Best Nationally Accredited Online Colleges & Universities
Online degree programs have become an alternative way for high school graduates to earn their college degrees. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced students across the country and worldwide to come home from college. Colleges that had not expanded into the online world were suddenly forced to provide classes online, and now many of those are still available.
Students now have more options than just going to campus to pursue their educations. More and more potential students find that the traditional college or university education model does not fit into their lifestyle, so studying online is the place to be for the flexibility you may need in your life.
If you think an online degree program is right for you, there are a couple more things you can do. One of them is to look through our list of best online colleges below.
Accredited Online Programs That Might Interest YouLearn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
When you are ready to decide which online college or university you want to attend, you must make sure it is accredited. You can check any school’s status by searching the institution’s name on the Distance Education Accrediting Commission’s website here. When you get to the site, scroll down a bit to see the search menu. If the online school is not on the accredited list, future employers will not recognize its degrees as valid, so move on to another online college option.
As the demand for online degree options has increased over the years, colleges and universities have created more online classes and degree programs to meet the need. You can pursue nearly every course of study. Whatever reason you have for completing your post-secondary education online, online colleges and universities can fit into your life’s competing demands. They can make it possible for you to reach all your educational and career goals.
The cost of a college education is one of the biggest expenses in most people’s lives. According to the College Board, tuition and fees for a four-year public university averaged $9,410 for in-state students and $24,061 for out-of-state students during the 2016–17 school year. For private nonprofit universities, it was an average of $33,480.
The best online colleges listed below are all nationally accredited by DEAC and their accreditation is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Schools are ranked solely on affordability according to tuition.
All data comes from school websites and the National Center for Education Statistics.
20 Best Nationally Accredited Online Colleges
1. University of the People
University of the People offers free online courses that are accredited by the US Department of Education (DOE). These online classes give you credit towards a bachelor’s degree from various colleges around the world including Yale University and Brandeis University.
The University of the People is a private university that provides educational opportunities and training to distance education learners with self-paced online courses. This accredited school is ranked number one on our best online colleges list. University of the People was established in 2009 and its headquarters is located in the city of Pasadena, California. The University of the People is known to be the first non-profit, tuition-free, online university with accreditation from an agency in the United States. The goal of this university is to provide an education to every individual who desires to learn regardless of any barriers standing in the way. The University of the People believes that higher education is a right for all. Students may pursue an associate, bachelor’s, or a mba degree from the comfort of their homes or anywhere in the world with an internet connection. The programs currently offered are an Associate of Science in Business Administration, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Master of Business Administration, Associate of Science in Computer Science, Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, Associate of Science in Health Science, Bachelor of Science in Health Science, a Master of Education, and more.
You can now earn your Bachelor’s Degree without paying any tuition fee through UOP’s partnership with top universities around the globe such as Yale University and Brandeis International Business School. Their courses are taught by experienced academics who have been teaching at traditional institutions like Harvard or Stanford but decided to teach with UOP instead. On our list, the University of the People is the best online college with national accreditation.
Online tuition-free university degrees. (2019). University of the People. Retrieved from: https://www.uopeople.edu/programs/
University of the people. (2020). Niche. Retrieved from: https://www.niche.com/colleges/university-of-the-people/
2. William Howard Taft University – The Taft University System
The Taft University System (TUS) was established in the year 1976 and is located in the Denver, Colorado region. It consists of two different divisions, which are the Taft Law School and the William Howard Taft University. The objective of the university system is to provide education and self-paced training to individuals around the globe. Therefore, the course content and online programs are commonly offered to students attending the William Howard Taft University division. Some of the online programs currently offered at William Howard Taft University are the Doctor of Education with a concentration in technology and leadership, Doctor of Education with a concentration in charter school administration, Master of Science in Taxation, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Master of Business Administration with a concentration in health care administration, Master of Business Administration with a concentration in private practice management, a Doctor of Business Administration, and more. TUS has received accreditation from the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, and it is also a member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
William Howard Taft University provides high-quality education that is affordable, convenient, and accessible for every student regardless of their location or financial situation. We provide our students with an individualized approach that will help them meet their goals while also preparing them for future success as legal professionals.
The Taft University System offers online and on-campus degrees for students who are interested in becoming lawyers. Our programs offer the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in this competitive field.
Academic programs. (2020). The Taft University System. Retrieved from: https://www.taft.edu/academic-programs
The Taft University System. (2020). The Taft University System. Retrieved from: http://taftuniversitysystem.edu/
3. University of Arkansas System eVersity
The University of Arkansas System eVersity has been offering high-quality education to students for generations. The university has a mission to enrich individuals’ lives through high-quality education, accessibility, affordability, relevancy, and personalization. eVersity is the only 100% online university apart of the University of Arkansas system. There are five main areas of study for students to choose from including business, criminal justice, healthcare management, information technology, and university studies. Within all of these areas of study, you can choose to earn a certificate, associate’s, or a bachelor’s degree program to follow. The University of Arkansas System eVersity is proudly accredited by the Distance Education Accreditation Commission.
Online universities are typically associated with low-quality education and high costs. But the University of Arkansas System eVersity is able to solve this problem by offering high-quality education at a lower cost than other universities while also providing students with flexibility in their learning schedule.
Students can take courses offered by the UASeV through traditional semesters or they can opt for accelerated 8-week sessions, which allows them to earn their degree faster than most other institutions. Unlike other online colleges, all classes are taught live by professors who have been awarded Best Professors in America from Princeton Review and received national recognition from the National Science Foundation for excellence in teaching science and math on a college level.
