20 Best Online Colleges & Universities With Open Admissions of 2017

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Online College & University Admissions

Getting into a top online college or university is a competitive process, whether it’s for an online or traditional, brick-and-mortar school. Using criteria like standardized test scores, prior GPA, recommendation letters, and character assessment, competitive admissions enables schools to be selective in assembling their student body, as well as practice quality control. Online classes demand a high level of peer interaction as part of the learning process, so accepting students with proven academic ability makes it more likely that the school can provide a better experience for everyone in the virtual classroom.

However, there are also definite upsides to having open admission colleges available to students. Even though open admission is not the norm, it does have its merits.

Advantages of Colleges with Open Admission

Some online schools offer open admissions — or open enrollment — which requires only a high school diploma or GED for admission. While it could be argued that open admissions can dilute the quality of the student body due to lack of selectivity, the upside is that it is more inclusive for many students who would otherwise be without access to a college education. Online open enrollment colleges can offer adult students the chance to overcome past challenges like learning disabilities, poor test scores, or an unsatisfying early college experience. Open admission colleges allow all students to have a second chance, and to pursue a brighter, more successful future for themselves and their families.

How We Developed Our Rankings of the Best Open Admission Online Colleges

We included only the highest quality schools on our list of the top online open enrollment colleges of 2017. We developed our rankings based on the following criteria: student satisfaction (as measured by graduation and retention rates), peer and instructional quality (as measured by acceptance rate and student-teacher ratio), affordability (as measured by tuition costs and availability of financial aid), and credibility (as measured by years of accreditation, reputation, and awards). The acceptance rate is 100% for all schools on the list. All data was gathered from objective, independent sources like The National Center for Education Statistics and College Results Online, as well as from each school’s website and its respective representatives.

Best Online Colleges With Open Admission in 2017

1. National University Online

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California’s second-largest private, nonprofit university, National is known for promoting diversity and inclusion through its year-round open enrollment admissions policy. The school maintains 27 campuses throughout California and one Nevada location. Students admitted to National can access an extensive virtual library and deep discounts on textbooks, as well as competitive buyback prices and free shipping, made possible through a partnership with the country’s largest mail order textbook supplier.

  • Graduation rate: 33%
  • Students enrolled: 17,488
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 20:1

2. Walden University Online

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This online-only university offers programs at every level for adult students with work and life experience. In addition to upholding an open enrollment policy for general admission, Walden offers a generous transfer-credit policy, accepting prior credit for life experience, work experience, military service, placement exams, and online training. Students may enroll in a two-week, risk-free trial course before committing to a four-year bachelor’s degree.

  • Graduation rate: N/A
  • Students enrolled: 52,799
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 18:1

3. Florida National University

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Florida National University operates a traditional campus in Miami, as well as an additional campus, training center, and online learning division in Hialeah. The school’s open-door admissions policy also allows for continuous enrollment throughout the year. In addition to upholding a generous credit-transfer policy for applicants, FNU also offers several tuition incentives including scholarships for government employees and military servicemembers, as well as corporate alliance opportunities and employee reimbursement plans.

  • Graduation rate: 61%
  • Students enrolled: 2,492
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 24:1

4. Liberty University Online

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Admissions requirements for prospective Liberty University students vary depending on each applicant’s level of education and the program to which they are applying. For high school students applying to an undergraduate program, acceptance is granted based solely on high school transcripts; a letter of recommendation is required only if the student’s GPA is below 3.0. Transfer undergraduate and graduate students must supply college transcripts and/or military experience in addition to their high school transcripts as part of their Liberty application for advanced programs.

  • Graduation rate: 47%
  • Students enrolled: 80,494
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 18:1

5. Sullivan University Online

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Though admissions requirements are different on campus and vary per program, students applying to undergraduate programs at Sullivan Online need only submit proof of a high school diploma or GED, as well as indicate how they intend to pay tuition, to be considered for enrollment. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis throughout the year. Students work closely with an admissions advisor for the duration of the application process.

