Top 100 Online Colleges

Explore the Top 100 online colleges in the United States offering bachelor's level programs. Rankings are based on several quality metrics, including student engagement, quality of faculty and teachers, and eLearning technology and student support.

Rank School Name Student Egagement Quality of Faculty Technology / Support Weighted Score1
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University–Worldwide
Daytona Beach, FL
West Texas A&M University
Canyon, TX
City University of Seattle
Bellevue, WA
Western Kentucky University
Bowling Green, KY
CUNY School of Professional Studies
New York, NY
Daytona State College
Daytona Beach, FL
Ohio State University–Columbus
Columbus, OH
Pace University
New York, NY
University of Illinois–Chicago
Chicago, IL
University of Georgia
Athens, GA
Temple University
Philadelphia, PA
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL
Pennsylvania State University–World Campus
University Park, PA
Colorado State University–Global Campus
Greenwood Village, CO
Regent University
Virginia Beach, VA
Oregon State University
Corvallis, OR
Fort Hays State University
Hays, KS
Westfield State University
Westfield, MA
University of Denver
Denver, CO
SUNY College of Technology–Delhi
Delhi, NY
University of Wisconsin–Whitewater
Whitewater, WI
University of La Verne
La Verne, CA
Arizona State University
Tempe, AZ
University of Nebraska–Omaha
Omaha, NE
Graceland University
Lamoni, IA
Creighton University
Omaha, NE
New England College of Business and Finance
Boston, MA
American InterContinental University
Hoffman Estates, IL
Central Michigan University
Mount Pleasant, MI
University of the Incarnate Word
San Antonio, TX
University of Maine–Augusta
Augusta, ME
Brandman University
Irvine, CA
St. Leo University
Saint Leo, FL
Utah State University
Logan, UT
Lamar University
Beaumont, TX
Charleston Southern University
Charleston, SC
Savannah College of Art and Design
Savannah, GA
New England Institute of Technology
Warwick, RI
Herzing University
Birmingham, AL
Indiana University–Online
Bloomington, IN
University of Missouri–St. Louis
Saint Louis, MO
Granite State College
Concord, NH
University of Oklahoma
Norman, OK
University of Illinois–Springfield
Springfield, IL
Eastern Oregon University
La Grande, OR
Siena Heights University
Adrian, MI
California Baptist University
Riverside, CA
University of Central Florida
Orlando, FL
George Washington University
Washington, DC
Ball State University
Muncie, IN
51Washington State University
Pullman, WA
52Peirce College
Philadelphia, PA
53Ferris State University
Big Rapids, MI
54Palm Beach Atlantic University
West Palm Beach, FL
55University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee
Milwaukee, WI
56American Public University System
Charles Town, WV
57Southeast Missouri State University
Cape Girardeau, MO
58Golden Gate University
San Francisco, CA
59Robert Morris University
Moon Township, PA
60Western Carolina University
Cullowhee, NC
61Florida State University
Tallahassee, FL
62University of Arkansas
Fayetteville, AR
63Northeastern State University
Tahlequah, OK
64University of Massachusetts–Lowell
Lowell, MA
65Stevenson University
Stevenson, MD
66Georgia College & State University
Milledgeville, GA
67Old Dominion University
Norfolk, VA
68California State University–Dominguez Hills
Carson, CA
69Marist College
Poughkeepsie, NY
70Lawrence Technological University
Southfield, MI
71Linfield College
McMinnville, OR
72Colorado Technical University
Colorado Springs, CO
73Berkeley College
New York, NY
74Bellevue University
Bellevue, NE
75Concordia University–St. Paul
Saint Paul, MN
76North Carolina State University–Raleigh
Raleigh, NC
77University of Wisconsin–Platteville
Platteville, WI
78Norwich University
Northfield, VT
79Sam Houston State University
Huntsville, TX
80Concordia University Chicago
River Forest, IL
81SUNY College of Technology–Canton
Canton, NY
82University of St. Francis
Joliet, IL
83Eastern Kentucky University
Richmond, KY
84University of North Texas
Denton, TX
85University of Alabama–Birmingham
Birmingham, AL
86University of Minnesota–Crookston
Crookston, MN
87Franklin University
Columbus, OH
88University of West Georgia
Carrollton, GA
89Loyola University Chicago
Chicago, IL
90University of Texas of the Permian Basin
Odessa, TX
91Florida International University
Miami, FL
92St. John's University
Queens, NY
93University of Massachusetts–Dartmouth
North Dartmouth, MA
94Drexel University
Philadelphia, PA
95Regis University
Denver, CO
96Liberty University
Lynchburg, VA
97University of Massachusetts–Amherst
Amherst, MA
98St. Louis University
St. Louis, MO
99Florida Institute of Technology
Melbourne, FL
100Wayne State University
Detroit, MI
1Weighted average of Student Engagement (40%), Quality of Facutly (30%) and Technology/Support (30%).

