In order to help students deal with rising tuition costs and combat the student debt crisis, we've published our Best Online College rankings, which highlight schools with the best value. In these lists we identify colleges we believe are worth the investment because of their low tuitions and high median alumni salaries as reported by Payscale.
To help you sort through the over
We are proud to offer the largest collection of student reviews of online schools available, covering over
Local colleges can provide a lot of benefits for online students: reputation with local employers, tuition discounts, and a physical location where students can talk to college representatives in person. We provide tuition, recommendation rate, and a list of campus locations for all online colleges by state.
In 2015, there were over six million students in the United States enrolled in either partial or fully online programs. Nearly one out of every three college students in the United States is enrolled in at least one online class.
Students choose to pursue degrees online for a variety of reasons. Some prefer the online learning experience to the classroom experience. Many online students are seeking degrees to enhance their career prospects or propel them forward in their current careers. Eighty percent of online students are employed either full time or part-time while pursuing their studies. Online degrees provide students with more flexible scheduling and more affordable educational experiences. With approximately 2,250 institutions of higher education offering online programs, there are meaningful and attainable degrees available for all types students interested in online learning.
When considering an online school, there are various criteria you should consider, including:
- Is this school accredited?
- What are the tuition costs and financial aid options?
- Is this school a non-profit or for-profit?
- What counseling and advising services are available?
- How happy and successful are graduates?
Guide to Online Schools provides accreditation, tuition, financial aid, profit status, and more as reported by the Department of Education and the National Center for Education Statistics. We also provide recommend rates from online students for schools, allowing you to find the online degrees that left graduates prepared for a successful career and without financial regrets.
Every single online school and college represented on Guide to Online Schools is accredited.
Accreditation signifies that a college’s education meets quality standards that support success for graduates. While accrediting agencies are private organizations, the US Department of Education publishes a list of approved accreditation agencies. The DOE also provides a list of which accreditations a school has received from those approved agencies.
Online schools go through the same accreditation process as campus schools and many agencies accredit both types. However, there are some agencies specific to distance learning like the Distance Education Accrediting Commission.
For most online degrees, it is recommended that students attend institutions that are regionally accredited versus nationally accredited, as the quality standards are generally higher. However, for some professions, including many vocational or trade professions, national accreditation is the standard. Furthermore, some subjects—like accounting, counseling, nursing, and teaching—have special programmatic accrediting agencies that recognize quality in particular subjects, versus at the institutional level. Prospective online students can use our site to determine whether a programmatic accrediting agency is relevant to them and find an appropriate degree.
The average total cost of attending an on-campus four year degree program is $98,824. In contrast, the average total cost of an online undergraduate degree is $43,477. Students can save over $50,000 dollars by opting for an online degree program. Given that almost 50% of online undergraduate students and 32% of online graduate students rely solely on loans and financial aid to pay for their educations, these savings are significant.
4-year degree costs
undergraduate degree costs
As the cost of traditional degree programs continues to increase, online degrees are actually becoming more affordable. The median cost of online undergraduate degrees decreased 34% between 2006 and 2013 vs a 9% increase for campus degrees.
To help budget-minded students, we’ve put together a list of the Most Affordable Online Colleges, all of which have average annual tuitions under $15,000. These tuitions are reported by the National Center For Education Statistics. Tuition discounts are available for online students at some schools and rates often vary by program, so you should always confirm on a school’s website or with an official representative.