2018 Best Online Colleges for Student Economic Mobility

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These 92 schools have the highest upward mobility rates for low-income students. Using data from The Equality of Opportunity Project, SR Education Group identified these online colleges and universities as having the highest percentage of students moving from the lowest income bracket in the United States to the highest. Schools on this list earned a Mobility Score higher than 65, receiving high marks due to their mobility rates, Pell Grant rates, and early career salaries.

In addition to this list, we highlight the 15 Best Online Schools for Student Economic Mobility and the 25 Most Affordable Online Schools for Student Economic Mobility. View our methodology or learn more about SR Education Group.

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Comprehensive List of Accredited Online Schools for Student Economic Mobility (92)

School Annual Tuition Mobility Score
Albany State University Annual Tuition $6,000 Mobility Score 75.3
Albertus Magnus College Annual Tuition $15,300 Mobility Score 96.7
Barton County Community College Annual Tuition $4,800 Mobility Score 70.8
Belhaven University Annual Tuition $11,470 Mobility Score 85.1
Bergen Community College Annual Tuition $9,984 Mobility Score 74.2
Bismarck State College Annual Tuition $8,775 Mobility Score 66.2
Broward College Annual Tuition $7,073 Mobility Score 73.4
California State University-Dominguez Hills Annual Tuition $10,500 Mobility Score 97.6
California State University-East Bay Annual Tuition $16,344 Mobility Score 94.6
California State University-Fullerton Annual Tuition $12,750 Mobility Score 81.4
California State University-Northridge Annual Tuition $17,850 Mobility Score 97.2
Carl Albert State College Annual Tuition $7,525 Mobility Score 66.7
Carlow University Annual Tuition $14,850 Mobility Score 72.1
Central Texas College Annual Tuition $7,050 Mobility Score 81.5
Chaminade University of Honolulu Annual Tuition $14,430 Mobility Score 86.5
Cochise College Annual Tuition $3,936 Mobility Score 72.5
Craven Community College Annual Tuition $8,040 Mobility Score 65.9
DePaul University Annual Tuition $30,240 Mobility Score 78.3
DeVry University Annual Tuition $14,610 Mobility Score 80.0
Drexel University Annual Tuition $34,020 Mobility Score 82.1
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide Annual Tuition $11,700 Mobility Score 85.8
Fairleigh Dickinson University-Metropolitan Campus Annual Tuition $38,418 Mobility Score 75.8
Florida Atlantic University Annual Tuition $21,595 Mobility Score 82.1
Florida International University Annual Tuition $9,893 Mobility Score 96.9
Fort Valley State University Annual Tuition $5,859 Mobility Score 79.0
Franklin University Annual Tuition $15,270 Mobility Score 87.8
Fresno Pacific University Annual Tuition $13,500 Mobility Score 91.0
Illinois Institute of Technology Annual Tuition $45,872 Mobility Score 86.9
Jackson State University Annual Tuition $11,346 Mobility Score 82.7
Lamar University Annual Tuition $6,240 Mobility Score 79.8
LeTourneau University Annual Tuition $10,650 Mobility Score 89.3
Loyola University Chicago Annual Tuition $19,380 Mobility Score 79.6
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Annual Tuition $12,865 Mobility Score 90.1
McNeese State University Annual Tuition $12,934 Mobility Score 72.3
Mercy College Annual Tuition $18,084 Mobility Score 87.4
Miami Dade College Annual Tuition $13,913 Mobility Score 89.1
Mississippi University for Women Annual Tuition $18,830 Mobility Score 75.8
Monroe College Annual Tuition $17,910 Mobility Score 86.4
New Mexico State University Annual Tuition $22,329 Mobility Score 70.7
