There’s no longer any doubt that a bachelor’s degree just isn’t enough today for the higher levels of a professional career – management, administration, leadership – or for the highly specialized fields that make bigger incomes because qualified experts are hard to find, including technology, scientific research, and consultancy.
With the pressure to add credentials, more working professionals are turning to online degree programs to make it happen. Online graduate degrees are a sensible option for busy working adults, especially those who are already working in the field they want to study, since a job in the field provides experience and a daily opportunity to put what you learn to use. Online degree programs allow students to work around their daily schedules and study at their own pace.
Even just a decade ago, there were a small number of options for fully online degree programs, and they were dominated by predatory, deceptive providers. Today, every state has a variety of choices from low-priced public research universities and regional institutions, while many private, non-profit universities and colleges offer surprisingly affordable options that are often available across the US.
Value Colleges has researched the very best options for online degree providers, focusing on only regionally-accredited, reputable colleges and universities, including both public and private institutions. We sort and rank the relevant results by 4 metrics:
- Cost— (per credit hour)
- Reputability— U.S. News Online Graduate (subject rankings)
- ROI— College Scorecard website (alumni salary data)
- Options— How many online Master’s degree programs offered
The Value Colleges method finds the online educators with the best balance between cost, quality, and earning potential to lead busy working adults to the smartest choice for their online education needs.
Long recognized as one of the foremost public research universities in the Midwest, Indiana University has been bringing top-tier education to the region since 1820, steadily gaining in influence and renown over generations. IU is best known for the Kelley School of Business, the Jacobs School of Music, and their humanities and communications programs, but Indiana has more than 40 graduate programs that are ranked in the top 25 by U.S. News & World Report, making them one of the most competitive public institutions in the nation.
In recent years Indiana University has refocused their efforts into professional and research fields, and worked to raise standards and improve accessibility. A large part of that effort has been IU Online, a highly developed set of online degree programs including more than two dozen fully online graduate degrees. From business administration to special education, IU offers many highly-sought, reputable online degree programs for working adults and traditional students alike.
Price per credit: $362
University of Massachusetts Online
Known around the world for their research and educational quality, the University of Massachusetts has used their sterling reputation to build the largest student body in New England, and one of the largest in the US. From their main campus in Amherst, UMass has become the equal of their elite private and Ivy League neighbors through inclusion and accessibility, pioneering both adult education and online education.
Today UMass Online is an independent part of the UMass system, having grown since its founding in 2001 into a large online educator offering over 150 degrees from UMass’s five member campuses. That number includes nearly 50 fully online master’s, doctorate, and graduate certificate programs, ranging from education and criminal justice to healthcare management and information technology. UMass’s reasonable online tuition makes it possible for anyone in Massachusetts to earn an online degree without a lifetime of debt.
Price per credit: $470
Colorado State University Online
Founded as Colorado’s land-grant university, Colorado State University has carried on the mission of the land-grant project admirably for nearly 150 years, providing useful, practical education and research in applied sciences to the people of Colorado. As a land-grant institution, CSU has been instrumental in major research in agriculture and science, introducing the first engineering school to the state and making major discoveries in environmental science, disaster relief, and animal science.
CSU Online continues their mission of accessibility and value with more than 2 dozen fully online graduate degree programs. These include, of course, numerous agriculture and engineering degrees, but also degree programs in music, business, and social work. One of CSU’s strongest programs, Natural Resource Management, is also represented online. With CSU’s low tuition rates, students can be sure that their online CSU degree will bring them many returns.
Price per credit: $551
University of Florida
The State University System of Florida is rapidly coming to rival California and New York for the most respected public research universities, but flagship University of Florida still stands as the premiere institution in the state. A land, sea, and space-grant institution, UF combines educational accessibility with top-tier research, including nationally-recognized business, engineering, and law programs as well as key STEM research in the ocean and space fields.
UF Online allows the University of Florida to bring its rigorous, respected educational programs to those who cannot attend on-campus, especially working adults and professionals. More than 60 graduate-level programs, including master’s, doctorate, and graduate certificates, are available: multiple engineering specializations include mechanical engineering, aerospace, and polymers, while agriculture, pharmacy, and others offer a full range of options. All these for Florida’s incredibly low tuition rates make UF one of the best values in the US.
Price per credit: $449
University of South Florida
The University of South Florida holds the distinction of being the only public university built from the ground up in the 20th century – not an extension campus, rehabilitated private college, or research center. Since then, USF has continued to do things their own way, growing in just over 60 years into one of the leading research universities in the state, and one of the fastest growing, with significant work in health, sustainability, and public transportation engineering.
