This is a ranking of the 30 Best Online Colleges in America. Students taking at least one online class surpassed 7.1 million students in 2013, an increase of 6.1% from 2012, according to the Babson Survey Research Group at Babson College. The growth rate for online college also rose 3.7% in 2014, representing ¾ of all higher education enrollment for the year. Of all higher education enrollment in 2014, only 25% enrolled in traditional, campus-based college.
With students enrolling in much higher rates to online classes, it is important to know which colleges are leading in online higher education. The 30 Best Online Colleges in America is a ranking of online colleges based on academic reputation, variety of course offerings, student resources (such as digital online libraries), alumni network, research budget, and access to faculty. As always at Successful Student, this ranking is considered from the student’s point of view.
1. Penn State (State College, PA)
Penn State combines one of the world’s largest residence campuses, (which includes about 85,000 students spread over dozens of campuses, including some in Australia, Germany, and China), with a successful World Campus available to everyone online. Unlike online-only colleges, this school has been building up a considerable reputation since its founding in 1855. By the time the internet became a viable tool, Penn State was already known the world over. It currently has an impressive $4.6 billion dollar operating budget, and a reputation for research that consistently ranks it among one of the top 100 universities in the world.
But Penn State’s distance education program has a unique advantage. Unlike many contemporary brick and mortar schools which are just now developing distance education programs, Penn State has been offering distance learning degrees since 1892 by offering correspondence degrees. By the time the internet made distance learning popular, Penn State had already developed a fully functioning system. This is why studying at Penn State’s World Campus allows one to tap into many of the advantages associated with a traditional brick and mortar school. Students are taught by the same professors who teach on campus, and are given access to the same 500,000 plus member alumni associations and networks. They also have a large variety of programs to choose from, with over 100 degrees or certificates available. This is because its distance learning school still has more experience than most traditional ones, so it is no wonder why students can fit studying into their own schedule, avoid relocating, retain their jobs, and enjoy the various other cost saving benefits that come with studying online. Penn State’s online campus attracts students from all 50 states and over 60 countries.
2. University of Massachusetts (Shrewsbury, MA)
Established in 1863, the University of Massachusetts is well funded with $600 million set aside for research and development expenditures alone in the year 2013. The University had a total of $35.5 million in licensing income for the same year. The school has a focus on providing students with high quality, life changing education. It is consistently ranked among the top 100 Universities in the world. This fully accredited school has an alumni network of 320,000, which continues to grow.
There are 5 major campuses, including a graduate level Medical School, with a record breaking 73,000 students accepted in 2014. This includes the well known and respected online program for those looking to enhance their position with classes, certificates, and other professional opportunities. There are over 100 opportunities for online courses that have been available for the past 25 years. The online program is proud to have earned the Excellence in Distance Teaching Education award.
Online students have the same access to industry leading professors, including Nobel Laureates and Pulitzer Prize winners, as those on campus. Michigan has also targeted earlier career students through its online programs with the Michigan Community College Virtual Learning Collaborative. This also opens the door for students interested in blending a traditional and online education. Even those deeply committed to direct human interaction can earn an inexpensive and convenient degree from Michigan’s Virtual Community College before finishing their degree at a traditional school.
3. Boston University (Boston, MA)
As a leading university, Boston University offers flexible, dynamic online programs for the busy adult and incoming freshman right out of high school. Their interactive online technology allows for study groups and additional support from teachers and peers. Online students will have access to much of the same material from the 24 libraries on campus through the digital data bases, e-Books, and e-Journals. Boston has also received the U.S. Distance Learning Association award for the 21st Century Best practices, as well as the Sloan Consortium award for Excellence for Institution-Wide Online Education.
The university itself, one of the largest in the United States that is independent and nonprofit, has been providing students with a well-rounded education for over 140 years within 250 fields of study. Boston has a 1.4 billion dollar endowment and has invested over $355 million in research. The 3,800 faculty members teach throughout 16 schools and colleges, including the online programs. Between the graduate and undergraduate programs there are over 33,000 students. There is a 250,000 large network of alumni worldwide.