New York University Annual Tuition $36,700 Mobility Score 78.0
Nicholls State University Annual Tuition $8,250 Mobility Score 78.1
Norfolk State University Annual Tuition $16,920 Mobility Score 88.5
North Carolina Central University Annual Tuition $17,207 Mobility Score 79.4
North Dakota State College of Science Annual Tuition $5,965 Mobility Score 71.1
Northwestern State University of Louisiana Annual Tuition $9,600 Mobility Score 76.7
Nova Southeastern University Annual Tuition $10,500 Mobility Score 85.4
Nyack College Annual Tuition $25,000 Mobility Score 90.9
Odessa College Annual Tuition $5,490 Mobility Score 84.0
Oregon Institute of Technology Annual Tuition $11,925 Mobility Score 86.6
Pace University-New York Annual Tuition $16,650 Mobility Score 93.9
Park University Annual Tuition $11,970 Mobility Score 89.1
Robert Morris University Annual Tuition $17,850 Mobility Score 69.0
Rochester Institute of Technology Annual Tuition $29,340 Mobility Score 83.6
Roosevelt University Annual Tuition $29,832 Mobility Score 84.4
Saint Leo University Online Annual Tuition $10,800 Mobility Score 89.5
Saint Mary's University of Minnesota Annual Tuition $17,100 Mobility Score 91.9
South Texas College Annual Tuition $22,500 Mobility Score 88.4
Southeastern Oklahoma State University Annual Tuition $7,950 Mobility Score 84.3
Southern Arkansas University Annual Tuition $10,560 Mobility Score 66.0
Southern University and A & M College Annual Tuition $12,323 Mobility Score 95.7
Strayer University Annual Tuition $14,500 Mobility Score 70.7
SUNY College of Technology at Canton Annual Tuition $8,000 Mobility Score 66.8
SUNY Empire State College Annual Tuition $8,000 Mobility Score 87.2
Temple University Annual Tuition $18,445 Mobility Score 83.9
Tennessee State University Annual Tuition $27,120 Mobility Score 81.5
Texas A & M University-Kingsville Annual Tuition $8,915 Mobility Score 97.2
Texas Woman's University Annual Tuition $18,886 Mobility Score 71.9
Thomas Edison State University Annual Tuition $14,970 Mobility Score 80.8
Union College - KY Annual Tuition $6,750 Mobility Score 80.0
University at Buffalo Annual Tuition $8,000 Mobility Score 85.8
University of Arkansas at Monticello Annual Tuition $11,700 Mobility Score 77.0
University of Bridgeport Annual Tuition $9,600 Mobility Score 80.3
University of Central Florida Annual Tuition $10,866 Mobility Score 72.9
University of Florida Annual Tuition $9,000 Mobility Score 71.7
University of Houston Annual Tuition $25,572 Mobility Score 94.6
University of Houston-Clear Lake Annual Tuition $23,370 Mobility Score 87.9
University of Houston-Downtown Annual Tuition $19,110 Mobility Score 95.7
University of Houston-Victoria Annual Tuition $20,226 Mobility Score 88.6
University of La Verne Annual Tuition $19,950 Mobility Score 89.3
University of Louisiana-Monroe Annual Tuition $8,750 Mobility Score 76.3
University of Maryland University College Annual Tuition $14,970 Mobility Score 77.9
University of Miami Annual Tuition $29,400 Mobility Score 76.6
University of Phoenix Annual Tuition $11,940 Mobility Score 67.7
The University of Texas - Rio Grande Valley Annual Tuition $7,499 Mobility Score 82.3
The University of Texas at Arlington Annual Tuition $14,280 Mobility Score 73.1
The University of Texas at El Paso Annual Tuition $9,000 Mobility Score 97.6
The University of Texas of the Permian Basin Annual Tuition $8,912 Mobility Score 77.3
University of the Incarnate Word Annual Tuition $15,900 Mobility Score 76.6
University of Washington - Seattle Annual Tuition $9,360 Mobility Score 65.8
University of West Alabama Annual Tuition $9,750 Mobility Score 72.3
Utica College Annual Tuition $12,700 Mobility Score 93.8
Western New Mexico University Annual Tuition $16,131 Mobility Score 82.2