USF’s first mission was to provide educational opportunity to an underserved area of the state, and that mission has grown with university. USF Online is beginning to take on a great deal of the heavy lifting, giving working Floridians the opportunity to increase their credentials and change careers with accredited online master’s degrees, more then two dozen. Whether engineering, education, or public health – a particular USF strength – graduates can be sure their USF Online degree will be worth the low, low cost.
Price per credit: $347
One of the most acclaimed universities in the world, Drexel University began in Philadelphia, PA, to provide cutting-edge, experiential education for the working classes of the region. Drexel is best known for pioneering cooperative education, sending students in alternating semesters of conventional classroom instruction and hands-on, on-site employment with corporate and industry partners. That method has given Drexel more intensive connections to the job market of Philadelphia and the northeast than just about any other university, a major benefit to graduates.
Students don’t have to live in Philadelphia, or even attend on-campus, to take advantage of Drexel’s global reputation, thanks to Drexel Online. Drexel Online brings Drexel’s top-ranked professional and applied science programs to students anywhere, from business to clinical research, sports management to health sciences. The Drexel name makes a resume appreciably more valuable, making Drexel Online a top-quality investment.
Price per credit: $894
University of Illinois at Springfield
Ranked by U.S. News & World Report as a top 10 regional public university for the Midwest, the University of Illinois at Springfield is a small regional institution on the rise. Originally an upper-level and graduate university (offering only degree completion and graduate courses), UIS has expanded to a full university, but its strengths are still primarily in graduate study. UIS is not a research university, instead focusing on providing the best possible education to working adults and transfer students.
UIS has invested heavily in online degree programs, offering fully online degrees in 1999, when many universities still did not take online education seriously as competition. Their foresight has paid off; UIS has been frequently cited as one of the best online educators not only in the Midwest, but as one of the best values nationally. More than two dozen fully online master’s degree and graduate certificates include computer science, public health, and health management, at one of the lowest tuition rates in the region.
Price per credit: $405
Arizona State University
Arizona State University is the model of the New American University, a concept and a designation coined to describe ASU’s 21st century model – inclusive and accessible rather than restrictive and elite, entrepreneurial and experimental rather than safe and traditional. It’s paid off for ASU in a big way, with ASU being named the most innovative university in the US, and vaulting ASU’s student body to the largest in the nation, with no loss in reputation, educational quality, or research.
ASU Online is a key component in Arizona State’s renaissance, offering more than 100 fully online degree programs from bachelor’s to doctorate, including dozens of master’s degrees. ASU’s high-ranking business, management, and engineering programs are well represented online, while programs in social work, sustainability, and nonprofit leadership provides those doing good to make more of an impact. With reasonable tuition rates, ASU looks prime to define value for a long time.
Price per credit: $555
The Jesuit order has been known for rigorous Catholic education for centuries, and Regis University, in Denver, CO, is one of the most acclaimed of the numerous Jesuit universities in the US. Regis has ranked highly in U.S. News & World Report’s regional rankings since rankings began, emphasizing professional education, service learning, and ethical development for the future leaders they educate.
Regis offers more than 30 fully online graduate degrees, including many programs from their acclaimed College of Business and Economics, with many MBA specializations. The College of Computer & Information Sciences offers numerous degrees in systems engineering, information technology management, and more, while the Rueckert-Hartman College for Health Professions offers many nursing, physical therapy, and healthcare administration programs. Regis keeps a low tuition, especially for a private Catholic university, making their online degrees a bargain.
Price per credit: $710
George Washington University
For working professionals in public service, or traditional-aged students who have a future in political life, there may be no better choice than George Washington University. Named for the president who willed it into existence, GWU has been called the most political campus in the nation, with extensive networking within the federal government, private industry, and the non-profit sector.
Understandably, GWU’s greatest strengths are politics and public policy, legal studies, and communications, but GWU’s many online degree programs include reputed degrees in public health, business, and medicine as well. GWU offers nearly 50 fully online graduate degrees, all taught by George Washington’s top-notch faculty, and allowing students access to some of the most respected experts in the field through GWU’s partnerships. The George Washington University name is a mark of excellence recognized by employers everywhere, making GWU a top 10 best value at any price.
Price per credit: $685-$1600 (varies depending on program)
Penn State World Campus
A land, sea, space, and sun-grant institution, Pennsylvania State University is one of the best-known and most-respected public research universities on the east coast, regularly cited as a Public Ivy (a public university with Ivy League quality). With a $3 billion endowment and nearly $1 billion in research funding, Penn State has been at the forefront of discoveries in psychology, engineering, agriculture, and sociology, with graduate students receiving all the benefits that such an environment provides.
