The Garden State has historically been known for three very distinct regions, with their own dominant employment: the agricultural region, the heavy industry and manufacturing sector, and the professional commuter class. As in other areas of the US, though, when agriculture and manufacturing have scaled back, working adults in New Jersey have had to find their ways in a newly-developing service and professional economy.
A whole generation of working adults are finding themselves re-educating themselves for the 21st century, either to launch new careers or to push their current careers to a new level. For working adults, online education has proven to be an attractive option, and in New Jersey, both the public and private higher education community has responded by building world-class online degree programs.
Value Colleges is committed to guiding prospective students to the very best choices available to them in higher education, and the Top 10 Best Online Colleges rankings are designed to point the way to the best online options in each state. Whether you’re a mid-career professional, a blue-collar worker in transition, or a young adult just starting in the workforce, Value Colleges has the answer.
Value Colleges features only regionally-accredited, reputable online degree programs from institutions that have proven their value. All costs are calculated from in-state NJ resident tuition rates posted on the institution’s public website.
Learn more about the Garden state with our Guide to Higher Education in New Jersey.
Originally founded as a normal school (teacher’s college) to counter the shortage of qualified teachers in New Jersey at the turn of the 20th century, Rowan University’s mission has always been dedicated to bringing quality, necessary education to the people of the state. That dedication has brought them to the top of the Social Mobility index (#2), which ranks schools by their power to raise their graduates’ class status, and made them one of the top regional institutions for the North.
With Rowan Global, RU has built an online education platform designed for the working adults of New Jersey, not only their home region in the southern part of the state, but across the region. Rowan offers dozens of fully online bachelor’s and master’s degrees in some of the most in-demand fields, including business administration, nursing, and teaching. These are market-ready degrees from one of the most trusted names in New Jersey, sure to show graduates a pay-off in the short- and long-term.
Cost: $12,864 per year
Online Programs: 72
Thomas Edison State University
Named for New Jersey’s legendarily self-educated inventor, Thomas Edison State University was founded in 1972 as an institution dedicated to adult education, particularly for self-motivated and self-directed working adult students. TESU has been acclaimed for its pioneering adult education programs, and, not surprisingly, for its influential use of learning technology, particularly as an early adopter in the area of online education.
TESU’s online learning provides working adult students with the opportunity to earn more than 50 bachelor’s, master’s, and certificates. In keeping with TESU’s emphasis on practical, applied education, these include many degrees in Applied Science & Technology, such as Nuclear Engineering Technology, Information Technology, and Energy Systems Technology, and many Bachelor and Master of Science degrees. Business programs in Entrepreneurship, Finance, and more are designed for the ambitious working professional. All of these options, and TESU’s low public tuition rate, make it a best choice for New Jersey’s non-traditional students.
Cost: $6135 per year
Online Programs: 53
Fairleigh Dickinson University
The largest private university in New Jersey, Fairleigh Dickinson University is recognized for its international programs and its educational rigor. The first college to establish international campus, FDU has a tradition of partnership with the United Nations, providing students with unprecedented opportunities for travel and learning. With all of these elements, FDU has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the best regional institutions in the North.
FDU has also earned recognition for its online degree programs, which have helped them grow to their status as NJ’s largest private college. An unusual Bachelor of Arts in Individualized Studies is designed specifically for working adult learners; this program allows students to earn their bachelor’s degree through a combination of transfer credits, work experience, and alternative credits in addition to FDU online courses. This flexibility and convenience gives working adults the opportunity to earn a highly-regarded degree in a minimum of time.
Cost: $36,910 per year
Online Programs: 14
New Jersey Institute of Technology
Built on the polytechnic institute model, a 19th century innovation that defined applied science and engineering education and research for the modern age, the New Jersey Institute of Technology is one of the foremost STEM universities in the region. Recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a top engineering and technology institution, NJIT’s public status, and their dedication to providing valuable education to all, have combined to make it one of the most diverse colleges in the nation.
NJIT offers more than a dozen fully-online master’s degrees, and just as many online graduate certificates, in some of the most in-demand fields on the job market – and some with the highest ROI. These include Civil Engineering, Computer Engineering, Pharmaceutical Engineering, and many more; certifications allow students to earn further credentialing in areas that all but guarantee career success, such as Data Mining, Information Security, and Software Engineering. The ROI of a polytechnic and the price of a public university make NJIT an unbeatable deal.