The University of Arkansas System eVersity has been offering high-quality education to students for generations. The university has a mission to enrich individuals’ lives through high-quality education, accessibility, affordability, relevancy, and personalization.
Students can now enroll in classes anytime day or night with no commute time since all classes are delivered online. Classes start every eight weeks so there’s always an upcoming class available if you miss one here and there because life gets busy sometimes. With affordable tuition rates starting at $220 per credit hour it’s easy on your wallet as well as convenient for those who want quality education but don’t have the time or resources to attend a brick and mortar campus.
About us. (2021). The University of Arkansas System eVersity. Retrieved from: https://eversity.edu/about/about-eversity/
Areas of Study. (2021). The University of Arkansas System eVersity. Retrieved from:https://eversity.edu/academics/areas-of-study/
4. Martinsburg College
Martinsburg College was founded in the year 1980 when its first location opened in New York. It moved its location to Martinsburg, West Virginia in 2006 and has remained there ever since. Each of the programs offered by this college is delivered through self-paced learning, and the main goal is to provide a high-quality education to all distance learners. Martinsburg College is known to offer exceptional academic programs that provide a high level of support to the non-traditional learner, which has generated excellent student satisfaction and high completion rates. The following are the degree and certificate programs currently offered at this college: Associate of Science in Business Administration, Associate of Science in Integrated Technologies, Associate of Science in Healthcare Administration, Pharmacy Technician Certification, Homeland Security Certification, Smart Home Technology Certification, Healthcare Administrative Specialist Certification, Surgical Instrument Processing Certification, and more.
Many students are not able to attend a traditional college due to their work schedule, family obligations, or other commitments.
Martinsburg College is here to help those students who have been left out of the higher education system. They offer a wide variety of online learning programs that allow you to earn your degree from anywhere in the world with no restrictions on time and place.
Martinsburg College’s online degree options include bachelor’s degrees in business management, healthcare management, criminal justice administration, and nursing as well as associate degrees in computer science and information technology. All courses are self-paced so you can complete them at your convenience without having to worry about missing classes or deadlines. In addition, they also provide certificate programs for people who want a more specialized educational experience but do not need an official degree for their career path. All Martinsburg’s courses are 100% online so there is no need for you to visit campus or commute between lectures – everything can be done from home.
About us. (2020). Martinsburg College. Retrieved from: https://martinsburgcollege.edu/about-us/
5. Aspen University
Aspen University is a private, for-profit, nationally accredited online college. This university was founded in the year 1987 and is located in the Denver, Colorado area. The goal of the university is to help make college tuition affordable through financial aid, in the United States as well as provide a high-quality course design and an online program opportunity to the online student interested in distance learning as a self-paced program. A few of the programs delivered to students through the online campus are the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Master in Business Administration, Master of Science in Information Management, Master of Science in Information Systems, Doctor of Science in Computer Science, Associate of Applied Science in Early Childhood Education, Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education, Doctor of Nursing Practice, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and more.
Aspen University offers an affordable solution for those who want to continue their education without taking out loans or going into debt. Their online courses are designed by industry leaders in business, technology, management, healthcare, and more. They provide students with flexible study options that fit your busy lifestyle – from part-time programs you can take while working full-time jobs to self-paced learning opportunities that let you work around other commitments like family life or travel plans.
With Aspen Universities online degree program options available 24/7 through their virtual classroom platform, it’s never been easier for anyone interested in continuing their education whether they’re already employed or looking for a career change.
Aspen University. (2020). Aspen University. Retrieved from: https://www.aspen.edu/
Aspen University. (2020). Niche. Retrieved from: https://www.niche.com/colleges/aspen-university/
6. Shiloh University
Shiloh University is a nationally accredited online college that was established in the year 2006. This university is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, which is acknowledged by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Shiloh is known for providing a Christian, online learning environment to individuals interested in becoming church leaders, Bible teachers, and pastors. Students admitted to the university may choose between several different undergraduate and graduate degree options, and each self-paced online course and program is dedicated to offering course material with a faith-based education. The undergraduate and graduate degrees currently offered at this university are a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical and Pastoral Studies, Bachelor of Arts in New Testament Studies, Master of Arts in Theological Studies, Master of Divinity, Doctor of Ministry in Relational Testament, and more.
About us. (2020). Shiloh University. Retrieved from: https://www.shilohuniversity.edu/about-us/
Academics. (2020). Shiloh University. Retrieved from: https://www.shilohuniversity.edu/academics/
7. Columbia Southern University
Columbia Southern University is a private, for-profit university dedicated to teaching online students. This university is located in Orange Beach, Alabama, and possesses an undergraduate population of 8,567. Students attending this online college may choose to earn an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree with their individual self-paced course schedule. The university’s mission is to provide various academic programs that are affordable, flexible, and convenient to students around the world. The following are several of the degree program enrollment options students may choose from: Associate of Science in Business, Associate of Science in Criminal Justice, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration, Bachelor of Science in Emergency Medical Services Administration, Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security, Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Master of Business Administration, Master of Science in Organizational Leadership, Master of Public Administration, Doctor of Business Administration, and more.
About us. (2020). Columbia Southern University. Retrieved from: https://www.columbiasouthern.edu/about-csu
Columbia Southern University. (2020). Niche. Retrieved from: https://www.niche.com/colleges/columbia-southern-university/
8. City Vison University
City Vision University is a private university that is located in Kansas City, Missouri. It offers a variety of academic programs dedicated to student success around the world through an online setting. This university was established in the year 1998 and is known for its readily accessible core courses for associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degree offerings. City Vision University is committed to providing a Christian educational atmosphere for each student enrolled in a college course or online class. The degrees currently available at this school are Associate in Christian Ministry and Leadership, Associate in Business, Bachelor’s in Addiction Counseling, Bachelor’s in Nonprofit Management, Bachelor’s in Christian Ministry and Leadership, Bachelor’s in Business, and Masters in Business Administration.