Penn State was also at the forefront of online education, an early adopter forming the Penn State World Campus in 1998. Penn State offers around 50 fully-online graduate degree and certificate programs, taught by Penn State’s world-class faculty and carrying the Penn State reputation onto the job market and into rewarding careers. Penn State keeps tuition costs affordable and provides a strong return on investment for graduates.
Price per credit: $810
University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Founded on a land-grant in the early days of Nebraska’s statehood, the University of Nebraska was organized along the lines of the land-grant’s emphasis on agriculture, applied engineering and mechanics, and practical education, a mission UNL continues to take up with pride. UNL has been a national leader in agricultural and ecological study, defining the field in many ways, while it has also revolutionized study of technology and the liberal arts with pioneering digital humanities scholarship.
UNL’s online graduate degree programs have been ranked in the top 15 by U.S. News & World Report and are offered in every state, as well as many nations around the world. The university’s emphasis in making education accessible to working adults, and the demands of having a large, rural population has made it essential for UNL to develop top-notch distance education to bring their quality instruction to their students, and now students all over the world benefit from the University of Nebraska’s essential value.
Price per credit: $325
Sam Houston State University
The first teachers’ college in Texas, Sam Houston State University is best known for teaching educators, and SHSU still educates a large proportion of Texas’ teachers. But SHSU has grown beyond that relatively humble beginning to become one of the most respected and forward-thinking universities in the state. Their College of criminal justice was one of the first academic institutions professionalizing the field, and with one of the few body farms in the nation, they are key to forensics education and research.
Not surprisingly, SHSU’s online education and criminal justice graduate programs have been ranked by U.S. News & World Report as being among the best in the US, but SHSU offers many other top-tier online degrees, including the MBA, computer science, and many more. More than two dozen fully online master’s degrees offer working adults in Texas and around the nation to earn a highly respected, fully accredited degree at a reasonable cost.
Price per credit: $466
Michigan State University
Michigan State University was founded as an agricultural college and the first land-grant university; like the University of Nebraska, then, MSU made their reputation on revolutionizing agriculture with the scientific study of ecology, plant and animal science, and mechanical engineering, blazing a valuable path for future universities. MSU also led the study of communications with the very first com-arts school in the US.
Today, MSU continues to innovate and lead in fields such as business and criminal justice. MSU offers nearly fifty fully online graduate degree programs and certificates in some of its most decorated areas, including education, business, nursing, and criminal justice. Even more hybrid courses allow working professional students in the area to take courses that are flexible for their job schedules. Michigan State’s value is well-established and their reputation solid, making them one of the most trusted values in the Midwest.
Price per credit: $698
University of Houston
The University of Houston, a public research university, is central to academic, research, and business life of Houston, as a major economic presence contributing billions of dollars to the Texas economy. UH’s deep connections to the government and industry of Houston, one of the nation’s leading business cities, has major benefits for UH students and graduates, giving them entry into a thriving market with a respected degree.
The University of Houston is a distance-education pioneer, having started the first public educational television channel in 1953, a station that continues today. With a focus on practical professional education and applied research, UH offers more than a dozen fully-online graduate degree programs, including numerous specializations in two of their greatest strengths, engineering and education. With low tuition and great opportunity, the University of Houston is a definitive Texas value.
Price per credit: $422
Colorado State University-Global Campus
Colorado State University-Global Campus (CSU-Global) is one of the three separate campuses in the Colorado State University System, which includes the flagship Colorado State University in Fort Collins and the Colorado State University-Pueblo campuses. Each of the three campuses are operationally separate with distinct missions, but are governed under the same CSU System Board of Governors. CSU-Global has been a model in online education; proud to be the country’s first and only 100% online, independently accredited, state, nonprofit university.
CSU-Global offers many online Master’s degrees and certificate programs from seven areas of study: Business & Management, Human Resources, Finance, Education, Technology, criminal justice & Law and Healthcare. CSU-Global’s price is especially appealing, as there are no out-of-state charges and no increases in tuition for individual students no matter how long they remain students – a smart value that is good all over the world.
Price per credit: $500
Concordia University, St. Paul
Part of the well-known Concordia University system, a network of related Lutheran institutions across the nation, Concordia University is one of the most respected small liberal-arts universities in Minnesota. Founded in 1893, Concordia has made its name only in recent years, becoming one of the most recognizable names in online education, with a highly diverse student body and accessible, career-focused degree programs.
With over 20 fully online graduate degree and certificate programs, CSP offers students many opportunities to increase their credentials, advance their careers, and move into positions of leadership. Concordia offers many management, business, and education degree programs, as well as criminal justice, physical therapy, and exercise science. Concordia offers one of the lowest tuition rates of any accredited university, making it a bargain for prospective students around the world.
