Overview of Online Colleges in Virginia
Virginia Department of Education's Virtual Virginia program provides online Advanced Placement (AP) courses and elective courses to students across the state and nation. This program offers distance learning opportunities for students who need a flexible schedule and some courses that are otherwise not available in a classroom setting.
According to the VDOE, the Code of Virginia allows schools to offer online courses to students by collaborating with private organizations, educational institutions and nonprofit virtual school organizations that have been approved by the superintendent of public instruction to operate as an online provider. VDOE provides an extensive list of approved providers and information on virtual school courses offered throughout Virginia. Many colleges in Virginia now offer some form of distance learning, including Virginia Tech, which offers over 13 online master's degree programs and online certificates. Old Dominion University also offers over 70 distance degree programs.
Tuition costs in Virginia have experienced a spike in recent years. Between 2004 and 2014, tuition increased 70% at public two-year schools, and 55% at public four-year schools. Inflation costs can be partially credited to a 24.6% decrease in state funding for higher education between 2008 and 2014. Despite steady tuition inflation in recent years, enrollment continues to rise in Virginia. Between 2002 and 2012, enrollment increased 26% at public schools in Virginia, slightly higher than the 19% national average increase.
A report by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission found that although Virginia public schools enroll fewer students, those students are graduating at a faster pace than in other states, which also keeps the cost of higher education down. Virginia has the 3rd highest graduation rate in the nation, with an overall 70.5% graduation rate at public four-year schools and an 86.5% first-year student retention rate.
For more information on Virginia's top online degree programs, consult our extensive school database. Find information on scholarships and financial assistance tools in the college savings section below.