About city vision university. (2020). City Vision University. Retrieved from: https://www.cityvision.edu/about/
City vision university. (2020). Niche. Retrieved from: https://www.niche.com/colleges/city-vision-university/
9. Abraham Lincoln University
Abraham Lincoln University is a private, for-profit university. It is an online university devoted to providing higher education to all students across the globe who desire to earn a degree without commuting to campus. This university is located in the city of Los Angeles, California, where it was formed in 1996. It is one of the several nationally accredited online colleges in the United States that is known for providing academic programs at all degree levels. The university’s mission is to offer learning opportunities that are accessible and career-focused for undergraduate and graduate students. Individuals who are interested in this school may enroll in the following degree programs: Associate of Science in Paralegal Studies, Associate of Science in Criminal Justice, Associate of Science in Business Administration, Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Master of Science in Law, Master of Science in Criminal Justice, Master of Business Administration, Doctorate of Business Administration, Juris Doctor, and more.
History of ALU. (2020). Abraham Lincoln University. Retrieved from: https://www.alu.edu/about/alu-history/
Mission & Vision. (2020). Abraham Lincoln University. Retrieved from: https://www.alu.edu/about/alu-mission/
10. Huntington University of Health Sciences
Huntington University of Health Sciences was established in the year 1985 as the former American Academy of Nutrition. This university is located in Knoxville, Tennessee, and was created to provide online academic programs for individuals interested in earning an education in the study of nutrition. In 2018, it changed its name as it began offering other academic programs. The university is one of the several nationally accredited online colleges by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, and it is also a member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Some of the various programs that are offered at Huntington University of Health Sciences are the Bachelor of Science in Nutrition, Master of Science in Nutrition, Associate of Science in Applied Nutrition, Doctor of Science in Integrative Healthcare, Diploma in Small Business Management, Diploma in Herbal Sciences, and more.
About Us. (2019). Huntington University of Health Science. Retrieved from: https://www.huhs.edu/about-us/
All programs & degrees. (2019). Huntington University of Health Sciences. Retrieved from: https://www.huhs.edu/nutrition-programs-degrees/
11. National Paralegal College
The National Paralegal College was established in the year 2003, and it has been an accredited online college since 2006. The college has grown tremendously and now offers seven different academic programs and over 100 courses. The objective of this school is to provide a distance learning opportunity to busy individuals who desire to become paralegals, business experts, or legal professionals. Students will be able to access their courses at all times of day from any location that possesses an internet connection. The following academic programs are currently available to students attending this college: Associate of Paralegal Studies, Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies, Bachelor of Business Administration, Master of Science in Legal Studies, Master of Science in Compliance Law, Master of Science in Taxation, and a certificate in Paralegal Studies.
National Paralegal College. Retrieved from: https://nationalparalegal.edu/Description.aspx
12. Grantham University
Grantham University was formed in 1951 as part of a traditional college in Southern California. It is now located in Lenexa, Kansas, and offers over 50 degree and certificate programs. The university is one of the several accredited online colleges in the United States. It has continuously received its accreditation from the Distance Education Accrediting Commission. The commonly chosen programs by students at this university are the Associate of Arts in Business Management, Associate of Science in Computer Science, Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice, Bachelor of Business Administration, Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering Technology, Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security, Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management, Bachelor of Arts in Strategic Communications, Master of Business Administration, Master of Healthcare Administration, Master of Science in Leadership, and more.
History. (2020). Grantham University. Retrieved from: https://www.grantham.edu/about-grantham/history/
13. Catholic Distance University
Catholic Distance University is a private college that was founded in 1983. It is located in Charles Town, West Virginia. This university is committed to providing a catholic education through a digital platform. All courses and programs are delivered to students around the world as long as they possess an internet connection. Catholic Distance University offers the following programs: Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts, Bachelor of Arts in Theology, Master of Arts in Theology, Master of Arts in Theology and Educational Ministry, Undergraduate Catechetical Coordinator certificate, Sacred Scripture certificate, Church History certificate, Catholic Educators certificate, and more. Individuals who choose this university come from many different circumstances. For example, some are working professionals, parents with young children, military personnel, deacons, and religious individuals who are unable to commute to college campuses. The mission of this university is to help individuals with other life duties fulfill their educational goals.
About CDU. (2020). Catholic Distance University. Retrieved from: https://cdu.edu/about-cdu/
Mission and institutional principles. (2020). Catholic Distance University. Retrieved from: https://cdu.edu/mission-institutional-principles/
Why choose CDU? (2020) Catholic Distance University. Retrieved from: https://cdu.edu/why-choose-cdu/
14. University of Management and Technology
The University of Management and Technology is a private, for-profit college that was established in 1998. It is located in Arlington, Virginia, which is close to the Washington, D.C. area. This university offers several associates, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees to students interested in learning in an online environment. The focus of this college is the management and technology sector, but it does offer a few academic programs in other career fields to fit the goals and needs of all individuals. The following are the most popular programs at the University of Management and Technology: Associate of Business Administration, Associate of Science in Criminal Justice, Associate of Science in Engineering Management, Bachelor of Business Administration, Bachelor of Health Administration, Master of Science in Criminal Justice, Master of Science in Homeland Security, Doctor of Business Administration, and more.
