper transcripts usually take approximately 7-10 business days to arrive, depending on your location. If you have any questions about proctoring, transcripts or Credly, contact us at [email protected] .

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The easiest college classes to take online.

how much are open college courses

There’s a lot to consider when choosing your college course load each semester , and one significant consideration to make is what mix of in-person and online classes to sign up for (if your college offers both options).

If you’re considering signing up for online classes specifically, there’s much to think about. While online classes generally offer greater flexibility than traditional in-person classes, the courses are often just as challenging, depending on the subject matter. Online courses can also come with the added difficulty of needing self-discipline and potentially needing to avoid distractions (remember, you’ll be taking these courses outside of the classroom). This isn’t the easiest thing for everyone.

The flexibility of online classes, though, can be a huge advantage. Choosing to take electives in subjects that genuinely interest you as online classes can help ease your workload for the semester.

Here are a few “easy” college classes your school might offer online. And remember, the term “easy” is subjective. What’s easy for one person might be extremely difficult for the next person, and vice versa.

Art or music appreciation

Many colleges offer online courses about impressionist painters, pop singers, 80s rock bands, or classical composers (to name a few examples). To excel in a music or an art appreciation class, no prior knowledge of the musician or the artist is often needed. However, if you have a pre-existing interest in the subject, it might help the class feel easier. Just imagine being able to sign up for a course on your favorite musician, for instance.  

Film studies

Yes, you read that right, you can watch films for college credit at some colleges. For example, some colleges might offer online classes on Italian Cinema, black and white movies, or courses centered around famous directors. While these courses often require an analytical approach to watching movies, if this is one of your interests, there could be a film course worth considering adding to your course load.

Study of religion

Most colleges and universities offer a variety of religion courses (and some colleges offer them online, too). Courses can range from a focus on a specific religion, to a survey of religion in America, to a focus on indigenous religions. Whether you want to expand your knowledge of your faith or expand your understanding of those around you, there’s likely a course that fits the bill offered by your college.

If your college offers it, an online introduction to yoga course can be a great way to get college credits while helping regulate your stress levels. A couple of hours a week dedicated to vinyasa and deep breathing can potentially be a healthy addition to your life, too.

If yoga isn’t for you, see what other online physical education courses your college offers. When you’re busy with all your other college classes, having a built-in time to exercise — not to mention one for course credit — can be a big plus.

Financial literacy

Financial literacy can be a great fundamental course with learnings you can implement immediately. Putting together a budget to follow throughout college can be the first step to a successful financial future, and that’s just one example of something you can get out of an online course like this. This course could help prepare you for when you step out of college, into your first job, and beyond.

Final thoughts

College course loads can be challenging . Finding one or two fun and engaging classes to add to your schedule each semester, including those offered online, can be a great strategy to build your schedule so you don’t get overwhelmed. Consider talking to upperclassmen about the easiest electives they’ve taken or reaching out to your advisor for some help selecting classes. With a little research, you’re bound to find some hidden gems to make your course load a little bit easier while finding courses to add to your schedule that you genuinely enjoy.

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College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

California produce safety technical assistance program produce safety alliance grower training course, dec. 18-19, 2023, event date dec 18-19, 2023 @ 12:00pm - 4:30pm.

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule (PSR) sets minimum food safety standards for the production of fruits, vegetables, and tree nuts.  The Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) Grower Training course was developed to educate growers and farm workers about the PSR and assist with implementation of practices to satisfy the regulatory requirements set forth by the PSR.  At least one individual from the farming operation must attend a PSA Grower training course to meet regulatory requirements.

The University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources has established a Produce Safety Technical Assistance Program to support growers in California with PSR compliance. The team will be offering virtual PSA Grower training courses September-December 2023 at a cost of $50 (includes course manual and certificate fees).  Courses will be held over two consecutive days, with sessions running from 12:00 PM-4:30 PM PST.  In order to be eligible for the PSA/AFDO Certificate of Course Completion, participants must be present for all PSA course modules. In order to monitor this requirement, participants must have video capability and there must be someone on the training team who is monitoring the course participants during the training.  Dates of training are listed below. 

These offerings are limited to individuals that live and/or work in the state of California.  Participants will be asked to provide a mailing address (to receive course manual) on the registration form and those whose address in not in California will have their registration cancelled.  A $25 cancellation fee applies to all cancellations.

Individual names and mailing addresses will be shared with the California Department of Agriculture Produce Safety Program in order to distribute course materials.

