Best Online Colleges, Universities, and Schools of 2024 | BestColleges (2024)

Want to earn a degree online? Discover the best online colleges and universities, plus resources on choosing a school and applying for financial aid.

By

Bennett LeckroneRead Full Bio

Reporter, Business Education

Bennett Leckrone is a news writer for BestColleges. Before joining BestColleges, Leckrone reported on state politics with the nonprofit news outlet Maryland Matters as a Report for America fellow. He previously interned for The Chronicle of Higher Ed...

Updated on June 26, 2024

Edited by

Danika MillerRead Full Bio

Writer & Editor

Danika Miller is a senior writer at BestColleges and Accredited Schools Online. Her writing has also appeared in Grad School Hub, Best Value Schools, Affordable Colleges Online, and Her Campus. Her financial expertise has been featured in The Simple ...

Learn more about our editorial process

By

Bennett LeckroneRead Full Bio

Reporter, Business Education

Bennett Leckrone is a news writer for BestColleges. Before joining BestColleges, Leckrone reported on state politics with the nonprofit news outlet Maryland Matters as a Report for America fellow. He previously interned for The Chronicle of Higher Ed...

Edited by

Danika MillerRead Full Bio

Writer & Editor

Danika Miller is a senior writer at BestColleges and Accredited Schools Online. Her writing has also appeared in Grad School Hub, Best Value Schools, Affordable Colleges Online, and Her Campus. Her financial expertise has been featured in The Simple ...

Updated on June 26, 2024

Learn more about our editorial process

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Best Online Colleges, Universities, and Schools

An online degree program is more than just a price tag. At BestColleges, we compare graduation rates, admissions rates, faculty-to-student ratios, net price, and more to create a holistic ranking of the best online schools.

The University of Florida is our top online university for 2024. With more schools rolling out online degree programs, Florida and others still managed to rise above the rest and stand out as top online schools in the country.

Featured Online College Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Best Online Colleges and Universities of 2024

We use trusted sources like Peterson's Data and the National Center for Education Statistics to inform the data for these schools. BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site. from our partners appear among these rankings and are indicated as such.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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#1 Best Online Colleges, Universities, and Schools of 2024 Best Value

University of Florida

  • Gainesville, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $129
Out-of-State | $552

Credits to Graduate: 120

The University of Florida specializes in affordable online undergraduate and bachelor's degree completion programs. UFOnline's 24 majors include biology, criminology, nursing, and environmental management. Each curriculum requires general education credits and major coursework.

UF's BA in business administration offers 11 specializations so that you can tailor your degree to your career goals. You can also finish any degree faster by transferring up to 60 credits from an accredited two-year college.

First-year applicants must have a minimum 2.5 GPA and SAT, ACT, and/or CLT scores.

Average Undergrad Tuition

In-state

$4,477

Out-of-state

$25,694

Average Graduate Tuition

In-state

$10,770

Out-of-state

$27,335

ROI Score

ROI Value Score: High

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology

High

Retention Rate

97%

Acceptance Rate

30%

Students Enrolled

55,781

Institution Type

Public

Percent Online Enrollment

57%

Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Accreditation

Yes

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#2 Best Online Colleges, Universities, and Schools of 2024 Best Value

George Mason University

  • Fairfax, VA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $575
Out-of-State | $1,582

Credits to Graduate: 120-126

George Mason University offers 50 online and hybrid programs with great flexibility for those seeking to learn from afar. Four-year degrees include health, engineering and technology, and business and management. The online RN-to-BSN at Mason ranks among the best in the nation.

You can finish a degree faster by transferring credits into one of five degree completion programs. The bachelor of individualized study is a degree completion option that allows you to tailor the curriculum to your career goals.

First-year applicants must submit official transcripts and optional SAT or ACT scores. Transfer students need a minimum cumulative 2.5 GPA.

Average Undergrad Tuition

In-state

$9,510

Out-of-state

$32,970

Average Graduate Tuition

In-state

$13,035

Out-of-state

$34,347

ROI Score

ROI Value Score: High

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology

High

Retention Rate

84%

Acceptance Rate

91%

Students Enrolled

38,628

Institution Type

Public

Percent Online Enrollment

Accreditation

Yes

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#3 Best Online Colleges, Universities, and Schools of 2024 Best Value

University of Missouri

  • Columbia, MO
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $542-$692
Out-of-State | $659-$809

Credits to Graduate: 120

Missouri Online offers 375 online programs from Mizzou's four institutions. Bachelor's degree programs include business administration, information systems and technology, public health, and respiratory technology.

