Adult education offerings for those nontraditional students looking to start or continue their academic careers include online courses, an active veterans office, night classes, accelerated programs and more. With more and more adult students entering and continuing college, it’s important that colleges and universities recognize that many of these older students are balancing full-time jobs, families and more.
Luckily, there are plenty of top ranking colleges and universities out there that put in the extra effort to accommodate adult and military students. Many of these online colleges come with affordable tuitions as well; a majority of the schools on this list cost less than $15,000.
The National Center for Education Statistics defined nontraditional undergraduates as students who delayed enrollment in postsecondary education by at least one year; have dependents other than a spouse, are single parents, work full time while enrolled or are financially independent from parents; and who received a GED or other nonstandard high school certificate of completion. According to NCES’ most current Digest of Education Statistics, the total fall enrollment of students 25 and older has been rising since 2015 and is projected to continue to do so through 2025.
We sourced information from the National Center for Education Statistics’ College Navigator Database, U.S. News & World Report, Wikipedia, the individual schools’ websites and other college resource websites listed at the end of this article.
We developed this ranking by starting with a list of 100 colleges and universities with the highest percentage of students over the age of 25, as reported by U.S. News & World Report in the 2015-2016 academic year. We want to find the best value for our readers, so we narrowed that list down to the 50 cheapest colleges, and we ranked it using the point system below.
The point system we used in our ranking works as follows:
- Affordability: Net Cost less than $10,000 (2 points), less than $15,000 (1 point)
- Bachelor’s Degree Programs: More than 25 available programs (2 points)
- Online Degree Programs: More than 10 online degree programs offered (2 points); any academic programs offered online (1 point)
- Graduate Study Availability: Graduate programs aligned with its undergraduate majors available (1 point); online graduate degree programs (2 points)
- Additional Programs/Services Beneficial to Nontraditional Students: 1 point per program
- Student-Faculty Ratio: Fewer than 15 students per teacher (2 points)
- Student Retention: First-time student retention rates, as reported by College Navigator, above 75% (1 point) and 90% and above (2 points)
- Academic Awards and Recognition: International accolade (2 points), national accolade (1 point)
When two or more schools earned the same number of points, their rank order was determined by the schools’ affordability. The schools with lower net costs received the better ranking (lower net cost = lower number).
50. Huston-Tillotson University
Points Awarded: 4
Net Cost: $17,088
Huston-Tillotson University is a private historically black university affiliated with the United Methodist Church, the United Church of Christ and the United Negro College Fund. This university offers four-year degrees in business, education, the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, science and technology, as well as alternative teacher certification and academic programs for undergraduates interested in pursuing post-graduate degrees in law and medicine. HTU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and operates jointly under the auspices of the American Missionary Association of the United Church of Christ and the Board of Education of The United Methodist Church.
HTU is a small college with enrollment around 1,000 and a 14:1 student-faculty ratio. Through the Adult Degree Program, older students can take one course at a time in an accelerated format to graduate faster than expected. There are six nontraditional degree programs in areas like education, business administration and psychology. HTU does offer one graduate degree program in educational leadership.
49. Calumet College of Saint Joseph
Points Awarded: 5
Net Cost: $11,218
Calumet College of Saint Joseph is a private college affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church through the Missionaries of the Precious Blood. This small, family-oriented college offers master’s, bachelor’s and associate degree programs with full-time, part-time and evening class options. CCSJ has no out-of-state tuition differential, and it is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and other specialized accrediting agencies.
The School of Adult Learning at CCSJ offers degree completion programs designed to meet the educational needs of working adults with a non-traditional deliverance format. Adult students with two years of transferrable college credit have the opportunity to complete their degree in just 12 to 24 months, depending on the program. All of these online degree completion programs feature up to 35 percent of tuition coverage through scholarships, credit awarded for work experience and training, small learning groups, multiple locations and more than one financial aid option. This format consists of twice weekly four-hour meetings and a comprehensive curriculum of 14 modules.
48. North Carolina Wesleyan College
Rocky Mount, NC
Points Awarded: 5
Net Cost: $16,584
Founded by the Methodist Church, North Carolina Wesleyan College is a private four-year coeducational, liberal arts college with its main campus in Rocky Mount and 13 other satellite campuses for adult students within the state. Traditional and working adult students can choose a degree program from among six areas of study: Business, Education & Social Science, Mathematics & Sciences, Humanities, Liberal Studies, and Pre-Professional.
The Office of Adult and Professional Studies at NC Wesleyan offers nine baccalaureate degree programs designed to meet the educational needs of adult learners. Students are able to tailor their degree to their interests and choose from 5-week, 8-week, hybrid and online class formats through the ASPIRE program. Most of the school’s professional development courses are completely online, covering topics like human resources, IT certifications and business. All veterans and active duty Military students will receive a 10 percent discount on tuition, in addition to other available benefits.
47. Northeastern Illinois University
Points Awarded: 6
Net Cost: $15,413
Founded in 1867, Northeastern Illinois University is a public state university that serves 10,000 students in the region and is a federally designated Hispanic Serving Institution. The university offers more than 80 undergraduate and graduate programs in the arts, sciences, education and business, as well as four additional campus locations in the metropolitan area. NIU has regional accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges.
NIU offers a number of programs that support adult education, like University Without Walls, a competency-based degree program that leads to a BA or BS and offers individualized curriculum, self-directed programming, alternatives to traditional classrooms and involvement with university faculty. Another program is the Weekend Institute for Professional Development, which provides undergraduate adult students with course offerings on Friday evenings as well as Saturday mornings and afternoons at three different sites. The Office of Community and Professional Education (CAPE) offers non-credit classes and workshops to working adults in the community. Distance education, online, videoconferencing and hybrid courses are available to those who can’t come to campus.
