Why go to College in Indiana?
Whether you live in the state or you feel the draw of world class educational institutions such as the University of Notre Dame or Purdue University, there’s no shortage of reasons to pursue an education in Indiana. Located among the endless natural destinations and thriving industries of the Great Lakes region, Indiana offers plentiful possibilities for both city and small town living. Students from around the world come here to learn and live well.
Indiana is the 17th most populous state in the country, and its college enrollment density ranges from large to small. For example, Indiana University Bloomington enrolls over 40,000 students, while the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology enrolls a little over 2,000.
Students enjoy four seasons in Indiana, including cool winters and hot summers. Luckily, long periods of intense heat aren’t common, as cold fronts regularly bring in cooler Canadian air. The southern part of the state experiences a more humid climate overall.
- Number of Higher Learning Institutions
Spread fairly evenly throughout the state, Indiana is home to around 175 public and private colleges and universities, with a slight majority located in the central and northern parts of the state. Online colleges in Indiana are accessible anywhere with an internet connection.
- Sporting Events
Home to the famous Indy 500 auto racing competition, Indiana is also home to the NFL Colts, and basketball fans can keep up with the Pacers. As of 2013, Indiana produced more National Basketball Association (NBA) players per capita than any other state.
Boasting a nightlife scene that includes a wheeled tour bar, blues clubs, and live theater, Indianapolis is the state’s largest city. International dining options are found statewide. From villages to cities, it’s not difficult to have a great night out on the town.
What Options are Available for Colleges in Indiana?
Students can choose between an on-campus education, and online schools in Indiana. Students may decide to attend an on-campus program because they benefit from the discipline of participating with a live teacher to follow through with learning and concentrating. They might want a more hands-on approach to the learning process, or their specific degree program requires in-person meetings for learning specific skills. Certain colleges and universities in Indiana feature a residency requirement for incoming freshmen who plan to become full time students. Students who do not need to work full time or take flexibly scheduled courses may prefer on-campus enrollment as well.
An online school in Indiana versus an on-campus program may well be the right choice for a variety of reasons. If a student works full time, taking part-time courses online in the evenings may fit their lifestyle better. Schools offer online programs synchronously and asynchronously. Synchronous means they are scheduled at a set time, and students “attend” the course as a group online. Asynchronously refers to when the course is available for viewing after it is recorded, or the materials and lectures are available at the student’s discretion.
Programs in online schools in Indiana provide the same level of challenge and professionalism that on-campus programs have, and prospective students can ensure their college’s online program is accredited and vetted for its standards of merit.
Students pursue hybrid programs by completing both online and on-campus courses. Some courses that are general education requirements are offered at online schools in Indiana, and many other major universities offer such arrangements. Once students work up to the higher level courses that require more hands on learning and discussions, attending a class on-campus becomes beneficial.
Hybrid programs also allow students to add some flexibility to their college experience, especially if they are returning to education after an extended time away, or work full time. An added benefit of a hybrid program is that the student’s online presence lends itself to better networking opportunities.
Popular Degree Programs in Indiana
Indiana is home to thriving industries including automotive, manufacturing, life sciences, and information technology, and the most popular college degree programs reflect that. Engineering, IT, business management and marketing, as well as biological and biomedical sciences are all detailed as the most chosen programs in Indiana’s top colleges at U.S. News & World Report.
Computer Networking and Telecommunications
A particularly popular degree in the state, information technology is a top, growing industry in Indiana, and Indianapolis in particular is a hub for jobs in the field, especially IT associated with online advertising.
Auto Manufacturing and transportation are the top two industries in Indiana, and a major reason why an engineering degree is a popular choice in the state. For example, engineering is the top student degree choice at Purdue University, where 23% of graduates earn an Engineering degree.
BEST ONLINE COLLEGES IN INDIANA FOR 2017
Learners should consider many factors when choosing among even the very best online colleges in Indiana, including whether pursuing an online degree program is the best fit for their needs. For example, ask yourself: does my background match that of the students who typically attend this school? To what careers can my prospective degree lead?
