Melanie has a BS in physical science and is in grad school for analytics and modeling. She also runs a YouTube channel: The Curious Coder.
If you're looking to get your education online, there are several colleges to choose from, each with their own degree programs. Choosing one of the top online colleges is important because a degree from a great college means a lot.
There are so many commercials and websites that talk about the various programs and offerings, but the task of picking the perfect college can still be very daunting. There is no option that is perfect for everyone, so it's important to research your own needs before selecting a particular school.
This is a ranking of the best online colleges that was created in order to help you find the perfect school that offers an online degree you'd be interested in working toward!
#10 Salem International University
Salem International University is ranked among the top online colleges because of its HUGE financial aid program that covers 100% of its students, because of it's great student-faculty ratio of 13, and because of the many years it has been accredited.
The campus is located in Salem, West Virginia. If you're interested in pursuing a degree from Salem International University, you can choose between an associate's, bachelor's, or even a master's degree. If you're looking to earn your bachelor's degree, you can choose from the following majors:
Business Administration, Criminal Justice, Information Technology
#9 Western Governors University
Western Governors University has the special recognition of being the FIRST university to offer degrees SOLELY online to become accredited. Also, this is the only university with 100% of its degrees online to make this list! Because Western Governors University does not have a physical campus, it is 100% dedicated to students pursuing online degrees.
This university offers financial aid to approximately 80% of its students and also has a high retention rate. Western Governors University also has a huge number of degrees available online for those seeking both bachelor's and master's degrees. Those wishing to obtain a bachelor's degree from Western Governors University can choose from one of the many teacher licensure degrees or the following programs:
Accounting, Business, Health Informatics, Information Technology, Marketing, Nursing, Sales
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#8 Dickinson State University
At number 8 comes Dickinson State University located in Dickinson, North Dakota. This university is ranked highly because of its financial aid programs which covers 91% of students, the number of years it has been accredited, and its great student-to-faculty ratio (19.) While offering degrees at a number of campuses, Dickinson State University is ranked especially high because of the online education it offers.
Online courses are available for students 24 hours a day which is perfect for those with hectic schedules. Those wishing to pursue an online degree from Dickinson State University also do not have to worry about ever stepping foot on campus as these degrees are 100% online. This university offers a number of degrees, but those wishing to pursue a bachelor's degree can choose from the following majors:
Agriculture Sales and Service Equine Management, Business Administration, Finance, Human Resource Management, International Business, Technology, University Studies
#7 Grand Canyon University
Grand Canyon University is ranked highly as an online university because of its high acceptance rate, financial aid packages, the number of years it has been accredited, and the student-to-faculty ratio. Because of its high rankings in those areas, Grand Canyon University is not only one of the top 10 online colleges, but it is also ranked among the top 10 Christian universities. This university offers several types of online degrees including both master's and bachelor's degrees. Those seeking to obtain a bachelor's degree online from Grand Canyon University can choose from several majors within the following degree programs:
Business, Education, Health Sciences, Liberal Arts, Nursing
#6 Liberty University
With an astoundingly high acceptance rate, great financial aid programs, and a good retention rate, Liberty University has been ranked very highly among online universities. Liberty is a fundamentalist Baptist university based out of Lynchburg, Virginia that bills itself as the world's largest Christian university. There are a wide number of degrees available from Liberty University online, but those wishing to pursue a bachelor's degree online have the choice of the following majors:
Accounting, Aeronautics, Business, Christian Counseling, Criminal Justice, Economics, Education, Finance, International Business, Management, Management Information Systems, Marketing, Multidisciplinary Studies, Nursing, Psychology, Religion
#5 LeTourneau University
LeTourneau University is ranked very highly because of the comprehensive financial aid programs offered. This university is also one of the best because of its high retention and graduation rates compared to other universities with online degrees.
Based out of Longview, Texas, LeTourneau University offers bachelor's degrees in business and management, but also offers a wide variety of associate's and master's degrees online. Those wishing to study on campus have a wider variety of degrees to choose from. LeTourneau is fully accredited and allows students to transfer credits to allow for a more affordable online degree.
#4 Upper Iowa University
Upper Iowa University is known for having quality degrees that can really take a graduate to a well paying job. This school, founded in 1857, has a physical campus but offers a wide variety of online degrees for those who cannot attend the beautiful campus in Fayette, Iowa.
One of the many aspects that make Upper Iowa University a great choice is that they offer great financial aid programs to those wishing to attend. Also, this college works with a large number of companies who wish for their employees to be able to attend Upper Iowa University at a huge discount. There is also a wide variety of degree programs offered by Upper Iowa University which include majors in business, computers, IT, health & medicine, nursing, social sciences, and criminal justice.