  • Graduation rate: 41%
  • Students enrolled: 3,797
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 18:1

6. Herzing University Online

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In addition to providing distance programs through Herzing University Online, the school hosts 11 campuses in multiple states, from Iowa to Florida and numerous Midwestern locations in between. Herzing accepts applications on a continuous basis and has adopted a personalized, case-by-case approach when considering applicants for admission. Online undergraduate students start by verifying their high school diploma or GED, then work alongside an admissions counselor to gather additional materials, if necessary, to apply for their particular program of choice.

  • Graduation rate: 23%
  • Students enrolled: 428
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 12:1

7. Granite State College Online

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Not only is Granite State one of the country’s open admission online colleges, the school also allows students to apply for free using its online application system. Students are admitted on an ongoing basis to the college’s four terms per year. Granite State generously accepts a wide variety of prior education and military transfer credits and, unlike most online colleges and universities, will extend financial aid benefits to students enrolled in only one course.

  • Graduation rate: 18%
  • Students enrolled: 2,179
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 12:1

8. Bryant and Stratton College Online

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Bryant and Stratton comprises numerous New York campuses, as well as locations throughout Virginia, Ohio, and Wisconsin in addition to its global online campus. Students applying to the college’s online programs will work with a dedicated admissions advisor to submit their high school transcripts, prepare for an entrance interview, and complete the free online application for admission. Online semesters offer more start dates per year than traditional programs, in January, March, May, June, September and November.

  • Graduation rate: 6%
  • Students enrolled: 416
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 9:1

9. Salem International University Online

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Salem International University is one of the nations’ colleges with open admission. However, students applying to the university’s education or nursing programs do need to meet additional prerequisites, including minimum GPA and minimum standardized test scores or certification requirements, respectively. Graduate, transfer, and international students are also required to submit additional materials, depending upon their program of study, to secure enrollment into SIU.

  • Graduation rate: 13%
  • Students enrolled: 681
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 23:1

10. Grand Canyon University Online

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Grand Canyon University offers open enrollment to students 16 years of age and older who are interested in completing an undergraduate program online. Though the university incorporates Christian principles into all of its academic programs, applicants are not required to submit a statement of faith or confirm their alignment with a particular religious affiliation, with the exception of those applying to theology programs. Graduate and transfer students may be required to submit standardized test scores and/or meet a minimum GPA requirement to gain admission into their program of choice.

  • Graduation rate: 34%
  • Students enrolled: 69,444
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 17:1

11. Bellevue University Online

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Bellevue’s undergraduate applicants enjoy a rolling deadline for open enrollment into programs in four academic areas: arts and sciences, business, information technology, and professional studies. Students applying to bachelor’s programs are required to submit proof of a high school diploma or GED and pay a one-time application fee of $50. Graduate applicants may be required to uphold a minimum GPA requirement in addition to submitting all prior transcripts and work experience.

  • Graduation rate: 18%
  • Students enrolled: 9,760
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 31:1

12. Rasmussen College Online

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There are 23 Rasmussen College campuses spanning six states in the U.S., in addition to its online location. While students are not required to submit standardized test scores along with their transcripts or GED, Rasmussen does require some applicants to take an entrance placement exam. A dedicated admissions advisor will help to determine if this assessment is necessary on a case-by-case basis. The college boasts a quick and convenient online enrollment process that can be completed in less than 10 minutes.

  • Graduation rate: 23%
  • Students enrolled: 5,385
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 17:1

13. National American University Online

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NAU is home to more than 30 university campuses across 10 North American territories, including comprehensive online programs for undergraduates, graduate students, and residents of Canada. Freshmen, adult, and military students are required simply to submit proof of a high school diploma, GED, or completion of a two-year degree with at least a 2.0 GPA to be granted enrollment into one of more than 60 undergraduate programs at NAU. The university offers discounted tuition for military students as well as the NAU Tuition Advantage discount to students who complete at least 13.5 credit hours per academic quarter.