Price per credit: $378
Florida State University
Founded on the oldest educational campus in Florida, Florida State University is one of the leading public research universities in the southern US and a key component of the State University System of Florida. A land, sea, and space-grant institution, FSU has been at the forefront of education and research in the state, from cancer treatment and engineering to theater and art.
FSU’s highly-regarded online degree programs focus on the professional and technical fields that have always been Florida State’s strengths, including education, communications, criminal justice, business, nursing, and social work. FSU’s College of Business in particular has been cited by U.S. News & World Report as a top public business school, while their criminology program is recognized in the top 10 of the field. A reasonable tuition rate for Florida residents has made FSU a regular feature on best value rankings for years.
Price per credit: $479
University of Denver
The University of Denver brought education to the Rocky Mountains in an era when Denver was a hardscrabble mining camp and the Rockies were remote, wild, and untamed. Denver is a modern metropolitan city today, but the University of Denver is still there, a highly regarded private institution with top-ranked programs in everything from business to writing, according to U.S. News & World Report.
The University of Denver has no shortage of excellent online offerings; with around 50 fully online graduate degree programs, Denver is still meeting the educational needs of students who cannot easily attend classes on campus. Students can choose from many management specialities, including Environmental Policy and Security, or from their many leadership and organization degrees, including Healthcare Leadership. Denver’s quarter system helps students complete their courses more efficiently and on a more flexible schedule than traditional semester calendars, and UD’s tuition rate is reasonable for a top-notch private university.
Price per credit: $1256 ($628 per quarter)
Colorado Technical University
Colorado Technical University is the rare for-profit institution to meet all of the major qualifications for reputability: regional accreditation through the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools; recognition as a research university by the Carnegie Foundation; and a solid ranking from U.S. News & World Report. CTU recruits heavily among military personnel and veterans, being noted by the NSA, Homeland Security, and military-related media outlets as a military educator.
Colorado Tech has a host of fully online graduate degree programs, many of them in MBA specializations like entrepreneurship, supply chain management, and logistics. Other degrees are developed and directed specifically toward service members and veterans, such as homeland security, criminal justice, and cybersecurity. Colorado Tech’s low tuition rate is another source of its success, making it affordable around the world.
Price per credit: $585
University of Colorado, Denver
Paired with the Anschutz Medical Campus, the University of Colorado Denver is one of the most respected public urban research universities in the nation. As the largest research university in Colorado, UCD is primarily known for its world-class medical, pharmacy, nursing, and healthcare administration programs, but also receives high marks for its business and public affairs degrees.
UCD’s quality business and public affairs programs appear in their growing slate of fully online degrees, including MBA degrees. CU Denver’s online programs also include numerous excellent master’s and doctorate degrees in nursing, including both DNP and PhD programs, as well as many education-related degrees, such as curriculum and instruction, early childhood education, and e-learning. CU Denver keeps tuition rates low, and with no extra fees for non-residents, is a value anywhere.
Price per credit: $445
Auburn University is one of the foremost public research universities in the South, recognized as one of the most rigorous and educationally advanced institutions in the region. A land, sea, and space-grant institution, Auburn has been at the center of advancements in engineering, architecture, and economics, with some of the nation’s best-ranked schools in those fields. Auburn’s reputation puts it at the top of public university rankings, and on a global scale.
With more than 30 fully online graduate degree programs, including master’s and executive master’s formats, Auburn is also becoming a leader in online education for the Deep South. Auburn’s online programs, not surprisingly, are dominated by its top-ranked business school, with MBA and MS programs in a number of specializations, but students can also choose from numerous education, agriculture, and other master’s degrees as well.
Price per credit: $850
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Originally an extension campus of the University of Alabama, the University of Alabama at Birmingham little by little grew into one of the premiere public research universities in the region. Much of that growth came from the location of the UAB Health System, begun when the UA medical school merged with two hospitals in Birmingham to create one of the most respected academic medical centers in the South. Today UAB dominates the economy of Birmingham and employs more Alabamans than any other single entity.
UAB offers some three dozen fully online degree programs from their most acclaimed and popular schools. Most of those come from the School of Nursing, one of the highest-ranked in the region, as well as from the School of Public Health and the School of Engineering, two of UAB’s most trusted. All of these are available for an incredibly low tuition rate, making them ideal choices for Alabama’s growing professional class.
Price per credit: $410
A large public research university, and one of the most recognizable names in higher education, Purdue University was founded as a model of scientific, applied engineering, and technical university. It has continued to follow that path and to expand over the century and a half of its existence, becoming known both for its aerospace engineering and aviation programs, and for its groundbreaking English and writing programs.
