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Online Colleges in Kansas

Most Affordable Online Colleges

COLLEGE FINDER

Article Sources

Methodology

To be included in these rankings, all colleges had to meet the following criteria for the specific subject being ranked:

  1. Offer at least one degree or certificate in that subject online
  2. Have awarded at least one degree or certificate in that subject in 2014-15

Once we had our list of schools for each subject, we ranked them on six criteria, using the weights specified:

  1. In-state tuition, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014
  2. Graduation rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014
  3. Accessibility, based on the admissions rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014
  4. Program prominence, based on how many of the degrees and certificates awarded by the school in 2014-15 were in this particular subject, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014
  5.  Related subjects, based on the number of similar programs that the school offers at any level, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014
  6. Variety of degree levels, based on the number of degree and certificate levels out of a possible nine that the school offers in this particular subject, National Center for Education Statistics, 2014

Methodology Sources

  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/

Sources:

  1. College Navigator, http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=KS&l=93
  2. Dennis King, interview with the author, June 2015
  3. Emporia State University, http://www.emporia.edu/distance/index.html
  4. Fort Hays State University, http://www.fhsu.edu/virtualcollege/degrees/degrees/
  5. Fun Things to Do in Wichita, http://www.360wichita.com/Entertainment
  6. Fun Things to Do in Overland Park, http://www.360wichita.com/Entertainment
  7. Kansas State University, http://global.k-state.edu/courses/degrees
  8. List of Wichita State People, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Wichita_State_University_people
  9. List of Emporia State University people, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Emporia_State_University_people
  10. List of Kansas State University people, https://www.google.com/search?q=Notable+alumni+Kansas+State&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a
  11. List of University of Kansas people, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_University_of_Kansas_people
  12. List of Washburn University alumni, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Washburn_University_alumni
  13. Newman University, http://www.newmanu.edu/newman-online
  14. Notable Alumni Fort Hays State University, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Hays_State_University
  15. Notable Alumni Ottawa University, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ottawa_University#Notable_alumni
  16. Notable Alumni Pittsburgh State University, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pittsburg_State_University#Notable_alumni
  17. Notable Alumni Tabor College, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tabor_College_%28Kansas%29#Notable_alumni_and_faculty
  18. Ottawa University, http://www.ottawa.edu/Online
  19. Pittsburg State University, http://www.pittstate.edu/office/graduate/online_programs.dot
  20. Tabor College, http://online.tabor.edu/programs/
  21. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_48620.htm
  22. U.S. Census Bureau: American Factfinder, http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?src=CF
  23. University of Kansas, http://online.ku.edu/programs
  24. Washburn University, http://www.washburn.edu/academics/community-continuing-education/online-education/2-2-plan.html
  25. Wichita State, http://www.wichita.edu/thisis/home/?u=onlineed
  26. The 25 Best Online Master's in Educational Administration Degree Programs, http://www.thebestschools.org/rankings/25-best-online-masters-educational-administration-degree-programs/
  27. The Kansas Board of Regents - Scholarships and Grants, Accessed April 2017, http://www.kansasregents.org/scholarships_and_grants
  28. The Kansas Board of Regents Financial Aid FAQ, Accessed April 2017, http://www.kansasregents.org/students/student_financial_aid/financial_aid_faq
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Kansas is home to the North American Datum, the point from which all property lines and boundaries in North America are surveyed. Students who enroll at an online college in Kansas can potentially branch out just as far with the right combination of hard work and good instruction. The state has many excellent schools where distance learners can sow the roots of their educational journey. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there are 59 institutes in the State of Kansas where students can earn associate degrees, 37 institutes that award bachelor's degrees, and 25 institutes that award advanced and master's degrees. Many of these schools provide online education for students living in the state and well beyond its borders.

The Kansas Board of Regents is the governing board for the state's six public universities, and it also provides oversight for 32 postsecondary institutions across the state. The University of Kansas and Kansas State University, both among the state's premier institutions of higher education, are members of this system. Meanwhile, the Kansas Independent College Association represents 19 independent non-profit postsecondary institutes throughout the state. Seventeen of these institutes are four-year colleges, and two are two-year associate-level schools.

There are 19 community colleges in the state, and six are members of EduKan, a cooperative founded in 1999 to increase distance-learning options for students in Kansas and beyond. EduKan offers more than 200 online courses year-round, and most of the coursework is transferable to public colleges across the state. Distance learners also can finish the first two years of a bachelor's degree by completing all their associate-level work through EduKan. This is made even easier by EduKan's partnerships with Kansas State University, Wichita State University and Fort Hayes State University — making it so that students who have completed their general education requirements through EduKan can easily transfer to any one of these prestigious institutes.

