Top Online Colleges of 2017

Top Online SchoolsAccording to the latest survey of online higher education by the Sloan Consortium, titled “Grade Change: Tracking Online Education in the United States,” about 33.5% of college students now take at least one course online. This is the highest percentage yet. Though the increase from last year’s online student population is smaller than that of previous years, online education is still showing tremendous growth.

In addition, 65.9% of academic leaders surveyed agreed that online education is critical to their schools’ future strategies, and only 9.7% of the schools surveyed disagreed with that statement (the remainder neither agreed or disagreed). All of this goes to show that online education is slowly and steadily becoming part of the higher education standard.

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The Advantages of Online College and University Degrees

There are many reasons for the dramatic increase in online degree program enrollment. More and more adults are returning to school to upgrade their skills and gain some advantage in an increasingly competitive job market. A high school diploma no longer holds the same value that it used to. Having a college degree is now more necessary than ever for securing a decent job or advancing in a career.

The flexibility and relatively low cost of online colleges and universities make them an especially attractive alternative to traditional brick and mortar schools, particularly for working adults and students with children. Moreover, students pursuing an online degree from a top ranked online college or university can rest assured they are getting an education that is every bit as good as one they would receive in a traditional classroom setting.

Top 15 Online Colleges and Universities of 2017


Why Use Our Online College and University Rankings

With the rise in popularity of online degree programs, the number of online colleges and universities has exploded in recent years. Students seeking an online degree now have an unprecedented variety of online schools and degree programs to choose from. The quality of these online schools and degree programs vary widely. Some are high- quality and accredited institutions of higher education, whereas others are worthless diploma mills looking to exploit people’s desire for education. Others fall somewhere in between.

That’s why we’ve put together this list of the 20 best online colleges and universities for 2017. We’ve done the research to determine which online colleges and universities offer students the best, most reputable online degrees for their money so you don’t have to. Unfortunately, there are many online college and university rankings out there that are really nothing more than paid advertisements for certain schools and make no attempt at providing an objective, data-driven analysis. We strive to provide the most authoritative, objective, comprehensive and transparent analysis of the top online colleges and universities available, so you can be confident in making one of the most important decisions of your life: where to invest in your education.

How to Use our Online College and University Rankings

That said, only you can make the decision about which online college or university is best for you. Every student is different. Our list of the top 20 online colleges and universities for 2017 is offered as a guide, a place to start in your personal journey towards choosing the online degree program that is right for your unique needs and situation.

How We Calculated Our Online College and University Rankings

We’ve relied on the following criteria to generate our online colleges and universities rankings: 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, as well as from school websites and direct conversations with school representatives.

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 school operates multiple campuses, statistics from the flagship or largest campus were used. 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.

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