30 Best Accredited Online Colleges

A college degree can pave the way to a bright and prosperous future. In recent years, students have increasingly opted for online programs, which have expanded their access to more schools around the country. The COVID-19 pandemic has further expanded that search as more students are now looking to study online. Many schools are in the process of shifting to a fully or partially online format, which they started doing during the lockdown, and are now doing so permanently. 

There are many benefits of attending college online. But finding a trustworthy and flexible online learning option that suits all of a student’s needs can be challenging. They need a quality education that will stand them in good stead with future employers. Getting a degree from an accredited and recognized institution is therefore very important. Students who choose the online program options must ensure that they are applying to accredited schools because that will assure quality education.

Online education is fast gaining popularity for students who are working or taking other courses. They are also great for students who want to get back into academia and finish their education. Over 3 million students are enrolled in higher education. Online colleges provide the flexibility to study from anywhere and around their own schedules.

Degrees offered online can include: 

  • Associate’s
  • Bachelor’s
  • Master’s
  • Doctorate
  • Certificate / Diploma
  • Non-Degree Courses
  • Graduate Certificates

Online undergraduate and graduate programs and certificate programs are designed to make it easy for all students to earn the degree they need. They can do so on a schedule and budget that fits their needs. This article has provided information about the leading accredited online colleges that offer a wide range of programs. We have ranked them based on affordability. To do this, we have considered the average undergraduate tuition rate per credit. You will find more information about our methodology here. You can get more information about the programs and tuition from the schools’ websites to help with your decision-making.

#30 George Washington University

Washington, DC

George Washington University

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Points: 6

George Washington University is a private research university and the largest institution of higher education in the District of Columbia. It seeks to educate the next generation of citizen leaders. Online degree programs that are offered by the school span a wide range of subjects. These include nursing, liberal arts, education, business, medicine, and pre-professional disciplines. It seeks to extend education to learners all over the world through its online programs. They maintain a low student-instructor ratio that encourages interaction between instructors and students.

Fast facts:

  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)  
  • Tuition per credit: $1,995

#29 Simmons University

Boston, MA 

Simmons University

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Points: 7

Simmons University is a nationally recognized private university that offers comprehensive undergraduate programs to women and various graduate programs to students from diverse backgrounds and regions worldwide. For more than 100 years, the school has combined intellectual leadership with professional preparation. The school’s mission is to set students up for success and help them lead meaningful lives and build successful careers. It seeks to be the beacon of leadership in the world of higher education. 

Fast facts: 

  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education
  • Tuition per credit: $658

#28 Penn State World Campus 

University Park, PA

Penn State World Campus

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Points: 7

Penn State World Campus is the online campus of the prestigious Pennsylvania State University. It offers more than 150 accredited undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees, minors, graduate and undergraduate certificates. The syllabi are the same as the on-campus, and the same faculty teaches both online and on-campus programs. This ensures that all online students receive a high-quality education and earn a recognized and respected degree. Penn State World Campus courses are asynchronous so that students can complete their degree programs at their own pace.

Fast facts:

  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education 
  • Tuition per credit: $632

#27 Texas A&M University-Commerce 

Commerce, TX

Texas A&M University-Commerce

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Points: 8

Texas A&M University-Commerce is a public research university and the third-largest institution in the Texas A&M University System. It has close to 12,000 student enrollments each year. The school offers 130 superior academic degrees and transforms lives through its mission to expand education access for all. Located just east of Dallas, the university strives to provide an excellent, personalized and relevant education to diverse learners. U.S. News & World Report has ranked several programs at the school among the top in the nation for 2021.

Fast facts:

  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition per credit: $578

#26 Arizona State University

Tempe, AZ 

Arizona State University

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Points: 8

Arizona State University is a public research university and is one of the country’s largest public universities by enrollment. The school hopes to make quality education more accessible to students all over the world. The flexible format allows students to study and work despite regional and time differences and balance their other responsibilities simultaneously. Taught by world-class professors, ASU online students can enjoy a superior digital learning experience and gain an advanced degree in varied fields that align with their career goals. 