4. University of Florida (Gainesville, FL)
Originally founded as a seminary in 1852, the University of Florida is the state’s oldest academic institution and has grown to claim 16 colleges with campuses and an excellent online degree program. The school hosts over 4,000 faculty, including two Pulitzer Prize winners; over 50,000 students each year; and has invested $740 million in research and development. There are more than 367,000 alumni located worldwide with whom to network. One particular point of pride for the school is the astronomy department, which developed enhancing technology for some of the world’s largest telescopes. The school at large has been consistently ranked in the top 10 for preferred recruiting of new employees.
The online program offers more tracts than many of its competitors. Typically, distance learning education focuses on both undergraduate and graduate level courses. Florida offers such degrees, including a variety of bachelor’s in the arts or sciences, up through masters degrees, and even doctorates of education, nursing, philosophy, and more. The University of Florida also offers specialist programs in education and international tracts.
5. Colorado State University (Greenwood Village, CO)
In 1870 the Colorado Agricultural College was founded as one of 68 land-grant colleges under the Morrill Act. The scenic college has developed along with the surrounding area in Fort Collins at the base of the Rocky Mountains. There are now about 1,700 faculty; 22,000 undergraduate students and 3,100 graduate students (the close knit students have been affectionately nicknamed “Aggies”). Total living alumni exceeds 170,000, and in 2013 estimated research expenditures reached $313.2 million.
For the online student there are many great opportunities, and over 10,000 students take advantage of them every year. The libraries offer 46,700 electronic journals and over 545,000 e-books. These classes are taught by experienced professors, many of whom have been internationally recognized in their respective fields. For students who are not ready for a full 4 year degree, individual classes or shorter certificate programs are an excellent option. Colorado is so committed to online education that they even offer many free online courses for personal enrichment. They are also one of the few schools that runs an entire online veterinary medical school.
6. Arizona State University (Tempe, AZ)
Arizona State University, also well know as the Sun Devils (for both their mascot and desert location in Phoenix), has a well established online system. Leading educators, including two Nobel laureates and 142 Fulbright American Scholar award recipients, teach over 90 online degrees and certificates. Classes are designed to be engaging and logical in presentation. The well structured and interactive curriculum allows students to focus more easily on the material. Cost is manageable for the working adult at $480 to $543 per credit hour, in addition there are over $1 billion dollars available in financial aid and scholarship awards.
All students are paired with academic advisers and have the option of a mentor within their particular field of study. Additional academic aides can be found in the online library system, which includes 693 databases, 81,937 e-journals, and over 403,000 e-books. Multiple tutorials and research guides, created by the librarians in order to support online students, are also available. Arizona State University also puts more effort into personal attention for its online students than your typical distance learning program. Students have access to enrollment counselors which help students begin their intellectual journey, academic advisers who provide advice on what courses to take as they navigate that journey, and success coaches that connect students with the numerous career resources that Arizona State University has to offer.
7. Washington State University (Pullman, WA)
Washington State University may be smaller compared to other research institutions with its 15:1 student/teacher ratio. The smaller size, however, has not kept it from becoming a leading online university. The WSU was originally founded in 1890 and now has over 28,000 students and 196,000 alumni worldwide. Students benefit from over 200 fields of study, which include 67 master’s and 46 doctoral programs. Of these, 8 undergraduate, 12 graduate, and 12 certificate programs are available online, and more are opened to distance learning each year. The various online programs are empowered by the school’s considerable resources. Washington spent $341 million on research in 2013 and had an operating budget of $1.8 billion.
The online program, established in 1992, has made groundbreaking strides through dedication to the same rigorous workload as required by on-campus students. In 2013 the school had an all time high of almost 3,000 online students. In 2014 the online graduate business program for veterans was ranked 3rd in the nation. The online library offers 590,000 e-books and 95,000 journal titles. Washington has also developed a plethora of online certificates in fields which, although typically not studied in and of themselves in degree-granting programs, are still very useful compliments to pre-existing education. This includes gerontology and organic agriculture at the undergraduate level, and bio ethics and sustainable agriculture at the graduate level.
8. Drexel University (Philadelphia, PA)
Located in the heart of the city of Philadelphia, Drexel University is one of the top 15 largest private universities in the nation and one of the city’s top 10 employers. The school has more than just the surrounding area in mind–international research partnerships have been established with China and Israel. There are 200 degree programs offered which have attracted over 26,000 students. Drexel’s reputation, facilities, and alumni produce $110 million in sponsor-supported research each year.
