• Accounting Programs
    1. St. Catherine University
    2. Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
    3. Central Methodist University-College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
  • Business Administration Programs
    1. The University of Alabama
    2. University of Florida
    3. Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
  • Computer Science Programs
    1. Dakota State University
    2. Elizabeth City State University
    3. University of Advancing Technology
  • Criminal Justice Programs
    1. Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus
    2. University of Oklahoma Norman Campus
    3. St. John's University-New York
  • Education Programs
    1. Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
    2. University of North Carolina-Wilmington
    3. University of Georgia
  • Engineering Programs
    1. The University of Alabama
    2. Arizona State University
    3. University of North Dakota
  • Graphic Design Programs
    1. Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design
    2. Charleston Southern University
    3. Full Sail University
  • IT Programs
    1. Elmhurst College
    2. University of Minnesota-Crookston
    3. University of Memphis
  • Marketing Programs
    1. Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
    2. The College of Saint Scholastica
    3. Lakeland College
  • MBA Programs
    1. University of Florida
    2. Misericordia University
    3. Ball State University
  • Nursing Programs
    1. Ohio State University-Main Campus
    2. The University of Alabama
    3. Villanova University
  • Paralegal Programs
    1. Mississippi College
    2. Virginia College-Online
    3. Globe University-Woodbury
  • PhD Programs
    1. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    2. University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
    3. University of Florida
  • Psychology Programs
    1. Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus
    2. Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
    3. Arizona State University

Methodology

Online higher education is growing, and with the thousands of choices now available to students, it can be difficult to determine which schools are the best online colleges for experience and value. We’ve created a set of objective, quantitative rankings that should help shed some light on how the best online schools stack up against each other in 11 areas of study.

For each college, we gathered data for eight different metrics — the number of full-time faculty per part-time faculty member, institutional financial aid rate, acceptance rate, retention rate, graduation rate, years accredited, default rates, and job placement rates.

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Rankings by Metrics


Using Rankings In Your College Research

College rankings are some of the most sought-after data when it comes to identifying superior colleges and universities. People often seek rankings data out of a desire to attend the best online colleges, or maximize the value of their education. However, to maximize the usefulness of rankings, you must look closely over the raters' methodology, or the formulas they use to come to their ranking conclusions. Why does this matter? Because what's important to you in a college may not be what's important to a rankings institution.

The Chronicle of Higher Education identified 30 ways to rank a college, including emphasizing factors like total cost to students and student loan debt, or emphasizing admissions selectivity and the quality of the institution's teaching staff. Since raters focus on so many different aspects of a school, it's important to look carefully over the methodology for any rankings you come across to ensure that your priorities are reflected.

OEDb's rankings differ from others in that they are limited solely to online schools. We've created a set of objective, quantitative rankings that should help shed some light on how the top online colleges stack up against each other in 11 areas of study. For each college, we gathered data for eight different metrics — the number of full-time faculty per part-time faculty member, institutional financial aid rate, acceptance rate, retention rate, graduation rate, years accredited, default rates, and job placement rates. And unlike some other rankings, we gave all of these metrics equal weight because we believe that no one metric is more valuable than another.

While rankings are a good means of comparing the best online colleges using largely quantitative data, keep in mind that this is only one way of evaluating a school. Qualitative data, such as how happy a student is attending a specific school, the attitude and values of the student body or instructors, or how successful a student is upon graduation, are factors that are harder to quantify, but equally as important. Let our rankings help you with your initial research to determine which schools could be a good fit for you.