The 100 Most Popular Accredited Online Schools & Colleges

By Taylor Nichols | Updated December 3, 2020

Our list of the most popular online colleges includes accredited, flexible degree programs that are popular among students. Each of these schools has established a strong reputation that resonates with online students on top of meeting accreditation standards of academic rigor and quality. We've included tuition rates and recommendation rates to help students make more informed decisions and find the school that best fits their educational needs. We've also provided information about factors that are popular among students in their online programs and answers to frequently asked questions.

SCHOOLS BY TYPE: Affordable | Non-Profit | Military-Friendly | Popular

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Level
School Annual Tuition Recommend Rate
# 1 #1 University of Arizona $11,800 100% (2 reviews)
# 2 #2 University of Florida $28,659 60% (5 reviews)
# 3 #3 University of South Florida Online $17,324 67% (3 reviews)
# 4 #4 Thomas Edison State University $9,967 58% (72 reviews)
# 5 #5 Texas A&M University-College Station $37,495 67% (3 reviews)
# 6 #6 University of Virginia $49,032 Add Review
# 7 #7 Texas Tech University $19,040 0% (3 reviews)
# 8 #8 Georgia State University $23,971 0% (1 review)
# 9 #9 Colorado State University-Fort Collins $29,608 100% (5 reviews)
# 10 #10 University of California - Berkeley $43,176 67% (3 reviews)
# 11 #11 Northeastern University $51,522 100% (3 reviews)
# 12 #12 University of Kansas $27,358 100% (1 review)
# 13 #13 Lamar University $18,333 50% (14 reviews)
# 14 #14 Baker College Online $9,800 59% (91 reviews)
# 15 #15 Johns Hopkins University $53,740 Add Review
# 16 #16 Oregon Institute of Technology $28,668 Add Review
# 17 #17 Eastern New Mexico University-Main Campus $8,247 100% (4 reviews)
# 18 #18 University of Illinois Urbana - Champaign $31,664 Add Review
# 19 #19 University of Idaho $25,500 100% (2 reviews)
# 20 #20 University of Wisconsin-Platteville $15,646 Add Review
# 21 #21 Western Kentucky University $26,280 100% (1 review)
# 22 #22 Arizona State University $23,482 72% (99 reviews)
# 23 #23 Drexel University $53,244 67% (6 reviews)
# 24 #24 University of Central Florida $22,467 88% (8 reviews)
# 25 #25 Columbia University in the City of New York $59,430 Add Review
# 26 #26 University of Alabama at Birmingham $19,704 100% (1 review)
# 27 #27 Auburn University $30,524 100% (2 reviews)
# 28 #28 University of Colorado Denver $25,771 100% (2 reviews)
# 29 #29 West Virginia University $24,950 100% (1 review)
# 30 #30 Texas Woman's University $17,756 .'>100% (2 reviews)
# 31 #31 University of Alabama $29,230 67% (3 reviews)
# 32 #32 University of North Dakota $20,759 67% (3 reviews)
# 33 #33 Northwestern University $54,568 0% (2 reviews)
# 34 #34 Indiana Wesleyan University Online $9,816 41% (27 reviews)
# 35 #35 University of Wyoming $17,490 100% (2 reviews)
# 36 #36 Ferris State University $11,788 Add Review
# 37 #37 Southern Illinois University - Carbondale $29,160 Add Review
# 38 #38 University of Massachusetts - Amherst $34,570 60% (5 reviews)
# 39 #39 Georgia Institute of Technology $33,020 Add Review
# 40 #40 University of Wisconsin - Madison $36,805 0% (1 review)
# 41 #41 Rutgers University $31,282 67% (3 reviews)
# 42 #42 Pennsylvania State University-World Campus $13,988 50% (4 reviews)
# 43 #43 Ohio State University-Main