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Best Online Colleges For Computer Science and Programming 2017

Updated on May 18, 2017

What Are My Options For Online Degrees In Computer Science Or Programming

A lot of people ask this question and based on how you type it into Google you get a lot of different answers. There are a few options out there now and Universities across the country are giving into the idea and adding their own online programs. What kind of Universities are considering this? Stanford is currently debating how it will admit students into the program it plans to launch in 2017. Yes, the same Stanford that Google, Microsoft, Apple, and AMD stand outside of worshiping it's grads and offering them six figure salaries to start. Let's break down online colleges a bit before you we take a look at our options. Please research colleges to determine if they are for profit or non profit after deciding if you want to join them.

We Have Two Types of Colleges Online:

  1. For Profit- These colleges are in it for the money. They do not have to meet certain standards and most are not nationally accredited as result. They are instead only regionally accredited. The courses of these colleges rarely transfer and very few offer a degree that doesn't have a big fat 'ONLINE' right on your diploma. YUCK. The education levels of these programs vary but in general, since the market for computer scientist is so needy right now, you can obtain employment with them. Just don't expect that 4.0 to impress too many people if you got it at a for profit school. In recent years we have seen colleges like Everest take on large lawsuits for charging students rates that were entirely too high per credit hour and giving them a degree that wasn't worth the paper it was printed on. Yes , there are some success stories from for profit colleges and the University of Phoenix does post okay job placement numbers but you are going to be paying 30-80k for four years of college and you must ask yourself if okay is good enough.
  2. Nonprofit Schools- Okay , the thing that gets me the most is that many nonprofit colleges online do not require too much to join. Some require pretty high scores or past college performance but others are almost as easy as a community college to get into. Nonprofit Schools are almost always accredited nationally and must meet the standards of education. These schools are usually accredited regionally as well and carry a lot more weight than for profit colleges. The cost of these schools can vary but you can find really good deals as I will outline in this guide. These schools also vary on their approach to teaching online. Some will give you books and material and expect you to pass the course as if you were in class but without the aid of a teacher. Others will offer YouTube lectures, summaries of material, discussion chat rooms, and other material to help you. Almost all of these colleges offer free online tutoring so that is a plus. For profit you will pay for your tutor and you will pay handsomely. The last perk is that since most of these schools have a brick and mortar campus that many students attend, they do not list if your degree was obtained online and there is no way for an employer to find out either. Some employers are very reluctant to hire people with online degrees. Yes, even in the tech industry and even in 2016 sadly.

Break Down Of Price Differences Between For Profit and Nonprofit Schools

Why Do People Choose For Profit At All?

For most it is because for profit schools advertise to them the most. You rarely see a college or university advertising on the radio, tv, or online but you often find for profit schools doing so. There seems to be a veil on nonprofit colleges available online and people's understanding of how grants and scholarships as well as student loans work. Some people figure because they only have a GED or High School Diploma, they will not qualify for nonprofit schools. This is far from the truth, however. Your VA will gladly be accepted by for profit as they will point out to you but a nonprofit school will not only accept it but they will offer you the full benefit and probably give you a huge discount(up to 30%) with no application or enrollment fees.

For profit schools just want your money. This is the bottom line of their objective and their mission statements and loyalty is pledged to investors and not the students. You are a customer to them and even though they may tour local Forts and job fairs with the promise of a better life, the reality is that most for profit students drop out or can not find steady employment.

I may seem bias in my opinion but this if for good reason and as a computer science/programming major, to be you, will realize that the numbers don't lie, only the people who manipulate them do.

Things to Consider When Comparing Nonprofit and For Profit Colleges

So What Are The Best Options For An Online Computer Science Or Programming Degree

In this section I will list several nonprofit and a few for profit options for obtaining a degree online in programming or computer science. The choices you make will depend on a few things. If you have a good SAT score or went to community college and you have a good GPA, you can consider more options than if you are just starting out. Most of these schools are completely flexible. Some run 16-12 week courses while others run a 10-3 weeks program depending on the credit hours accredited. Transferring credits is always complicated but most online schools will take community college credits and most online nonprofit schools will transfer all credits to other schools but some schools will be picky about a few courses and you may have to appeal to get them included. That being said here is the list of your top 5 options.

