Our guides to online college programs discuss key considerations for students, such as researching school accreditation, paying for tuition, and determining a major field of study. We also provide directories that allow prospective learners to browse online undergraduate and graduate programs in different fields. Read on to learn more about online college opportunities.
On-campus housing is typically much more expensive than a rented apartment or a living space shared with roommates off campus. However, monthly rent payments, utility bills, food, and other weekly expenses can also add up — especially in areas where the cost of living is higher. Additionally, online students need access to a strong Wi-Fi connection; this usually requires an account with a local internet provider. Be sure to perform a comprehensive calculation of expected costs for living on and off campus in order to determine which option is cheaper.
Certificates are available online for students at both the graduate and undergraduate level. Online certificates can serve as a supplement to a degree, or as a standalone qualification. There are over 5,000 online certificate programs to choose from, many leading to job opportunities as physical therapy assistants, occupational therapy assistants, dental assistants, and veterinary technicians.
Graduate students may be interested in continuing their education with an online program offered at Columbia University in the City of New York. The school’s online programs lead to either a master’s degree or a graduate level certificate of professional achievement, and the Columbia also offers many free learning opportunities through MOOCs and other online programs. Online students who wish to integrate with their campus community may wish to consider studying in a hybrid format, which will allow the student to spend half of their time at home and the other half on the Columbia University Campus. Hybrid students will have more schedule flexibility, as well as the option to participate in campus clubs and organizations.
Ball State University, located in Muncie, Indiana, has an online Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education. This degree is designed for childcare professionals who work full time and is a degree-completion program. Admission requires an associate degree in early childhood education and a minimum GPA of 2.0. The program focuses on building environments for effective learning that are supportive of the family. The program does not lead to teacher licensure. Resident undergrad online tuition is $304 per credit or $510 per credit for nonresidents. Sample courses include Infant and Toddler Curriculum and Development, Culture and Language in Teaching and Learning, and Assessing Young Children with Exceptional Needs.

The most recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics reveals that approximately 2.6 million college students enrolled in fully online degree programs, while more than 5.5 million students were taking at least one online class. In 2013, according to AASCU, 65 percent of online students attended a nonprofit college and of those students, 45 percent attended public colleges and 20 percent attended private nonprofit institutions.


Students may seek loans from the federal government or private lending institutions, such as banks or credit unions. Federal loans carry a fixed interest rate and the interest may be tax-deductible. These loans do not need to be repaid until the student graduates or leaves school, and those who struggle to repay their loans may be able to postpone or reduce their monthly payments.
We’re bringing the sun and the sand to the party with these beach-y grad party ideas. If your young scholar enjoys the beach as much as we do, then they are sure to enjoy this bash. Add seashells to the party tables and utilize bright blue hues in the party décor. Fill clear glasses with sand and add candles for the perfect beach-y centerpieces. Utilize sand boxes as snack holders, which makes the theme a little more playful. Speaking of playful, it wouldn’t be a party without streamers. Don’t forget to hang these around the party location for that extra touch.
John Holland’s Self-Directed Search The idea here is that people and work environments fall into six categories: realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising, and conventional. The assessment will consider your aspirations, activities, competencies, interests and more to determine which category you fit into, and then suggest a list of careers most likely to align with your results. The test costs about $10.
Briefcase or a nice bag: While a briefcase is a traditional gift for a law school graduate, it can also be a great gift for any college graduate. Don't worry about needing to buy the nicest, brand-name, all-leather bag you can find, either; messenger bags and other options might work, too, depending on your graduate's career field and geographic location.
Excelsior College, a private nonprofit institution, offers online associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees spanning several academic fields. Online undergraduate options include multi-concentration bachelor's degrees in fields such as business, health sciences, criminal justice, and electrical engineering technology. Excelsior's bridge degrees allow students to earn a bachelor's and a master's in an accelerated timeline. Examples include a BS in healthcare management with an MBA or master's in health science and a BS in nuclear engineering management with an MBA. The school makes dual-degree bachelor's pathways available too.
Fort Hays State University has established itself as one of the best online colleges, largely due to their affordability and quality of education. Each program is designed to give students the knowledge they need to enter the global community as a leader and expert. This can be seen with their online bachelor’s degrees, all of which are fully accredited. Popular bachelor’s degree options include criminal justice, elementary education and accounting. Along with their bachelor’s degrees, Fort Hays also has extensive master’s degree programs that give students the experience and knowledge they need to make a leap in their career. The best online schools are the ones that prepare students for their future, and Fort Hays does just that.
Briefcase or a nice bag: While a briefcase is a traditional gift for a law school graduate, it can also be a great gift for any college graduate. Don't worry about needing to buy the nicest, brand-name, all-leather bag you can find, either; messenger bags and other options might work, too, depending on your graduate's career field and geographic location.
Most nationally accredited colleges are for-profit and meet lower academic standards than their regional counterparts. Students considering a nationally accredited online college should research the school's reputation and understand how academic standards differ from regionally accredited schools. It's important to note that most nationally accredited schools will accept transfer credits from regionally accredited colleges and universities, but the opposite is not always true.
Not all students are able to study toward a degree in a traditional manner. To reach out to these students, Jackson State University has created an online program that allows students to earn a degree entirely online while also receiving the same benefits that traditional students receive. One of the best online schools in Mississippi, JSU designed their online degree programs to help students who want to improve their long term career outlook. Each degree offered online teaches students how to succeed in their field while also giving them the credentials to advance. Because JSU places such an emphasis on the career outlook for students, most of their online degree programs end with a master's degree. For students who want a mix of online and on-campus, some of the programs offered can be completed in a hybrid format.

