2020 Best Online Community Colleges

By OnlineU Staff | Updated 6/3/2020
2020 Best Online Community Colleges Badge

These are the country's best online community colleges for 2020, ranked by retention rate, number of online associate degrees offered, and online enrollment percentage.

Retention rate was weighted most heavily so that these rankings highlight the schools that serve students best. Learn more about our ranked schools or search for a list of the best online community colleges in your state.

View our methodology or learn more about OnlineU.

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RankSchool Annual Tuition Locations
# 1 #1 $3,555 Los Altos Hills (CA)
# 2 #2 $5,200 Newton (NJ)
# 3 #3 $5,499 Bismarck (ND)
# 4 #4 $4,050 Decatur (GA)
# 5 #5 $4,484 Wahpeton (ND)
# 6 #6 $5,696 Marshalltown (IA)
# 7 #7 $3,099 Lake City (FL)
# 8 #8 $8,415 Sioux Falls (SD)
# 9 #9 $2,393 Sanford (FL) (and 3 others)
# 10 #10 $5,115 Newtown (PA)
# 11 #11 $2,850 Rome (GA)
# 12 #12 $3,616 Douglas (AZ)
# 13 #13 $4,807 Shell Lake (WI)
# 14 #14 $2,584 Hamlet (NC)
# 15 #15 $5,653 Duluth (MN)
# 16 #16 $3,930 Hanceville (AL)
# 17 #17 $5,329 Richlands (VA)
# 18 #18 $3,565 Arkansas City (KS)
# 19 #19 $4,947 Wilburton (OK)
# 20 #20 $5,970 Alexandria (MN)
# 21 #21 $3,483 Boaz (AL)
# 22 #22 $2,430 Blytheville (AR) (and 3 others)
# 23 #23 $4,095 Cleveland (WI)
# 24 #24 $2,654 Tampa (FL)

2020 Best Online Community Colleges by State

All States

2020 Best Online Community College Ranking Details

#1 Foothill College

  • Annual Tuition: $3,555
  • Locations: Los Altos Hills (CA)
  • Accreditation: WASC ACCJC

A community college in Los Altos Hills, California, Foothill College offers 15 online associate degrees. Students can choose from Associate of Arts degree programs in anthropology, art history, English, graphic and interactive design, history, humanities, Japanese, music technology, psychology, sociology, Spanish, women’s studies and other disciplines. An Associate of Science in Geography is also available. FC uses the Canvas course management system to deliver all coursework. Some online courses include tests that must be proctored in person, and limited on-campus attendance may be required. Not all fully online courses are offered every quarter or even every year. FC’s graduation rate is nearly 62 percent, and 27 percent of FC students are online learners.

#2 Sussex County Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $5,200
  • Locations: Newton (NJ)
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

Sussex County Community College offers three online associate degrees: an Associate of Arts in English, an Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts with multiple concentrations, and an Associate of Science in Business Administration. Online classes are taught by the same faculty who develop the course curriculum and are offered asynchronously, meaning students can access coursework when it is most convenient. Sussex uses the Canvas learning management system and offers instructions on how to use this platform.

#3 Bismarck State College

  • Annual Tuition: $5,499
  • Locations: Bismarck (ND)
  • Accreditation: HLC

A total of 18 online associate degree programs are available at Bismarck State College, located in Bismarck, North Dakota. Associate degrees are offered in administrative assistant, cybersecurity and computer networks, electrical transmission systems technology, nuclear power technology, petroleum production technology and many other subjects. Students have weekly assignments, quizzes and tests, and they are required to participate in class discussions and meet deadlines. Information, assignments and updates are communicated through a dedicated BSC email account, and actual coursework is delivered using the Blackboard learning management system. Approximately 42.5 percent of BSC’s students are online learners.

