You shouldn't have to sacrifice quality of education just because your schedule forbids you from attending a brick-and-mortar university. Top ranked distance learning universities offer the same instruction with the flexibility to meet the needs of busy students. The top schools are user friendly, reasonably priced and offer expert professors and a variety of majors from which to choose.
"U.S. News & World Report" ranked programs based on whether they use secure and standard online practices, graduation rates, student assessment processes, class sizes, student services, whether the software was user friendly and the quality of faculty. The website "The Best Schools" ranked online programs according to academic quality, reputation, online teaching methods, awards, affordability, graduation rates and student-to-teacher ratio. The website "Super Scholar" ranks the best online colleges based on degree selection diversity and value, market credibility and prestige, academic quality, student support and student satisfaction.
U.S. News & World Report
Pace University has been offering online degrees since 2005 and has a rolling admissions deadline. No class has more than 20 students. The average teacher has 10 years of online teaching experience. The school offers 100 majors, and all of them are available online. The school also offers a blended option that combines classroom and computer instruction. Daytona State College ranked second on the list. Courses at Daytona State happen two times a week for six weeks. They run the gamut from accounting and finance to computer applications to writing and publishing.
The Best Schools
Penn State University World Campus was ranked at the top of this list. Diplomas in more than 90 majors are identical to those of on-campus students. The school created in 1998 carries the Penn State reputation and networking benefits with 560,000 alumni. The University of Florida’s distance learning program was also a top ranked school. The degree is the same as that of a traditional student, and Smart Money magazine ranked Florida No. 2 in 2013 for schools where graduates get the most salary return for their tuition dollars. Alumni of the program include a U.S. Air Force pilot and a housewife-turned-microbiologist.
Colorado State University -- Global Campus is rated as a 100 percent online school with a myriad of accredited bachelor's and master's degree programs, including ones in accounting, communications and criminal justice. Classes start every four weeks. Tuition will not increase as long as you are enrolled in a degree program. Western Governors University in Utah was ranked second by "Super Scholar." Dozens of majors are offered in education, computer science, business and health. Classes are personalized to fit students’ schedules. Real-world experience is factored into credit and placement decisions, and tuition is extremely competitive.
- The Best Schools: The 25 Best Online Colleges 2013
- Super Scholar: Smart Choice 25 Best Online Colleges
- Pace University Online Learning
- Daytona State College: Online Courses
- Penn State University World Campus
- University of Florida Distance Learning: Online Degree Programs
- Colorado State University-Global Campus
- Western Governors University: Online Degree Programs
Rudy Miller has been writing professionally since 1996. Miller is a digital team leader for lehighvalleylive.com, a local news website and content provider to the Express-Times newspaper in Easton, Pa. Miller holds a Master of Arts in English from the University of Miami.