2018 Best Online Colleges for Student Economic Mobility

In addition to having high rates of economic mobility for their students, these 15 online schools stand out for their economic diversity. While some schools in the United States have more students from the top one percent of the income distribution than the bottom 60%, these schools have student populations that include a high proportion of students with financial need 2. Using Pell Grant, early career salary, and economic mobility data, SR Education Group has researched hundreds of schools to identify these outstanding online colleges and universities for economic diversity and opportunity. The University of Texas at El Paso tops the list with 59.0 % of undergraduate students receiving Pell Grants and alumni earning an average of $46,300 in their early careers. You can read our full methodology for these rankings here.

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  • Online Degrees: 24
  • Annual Tuition: $9,000
  • Mobility Score: 97.6
  • Pell Grant Rate: 59.0%
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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The University of Texas at El Paso offers a well-rounded grouping of online programs for all students. Online degrees are available through their UTEP CONNECT platform. UTEP has the lowest net tuition of all research-based universities across the nation, making it an affordable education. Through the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP), UTEP strives for ways to help students receive degrees who come from low-income families. With 8 online bachelor's degrees to choose from, UTEP CONNECT gives its students flexibility to complete classes at their pace.

Online Bachelor's Degrees (8)

Online Master's Degrees (13)

Online Certificate Programs (3)

  • Online Degrees: 39
  • Annual Tuition: $10,500
  • Mobility Score: 97.6
  • Pell Grant Rate: 61.0%
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
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California State University-Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) understands that textbook costs can affect low-income students in a major way. That is why CSUDH created Affordable Learning Solutions (ALS). This allows the faculty to step up and make a positive impact on students who need financial help during college. At CSUDH, there are online classes available for MBA and MPA degrees, which are fully interactive and create a competitive and convenient environment. Degrees in public management, healthcare administration, and criminal justice are some of the options available to online students at CSUDH.

Online Bachelor's Degrees (3)

Online Master's Degrees (22)

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Online Certificate Programs (14)

  • Online Degrees: 12
  • Annual Tuition: $8,915
  • Mobility Score: 97.2
  • Pell Grant Rate: 54.0%
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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When Texas A & M University-Kingsville opened in 1876, it strove to make higher education accessible to low-income students through financial aid programs, such as the Regents Scholars Program and the Aggie Assurance Program. At Texas A & M University-Kingsville, approximately 25% of its undergrad students are first-generation students. Students can participate in many different mentoring programs, from faculty and staff mentors to peer mentors, to guide students through college. Online degree options include MBA, Master of Education in Adult Education, and Master of Science in Industrial Engineering.

  • Online Degrees: 24
  • Annual Tuition: $17,850
  • Mobility Score: 97.2
  • Pell Grant Rate: 53.0%
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
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At California State University - Northridge (CSUN), low-income students are of the utmost importance. Since 1970, CSUN has used the public service called the CSUN VITA Clinic. This is an income tax service that is free for students who are low-income. After using this service, many low-income students free up money that can be used for school. Some of the same students work in the program to enhance their business education. Other online degrees at CSUN include MA, MS, MPA, BA, MPH, and MSW options.

Online Bachelor's Degrees (3)

Online Master's Degrees (13)

Online Certificate Programs (8)

  • Online Degrees: 71
  • Annual Tuition: $9,893
  • Mobility Score: 96.9
  • Pell Grant Rate: 55.0%
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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The Affordability Counts initiative, at Florida International University (FIU), gives a more affordable education for individuals working towards a degree. This initiative keeps faculty members accountable for selecting new textbooks that cost $60 or less. Along with reasonable textbook costs, FIU online classes have unique options like a BA in Asian Studies, a BS in Crime Science, and a BS in Hospitality Management. Other undergraduate degrees, graduate certificates, undergraduate certificates, and MOOCs can also be earned at FIU.

Online Bachelor's Degrees (39)

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Online Master's Degrees (19)

Online Doctoral Degrees (1)

Online Certificate Programs (12)

  • Online Degrees: 32
  • Annual Tuition: $15,300
  • Mobility Score: 96.7
  • Pell Grant Rate: 50.0%
  • Accreditation: NEASC CIHE
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Albertus Magnus College works to help low-income students receive an education through loans, scholarships/grants, and work-study opportunities. By using this system, Albertus Magnus College is able to help first-year freshmen, transfer, and returning students to make their online education more affordable. This college offers a wide variety of degrees in subjects that include business administration, health care management, writing, sociology, and liberal studies.

Online Associate Degrees (1)

Online Bachelor's Degrees (17)

Online Master's Degrees (14)

  • Online Degrees: 19
  • Annual Tuition: $19,110
  • Mobility Score: 95.7
  • Pell Grant Rate: 47.0%
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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At the University of Houston - Downtown (UHD), low-income students have an opportunity to be a part of the Upward Bound program. This program gives 100 students a year the opportunity at UHD to receive education and training during high school, so they are set up for success when they enter the university. UHD enhances learning for low-income students by offering online classes that use technology like Blackboard to improve the educational process. Also, there is a full range of undergraduate and graduate degrees that can all be completed online.

Online Bachelor's Degrees (16)

Online Master's Degrees (3)

  • Online Degrees: 16
  • Annual Tuition: $12,323
  • Mobility Score: 95.7
  • Pell Grant Rate: 68.0%
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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Southern University and A & M College uses Title III to help low-income, black, and disadvantaged students earn college degrees. This allows for federal and state aid, in the form of grants and scholarships, to be given to underprivileged and minority students. Another incentive to attend this university involves the online programs. The Southern University System creates opportunities for students to learn online and earn associate, bachelor, and master degrees from public administration, computer science, interdisciplinary studies, and psychology.