Online bachelor's programs at Arkansas State are mostly asynchronous and do not carry any face-to-face requirements. These pathways span 120 credits or more, but many students complete their degree requirements in less than four years due to the self-paced format. The school offers multiple start dates throughout the calendar year. Additionally, distance learners may request online tutoring in a handful of business, STEM, and social sciences subjects.


Cornell University is a private Ivy League, sea-grant, space-grant, and private land-grant doctoral research university. It is the only private land-grant university in the state of New York, one of only three in the country. The school has consistently been a non-sectarian and co-educational institute since it was established, never discriminating on the basis of race or religion. This is incredibly unique for its time, as was the original mission of the school to provide all students with an education in any field.
Mossy Creek Missionary Baptist Seminary enrolled its first students at its location near Knoxville in the fall of 1851. Today's Carson-Newman University enrolls 2,362 students, some of whom come from 28 different countries to complete one of 50 undergraduate majors and 11 graduate degrees offered at the school. More than 96 percent of all Carson-Newman students qualify for financial aid. The university has one of the best online colleges in the region and has been ranked as one of the Best Baccalaureate Colleges by Washington Monthly. The university's Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies (BSIS) completion-degree can be earned entirely online, as can the B.S. in Organizational Leadership, Bachelor of Business Administration. Online graduate students can earn their Master of Business Administration degree at Carson-Newman University.

