2017 Top Online Colleges for Student Economic Mobility

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These 97 schools offer 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. The Mobility Rate Percentile reflects how each school's mobility rate compares to other schools offering at least 10 online degrees at the associate level or higher.

In addition to this list, we highlight the 15 Top Online Schools for Economic Diversity and Upward 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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Top Accredited Online Schools for Student Economic Mobility (97)

School Annual Tuition Mobility Rate Percentile
Albertus Magnus College Annual Tuition $15,300 Mobility Rate Percentile 98.5
Barton County Community College Annual Tuition $4,800 Mobility Rate Percentile 84.3
Belhaven University Annual Tuition $12,220 Mobility Rate Percentile 89.8
Bentley University Annual Tuition $17,440 Mobility Rate Percentile 86.6
Bismarck State College Annual Tuition $5,977 Mobility Rate Percentile 80.9
Broward College Annual Tuition $9,862 Mobility Rate Percentile 85.6
California State University-Dominguez Hills Annual Tuition $15,000 Mobility Rate Percentile 98.7
California State University-East Bay Annual Tuition $15,492 Mobility Rate Percentile 95.8
California State University-Fullerton Annual Tuition $7,225 Mobility Rate Percentile 97.0
California State University-Northridge Annual Tuition $18,360 Mobility Rate Percentile 98.9
Carl Albert State College Annual Tuition $5,082 Mobility Rate Percentile 80.9
Carlow University Annual Tuition $14,850 Mobility Rate Percentile 80.9
Central Texas College Annual Tuition $6,750 Mobility Rate Percentile 94.1
Chaminade University of Honolulu Annual Tuition $14,430 Mobility Rate Percentile 91.7
Cochise College Annual Tuition $3,936 Mobility Rate Percentile 86.6
Craven Community College Annual Tuition $8,290 Mobility Rate Percentile 80.9
DePaul University Annual Tuition $29,520 Mobility Rate Percentile 86.6
DeVry University Annual Tuition $18,879 Mobility Rate Percentile 95.8
Drexel University Annual Tuition $36,630 Mobility Rate Percentile 90.5
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide Annual Tuition $11,250 Mobility Rate Percentile 92.1
Fairleigh Dickinson University-Metropolitan Campus Annual Tuition $35,550 Mobility Rate Percentile 90.5
Florida Atlantic University Annual Tuition $20,971 Mobility Rate Percentile 89.0
Florida International University Annual Tuition $8,965 Mobility Rate Percentile 98.3
Fort Valley State University Annual Tuition $5,859 Mobility Rate Percentile 85.6
Franklin University Annual Tuition $15,270 Mobility Rate Percentile 92.1
Fresno Pacific University Annual Tuition $13,950 Mobility Rate Percentile 94.1
George Mason University Annual Tuition $43,762 Mobility Rate Percentile 87.5
Illinois Institute of Technology Annual Tuition $44,150 Mobility Rate Percentile 93.0
Jackson State University Annual Tuition $18,194 Mobility Rate Percentile 88.1
Jamestown Community College Annual Tuition $9,500 Mobility Rate Percentile 80.9
Lamar University Annual Tuition $7,440 Mobility Rate Percentile 85.4
LeTourneau University Annual Tuition $13,950 Mobility Rate Percentile 94.9
Loyola University Chicago Annual Tuition $19,650 Mobility Rate Percentile 89.0
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Annual Tuition $22,010 Mobility Rate Percentile 100
McNeese State University Annual Tuition $13,219 Mobility Rate Percentile 83.4
Mercy College Annual Tuition $18,084 Mobility Rate Percentile 92.1
Miami Dade College Annual Tuition $13,913 Mobility Rate Percentile 96.6
Mississippi University for Women Annual Tuition $18,305 Mobility Rate Percentile 84.3
Monroe College Annual Tuition $10,840 Mobility Rate Percentile 94.9
New Mexico State University Annual Tuition $22,329 Mobility Rate Percentile 89.8
New York University Annual Tuition $27,436 Mobility Rate Percentile 93.0
Nicholls State University Annual Tuition $8,250 Mobility Rate Percentile 86.6
Norfolk State University Annual Tuition $16,920 Mobility Rate Percentile 91.7
North Carolina A&T State University Annual Tuition $16,590 Mobility Rate Percentile 84.3
North Carolina Central University Annual Tuition $51,586 Mobility Rate Percentile 85.6
