Best Online Community CollegesThere are many reasons online education has grown so much in the past several years. Expanding technology and more available internet access has opened up doors for online education that once were not available to many.

In fact, lots of people who could not otherwise attend college are able to take college courses and even obtain college degrees thanks to the growth of online education. There simply is no other option for them.

Still more students, who could take online or on-campus courses, now have more options available to them. Online courses allow them to fit college into their complex work and family schedules. For them, online education is a more convenient option.

Flexibility in scheduling isn’t just confined to what hours on the clock you’ll take online classes or earn an online degree. Many students are better engaged in their course work because they can log on when they are ready, not when a class schedule says it’s time to get to work. But not only are they convenient and flexible, online classes can save money on gas, bus fare, and babysitting costs. And online courses can save time.

Think of all the time you spend driving to campus in traffic, finding a parking space, walking to class; then you still have to get home!  With online classes you can be actually working on your class instead of spending so much time getting there.​

Online education is accessible, convenient, flexible, affordable and efficient. But it also takes more responsibility and self-motivation. Students taking online classes have a greater responsibility for their own success than students in traditional classroom settings. A successful online learner is…

  • Self-motivated. Online students must be able to log in regularly, find details about assignments, and seek out help when needed.
  • Self-disciplined. Online students must be able to work on a schedule without getting behind.
  • Dedicated. Online students must set aside enough time to each course. Online classes require at least as much time as traditional classes, and often more. A typical 3-credit online course can easily require 9-12 hours per week.
  • A good reader and writer. Online classes require more reading and writing than traditional, on-campus classes where more can be communicated verbally.
  • Adept with computer skills. Online students must be comfortable sending and receiving e-mail, navigating web pages, and using computer software, such as word processors.
  • Able to access a computer. Online students must have convenient, dependable access to a computer that meets the technical requirements of the school’s learning management system..

There are also many good reasons to attend a community college. These reasons often align with a student’s reasons for choosing online education. Convenience, flexibility, affordability, and efficiency have always been hallmarks of community colleges. The nation’s 1600-plus community colleges have been leading the way for a long time in these very things.

Check out College Choice’s ranking of the Best Community Colleges.

As the name implies, community colleges serve communities. They grant two-year associate degrees, certificates, credentials, and diplomas that prepare graduates for a fulfilling career or successful transfer to a baccalaureate program. Many offer continuing and adult education courses. Some offer dual-credit programs to area high school students.

In these ways and many more, community colleges—often called junior colleges, city colleges, or technical colleges—have a tremendous impact on their region and its population. And now with the tremendous growth and quality of online education at these institutions that have been at the front line of student service for years, community colleges find their reach well beyond their service areas.

What Are the Best Online Community Colleges?

College Choice has correlated data from Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program and individual community colleges to compile a list of the 30 best community colleges offering online associate degrees. We considered several factors in developing an institutional performance score, including first year retention rates, three-year graduation rates, credentials awarded, etc.

We also factored percentage of non-traditional and minority students, percentage of Pell grants, and minority graduation rates in order to create a diversity score. Finally we compared online tuition rates to give us a sense of the financial investment students would need to make.

Since much of the focus at College Choice is on helping you choose a college, we did not consider schools that did not offer any online associate degrees. Online courses offer greater flexibility, but those schools offering degrees online increase their appeal to those students wanting more than just a few courses here and there. For that reason, schools were given a procedural bump based on the number of associate degree programs they offered fully online. In the end, we believe these thirty schools represent the best of what can be a wise decision for many prospective college students.

1

Cowley County Community College

College Choice Score: 100.00

Tuition per Credit Hour: $177

Program Website

Overview

Cowley County Community College and Area Vocational-Technical School was founded in 1922 in the basement of the high school in Arkansas City, KS. Today Cowley College has expanded to a campus, two educational centers, an online college, outreach centers, and a service center. It serves the Cowley county area with more than eighty degree and certificate programs, educating over 4500 students each year.

Features

The online college is authorized for courses in all fifty states, with most courses transferring to a four-year bachelor degree at many colleges and universities. Cowley offers over 600 courses online. Over thirty accredited degrees can be earned completely online, a number more than double the next closest school in these rankings. Students have several options for obtaining Associate of Arts, Associate of Applied Science, Associate of General Studies, and Associate of Science degrees. The flexibility of online courses, the cost of community college, and the number of options make Cowley College stand out among the community colleges across the nation offering degrees online.

Online Environment

Cowley College’s online courses are delivered through the Blackboard course delivery system. Once enrolled in an online course, students have access to a support group and support documentation. An enhanced support center provides a 24/7/365 help desk, live-chat feature, email, ticket system, and extensive searchable knowledge base where students can find solutions to common questions. In addition Cowley College provides online tutoring services and access to an E-Library Portal that includes links to select and public Internet sites that offer research informational and materials resources.

2

Northeast Community College

College Choice Score: 89.96

Tuition per Credit Hour: $126

Program Website

Overview

Located in Norfolk, NE, Northeast Community College (NECC) has been serving residents of a 20-county area in northeast Nebraska for nearly 45 years. Formed from the merger of two separate and distinct institutions—Northeastern Nebraska College and Northeast Nebraska Technical College—NECC offers vocational/technical, liberal arts, college transfer, and continuing education courses and degrees. 99% of NECC graduates find jobs or continue their education. In 2017 NECC was named an Aspen Prize Top Ten Community College.

