Online colleges in Connecticut offer a wide variety of degrees in a range of study areas. Students may learn as residents of the state or take classes from other locations around the country. Thankfully, distance is becoming less and less of a barrier to entry for college students — but another barrier is tuition costs. The state of Connecticut offers Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) workshops and training through the CT College Bound Initiative as well as the Minority Advancement Program, which provides funding for students with disadvantaged backgrounds. Along with four-year universities, prospective students may also want to browse degrees from online community colleges in Connecticut, where they may be able to save even more money.
Charter Oak State College is a public institution based in New Britain, CT that's focused exclusively on online learning. They offer over 20 bachelor's degrees for remote students in subjects such as social work, history, and cybersecurity. Examples include a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management Program, and Bachelor of Science in Psychology. In addition to bachelor's programs, Charter Oak offers three associate degrees, three master's degrees, and three certificates.
The school also takes into account prior learning credits that help accelerate a student's completion time by considering what they already know. Busy, budget-minded students may take advantage of the school's Women in Transition initiative that offers financial aid for single mothers. Coursework is delivered through the Blackboard learning management system (LMS). Online students have access to eTutoring and online libraries.
Goodwin University (GU) is a private institution in East Hartford, CT. As a career-focused university, it features specialized programs designed to put students on a track for employment. There are 11 completely online degrees, four of which are at the bachelor's level. These options include a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN), a Bachelor of Science in Public Health, a Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies, and a Bachelor's in Business Administration. Students may also earn a Certificate in Business Administration or Certificate in Medical Billing and Coding. Courses for these programs are delivered through Canvas' online learning software. Distance learners can also receive academic advising, career services, and counseling.
The University of Bridgeport (UB) is a private university located in its namesake city of Bridgeport, CT. UB has 17 fully-online degrees — the majority of which are taken at the undergraduate level. There's a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene, and a Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Additional undergraduate offerings include accelerated degrees in human services and psychology, an education minor, and business certificates in project management and human resources management. All coursework within these programs are taken through the Canvas LMS. Online students receive support through a technical help desk, online libraries and bookstores, as well as career development services and web advisors.
Albertus Magnus College (AMC) is a private, Catholic institution in New Haven, CT. The school offers a unique slate of accelerated, flexible, and online courses. Known as the FLEX format, AMC students can choose whether they want to study completely online or participate in some on-campus classes. There are 21 full programs to choose from in the FLEX format, including a Bachelor of Science in Accounting, a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Religion, and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. When it comes to total courses, there are 248 individual classes that can be delivered online, including Modern Art and Architecture, Sociology of Law, and Introduction to Esports Management. AMC uses a web-based eLearning platform to deliver online coursework. Remote students can also take advantage of academic advising and research support services.
Sacred Heart University (SHU) is a private, Catholic university in Fairfield, CT. It offers six online bachelor's degrees, five of which are designed for part-time students. Options include a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice; Bachelor of Science in Health Science; Bachelor of Science in Psychology; and Bachelor of Arts in Strategic Communication, Public Relations, and Advertising. There's also a general studies degree, where students can pick between a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science. The sixth program, a Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing, is also delivered on a flexible schedule. Blackboard's digital platform is used to deliver all online coursework. Once enrolled in an online program, students receive technology and academic support and access to a career and professional services portal.
The Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) are a system of 17 accredited public colleges and universities: four state universities, 12 community colleges, and Charter Oak State College, which is an online college. In addition to CSCU schools, there are 18 regionally or nationally accredited, in-state, nonprofit institutions, three accredited state-supported institutions, and six out-of-state regionally-accredited nonprofit institutions.
In 2020, nearly 45% of college students in Connecticut enrolled in online-only education courses. In-state residents may qualify for one of two scholarship and grant programs available through the State of Connecticut aimed at increasing access and affordability.
In its annual study from 2022, evaluating the nation’s top states for higher education, SmartAsset ranked Connecticut the 8th top state for higher education. Among the metrics by which states were evaluated, Connecticut ranked 6th for best student-to-faculty ratio, 8th for highest undergraduate graduation rate (67%), and 10th for the greatest 20-year return on investment ($394,325).
SmartAsset’s 2022 study marks the fifth consecutive year Connecticut has ranked number 8 or higher in the annual study, having earned a ranking of sixth or better from 2018 to 2021:
The University of Connecticut (UConn) — the largest public, four-year institution in the state — boasts one of the country’s top institutional undergraduate graduation rates at 73%, earning the number 7 ranking in 2022.
With such consistently high accolades as a state, Connecticut’s 44 accredited colleges and universities provide strong educational opportunities in a personal setting with a high level of return on investment.
Why Study at an Online School in Connecticut?
The pandemic forever changed the landscape of higher education, as the vast majority of colleges and universities shifted classes entirely online during the peak of the pandemic.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), “In fall 2020, some 75 percent (11.8 million) of all undergraduate students were enrolled in at least one distance education course, and 44 percent (7.0 million) of all undergraduate students exclusively took distance education courses.”
The Connecticut Office of Higher Education reports that Connecticut colleges and universities offer a combined 300 online academic programs at or above the associate level. In a state where 40% of the population aged 25 and older hold a bachelor’s degree, a state-wide commitment to higher education is apparent.