Already a top 25 public university according to U.S. News & World Report, Purdue has begun to make a name for itself in the online realm as well, with two dozen excellent, fully online master’s degrees and graduate certificates. Online programs include degrees from Purdue’s highly ranked Krannert School of Management and College of Engineering, as well as acclaimed education programs. Purdue’s tuition is low for a university of its caliber, adding value to excellence.
Price per credit: $431
California State University, Fullerton
The California State University system is one of the most respected and highest-ranked public higher education systems in the US, and CSU Fullerton is a prime example of why. One of the most diverse universities in the nation, CSUF is both a Hispanic-serving and Asian American-Native American-Pacific Islander-serving institution, a special designation that highlights the impact CSUF has on the unique population of Orange County.
One of the best colleges in the nation for social mobility, as well as one of the most rigorous, CSU Fullerton is known for its combination of inclusiveness and commitment to raising its students’ status, and their many online programs have helped them make significant inroads in providing opportunity to more students. With a number of fully online programs in education, technology, and professional development, CSUF offers working adults a low-cost chance to make their careers take off.
Price per credit: $406
Stevens Institute of Technology
One of the most acclaimed and elite STEM universities in the nation, the Stevens Institute of Technology was the first dedicated engineering school in the US and a model to all those that came behind it. Stevens is still renowned for their engineering, technology-centered business, and applied science programs, with significant research not only in technology and science, but in ethics and entrepreneurship as well.
Stevens Institute offers more than 20 fully online graduate degree programs, many of them ranked in the top 10, top 20, and top 50 nationally in their fields. These include MBA and non-MBA business degrees, engineering programs, and computer science degrees; Stevens also offers dozens of online graduate certificate programs to provide further specialization and credentialing for working STEM professionals. With one of the highest average graduate ROI rates in the US, Stevens is an institution that sets students off on the right foot.
Price per credit: $1501
Creighton University, a Catholic institution in Omaha, NE, combines Jesuit dedication to academic excellence and moral development with affordable tuition rates, a mission that has earned it high marks as both a top value, and one of the best ROI averages for universities in its class. A small teaching university, Creighton has been acclaimed for its business, education, and nursing programs, and is quickly becoming a recognized leader in online education.
Though it remains a small liberal arts university, Creighton has spent recent years building an impressively varied and exceptional slate of online degree programs, including more than 30 fully online master’s degrees and graduate certificates. These include their respected business and nursing degrees, as well as programs in public health, healthcare ethics, and finance, among others. The Creighton value applies to online as well as on-campus degrees, making a challenging Catholic education accessible to busy working adults.
Price per credit: $820
One of the most culturally and civically significant institutions in Boston – an area where top-tier universities and colleges are as plentiful as coffee shops – Boston University is recognized for an exceptional faculty filled with national and international award-winners. BU’s graduate programs are some of the highest-ranking in the US, with top-25 programs in professional areas such as public health, social work, and business.
From Banking and Finance to Web Development, BU offers some 30 fully online master’s degrees and graduate certificates in some of their most acclaimed and highly-sought specializations. Online students can earn degrees in criminal justice, Applied Business Analytics, and Social Work, not to mention liberal arts such as Music Education and Art Education. BU’s tuition is low for an elite private university, making it all the more value.
Price per credit: $768
Mississippi State University
One of the most significant public research universities in the Deep South, Mississippi State University is a land-grant institution that has been recognized for its power for social mobility and as an under-appreciated value for the region. With its roots in agriculture and applied technology, MSU is known for its engineering, landscape architecture, and veterinary medicine, and its low tuition rate has made it a first choice for working professionals in the Deep South.
Like many other land-grant universities, with a mission to make education available for all who need it, Mississippi State has invested in online education with an eye to creating greater access to the people of the region. MSU offers fully online graduate degree programs in two dozen different areas, most concentrated in business, education, and engineering. Other notable online programs include forestry and food science, drawing on MSU’s expertise in agricultural studies.
Price per credit: $410
East Carolina University
Part of the renowned University of North Carolina system, East Carolina University was founded as a teacher’s college. While education remains one of ECU’s most significant programs – and ECU educates more North Carolina teachers than any other single university – since the mid-20th century ECU’s College of Nursing has come to dominate the university’s status in the region, producing the most nurses of any institution in the region. ECU’s health programs make it a destination not only for aspiring NC nurses, but across the East Coast.
Not surprisingly, education and nursing predominate in ECU’s growing list of fully-online degree programs. Master’s degrees and graduate certificates offer working educators and nurses a variety of specializations and credentials, from business or physical education, to every area of nursing imaginable. Besides a full slate of degrees, ECU attracts students with one of the lowest tuition rates in the region, making it a trusted value for North Carolina’s aspiring caregivers and teachers.
