Using the National Center for Education Statistics' Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), 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"
- Data is reported for all 11 ranking variables listed in the Methodology section
- At least 1 percent of students are taking at least some of the classes via distance education
- "Number of programs offered via distance education" was an integer greater than 0
We ranked the resulting 1,813 colleges on 11 criteria, using provisional 2016-17 data from IPEDS:
- Number of programs offered via distance education
- Ratio of students participating fully or partially in DE to Total Enrollment
- Average in-state tuition for undergraduates
- Total electronic library collections, including digital books, databases, and media
- Graduation rate
- Retention rate
- The availability of any tuition plans (Payment, Guaranteed, Other)
- Services (Academic/Career, Placement for Completers)
- Credit offerings (Dual, Life, AP, Military)
- Percent of undergraduate students awarded federal, state, local, institutional or other sources of grant aid
- Average amount of federal, state, local, institutional, or other sources of grant aid awarded to undergraduate students
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 2016-17 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) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
- New Jersey, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nj.htm
- Camden, Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_15804.htm
- Newark-Union, Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_35084.htm
- Jersey City, Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_3640.htm
- Complete Your Degree, Kean Online, https://online.kean.edu/
- Degrees and Certificates, Ocean County College Online, http://www.ocean.edu/content/public/study-online/degrees-programs.html
- Distance Education Degrees, Rowan College at Burlington County, http://www.rcbc.edu/degrees-completely-online
- Dr. Ronald McArthur, interview with the author, June 2015
- Educational Technology, New Jersey City University, http://www.njcu.edu/department/educational-technology
- "Forbes Moving into Jersey City Office on Monday, Report Says" nj.com, http://www.nj.com/hudson/index.ssf/2014/12/forbes_moving_to_new_jersey_city_offices_monday_report_says.html
- Key Industries, Choose New Jersey, http://www.choosenj.com/key-industries
- Newark Happening, Greater Newark Convention Visitors Bureau, https://www.newarkhappening.com/about/greater-newark/fun-facts/
- New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, lwd.state.nj.us
- Online Business Administration, Rowan College at Gloucester College, https://www.rcgc.edu/OnlineBusiness/Pages/default.aspx
- Online Courses, Cumberland County College, http://www.cccnj.edu/online-courses
- Online Degree Programs, William Paterson University, http://www.wpunj.edu/academics/online-degree-programs.html
- Online Degrees, Thomas Edison State University, http://www.tesu.edu/academics/online-degrees.Cfm
- Online/Hybrid Instruction, Stockton University, https://stockton.edu/elearning/online-hybrid-instruction/index.html
- Online Graduate Programs, Stockton University, http://intraweb.stockton.edu/eyos/page.cfm?siteID=73&pageID=354
- Online Learning at NJCU, New Jersey City University, http://newlearning.njcu.edu/dl/prospective.htm
- Online Learning, Cumberland County College, http://www.cccnj.edu/academics/online-learning
- "U.S. Census Bureau," American Fact Finder, http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?src=CF
- Welcome to Online Education, Camden County College, http://www.camdencc.edu/online/
- Why Kean Online? Kean Online, http://online.kean.edu/about/why-kean-online
- NJ College & University Directory by Sector, State of New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, http://www.nj.gov/highereducation/colleges/schools_sector.shtml
- NJ STARS, Accessed December 2016, http://www.hesaa.org/Documents/NJSTARS_program.pdf
- The Institute for College Access and Success, New Jersey, Accessed December 2016, http://ticas.org/posd/state-state-data-2015#overlay=posd/state_data/2015/nj
- NJ STARS II, Accessed December 2016, http://www.hesaa.org/Documents/NJSTARSII_program.pdf
- Governor's Urban Scholarship Program, Accessed December 2016, http://www.hesaa.org/Documents/GUSScholarshipProgram.pdf
- NJ-GIVS, Accessed December 2016, http://www.hesaa.org/Documents/NJ-GIVS_program.pdf
- New Jersey Tuition Aid Grant, Accessed December 2016, http://www.hesaa.org/Documents/TAG_program.pdf
- New Jersey Educational Opportunity Grant, Accessed December 2016, http://www.nj.gov/highereducation/EOF/EOF_Eligibility.shtml
- NJCLASS, Accessed December 2016, http://www.hesaa.org/Flipbooks/FederalAidPrograms/index.html, pp. 21-22
- NJIT Online, http://www.njit.edu/online/
- Online and Hybrid Learning, Felician University, https://www.felician.edu/academics/online-and-hybrid-learning
- Rutgers Online, https://online.rutgers.edu/
- School of Professional Studies, Centenary University, http://sps.centenaryuniversity.edu/
As the most densely populated state in the U.S., New Jersey has long been home to innovation. From leading the charge into the industrial age to creating an envious high-speed rail system to opening up new opportunities for businesses and individuals alike, the state has proven time and again that it is a force to be reckoned with. That determination for excellence extends to New Jersey's higher education systems.
