About Us

Since 2004, it has been our mission to help aspiring students accomplish their education and career goals by finding the online degree with the best value. We conduct manual research on thousands of online degrees each year to provide accurate, detailed cost information and salary information of alumni of these colleges. We have also collected reviews from over 13,000 online students. We want to make sure you have all of the information you need to choose the best college for you. OnlineU has been recognized by over 475 colleges as a leader in higher education rankings.

By providing data and resources that are easy to use but hard to find elsewhere, OnlineU hopes to empower more Americans to go to college while lowering the overall cost of earning a degree. We want to be part of the solution to the student debt crisis that has been plaguing our nation for years. Getting a degree might be necessary, but it shouldn't break the bank.

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On August 6, 2020, GuidetoOnlineSchools.com rebranded to OnlineU.com.

Later this year, our sister site, OnlineU.org, will be merged into OnlineU.com to make a single premier online higher education website.

Our focus for the new site, OnlineU.com, remains the same: helping students accomplish their educational goals by finding the online degree with the best value. We will continue to have both the best value and most affordable rankings on the new site. Please reach out to press@optimal.com if you have any questions regarding the rebrand or merge.

On this page

OnlineU is a product of Optimal, a leading higher education researcher and publisher. Optimal uses data to empower people to make better decisions about careers and education. In addition to providing comprehensive resources, Optimal gives away over $250,000 of its profit annually in needs-based scholarships.

What We Do

We publish rankings across hundreds of online degree programs, have collected reviews from over 13,000 online students, and publish comprehensive guides and news articles to help students find the best degree for their aspirations. Our focus is on researching and sharing hard-to-find, impactful data. That's why we manually research the tuition for each specific degree for colleges in our rankings, collect reviews from actual graduates of online programs, and provide salary information of alumni of our ranked schools.

Our users also have the ability to get connected with any of our over 200 partner colleges to get detailed information on the degrees they are interested in directly from school representatives.

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63,750
Students Matched Annually with Schools
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37,096
Tuitions Manually Researched
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2,328
Top Colleges Ranked
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13,280
Reviews Collected from Online Students

Our Team

Sung Rhee

Sung Rhee - CEO

Understanding the difficulties of obtaining a quality, affordable education inspired Sung to launch OnlineU in 2004. After a decade at Microsoft as the General Manager, he wanted to apply his skills to providing transparent, data-driven information to empower people to make better decisions for their education and careers. As a parent of two, Sung has found it gratifying to see the direct impact of the product on his own two childrens' college search process. When his high school daughter told him that she was planning to use the rankings Sung and his team built to help choose her college, Sung knew he had made the right choice to help more students like her.

Outside of work, Sung enjoys playing basketball and adding to his collection of Gundam figurines. A fun fact about Sung is that he was a cartoonist for The Harvard Crimson during his college years.

Brittany McCullough
Brittany McCullough
General Manager
In her 11 years at the company, Brittany has become the backbone of OnlineU...
Rachel Hansen
Rachel Hansen
Business Lead
In her ten years at the company, Rachel has been a key driver of our content and business...
Oliver Li
Oliver Li
Product Marketing Manager
As a member of the Business Growth Team, Oliver focuses on driving revenue...
Emily Ferrier
Emily Ferrier
College Rankings Lead
In her nine years at the company, Emily has become a core part of many aspects of...
Paige Longdon
Paige Longdon
Content Manager
As a Content Manager, Paige is dedicated to creating content that truly addresses...
Ryan Tam
Ryan Tam
Data Integrity Specialist
With 11 years of experience in data collection and quality assurance, Ryan...
Nicole Hopler
Nicole Hopler
Marketing Manager
As a Marketing Manager, Nicole is passionate about getting the word out...
Ivana Zetko
Ivana Zetko
Content Lead
As the Content Lead, Ivana is responsible for managing the awesome team of...
Victoria Duan
Victoria Duan
Content Strategist
As a Content Strategist, Victoria is responsible for managing the publishing calendar...
Madeline Miller
Madeline Miller
Content Strategist
As a Content Strategist, Madeline works to enhance our content...
Niki Seligman
Niki Seligman
Content Strategist
With four years of experience in writing and communications, Niki knows...
Aviva Schmitz
Aviva Schmitz
Engagement Manager
As a User Engagement Manager, Aviva is responsible for identifying and fixing...
Taylor Nichols
Taylor Nichols
Journalist / Reporter
In her six years of experience writing for higher education newspapers and...
Jennifer King Logan
Jennifer King Logan
Writer
With 35 years of experience, Jennifer is a seasoned writer who enjoys exploring all...
Diana Zaremba
Diana Zaremba
Writer
As a writer with five years of experience, Diana came to OnlineU with a background in...
Michael McCarthy
Michael McCarthy
Writer
With 11 years of experience in writing and editing, Michael is passionate about...
Adria Vaughn
Adria Vaughn
Email Outreach Specialist
As an Email Outreach Specialist, Adria is responsible for communicating with...
Jessie Yee
Jessie Yee
College Rankings Specialist
As a College Rankings Specialist, Jessie focuses on identifying the best data sources...
Brian Peters
Brian Peters
Lead Visual Designer
As a visual designer with 15 years of experience, Brian is inspired by creating...