Fast facts:

  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission 
  • Tuition per credit: $561

#25 Washington State University 

 Pullman, WA

Washington State University

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Points: 8

Washington State University is a public land-grant research university known as one of the oldest land-grant universities in the American West. It offers a wide range of high-demand undergraduate and graduate degrees, all offered 100% online. Global Campus students or online students earn the same diploma and prestige and respect as on-campus students. These online programs combine the convenience and flexibility of the online format with high-quality academics. The school ranks among one of the best online undergraduate programs in the nation.

Fast facts:

  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities 
  • Tuition per credit: $541.50 

#24 Maryville University 

St. Louis, MO

Maryville University

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Points: 9

The Maryville University of St. Louis is a private university that offers more than 90 degrees at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels. Initially founded in 1872, and caters to students from 50 states and 47 countries. The school has focused on bridging the learning gap and making education more accessible for over 50 years. It has set a new standard for excellence in future-focused and student-centered learning. It is a nationally honored private college recognized for comprehensive and innovative education. 

Fast facts:

  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission 
  • Tuition per credit: $500

#23 University of Georgia

Athens, GA

University of Georgia

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Points: 9

The University of Georgia is a public land-grant research university and one of the oldest public universities in the United States. The high standards of education ensure that students learn from the best and are prepared for higher rewards. Online class sizes are limited so that there is a healthy teacher-student ratio ensuring that students get robust support from the faculty. All UGA courses, online and on-campus, are academically rigorous to prepare students well for the future. The distinguished faculty is dedicated to teaching excellence and the educational success of all students.

Fast facts:

  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges  
  • Tuition per 6 hours or less: $2,838   

#22 University of Oklahoma

Norman, OK 

University of Oklahoma

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Points: 9

The University of Oklahoma is a public research university that boasts of over 30000 students enrolled each year through its online and on-campus locations. The online programs offered by OU are designed to provide students with the choice and flexibility to study from anywhere, anytime. They get to graduate on time with the help of the same world-class faculty who teach the on-campus programs. Online students receive the same degree as students who attend classes on campus and earn their graduate or undergraduate degrees at their own pace.

Fast facts:

  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission  
  • Tuition per credit: $464

#21 Grand Canyon University

Phoenix, AZ 

Grand Canyon University

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Points: 10

Grand Canyon University is a private for-profit Christian university that ranks among the largest Christian universities in the world based on student enrollment. The school offers a wide range of accredited online degree programs to help students advance their careers. Each of these programs, offered through GCU’s many distinct colleges, includes a values-based curriculum to help students receive a well-rounded education. The online classes have been designed to be flexible and collaborative at the same time so students can participate in the college experience. 

Fast facts:

  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $440 

#20 Regent University

Virginia Beach, VA

30 Best Accredited Online Colleges + Regent University

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Points: 10

Regent University is a private Christian university that offers traditional on-campus programs as well as distance education. Students can choose from 150+ areas of study, including business, cybersecurity and information technology, communication, nursing and healthcare, education, ministry, psychology and counseling, government, and law. The online degrees are designed for working professionals, college students taking multiple courses, and busy mothers who want to complete their education without commuting to campus. Designed with an eye on the most in-demand business sectors and global industry, they help students advance in their careers. 

Fast facts:

  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition per credit: $395

#19 Liberty University

Lynchburg, VA

30 Best Accredited Online Colleges + Liberty University

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Points: 10

Liberty University is a private Evangelical university that prepares students for successful careers and fruitful lives. It offers over 700 programs of study in the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree levels. Certificates are also available at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. A gifted faculty that is dedicated to student success and state-of-the-art technology equips students well to enter and excel in the competitive job market. Students can tailor their degrees to match their areas of interest and career goals. 

Fast facts:

  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition per credit: $390

#18 Southern New Hampshire University 

Manchester, NH 

Southern New Hampshire University

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Points: 10

Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution and one of the fastest-growing universities in the nation. It offers over 200 programs, from certificates to doctoral-level degrees. It serves over 135,000 online students and more than 3,000 on-campus students. The school focuses on innovation and transformation to reinvent higher education to fit the needs of today’s students. Programs are offered in the fields of business, liberal arts, education, social sciences, and STEM. It provides robust support and service to help students achieve their dreams. 

Fast facts:

  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education
  • Tuition per credit: $390

#17 UMass Online 

Amherst, MA

UMass Online 

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Points: 11

The University of Massachusetts Amherst is a public land-grant research university that is the flagship and the largest campus in the University of Massachusetts system. It offers over 200 degrees and certificates online and more than 4000 online courses annually. The school seeks to help lifelong learners and busy professionals around the world. It allows students to continue their education and earn their degrees no matter where they’re located. The high-quality education they receive helps enrich their lives and enhance their careers.