Best Online Universities in Kansas for 2018

Distance learners have hundreds of options when it comes to choosing an online college. We created this ranking of the best online colleges in Kansas to help you find a great online university and narrow down your options for colleges located in the Jayhawk State. To make this list, we used a wide range of data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics weighted and analyzed by our personal methodology, including acceptance rate, net price and percentage of students taking distance education courses. You can learn more about our methodology at the bottom of this article, or use our Top Colleges Tool to try out making your own rankings.

1

Kansas State University, Manhattan

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$9,874
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
20.27%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
45
School Type
4-year

Kansas State University has a long and enduring history, exemplified by the campus' oldest building: Holtz Hall, built in 1876 and still going strong. However, the university is certainly not stuck in the past; it prides itself on its use of technology and media in the digital classroom.

K-State's Global Campus offers distance learners the chance to pursue more than 70 online degree programs, ranging from professional certificates to doctoral degrees. Coursework is delivered via the Canvas learning management system in a typical online format, but distance learners also use streaming video lectures, teleconferencing, message boards and list servers for classroom instruction. Just a few of the subjects you can pursue at K-State are:

  • Personal finance planning
  • Food business and operations management
  • Operations research
  • Merchandising
  • Agribusiness

Student support services for distance learners includes online exams and test proctoring, online tutoring, IT help desk support, and many different academic, career and personal support resources. As part of enrollment, distance learners receive specific software downloads, including Microsoft Office, that can help them stay abreast of technology demands.

2

Fort Hayes State University, Hays

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$4,884
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
77.06%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
37
School Type
4-year

Fort Hayes State University had a total enrollment of 14,658 students in the fall of 2016, including just under 7,000 distance learners taking courses through the university's Virtual Campus. FHSU's Virtual Campus is enormous, offering more than 50 online degree paths and more than 600 online courses. The Virtual Campus also provides many services to assist its students, including free online tutoring via Smarthinking, Blackboard support, access to the Smarthinking Writing Center, career support resources and more.

There are only two associate degree paths at the school: applied technology and general studies. However, there are a whopping 32 online bachelor's and 15 online master's degree programs on offer, ranging from marketing to geosciences to organizational leadership. Online students can also pursue a Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) through the Virtual Campus, as well as a Specialist in Education program.

3

Grantham State University, Lenexa

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$6,540
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
100.00%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
45
School Type
4-year

Grantham State University was founded in 1951 in Southern California, but it has evolved into a 100-percent online university headquartered in Lenexa, KS. This innovative university boasts over 50 online degree and certificate programs, provided through its four different colleges:

  • Engineering and computer science
  • Business
  • Nursing and Allied Health
  • Arts and sciences

Many programs at the university have courses with weekly start dates to increase flexibility and accommodate student's busy schedules. All classes are delivered completely online. Grantham State's Teaching & Learning Center provides distance learners with individualized tutoring, online tutorials and more, while its Career Services staff provides crucial support with building resumes, job interview tips and job postings.

4

Emporia State University, Emporia

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$6,179
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
42.96%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
24
School Type
4-year

Emporia State University started out as a college for teachers back in 1863, and is known to be home to the National Teachers Hall of Fame. As you might expect, this means Emporia works hard to provide a quality education to its students, including those who are learning from afar. The university provides a wide range of academic assistance services for its distance learners, including tutoring help in writing and math through Zoom, a free videoconferencing service. Students also have free access to the ESU Helpdesk for technical support.

ESU offers a fully online Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies degree program that requires 124 semester hours to complete. The university also offers a variety of online and hybrid graduate degree programs, including:

  • Accounting
  • Business administration-information systems
  • Instruction specialist-reading K-12
  • Mathematics
  • Rehabilitation counseling
5

University of Kansas, Lawrence

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$10,549
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
16.53%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
18
School Type
4-year

A longtime member of the Association of American Universities, the University of Kansas offers its students a bevy of online educational options through KU Online. KU Online offers hundreds of courses for on-campus students, all of which follow a standard semester calendar. All these courses fuel dozens of online programs that can lead to degrees or certificates at the graduate or undergraduate level. In particular, the university offers multiple bachelor's degree-completion programs for students who already have completed at least 60 approved college credits.

Students pursuing one of KU Online's many programs can receive support in many different areas, as needed. Access to the KU Writing Center, library services, and tutoring and academic support through the Academic and Achievement and Access Center is available to any students who desire it. Perhaps most conveniently, distance learners can take required proctored exams at a nearby university, community college, or public library — not necessarily at a KU campus — upon approval from their department of study.

