Here Are 11 Colleges Offering Online Degrees That Don’t Suck. In Fact, They’re Awesome

Font Size:

With the constant stream of bad news about online education over the last few years, you might have concluded that online education is synonymous with for-profit dreadfulness.

After all, America’s online education sector is beset with sketchiness thanks to the dubious efforts of a number of for-profit operators which too often enroll disadvantaged people who borrow thousands of taxpayer-provided student loan dollars and then fail to help those people improve their lives. (And pay their CEOs millions.) (RELATED: For-Profit Colleges Sue For Billions In Federal Aid Despite Awful Student Outcomes)

Such a conclusion would be very wrong, however. Actually, online education is a viable way to obtain a worthy credential from some of the most selective, most prestigious colleges and universities in the country.

Why aren’t you aware of these programs (if you are not aware)? One reason, perhaps, is because the schools offering these programs don’t spend — and don’t need to spend — millions of tuition dollars on national advertising or NFL football stadium naming rights.

The Daily Caller wants to help.

Hot off the presses, OnlineU has just published its first-ever list of America’s best online colleges.

Not surprisingly, you won’t find a single for-profit college on the list. Instead, many of the schools are among America’s most elite, fancypants educational institutions. About one-third of the institutions on the list are public schools.

The 20 schools on the list tend to have low (or very low) acceptance rates. Many of them offer a large number of graduate and undergraduate-level programs. Many offer career advising and military benefits as well. They’re all regionally accredited.

OnlineU is owned by SR Education Group, which generates revenue through advertising and by creating leads for colleges of all stripes across a handful of websites.

The remarkably competitive college-lead-generation marketplace includes a host of players including U.S. News & World Report, which has leveraged its trusted brand name into a website pumping for-profit online colleges and universities of widely varying quality.

OnlineU’s rankings are based on objective metrics and the entire list of the best online colleges excludes every single for-profit college.

See the list. >>

Stanford UniversityStanford University comes in as America’s best online school. The celebrated Silicon Valley bastion offers 46 distance-learning degrees including 15 master’s degrees. Study areas range from mathematics to education to business and management. Coursework runs the gamut. Free financial aid is amazingly generous.

ColumbiaWhy not get an Ivy League degree from the comfort of your home? Columbia University in New York City offers 39 online degrees, including master’s programs and doctorates. Study areas include information technology and actuarial science. The online-accessible graduate engineering program is internationally renowned.

NorthwesternChicago’s Northwestern University boasts 13 master’s degrees and two graduate certificates. The master’s degree offerings include public policy and administration and global health. Northwestern also offers career advising and online advising from the warm, comfortable glow of your laptop computer.

Johns HopkinsJohns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md. offers 26 online degree programs including 16 master’s degrees. Among the master’s degree programs are concentrations in communication, government and food safety management. Online advising and career advising are available, as are military discounts.

Southern CaliforniaThe University of Southern California in sunny Los Angeles offers a whopping 81 online degree options. Over 4,000 students choose to take online courses at USC. Three doctorate degrees and 64 master’s degrees are available in areas such as computer engineering and communication management.

UCLAThe University of California, Los Angeles offers 13 online degree programs, including a Master of Science in engineering. Students completing online engineering coursework at this famous public school can choose from a host of concentration areas. Tuition for residents of California is a relative bargain.

New York UniversityNew York University in Manhattan’s West Village offers 16 online degrees including four bachelor’s degrees and four master’s degrees. One of the master’s degrees is in translation. There are also eight graduate certificates in areas including real estate and human resource management.

North CarolinaThe storied University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offers 19 online degree programs. The 14 master’s degrees include public administration and public health. UNC is a public school and its online programs are cheaper — in terms of net cost — than the cost at 75 percent of all online institutions.

University of VirginiaThe stately, public University of Virginia — founded by none other than Thomas Jefferson — boasts 23 online degree and certificate programs. Master’s degrees are available in chemical engineering, electrical engineering and aerospace engineering. The cost is very affordable, particularly given the name behind the credential.

George WashingtonGeorge Washington University in Washington, D.C. offers a whopping 87 online degrees at the graduate and undergraduate levels. The school offers special consideration for veterans and service members with online programs designed to reach students and military personnel around the world.

SUNYThe vast, complex system of the State University of New York can be a mess but its hugeness comes in very handy if you are seeking an online degree. The public SUNY system offers over 300 online programs. Many of the 64 SUNY campuses boast a “military-friendly” recognition. Tuition is impressively affordable.

Follow Eric on TwitterLike Eric on Facebook. Send education-related story tips to