Price per credit: $233
Emporia State University
A well-respected, small public liberal arts university, Emporia State University has been named one of the best regional colleges in the Midwest, one of the best colleges to work for, and a trusted value. Originally Kansas’ teachers’ college, education is still one of ESU’s strong suits, but its development over its history has resulted in a strong business school, and one of the most acclaimed library science programs in the Midwest.
Like many regional colleges that have a mission to provide opportunity to diverse, often scattered populations, ESU has put a great deal of work into building a strong online degree program. More than 30 fully online graduate degrees include numerous education, management, and other programs, including numerous offerings from their highly-ranked School of Library and Information Management. Emporia State’s low tuition rate makes it possible for students across Kansas to take a low-risk step forward in their career.
Price per credit: $333
Florida International University
Florida International University is the only major public research university in the Miami metropolitan area, and as such, competition has grown more and more intense in FIU’s short 50 year history. Built on an abandoned airport by a visionary administration, FIU has become the fourth-largest university in the US and one of the most respected and public research universities in the south, approaching powerhouses like Arizona State (#8).
FIU’s signature programs are in business and management, so it should come as no surprise that these are highly represented in FIU’s award-winning online graduate degree programs. Real Estate Hospitality Management, and International Business all cater to the needs of the South Florida economy, while other programs such as Forensic Science and criminal justice offer universal, perennial career opportunities. Florida International’s low tuition and highly diverse campus make it a leader in social mobility, and a recognized value everywhere.
Price per credit: $508
Originally a mining school founded to prepare engineers, workers, and managers for what was then Missouri’s leading industry, Missouri S&T transformed its expanding engineering and applied sciences curriculum to become the leading polytechnic institute in the Midwest. Missouri S&T is ranked the third best engineering school in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, and its graduates report an exceptionally high ROI for their degrees.
Missouri S&T has extended the value and reach of their excellent education with a strong slate of fully online master’s degree programs. Aside from Business Administration and Technical Communication, students can choose from a full array of engineering master’s degrees: Aerospace, Environmental, Explosives, Systems – all fully online, and all backed by the trusted Missouri S&T name, one of the most valuable names in the Midwest.
Price per credit: $1230
Ball State University
The university once jokingly called “Fruit Jar Tech” by students and alumni has its origins in the beginning of the 20th century, as the Ball family (of fruit jar fame) bought and donated a failed teachers’ college to the state of Indiana. Once a humble regional college, Ball State has spent the 21st century expanding and rising steadily in reputation, ranked as an up-and-coming public research university by U.S. News & World Report and building a top-ranked business program.
Around two dozen fully online degree programs give Indiana students access to Ball State’s solid programs, including their highly regarded MBA, one of the best in the region. Other online degree programs are geared toward civic and professional needs, such as education, nursing, and journalism. Ball State’s low tuition rate ensures that graduate students do not need to break the bank to increase their educational status.
Price per credit: $394
George Mason University
One of the most significant public research universities in the Washington, DC metropolitan region, George Mason University’s proximity to the nation’s capital has made it a destination. GMU is known for innovative, interdisciplinary research in many fields that are specifically benefitted by its federal connections, including security and cybersecurity, environmental sustainability, and health and medicine, especially public health. Strong performance in government grants, and deep relationships with federal agencies like NASA and DARPA, as well as non-profits, give GMU a significant edge.
To better meet the needs of their growing student body – the largest in Virginia – GMU has designed an impressive set of fully online and hybrid degree programs, many in their strongest fields. Students can earn graduate business degrees in a number of specializations, including accounting, cybersecurity, and telecommunications, or top-ranked engineering degrees in concentrations like biodefense, systems engineering, and more. As a public university, GMU offers top-tier quality for a low tuition rate that makes a GMU degree an enviable investment.
Price per credit: $563
Georgia Southern University
Georgia Southern University has been many things in its history – an agricultural college, a normal school (teacher’s college), a junior college, and, today, a growing, comprehensive research university. GSU is the leading research institution in South Georgia, a key part of the academic and community life of the region. As it has grown, GSU’s reputation has also risen to the level of a national university, with many of its programs recognized by U.S. News & World Report.
Georgia Southern has been steadily building a strong slate of online degree programs since 2008, now offering around three dozen master’s degrees and graduate certificates in some of their most in-demand fields. That includes many education specialities, as well as a healthy selection of business, nursing, and engineering programs, all fully online and accredited. GSU’s tuition keeps it one of the best deals in the South.
