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 12 ranking variables listed in the Methodology section
We ranked 2,455 colleges and universities in the United States on 12 criteria, using 2016-17 data from the National Center for Education Statistics:
- Number of programs offered via distance education: 25%
- Ratio of students participating fully or partially in distance education to total enrollment: 7%
- Average in-state tuition for undergraduate and graduate students: 17%
- Average out-of-state tuition for undergraduate and graduate students: 7%
- Total electronic library collections, including digital books, databases and media: 7%
- Academic/ career counseling services: 9.5%
- Placement services for completers: 9.5%
- Dual credit offerings: 4.5%
- Credit for life experience offerings: 4.5%
- Advanced placement (AP) credit offerings: 4.5%
- Credit for military training: 4.5%
- Percentage of transfer 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.
- American Public University, Transfer Credit, http://www.apu.apus.edu/admissions/transfer-credit.html
- East Mississippi Community College, http://www.eastms.edu/
- Foothill College, Transfer Center, https://foothill.edu/transfer/
- Fort Hays State University, Transfer Agreement and Articulation Guide, http://www.fhsu.edu/registrar/transfer-agreement-articulation/
- Fox Valley Technical College, Credit Transfer Options, https://www.fvtc.edu/programs/credit-transfer-options
- Georgia Piedmont Technical College, Transfer Agreements, https://www.gptc.edu/content.cfm?PageCode=future_transfer_agreements
- Holmes Community College, http://www.holmescc.edu/departments/index.aspx
- Kaplan University, Transfer College Credits, https://www.kaplanuniversity.edu/transfer-students/
- Lakeshore Technical College, Transfer Options, https://gotoltc.edu/future-students/transfer/index.html
- Midway University, Transfer to Midway, https://www.midway.edu/admissions-aid/transfer-to-midway/
- Mississippi University for Women, Transfer Students, http://www.muw.edu/admissions/apply/transfer
- Mississippi University for Women, Transfer Scholarships, http://www.muw.edu/admissions/affordable/scholarships/transfer
- Mississippi University for Women, Transfer FAQs, http://www.muw.edu/admissions/apply/transfer/faq
- Northern Arizona University, Transfer Student Options, http://ec.nau.edu/TransferStudentOptions.aspx
- Ogeechee Technical College, Articulation Agreements, http://www.ogeecheetech.edu/academics/articulation-agreements
- Regent University, Transfer Student Admissions, https://www.regent.edu/cas/applying-to-regent-university/transfer-students/
- Saint Leo University, Transfer Students, https://www.saintleo.edu/transfer-students-admissions
- Saint Leo University, Transfer Credits Admissions, https://www.saintleo.edu/transfer-credits-online-admissions
- Saint Leo University, Transfer Credits, https://www.saintleo.edu/transfer-credits-admissions
- Sam Houston State University, Transfer Students, http://www.shsu.edu/admissions/transfer/
- "The Beacon," Pamlico Community College, http://www.pamlicocc.edu/pdf/Beacon_Fall2017forweb.pdf
- University of Central Florida, Transfer Students, https://admissions.ucf.edu/apply/transfer/
- University of Southern Mississippi, Transfer Requirements, https://www.usm.edu/admissions/transfer-requirements
- University of Texas at Arlington, TransferUTA, http://www.uta.edu/transferuta/
- University of Texas at Arlington, UTA Transfer Evaluation System, https://www.uta.edu/admissions/transfers/apply/credit/tes.php
Online students who are looking to transfer schools have the entire breadth of online colleges across the United States to transfer to, which leads to an obvious question: what school to transfer to? That's where our list of the best online colleges for transfer students comes in. These 20 institutions not only scored well on their rankings in our Top Colleges Tool, but they also boast a notable percentage of transfer students. For more details on how we settled on this top 20, check out our methodology at the bottom of this page.
1. East Mississippi Community College, Scooba, MS
With articulation agreements with nine colleges and universities throughout the state, East Mississippi Community College makes its transfer requirements between local schools as simple as possible. The school has dozens of programs of study, from the basics -- accounting, business, nursing and the like -- to the obscure, such as meteorology, performance or Arabic. Whether on campus or online, students seem to love EMCC: 93 percent of the college's students rated their college experience as "good" or "excellent" in 2016.
