Online two-year and four-year colleges represent some of the most affordable ways to enter higher education. Academic programs at the two-year level provide a solid foundation in the liberal arts and basics within certain major paths. Vocational programs take a more career-oriented track, helping students acquire specific skills they can apply on the job day one. Beyond the material itself, many junior and community colleges and universities have embraced online learning, opening their doors to a more inclusive student body – from working professionals and stay-at-home parents to those who may not be able to commute to a physical campus. The following two-year and four-year colleges offer some of the best combinations of online program volume, breadth, and affordability available today. See who stands out for 2019.
Presbyterian College, a Christian institution based in Clinton, S.C., with a reputation for academic rigor, offers a large array of programs online. The school’s ethos is around educating the whole person, which translates into an emphasis on critical thinking and communication in its online courses. Courses are offered in a number of different areas, including unique language courses like Greek and Hebrew. The school’s undergraduate offerings include degrees across 42 majors and nine pre-professional programs, while its graduate school focuses on medical fields. While many students enroll at Presby because it’s one of the best colleges for a Christian-based education, there are numerous courses unrelated to the Bible or theology. Regardless of a prospective student’s religious background, the online courses offered at Presbyterian College are carefully constructed to give all students the knowledge they need for their professional career.
Whether someone is a veteran or currently in active service, Davenport University is among the best online colleges students in the military can choose. This military-friendly school allows students to get credit for their work experience, as well as easily take a leave of absence if they are deployed. In addition, the online school offers military student support services, such as counseling, tutoring, and a system to conveniently find information from the Veterans Administration and Department of Defense. For the civilian, Davenport University also offers services to online students including technical support and guidance about coursework. On the graduate level, students can earn online certificates in forensic accounting, health care management, strategic management, and internal auditing, and master's degrees in management, business administration, and accountancy.
One of the country's largest providers of online degrees, Old Dominion University offers online bachelor's pathways -- with a majority being degree completion programs geared toward students who already earned an associate degree. These include degrees in specialized technical fields such as cybersecurity and cybercrime, mechanical engineering technology, medical laboratory science, and power systems technology.
The fourth-largest degree-granting institution in North Carolina, East Carolina University offers a total of 22 online bachelor's degree completion programs aimed at transfer students. These include concentrations in several specialized areas of industrial technology, such as bioprocess manufacturing, distribution and logistics, and health information technology. Other options for undergraduates include five business pathways, five teaching tracks, and an RN-to-BSN. Online grad students at ECU can choose from 51 master's degrees and concentrations -- most of which concentrate in education and/or healthcare -- and seven doctorates.
Prescott College, located in Prescott, Arizona, offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Education and Professional Educator Preparation. The program combines a liberal arts core with global ecological and cultural literacy and best practices in teaching. Admission is holistic, but does require a diploma or GED. The degree requires two 30 credit "breadths," which are equivalent to minors. Courses in the program include Educating for the Future: Multicultural and Environmental Issues, and Positive Child Guidance and Inclusive Child Management. Online tuition is $598 per credit hour. Note: This program requires an orientation session on the Prescott Campus.

Founded in 1890, Oklahoma State University-Main Campus serves more than 35,000 at its main campus in Stillwater, online through OCampus, at campus locations in Tulsa, Oklahoma City, and the OSU Institute of Technology in Okmulgee. Popular majors include agriculture operations; business (management and marketing); biological and biomedical sciences; and engineering. OSU also serves distance students as one of the best online colleges in the region, with more than 32 online degree programs leading to baccalaureate and master's degrees through OCampus. Certificate students can select among 10 online programs in the fields of business, engineering, finance, and online teaching.
Bachelor’s degree programs can usually be completed online in four years. Bachelor’s programs are available online in almost any area of study imaginable, from popular subjects such as engineering, to less common subjects such as personal training or Christian counseling. Graduates of an online bachelor’s degree program will find themselves to be qualified for a wide-range of jobs, and may advance their studies by pursuing a master’s degree if they so desire.
SNHU charges the same flat tuition rate for all in-state and out-of-state students, and the school has not increased its tuition since 2012. Active-duty military personnel and their spouses may receive a discount of up to 30% on their tuition costs. Southern New Hampshire University receives regional accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
University of Phoenix is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (http://hlcommission.org). Since 1978, University of Phoenix has been continually accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and its predecessor. University of Phoenix obtained its most recent 10-year Reaffirmation of Accreditation in 2012–13. The Higher Learning Commission conducted an interim Comprehensive Evaluation in 2018, and the next Comprehensive Evaluation for Reaffirmation of Accreditation is scheduled for 2022–23.
Northern Arizona University is a large, public institution based in the college town of Flagstaff. While the college town appeal is a big draw for NAU, many students decide to study toward an online degree. NAU is considered to be one of the best online colleges, largely because of their numerous programs offered entirely online. Through the online program, students will not only have access to their schooling whenever they want, but they also get access to technical support, library resources, tutoring and other campus resources for those who are able to commute to campus. Students aren't required to be living in the state of Arizona to attend the online school, but many of the benefits that come with their online program can only be accessed in person.
Instructors deliver most of the university's distance-based programs asynchronously and fully online, but some incorporate blended learning and synchronous coursework. The university offers rolling application deadlines and four start dates year-round. Additionally, transfer students can apply up to 64 credits toward their bachelor's degrees. Most bachelor's programs culminate in either a capstone project or an internship.
Liberty University is one of many online colleges that offers flat-rate tuition for all online undergraduates regardless of their state residency status, and some RN-to-BSN students qualify for lower tuition rates. Additionally, police officers, EMS personnel, and other first responders receive a 25% tuition discount. Liberty University receives regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

