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Good Online Colleges

NextGraduate analyzes key factors to compile a list of good online colleges.

The top five online colleges are based on enrollment, tuition, salary score, and recommendation rate. The best online colleges for 2023 are based on net price, retention rates, graduation rates, and salary after graduation.

Key Takeaways

  • Price and Affordability: Consider the average net price of universities, ranging from $8,865 to $43,577, to ensure the program fits within your budget.
  • Student Retention and Graduation Rates: Look for universities with high retention rates (above 90%) and graduation rates (above 80%) to increase your chances of program completion.
  • Earning Potential: Explore universities with higher salary scores and average salaries after graduation ($49,338 to $90,613) to gauge potential career prospects.
  • Program Diversity: Choose a university that offers a wide range of online programs in fields such as business, nursing, education, data science, and more to match your interests and goals.

When it comes to pursuing higher education through online platforms, finding a good online college is crucial for students seeking quality education, flexibility, and career advancement opportunities.

The team at NextGraduate has examined various universities and their online offerings, considering factors such as average net price, retention rates, graduation rates, and salary after graduation.

By evaluating these key indicators, students can gain valuable insights into the institutions’ affordability, student success rates, and potential earning prospects, enabling them to make informed decisions about choosing a reputable online college that aligns with their educational goals.

Good Online Colleges | Top 5 Online Colleges | Top 10 Online Colleges

“Good” Online Colleges List

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Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) offers a wide range of online degree programs in fields such as business, healthcare, education, and liberal arts, designed to be flexible and affordable for working adults and traditional students alike.

Strayer University provides online undergraduate and graduate degrees primarily in business, information technology, and criminal justice, catering to the needs of working adults and those seeking flexible learning options.

The University of Phoenix offers a comprehensive range of online programs from certificate to doctoral level. Degrees are designed for working adults and are offered in fields like business, education, health, and technology.

Penn State World Campus is the online campus of Pennsylvania State University, offering over 150 accredited online programs. They provide degrees and certificates in fields such as business, engineering, education, and healthcare.

Arizona State University (ASU) offers online bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs in high-demand fields such as business, engineering, health, education, and technology, with multiple start dates throughout the year for maximum flexibility.

Liberty University provides more than 600 online programs of study from the certificate to the doctoral level. These programs cover various disciplines such as business, education, and theology, designed to offer flexibility for students of all life stages.

The University of Arizona offers a variety of fully online bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs across fields like business, nursing, engineering, and education. These programs are designed for both traditional and nontraditional students.

The University of Florida (UF) offers comprehensive online programs ranging from bachelor’s degrees to doctorates across various disciplines, including business, computer science, health, and journalism.

The University of Central Florida (UCF) offers a wide array of online programs, including bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees, as well as undergraduate and graduate certificates in areas like business, healthcare, and engineering.

Oregon State University (OSU) offers a robust selection of online bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in areas such as business, education, engineering, and natural resources.

Western Governors University (WGU) offers online bachelor’s and master’s degrees using a competency-based learning model. Degrees are available in fields like business, education, information technology, and health professions.

UMass Global provides online undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs in education, business, arts and sciences, health, and professional studies, catering to both traditional and nontraditional learners.

Florida International University (FIU) offers a variety of online undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree programs in areas such as business, engineering, healthcare, and hospitality.

Fort Hays State University (FHSU) offers a range of online undergraduate and graduate degrees in fields like education, business, and health professions.

Colorado State University Global provides online bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in areas like business, IT, healthcare, and social sciences, designed for working adults and nontraditional learners.

Bellevue University offers a wide array of online undergraduate and graduate degree programs tailored for both traditional students and working adults, with a focus on career-relevant learning.

Columbia Southern University offers online associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs in a variety of fields, tailored for adult learners and working professionals.

Capella University specializes in flexible online degree programs for working professionals, offering programs in fields such as business, health sciences, education, counseling, psychology, social work, and information technology.

The University of Missouri, or Mizzou, offers a range of online degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate level, designed to provide flexible learning opportunities for students globally.

Colorado State University offers a variety of online degree programs, from bachelor’s degrees to doctorates, across various disciplines such as business, engineering, data science, and natural resources.

Washington State University (WSU) offers a range of online undergraduate and graduate degree programs, with a focus on flexibility and supporting the needs of diverse learners.

Thomas Edison State University provides flexible, high-quality online learning opportunities with degree programs in more than 100 areas of study, designed specifically for adult learners.

