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Best Online Colleges and Universities - Full Listings and Reviews

Updated on November 20, 2017
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Ms. Inglish has 30 years of successful experience in medicine, psychology, STEM courses, and aerospace education (CAP).

Source

Top 10 American Online Colleges and Unversities

Reportedly, the correspondence school movement of distance education began as early as 1728. At that time, the Boston Gazette printed ad advert stating: Caleb Phillips, teacher of the New Method of Short Hand seeks students for lessons to be sent weekly.

About a hundred years later, distance education was developed in London, UK. From there it began to emerge in other locales. However, until the age of the Internet, it was all done by post.

Hundreds of online educational programs have emerged since the Internet became popular in the 1990s under the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Administration of the US. Not all of these distance learning programs have endured, but many of them have developed into reputable educational options with dozens of useful degree programs available.

In the 21st century, students may actually complete grades 1-12 and post-secondary education through the PhD degree online through fully accredited programs. Some of the college level require some time on the actual physical campus of the institution, but many do not. For advanced degrees above the bachelors, some subjects require actual internships and other educational experiences not available online. All of this creates literally 1000s of options to the student.

Google Glass may one day be an access point to online classes.
Google Glass may one day be an access point to online classes. | Source

Working adults were the first individals to take advantage of correspondence courses offered before the Internet was invented. These were all handled through the mail (snail mail), with some programs requiring additional time in the classroom or an advisors office quarterly. Some people were able to complete high school in this way, while working to support their parents and siblings or their own spouses and children.

After the advent of the Internet, many schools developed online classes, followed by accredited degree programs.

The following list of online programs consistently appear in rankings of top colleges/universities and distance education opportunities of several dozen entities that examine the results produced by these educational institutions.

Overall, there are at least 100 schools offering accredited online degree programs that are reputable and which provide education that leads to a real job and career. The following Universities are the 10 that stand out most consistently among all the lists.

Six Myths About Online Education Debunked

  1. Online schools are inferior to classroom based schools and are offered only by cyber-schools that you cannot locate physically. – This is false, because via the Internet, follow-up is even more regular between teacher and student and these schools list their p[physical addresses. If you cannot find one, don’t use that school. Check addresses with a Google search, making sure that they are not simply a box at a UPS store.
  2. Online faculty are underqualified. - I found this was true on a few occasions before 2005-2006. This is no longer true as schools have tightened up their teaching requirements. Community business professionals really have to have the correct skills when they teach classes or seminars as well.
  3. Online students suffer consequences of classroom activity. - Not with live conferencing, discussions rooms, e-mail, pod-casts, videos, and more. Sometimes, it’s more organized to be online than in a classroom.
  4. Online degrees is just computer based lessons that you download. - Incorrect. Students can download assignments and lecture notes, but also watch streaming video lectures, hear pod-casts, chat in discussion rooms, and use live-conference features.
  5. Online degrees are not accredited and therefore, not accepted by employers. -This was once true for some of these degrees, because not all online schools were accredited, but those have largely been closed down or upgraded to accredited in the last several years have been researching them. After 2005, this is just no longer much of a concern.
  6. Online students need to be highly tech-savvy. - Wrong! You need to know how to navigate E-mail, pod-casts, and other user-friendly aspects. Directions are clear and easy to follow and a Help Desk feature is provided.

Fifteen years of success in 2013.
Fifteen years of success in 2013. | Source
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Western Governors University:
4001 South 700 East, Salt Lake City, UT 84107, USA

get directions

1. Western Governors University - Consistent Winner

Physical HQ in Salt Lake City Utah. This university was formed by the partnership among 19 different US state governors in the West. Phone: 1-866-225-5948.

This university offers a high-quality online education via low tuition rates, accelerated degree programs, and a wide array of bachelors and masters degree programs. These include 9 different MBAs, 9 IT degrees, 31 degrees in Education & Training, and 7 degrees in Nursing and Health.