46. Central Christian College of Kansas
Points Awarded: 6
Net Cost: $14,814
Central Christian College of Kansas is an evangelical Christian college affiliated with the Free Methodist Church, offering four-year and career entry programs in business, ministry and liberal studies leading to bachelor’s and associate degrees. Central Christian offers 40 areas of study, including an evening organizational leadership degree program and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Military Advanced Education & Transition (MAE&T) has named Central Christian a top school in its 2016 guide to colleges and universities for military and veteran education because of the school’s military culture, financial aid, flexibility, general support, on-campus support and online support services. The seven online degree programs and online courses at Central are offered through a highly collaborative course delivery system that students can work through at any time convenient for them. This college also includes E-textbooks with the online students’ tuition.
45. CUNY York College
York College of The City University of New York is one of 11 senior colleges in the CUNY system that has a 50-acre campus. With over 65 bachelor’s degree and related certificate programs available, students can earn degrees in subjects that range from anthropology and music childhood education to biotechnology and clinical laboratory science. All of CUNY’s campuses are accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, and all of the degree programs are registered with the New York State Department of Education.
While 74 percent of full-time students returned to school after one year, the university’s part-time students have a retention rate of 85 percent. Through its Continuing & Professional Education, York College aims to meet the educational needs of both working and non-working adults who wish to pursue a variety of non-credit course offerings in a college setting through on-campus services like the Learning Center, Lifelong Learning Program and the Small Business Development Center.
44. Eastern Oregon University
La Grande, OR
Points Awarded: 7
Net Cost: $14,929
Founded in 1929, Eastern Oregon University is one of seven state-funded, four-year universities, offering bachelor’s and master’s degree programs both on campus and online. This school enrolls 3,176 students, and more than half take at least one class through flexible delivery, including online and onsite courses. EOU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
Great Value Colleges has recognized EOU for its online degree programs in previous years, and other sources, like Military Times, have ranked the school for being accessible to veterans and adult students. EOU Online students have access to personal advisors, affordable tuition and quality degrees in subjects like physical activity and health, emergency medical services administration and business. The average class size is 25 students, and about 91 percent of the student population receives some financial aid. The Continuing Education office aids adults in completing their GED, and the secondary Gresham campus offers a live classroom setting primarily designed to meet the needs of adult learners and transfer students residing in the Portland metropolitan area.
43. SUNY Empire State College
Saratoga Springs, NY
Points Awarded: 7
Net Cost: $13,442
SUNY Empire State College, one of the 13 arts and science colleges of the State University of New York, offering degrees that can be tailored to meet individual education, career and personal goals, transfer-friendly policies and extensive support through MyESC. The college has partnerships with organized labor, all branches of the military and the private and nonprofit sectors. ESC is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, and the college serves mostly working adults at its 35 locations in New York, abroad and online.
The Center for Distance Learning at ESC offers 12 areas of study in which adult students can opt to take a single course or earn their entire degree online. This college has been working with students at a distance since 1971, and offers more than 400 instructor-led online courses today. For those adult learners looking to simply update skills, chart a career path or discover a new talent, the CDL offers 250+ noncredit online courses in subjects like creating web pages, introduction to project management and marketing for small business. Out of the school’s total enrollment, 83 percent of students are 25 and older.
42. Wilmington University
New Castle, DE
Points Awarded: 7
Net Cost: $12,980
Wilmington University is a private, non-profit doctoral research institution that offers undergraduate and graduate-level degree programs online and throughout Delaware, New Jersey and Maryland. Of the more than 18,000 students enrolled at WilmU, 65 percent are over the age of 25. About 41 percent of students at WilmU are enrolled online. The University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
WilmU has over 90 degrees, concentrations and certificates available completely online, from a BS in computer network security to an MEd in school leadership. The College of Online & Experiential learning also assesses prior learning to provide additional pathways or credit for degree completion. Online adult students have access to the same advising, tutoring, library resources and other services available as those who attend class on campus. At the Student Success Center, students can access tutoring, workshops and seminars, writing and math resources and more. Featured professional development opportunities include student leadership workshops, work-study employment, professional organizations and more.
41. Bismarck State College
Points Awarded: 7
Net Cost: $9,332
Bismarck State College is the third-largest college in the North Dakota University System with approximately 3,781 students and an average class size of 16 students. Not only is the college’s tuition low, but the BSC Foundation offers about $500,000 in scholarships annually. Bismarck is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and several of its programs are accredited by specialized organizations.
Bismarck has just one fully-online four-year degree program available, but it is the only BAS in energy management in the nation. The school also offers career and technical programs, liberal arts transfer programs and a variety of occupational programs in the energy career field. Additionally, students can access a variety of personal and professional courses with flexible schedules through the Office of Continuing Education. Course examples include cooking, accounting/finance and innovation.
40. Bluefield State College
Points Awarded: 7
Net Cost: $8,531
Bluefield State College is one of the most affordable schools in West Virginia and the only non-residential four-year college in the state system. Bluefield State offers baccalaureate and associate degrees in subjects like civil engineering technology, imaging science and early/middle education. Out of the part-time students enrolled at this college, 100 percent of them return after the first year, according to the NCES. Bluefield is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Bluefield offers 16 bachelor’s degree programs and aims “to work with students in nontraditional ways” when it comes to making these programs accessible to those who are balancing too much to make it to the physical campus. The college offers online classes in addition to its Regents BA degree program, which is “designed specifically for adult students looking to earn a baccalaureate degree.” The fully-online degree program does not require a major or minor, but students can “earn an interest” in a specific field like psychology, business and criminal justice.
39. Indiana University East
Points Awarded: 7
Net Cost: $8,453
Indiana University East is a premier four-year and master’s public institution and the regional campus in the Indiana University system. Offering over 50 academic programs and more than 800 courses, IUE is the region’s leader in baccalaureate and master’s degree programs. IU East is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (HLC).
Twelve out of the 50 areas of study are available as online degree completion programs, which are identical to those received from any campus of Indiana University. There are about 20 students per class on average, and tuition is more than 20 percent less than the national average. Financial aid at this campus totals about $23 million per year, and “Military @ IU East” provides support services to active duty and veteran students like help with applying to the university, covering tuition and completing an on-campus or online degree.
