With the proliferation of online degree programs, it was only a matter of time before U.S. News & World Report expanded their college rankings to reflect higher education’s growing presence in cyberspace. In 2012, 62.4% of colleges and universities offered fully online programs—almost twice as many as a decade before.
Of the 237 online bachelor’s programs evaluated by U.S. News, these are the schools that made the top 10, based on a wide range of factors including assessments, faculty, graduation rates and technologies accessible to students.
1. PACE UNIVERSITY
New York, N.Y.
Pace University has offered a fully online telecommunications technology/technician bachelor’s degree since the 2004-2005 academic year. The private institution’s program has a maximum class size of 20 and its six full-time and 15 part-time instructors have an average of 10 years of online teaching experience. Tuition for 2012-2013 is $556 per credit hour.
2. DAYTONA STATE COLLEGE
Daytona Beach, Fla.
At Daytona State College, students can earn degrees online in Business Administration, Management and Operation, and Engineering Technologies and related fields. The public college began offering fully online degrees during the 2006-2007 academic year, and while students apply as online students, they have the option of making the switch to campus-based learning. Tuition for 2012-2013 is $121 per credit in-state and $634 per credit out-of-state, and classes have a maximum enrollment of 35. The program’s 18 full-time and four part-time instructors have an average of 10 years of online teaching experience.
3. ST. JOHN'S UNIVERSITY
Online students at St. John’s University can earn bachelor’s degrees in Liberal Arts and Sciences/Liberal Studies, Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement Administration and Business Administration and Management. At $1,158 per credit, tuition for the private university’s online courses is the highest of the schools in the top 10. The 111 full-time and 59 part-time faculty members who teach the courses, which max out at 25 students, have an average of two years’ experience teaching online. The school began offering fully online degree programs in the 2005-2006 academic year.
4. WESTFIELD STATE UNIVERSITY
Westfield State University has offered fully online bachelor’s degrees in General Business/Commerce for about five years. Westfield state has the cheapest per-credit tuition of any school in the top 10 ($260 for students both in- and out-of-state), and its classes max out at 20 students. Seventy-two full-time and 40 part-time faculty members, with an average of three years’ online teaching experience, teach the courses.
5. GRACELAND UNIVERSITY
Bachelor’s degrees have been available to online students at Iowa’s Graceland University for the past decade. The private university charges $710 per credit for its programs in Registered Nursing and Health Care Administration/Management, which have a maximum class size of 20. There is an average of 9 years’ online teaching experience between the 12 full-time and five part-time faculty who teach the courses.
6. LAWRENCE TECHNOLOGICAL UNIVERSITY
Bachelor’s degrees in Information Technology can be earned online at Lawrence Technological University, which started its program in 2006-2007. Tuition is $910 per credit and courses max out at 25 students. Unlike the five schools preceding it, only part-time faculty members (a total of 12, with an average of three years’ online teaching experience) teach the courses. Additionally, students are able to take classes on campus without notification despite enrolling as online students.
7. COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY—GLOBAL CAMPUS
Greenwood Village, Colo.
As a fully accredited, fully online university, Colorado State University’s Global Campus has been in operation since the 2008-2009 academic year and boasts a total enrollment of 3,624. The school’s five most popular majors are Business Administration and Management, Human Resources Management/Personnel Administration, Social Sciences, Public Administration and Information Technology. Its class sizes max out at 26 students and are taught by 162 part-time instructors with an average of three years of experience teaching online. Tuition is $329 per credit for all students.
8. BRANDMAN UNIVERSITY
The top five online bachelor’s degree programs at New York’s Brandman University are Psychology, Early Childhood Education and Teaching, Social Sciences, Business Administration and Management, and Sociology. The private university has offered fully online degree programs since the 2008-2009 academic year and charges $583 per credit. Twenty-four full-time and 248 part-time faculty members teach the online courses, which hold a maximum of 30 students. Though students enroll as online students, they may take classes on-campus any time.
9. BELLEVUE UNIVERSITY
Nebraska’s Bellevue University may have the longest-running online bachelor’s degree programs on the list, as their online operations began in 1996-1997. Popular majors include Business/Commerce, Social Sciences, Health and Medical Administrative Services, Human Resources Management/Personnel Administration and Computer and Information Sciences. The private university charges $370 per credit, and its courses are taught by 80 full-time and 138 part-time faculty with an average of 9 years of experience teaching online. Online students at Bellevue must apply to switch to campus-based courses before they can take them.
10. REGENT UNIVERSITY
Virginia Beach, Va.
Regent University began offering bachelor’s degrees online during the 2003-2004 academic year. Tuition is $395 per credit, and 35 full-time and 237 part-time faculty members with an average of five years’ online teaching experience teach the courses. The school’s top five online majors are Psychology, Business Administration and Management, English Language and Literature, Organizational Behavior Studies and Religion/Religious Studies.
Would you like to see more education news like this in your inbox on a daily basis? Subscribe to our Education Dive email newsletter! You may also want to read Education Dive's overview of the top 10 Internet sources that college students use.