6

Wichita State University, Wichita

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$7,895
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
52.55%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
18
School Type
4-year

In addition to its main 330-acre campus, Wichita State University also has four satellite locations — one in each corner of the city of Wichita. The university's Department of Online Learning has a reach that extends far beyond that, however, featuring many options that allow distance learners to pursue web-based degrees. Students with prior college credits can pursue an online Associate of Arts degree completion program, while those interested in bachelor's or master's degrees can begin a program in engineering technology, criminal justice or education, to name a few.

The university has many dedicated resources to support its distance learners. The Wichita State University Writing Center provides free online help with college composition, while the Office of Student Success provides free tutoring services in other areas for undergraduate students. Wichita State's OneStop education support center provides help with academic advising, admissions, financial aid and other areas of student life.

7

Hutchinson Community College, Hutchinson

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$3,296
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
37.14%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
24
School Type
2-year

Hutchinson Community College offers more than 250 online associate-level courses for its students, be they attending HCC's main campus, one of its education centers or purely from a distance. Students who can't attend on-campus classes would be well advised to consider HCC's fully online associate degree programs in art or science, or perhaps one of the school's certificate programs. Available fields include, but are not limited to:

  • General education
  • Business administrative technology
  • Health coding specialist
  • Information technology in healthcare
  • Paralegal

Online programs at Hutchinson Community College have multiple start dates each year to better accommodate students' busy schedules. Certain online courses require proctored examinations. The Online Education department at HCC provides distance learners with a wide range of technical and instructional support services.

8

Barton Community College, Great Bend

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$3,328
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
39.19%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
31
School Type
2-year

Students at Barton Community College are well-versed in the nuances of online education: 40 percent of the college's student body was enrolled in an online class during the 2014-2015 academic year. The college's portal for distance learners, BARTOnline, allows students to complete an online associate degree program or many different certificate programs. The college accepts college transfer credits and both military and work experience, although students must complete at least 15 credits through BARTOnline to satisfy associate degree requirements.

There are several dozen different programs of study through BARTOnline that culminate in an associate degree, among them business, education and information technology. The college also hosts professional degree programs in fields such as veterinary medicine, radiology, health information and dentistry. BCC is also a member of EduKan, a cooperative between six Kansas community colleges that offers more than 200 online courses.

All classes at the online branch of Barton are offered in nine- and 17-week formats. The college also allows students to complete an online bachelor's or master's degree through Kansas State University via online education, as part of the institutes' partnership.

9

Kansas City Kansas Community College

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$3,240
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
35.86%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
21
School Type
2-year

KCKCC has several different methods of delivering instruction to its students. The college offers both on-campus and online courses, but also web-enhanced courses that meet on campus in the traditional manner but include components of online delivery, and even blended online courses that include both face-to-face study and self-paced online study.

All online courses at Kansas City Kansas Community College are synchronous with on-campus coursework, so they have definitive start and stop dates, as well as weekly deadlines. Students can enroll in dozens of different online courses as they work to satisfy undergraduate degree requirements. The available courses cover fields such as medical terminology, sleep studies, art appreciation, nutrition, kinesiology and many more.

Distance learners can receive help with academic advising through the college's Student Success Center. In addition, the Learning Resource Center at Kansas City Kansas Community College provides online writing consultations, as well as individual and group peer tutoring delivered online.

10

Manhattan Area Technical College, Manhattan

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$5,640
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
43.68%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
N/A
School Type
2-year

Manhattan Area Technical College primarily serves residents of Geary, Clay, Riley, Dickinson, Marshall and Pottawatomie counties through its campus at Manhattan, KS, as well as through its Virtual Learning Campus. Interested Manhattan Tech students can preview online courses via YouTube, as well as tour a virtual classroom, to ensure they understand the requirements of learning in an online environment.

Students enrolled at MATC can access the college's eCampus Bookstore, and all distance learners receive a free copy of Microsoft Office 365, as well as continued technical support through the MATC Help Desk. Online students also can access free online assistance in writing and math through the college's Learning Resource Center. The college also has transfer agreements with many Kansas colleges and universities for students who wish to continue their educational journey to the baccalaureate level.

Affordable Online Colleges in Kansas

The following list exhibits 10 schools in Kansas that offer online degree programs at affordable tuition costs. Tuition figures are sourced from the National Center for Education Statistics (2014-2015) and reflect in-state tuition (when in-state tuition is available) for all students, including online students.