38. New Jersey City University
Jersey City, NJ
Points Awarded: 7
Net Cost: $7,753
New Jersey City University is a public university and a member of the New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities. NJCU offers 43 undergraduate, 27 graduate and two doctoral programs. It has an enrollment of almost 5,000 full-time and about 1,500 part-time undergraduate students. Of those undergraduates, an estimated 76 percent receive financial aid, and the average age is 25. This university is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and seven other accrediting agencies.
NJCU has at least one master’s degree program within each of its four colleges and schools so that students can continue their academic careers through the graduate level. The Continuing Education program allows those students following a nontraditional course of study to grow existing professional and personal skills through flexible courses and certification programs that have more than one start date throughout the year. Some examples of these courses include Adult Skills & Enrichment, American English Program and Career Development. Over 1,000 online courses are available from online test prep to 18-month self-paced instruction in fields like allied health, computer, business, accounting and more.
37. University of North Texas at Dallas
Points Awarded: 7
Net Cost: $4,745
The University of North Texas at Dallas is a state university and the only regionally accredited, public university in the City of Dallas. With a Fall 2016 enrollment of over 3,000 students, this university has a variety of first-time freshmen, transfer students, veterans and graduate students. UNT Dallas offers 22 undergraduate, 8 graduate programs and 1 professional degree. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
UNT Dallas offers 27 different on-campus degree programs, including logistics & supply chain management, information technology, biology and accounting. While UNT Dallas doesn’t offer full online programs, the school has hybrid and online courses through its Office of Distance Learning and Instructional Technology. The eCampus has 222 sections of 167 different online or hybrid courses, as of the Spring 2016 semester. The school is also in the process of using these courses to develop fully-online degree programs. This university also has an Adult Admission Program where adult students eligible for this program may be accepted without the required SAT or ACT test scores.
36. Grace Bible College
Points Awarded: 8
Net Cost: $12,889
Grace Bible College is an evangelical Christian college that offers a wide variety of on-campus, online, adult and graduate degree programs at an affordable price. Founded in 1939, GBC has earned recognition for its affordable tuition, enrollment growth, online programs and as a top Christian college. GBC is dually accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and by the Commission on Accreditation of the Association for Biblical Higher Education.
More than half of those 1,000 enrolled at GBC are considered nontraditional students, and the student-faculty ratio is 13:1. The Graduate Studies Program at Grace offers master’s degrees in a 100 percent online format. There are also associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in an accelerated degree program format designed for busy adults. Evening classes are available at the Grand Rapids campus, and students can choose from three different online baccalaureate programs and three online associate degree programs. GBC offers college credit for qualified military training and/or experience, specially-trained military-friendly counselors and military tuition assistance, earning the school a spot on Military Friendly’s 2016 list of top schools. Grace has been recognized as having quality online degree programs with an affordable tuition by sources like Best Colleges.
35. University of Michigan-Flint
Points Awarded: 8
Net Cost: $12,175
Founded in 1956, the University of Michigan-Flint is a public university and one of the two University of Michigan satellite campuses. This university enrolls just over 8,500 students and has a 15:1 student-faculty ratio. It practices the “engaged learning” teaching style so students gain hands-on experience in their degree field. UM-Flint is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
The Office of Extended Learning has online degrees and programs, off-campus programs as well as courses and noncredit professional development programs. Students can work toward earning their UM-Flint degree at five different college campuses around Michigan, depending on the program. This university offers services beneficial to adult students like childcare, a Veterans Resource Center, and two new academic support groups that began during Fall 2016. Developed by the Women’s Educational Center, one group is for non-traditional students and the other is specifically for students who are parents. These groups meet twice monthly and aim to increase retention and graduation rates, and provide students with an additional network.
34. University of Houston-Clear Lake
Points Awarded: 8
Net Cost: $11,995
Since opening its doors in 1974, the University of Houston-Clear Lake has awarded more than 62,000 degrees and offers over 80 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. UHCL enrolls more than 8,600, with a student-faculty ratio of 16:1. The university has partnerships with businesses, organizations, schools and individuals in the region and is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
UHCL offers a variety of off-campus undergraduate and graduate degree programs that are accessible at four campuses in addition to UH-Clear Lake: UHCL Pearland, Texas Medical Center, Alief/Taylor High School and Fort Bend ISD. All students are entitled to an academic advisor who they can interact with face-to-face, via email, chat or the phone. Off-campus and online students are also able to access student resources like online tutoring, an online bookstore, online course support, disability services and virtual library services. This university holds multiple distinctions for its teacher education. The Continuing Education program offers services like weekly CE presentations, a foreign language and English enhancement program. The Center for Executive Education enables adult students to advance their careers with courses and seminars designed for working professionals.
33. Tennessee Wesleyan University
Points Awarded: 8
Net Cost: $10,754
Founded in 1857, Tennessee Wesleyan University is a small university affiliated with the Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church. This university has an enrollment of more than 1,100, over 30 undergraduate majors and a 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Tennessee Wesleyan is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Its program has been approved by the Tennessee State Board of Education and the University Senate of the United Methodist Church.
About 65 percent of TWU’s student population is over the age of 25. U.S. News & World Report ranked TWU among its top ten best value colleges in the south (2017), and more than 90 percent of Tennessee Wesleyan’s students received some type of financial aid. Tennessee Wesleyan’s online and adult programs include bachelor degree completion programs, two of which are 100 percent online, an online RN to BSN program and two online master’s degree programs. The Management Excellence program’s goal is to help adult students earn their degrees in as little as 16 months.
32. New Mexico Highlands University
Las Vegas, NM
Points Awarded: 8
Net Cost: $9,003
New Mexico Highlands University is a public, state-run university offering a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs in subjects like forestry, athletic training and software development. This university has a student-faculty ratio of 12:1 and a student enrollment under 2,500. NMHU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and various other specialized accrediting agencies.
