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When you think of college, you may think of brick buildings and classrooms full of students. Online colleges and universities give you an opportunity to earn a degree from the comfort of home with the same opportunities to interact with peers, expand your knowledge, and gain essential professional skills.
Online colleges and schools provide courses comparable to those offered on-campus. You'll receive lectures, assignments, projects, and assessments while earning the same number of credit hours as on-campus courses offer.
The accredited online colleges below offer convenience, academic rigor, and promising graduate outcomes — so you can learn from home without missing out.
Florida International University
The University of West Florida
Boca Raton, FL
Online programs' academic expectations are the same as they would be in an on-campus program. Coursework covers the same content, assignments explore the same topics, and assessment evaluates what you learn.
Online learning allows you to complete coursework on a schedule that matches your personal and professional needs. You can often work part- or full-time and tend to other obligations while earning your degree online.
Most online programs offer access to resources including libraries, tutoring, and technical support. You can interact with classmates and instructors, attend virtual office hours, and participate in class assignments, discussions, and projects.
Being an online student requires self-discipline, determination, and time management.
You need to make sure you're prepared to meet the demands of the online learning environment, both academically and technically. Some online schools may provide computers but having a bad internet connection is a roadblock to online learning.
Using ZDNet's ranking methodology, we found our top picks for online colleges and universities for 2022. Our proprietary formula combines federally reported data, professional and program outcomes, and insights from industry leaders to provide a comprehensive, unbiased assessment.
Unless otherwise indicated, data is drawn from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, College Scorecard, and each college's website. Note that for public colleges, the average annual net price given is for in-state students.
1. The Ohio State University
About the school: Alongside its online programs, Ohio State maintains seven campuses and research centers throughout Ohio. Ohio State offers online degrees and certificates in 11 fields of study.
Accreditation: The Ohio State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
2. Florida International University
About the school: FIU offers more than 100 online programs including combined bachelor's and master's degrees in criminal justice and hospitality management.
Accreditation: Florida International University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
3. University of West Florida
Course delivery method: Synchronous and asynchronous programs available
Accreditation: The University of West Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
4. University of Missouri
About the school: As the flagship institution of the University of Missouri system, Mizzou offers nearly 50 online undergraduate degrees.
Accreditation: The University of Missouri is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
5. Florida Atlantic University
Boca Raton, Florida
About the school: With six campuses across Florida, FAU also offers online degrees through seven academic colleges.
Accreditation: Florida Atlantic University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
6. Thomas Jefferson University
About the school: Established in 2017 with the unification of Jefferson and Philadelphia University, Jefferson's online offerings include seven bachelor's degrees, 15 master's degrees, and a Ph.D. in population health science.
Accreditation: Thomas Jefferson University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCH).
7. University of Colorado Denver
About the school: CU Denver, one of four schools within the University of Colorado System, offers over 25 online programs and certificates.
Accreditation: The University of Colorado Denver is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
8. Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
About the school: Formed when campuses of the two namesake institutions merged, IUPUI offers online degrees and classes in 20 fields of study.
Accreditation: Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
9. Oklahoma State University
About the school: With five campuses across Oklahoma, OSU also offers 15 online bachelor's degrees and more than 20 online graduate degrees.
Accreditation: Oklahoma State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
10. Maryville University
Saint Louis, Missouri
About the school: Maryville offers more than 30 online programs and requires no entrance exams or fees to apply.
Accreditation: Maryville University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).