Academic programs. (2020). University of Management and Technology. Retrieved from: https://www.umtweb.edu/AcademicPrograms.aspx
General Information. (2020). University of Management and Technology. Retrieved from: https://www.umtweb.edu/GeneralInfo.aspx
History.(2020). University of Management and Technology. Retrieved from: https://www.umtweb.edu/GI.aspx?key=h
15. College of Court Reporting
The College of Court Reporting is located in Valparaiso, Indiana, and it is committed to helping students succeed in the study of court reporting through its online academic offerings. This college was founded in 1984 and is known for its student-centered approach to education. Students attending this college have access to coaching, mentoring, and teaching from the comfort of their homes or anywhere in the world. Each program will focus on in-depth, hands-on learning that will prepare students for the duties of their prospective careers. Graduates of the programs will have gained the essential knowledge and skills to grow professionally and academically. In addition, they will be prepared with the adaptable tools to tackle the ever-changing field of court reporting. The three programs offered by this school are the Associate of Applied Science in Court Reporting, certification in Court Reporting, and certification in Voice Writing.
Our mission and objectives. (2020). College of Court Reporting. Retrieved from: http://www.ccr.edu/index.php/about/our-mission-and-objectives
Why consider college of court reporting. (2020). College of Court Reporting. Retrieved from: http://www.ccr.edu/index.php/about/why-consider-ccr
16. California Miramar University
California Miramar University provides excellent educational opportunities to individuals around the world. The main campus is located in San Diego, California, but students who are unable to commute to campus can access their courses through an online or hybrid learning environment. The faculty and staff employed by this university are technology-driven, highly educated, and experienced professionals that are prepared to meet the student’s educational and professional needs. Admitted students may enroll in the following academic programs: Associate of Science in Business Administration, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Master of Business Administration, Master of Science in Computer Information Systems, Master of Science in Strategic Leadership, and Doctor of Business Administration. Regardless of which program students choose to pursue, each will focus on developing essential skills that will benefit their careers, such as knowledge, communication, technical skills, social and ethical skills, critical thinking, and program solving.
Mission, vision, and learning objectives. (2020). CMU. Retrieved from: https://www.calmu.edu/mission-and-pledge/
17. International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA)
The International Sports Sciences Association is an educational institution that was established in 1988. It provides certifications to individuals who are aspiring to become a variety of different sports trainers, such as fitness trainers, personal trainers, nutrition trainers, aerobic trainers, and more. Some of the perks that come with earning a fitness certification at the International Sports Sciences Association are the courses can be completed anytime, maximum support is always available, and students can learn from home or on the go. Students from all over the world take advantage of the academic opportunities at this institution, including certificates in DNA-Based Fitness Coaching, Bodybuilding, Corrective Exercise, Exercise Therapy, Group Fitness, Youth Fitness, Strength & Conditioning, and more.
Why over 300,000 students choose our certification courses. (2020). ISSA. Retrieved from: https://www.issaonline.com/
18. University of Fairfax
The University of Fairfax has a mission to, “offer flexible, in-demand distance education programs that meet the needs of employers in a changing global marketplace.” The University of Fairfax was created to meet the demand for fast-paced and competitive careers in business, cybersecurity, and information technology. This prestigious institution does not offer any associate’s or bachelor degrees, only graduate-level degrees and certificates are achievable. A few of the degrees include Cybersecurity Best Practices Certificate, Masters in Cybersecurity Management, Doctorate of Software Development, Master of Computer Science and Engineering, Doctorate of Business Administration, Project Management and Quality Assurance Certificate, and Doctorate of Information Assurance. The University of Fairfax is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission.
About us. (2021). The University of Fairfax. Retrieved from: https://ufairfax.edu/university/elearning/
Academic Programs. (2021). The University of Fairfax. Retrieved from: https://ufairfax.edu/academic-programs/
19. American Sentinel University
American Sentinel University was founded in 1890 with a goal to change the communities they work within. American Sentinel University has a mission to, “provide students with the knowledge, personal skills, and experiences required to become leaders in their chosen careers.” The university offers over 60 completely online degree programs including associates, bachelors, master’s doctorate, and a multitude of certificates. A few of the degree programs include Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies, Bachelor of Science in Emergency Management/Homeland Security, Master of Science in Nursing, Master of Science in Project Management, Doctor of Nursing Practice, Doctor of Nursing Practice-Executive Leadership, Graduate Certificate in Alcohol/Drug Counseling, Graduate Certificate in Professional Counseling and a multitude of other degrees and certificates. American Sentinel University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education as well as being licensed by the state through the Office of Higher Education.
About us. (2021). American Sentinel University. Retrieved from: https://post.edu/about/
Academics. (2021). American Sentinel University. Retrieved from: https://post.edu/academic
20. Sonoran Desert Institute
The Sonoran Desert Institute was established in the year 2000 and has been accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission since 2004. The institute is focused on offering higher education programs to individuals who are interested in working in the firearms industry. This is a small school located in Tempe, Arizona that possesses two programs in which students can access completely online. The two programs are the Associate of Science in Firearms Technology and a certificate in Advanced Gunsmithing. Both programs provide a flexible, online learning environment that is dedicated to teaching students how to handle firearms. All students are given the convenience of a high-quality education that fits their life obligations.
