Online colleges offer students several conveniences. People can study and watch lectures from home (or almost anywhere). Among other things, this saves the costs of room and board. Online colleges can cost less than colleges students attend in person. Optimal reports that the average online tuition is $24,634. The range of education options is huge. The same organization reports that there are “36,834 fully online degrees at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and certificate levels.”
Another advantage of online colleges is that people can often work at their own pace. It is easier to spread out an education when people do not have to physically learn in one place.
To determine the best online college, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on academics, admissions, finance, alumni earnings and student life from school data clearinghouse Niche.
Different types of schools rank among the best online colleges we considered, from two-year community colleges to large public institutions. Some schools prefer to teach most of their students online, while others excel at distance learning, even though most students prefer to learn in person.
The online colleges we reviewed vary widely in terms of cost, from a few under $11,000 to one with an average cost of attendance of more than $63,000. Ideally, any person who gets a college degree will boost their future earnings, but there is not always a correlation between tuition and future income. In fact, in each state, there is at least one college that is relatively inexpensive that can massively benefit its graduates down the road.
LeTourneau University is the best online college in America. Here are the details:
- Location: Longview, Texas
- Admission rate: 45.5%
- Median earnings of workers 10 years after entry: $48,200
- Most common degree: Engineering
LeTourneau University ranks as the best online college in America largely because it received very high marks from Niche for its diversity, academics and value. Of all the schools that rank among the best online colleges, LeTourneau University is the only one with an admission rate under 50%.
Nearly 45% of its students took all of their classes online in the fall 2019 semester, even before the COVID-19 pandemic moved nearly all classes online. LeTourneau University offers 19 bachelor’s degree programs and three associate’s degree programs to its online students.
Methodology: To determine the best online college, 24/7 Wall St. considered schools with a grade of at least B+ in Niche’s 2021 Best Online Colleges in America report. Niche’s ranking includes four-year colleges and universities that are entirely online or offer a majority of their degrees online, as well as those with a student body that consists of at least 25% distance-learning students.
Data on each school’s physical location also came from Niche. Supplemental data on admission rates in the 2019-2020 academic year, median earnings in 2015 of students who entered university in the 2004-2005 academic year, and the most common degree awarded in the 2017-2018 academic year came from the National Center for Education Statistics of the U.S. Department of Education.
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