Cost: $16,108 per year
Online Programs: 13
Rutgers University Online
One of the oldest universities in America – founded in 1766, before the United States – Rutgers University is New Jersey’s premiere institution, the most respected public research university in the region and among the largest and most respected in the nation. From agriculture and engineering to business and technology, Rutgers has been a leader and model for centuries, and their name is recognized throughout the world. Today Rutgers is bringing that global reputation for excellence online with a strong slate of fully online bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
Rutgers Online offers around a dozen online programs from some of their most respected divisions, including the School of Engineering, the School of Nursing, and the School of Business. Working professionals can increase their credentials with BBA and MBA degrees, Master of Public Administration, and Master of Social Work, along with nursing and education programs. With the Rutgers name, graduates can be assured of their place in the job market.
Cost: $14,131 per year
Online Programs: 11
Seton Hall University
One of the oldest Catholic colleges in the US, Seton Hall University is known for its intellectual and educational excellence and influence throughout the northeast and the world. Seton Hall is especially recognized for their law and business schools, particularly through their strong network of connection that provide students with top-tier internship opportunities. A highly diverse institution, Seton Hall’s proximity to Manhattan is one of its greatest strengths for career progress.
That Seton Hall reputation is on full view in their growing selection of online degree programs. With numerous master’s and bachelor’s options from the School of Nursing and the School of Education and Human Services, Seton Hall offers significant opportunities for advancement in those ever-necessary areas; programs in Data Visualization, Healthcare Administration, and more offer working professionals credentials in growing fields. The Seton Hall name opens doors throughout the north.
Cost: $38,072 per year
Online Programs: 11
A private Catholic institution, Caldwell University is deeply invested in the values and codes of the Dominican tradition, founded by the Sisters of Saint Dominic in 1939. That tradition not only emphasizes the pursuit of higher spiritual truths in education, but commitment to relationships and community, bringing Catholic values to all areas of life. Caldwell has a special focus on adult learning and career education.
Caldwell University offers a number of fully online bachelor’s and master’s degree programs that have helped it achieve a reputation for value and quality in online education. With online degrees in nursing, business, and education, Caldwell’s programs are ideal for working adults who want to increase their credentials and see their careers move forward. Caldwell’s online programs are available throughout the northeast and New England, where the Caldwell name is known and respected by employers in all professional fields.
Cost: $31,200 per year
Online Programs: 8
A small, private liberal arts institution, Rider University is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top regional universities in the north. Their educational excellence is evident in numerous ways – nearly all (97%) of their full-time faculty hold terminal degrees in their field, and a low student-faculty ratio gives students the benefit of mentoring and personal attention that makes the liberal arts college special.
That attention and guidance does not end with Rider’s on-campus students; Rider offers a half-dozen top-quality online degree programs some of their most trusted fields, including bachelor’s degrees in nursing, business, and psychology, and master’s programs in business, including Rider’s highly-regarded MBA. With Rider’s ample student support and market reputation in the region, online students can count on a degree from Rider to be well worth the investment.
Cost: $38,360 per year
Online Programs: 6
Kean University is a mid-sized public liberal arts and professional studies institution. Kean has its roots in the Newark Normal School, a teacher’s college founded in 1855, and in keeping with that tradition, Kean still graduates more teachers than any other college in New Jersey. In the years since, Kean has expanded from its traditional liberal arts programs to establish acclaimed programs in business, science, and technology.
In recent years, Kean has expanded Kean Online with a number of online bachelor’s and master’s programs. Kean Online has established cooperative partnerships with New Jersey’s community colleges to provide clean transitions into online bachelor’s completion programs, while master’s degrees like the M.S. in Computer Information Systems and M.A. in Educational Administration pull from Kean’s youngest and oldest expertise. With one of the best tuition rates in the region, Kean University is a recognized value.
Cost: $11,581 per year
Online Programs: 6
Montclair State University
A large, public research university, Montclair State University is consistently named one of the top 10 public regional universities in the North by U.S. News & World Report, with their professional programs in education and business recognized among the best in the region. Like Kean University, Montclair State had its origin in a normal school, but their growth and expansion throughout the 20th century have made MSU an institution to watch.
Montclair State is also entering the online degree market an effort that is certain to continue developing in the coming years. Currently, online students can earn master’s degrees from Montclair State in Child Advocacy and Policy, Educational Leadership, and Business Administration, as well as a unique low-residency MFA in Dance. As Montclair State grows and builds – their School of Nursing just opened in 2016 – online students are sure to find MSU just as much of a value online as on-campus.
Cost: $11,773 per year
Online Programs: 5