Here's a brief overview of online colleges in Wisconsin:
  • Associate degree programs can be found at 38 online colleges in Wisconsin, bachelor's degree programs are offered at 36, and master's degrees programs are available at 31.
  • Wisconsin colleges with the most online degree programs include Kaplan University-Milwaukee, Madison Area Technical College, and Rasmussen College-Wisconsin.
  • While majors vary from college to college, most online colleges in Wisconsin offer fields of study such as business, education, health sciences, and STEM.

Studies show that by 2020 more than 60 percent of the jobs in Wisconsin are likely to require education beyond high school. In order to support that need, the state of Wisconsin has a financial aid campaign designed to help make higher education more accessible to its residents — including online students. Check the financial aid section further down on this page to learn more about Wisconsin Grants.

Below, you'll find a list of the top 10 online colleges in Wisconsin as well as information on the most affordable colleges.

What Makes a Good Online College in Wisconsin? has compiled many different rankings to help students find the ideal online college in Wisconsin. The schools in our rankings were chosen using carefully selected criteria, and all have been accredited by an official accrediting agency. In Wisconsin, many institutions are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), although some theological schools in the state are accredited by the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools. Students can find out more about why accreditation matters from our "What is College Accreditation?" article, or learn about accrediting information specific to the state of Wisconsin by checking with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

Use our rankings to compare important information about online colleges in Wisconsin, such as number of online programs offered by each college, average cost of in-state tuition, graduation and retention rates, and much more. Students can learn why the factors we use in our rankings are important to consider when researching online colleges by checking out our "What Makes a Good Online College?" guide on our "About Us" page.


Best Online Colleges in Wisconsin for 2019-20

Choosing a college or university is a decision that can change your entire life — you want to get it right. As such, we created this ranking of the 10 best online colleges in Wisconsin to help distance learners understand the many excellent options for online education in the state of Wisconsin. To do so, we used data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics' Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and our unique methodology, focusing on details such as net price, graduation rate and acceptance rate.

Visit our methodologies page to learn more about how we use official data to evaluate schools.


Herzing University-Brookfield

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

What is Herzing-Brookfield like?

While Herzing University-Brookfield has a campus that's conveniently situated near I-94 in Brookfield, it also offers an online campus that focuses on programs related to nursing and healthcare. This university has jumped up four spots from last year's list of the best online colleges in Wisconsin, going from No.5 all the way up to No.1!

What online programs are at Herzing-Brookfield?

At Herzing-Brookfield, students can enroll in an online MSN program with the option to specialize in a particular branch of nursing, such as family nurse practitioner, nursing education or nursing leadership and administration. Those who are not interested in nursing may choose instead to pursue an program in accounting, cybersecurity or various other business or technology disciplines.

Herzing-Brookfield's online class setting is known as the Everywhere Classroom because students can take online classes from any location with internet connection.

What online resources does Herzing-Brookfield offer?

Online students at Herzing-Brookfield can take advantage of 24/7 counseling and support services via Ulifeline, a confidential online resource center that focuses on emotional health. In addition, they can receive access to a dedicated advisor who can support their online journey at the university.


Herzing University-Kenosha

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

What is Herzing-Kenosha like?

Although Herzing University-Kenosha has a campus that's near Chicago, Racine and Milwaukee, the university also offers online degree programs through the Everywhere Classroom, its online class setting. Since the school's online classes begin at multiple times throughout the year, students who work or have other responsibilities are likely to find a convenient start time for their schedule.

Herzing-Kenosha has moved up one spot from its position on last year's list of the best online universities in Wisconsin.

What online programs are at Herzing-Kenosha?

Herzing-Kenosha offers online healthcare degree programs in fields of study like nursing, medical assisting, medical billing, and healthcare administration. An online B.S. in criminal justice with concentrations in supervision and management and homeland security is also available.

What online resources does Herzing-Kenosha offer?