NMHU has a number of E-courses, an online RN-BSN nursing degree and four online graduate degree programs for its adult students. U.S. News & World Report ranked NMHU as one of the most affordable public universities in the country. Highlands is known for its small classes of just 15 to 35 students. To make adult education more accessible, NMHU has statewide centers that offer a number of the school’s more popular programs in Rio Rancho, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Farmington and Roswell.
31. University of Alaska Anchorage
Points Awarded: 8
Net Cost: $8,159
The University of Alaska Anchorage is a major public four-year research institution and the largest university in the state, with satellite campuses in Homer, Kodiak, Soldotna, Valdez and Mat-Su. UAA is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, and many of the colleges and academic programs are individually accredited through professional licensure organizations. UAA is an open-access university with academic programs leading to: occupational endorsements; undergraduate and graduate certificates; and associate, baccalaureate and graduate degrees.
UAA has a student/faculty ratio of 11:1, over 60 undergraduate degree programs and about 30 graduate degree programs. Through eLearning at UAA, Distance Student Services acts as a liaison among students, faculty and academic departments. It provides support related to online courses and coordinates test proctoring services. The Community & Technical College is one of eight college and schools at UAA. It offers technical education degrees, certificates and skills-training programs that meet the needs of employers in the state of Alaska. Continuing Education courses are also available in industries like construction and design, automotive and information and technology.
30. College of Central Florida
Points Awarded: 8
Net Cost: $6,746
Formerly known as Central Florida Community College, the College of Central Florida is a public state college and a member institution of the Florida College System. In 2015, the U.S. Department of Education ranked CF the No. 20 most affordable college in the country. This university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
CF offers a variety of degree programs with flexible schedules for its adult learners, Some of these are available completely online, like the BAS in business and organizational management, BS in nursing, four associate degrees and 11 certificate programs. According to the school’s website, e-learning is the fastest growing area of CF academia with hundreds of online and hybrid courses available annually. Outside of working online, CF offers curriculum where students can earn college credit certificates on their way to an associate degree to get qualified to work as quickly as possible. CF awards more than $1 million in scholarships each year, has smaller class sizes, offers free academic support and has six locations in Marion, Citrus and Levy counties. Here, veterans can utilize their Chapter 30, 31, 33, 35, 1606 and 1607 Benefits Services like Career Coach are available to get students working in the field of their choice.
29. Touro College
New York, NY
Points Awarded: 9
Net Cost: $16,284
Touro College is America’s largest private institution of higher and professional education under Jewish auspices. Outside of New York, Touro has campuses in Chicago, California, Nevada, Moscow, Israel and Berlin. Here, adult students can work toward certificate, associate, bachelor’s, master’s, professional and doctoral degree programs. Touro College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
The Achieve More Scholarship is applicable to any of Touro’s online degree programs, and students can receive up to four free courses and 20-40 percent off tuition, depending on the degree level and the scholarship option chosen. Touro University Worldwide offers online degree programs that are flexible for working adults and grounded in scholar-practitioner orientation. TUW is a military friendly online college that doesn’t require textbooks, allows students to learn from anywhere in the world and offers discounted military tuition. Students can also get college credit for military training and service.
28. Lewis-Clark State College
Points Awarded: 9
Net Cost: $14,881
Founded in 1893, Lewis-Clark State College is a public undergraduate college with an annual enrollment of just under 4,000 students and a 14:1 student-faculty ratio. This college offers 90+ degree and certificate programs within six academic divisions and two career and technical educational divisions. Lewis-Clark State College is accredited by the Northwest Commission on College and Universities.
For working adults looking to earn a bachelor’s degree online, LCSC currently has 372 online courses and nine online degree offerings. Hybrid courses and web-enhanced lecture classes are also available. Online students receive support through services like Read & Write Literacy Software, the Blackboard Support Center and Library Resources. Career & Technical Education at LCSC offers professional and technical training through an array of educational experiences. Workforce Training offers short term, noncredit, cost-friendly classes for workers. The Adult Learning Center offers support and instruction in reading, writing, math and the English language to help adults transition into college and/or prepare for the GED tests These services are available in Grangeville, Lewiston, Moscow and Orofino.
27. University of Baltimore
Points Awarded: 9
Net Cost: $14,565
Part of the University System of Maryland, the University of Baltimore is a public undergraduate, graduate and professional university located in the heart of the city with an enrollment just under 6,000. UB works hard to make its education accessible to working adult students through offering day, weekend, evening and online classes. UB offers 37 undergraduate degree programs, 30 graduate programs and 17 certificates The university is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
About 80 percent of students receive financial assistance. UB is ranked 23rd by Washington Monthly’s 2016 College Rankings, in the category of Best Four-Year Colleges for Adult Learners. On campus, The Bob Parsons Veterans Center is fully-staffed place for military and veteran students to access education benefits, resources, support programs, computer labs, a lounge and even a kitchenette. UB offers a fully-online BS in business administration, as well as a graduate certificate and three master’s degree programs available in hybrid and web-assisted formats where online activities supplement those in the classroom. Students living in Rockville, MD can access master’s and bachelor’s programs at the Universities at Shady Grove in a variety of formats, including 10-week sessions.
26. Madonna University
Points Awarded: 9
Net Cost: $13,710
Founded in 1937, Madonna University is an independent, Catholic liberal arts university with a 12:1 student-faculty ratio and additional campus locations in Gaylord, Macomb, Southwest Detroit, Dubai, and China. Madonna offers associate and bachelor’s degree programs in 100+ majors, 30 different master’s degree programs, and one doctoral nursing program. Madonna receives its institutional accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and specialized accreditation for certain programs.