Ball State UniversityMuncie, IN
Admissions Rate 61%
Default Rate 7%
Retention Rate 82%
Graduation Rate 60%
Online Enrollment 17%
Ball State University is a public university located in the industrial city of Muncie, with satellite campuses scattered throughout the state. The school was founded in 1918 by the Ball brothers and has since become an elite research university offering online degree programs to students across the United States. Aside from associate degrees in general arts and radiography, students can earn bachelor's degrees in areas such as business administration, applied behavior analysis, and early childhood education.
Online students can take advantage of the same Ball State resources as on-campus students, including career and academic support services. Tuition rates vary based on residency. One of Ball State's best known alumni is David Letterman, who created a scholarship for communications students.
Indiana Wesleyan University-MarionMarion, IN
Admissions Rate 95%
Default Rate 7%
Retention Rate 82%
Graduation Rate 60%
Online Enrollment 45%
Indiana Wesleyan University has deep roots in Indiana even though it offers online programs to students around the country. The private, evangelical Christian university is attended by over 10,000 traditional students and 8,000 online learners. The school offers associate degrees in accounting, criminal justice, and computer information technology. Bachelor's degrees are also available in areas such as early childhood education, communication, and business administration.
Aside from its undergraduate offerings, IWU-Marion offers master's degrees in accounting, human resource management, and organizational leadership. The school's online admission rate is 95%. To help online students get acquainted with the school's program offerings, IWU-Marion provides a number of specialized advisors for online students.
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods CollegeSaint Mary of the Woods, IN
Admissions Rate 59%
Default Rate 7%
Retention Rate 74%
Graduation Rate 50%
Online Enrollment 44%
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, located in the Indiana town of the same name, is a Roman Catholic four-year college with fewer than 2,000 students. The suburban school is primarily a liberal arts college and is one of the best online schools in Indiana. The private college offers more than a dozen online undergraduate majors such as business, nursing, and professional writing. Associate degrees are also available in accounting, paralegal studies, and general business.
Many courses are offered entirely online, while others are administered in a hybrid format. About 65% of online students are transfer students. The school charges the same tuition for online students regardless of state residency, and military members receive a tuition discount. The college also accepts credits for exams and prior work experience. To apply, students must submit standardized test scores, transcripts, and a completed application.
Huntington UniversityHuntington, IN
Admissions Rate 84%
Default Rate 4%
Retention Rate 79%
Graduation Rate 66%
Online Enrollment 11%
Huntington University is a small, Christian university that sits on a 77-acre nature preserve in the rural town of Huntington. Online students can choose from 10 undergraduate programs, including bachelor's degrees in accounting, business administration, psychology, and social work.
Courses are administered in an accelerated, five-week format with classes held one night a week. Students take courses asynchronously for maximum flexibility. To graduate, students must complete at least 30 credits at Huntington, and the college also accepts credits for prior work experience. Local students may want to get involved at Huntington through the Freisen Center for Volunteer Service.
Indiana University-BloomingtonBloomington, IN
Admissions Rate 78%
Default Rate 5%
Retention Rate 89%
Graduation Rate 77%
Online Enrollment 4%
Indiana University is the flagship school of the Indiana state system and is home to some of the most beloved sports teams in the state. The large, public research institution hosts over 50,000 students and is often considered a "Public Ivy." It may be best known nationally for its Hoosiers sports teams, which compete in the Big Ten athletic conference. IU offers its top-notch academics to students around the United States through its IU Online program.
Students can earn undergraduate or graduate degrees in dozens of fields including labor studies, medical imaging, and nursing. Classes are taught in 6-, 8-, 12-, or 16-week terms with the same rigor of on-campus classes. Classes are not self-paced, but they are flexible. IU offers a bevy of resources to students including onboarding assistance and success coaches. The school boasts a number of notable and famous alumni including Mark Cuban, Kevin Kline, and Sage Steele.