Minnesota governor eliminates college degree requirement for most state jobs

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Minnesota is making some big changes in an effort to get more people in the state employed.

Governor Tim Walz signed an executive order on Monday under which 75% of state government jobs will no longer require applicants to have a college degree.

"I just announced we’re eliminating college degree requirements for over 75% of state government jobs. That’s good-paying, family-sustaining jobs," wrote Walz on X , the platform formerly known as Twitter. "In Minnesota, if you’re qualified for a state job, then you have a fair chance at competing for it – with or without a 4-year degree."

'A forward-thinking program': You can now study to be an influencer at Arkansas Tech University

Eliminating college degree requirements

In the executive order, Walz says that the State is one of the largest employers in Minnesota, with hiring at a five-year high.

Furthermore, the recently enacted fiscal year 2024 and 2025 budget, requires the State to recruit and hire additional employees to fill the gap and ensure uninterrupted delivery of services.

In the order, Walz says that the barrier to state job opportunities persists with many jobs requiring college degrees, even if a degree is not necessarily required to succeed in the position.

"Many postings do not have a mechanism to account for job-related lived experiences," says the order.

The Great Shift? As job openings, quits taper off, power shifts from workers to employers

'Breaking down barriers' will open up more job opportunities

In the executive order, Governor Walz states practical ways that aim to combat hiring issues. This includes updating hiring guidance to emphasize skills and work experience, adding clarity to job postings to improve job searches and helping existing employees develop long-term career paths through individual development plans and career training.

Walz is ultimately looking to open up job opportunities for more people.

Echoing Walz's thoughts, Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan, in a post on X , said: "Minnesotans will soon have access to 75% of jobs in state government regardless of whether they have a 4-year degree."

"Breaking down barriers to good-paying jobs gives everyone the opportunity to succeed."

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Public Policy Program’s Spring 2024 Core Courses

PUPOL 100: Introduction to Public Policy

PUPOL 100 is an interdisciplinary course designed to introduce students to basic concepts in policy studies. It is taught by faculty from different disciplines. It will acquaint students with public policy as a field of study, the basic elements of the policy-making process, and a variety of approaches for applying distinct modes of analysis (political, economic, demographic, statistical, qualitative, normative). In addition to a textbook and select articles that have defined the field, the course uses practical case studies that address a range of policy problems. This course is open to students who declare the Public Policy Minor.

Section 1: Wednesday, 11:00am-1:45pm with Elizabeth Marcello

Section 2: Thursday, 10:00am-12:45pm with Elizabeth Marcello

PUPOL 400: Public Policy Capstone Seminar Roosevelt House’s Public Policy Capstone course serves as the culminating educational experience for students pursuing the 18-credit Public Policy Minor and/or 27-credit certificate. During this semester-long seminar, each student develops a substantive project that integrates the practical skills and topical knowledge learned in the Public Policy Program. The Capstone presents students the opportunity to go in-depth with real-world policy questions and ideas, with the aim of discovering, developing, and refining individual policy interests and goals.

Tuesday, 11:30am-2:20pm with Basil Smikle

Public Policy Program’s Spring 2024 Electives

ASIAN 33012: Asian American Communities & Public Policy This course will count towards the following concentrations: Urban Policy, Health Policy, Environmental Policy, Immigration Policy, Social Welfare Policy This course provides a perspective of the Asian American movement through a historical and comparative lens. Our inquiry will be situated in the interplay among colonialism, slavery, trade & western liberalism. Through case studies and guest speakers, we will examine how the Asian American community has advocated for specific policy choices. Fulfills: P&D Group B. Friday, 7:00-9:50pm with Chris Kwok

POLSC 31734: LGBTQ Policy and Politics This course will count towards the following concentrations: Media Policy, Law and Public Policy, LGBTQ+ Policy, Social Welfare Policy This course traces the development of LGBTQ rights and politics in America. Its focus will be on how past fights for LGBTQ identity and equality have framed the current policy and legal battles in state legislatures, the Congress, and the courts. The course will examine institutional and non-institutional approaches taken by queer activists over the decades on a number of topics including employment, public accommodations, healthcare access, and immigration. There are no formal prerequisites for this class, although a basic knowledge of American politics and social organization will be assumed.  This is an interdisciplinary course that will examine key lawsuits and policies that delve into LGBTQ rights issues and engage with queer activist critiques of using institutional avenues to accomplish social change.  Consequently, this course will explore the following questions: can the law be used effectively to accomplish social change in a queer context? How does queer history shape and frame our understandings of identity and modern activism? What are the limits of traditional approaches in movements for social change?  How have American racial justice struggles shaped queer activism?

