Why go to College in Delaware?
Delaware’s proximity to Washington D.C., New York City, and Philadelphia makes it an ideal place to go to college. With easy access to thriving business sectors and expansive alumni networks in three of the country’s largest metropolitan areas, the state offers excellent career and educational opportunities. Delaware’s beautiful waterfront and vibrant nightlife also make it a great spot for students to relax and have fun in their off-time.
Home to just under 1 million people, Delaware is one of the least populous states in the country. This means that students can attend school in cities without the overwhelming bustle of high-density urban environments. Most colleges in the state are located in inclusive and welcoming small-town communities.
Delaware is situated on the Delmarva Peninsula and is surrounded by the Chesapeake Bay to the west and the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay to the east. These bodies of water help Delaware maintain a more temperate climate than some of its inland neighbors. The state’s average temperature is a comfortable 57°F.
- Number of Higher Learning Institutions
Delaware is home to 23 higher learning institutions including the University of Delaware, Wilmington College, and Delaware State University, which is a historically black university.
- Sporting Events
Without any major sports teams of their own, Delawareans tend to root for nearby teams from Philadelphia or Baltimore. They also follow Division I college sports, supporting the University of Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens and the Delaware State University Hornets. The University of Delaware’s football team is known as a powerhouse in its division, having won 16 conference titles and 6 national championships.
Delaware’s dune-lined beaches offer attractive nightlife options. The Rehoboth beach boardwalk is known for its restaurants, bars, and shops. In addition, the college towns of Wilmington and Newark are home to a variety of pubs, lounges, and restaurants.
What Options are Available for Colleges in Delaware?
Attending a traditional, on-campus university in Delaware certainly has its perks. Colleges like the University of Delaware, Delaware State, and Wilmington University offer students the opportunity to interact directly with peers, staff, and instructors. These larger communities also allow students to explore their interests through clubs, sports teams, and school-wide events. However, this kind of immersive college experience is not an option for everyone. The ideal student for these programs doesn’t need to balance work obligations, family life, or other responsibilities that make on-campus attendance difficult.
Online students take the same courses and do the same work as their on-campus counterparts, except that they don’t need be physically present to earn a degree. As technology improves, services like video conferencing also make online programs more and more similar to traditional schooling. Working professionals and stay-at-home parents often choose online programs because of the flexibility these programs offer. Online education takes the commute and much of the time commitment out of getting a degree. It is possible to work a full-time job or take care of small children while still taking courses at an accredited online school.
Many online degree programs fall into the category of “hybrid programs,” programs that are a blend of online and on-campus coursework. This means that schools may require a students to attend on-campus lectures, labs, or information sessions throughout the course of a program.
Hybrid programs offer the flexibility of online schooling combined with the hands-on nature of a traditional program. This kind of approach can be especially beneficial for students interested in medicine, science, or any field that emphasizes learning through practical applications.
Students who are considering applying to hybrid online schools in Delaware should consider how far they are willing to commute to fulfill on-campus requirements.
Popular Degree Programs in Delaware
In any state, students tend to pursue degrees that can lead to careers in the state’s largest industries. Some of Delaware’s most prominent industries include agriculture, chemical manufacturing, and healthcare. Unsurprisingly, the most popular degrees in the state reflect the dominance of these business sectors. According to Business Insider, the most common major in Delaware is business administration, and a disproportionately large percentage of students study chemical engineering.
Chemical engineering is about the production, transformation, and use of chemicals for a variety of products and services. Students pursuing degrees in this field learn how to harness molecular properties through their knowledge of physics, chemistry, and biology. It is not surprising that this is a popular major in Delaware, considering that the city of Wilmington is sometimes referred to as the “Chemical Capital of the World.”
Business administration programs equip students with knowledge of accounting, finance, human resources, and a variety of other common business practices. Students in this field learn how to supervise people and keep businesses running smoothly. All industries in Delaware need qualified managers to make important decisions and oversee day-to-day operations.
Best Online College in Delaware for 2017
The following section outlines the best online colleges in Delaware. With so many factors to consider when applying to college, including price, programs, and career opportunities, it is often difficult for applicants to make informed decisions. The list below breaks down the differences between several online schools in Delaware with the hope of providing some direction to potential applicants. With the help of this list, prospective students can discover the colleges best suited to their needs and interests.
Wilmington UniversityNew Castle, DE
|Default Rate 8%||Retention Rate 60%||Graduation Rate 23%||Online Enrollment 31%||
WilmU boasts a comprehensive catalog of career-oriented programs that emphasize in-demand knowledge and skills. The school offers more than 90 online programs that are delivered asynchronously and have small class sizes with a 17-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. WilmU offers bachelor's degrees on a variety of topics, including accounting, communication, history, human resource management, software design, and sports management.
