Not only does Nebraska have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, it's home to some of the most accommodating colleges.
The flexibility online degrees offer makes online college a popular option for the ever-expanding population of students with busy schedules.
In 2014, the number of students in the United States enrolled in online courses was a whopping 5.8 million according to the U.S. News & World Report. The cost efficiency, convenience, and quality of an online education make it an option that's hard to beat.
Whether you are looking to take classes fully or partially online (hybrid), these colleges in Nebraska are top contenders with an ample selection of both undergraduate and graduate programs to select from. Nebraska is a particularly appealing option for those who are already living in the state, as many colleges extend in-state tuition for regional distance-learners.
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What are the best online colleges in Nebraska?
Nebraska has all kinds of colleges -- liberal arts, non-profit, state, land-grant, the list goes on. Despite their size and style differences, however, all of this institutions share a common goal of providing the best academic environment possible for their students, equipping them with an applicable, valuable education by quality instructors. Looking at data from PayScale, individual college websites, U.S. News & World Report, and the National Center for Education Statistics’ IPEDS database, we carefully rank colleges by considering their reputations, weighting student reviews, examining their return on investment by measuring data such as post-graduation indebtedness and salaries of graduates, and more.
See our rankings methodology page.
Creighton University is a Jesuit, Catholic institution located in Omaha, Nebraska, that serves more than 8,000 students. It is a member of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. The private university was established in 1978 with 120 students and today operates 9 colleges.
Creighton University offers 28 total bachelor’s and graduate programs, including a multitude of doctorate degrees. The university also offers an online master’s degree in ministry and all of the programs are taught with a Catholic foundation. Popular undergraduate online programs include:
- Leadership (B.S.)
- Medical Anthropology (M.A)
- Health Care Ethics (M.S.)
- Occupational Therapy (Ph.D.)
Creighton University values community service and boasts more than 1.25 million volunteer hours annually. Creighton also consistently ranks #1 in Regional Universities Midwest by U.S. News & World Report.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Located in Lincoln, Nebraska, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln first opened its doors in 1869. The public research institution is part of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. Today, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has more than 25,000 students including on-campus and distance-learners.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln offers over 50 total online programs, of which 26 are master’s degrees. The school is particularly known for its online engineering graduate program. The following are popular online degrees:
- Early Childhood Education in a Mobile Society (B.S.)
- Interior Design (M.S.)
- Applied Science (B.A.S.)
- Higher Education Administration (M.A.)
The university is listed on multiple U.S. News & World Report rankings for their online programs, including “Best Online Bachelor’s Programs” and “Best Online MBA Programs.” It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
University of Nebraska at Kearney
First founded as a normal school, the University of Nebraska Kearney is located in Kearney, Nebraska. Today, the campus spans 514 acres and educates more than 7,000 students. It is one of several public institutions in the University of Nebraska System.
The online programs at the University of Nebraska Kearney utilize the Blackboard interface to provide an interactive learning environment for distance-learners through discussion boards, chats, and more. Most of the master’s programs available online specialize in education. Popular bachelor’s degrees available online include:
- Sociology (B.S.)
- Criminal Justice (B.S.)
- Social Work (B.S.)
- Business Administration (B.S.)
In-state tuition is about half the cost of out-of-state, an appealing choice for those who currently live in Nebraska but are unable to be physically present on campus. The university is #12 on U.S News & World Report’s ranking of Top Public Schools within the Midwest.
University of Nebraska at Omaha
Established in 1908, the University of Nebraska at Omaha became part of the University of Nebraska System in 1968. Today, it is a public institution located in Omaha and serves more than 15,000 students.
The university landed the #2 spot in U.S. News & World Report for their master’s program in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Additionally, the school is known for being military friendly. It also provides the opportunity for students to design their own major through the Bachelor of General Studies with over 10 online areas of study to choose from. Other popular programs include:
- Criminology & Criminal Justice (B.S.)
- Library Science (B.S.Ed.)
- Sociology (B.A.)
- Management Information Systems (B.S.)
This university provides a large boost to Nebraska’s economy. The University of Nebraska Omaha has a large emphasis on community engagement and philanthropy and is the only university in Nebraska to receive the Presidential Award for their volunteer service. It is also home to the largest community engagement library in the world.
Concordia University Nebraska is a private school located in the small city of Seward. It was founded in 1894 and remains affiliated with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. The university is part of a larger Concordia University System.
Concordia specializes their online programs for master’s degrees, offering more than 25 programs with hybrid options available. These include:
- Nonprofit Management (M.B.A)
- Population Health (M.H.A)
- Human Resources Management (M.B.A.)
The only Nebraskan college to earn the Christian College of Distinction, Concordia University Nebraska describes itself as a “Christ-centered community.” It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, along with various other area-specific accreditations.
Opened in 1888 as Nebraska’s first nursing school, Clarkson College is a private institute located in Omaha. The non-profit college has a total student body of 1,200 students.
Clarkson College specializes in health care education. It has offered online education since 1998. The following are a handful of the fully-online degrees available:
- Health Care Business Management (B.S.)
- Health Care Services (B.S.)
- Health Care Education & Leadership (Ed.D.)
- Health Information Administration (B.S.)
Clarkson College now uses Canvas for online courses, an extremely user-friendly system. Its nursing program is notably ranked as the best nursing program in Nebraska by U.S. News & World Report.
Chadron State College is a public university with a campus located in the rural city of Chadron, Nebraska. One of the colleges within the Nebraska State College System, it was founded in 1911 and serves over 2,900 students.
The college offers several accelerated, 8-week online courses for students looking to speed up their degree attainment. Both undergraduate and graduate programs are available for online students, and hybrid options are also offered. Popular online bachelor’s degrees include:
- Psychology (B.A.)
- Mathematics (B.S.)
- Business Administration (B.A.)
- Geoscience (B.S.)
Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, Chadron State College is known for its affordability and offers a flat-rate for all online students, regardless of where they are located.
Bellevue University is a private, non-profit school founded in 1966. Located in Bellevue, Nebraska, it serves as the main campus between its 12 campuses throughout Nebraska, Iowa, and South Dakota.
Bellevue University is an excellent choice for transfer students, who can build on the credits they earned for their associate’s degree. The school also offers free, non-credit open online courses (MOOCs), as well as online bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degree programs. These
- Child Protection and Juvenile Justice (B.S.)
- Non-Profit Management (B.S)
- Clinical Counseling (M.S.)
- Human Capital Management (Ph.D.)
The school utilizes rolling admission and has a 100% acceptance rate. Bellevue University is also known for being military friendly.
Peru State College was founded in 1867 as Nebraska’s first college, and is known as the “Campus of a Thousand Oaks.” The public college provides a liberal arts academic environment and serves over 2,500 students both online and on its 104-acre campus in Peru, Nebraska.
Peru State College offers a total of 10 online degree programs, the majority of which are under business administration. Many fast-track 8-week courses are available each semester. The following are popular degree programs available:
- Marketing (B.A.)
- Justice Administration (B.S.)
- Education (M.S.Ed)
- Psychology (B.S.)
Applying to Peru State College is free, and prospective students can also try out the online learning experience though Peru State College. This allows them to view how courses are administered through Blackboard.