More than 80 percent of the student body at Madonna receives scholarships and grants. They also have access to unique degree programs that wouldn’t compare elsewhere, like sign language studies and hospice education. Undergraduate students can earn an Essentials in EOL Care Certificate or a BS in family and consumer sciences online, while graduate students can choose from six different online certifications and programs. Through Credit-by-Exam, adult students can accelerate their degree completion by testing their previously-learned proficiency in a variety of subjects. GI Jobs has named Madonna a military friendly school three consecutive years Noncredit courses are available at a lower tuition rate for those who are looking for a more nontraditional education.
25. University of Houston-Victoria
Points Awarded: 9
Net Cost: $10,882
University of Houston-Victoria is a four-year state university in the University of Houston System. About 97 percent of UHV undergraduates who applied for financial aid during the 2014-2105 school year were offered assistance. UHV has 4,152 students and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and other specialized accrediting agencies.
UHV offers a lot of face-to-face bachelor degree and graduate programs in Victoria and Katy, and many of these are available 100 percent online or with few in-person requirements. Victory Media designated UHV Military Friendly as a result of the university’s efforts to recruit and support active military personnel and veterans. The School of Education, Health Professions and Human Development at this school is approved and registered by the State Board of Education and the Texas Education Agency as a Continuing Professional Education (CPE) provider. Here, adult students can attend workshops and conferences or register for a certificate program to further their careers.
24. Cameron University
Points Awarded: 9
Net Cost: $10,050
Cameron University is a four-year, state-funded university that offers more than 50 degrees through two-year, four-year and graduate programs with an average fall enrollment of approximately 5,100. CU baccalaureate graduates who enter the workforce are backed by The Cameron University Guarantee, a program in which Cameron will provide free additional education if employers identify a deficiency in core employment areas in the graduate’s major field of study. This university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
CU offers online classes and degree programs through the Distance Learning program in fully-online, hybrid and Interactive Television formats. The Distance Learning website lists a percentage next to each online associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree showing how much of the program is completable online. Other adult education programs include: the Interdisciplinary Studies degree programs, designed for active duty military personnel; the BS in organizational leadership degree completion program; an active Veterans Affairs office and continuing education outreach workshops.
23. The University of Texas of the Permian Basin
Points Awarded: 9
Net Cost: $8,984
The University of Texas of the Permian Basin has a dynamic, growing campus with over 5,000 students. This university has a 98 percent pass rate for teacher certification and ranks third in the state for placement in employment and graduate school. UTPB is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
The Veterans Services office at UTPB provides the Financial Literacy program, which assists students with the information and tools necessary to be effective and financially literate. For those adult students who live nearby, this university offers on-campus child-care services. For those who are not able to make it to campus, UTPB offers 10 different majors among its fully-online degree programs, seven of which are available in the eight-week accelerated format, eight online master’s degree programs and four online education certifications. It also offers courses in cooperation with three area community colleges in many locations throughout the region via the Regional Electronic Academic Communications Highway (REACH).
22. Belhaven University
Points Awarded: 10
Net Cost: $15,527
Founded in 1883 Belhaven University is a private Christian liberal arts university offering 70 areas of study across a variety of disciplines, as well as 18 master’s degree programs. Multiple sources like U.S. News & World Report and Military Friendly have recognized Belhaven as affordable and accessible. Belhaven is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and additional programmatic accreditors.
About 60 percent of the students enrolled at Belhaven are 25 or older, and the student-faculty ratio is 11:1. This school offers adult and professional degree programs online and at six campus locations. Adult students can take one class at a time with night meetings once each week. All online degree programs are grounded in the school’s Christian teaching curriculum, and students can learn at any degree level. Benefits for military and veteran students include tuition discounts, college credit for training, VA benefits and more.
21. Portland State University
Points Awarded: 10
Net Cost: $13,476
Portland State University is nonprofit, coeducational and the city’s most affordable public research university. U.S. News & World Report ranked PSU among the publication’s top 10 most innovative schools in 2016, and other sources have recognized this school as having high quality online programs. With 29,000 enrolled students, who come from all 50 states and 89 different countries, PSU is one of the larger universities on this lis. Over 70 percent of students receive some sort of financial aid. PSU is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
PSU is the only Oregon university offering a “four-year degree guarantee.” If any students cannot complete their degree within four years with the help of PSU’s counseling and advising, the university will cover the tuition of any remaining classes. PSU Online offers baccalaureate, graduate, certificate, endorsement and licensure programs in subjects like business of craft brewing, construction contracting and healthcare. The office of Continuing Education provides professional development and graduate-level programs for teachers, school administrators, counselors, trainers, and human service professionals.
20. Wayland Baptist University
Points Awarded: 10
Net Cost: $12,756
Wayland Baptist University is a private, coeducational university with a total of 14 campuses in Texas cities, six other states and Kenya. The average class size is 16 students, and 65 percent of the student population is 25 years or older. Almost all of the full-time students at Wayland obtained some sort of financial assistance. This university is affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas and accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Of the 40 available undergraduate degree majors, an AAS and four baccalaureate programs are available fully online. Students in a number of the school’s graduate programs are also able to complete their degrees in a hybrid or online format. In the last two years, Wayland has received recognition as one of the top online colleges and a top school for adults. According to the school’s website, it was among the first institutions in the country to design programs for men and women serving in the US armed forces. Students can take WBU’s courses at the military bases located near most of the school’s external campuses.
19. Monroe College
Points Awarded: 10
Net Cost: $12,389
Founded in 1933, Monroe College is a private, for-profit institution with campuses in the Bronx, New Rochelle, Saint Lucia and extension sites in Queens. This university’s enrollment is just under 7,000 and offers 13 associate degree majors, 11 bachelor’s degree programs, six graduate programs and two certificates, all of which lead graduates into careers, not jobs. Students earned about $12,000,000 in scholarships and grants in 2013, and Monroe is regionally accredited by Middle States Commission.