Ranking Methodology

Earning a college degree is now possible for just about anyone with a computer and internet connection. But for many working adults and non-traditional students, attending college online is the most practical way to earn a degree, and obtain the knowledge, skill and credential required to advance their careers.

The most likely candidates for online degree programs are working professionals that have already earned some college credit. In fact, the large majority of online college students are working professional, between the age 20 and 40 who want to finish a degree they started years ago, so they can advance in their current career path, or transition into a new career.

Our Top Online Colleges ranking report for 2016 is intended for working professionals who are trying to evaluate online bachelor's degree programs based on criteria that are relevant to their stage in life. To this end, our online college rankings are based on the following metrics:

  • Student engagement (40%)
  • Quality of faculty (30%)
  • Technology and student support (30%)

Student Engagement

One of the downfalls of may online degree programs is the lack of meaningful interaction, communication and engagement that take place between students and professors, and students and their classmates. This is one of the reasons that many would-be online students opt to pursue a college degree on campus, even with the loss of time, decreased flexibility and higher price tag that come with it. The best online colleges are those that promote, foster and embrace the need for open and regular communication throughout the learning process. Instructors are not only available and responsive to students, but they actively engage students one-on-one throughout the semester so that they don't loose interest, the stay enrolled in the program and are able to complete their degree according to schedule.

Quality of Faculty and Instructors

Ever heard of online diploma mills that hire instructors with little, if any, real qualifications? Well, they're are a lot of them. The best online colleges employ the best professors and instructors. When you're evaluating an online college, one of the things you want to take a close look at is the qualifications of the instructors, faculty and teaching staff? Are instructors part-time or full-time? Are they hired to work only as "online" instructors, or do they also work as instructors for college's campus-based program? Have they received a terminal degree (Phd, Psyd, etc.) in their field of study, or are they simply "career professionals" with "real world" experience and very little academic training? A good online college will offer professors and instructors that also teach on campus, or that have the same credentials. They college will also expend the resources to teach their instructors how to effectively teach in a distance learning environment.

Technology and Student Support

The biggest advantage of online learning is the flexibility it provides students to take classes and pursue a degree from a distance. One of the keys to making this happen is technology. Top online colleges provide their students with diverse online learning technologies and a proven distance learning format. How are lectures conducted? Via text, using slides, video, teleconferencing, with or without student interaction? Is course content presented in a dynamic egaging manner? What is your primary means of communication with professors and other students? How are exams, projects and assignment administered and completed? Can you log on at any time to work on your degree? These are things you'll want to evaluate and consider as you contemplate earning a degree online and selecting the correct college. Again, a good online college will provide its students with diverse online learning technologies and methods to convey information.

Top online colleges also provide their students with the same support structures available to campus-base programs such as financial aid and assistance, career and job placement services and ongoing academic support. An effective way to evaluate the quality of student support an online program offers is to speak with previous students. If a college is unwilling to put you in contact with previous students, this is a good sign that you want to find another online program.

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