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Online Catholic Colleges Methodology


Eligible schools for this list must meet the following requirements:

  • Catholic affiliation was reported to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).
  • Institution is accredited.
  • The school meets online representation requirements.
  • The school has earnings data from College Scorecard, allowing OnlineU staff to calculate Salary Score.
  • The Salary Score of a given school must be greater than 50.

Schools are then ranked by Salary Score.

About the Data

Salary Score

Salary Scores represent alumni salaries after graduation within specific programs and degree levels. This rankings system — proprietary to Optimal —— allows readers to compare real-world salary outcomes for the alumni of their desired majors across universities. Armed with this data, prospective students can gauge which specific program might offer the highest financial outcome for graduates.

Salary Scores are calculated using data from College Scorecard, a resource provided by the U.S. Department of Education. To calculate a school’s overall Salary Score by level, OnlineU staff compares alumni earnings for each individual program to the same programs at schools across the country. In this way, a degree program at one school was evaluated against the same degree program across all schools.

Online Learning Representation

In order to qualify for our rankings, a school must have sufficient "online representation." This means that a school must have at least five programs at the bachelor's level that are administered online. A fully online degree is defined as such when the majority of lectures, discussions, and assignment submissions occur through a remote learning management system. OnlineU manually collects this information from college websites. Schools with programs that require some on-campus coursework are still considered for our rankings if the amount of required in-person work is limited to two weeks per year.

To maintain a strong focus on online education, OnlineU's rankings focus on schools with significant online student representation. Therefore, all ranked schools must meet at least one of the following thresholds for online representation:

  • A significant percentage of the student population is represented as distance learners.OnlineU calculates our chosen threshold by pulling data from the NCES' Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).
  • The median number of online students for a certain degree level is proportionate to typical online representation across institutions.

Data Sources

Manual Collection

Online degrees are manually researched. Out-of-state tuitions are used unless in-state tuition is offered to all online students. Colleges with tuitions over $30,000 are excluded from rankings. Figures are accurate at the time of publication; please check with the institution for current tuition rates.

If you are a school representative and have corrections or additional data on your school's offerings, please contact us.

National Center for Education Statistics

Religious affiliation, online enrollment, median earnings, and accreditation information is based on data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The NCES is the primary governmental entity for gathering and presenting data related to education and its database is updated annually.