Campus $30,742 Add Review
# 44 #44 Villanova University $19,005 100% (1 review)
# 45 #45 Clarion University $16,054 100% (3 reviews)
# 46 #46 Savannah College of Art and Design $37,130 Add Review
# 47 #47 University of Southern Mississippi $10,624 0% (1 review)
# 48 #48 Mississippi State University $23,250 0% (1 review)
# 49 #49 Florida Atlantic University $17,276 67% (6 reviews)
# 50 #50 Johnson & Wales University-Online $13,365 0% (1 review)
# 51 #51 University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus $32,052 50% (2 reviews)
# 52 #52 Touro University Worldwide $14,600 70% (10 reviews)
# 53 #53 Fordham University $52,687 Add Review
# 54 #54 Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences $33,620 Add Review
# 55 #55 University of South Dakota $12,425 60% (5 reviews)
# 56 #56 University of Washington - Seattle $36,588 100% (2 reviews)
# 57 #57 Indiana State University $19,836 83% (6 reviews)
# 58 #58 Bellevue University $7,827 66% (65 reviews)
# 59 #59 University of Alaska Fairbanks $20,218 Add Review
# 60 #60 University of Arkansas $25,168 100% (2 reviews)
# 61 #61 North Carolina State University $28,444 50% (2 reviews)
# 62 #62 University of Missouri $27,042 Add Review
# 63 #63 University of Louisiana-Monroe $20,654 67% (3 reviews)
# 64 #64 The University of Tennessee - Knoxville $31,426 100% (1 review)
# 65 #65 Midwestern State University $11,183 75% (4 reviews)
# 66 #66 University of Northern Colorado $21,786 Add Review
# 67 #67 New York University $51,828 100% (2 reviews)
# 68 #68 Southern Utah University $20,586 50% (2 reviews)
# 69 #69 University of Kentucky $29,099 100% (4 reviews)
# 70 #70 Colorado State University Global $9,000 61% (84 reviews)
# 71 #71 California State University-Northridge $18,773 100% (1 review)
# 72 #72 University of Akron $15,500 Add Review
# 73 #73 Southern New Hampshire University Online $9,600 64% (374 reviews)
# 74 #74 Albany State University $16,196 Add Review
# 75 #75 Baylor University $45,542 Add Review
# 76 #76 Duke University $55,695 0% (1 review)
# 77 #77 Nova Southeastern University $30,900 71% (7 reviews)
# 78 #78 Missouri State University $15,326 0% (2 reviews)
# 79 #79 University of North Florida $20,798 Add Review
# 80 #80 California Coast University $4,612 90% (63 reviews)
# 81 #81 University of South Carolina-Columbia $33,298 Add Review
# 82 #82 Western Carolina University $7,926 100% (3 reviews)
# 83 #83 Wayne State University $27,991 50% (4 reviews)
# 84 #84 University of Iowa $31,233 Add Review
# 85 #85 The University of Texas at El Paso $22,629 67% (3 reviews)
# 86 #86 Florida State College at Jacksonville $9,992 36% (11 reviews)
# 87 #87 Illinois Institute of Technology $47,646 Add Review
# 88 #88 IUPUI $29,821 100% (1 review)
# 89 #89 Florida Gulf Coast University $25,162 100% (2 reviews)
# 90 #90 New Jersey Institute of Technology $32,750 Add Review
# 91 #91 University of Maryland - College Park $35,216 50% (4 reviews)
# 92 #92 Shiloh University $4,800 Add Review
# 93 #93 LeTourneau University $30,210 100% (2 reviews)
# 94 #94 University College $10,200 Add Review
# 95 #95 University of Cincinnati $27,334 83% (6 reviews)
# 96 #96 Wichita State University $17,452 100% (1 review)
# 97 #97 University of Nebraska-Lincoln $25,038 Add Review
# 98 #98 West Texas A & M University $9,304 Add Review
# 99 #99 Boise State University $23,776 100% (1 review)
# 100 #100 Clemson University $37,128 100% (2 reviews)