Price per credit: $410
Saint Leo University
A private Catholic university in the Benedictine tradition, Saint Leo University is one of the largest Catholic colleges in the US and a critical part of the community of greater Tampa metropolitan area. Recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the best regional universities in the south, Saint Leo combines the educational rigor and excellence of a Benedictine educator with modern innovation.
Saint Leo pioneered distance education for military personnel and veterans beginning in the 1970s, when they began offering on-base degree programs. That work led directly to Saint Leo’s top-ranked online degree programs in 1999, making them one of the first fully-realized online educators. With nearly thirty options, Saint Leo offers numerous specializations in business, education, criminal justice, and more, with one of the lowest tuition rates for an acclaimed Catholic university.
Price per credit: $535
University of Georgia
The main rival to UNC for the title of first public university, the University of Georgia has been the heart of scholarship, culture, and fun in the state for two and a half centuries. Ranked at the highest level of research production by the Carnegie Foundation, UGA leads research and education for Georgia in a number of areas, from the sciences to the music business, with a globally-recognized center for the study of the music industry.
UGA offers many highly-ranked, fully accredited online graduate degrees, some in very unique areas like narrative media writing or food technology, and many in more conventional, highly competitive fields like education and pharmacy. As a public university, UGA keeps tuition reasonable, and even though many students love Athens, GA too much to leave, the fully online format makes it possible to earn a UGA degree anywhere.
Price per credit: $629
Old Dominion University
The leading public research university on Virginia’s coast, Old Dominion University began as a campus of William & Mary, but smart growth and innovative planning has helped them become a model institution for the region. As a coastal university, Old Dominion is well known for their maritime-related programs, as well as for fields suited for their urban location.
Old Dominion has also made their name in recent years with one of the nation’s biggest, most recognizable online education platforms. ODU Online has made the most of the university’s early adoption of online distance education to get out front of the competition. More than three dozen fully online master’s degrees, many in perennial fields like education, nursing, and engineering, ensure that prospective students everywhere have access to one of the most affordable best values in the region.
Price per credit: $478
Nova Southeastern University
A private research institution, Nova Southeastern University specializes in professional studies and health sciences. Nova’s optometry, nursing, osteopathic, and medical programs are some of the most respected in southern Florida, while the Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship is ranked among the best in the nation.
NSU has made major investments in online education, building one of the biggest slates of fully online degree programs in a wide variety of fields. Numerous MBA specializations are available, as well as education degrees in every major concentration; many health sciences, nursing, and physical and occupational therapy specializations are also offered. Nova’s growing reputation and reasonable tuition are making them a common choice for working adults.
Price per credit: $880
In a city defined by elite colleges and proud intellectual history, Northeastern University has made its mark with educational experimentation and influence. With its groundbreaking cooperative education program, Northeastern created a model for experiential education by having students alternate classroom education with work experience, creating deep ties to the Boston government and business sectors that all Northeastern students benefit from.
While Northeastern’s unique educational method has made it best known for traditional, residential undergraduate study, Northeastern has also designed a world-class online presence. Online students can earn graduate degrees with the proven, trusted Northeastern name and reputation in a number of fields, including business, criminal justice, engineering, and healthcare management, just to name a few. Northeastern’s strong financial aid also helps make it a solid value.
Price per credit: $1335
University of Texas at Arlington
The UT system’s second-largest school, the University of Texas at Arlington belongs to the highest Carnegie Foundation classification and has been recognized as one of the nation’s most promising schools on the rise. Much of UT Arlington’s success has been related to its location in the Dallas suburbs, drawing students to the Dallas-Ft. Worth job market and the opportunity UTA provides.
As its location would suggest, UT Arlington has built their education around professional degrees, healthcare, and business, and a strong online presence has helped them extend their reach beyond traditional students to the working professionals of north Texas. UT Arlington offers many master’s specializations in education and nursing, as well as public administration, in a fully online format at one of the lowest per-credit costs in the nation for an obvious value.
Price per credit: $277
Founded by Christian Broadcasting Network’s Pat Robertson in 1977, Regent University has grown from a handful of students into a comprehensive undergraduate to doctorate university in less than 40 years. A highly religious and conservative institution, Regent has been recognized for its political activity and for its growing influence within the Evangelical community.
Much of Regent’s growth has been due to its strong online degree programs. U.S. News & World Report has ranked Regent highly for its online undergraduate and graduate programs, especially their online MBA. Regent offers many fully online graduate degrees in its strongest areas, including business, education, divinity, and government, all for a reasonable tuition rate that is as low as many public universities.
Price per credit: $575
Saint Joseph's University
A private Catholic institution, Saint Joseph’s University is a mid-sized educator recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top regional universities in the north. With its traditional Jesuit focus on intellectual rigor and holistic liberal arts education, SJU brings its values to all of its programs, from professional education to the humanities. Many students are attracted to the Haub School of Business, one of the business schools in the region.