Fast facts:

  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: New England Association of Schools and Colleges 
  • Tuition per credit: $380

#16 Kansas State University

Manhattan, KS 

Kansas State University

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Points: 11

Kansas State University is a public land-grant research university. It also has the distinction of being the first public institution of higher learning in Kansas. It has been providing distance education for more than 50 years and offers over 100 online programs today. Hundreds of students graduate each semester as it caters to students across the U.S. and around the world. It seeks to provide access to a practical and high-quality education for all. The online courses are taught by the same experienced faculty who teach the on-campus programs. 

Fast facts:

  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $375

#15 University of North Dakota 

Grand Forks, ND 

University of North Dakota

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Points: 11

The University of North Dakota is a public research university that began educating at a distance in 1911 with correspondence by mail courses. It is the state’s oldest university and offers over 120 online certificate courses and degree programs to students across the globe. It has an average student enrollment of close to 14,000 students each year and well-deserved national recognition for its academic programs. While it continues to build on its record of developing future leaders, the school also consistently ranked among the best for affordability, educational quality, and career outcomes. 

Fast facts:

  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $370.08

#14 Capella University 

Minneapolis, MN 

Capella University

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Points: 12

Capella University is a private for-profit, online university that is focused on reshaping higher education. The school has offered online college programs for more than 20 years and has expanded access to higher education for thousands of students. It offers more than 160 graduate and undergraduate options that cover a wide range of subjects. The flexible learning formats give students the control to learn on their terms and still balance life and work responsibilities.  They can control costs, set their own deadlines, and learn on-demand. 

Fast facts:

  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $357

#13 Colorado State University Global

Aurora, CO

Colorado State University Global

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Points: 12

Colorado State University Global is an online public university that was founded in 2007. It is a member of the Colorado State University System and offers online certificate, undergraduate, and graduate degree programs. The online programs are designed to reflect the market’s most in-demand fields and set students up for success and lifelong earning potential. Built around the modern learner, they are flexible and easy to manage so that students can work full-time, balance life and work, and still be part of a rigorous degree program.

Fast facts:

  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission 
  • Tuition per credit: $350

#12 University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

Milwaukee, WI 

University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

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Points: 12

The University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee is a public urban research university within the University of Wisconsin System and the largest university in the Milwaukee metropolitan area. It offers more than 205 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels. Students can also choose from over 40 degrees and certificates that can be earned entirely online. As Wisconsin’s premier urban research university, the school is known for offering high-quality education and setting students up for success. The school also offers numerous resources designed to ensure each student’s success.

Fast facts:

  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $337

#11 University of Missouri

Columbia, MO

University of Missouri

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Points: 13

The University of Missouri is a public land-grant research university that offers over 260 degree and certificate programs. As Missouri’s largest university, it is known for the high-quality education it delivers. The online programs are an extension of the four UM System universities – the University of Missouri-Columbia (Mizzou), Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T), the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), and the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL). The programs are designed to transform and prepare students for a successful future. 

Fast facts:

  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission   
  • Tuition per credit: $333.90

#10 Oregon State University

Corvallis, OR 

Oregon State University

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Points: 13

Oregon State University is a public land-grant research university that ranks as the state’s largest university that averages over 30,000 enrollment each year. It offers over 200 undergraduate-degree programs. Students can also choose from a wide range of graduate and doctoral degrees. All online programs have been designed and evaluated by experts to ensure high-quality learning experiences for all students. The eCampus partners and engages with industry leaders and businesses to offer exceptional education and extend access to its students. Students are prepared to make an impact in their communities and beyond. 

Fast facts:

  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities 
  • Tuition per credit: $331

#9 University of Arkansas

 Fayetteville, AR

University of Arkansas

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Points: 13

The University of Arkansas is a public land-grant research university, the flagship campus of the University of Arkansas System, and the largest university in Arkansas. Experts design the programs to offer students multiple options to earn a degree from a top-tier public research university. The flexible format of the online programs makes it easy for them to study and balance family, work, and school responsibilities. Students who enroll in the approved online degree programs get support from  U of A’s support network and pay in-state tuition, making their education quite affordable. 

