They rank Utah second in potential for innovation and fifth in overall movement of goods and services. CNBC named Utah the winner for “Top States for Business.” Its corporate allure rivals Silicon Valley. Venture capitalists have taken an interest in the state’s investment opportunities. Silicon Slopes (Salt Lake City) has the heaviest concentration of tech sector jobs.
Utah’s Board of Regents lists the state’s college completion rate as 52 percent. Four out of five students change their major or school before graduating. Many transfer from community college. Increasingly, students are turning to online programs in the country as well.
The Utah System of Higher Education (USHE) predicts college students aged 18 to 24 will swell by 65 percent by the year 2065. In 50 years, the state will have one million students aged 5 to 24 years. (Hint: teachers will be in high demand.) To handle the influx, institutions are expanding their online offerings.
Just 3 percent of Utah students attend college fully online. Approximately 30 percent use a hybrid of online and on-campus classes. Online classes in public universities grew by 200 from 2015 to 2016. Enrollments in online classes grew 10 percent in the same span.
What Are the Best Online Colleges in Utah?
The most important factor for these rankings is the school’s online programs. We look at quality, earning potential, accreditation, and loan default rates. In addition, the IPEDS site fills in any data gaps. The U.S. News rankings accompany awards from various publications. Finally, state government reports give an accurate picture of Utah’s economic health. The Board of Regents helpfully lists online programs at all USHE-governed colleges and universities in 2016.
See our rankings methodology page.
University of Utah
College Choice Score: 100
Average Net Price: $12,136
The University of Utah (UU) has hundreds of online classes. Each uses the same faculty and 16-week calendar as campus classes. Exams are proctored in the UOnline Center inside the library. UU has set up testing sites in Sandy, Bountiful, and St. George. Arrange for other test locations through UOnline.
Once admitted, there are no special procedures to enroll in online courses. Each will be labeled ONLN in the schedule. UU uses the Canvas learning management system.
A general education degree focuses on Global Citizenship. Graduate programs include Electrical and Computer Engineering, Teaching-Fine Arts, Occupational Therapy, MBA, and an MS in Information Systems. The Gerontology Interdisciplinary Program offers an online Gerontology certificate (undergraduate/graduate), an MS in Gerontology, and a minor in Gerontology.
Undergraduate online degrees at UU:
- BS/BA in Economics
- RN to BSN
- BS in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism with an emphasis in Sustainable Tourism and Hospitality Management
- BS in Psychology
- Bachelor of Social Work
The Student Resources page includes class registration and advising. Arrange exams and tutoring. Locate tech support, the Writing Center, and the library. Counseling and career coaching are also accessible.
College Choice Score: 95.30
Average Net Price: $24,606
This private college in Salt Lake City lets students create customized degrees. One-on-one mentoring helps students succeed. Class sizes average 16, and the student-faculty ratio is 9:1. Westminster receives accolades from Princeton Review, U.S. News, Victory Media, College of Distinction, and the Presidential Honor Roll.
Application details for undergraduates and graduates can be found here. Undergraduates need a personal statement, transcript, and test scores. Graduates require a personal statement, two recommendations, resume, transcripts, and an undergraduate GPA of 3.0.
Online degree programs at Westminster College:
The Tuition and Aid page lists scholarships for Nursing, Business Administration, and Master’s-level Communications. A Resources and Services page links to advising, the career center, and library. The Consumer Information guide provides retention and graduation rates, state authorizations, and career services.
Southern Utah University
College Choice Score: 89.03
Average Net Price: $14,429
Established in 1897, Southern Utah University (SUU) has over 9,000 students. SUU earns the Carnegie classification “Master’s University: Larger Program” with over 200 Master’s degrees. IPEDS says 48 percent of undergraduates and 82 percent of graduates use online education. Seven percent of undergraduates and 45 percent of graduates pursue their entire degree online.
SUU lists 532 Associate’s programs, 895 Bachelor’s degrees, 278 Master’s offerings, and 31 Certificates. Online classes also fulfill General Education requirements.
A sample of online undergraduate degrees from Southern Utah University:
- Associate in Paralegal Studies
- Bachelor in Accountancy
- Bachelor in Communication
- Bachelor in Business Management
An e-portfolio class translates real-world experience into 1 to 15 credits toward a Bachelor’s degree. The default rate for student loans in 2013 was 5.5 percent. The nation averages 11.3 percent in default.
Utah State University
College Choice Score: 87.62
Average Net Price: $11,686
This former agricultural college was founded in 1888. Today, Utah State University (USU) welcomes 28,000 students. More than two-thirds come from Utah.
