Top 44 Most Reputable Online Colleges

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What if there was a way you could attend college with a flexible class schedule, lower tuition costs, and potential to learn all the skills you need to start a lucrative career? Now that dream can become a reality with the increasing popularity of online degree programs! We’ve put together this list of the top 44 most reputable online colleges to help you make your decision about where you might want to go.

Reputable Colleges Offering Online Degrees

Although there are dozens of reputable colleges offering online degrees, there are a couple that stand out from that pack.

Both Purdue and Colorado State have excellent faculty, student services, and a thriving alumni community. Both also offer dozens of degrees in fields ranging from psychology to business and almost everywhere in between.

Plus, they each have about 150 years of history and the reputation that goes along with it.

Several factors were taken into consideration to determine the most reputable online colleges.

The methodology that was used included the following criteria:

  • Student engagement
  • Faculty credentials and training
  • Student services and technology
  • Peer reputation

By considering a well-rounded perspective of what goes into making an online college reputable, students can ensure that they are earning a degree that has a solid reputation in the professional workforce.

Top 44 Most Reputable Online Colleges

So, how do you know which online school is the most reputable?

To answer that question, we’ve put together a list of the top reputable online universities across the country:

Rank University Tuition Most Popular Majors
#1 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Location: Daytona Beach, FL