Students at Herzing-Kenosha can connect to the university and other students via social media outlets such as Facebook and social forums within the school's online learning management system. In addition, they can utilize the university's library database and access a variety of scholarly journals, magazines, case studies, videos and more. Students are also welcome to call or email a librarian if they need assistance.


Herzing University-Madison

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

What is Herzing-Madison like?

Herzing University-Madison has been around since 1948; the school celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2018. Over time, the university has evolved to offer online degree programs via its online classroom setting, the Everywhere Classroom.

Herzing-Madison has risen four spots from last year's list of the best online colleges in Wisconsin, showing definite improvement in the arena of online education.

What online programs are at Herzing-Madison?

Although Herzing-Madison is primarily known for its online healthcare and nursing programs, the school also offers an online MBA program that can be completed in as little as 12 months. Students who pursue this degree may choose from multiple specializations, including:

  • Accounting and finance
  • Data analytics
  • Healthcare management
  • Human resources
  • Project management
  • Technology management

What online resources does Herzing-Madison offer?

Students enrolled in Herzing-Madison's Everywhere Classroom may benefit from the school's career services, which include resume preparation, interviewing support and assistance with job and internship placement. Students may also receive help with papers and tutoring services through the Tutoring and Writing Center.


Marian University

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

What is Marian like?

Founded as Marian College in 1936, Marian University has come a long way over the years. Its online degree programs are specifically designed for adults learners who are seeking a flexible way to earn a degree or advance their career. They are taught through an innovative online platform known as MPath.

What online programs are at MU?

Many of Marian's online courses are delivered asynchronously, run 15 weeks long, and follow a semester schedule. However, the school also offers a flexible program with online courses that have 10 start times throughout the year and an accelerated semester, which is seven weeks long and offers six possible starts times.

A few of Marian's online programs include a B.S. in homeland security, a B.S. in diagnostic medical sonography and — perhaps most uniquely — an M.S. in thanatology (the scientific study of death and the practices and grief associated with it).

What online resources does MU offer?

Online students at Marian can access databases, newspapers, course reserves and subject guides via the Cardinal Meyer Library. They can also search for jobs and internships through Marian's Purple Briefcase, an online career services management platform.


Maranatha Baptist University

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

What is MBU like?

Maranatha Baptist University's online courses are taught by faculty who focus on a Christian worldview. Its Online and Distance Learning (ODL) program serves high school dual enrollment students, military students and other students who are not able to come to its campus in Watertown.

MBU climbed three spots from its ranking on last year's list of the best online universities in Wisconsin.

What online programs are at MBU?

Online programs at MBU are delivered using technologies such as Adobe Connect and Zoom. The school offers an online A.A. in Christian ministry, a 64-credit hour degree that focuses on the biblical and theological foundation for personal ministry. Online students can also pursue a 128-credit hour B.S. in the Bible, which can prepare them for vocational ministry or the M.A. in the Bible.

What online resources does MBU offer?

Students who have credits from another institution can take advantage of MBU's transcript evaluations, where advisors review which of a student's completed credits can be transferred into an MBU degree program. Access to EBSCO — an online provider of databases, e-journals, and e-books available through the Cedarholm Library — can also be a plus for students.


Concordia University-Wisconsin

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

What is CU like?

CU has a beautiful 200-acre lakefront campus in Mequon, Wisconsin, as well as an online campus via Concordia Online. Its online degree programs revolve around helping students develop mind, body and spirit for service to Christ, in both the church and the rest of the world.

What online programs are at CU?

While some online programs at CU are delivered in an asynchronous format, others are cohort-based. The school also offers hybrid programs at its regional centers located throughout Wisconsin. A particularly noteworthy online program is the MBA program, which offers concentrations in areas such as:

  • Accounting
  • Communications and public relations
  • Finance
  • Healthcare administration

What online resources does CU offer?

Each online student at CU is assigned to an Online Student Success Advisor (OSSA), who can assist them throughout their education. They may also utilize the school's Online Writing Lab to receive assistance or feedback on the papers they write. The Smarthinking online tutoring platform is available to them as well.