Features

NECC offers several online programs and many online courses. Students can complete one of three different Associate of Applied Science degrees in business. The school also has eleven different programs leading toward an Associate of Arts degree, including Criminal Justice, Accounting, Behavioral Science, Business Administration, and more.

Online Environment

Online courses at NECC are delivered using the Sakai Online Learning Management system. NECC has several online support services to help online students succeed. With academic advising and counseling as well as career services available, students can map out their education and beyond. And with an online writer’s clinic and tutoring services, they can also excel in their coursework. Online students have access to many online library resources and electronic books. NECC’s dedication to its students and the region it serves is evident in the quality of education and services available even in the virtual world.

3

Walla Walla Community College

College Choice Score: 88.02

Tuition per Credit Hour: $117

Program Website

Overview

Walla Wall Community College (WWCC) in Walla Walla, WA was established in 1967 with 850 students. Today WWCC’s 130 campus has become a center for innovation, education, training, and learning opportunities throughout the region it serves (Walla Walla, Columbia, Asotin, Garfield counties, and bordering counties in Idaho and Oregon). Its extended facilities help provide more accessible service to the area, and now also its online course delivery allows WWCC to reach a student population well beyond the southeast section of the state. WWCC offers a comprehensive curriculum of academic and workforce training programs.

Features

Students looking to complete an associates degree online at WWCC have four options. The Associate in Arts and the Associate in Business are transfer degrees. They allow students to receive a degree and enter the workforce if so desired, but they are primarily structured to meet the lower division requirements for transfer to a baccalaureate program at a four-year institution. The Associate in Applied Arts and Sciences

in Turf Management is a technical degree that prepares students with the practical knowledge and experience necessary for joining the turf maintenance industry. The Associate in Applied Sciences in Human and Social Services is a dual-purpose degree intended to prepare students for employment in human and social services and for transfer to specific baccalaureate degree programs.

Online Environment

WWCC uses Canvas as its course delivery system. It also provides several student services for its online students. The Academic and Counseling Center is a one stop shop for online student success. Completion Coaches are ready to assist students in accessing a variety of resources to enable students to make it to their graduation day. The Disability Support Services office is committed to provide access and promote an atmosphere conducive to academic success.

4

Flint Hills Technical College

College Choice Score: 85.71

Tuition per Credit Hour: $200

Program Website

Overview

Located in Emporia, KS, and founded in 1963, Flint Hills Technical College (FHTC) provides academic and applied instruction in technical programs of study leading to Associates of Applied Science degree, Technical Certificates, Certificates, or other credentials. FHTC has nineteen programs of study that respond to today’s technical industry needs. FHTC is coordinated by the Kansas Board of Regents and accredited through the Higher Learning Commission.

Features

Online education is one of the many ways FHTC has integrated flexible training options into its programs of study. Along with several courses of general education, FHTC offers four online programs that lead to an associates degree: Business Administration Technology Associate of Applied Science, Associate of Applied Science, Associate of Applied Science in Healthcare Administration/Management, and Associate of Applied Science in Interactive Multimedia Design.

Online Environment

Online classes are delivered through Moodle, a learning management system that is easy to navigate on both desktop and mobile devices. Instructors are available by phone, e-mail, and online discussion boards throughout the duration of each class. Students can also connect to their instructors through Adobe Connect sessions. The online classroom experience is enhanced by maintaining a strong line of communication with instructors and classmates through discussion threads and chat features.

5

Broward College

College Choice Score: 85.49

Tuition per Credit Hour: $243.40

Program Website

Overview

Broward College in Fort Lauderdale, FL was named one of the top three community colleges in the nation by the Aspen Institute’s 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. The rise to prominence among community colleges has been fast for Broward. Its first academic year began in the fall of 1960 with just over 700 students. Today Broward annually serves over 68,000 students and is consistently rated as one of the top institutions for associates degrees. Broward College ranks fifth nationally for conferring associate degrees and third for conferring degrees to minority students.

Features

Broward College’s distinguished faculty have carefully developed each and every online class to reflect what students need most out of thir education. That translates to an exceptional education with educators and courses that have been recognized at the national level for their high quality. In addition to numerous individual courses and several certificate programs, Broward offers one Associate of Arts degree and eight Associate in Science degrees, as well as four Bachelor of Applied Science degrees. Online courses have the same start and end dates as traditional campus courses. However, there are multiple sessions in each term, ranging from six weeks to sixteen weeks depending on the term and session.

Online Environment

Broward helpfully offers several webinars to help students succeed in their pursuit of an online degree. General webinars such as “Success in Online Class” and “Time Management Strategies,” coupled with more practical ones like “Introduction to MS Excel” and “Library Magic” demonstrate the commitment Broward has to its students success. Broward utilizes the Desire2Learn course delivery system. It offers a plethora of students services online. Everything from a Career Center to Online Tutoring to Advising and Counseling can be accessed at home.

6

Illinois Eastern Community Colleges

College Choice Score: 85.10

Tuition per Credit Hour: $120

Program Website

Overview

The network of Illinois Eastern Community Colleges (IECC) is comprised of four local community colleges, each individually serving a particular region of Eastern Illinois. Frontier Community College, Lincoln Trail Community College, Olney Central Community College, and Wabash Valley Community College are outstanding and often award-winning institutions in their own right. Their forces come together to make one of the top online community college experiences in the country.