The Leaders & Laggards Report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — a "report card" on the state of higher education throughout the United States — found that New Jersey scored impressively in almost all metrics. In fact, the retention rate, completion rate and rate of credential produced put the Garden State in the top 10 states of the nation.
What follows here is a look at some of the best online colleges and universities in New Jersey. Whether a student is starting a fresh educational pursuit, finishing up a degree or earning a certification to enhance their professional development, a school can be found offering a top-notch program that can be taken entirely online. Here's what students can expect from schools in New Jersey.
Best Online Colleges in New Jersey for 2018-19
With so many educational options available in New Jersey, it can be difficult to make a decision about which one to attend. To help you make a decision, we analyzed data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) regarding tuition, online programs, retention rate and more to create this list of the 10 best online colleges and universities in the state. Curious about our methodology for this ranking? You can find more details at the bottom of the page, or create your own rankings here at our Top Colleges Tool.
Rutgers University - New Brunswick
Stevens Institute of Technology
New Jersey Institute of Technology
Berkeley College - Woodland Park
Ramapo College of New Jersey
New Jersey City University
Affordable Online Colleges in New Jersey for 2018-19
Career changers, single parents, new college students and anyone else interested in attending New Jersey colleges may be looking at affordability as a key factor. After all, paying for college can be a challenge for anyone in any walk of life. Directly below is a list of some of the most affordable online colleges in New Jersey, broken down into two categories: two-year schools and four-year schools.
To view New Jersey schools ranked by quality and other factors, use our Top Colleges tool.
- School Type - 2 Years
- School Type - 4 Years
COLLEGE NAME TUITION & FEES/YEARTuition 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 PARTICIPATIONDistance 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 OFFEREDNumber 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 Camden County College $4,440 20% 5 2-year Rowan College at Burlington County $4,545 37% 9 2-year Cumberland County College $4,740 38% 2 2-year Warren County Community College $4,890 11% 1 2-year Mercer County Community College $4,932 20% 3 2-year COLLEGE NAME TUITION & FEES/YEARTuition 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 PARTICIPATIONDistance 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 OFFEREDNumber 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 Thomas Edison State University $6,350 100% 60 4-year University of Phoenix-New Jersey $9,840 38% 13 4-year New Jersey City University $11,430 34% 1 4-year Kean University $11,870 9% 2 4-year Montclair State University $12,116 19% 2 4-year
College Accreditation in New Jersey
Students should put in some time determining if their college is properly accredited. Accreditation is important because it means that a college or university's educational programs meet widely accepted quality standards, so students' degrees are considered valid regardless of where they locate after graduation. Enrolling in a college or university that has received accreditation from a recognized accrediting body is as vital to the educational journey as determining what topics to study in college.
There are several nationally recognized accrediting bodies for public, private and independent two-and four-year colleges and universities in New Jersey, including the following:
- Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
- Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
- Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS)
Students can see how their prospective college in New Jersey is accredited by checking online with the Department of Education or with the State Office of Higher Education.
To provide a clearer picture about online colleges in New Jersey, an interview with a dean at one of the state's community colleges is provided below. In it, he gives details about online programs available through the school, advice for succeeding, and what the online educational landscape could look like in the future.
