Guide to Online Schools is a product of Optimal, formerly known as SR Education Group until January of 2020, when the company rebranded.
Guide to Online Schools is a free and comprehensive guide that enables students to compare all online colleges in the U.S. We seek to help driven people accomplish their education goals in a financially responsible manner. By providing resources that are easy to use but hard to find elsewhere, Guide to Online Schools hopes to empower more Americans to go to college while lowering the overall cost of earning a degree. We want to be part of the solution to the student debt crisis that has been plaguing our nation for years. Getting a degree might be necessary, but it shouldn't break the bank.
Optimal created Guide to Online Schools to help students choose the best school for their career aspirations and budget. It is our mission to be the most authoritative online resource for students, and we are dedicated to making objective information about education, careers, and college financing easily accessible. If you would like to learn more about our advertising and editorial policies, please see the bottom of this page.
After working in the education industry for over 9 years as the CEO of Optimal, Sung became discouraged by how difficult it was to find accurate information about what's truly important to prospective students. He saw the need for sites dedicated to transparency around finding quality education options that are both affordable and accessible.
Sung's an Ivy League grad who's passionate about changing the landscape in higher education so it better reflects the interests of students. He knows prestige doesn't always translate to quality and doesn't want to see students get a raw deal.
Our Advertising Policy
The money we receive from schools allows us to conduct and publish detailed research into colleges and universities so prospective students are empowered to make informed choices about their education.
Our Editorial Policy
The schools with whom we have an advertising relationship are referred to as "partner schools" throughout Guide to Online Schools. We ensure that our relationships with partner schools do not hinder our editorial integrity. Partner schools are clearly labeled as such throughout the site, and we never show our partner schools any preferential treatment when developing our ranking lists, except when explicitly indicated in the methodology.
All schools featured on our site are accredited by accrediting bodies recognized by the United States Department of Education. When creating our content, we always conduct extensive research in order to ensure that we provide accurate and current information about program offerings and tuition costs. This information comes directly from schools' official websites or representatives. We also source information from third-party research firms such as PayScale as well as government databases and agencies such as:
- Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)
- College Scorecard
- Bureau of Labor Statistics
- United States Department of Veterans Affairs
Our ranking list methodologies always list the data sources used to develop those rankings. Additionally, you can hover over any school's tuition rate to see where on the school's website we found that information.
Through our professional affiliations, Optimal strives to provide authoritative resources for students seeking high quality and affordable online education programs.
Optimal is proud to be an institutional member of the Online Learning Consortium (OLC). OLC is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization that was founded in 1999 and comprises a collaborative community of leaders and innovators in the higher education space. Members are dedicated to advancing OLC’s vision of setting the global standard for online and digital learning.
We are also an organizational member of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC). Over the NACAC's 80+ years of service, it has furthered diversity and social justice by providing students with a path to success. The NACAC is recognized by policy makers and education leaders as the primary authority on postsecondary transition issues, and has influenced national and state policy to enhance access to higher education.