Northern Virginia Community College Annual Tuition $10,422 Mobility Rate Percentile 80.9
Northwestern State University of Louisiana Annual Tuition $9,600 Mobility Rate Percentile 85.6
Norwich University Annual Tuition $11,250 Mobility Rate Percentile 84.2
Nova Southeastern University Annual Tuition $28,980 Mobility Rate Percentile 90.5
Nyack College Annual Tuition $20,250 Mobility Rate Percentile 94.1
Oregon Institute of Technology Annual Tuition $11,925 Mobility Rate Percentile 92.1
Our Lady of the Lake University Annual Tuition $27,364 Mobility Rate Percentile 92.0
Pace University-New York Annual Tuition $16,650 Mobility Rate Percentile 99.6
Park University Annual Tuition $12,369 Mobility Rate Percentile 95.3
Prince George's Community College Annual Tuition $9,120 Mobility Rate Percentile 80.9
Robert Morris University Annual Tuition $22,350 Mobility Rate Percentile 80.9
Rochester Institute of Technology Annual Tuition $27,030 Mobility Rate Percentile 90.5
Roosevelt University Annual Tuition $28,963 Mobility Rate Percentile 89.8
Rutgers University Annual Tuition $19,500 Mobility Rate Percentile 93.4
Saint Joseph's College - New York Annual Tuition $15,600 Mobility Rate Percentile 80.9
Saint Leo University Online Annual Tuition $14,100 Mobility Rate Percentile 92.0
South Texas College Annual Tuition $8,235 Mobility Rate Percentile 99.4
Southern Arkansas University Annual Tuition $10,650 Mobility Rate Percentile 86.6
Southern University and A & M College Annual Tuition $14,850 Mobility Rate Percentile 95.8
Southwestern College - KS Annual Tuition $14,818 Mobility Rate Percentile 84.3
Stony Brook University Annual Tuition $27,912 Mobility Rate Percentile 99.6
Strayer University Annual Tuition $9,808 Mobility Rate Percentile 89.8
SUNY College of Technology at Canton Annual Tuition $10,323 Mobility Rate Percentile 80.9
SUNY Empire State College Annual Tuition $8,000 Mobility Rate Percentile 93.0
Temple University Annual Tuition $18,445 Mobility Rate Percentile 90.5
Tennessee State University Annual Tuition $7,230 Mobility Rate Percentile 86.6
Texas Woman's University Annual Tuition $18,886 Mobility Rate Percentile 80.9
Thomas Edison State University Annual Tuition $9,820 Mobility Rate Percentile 95.7
Union College - KY Annual Tuition $7,500 Mobility Rate Percentile 95.8
University of Arkansas at Monticello Annual Tuition $11,700 Mobility Rate Percentile 84.3
University of Bridgeport Annual Tuition $15,750 Mobility Rate Percentile 86.6
University of Central Florida Annual Tuition $9,540 Mobility Rate Percentile 83.4
University of Florida Annual Tuition $16,580 Mobility Rate Percentile 83.4
University of Houston Annual Tuition $24,900 Mobility Rate Percentile 97.2
University of Houston-Clear Lake Annual Tuition $23,370 Mobility Rate Percentile 97.2
University of Houston-Downtown Annual Tuition $19,452 Mobility Rate Percentile 97.2
University of Houston-Victoria Annual Tuition $18,378 Mobility Rate Percentile 97.2
University of La Verne Annual Tuition $20,725 Mobility Rate Percentile 93.0
University of Louisiana-Lafayette Annual Tuition $11,492 Mobility Rate Percentile 84.3
University of Louisiana-Monroe Annual Tuition $12,000 Mobility Rate Percentile 94.1
University of Maryland University College Annual Tuition $14,970 Mobility Rate Percentile 95.3
University of Phoenix Annual Tuition $12,450 Mobility Rate Percentile 88.1
University of South Florida - Main Campus Annual Tuition $16,453 Mobility Rate Percentile 84.3
The University of Texas - Rio Grande Valley Annual Tuition $7,500 Mobility Rate Percentile 99.1
The University of Texas at Arlington Annual Tuition $14,280 Mobility Rate Percentile 83.4
The University of Texas at El Paso Annual Tuition $11,250 Mobility Rate Percentile 99.2
The University of Texas of the Permian Basin Annual Tuition $8,640 Mobility Rate Percentile 88.1
University of the Incarnate Word Annual Tuition $15,900 Mobility Rate Percentile 85.6
University of Washington - Seattle Annual Tuition $9,360 Mobility Rate Percentile 80.9
University of West Alabama Annual Tuition $9,750 Mobility Rate Percentile 80.9
Utica College Annual Tuition $14,950 Mobility Rate Percentile 97.9
Western New Mexico University Annual Tuition $16,131 Mobility Rate Percentile 89.0

