Are you considering an online college in Arizona? Good news: A variety of options are available in the Grand Canyon State. Keep in mind that attending an online college in Arizona can give you the flexibility to continue to work and/or raise your family — you can take classes when and where it's convenient for you. Here's an overview of online college options in Arizona:

  • Associate degree programs are available at 33 schools while bachelor's degrees and master's degrees can be found at 20 schools.
  • University of Arizona-Phoenix, Grand Canyon University, and Northern Arizona University offer the most online degree programs in the state.
  • Of the online colleges in Arizona, 24 schools are public and 22 are private, including two seminaries. Four of the private schools focus on healthcare careers, and others target subjects like creative and design work, HVAC and refrigeration, paralegal training, and culinary arts.

If you've already earned some college credits and you're looking to restart a degree program, you might like to know that the public schools in Arizona have transfer agreements with certain community colleges. For instance, Arizona State University in Phoenix has created a Transfer Admission Guarantee (TAG) program with several public community colleges in the Phoenix area.

For more information on online colleges in Arizona, read on. This page can educate you on the scholarships and loan opportunities available so you can save money on your education. It can also help you select an accredited online degree program.

What Makes a Good Online College in Arizona?

This page focuses on schools of higher learning in the Grand Canyon State. Our comprehensive list of schools is filled with only those that have achieved accreditation from an Arizona-relevant accrediting body, such as the Higher Learning Commission. Those interested in learning more about why accreditation is so valuable can check out our "Accreditation" page. Information on accreditation specific to Arizona can be found at the Arizona State Board of Education or the Arizona Commission for Postsecondary Education.

Even when looking only at accredited online colleges, there are many different options for higher education. That's what we're here for. Our rankings take what matters most to students, evaluate schools based on that criteria and break down the results into a meaningful list. To create our rankings, we looked at a variety of factors, including the number of online programs offered, what percentage of students were awarded financial aid to help pay for those programs, and resources for online students, such as total electronic library collections available at each school. To learn more about the criteria for our rankings, check out the "What Makes a Good Online College?" section on our "About Us" page.


Best Online Colleges in Arizona for 2019-20

This list of the 10 best colleges in Arizona was ranked using data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), taking into account factors such as net price, number of online programs offered and acceptance rate. More details on the methodology we used to create the list are at the bottom of the page.


Northern Arizona University

Tuition & Fees
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Number of Programs Offered
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What is NAU like?

Northern Arizona's public research university has a main campus in Flagstaff as well as an online campus. The school understands that every student's educational journey begins in a different place, and administration has spent over 20 years developing and delivering online degree programs in Arizona that can cater to various lifestyles.

What online programs are at NAU?

NAU offers two flexible online formats. The "traditional online" format involves selecting a semester-based course schedule, meeting assignment deadlines and paying tuition based on credit hours. The "competency-based" format allows students to select their own start date, set their own schedule and pay a six-month, flat subscription rate.

NAU's online bachelor's, master's and certificate programs focus on a variety of subjects, including business administration, computer information technology and justice studies.

What online resources does NAU offer?

Online NAU students enjoy 24/7 IT support during the fall and spring and daytime-hour support in the summer. In addition, they can connect with an online tutor via NAU's Student Learning Centers and receive access to e-books, journals and Google Scholar through the Cline Library.


University of Arizona

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What is UA like?

Established in 1885, UA is based in Tucson and delivers online learning through UA Online. UA Online expects students to participate in each course three to five times a week and strongly encourages them to complete an online orientation. UA jumped up one spot from last year's list of the best accredited online colleges in Arizona.

What online programs are at UA?

UA Online offers undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs in fields of study such as accounting, nursing and cybersecurity through a distance learning platform known as UA Online Launchpad. Students enrolled in any online program may join the school's Blue Chip Leadership program, which involves three hand-on courses that focus on leadership, professional development and inclusivity.

What online resources does UA offer?

Students may connect with a UA alumni mentor who has gone through a similar program to theirs and can assist with advice and guidance. In addition, they can connect with a student academic success specialist, who is responsible for connecting students to resources and options they might need to succeed in online classes.


Arizona State University-Tempe

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Number of Programs Offered
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What is ASU like?

ASU is a public research university with numerous online master's, bachelor's and certificate programs that can be completed 100 percent online. The Tempe school, home to one of the largest campuses by enrollment in the country, has moved up several spots from its No.6 ranking on last year's list of the best online universities in Arizona.

What online programs are at ASU?

ASU has launched continuing and professional education, an online suite of courses that professionals can complete at their own pace to boost their careers. Students who complete one of these courses receive a digital badge they can show to current and prospective employers.

ASU also offers degree programs in fields of study such as business administration, digital photography, criminology and health care coordination.

What online resources does ASU offer?

A library guide for online students was specifically designed by ASU. It can help students perform research via the ASU Library, cite sources and discover a variety of resources available to them such as journals and e-books.