In 2013, U.S. News & World Report named Monroe “New York’s least expensive private college,” and the school has a 78 percent student retention rate. The Monroe Advantage Plan offers students, 350 of whom are veterans, the opportunity to complete their degree program in just three years by participating in three semesters per academic year with nine weeks of vacation throughout the year. Monroe offers 16 online degree programs at the associate, bachelor’s and graduate levels, as well as programs like Flexible Adult Student Track (FAST), which allows students to complete their degrees in two accelerated formats.
18. Brescia University
Points Awarded: 10
Net Cost: $11,165
Brescia University is a coeducational Catholic university that offers undergraduate and graduate course work for career preparation rooted in the liberal arts. The only Catholic university in Western Kentucky, Brescia has nine associate, 36 bachelor’s and four master’s degree programs, as well as 11 pre-professional programs and a post-baccalaureate program. Brescia is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Accredited Schools Online awarded Brescia “No. 1 Kentucky Online School” for 2015-2016 and Affordable Colleges ranked it No. 2. BUonline offers fully online general education courses, four associate degrees, seven bachelor’s degrees, three master’s degrees and one post-graduate certificate in accounting program. These online classes are designed so that working adults can earn their degrees with minimum disruption to other life commitments; many are available in an accelerated eight-week format.
17. University of Massachusetts Boston
Points Awarded: 10
Net Cost: $10,980
University of Massachusetts Boston is nationally recognized as an urban public research university and is the third-largest campus in the five-campus University of Massachusetts system. UMB has over 17,000 students and 204 undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs, offered through its 11 colleges and schools. UMass Boston is accredited by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc.
Multiple sources like The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report have ranked UMass Boston among other top schools for its graduate degree programs, diversity, sustainability, research activity and military friendliness. Among the large number of certificate, undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs, more than 35–most being master’s degrees–are available completely online. The College of Advancing and Professional Studies offers adult students online learning, evening, weekend, off-campus, summer and winter classes, degree and certificate programs, international programs, test preparation and professional training.
16. University of Houston – Downtown
Points Awarded: 10
Net Cost: $7,409
The University of Houston – Downtown is a four-year state university and one of four distinct institutions in the University of Houston System with a 20-acre campus and three off-campus locations. Off-campus instruction is available in the traditional in-person format, or students can take courses online, in a hybrid format and with live video instruction. UHD is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, and many of the programs at this university have additional area-specific accreditation.
Out of the 44 bachelor degree areas of study, UHD offers 15 online degree completion programs for students who have completed core coursework at another university or community college, as well as three graduate degrees. Having over 500 veterans currently pursuing a degree at UHD and a supportive Veterans Services department, the school is ranked among the top military friendly colleges in the nation. The Division of Continuing Education at UHD works to improve professional education, enhance career opportunities and offer customized training options through services like full certificate programs, short-term programs, on-site training and online and blended courses.
15. Fresno Pacific University
Points Awarded: 11
Net Cost: $16,167
Fresno Pacific University is an accredited Christian university founded in 1944 by the Pacific District Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches. FPU serves about 3,500 traditional undergraduate, adult degree completion, graduate and seminary students at the main campus in Southeast Fresno and regional campuses in North Fresno, Visalia, Bakersfield and Merced. The five schools within the university together offer 39 undergraduate majors and more than 100 areas of study. FPU has the highest four-year graduation rate in the region and is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
Fresno Pacific has an 80 percent student retention rate and a 13:1 student-faculty ratio. This university has an abundance of online learning options at the credential, certificate, baccalaureate and graduate levels. The online bachelor’s degree completion programs allow students to graduate within 18 months and the flexibility to work wherever they have internet access. Degree completion students can utilize the Prior Learning Assessment, which could turn previous learning experiences into college credits up to a maximum of 30 units. The Office of Continuing Education at Fresno offers a variety of courses, workshops, certificates and training for educators and other professionals, delivered through a combination of printed materials, texts and online distance learning.
14. Ursuline College
Pepper Pike, OH
Points Awarded: 11
Net Cost: $15,034
Founded in 1871, Ursuline College is a small, Roman Catholic liberal arts women’s college, the first in Ohio and one of the first in the nation. Ursuline has a female-dominated (93%) student enrollment of 1,175, and remains one of the most competitively priced private colleges in Ohio. It offers 32 undergraduate majors, 10 graduate programs, bridge programs for undergrads and online teaching license renewal classes. Ursuline receives accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
Some of the benefits of small colleges like Ursuline, which has a 6:1 student-faculty ratio, include smaller classes, one-on-one interactions with faculty and individualized programs. About 68 percent of Ursuline’s student population is considered nontraditional. The UC Adult Program (UCAP) is an accelerated bachelor degree completion program where students may choose from a variety of online, hybrid, evening and Saturday classes that meet only once per week for five-to 10-week sessions. According to the college, “UCAP classes are adult-oriented and taught in a discussion-driven environment, not the typical lecture/text format.” UCAP support services include tutoring, career counseling and FOCUS, a program for students with learning disabilities and ADHD.
13. University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Little Rock, AR
Points Awarded: 11
Net Cost: $11,177
University of Arkansas at Little Rock is a metropolitan public research university providing access to quality education through flexible learning and accredited programs. UALR’s enrollment was almost 12,000 for the Fall 2015-16 semester, and the student-faculty ratio is 14:1. This university awarded $17,439,452 in scholarships during the 2015-16 school year, and is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
UALR has been designated a Military Friendly University six years in a row. It offers a ton of online degree programs and minors at all levels, including some that are available in an accelerated format. Through the school’s Student Experience Center, non-traditional students have access to a number of support programs, services, scholarships and an orientation designed just for them. The Non-Traditional Student Program (NTSP) is designed to help adult students reach their educational goals by helping them navigate the university and provide information, resources and opportunities. At the Office of Military Student Success, UALR faculty assist active duty military members, veterans and their families with anything from choosing a major to navigating the available VA programs.