Fast facts:

  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $321.71

#8 Ball State University 

Muncie, IN

Ball State University

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Points: 13

Ball State University is a public research university that offers many online degrees, certificates, and educator licenses, taught by the same faculty who teach on campus. The online programs offer all the advantages of an on-campus degree with affordable and flexible additional benefits. The goal of the university is to empower its students with quality educational choices. High-quality courses and highly trained faculty ensure that they get the best of education in the region. Its various award-winning programs offer students both quality and value.

Fast facts:

  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $320

#7 Texas Tech University 

Lubbock, TX

Texas Tech University

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Points: 14

Texas Tech University is a public research university and the primary university of the five-institution Texas Tech University System. It is deeply committed to teaching and the advancement of knowledge. The school fosters intellectual and personal development, provides the highest standards of excellence in higher education, and stimulates meaningful research and service to humankind. It ranks among the 131 universities and colleges in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, in the category of “Very High Research Activity.” 

Fast facts:

  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition per credit: $284

#6 North Carolina State University 

Raleigh, NC 

North Carolina State University

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Points: 14

North Carolina State University is a public land-grant research university that is a part of the University of North Carolina system and the largest university in the Carolinas. It began as a school grounded in agriculture and engineering to become the leading public research university that it is today. The school is a powerhouse in science, technology, engineering, and math programs and excels across disciplines. It has a high average enrollment of over 35,000 students who pursue research, excel in their careers, and start new companies.   

Fast facts:

  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges  
  • Tuition per credit: $272.29

#5 Boise State University

Boise, ID

Boise State University

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Points: 14

Boise State University is a public research university awarding baccalaureate and master’s degrees since 1965. The faculty and staff are re-imagining higher education and expanding access to students all over the world. The school is known for its groundbreaking research and academic programs to exponential growth all over campus. It offers over 200 programs of study. It has a NASA astronaut teaching on campus and offers the nation’s only master’s degree in Raptor Biology. It is designated as a doctoral research institution. 

Fast facts:

  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
  • Tuition per credit: $252

#4 Florida International University 

Miami, FL

Florida International University

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Points: 15

Florida International University is a public research university that is also one of the largest universities in the Greater Miami region. It offers over 100 fully online programs. These programs have been designed to be flexible and suit the educational journey of all students. It has programs and courses at academic levels, so students interested in pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree, a certificate program, or gaining professional skills can all benefit. They can gain advanced skills and knowledge to help them get into their chosen careers and excel in them. 

Fast facts:

  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges   
  • Tuition per credit: $ 146.52

#3 University of Florida 

Gainesville, FL

University of Florida

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Points: 15

The University of Florida is a public land-grant research university and a senior member of the State University System of Florida. It offers comprehensive and high-quality, fully online baccalaureate degree programs at an affordable cost. There are some master’s degrees and certificate courses students can apply for, but they need formal admission to the University. It seeks to enable students to lead and influence in their future careers. The University traces its origins to 1853. 

Fast facts:

  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges 
  • Tuition per credit: $111.92

#2 Florida Atlantic University

Boca Raton, FL

Florida Atlantic University

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Points: 16

Florida Atlantic University is a public research university that embodies a strategic and collaborative community engagement culture serving diverse internal and external communities. The school fosters a vibrant culture that encourages ingenuity and independence. Spanning 110 miles of Southeast Florida’s coast encourages students to dream big and provides them with the tools and knowledge to succeed. The school’s strategic relationships with businesses and industry organizations connect students with relevant experiences throughout South Florida and help them build a solid professional portfolio. 

Fast facts:

  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition per credit: $105.07

#1 University of Central Florida

Orlando, FL

University of Central Florida

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Points: 16

The University of Central Florida is a public research university and part of the State University System of Florida. It has the largest student body of any public university in the United States, with over 70,000 students enrolled. Recognized as a leader in innovation, the school offers flexible programs and affordable course materials with tailored digital learning to fit each student’s needs. UCF has 25 years of experience providing top online degrees, which span almost 100 options. Students receive quality education no matter where they are located. 

Fast facts:

  • Format: Online
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges   
  • Tuition per credit: 105.07

More About Best Accredited Online Colleges

accredited online colleges

What do accredited online colleges mean?