#4 Georgia State University-Perimeter College

  • Annual Tuition: $4,050
  • Locations: Decatur (GA)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Perimeter College merged with Georgia State University in 2016, making it the largest associate-degree-granting institution in the state of Georgia. Today, nearly 8,000 online students are enrolled at the college. Many online programs are available and cover subjects such as business, health sciences, sport management, nursing, and more. Online students have access to a large number of resources and support services including, but not limited to, tutoring, productivity tools, technical support, disability services, mental health counseling, and career services.

#5 North Dakota State College of Science

  • Annual Tuition: $4,484
  • Locations: Wahpeton (ND)
  • Accreditation: HLC

North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton, North Dakota, offers 11 online associate degree programs. Distance learners can choose from such fields as administration and finance, business technology management, health information technician, medical coding, paramedic technology, pharmacy technician and web design/web developer. Transfer degrees are available for those who are undecided about their major, but want to complete general requirements to transfer to a four-year institution. The Blackboard learning management system is used to deliver course material. Nearly half — 47.5 percent — of students at NDSCS are online learners, and the school has a 70 percent retention rate.

#6 Marshalltown Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $5,696
  • Locations: Marshalltown (IA)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Marshalltown Community College is part of the Iowa Valley Community College District. Located in Marshalltown, Iowa, the schools offers one fully online associate degree: an Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts. This program is designed for students looking to earn credits to transfer to a university in the state. Marshalltown Community College has agreements with multiple schools, including Iowa State University and University of Iowa, that allow for a complete transfer of credits from the online Associate of Arts program. All online classes are delivered via Blackboard Learn on the semester schedule. Some courses are taught synchronously, with defined due dates, while other classes allow students to follow along with the curriculum on their own. Associate of Arts students take 64 credits to earn their degrees, with required courses in communications, humanities, social science, math, and physical sciences.

#7 Florida Gateway College

  • Annual Tuition: $3,099
  • Locations: Lake City (FL)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Florida Gateway College offers online associate degrees in business administration, early childhood education, and environmental science technology. Online courses are delivered through the Canvas learning management system. Through this platform, students can access coursework, participate in discussions, and submit assignments. Distance students have access to online library resources, tutoring services, and career center services. Additionally, one-on-one academic advising services are available as well as assistance with enrolling in online courses. Tuition for in-state students is very affordable at $103 per credit and online, out-of-state students benefit from discounted rates.

#8 Southeast Technical Institute

  • Annual Tuition: $8,415
  • Locations: Sioux Falls (SD)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Located in Sioux Falls, SD, Southeast Technical Institute offers online associate degrees in accounting, business administration, computer programming, entrepreneurship, healthcare leadership, and marketing. Southeast Tech participates in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement which means that programs offered by the school meet national standards. Online courses include videos, lectures, and direct communication with faculty. Each week, students are expected to submit assignments. Occasionally, proctoring may be required for exams; however, students who are unable to travel to the Southeast Tech testing center may use an instructor-approved proctor.

#9 Seminole State College of Florida

  • Annual Tuition: $2,393
  • Locations: Sanford (FL) (and 3 others)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Located in Sanford, Florida, Seminole State College of Florida offers 17 online associate degrees. The school’s Associate of Science programs are offered in such subjects as administrative office management, computer programming and analysis, entrepreneurship and business management, social media and marketing, and supply chain management. An Associate of Arts is available as well. Several online bachelor’s degree programs are also offered at SSCF. Coursework is delivered via the Canvas learning management system, and technical support is available 24/7, 365 days a year. Nearly 19 percent of SSCF’s total student enrollment is comprised of online learners.

#10 Bucks County Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $5,115
  • Locations: Newtown (PA)
  • Accreditation: MSCHE

Bucks County Community College, a two-year institution of higher learning near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, offers 24 online associate degree programs. Students can choose from many different subjects, including business administration, computer science, emergency management, English (3 tracks), entrepreneurship and small business management, fire science, history, psychology, social work, and technical entrepreneurship. Coursework is delivered entirely online by the Canvas learning management system, but some programs require an internship or field work; proctored testing may also be required. Approximately 12 percent of BCCC students are online learners, and the college has a retention rate of 68 percent.

