10 Best Online Classes and Degree Program Providers

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Distance and online learning

In the world of fast-paced living, where everyone has their own timeline, the era of online classes has blossomed into a well-respected method of obtaining higher education. As with any life-impacting choice, there are several factors that people tend to take into consideration before choosing a program. Questions of credit transfers, enrollment, and attendance requirements arise as individuals contemplate their current life, and try to figure out how continuing their education will fit into their busy schedules.

Let’s take a look at our pick of the nation’s 10 best online classes providers, outlining some of the key elements of each school, in order to help you choose which programs can best fit your lifestyle and specific needs.

Arizona State University


      • Online credit transfer tool to help you determine if your credits will transfer.
      • Most online programs are entirely online, but some require in-class study.
      • Six start dates a year.
      • Can be a part-time student or full-time student.
      • For the 2012-2013 school year, ASU accepted 87% of applicants.
      • Over 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs are offered entirely online.
      • Online students receive the same, accredited degree as campus students.
      • ASU’s online program has been listed as number one for online Student Services and Technology by U.S. News and World Report.

University of Phoenix


      • A for-profit university.
      • They currently have about 249,500 undergraduate students.
      • Open admissions policy.
      • University of Phoenix accepts full-time and part-time students.
      • University of Phoenix is known as a school heavily invested in distance learning.
      • Credits earned for previously completed courses will be evaluated for transfer on a case-by-case basis, and may be subject to conversion prior to transfer.
      • Distance learning programs can be completed 100% online, but some classes are taught in a classroom setting if desired.
      • University of Phoenix offers career services, which boasts a job listing of over 121,000 job openings.
      • Their website includes a financial tool to help you estimate and manage costs.

Colorado Technical University


      • A for-profit university.
      • Some programs can be completed entirely online, while some have classes offered at one of the school’s campuses.
      • Credit transfers are handled on a case-by-case basis.
      • Students are offered 24/7 support via telephone or a live chat.
      • Students have access to help from the school’s student advisors.
      • Some courses have 24/7 tutoring services offered to students.
      • Students have the option of taking as few classes as they like, whatever fits their schedule.
      • They have a smartphone app available for mobile learning.

Liberty University


      • Some courses are offered online and residentially, while others are one or the other.
      • Offering 230 distance learning degrees.
      • Transfer counseling is offered before applications are submitted, so that students can see if their credits will transfer or not.
      • Part-time and full-time students welcome.
      • Largest non-profit online university.
      • 95,000 students worldwide.

SUNY College of Technology-Delhi


      • Rated #1 by U.S. News and World Report for online bachelor’s programs (tied).
      • Online programs are: RN to BSN, Criminal Justice BS, Electrical Construction and Instrumentation (AOS).
      • Courses start twice a year.
      • Transfer credit evaluations are given, with an option to appeal a decision if the student disagrees with the outcome.
      • Programs can be done part-time or full-time.
      • There is no residency requirement for online programs.
      • The online courses are taught by the same instructors, offering the same accreditation that comes with students who study in the classroom.

“SUNY Delhi’s online support system is exceptional and is why we were recently named a Top Tech Savy College. Faculty with extensive online teaching experience have designed programs that are both rigorous and engaging. Our learning management system is easy to navigate and we offer academic advisement, tutoring, writing workshops, technical support, and convenient access to library resources to provide online students with the support services they need to be successful.”

–Dr. John Nader, Provost

Ball State University


      • Public research university.
      • Students can earn degrees exclusively online, or study online concurrently with in-classroom courses.
      • A counselor can help you determine which credits will transfer.
      • Students can choose to work at a full-time or part-time pace.
      • U.S. News and World Report ranked Ball State high on the up-and-coming list of universities, putting them at number 8.
      • Online courses are taught by the same faculty who teach on-campus.
      • U.S. News and World Report lists it in the Top 30 universities for online learning.

Central Michigan University


      • Public research university.
      • Some online programs are completed entirely on the web, while others have an option of combining online with face-to-face classes.
      • They offer an online credit transfer evaluation tool.
      • They have 7,000 students enrolled online.
      • Students are able to take as little as one credit per 8 week session if desired.
      • Rated #1 by U.S. News and World Report for online bachelor’s programs (tied).
      • Provide an online preview of a sample course for you to see how their online courses work.

University of Florida


      • American public research university.
      • 14th in U.S. News and World Report University rankings.
      • Offers an online quiz to help you assess if distance learning is right for you.
      • Admissions go through the specific department through which the program will be administered.
      • Students can generally transfer up to 60 credits from another institution.
      • Students can be part-time or full-time.
      • Distance learning programs are 100% online with students coming on campus for graduation only.

University of Illinois

university of illinois

      • Online programs are fully accredited and held to the same standards as on-campus courses.
      • The requirements for admission will differ from program to program.
      • Some programs are 100% online, while others require some on-campus coursework.
      • Transfer policies vary, but credits obtained FROM University of Illinois online are accredited and transferrable.
      • Students can study at a part-time or full-time pace.
      • Students will have access to library materials.
      • Some courses have real-time sessions where all students are logged in together and interacting, while others don’t.

Pennsylvania State University-World Campus


      • Ranked in the top 25 in U.S. News and World Report for online programs.
      • The majority of courses are completed on the student’s own timetable, with students never needing to be logged in at a certain time.
      • Offers an online step-by-step tool to help you evaluate transfer credits.
      • Some student activities are done online for students of the world campus.
      • Most online students study part-time.
      • Some graduate programs have a residency requirement, but undergraduate programs do not.
      • Course work is the same on-campus and online, with the same degrees awarded.

“Penn State World Campus students earn the same reputable degree as their peers who are enrolled at one of our campuses throughout Pennsylvania. The online courses have the same requirements, textbooks, and assignments as the courses students take in a classroom. The faculty teaching World Campus courses are reviewed and approved by the academic unit offering the same highly regarded programs in residence.  When a World Campus student receives his or her diploma at graduation, it will be a Penn State degree just like everyone else’s.”

— Renata Engel, Associate Vice Provost for Online Programs at Penn State

Colorado State University


      • Courses begin in the fall, spring, and summer.
      • You can enroll in most credit courses before being admitted to the University.
      • Top 60 Public Universities in U.S. News and World Report.
      • Access to library and other campus services.
      • Credits from other institutions can likely transfer.
      • Most courses are 100% online.
      • A very limited number of courses are offered on-campus to online students.
      • If you’re degree seeking, only need to take 2 courses per semester minimum.
      • Financial aid is available for all programs.

Western Governors University


      • Private, non-profit institution.
      • Named as one of the 50 most innovative companies by Fast Company, placing #28 among Apple, Google, and Target.
      • They have a central online library with full access for students.
      • Credits are likely transferrable.
      • All courses are online, with no courses being offered in a classroom setting.
      • All students must take at least 12 credits (full-time).
      • Known as one of the best values in higher education.
      • Some programs require the student to already have an associate’s degree to be accepted.

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