Links to the Top Online Colleges
- Nova Southeastern University
- Regent University
- Champlain College
- Upper Iowa University
- LeTourneau University
- Liberty University
- Grand Canyon University
- Dickinson State University
- Western Governors University
- Salem International University
#3 Champlain College
Champlain College is a highly ranked private college out of Burlington, Vermont. Like many other online colleges, Champlain has a physical campus where students can study, but offers online degrees where students are never required to be on campus. There are a myriad of degrees offered here as students can choose from a number of certificates, associate's degree, bachelor's degree, and master's degree programs. Those wishing to pursue a bachelor's degree from Champlain College can choose from the following majors:
Accounting, Business Management, Paralegal Studies, Professional Studies, Computer & Information Systems, Computer Forensics & Digital Investigations, Management Information Systems, Network Security and Administration, Software Development, Web Design & Development, Health Informatics, Healthcare Management
#2 Regent University
Regent University is ranked highly because of the educational opportunities it offers. There are over 70 degrees that online students can choose from. Like Nova Southeastern University, Regent has a physical campus where students can take courses, but those wishing to get their degree online never even have to set foot on campus. This Christian University has asynchronous courses which means that those enrolled can work at their own pace. This is great for those who are trying to balance their coursework with their job and personal life. Those wishing to receive their bachelor's degree online from Regent University can choose from the following majors:
Biblical & Theological Studies, Christian Ministry, Communication, Criminal Justice, English, Government, History, Information Systems Technology, Organizational Leadership & Management, Psychology, Religious Studies
#1 Nova Southeastern University
Nova Southeastern University had been ranked number one by the Online Education Database (OEDb) based on several criteria including financial aid, acceptance rate, graduation rate, student to faculty ratio, and accreditation. Not only was Nova Southeastern highly ranked with OEDb, but it also was listed by the Princeton Review as one of the best distance learning graduate schools.
This university offers undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as a number of professional degrees. As Nova Southeastern University has a physical campus as well as online courses, the degrees do vary based on whether a student chooses to attend classes on campus or online. Those looking to get their bachelor's degree online from Nova Southeastern University can choose from the following majors:
Applied Professional Studies, Business Administration, Computer Information Systems, Computer Science, Education - Child Development, Elementary Education, Exceptional Student Education, Family Studies, Finance, Management, Pre-kindergarten/Primary Education, Psychology, Substance Abuse Studies
Those who choose one of these top online colleges are guaranteed a great education, but there are still many other colleges and universities out there that can offer a top notch degree online. It's important to research the many programs a school offers before making a decision. Finding the right college can mean all the difference in not only the quality of education but whether or not the learning process is challenging and rewarding. Choosing the best online university can be just as difficult as finding the perfect brick-and-mortar college, so it's important to have an idea of the different online degrees available.
To those who have an online degree, where did you end up going to school? Did you find your degree to helpful in your career path?
Alexis on September 26, 2017:
I've known a few people who've gone through programs at Western Governors and Liberty, who've all had very positive experiences. There are an increasing number of online universities that are fairly reputable.
Best Online Schools from UK on August 06, 2014:
I agree with you Melbel that finding the right college can mean all the difference in not only the quality of education but whether or not the learning process is challenging and rewarding: Cross-checking whether the college is accredited or not, about financial aid, online student support services etc is good.
Marcy Goodfleisch from Planet Earth on February 20, 2012:
Thanks for posting this helpful guide. I teach at yet another U that offers online degrees (Park University), and I graduated from Excelsior. I'm a firm believer in alternative paths to higher education. Online, distance and other creative approaches to academic accessibility have opened the doors for many people and helped them attain their goals. Votes up and useful.
Melanie Palen (author) from Midwest, USA on October 05, 2011:
You can check the websites for each of these colleges listed under "Links to Top Online Colleges"
marilnelanoon233 on October 05, 2011:
Where do I go to get more information on what these online colleges offer?
mandymoreno81 on September 21, 2011:
Thanks for listing the programs they're most known for as well!
ecamper23 on August 11, 2011:
This is a great list of schools to help beginners get a foot in the door. I recognize some of these as well!
bdouble28 on June 07, 2011:
I didn't know about these schools, thanks!
agent007 from Florida on February 26, 2011:
Thanks for the list! It'll certainly help narrow down some choices for people.
Melanie Palen (author) from Midwest, USA on January 24, 2011:
I definitely agree. I think/hope I will always be interested in learning new things.
World-Traveler from USA on December 29, 2010:
I am considering upper education beyond the B.A. or B.S. degrees. Perhaps at a university in Europe. Continuing education helps keep the brain in shape. Never stop learning.
Hello, hello, from London, UK on October 14, 2010:
Well researched and very helpful to people who are looking around for the best college.
De Greek from UK on October 13, 2010:
A very useful list, thanks :-)