Monday, 10:00am-12:45pm with Erin Mayo-Adam, Director of the LGBTQ Policy Center at Roosevelt House

GEOG 38311: Health Equity in the U.S. This course will count towards the following concentrations: Urban Policy, Health Policy, Environmental Policy, Immigration Policy, LGBTQ+ Policy, Social Welfare Policy This course will explore how to transform the current federal, state, and local regulatory and operational framework from one that focuses on “sick care” to one that keeps patients and their communities healthy. The emphasis will be on integrating the “social context,” i.e. social determinants of health into care delivery, and developing policies that blend public health, health care, and human services to address the whole patient. The course will also consider how best to align incentives for patients, payers (commercial and government), care providers, community-based organizations, and pharmaceutical companies. Case studies will examine vulnerable communities, including those who are homeless, involved in the criminal justice system, and undocumented immigrants. Wednesday, 10:00am-12:45pm with Ramanathan Raju, MD , Senior Vice President and Community Health Investment Officer, Northwell Health

URBS 4031O: Research Practicum: Poverty and Inequality in the U.S. This course will count towards all Public Policy Certificate concentrations OR the quantitative requirement for Minor. This course is designed to provide students with an opportunity to develop their ability to conduct data analysis. Prerequisites for the course are introductory courses in micro-economics and statistics. Students will learn how to work with large micro-data sets using SPSS or STATA. Students will also further their expertise in statistical methods. In addition to these “nuts and bolts” skills, students will grapple with the challenges of interpreting the results of data analysis. What can a researcher responsibly claim his or her analysis has established?

Thursday, 4:00-6:45pm with Eri Noguchi , Chief Program Officer, Association to Benefit Children

PH 40037: Aging Policy and Politics This course will count towards the following concentrations: Urban Policy, Social Welfare Policy, Health Policy, Law and Public Policy This course will focus both on the politics of aging, including current generational conflicts, and on aging policy, with an emphasis on aspects of urban life that should be considered part of aging policy, but are not. We think of growing old as an individual, immutable process, striking some earlier and others later according to biological luck.  But, by examining multiple kinds of evidence, we will see that the experience of aging is different in different neighborhoods, different times, and for different groups of people – leading us directly to policy causes and solutions. We will discover the significant limitations of what is currently deemed “aging policy” and begin to derive a more appropriate policy framework. This is a seminar course for upper-level undergraduate students who can interpret quantitative and qualitative data. A final project is required, including both a written paper and a presentation to the class consisting of one of the following: draft legislation; candidate’s platform; mapping; video; photography; oral history; structured learning experience; or academic poster.

Wednesday 3:00-5:45 PM with Ruth Finkelstein , Executive Director, Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging & Professor, Urban Public Health, Hunter College

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    Meg Embry Edited by Giselle M. Cancio Updated on November 2, 2023 Learn more about our editorial process The whole world is online. Why not college, too? Here are the best online colleges that will get you career-ready on your own terms in 2023.

  9. Saylor Direct Credit

    Saylor Direct Credit courses can help you complete your degree with significant tuition savings! We work with colleges and universities to provide zero-tuition transfer credit for many of our free, self-paced, online courses that are recommended for credit by the American Council on Education (ACE). Our Saylor Direct Credit courses help degree-seekers overcome barriers of cost, time, and location.

  10. Online Colleges: A 2023 Guide

    Nearly 2.5 million undergraduate students in the United States exclusively took online classes in 2019, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) [ 1 ]. For graduate students, an online degree seems to be even more popular, with 42 percent enrolled in an online program in 2019 [ 2 ]. And those numbers keep growing.

  11. Free Online Courses

    Free Stuff Free Online Courses Free Online Courses Our free online courses provide you with an affordable and flexible way to learn new skills and study new and emerging topics. Learn from Stanford instructors and industry experts at no cost to you. Health & Medicine Education Engineering Arts & Humanities Browse All

  12. Coursera

    Learn new job skills in online courses from industry leaders like Google, IBM, & Meta. Advance your career with top degrees from Michigan, Penn, Imperial & more.

  13. Online College Courses for Credit offers a wide variety of computer science courses that will help you stay ready for advances in tech fields. Computer Science 111: Programming in C. 81 Lessons View Lessons (81) Computer ...