WilmU is one of the top online colleges in Delaware in part because of its generous transfer policy, which allows students to transfer up to 90 credits into a bachelor's degree program. Active duty military personnel can receive a tuition discount at WilmU. The school offers a variety of resources for distance learners, including online tutoring, peer mentoring, workshops, and tech support. WilmU is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
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 Delaware
The table below outlines some of the most important figures to consider when applying to traditional or online colleges in Delaware. In terms of the percent of tax revenue allocated to higher education, Delaware falls just below the national average at a respectable 5.2%. The state almost meets the national average in the percentage of residents over 25 with some form of postsecondary education, and has an above-average proportion of adults who have earned a graduate degree or higher.
|Source: SHEEO and U.S. Census|
|Postsecondary Education Spending per Full-Time Student||$4,525||$6,954|
|Percent of Tax Revenue Allocated to Higher Education||5.2%||5.8%|
|Percentage of adults over 25 with associate degree||7.5%||8.1%|
|Percentage of adults over 25 with bachelor’s degree||17.8%||18.5%|
|Percentage of adults over 25 with graduate degree or higher||12.2%||11.2%|
Paying for College in Delaware
Getting a degree can be a serious financial burden, so price should be an important consideration when choosing a college. Tuition varies widely between public two-year colleges, public four-year colleges, and private four-year colleges. For example, the tuition for a public four-year college in Delaware is almost triple that of a public two-year college in the state. It is essential to decide which type of higher institution best fits your needs and financial situation.
The following table outlines the average price of public two- and four-year colleges in Delaware as compared to the national average. It is important to note that the figures below do not reflect the cost of textbooks, transportation, rent, meal plans, and other costs associated with going to college.
Students across the country — not just in Delaware — should try to obtain as much financial aid as possible. Financial aid can help pay for tuition, and can even cover other costs like textbooks and room and board. The federal government, state governments, universities, and other organizations award students aid in the form of scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study programs.
One of the first steps one should take when applying for aid is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It is best to accept grants and work-study opportunities from the federal government before accepting loans, particularly if the loans are from private lenders that charge higher interest rates. Grants do not have to be paid back, and work-study programs offer students on-campus jobs to help pay their tuition.
Cost of Living by Region
Cost of living depends heavily on location. For example, living in San Francisco can cost a fortune, while living in Wilmington, Delaware costs considerably less. Going to college in a low-cost area can save you thousands each year in rent, food, and transportation. It’s also important to consider where you would like to build your career after graduation. A great deal of graduates choose to stay in the area where they attended college, so choosing to study in a low-cost area can mean saving a lot of money down the road.
Cost for Online Programs in Delaware
All the forms of financial aid listed above apply to online colleges in Delaware just as they apply to traditional ones, and online students should be sure to complete the FAFSA the same as their on-campus counterparts. While online and traditional schools generally cost the same amount in terms of tuition, online students save money on many other college-related expenses. Students enrolled at online schools in Delaware do not have the burden of commuting, textbooks, rent, meal plans, child care, and other costs that pile up for on-campus students.
Scholarships for Delaware College Students
- Horatio Alger Delaware Scholarship
$10,000; must be enrolled as a high school senior in Delaware to apply, must plan to enter college in the fall following graduation, and must maintain a GPA of at least 2.0.
- Wilmington Women in Business Fresh Start Scholarship
Award amount varies; must be a female with high school diploma or GED, be admitted to or enrolled in an accredited two- or four-year Delaware college, and have at least a “C” average to apply.
- DuPont/Delaware FFA Endowment Scholarship
$1,000; must be a resident of Delaware pursuing a four-year degree in agricultural education or agricultural sciences, and must have at least a 3.5 GPA to apply.
- John B. Lynch Scholarship
$10,000; must be an undergraduate student with a GPA of at least 2.75, a high school senior with a GPA of at least 3.0, or an SAT score of at least 1650 to apply. Applicants must also be no older than 30 and attend a high school or college in Delaware, or live within 20 miles of the state.
- Fiat Chrysler Foundation Fund Scholarship
$10,000; must be a Delaware resident pursuing a degree related to the design, engineering, manufacturing, sales, or marketing of automobiles to apply. Must also have at least 2.75 GPA to apply.
- American Council of Engineering Companies Delaware Scholarship
$2,500; must be a high school senior who has applied to an accredited four-year engineering program and who has lived in Delaware for one full year before the application deadline.