12. Clayton State University
Points Awarded: 11
Net Cost: $10,862
Clayton State University is a public university and a selective Senior Unit of the University System of Georgia, serving metro Atlanta. It is the only university in the U.S. adjacent to both state and national archives facilities, providing accessible consolidated resources and internship opportunities. The median student age is 29, and the student-faculty ratio is 18:1. The university is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
The division of Continuing and Professional Education at Clayton offers non-credit professional online courses and the Career Resource Center, where students have access to free employment, training and education services, as well as assistance with financial aid planning. This university offers 13 online bachelor’s degree programs and two online master’s degrees. In addition to its traditional online learning, eCore is a program that offers the first two years of college core courses completely online. These are transferable to 31 institutions within the University System of Georgia and most other colleges. eCore students have access to an online tutor and a virtual library, as they would on campus. Clayton is considered a top Military Friendly college because of its helpful Veterans Resource Center.
11. Weber State University
Points Awarded: 11
Net Cost: $10,669
Weber State University is a coeducational, public university offering professional, liberal arts and technical certificates, as well as associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. WSU offers a 21:1 student-to-faculty ratio, as well as eight different locations throughout the area. WSU has more than 225 certificate and degree programs and 11 graduate programs available It is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) and by other specialized agencies.
Through Weber State Online, older students looking for online learning can choose from four associate, six bachelor’s and two certificate programs that are fully-online, as well as hundreds of additional online classes. Those interested in this online learning are able to complete their classes on the traditional semester-based academic schedule, or they have the option to complete the classes via independent study, which allows students a random start date and up to six months to complete the class. Weber claims “some of the lowest tuition around,” and the school allows its out-of-state online students to pay the flat rate, instead of a higher tuition than those in-state. The Division of Continuing Education provides professional development training courses customized to the student’s business, a Law Enforcement Academy, open seat classes and a discounted senior pricing for university courses.
10. Oregon Institute of Technology
Klamath Falls, OR
Points Awarded: 12
Net Cost: $15,544
The Oregon Institute of Technology is the only public polytechnic university established in the Northwestern U.S. With a total enrollment of about 5,200, OIT offers small class sizes and one-on-one interactions with faculty. OIT students have 42 degree options offered at four locations in Oregon and Washington, as well as online. OIT has received a number of awards and recognitions from U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, Military Times and more. This school has a 78 percent student retention rate and is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
OIT offers just about any level of degree, certificate and program below the doctorate level that adult students can earn through online courses and degree completion programs. From an associate in polysomnographic technologies to an MS in allied health, nontraditional students have access to a variety of flexible and convenient online degree programs. Oregon Tech offers seven different master’s degree programs that align with the school’s undergraduate curriculum for easily accessible continued studies. The school has a number of ways to support military students and get veterans involved on campus, such as Veteran Action Committee, Outstanding Student Veteran Award and the Student Veterans Program.
9. University of Texas at Arlington
Points Awarded: 12
Net Cost: $11,742
University of Texas at Arlington is a public research university that was recently cited by U.S. News & World Report as having the second-lowest average student debt among U.S. universities surveyed. UTA has a projected global enrollment of close to 57,000 and more than 180 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in a broad range of disciplines. This university’s research efforts have earned it the classification as a “R-1: Doctoral Universities—High Research Activity” according to the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. UTA is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
UTA has been ranked as a leading institution by so many sources that we had to cap the school’s “recognition” points at five. Distance education courses and programs are available to those non-traditional students looking to earn a degree with the flexibility of online classes and a non-traditional schedule. The Center For Distance Education offers one certificate, three bachelor’s degrees and 15 master’s degree programs 100 percent online, with the exception of some clinical requirements for the nursing programs. The Veterans Assistance Center at UTA includes tutoring, mentoring, financial aid, assistance with GI Bill applications, assistance with completing college or a place to relax between classes. The Division for Enterprise Development offers training, services, certifications, online courses to help improve employability, enhance job skills and identify career pathways for its constituents.
8. Northeastern State University
Points Awarded: 12
Net Cost: $8,148
Northeastern State University is a public university at the foot of the Ozark Mountains with additional campuses in Muskogee, Broken Arrow and online. This university offers 54 undergraduate majors and 24 graduate degree programs in subjects from Cherokee cultural studies to cyber security. About 84 percent of undergraduate classes have fewer than 30 students, and only 18 percent of undergrads live on campus. The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association is the regional accrediting agency for NSUOK.
At Northeastern State, students are able to take online, blended or on-campus classes; seven bachelor’s degree majors, four graduate degrees and one certificate program are accessible completely online. Online advisors are available to help students earn their degrees while working a full-time job or balancing other life responsibilities. NSU is a member of the Southern Regional Education Board’s (SREB) Electronic Campus, and 41.8 percent of NSU students took at least one online course during Spring 2014. This campus has an active Veterans Services office, Continuing Education department and College of Extended Learning, which provides learning paths to complete adults’ educational pursuits like degree completion, a language and cultural center, continuing education and online degree programs.
7. Peirce College
Points Awarded: 12
Net Cost: $7,916
Peirce College is a private, nonprofit four-year college with a mission to offer an affordable education with flexible classes and personal attention to today’s working adults. Peirce offers a variety of associate, bachelor and master degree programs, as well as certifications in medical coding and paralegal studies. Peirce College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
About 76 percent of Peirce’s students are over 25. Best College Reviews included the school in its most recent ranking of “Best Colleges for nontraditional students.” Students learn from the same professors and earn the same degree whether they take classes on campus, online or a combination of both. In addition to the 11 undergraduate programs available online at Peirce, students have the choice of four degree options within the Peirce Fit program. The school describes this program as “a life-friendly way to earn a degree where you choose from week to week to attend class on campus or online.” Peirce Fit is unique to this college and its commitment to better serve working adult learners. The program is expected to expand across every course at Peirce. Another adult education-friendly program at Peirce is the Competency-based education (CBE), a new online, self-paced way to learn that uses students’ knowledge and prior experience to place them on the most direct path to completing a degree.