Saint Joseph’s offers numerous fully online master’s degree programs and graduate certificates, all fully accredited and many recognized as top choices by ranking agencies. Some of SJU’s best programs include Business Intelligence, Education, and criminal justice, with many certificates available for further specialization. For a top-notch Catholic education, Saint Joseph’s keeps tuition reasonable and offers a solid return on investment.
Price per credit: $974
Concordia University, Chicago
The oldest institution in the 10-member Concordia University system (which includes Concordia St. Paul, #17), Concordia University Chicago began as a teacher’s college for Lutheran teachers in Illinois, expanding over the 20th century into a full, comprehensive university ranked as one of the best regional institutions in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report. Primarily a liberal arts university, Concordia Chicago offers many professional programs as well.
Like other institutions in the Concordia system, Concordia Chicago has become known for its top-notch online degree programs, including graduate certificates, master’s degrees, and doctorates. While education is still Concordia Chicago’s strongest program, with many specializations, CUC also offers a well-respected MBA degree with ten specializations. Since many students are preparing for church careers, there are also religion programs and numerous doctorates, all for a very low tuition rate for a private university.
Price per credit: $469
Robert Morris University
Founded as an accountant’s school, Robert Morris University is well-known throughout the northeast for their business and management programs, and has been ranked as a best regional university by U.S. News & World Report. In addition to their highly-regarded regional programs in business, science, and engineering, Robert Morris is known as a military-friendly university.
Part of RMU’s distinct growth in recent years is their excellent online degree offerings. Many of Robert Morris’ individual online programs have been highly ranked by ranking agencies, including their business, engineering, nursing, and education degrees. As a private university, RMU makes their online degrees available across the nation, though some states have limited availability. Robert Morris University offers highly reputable degree programs for much less than other private online educators for a trusted value.
Price per credit: $790
University of Arkansas
One of the most promising up-and-coming public research universities in the US, the University of Arkansas has been growing significantly in the 21st century, as a combination of unprecedented support from Walmart’s Walton family, and a wise investment in online education. Many of UA’s schools have been acclaimed for their excellence, including the Walton College of Business and the Jones School of Architecture.
UA offers many strong, fully online graduate degree programs, including, of course, MBA programs from the Walton College. Other strong online programs include education, with specializations in adult education, special education, and more, as well as food-related degrees such as food safety and agricultural and food law. UA makes their tuition one of the lowest in the region, and with their reputation, the University of Arkansas makes for a bargain in the Deep South and beyond.
Price per credit: $409
California University of Pennsylvania
Named during the national enthusiasm for California after the Gold Rush, California University of Pennsylvania began its life as an academy and normal school, preparing Pennsylvania teachers while it grew and expanded into a full university. Today Cal U offers undergraduate and master’s degrees as well as certificates, and is recognized as one of the top public master’s-level institutions in the region.
Cal U has really made its name in recent years as an online educator, even ranking in the top 10 for U.S. News & World Report. With many individual master’s programs ranked, and a reputation as a military-friendly online educator, Cal U’s profile has risen around the world. Strong MBA, nursing, education, and criminal justice programs combine with a low tuition rate to make for a solid value.
Price per credit: $559
Stony Brook University (SUNY)
Part of the world-renowned State University of New York system, Stony Brook University is one of the most recognizable public universities in the New York City area. As the largest employer in Long Island, Stony Brook has a major impact on the region, and its educational quality makes it one of the most trusted names in the SUNY system, with job market recognition across the northeast.
Stony Brook’s School of Professional Development has been offering fully online degree programs since 1996, making them one of the earliest adopters of online education providing convenient, flexible programs for working adults. Students can earn several master’s degrees and graduate certificates from Stony Brook, including nursing, human resources, and education, preparing students for rewarding careers at an affordable tuition rate.
Price per credit: $548
Texas Tech Worldwide
The leading public research university in West Texas, Texas Tech University has the highest Carnegie Foundation rating for research and ranks as one of the best regional institutions in the west. Texas Tech has been a leader in energy, healthcare, and technology research, while many of its individual programs have been recognized for the high mid-career salaries earned by their graduates.
TTU Worldwide is steadily growing in reputation and size, with a few dozen fully online master’s and doctorate degrees as well as graduate certificates. Students can earn master’s degrees in many education specializations, engineering, and other STEM fields, while certifications offer many opportunities for specialization. Texas Tech has one of the lowest tuition rates in the west, strong job market opportunity, and educational excellence, making it a true Best Value.
Price per credit: $389