For those seeking a Catholic education online, the options can be overwhelming. As online education continue to grow in popularity and credibility, more and more Catholic colleges and universities are offering online college degrees.
Why Use Our Online Catholic College & University Rankings
Some of these online Catholic schools are accredited, high-quality institutions with a serious commitment to their student’s spiritual and academic growth. Sadly, others are little more than degree mills looking to exploit people’s desire for an online degree in order to make a quick buck–wolves in sheep’s clothing, so to speak.
That’s why we’ve put together this list of the top 10 online Catholic colleges and universities for 2017. We’ve done the work of sifting the wheat from the chaff of Catholic online schools so you don’t have to.
How To Use Our Online Catholic College & University Rankings
That said, you are the only one who can decide which online Catholic college or university is the best fit for you. Our rankings of the top online Catholic schools is meant only as a guide, a starting point for your journey in Christian education.
How We Generated Our Online Catholic College & University Rankings
Considering only those online Catholic colleges and universities accredited by recognized and respected accreditation agencies, we investigated which online Catholic schools are serious about providing a quality online education experience rooted in the Catholic tradition. From there we relied on the following criteria to generate our online Catholic college and university rankings for 2017: 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).
Data was gathered from objective, independent sources like The National Center for Education Statistics and College Results Online, as well as from school websites and direct conversations with school representatives.
Note: Statistics were calculated using the lowest representative tuition per credit hour and assuming full-time status. Tuition may vary depending on the degree program and full-time vs. part-time status. Where a difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition costs exist, the out-of-state tuition cost was used. Only schools that offer undergraduate degrees were considered.
AID=Percentage of Students Receiving Financial Aid
Top Online Catholic Colleges & Universities of 2017
Founded in 1890 by the Order of Saint Benedict, St. Leo University is a Catholic, liberal arts based university ranked #24 in our list of the top 25 online colleges and universities of 2011. While offering many degrees in business and other career-oriented fields, St. Leo University also offers online degrees in religion, sociology, psychology and liberal studies. Tuition is fairly high, but St. Leo’s satisfaction and quality indicators are solid, and nearly every student receives financial aid.
#2.Regis University Online
A Jesuit school with over 130 years in existence, Regis University Online, located in Colorado, ranked #14 in our list of the top 25 online colleges and universities of 2011. Offering over 25 different online degree programs in business, communications, education, administration, computer science and other areas, Regis University Online boasts the lowest student-teacher ratio of any of the schools on our list. While it doesn’t rate very high in terms of affordability, if a quality online Catholic degree is what you’re looking for, it’s hard to do better than Regis University Online.
#3. Benedictine University Online
Listed as one of the top 50 universities in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report, Benedictine University is a Catholic university in Chicago founded by Benedictine monks in 1887. Benedictine University Online offers one of the widest selections of undergraduate and graduate online degrees and certificates among online Catholic universities. Tuition at Benedictine University Online is competitive and the school’s satisfaction and quality indicators are solid.
#4. Saint Joseph’s University Online
Ranked #4 in our list of the top 25 online colleges and universities of 2011, Saint Joseph’s is a Jesuit university with a solid 150 year history and outstanding academic reputation. Although Saint Joseph’s currently only offers one online bachelor’s degree (the multi-disciplinary Bachelor’s of Science in Professional and Liberal Studies), they have a number of online master’s degree programs in business, criminal justice, education and healthcare. The tuition is fairly steep, but over 90% of students receive financial aid, and the strong student satisfaction and instructional quality indicators suggest students get what they pay for.
#5. Duquesne University Online
“A Catholic university in the Spiritan tradition,” Duquesne University is the largest, most comprehensive Catholic university in the state of Pennsylvania and ranked as one of the top 12 Catholic universities in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Duquesne University’s online learning program offers a number of undergraduate and graduate online degrees in education, music, nursing, leadership, business, environmental science and a variety of professional fields. Tuition is very high, but so are the student satisfaction and instructional quality indicators, as well as the percentage of students receiving financial aid.
#6. Assumption College Online
Assumption College is a Catholic college in Massachusetts founded by the Augustinians of the Assumption in 1904. In addition to a pharmacy technician certification that can be completed wholly online, Assumption College offers several undergraduate and graduate “blended” programs that allow students to take some classes online, but requires other classes to be taken on campus. Assumption College’s satisfaction and quality indicators are very strong and their tuition is some of the lowest around.
#7. Lewis University Online
Lewis University is a comprehensive Catholic and Lasallian university founded in 1932 and based in Illinois. Lewis University’s online degree program offers online bachelor’s and master’s degrees in aviation, fire service administration, information security, organizational leadership, nursing and public safety administration. Lewis University’s student satisfaction and instructional quality indicators are solid, and financial aid is offered to almost all students, but the tuition is the highest of any of our top ten schools.
#8. Saint Joseph’s College of Maine Online
Saint Joseph’s College of Maine is a Catholic liberal arts college founded in 1912 by the Sisters of Mercy. Saint Joseph’s Online offers a broad range of online undergraduate and graduate degrees in everything from accounting to theology. In addition to offering one of the widest selection of online Catholic degrees, Saint Joseph’s Online has the distinction of being the most affordable online Catholic school among our top ten.
#9. Anna Maria College Online
Anna Maria College is a Catholic liberal arts college founded in 1946 by the Sisters of Saint Anne in Massachusetts. Anna Maria College offers online bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fire science, nursing, and public administration. Among the most affordable online Catholic college’s, Anna Maria College ranks very well in terms of satisfaction and quality indicators as well.
#10. The Catholic University of America Online
A private, not-for-profit institution in Washington, D.C., The Catholic University of America ” is committed to being a comprehensive Catholic and American institution of higher learning, faithful to the teachings of Jesus Christ as handed on by the Church.” They offer online, graduate and post-graduate programs in management, human resources, and nursing. The retention rate shows high student satisfaction, and the small student to faculty ratio means that those seeking an education from CUA will never feel like a number.
To determine the best online Catholic colleges, 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 10 best online Catholic colleges. 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.