History of success. (2020). Sonoran Desert Institute. Retrieved from: https://sdi.edu/history/
Mission, vision, and purposes. (2020). Sonoran Desert Institute. Retrieved from: https://sdi.edu/mission-vision-and-purposes/
21. Sessions College for Professional Design
Sessions College for Professional Design is a private, for-profit college that was established in 1997. This college is located in Tempe, Arizona, and is known as one of the best accredited online colleges for aspiring artists and designers. Sessions College for Professional Design possesses a unique, international student body from over 90 different countries. The curriculum is delivered to these students through an online platform, and all programs are affordable, including affordable online mba programs readily accessible, and meet the educational standards for students to succeed. In addition, each course is project-based and provides hands-on experience that is relevant to the student’s career goals. A few of the degrees offered at this college are Associate of Science in Graphic Design, Associate of Science in Digital Media, Associate of Science in Advertising Design, Associate of Science in Web Design, Associate of Science in Digital Photography, and more. Upon graduation, students will have gained the necessary skills and tools to become creative assets to clients and businesses.
About sessions. (2020). Sessions College for Professional Design. Retrieved from: https://www.sessions.edu/about-sessions/
Top 28 Nationally Accredited Online Colleges List
|INSTITUTION NAME||CATEGORY||ACCREDITATION STATUS||CITY||STATE||TUITION & FEES|
|University of the People||Degree Granting||Accredited||Pasadena||CA||$1,200|
|William Howard Taft University – The Taft University System||Degree Granting||Accredited||Lakewood||CO||$3,740|
|University of Arkansas System eVersity||Degree Granting||Accredited||Little Rock||AR||$4,200|
|Martinsburg College||Degree Granting||Accredited||Martinsburg||WV||$4,500|
|Aspen University||Degree Granting||Accredited||Denver||CO||$5,110|
|Shiloh University||Degree Granting||Accredited||Kalona||IA||$5,250|
|Columbia Southern University||Degree Granting||Accredited||Orange Beach||AL||$5,775|
|City Vision University||Degree Granting||Accredited||Kansas City||MO||$6,000|
|Abraham Lincoln University||Degree Granting||Accreditation Deferred||Glendale||CA||$6,400|
|Huntington University of Health Sciences||Degree Granting||Accredited||Knoxville||TN||$6,610|
|National Paralegal College||Degree Granting||Accredited||Phoenix||AZ||$7,995|
|Grantham University||Degree Granting||Accredited||Lenexa||KS||$8,280|
|Catholic Distance University||Degree Granting||Accredited||Charles Town||WV||$8,405|
|University of Management and Technology||Degree Granting||Accredited||Arlington||VA||$9,450|
|College of Court Reporting||Degree Granting||Accredited||Valaparaiso||IN||$9,950|
|California Miramar University||Degree Granting||Accredited||San Diego||CA||$9,994|
|International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA)||Degree Granting||Accredited||Carpinteria||CA||$10,107|
|University of Fairfax||Degree Granting||Accredited||Salem||VA||$10,328|
|American Sentinel University||Degree Granting||Accredited||Denver||CO||$10,520|
|Sonoran Desert Institute||Degree Granting||Accredited||Tempe||AZ||$10,630|
|Sessions College for Professional Design||Degree Granting||Accredited||Tempe||AZ||$10,740|
|American National University||Degree Granting||Accredited||Salem||VA||$10,772|
|California Intercontinental University||Degree Granting||Accredited||Irvine||CA||$10,805|
|American College of Healthcare Sciences||Degree Granting||Accredited||Portland||OR||$11,640|
|Westcliff University||Degree Granting||Accredited||Irvine||CA||$13,560|
|American Business and Technology University||Degree Granting||Accredited||Saint Joseph||MO||$21,450|
|California Institute of Advanced Management||Degree Granting||Accredited||Alhambra||CA||$24,000|
|Laurus College||Degree Granting||Accredited||Santa Maria||CA||$36,100|
List of Nationally Accredited Online Colleges
|INSTITUTION NAME||CATEGORY||ACCREDITATION STATUS||CITY||STATE|
|Abraham Lincoln University.||Degree Granting||Accreditation Deferred||Glendale||CA|
|Acacia University||Degree Granting||Accreditation Deferred||Tempe||AZ|
|American Business and Technology University||Degree Granting||Accredited||Saint Joseph||MO|
|American College of Healthcare Sciences||Degree Granting||Accredited||Portland||OR|
|American Graduate University||Degree Granting||Accredited||Covina||CA|
|American National University||Degree Granting||Accredited||Salem||VA|
|American Sentinel University||Degree Granting||Accredited||Denver||CO|
|Anaheim University||Degree Granting||Accreditation Deferred||Anaheim||CA|
|Antioch School of Church Planting and Leadership Development||Degree Granting||Accredited||Ames||IA|
|Apollos University||Degree Granting||Accredited||Great Falls||MT|
|Ashworth College||Degree Granting||Accredited||Norcross||GA|
|Aspen University||Degree Granting||Accredited||Denver||CO|
|Atlantic University||Degree Granting||Accredited||Virginia Beach||VA|
|Babel University Professional School of Translation||Degree Granting||Accredited||Honolulu||HI|
|Brighton College||Degree Granting||Show Cause Directive||Scottsdale||AZ|
|California Coast University||Degree Granting||Accredited||Santa Ana||CA|
|California Institute of Advanced Management||Degree Granting||Accredited||Alhambra||CA|
|California Intercontinental University||Degree Granting||Accredited||Irvine||CA|
|California Miramar University||Degree Granting||Accredited||San Diego||CA|
|Catholic Distance University||Degree Granting||Accredited||Charles Town||WV|
|Chi Institute of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine||Degree Granting||Accredited||Reddick||FL|
