Going to college in Connecticut provides degree candidates the opportunity to study in a rural setting while living just hours away from major cities, including New York City and Boston. Smaller cities in Connecticut, such as Hartford and New Haven, offer close proximity for shopping, sporting events and activities, or nightlife. Connecticut also features a mix of coastal communities, including the town of Mystic, popular for its seaport, shopping, and aquarium.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates Connecticut’s population to be 3,576,452. Cities with large populations include Bridgeport (145,936) and New Haven (129,934). The city of Mansfield (25,969) houses the state’s largest university, the University of Connecticut.
Connecticut enjoys a moderate climate with less than three to four feet of snow each year. Summer temperatures peak at 75 degrees Fahrenheit, while the average winter temperature drops to 26 degrees Fahrenheit. However, coastal communities experience cooler summers.
- Number of Higher Learning Institutions
Approximately 114 public and private colleges and university operate in Connecticut. The state also features Yale University, a private Ivy League university and the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States.
- Sporting Events
Connecticut offers a wide variety of indoor and outdoor sporting events and activities, including hiking, mountain biking, golf courses, the Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, and the Connecticut Sun, an WNBA basketball franchise.
Featuring dance clubs, music halls, and two casinos, Connecticut offers ample nightlife opportunities. Visitors to the state can enjoy shows at either the Shrine nightclub at Foxwoods Casino or the Wolf Den at Mohegan Sun Casino.
What Options are Available for Colleges in Connecticut?
Attending a traditional, on-campus college in Connecticut provides degree candidates the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in the college experience. Attending classes in person gives students the chance to make new friends and learn to network, developing invaluable professional relationships with college advisors and professors. The traditional on-campus experience also provides students with the opportunity to participate in clubs and events. A traditional program also keeps degree candidates on track with face-to-face communication, but operates within a strict schedule. Ideally, this program is suitable for a degree candidate who prefers in-person learning, aims to socialize, and can attend classes anytime, day or night.
Online colleges in Connecticut offer alternative options for distance learners who are uninterested in the traditional college experience. With online colleges in Connecticut, degree candidates complete coursework online from a computer with an internet connection. One advantage of online schools in Connecticut includes the ability to complete college requirements from anywhere, such as the comfort of home.
Additional benefits of choosing an online program include lower costs for tuition, lower housing costs by living off-campus, and reduced transportation costs. This type of program also provides students with a flexible schedule, which is ideal for students balancing work and school. Distance learners seeking to advance their careers while taking classes around their work schedule should consider this online program.
Hybrid online program blend the traditional college experience with an online program. Hybrid programs differ from online schools in CT in which a hybrid program requires both online assignments and face-to-face interaction in the college classroom. While these programs vary in structure, degree candidates must attend a certain amount of college classes in-person and complete additional coursework online.
Hybrid courses provide college students with some schedule flexibility while offering the social benefits of face-to-face communication with professors and fellow students. Benefits of hybrid programs include lower tuition costs, less commuting, and more personalized, student-focused learning.
Popular Degree Programs in Connecticut
An industry leader in insurance and financial services, advanced manufacturing, and bioscience, Connecticut presents popular degree programs that reflect industry trends. Known primarily as the “Insurance Capital of the World,” colleges and universities in the state offer many finance degrees programs to attract new talent to this leading industry.
Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering
Popular among students attending the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, this major combines coursework in engineering, mathematics, and sciences with a focus on the design and analysis of ships.
Also a popular major in the state, psychology gives students the opportunity to study clinical, social and experimental psychology, and behavioral neuroscience. The major’s popularity comes from its ability to combine with other majors and certificate programs.
Best Online Colleges in Connecticut for 2017
Without access to a resource designed to help students find the right fit for their individual educational needs, choosing an online school in Connecticut can be overwhelming. The following section provides guidance for finding the best online colleges in Connecticut. Find details about tuition costs, program requirements, and options for careers after graduation.