  14. Top Online Courses and Certifications

    Beginner · Specialization · 1 - 3 Months. 84. Find Courses and Certifications from top universities like Yale, Michigan, Stanford, and leading companies like Google and IBM. Join Coursera for free and transform your career with degrees, certificates, Specializations, & MOOCs in data science, computer science, business, and hundreds of other ...

  15. The Easiest College Classes to Take Online

    Yoga. If your college offers it, an online introduction to yoga course can be a great way to get college credits while helping regulate your stress levels. A couple of hours a week dedicated to vinyasa and deep breathing can potentially be a healthy addition to your life, too. If yoga isn't for you, see what other online physical education ...

  16. New Saint Andrews College

    New Saint Andrews is a private, Christian college located in Moscow, Idaho. It is a small institution with an enrollment of 188 undergraduate students. The New Saint Andrews acceptance rate is 86%. The only major offered is Liberal Arts and Humanities. New Saint Andrews graduates 63% of its students. 405 S MAIN ST.


    Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are free online courses available for anyone to enroll. MOOCs provide an affordable and flexible way to learn new skills, advance your career and deliver quality educational experiences at scale. Millions of people around the world use MOOCs to learn for a variety of reasons, including: career development ...

  18. Can free graduate tuition boost enrollment and retention?

    A small private college is turning to an unusual model in an attempt to grow enrollment and improve retention: free tuition for its graduate programs. Starting in fall 2024, freshmen at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala., who complete an undergraduate degree in four years with a 3.0 grade point average won't have to pay tuition to attend one of the college's master's degree programs.

  19. SPOON TALK-- November 10, 2023 EDITION

    SPOON TALK-- November 10, 2023 EDITION

  20. California Produce Safety Technical Assistance Program Produce Safety

    The team will be offering virtual PSA Grower training courses September-December 2023 at a cost of $50 (includes course manual and certificate fees). Courses will be held over two consecutive days, with sessions running from 12:00 PM-4:30 PM PST.

  21. Supporting Graduate Students' Writing in Online Courses

    Annamary Consalvo, Associate Professor at The University of Texas at Tyler where she teaches undergraduate, masters, and doctoral courses in adolescent literacy and research methods.A former middle and high school English teacher, her research interests include the teaching of writing, and aspects of literature for young adults.

  22. Mike McCarthy Recalls Arizona Failure as Giants Visit

    Mike McCarthy Recalls Arizona Failure as New York Giants Visit: Dallas Cowboys Tracker

  23. Watch Butterfield Bermuda Championship second round: Stream golf live

    After Bermuda, there is just one more opportunity on the PGA Tour's new Fall Schedule to earn spots in The Next 10 (positions 51 through 60 on the FedEx Cup points list) and the top 125.

  24. Minnesota to remove college degree requirement for some state jobs

    Minnesota governor eliminates college degree requirement for most state jobs. Minnesota is making some big changes in an effort to get more people in the state employed. Governor Tim Walz signed ...

  25. Spring 2024 Courses

    In addition to a textbook and select articles that have defined the field, the course uses practical case studies that address a range of policy problems. This course is open to students who declare the Public Policy Minor. Section 1: Wednesday, 11:00am-1:45pm with Elizabeth Marcello. Section 2: Thursday, 10:00am-12:45pm with Elizabeth Marcello

  26. Open University in 2022, is it still worth it? I mean, is it ...

    The most advanced maths Q62 has is MST124 which is pretty much A levels maths. In comparison, proper CS degrees have stuff similar to UoL: Computational mathematics, Discrete mathematics, Graphics programming (which is pretty much maths) Have a look here UoL and compare it with even the most advanced modules in Q62, it's nowhere near.

  27. Moscow City University : Rankings, Fees & Courses Details

    Rankings & ratings. RANKINGS. Moscow City University is one of the top public universities in Moscow, Russia. It is ranked #1401+ in QS World University Rankings 2024. # 1401+.

  28. 25 Best Universities in Moscow

    Lomonosov Moscow State University of Fine Chemical Technologies. Address: 86 Vernadsky Prospect. Founded: 1900. Inquire.

  29. Top Universities in Moscow

    What are the top Universities in Moscow? uniRank answers this question by publishing the 2023 uniRank University Ranking of 66 Moscow higher-education institutions meeting the following uniRank selection criteria:. being chartered, licensed or accredited by the appropriate Russian higher education-related organization; offering at least three-year bachelor's degrees or postgraduate master's or ...