|City Vision University||Degree Granting||Accredited||Kansas City||MO|
|College of Court Reporting||Degree Granting||Accredited||Valaparaiso||IN|
|Columbia Southern University||Degree Granting||Accredited||Orange Beach||AL|
|Cummings Graduate Institute for Behavioral Health Studies||Degree Granting||Accredited||Phoenix||AZ|
|Doral College||Degree Granting||Accredited||Doral||FL|
|Dunlap-Stone University||Degree Granting||Accredited||Phoenix||AZ|
|EC-Council University||Degree Granting||Accredited||Albuquerque||NM|
|Genesis University||Degree Granting||Accredited||Miami Beach||FL|
|Grace Communion Seminary||Degree Granting||Accredited||Charlotte||NC|
|Grantham University||Degree Granting||Accredited||Lenexa||KS|
|Harrison Middleton University||Degree Granting||Accredited||Tempe||AZ|
|Hawthorn University||Degree Granting||Accredited||Whitethorn||CA|
|Holmes Institute||Degree Granting||Accredited||Golden||CO|
|Huntington University of Health Sciences||Degree Granting||Accredited||Knoxville||TN|
|International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA)||Degree Granting||Accredited||Carpinteria||CA|
|Lakewood College||Degree Granting||Accreditation Deferred||Cleveland Heights||OH|
|Laurus College||Degree Granting||Accredited||Santa Maria||CA|
|Martinsburg College||Degree Granting||Accredited||Martinsburg||WV|
|McKinley College||Degree Granting||Accredited||Fort Collins||CO|
|Naaleh College||Degree Granting||Accredited||North Miami Beach||FL|
|National Juris University||Degree Granting||Accredited||Phoenix||AZ|
|National Paralegal College||Degree Granting||Accredited||Phoenix||AZ|
|NationsUniversity||Degree Granting||Accredited||New Orleans||LA|
|New Charter University||Degree Granting||Accreditation Deferred||Salt Lake City||UT|
|Paralegal Institute at Brighton College||Degree Granting||Show Cause Directive||Scottsdale||AZ|
|Penn Foster College||Degree Granting||Accredited||Scottsdale||AZ|
|REALTOR® University||Degree Granting||Accredited||Chicago||IL|
|Rockbridge Seminary||Degree Granting||Accredited||Springfield||MO|
|Sarasota University||Degree Granting||Accredited||Sarasota||FL|
|Sessions College for Professional Design||Degree Granting||Accredited||Tempe||AZ|
|Shiloh University||Degree Granting||Accredited||Kalona||IA|
|Sonoran Desert Institute||Degree Granting||Accredited||Tempe||AZ|
|Taft Law School||Degree Granting||Accredited||Santa Ana||CA|
|The Art of Education University||Degree Granting||Accredited||Osage||IA|
|U.S. Career Institute||Degree Granting||Accredited||Fort Collins||CO|
|Union University of California||Degree Granting||Accredited||Westminster||CA|
|University of Arkansas System eVersity||Degree Granting||Accredited||Little Rock||AR|
|University of Fairfax||Degree Granting||Accredited||Salem||VA|
|University of Management and Technology||Degree Granting||Accredited||Arlington||VA|
|University of the People||Degree Granting||Accredited||Pasadena||CA|
|Viridis Graduate Institute||Degree Granting||Accredited||Ojai||CA|
|Westcliff University||Degree Granting||Accredited||Irvine||CA|
|William Howard Taft University||Degree Granting||Accredited||Lakewood||CO|
2019 List of Best Nationally Accredited Online Colleges
1. California Coast University
Founded in 1973, California Coast University is a private liberal arts school based out of Santa Ana, California. With around 8,000 students enrolled at any given time, the school is committed to providing an affordable education in a flexible, online format. Being designed for working professionals, CCU’s individualized programs of study can be completed at your own pace and are offered in an accelerated format so you can finish a bachelor’s or master’s degree in as little as nine months and a doctorate in three years. This online university offers multiple degree options from associate’s to doctorate degrees.
In addition to those features, CCU’s rolling admission means you can apply and be accepted at any time throughout the year. Committed to flexibility and ease of access, this accredited online college has no physical campus, which means they are fully committed to the distance learning experience in addition to being experts in online education. They offer programs of study in the fields of Arts and Sciences, Behavioral Sciences, Criminal Justice, Education, and Administration and Management.
2. Western Governors University
Western Governors University is a mission-driven, nonprofit university known as a pioneer in online learning. The school was founded in 1997 by a group of governors concerned that the traditional model of higher education was simply not going to be adequate for the needs of 21st-century students.
Since the 1990s, WGU has recognized the value of the internet for providing education to students wherever they lived and on a schedule that worked for their busy, working lives. Even their mascot, Sage, the Night Owl, was adopted to symbolize students who need to adapt their studies to fit around their jobs, families, and lives.
WGU uses a cutting-edge, competency-based system, meaning students advance through their degrees at the pace at which they understand the material, as opposed to the traditional semester-by-semester approach. Their programs are centered around the areas of Business, Education, Information Technology, and Healthcare & Nursing. Only WGU’s teacher certificate programs are nationally accredited. CAEP will grant regional accreditations to all other programs until 2025.
In 2018, U.S. News & World Report ranked WGU as #10 in the category of most innovative colleges and universities. Additionally, the United States Distance Learning Association has awarded WGU the 21st Century Award for Best Practices in Distance Learning, meaning it is a top, best nationally accredited online college.