2017 Top Online Schools for Economic Diversity and Upward 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 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 - Rio Grande Valley tops the list with 64.0% of undergraduate students receiving Pell Grants. You can read our full methodology for these rankings here.

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  • Online Degrees: 47
  • Annual Tuition: $7,500
  • Mobility Rate Percentile: 98.8
  • Pell Grant Rate: 64.0%
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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The University of Texas - Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) specializes in graduate education in the fields of education, math, kinesiology and health care administration, and nursing. Available online programs of include an RN to BSN, a master's of science in mathematics with multiple concentrations, and an MBA. Students enrolled in UTRGV’s online MBA program can choose from specialties including financial planning, health care administration, and international trade. Students can enroll in the university’s guaranteed tuition plan which ensures that their cost of attendance will not increase for four years. Low income students may also qualify for UTRGV’s Achieve program that covers student tuition and book expenses that are not met by financial aid students receive from other sources.

Online Bachelor's Degrees (5)

Online Master's Degrees (28)

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Online Certificate Programs (14)

  • Online Degrees: 21
  • Annual Tuition: $11,250
  • Mobility Rate Percentile: 99.1
  • Pell Grant Rate: 59.0%
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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Bachelor's level students at The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) can earn online bachelor's degrees in criminal justice, security studies, media advertising, and Chicano studies. Graduate students can specialize in fields such as defense and strategic studies, curriculum and instruction, and systems engineering. Professional nurses can earn their BSN degree or graduate degrees in nursing systems management, nursing education, and nurse practitioner. Online students at UTEP have access to the same dedicated support services as on-campus students. For example, online students work with enrollment counselors and student success advisors to guide them through their studies. UTEP also offers a variety of scholarships to help online students meet their educational goals.

Online Bachelor's Degrees (8)

Online Master's Degrees (11)

Online Certificate Programs (2)

  • Online Degrees: 9
  • Annual Tuition: $27,912
  • Mobility Rate Percentile: 99.5
  • Pell Grant Rate: 33.0%
  • Accreditation: MSCHE
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Stony Brook University offers fully online bachelor's degrees in electrical engineering and nursing. Online graduate students can earn master's degrees in liberal studies, higher education administration, and human resource management. The university also offers graduate certificates in human resource management, educational leadership, and higher education administration. Stony Brook supports students in their educational journey by offering ongoing access to general and major advising. The school also offers a variety of diversity, disability, leadership, and research based scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students in need of financial assistance to pay for their tuition costs.

  • Online Degrees: 14
  • Annual Tuition: $16,650
  • Mobility Rate Percentile: 99.5
  • Pell Grant Rate: 30.0%
  • Accreditation: MSCHE
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Pace University offers seven online associate degrees and seven online bachelor's degrees in a fully online format. Undergraduate students can earn an associate degree in arts and sciences or a bachelor's degree in fields such as business studies, professional communication, or professional technology systems. Graduate students can earn a master's degree in publishing, internet technology, or enterprise analytics. The university also offers online RN to BSN and physician assistant degree completion programs. Online undergraduate students at Pace are not eligible for university scholarship and grant assistance. However Pace students with financial needs can qualify for federal loans and grants as well as outside scholarship programs.

