The benefits of furthering education with online college and university programs has been discovered by many Americans. Babson Survey Research Group’s “Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in the United States” study, which was released in January 2013, has found that more students now opt to study via online courses. The higher education institutions are in return, responding to the demands for online college degree programs. From 2002 to 2012, there was almost a 45% increase in the number of college degree programs being offered totally online.
When searching for an online college or university degree program, it is important to remember that no all online degree programs are the same. Some online degree programs offer the majority of the course work online, with a few campus-located seminars or classes required yearly. Other higher education institutions offer the entire degree program online, or a different composition of online and on-site classes.
This year, the U.S. News ranked 237 “completely online” bachelor degree programs found in the United States. The three criteria utilized in this ranking were Faculty Credentials & Training, Student Services & Technology, and Student Engagement. The top five ranking bachelor programs were #1 Pace University in New York, #2 Daytona State College in Florida, #3 St. John’s University in New York, #4 Westfield State University in Massachusetts, and #5 Graceland University in Iowa.
In addition, the U.S. News also ranked five “completely online” graduate degree programs. The five programs were business, education, engineering, computer & information technology (CIT), and nursing. The two top ranked universities for graduate business programs were Washington State University and Arizona State University. The graduate education programs’ top two winners were St. John’s University and Auburn University.
The University of Southern California ranked number one for both the graduate engineering and the graduate computer & information technology programs. Pennsylvania State University—World Campus was ranked number two for graduate engineering programs, and Sam Houston State University came in second for their computer and information technology graduate program. The graduate nursing programs top two ranked institutions were Ferris State University and Lamar University. To see where your institution ranked, go to the U.S. News website.
Often students have different reasons for wanting to go to particular colleges and universities. Their reasons may include other factors than those of how the above educational institutions were ranked. Some students are interested in having certain professors as teachers or advisors, many look at the cost per credit, and others may want to “attend” the institution where their family members graduated. It is the individual factors that students consider, which might tip the scales on their own personal rankings. Before enrolling in a college degree program, you should do your own research and come up with your own “top online college degree programs” that will work best with your schedule and with your life.