$413 in-state

$413 out-of-state

Aircraft Powerplant Technology

Aeronautics/Aviation/Aerospace Science

Aviation Management and Operations

Management

Business Administration

#2 Pennsylvania State University World Campus

Location: University Park, PA

$555 in-state

$555 out-of-state

Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse

Psychology

Business

Criminal Justice

Information Science

#3 Western Kentucky University

Location: Bowling Green, KY

$540 in-state

$540 out-of-state

General Studies

Business Administration and Management

Registered Nursing

Information Technology

#4 University of Illinois – Chicago

Location: Chicago, IL

$462 in-state

$462 out-of-state

Health Information

Medical Records Administration

Registered Nursing

#5 University of Georgia

Location: Athens, GA

$326 in-state

$326 out-of-state

Special Education and Teaching
#6 Temple University

Location: Philadelphia, PA

$1,114 in-state

$1,114 out-of-state

Business Administration

General
Accounting and Finance

Marketing

General
Banking

Corporate, Finance, and Securities Law

#7 Daytona State College

Location: Daytona Beach, FL

$92 in-state

$550 out-of-state

Business Administration

Management and Operations

Engineering Technologies

Information Technology

#8 Ohio State University – Columbus

Location: Columbus, OH

$382 in-state

$387 out-of-state

Registered Nursing

Dental Hygiene

#9 Oregon State University

Location: Corvallis, OR

$309 in-state

$309 out-of-state

Computer Science

Human Development and Family Studies

Natural Resources Conservation

Anthropology

Economics

#10 University of Wisconsin – Whitewater

Location: Whitewater, WI

$389 in-state

$389 out-of-state

N/A
#11 Arizona State University

Location: Tempe, AZ

$530 in-state

$530 out-of-state

Registered Nursing

Psychology

Liberal Arts and Sciences

Criminal Justice

Speech Communication and Rhetoric

#12 Colorado State University – Global Campus

Location: Greenwood Village, CO

$350 in-state

$350 out-of-state

Business Administration

Information Technology

Accounting

Human Resources Management

Health Care Administration

#13 CUNY School of Professional Studies

Location: New York, NY

$295 in-state

$295 out-of-state

Business/Commerce

Speech Communication and Rhetoric

Psychology

Hospital Administration

Sociology

#14 Pace University

Location: New York, NY

$555 in-state Communication and Media Studies

Computer and Information Sciences

Telecommunications

Business/Commerce

#15 University of Florida

Location: Gainesville, FL

$112 in-state

$500 out-of-state

N/A
#16 West Texas A&M University

Location: Canyon, TX

$320 in-state

$345 out-of-state

Business Administration

Marketing

Criminal Justice

Business Economics

Registered Nursing

#17 Charleston Southern University

Location: Charleston, SC

$490 in-state

$490 out-of-state

Business Administration

Management

Operations

#18 Regent University

Location: Virginia Beach, VA

$395 in-state

$395 out-of-state

Business Administration and Management

Psychology

Theology

English Language and Literature

Pre-Theology/Pre-Ministerial Studies

#19 University of Nebraska – Omaha

Location: Omaha, NE

$280  in-state

$475 out-of-state

Business

Criminal Justice

Geography

Gerontology

Library and Information Science

#20 Creighton University

Location: Omaha, NE

$470 in-state

$470 out-of-state

Organizational Leadership
#21 University of Central Florida

Location: Orlando, FL

$105 in-state

$616 out-of-state

Psychology

Interdisciplinary Studies

Criminal Justice

Healthcare Administration/Management

Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse

#22 University of Denver

Location: Denver, CO

$668 in-state

$668 out-of-state

Speech Communication and Rhetoric

Organizational Behavior Studies

International Studies

Computer and Information Sciences

Environmental Studies

#23 Utah State University

Location: Logan, UT

$279 in-state

$414 out-of-state

Agricultural Business and Management

Human Development and Family Studies

General
Psychology

Economics

Communication Sciences and Disorders

#24 Fort Hays State University

Location: Hays, KS

$219 in-state

$219 out-of-state

Business, Management, and Marketing

Organizational Leadership

Elementary Education and Teaching

Registered Nursing

Nursing Administration

Criminal Justice

#25 Savannah College of Art and Design

Location: Savannah, GA

$835 in-state

$835 out-of-state

Digital Communication

Visual Communications

Photography

#26 University of La Verne

Location: La Verne, CA

$645 in-state

$645 out-of-state

Organizational Leadership

Business Administration and Management

Public Administration

#27 City University of Seattle

Location: Bellevue, WA

$456 in-state

$456 out-of-state

Business Administration

General
Education

Applied Psychology

Computer and Information Sciences

Accounting

#28 George Washington University

Location: Washington, DC

$615 in-state

$615 out-of-state

Healthcare Management

Clinical Research Coordinator

Allied Health Diagnostic, Intervention, and Treatment Professions

Clinical Laboratory Science/Medical Technology/Technologist

#29 SUNY College of Technology – Delhi

Location: Delhi, NY

$295 in-state

$353 out-of-state

Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse
#30 University of Illinois – Springfield

Location: Springfield, IL

$359 in-state

$359 out-of-state

Computer Science

Business Administration and Management

Liberal Arts and Sciences

Mathematics

English Language and Literature

#31 University of Maine – Augusta

Location: Augusta, ME

$239 in-state

$299 out-of-state

Psychiatric/Mental Health Services

Liberal Arts and Sciences

Business Administration

Criminal Justice

Library and Information Science

#32 University of Oklahoma

Location: Norman, OK

$160 in-state

$672 out-of-state

Liberal Arts and Sciences

Criminal Justice

#33 Ball State University

Location: Muncie, IN

$334 in-state

$543 out-of-state

Business Administration

Management

General Studies

Nursing Science

#34 California Baptist University

Location: Riverside, CA

$613 in-state

$613 out-of-state

Business

General
Psychology

Liberal Arts and Sciences

Kinesiology and Exercise Science

Early Childhood Education and Teaching

#35 Florida State University

Location: Tallahassee, FL

$216 in-state

$721 out-of-state

N/A
#36 Palm Beach Atlantic University

Location: West Palm Beach, FL

$490 in-state

$490 out-of-state

Organizational Behavior Studies
#37 Washington State University

Location: Pullman, WA

$518 in-state

$578 out-of-state

Social Sciences

Accounting

Operations Management

Psychology

Criminal Justice / Police Science

#38 Indiana University – Online

Location: Bloomington, IN

$230 in-state

$331 out-of-state

Registered Nursing

Business/Commerce

Health Information

Medical Records Administration

Mathematics

#39 University of Massachusetts – Lowell

Location: Lowell, MA

$380 in-state

$380 out-of-state

Information Science

Liberal Studies

Psychology

Criminal Justice

Business Administration

#40 University of the Incarnate Word

Location: San Antonio, TX

$530 in-state

$530 out-of-state

Business Administration

Management and Operations

Human Resources Management

Criminal Justice

Health Services

#41 University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee

Location: Milwaukee, WI

$337 in-state

$337 out-of-state

Psychology

Registered Nursing

Information Science

Speech Communication

History

#42 Central Michigan University

Location: Mount Pleasant, MI

$430 in-state

$430 out-of-state

Psychology

Organizational Behavior

Health Services

Interdisciplinary Studies

Community Organization and Advocacy

#43 Northeastern State University

Location: Tahlequah, OK

$197 in-state

$477 out-of-state

Registered Nurse

Clinical Laboratory Science

Medical Technology

#44 St. Leo University

Location: Saint Leo, FL

$370 in-state

$370 out-of-state

Business Administration

General
Psychology

Criminal Justice

Accounting

Health Care Management

Source: U.S. News & World Report, Online College Rankings, 2020

What Makes an Online College Reputable?