University of Wisconsin-Stout

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

What is UW-Stout like?

The University of Wisconsin-Stout was founded in 1891 by James Huff Stout. It has a scenic campus in Menomonie, Wisconsin as well as an online campus known as Stout Online.

UW-Stout was the first university in Wisconsin to receive a certification for excellence in distance education practices and has been considered one of the best online universities in Wisconsin by for two years in a row.

What online programs are at UW-Stout?

Distance learners at UW-Stout can pursue a B.S. in golf enterprise management, an M.F.A. in design or an M.S. in construction management. Online certificate programs in reading specialism, instruction design and mathematics specialism are available as well.

Online courses at UW-Stout are taught via Learn@UWStout, the school's online content delivery system. While some of the distance learning programs at UW-Stout can be taken completely online, others are delivered in a blended format.

What online resources does UW-Stout offer?

Online students at UW-Stout are assigned to a dedicated advisor and program director who can assist them throughout their online degree journey. They can also utilize the online writing lab, where they can submit a paper and receive feedback in as little as 24 hours.


Cardinal Stritch University

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

What is CSU like?

When Cardinal Stritch University first began 1937, it was a teaching institution for the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi. It has matured over time, including with the hosting of online degree programs through the School of Continuing and Online Learning.

What online programs are at CSU?

At CSU, students can pursue a B.S. in respiratory therapy, which is designed for practicing respiratory therapists who would like to further their careers. A 16-month RN-to-BSN program is also available for registered nurses who are interested in enhancing their career opportunities through education.

Most online courses at CSU begin during the fall and spring semesters.

What online resources does CSU offer?

After enrolling in an online degree program, students receive a "Schedule of Success," which is a timeline that can help them stay on track and create a robust portrait for potential employers. Students can also utilize online tutoring services via Google Hangouts for assistance with writing and specific courses.


University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

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

What is UW-Green Bay like?

Founded in 1965, UW-Green Bay is part of the University of Wisconsin System and has three campuses in Manitowoc, Marinette and Sheboygan. The school also offers online undergraduate and graduate programs for students seeking a flexible learning environment.

What online programs are at UW-Green Bay?

Online students at UW-Green Bay can earn an online M.S. in data science, which can educate them on cleaning, analyzing, and interpreting unstructured data. An M.S. in sustainable management and a B.S. in health information management and technology are available as well.

Courses are delivered via Kaltura web conferencing and the Desire2Learn and Canvas online learning platforms.

What online resources does UW-Green Bay offer?

Handshake is an online platform that can connect online UW-Green Bay students to jobs and internships. In addition, they can find articles, books, databases, and more through the Cofrin Library and ask a librarian for assistance via phone, email, or online chat. Online tutoring via the Brainfuse website is also available to them.


Northcentral Technical College

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

What is NTC like?

Northcentral Technical College is a public community college in Wausau, Wisconsin that is part of the Wisconsin Technical College System. The school offers a variety of career-centric vocational education options online, including technical diploma programs, certificate programs and associate degree programs.

What online programs are at NTC?

At NTC, students can begin by earning a technical diploma in leadership and eventually pursue an online associate degree in leadership development. Other online associate degree options at NTC include healthcare business services, computer support specialism or fire services leadership.

Most online programs at NTC are taught in an asynchronous format.

What online resources does NTC offer?

Online students are welcome to attend NTC's conferences, seminars, and workshops, which can help them develop their skills while networking with others in their industry. They can also use the library's EBSCHOST search tool to find articles, books, videos, and other resources to help them with their research. Students can also seek help from the school's online librarians, who can assist them via phone or email.

Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2018-19, National Center for Education Statistics,

Affordable Online Colleges in Wisconsin for 2019-20

The following list names several schools in Wisconsin that offer online degrees at low tuition costs.

Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2018-19, National Center for Education Statistics,

Financial Aid Resources in Wisconsin

Source: Scholarship directory data is copyrighted material which is reproduced on this website by permission of CollegeXpress, a division of Carnegie Dartlet. Copyright © 2020 by CollegeXpress.