2. American Public University System, Charlestown, WV
With a generous credit transfer program, the American Public University System offers students more than a few options for making their educational dreams a reality. American Public University and American Military University accept up to 45 credit hours for an associate program, up to 90 hours for the bachelor's and up to 15 credits toward a master's degree. CLEP credits, prior learning credits, community college credits and military service also count toward transfer.
3. Georgia Piedmont Technical College, Clarkston, GA
Part of the Technical College System of Georgia, Georgia Piedmont Technical College offers transfer agreements with numerous four-year universities, from Capella University to Valdosta State. Not only can GPTC students find online colleges in Georgia to accept their hard-earned credits, many other colleges and universities across the nation accept them as well. So does Robert Gordon University, a beautiful university offering online education… all the way from Scotland!
4. University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL
The University of Central Florida accepted the largest number of transfer students in the U.S. for fall 2016. It's not surprising they had so many applicants, considering their robust transfer program. UCF hosts information sessions to answer transfer students' questions, the Transfer Scholarship Program to ease costs for full-time transfer students, and a "DirectConnect to UCF" program that benefits students who have completed an associate degree program at one of UCF's partner colleges.
5. Pamlico Community College, Grantsboro, NC
Pamlico Community College has a comprehensive articulation agreement that encompasses the 16 public colleges in the state -- allowing for seamless transfer -- and offers A.A. and A.S. degree programs that are specifically designed to be transferred to schools in the UNC system. The transfer benefits run both ways, too; PCC allows high school students to take transferable college courses at no additional cost while they are still in high school.
6. Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ
Students who are attending a community college in Arizona should find that transferring into Northern Arizona University is a seamless process. But students at other community colleges around America can be happy to transfer in as well -- bachelor's degree programs at NAU are designed to easily accept transfer credits from qualified students, so none of the hard work you've done at the associate level goes to waste. Some of NAU's degree programs even accept up to 90 transfer credits!
7. Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, TX
Those who want to transfer into Sam Houston State University can find very clear instructions for doing so -- proof that the school is quite friendly to those who want to move their hard-earned credits to this four-year institution. Students can check the transfer course equivalency guide to get a good idea of how many credits can transfer. In addition, there are certain scholarships that transfer students are encouraged to apply for when they join SHSU, which can help ease tuition woes.
8. Fort Hays State University, Hays, KS
Students throughout Kansas can transfer up to 45 credits to Fort Hays State University, taking advantage of the school's in-state transfer agreements. Evaluated AP, CLEP and DANTE exam credits may also be transferable, as can military credits (if evaluated by the American Council on Education) and international credits (if completed by NACES members). FHSU also performs reverse transfers, allowing transferring students to attain associate degrees based on their completed coursework.
9. Lakeshore Technical College, Cleveland, WI
In addition to transfer agreements with nine in-state colleges, Lakeshore Technical College has the "Lake to Lake Guaranteed Transfer" program. This allows students who have earned an associate degree at LTC to transfer to Lakeland University as a junior. Courses at LTC can also be transferred to other colleges on a case-by-case basis. If you're uncertain how this might work, you can inquire with LTC's advisors and student success navigators, who are dedicated to transfer planning.
10. Midway University, Midway, KY
Midway University works closely with aspiring transfer students to help them figure out just how many of their credits will transfer. In addition, those who choose to attend either on-campus or online can take advantage of credit for prior learning, which includes military service, credit by examination, portfolio examination, or credit from workshops and programs. Those who are transferring in from the Kentucky Community College and Technical College System can also apply for special transfer scholarships to make the bottom line a bit easier to handle.
11. Saint Leo University, Saint Leo, FL
Saint Leo University makes it easy for both on-campus and online transfer students to keep their hard-earned credits. Up to 64 approved credits can transfer into the university (depending on major), and considering that Saint Leo has articulation agreements with more than 50 other institutions as of 2018, that's a lot of credits that can be transferred! The university analyzes student transcripts individually in order to determine how many credits can be transferred for each student.