The highest-paying careers out of college in the field of business and information technology run the gamut from computer support specialists, who provide tech assistance to company employees or customers, to computer systems analysts, who work to support an organization’s overall operations through study and optimization of its computer systems, and everything in between. Individuals in business and information technology jobs work in office environments, typically with little travel required. Learning a combination of business and IT skills provides for a well-rounded and advanced knowledge base that can lead to high pay and high job satisfaction in a number of careers with faster-than-average growth projections.
SNHU charges the same flat tuition rate for all in-state and out-of-state students, and the school has not increased its tuition since 2012. Active-duty military personnel and their spouses may receive a discount of up to 30% on their tuition costs. Southern New Hampshire University receives regional accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

Choosing a college major can be a life-altering decision — your future career basically depends on it. But trying to decide what industry best suits your skills and aspirations can be a difficult task. There are so many college majors to choose from, making the decision daunting and confusing if you have multiple career interests. However, it helps to know which specific jobs are available in each field.
St. Paul's Concordia University offers a total of 16 online bachelor's programs. These include degrees in specialized fields such as child development, exercise science, sport management, and pulmonary science -- along with tracks in accounting, information technology, an RN-to-BSN, and other general fields. Additionally, graduate students can pursue online master's degrees in 23 different fields and doctoral degrees in physical therapy or education.
Students studying at Champlain College may take advantage of a wide variety of online course offerings to expedite their academic career. With more than 50 programs offered in a 100 percent online format ranging between certificate, bachelor's, and master's programs, students of all levels may supplement their education with coursework completed entirely from home. Champlain College may accept up to 90 credits of transferable credit from other institutions, guaranteeing that prior scholarly effort will be recognized and students may not need to repeat previously completed courses. Certain online courses taken with Champlain College also may be transferred to other institutions.

As a student, you have many options available to fund your education. Some of the most common financial options include Federal Financial Aid, scholarships, grants, the cash plan, the third-party billing plan, the military or government billing plan, tribal funding and third-party private student loans. Learn about each option to determine your eligibility. 
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.
Auburn University, chartered in 1856 and closed during the Civil War, Auburn University is Alabama's oldest 4-year, coeducational institution. Today it enrolls 29,776 students who attend degree programs at Auburn's College of Agriculture; College of Architecture, Design & Construction; Raymond J. Harbert College of Business; College of Education; Samuel Ginn College of Engineering; School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences; Graduate School; College of Human Sciences; College of Liberal Arts; The School of Nursing; James Harrison School of Pharmacy; College of Sciences and Mathematics; College of Veterinary Medicine; University College; and Honors College. Auburn Online is one of the region's best online schools. It garners top-20 national rankings in the categories of best online MBA programs and best online graduate computer information technology programs. Students can earn one of four online baccalaureate degrees as well as undergraduate certificates in education, and pharmacy studies.

Northern Arizona University offers two pathways for distance learners: traditional online or competency-based online programs. Traditional online degrees mirror brick-and-mortar bachelor's programs in terms of course and credit requirements. Traditional online bachelor's options include specialized fields such as hotel and restaurant management, parks and recreation management, and 10 fields related to health professions. The school also makes 21 master's degrees and a doctorate in nursing practice available in the traditional online format.


Online certificates and associate degrees in education can provide an introduction to the field and preparation for later college-level work. These degrees cover general liberal arts topics, as well as courses in curriculum design, child development, and instructional methods. Stand-alone undergraduate certificates are usually available in early childhood education areas, while certificates that are part of bachelor’s degrees cover a wider range of topics, such as education policy or adult education.
Fully online programs at the school do not require any campus visits, and primarily online pathways include occasional on-campus requirements. Most online programs mirror their brick-and-mortar counterparts and consist of mostly synchronous coursework. Students nearing graduation can access career counseling services through HireABlazer -- an online job management platform for students and alumni -- through the school's career and professional development services department.

One has to look no further than the student success stories posted on the University of Southern Mississippi's website to understand why it's among the best online schools, as it has provided students from different backgrounds the opportunity to obtain a quality education that fits their lifestyle. In addition to providing convenience, the school also gives students variety in terms of the degree programs they can choose from. For example, on the undergraduate level, students can earn bachelor's degrees in areas such as interdisciplinary studies, industrial engineering technology, library and information science, special education, child and family studies, and applied technology. In addition, prospective graduate students can choose from master's degrees in public health, instructional technology, kinesiology, nutrition and food systems, and library and information science and doctoral degrees in nursing leadership and international development. Also, there are graduate certificates in management of child nutrition programs, sport security management, youth services and literature, and archives and special collections and undergraduate certificates in management of child nutrition programs and casino management.
With more than 110,000 enrolled students -- most of them distance learners-- Liberty University offers a total of 34 online bachelor's degrees, including eight pathways for business majors, three RN-to-BSN tracks, and two programs concentrated in the field of aviation. Graduate students choose from 66 master's programs, including 15 business pathways and seven degrees in psychology/counseling. The school also offers 18 online doctoral degrees.
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