You can design your own degree plan with a BA in interdisciplinary studies or a bachelor of liberal studies. A bachelor of educational studies includes an emphasis in educational games and simulation design.

Some degrees offer a hybrid option or may require an on-campus component. Part of Mizzou's appeal is a seamless credit transfer system so you can finish a degree faster. First-year applicants submit optional SAT or ACT scores.

Average Undergrad Tuition

In-state

$10,017

Out-of-state

$28,992

Average Graduate Tuition

In-state

$9,950

Out-of-state

$27,245

ROI Score

ROI Value Score: High

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology

High

Retention Rate

88%

Acceptance Rate

77%

Students Enrolled

31,401

Institution Type

Public

Percent Online Enrollment

63%

Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Accreditation

Yes

Higher Learning Commission

#4 Best Online Colleges, Universities, and Schools of 2024 Best Value

Northeastern University Professional Programs

  • Boston, MA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $541
Out-of-State | $541

Credits to Graduate: 120

Northeastern University's undergraduate online program emphasizes bachelor's degree completion. You can earn degrees in in-demand fields such as analytics, information technology, and project management. The curriculum for each degree requires general education, major courses, and elective credits.

Transfer credits can satisfy general education and other requirements as stated. Graduate students have access to Northeastern's extensive catalog of online graduate degrees. Master's degrees include the fields of applied psychology, biotechnology, and energy systems.

Active U.S. service members and spouses receive a steep tuition discount. Transfer students must have a minimum 2.0 GPA for admission.

Average Undergrad Tuition

In-state

$12,984

Out-of-state

$12,984

Average Graduate Tuition

In-state

$22,866

Out-of-state

$22,866

ROI Score

ROI Value Score: High

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology

High

Retention Rate

Not provided

Acceptance Rate

Not provided

Students Enrolled

10,918

Institution Type

Private

Percent Online Enrollment

66%

Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Accreditation

Yes

New England Commission on Higher Education

#5 Best Online Colleges, Universities, and Schools of 2024 Best Value

Florida International University

  • Miami, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $404
Out-of-State | $817

Credits to Graduate: 120

Florida International University (FIU) has offered online education for 20 years. FIU Online has bachelor's degree programs in fields such as economics, psychology, nursing, and Spanish.

The notable BA in sustainability and the environment requires coursework on South Florida's ecology and applied field ecology. FIU's BS in hospitality management program offers eight online majors, including hospitality leadership and event management.

FIU pairs every online undergrad with a success coach. Other services include professional development programs and free online therapy sessions. First-year applicants must submit high school transcripts and SAT or ACT scores.

Average Undergrad Tuition

In-state

$4,721

Out-of-state

$16,529

Average Graduate Tuition

In-state

$8,912

Out-of-state

$21,393

ROI Score

ROI Value Score: High

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology

High

Retention Rate

90%

Acceptance Rate

64%

Students Enrolled

56,664

Institution Type

Public

Percent Online Enrollment

65%

Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Accreditation

Yes

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#6 Best Online Colleges, Universities, and Schools of 2024

Drexel University

  • Philadelphia, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $459-$574
Out-of-State | $459-$574

Credits to Graduate: 180-192

Drexel University's online degree and certificate program is extensive, offering 15 online bachelor's programs in nine different fields of study. These areas include business, cybersecurity, education, and nursing.

Most programs run on a 10-week quarter system with an additional week for exams. Depending on the program, you can transfer credits earned at another accredited institution. Drexel will evaluate all possible transfer credits for accepted students.

Drexel provides a variety of online student support services, such as its writing center, a career development center, teletherapy services, and a 24-hour access to its library resources. Veterans and military service members applying for the first time can get up to a 40% discount on their tuition for online programs.

Average Undergrad Tuition

In-state

$54,766

Out-of-state

$54,766

Average Graduate Tuition

In-state

$36,234

Out-of-state

$36,234

ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology

Medium

Retention Rate

90%

Acceptance Rate

83%

Students Enrolled

23,216

Institution Type

Private

Percent Online Enrollment

50%

Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Accreditation

Yes

Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#7 Best Online Colleges, Universities, and Schools of 2024

Thomas Jefferson University

  • Philadelphia, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Avg. Annual Tuition & Fees: $44,000

Credits to Graduate: Usually 120

Thomas Jefferson University has 10 bachelor of science degrees available from its East Falls and Center City campuses that can be both hybrid and online, depending on the program. It offers degrees in several areas such as business management, health sciences, information technology, and respiratory therapy degree advancement.