Affordable Two-Year Online Colleges in Kansas

College NameTuition & Fees/Year
Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Distance Education Participation
Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Number of Online Programs Offered
Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics..
School Type
Coffeyville Community College$2,30419.94%12-year
Allen County Community College$2,85040.18%802-year
Garden City Community College$2,88016.39%512-year
Fort Scott Community College$2,91019.62%12-year
Seward County Community College$2,91213.29%92-year

Affordable Four-Year Online Colleges in Kansas

College NameTuition & Fees/Year
Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Distance Education Participation
Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Number of Online Programs Offered
Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics..
School Type
Fort Hays State University$4,88477.06%374-year
Emporia State University$6,17942.96%244-year
Grantham University$6,540100.00%454-year
Pittsburg State University$6,91026.31%164-year
Kansas Christian College$7,350N/A24-year

College Accreditation in Kansas

Accreditation is another thing students need to consider when looking at colleges in Kansas. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation recognizes programmatic, national faith-based and national career-based accrediting organizations. What's more, there is one regional accrediting body approved by the Department of Education for every state in the nation.

In Kansas, regional accrediting is offered through the following commission:

  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

While schools may boast of a variety of accreditations, the regional accreditation is often considered the most important. If a school in Kansas is not accredited by the HLC, students should check to assure the accrediting body listed is one recognized by the Department of Education.

School Interviews

Dennis King
Today's technology allows schools to offer online tutoring, career services and free technical resources and many other services.

Dennis King

Director of the Virtual College

Fort Hays State University

Q. What sets the online programs at your school apart from others?

Fort Hays State University has been offering programs at a distance for over 50 years. In 1998, the university launched the first online program. Today, Fort Hays State has 6,000 students and over 40 programs available online. Programs are available at the associate, bachelor's, master's, and now doctorate level. As a public university with the lowest 1 percent of tuition in the country, the university has focused on quality and word of mouth to grow the programs.

Q. What advice would you give to students interested in an online degree program?

I would recommend the student knows what level of accreditation the school has obtained. Regional accreditation is the highest available. Students enrolling in a nationally accredited program then expecting to transfer to a regionally accredited school will find it difficult to do so. I would also recommend the student research the services that are available to students. Today's technology allows schools to offer online tutoring, career services and free technical resources and many other services.

Knowing what type of teacher interaction will occur in the course is critical. Some students prefer the instructor to lead course, while others want self-paced. Make sure you know which you are signing up for. Finally, I would check rankings and what others are saying. Social media provides all of us an excellent opportunity to research a school.

Q. How do you think online learning will evolve?

I expect delivery techniques, instructional technologies and support services to continue to improve. These would include items like online collaboration, teamwork tools and other soft-skills techniques. Open educational resources continue to show promise in providing quality access to education. Also, the acceptance of alternative learning will also be a key part in the enrollment process. The big question is funding and tuition in the future.

Financial Aid Resources in Kansas

Kansas Loans

Kansas does not provide state-based loans to help students pay for their college education. However, they do allow students to apply for a plethora of state-based scholarships and grants through a simple State of Kansas Student Aid application form. Keep in mind that scholarship and grant money does not need to be repaid, but loans do. If you find that you are still in need of financial assistance, you may apply for federal or private loans to help cover your education expenses. You will need to fill out the FAFSA and supply information about your family's financial situation in order to apply for federal aid.

Learn more about student loans in the Ultimate Guide to Student Loans.

Additional Resources for Financial Aid in Kansas

Featured Cities In Kansas

The data in the following tables regarding these Kansas metropolitan areas is sourced from the 2015 American Community Survey (census.gov).

Wichita, KS

Total Population

636,095

Median salary for high school grads

$28,158

Median salary with a bachelor's degree

$45,564

% of the population enrolled in college or grad school

9.9%

Median rent

$537

Fun Facts about Wichita

Wichita is home to Kansas Sports Hall of Fame, the Kansas Aviation Museum, and the Great Plains Transportation Museum. Wichita's attractions are rich in history, such as the Old Cowtown Museum and the Wichita-Sedgwuck County Historical Museum.

Topeka, KS

Total Population

234,195

Median salary for high school grads

$28,506

Median salary with a bachelor's degree

$44,230

% of the population enrolled in college or grad school

8.1%

Median rent

$539

Fun Facts about Topeka

While the Missouri version of Kansas City is larger and more famous, its little sister across the Kansas River in the state of Kansas has its own appeal. Attractions include the Kansas Speedway and Lakeside Speedway, as well as the famous Sauer Castle. Kansas City, Kansas, is also home to the National Agricultural Hall of Fame and the Wyandotte County Museum and Historical Society.

 
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