While Drexel was originally founded in 1891, online education began in 1996. The school developed a tradition of quickly implementing new technology. In 1983 it became the first university to require all students to have micro computers, in 2000 it became the first fully wireless indoor/outdoor campus, and later became the first university with a web portal service for students in 2002, and a university portal app in 2011. This early jump on the growing online world combined with an overarching appreciation for technological development has led online student participation to grown to an impressive 5,284 online students. Without compromising quality, online classes are easily fit into the busy schedules of its professional students who are working towards completing their degrees or enhancing their current positions. There are over 130 online degrees and certificate programs available.
Drexel has an especially well known MBA Anywhere business program. The school also consciously seeks after military veterans. Drexel has an entire department dedicated to helping veterans get the maximum benefits from their military experience, which all applies to their online degrees. Furthermore, the school runs a partnership program for its online students. The university provides 10 to 40 percent tuition reductions to employees working for companies that assist their workers attending Drexel online. Currently over 500 corporations and organizations partner with the school’s online program.
9. Oregon State University (Corvallis, OR)
Oregon State University was founded in 1868 and is now the state’s largest public research university. There are more than 30,000 students enrolled with 200 undergraduate degree programs and over 80 graduate programs. The growing alumni network has approximately 170,000 members who study within an unusual, quarter based academic calender.
As a well established research university, Oregon State had an all time high of $2.5 million in research funding in the 2013-2014 academic year. It has particular strengths in several applied sciences such as the marine sciences, sustainable food systems, and forestry. Its impressive half billion dollar endowment combined with its privileged position as Oregon’s leading research center provide an ample, brick and mortar financial base from which to expand into substantial distance learning. This is why Oregon State’s E-campus can now offer over 30 online degrees in addition to 20 online graduate programs. It has more than 900 online courses in over 90 subjects available. E-campus library services are also available. In 1996 Oregon began offering online education. Now about 4,000 of its students, or a sixth of its pupils, now take classes online.
10. Rochester Institute of Technology (Rochester, NY)
Rochester Institute of Technology was founded in 1829 with a focus on science and the arts. There are approximately 15,000 undergraduate students, 3,000 graduate students, and 114,000 worldwide alumni. These students represent every U.S. state and over 100 nations worldwide. The school hosts over 1,000 full time faculty. Unique to Rochester is its leadership in educating deaf and hard-of-hearing students. The school’s 2.1 billion dollar endowment makes it one of the roughly 60 schools in the world with a billion dollar or more resource pool to draw from.
Their online program established in 1991 is easily managed with the use of Mycourses. This web-based course management system helps online students easily navigate their courses and material. The system has been keeping students organized since 2002. The campus library offers the online student easy access to 250 electronic databases, 40,000 electronic journals, and more than 150,000 e-books. Rochester also runs a regular symposium series. Three times each year guest speakers come to Rochester in order to discuss furthering the impact of online education. Rochester students can also pursue blended curriculum, which utilizes both traditional and online courses.
11. Liberty University (Lynchburg, VA)
Liberty University has the reputation of being the largest private, nonprofit university in the nation. It is also the world’s largest Christian school. The majority of the students and faculty at the school share in this perspective as well. The academy was founded in 1971 with distance education in mind. This gives Liberty a unique approach to online education. Whereas most of the schools on this list started off as substantial brick and mortar research universities that already had the resources necessary to fund a distance learning program, Liberty focused on distance learning from its inception, and then used these funds to promote its brick and mortar school. Consequently, virtually no other dual online/traditional school spends as much of its time focused on the former.
This is part of the reason why there are 2,500 full and part-time faculty teaching over 250 distance learning degrees. In total there are 450 programs from certificates to doctorates. Being a largely online school, total online enrollment is an impressive 95,000 and growing. There is an online writing center and students have access to tutors 24/7. There are 75,478 electronic full-text journals and 346,227 electronic books and media items.
