Best Online Colleges And Universities In USA 2023 [Top 10 List]

Many students choose best online colleges and universities because of the schedule flexibility.


According to research done to study the recent university enrollment, higher education has been experiencing a decrease in traditional on-campus enrollment while seeing online registrations increase.

The online enrollments in 2017 alone totaled 3.85 million, growing 3% from the previous year. The report also found that more than 55% of all online students resided in the same state as their school of choice.

The best online colleges and universities in USA are the ones that build the knowledge and skills necessary for career advancement or transition and offer student services especially for online learners, including online tutoring, career services, and academic advising.


The top online programs also offer strong alumni networks and connections with prospective employers.

This article covers the basics of online education and ranks the best online colleges and universities in USA. You can use it to find the right program to help you reach your professional goals.

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What Is an Online College?


Online colleges allows students to get degrees through an online learning format. This online degree could be associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees, and graduate degrees.

Online students can pursue degrees in areas like business, education, finance, accounting, marketing, healthcare, or engineering.

During an online degree, learners complete coursework by watching recorded video lectures, taking part in discussion boards, and taking online examinations.

One of the advantage of attending an online program is that it is a great way to build your skills or transition into a new careers while still working full time.

You have the flexibility to plan coursework around your schedule. Students with family obligations may also prefer the flexibility of an online college.

In most cases, online degrees are offered through the same institutions as regular degrees and carry the same weight as an on-campus degree. As far as you earn it through a regionally accredited school, your online degree will be taken seriously.

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Why are students going online?

Apart from the fact that online school is more convenient, 74% of students report that career progression motivates them.

Most of the learners are hoping to pursue a new careers, update their professional skills, or are looking for an increase in salary or higher position in their job.

Many online students continue to enroll in business-related programs, but with the market growing, a wider variety of undergraduate and graduate programs are becoming available.

The number of enrollments in general business and psychology programs has given way to increased admission to specialized programs like computer science, child psychology, and nursing. Information Technology, STEM, and health and medicine programs have also become more accessible at the graduate level.

Campus vs. Online Programs

The difference between online programs and on-campus programs is its flexibility. In an online course there is no set class times.

This give students the opportunity to finish classwork whenever it is convenient for them.

This flexibility attract working professionals and students who need to balance school with other responsibilities or obligations.

Another thing is that it allows many learners to save on transportation costs by choosing an online degree.

Although, some learners chooses the face-to-face experience of on-campus programs. But online programs allow students to connect through discussion boards, group projects, and other interactive elements.

Not just that alone, online programs with lab or practicum requirements often let students do those classes locally.

For example, online nursing programs often use local health clinics. It’s also common for online colleges to have on-campus orientations or residencies.

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Best Online Colleges And Universities In USA

The schools listed below are best accredited online colleges approved by an accrediting body recognized by the US Department of Education and offer virtual or online education programs.

1. University of North Florida

The University of North Florida is a public university situated in Jacksonville, Florida. It has more than 14,000 students. It accepts about 59 percent of its applicants for admission.

The U.S. News and World Report have ranked the University of North Florida100th in top performers on social mobility, and 48th in online bachelor’s degree programs.

The bachelor’s degree is an RN to BSN degree completion program, and UNF offers a Doctorate of Nursing in psychology and mental health, a Master of Science in nutrition and dietetics, a Master of Science in criminal justice, a Master of Educational Leadership in educational technology or early childhood education, and a Master of Science in American Sign Language.

University of North Florida receives praise for the affordability of its online programs, which tend to be less expensive than on-campus courses.

A keynote is that the very popular RN to BSN program emphasizes that incoming grades are highly important.

2. University of Arkansas

University of Arkansas was founded in 1927 in Arkansas’ capital in Little Rock. University of Arkansas is one of the nation’s best online colleges and universities in USA.

The school offers more than 400 online courses and dozens of online degree and certificate programs.