Online colleges in Connecticut offer distance learners a flexible schedule, which is ideal for taking classes while furthering a career. Online schools in CT can also provide lower tuition costs than traditional on-campus programs. More information about online schools in CT and their programs can be found in the section below.
Quinnipiac UniversityHamden, CT
Admissions Rate 74%
Default Rate 2%
Retention Rate 87%
Graduation Rate 76%
Online Enrollment 10%
QU boasts three campuses and a student body of over 10,000. The school's virtual arm provides students with flexible distance learning programs that can accommodate the schedules of working professionals. QU Online is one of the best online colleges in Connecticut and offers bachelor’s degrees in business administration, health science studies, nursing, and an RN to MSN in operational leadership.
The college has a generous transfer policy that allows students to transfer an associate degree or 60 credits into the BS in health science studies or BBA programs, and up to 88 credits into the RN to BSN degree. Students have access to many opportunities for internships, service trips and field work at the school's location between Boston and New York City, which has a high concentration of businesses. QU is accredited by the New England Association Schools and Colleges.
St Vincent's CollegeBridgeport, CT
|Admissions Rate 85%||Default Rate 4%||Graduation Rate 38%||Online Enrollment 25%||
St. Vincent's College was founded over 100 years ago and still continues to offer high-quality healthcare educations to students in the Connecticut. The school offers two distance learning programs, including a fully online RN to BSN completion degree for registered nurses who have earned an associate degree or nursing diploma. The school also offers a BS in radiological studies, a completion program for radiologic professionals who have completed an associate degree or have earned a certification in radiology. St. Vincent's College is also among the only online schools in Connecticut that offers computer and simulation labs.
The Sister Marie Burns Learning Center provides students with assistance in reading and writing, stress and time management, and test-taking anxieties. Distance learners have access to a variety of peer and faculty tutoring resources. St. Vincent's College is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
University of BridgeportBridgeport, CT
Admissions Rate 52%
Default Rate 13%
Retention Rate 56%
Graduation Rate 34%
Online Enrollment 10%
UB has been offered eLearning programs since 1997 and delivers four bachelor’s programs online. The school is one of the only online colleges in Connecticut to offer an asynchronous RN to BSN for registered nurses seeking to earn a bachelor’s degree. UB Online also offers a BS degree in dental hygiene, which requires an associate degree for admission. Students can also earn a BS in general studies or BS in professional studies as long as they have a high school diploma or equivalent.
Transfer students can apply up to 66 credits from a two-year college or 90 credits from a four-year institution towards their degree. Classes are delivered using Canvas in eight- and 16-week sessions. Students have access to a full suite of online tools, including tutoring services with both professional and peer tutors. UB is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
How We Ranked the Schools
To determine the best programs, we looked at the most important factors prospective students, mainly common predictors of future success and a school’s commitment to online programs. This boils down to admissions rate, student loan default rate, retention rate, graduation rate, and the percent of students enrolled in online classes. All data points are taken from information provided by colleges and universities to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Each factor is weighted evenly in order to give an objective view and determine the best online master’s in management information systems programs. To calculate our rankings, we looked at a school’s ranking when organized by a single factor, and then averaged each category’s ranking to find an overall score: Admissions Rate (20%) + Default Rate (20%) + Retention Rate (20%) + Graduation Rate (20%) + Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes (20%) = Final score.
Education Trends in Connecticut
The table below shows educational trends in Connecticut compared to the United States. Full-time degree candidates attending colleges and universities in Connecticut each spend $1,000 more than the average student in the United States. The state also appropriates 2.8% less in tax revenue for colleges and universities.
|Source: SHEEO and U.S. Census|
|Postsecondary Education Spending per Full-Time Student||$8,090||$6,954|
|Percent of Tax Revenue Allocated to Higher Education||3.0%||5.8%|
|Percentage of adults over 25 with associate degree||7.4%||8.1%|
|Percentage of adults over 25 with bachelor’s degree||21%||18.5%|
|Percentage of adults over 25 with graduate degree or higher||16.6%||11.2%|
Paying for College in Connecticut
Applicants widely consider tuition costs when choosing a college. High tuition costs often leads to longer student loan repayment. In Connecticut, the tuition cost for a public, two-year college or university remains 17.8% higher than the national average for in-state tuition. The costs to attend a public, four-year college or university in Connecticut also climbs higher than the U.S. average in-state tuition cost by 17.8%.
