Vermont is a state like no other, and they like it that way. Long known as one of the most progressive, independent states in the union, Vermont has cultivated a reputation for self-reliance, boldness, and devil-may-care grit. Briefly (14 years, in fact) constituted as a sovereign republic during the American Revolution, Vermont was the first state to ban slavery, and a major supporter of the Underground Railroad, early signs of the Vermonter’s dedication to liberty.
Today, Vermont remains a wonderfully unique place. Vermont is well-known for the scenic beauty of its mountains, woodlands, and lakes, and they take beauty very seriously, as with their statewide billboard ban designed to preserve Vermont’s aesthetic appeal. And while agriculture in general no longer constitutes a large part of Vermont’s economy, maple syrup, in particular, does – over a third of the maple syrup in America comes from this tiny state.
However, with agriculture, manufacturing, and rock quarrying – historically Vermont’s main economic movers – on the decline, Vermont has been increasingly reliant on tourism and service for their income. This has led to a stagnant economy, and as one of the nation’s smallest populations, Vermont has seen the need to invest in education, re-education, and career training. Already one of the US’s best-educated states, the 21st century has seen an increase in online education opportunities to help Vermont’s working professionals and other non-traditional students earn degrees, improve their credentials, and change careers in a flexible, affordable format.
Value Colleges has a mission to provide traditional and non-traditional students with the information they need to make informed financial decisions about their educational options. Our rankings of the best online options in all 50 states are designed to give prospective students clear and unambiguous information about the opportunities available to them in their home state, or surrounding states.
So Value Colleges is happy to present the Top 10 Best Online Colleges in Vermont, a simple listing of the online educational opportunities in the Green Mountain State. We take pride in only highlighting regionally-accredited, reputable colleges and universities that have proven their financial value. Costs are based on in-state tuition rates as published on the institution’s own website; lists are organized according to the number of online programs available (accurate at the time of publishing; availability may change).
NOTE: The New England Board of Higher Education’s (NEBHE) Tuition Break initiative allows students in Vermont to take degree programs in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire or Rhode Island at in-state rates if they enroll in a program (residential or online) that isn’t available at a public institution back home. Students from those states receive the same courtesy when enrolling in a Vermont program.
Located in beautiful Burlington, VT – the largest city in Vermont, and notably the smallest largest city in the nation, at less than 50,000 residents – Champlain College is a small, private institution that began as a business school. Champlain has been regularly ranked by U.S. News & World Report as an up-and-coming institution, as well as one of the best regional institutions in the nation, a status earned by Champlain’s low student to faculty ratio, intensive career development programs, and interdisciplinary curriculum. Champlain has also been noted for their community engagement and sustainability practices, making them a good neighbor as well as a leading educator.
Today, Champlain College’s emphasis is on providing educational opportunity for working professionals and adults seeking to re-enter the workforce or change careers. To that end, Champlain has enthusiastically embraced online education, with over 50 fully online bachelor’s, master’s, and certificate programs available. Champlain’s courses are designed with working adults in mind, with clear indicators of progress, strong student support, and relevant, career-ready instruction focusing on experiential learning and application. U.S. News & World Report has taken notice, naming Champlain one of the top online educators in the nation.
Annual In-State Costs: $38,660
Number of Programs: 50+
University of Vermont
Vermont’s flagship and land-grant research institution, the University of Vermont is recognized as an original Public Ivy (public university with the quality of the Ivy League) and one of the oldest universities in the nation. A top 100 national university, and top 40 public, according to U.S. News & World Report, UVM is the state’s leader in engineering, business, agriculture, and medicine, as well as a major cultural and social influence. UVM is particularly noted for their environmental and ecological science programs, as well as their national leadership in sustainability.
The University of Vermont has made distance education a significant part of their outreach to students, giving more of Vermont’s working adults, rural residents, and others access to their top-ranked programs. Students can choose from some two dozen bachelor’s, master’s, and certification programs, including rare and unique programs such as Business of Craft Beer, Cannabis Science and Medicine, and Bioenergy Professional Certificate. UVM’s reputation in New England is stellar, and their convenient, asynchronous online programs are an ideal way for working adults to earn credentials to progress or change careers.
Annual In-State Costs: $17,300
Number of Programs: 24
Noted as the oldest private military college in the nation, Norwich University set the standard for such institutions as the Citadel, while also serving as the originator of the ROTC. Naturally, Norwich is one of the key institutions for future military officers, contractors, and service members, but Norwich is also known as a leader in career and professional education, with highly ranked programs in areas like criminal justice, cyber security, and civil engineering. Norwich is also noted for their excellent student support, with small class sizes and a strong tradition of mentoring from a top-tier faculty.
Norwich Online has emerged as a leading source of excellent online degree programs, as Norwich has built up a sizable list of more than 20 master’s, bachelor’s completion, and certificate programs that can be earned fully online. These online programs are designed specifically for the needs of working adults, whether active-duty military personnel or civilian professionals, and some of Norwich’s strongest programs are included, such as master’s degrees in Civil Engineering, Business Administration, and Public Administration. The Norwich name is recognized across the US as a mark of distinction, making a Norwich degree a job-market door-opener.
Annual In-State Costs: $37,354
Number of Programs: 21
Community College of Vermont
With something in the neighborhood of 7000 enrolled students on 12 campuses, the Community College of Vermont is the state’s second-largest higher education institution (after the University of Vermont), and a key provider of professional, technical, and career education for the state. In keeping with the mission of a community college, CCV emphasizes practical, job market-ready programs such as business and accounting, education, criminal justice, and healthcare/nursing, with a variety of associate’s degree and certificates to prepare students for their careers.
Working adults constitute a large proportion of community college students, and CCV has endeavored to make some of their most popular programs more accessible to non-traditional students with fully online learning. While there are many specific online courses, students can earn around a dozen associate’s and certificates entirely online, including accounting, graphic design, and criminal justice associate’s, and certificates in areas like allied health and web design. As a community college, and part of the Vermont State Colleges system, CCV keeps tuition as low as possible for added value.
Annual In-State Costs: $6222
Number of Programs: 12
Green Mountain College
Green Mountain College has made its mark as a nationally recognized leader in environmental sustainability curriculum and practice. This innovative, small liberal arts and sciences college was the first in the nation to embrace an environmental mission based on a framework of social, economic and environmental sustainability, and has been recognized more frequently than any other college in the Princeton Review Top Green Colleges and Sierra Magazine Cool Schools rankings.
Green Mountain College offers online bachelor’s degree-completion programs and online master’s programs that draw from GMC’s extensive history and expertise while providing the convenience of online delivery. As in their on-campus programs, online programs are kept small and faculty support is strong, while connections between students and faculty are strengthened by an annual 3-4 day residency on-campus. Programs include the Sustainable MBA, Environmental Studies, Resilient and Sustainable Communities, and Sustainable Food Systems, and GMC’s reputed flexibility offers students many possibilities for specialization and concentration.
Annual In-State Costs: $11,722
Number of Programs: 6
Johnson State College
A small, public four-year institution in the Vermont State Colleges system, Johnson State College is dedicated to traditional liberal arts education, building interdisciplinary programs founded on diversity and academic rigor. Located in the Green Mountains, JSC is committed to community engagement and service, incorporating field research and community interaction into its curriculum and campus life. With their small size, JSC emphasizes strong relationships between students and faculty, and has been recognized for their sustainability, LGBT friendliness, and affordability.
As a public college, JSC is committed to making its education accessible to the people of Vermont, and with that mission in mind, Johnson State has begun developing a solid and growing slate of fully online degree programs. With six bachelor’s degrees available so far, including Childhood Education, Business (with concentrations in Management and Accounting), and a unique Wellness & Alternative Medicine BS, Johnson State is offering programs that appeal to Vermonters, while self-designed programs in Professional Studies and Interdisciplinary Studies gives students freedom to follow their own paths.
