Top Colleges 2016
Welcome to OnlineColleges.com’s newly redesigned Top Colleges 2017 tool. We ranked more than 2,500 accredited colleges and universities on a variety of factors, including affordability, student services and the availability of online programs. The result is a list of the best online colleges in the U.S. that is built into this interactive tool.
The filters on the left let you create customized lists of schools based on the factors that are most important to you, including location, price and religious affiliation, among others. Choosing the right school is the first step toward success in higher education, and we’re excited to help you get started.
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Using the National Center for Education Statistics’ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, we generated a list of colleges and universities that met the following criteria:
- Level of institution is either “Four or more years” or “At least 2 but less than 4 years”
- At least 1% of students are taking at least some of the classes via distance education
- Data is reported for all 11 ranking variables listed in the Methodology section
We ranked 2,868 colleges on 11 criteria, using 2014 data from the National Center for Education Statistics and the weights specified:
- Number of programs offered via distance education: 25%
- Percentage of students participating in distance education classes: 7%
- Average in-state tuition for undergraduate and, if applicable, graduate students: 17%
- Average out-of-state tuition for undergraduate and, if applicable, graduate students: 7%
- Total electronic library collections, including digital books, databases and media: 7%
- Availability of academic/ career counseling services: 9.5%
- Availability of job placement services for graduates: 9.5%
- Offers dual credit: 4.5%
- Offers credit for life experience: 4.5%
- Offers advanced placement (AP) credit: 4.5%
- Offers credit for military training: 4.5%
All schools were scored on a 10-point scale for each of the points listed above. Individual data point scores were then multiplied by their respective weights, and the scores were added together, for a maximum possible score of 10 points.
NOTE: Schools’ tuition amounts are based on 2014-15 undergraduate and graduate data reported to the National Center for Education Statistics. The actual cost of tuition may vary.
- Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2014-15, National Center for Education Statistics, Accessed February 2016, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/