The table below displays in-state tuition costs in Connecticut compared to the U.S. average for public two-year and four-year colleges and universities. The table does not include additional costs, which one should also consider when choosing a college. Additional costs include transportation, rent, utilities, food, school supplies, and textbooks.
Students in every state are wise to take full advantage of financial aid to help ease the burden of tuition costs. As a first step when seeking financial aid, students fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which determines eligibility for state and school aid. Private financial aid providers also use FAFSA information to determine applicant qualification.
Types of aid include grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study programs. Since interest on subsidized loans does not begin until a student leaves school, financial aid applicants save money by accepting a subsidized loan before an unsubsidized loan.
Cost for Online Programs in Connecticut
FAFSA and financial aid opportunities, such as grants, scholarships, and loans, can also help pay for online programs the same way they would apply for traditional on-campus programs. However, not every online degree program meets eligibility for federal student aid. To verify a program’s eligibility, visit a school’s financial aid office.
Programs at online schools in Connecticut can cost the same or less than traditional colleges. With an online program, however, distance learners save money on transportation and childcare. Students also reduce costs by renting or buying online books, which typically cost less than hardcover books.
Cost of Living by Region
As seen in the table below, the cost of living varies greatly depending on where a student chooses to go to college or university. By living in a city outside Connecticut, such as Boston or New York, rent for a two-bedroom apartment rises significantly more than rent in Hartford or New Haven. A higher housing cost depletes funds you’ll need both to pay tuition during school and after graduation when first starting a career.
Scholarships for Connecticut College Students
- Roberta B. Willis Scholarship - Need and Merit-Based Award
$5,250; applicant must be a Connecticut resident and a high school senior or graduate with a junior year class rank of 20% or better and/or SAT scores of at least 1210 or an ACT score of at least 27.
- Roberta B. Willis Scholarship - Need-Based Award
$4,500; must be a Connecticut resident who attends a Connecticut public or nonprofit private college to apply, and have a federal Expected Family Contribution (EFC) within the allowable range.
- SBM Charitable Foundation, Inc. scholarships
Up to $5,000; applicants must be a full-time resident of Hartford, Tolland, and Windham County, and maintain a minimum 2.5 grade point average on a 4.0 scale or be in the top 40% of their high school class.
- The Robert T. Kenney Scholarship
$1,000 to $3,500; applicants must live in one of the 64 Connecticut towns served by American Savings Foundation.
- Eileen Kraus Scholarship
$5,000; open to female students currently residing in Connecticut, who intend to enroll in their first year of college or university.
- Connecticut Broadcasters Media Scholarships
$2,500 to $5,000; must be a Connecticut resident pursuing a career in broadcast journalism, communications, marketing, engineering, electronics, or other broadcast-related subjects.
- Karen Ann Shopis-Fox Memorial Scholarship
$2,500; must be a legal resident of Connecticut and enrolled in an accredited landscape architecture program (undergraduate or graduate) at the college or university level.
- The Norman Woodberry Scholarship Program
$5,000; must live in either Fairfield County, CT, or Westchester County, NY, and enroll in a four-year study program at a university or college.
- Jewish Community Foundation scholarship
$3,000; applicants must be accepted or currently enrolled at an accredited institution of higher learning in the United States, and must be a current resident of the Greater Hartford area.
- Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists Foundation College Scholarship
$2,500; must start their junior or senior year in the fall 2017 at a Connecticut university or live in Connecticut and attend a university. (For either option, the applicant’s university must be accredited.)
