Earning a degree online in Kansas can help you increase your career prospects — to gain access to positions that typically require a degree in order to qualify. By enrolling in an online college in Kansas, you can take classes from home at times that are convenient for your busy schedule — whether you live in Wichita, Dodge City, Topeka, or anywhere else in the state.

Here are a few highlights about distance education opportunities in the Sunflower State:

  • Associate degree programs are offered at 30 online colleges while bachelor's degree programs are available at 30; master's degrees can be earned at more than 20.
  • Almost 30 public colleges and universities in Kansas offer online programs; 25 private schools offer them, including several faith-based schools.
  • There are about a dozen trade and technical schools that offer online programs to students in healthcare, information technology, culinary arts, or other fields.
  • Allen County Community College, Garden City Community College, and Rasmussen College-Kansas offer the most online degree programs in the state.

Kansas residents who want information about credit transfers or credit for life experiences or military training can check out the state's Get Ahead in Kansas program. This resource is designed to help more people complete their college education, including through online degree options.

If you're interested in learning about the best online colleges in Kansas or the most affordable online colleges, read on. We've also included a variety of Kansas-based scholarships that can help make earning your degree more affordable.

What Makes a Good Online College in Kansas?

Students seeking online education in the Sunflower State can narrow down their search by using our multiple rankings of accredited online colleges in Kansas to find the best choice for them. All schools displayed in these lists are accredited. To learn more about why accreditation is so important, check out our "What is College Accreditation?" page. In Kansas, most schools are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, the regional accreditation body for the central U.S. For details on accreditation specific to Kansas, take a look at the Kansas State Board of Education or the Kansas Board of Regents.

Why do rankings matter? They take a great deal of information and condense it into meaningful factors, then compare schools to determine which ones do the best job in those areas. For instance, the criteria used to create our Kansas rankings includes the number of online programs at each school, the average amount of financial aid awarded to students, and the ratio of students participating in distance education, among many other factors. The rankings that resulted from our comprehensive look can help students figure out which school might be right for them. For more on why we believe these points matter so much, check out the "What Makes a Good Online College" section of our "About Us" page.


Best Online Universities in Kansas for 2019-20

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.


Fort Hays State University

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

What is FHSU like?

Since its founding in 1902, FHSU has evolved into a regional comprehensive university with students on-campus in Hays and online at its virtual college. FHSU has jumped up one spot from last year's list of the best online colleges in Kansas to claim the top placement on our list.

What online programs are at FHSU?

Among the school's online bachelor's degree options are education programs with specializations such as early childhood education, elementary education, and elementary education with a special education minor. In other fields, online certificates can be earned in subjects like criminal justice, psychology, and management. Online classes at FHSU are taught via Blackboard and are 16-weeks, 8-weeks, or 3-weeks long, depending on the course and time of year.

What online resources does FHSU offer?

Students can enjoy access to an online tutoring and writing center through the website, SmartThinking.com. They can also take advantage of career services and get assistance with their resume and/or find a job or internship via Handshake, an online career development platform. In addition, students have the opportunity to run for seats on the Virtual Student Senate.


Emporia State University

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type
What is ESU like?

ESU was the first school in Kansas to train teachers, starting in 1863. The school continues to offer educational programs on-campus and online through ESU Online. Emporia State has climbed up one spot from last year's list of the best online universities in Kansas.

What online programs are at ESU?

At ESU students can earn a Master of Science in Educational Administration that can be completed fully online in as little as 12 months. The school offers other accelerated online graduate degree programs in business-related fields such as accountancy, business administration, information systems, and marketing. All online programs at ESU are taught via the Canvas learning system in an asynchronous, self-paced format.

What online resources does ESU offer?

ESU's online students can use DegreeWorks, a web-based tool that allows them to track their academic goals, create a personalized academic plan, and estimate their graduation date. While engaged in coursework, students can access ESU's virtual library where they can also chat online with a librarian. Online students can connect with the school's career services program for career counseling, job search strategies, and access to Handshake, a website that lists open jobs and internships.


Wichita State University

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

What is WSU like?

Wichita State strives to bridge the gap between classroom learning and real-world experience for its on-campus and online students by offering practicum and clinical placements, service learning and volunteering, student research and mentorships. WSU rose two spots in our rankings from last year's list of the best online colleges in Kansas.

What online programs are at WSU?