Prospective students often choose online classes because they are a convenient and affordable alternative to enrolling on campus, but there are many other factors that influence college decisions. Everything from credit transfer options to student support services can play a role in helping students succeed within an online learning environment.

When reading about popular aspects of undergraduate and graduate programs below, students should keep the importance of accreditation in mind. Programs can receive either regional or national accreditation, and accrediting bodies ensure that programs are meeting a given standard. Attending an accredited school is consequential when it comes to financial aid, the ability to transfer credits, and employment.

  • Affordable programs: The cost of tuition continues to be an important consideration for many, with more than half of online students citing this as the leading factor when choosing a program. As student debt continues to rise in the U.S., more students may turn to online degrees as a more affordable alternative to enrolling in on-campus programs and consider financial aid options when pursuing higher education.
  • Reputation: Although they may not be located on campus, online students still want to be proud of their school and feel like they’re part of a community. Online students rank school reputation as one of the top considerations prior to enrollment, and may seek out schools with a good reputation in their community to help them in their job search after graduation. Three in four online students choose a school within 50 miles of where they live, making it easier for local employers to recognize their credentials.
  • Easy credit transfer: Many college students who enroll in distance education want to complete their degree as quickly as possible and make their previous academic credits count. The option to transfer credits from other institutions is appealing for obvious reasons – it can save students money and time, and help maximize their investment. While students have historically struggled to apply transfer credits to their degrees, higher education institutions have become more flexible in recent years. Some institutions, such as the University of Maryland Global Campus, allow students to earn credits for prior learning or work experience, making higher education more affordable and accessible for working adults.
  • Career services: Extensive career services such as the ones offered at American Public University are a key component to student success post-graduation. Online students often enroll with specific professional goals in mind. They want to see tangible outcomes after earning their degree, whether it’s starting a new role, earning more money, or advancing in their current industry. Because online degrees are often geared towards working adults, most online colleges provide career guidance services, including resume assistance, career counseling, and advisors to help students find a degree that best fits their goals and education needs.
  • Up-to-date technology: Having an intuitive, user-friendly interface is an important component of distance learning. Whether they’re using a laptop, tablet, or smartphone, students want to be able to access online classes and complete assignments from wherever they are. Many online degree programs use learning management systems such as Canvas or Blackboard, which allow students to submit assignments, participate in discussions, view grades, and contact instructors on the website or through an app on their phone.
  • Wide range of available programs: If the program they’re interested in isn’t available online, students will usually find it at another school rather than change their field of study or enroll in on-campus classes. Adult learners are also becoming more interested in non-degree options than traditional education pathways, especially during COVID-19. Online colleges with credentials at every level, from certificate programs to bachelor's degrees and doctoral programs, are often popular because they provide many options to meet student needs.

Frequently Asked Questions about Popular Online Degrees

What majors are popular among online students?

Online courses allow students to pursue higher education more accessibly - often providing convenient course options like asynchronous schedules and flexible start dates, as well as more affordable tuition rates. Distance learning programs are pursued by undergraduate and graduate students alike as a viable option for personal growth and career advancement. There are hundreds of majors to choose from in the online format, including majors in the liberal arts like psychology and criminal justice, and majors in specialized areas like information technology and business administration.

Our research indicates that students of certain majors are more satisfied with their online education than others. We found that online students studying the social sciences, education, and humanities at the bachelor's level felt most prepared for their career and most satisfied with their education, and that those studying computer science felt the least prepared.

For graduate degrees, our research indicates that healthcare is among the leading fields of online study for student preparedness and satisfaction. The field is continuing to grow, with job opportunities expanding over the next decade. Other areas of study that lead to high levels of student satisfaction are the humanities, math, and science.

What are the best online colleges?

As student needs and goals vary, there are various factors to consider before enrolling in a program, and some may be more relevant than others based on individual circumstances. If affordability is a key consideration, students should be mindful of tuition rates, return on investment data, and financial aid options. We’ve compiled a list of low-tuition online colleges that may be helpful, along with tuition rates and return on investment (ROI) data on many of our ranking lists. In addition, the right college for any given student may vary based on location, class schedule, faculty, research expenditure, and supports for military students, undocumented students, and adult learners, among other considerations.

Which degree levels are most popular to take online?

According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, 2.3 million students were enrolled in online undergraduate degree programs in the fall of 2018, and 932,845 online students were enrolled at the graduate level. However, a larger portion of graduate students take advantage of distance education. While only 16% of undergraduate students were enrolled in fully-online classes, 31% of all graduate students were enrolled in distance education programs in 2018. Students may prefer to earn their master’s degrees online because many of them are working professionals and seeking credentials to advance in their field. Online classes make it easier to fit coursework around a full-time job, and often provide accelerated options that allow students to earn credentials at a faster pace.