Marian UniversityIndianapolis, IN
Admissions Rate 56%
Default Rate 6%
Retention Rate 80%
Graduation Rate 56%
Online Enrollment 7%
Marian University is one of the top online colleges in Indiana. The Indianapolis-based university, populated by over 3,500 students, is a liberal arts college with a Catholic heritage. The home of the Knights, the school's athletic teams compete in 11 sports. Marian's online programs are available for working professionals, with many courses offered in accelerated formats. Undergraduate programs are available in business, paralegal, and nursing studies.
Marian's students benefit from a 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio. The admissions requirements vary by program, but transfer applicants must possess a minimum 2.0 GPA and high school graduates must have earned a minimum 2.3 GPA. All online learners pay the same tuition rate regardless of state residency. Classes begin 12 times throughout the year and last between five and eight weeks.
Oakland City UniversityOakland City, IN
Admissions Rate 55%
Default Rate 10%
Retention Rate 71%
Graduation Rate 63%
Online Enrollment 15%
Located in the college town of Oakland City in southwestern Indiana, Oakland City University is a small, private university affiliated with the General Baptist Church. OCU also has several regional campuses in Indianapolis, Evansville, Rockport, and Bedford. The school offers associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in areas such as education, management, and religious studies.
OCU uses an accelerated education model that is perfect for working professionals and other nontraditional students. Online classes at OCU are taught in five-week periods for faster degree completion. The school provides credits for prior coursework and work experience. All students pay the same tuition rate regardless of state residency, and the application process can be completed in under 10 minutes.
Bethel College-IndianaMishawaka, IN
Admissions Rate 66%
Default Rate 9%
Retention Rate 78%
Graduation Rate 64%
Online Enrollment 9%
Bethel is a small, private liberal arts college in Mishawaka. Associated with the evangelical Christian Missionary Church, the school includes several theology courses in its general education requirements. In addition to the more than 1,500 on-campus undergraduate and graduate students, Bethel reaches working professionals and other nontraditional students through its evening and online courses.
Included in the school's online offerings are four bachelor's degrees and five master's degrees in subjects such as ministry, business, and counseling. Bethel provides credits for prior coursework and placement exams. On top of online lectures, the school's discussion forums provide opportunities for peer and instructor interaction. Online students pay the same tuition regardless of state residency.
Indiana University-Purdue University-IndianapolisIndianapolis, IN
Admissions Rate 70%
Default Rate 8%
Retention Rate 74%
Graduation Rate 44%
Online Enrollment 7%
IUPUI is an unusual public research university in that it belongs to both the Indiana University system and Purdue University. Created by a school merger in 1969, IUPUI now serves more than 30,000 students, a strong majority of whom are Indiana residents. Students can take advantage of IUPUI's dozens of online degree options in areas such as museum studies, law, business, and public administration.
In addition to its standard online offerings, the school offers several degree completion programs in disciplines including business administration, communications, nursing, and criminal justice. Classes are not self-paced, but are offered in 6-, 8-, 12-, or 16-week terms for maximum flexibility. IUPUI's campus is home to a number of sustainability initiatives including urban gardens, a campus kitchen, and green power efforts.
University of Southern IndianaEvansville, IN
Admissions Rate 69%
Default Rate 9%
Retention Rate 71%
Graduation Rate 41%
Online Enrollment 11%
University of Southern Indiana is a public university in Vanderburgh County. The more than 10,000 students who study at the school's large 1,400-acre campus have access to a number of new research facilities including the SwISTEM Research Center. USI is also one of the top online schools in Indiana, with more than a dozen distance education programs. The school offers bachelor's degree programs in several health-related areas including nursing, radiologic technology, and health informatics.
In addition to its undergraduate offerings, USI offers master's degrees in health administration, business administration, nursing, and sports management. Online tuition for Indiana residents is about half the tuition of out-of-state residents. Online courses at USI are taught through Blackboard and students have access to online resources including library research and group collaboration tools.