Online programs have grown in demand and popularity over the years, but not all are on equal footing when it comes to quality education. Accredited online colleges ensure that the degree that you earn is awarded by a quality academic institution. It is prestigious and recognized by all other higher education institutes and employers. Every student considering an online program wonders if they are choosing the right college and if it is a legitimate institution. 

Accredited online schools have been a boon for students who would have otherwise been unable to get a college education due to various reasons. Some students have to get into the workforce right after high school. Some cannot afford the high cost of college; some live in rural or remote areas lacking educational opportunities. Many students have personal constraints as well that prevent them from attending college full time, like caregiving for a family member, which prevents them from participating in mainstream academics. 

Accreditation is an important criterion since it ensures that the program and university meet specific quality standards. It can be defined as a “seal of approval” from an authority site or a recognized organization that certifies that the college offers a quality academic experience. The best accredited online colleges in the United States undergo a review process conducted by several non-governmental and nonprofit organizations. They help us understand if online educational programs meet the nationally recognized defined standards of quality.

Students need to do thorough research before investing time and money into any online program. An excellent way to find out if online degrees are legitimate is to check if fully accredited online colleges are offering them. Accreditation makes a program credible, ensures the quality of the program and course delivery. It improves the overall value of the degree and job prospects. The accreditation process is quite thorough and rigorous, so one can be assured that accredited online colleges are offering quality education. 

Many are regionally accredited online colleges, while others qualify as nationally accredited online colleges. Students should research the program-specific accreditations offered by an independent, nonprofit agency. They reflect the programmatic excellence of the best accredited online colleges. It also ensures that the program and university both meet national quality standards. In these programs, students can expect a high-quality degree with top-notch course delivery. 

Accredited online colleges have dedicated staff to oversee and manage the accreditations process and all the necessary paperwork. Then these are reviewed by a team of professional experts who conduct the external quality review to help assure the program’s quality and education improvement. Accreditations need to be renewed periodically, which means that schools go through thorough scrutiny and review processes periodically, ensuring that the degree program’s quality is maintained. 

Why is accreditation important?

Accredited online colleges are the best choices for students globally because they hold recognition and approval from professional organizations. They offer accredited degrees that improve job prospects and help students pursue graduate education from a reputable institution.

What will you learn in accredited online schools?

The best accredited online colleges provide students the flexibility to study from anywhere and around their own schedules. They offer online undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs designed to make it easy for all students to earn the degree they need. 

Degrees offered online can include: 

  • Associate’s – An associate degree is an undergraduate degree that has a level of qualification above a high school diploma, GED, or matriculation. It is awarded after a course of post-secondary study lasting two to three years and helps students move on to a bachelor’s degree. 
  • Bachelor’s – A bachelor’s degree or baccalaureate is an undergraduate degree that is awarded by colleges and universities. It is awarded upon completion of a course of academic study lasting three to six years. The most common bachelor’s degrees are the Bachelor of Arts and the Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Fine Arts, and Bachelor of Business Administration, among others. 
  • Master’s – A master’s degree awarded by universities or colleges upon completion of an academic course of study. It allows students to demonstrate their mastery in a specific field of study or area of professional practice.
  • Doctorate – A doctorate or doctoral degree is awarded by universities and best accredited online colleges. It is an academic degree which is basically a research degree in most countries. IT qualifies the students or graduates to work in a specific profession or teach at the university level.
  • Certificate – A certificate program consists of 9-30 credits and is a short academic program that can be completed in a year or less. They provide specialized training for students who already hold diplomas or other academic degrees. Some are focused career or vocational courses designed for students who want to quickly get into a specific job. 
  • Diploma – A diploma program is offered by accredited online schools and colleges that help students focus on specific skills. They are typically short courses of study that lead to vocational, undergraduate, and graduate credentials. They are a good investment to make students career-ready. 
  • Non-Degree Courses – Non-degree courses are short courses that do not provide students with a degree, certificate, or qualification. But they provide students with additional knowledge in the fields that they are interested in. Even though they do not offer a degree, higher ed schools and employers appreciate the extra effort students provide to get these. 
  • Graduate Certificates – A graduate certificate usually represents the completion of specialized training at the college or university level. This educational credential is often awarded by universities and accredited online schools upon completion of specific coursework that shows a student’s mastering of a specific subject area.