American Public University System (APUS) offers over 200 online degree and certificate programs in fields like homeland security, intelligence studies, and emergency and disaster management, designed to serve distance learners worldwide.

Pennsylvania State University’s World Campus offers a wide range of online degree programs, from bachelor’s to doctoral degrees, in fields such as business, engineering, education, and healthcare.

Top 5 Online Colleges

Choosing the right online university can be challenging, given the numerous options available. To simplify your decision-making process, we have compiled a list of the top five online universities based on enrollment, annual tuition, salary score, and recommendation rate per OnlineU.com. Each university offers unique advantages and caters to different student needs.

Read on to discover the universities that secured the top positions in our ranking.

Western Governors University

#1 in Top 5 Online Colleges

  • Online Enrollment: 136,139
  • Annual Tuition: $6,670
  • Salary Score: 72
  • Recommend Rate: 71% (748 reviews)

Claiming the top spot, Western Governors University has an impressive online enrollment of 136,139 students. With an affordable annual tuition of $6,670, it provides excellent value for students. The university also boasts a strong salary score of 72, indicating promising career prospects for graduates. It has received positive recommendations from 71% of reviewers, with 748 reviews praising its programs and educational quality.

Southern New Hampshire University Online

#2 in Top 5 Online Colleges

  • Online Enrollment: 106,375
  • Annual Tuition: $9,600
  • Salary Score: 64
  • Recommend Rate: 62% (451 reviews)

Securing the second position, Southern New Hampshire University Online has a significant online enrollment of 106,375 students. Although the annual tuition is slightly higher at $9,600, the university offers a competitive option for distance learners. With a salary score of 64, it demonstrates the potential for favorable career outcomes. The institution has a recommendation rate of 62%, based on 451 reviews highlighting its commitment to student success.

University of Phoenix

#3 in Top 5 Online Colleges

  • Online Enrollment: 94,038
  • Annual Tuition: $9,552
  • Salary Score: 60
  • Recommend Rate: 60% (1,151 reviews)

At number three, the University of Phoenix is a well-known name in online education. It caters to a large and diverse student population, with an online enrollment of 94,038. The university provides a reasonable financial option, with an annual tuition of $9,552. While its salary score of 60 suggests favorable employment outcomes, the recommendation rate stands at 60% from 1,151 reviews, indicating areas for improvement in certain aspects.

Grand Canyon University

#4 in Top 5 Online Colleges

  • Online Enrollment: 75,277
  • Annual Tuition: $17,800
  • Salary Score: 58
  • Recommend Rate: 49% (550 reviews)

Securing the fourth position, Grand Canyon University has an online enrollment of 75,277 students. It offers a wide range of programs; however, the annual tuition is relatively higher at $17,800. The university boasts a salary score of 58, indicating decent career prospects for graduates. However, its recommendation rate stands at 49% from 550 reviews, suggesting potential areas for improvement in the student experience.

Liberty University

#5 in Top 5 Online Colleges

  • Online Enrollment: 70,429
  • Annual Tuition: $11,700
  • Salary Score: 40
  • Recommend Rate: 57% (333 reviews)

Rounding off our top five is Liberty University, with an online enrollment of 70,429 students. The university provides a moderate annual tuition of $11,700. However, it has a lower salary score of 40 compared to other institutions on the list. Despite this, Liberty University still manages to achieve a recommendation rate of 57% from 333 reviews, indicating positive experiences for many students.

Choosing a good online university is a crucial decision that should be based on various factors. Western Governors University claims the top position in this ranking, followed closely by Southern New Hampshire University Online and the University of Phoenix. Grand Canyon University and Liberty University complete the list. Remember to consider your individual preferences and goals when making a final decision.

Conduct thorough research and evaluate which university aligns best with your academic, financial, and career aspirations to ensure a successful online learning experience.

Top 10 Online Colleges

Using data to calculate affordability, student satisfaction, academic quality, and student outcomes, EDsmart.org presents the Best Online Colleges & Universities for 2023.