Forbes ranks USU the number two public university in the West for lowest tuition. The default rate on loans, 5.6 percent, is half the national average. This year, 46 percent of undergraduates and 50 percent of graduate students take an online course.
U.S. News ranks USU 14th in “Best Online Bachelor’s Programs” and 66th in “Best Online Graduate Education Programs.” There are 16 online graduate degrees in Education, Dietetics, Human Resources, Rehabilitation Counseling, and Technical Communication.
Undergraduate programs/degrees at Utah State University:
USU lists a Chemistry Endorsement, a Deafblind Intervener Training Certificate, and the Blindness Studies Certificate. Other programs include General Studies, Liberal Arts, and a Women and Gender Studies Certificate. Besides the main campus in Logan, two other campuses go by USU Eastern. Classes also take place in 26 other locations around the state.
Weber State University
College Choice Score: 81.75
Average Net Price: $19,000
Most Weber State (WSU) students are undergraduates. Of the 26,800 enrolled, only 697 are graduate students. Eighty-eight percent are in-state residents.
For distance education, 10 percent of undergraduates and 12 percent of graduate students take 100 percent of their classes online. Another 24 percent of undergraduates and 6 percent of graduates take some online courses.
GetEducated.com gives WSU its “Best Buy Online Bachelors in Healthcare” designation. AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org lists Weber one of Utah’s “Best Online Schools in 2017.” Check the school’s interactive map to verify your state’s approval of WSU’s online programs.
Online programs at Weber State University:
- B.S. in Health Information Management
- B.S in Health Services Administration
- B.S. in Medical Laboratory Science
- B.S. in Radiologic Sciences
- B.S. in Professional Sales
Weber State also awards a Bachelor of Integrated Studies. It requires three areas of studies and a capstone project. Of the areas of study online, those with hyperlinks are Child and Family Studies, Computer Science, and Health Sciences.
Western Governors University
College Choice Score: 74.32
Average Net Price: $19,000
Western Governors University (WGU) operates 100-percent online. Its massive student enrollment tops 84,000. Of those, 93 percent are aged 25 or older. Because less than 7 percent enter as full-time, first-time freshmen, the IPEDS graduation rate of 26 percent is artificially low.
Continuing with figures for 7 percent of the student population, the retention rate from Fall 2015 to Fall 2016 is 74 percent. Twenty-eight percent will transfer out to other schools. Retention of military students is 96 percent.
Forbes published an article on WGU called, “The Best-Kept Secret in Online Colleges.” The author tells us the school’s official mascot is the Night Owl. A 2016 Gallup-Purdue Index poll indicates 81 percent of graduates find jobs soon after commencement.
WGU offers 10,265 Bachelor’s, 5,925 Master’s, and 254 Post-Graduate programs. Here are just a smidgen of the Bachelor’s degrees:
- BA Interdisciplinary Studies (Elementary Education)
- BS in Business Management
- BS in Software Development
- RN to BSN
The loan default rate is just 4.8 percent, well below the national average. Students finish bachelor’s degrees in three years or less. There are partner schools in Indiana, Missouri, Nevada, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington.
Utah Valley University
College Choice Score: 73.55
Average Net Price: $19,000
In Fall 2016, 35,000 students enrolled at Utah Valley University (UVU). All but 272 are undergraduates. Seventy-nine percent are Utah residents.
Retention rates are 63 percent of full-time and 46 percent of part-time undergraduates. Online classes are taken by 30 percent of undergraduates and 2 percent of graduates.
Online degrees from UVU:
- BS in Aviation
- AAS in Aviation
- AS in Aviation
- BS in Emergency Services Management
- RN to BSN and an MSN
University of Phoenix-Utah
College Choice Score: 68.11
Average Net Price: $19,000
IPEDS classifies the University of Phoenix-Utah as a 4-year, private, for-profit university. In Fall 2016, 531 students enrolled. Ninety-three percent of undergraduates are 25 and older.
All students are in-state residents, yet 39 percent of undergraduates take 100-percent of classes online. Another 19 percent combine on-campus and online coursework. Only 4 percent of graduate students take online classes.
Classes last 5 weeks for undergraduates and 6 weeks for graduates. Most degrees have an online option. The Salt Lake City campus provides test proctoring.
Three of the undergraduate programs offered online by the University of Phoenix-Utah:
- BS in Business with a Retail Fundamentals Certificate
- BS in Communication
- BS in Security Management with an Advanced Cyber Security Certificate
Although the default rate of 13.3 percent is higher than the national average, it has come down significantly since 2011. Technology in the Classroom links to the online library, career services, phone apps, and social networking. We recommend reading the Student Right to Know Guide listing success rates.