Special Report

The Best Online Colleges

Source: John Phelan / Wikimedia Commons

14. University of Massachusetts – Lowell
> Location: Lowell, MA
> Admission rate: 71.8%
> Median earnings of workers 10 years after entry: $53,300
> Most common degree: Business, management, marketing, and related support services

Though it ranks among the top online colleges, less than a third of University of Massachusetts – Lowell students were enrolled in either some or all online classes as of fall 2019. As a larger state school that is part of the University of Massachusetts System, UMass – Lowell has an enrollment of over 13,000 students.

UMass – Lowell offers 11 bachelor’s degree programs, 11 certificate programs, and four associate’s degree programs online. Overall, the school received a B+ grade from Niche, including an A grade for its value and a B+ for its academics.

13. Regis University
> Location: Denver, CO
> Admission rate: 60.3%
> Median earnings of workers 10 years after entry: $56,400
> Most common degree: Health professions and related programs

Regis University in Denver ranks as one of the best online colleges in the country, offering its students 26 different online bachelor’s degree programs. Of the best online colleges, it is one of the most difficult to get into, accepting just over 60% of applicants.

Regis University ranks as one of the best online colleges in large part because the school provides one of the better values among higher educational institutions. Most students working 10 years after entry earn over $56,000 per year, with an average salary of $62,700 — both figures rank among the top 20 among U.S. colleges. Overall, the school received an A- grade from Niche for its overall value, even though it is one of the pricier schools in the country with an average cost of attendance over $48,000.

Source: Courtesy of University of Minnesota Crookston

12. University of Minnesota Crookston
> Location: Crookston, MN
> Admission rate: 65.9%
> Median earnings of workers 10 years after entry: $44,800
> Most common degree: Business, management, marketing, and related support services

Like several other schools on this list, the University of Minnesota Crookston is part of a large public university system, in this case the University of Minnesota System. It offers students over a dozen online bachelor’s degree programs, including criminal justice, finance, IT management, and more.

The school ranks as one of the best online colleges in large part because it received an A- grade from Niche for its value, and an overall grade of B+. The average working student earns over $49,000 per year a decade after entry, higher than the vast majority of other colleges considered.

Source: Courtesy of Maryville University

11. Maryville University
> Location: Saint Louis, MO
> Admission rate: 94.5%
> Median earnings of workers 10 years after entry: $47,200
> Most common degree: Health professions and related programs

Maryville University is one of just a handful of the best online colleges that actually had over half of its students enrolled exclusively in distance education courses as of fall 2019, at 61.2%. The university has one of the highest admission rates among the best online colleges, at more than 94% of applicants admitted.

One of the benefits of online college is that it allows for greater flexibility for students, which may help some finish their degrees. Of the best online colleges, Maryville University has the highest degree completion rate, at 72.1%. The school ranks as one of the top online colleges in large part because it received an A- grade for its value, according to a Niche survey.

Source: Courtesy of Keiser University - Fort Lauderdale

10. Keiser University – Fort Lauderdale
> Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
> Admission rate: N/A
> Median earnings of workers 10 years after entry: $31,100
> Most common degree: Health professions and related programs

Keiser University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, offers its students more than 20 online bachelor’s degree programs. Health professions and related programs is by far the school’s most popular major, yet it offers other online degrees like engineering, business administration, psychology and more.

Overall, the school received a B+ grade from Niche, as well as a B+ for academics and an A grade for diversity. Per a Niche survey, 88% of students said professors put a lot of effort into teaching their classes, and 85% of students agree that the workload is easy to manage.