#11 Georgia Highlands College

  • Annual Tuition: $2,850
  • Locations: Rome (GA)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Georgia Highlands College offers eight online associate degrees and over 100 online courses. The web-based courses are taught by GHC faculty members and have the same start and end dates as the traditional courses. Some courses are delivered through an eClassroom, which require students to meet virtually through the Zoom video conferencing platform at specific times. Online students at GHC can also take eCore classes through a partnership with the University System of Georgia. These courses are taught by faculty members from other institutions within the university system. Multiple support services are available to distance students including advising, technical support, and time management tools.

#12 Cochise College

  • Annual Tuition: $3,616
  • Locations: Douglas (AZ)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Cochise College provides online learning options to more than 2,500 students. Online courses are offered through their Moodle system and have quite a few degree programs including Computer Programming, Economics, Liberal Studies, Computer Information Systems, and Business Administration. You can also take courses in the Arizona General Education curriculum which allows students to fulfill the general education requirements at all Arizona universities. Students who complete an AGEC with a minimum GPA of 2.5 and a grade of C or better in each course are guaranteed to be admitted to any Arizona public university.

#13 Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College

  • Annual Tuition: $4,807
  • Locations: Shell Lake (WI)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College offers several online associate degree options in subjects such as accounting, early childhood education, and information technology. Many virtual learning options are available for students who are unable to attend traditional, on-campus classes. The most flexible option is internet-based courses delivered through Blackboard, which can be accessed at any time. Other courses are offered via interactive television (ITV), requiring students to attend a remote classroom site, for example in a nearby library, museum, or secondary school. With this technology, students are easily able to participate in group discussions with the instructor and other classmates over video conferencing. WITC also offers free webinars for those who are looking to explore other academic or career fields. Within six months of graduating, 94% of WITC graduates receive employment.

#14 Richmond Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $2,584
  • Locations: Hamlet (NC)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Richmond Community College offers 100% online associate degrees in accounting, business administration, criminal justice, early childhood education, healthcare management technology, and information technology. Distance-learning students who are unable to travel to the Richmond CC campus may use ProctorU for exam proctoring services. Other student services include online counseling, tutoring, a career center, library resources, and disability services. Tuition is very affordable at just $76 per credit hour for in-state students and $268 per credit hour for out-of-state students.

#15 Lake Superior College

  • Annual Tuition: $5,653
  • Locations: Duluth (MN)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Lake Superior College offers over 20 online associate degrees in subjects such as computer programming, cybersecurity, paralegal studies, and business administration. LSC uses the Brightspace learning management system which is developed by D2L. Distance-learning students are expected to regularly log in and participate in coursework. Failure to do so for 14 consecutive days will lead to a failing grade. Tutoring services are available over email, phone, and online meetings. Students who are looking for career guidance can take advantage of an online career workshop. The college also offers a MyMilitary career workshop that is geared toward veterans.

#16 Wallace State Community College-Hanceville

  • Annual Tuition: $3,930
  • Locations: Hanceville (AL)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Wallace State Community College offers a wide variety of online associate degrees and certificates. These programs cover subjects such as art, business management, child development, criminal justice, computer science, and mathematics. Online courses are delivered through the Blackboard learning management system. For exam proctoring, WSCC uses the Respondus LockDown Browser system. Students have free access to the Microsoft Office suite and a tutoring lab to help with coursework in English, math, science, computer science, and writing.


#17 Southwest Virginia Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $5,329
  • Locations: Richlands (VA)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Southwest Virginia Community College offers several online associate degrees and certificates in fields such as accounting, business management, early childhood education, emergency management, and psychology. Online courses are delivered via the Canvas learning management system; detailed instructions are available on how to use SVCC’s online tools and resources. Distance students have access to Virtual Advisers who are available via live chat, email correspondence, or phone calls. Tutoring services are also available through Zoom web conferencing.