# of Online Programs
Whether you’re a traditional, full-time college student, a nontraditional student trying to balance college with a career and family, or an established professional looking to change career fields, the myriad of online academic programs offered by Connecticut institutions makes higher education a reality for students across the country. And if you’re interested in a non-degree program, there are more than 50 certificate programs from which to choose.
As of fall 2019, the total enrollment throughout the state totaled 193,686.
Online Colleges in Connecticut
The CSCU System
Of the 44 regionally or nationally accredited colleges and universities in Connecticut, 17 public colleges and universities are part of the CSCU system. CSCU is divided into three units: four state universities, 12 community colleges, and one online-only school (Charter Oak College).
With such a diverse group of institutions offering such a wide array of online degree programs, there’s truly an institution & academic program for everyone in Connecticut. The colleges and universities above rank as having the top online programs in the state.
Students interested in attending any of the 12 CSCU community colleges will benefit from CSCU’s community college “Open Door” admissions policy. The policy grants admission to every high school graduate or student holding a high school equivalency diploma (GED) without having to take the Scholastic Aptitude Tests (SAT). However, special programs may have additional requirements, so be sure and visit the community college’s admissions website to learn more.
Some programs are 100% online, whereas others are hybrid — meaning 50% of the coursework is delivered online — and 50% are completed on campus. Online courses tend to be asynchronous which lets students watch lectures, complete readings and homework, etc. on their own time.
It typically takes four years as a full-time student to complete an online bachelor’s degree in Connecticut. Online graduate and professional degree programs vary in length based both on the individual program and the number of hours a student takes each term.
Admission requirements for four-year programs in Connecticut vary from one institution to another, including individual CSCU member schools and private colleges and universities.
In simple terms, accreditation serves as an official stamp of approval for a college or university. The accreditation process entails an extensive review of an institution’s academic quality. When considering online college in Connecticut, you’ll definitely want to research the accreditation status of potential schools.
The U.S. Department of Education and Council for Higher Education Accreditation are not part of the institutional accreditation process. Instead, the two entities simply provide oversight of national and regional accrediting bodies.
In addition to federal student aid opportunities available by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), there are several grant and scholarship programs offered to qualifying applicants through the State of Connecticut Office of Financial Aid.
The Pledge to Advance Connecticut (PACT) program provides free tuition to students attending any of the 12 community colleges in the State. PACT helps by covering any remaining tuition charges after a student’s scholarships and need-based financial aid.
The State of Connecticut Office of Higher Education states there are two grants and scholarships for in-state residents attending public or nonprofit institutions: the Roberta B. Willis Need-Based Scholarship and the Roberta B. Willi Grant Program. Based primarily on high school class rankings in the top 20% of minimum threshold scores on ACT or SAT scores, recipients can receive up to $5,250 per year for full-time enrollment at a four-year institution ($4,650 for full-time students at two-year colleges).
To apply for the Need-Based Scholarship Program, you’ll need to complete an application through your high school guidance counselor by February 15 and complete the FAFSA.
The Roberta B. Willis Need-Based grant is for Connecticut high school juniors and seniors with a class rank in the top 20% and have an EFC from the FAFSA within program limits. Eligible applicants may receive up to $4,500 for full-time enrollment at four-year or two-year institutions.
To apply for the Grant Program, you’ll need to contact your institution’s financial aid office.
Veterans at Connecticut public colleges and university may qualify for the State’s Veteran Tuition Benefit based on the following criteria:
Active members of the Connecticut Army and Air National Guard
Any Connecticut resident who is also a dependent child or a surviving spouse of a member of the Armed Forces killed in action on or after September 11, 2001
State residents who are dependent children of a person whom the Armed Forces has declared to be either missing in action or a prisoner of war while serving in the Armed Forces after January 1, 1960
Additionally, the Veterans Tuition Waiver covers any amount that exceeds the tuition benefit received under the federal 2008 Post-9/11 Veteran Educational Assistance Act.
In 2020-2021, 90% of Connecticut college and university graduates reported positive outcomes, with 52% being hired within a year and 37% choosing to continue their education.
In terms of average annual salary, almost 10 different positions average greater than $150,000 per year for graduates with a bachelor’s degree. Among those positions are compensation and benefit managers, marketing managers, computer and information systems managers, and more.
Students who have earned an associate degree can expect to receive stronger salaries than those without the degree, but they can also expect less, on average, than bachelor’s degree recipients. Positions reporting the greatest average annual salary for associate degree holders are nuclear medicine technologists, radiation therapists, funeral home managers, and air traffic controllers — each with average annual salaries of more than $85,000 or greater.
To learn more about career opportunities, take a look at our Career Guide.
At the moment, Charter Oak State University is the only accredited and exclusively online college or university in Connecticut. The State Office of Higher Education has an Academic Search resource that allows you to search for online programs at Connecticut institutions.
Does Connecticut Have Good Online Colleges?
Yes, the vast majority of online colleges and degree programs in Connecticut are accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education, which recognizes institutions for high quality academic programs.
Use our Salary Score system to quickly and easily compare colleges to find out which schools produce top-earning graduates across majors, including from online college programs.
Are There Scholarships in Connecticut for Online College?