12. Holmes Community College, Goodman, MS
As a Mississippi college, Holmes Community College is part of the Mississippi Articulation and Transfer Tool (MATT), which students can use to help them learn what courses can be transferred between different Mississippi schools. This is particularly helpful because some of HCC's "Career/Technical" degree and certificate programs can be transferred to bachelor's degree programs at other Mississippi schools. MATT can help students figure out which courses should be taken at Holmes, and which ones might be best to take after transfer.
13. Mississippi University for Women, Columbus, MS
Though it was founded as an all-female school, the Mississippi University for Women -- affectionately known as "the W" -- also accepts male students, and has since 1982. Students of any gender can transfer to or from the W through articulation agreements with schools in Mississippi and Alabama; have credits applied from another school across the country; or even earn credit for work at international institutions. If you'd like to transfer to this venerated institution, be sure to look into the W's many scholarships for transfer students, which can help make paying for tuition that much easier.
14. University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS
Transferring at the University of Southern Mississippi isn't just a "one size fits all" affair. In fact, there are three different ways to transfer to this school!
- "Admission through Traditional Transfer Requirements" requires the applicant to have earned an associate degree or completed 30 hours of specific coursework.
- "Admission through Freshman Requirements" allows a student to transfer into USM as a freshman as long as they meet the school's freshman admission requirements.
- "Probationary Admission through Adult Status" permits a student aged 21 or older to enroll at USM on probation, even if they don't meet any other admission requirements. They can be promoted to "degree-seeking" status so long as they maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA during their first 12 credit hours at the university.
15. Fox Valley Technical College, Appleton, WI
Boasting credit transfer agreements with over 65 two-year and four-year colleges as of 2017, Fox Valley Technical College is certainly a college that offers its transfer students a lot of flexibility. Even better, Fox Valley Tech makes it possible to earn college credit through high school courses, dual enrollment, life experience, military work and other approved means. Whether you're looking to transfer in or out of this school, Fox Valley Tech has many benefits that could be of use to you.
16. Foothill College, Los Altos Hills, CA
Several of Foothill College's associate degree programs are known as "Associate Degree for Transfer" programs, which are specifically built to transfer into the California State University System. A large portion of those programs are available fully online, which is great for students who are looking specifically for an online community college and planning to transfer to a four-year institution later down the line. Interested students can contact Foothill's Transfer Center to learn more.
17. The University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX
Students interested in transferring to the University of Texas at Arlington have a wealth of resources at their fingertips to help them get there. TransferUTA is this university's one-stop-shop for all things transfer, including degree options, articulation agreements, dedicated transfer scholarships and important contacts. Incoming students can also utilize UTA's interactive transfer equivalency guide, which helps students to determine which of their previously completed courses can be transferred to UTA.
18. Regent University, Virginia Beach, VA
If you have earned 15 or more college credits, you might be ready to transfer to Regent University. These credits can include those garnered through an accredited institution, military service, entry examinations, articulation agreements or scoring a three or higher on AP testing. Students who earned an associate degree through a community college in Virginia or North Carolina might find additional benefits available to them. The Online Transfer Evaluation Database is a great way to start.
19. Ogeechee Technical College, Statesboro, GA
Students at Ogeechee Technical College have numerous options for transfer. Those options begin with the ability to transfer within the Technical College System of Georgia and the University System of Georgia; beyond that, there are numerous other colleges that have articulation agreements with the school. A military-friendly school, OTC offers credit for military service; those who have a great deal of work experience might also be eligible for Professional Experience credits.
20. Kaplan University - Omaha Campus, Omaha, NE
*NOTE: Kaplan University has merged with Purdue University Global since this list was made. Please contact Purdue Global University-Omaha to learn whether the merged school can still fulfill your transferring needs.
In addition to credit earned through education, students transferring into Kaplan University-Omaha may also be able to earn credit for military experience, course testing, work and life experience, and certifications and training. The Community College Alliance Program can help graduates of associate degree programs to transfer to Kaplan and begin working on a four-year degree. This program covers numerous community colleges across the country, so distance shouldn't be a concern.
Transfer students deserve to feel confident that they can follow their educational dreams at whatever school they decide to attend. If you're waffling between multiple online colleges on this list, try out our College Comparison Tool, which allows you to compare data on different schools to find the one that's right for you.