Are you interested in earning a college degree, or looking for more advanced education? The best way to improve your job outlook, increase your skill set, or jumpstart a fulfilling career is to earn a degree in an area you love. However, thousands of people are kept from completing higher education due to geographic location, work requirements, or financial situation. For many people, attending a traditional college campus is simply out of the question.
Luckily, earning a degree is now more accessible than ever thanks to programs from the best online colleges across the nation. Many top-tier universities offer degrees fully online that can be completed at your own pace, on your time, and wherever you might be in the world. Someone working full time, or caring for a family can also complete a college degree at any level with just a laptop and an internet connection. You can complete the degree of your choice through online schooling from any college that you choose.
How do I choose the online college that’s best for me?
Although completing a degree online is an incredible opportunity, we realize that choosing from the thousands of online schools can be difficult and intimidating. That’s why we’ve compiled lists of the best online colleges in the country. Take a look at our lists divided by state, degree, affordability, or any number of other factors. We consider the most important factors for hard-working people like you and provide you with the perfect options to tailor your education to your individual situation.
With that said, if you’re still unsure of the specific program you’re looking for or just want to get a general idea of schools offering online programs, take a look at our introductory list of the top ten online colleges overall based on variety of online offerings and overall education quality. Each of these schools is fully accredited and offers at the very least several fully online bachelor’s programs.
Here Are the Best Online Colleges in 2017
1. Arizona State University
Arizona State University is one of the very largest universities in the country both on campus and online. Currently, the school caters to over 52,000 students and offers hundreds of online programs. Online students can choose from any of 63 different bachelor’s degree programs, 47 master’s degree programs, or 18 online certificate programs. ASU also provides dozens of online minors and a few exploratory major programs for students still unsure what to study. One great recent addition to ASU’s online offerings is its ‘Global Freshmen Academy’ program which allows freshmen to take courses without formally applying and only paying for courses they complete with a passing grade. ASU is a great option for any potential online student with or without previous college experience
- 154 Online Programs
- 58% Graduation Rate
2. Liberty University
Liberty University is truly the modern online school. This university in Lynchburg, Virginia has a total enrollment of over 110,000 students with 94,000 registered online students in 2016. Around 80% of Liberty University graduates earn their degrees through online coursework. This Christian school has a strong focus on creating not only successful students but also community leaders and servants. Liberty University provides perhaps the widest variety of online programs with 247 fully online degrees in every field imaginable. Liberty has programs at all levels, so is perfect for students with or without previous college or working experience.
- 247 Online Programs
- 66% Graduation Rate
3. Penn State University- World Campus
Penn State University was one of the first accredited universities to offer online degrees, beginning its online offerings in 1998. Today Penn State serves students from around the country and world wide who have access to over 125 different online programs. Penn State is another university offering fully online minors to accompany major programs. The university offers a wide variety of areas of study including many areas in business, ecology, and health. With experienced faculty and cutting-edge technology for online education, Penn State provides incredibly accessible online schooling.
- 125 Online Programs
- 50% Graduation Rate
4. University of Central Florida
The University of Central Florida in Orlando is the largest post-secondary institution in the United States with an undergraduate student body of over 63,000. To match its size, UCF offers students with huge variety of online programs including 18 fully online bachelor’s degrees, 29 online minors, and 24 fully online master’s degrees in a wide range of areas of study. The same professors teaching on campus prepare the online course material, so students are guaranteed an education of equal quality to any top university in the nation. UCF also provides extra flexibility with 2+2 options for students with some college experience and accelerated one year master’s programs.
- 71 Online Programs
- 65% Graduation Rate
5. Oregon State University
Oregon State University, based in Corvallis, Oregon is another large university (the largest in the state), providing exceptional online program variety. The school has a particular expertise in ecological education offering bachelor’s, master’s, and certificate programs in areas like agricultural sciences, environmental economics and policy, fisheries and wildlife sciences, and horticulture. For the student who may be unsure which area of study to delve into, OSU also offers an online nondegree exploratory program allowing students to get a taste for a certain major. OSU is a great university for online students at any degree level.
- 57 Online Programs
- 61% Graduation Rate
6. Colorado State University Global Campus
The Colorado State University Global Campus was the first fully online state university at the time of its establishment in 2007. Now, the university offers online programs worldwide from the same professional faculty that teaches on campus. Students can choose from 13 fully online bachelor’s programs or 11 fully online master’s programs. Online course material features a combination of audio, text-based, and visual content created for maximum engagement and retention. The CSU global campus is a great option for anyone considering online schooling at either level.
- 24 Online Programs
- 63% Graduation Rate
7. University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus sits right in the heart of Minneapolis, but the school’s online offerings help expand its reach worldwide. The university offers 69 fully online programs at all levels with each program generally separated into either a broad business or science distinction. Undergraduate degrees include areas like applied health, medical laboratory science, entrepreneurship, and finance among many others Graduate degree programs include an online MBA, MPH, or degrees in computer science and health informatics among others. Students with interests in either distinction will benefit greatly from the experience of UM-Twin Cities.
- 69 Online Programs
- 73% Graduation Rate
8. East Carolina University
East Carolina University was established in 1907 in Greenville, North Carolina. ECU was the first post-secondary institution to offer an accredited online MBA program. Today the school offers more than 80 online degree and certificate programs for online students across the country. This university offers not only major programs but the opportunity to specialize your online education with a variety of concentration options within majors. ECU seeks to prepare students for success in the work field or in continued studies through each of their quality online programs.
- 80 Online Programs
- 58% Graduation Rate
9. Florida International University
More than 200,000 online students have successfully completed degrees through Florida International University. FIU’s online offerings have been consistently ranked as some of the top in the nation. For experienced students looking to complete advanced education more rapidly, FIU allows for an accelerated master’s degree completion giving students the ability to finish the degree between a year and eighteen months. The school utilizes a variety of delivery formats for course material ensuring student success.
- 29 Online Programs
- 49% Graduation Rate
10. Old Dominion University
Old Dominion University was one of the first schools to offer distance learning options, beginning a satellite-based offering in 1994. Now the school offers dozens of fully online programs earning the consistently satisfied reviews of students across the country. Included in the master’s degree program offering from ODU, the school has two programs designed for students with military experience. With 69 total degree options, ODU allows students with or without college experience to pursue high-quality advanced education.
- 69 Online Programs
- 49% Graduation Rate
So What Do I Do Now?
Any of the schools on this list would be a great starting place for someone considering an online degree. Each online college has taken great care to develop an engaging online class system to provide students with the ability to gain meaningful experience and understanding. We’re constantly looking for new schools to add to our lists to make sure we have the best possible options for savvy students like you. If you’re interested in finding a school based on more specific criteria, take a look at one of our other lists. Each of the schools featured on our site is guaranteed to provide top-tier education for the busy online student.
Join the online education movement!
Whether you’re looking to earn your first few college credits, pick up where you left off, or start a graduate degree, we provide the best options for you. Find a career you love and gain the experience you need for success through one of the respected schools on our lists. Join the thousands of people earning their degrees faster, more simply, or more affordably through the best colleges online. If you’re interested in getting the latest news and special offers from our featured schools, sign up for our Best Schools Online Newsletter!