University of Arkansas is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Many online classes in the University of Arkansas require students to devote 2-3 hours of study per credit.

A three-credit course requires 6-9 hours a week of studying time. Students that are enrolled into the University of Arkansas online program use Blackboard to access lessons and communicate with instructors and classmates.

Ottenheimer Library provides digital journals and research materials. University of Arkansas Little Rock’s Online Writing Lab and Mathematics Assistance Center offer virtual tutoring.

Undergraduates and graduate candidates submit transcripts and SAT or ACT scores. Some programs require GRE scores.

Some of the online degree available at the University of Arkansas includes business, communications, criminal justice, education, health and social sciences, information science, interdisciplinary, writing.

3. West Virginia University

The West Virginia University(WVU) is a public real estate research university with a main campus in Morgantown, West Virginia.

Other campuses West Virginia University include the University of West Virginia Institute of Technology at Beckley, Potomac State College at Kaiser State University, the University of West Virginia, and a second clinical campus for the university’s faculty of medicine and dentistry at Charleston Medical Center in Charleston.

WVU Extension Services provides contacts with offices in all 55 counties in West Virginia.

The fall 2018 semester enrollment was almost 27,000 for the main campus, while enrollment at the three non-clinical campuses was almost 30,000.

The Morgantown offers more than 350 undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, and professional programs at 14 colleges and schools.

4. University of Michigan

University of Michigan has its headquarter in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and it is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. It is one of the best online colleges and universities in USA.

The top-ranked University of Michigan has three entirely online degree programs for students around the country, a Master of Applied Data Science, a Master of Business Administration, and a Master of Public Health in Population and Health Sciences.

The U.S. News and World Report ranked University of Michigan as the top 23rd university in the nation.

The University of Michigan campus at Ann Arbor alone has an undergraduate student body of almost 30,000.

At University of Michigan at Dearborn, there are additional graduate degree offerings that include a Master of Education, a Master of Science in several engineering fields, including electrical, energy systems, computer, mechanical and chemical, and a Master of Science in finance.

At University of Michigan at Flint, online degree programs are all degree-completion programs. That means you will need to bring some required credits to the university to gain admission to the program.

The University of Michigan at Flint online degree programs include a Bachelor of Applied Science, a Bachelor of Business Administration in either general business, accounting, or marketing; and a Bachelor of Science in psychology, nursing, respiratory therapy, health care administration, and substance use treatment and intervention.

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5. Franklin University

The Franklin University is established in 1902 and it educates students online and on campus in Columbus, Ohio.

The school’s online degree and certificate programs run in 12, 15, and 16-week sessions. Students can earn a master’s degree in 12-28 months. Learners can earn a doctorate in 36 months.

This private college works with worldwide partners, including 13 community and vocational schools.

Franklin University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The Franklin University offers online associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. Transfer students can transfer up to 94 credits.

As one of the nation’s best online colleges, Franklin also accepts credit by examination. Admission requirements vary by degree.

Some of the online degrees available in the Franklin University includes Analytics, business, education, finance and accounting, healthcare, management, marketing and communications, nursing, public and social sciences, technology.

6. State University of New York

The State University of New York is the system of public colleges and universities in the State of New York.

It is the largest combined system of universities, colleges and public schools in the United States, with a total enrollment of more than 424,000 students plus 2,195,082 adult education students on 64 campuses across the state.

Led by Interim Chancellor Deborah F. Stanley, the State University of New York system has over 91,000 employees, including 32,496 faculty members, and a total of approximately 7,660 diploma and certificate programs and a budget of $13.08 billion.

7. Smith College

One of the best online colleges is Smith College. The U.S. News and World Report have given Smith College multiple amazing rankings which includes, #17 in National Liberal Arts College, #51 in Best Value Colleges, and #127 in Top Performers on Social Mobility.

Smith College is the largest all-women’s college in the United States with a total enrollment of over 2,000 students.