Student Loans in Wisconsin

The state of Wisconsin offers several loans to students through the Higher Education Aids Board (HEAB). However, students should still seek out all scholarship and grant opportunities for which they are eligible before acquiring a loan. Scholarship and grant money does not need to be repaid, whereas loans do. In addition to state loans, you can apply for a federal or private loan to cover remaining 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.

To be eligible for the Teacher Education Loan, the student must be a Wisconsin resident enrolled at least half-time in an undergraduate program in the University of Wisconsin System or at a nonprofit, independent college in-state. Students must also agree to teach full-time in Wisconsin upon completion of their degree. If all criteria are met at that time, 25% of the loan will be forgiven per year.
  • Application deadline:  Not specified
  • Award amount:  $250 to $10,000 per year ($30,000 total)
Students applying for the Nursing Student Loan must be Wisconsin residents enrolled at least half-time at an institution leading towards RN or LPN licensure. Once licensure has been obtained, they must be employed as a licensed nurse in Wisconsin. If certain criteria is met during their first two years as a nurse, 25% of the loan will be forgiven per year.
  • Application deadline:  Not specified
  • Award amount:  $250 to $3,000 per year ($15,000 total)

Learn everything there is to know about student loans in the Ultimate Guide to Student Loans.

Additional Resources for Financial Aid in Wisconsin

  • HEAB - Frequently Asked Questions tackles a series of FAQs to assist Wisconsin students on their journey through the financial aid process, including information on state-based scholarships, grants, and loans.

Costs for Out-of-State Students in Wisconsin

Out-of-state tuition can be expensive, but non-resident students hoping to study in Wisconsin have a range of options available that can take some of the sting out of those typically elevated enrollment costs.

  • One such initiative, the Return to Wisconsin program, allows qualifying out-of-state students access to a 25 percent tuition waiver if a parent, grandparent or legal guardian had previously graduated from the UW campus they plan to attend
  • Students living in Wisconsin's neighbor state to the west can take advantage of the Minnesota Reciprocity program, which offers attenuated out-of-state tuition rates based in part on the cost for resident students at comparable Minnesota schools
  • Legal residents of nine Midwestern states are eligible for the Midwest Student Exchange Program (MSEP), an agreement among public institutions to charge no more than 150 percent of resident tuition to out-of-state students in the region

Institution-specific programs can help as well, such as UW-Platteville's Tri-State Initiative that provides discounted tuition rates for residents of Illinois and Iowa. What's more, non-resident students seeking online degrees from UW schools pay less than 20 percent more per credit hour than Wisconsin residents.

If you're aiming to move to Wisconsin for college, reach out to a registrar or a student adviser at your destination school to get more detail about your options.

Best Careers in Wisconsin

If you're not sure what to major in, it can be helpful to consider what you want your degree to do for you. Are you looking to change careers? Move up in your company? Make more money? Find better job security? Earning a degree may be able to help you do any of these things, but only if you're earning a degree that fits into your career goals.

To help prospective students consider their career goals, we've analyzed the best jobs to have in Wisconsin and listed them below, complete with data on salaries, employment and other factors. We hope this helps you find one of the great jobs in Wisconsin that is right for you.

EmploymentEmployment GrowthMedian High School SalaryMedian Bachelor's Salary

Top Wisconsin Industries

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

Top IndustriesEmploymentProjected GrowthAverage Salary
Ambulatory healthcare services2,005,9708%$61,860
Hospitals; state, local, and private2,202,4008%$60,315
Pipeline transportation831,6408%$69,225
Data processing, hosting, and related services1,080,8707%$63,821
Lessors of nonfinancial intangible assets (except copyrighted works)783,5109%$67,157
Monetary authorities-central bank578,3709%$68,315
Oil and gas extraction1,165,3108%$64,484
Postal service778,8108%$63,353
Securities, commodity contracts, and other financial investments and related activities1,034,3007%$62,276
Insurance carriers and related activities1,588,1307%$59,612

Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center, Bellin Memorial Hospital and Mayo Clinic Eau Claire are some of the many hospitals in Wisconsin. These hospitals value medical professionals, especially nurses, as there is a nursing shortage in the state. According to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, the Badger State could have over 5,300 nursing positions to fill in the next six years. To combat this shortage, the University of Wisconsin is developing an accelerated nursing program that can be completed in a year, helping students to begin their nursing careers more quickly than more traditional options.