- Fletcher Brown Scholarship
Award amount varies; must be a Delaware resident who was born in Delaware to apply. Applicants must also have a combined SAT score of at least 1700, rank in the upper 20% of their class, have a family income of less than $75,000, and be pursuing a degree in engineering, chemistry, medicine, dentistry, or law.
- Buffalo Soldiers of Delaware Motorcycle Club Scholarship
$500; must be a graduating senior from a Delaware high school to apply.
- Mark B. Holzman Scholarship Fund
$1,000; must be a Delaware resident and have been accepted to an accredited graduate program in medicine, dentistry, or law to apply.
- Delaware Engineering Society Joe J. Welker Jr. Memorial Scholarship
$4,000; must be a Delaware high school senior who plans to enroll in an accredited engineering program to apply.
Can all Scholarships be Used for Online Programs?
The list of scholarships above is only a small sample of what is available to students in Delaware. Most scholarships and grants can be used for any type of program, no matter whether they are online or on-campus. While most scholarships can be used for online schools in Delaware, it is important to verify the requirements of individual scholarships. Some scholarships can only be used for specific types of programs.
Employment Outlook in Delaware
Employment outlook varies greatly by state, so it is important to survey the economic landscape of an area before deciding to go to college there. One possible downside of living in Delaware is that the unemployment rate there is slightly above the national average. However, the average yearly income in the state is more than $1,000 higher than the average U.S. state. Health care, retail trade, and food services are all booming industries in Delaware, employing more than 150,000 people. The tables below outline some of the most relevant economic statistics that one should keep in mind when applying to online schools in Delaware.
|Source: BLS and BLS|
|Unemployment Rate, May 2017||4.9%||4.3%|
|Annual Mean Wage, May 2016||$50,930||$49,630|
Top Employers and Industries in Delaware
- Health care and social assistance: This industry includes medical professions such as doctors, surgeons, and dentists. Some jobs that fall under the category of social assistance are social workers, child care workers, and home care aides.
- Retail trade: The retail trade sector encompasses all businesses that sell goods, either in stores or through other means. Car dealerships, clothing stores, and mail-order businesses all fall under this category.
- Accommodation and food services: Any business that provides lodging or sells food and drink for immediate consumption falls into this category. Fast food restaurants, bars, and hotels are some of the major players in this industry.
Top Employers in Delaware
- Retail Salesperson: 17,750 employees
- Cashier: 11,800 employees
- Food preparation and serving worker: 11,720 employees
State Exchange Programs for Delaware College Students
State-to-state exchange programs can help students save big on tuition and go to college in a state they may not have considered in their initial college search. These programs are not at all related to exchange programs that send U.S. students to other countries. Instead, these programs allow students to attend out-of-state schools while paying in-state tuition. For example, if you are thinking of applying to public online colleges in Delaware but live in another state, this kind of program could help you attain your academic goals while saving money.
Academic Common Market
Eligible States: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia
Regional Contract Program
Eligible States: Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina
Accreditation for Colleges in Delaware
When choosing an online college in Delaware, it is essential to make sure that the school is properly accredited. Accredited schools undergo a peer-review process to ensure they uphold certain academic standards. There are two types of accreditation: national and regional. Regional accreditation is generally considered more desirable since the standards are more qualitatively rigorous. National accreditation is reserved for vocational and other career-focused programs. Another incentive for applying to accredited online schools in Delaware is that only students enrolled in accredited programs are eligible for federal financial aid.
The accreditation process is the same for online schools in Delaware as it is for on-campus programs. When checking an online school for accreditation, it is important to make sure that the accrediting body is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. The regional accreditation agency responsible for Delaware is the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. When applying to programs, check the school’s website to verify its accreditation or call the admissions office.
Resources for Students in Delaware
- LibGuides – Financing your Education: This page, run by the Delaware Division of Libraries, provides information about paying for college. It offers a guide to filling out the FAFSA and other useful tips to help students and parents pay for college.
- Delaware Higher Education Office: This page provides information about state-sponsored financial aid, state-to-state exchange programs, and creating a student account. It also features a FAQ page that answers many of the common questions students have.
- Delaware Goes to College: Created by the Delaware Higher Education Office, this site offers information geared towards helping students succeed after high school. Its various resources can help students apply to college, find financial aid, and search for scholarships.
- Delaware Scholarship Compendium: Self-described as “The Ultimate Guide to Scholarships for Delaware Students,” this site provides general information about scholarships and a searchable list of scholarships available to Delaware residents.
- First Generation College Stories: This site, run by the Delaware Higher Education Office, is a resource for first-generation college students. It features stories told by first-generation students with the aim of motivating other first-generation students to take the leap and apply to college.