Indiana State UniversityTerre Haute, IN
Admissions Rate 85%
Default Rate 11%
Retention Rate 64%
Graduation Rate 41%
Online Enrollment 15%
Located Terre Haute, Indiana State University is a public university with about 12,000 students. Started as a teacher's college in the 1860s, ISU now offers more than 175 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. ISU is known locally for its emphasis on community service. Students can enroll in any of ISU's 20 online bachelor's degree programs in areas such as electronics engineering, intelligence analysis, construction management, and cybercriminology.
Aside from its degree options, ISU offers 15 online minors in subjects such as accounting, finance, and psychology. Admissions requirements vary depending on the degree program. Out-of-state residents enrolled in ISU online programs qualify for a reduced tuition rate. ISU is a member of the College Consortium of Western Indiana.
Indiana University-EastRichmond, IN
Admissions Rate 62%
Default Rate 18%
Retention Rate 64%
Graduation Rate 28%
Online Enrollment 37%
IUE is located in Richmond and is part of the Indiana University system. IUE is regarded as one of the best online schools in the state. Students can earn undergraduate degrees in areas such as mathematics, informatics, and health sciences. All online offerings at IUE are designed as degree completion programs for students who have already earned college credit or an associate degree.
Tuition varies based on residency, with in-state residents paying slightly lower rates. Students work with advisors to create an individualized plan of study. IUE offers a new online honors program, which enables students with strong academic credentials and an interest in research to excel beyond the school's standard requirements. The honors program looks for students with minimum GPAs of 3.5.
Indiana Institute of TechnologyFort Wayne, IN
Admissions Rate 70%
Default Rate 11%
Retention Rate 52%
Graduation Rate 31%
Online Enrollment 53%
Indiana Tech is a private research university in Fort Wayne attended by nearly 10,000 students at its downtown campus. While the school's academics strengths are mainly in engineering, computer science, and business, Indiana Tech offers 27 online undergraduate degrees in an array of disciplines including business, criminal justice, and healthcare technology.
Indiana Tech has 13 regional campuses around the state. Tuition rates are the same for all online students. The application process is simple and requires letters of recommendation. There are a variety of professional organizations at Indiana Tech including the National Society for Black Engineers and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
Indiana University-KokomoKokomo, IN
Admissions Rate 71%
Default Rate 11%
Retention Rate 65%
Graduation Rate 30%
Online Enrollment 4%
Located in north-central Indiana, Indiana University is a state school with about 5,000 students on campus. Part of the IU system, IUK has a student-to-faculty ratio of 18:1 and offers online undergraduate programs in a wide range of science disciplines including applied health science, nursing, medical imaging technology, and informatics. The school also provides students with research opportunities and a radiology imaging lab.
Students can complete the school's six online undergraduate programs entirely online. As one of the many online colleges in Indiana, IUK reaches students from across the Hoosier State and beyond. Online programs can be taken as degree completion programs, with up to 60 credits transferrable from another institution. IUK online students can also enroll in online courses at other IU campuses for their IUK degree.
Indiana University-NorthwestGary, IN
Admissions Rate 79%
Default Rate 13%
Retention Rate 66%
Graduation Rate 24%
Online Enrollment 7%
Located near the Illinois border in Gary, Indiana University Northwest is a regional campus of the IU system. The public school with more than 6,000 students was founded in the 1960s. IUN features a number of online undergraduate programs in areas such as informatics, nursing, labor studies, and applied health science.
Aside from its fully online offerings, students have the option to pursue hybrid bachelor's programs in computer information systems, political science, history, or philosophy. IUN online classes are taught through OnCourse. All IUN online courses include forums that promote peer-to-peer communication and faculty interaction.