Insurance professionals are also in demand to fill the best jobs in Wisconsin. The state is home to American Family Insurance, a Fortune 500 company that offers property, casualty and auto insurance as well as life, health and homeowner's insurance. The company hosts a robust internship program at its Madison headquarters, focused on promoting insurance careers to students in Wisconsin.

According to the Georgetown Center on Education and Workforce, by 2020, 62 percent of the best jobs to have in Wisconsin will require a bachelor's degree. Since tuition costs are often the biggest obstacle for students trying to earn their degree, the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (WAICU) — which represents Wisconsin's 24 private, nonprofit colleges and universities -- is working to make college more affordable in Wisconsin. They do this by administering scholarships and creating collaborative programs that help administrative services to become better for students and more affordable for schools.

Let's explore three metro areas in Wisconsin so that you can determine which careers may be right for you.

Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI Metro Area

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

Milwaukee is home to several large banks, including Wells Fargo Bank Wisconsin, First Banking Center, and Associated Bank. With employers like these in the area, it's no surprise that personal financial managers are particularly high paying jobs in Milwaukee.

In addition, mechanical engineers as well as architectural and engineering managers are in high demand in the area. Companies such as MIRO Manufacturing, General Electric, and Johnson Control create ample need for these skilled roles.

Best CareersMinimum EducationAverage SalaryEmployment
Personal Financial AdvisorsBachelor's degree$109,8803,140
Industrial Production ManagersBachelor's degree$115,6002,190
Administrative Services and Facilities ManagersN/A$121,0002,640
Mechanical EngineersBachelor's degree$83,5804,050
Architectural and Engineering ManagersBachelor's degree$128,8401,380

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

Madison, WI Metro Area

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

Considering the nursing shortage in Wisconsin, postsecondary health specialties teachers are in demand across the state to educate new nurses for the field. However, one of the best areas for Wisconsin healthcare teachers is in Madison, where potential employers include the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison Area Technical College and Herzing University-Madison.

However, there are plenty of opportunities for people who do not want to be teachers as well. For example, Epic Systems Corporation -- a healthcare software company that serves some of the leading hospitals in the country -- is a major source of employment in Madison for computer systems analysts and information systems managers.

Best CareersMinimum EducationAverage SalaryEmployment
Health Specialties Teachers, PostsecondaryDoctoral or professional degree$79,5202,860
Computer Systems AnalystsBachelor's degree$93,8403,840
Computer and Information Systems ManagersBachelor's degree$130,6501,170
Administrative Services and Facilities ManagersN/A$110,9701,060
Management AnalystsBachelor's degree$89,0703,950

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

Appleton, WI Metro Area

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

One of the largest employers in the Appleton metro area is Miller Electric, an arc welding and cutting equipment manufacturing company. Miller Electric creates great demand for industrial and mechanical engineers, as well as industrial production managers and sales representatives.

Another prominent employer in the Appleton area is Thrivent Financial. The company relies on personal financial managers and similar financial professionals who can help clients with money management, retirement planning, insurance and other financial aspects of their lives.

Best CareersMinimum EducationAverage SalaryEmployment
Personal Financial AdvisorsBachelor's degree$108,480260
Industrial EngineersBachelor's degree$84,530570
Industrial Production ManagersBachelor's degree$111,780270
Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Except Technical and Scientific ProductsHigh school diploma or equivalent$68,4501,880
Mechanical EngineersBachelor's degree$83,210470

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