The cost of a college degree can vary wildly as well. It's no secret that tuition prices have skyrocketed in the last few decades. Online degrees aren't necessarily cheaper than traditional on-campus degree programs, but choosing an online degree program can save you money in commuting costs and materials, and most importantly, give you the flexibility to work while you earn your degree more easily than if you had to take classes in-person.
The University of Massachusetts-Lowell, the second-largest degree-granting institution in its state, offers a handful of online undergraduate degrees. These include fully online bachelor's pathways in business administration, management, English, liberal arts, and psychology -- along with a degree in information technology with a business minor. Other bachelor's degrees at UMass Lowell, such as the RN-to-BSN track and engineering fields, are available in a blended format. The school also offers 12 master's degrees and a doctorate in educational leadership fully online.
Fort Hays State boasts numerous accolades for its online degrees and virtual college. Several of the school's online bachelor's pathways serve as degree completion programs geared toward transfer students with an associate degree; most students complete these tracks in two years or less. Additionally, some programs carry a foreign language coursework requirement.
The University of Illinois at Springfield has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report as one of the best online colleges for its bachelor's programs, as well as its MBA. Part of what makes the University of Illinois at Springfield a good choice is its partnerships with numerous community colleges, which allows students to easily transition from associate's degree programs to higher-level degrees. In addition, there are 2+2 Agreements that give students the opportunity to begin their bachelor's degree programs as they're still working on their associate's degree. And once students do transition into the school, they can earn a variety of graduate and undergraduate degrees. For example, the college has bachelor's degrees in history, psychology, math, computer science, and philosophy, as well as master's degrees in education, public health, legal studies, political science, and data analytics.
Online students attending Lehigh University can receive a well-rounded education that will help them to obtain a position in their field of interest. Online learning at Lehigh is characterized by specialized virtual programs, experienced faculty members, and convenient accessibility. Students will be able to stay in contact with their peers and professors through video chats, discussion boards, and emails. If a student is looking to experience a more traditional college experience, but also wants to maintain the flexibility of online learning, they may wish to consider dividing their study time between home and school with a hybrid program.
With so many graduation party ideas out there, it can be hard to choose what the perfect way to celebrate your grad is. A classic theme to go with is black and gold, the perfect combination of mature and fun. There is a lot of graduation party décor and supplies out there in the colors of black and gold, which make it easier to plan out this themed bash. Incorporate photos of your scholar throughout the party and his or her year of graduation too. Frame the photos in black or gold colors and hang them from colored balloons. When it comes to the desserts, you can find black and gold cupcake toppers for that extra special touch that the guest of honor deserves. For some more celebratory toppers, you can easily find graduation caps to stand on your sweet treats.

In addition to online-only pathways, the school offers many of the university's bachelor's programs in a blended format. Some of these tracks follow CityU's Regional Cohort Model, enabling degree seekers to take the same online and onsite courses with the same group of students based on their geographical area. Bachelor's programs span at least 180 credits, and students typically complete their requirements within four years.


If your graduate is looking for a smaller graduation party with loved ones, you may want to consider throwing a dinner party. Showcase your graduate’s favorite foods and drinks with recommendations from our dinner party menu ideas. And if you’re looking for specific themes, check out our favorite the dinner party themes. Once you have the theme and menu planned, make sure to find the perfect dinner party invitations.

It is also possible that some careers may require an entry-level education of a bachelors degree or higher. BLS suggests that earning a degree might open up career paths that would otherwise be closed to non-degree earners. Of course, program outcomes vary according to specific curriculum, and no employment opportunities and salaries are guaranteed.
By utilizing the University of Virginia's distance learning program, students are able to stay on top of their daily commitments while still working towards a college degree. Multiple online programs are available at various levels of study, from full bachelor degree programs to grad-level certificates. These programs can be completed with a fully-online approach, or students could choose to spend part of their time studying on campus with a hybrid program. Hybrid students will be exposed to the rich academic culture that has developed at The University of Virginia, and have the opportunity to live in modern and comfortable student housing, join one of UVA's numerous student organizations, and attend campus events.
Columbia University has no upper limit for financial aid eligibility for any of its students and the financial aid packages present students with grants as opposed to loans, so they will not have to be paid back at any point. In addition to that, Columbia will not charge students any tuition or fees if their family has a calculated annual income under $60,000. Families bringing in under $100,000 see significant reductions in their tuition and fees as well.
Online business degree programs aim to develop overall analytic, writing, and project management skills as well as an understanding of how organizations work. Those interested in accounting will find 737 online programs to choose from, at all degree levels, and may be qualified for jobs ranging from auditor to accountant upon graduation. Finance is another popular specialty for those seeking an online business degree and 249 schools offer fully online finance degrees, potentially leading to careers in financial management, budget analysis, and financial advising. Students hoping to pursue business careers related to management or administration might be interested in learning more about online human resources or management degrees.