Features

Currently IECC offers over 200 online classes with 52 programs available with 50% or more of classes offered online. IECC enrolls approximately 2000 students in online classes each semester. The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools has extended their accreditation to include the distance delivery of six associate degrees at IECC. The approval for distance delivery allows the network to offer online courses which lead to the award of a two-year degree and certificates. IECC is accredited to offer the Associate in Science and Arts Transfer Degree, the Associate in Science Transfer Degree, the Associate in General Studies Degree, the Associate of Applied Science Degrees (Accounting and Computing), and the Associate in Applied Science Degrees (Medical Office Assistant). The online classes follow the same timeline of traditional class semester offerings and typically run over a sixteen week period. During the summer semester online classes follow the eight week schedule.

Online Environment

The network uses the learning management software Desire2Learn (D2L) for course delivery. D2L has a 24/7 helpline for students who may encounter technical difficulties. IECC also has online registration, bookstores, financial aid, advising, library services, and technical assistance available to all students who enroll in online classes. All students new to online and hybrid learning are required to take “Intro to Online Learning” to help prepare for online course work and to determine if online learning is right for them.

7

Herkimer County Community College

College Choice Score: 84.03

Tuition per Credit Hour: $233

Program Website

Overview

Over fifty years ago the trustees of the State University of New York established Herkimer County Community College. Since then Herkimer has distinguished itself in providing educational excellence and opportunity to the local and regional community. More than 20,000 graduates now call Herkimer College their alma mater. Herkimer was one of the 150 finalists for the 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.

Features

Through Herkimer College’s Internet Academy, the college currently offers seventeen different associate degrees in Business, Criminal Justice and Law, Healthcare and Service, and Liberal Arts and Science. Of these seventeen degrees, twelve are Associate of Applied Science degrees, three are Associate of Arts degrees, and two are Associate of Science degrees. In addition to the degree programs, Herkimer has three certificate programs and over 150 online courses. Herkimer College’s Internet Academy enjoys full accreditation through the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Higher Education. In addition, the New York State Education Department has named Herkimer College an approved provider of Distance Learning Programs.

Online Environment

Online students have access to all of the great in-person support services on-campus students are offered, like advisement, tutoring, disabilities services, library services, and technical support. Students take online courses through the ANGEL learning management system.

8

South Texas College

College Choice Score: 82.31

Tuition per Credit Hour: $248.76

Program Website

Overview

Boasting over 34,000 students each year, South Texas College (STC) has the largest enrollment in the state of Texas south of San Antonio. With a main campus in McAllen, four other extension campuses, and two teaching centers, STC has been serving the region of southern Texas since 1993. Its service reach is enhanced by its virtual campus. STC is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Features

STC offers more than 119 degrees and certificate program options, including associate degrees in a variety of art, science, technology, and allied health fields of study. The college also offers eighteen online associate degrees and four baccalaureate degrees through South Texas College Online.

Online Environment

STC delivers online courses through the Blackboard course management system. The school offers many student services online. With sites for registration, admissions, records, financial aid, advising, career services, tutoring, bookstore, and more, students can successfully obtain a degree without ever having to step foot on campus. The school has a help desk for online issues, and the Blackboard management system can help resolve technical issues when encountered.

9

Santa Barbara City College

College Choice Score: 80.78

Tuition per Credit Hour: $331

Program Website

Overview

Founded in 1909, Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) is the oldest of California’s 113 community colleges. It is located in the Santa Barbara Mesa and serves all of Santa Barbara County as well as many others who are attracted to the beautiful setting of the California coast. SBCC is a fully accredited community college that offers over eighty degrees and over fifty career technical programs, training in a wide range of career technical fields, and transfer programs that provide the first two years of study toward the baccalaureate degree. Over 30,000 students attend SBCC in some capacity.

Features

SBCC offers four online Associate of Science degrees: Cancer Information Management, Computer Information Systems (CIS), COS with an emphasis in Systems Administration, and Health Information Technology. In addition the school has seven online Associate of Arts degrees: International Business, three Liberal Arts emphases, Marketing, Natural History, and Applied Photography.

Online Environment

SBCC employs Moodle as its learning management system. The school offers technical support for its distance education students, as well as many of the same services provided to on-campus students. Admission and registration support is provided online. Academic support includes tutoring, library services, and counseling.

10

Florida State College at Jacksonville

College Choice Score: 80.28

Tuition per Credit Hour: $216.55

Program Website

Overview

Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ) was established in 1965 as Florida Junior College. It has four major physical campuses and several additional centers located around the First Coast region. It currently enrolls 52,000 students and offers over 150 degree programs in a dozen areas of study. Nearly sixty percent of all awards granted are associate degrees. Its academic offerings include 13 bachelor degrees, 45 associate degrees, two advanced technical certificates and more than 100 technical and workforce certificates. FSCJ has multiple campuses and centers throughout Duval and Nassau counties, including online classes globally accessed through Open Campus.

Features

FSCJ offers 16 online degrees, half of which are associates. All eight two-year degrees are Associate in Science degrees. They include Accounting Technology, Business Administration, Computer Information Technology, Criminal Justice Technology, Early Childhood Management, Industrial Management Technology, Office Administration, and Supply Chain Management. FSCJ Online faculty are well-respected leaders in their fields and are experts in the subjects they teach.

Online Environment

At FSCJ, online credit courses are offered through Blackboard, a web-based learning management system that contains tools for distance learning, such as course content and notes, a bulletin board system and chat for collaboration and communication, assignment drop boxes, interactive quizzes and exams, and more. All online courses are instructor-led and use the same schedule as on-campus courses. That means students may have midterms and final exams, papers, and discussion assignments to complete with deadlines. FSCJ students may also benefit from the new academic support organization for all online students throughout the state of Florida known as Florida Virtual Campus.