12. Florida State University (Tallahassee, FL)
Located in the capital city of Tallahassee, Florida, this prestigious research university is the oldest and most well known in the state. Founded in 1823, a total of six Nobel Laureates have taught at the school through out the years. Florida State has produced multiple impressive scientific accomplishments: the production of the anti-cancer drug Toxal, its research in super magnets at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, and of course the creation of Gatorade in an effort to promote its sports teams (whose mascot is the gator). Currently there are over 2,000 full time faculty, and 40,000 students participating in 275 different programs including undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, professional and specialist degrees.
As a leading university, the school also offers online and distance programs for the busy adult, part-time student, or even the full time on-campus student who wishes to supplement with additional online classes. Class work is equally challenging and interactive, but is also more flexible and easily managed. To help supplement online work, the library offers over 1,000,000 electronic books, over 800 databases, and over 86,000 electronic journals. Students have over 100 online programs to choose from, including its online Masters in Business Administration which is ranked fourth in the nation.
13. Florida Institute of Technology (Melbourne, FL)
As the only independent, technological university in the Southeast, Florida Institute of Technology is an excellent opportunity for students seeking an individualized education. The smaller class sizes have a 9:1 student/teacher ratio that allows for personalized attention and easy access to the 245 full-time faculty. There were approximately 16,000 students in the 2012-2013 school year, 3,466 of whom were enrolled online. Students can find more than 60,000 alumni in over 120 countries. The university is well established with a total budget of over $200 million.
Founded in 1958, Florida Institute has been offering online programs since 2000. Though only 15 years running, the online program has grown into an excellent option for the hard working individual. There are over 60 programs available offered in 8-week terms and 16-week semesters. Classes can be taken full or part time and can be managed with a busy working schedule. Also, unlike some competitors, Florida couples its inexpensive online tuition with additional scholarship money. There are numerous advisers ready to walk students through the online process.
14. Northeastern University (Boston, MA)
Founded in 1898 in Boston Massachucetes, this nonprofit research university has approximately 16,000 undergraduates and 8,000 graduate students spread across four campuses and the internet. This student body is one of the most diverse in the nation, and enjoys over 150 undergraduate majors and concentrations to choose from. A strong global outreach can be felt on and off campus with more than 3,000 connections over seven continents.
The distance learning student can participate in this globally minded community and feel at home. More than 70 programs, degrees, and certificates are available to the online student. Areas of study range from liberal arts to law enforcement, criminal justice, and graphic design, just to name a few. Assistance for the online student can be found in the numerous counselors, advisers, and tutors, all willing to dedicate their time to the success of their students. The library also offers 513,139 e-books, 74,893 licensed electronic journal titles, and 3,714 licensed streaming videos. Northeaster University also recognizes that the ability to communicate acquired knowledge is as important for teachers as the ability to acquire it in the first place. Consequently, all online faculty, including those with previous online teaching experience, are required to undergo online teacher training.
15. Mizzou Online (University of Missouri) (Columbia, MO)
Founded in 1839, the University of Missouri was the first public university west of the Mississippi River. There are over 300 degree programs available to the 35,000 students on campus. Online, there are over 90 degree and certificate programs with over 900 courses. Students have the option of semester based online courses that run the same as the on-campus classes, or self-paced online courses which offer more flexibility. Classes are taught by more than 13,000 full-time faculty and staff members and one can find over 267,000 alumni worldwide. At large the university spends $235 million annually on scientific research and has an $804.9 million endowment. This formidable research presence is what made the University of Missouri one of only 34 public universities to join the coveted Association of American Universities.
Mizzou Online combines these generic strengths with many specialized offerings. For example, the library offers a record 1 million e-books. Furthermore, the school has over 90 available online degrees. The University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) awarded Mizzou’s doctorate in educational leadership. U.S. News and World Report praised Mizzou for its online bachelor’s degrees, its College of Education and the College of Nursing’s master’s degrees.
16. Regis University (Denver, CO)
Usually the impetus driving online education is economic. Schools want to increase the number of students while students want to decrease the cost of going to school. This is why many of the leading online schools on this list are based out of large scale research universities, which unfortunately means few online colleges retain a small, liberal arts feel. But Regis University has kept its small, Jesuit school appeal. Its 15,000 students enjoy a 14:1 student/faculty ratio, and alumni are also instantly connected to the other 27 Jesuit schools in America, and to the hundreds more located around the globe. This is part of the reason why their online program is connected with the Jesuit University of Guadalajara, Mexico. The relationship quickly grew to establish the first online bilingual joint MBA degree program. Regis University is also just one out of 102 universities honored by the John Templeton Foundation Honor Roll for character building universities, and has produced two Rhodes Scholars.