Among WSU's program options are an online bachelor's degree in criminal justice that can provide access to internships and co-op positions with law enforcement. Wichita State also offers a unique online master's degree in aging studies, which aims to prepare students for careers in gerontology research, counseling and administration in nursing homes and assisted-living communities. WSU's online courses are delivered through the Blackboard learning system.

What online resources does WSU offer?

The Wichita State University Writing Center is available to all online WSU students. Its trained tutors can assist — virtually — any stage of the writing process. WSU students may also find value in one-on-one career counseling and video tutorials that can teach them how to navigate the myWSU Portal, add or drop a class, and utilize the WSU Course Search Tool.


Grantham University

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

What is GU like?

GU, founded in 1951 as Grantham Radio Licensing School, began offering online degree programs in the late '90s. Since then, it has become fully online. Grantham has extensive partnerships in place with cities, counties, companies, and organizations throughout Kansas that offer education benefits to help employees and/or members advance in their careers.

What online programs are at GU?

Grantham's degree programs are offered through four different colleges that concentrate on engineering and computer science, business, nursing and allied health, and arts and sciences. At GU, students may earn an Bachelor of Science in subjects such as computer engineering technology, computer science, and business management. Master of Science programs in performance improvement, health systems management, and business intelligence are available as well. GU delivers its online programs via the Blackboard learning system.

What online resources does GU offer?

Students may receive academic support through the Teaching and Learning System, which offers 24/7 on-demand tutoring with Tutor.com, live chat sessions, and webinars. There is also a veteran support team designed for those who are pursuing their degrees online. The veteran support team offers comprehensive career planning, financial management services, and mentorship opportunities.


University of Kansas

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

What is KU like?

Known as a public research university, KU has multiple physical campuses as well as an online campus through KU Online. The state's flagship university has jumped up several spots from last year's list of the best online universities in Kansas. KU is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities.

What online programs are at KU?

KU offers online bachelor's completion programs in majors such as psychology, communication studies, exercise science and liberal arts. At the graduate level, students can pursue an online MBA with concentrations in finance, marketing, and management leadership. KU's online master's programs in special education give students the opportunity to specialize in autism or high-incidence disabilities. Online courses at KU are taught via the Blackboard learning management system.

What online resources does KU offer?

Students can receive guides and writing consultations through the KU Writing Center at no cost. They can also access e-books and databases as well as connect with a librarian for research assistance via chat, phone, email, or text. Additionally, students can work with an academic advisor to plan their course of study over the phone.


Washburn University

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

What is WU like?

Washburn, a regional teaching institution serving the Topeka area for more than 150 years, offers Kansas resident tuition rates to online students from Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas. In addition, WU does not charge completely online students activity fees since they are not on campus. Washburn has jumped up a few spots from last year's list of the top online colleges in Kansas.

What online programs are at WU?

Many of Washburn's fully online and hybrid degree and certificate programs focus on healthcare. Students can earn a Bachelor of Health Science or an associate degree in diagnostic medical sonography, magnetic resonance imaging, or radiation therapy. Options for those interested in advance degrees are the fully online master's program in criminal justice or addiction counseling or the doctorate in nursing practice. WU uses the Desire2Learn learning management system to deliver online courses and materials.

What online resources does WU offer?

Washburn's online students can take advantage of the school's career services, which posts job and internships opportunities and offers career counseling to help students decide on majors and/or careers. Personal counseling services are also available to assist students in adjusting to college and managing stress and anxiety.


Southwestern College

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

What is SC like?

Founded in 1885, it graduated its first class of three in 1889. In 1994, their Professional Studies program began to serve working adults through distance education. Southwestern College's generous transfer policy permits online students to transfer up to 94 credits of previous college, military or work credit.

What online programs are at SC?

Students may earn online bachelor's and advanced degrees in subjects such as early childhood education, psychology, or healthcare administration. Multiple professional certificates programs are also available. Online courses are taught via the Blackboard learning system; most are six weeks long, with the exception of some RN to BSN classes. Online students can now choose from eight enrollment times every year -- a level of flexibility that earned Southwestern College a place on our list of the best online colleges in Kansas.

What online resources does SC offer?

Online students are assigned an academic success coach to help them navigate the path to graduation. Southwestern College's online writing center allows students to schedule a 30-minute one-on-one, web-based consultation for guidance with any stage of the writing process. The writing center also provides 24/7 access to writing resources, tutorials and exercises.