Online Associate Degrees (2)

Online Bachelor's Degrees (11)

Online Master's Degrees (3)

  • Online Degrees: 20
  • Annual Tuition: $16,344
  • Mobility Score: 94.6
  • Pell Grant Rate: 47.0%
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
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California State University, at East Bay, offers affordable programming for low-income students. The Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) supports low-income and first-generation students to have the opportunities that every person deserves when going to a university. Resources are personalized for each student to fit their educational experience. Online programming also helps create a positive college journey through the platform Acalog ACMS. Degrees available online include departments like ethnic studies, hospitality, recreation and tourism, and human development.

Online Bachelor's Degrees (16)

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Online Master's Degrees (4)

  • Online Degrees: 36
  • Annual Tuition: $25,572
  • Mobility Score: 94.6
  • Pell Grant Rate: 38.0%
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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The University of Houston offers the Cougar Promise, a guarantee that the university will give free tuition money to students from low-income families, depending on each situation. Students from families who make less than $45,000 per year qualify for the program, and Federal Pell Grants are used to help facilitate the process. The University of Houston offers over 30 online degrees, including 16 online master s programs.

Online Bachelor's Degrees (7)

Online Master's Degrees (16)

Online Doctoral Degrees (2)

Online Certificate Programs (11)

  • Online Degrees: 18
  • Annual Tuition: $16,650
  • Mobility Score: 93.9
  • Pell Grant Rate: 30.0%
  • Accreditation: MSCHE
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Pace University - New York is committed to helping low-income students attend its university. Since 2015, Pace University - New York has received over $1 million a year from the United States Department of Education to enhance education for students from low-income families. Furthermore, Student Support Services (SSS) enable low-income students to thrive at the university. Another way students find success is through the school's online programs, available at the undergraduate and graduate level.

  • Online Degrees: 56
  • Annual Tuition: $12,700
  • Mobility Score: 93.8
  • Pell Grant Rate: 37.0%
  • Accreditation: MSCHE
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Utica College provides help for low-income students in the form of the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP). This program focuses on low-income students and minorities in the state of New York. Students need to declare a major and stick with it throughout their entire college career to be eligible. Also, through the CSTEP program, students can earn bachelor, master, and doctorate degrees that are all online. Utica Online has certificate programs, as well, to help further a student's education.

Online Bachelor's Degrees (16)

Online Master's Degrees (28)

Online Doctoral Degrees (1)

Online Certificate Programs (11)

  • Online Degrees: 26
  • Annual Tuition: $17,100
  • Mobility Score: 91.9
  • Pell Grant Rate: 25.0%
  • Accreditation: HLC
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Saint Mary's University of Minnesota uses financial aid and scholarships to help low-income students. With close to $1 million in aid, Saint Mary's gives low-income students a chance to thrive at its university. Additionally, close to 100% of undergraduates receive some kind of aid to help them during their college careers. Saint Mary's also uses a true mobile experience to help students earn a degree. The platform, Spotlight, enables students to learn subjects like cybersecurity and nursing.

Online Bachelor's Degrees (1)

Online Master's Degrees (25)

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  • Online Degrees: 20
  • Annual Tuition: $13,500
  • Mobility Score: 91.0
  • Pell Grant Rate: 56.0%
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
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At Fresno Pacific University, federal grants are given to Hispanic, low-income students. Also, federal money can be given to professors for professional development to enhance the educational experience. Online programs at Fresno Pacific University include general education classes, theology programs, undergraduate degrees, and graduate degrees. This allows for students to conveniently learn at their own pace in an online environment. Some of the programs include health care administration, adapted physical education, business administration, and kinesiology.

  • Online Degrees: 32
  • Annual Tuition: $25,000
  • Mobility Score: 90.9
  • Pell Grant Rate: 54.0%
  • Accreditation: MSCHE
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Nyack College gives out close to $10 million in scholarships and grants to low-income students. This creates an environment where the college is able to help almost 90% of the student body financially. The added funding helps students participate in Nyack Online, an interactive platform to help students pursue a degree that will help them achieve their academic goals. The platform allows students the opportunity to improve their community learning and job preparation in an affordable and flexible setting.

Online Associate Degrees (3)

Online Bachelor's Degrees (1)

Online Master's Degrees (28)

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References

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