  • Graduation rate: varies by campus
  • Students enrolled: varies by campus
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: varies by campus

14. City University of Seattle Online

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As its name suggests, City University of Seattle is headquartered in Washington, but the school also operates numerous locations across the state and in eight other countries around the world, including Canada, Switzerland, and Vietnam. As one of the country’s colleges with open admissions, the admissions process requires only the submission of transcripts along with completion of the online application. In addition, international students may be required to submit proof of English proficiency to be granted enrollment; dedicated admissions advisors are available to guide applicants through the enrollment process.

  • Graduation rate: 47%
  • Students enrolled: 2,347
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 12:1

15. Argosy University Online

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Argosy University’s online programs are managed through its Phoenix location in Arizona, though the school operates more than 25 physical campuses in 13 states across the U.S. Though Argosy’s admissions requirements vary by program, many undergraduate programs offer open enrollment, giving students flexible options for submitting prior transcripts. Students applying to the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, for example, may submit one of several accepted forms of proof of a high school diploma, GED, or equivalency placement test documentation, or an associate degree, with proof of English proficiency, if applicable.

  • Graduation rate: 6%
  • Student enrolled: 8,657
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 21:1

16. University of Maryland University College Online

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University of Maryland University College Online offers more than 90 academic programs, with more than 25 locations in the U.S. and more than 140 extended campuses worldwide. As one of the country’s open admission colleges, the only admissions requirement for undergraduate students is to provide proof of a high school diploma or GED; no standardized test scores or minimum GPA is required to qualify for enrollment. Prospective graduate students are required to have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited higher learning institution to be granted admission into an advanced program.

  • Graduation rate: 8%
  • Students enrolled: 50,248
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 22:1

17. Strayer University Online

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Strayer University’s online campus is one among dozens of locations in 16 states and territories spanning the U.S. Students applying to a bachelor’s degree program at Strayer are required to submit only two items: a completed application form and proof of high school graduation or equivalent. Graduate students, however, are required to have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, as well as meet minimum GPA and standardized test score prerequisites.

  • Graduation rate: Varies by campus
  • Students enrolled: Varies by campus
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: Varies by campus

18. Kaplan University Online

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Kaplan offers a comprehensive selection of online programs to distance learners through its global campus, which is one of more than 15 campus locations in the U.S. Students applying to Kaplan’s undergraduate programs must demonstrate English proficiency and make financial payment arrangements in addition to submitting high school transcripts to be eligible for enrollment. Some programs may require additional conditions to be met for admissions consideration. The university offers a generous credit-transfer policy and a three-week trial course prior to enrollment, tuition-free.

  • Graduation rate: 26%*
  • Students enrolled: 45,355*
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 21:1*

*Statistics based on Kaplan University’s Davenport campus location in Iowa

19. Capella University Online

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Capella University is headquartered in Minneapolis, but provides more than 40 degree programs in six academic areas at locations throughout the U.S., including on its online global campus. While the university upholds a general open enrollment policy, some programs have specific admissions requirements beyond the basic submission of prior transcripts and proof of English proficiency; prerequisites including minimum GPA, letters of recommendation, and/or faculty interviews are determined by each school and program individually.

  • Graduation rate: 45%*
  • Students enrolled: 34,365
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 20:1

*Information from Capella University

20. Baker College Online

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Baker College serves a student enrollment of nearly 24,000 at more than 15 Michigan campus locations. The online campus offers more than 15 degrees and programs to tens of thousands of distance learners around the world. As part of its “right to try” open enrollment policy, Baker requires only a high school diploma or GED, and there are not minimum GPA or minimum standardized test scores requirements. Students are accepted into Baker programs year-round on a continuous enrollment schedule.

  • Graduation rate: 13%
  • Students enrolled: 23,790
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 19:1

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