11

Central Community College

College Choice Score: 78.59

Tuition per Credit Hour: $144

Program Website

Overview

Central Community College is a multi-campus community college serving a 25-county area in central Nebraska. Central administration is located in Grand Island. Three main campuses are located in Columbus, Grand Island and Hastings. Educational centers are located in Holdrege, Kearney, and Lexington. Additionally, CCC uses a variety of distance learning techniques to provide educational services in some 90 communities in its service area. The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools accredits Central Community College.

Features

CCC has been offering online courses through the Virtual Campus for over 15 years. They offer three degrees with 22 program specialties and over 260 courses online through the Virtual Campus. CCC has five online Associate of Applied Science degrees: Business Administration, Business Technology, Health Information Technology, Information Technology and Systems, and Quality Technology. Also available are an Associate of Arts and an Associate of Science transfer degrees. In addition to these degree programs, CCC offers several certificate and diploma programs.

Online Environment

The learning management system Moodle is the core software used at CCC. It includes an area to upload assignments, take quizzes, engage in discussions with classmates, as well as check grades, chat, or watch videos. All student are provided access to a free “Online Moodle Student Orientation” course to help them become familiar with the online tools and activities that are commonly used in many of our online courses. CCC has a helpdesk open 13 hours most days and online access available any time. Online students have access to all CCC library resources.

12

Ellsworth Community College

College Choice Score: 78.23

Tuition per Credit Hour: $226

Program Website

Overview

Ellsworth Community College (ECC) is part of the Iowa Valley Community College District. The campus is in the riverside city of Iowa Falls and enrolls only about 1000 students. The location and size helps foster close relationships with professors, staff, and students, something that carries over into the online environment as well. It was founded as Ellsworth College in 1890 by Eugene S. Ellsworth. Originally a private business academy, it later became a four-year college, a music conservatory, and a public junior college before being absorbed into the Iowa Valley Community College District.

Features

The 64-credit Liberal Arts Transfer Associate in Arts (AA) degree is generally considered one of the best transferable degrees at ECC, and it can be taken on-campus or completely online (or with a combination of on-campus and online classes). Having articulation agreements with several colleges and universities in Iowa and across the Midwest, ECC guarantees complete transfers of this degree. Over ten different emphases are available for the Liberal Arts Transfer AA degree, including Accounting, Communications, Education, History, Sociology, and more.

Online Environment

All of the fully online courses at ECC are taught on the Blackboard Learn platform. Many of the online courses at ECC have been certified by a Quality Matters team. Quality Matters is a national organization for the promotion of excellence in online/distance education classes.

13

Northland Community and Technical College

College Choice Score: 77.68

Tuition per Credit Hour: $197.00

Program Website

Overview

Northland Community and Technical College (NCTC) has been in existence in one form or other since 1949, when the Minnesota State Board of Education approved an area vocational school for Thief River Falls. The school would later merge with two other institutions of higher learning: first with Thief River Falls State Junior College and later with the East Grand Forks campus of Northwest Technical College, to form NCTC. Each institution brought a long history of serving the needs of area students and employers, and with the advent of online education, expanding its reach far beyond the Red River Valley and northwestern Minnesota. Today NCTC has campuses in Thief River Falls, East Grand Fork, and Roseau, with its online education administration in Perham.

Features

NCTC has eleven online associate degree programs. Three Associate of Science (AS) degree programs are fully online, including Business, Early Childhood and Paraprofessional, and Health Sciences Broad Field. Students interested in an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) have five online degree program options: Digital Marketing; Sales, Marketing, and Management; Dietetic Technician; Medical Administrative Assistant; and Medical Coding Specialist. Although the AS and AAS degrees offer transfer options, they are primarily focused on career training. For students intent on transferring their associate degree courses to a baccalaureate program, NCTC offers three Associate of Arts degrees online: Communications and Humanities; Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics; and Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Online Environment

NCTC is committed to implementing the Quality Matters standards for the design of online courses, and to that end they are building and evaluating courses based on these rigorous, research-based, faculty-centered, peer-reviewed standards. NCTC offers an Online Self-Assessment for potential students to see if they are fit for online learning. They also offer several online resources through their Student Resource Center. Desire2Learn Brightspace is the course management software used at NCTC.

14

Northcentral Technical College

College Choice Score: 76.87

Tuition per Credit Hour: $195.53

Program Website

Overview

One of the sixteen schools in the Wisconsin Technical College System, Northcentral Technical College (NTC) serves a district encompassing ten counties. The main campus is located in Wausau, with regional centers in Antigo, Medford, Merrill, Phillips, Spencer, and Wittenberg. Its Virtual College now gives NTC reach well beyond its orginal service region. The college began as Wausau Industrial School in 1912. It began occupying its present facility in 1969 and it was renamed Northcentral Technical College in 1988.

Features

NTC offers several technical certificates and diplomas in a full online format. Eight Associate degrees can also be obtained with 100% of the required courses available in an online format. Students interested in an Associate degree in Accounting, Business Management, Digital Marketing, Human Services, Computer Support Specialist, Marketing, Small Business Entrepreneurship, and Supervisory Management will find NTC’s online programs among the best in the country. NTC also has several programs that are mostly or partially online for those students in the region who can make it to campus for some of the courses throughout the program.