3. Grantham University
Initially founded in 1951 in Southern California, Grantham University outgrew the traditional campus experience in the 1990s when it harnessed the power of the internet to reach students across the country. What was once a school that focused on radio and electronics for returning military and working women has evolved into an online school with programs in a broad area of studies.
Today, their curriculum features over fifty-degree programs, including studies in Engineering and Computer Science, Business, Nursing, Allied Health, and Liberal Arts programs through their College of Arts and Sciences. Grantham specializes in students who don’t fit the traditional scholarly mold: first-generation students, active-duty military personnel, military veterans, and busy entrepreneurs.
Since 2006, Grantham has been recognized for numerous awards in the areas of University Excellence, Military Friendliness, and Quality Education. In 2018, Grantham was recognized in a national award for most diverse colleges as #33.
4. Columbia Southern University
Columbia Southern University’s mission since its foundation in 1993 has been to provide affordable, high-quality online learning paired with general education skills that enable life-long success in both the educational and professional worlds. A digital university based out of Orange Beach, Alabama, it values a student-first, family-oriented culture that caters to non-traditional students who have jobs and families to balance alongside their studies.
CSU has a full range of studies available at the certificate, associate, bachelor, master, doctorate levels in academic programs including occupational safety and health, fire administration, criminal justice, business administration, human resource management, health care administration, and more. As an accredited online college, they specialize in adult and non-traditional learners who are looking to balance their education with their jobs and families.
CSU was recently recognized by college ranking authority TheBestSchools.Org as #13 on a list of most popular online colleges, making it one of the top nationally accredited online colleges.
5. American Public University System
Recognized as a top university for professionals in the military, national security, and public safety sectors, the American Public University System bridges the classroom to the workplace with online education. The school was founded in 1991 by a former Marine Corps officer who wanted to offer career-focused, distance education for military students who were always on the move and unable to learn at a traditional, brick-and-mortar campus.
APUS’s specialty is professional, working adults looking to launch their careers in the fields of business, healthcare, education, and government. They offer over 200 academic programs in accredited areas related to Nursing, Public Health, Fire Service, and Cyber Defense Education. APUS has a particular focus on members of the military community, including active-duty personnel, veterans, national guard, reserve, and military spouses.
American Public University was listed as Unranked in Regional Universities South by U.S. News and World Report. APUS has also been recognized as a “Best for Vets College” by Military Times and a Top-Five Value Choice in the Washington Monthly College Rankings.
6. Abraham Lincoln University
Founded in 1996 by a Los Angeles attorney, Abraham Lincoln University is a law-focused school that offers in programs in business administration, general studies, criminal justice & legal studies. Named after Abraham Lincoln, ALU’s founder wanted the school’s mission to reflect Lincoln’s legacy as a self-taught lawyer who understood the importance of flexible, practical education and the need to develop the governing bodies of the U.S. through advancements in law.
ALU offers studies at all degree levels, including certificate programs, undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees. Graduates of their J.D. program become eligible to sit for the California bar exam after completing their studies. Known for its focus on preparing lawyers for future practice, ALU’s faculty are primarily practicing lawyers from institutions like Stanford University, UCLA, UC Berkeley, and Loyola. Students can attend classes in-person at ALU’s Los Angeles campus, online, or a mixed model of online and in-person classes.
7. Rasmussen College Online
Rasmussen College was founded in 1900 in Stillwater, Minnesota, as a school to educate America’s next skilled labor class. Since then, Rasmussen has expanded to physical campuses in Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and Kansas as well as operating a robust digital school for distance learners. Rasmussen offers more than 30 online degree programs in the fields of Business, Design, Education, Health Sciences, Justice Studies, Nursing, and Technology. Credentials are available at the diploma, associate, and bachelor’s degree levels.
For each program, Rasmussen offers Flex Choice options like credit for prior learning, self-directed assessments, and competency-based education, which allow students to earn course credits without taking a class in the traditional format. For digital students, the school offers multiple innovative learning modalities, including online simulations and virtual labs, live interactive sessions, and practical, real-world experience to connect your education with your career.
8. Southwestern Oklahoma State University
Accreditation: HLC, ABHES
Southwestern Oklahoma State University has 14 programs that are nationally accredited. SWOSUa long reputation for high-quality academic programs and friendly staff and faculty. As the best nationally accredited online college, the school offers undergraduate and graduate programs in Nursing & Allied Health, Education, Business, and Psychology.
With flexibility in mind for adult learners, their programs are offered in a variety of distance education formats, including online degree programs, interactive television (ITV), webinars, and blended programs that combine in-person classes with any of the distance options. Unlike universities that rely on the large lecture hall format, SWOSU has an average class size of twenty students, so students can expect lots of undivided attention from faculty and staff.
Southwestern Oklahoma State University was ranked #96 in Regional Universities West by U.S. News & World Report.
9. American National University
ANU understands that 21st-century students need the flexibility to balance their studies with other aspects of their life, whether that’s employment, family, or military. An accredited online college for over 60 years, their areas of study are clustered around healthcare & nursing, information technology, and cybersecurity.
Their programs are available at all levels, including diploma & certificate programs, associates, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. Each program of study is structured in a convenient pathway, meaning you could begin by obtaining a certificate and work your way through the ranks to achieve higher degrees as you move through your career. Plus, their instructors are career professionals with hands-on experience in their academic fields.
ANU offers classes in a variety of formats, including fully online, on-campus, or blended degree programs that combine in-person instruction with online coursework. For maximum flexibility, on-campus classes are offered during both the day and evening, in addition to only being held once a week for maximum scheduling efficiency. If you’re local to one of their campuses, you can attend in-person at any of their locations in Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia.