  1. University of Michigan
  • Average Net Price: $14,878
  • Retention Rate: 97%
  • Graduation Rate: 92%
  • Salary After Graduation: $75,842

Online Offerings:

  • Online Degrees:
    • Business Administration
    • Computer Science
    • Nursing
    • Education
    • Psychology
  1. University of North Florida
  • Average Net Price: $8,865
  • Retention Rate: 83%
  • Graduation Rate: 65%
  • Salary After Graduation: $49,338

Online Offerings:

  • Online Degrees:
    • Health Administration
    • Criminal Justice
    • Education
    • Nursing
    • Business Administration
  1. Villanova University
  • Average Net Price: $43,577
  • Retention Rate: 96%
  • Graduation Rate: 89%
  • Salary After Graduation: $90,613

Online Offerings:

  • Online Degrees:
    • Business Administration
    • Finance
    • Leadership
    • Human Resource Development
    • Public Administration
  1. Fairfield University
  • Average Net Price: $36,663
  • Retention Rate: 91%
  • Graduation Rate: 80%
  • Salary After Graduation: $86,060

Online Offerings:

  • Online Degrees:
    • Business Analytics
    • Healthcare Administration
    • Nursing
    • Human Resource Management
    • Public Administration
  1. Saint Mary’s College
  • Average Net Price: $23,625
  • Retention Rate: 84%
  • Graduation Rate: 79%
  • Salary After Graduation: $56,655

Online Offerings:

  • Online Degrees:
    • Business Administration
    • Data Science
    • Educational Leadership
    • Nonprofit Administration
    • Human Resource Management
  1. Smith College
  • Average Net Price: $29,615
  • Retention Rate: 86%
  • Graduation Rate: 89%
  • Salary After Graduation: $56,419

Online Offerings:

  • Online Degrees:
    • Social Work
    • Nonprofit Management
    • Leadership and Communication
    • Data Science
    • Sustainable Food Systems
  1. Butler University
  • Average Net Price: $39,430
  • Retention Rate: 87%
  • Graduation Rate: 82%
  • Salary After Graduation: $66,540

Online Offerings:

  • Online Degrees:
    • Master of Business Administration (MBA)
    • Master of Science in Risk and Insurance
    • Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences
    • Master of Science in Data Science
    • Master of Science in Effective Teaching and Leadership
  1. University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
  • Average Net Price: $14,417
  • Retention Rate: 79%
  • Graduation Rate: 64%
  • Salary After Graduation: $49,599

Online Offerings:

  • Online Degrees:
    • Marketing
    • Finance
    • Management
    • Occupational Safety
    • Information Technology
  1. University of North Dakota
  • Average Net Price: $16,966
  • Retention Rate: 80%
  • Graduation Rate: 50%
  • Salary After Graduation: $57,299

Online Offerings:

  • Online Degrees:
    • Petroleum Engineering
    • Social Work
    • Nursing
    • Aviation
    • Communication
  1. Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville
  • Average Net Price: $14,462
  • Retention Rate: 78%
  • Graduation Rate: 53%
  • Salary After Graduation: $51,671

Online Offerings:

  • Online Degrees:
    • Nursing
    • Healthcare Informatics
    • Education
    • Public Administration
    • Business Administration

Top 10 Online Colleges Analysis and Insights

Based on the provided information, several insights and inferences can be drawn regarding the universities and their online offerings.

  1. Price and Affordability: The average net prices of the universities vary significantly, with the University of North Florida having the lowest at $8,865 and Villanova University having the highest at $43,577. Students should consider their budget and financial circumstances when selecting an online program.
  2. Student Retention and Graduation Rates: Universities such as the University of Michigan, Villanova University, and Smith College demonstrate high retention rates above 90% and graduation rates above 80%. These figures indicate that students at these institutions are more likely to persist and successfully complete their online programs.
  3. Earning Potential: Salary after graduation is an important factor for many students. Universities like Villanova University, Fairfield University, and Butler University boast high average salaries after graduation, ranging from $66,540 to $90,613. This suggests that graduates from these institutions may have better earning prospects.
  4. Popular Online Majors: The most popular online degrees offered by these universities include Business Administration, Nursing, Education, and various other fields such as Data Science, Social Work, and Healthcare Administration. These programs cater to various interests and career paths, allowing students to choose programs aligned with their goals.
  5. Program Diversity: Each university offers a distinct selection of online programs, providing students with various options to pursue their desired fields of study. For example, Butler University offers specialized master’s degrees in Risk and Insurance, Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Data Science.
  6. Varied Graduation Rates: It is worth noting that some universities, like the University of North Dakota and Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville, have lower graduation rates. This may indicate program completion challenges and require additional support or resources for students to succeed.

When considering an online program, students should carefully evaluate factors such as affordability, retention rates, graduation rates, earning potential, and the availability of desired majors. A comprehensive analysis of these factors will help individuals make informed decisions about which university and online program align best with their educational and career aspirations.