To give you a better understanding of the criteria used to determine the most reputable online colleges, the following sections look a little deeper into the various factors that contribute to the world of online education. When choosing a school that is right for you, it’s important to consider the school’s reputation along with other aspects that affect the quality of their course offerings.

Accreditation

Accreditation is an essential component to a reputable online education. When a school is accredited, it means that they have gone through a voluntary review process by a recognized accrediting agency to ensure that their curriculum meets high quality standards.

A few of the top accrediting agencies across the country include the following:

  • Regional accrediting agencies
  • Distance Education Accrediting Commission
  • Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools

Different degrees often have specific accrediting agencies that review curriculum for that particular field. The United States Department of Education’s website is an excellent starting point for researching which agencies are nationally recognized.

Professional Reputation

Knowing that your college has an accredited, quality curriculum is a major step towards selecting a reputable online college. However, it is also important to research the peer and professional reputation of the university that you are considering.

Steps you can take to research the academic reputation of your online university include:

  • Checking reputation rankings through quality resources such as the Times Higher Education World Reputations Rankings.
  • Considering data from reputable research, such as the rankings found in S. News and World Report
  • Looking into student and alumni reviews through various websites
  • Listening to opinions and first-hand experience from professionals and colleagues within your field of interest

Attending a college with a solid academic reputation will likely provide you with a greater potential to land a professional position after graduation. Employers often consider the background of the education you have a received, and a degree from a reputable university can go a long way in the competitive job market.

Faculty Credentials

A quality curriculum is only as good as the instructors that are teaching the material, and knowing the background of your future professors is an important step in determining which college you would like to attend.

Factors that you can consider when looking into the qualifications of your school’s faculty include:

  • Professional experience
  • Educational background
  • Academic achievements
  • Prior teaching history

Most colleges have a “Faculty” section of their school’s website that can be a useful tool for prospective students. Here you are typically able to look at the biographies of the faculty, as well as see their professional qualifications, history, and achievements.

Student Services

The purpose of attending college is to gain the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in a professional career, and having the support of your school can make a big impact on your educational success.

Many of the top accredited universities offer a variety of student services to their distance education students that may include the following:

  • Virtual academic advisement services
  • 24/7 technology support teams
  • Online mentoring and tutoring with peers or instructors
  • Advanced technological platforms that allow students interact throughout their courses
  • Options for flexible scheduling of any in-person degree requirements
  • Access to extensive online research and library resources

Online college courses can be highly challenging, and many students find that they need to reach out for additional support at some point during their educational journey. The availability of online-focused student services is a way for reputable universities to help ensure their students reach their full potential.

Student to Faculty Ratio

Most students prefer the personalized attention of a small, traditional college class, but having a low student to faculty ratio is just as important in online learning. When a college is committed to keeping class sizes small, the instructors are able to give students the individualized support they deserve to succeed in the class.

In small online classes, professors can connect with their students through a variety of means, including:

  • Live lectures through a virtual classroom
  • Online discussion boards
  • Email and phone calls
  • Online classroom platforms

These smaller online classrooms nurture the cooperative atmosphere needed for students to push themselves to their highest potential. Some colleges publish information regarding student to faculty ratio their websites, and statistics can also be found by speaking with your school’s academic advisor

Advantages of an Online Education

Pursuing your degree through online education is a personal decision, and there are many things to consider when choosing a school that will provide you with a reputable education and degree.

There are several advantages to earning a degree through an online program, and these benefits include:

  • Potential for lower tuition costs
  • Flexible scheduling that allows you to log-on to classes anytime and anywhere
  • Ability to accelerate your degree program
  • Access to the same quality curriculum as traditional students
  • Online resources and services to support you throughout your education

The flexible nature of online learning is one of the biggest draws for adult students looking for a way to balance their busy schedules with pursuing their degree. In many cases, students also have the opportunity to take accelerated classes or a heavier course-load to graduate in a much shorter timeframe than traditional on-campus students.

Is an Online Degree Program the Right Choice for me?

Choosing whether an online degree program is right for you is a highly personal decision, and research into the advantages and disadvantages of online education is essential to make the choice that meets your needs.

Regardless of why you feel an online degree is the best choice for you, enrolling in a college with a strong professional reputation and quality curriculum is imperative to your success after graduation. Luckily, top universities across the country are continuing to expand their online degree offerings every year – giving working adult students the ability to pursue their dreams while juggling the demands of daily life.

*For important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended these programs, go to: www.aiuniv.edu/disclosures.

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Elizabeth Abner
WRITTEN BY Elizabeth Abner

Elizabeth is pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Foreign Policy and earned her master's degree in business administration. For her undergraduate studies, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a concentration in international business. Elizabeth's research is focused on universities offering online degree programs.