Online Environment

NTC’s Virtual College is one of the few schools in our list that does not follow a traditional online course schedule. Traditionally online courses mirror on-campus courses with regard to their start and end dates. At NTC’s Virtual College classes begin weekly and can be completed at the student’s own schedule. Students can complete courses in as few as four weeks or as many as sixteen weeks. Virtual College has its own dedicated advisors to guide students through their programs and answer questions along the way.

15

Southern Arkansas University Tech

College Choice Score: 75.47

Tuition per Credit Hour: $206

Program Website

Overview

Southern Arkansas University Tech (SAUT) is a two-year public college that is a part of the Southern Arkansas University System. Located in the city of Camden, SAUT began in 1968 and has an average enrollment of 1800 students. SAUT provides quality education for technical career programs, transfer curricula, continuing education, workforce education, and more. It is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

Features

At SAUT students can earn an associate degree fully online in one of several areas of study. The Associate of Arts consists of general education courses and meets requirements at any college in the state of Arkansas. The Associate of Science is offered in Business Administration, Fire Science Management, and Teacher Education. The Associate of Applied Science degree is available in Computer Information Technology and Fire and Emergency Response. The Associate of Professional Studies is available in Environmental Management. Many of these degrees offer a jump start to satisfying careers and some transfer well to several four-year programs at schools in the state. There is also an Associate of Applied Science in Office Management with 95% of the courses available online.

Online Environment

SAUT utilizes the Brightspace learning management system, which is a product of the well-respected Desire2Learn corporation. Brightspace has an online help center to assist students with technical issues. SAUT makes available all of its student services to online students. Many of these services are accessible online as well.

16

Anoka-Ramsey Community College

College Choice Score: 75.09

Tuition per Credit Hour: $198.53

Program Website

Overview

Anoka-Ramsey Community College (ARCC) has campuses in Cambridge and Coon Rapids, MN, as well as ten off-campus locations. The school has been a provider of higher education and training in the north suburban area of Minneapolis–St. Paul and east central Minnesota since 1965. Offering over 100 courses and program, and boasting the lowest college tuition in the state of Minnesota, ARCC is one of the best values for the over 12,000 students seeking degrees or certificates to advance their careers or wanting to complete the first two years of a four-year degree frugally.

Features

ARCC offers the most online course credits of all two-year colleges in the State of Minnesota system. In addition to the many courses offered online at ARCC, four associate degrees are available entirely online. Students interested in business may choose to pursue an Associate of Science in either Accounting or Business. For those with a more creative flair, the Associate of Fine Arts in Creative Writing may be of interest. For those unsure of a major or career direction the Associate of Arts is a good degree for completing courses in general education for students who plan to transfer to another college or university to complete a bachelor’s degree.

Online Environment

Online courses are accessed through the Desire2Learn Brighspace course management system. Brightspace provides both technical assistance as well as tutorial information for using the system. Admissions, advising, and information technology assistance is available for all online students. Online credit courses follow the traditional semester schedule and offer the same coursework as an on-campus course, but provide flexibility for completing the work via the internet.

17

Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College

College Choice Score: 73.16

Tuition per Credit Hour: $195.53

Program Website

Overview

Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College (WITC) is a multi-campus technical school in Northwest Wisconsin offering career-focused associate degree programs, technical diplomas, short-term certificates, customized training, and a wide array of courses for personal or career enhancement. WITC has four campuses in Ashland, New Richmond, Superior, and Rice Lake, as well as two outreach centers and a learning center within its service area. Nearly 6000 students enroll at WITC each year to take courses for self enrichment or to pursue one of it more than fifty career programs, many of which lead to associate degrees.

Features

WITC offers several fully online degrees. Associate degrees can be obtained in Accounting, Administrative Professional, Early Childhood Education, Child Care Services, Health Information Technology, IT-Web and Software Developer, and Medical Coding Specialist. Many of these degrees allow a student to transfer to a four-year institution to complete a baccalaureate. Others allow students to pursue a career upon completion.

Online Environment

Courses are delivered through the Blackboard system. WITC provides a very helpful Online Learning Orientation designed to acquaint learners with the technologies and resources needed to successfully complete their degree program. There is also an online Learning Commons that has an Academic Support Center, a Learning Resource Center, and an Educational Technology Center. The centers provide help with academic skills, tutoring, career exploration, library resources, research papers, and computer programs. Together these resources help students pursuing an online degree at WITC succeed.

18

Rend Lake College

College Choice Score: 72.81

Tuition per Credit Hour: $200

Program Website

Overview

For fifty years Rend Lake College has been helping put higher education and career training into the hands of the people of its community. RLC has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission since 1969. The college was founded in 1955 as Mt. Vernon Community College and officially became Rend Lake College when it was organized December 20, 1966, under the Illinois Junior College Act. RLC serves all or portions of eight counties and thirteen high school districts. Its main campus is in Ina, IL, with extension sites in Mt. Vernon and Pinckneyville.

Features

RLC offers just one online associate degree. The Associate of Science in Business is made up of both online and hybrid courses. Most classes are online. Depending on what classes a student selects some face-to-face meetings may be necessary. RLC has partnered with Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC) to offer a 2+2 program, which allows those who complete the Associate of Science in Business to transfer to SIUC with all prerequisites satisfied. Students can then complete a four-year degree in Business Administration or Accounting through SIUC’s completely online program.

Online Environment

Students must complete Online Navigation Essentials prior to accessing online courses. This one-time online orientation is comprised of self-paced lessons and activities that provide necessary and essential skills for online learning. At the Learning Resource Center online students will find many electronic resources that can be accessed without coming to campus.