  • Online Degrees: 18
  • Annual Tuition: $18,360
  • Mobility Rate Percentile: 98.6
  • Pell Grant Rate: 53.0%
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
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Online students at California State University - Northridge can earn their graduate degrees in fields like assistive technology studies and human services, communicative disorders, engineering management, public health, public administration, and social work. The university also offers a bachelor’s degree in public sector management and certificates in speech language pathology, radiologic technology, and health administration. CSU-Northridge online degrees and certificates are designed to meet the needs of working adults and are held to the same standards as the school’s traditional, on-campus programs. Program managers assigned to each cohort assist low income students by directing them to financial and academic support services they need to get through their degree programs.

  • Online Degrees: 40
  • Annual Tuition: $15,000
  • Mobility Rate Percentile: 98.3
  • Pell Grant Rate: 61.0%
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
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Online degree programs offered at California State University-Dominguez Hills include Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Public Administration (MPA), and Master of Arts in Negotiation, Conflict Resolution and Peacekeeping. Students can also earn a bachelor's degree in applied studies or nursing. Graduate level students who don't want to commit to master's degree program can also earn certificates in fields such as quality management, quality auditing and quality engineering. CSU-Dominguez Hills Students from historically disadvantaged can benefit from retention and support services and resources offered by the university's Educational Opportunity Program. Qualified students are also eligible for the university's Presidential and other scholarships to cover the cost of their tuition.

Online Bachelor's Degrees (3)

Online Master's Degrees (22)

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Online Certificate Programs (15)

  • Online Degrees: 31
  • Annual Tuition: $8,235
  • Mobility Rate Percentile: 99.3
  • Pell Grant Rate: 40.0%
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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South Texas College offers over 30 associate and bachelor’s level degrees and certificates for online students. The school’s affordable in-state and out-of-state tuition rates make the school an attractive choice for low income students. Online students can also benefit from ongoing access to advising through the campus Enrollment Center to ensure that they make timely progress towards completing their degrees. The school offers bachelor’s degrees in medical and health services management, computer and information technologies, and organizational leadership. Online associate degrees offered at South Texas College include accounting, business administration, criminal justice, human resources specialist, social work, and sociology. Certificate programs offered by the school include employee and labor relations assistant, management and recruiter assistant.

  • Online Degrees: 63
  • Annual Tuition: $8,965
  • Mobility Rate Percentile: 97.9
  • Pell Grant Rate: 55.0%
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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Florida International University offers over 30 online undergraduate and master’s degrees. Undergraduate students can major in fields such as hospitality management, human resource management, sustainability and environment, and women and gender studies. Professional nurses can also earn a BSN through the RN to BSN program. Graduate students can earn a professional credential such as an MBA or Doctor of Nursing Practice, or they can specialize in fields like computer engineering, forensic science, global strategic communications, or health informatics. Students with low income backgrounds can qualify for the university’s First Generation and Golden Promise scholarships to cover the cost of their tuition. The university also offers several grants to students with exceptional financial needs.

Online Bachelor's Degrees (31)

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Online Master's Degrees (19)

Online Doctoral Degrees (1)

Online Certificate Programs (12)

  • Online Degrees: 16
  • Annual Tuition: $14,850
  • Mobility Rate Percentile: 95.3
  • Pell Grant Rate: 68.0%
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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Southern University and A & M College offers associate and bachelor's degrees to meet an array of student needs and interests. Associate level students can earn degrees in business management and health information technology. Bachelor's level students can major in fields like criminal justice, computer science and psychology. Business professionals can earn a master’s degree in business administration. The university also offers executive master's programs in public administration and criminal justice. The university's office of financial aid works with low income students to cover the cost of their tuition. All students work with a dedicated financial aid adviser to apply for appropriate financial assistance. The university's Center for Undergraduate Achievement helps students to build a solid academic foundation for their chosen degree programs by providing advising and other support services to first year, re-entry, and transfer students.

  • Online Degrees: 50
  • Annual Tuition: $15,300
  • Mobility Rate Percentile: 98.1
  • Pell Grant Rate: 50.0%
  • Accreditation: NEASC CIHE
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The accelerated program at Albert Magnus College offers undergraduate and graduate degrees designed for working adults. Accelerated program students can earn 30 credits in a year by completing two courses per eight-week term. Graduate students can earn degrees in an array of fields including accounting, art therapy and counseling, business administration, criminal justice, human services, leadership, and writing. Undergraduate students can major in accounting, business management, and computer information systems. Financial aid packages for low income accelerated program students are based on demonstrated need and may include a combination of loans and grants. Newly accepted students can apply for financial aid up to four weeks before their start date.

