Most Popular Questions About Online Schools and Degrees
According to the National Center for Education
Statistics, 7,313,623 students enrolled in at least one distance education
course at degree-granting postsecondary institutions in fall 2019. The year
2021 is an ideal time to pursue an online degree. With the future of social
distancing uncertain, enrolling in an online program ensures a smooth,
uninterrupted educational process.
If virtual learning seems like a good fit for you, keep reading to discover the best online college for your goals. In addition, we offer information on how online college works, scholarships, and online college resources.
Why Study Online?
The best online degrees offer many benefits. Distance learners can save money on education, living, and commuting expenses. Most schools charge a lower tuition rate for distance learners, and online students can live at home to avoid high room and board costs. In addition, online learners do not need to pay for gas or parking passes.
Virtual learning also provides pacing flexibility. Many online courses follow an asynchronous format. Students can watch pre-recorded lectures and engage in online discussion boards at their own convenience. People with full-time jobs can earn their degrees outside of traditional business hours.
Students wanting more accountability can look for a synchronous online program. Synchronous classes include set virtual meeting times and live chats with professors and classmates.
Popular Questions About Online Schools and Degrees
1. How long does it take to earn an online degree?
Timing depends on the education level pursued. An associate degree online takes learners about two years to complete. A bachelor’s degree online takes about four years to finish.
2. What kinds of degrees can I earn online?
Schools nationwide offer online degrees for nearly any major. Some programs may include a few mandatory in-person requirements for licensure purposes, like clinical rotations for nurses.
3. How can I check if an online school is accredited?
Many online colleges and universities publish accreditation information online. However, you can quickly verify a school’s accreditation status by using the U.S. Department of Education’s lookup tool.
4. Can online credits be transferred?
Yes. Most schools accept transfer credits from other accredited schools. Credits tend to transfer best between schools with accreditation from the same agency.
5. Can I go to online college in a different state?
Yes. Learners can attend an online college located in any state to pursue an online degree. Most schools charge a rate similar to in-state tuition for distance learners.
6. Are admissions different for online college?
No. Colleges typically feature the same application process and admission requirements for both online and in-person learners. However, this varies by school.
Accreditation for Online Schools
The best online colleges all hold accreditation. An institution earns this accolade for regularly receiving quality assessments from a third-party organization that the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation oversee.
Schools can earn regional or national accreditation. Employers generally view regionally accredited schools as more prestigious than schools with national accreditation. Individual degrees can earn programmatic accreditation. The best online universities offer programs with accreditation through the Distance Education Accrediting Commission.
Scholarships for Online Students
To reduce college expenses and avoid high student loan debt, learners can apply for scholarships. Some schools, organizations, and private companies offer scholarships reserved for online learners.
Scholarships usually feature competitive applicant pools, so consider applying for multiple awards each year to increase your chances of earning one. Most scholarships require recommendation letters, essays, and official transcripts, so applicants must start the process early.
Each year, we update a list of the top 50 college scholarships with their award amounts and requirements. Refer to this list to find current college scholarships.
Best Online Colleges and Universities
Finding the best online college often poses a challenge. To help students find the right school for their needs, we create and frequently update this ranking of top online colleges. By gathering data on accreditation status, graduate success rates, and cost, we evaluate these schools rigorously. Learn more about our methodology.
1. University of Florida LOCATION Gainesville, FL TUITION $11313
2. Florida State University LOCATION Tallahassee, FL TUITION $13318
3. University of Central Florida LOCATION Orlando, FL TUITION $13016
4. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign LOCATION Champaign, IL TUITION $15829
5. University of South Florida-Main Campus LOCATION Tampa, FL TUITION $10460
6. San Diego State University LOCATION San Diego, CA TUITION $14568
7. Florida International University LOCATION Miami, FL TUITION $9180
8. University of Minnesota-Twin Cities LOCATION Minneapolis, MN TUITION $16691
9. The University of Alabama LOCATION Tuscaloosa, AL TUITION $20465
10. Louisiana Tech University LOCATION Ruston, LA TUITION $9795