WGU won the USDLA 21st Century Award for Best Practices in Distance Learning in 2008. Additional degree programs are added as developed, on a regular business. This school also won the Number One slot again in 2013. It continues to be the Number One Online School for advanced education.

Accredited by Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities; Distance Education and Training Council (DETC); and NCATE.

Women in Afghanistan study online.
Women in Afghanistan study online. | Source
A
Capella University:
225 South 6th St, Minneapolis, MN 55402, USA

get directions

2. Capella University

Capella University -- Office in Minneapolis MN. Phone: 1-888-227-2736.

AWARDS: WebCT Exemplary Course Award, National University Telecommunications Network (NUTN) 2006 Distance Education Innovation Award, WebCT Exemplary Practice Award, National Center of Academic Excellence designation from the National Security Agency and U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

This well known institution is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA) for online degrees readily available at the bachelors, masters, and doctoral (PhD) levels.

Over 70% of Capella U. students receive financial aid regardless of financial needs. Students can earn course credit for previous classes and training. Most exiting is that over 1,300 different companies and government agencies pay for some or all of their worker's tuition for Capella online degreen programsnd individual courses.

Programs toward a degree award include 28 MBAs, 11 IT degrees, 27 degrees in Education & Training, and 32 degrees in Nursing and Health. eleven (11) degrees are awarded also in Social and Criminal Justice through Capella U. Additional courses added regularly - check the website.

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Walden University:
100 S Washington Ave #900, Minneapolis, MN 55401, USA

get directions

3. Walden University - "A Higher Degree. A Higher Purpose"

Headquarters are located in Minneapolis MN. Located also In Baltimore MD and other cities.

Accredited by the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges, this online university offers the Masters and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees and the online Bachelors degree in business administration.

This very well known online education firm began helping adults earn degrees through distance learning as early as 1970. This was a heyday of correspondence schools that made it possible for full-time workers to study in the evenings and on weekends. Walden was once listed in the classified ads in the back of various magazines and other publications, proved themselves as being able to deliver high grade education that leads to lucrative careers, and expanded into international venues and the cyberworld of online learning.

Walden U. Online programs towards a degree include 35 MBAs, 9 IT degrees, 37 degrees in Education & Training, 58 degrees in Nursing and Health, 2 in Science & Technology, and 19 degrees are awarded also in Social and Criminal Justice. Additional effective programs for high demand jobs are added regularly.

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Northcentral University, Prescott AZ:
Prescott Valley, AZ 86314, USA

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Prescott Valley, Arizona:
Prescott Valley, AZ, USA

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4. Northcentral University

This university is headquartered in Prescott Valley, Arizona. It is inexpensive, because Northcentral is a total cyber-university without classrooms, offering 120 Bachelors, Masters, and Doctoral degrees.

Accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission, and the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs – ACBSP, recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation(CHEA).

Northcentral online programs grant degrees in the form of 35 MBAs, 13 IT degrees, 35 degrees in Education & Training, 16 degrees in Nursing and Health, and 10 degrees in Social and Criminal Justice. See the website for upadted information about regularly added new programs.

As of the final quarter of 2008, the entire bachelor's degree can be achieved for a cost of $33,000 that covers 120 credit hours. This translates to $275 per credit hour.

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Santa Ana CA:
Santa Ana, CA, USA

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California Coast University:
925 N Spurgeon St, Santa Ana, CA 92701, USA

get directions

5. California Coast University

Founded many yeaars ago in 1973, this school's physical location is in Santa Ana. Phone: 1-866-91-EDUCATE.

California Coast University offers decades successful classroom based and distance learning achievements to over 10,000 individuals per year that earn the online Associates, Bachelors, and Masters degrees in the fields of business, psychology, and education. Students are largely mid-career professionals looking to advance their responsibilities, pay, and benefits.

Online study programs leading to a degree include 6 degrees in Business, 2 degrees in Education & Training, and 3 degrees in PSychology, and 2 degrees in Social and Criminal Justice.