Regis University’s online programs have been recognized for their particular strength in Computer and Information Science and Information Assurance Education by U.S. News and World Report. The school’s online presence has strong ties with multiple industry leaders such as IBM, SAP, and Oracle, as well as fellow universities like the National Defense University, and the University of Technology.
17. Robert Morris University (Pittsburgh, PA)
Robert Morris University was once known as the Pittsburgh School of Accountancy. Founded in 1921 it continues to be a strong, privately owned, suburban University with an emphasis on leadership in education. The school hosts more than 60 undergraduate programs and 20 graduate degree programs taught by 200 full-time faculty members. Between the undergraduate and graduate programs, there are a total of 5,400 students taking advantage of the many educational opportunities.
Robert Morris’ online/distance learning programs are well organized by the Student Services Team. This behind-the-scenes team enables both the students and professors to have the best class experience possible. Students are assisted through choosing the right courses and given the resources needed for classwork and graduation. Part of these resources include the 69,300 unique electronic journal titles and 166,859 e-books provided by Cline library. Professors are given aide in designing the best course for their students to engage in and learn from.
18. Northern Arizona University (Flagstaff, AZ)
Located in Flagstaff, Arizona, Norther Arizona University has been a leader in education in many ways. Established in 1899 the school is one of only five universities to be awarded the Senator Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization. In other words, the school has been active in bringing global and cross-cultural experiences into its classrooms, which is all the more important for a school teaching students across the globe through the internet. It is a well-respected research university with 36 satellite campuses scattered throughout Arizona, in addition to its main campus. There are 87 undergraduate programs with approximately 19,000 students. At the graduate level there are 58 programs with 1,800 students. For the online or distance learning student there are 80 programs to choose from with 1,100 full time students and 3,200 part time students. Classes are taught by over 1,000 full-time faculty members.
Many schools take a simplistic approach to distance education. All they do is put their standard classes online. But Northern Arizona has taken a more creative approach. Students can pay a flat semester fee and take samples from prospective courses. The ability to take a course for a test run is an effective way to find the right subject in which to get a degree, and avoid choosing wrong majors.
19. Florida International University (Miami, FL)
Florida International University has much to be proud of and holds many records. It has the honor of being Miami’s first and only public research university, originally established in 1972. The school also holds the record for most students enrolled in the first year, which was over 5,000. Furthermore, it is the youngest university to have a Phi Beta Kappa chapter established, the oldest national honors society. And it is ranked first in the nation in granting bachelors and masters degrees to Hispanics.
The school has grown to 54,000 students, which makes it the seventh largest school in America, and led to its 200,000 alumni worldwide. With 191 courses of study to choose from students are sure to receive a well-rounded education. There are over 2,900 full-time faculty lending their expertise to the classroom experience.
U.S. News and World Report has recognized Florida International University’s numerous successful online programs, including its MBA, Engineering, and Criminal Justice degrees. Florida International also offers a series of unique professional development courses through its Life Well LED programs. These programs include one day courses and leadership development material. The school is also interested in advancing learning in general, and consequently offers Massive Open Online Courses that are free and have no size limitations. These courses are both a service to the public at large, and help promote Florida International’s online prestige.
20. Walden University (Minneapolis, MN)
Walden University was founded in 1970 as a private, for-profit institution. The original concept of the school came from two New York teachers who had the working adult in mind. Bernie and Rita Turner wanted to establish an institution that would provide distance education for the busy adult to complete their degree and pursue doctoral education.
The school has been successful in providing this kind of education online and currently has 47,800 students enrolled. There are over 79,800 alumni. Walden University offers more than 80 degree programs with over 370 specializations and concentrations. Walden also takes a more hands on approach than most distance learning programs. A number of its online degrees include a practicum. Still others utilize a field-based supervised internship. These additions to the standard curriculum create a more well rounded education, and help build an interesting hybrid between online and onsite education.