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 Indiana
The following table details the funds spent by the state of Indiana and the United States on post-secondary education per-student. The table also details the percentage that tax revenue is allocated to higher education, both nationally, and in the state of Indiana. Finally, the table details the percentage of adults over the age of 25 who have attained an associate, bachelor’s, and postgraduate degree, including data gathered from the U.S. Census Bureau.
|Source: SHEEO and U.S. Census|
|Postsecondary Education Spending per Full-Time Student||$5,142||$6,954|
|Percent of Tax Revenue Allocated to Higher Education||6.2%||5.8%|
|Percentage of adults over 25 with associate degree||8.2%||8.1%|
|Percentage of adults over 25 with bachelor’s degree||15.4%||18.5%|
|Percentage of adults over 25 with graduate degree or higher||8.7%||11.2%|
Paying for College in Indiana
Making the right financial choice is an important factor in choosing the right college. Some colleges in Indiana offer two-year degrees, leading to an associate degree. Generally speaking, two-year degrees result in the lowest average financial obligation ($4,407). Indiana residents should also consider state school tuition when choosing the academic institution that meets their needs, because the cost for residents at public four-year schools is also significantly lower for residents of the state ($9,201).
The following table details the tuition and fees of public two-year and four-year programs in Indiana, as compared to U.S. averages. Two-year programs are available within specific residence districts, while four-year programs are available within the state of residence. Note that extra costs (such as books and transportation) are not included in these figures.
Students are wise to take full advantage of the financial aid options available to them, and complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to apply for most types of aid. Before making a decision, keep in mind that costs not only include tuition, but also textbooks, housing, transportation, and other necessities for day-to-day life.
Financial aid comes from four sources (federal, state, institutional, and private) and they provide four types of financial aid: scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study. Scholarships and grants do not need to be repaid. A loan usually accrues interest and must be repaid over time, and a work-study arrangement requires students to maintain specific kind of employment while remaining enrolled in school.
Cost for Online Programs in Indiana
Generally, students may apply federal, state, institutional, or private aid toward both on-campus and online programs, and students must fill out the FAFSA to qualify. Some online colleges in Indiana offer work-study programs to online students as well. The amount of aid a school awards to a student depends in part on a student’s full time or part time status, regardless of on-campus and online enrollment.
Cost of Living by Region
The cost of living in a city in which a college or university is located has a significant influence on the total cost of education, as well as a student’s career after graduation. That said, cost of living varies a good deal in the state of Indiana, and students should consider the cost of housing, transportation, and the average salaries of workers who reside in a city when making a decision about where to attend college.
Scholarships for Indiana College Students
- Mitch Daniels Early Graduation Scholarship
$4,000; for students who graduate from a publicly supported Indiana high school at least one year early.
- 21st Century Scholars Program
Full tuition; for 7th or 8th grade students enrolled in an Indiana school, who meet family income requirements.
- Linda Craig Memorial Scholarship
$2,500; for undergraduate college students presently enrolled in an Indiana college or university. The Pacers Foundation awards this scholarship to students pursuing an academic major of physical therapy, athletic training, or related disciplines.
- Indiana University Health Neighborhood Scholarship
$6,000; renewable, need-based four year scholarship for graduating high school seniors who reside in and/or attend high school in northwest and mid-north neighborhoods of Indianapolis. Eligible students must plan to attend an Indiana State School, a UNCF college or university, or another historically black college.
- Horatio Alger State Scholarship
$10,000; for Indiana high school seniors who exhibit a strong commitment to pursuing a bachelor’s degree, demonstrate a critical financial need based on gross family income, earn community service, and maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA.
- Next Generation Hoosier Educators Scholarship
$7,500; for high school and college students interested in pursuing a career in education, renewable for four academic years. In exchange, students agree to teach for five years at an eligible Indiana school or repay the corresponding, prorated amount of the scholarship.
- William A. Crawford Minority Teacher Scholarship
Amount varies; for those admitted to (or already attending) an eligible Indiana institution as a full-time student, and an Indiana minority resident. Must re-apply every year and maintain a 2.0 GPA. Must teach in Indiana for three years.
- Central Indiana Jim Kriner Memorial Scholarship
$3,000; to students beginning their studies in occupational safety, and professionals seeking to continue their education.
