Best Online Colleges 2013 Edition

Looking for the very best in online education? In our most comprehensive ranking ever, we have rated the top 133 online schools in America. Our annual ranking of top online colleges is a comprehensive comparison of the strengths and benefits of each university program.

The eight metrics included in our ranking are net price of attendance, acceptance rate, student-to-faculty ratios, percentage receiving grants or scholarship aid, percentage receiving federal student loans, retention rates, graduation rates, and cohort default rates.

To be included in our rankings, schools must offer multiple 4-year online bachelor’s degree programs, be currently accredited, and be included on the U.S. Department of Education College Navigator site. Good luck, we’ll see you in class!

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Best Online Colleges of 2013

Rank University Location Student Population Score
1Florida4958999

School Type: 4-Year, Public
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 20 to 1
Average Net Price: $11,579
% Receiving Grant or Scholarship: 91%
% Receiving Federal Student Loans: 30%
Acceptance Rate: 43%
Retention Rate: 84%
Cohort Default Rate: 3.0%
Learn more about University of Florida

2Oregon172797

School Type: 4-year, Private not-for-profit
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 12
Average Net Price: $22,482
% Receiving Grant or Scholarship: 89%
% Receiving Federal Student Loans: 80%
Acceptance Rate: 76%
Retention Rate: 84%
Cohort Default Rate: 2.4000%

3New York630396

School Type: 4-year, Private not-for-profit
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 15
Average Net Price: $31,073
% Receiving Grant or Scholarship: 84%
% Receiving Federal Student Loans: 61%
Acceptance Rate: 34%
Retention Rate: 92%
Cohort Default Rate: 1.6000%

4Pennsylvania4562895

School Type: 4-year, Public
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 17
Average Net Price: $21,342
% Receiving Grant or Scholarship: 72%
% Receiving Federal Student Loans: 55%
Acceptance Rate: 55%
Retention Rate: 92%
Cohort Default Rate: 6.10%

5Indiana126093

School Type: 4-year, Private not-for-profit
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 14
Average Net Price: $16,290
% Receiving Grant or Scholarship: 90%
% Receiving Federal Student Loans: 68%
Acceptance Rate: 88%
Retention Rate: 80%
Cohort Default Rate: 3.50%

6Pennsylvania283093

School Type: 4-year, Private not-for-profit
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 12
Average Net Price: $21,720
% Receiving Grant or Scholarship: 80%
% Receiving Federal Student Loans: 71%
Acceptance Rate: 57%
Retention Rate: 86%
Cohort Default Rate: 4.50%

7D.C.2526093

School Type: 4-year, Private not-for-profit
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 14
Average Net Price: $27,793
% Receiving Grant or Scholarship: 59%
% Receiving Federal Student Loans: 40%
Acceptance Rate: 32%
Retention Rate: 94%
Cohort Default Rate: 1.50%
Learn more about George Washington University

8North Carolina1734492

School Type: 4-year, Public
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 17
Average Net Price: $8710
% Receiving Grant or Scholarship: 49%
% Receiving Federal Student Loans: 44%
Acceptance Rate: 68%
Retention Rate: 88%
Cohort Default Rate: 3.0%

9Georgia1164691

School Type: 4-year, Public
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 20
Average Net Price: $9,414
% Receiving Grant or Scholarship: 69%
% Receiving Federal Student Loans: 59%
Acceptance Rate: 65%
Retention Rate: 74%
Cohort Default Rate: 8.31%

10Missouri3376291

School Type: 4-year, Public
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 20
Average Net Price: $15,759
% Receiving Grant or Scholarship: 61%
% Receiving Federal Student Loans: 51%
Acceptance Rate: 81%
Retention Rate: 85%
Cohort Default Rate: 3.90%

11Multiple2695991

School Type: 4-year, Private not-for-profit
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 13
Average Net Price: $32,493
% Receiving Grant or Scholarship: 67%
% Receiving Federal Student Loans: 48%
Acceptance Rate: 35%
Retention Rate: 95%
Cohort Default Rate: 3.50%

12Vermont345090

School Type: 4-year, Private not-for-profit
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 14
Average Net Price: $22,552
% Receiving Grant or Scholarship: 97%
% Receiving Federal Student Loans: 68%
Acceptance Rate: 66%
Retention Rate: 77%
Cohort Default Rate: 4.40%
Learn more about Norwich University