Can all Scholarships be Used for Online Programs?
Most scholarships can be used for any type of college program, including on-campus, traditional colleges, and online programs. While scholarship presenters usually award funds to the recipient to spend as they see fit, students should verify with a particular scholarship about any restrictions on how funds can be used. Some scholarships might also list additional program requirements. Check with the individual scholarship provider for additional information.
Employment Outlook in Connecticut
Whether a degree candidate graduates from a traditional school or online colleges in Connecticut, the state is home to a variety of employment opportunities after graduation in leading industries: management, business and financial operations, computers and mathematics, and advanced manufacturing. Top employers in the state include Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., Covidien, Unilever, Bic Corp., and General Electric.
While the state’s unemployment rate remains slightly higher than the national average, the percentage of unemployed residents stays relatively low at 4.8%. Employers also pay workers an annual salary higher than average in the United States, making Connecticut an enticing location for employment.
|Source: BLS and BLS|
|Unemployment Rate, May 2017||4.8%||4.3%|
|Annual Mean Wage, May 2016||$57,960||$49,630|
Top Employers and Industries in Connecticut
- Management: Management includes any position overseeing the work of others. This industry comprises many different businesses and occupations, including jobs in human resources, marketing, government, education, healthcare, and transportation.
- Business and Financial Operations: This major industry comprises an array of occupations, including retail buyers, financial advisors, tax preparers, accountants, real estate appraisers, and agents and managers for performing artists.
- Computers and Mathematics: This leading industry employs those seeking a computer-related career. Available career fields include software development, computer and information research science, computer analytics, mathematics, web development, and information security.
Top Employers in Connecticut
Accreditation for Colleges in Connecticut
Students applying to online schools in CT or a traditional college should verify if a school is accredited, especially since educational institutions without accreditation fail to meet federal financial aid requirements. Schools receive accreditation as recognition for maintaining standards for its graduates. Accreditation ensures that education provided by a college or university meets widely accepted levels of quality. The agency presiding over a state or region issues regional accreditation to a college or university. Six regional accrediting agencies cover a different section of the country. Agencies sponsored by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) provide national accreditation for schools who usually focus on a particular type of education, including vocational, technical, or distance learning. Schools with national accreditation typically cost more. The more popular choice remains regionally accreditation since credits from schools with regional accreditation transfer more widely.
When choosing among online schools in CT, students should check if CHEA or the U.S. Department of Education recognizes the agency accrediting their program. CHEA maintains a list of recognized accrediting agencies. Online schools in Connecticut can apply for regional accreditation from the regional agency that presides over the state.
Resources for Students in Connecticut
- Office of Higher Education: An information and consumer protection resource, the Office of Higher Education assists Connecticut residents in obtaining a postsecondary education. The Office of Higher Education also administers the state’s student financial aid programs and provides accreditation for Connecticut’s independent colleges and universities.
- Connecticut Board of Regents: The Connecticut Board of Regents formulates policies and directs affairs for Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU), Connecticut community colleges, and Charter Oak State College. The board sets statewide tuition and student fee policies, establishes financial aid policies, accredits academic programs, and selects campus presidents.
- Connecticut State Colleges & Universities: The Connecticut State Colleges & Universities (CSCU) functions as a statewide public higher education system, comprising four state universities, 12 community colleges, and Charter Oak State College. Throughout its system, CSCU enrolls about 85,000 students statewide.
- Connecticut Higher Education Supplemental Loan Authority: A quasi-public state authority, the Connecticut Higher Education Supplemental Loan Authority (CHESLA) aims to help students and their families with the financial costs of higher education. CHESLA offers students the opportunity to apply for loans or refinance existing loans.
- Connecticut State Department of Education:The administrative arm of the Connecticut State Board of Education, the Connecticut State Department of Education works to ensure equal opportunity and education for all Connecticut students. The department also provides information for parents and students applying for college.