21. The University of North Dakota (Grand Forks, ND)
Located in Grand Forks, North Dakota, the University of North Dakota is the state’s oldest and largest University. Founded in 1883, the school now enrolls 15,000 students. These bright minds have over 225 programs to choose from that are broken down into 3,000 courses. For the graduate student there are 84 fields of study and for the online student there are 40 degrees available. It is the only school in the state to offer degrees in law and medicine. There are over 145,000 alumni with which to network across the globe.
The online student can choose from two styles of class structure. The self-paced independent study courses can be enrolled in and taken any time. Students in these classes may take up to 9 months to complete the course work. There are also semester based classes, where students participate in a virtual classroom following the University’s schedule and deadlines for course work. These classes are more structured, but less flexible compared to the self-paced classes. The library offers 28,000 electronic journal subscriptions, and owns over 20,000 electronic books for the online student to use.
22. University of Minnesota Crookston (Crookston, MN)
The University of Minnesota Crookston works in conjunction with the greater University of Minnesota. Crookston offers 29 undergraduate degree programs, 36 concentrations, and 20 minors. Enrollment is approximately 1,800 students, 700 of whom are online students. The student body represents 20 countries and 45 states. The school is recognized as being one of the first in the nation to offer laptop computers to all students and faculty. It is broken into four sub schools, which include Business, Agricultural and Natural Resources, Math Science and Technology, and Liberal Arts and Education. Minnesota has developed a particularly strong reputation in scientific and professional fields such as those pertaining to natural resources and business.
Online programs are offered through the Center for Adult Learning. As of 2014 there are thirteen degrees offered entirely online. Any online courses can be easily transferred to other Universities or may be used towards completing a degree or a certificate at the University of Minnesota. Courses strike a balance between self-driven and guided. They must be taken during 15 week fall or spring semesters, or 8 week summer semesters, but do not require students to be online at any particular time.
23. Brenau University (Gainesville, GA)
Leadership for women is a strong theme in today’s society and Brenau University comes to the forefront of the issue. The school was founded in 1878 originally as the Georgia Baptist Female Seminary. It has remained a privately owned institution until 1911 when a board of trustees assumed stewardship. The education of women continues to be the goal to this day. Total enrollment in the 2012-2013 school year was 2,777. Men are accepted into the adult and graduate studies programs. The school’s academics are divided into four sections, which include Health and Science, Fine Arts and Humanities, Business and Mass Communication, and Education
In 2002, Brenau’s Online College was formed. Students may use online courses as a supplement to regular classes, but Brenau also offers completely online tracks in business, nursing, gerontology, accounting, organizational leadership and human resources management. Brenau uses several methods to make sure its online students maintain a personal connection with the school. For instance, they are required to attend class at least five days per week. This helps provide structure to the otherwise extremely open-ended nature of online programs. They also have access to both tutors and a counseling service.
24. Everglades University (Boca Raton, FL)
Everglades University is a young, not-for-profit school based out of Boca Raton, Florida. Although originally known as the American Flyers College, the Everglades name is quickly gaining a reputation for a unique paradigm for online education. Many schools take a “me too” approach to learning by offering degrees that everyone else provides. There is, of course, nothing wrong with studying a popular degree, but doing so runs the risk of downplaying your application’s individual strengths. At Everglades University you can study a wide variety of degrees which lead to jobs in developing industries. These include alternative medicine, land and energy management, environmental policy and management, construction management, crisis and disaster management, and the aviation/aerospace sciences. Students can also pursue both undergraduate and mater’s degrees. Furthermore, the school’s online program benefits from a heavy emphasis on adult students drawn from many backgrounds. These students study a single course at a time.
25. Southern New Hampshire University (Manchester, NH)
Although originally founded in 1932 as the School of Accounting and Secretarial Science, this institution has grown into the much larger and well known Southern New Hampshire University. It is a private, non-profit, accredited institution with a school of business, education, and liberal arts. The school also runs an intensive, three year honors program. It is held in high regard by G.I. Jobs for its amiable attitude towards the military. Southern New Hampshire has 3,000 on-campus students and 30,000 online students.