Additionally, ASU offers eAdvisor, a number of online and interactive tools designed to help online learners identify potential career paths based on their interests and strengths.


Grand Canyon University

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
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What is GCU like?

GCU is a private Christian university offering programs on campus in Phoenix and via distance education throughout the country. The online learning management system here has been serving online students for more than a decade, offering full-fledged degree programs as well as individual courses to help them brush up on specific skills and knowledge.

What online programs are at GCU?

In addition to its several online master's and bachelor's degree programs, GCU has a dedicated College of Doctoral Studies that offers highly advanced programs in business data analytics, nursing, school administration, theology and psychology. There are also continuing education courses and hybrid learning options for students who are interested in blending online courses with in-person evening courses in Phoenix.

What online resources does GCU offer?

Online students at GCU can reap the benefits of a number of online career tools that can help them discover potential career paths, create a resume and search for jobs and internships. These tools include websites such as Career Campus, Career Connections and GoinGlobal. Additionally, students have access to library resources such as eBooks, dissertations and video and music streaming capabilities.


Prescott College

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Number of Programs Offered
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What is PC like?

Distance learning at PC began in the 1978, when the school offered one of the first hybrid education programs in the country. In the following years, fully online options also became available. PC has come to offer a variety of online bachelor's, master's and even Ph.D. programs that can be completed without ever setting foot in a classroom.

What online programs are at PC?

At PC, students can earn a unique online Ph.D in sustainability education through a 72-credit hour program with courses such as worldviews and sustainability, permaculture, ecopsychology and sustainability theory and practice in education.

PC also offers online counseling degree and certificate programs, online teacher certificate programs, M.A. programs in fields like education and social justice, and bachelor's degree programs in arts and letters, human development and more.

What online resources does PC offer?

Prescott Library's online resources include eBook central, an online site that contains over 150,000 eBooks; RefWorks, a citation software; and Journal Search, a database that makes it easy to find electronic and print journals. In addition, students can connect with a writing coach online via the Learning Commons tutoring center and receive help with essays and research papers.


National Paralegal College

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is NPC like?

Since 2003, NPC has earned a reputation as a leader in online paralegal education. It strives to teach students the skills they need to work as a paralegal or a related profession in the business, legal or regulatory fields. NPC has climbed four spots from its ranking in last year's list of the best colleges in Arizona.

What online programs are at NPC?

NPC offers undergraduate programs such as a certificate in paralegal studies, a B.S. in legal studies and a Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.). M.S. programs in subjects such as legal studies and compliance law are available as well. The course materials at NPC are presented in screen, printout and audio formats so that students can study in the way that works best for them.

What online resources does NPC offer?

NPC students are trained on how to use the online LexisNexis Total Research System, an essential legal research tool. Since the school partners with the Library Information Resources Network (LIRN), students can also take advantage of books, journals, magazines, periodicals and other research sources.


Argosy University-Phoenix Online Division

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Number of Programs Offered
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Since the time this ranking was made, Argosy University has CLOSED and is no longer available for enrollment or completion.

What is AU like?

AU is a nonprofit college with campus-based programs in Phoenix as well as online and hybrid offerings. Its online learners are mostly working adults.

What online programs are at AU?

Students at AU have the freedom to decide how and when they want to go to school. Most of them attend one class at time, which lasts 5 or 7.5 weeks. They can log into the digital classroom and complete their schoolwork whenever they'd like.

Students may use AU's mobile app and access classes on their smartphones when they're away from their computers. In addition, students who would like to complete their degree faster may take two classes at once if they meet the eligibility requirements.

What online resources does AU offer?

AU students receive 24/7 access to the school's complete online library, tech support, career services and live online tutoring center. They can also utilize computer and software tutorials via their online portal and work with an advisor who will give them a full interactive tour of their online classroom.


Rio Salado College

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
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What is RSC like?

Headquartered in Tempe, RSC is a community college that offers a plethora of 2-year degree programs online. RSC's status as one of the top online schools in Arizona is cemented by its over 15 years of service to more than 250,000 distance education students via RioLearn, an all-in-one digital learning platform.

What online programs are at RSC?

At RSC, students may enroll in dozens of online degree and certificate programs. The catalog includes study plans in energy systems technology, mobile apps programming, web design and dental assisting, among many others. An eight-week class option available for most of its online classes can give students the chance to complete more classes in a shorter time frame. This format can help students go from part-time to full-time status and therefore complete their programs faster.

What online resources does RSC offer?

With approval from their high school, students can earn both high school and college credit through RSC's concurrent enrollment courses. Students can also schedule online appointments with the Counseling and Career Services department to discuss strategies for overcoming stress, improving study skills and finding the right career path for them.


Bryan University

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is BU like?

