Special Report

The Best Online Colleges

Source: Etittle1978 / Wikimedia Commons

19. Johnson University
> Location: Knoxville, TN
> Admission rate: 71.3%
> Median earnings of workers 10 years after entry: $29,800
> Most common degree: Theology and religious vocations

In addition to being one of the top online colleges, Johnson University in Knoxville, Tennessee, also ranks as one of the top colleges for religious studies. In fact, most graduates earn a degree in theology and religious vocations.

The Christian college ranks as one of the top online colleges in large part because it is a good deal. According to its ranking based on factors like graduation rate, tuition cost, earnings of graduates, and more, Niche gave Johnson University a B+ grade for its overall value.

Source: Courtesy of Minnesota State Community and Technical College

18. Minnesota State Community and Technical College
> Location: Fergus Falls, MN
> Admission rate: N/A
> Median earnings of workers 10 years after entry: $36,200
> Most common degree: Health professions and related programs

Minnesota State Community and Technical College is a two-year school that offers 41 online programs for students — 25 certificate programs and 16 associate’s degree programs. The school ranks as one of the best online colleges in part because of the high marks it received for its value. With an average cost of attendance under $15,000 per year, students and alumni gave the college a B+ grade for value.

Source: Courtesy of University of Southern Mississippi

17. University of Southern Mississippi
> Location: Hattiesburg, MS
> Admission rate: 97.9%
> Median earnings of workers 10 years after entry: $36,400
> Most common degree: Business, management, marketing, and related support services

The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg ranks as one of the best online colleges. Nearly 70% of students were enrolled exclusively or partially in distance education classes as of the fall 2019 semester, even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The school offers more than 20 online bachelor’s degree programs.

Southern Miss is a large public university, with an enrollment of nearly 12,000. The school ranks as one of the best online colleges in large part because of its faculty. Niche gave the college’s professors an A- grade, based on factors such as student surveys, diversity, salaries, and student to faculty ratio. The school has a 17:1 student-to-faculty ratio — lower than many other schools. This low ratio allows students to get individualized attention, which can help their learning.

Source: Courtesy of Holmes Community College

16. Holmes Community College
> Location: Goodman, MS
> Admission rate: N/A
> Median earnings of workers 10 years after entry: $28,300
> Most common degree: Health professions and related programs

Holmes Community College is one of just a handful of two-year colleges that do not offer bachelor’s degrees to rank among the best online colleges in the country. The school offers almost 100 associate’s degree and certificate programs.

Holmes Community College students are among the least likely to actually finish their program, with a 34.7% completion rate for full-time, first time college students. Yet the school ranks as one of the best in large part because its faculty received an A- grade from Niche.

Source: Aaron Lemen / Wikimedia Commons

15. California Baptist University
> Location: Riverside, CA
> Admission rate: 79.6%
> Median earnings of workers 10 years after entry: $42,600
> Most common degree: Health professions and related programs

California Baptist University ranks as one of the top online colleges, with an overall B+ grade from Niche. CBU also received a B+ both for its value and for its professors. The school offers two dozen different degree programs to online students. Its most commonly awarded degree fields are health professions, business, and liberal arts.