#18 Cowley County Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $3,565
  • Locations: Arkansas City (KS)
  • Accreditation: HLC

While its central campus is found in Arkansas City, Kansas, Cowley County Community College has several other locations across the state as well as an online college. Cowley County CC offers over 30 degrees that can be completed online, which include Associate of Arts degrees in everything from accounting to history, an Associate of Science in computer science, Associate of Applied Science degrees in fields such as medical transcription and business administration, and various Associate of General Studies programs. Most courses are asynchronous, meaning they do not require online attendance at specific times. Tuition for online associate programs is $115 per credit.

#19 Eastern Oklahoma State College

  • Annual Tuition: $4,947
  • Locations: Wilburton (OK)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Eastern Oklahoma State College offers online associate degrees in business administration, criminal justice, computer information systems, general studies, psychology, and sociology. Eastern is an approved institution with the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements, which means that their online programs meet national standards. Online courses are delivered through the Blackboard learning management system and Honorlock is used for remote exam proctoring. Free online tutoring is available to students at any time and in a variety of subjects through Tutor.com. For students seeking help with writing projects, Eastern offers Academic Success Coaches.

#20 Alexandria Technical & Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $5,970
  • Locations: Alexandria (MN)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Approximately 4,000 students are enrolled at Alexandria Technical & Community College in Alexandria, Minnesota, and 27 percent are online learners. The college offers a total of 16 online programs, nine of which are associate degree programs. They include Associate of Arts degrees in economics, history, liberal arts and sciences, psychology and sociology. Students can also choose degrees in business, accounting, legal administrative assistant and speech-language pathology assistant. Several of the degree programs are designed for easy transfer to a four-year college or university. The community college has a 61 percent retention rate and a 71 percent graduation rate.

#21 Snead State Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $3,483
  • Locations: Boaz (AL)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Snead State Community College offers 100% online associate degrees in business, elementary education, and pre-nursing. Most coursework for these programs is delivered through the Blackboard system. Although face-to-face meetings are not required, some courses may require exam proctoring. For prospective students who are unsure if they are ready for online learning, Snead State offers a technical skills self-assessment. Snead State maintains many affiliations and memberships to ensure that the college’s online program offerings are high quality. For example, the college is a member of the Alabama Consortium for Technology and Learning and subscribes to Quality Matters, an organization that focuses on evaluating the quality of online courses.

#22 Arkansas Northeastern College

  • Annual Tuition: $2,430
  • Locations: Blytheville (AR) (and 3 others)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Arkansas Northeastern College is a two-year institution in Blytheville offering students the opportunity to earn an associate degree online. The school is accredited through the Higher Learning Commission and offers general studies degrees, as well as concentrations in criminal justice, business, criminology, and early childhood education. Earning an associate degree online through ANC prepares students to transfer to a four-year institution to complete a bachelor's degree in their chosen discipline, though students looking to pursue immediate entry-level employment can do so through the criminal justice program. Credit hours cost $70 in-county, $80 out-of-county, and $130 for out-of-state and international students.

#23 Lakeshore Technical College

  • Annual Tuition: $4,095
  • Locations: Cleveland (WI)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Lakeshore Technical College offers online associate degrees in accounting, marketing, human resources, information technology, and supply chain management, among other subjects. Many flexible learning options are available including fully online courses, blended courses that combine online and in-person meetings, interactive television (ITV) courses, and print-based correspondence courses. Fully online courses are the most flexible options and are delivered through the Blackboard learning management system. Before starting an online course, students must complete online orientation.

#24 Hillsborough Community College

  • Annual Tuition: $2,654
  • Locations: Tampa (FL)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Hillsborough Community College offers several online associate degree programs in fields such as business administration, psychology, criminal justice, and fire science. Over 240 online courses are available and coursework is delivered through the Canvas learning management system. There are two types of online courses available at HCC: those that require live class meetings and those that do not. Distance students communicate with each other and instructors over live chat, email correspondence, and videoconferencing. Many support services are available including tutoring, counseling services, an academic success center, and tech support.

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