Smith college offers thousands of different courses, a multitude of varsity sports, and many different student clubs for individuals to choose from.

Some of the most popular majors include dance, neuroscience, psychology, sociology, film/media studies, engineering science, education/child study, astronomy, and computer science.

Along with all their majors, individuals can choose from an array of different concentrations, and Smith College offers special programs that are more advanced for students who enjoy being challenged.

8. Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis (IUIPUI)

IUPUI is a four-year branch of Indiana University with Purdue University. One of the best online colleges in USA, IUPUI offers more than 200 online degrees to students.

IUIPUI is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and its Fully online classes run asynchronously with no deadlines.

Hybrid programs include live classes and in-person meetings at specific times.

The college have an academic advisors that coach online students. Learners can access free online math and writing support. Career services advisors help students prepare for post-college plans.

Prospective students can submit a free online application. IUPUI accepts 64 credits from two-year schools and 90 credits from four-year institutions.

Some of the online degrees offered in IUIPUI includes applied science, business, computing and technology, design, education, general studies, health and health sciences, humanities, informatics, labor studies, library science, mathematics, music, parks and recreation, philanthropy, physical education and tourism management, public affairs and administration, public health, science, social work.

9. Fairfield University

Fairfield University is one of the best universities in USA located in Fairfield, Connecticut. Fairfield University is a private, Jesuit Catholic school.

The undergraduate student body numbers over 4,000. It is located 60 miles from New York City and the U.S. News and World Report ranked Fairfield University #3 in the Northeastern region.

Sixty percent of FU applicants are accepted. They are accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Fairfield offers only a few graduate online degree programs and no online-only bachelor’s program.

Their online graduate offerings include a hybrid program that is a Master in Fine Arts in creative writing.

Students in the creative writing program attend a semiannual 10-day retreat on a Connecticut island as a part of their program.

The Master of Arts in educational technology or Master of Arts in library media science degree programs comprise of 30 units.

Their Master of Social Work is another low-residency program, so most of the coursework is completed online.

This Social Work program is designed to produce specialists in clinical social work.

Some of the skills that students will possess is the ability to help evaluate, assess, diagnose, treat, and prevent behavioral health issues in clients.

10. Marquette University

Marquette offers online degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Learners can also pursue an online certificate in data science. It’s also one of the best online colleges and universities in USA.

Online degree options include a bachelor’s in business administration, a master’s in computing, and a master’s in finance.

Students can earn their degrees fully online. However, learners pursuing a master’s in supply chain management must attend in-person meetings.

Marquette University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Out-of-state students need state authorization to attend Marquette’s online programs.

Some of the online degrees offered business administration, Christian doctrine, clinical mental health counseling, computing, corporate communication, data science, healthcare data analytics, finance, management, supply chain management.

Importance of Online Learning

Now that we have discussed best online colleges and universities in the USA, it is very essential to know about some of it in learning activities.

1. Flexibility

Students have the freedom to balance responsibilities, obligations and work with school activities because they are not tied to a fixed schedule.

In a traditional classroom, class reunions are scheduled and students have no control over them, forcing them to work on their schedule around those dates.

Online learning gives students the opportunity to delegate their time to their various projects and still be building your skills or transition into a new careers.

2. Network Opportunities

Online education also gives students the opportunity to network with their peers from different countries or even different continents.

This often leads to further opportunities to collaborate with others on project implementation.

At the same time, it makes them culturally sensitive and can easily blend into other environments given their exposure to other cultures.

3. Reduce costs

Online learning can be cheaper for many reasons. For example, there are no transportation expenses to work.

Various transportation costs such as gasoline, parking, car maintenance and public transportation costs are not borne by online students.

4. Documentation

All the information you need is stored securely in an online database. This includes things like live discussion documents, training materials, and emails.

With online education student have instant access to documents Information which could serves the purpose of clarification and save valuable time.

This is especially useful for people who are conducting project studies and need to present their findings to a committee.

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