6. Granite State College
Points Awarded: 13
Net Cost: $12,473
Granite State College is one of the four institutions of New Hampshire’s public university system with a mission to provide accessible and flexible education to working adults. With 4,109 students enrolled, Granite State’s student-faculty ratio is just 12:1. Here, students can choose from five associate degree programs, 31 bachelor’s degree majors, 16 post-baccalaureate teacher certifications and six MS degree program majors. GSC has online courses, three different academic sites and five full-service regional campuses statewide. It is accredited by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc.
About 70 percent of GSC’s student population is 25 years or older, and more than 77 percent are online students. All of the resources and support that this college has to offer are available and accessible to the students in any of its award-winning online degree programs. Every degree program at Granite is available online and approved for Tuition Assistance and GI Bill® benefits. Prior training from any military branch, work experience or knowledge gained in the field is transferrable as college credit toward graduation. The open admissions policy enables students to start at four times throughout the year and can complete their degree at their own pace.
5. University of Missouri–St. Louis
St. Louis, MO
Points Awarded: 13
Net Cost: $8,158
The University of Missouri–St. Louis is the newest of four universities in the University of Missouri System and one of the most affordable colleges in the city. Although UMSL is the largest public research university in eastern Missouri, the school has a student-to-faculty ratio of 17:1 and a 75 percent first-year student retention rate. UMSL is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.
Of the numerous undergraduate degree programs at UMSL, 25 of the majors are available for continued education at the graduate level, and eight can be earned completely online. All online courses are delivered flexibly and have the same quality as those delivered on campus by award-winning faculty. Forbes has named UMSL one of “America’s Best Colleges”, and Washington Monthly ranked it among the publication’s “Best Bang for your Buck” universities in the nation. Online students can access Net Tutor, an online tutoring program that covers subjects like business, chemistry and economics, as well as an online writing center. Student Retention Services offers online workshops, and Military Times has ranked USML among their “Best for Vets” three years running.
4. University of Maryland University College
Points Awarded: 14
Net Cost: $12,429
The University of Maryland University College is a state university offering more than 90 degrees, specializations and certificates through online learning and 20+ campus locations in Maryland, Washington D.C. and Virginia. The median salary of bachelor’s degree recipients is more than $51,200, and more than half of the college’s students are parents. UMUC is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, governed by the University System of Maryland Board of Regents and certified by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.
Over 80 percent of UMUC’s student population consists of working adults 25 or older, and Forbes ranked the school on its 2016 list of great colleges for adult students. At this university, active duty students are able to study and work toward their degrees on-site at military installations in over 20 countries and territories, the first of which was established back in 1949. The school’s online baccalaureate, graduate and doctoral students have access to open educational resources like electronic textbooks, websites, a social bookmarking platform, interactive exercises and more. Within 2016, UMUC has earned more than 10 awards and rankings from a variety sources.
3. Troy University
Points Awarded: 14
Net Cost: $9,350
Troy University is a comprehensive public university comprised of a network of campuses throughout Alabama and worldwide. This university has a large number of undergraduate and graduate program offerings in traditional, nontraditional and emerging electronic formats. In Fall 2015 Troy had an enrollment of 18,376 with the highest number of students in the 25-29 age bracket. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
TROY for Troops centers, located on the Troy, Montgomery, Dothan and Phenix City, Alabama, campuses as well as a virtual TROY for Troops Center in Blackboard, supports military students’ academic and career success while providing a place for studying, Veterans Affairs counseling, camaraderie and more. Multiple sources like U.S. News & World Report have recognized Troy among their top colleges for military members because of the other various military-friendly programs available. Troy offers a long list of online degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and students have access to all resources of the university wherever they can get wifi. Within Continuing Education, students can access services and online courses from the Professional Development Institute, Professional Training and Consulting and Personal Enrichment.
2. University of Illinois at Springfield
Points Awarded: 15
Net Cost: $12,308
University of Illinois at Springfield is a public university and one of three universities in the world-class U of I system. With an annual enrollment over 5,000, UIS has a 14:1 student-faculty ratio, and the average age of undergrads is 26. Through its six colleges, Business and Management, Education and Human Services, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Public Affairs and Administration, this university has 31 bachelor’s degrees, 20 master’s degrees, one doctoral program and 1,665 online majors. UIS is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and the College of Business and Management is accredited by the AACSB.
UIS offers quality online degree programs that U.S. News & World Report has named among its top online programs for graduate education, bachelor’s degree programs and veterans. Students can choose from 12 online bachelor’s degree programs, 12 online graduate degree programs, nine online certification programs and 13 online graduate certificates. For adult students who want to start at a community college, UIS has Joint Agreements and 2+2 Agreements with 20+ local schools, allowing students the opportunity to begin working toward their UIS degree with a personal UIS advisor before getting to campus. The Career Development Center, Veterans Affairs, The Learning Hub, the Prior Learning Assessment and other support services are also helping drive the continual increase in enrolled adult students at UIS.
1. University of Alaska Fairbanks
Points Awarded: 16
Net Cost: $8,741
The University of Alaska Fairbanks enrolls more than 11,000 students with seven campuses across the state, and it has a student-faculty ratio of 12 to 1. The median student age is 25, and the top three majors for incoming students are general program/studies, biological sciences and petroleum engineering. UAF has nine total colleges and schools that offer 146 degrees and 31 certificates in 117 disciplines. UAF has 17 specialized accreditations, certifications and standards in addition to being accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
UAF offers online degree programs at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s and certificate levels. Online Occupational Endorsement programs are also available for careers like medical billing and coding, financial services representative and administrative assistant. U.S. News & World Report has ranked UAF among the top colleges in 2017 for the following lists: “Best Online Bachelor’s Programs,” “Best Online MBA Programs,” “Best Online Criminal Justice Programs (Graduate)” and “Best Online Education Programs (Graduate).” UAF offers award-winning military and veterans services, in addition to teacher certification courses, eLearning courses, career services and online advising.
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