Online Associate Degrees (2)

Online Bachelor's Degrees (28)

Online Master's Degrees (18)

Online Certificate Programs (2)

  • Online Degrees: 25
  • Annual Tuition: $10,840
  • Mobility Rate Percentile: 94.1
  • Pell Grant Rate: 70.0%
  • Accreditation: MSCHE
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Monroe College students can choose from over 15 online associate, bachelor's, and graduate degree programs in fields such as business administration, computer information systems, criminal justice, public health, and hospitality management. Students in need of financial assistance can also qualify for Monroe’s grants and scholarships specifically earmarked for distance learning students. Online students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds benefit from Monroe's exceptional encouragement and support programs to help them complete their degrees on time. Each Monroe student has a Personal Student Services Counselor to guide their studies and facilitate access to student services. Monroe’s online professors offer weekly online office hours and digital face-to-face sessions to keep students on track. Monroe students can also access the school’s 24-7 one-on-one tutoring service to help with academic questions and concerns.

  • Online Degrees: 20
  • Annual Tuition: $13,913
  • Mobility Rate Percentile: 96.2
  • Pell Grant Rate: 53.0%
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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Miami Dade's Virtual College offers a broad array associate and bachelor's degrees to meet the needs of working adults. The associate of arts "Pathway" program is designed for students who plan to transfer to a four-year degree program. Students who plan to enter the work force can choose an associate degree major in fields such as accounting, business management, criminal justice security management, or marketing management. Bachelor's level students can major in public safety, supervision and management, supply chain management, or information systems technology. The college also offers an RN to BSN program for nurses. Miami Dade offers an array of scholarship and grants for students who demonstrate financial need. Low income students enrolled in distance learning courses can receive aid as long as they are enrolled in a degree program.

  • Online Degrees: 19
  • Annual Tuition: $19,452
  • Mobility Rate Percentile: 96.7
  • Pell Grant Rate: 47.0%
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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Online graduate students at the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) can earn master's degrees in non-profit management, security management, and criminal justice. The university also offers over a dozen online degree completion programs designed for students who complete lower level core coursework at another university or community college. Online bachelor's level students can major in fields like general business, management information systems, humanities, psychology, professional writing, and applied administration. UHD offers a variety of institutional scholarships for students with demonstrated financial need. Low income students can apply for institutional and external scholarships through the UHD financial aid office.

  • Online Degrees: 44
  • Annual Tuition: $18,378
  • Mobility Rate Percentile: 96.7
  • Pell Grant Rate: 45.0%
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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Most of the online degrees offered at the University of Houston-Victoria (UHV) are in the field of education. Graduate students can earn master's degrees in administration and supervision, adult and higher education, curriculum and instruction, and special education. Education professionals who already hold master's degrees can earn graduate certificates in master reading or mathematics teacher and school principal. UHV also offers an online RN to BSN program for students with a nursing license. Low income students enrolled in online programs at UHV can qualify for need and merit based scholarships and grants. UHV also offers tuition exemptions and waivers for qualified students. Most waivers are for Texas residents, however, the Competitive Scholarship waiver allows non-resident students to pay in-state tuition rates for their degrees.

Online Bachelor's Degrees (20)

Online Master's Degrees (23)

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Online Certificate Programs (1)

  • Online Degrees: 10
  • Annual Tuition: $5,859
  • Mobility Rate Percentile: 84.2
  • Pell Grant Rate: 76.0%
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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Fort Valley State University (FVSU) offers online bachelor’s degrees in organizational leadership, criminal justice, political science and psychology. The school also offers an online master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling and case management. Annual tuitions of about $16,000 for undergraduates and $18,000 for graduate students make FVSU an affordable choice for low-income students. The Office of Financial Aid at FVSU is committed to helping qualified students who cannot pay for college on their own complete their degree studies. In addition, students can turn to the school’s Center for Retention for academic advising, counseling, and tutoring services for support during their first two years of enrollment at FVSU.

References

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