Kansas State University

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

What is K-State like?

Known as the first public higher learning institution in Kansas, K-State opened its doors in 1863. K-State now offers degree programs online through its global campus in addition to its campus in Manhattan. Students who have not decided on a program of study are welcome to take online courses as non-degree seeking students. K-State has provided distance education for more than 50 years.

What online programs are at K-State?

Students can earn an online doctorate in adult learning and leadership, curriculum and instruction, or personal financial planning. Bachelor's, master's, and certificate programs in subjects like business administration and applied statistics are also available. Online courses at K-State are delivered via the Canvas online learning platform as well as through teleconferencing, streaming video lectures, and message boards.

What online resources does K-State offer?

Students can benefit from online research guides, databases, and course reserves, which are available through K-State Libraries. They can also take advantage of WildcatLink, a website that connects K-State students, faculty, staff and alumni. In addition, they can participate in Virtual Commencement and share their educational milestones with friends and family online.


Cowley County Community College

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

What is Cowley like?

From its 1922 start of offering courses in the basement of Arkansas City High School, the institution has dramatically expanded its presence and reach. It now has a campus in Arkansas City, two education centers, an outreach center, and an online college. This is one of the online schools in Kansas that offers an especially affordable way for students to access the flexibility of online courses.

What online programs are at Cowley?

Cowley offers 30-plus certificate and transferable online associate degree programs. For example, the Associate of Arts in Agribusiness is designed for students who are interested in transferring to a university to pursue a bachelor's degree in an discipline related to agriculture. For those ready to enter the workforce sooner, the Associate of Applied Science in medical coding can prepare students to for careers as a medical coder in a hospital, doctor's office, or another facility.

What online resources does Cowley offer?

Enrolled students can access a 24/7 help desk and a searchable knowledge base where they search for answers to common questions. In addition, they can enjoy online tutoring services via Tutor.com and online databases, newspapers, and scientific journals through the Renn Memorial Library.


Pittsburg State University

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

What is PSU?

Pitt State offers educational programs on its 360-acre campus as well as online. Students can take individual online courses or complete online degree or certificate programs. Non-residents who are enrolled in an online degree program enjoy in-state tuition. PSU's 2+2 transfer agreements are designed to help Kansas community college students who have an associate degree complete their bachelor's at Pitt State.

What online programs are at PSU?

Among the 30-plus online master's-level options are the Master of Science in Human Performance and Wellness. This 32-credit hour program requires the completion of an internship and prepares students to work as community wellness coordinators or rehabilitation specialists. Other master's programs focus on teaching, reading, and special education. At Pitt State, online certificates can be earned in subjects such as hospitality management, autism spectrum disorders, and school district leadership.

What online resources does PSU offer?

For assistance with their resume, students can email the career services center who can then edit the existing resume or help them start one from scratch. Online students who want to improve their writing skills can schedule an online consultation with the school's writing center.

Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2018-19, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/

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 and reflect in-state tuition (when in-state tuition is available) for all students, including online students.

Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2018-19, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/

Financial Aid Resources in Kansas

What Grants and Scholarships are Available in Kansas?

Student Loans in Kansas

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

Costs for Out-of-State Students in Kansas

If you don't already live in Kansas, you may have to pay higher out-of-state tuition rates to attend college there. However, there are exemptions for certain non-residents. The Kansas Board of Regents allows schools to offer in-state tuition to out-of-state students if they meet certain criteria:

  • Former Kansas residents who return to the state within 60 months of leaving
  • Certain Kansas high school graduates
  • Current military personnel
  • Veterans eligible for federal education benefits
  • People recruited to work in Kansas

If you're not eligible for in-state rates, you could still get a break on out-of-state tuition if you live in one of the ten states participating in the Midwest Student Exchange Program. This program caps out-of-state tuition at 150 percent of in-state rates at participating institutions. Private schools may give a 10 percent discount on tuition to out-of-state students.

The Kansas Board of Regents has also been discussing a program to offer tuition discounts to high-achieving out-of-state students. While there is no timeline for when that will be implemented, it could be another avenue to minimize non-resident rates in the future.

For more information, on Kansas residency and exchange programs, visit the links below. Otherwise, talk to an admissions or financial aid counselor for more information and to ask about available scholarships.