In February 2018, ANU gained accreditation from the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC).
10. ECPI University Online
Accreditation: ABHES, ACCET, and ACCSC
East Coast Polytechnic Institute was founded in 1966 with a focus on the areas of STEM and Healthcare. The school provides a student-centered, hands-on education that supports your success every step of the way with student services to employer partnerships. With a strong career focus and an eye on technology, they earned the nickname “America’s Mobile University” and even have an exclusive app for students on the go. If you prefer face-to-face instruction, you could attend class at any one of their physical campuses in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Florida.
ECPI’s academic programs have a strong spotlight on Engineering Technology, Information Technology, Business, Criminal Justice, Nursing, and Health & Clinical Sciences. Designed for career learners, they offer programs in accelerated formats so students can finish their associate’s degrees in 1.5 years and bachelor’s degrees in 2.5 years. To best accommodate working professionals, classes are offered in a multitude of formats for maximum flexibility, like day, evening, and weekend classes on campus, in addition to fully online courses for students who don’t live near campus.ECPI has received numerous awards for its student-focused curriculum, including U.S. News & World Report’s 2018 rankings of America’s best colleges and universities, Top School by Military Advanced Education, and the National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education.
See the full list of rankings below of nationally accredited colleges with online programs, including Bible colleges. If you’re wondering what online colleges are nationally accredited, this will show you the best accredited online colleges.
Full List of the Top 41 Nationally Accredited Online Colleges
|California Coast University||DEAC||$4,725|
|Western Governors University||DEAC||$6,070|
|Columbia Southern University||DEAC||$6,600|
|American Public University System||DEAC||$6,880|
|Abraham Lincoln University||DEAC||$7,500|
|Rasmussen College Online||ABHES||$10,935|
|Southwestern Oklahoma State University||ABHES||$13,905|
|American National University||DEAC||$14,886|
|ECPI University Online||ABHES, ACCET, and ACCSC||$16,039|
|Independence University||ACCSC, CCNE, and CoARC||$16,968|
|The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division||ACICS||$17,014|
|Eastern Kentucky University||ACCET||$18,250|
|Keiser University eCampus||ABHES||$18,488|
|Southwestern Assemblies of God University||ABHE||$19,994|
|California Institute of Advanced Management||ACICS||$20,000|
|Ohio Christian University||ABHE||$20,240|
|Toccoa Falls College||ABHE||$22,104|
|Columbia International University||ABHE||$22,390|
|Virginia College Online||ACICS||$22,600|
|Full Sail University||ACCSC||$23,694|
|LA Film School – Online||ACCET and ACCSC||$29,500|
|San Diego Christian College||TRACS||$30,438|
|Miller-Motte College Online||ACICS||
$10,800 – $11,740
$11,581 – $16,246
|Purdue University Global||DEAC||
$11,581 – $16,246
|Carrington College||ABHES and ACCSC||
$13,975 – $54,125
|Brookline College Online||ABHES and ACICS||
$14,500 – $15,515
|Bryan University Online||ACCSC||
$15,400 – $15,447
|Ultimate Medical Academy||ABHES||
$15,500 – $15,550
|Pinnacle Career Institute Online||ACCSC and ACICS||
$15,765 – $20,465
|Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts Online||ACCET||
$23,900 – $23,982
|Kansas Christian College||ABHE||$5,460 – $7,640|
|Miller-Motte Technical College Online||ACICS||$9,500 – $12,420|
Thanks to technological advances like the internet, it is easier than ever to attend college. What once required four or more years of moving to a new city and living away from home can now be achieved from your computer, whether it be an undergraduate degree, an online bachelor’s degree, or an affordable online mba program, wherever you are in the world.
Quite a few schools have entered the online education arena, but some of them are much more reputable than others. Nationally accredited online colleges have official recognition as schools that provide a high-quality education for an affordable price with measurable career outcomes for their graduates.
Nationally Accredited Online Colleges & Universities FAQ
What is National Institutional Accreditation?
The purpose of national accreditation bodies is to accredit trade and vocational schools and technical (art & design, nursing, etc.) schools, as well as professional programs that provide certificates and degrees.
There are a variety of recognized national accreditation agencies, including:
- Distance Education & Training Council (DETC)
- Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC)
- Council on Occupational Education (COE)
- Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools, Accreditation Commission (TRACS)
- Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET)
- Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE)
- Association of Advanced Rabbinical and Talmudic Schools (AARTS)
- Council on Occupational Education (COE)
- Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC)
- National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences (NACCS)
- Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS)
Nationally accredited online colleges may be less expensive than regionally-accredited schools. Admission standards are typically more relaxed at nationally accredited online colleges than regionally accredited. In general, nationally accredited online for-profit colleges primarily generate money by enrolling students or selling educational goods. They may also have investors to answer to. Generally, institutions with national accreditation will accept credits from both regionally and nationally accredited colleges. Credits from nationally accredited online schools are not transferable to a regionally accredited college. Employers will accept nationally accredited degrees but graduates are not always eligible for corporate tuition reimbursement programs.
What are the best accredited online colleges?
The best nationally accredited online colleges are
- California Coast University
- Western Governors University
- Grantham University
- Columbia Southern University
- American Public University System
- Abraham Lincoln University
- Rasmussen College Online
- Southwestern Oklahoma State University
- American National University
- ECPI University Online
How do I know if an online college is legitimate?
Read this article on accreditation to help you decide.
Is SNHU Online Nationally Accredited?
No. SNHU is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education, Inc. (NECHE). See: https://www.snhu.edu/about-us/faqs
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