Online students have access to over 90 undergraduate and over 90 graduate degree programs in addition to over 20 online certificate programs. Their massive Shapiro Library if filled by more than 100 databases and all their corresponding resources. The school also offers 24/7 tech support in case malfunction ever gets in the way of learning. New Hampshire’s sophisticated use of cutting edge technology is why Fast Company named it the 12th most innovative company in the world, ranking it among names like Apple and Google.
26. Brandman University (Irvine, CA)
Founded in 1958, Brandman University has spread across the whole of California and now operates out of dozens of campuses. It offers an extended education program both on campus and online, and is a part of the larger Chapman University System which was founded in 1861. This allows Brandman University to draw strength and resources from one of California’s oldest and most prestigious private universities.
More so than just about any other school on this list, Brandman utilizes the iDeal (Instructional Design for Engaged Adult Learning) approach to education. This system heavily integrates online and traditional learning through blended formats. Incorporating the internet into Brandman’s standard curriculum has streamlined its distance only education. The school takes pride in its Corporate Training and Custom Solutions program, which directly connects students to the business world and is part of the reason why Brandman won the Leadership 500 Excellence Award for its leadership development certificate programs. Not surprisingly, virtually all of Brandman brick and mortar programs are also available online.
27. Post University (Waterbury, CT)
Post University’s online program believes that no one knows you better than you know yourself, so the first thing they do when you sign up is listen. Post prides itself on learning about their students’ strengths and weaknesses, and their interests and goals. Then they build a custom program tailored to you. And they have been doing this through accelerated, online programs since 1996. Now, they have more than 15,000 online adult learners acquiring and education through courses offered in eight-week modules, six times a year. And they also work with students who have studied at other accredited universities. This means that one can complete their bachelor’s degree in a mere 18 months, and their master’s degree can require as few as 14-24 months. Post understands how important it is to make education affordable, but it does so with one of the most flexible schedules, that is in tune with its student’s needs.
28. Saint Leo University (St. Leo, FL)
Saint Leo University is a private, non-profit, Roman Catholic, liberal arts university established in 1889 by the Order of Saint Benedict of Florida. As both the oldest Catholic college in Florida and the sixth-largest in the United States, Saint Leo has a large student population to draw talent from. It currently has more than 16,000 students from 49 states and 86 countries, who are taught by 1,410 total faculty (240 of which are full time). Not surprisingly given these numbers, the school has produced over 76,000 alumni. It is also ranked as one of the leading providers of higher education to the military.
Saint Leo was one of the first American universities to provide distance learning opportunities to students. Unlike some schools which fail to maintain the same level of quality between their on-campus and online courses, Saint Leo’s online curriculum is identical to its traditional, Florida campus courses. It established the center for online learning in 1998, and now offers over 40 associate’s, certificates, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. All online students are introduced to this medium through the school’s Strategies for Success course, which acclimates everyone to the full potential of online learning and makes sure everyone hits the ground running.
29. Grand Canyon University (Phoenix, AZ)
Grand Canyon University started off as a small, Southern Baptist liberal arts college in Phoenix, Arizona. It has since grown into a substantial learning center with over 100,000 online students. This success comes from many sources, but perhaps the most notable is the school’s unique scheduling system. Most schools will ask students to study several topics at a time during a semester. Grand Canyon, however, gives students one intensive course at a time. This education by immersion approach benefits many people with more focused personalities. This is part of the reason why sources like Fortune Small Business and Technology & Learning have noted Grand Canyon’s rapid rise.
But through it all Grand Canyon has retained its Christian character. To this day it builds its vision on four distinct principles, which include Academics, Christian Camaraderie, Extracurricular Excellence, and Wellness & Well-Being. The school openly encourages its students to find their purpose in Christ and apply their Christian morals in the workplace.
30. Western Governors University (Salt Lake City, UT)
Western Governors University represents public servants at their best. Over four years, starting in 1995, 19 western governors came together to launch a more affordable alternative to higher education. The fruits of their labor is the aptly named Western Governors University. The school now serves over 55,000 students from all 50 states. Its library has access to over 94,000 full text e-books. The school runs an online Teachers College, College of Business, College of Information Technology, and a College of Health Professions. The school focuses on practical education that results in employment, and offers this education through licensure and both bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Given its historic founding, noble mission, and rapidly growing student body, Western Governors University ascends in the world of online education.