Best Careers in Kansas

As you're planning your future career path in Kansas -- by first exploring online degree programs -- keep in mind the industries that are likely to provide some of the best, high-demand jobs in Kansas. Career options are a personal choice, but it may be wise to look at what the data indicates are the top-performing industries in Kansas. If you're not sure which online degree program in Kansas to pursue, but you're looking for something that could help you prepare for one of the good careers in Kansas, the data below might show you some appealing options.

EmploymentEmployment GrowthMedian High School SalaryMedian Bachelor's Salary

Top Kansas Industries

*Industry rankings determined by annual mean wage, employment, projected growth and location quotient. Data sourced from the BLS, 2019 dataset.

Top IndustriesEmploymentProjected GrowthAverage Salary
Monetary authorities-central bank286,1108%$67,488
Pipeline transportation396,7007%$67,588
Lessors of nonfinancial intangible assets (except copyrighted works)383,3307%$65,975
Oil and gas extraction559,9007%$63,509
Ambulatory healthcare services986,4905%$58,120
Air transportation515,2706%$60,547
Hospitals; state, local, and private1,086,0405%$56,468
Insurance carriers and related activities784,4905%$58,252
Funds, trusts, and other financial vehicles251,0907%$61,472

A study by Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce discovered that by 2020, about 35 percent of jobs in Kansas are likely to require an associate degree or higher. In response to this statistic, the Kansas Board of Regents has implemented the Adult Higher Education Accessible Degrees or AHEAD initiative. AHEAD is designed to help adults enroll in an online degree program, transfer college credits they've already earned, gain credit credit for prior learning or military training, and learn about their financial aid options. It hopes to encourage adults to finish their degree and fill some of the most in-demand jobs in Kansas.

Although it is one of the state's top industries, Kansas is facing a shortage of air transportation workers at airports such as the Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport and Manhattan Regional Airport. To address this, airlines are partnering with Kansas State University to help build an education pipeline for new pilots.

Hospitals in Kansas like the University of Kansas Hospital and Stormont Vail Hospital are also facing a shortage of qualified workers in the healthcare field. As the baby boomer generation of nurses retires, there may not be enough nurses to fill some of the best jobs in Kansas. The University of Kansas' School of Nursing has partnered with seven community colleges in the state to allow students to earn their associate degrees while working toward their Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

Let's take a closer look at three metro areas in the Sunflower State so you can discover which careers may be ideal for you, based on location.

Wichita city, Kansas

Total Population
Median salary for high school grads
Median salary with a bachelor's degree
% of the population enrolled in college or grad school
Median rent

The Department of Transportation and Cessna Aircraft Company are two examples of companies that are searching for aerospace engineers to fill some of the most high-paying jobs in Wichita. In addition, Spirit AeroSystems, the world's largest first-tier aerostructures manufacturer is headquartered in Wichita. It's likely to be on the lookout for industrial engineers to improve efficiencies in plant and production facilities and equipment layouts.

Best CareersMinimum EducationAverage SalaryEmployment
Aerospace EngineersBachelor's degree$107,0801,980
Chief ExecutivesBachelor's degree$158,210730
Industrial EngineersBachelor's degree$83,8801,220
Computer Numerically Controlled Tool ProgrammersHigh school diploma or equivalent$84,400370
Medical and Health Services ManagersBachelor's degree$93,760730

*Career rankings determined by annual mean wage, employment, projected growth and location quotient. Data sourced from the BLS, 2019 dataset.

Topeka city, Kansas

Total Population
Median salary for high school grads
Median salary with a bachelor's degree
% of the population enrolled in college or grad school
Median rent

The VA Medical Center, Stormont Vail Hospital, and Med Express are in need of nurse practitioners to fill high-paying jobs in Topeka. Since Topeka is home to large law firms such as the Sloan Law Firm, Foulston Siefkin, and Polsinelli, it's no surprise the area is also in search of highly skilled lawyers. Judges are in demand at the U.S. District Court of Kansas in Topeka as well.

Best CareersMinimum EducationAverage SalaryEmployment
Nurse PractitionersMaster's degree$108,360290
Chief ExecutivesBachelor's degree$137,690320
LawyersDoctoral or professional degree$103,850730
General and Operations ManagersBachelor's degree$81,3901,960
Judges, Magistrate Judges, and MagistratesDoctoral or professional degree$109,93060

*Career rankings determined by annual mean wage, employment, projected growth and location quotient. Data sourced from the BLS, 2019 dataset.