Around 95% of undergraduate students receive financial aid. Students can apply for employer tuition discounts, scholarships and grants provided at each of its campuses, and veteran benefit programs. As a Philadelphia employee, East Falls campus students can get a 25% discount on any accelerated bachelor of science degree program.

The university accepts a maximum of 87 transfer credits from previously attended college-level courses, military training, and certain exams, such as the CLEP and the DSST.

Average Undergrad Tuition

In-state

$41,900

Out-of-state

$41,900

Average Graduate Tuition

In-state

$22,068

Out-of-state

$22,068

ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology

Medium

Retention Rate

84%

Acceptance Rate

78%

Students Enrolled

8,270

Institution Type

Private

Percent Online Enrollment

66%

Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Accreditation

Yes

Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#8 Best Online Colleges, Universities, and Schools of 2024

Parker University

  • Dallas, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $710
Out-of-State | $710

Credits to Graduate: About 120

Parker University offers eight online bachelor's degree programs in the category of health science, as well as business and technology. Some of the programs they offer are healthcare management, computer information systems, nutrition science, and sport psychology.

The school has specific admission policies and requirements for its bachelor's programs in healthcare management, health information management, and computer information systems programs. Some programs are qualified for active military tuition assistance. Veterans can receive a 10% discount and can qualify for other benefits.

The university does not guarantee credit transfers; transfers are approved only after a thorough examination of the institution and the course program.

Average Undergrad Tuition

In-state

$23,760

Out-of-state

$23,760

Average Graduate Tuition

In-state

$13,320

Out-of-state

$13,320

ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology

Medium

Retention Rate

83%

Acceptance Rate

Not provided

Students Enrolled

1,954

Institution Type

Private

Percent Online Enrollment

31%

Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Accreditation

Yes

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#9 Best Online Colleges, Universities, and Schools of 2024 Best Value

Oregon State University

  • Corvallis, OR
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $350-$409
Out-of-State | $350-$409

Credits to Graduate: 120 semester credits (180 quarter credits)

More than 12,000 students enroll in Oregon State's e-campus. Online students can choose from 46 undergraduate degrees with majors such as applied humanities, business analytics, and finance.

The school has a strong STEM catalog that includes biohealth sciences, mechanical engineering, and crop and soil science degrees. The customizable BA or BS in liberal studies program allows you to design your own liberal arts major.

Oregon State's comprehensive support services include success coaching, free tutoring, and access to library resources. First-year students must meet college preparatory requirements. Oregon State is test-optional.

Average Undergrad Tuition

In-state

$10,065

Out-of-state

$29,456

Average Graduate Tuition

In-state

$13,446

Out-of-state

$27,297

ROI Score

ROI Value Score: High

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology

High

Retention Rate

87%

Acceptance Rate

89%

Students Enrolled

33,193

Institution Type

Public

Percent Online Enrollment

52%

Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Accreditation

Yes

Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#10 Best Online Colleges, Universities, and Schools of 2024

Maryville University of Saint Louis

  • Saint Louis, MO
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Cost per Credit:
In-State | $525-$622
Out-of-State | $525-$622

Credits to Graduate: 128

Located in St. Louis, Missouri, Maryville University educates about 10,000 students, most of whom study online. A catalog of 30 online degrees includes majors in business administration, data science, forensic psychology, and an RN-to-BSN program.

Many of Maryville's students transfer from other institutions and make use of the generous credit transfer policy. You pay the same per-credit tuition rate regardless of in-state or out-of-state residency status.

Maryville charges no application fee. First-year applicants must have a high school diploma or GED certificate and a minimum 2.5 GPA. Transfer students need a minimum 2.0 GPA.

Average Undergrad Tuition

In-state

$24,766

Out-of-state

$24,766

Average Graduate Tuition

In-state

$14,346

Out-of-state

$14,346

ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology

Medium

Retention Rate

82%

Acceptance Rate

92%

Students Enrolled

10,596

Institution Type

Private

Percent Online Enrollment

84%

Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Accreditation

Yes

Higher Learning Commission

No. 1 Program: University of Florida

Best Online Colleges, Universities, and Schools of 2024 | BestColleges (7)

The University of Florida (UF) took the top spot for best online colleges and universities in 2024. With a high graduation rate and a low average net price of $3,679, UF offers both affordability and a path to successfully earning your degree.

UF hits all the marks for accessibility and student outcomes. Roughly 94% of UF students receive financial aid. You'll also have access to a large selection of degree programs at UF — the university offers 22 online bachelor's and 40 online master's degrees.

UF continues to roll out high-demand degrees, featuring career support for online students as they enter fast-growing fields. In fall 2024, UF plans to launch three new majors for online students: agricultural education and communication, early childhood education, and entomology and nematology.