Harvard is far from an online university and it is highly residential. Which is why you may find it surprising that you can earn your degree through this esteemed institution online. At the undergraduate level, the only choice the university currently gives you is a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree. Only four courses must be taken on campus and the school has three-week and weekend intensive options to help make that easier. There are more than 20 masters degrees online that you can earn this way and just under 40 professional certificates. This blended format helps you to earn the degree you want from this top university with the flexibility you need while providing you with some awesome traditional instruction along the way.
Online graduate certificates and master’s degrees in education are often used to earn a teaching credential and state teaching license. Current teachers can use these programs to advance their understanding of teaching skills. Master’s programs and certificates are available in specializations such as education technology, elementary teacher education, special education, literacy, teacher leadership, administration, and adult education.
A fully online format versus a hybrid format is another important consideration. Hybrid learning requires students to participate in on-site trainings, group work, and other activities that take them away from their computer. These components foster social interaction but may not be ideal for students with busy schedules. Fully online programs do not offer the same level of personal interaction but are more suitable for students with full-time jobs, childcare duties, and other time-consuming commitments.
Nova Southeastern University’s distance program doesn’t just serve students at one of the remote campuses, but also students that are studying online. Nova Southeastern University offers their online courses as part of the Southern Regional Education Board’s Electronic Campus program, meaning that each course offered online is fully accredited. This rigorous accreditation makes Nova one of the best online colleges in Florida for students that are looking for a high-quality education. Nova offers undergraduate and graduate degrees, some of which have earned the school distinctions. For example, Nova is considered one of the best online schools for graduate nursing, graduate education and criminal justice, all of which are already popular fields for online students.
Meet FAFSA®, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. If you’re applying for financial aid, and you should be regardless of whether you attend a traditional program or an online college, it’s your new best friend. Don’t quake in your boots at the thought of having to complete a federal form. Compared with doing your taxes, the FAFSA® is a piece of cake. Millions of people have gone through the process and survived. You will, too.
There are a number of ways to research your intended career path, and one of the best is by utilizing the information provided by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS is a Federal agency that monitors labor market activity, working conditions, and economic factors that affect occupations. The Occupational Outlook Handbook on the BLS website is a great resource for students looking to gather information on various careers. You can find the following topics listed in this section of the website to help you gain a broader understanding of the specific occupation:
Computer science engineering may refer to either computer hardware engineers or software engineers. Each of these occupations pay well but require different specialized training and education. Hardware engineers primarily focus on the design and development of physical components and equipment that make up a computer system, while software engineers work on the applications that control the functions and output of these components. Both forms of engineering involve evaluating user needs, performing tests and analyzing results, creating modifications and updates as necessary. Hardware and software engineers commonly collaborate with one another and with other computer programmers.

Duke University is a private research university that is based in Durham North Carolina. Though Duke now has a campus including 254 buildings spanning 8,691 acres, it began in one building in the year 1838, a private subscription school called Brown’s Schoolhouse. It has also grown to serve more than 16,000 students from every corner of the world. The university has ranked among the top 10 in America in publications such as Forbes and U.S. News & World Report.

Online master’s degree programs are a valuable option to students hoping to pursue graduate level education at a flexible pace, as many programs are designed to allow students to continue working while completing their studies. Online master’s degrees typically take two years to complete, and are available online in most subjects. Many schools, such as Dallas Baptist University, Liberty University, and Southern New Hampshire University Online offer over 100 different online graduate degree options.


Liberty University features four online Bachelor of Science programs in education. They include the B.S. in Biblical and Educational Studies, the B.S. degrees in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education, and the B.S. in Special Education: Interdisciplinary Studies. Admission requires a diploma and a minimum 2.0 GPA. Transfer students also need a minimum 2.0 GPA and can transfer in up to 90 credits. These programs combine foundational skills and teaching methods within a Christian ethical context. The Biblical Studies program focuses on training for denominational schools and Christian institutions. The elementary education program can be combined with the Liberty M.A.T. for certification. The early childhood program focuses on pre-school. Online tuition is $390 per credit hour.
A school within the City University of New York system, Macaulay Honors College offers free college tuition for four-year undergraduate students (except for administrative fees). Macaulay is CUNY’s Honors College and provides an incredibly unique free college experience for New York state residents. The free tuition is available thanks to scholarships from institutional, federal, state, and TAP sources. Macaulay is a competitive and selective institution of higher education that is considered one of the top 5 honors colleges in the country. Students can attend this free college at one of CUNY’s 8 campuses throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, yet all students attend some courses and lectures at the home campus in Manhattan’s upper west side. Not only do students receive free tuition, but they also receive an Apple laptop that includes all of the most up-to-date and necessary applications for their needs at Macaulay.
A notable upside of online learning is the absence of a commute to and from campus. Brick-and-mortar students must often pay for campus parking spaces or public transportation, each of which can increase monthly costs by a significant margin. However, online students in programs with on-site requirements may need to pay for or arrange transportation.