13California294390

School Type: 4-year, Private not-for-profit
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 13
Average Net Price: $24,478
% Receiving Grant or Scholarship: 83%
% Receiving Federal Student Loans: 89%
Acceptance Rate: 68%
Retention Rate: 83%
Cohort Default Rate: 4.40%

14Massachusetts609290

School Type: 4-year, Public
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 18
Average Net Price: $12,163
% Receiving Grant or Scholarship: 50%
% Receiving Federal Student Loans: 63%
Acceptance Rate: 61%
Retention Rate: 80%
Cohort Default Rate: 4.70%

15Illinois1117890

School Type: 4-year, Public
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 15
Average Net Price: $13,702
% Receiving Grant or Scholarship: 54%
% Receiving Federal Student Loans: 65%
Acceptance Rate: 68%
Retention Rate: 79%
Cohort Default Rate: 4.80%

16Florida111389

School Type: 4 year, Private not-for-profit
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 7
Average Net Price: $13,949
% Receiving Grant or Scholarship: 85%
% Receiving Federal Student Loans: 84%
Acceptance Rate: 86%
Retention Rate: 70%
Cohort Default Rate: 12.80%
Learn more about Everglades University

17Iowa232089

School Type: 4 year, Private not-for-profit
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 15
Average Net Price: $12,997
% Receiving Grant or Scholarship: 78%
% Receiving Federal Student Loans: 66%
Acceptance Rate: 50%
Retention Rate: 68%
Cohort Default Rate: 5.70%

18Pennsylvania901189

School Type: 4 year, Private not-for-profit
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 13
Average Net Price: $34,856
% Receiving Grant or Scholarship: 86%
% Receiving Federal Student Loans: 51%
Acceptance Rate: 78%
Retention Rate: 89%
Cohort Default Rate: 3.50%
Learn more about St. Joseph’s University

19Colorado1179789

School Type: 4 year, Private not-for-profit
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 12
Average Net Price: $31,244
% Receiving Grant or Scholarship: 77%
% Receiving Federal Student Loans: 41%
Acceptance Rate: 68%
Retention Rate: 89%
Cohort Default Rate: 4.10%

20Indiana2214789

School Type: 4-year, Public
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 18
Average Net Price: $12,168
% Receiving Grant or Scholarship: 60%
% Receiving Federal Student Loans: 57%
Acceptance Rate: 68%
Retention Rate: 79%
Cohort Default Rate: 5.40%

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Looking for last year’s results? – Best Online Colleges of 2012.

Ranking Methodology


Interested in the math behind our rankings? Here at www.degreejungle.com we have chosen to rely on tangible, publically accessible metrics for ranking colleges. No mysterious or subjective metrics like reputation or teaching quality are used. Instead we use information reported to the Department of Education and weighed eight such metrics by what we felt were most important to least important.

Metrics with the highest weights into the final score for each university include: average net price, graduation rates, and loan default rates. In other words, we value affordability, ability to retain students through graduation, and preparing students for rewarding careers. Lower weights are applied to the metrics: % of students receiving grants, scholarships, and Federal aid, acceptance rates, retention rates, and student-to-faculty ratio. We think these metrics are important too, however, selectivity, small class sizes may not be important to students choosing a degree online. Grants and scholarships are always helpful as well, but average net price takes this into account when determinining the true average price for students. Average net price subtracts the average amount of grants or scholoarship aid from the total cost of attendance. The total cost of attendance is the sum of published tuition and required fees, books and supplies, and the weighted average for room and board and other expenses.

In cases where universities have multiple campuses, we tried to use a representative location to collect data for. As each location has different graduation rates, the graduation rate was thrown out and replaced with the average graduation rate across all universities in our ranking. This prevents universities from being rewarded or penalized when a true graduation rate across locations could not be established. Additionally some graduation rates were through out when based on a statistically inadequate sample.

Write to us


Did you find an error, want to make sure your college is included in the 2014 edition, or have comments or suggestions? Send us an email at rankings (at) www.degreejungle.com.

Colleges and universities who qualified for the list: Congrats! Feel free to use the Best Online Colleges 2013 badge above in your marketing efforts. We only ask that you link back to these rankings. Please write us above if you need the badge in other formats.