Q: Can you tell us a little about the online programs offered at California State University-Dominguez Hills?
Cal State Dominguez Hills has the largest distance learning program in the Cal State system, enrolling more than 4,000 students annually. The university has garnered numerous awards for innovative distance learning programs and was named one of the top distance learning colleges by Forbes magazine. CSUDH has been offering distance learning programs since 1974, including the first ever online Master’s program approved by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). CSUDH offers a variety of online degree and certificate programs, as well as individual courses. Degrees include programs in Business, Nursing, Public Administration, Negotiation, Quality Assurance, Applied Studies and the Humanities. Certificates include programs in supply chain management, purchasing, community college teaching, assistive technology, and technical writing.
Q: What advice would you give to students interested in an online degree program?
Students looking for online degree programs will be aware of the for-profit universities, as they have large advertising budgets. Most of the time, however, students can find the same degrees for much less money at state universities. Do a little research, and you’re likely to find the online program that fits your needs. Look for a college or university that is regionally accredited (in California, the accrediting body is WASC). Plus, most will be less expensive than private, for-profit institutions.
Q. How do you anticipate online learning might evolve in the coming years?
If present trends continue, more online teaching methodologies will become part and parcel of even old school face-to-face education. Increasingly, faculty are interested in posting videos of traditional lecture content online within a learning management system (LMS) like Blackboard while leaving face-to-face time with students for problem solving, Q&A, group-work, lab-work, etc. By off-loading content into the LMS, faculty can perform high-touch intervention in the teaching and learning process — even for larger scaled courses. Online is no longer the exclusive domain of distance learning programs, but ever increasingly those methodologies are being used effectively even in the traditional classroom.
Financial Aid Resources in New Jersey
Every year, over 1 million New Jersey college students receive financial aid through the state's Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA), with more than $18 billion dollars given to students since 1959. For those who wish to attend a New Jersey college or university, HESAA offers scholarships, grants, and loan programs administered by the state.
While the Institute for College Access and Success finds that New Jersey graduates carry an average student loan debt of $28,318, the array of state financial aid programs can help offset tuition and related expenses.
New Jersey Gift Aid: Grants & Scholarships
New Jersey's scholarships and grants are generally available to students who have shown academic merit and/or can demonstrate financial need. Every bit of assistance helps, but since grants and scholarships don't have to be repaid, they may be the options most worth exploring.
New Jersey Loans
Although federal student loans are usually the most ideal option for student borrowers, state-sponsored loan programs can have favorable terms as well. New Jersey's program helps students who do not have expenses covered by other aid.
- Application deadline: Must file the FAFSA by May 1, 2017 (priority deadline is February 1)
- Award amount: Varies
Find out more about how student loans work in the Ultimate Guide to Student Loans.
Additional Resources for Financial Aid in New Jersey
Featured Cities in New Jersey
Students wanting to enroll in campus-based or online colleges in New Jersey also may want to find out about the major cities within the state. Below are details on three of New Jersey's major living areas as well as important factors, such as economics, demographics and fun facts, all sourced from the 2015 American Community Survey (census.gov).
Newark is home to the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Newark Museum and the Newark Bears. M&Ms were also invented in the city in the 1940s, and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade was originally held there before it moved to New York City.
Atlantic City-Hammonton, NJ Metro Area
Median salary for high school grads
Median salary with a bachelor's degree
% of the population enrolled in college or grad school
Because of its waterfront location, Jersey City is an intriguing place for young people who enjoy beautiful scenery and nightlife. Jersey City is also one of the most racially diverse cities in the world. Interestingly, the average commute time to work for Jersey City residents is 36.2 minutes, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD Metro Area
Median salary for high school grads
Median salary with a bachelor's degree
% of the population enrolled in college or grad school
With 31 percent of its population under the age of 18, Camden, New Jersey could be a good place for young people to strike out on their own. The region is also home to many attractions that make it unique including the Walt Whitman house, Camden Aquarium and Campbell's Field.