19

Ozarks Technical Community College

College Choice Score: 72.71

Tuition per Credit Hour: $262

Program Website

Overview

Ozarks Technical Community College (OTCC) in Springfield, MO was founded April 3, 1990 to serve fourteen public school distracts in the region. In its short history OTCC has established itself as a vital place of learning and career technical training for the community and its diverse constituencies. Over 13,000 students enroll in classes every year, with over 5,000 enrolling in at least one online course and nearly 3,000 exclusively online.

Features

OTCC offers several online degrees, certificates, and non-credit courses at OTC Online. As well, students will find a handful of hybrid programs on offer. There are eight fully online associate degree programs available through OTC online. Four Associate of Arts (AA) degrees can be completed online: the general AA, an AA in Behavioral Science, an AA in Business, and an AA in Criminal Justice. Additionally, the AA in Teaching is fully online with the exception of one course. Three Associate of Applied Science (AAS) are offered at OTC Online: an AAS in Accounting and Business Management, an AAS in Business and Marketing, and an AAS in Health Information Technology. Finally, students may also consider the Associate of Interdepartmental Studies.

Online Environment

OTCC is completing a transition to the Instructure Canvas learning management system for the beginning of the 2017–2018 academic year. The school offers a free Online Learning Orientation Course for those considering enrolling in an online course of degree program. Instructure provides a very helpful Canvas Student Guide. Students can also find online assistance with admissions, learning resources, and textbook purchases.

20

Tyler Junior College

College Choice Score: 72.69

Tuition per Credit Hour: $284

Program Website

Overview

Tyler Junior College (TJC) in Tyler, TX is one of the largest community colleges in the state of Texas. Approximately 11,000 students enroll each semester, and the school boasts over 300 full-time faculty and nearly 250 part-time faculty. The college was founded in 1926, so for over 90 years TJC has served the East Texas region with quality education and a vibrant student life. TJC is one of the Top 150 in the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence for 2017. It is also an approved institution with the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements and a part of the Instructional Technology Council.

Features

TJC offers nine fully online Associate of Art degrees, including Business, Criminal Justice, Economics, Education, English, General Studies, Psychology, Social Work, and Sociology. In addition there are five hybrid Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degrees available at TJC. These hybrid AAS degrees include Medical Office Management, Paralegal, Child Development, Health Information Technology, and Healthcare Administration.

Online Environment

Instructure Canvas is the learning management system at TJC. There are several student support services as well as tutoring, academic advising, and an IT service desk. TJC offers an Online Student Orientation that will acquaint distance education students to the the online environment at TJC. Students in the Tyler area may want to consider the two-week hybrid course, Tech Skills Boot Camp, which will give them the technical skills to succeed at TJC, especially in their online courses. Whether a student is looking to immediately enter into a career, or complete core degree requirements for university transfer, TJC online degree and certification programs provide the flexibility to achieve a diversity of educational goals.

21

Brazosport College

College Choice Score: 70.24

Tuition per Credit Hour: $185.00

Program Website

Overview

Brazosport College (BC) is located in Lake Jackson, TX. BC has served as the school of choice for students in southern Brazoria County since 1968. In 2013 and 2015, the Aspen Institute ranked Brazosport College among the top ten community colleges in the nation. Over 6,000 students enroll at BC every year. The school has an exceptionally high retention rate from the first to second year thanks in part to its first-semester program to teach under-prepared students the core skills they need to succeed in college. BC has a strong relationship with the petrochemical industry, which relies on BC to train workers in programs suitable for jobs in that industry.

Features

BC offers just one online associate degree. The Associate of Arts degree is a general education degree with an emphasis on the core academic requirements. The degree does not allow enough hours of concentration in a single discipline for students to declare a major; however, a series of suggested courses of study are listed so that students planning to transfer into four-year academic programs at other Texas institutions may receive the maximum number of transfer credit hours toward a planned baccalaureate major. In addition, students wanting to satisfy their General Education Core Curriculum without receiving a degree may do so at BC entirely online.

Online Environment

BC has many helpful online services available for their distance learning students, including a Virtual Campus Tour that introduces students to the online environment, online support services, and general use of the most common used online course tools. An Information Technology helpdesk is available by phone, email, or live chat. The college library has a link for live chat with a librarian. The Student Success Center also offers online tutoring. Desire2Learn’s Brightspace is the learning management system used at BC.

22

College of Central Florida

College Choice Score: 67.39

Tuition per Credit Hour: $421.88

Program Website

Overview

Since 1957 the College of Central Florida in Ocala, FL has been serving the tri-county region of Citrus, Levy, and Marion counties. CCF was founded as Central Florida Junior College. In 1966 it merged with one of the first black, two-year colleges in the state, Hampton Junior College. Five years later it changed its name to Central Florida Community College. And then in 2010, the name was changed once again to its current moniker. Through all of these changes CCF has maintained its mission to be an education resource in order to promote the economic, social and cultural development of its community.

Features

CCF offers four associate degrees entirely online. Three of those are Associate of Science (AS) degrees. The AS in Business Administration provides students with a broad understanding and solid foundation of knowledge in business, leadership and management.The AS in Early Childhood Education combines theoretical, practical and supportive courses to prepare individuals for employment in the early childhood field. The AS in Criminal Justice Technology prepares graduates for various positions in law enforcement and corrections agencies at the local, state and federal levels and for related jobs in private industry. In addition to the AS degrees, CCF also offers an online Associate of Arts degree that fulfills General Education requirements and prepares students for transfer to baccalaureate degree program.