Advisory Board

Meet our advisors! Our advisory board meets quarterly to review our content and to discuss how to best serve the needs of prospective students. They also contribute editorials and other expert content on OnlineU.

Amy Young
Dr. Amy Young
Professor and Department Chair at Pacific Lutheran University

Dr. Young's research interests comprise rhetorical style, expertise, and engagement in the public sphere.

Clinton Parrilla
Clinton Parrilla
Education Advocate at Northwest Education Access

Clinton supports and mentors low-income students, and reengages youth to achieve their higher education goals.

Hugo Palacios
Hugo Palacios
Peer Mentor at the University of California, Riverside

As a college student who grew up in a low-income community, Hugo has experienced the power of higher education first-hand.

Hansell Torres
Hansell Torres
Education Advocate at Northwest Education Access

Hansell works with the Basic Studies Department at Seattle Central College, helping students transition to college.

OnlineU in the News

As a driver of the college affordability and value conversation, OnlineU has been featured in many national and local media outlets, including Forbes, College Confidential, and Business Insider. Since releasing our first online college rankings in 2009, OnlineU has also been recognized by over 475 colleges as a leader in the online higher education space. For more information, please visit our press page.

“The (history) department is delighted by this honor, especially as the online track is only five years old.”

University of Massachusetts - Boston

“It’s nice to be recognized nationally for providing nurses the opportunity to advance their degree.”

California State University - Stanislaus

Professional Affiliations

Through our professional affiliations, Optimal strives to provide authoritative resources for students seeking high-quality and affordable online education programs.

Optimal is proud to be an institutional member of the Online Learning Consortium (OLC). OLC is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization that was founded in 1999 and comprises a collaborative community of leaders and innovators in the higher education space. Members are dedicated to advancing OLC’s vision of setting the global standard for online and digital learning.

We are also an organizational member of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC). Over the NACAC's 80+ years of service, it has furthered diversity and social justice by providing students with a path to success. The NACAC is recognized by policy makers and education leaders as the primary authority on postsecondary transition issues, and has influenced national and state policy to enhance access to higher education.

Advertising Policy

OnlineU makes money through lead generation. This means that we connect visitors with schools they have expressed interest in. Visitors can indicate interest in a school by filling out a contact information form and giving us permission to share their information with a particular school. There is no cost or commitment associated with filling out this form. For more information about how we use your data, see our privacy policy.

The money we receive from schools allows us to conduct and publish detailed research into colleges and universities so prospective students are empowered to make informed choices about their education.

Editorial Policy

The schools with whom we have an advertising relationship are referred to as "sponsored schools" or "advertising partners" throughout OnlineU. We ensure that our relationships with sponsored schools do not hinder our editorial integrity. Sponsored schools are clearly labeled as such throughout the site, and we never show sponsored schools any preferential treatment when developing our ranking lists.

All schools featured on our site are accredited by accrediting bodies recognized by the United States Department of Education. When creating our content, we always conduct extensive research in order to ensure that we provide accurate and current information about program offerings and tuition costs. This information comes directly from schools' official websites or representatives. We also source information from third-party research firms such as PayScale as well as government databases and agencies such as:

Our ranking list methodologies always list the data sources used to develop those rankings. Additionally, you can hover over any school's tuition rate to see where on the school's website we found that information.