Market Street in Philadelphia
Market Street in Philadelphia | Source
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Drexel University:
3141 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA

get directions

6. Drexel University Online - "A Better U"

Drexel University Online is headquartered in Philadelphia PA. Phone: 1-877-215-0009.

Drexel is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Past Winner of the USDLA 21st Century Best Practice for Distance Learning Award. Drexel is still a top online school in 2013.

Programs toward a degree award include over 60 options in a variety of high demand occupational fields.

Franklin University
Franklin University | Source
A
Franklin University:
201 S Grant Ave, Columbus, OH 43215, USA

get directions

7. Franklin University

Franklin University was established primarily as a business school in Columbus OH in 1902.

Franklin University was ranked in the Top 20 Schools of the Online Education Database's 2008 Online College Rankings.

In four classroom campuses and online, the school educates 10,000 people annuallyas of the end of 2008. Franklin University is well known for its good reputation in education and placement assistance for students into lucrative long-term careers. Phone: 1-877-341-6300

Accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

Franklin University online degree programs offer 8 MBAs, 5 IT degrees, 2 degrees in Education & Training, 13 degrees in business, 2 degrees in Forensics, and 2 degrees in Nursing and Health. The school reports that over 90% of students in their programs begin with established transfer credit from other schools of higher learning.

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Manchester NH:
Manchester, NH, USA

get directions

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Southern New Hampshire Unviersity:
2500 N River Rd, Hooksett, NH 03106, USA

get directions

8. Southern New Hampshire Unviersity

This institution is located in New England in Manchester NH. Phone: 1-800-668-1249.

Accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education.

Study programs for online degrees include 5 Masters degrees programs that lead to MBAs in business and marketing, including International Business. Newly added degrees are also available in Sports Management and Justice Studies, with dozens of undergraduate degrees to total 50 online degree options.

Union Institute & University in the Ohio Space Corridor

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Union Institute & University:
440 E McMillan St, Cincinnati, OH 45206, USA

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B
Dayton OH:
Dayton, OH, USA

get directions

C
Columbus OH:
Columbus, OH, USA

get directions

D
Cincinnati OH:
Cincinnati, OH, USA

get directions

9. Union Institute & University

Union Insitute & University is located in Cincinnati OH. Phone: 1-800-486-3116.

Accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

This school is particularly good, because it provides trained academic advisors that coordinate closely with each individual student to ensure success. This is also one of the few schools that offers a program in the Environment. This school is also one of the first universities to develop distance education for mid-careerists - working adults that need flexible learning schedules.

Degrees that can be earned via online programs through this school include 5 in Arts & Humanities, 1 in Education and Teaching, 3 in Health & Medicine that include Nursing, and 1 in Science & Technology (specifically in the Environment), and 5 in Social Sciences & Criminal Justice. Additional new programs are regularly added as well.

Source

Additional Winners

In 2013, additional winners for the 21st Century award included:

  • Booz Allen Hamilton, Corporate: Online Technology. Headquartered in Washington DC.
  • Stevens Institute of Technology - Webcampus Division; Online Technology: Higher Education. Hoboken NJ.

The list below includes colleges that won awards for Best Practices in online education:

  • University at Albany (NY), Rockefeller College: Professional Development
  • VUC Storstrom: Videoconferencing Technology in Adult Education (GED, BASIC Skills, and College). http://www.globalclassroom.eu/
  • The US Department of Veterans Affairs & IT Workforce Development in partnership with Booz Allen Hamilton (see list just above)

© 2008 Patty Inglish MS

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    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      4 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Some of my friends also find it easier to do a class discussion online on chat-rooms or other features than in the classroom, face-to-face. Thanks for posting!

    • bestonlineschools profile image

      Best Online Schools 

      4 years ago from UK

      Online schooling is more less the same as on-campus schooling with the minor difference that while online schooling is done entirely or partial online; on-campus schooling on the other hand needs on-campus attendance. Great share Patty.

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