Online Environment

CCF uses the Canvas course management system, which offers 24/7 support. E-learning is the fastest growing of academia at CCF. They have established an E-Learning Help Desk that can assist online students with general e-learning information such as technology and course structure.

23

Essex County College

College Choice Score: 66.49

Tuition per Credit Hour: $279

Program Website

Overview

Essex County College’s main campus is located in the heart of University Heights in Newark, New Jersey. Additionally, the West Essex campus located in West Caldwell, New Jersey meets the educational and training needs of people who live and work in the western part of Essex County. Essex County College (ECC) is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education is licensed by the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education to operate and award associate degrees and certificates. Established in 1966 and opening its doors in 1968, ECC has been an open-door public community college committed to providing quality educational programs and life-long learning activities at the most affordable cost in Essex County for nearly 50 years.

Features

At ECC students can earn an Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts or an Associate of Science in Business Administration fully online. The AA in Liberal Arts program provides a broad foundation in languages and literature, the social sciences, humanities, mathematics, and the sciences. The AS in Business Administration program builds the students’ knowledge of general business principles and provides them with management skills that are applicable in a wide variety of settings. The major is best suited for the student who wishes to pursue, upon completing an the degree, a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.

Online Environment

Moodle is the Learning Management System of choice at ECC. Tutoring is available online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Subject areas include: Accounting, Biology, Business, Chemistry, Computer Information Systems, Economics, English (all levels), Finance, Humanities, Math (all levels), Nursing/Allied Health, Paralegal Services, Physics, Social Sciences, and World Languages. Students can also apply for admission, financial aid, search class schedules, register for a class, add/drop a class, or even check grades online at any time.

24

Northwest Florida State College

College Choice Score: 65.57

Tuition per Credit Hour: $398.02

Program Website

Overview

Northwest Florida State College (NWFSC) began in 1963 as Okaloosa-Walton Junior College, with its campus in Valparaiso, Florida. In 1969 the school moved to a permanent location in Niceville. In 2008 the school changed to its current name to reflect its new status granted by the Florida College Pilot Project and to better reflect the wider region it serves. Still today it’s primary contribution to the region is as a college for the community, with vocational and career training, as well as a wide array of associate degree programs, including several available fully online.

Features

NWFSC offers an Associate of Arts (AA) degree that provides students with a pathway to upper-division universities and prepares students to further their education as juniors at four-year institutions. Graduates are guaranteed the opportunity to enroll in Florida’s state universities, and can even take advantage of articulation agreements with institutions nationwide. There are eight AA transfer majors at NWFSC: Social Work, Psychology, Information Technology, Criminal Justice Studies, Computer Information Science, General Business, Business Administration, and Accounting.

Online Environment

Using the Desire2Learn (D2L) Brightspace learning management system, NWFSC makes online learning accessible and as issue-free as possible, beginning with the very helpful online orientation to their Online Campus website and D2L. In addition to technical assistance with D2L, students will find online resources such as an Academic Success Center, Admissions, Advising, Bookstore, Career Center, and many more support services.

25

Trinidad State Junior College

College Choice Score: 63.75

Tuition per Credit Hour: $368.90

Program Website

Overview

Established in 1925, Trinidad State Junior College was the first community college in Colorado. It is one of the 13 public community colleges in the Colorado Community College System. With campuses in Trinidad and Alamosa, Colorado, the school provides an affordable and accessible education to students in southern Colorado and beyond.

Features

TSJC offers just one associate degree online. The Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Occupational Safety and Health Technology is taught entirely online by Trinidad State instructors. In addition to the one online degree, TSJC students can pick up a wide variety of classes without ever leaving their home. From Accounting to Sociology, more than a hundred courses are offered online. Some classes are taught by instructors employed by the Colorado Community College System (CCCOnline); others are taught online by Trinidad State instructors.

Online Environment

Students wanting to complete the AAS degree will take many courses via TSJC Online, while the remaining general education courses required for the degree will be taken through CCCOnline. Students, however, may register for both TSJC Online and CCCOnline courses through Trinidad State. Many resources are available to online students through CCCOnline, including library services and a bookstore. Students also have available to them the many services at TSJC, several of which have online access.

26

Florida SouthWestern State College

College Choice Score: 62.86

Tuition per Credit Hour: $432.63

Program Website

Overview

Florida SouthWestern State College (FSW) was founded in 1962 and originally named after Thomas Edison as Edison Junior College. After several name changes over the years, in 2014 the name was changed to reflect the wide region the school serves. With its main campus in Fort Myers in Lee County, and satellite campuses in Charlotte and Collier counties, FSW is an integral institution in the southwest part of the state.

Features

There are six associate degrees available at FSW as fully online programs. The Associate of Arts degree provides general education courses and establishes a foundation for lifelong learning. Within the School of Business and Technology students can obtain Associate of Science degrees in Business Administration and Management, Accounting Technology, and Criminal Justice. An Associate of Science in Early Childhood Education is available through the School of Education. Finally, in the School of Health Professions, a student can earn an Associate of Science in Social and Human Services.

Online Environment

Instructure’s Canvas system serves as the online course management system at FSW. Offering several resources and technical assistance, Canvas itself helps students ready themselves for educational success. But FSW also provides several academic services to its online students. It has online resources in Adaptive Services, Counseling, Exam Proctoring, Tutoring, and Writing Resources. There is also an IT HelpDesk at FSW.