- H. Kent Weldon Scholarship
$1,000; needs-based, students must be residents of Indiana and either a junior or senior in the next academic year, and scheduled to graduate by the following June.
- SMPS Scholarship
$1,000; must be an undergraduate student attending a four-year private or public Indiana college or university majoring in marketing, public relations, management, or communications. Must demonstrate an in the architectural, engineering, or construction industries.
Can all Scholarships be Used for Online Programs?
Learners can use most scholarships for any type of program, whether at online colleges in Indiana or on-campus. However, students should verify that scholarship funds do not feature any specific on-campus requirements if they plan to pursue an entirely online program. The scholarship foundations and providers likely have an email address to send questions or an FAQ section that addresses these kind of issues.
Employment Outlook in Indiana
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a rosy occupational outlook for Indiana: the state continues on a steady path of growth. The following charts detail the state’s unemployment rate, average mean wage, top industries, and largest industries. While not reflected among top employers, Indiana’s top industry is in fact manufacturing (the state’s manufacturing workforce is composed of many thriving businesses throughout the state).
|Source: BLS and BLS|
|Unemployment Rate, May 2017||3.5%||4.3%|
|Annual Mean Wage, May 2016||$42,940||$49,630|
Top Employers and Industries in Indiana
- Manufacturing – Durable and Nondurable Goods: The Manufacturing sector consists of establishments engaged in the mechanical, physical, or chemical transformation of materials, substances, or components into new products.
- Financial Activities – Insurance, Real Estate, Rentals, and Leasing: The finance and insurance sector comprises establishments primarily engaged in financial transactions.The real estate, rental, and leasing sector consists of establishments primarily engaged in renting, leasing, and establishments providing related services.
- Education and Health Services: The educational services sector is composed of establishments that provide instruction and training in a wide variety of subjects. The health care and social assistance sector consists of establishments providing health care and social assistance for individuals.
Top Employers in Indiana
Accreditation for Colleges in Indiana
To receive accreditation, educational institutions must pass review from accreditation-awarding bodies: accrediting agencies assess the academic integrity of an educational institution’s programs and only award accreditation if a school meets their approval. The accreditation process maintains educational standards across the country, ensuring that schools in the United States remain competitive on the global stage.
Not all accreditation types equal. For example, regional accreditation is generally recognized as the most prestigious type of accreditation. By earning a degree from a regionally accredited institution, a student can be sure that they can achieve licensure in certain fields, such as teaching, health care, accounting, and engineering.
National accrediting agencies typically focus on career, vocational, or trade schools, and may be earned at a lower cost. However, courses may not transfer to regionally accredited schools, and a degree from a nationally accredited institution may not qualify a student for licensure in certain fields.
The Higher Learning Commission accredits schools in Indian. The organization maintains a directory of academic institutions and their accreditation status.
Resources for Students in Indiana
- Indiana Commission for Higher Education (ICHE): A state run agency that provides oversight and support for all Indiana schools for higher education, the ICHE assists in defining the missions of public colleges and universities. For example, the ICHE reviews budgets, approves expansion and degree program, and distributes student financial aid from state programs.
- Indiana Education Savings Authority (IESA): The IESA is the governing board of Indiana’s tax-advantaged CollegeChoice 529 Savings Plans – CollegeChoice Direct, CollegeChoice Advisor, & CollegeChoice CD. The organization consists of a nine-member board comprised of representatives of several state agencies and other individuals appointed at-large by the Governor.
- Indiana College Costs Estimator: This resource from Learn More Indiana and the National Center for College Costs calculates the cost of college based on a student’s family gross income, tax records, and academic information.
- Learn More Indiana: An initiative of the Commission for Higher Education, Learn More Indiana publishes student success guides, administers scholarships, and provides support through the stages of choosing a college and successfully graduating.
- You Can. Go Back.: You Can. Go Back. is a statewide campaign that encourages and assists the 750,000+ adult Indiana residents who have started but not finished a college degree to finish their education. The campaign administers $7.5 million in state grants.