Although online and brick-and-mortar courses share similarities in terms of readings, lectures, and assignments, these programs also differ in several ways. Additionally, finding great online colleges can be difficult due to the wealth of differences between each institution. Here are answers to some of the most common questions about online versus brick-and-mortar programs.
To become the superintendent of a school district, some states require that applicants have a current principal or teaching license and a certain number of years of experience in each professional role. Superintendents may also be required to complete a superintendent preparation program as well as an accredited master's degree program with a superintendent focus before they can take a licensing exam. After passing the exam, they may be eligible for an initial superintendent certificate for a certain number of years before they must renew their certification.
Although online learning has removed many time and place barriers, it’s important to see which colleges in your state offer online programs. Attending a local college or university with online programs makes it easier to take advantage of physical resources or, if necessary, enroll in a hybrid program. Select a state below to learn more about its online learning landscape.
Occupational Outlook Handbook. If you already have a few ideas in mind, this is the go-to place to find all the important data you will need to make a decision! For each occupation, you will find a job description, what education and training is needed, salary and job growth outlook, and similar professions.  The handbook allows you to browse occupation groups, such as all careers under the healthcare umbrella, or the legal umbrella, for example. You can sort by education or pay, look at the fastest growing occupations or the newest occupations. If you’re not sure if you’d rather be an accountant or a financial analyst, this is a great place to learn and compare your options and learn about other alternatives.
In addition to online-only pathways, the school offers many of the university's bachelor's programs in a blended format. Some of these tracks follow CityU's Regional Cohort Model, enabling degree seekers to take the same online and onsite courses with the same group of students based on their geographical area. Bachelor's programs span at least 180 credits, and students typically complete their requirements within four years.
The MAPP™ (Motivational Appraisal Personal Potential) Career Assessment Test This site will can help pinpoint your strengths and passions, and then offer appropriate career suggestions. The free MAPP Match will offer 5 career matches, but paid packages offer as much as 30 page assessments and a unique ranking of more than 1000 career options according to your results.
If you are considering these changes and you’re 50 years old or older, then this article from AARP is a must read! It introduces quite a few individuals who have taken the leap and entered new careers late in life. As their profiles show, some of these new careers brought significant financial gains, but what is most important was the fulfillment, pride and satisfaction that each career change provided. These people took big risks for all the right reasons!
City University of Seattle, or CityU, is a private nonprofit institution offering online and hybrid degrees at all collegiate levels. Undergraduate options include online associate degrees in business or general studies along with 11 online bachelor's programs in fields such as applied psychology, cybersecurity, and information systems. Online graduate-level options at CityU include 10 master's degrees and two doctorates, most of which concentrate in business administration or education.
This small, Southern liberal-arts college of about 680 students offers North Carolina residents a free college tuition plan for those who qualify for state or federal need-based financial aid. Warren Wilson College distinctive need-based grants and scholarships, cover the remaining cost for these students, giving them a free college experience of an impeccable register. One such grant includes the WWC work-grant, wherein students participate in campus and community labor by working with one of many different work crews in maintenance, publishing, garden work, cattle raising, and much more incredibly gratifying areas. In fact, much of the food available at the dining hall is grown and raised right on Warren Wilson’s gorgeous 1,135-acre campus! Education at this free college offers students 44 majors and concentrations that can be combined to suit individual goals and pursuits.
Yale University is committed to meeting 100% of the demonstrated financial need for all students. In light of this, a family making less than $65,000 per year will not be expected to pay anything for the child’s tuition. In addition to this, although the annual expected parent contribution is $10,000 or more, over 10% of all students pay nothing for the education they are receiving.
Tuition rates vary by degree subject, but most courses cost the same per credit regardless of the student's state residency status. Military servicemembers and veterans qualify for discounted tuition rates and fee waivers. Additionally, prospective students with a military background seeking a non-nursing degree do not need to submit an application in order to earn admission.
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