For Those with a High SAT Score or High GPA to Transfer from Community College

  1. University of Illinois at Springfield- This college got a top ranking based on its low cost, low drop out rate, great reviews, and post college employment numbers. It will be the smallest school on this list but this school has a good reputation in the job circles.
  2. Oregon State- This college is a great place to start and has very high reviews in its education. It also has a very high cost for those from out of state. It will be a bit costly but it's the number two option due to its program overall.
  3. Florida State- Florida States online degree programs are relatively new. The cost of the school is low compared to most major universities and the quality of its degree is considered high. This is a great place to start your path online.
  4. Cal State- Not only do they have an unpredictable football team but they also have an online college. Yes Cal is a great school to attend but it will not be cheap. You should consider this college your number one if you live in California.
  5. Lamar University- Okay so Lamar isn't a big name University with a tier one sports program. So what is Lamar? A school posting a 71% graduation rate , best in the country, and a 85% job placement rate within the first year of post education. That is pretty good when combined with its low cost education. These numbers may be inflated by the fact that Texas is a high demand place for programmers but hey, the degree is great and it should be considered.

If You Have a HS Diploma, Some College, or a GED and Just Need the Flexibility Nonprofit Online Schools Bring this is Your Top 5


  1. Troy University- Why Troy? Because its cheap, highly accredited, and a top ranked online university. This school offers great education and flexibility via the blackboard system. This school is a good place to get your degree.
  2. Southern University and A&M College- Cheapest college on the entire list and it's easy to get into. You take a basic exam to see where you stand in core educational sections. You then proceed on as if you were in a community college. They will offer you classes to learn subjects you may do poorly in and the tuition is great.
  3. Baker College- This school is located in Michigan and it's super easy to get into. Like the rest of the colleges on this list there is no 'online' on your degree as Baker has been a brick and mortar school since 1923. The cost is very low at only 235 per credit hours and to get in you only need to test the core subjects and proceed based on the results. This college works on 6 weeks courses so you will be taking a lot of courses but they fly by. You need 196 credit hours to graduate which is a lot but this degree covers a ton of areas in computer science and is considered one of the better online degrees. Prepare for calculus 4 because this college loves math.
  4. Regis University- This school ranks number two on the overall list of most blogs online. I do not agree however. While the school has a great rep, the cost of attending this school will be extreme. It is located in Colorado and it has a brick and mortar campus as well as its online program. You will not have 'online' written on your degree but you will not get out of this college with a four year degree for less than 90 thousand. It is some what prestigious and its requirements for joining are a bit more complicated than the schools above but it's also a private nonprofit school which makes the cost of the school much higher. On the other hand you will get one on one attention at this college and you will have the ability to talk to professionals and teachers 24/7.
  5. Old Dominion University- This is a well known school in VA and it has a horrible football team as most fans of the game will know. They did have one historic upset and that's great but it doesn't matter in this context. This school is some what expensive and you will pay around 70k to get out of it. It does offer a great degree program and honestly it's worth it to attend. You could get a degree here for 35k in student loans after grants and such and that wouldn't be horrible. The student to professor ratio is actually pretty nice and its rather easy to get into. Staying in will require a 2.5 GPA vs other schools that only require a 2.0 so keep that in mind.

What About The For Profit List You Promised

Less Than Five

When it comes to for profit schools I do not feel comfortable listing five schools as options. Your options for nonprofit include far more than what I have listed as there are over 100 colleges and universities that now offer online degree programs but are nonprofit. In 2016 we have reached a point where more schools offer it than don't. That in mind here comes the short list.

  1. University Of Phoenix- It pains me to even type this but yes, the best college that is for profit is the most hated right now. You have a much greater chance at employment as employers have began to some what trust this college. It isn't considered as good as a nonprofit degree but it's now ranked much higher than an associate or technical degree and that is a step. They don't actually offer a Computer Science program but an IT equivalent.
  2. Strayer University- This school is very costly over four years but it does offer a Computer Science program. It is considered a decent school despite being for profit and it claims that 74% of its graduates obtain willful employment within 6 months of graduating. The major issue is that 61% of its students drop out before getting a degree. That isn't a benchmark of success.
  3. Salem University- Some where in the deep dark depths of Christian toting,I am Christian but these people are like old testament 1560 Christians, West Virginia is a for profit school that sits right beside Salem Church in , you guessed it, Salem's lot. I bring the religion thing up only because it's significant to the story and this place was so scary Stephen King wrote a book about it. This school offers high tuition and a Computer Science program. I am not sure if the funds it makes support the church or if the church has radical views like Westboro but I would venture a guess that it doesn't in both cases.

That's it. That is all I would recommend as far as for profit goes. Oh wait, and Everest College, no , no, that was a joke. If you want to throw away that much money on something that will make your life nothing , do drugs. You will feel better and probably spend less in the end. Again, I am kidding. Don't do drugs kids and don't go to for profit colleges.

Let's Check Our Knowledge

After Reading This, How Many Of You Still Think For Profit Is A Great Option?

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