Online education is popular with students who are in full-time jobs or taking other courses. They are also great for working adults who want to complete their education. 

Is there a difference between nationally accredited online colleges and regionally accredited online colleges?

Students should also look into the school’s recognition and rankings, regional reputation, and national rankings. A school can fall into the category of nationally accredited online colleges or regionally accredited online colleges. It is believed that nationally accredited online colleges have the best career, technical or vocational programs. They are typically for-profit and private schools but not always. 

Regionally accredited online colleges often score better in academic reputation, acceptance rates, transfer of credit, and affordability for in-state students. They also help students qualify for federal financial aid. Most public and state universities are regionally accredited. In most cases, regional accreditation is given more importance by higher education institutes and employers since they focus more on the program’s quality. 

Also, the standards set by the regional accrediting agencies are more superior and rigorous. Employers take into consideration whether the degree that future employees hold comes from authority and legitimate school. If you graduate from one of the best accredited online colleges, then your candidacy and job prospects will never be questioned. 

What are the different kinds of accreditations? 

The main accreditation commissions and the regions they serve are:

  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC): Accredits colleges and universities in the United States.
  • Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools: Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands
  • North Central Association of Colleges and Schools: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities: Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges: California and Hawaii
  • New England Association of Colleges and Schools: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont
  • DEAC: Distance Education Accrediting Commission: All states within the United States and international locations

Benefits of the best accredited online colleges

Accreditation helps ensure a high-quality education for students. It is essential for today’s highly competitive job market. Earning an accredited online degree is encouraged by employers, so it improves job prospects and increases opportunities for promotions. Many surveys show that employers and higher education institutes prefer accredited online program graduates because of their in-depth knowledge, research, and organizational skills. Students who earn an online degree from accredited online colleges exhibit more self-discipline, focus, and inclination to meet predetermined goals. 

With their flexible formats and scheduling, accredited online colleges have opened up possibilities of higher education and earned specific certifications to all students. Whether they are young adults looking to complete dual degrees or work and study simultaneously, the flexibility will be of big help to them. Studying on their own time and convenience helps them get more free time to balance other life and work responsibilities. 

Online learning can save students a large amount of money since, typically, online degrees cost much less than their traditional counterparts. The cost has often been one of the most significant constraints for students in the past. Fully accredited online colleges offering various degrees and certifications at an affordable rate have helped them break through those barriers. 

The other constraint has been distant since in-state tuition is always lower than out-of-state tuition. Also, it is not always possible for all students to move away from home. But with online program options, they can go to the school of their choice without having to move away. What’s more, most of the best accredited online colleges offer online programs at the in-state tuition rate, which makes these a very affordable option for all students. 

The technology behind online programs has evolved as well. Students can now expect high-quality education and learning experience with improved delivery. Since the onus of graduating is on them while they juggle other responsibilities, they develop good time and project management skills. These skills are very handy in the job environment and set students up for success. 

How to look for fully accredited online colleges?

There are several ways to find which are the accredited online colleges. All the best accredited online colleges display their accreditation certificates on their homepages with links that take them to a page dedicated to all accreditation information. Here students will also find links that take them to the accreditation institution’s website. Regionally accredited online colleges display their accreditation certificates from regional high-authority organizations. In the same manner, nationally accredited online colleges show their accreditation certificates with links to each organization’s website. 

Students looking at fully accredited online colleges can also visit the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) website. This is the master website that offers links to all accreditation institutions and helps them learn if a school is accredited by one of the recognized accrediting agencies.

Some accredited online schools seek programmatic accreditations, which are essentially specialized organizations to support their knowledge and industry-based credentials. These programmatic accreditations focus on specific programs instead of the whole institution. Accrediting agencies assess the curriculum, course delivery, faculty, testing, and program outcomes. They ensure that the academic program that a student chooses has undergone a rigorous review process and meets the high standards for educational quality. Programmatic accreditations are usually for a single degree program and offer an evaluation-based standard for the program according to the list of criteria that is nationally followed. These accreditations provide the backing needed for authenticating the accredited online schools. 

Students can also visit the United States Department of Education for more information on the best accredited online colleges. It contains a broad database that has information on hundreds of institutions. The search options are easy and convenient, which can be done by the institution’s name, region, school acronym, or the regional accrediting agency. If the specific school does not appear in the search, students will know it is not ranked among the accredited online colleges. 

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