Originally founded as a stenotype school in Dr. Mildred T. Bryan's living room in 1940, BU has expanded its catalog and facilities quite a bit in the decades since. Its online programs cover subjects such as business, healthcare and legal studies and are taught live through a suite of educational technology that includes Zoom video conferencing.

What online programs are at BU?

BU's personal trainer certificate program is ideal for anyone who is searching for a career that helps them stay in shape and transform lives. The school also offers online associate and bachelor's programs in business administration and a Master of Public Health (M.P.H.). After graduation, students can keep their skills sharp by auditing previously completed courses at no charge, so long as they're still in the catalog.

What online resources does BU offer?

Students at BU have access to a team of dedicated career services professionals who can assist with one-on-one employment counseling, job placement advice and tips on resume writing and interviewing.


Yavapai College

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is YC like?

YC is a community college that operates satellite campuses in Clarkdale, Prescott Valley, Chino Valley and Sedona in addition to its main location in Prescott.

What online programs are at YC?

Online programs at YC are taught via the Canvas learning platform. Students can earn associate degrees in fields like business, accounting and video game development. They can also enroll in a variety of non-degree programs such as the basic tax certificate, which features an internship section, or the screenwriting certificate, which focuses on storytelling across different forms of media.

What online resources does YC offer?

Students enrolled in online courses at YC can schedule an appointment at Teaching & eLearning Support (TeLS). By doing so, they can receive the guidance, training and on-demand help they need to become great online learners. In addition, they can download Microsoft Office 365 and use YC Cloud, a website that gives them online access to all the different software available to on-campus students.

Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2018-19, National Center for Education Statistics,

Affordable Online Colleges in Arizona for 2019-20

Most students are concerned about the overall cost of college. To help these students, below are the five two-year and five four-year colleges in Arizona that offer the lowest tuition. The tuition data used to create this list was reported to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System by each of the respective schools.

Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2018-19, National Center for Education Statistics,

Financial Aid Resources in Arizona

Financial aid for college-bound Arizonans is offered in the form of scholarships, grants and loans. The state even helps parents to plan for their child's future college education with a tax-deferred college savings plan called the AZ Family College Savings Program. Those heading off to college should first complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This helps state aid-granting institutions determine a student's eligibility.

What Grants and Scholarships are Available in Arizona? 

The state of Arizona offers a wide variety of financial aid options for its student residents, from the general to the very niche. In particular, Arizona State University — the largest university in the state -- offers several scholarships for its students. Not attending ASU? No worries, there is still plenty of financial aid on offer from Arizona organizations.

Source: Scholarship directory data is copyrighted material which is reproduced on this website by permission of CollegeXpress, a division of Carnegie Dartlet. Copyright © 2020 by CollegeXpress.

For more on aid in Arizona, be sure to browse our Ultimate Guide to Grants and our Ultimate Guide to Scholarships.

Student Loans in Arizona

There are a few different options for forgivable loans for Arizona students who meet certain financial or academic criteria. Note that the Arizona Higher Education Loan Authority (AHELA), which was once the nonprofit provider of federal student loans for the state of Arizona, was replaced by the U.S. Department of Education's Direct Loan program in 2010.

This loan is a need-based, forgivable loan offered for up to three years. If you qualify, you must commit to teaching in an Arizona public school for a certain amount of time; otherwise, you have to pay the loan back, with interest.

  • Application deadline:  Not specified. Inquire upon completion of the FAFSA.
  • Award amount: $7,000
The Arizona Central Credit Union offers loans with interest rates starting at 3.5 percent APR (depending on the student's credit qualifications) through this program. Their online application system calculates total cost and monthly payment amounts.


  • Application deadline: Not specified
  • Award amount: $3,000-$15,000

Read our Ultimate Guide to Student Loans for more resources on loans.

Additional Resources for Financial Aid in Arizona

Costs for Out-of-State Students in Arizona

Arizona is a popular place for both residents and non-residents to go to college. Students from across the country enroll in Arizona State University, the University of Arizona and other public and private institutions. The state is particularly popular in California, with more than 5,000 freshman from there enrolling in Arizona schools in 2016, according to the latest government figures.

Out-of-state students get the same education as Arizona residents, but they may pay more for it. In order to be eligible for lower in-state tuition rates, people need to live in the state for 12 continuous months. And don't think you can simply take classes for a year and be eligible. The Arizona Board of Regents says it looks at whether a student has cut ties to a former state when determining whether someone is a resident.

However, Arizona colleges and universities often provide scholarships to help offset the cost of out-of-state tuition. Some programs, like the New American University National Scholar Award from Arizona State University, cover out-of-state tuition entirely while others, such as the regional Western Undergraduate Exchange Program, aim to reduce costs by nearly half.

To learn more about non-resident tuition rates in Arizona and available financial assistance, talk to an admissions counselor at your college. You can also visit these links to learn more: