10 Best Online Colleges for Bachelor's Programs Includes Smaller Schools

These are the best online college degree programs as ranked by U.S. News & World Report

By Mary Patrick
Posted February 08, 2013 10:00 AM

Best Online College Rankings Available
Best Online College Rankings Available

Distance learning has changed the higher education landscape in many ways, but two of those changes are the most obvious.

First, it has opened higher education to those previously kept from attending college either by geography – they simply live too far from a school – or by being so heavily scheduled with work and family responsibilities that they could not attend class.

Online education eliminates both problems. The proof is in the numbers. More than 3 million are in fully online degree courses, according to a 2012 report from The Learning House and Aslanian Marketing. Millions more are taking distance learning courses to complete a degree.

Another change is evident when looking at the 2013 Best Online Bachelor’s Programs from U.S. News & World Report. While some of the schools on the list are immediately recognizable – St. John’s University, for example, or Colorado State University – many are smaller colleges that have made use of the global reach of the Internet to enroll more students than they can reach on-campus only.

As a result, the list below of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs may bring new schools to your attention.

1. Pace University

Located in New York City, Pace University is a private school with more than 13,000 students. Pace focuses on degree programs within six schools: arts and sciences, health professions, business, education, law and computer science and information technology. Pace offers online courses through all of these schools. U.S. News ranked the university the best at delivering bachelor’s degrees online.

2. Daytona State College

Located at Daytona Beach on Florida’s east coast, Daytona State College has risen through the ranks of online programs to reach the No. 2 spot. The college offers more than a half dozen degrees online. Online bachelor’s degrees available from Daytona State include a Bachelor’s in Applied Science in Supervision and Management and Bachelor's of Science in Engineering Technology. The school also offers degrees available partially online.

3. St. John’s University

St. John’s University, located in New York City, is a private, Roman Catholic university that has long been a top-ranked academic institution. The school has now moved online, offering three bachelor’s degrees: Bachelor’s of Arts in Liberal Studies, Bachelor’s of Science in Administrative Studies and Bachelor’s of Science in Criminal Justice.

4. Westfield State University

Westfield State has a rich history. Founded in 1838 in Westfield, Mass., the school was among the first to offer education to any student regardless of race, gender or economic status. The school focuses on a liberal arts education as well as professional studies. Through its PLATO: Online Learning division, the school offers a number of bachelor’s degree completion programs, including business, liberal arts, history and sociology. The school also offers minors in art, management, psychology and sociology.

5. Graceland University

Graceland University, a private school founded by the Community of Christ and located in Lamoni, Iowa, specializes in the liberal arts and theology, as well as nursing. The school offers a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing and a Bachelor’s of Arts in Health Care Management. The school also offers master’s degrees in religion, education and nursing and a doctorate in nursing.

6. Lawrence Technology University

Lawrence Technology University is located outside Detroit in Southfield, Mich. It’s a private school founded in 1932 – in the depths of a Recession – by the brothers Russell and George Lawrence with the goal of training a new generation with the technical skills needed for the modern era. The school consistently ranks in the U.S. News & World Report list of best universities for master’s degrees in the Midwest. Lawrence Technology University’s online offers include bachelor’s degrees in business administration and information technology. The school offers an online MBA as well as master’s degrees in architecture, educational technology, engineering management, industrial engineering and information systems.

7. Colorado State University–Global Campus

Colorado State University-Global Campus is an independent campus in the Colorado State University System. The school offers a variety of degrees and is a 100% online, fully-accredited university. Colorado State University-Global Campus offers bachelor’s degree completion and degree programs in more than 10 majors, including accounting, applied social sciences, business management, communication, criminal justice, healthcare administration, information technology and public management.

8. Brandman University

Founded in 1952, Brandman is a private school that specializes in offering more than 50 degree programs that blend online classes and classes on one of the school’s 26 campuses in California and Washington (the main campus is in Irvine, Calif.). Brandman offers more than 25 fully-online bachelor’s programs, including criminal justice, legal studies, social science, culture and media studies and many areas of business, including supply chain, marketing, finance and human resources.

9. Bellevue University

Bellevue University is a private school founded in 1966 by members of the Chamber of Commerce in the city of Bellevue, Neb. Named a university in 1994, Bellevue now has campuses in five states and offers a variety of bachelor’s degrees online, including accounting, business administration, graphic design, health science and information technology. The university also offers master’s degrees in many areas, including managerial communications, acquisition and contract management, finance and international security and intelligence studies.

10. Regent University

A private, Christian university founded in 1978 in Virginia Beach, Va., by Pat Robertson, Regent University offers an education “founded on Biblical principles.” Notable alumni of the school include former U.S. Attorney John Ashcroft and Steve Forbes. The university offers more than a half dozen bachelor’s programs online, including biblical and theological studies, business, Christian ministry, communications, criminal justice, history and English.

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