Annual In-State Costs: $11,290
Number of Programs: 6
SIT Graduate Institute
Originally founded in 1964 to provide a graduate education option for returning Peace Corps volunteers, the SIT Graduate Institute (School for International Training) is a unique private, non-profit institution dedicated to education in international and intercultural environments. The SIT curriculum is designed for students who are interested in creating non-profit organizations, leading sustainable development in international settings, teaching English as a second language, and taking on roles in government and foreign service.
SIT Graduate Institute offers four fully online programs: two MA degrees in International Education and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, and two Graduate Certificates in Conflict Transformation and International Education. These highly specialized programs provide students with the experience and concepts they need to take on challenging roles all over the world, while still providing working adults a flexible schedule to keep their current jobs. Face-to-face meetings are necessary, but may be scheduled at the students’s convenience. There is no other school like SIT Graduate Institute, making it a must for the right kind of student.
Annual In-State Costs: $33,450
Number of Programs: 4
Vermont Technical College
A small, public tech institution, and part of the Vermont State Colleges system, Vermont Technical College is built on career preparation, with market-ready programs taught by experienced expert practitioners in every field from nursing to business. Their educational excellence and outstanding student support has earned Vermont Tech recognition from U.S. News & World Report as one of the 15 best regional institutions in the North, as well as a 100% job placement rate for 2016 graduates (and a 10-year average of 95%).
Vermont Tech offers four fully online degree-completion programs: a BS in Applied Business Management; a BS in Entrepreneurship; a BS in Dental Hygiene; and a Nursing BSN. Online programs at Vermont Tech are designed with the needs of working professionals in mind, and students can choose from fully online and hybrid formats to best accommodate their schedules and meet their requirements. Strong partnerships in the area, as well as excellent internship opportunities, increase Vermont Tech’s job-placement opportunities.
Annual In-State Costs: $14,026
Number of Programs: 4
Lyndon State College
Another member of the Vermont State Colleges system, Lyndon State College is a small, public liberal arts institution with roots going back to a 1911 normal school. With a curriculum based in the traditional liberal arts, Lyndon State emphasizes critical thinking, communication, and other adaptable skills that inform all of its programs, from conventional majors like business and education to unique offerings like Mountain Recreation Management (a Vermont speciality). Strong community and students support helps ensure that students succeed.
Lyndon State’s LyndonFLEX format is designed to offer a wide selection of courses in online, hybrid, and weekend formats to accommodate the needs of working adults with career and family obligations. The fully online Early Childhood Education bachelor’s program is the first to be established, but the LyndonFLEX format gives students a range of options for earning an online or majority-online degree from Lyndon State. With LyndonFLEX, a degree from a trusted name is available however the student needs it.
Annual In-State Costs: $11,290
Number of Programs: Varies
Goddard College is one of the most unique, exceptional, and bold experiments in American higher education. It is, quite possibly, the most Vermont-ish of all Vermont’s colleges. Founded in 1938 as a “College for Living,” Goddard was built on a spirit of experiment, democracy, and radical innovation that has made Goddard a major influencer and model for other institutions, and a singularly unmatched entity. Many of Goddard’s experiments, such as its low-residency, independent learning programs for adult students (started in 1963) have been adopted and adapted across higher education.
Today, what began as a specialized method for adult education has become the heart of Goddard’s educational mandate; all of Goddard’s degree programs are now available in a low-residency, independent format, with students designing their own learning in consultation with experienced faculty, and requiring very little time on campus. Not a typical “online degree,” Goddard’s programs are nonetheless ideal for working adults with a highly self-motivated, strong-willed approach to their own improvement.
Annual In-State Costs: $15,786
Number of Programs: n/a (however, most are low-residence)