Special Report

The Best Online Colleges

Source: Courtesy of McFatter Technical College

24. McFatter Technical College
> Location: Davie, FL
> Admission rate: N/A
> Median earnings of workers 10 years after entry: $36,600
> Most common degree: Health professions and related programs

McFatter Technical College is a vocational school located in Davie, Florida, just north of Miami. The campus also contains a high school. Unlike most schools on this list, McFatter Technical College is a two-year school, offering a dozen certificate programs. Most other schools on this list are four-year colleges that offer bachelor’s degrees.

The school ranks as one of the best online colleges, in large part because it has a 62% graduation rate, much higher than the 49% average among all schools. Also, 85% of MTC graduates are employed two years after graduation, slightly higher than the 83% rate across all colleges.

Source: Courtesy of AdventHealth University

23. AdventHealth University
> Location: Orlando, FL
> Admission rate: 86.9%
> Median earnings of workers 10 years after entry: $56,000
> Most common degree: Health professions and related programs

AdventHealth University is an Orlando, Florida-based college that is associated with the Seventh Day Adventist Church and its AdventHealth health care system. The school offers three online degree programs. The vast majority of degrees AdventHealth University awards — nearly 95% — are in the health professions and related programs.

Health care professions tend to pay relatively well, and the median income for working AHU graduates 10 years after entering the school is $56,000 — one of the 20 highest incomes out of more than 300 colleges for which there is data.

Source: Courtesy of University of Illinois at Springfield

22. University of Illinois at Springfield
> Location: Springfield, IL
> Admission rate: 52.8%
> Median earnings of workers 10 years after entry: $44,600
> Most common degree: Business, management, marketing, and related support services

The University of Illinois at Springfield is a part of the University of Illinois System, one of several large four-year state schools to rank among the best online colleges. The college offers 12 online degree programs and is one of eight colleges on this list to award more business degrees than any other degree.

Of the best online colleges, the University of Illinois at Springfield is also one of the most difficult to get into, admitting just over half of applicants, at 52.8%. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, in the fall of 2019, more than 40% of the school’s students were exclusively enrolled in online courses.

Source: ChandraDhas / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

21. Berklee College of Music
> Location: Boston, MA
> Admission rate: 47.6%
> Median earnings of workers 10 years after entry: $30,300
> Most common degree: Visual and performing arts

Berklee College of Music is the only school to rank among the best online colleges to award more performing arts degrees than any other type of degree. Other top online colleges more commonly award business, engineering, health professions, and theology degrees.

Berklee is the most difficult of the best online colleges to get into, admitting less than half of all applicants. It is also by far the most expensive, with an average cost of attendance over $63,000 per year. School data clearinghouse Niche gave the school’s academics a B+ grade overall, based on student and alumni reviews, as well as data like admissions rate and the quality of professors.

Source: Courtesy of Southwest Mississippi Community College

20. Southwest Mississippi Community College
> Location: Summit, MS
> Admission rate: N/A
> Median earnings of workers 10 years after entry: $24,800
> Most common degree: Liberal arts and sciences, general studies and humanities

Southwest Mississippi Community College is one of just a handful of two-year schools to rank among the best online colleges. The school offers nine associate’s degree programs to its online students.

Of its nearly 1,800 students, more than half were either enrolled in some or all distance learning classes in the fall 2019 semester. The school ranks highly, with Niche giving the school’s academics and value B+ grades.