At UF Online, we strive to provide students pursuing fully online bachelor's degrees with high levels of support and resources, as well as a strong sense of community, Rhiannon Pollard, interim director of UF Online, told BestColleges. The big why of our work is ensuring that students receive a rigorous and enriching education that also connects them with their peer community of learners and the greater Gator Nation.

UF manages all of this while still being a relatively selective institution with high academic standards and a 16-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio, combining the best of high academic performance with student outcomes and affordability.

No. 2 Program: George Mason University

George Mason University couples accessibility and affordability with a relatively high graduation rate, offering students both an avenue to higher education and a path to graduation. Good student outcomes and an affordable tuition rate landed GMU the number two spot on our best online colleges and universities list this year.

GMU has a relatively high admissions rate at 90% but also maintains an impressive 70% graduation rate. The university offers 13 online bachelor's degrees and 28 online master's degrees in high-demand fields like cybersecurity, technology, and information technology.

GMU also boasts a 16-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. It also includes a number of virtual services and resources for online students.

The average net price of an online degree at GMU is $18,581, and roughly 80% of students are awarded some form of financial aid.

Why George Mason University Ranked Second

George Mason University has a high graduation rate, a large amount of financial aid awarded to students, and a number of degree offerings — but it didn't quite stack up to UF when it comes to student outcomes and affordability.

The net cost at GMU is $18,581, compared to $3,679 at UF. That, coupled with a lower graduation rate, put GMU in second place.

No. 3 Program: University of Missouri

Best Online Colleges, Universities, and Schools of 2024 | BestColleges (8)

The University of Missouri comes in at third on our list of best online colleges and universities thanks to a high graduation rate, hefty student aid, and plenty of resources for students.

Mizzou boasts a 73% graduation rate against a 79% admission rate. That means that, like GMU, it offers an accessible pathway to higher education without sacrificing good student outcomes.

The University of Missouri system's Missouri Online combines resources from all of the system's schools into a convenient, centralized online portal for students. This digital-focused platform means that online degrees from different university campuses are available to students, alongside student support and flexible learning systems.

Heading to Missouri for online education means you're not just likely to get in, but also likely to graduate. You'll probably also see financial aid: Roughly 91% of students received some form of financial aid with a net cost of $17,899.

How We Rank Schools

To create this ranking, BestColleges sourced the most recent data available from the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Department of Education College Scorecard. We then ranked each school according to the top variables college students selected in our College Choice and Admissions Survey. To learn more, check out our full rankings methodology or read the summary below.

To qualify for our rankings lists, each school must be an accredited public or private, nonprofit institution. Each eligible school was then ranked based on a formula measuring:

  • Affordability (30%)
  • Student outcomes (30%)
  • Reputation (20%)
  • Diversity and social mobility (20%)

In addition, we only included colleges with graduation rates in the top third of all online colleges.

Related Topics

Comparing the Costs of Online vs. On-Campus Programs Link

How to Judge the Quality of an Online Program Link

Should I Go to College Online or On Campus? Here’s How to Decide Link

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Colleges

Is online college harder than on-campus college?

Both online and on-campus programs can be challenging. You'll need to master the course material and demonstrate your knowledge. But, online college does pose some unique benefits and challenges.

Online programs give students greater flexibility compared to on-campus programs. That means they require strong organizational skills and determination. For some students, online college can be harder. It's a good idea to take an online class before enrolling in an online college to see if the format matches your learning style and needs.

You can do all the same things with an online degree that you can do with an in-person degree: expand your knowledge, master a subject area, become career-ready, qualify for higher-paying jobs, and apply to graduate school. The list of opportunities is endless.

The cost of an online degree varies depending on the college and program. On average, online colleges cost $600 per credit. But some charge less than $200 per credit. Your transfer credits will also impact the total cost of an online degree.

You can save money by enrolling online if you choose an affordable college. For example, in-state public universities typically charge the lowest tuition rates. In addition to tuition, factor in fees, textbooks, and other expenses to calculate the total cost. Then, apply for financial aid to determine how much you'll pay for your degree.

Yes! If you pick an accredited school with a good program, your online degree is just as legitimate as a traditional on-campus degree.

In the past, some employers may have been skeptical about the value of an online degree. But today, online college degrees have become very common: More than 50% of students have taken at least one online course and 40% of undergrads study fully online, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Once you have that degree, pretty much no one is going to ask you: Did you get this online?

Best Online Colleges, Universities, and Schools of 2024 | BestColleges (2024)

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