27

Indian River State College

College Choice Score: 62.26

Tuition per Credit Hour: $390.49

Program Website

Overview

The history of Indian River State College (IRSC) is similar to that of many of the members of the Florida College System. IRSC began life as a junior college in 1959, changing to a community college eleven years later. In 2008 it became a state college to reflect the addition of a few bachelor degree programs. Still its emphasis is on associate degrees and technical certificates for the over 32,000 students who enroll in classes at IRSC each year. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award Associate and Baccalaureate Degrees.

Features

Four associate degrees are available at IRSC as fully online programs. The Associate of Arts (AA) degree is a good program for those students wanting to continue their education in a four-year degree program. Students obtaining an AA at IRSC are guaranteed the right to transfer to a Florida state university. For those students more interested in a degree for career development with the possibility for transferring, an Associate of Science (AS) may be the answer. At IRSC one can obtain an AS in Business Administration, Computer Information Technology, or Health Information Technology.

Online Environment

Courses within IRSC’s Virtual Campus degree programs are nationally certified through Quality Matters. They are created with a consistent format, so students can focus on learning and easily find the materials they need. Each course is designed with a personal touch by experienced IRSC faculty members.​ The courses in Virtual Campus are run through the Blackboard learning management system. Students can find Blackboard online support as well as many helpful resources in their IRSC Online Student Information Portal.

28

Daytona State College

College Choice Score: 61.33

Tuition per Credit Hour: $398.65

Program Website

Overview

Another member of the Florida College System, Daytona State College was established in 1957 as Daytona Beach Junior College. Later its name changed to Daytona Beach Community College, but in 2008 it became Daytona State College (DSC) in order to reflect its transition to a four-year institution offering workforce baccalaureate degrees. As with other state colleges in the Florida College System, the four-year degrees are minimal. The focus of DSC has been on the same three areas since its beginning: college credit, adult education, and vocational training.

Features

DSC offers four associate degrees as fully online programs. The Associate of Arts degree is a transfer program. Students spend their first two years as DSC students, taking the same courses they would take if they were a freshman or sophomore at a four-year institution. They plan their program of study around the major or career they want to pursue and the four-year institution they plan to attend. Once they graduate with the AA degree from DSC, they transfer to the four-year program and earn their bachelor’s degree. DSC also offers three full online Associate of Science degrees in various business fields: Accounting Technology, Business Administration, and Office Administration.

Online Environment

DSC first offered online courses in 1996. So for over 20 years they have been on the leading edge of online education. Their online bachelor degree programs have consistently been ranked in the annual U.S. News & World Report rankings. The quality online educational offerings recognized there carry over to the associate degree programs as well. One of the things that helps DSC gain the recognition it has is not only the quality of the courses and degree programs, but also the level of student service they provide.

29

Rockland Community College

College Choice Score: 57.40

Tuition per Credit Hour: $384

Program Website

Overview

Rockland Community College (RCC) is a part of the State University of New York. Just 25 miles northwest of New York City, RCC is the only public higher education institution in Rockland County. RCC serves as a unique and important resource for the community. Its cultural offerings attract thousands of community members, and the business community turns to RCC for workforce training and development. Most RCC graduates transfer to other colleges and universities. To facilitate the transfer process, the College has established numerous transfer agreements with private and public four-year colleges. A faculty counselor specializing in transfer is available to assist students with workshops and individual sessions.

Features

RCC eLearning offers one associate degree entirely online. The Associate of Applied Science in Business Administration provides students with a solid, broad-based foundation in business, accounting, marketing and other related areas. The program will instill an appreciation and awareness of the racial, ethnic and gender issues in today’s business world, enhance the student’s personal and professional development, and encourage active informed citizenship and leadership. The AAS is for students looking for immediate employment after graduation, or for those working in the field who want to enhance their skills, promotion opportunities, or chances for a career change.

Online Environment

RCC eLearning now utilizes Blackboard Learn for its online classroom experience for students and faculty. In addition to the support provided by Blackboard, the school provides academic and technical support to ensure that students succeed with their online courses. A select number of eLearning courses have a flexible enrollment policy. Students can register for these courses any time during the first 12 weeks of the semester and complete the course within 15 weeks of registration.

30

West Kentucky Community and Technical College

College Choice Score: 56.22

Tuition per Credit Hour: $546

Program Website

Overview

Formed in 2003 with the consolidation of Paducah Community College and West Kentucky Technical College, West Kentucky Community and Technical College (WKCTC) is one of sixteen two-year, open-admissions colleges of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. WKCTC is located in the beautiful river city of Paducah and services ten counties in the region. The school is regularly recognized for providing students with strong job training and continuing higher education opportunity, for achieving high completion and transfer rates, and for providing strong employment results for its graduates.

Features

WKCTC offers eight associate degrees available fully online. For a pre-baccalaureate degree students can choose between the curriculum for an Associate in Art or an Associate in Science. For degrees that lead more directly into career options WKCTC has five Associate of Applied Science degree programs: Business Administration Systems, Computer Aided Drafting and Design, Criminal Justice, Logistics and Operations Management, Marine Technology, and Medical Information Technology.

Online Environment

All of WKCTC’s associate degrees, except the AAS in Criminal Justice, can be taken either in the Learn by Term or Lean on Demand format. The Criminal Justice degree is only available as a Learn by Term program. Learn by Term offers typical semester-long courses online. Learn by Demand is a revolutionary online education format. Learn on Demand courses are self-paced courses that are 6-15-weeks long for Fall and Spring semesters, and 6-10 weeks long for the Summer semester.

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