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Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Philadelphia, PA

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Great Value Colleges - Top Online Degrees in Philadelphia

Students and working professionals are always looking for the top colleges for an online degree in Philadelphia, PA. This is because so many students are completing their graduate, specialist doctorate programs online, enabling them to continue with the personal and professional obligations while completing their degree. Online education has been instrumental in this endeavor, providing students with the chance to fulfill a dream that on-campus programs cannot provide.

Online students have several concerns, chief among them being the types of degrees they can earn online as well as the cost of the program. Most people do not have disposable income to pay outright for a school, so having affordable alternatives is crucial. Additionally, flexibility is also needed; courses must be able to fit into a busy schedule as well as provide potentially a faster path to graduation. These are the factors that have led to the creation of this ranking.

Methodology

This is a points-based ranking, meaning that schools are chosen based on several factors. However, as with every list, a great deal of research was needed prior to choosing the top colleges. This ranking began as a search for the top colleges for an online degree in Philadelphia, PA on the National Center for Education Statistics website and its publicly available College Navigator database. The schools chosen for consideration were then researched independently using the school’s website. Points were awarded based on the following factors:

Types of online degree options available (associate, bachelor, master’s, doctorate): 1 point per degree level.

Cost per credit hour:
Under $250 – 4 points
$251 – $350 – 3 points
$351 – $450 – 2 points
Over $451 per credit hour – 1 point

Regional Accreditation:
Present – 1 point

Student to faculty ratio:
10:1 or less – 3 points
11:1 to 15:1 – 2 points
Greater than 15:1 – 1 point

The final 10 schools, which are listed below, were chosen based on the total points accrued. All 10 are located within a 50-mile radius of Philadelphia, PA.

10. Saint Joseph’s University

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Philadelphia, PATop 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Philadelphia, PA
Saint Joseph’s University offers over 20 online degrees.

Website

The online bachelor’s programs that are available from St. Joseph’s University are some of the best offerings for students. This school confers six bachelor’s degree and over 15 graduate degrees; certificates are also available. Students will be able to learn everything from business administration to marketing, all from a program that prides itself in providing the very best online education possible. This program has a dedicated online staff to ensure that the programs are delivered with the utmost care. Students will also have access to a variety of support services, including academic and career advising, an online bookstore, an online library, and technical support.

Types of Degrees Available:
Bachelor’s, Master’s
Cost per credit hour: $605
Student to Faculty Ratio: 18:1
Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Total Points: 6

9. Thomas Jefferson University

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Philadelphia, PA
Thomas Jefferson University offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees online.

Website

Thomas Jefferson University is one of the top colleges for an online degree in Philadelphia, PA. This school has a strong selection of undergraduate, graduate and doctorate online programs, most of which can be earned 100 percent online. Fields of study include sustainable design, nursing, information technology, and business. Students will be able to access the school’s online portal from their computer or the school’s accompanying app. This school also offers 24/7 technical support, academic advising, an online bookstore, an online library, and tutoring services.

Types of Degrees Available:
Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate
Cost per credit hour: $501
Student to Faculty Ratio: 11:1
Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Total Points: 6

8. Drexel University

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Philadelphia, PA
Drexel University offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees online. Drexel University offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees online.

Website

Drexel University has some of the best online programs in Philadelphia, PA. This school has a variety of undergraduate and graduate degrees, most of which come with professional accreditation. Students will be able to study everything from education and psychology to criminal justice and nursing. Certificates are also available for professionals and adult learners. Students will find that this school offers a fully functional online portal complete with summer institutes, academic advising, tutoring, and access to the online library. Other services include an online bookstore and a companion app for the learning management system.

Types of Degrees Available:
Bachelor’s, Master’s
Cost per credit hour: $501
Student to Faculty Ratio: 11:1
Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Total Points: 6

7. Temple University

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Philadelphia, PA
Temple University offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees online.

School Profile

Temple University has long been one of the top colleges for an online degree in Philadelphia, PA. The school’s online portal is called Temple Online and offers students the chance to complete online degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate levels. Students will have the chance to complete fully online degrees or choose a low-residency or hybrid option if they live near campus. This school offers students online technical support, academic advising, office hours, an online library, and an online bookstore. With a dedicated staff determined to help students succeed, students will find everything they need at this school.

Types of Degrees Available:
Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate
Cost per credit hour: $975
Student to Faculty Ratio: 14:1
Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Total Points: 7

6. Villanova University

Villanova, Pennsylvania

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Philadelphia, PA
Villanova University offers undergraduate and graduate degrees online.

Website

Some incredible programs can be found at Villanova University. Just a short drive from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, this school offers undergraduate, graduate and doctorate degrees, most of which can be completed entirely online; certificates and endorsements are also available. Students can choose to study nursing, education, business, engineering, or even law. This school has made it possible for students to get the Villanova experience by being online. Services include technical support, academic advising, online tutoring, a bookstore, and access to the school’s full catalog of electronic resources.

Types of Degrees Available:
Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate
Cost per credit hour: $925
Student to Faculty Ratio: 11:1
Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Total Points: 7

5. Cairn University

Langhorne, Pennsylvania

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Philadelphia, PA
Cairn University offers 10 online degree programs.

 

Website

Cairn University holds the distinction of being one of the top colleges for an online degree in Philadelphia, PA. This is a school that confers its undergraduate and graduate degrees through a Christian-focused teaching method. There are 10 degrees and two specializations available, many of which could lead to professional certification or licensure for students in the state. Fields of study include Bible Studies, applied behavior analysis, nonprofit leadership, and education. This school confers its 100 percent online degrees through asynchronous coursework, meaning students never have to attend class at a certain time. Other features include a 24/7 technical support desk, academic and career advising, an online bookstore, and a library.

Types of Degrees Available:
Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s
Cost per credit hour: $800
Student to Faculty Ratio: 12:1
Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Total Points: 7

4. La Salle University

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Philadelphia, PA
La Salle University’s online degrees do not have a residency requirement.

Website

Students interested in attending La Salle University will find everything they need in one place. This school confers bachelor’s and master’s programs 100 percent online with no residency requirements. Teaching from a Catholic-centered perspective, students can learn everything from business administration to nursing. Most degrees hold professional accreditation, making it a great choice for students interested in certification or licensure. This school offers a full suite of online services, including technical support, tutoring, academic advising, office hours, an online bookstore and access to the school’s online library resources.

Types of Degrees Available:
Bachelor’s, Master’s
Cost per credit hour: $400
Student to Faculty Ratio: 12:1
Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Total Points: 7

3. Gwynedd Mercy University

Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Philadelphia, PATop 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Philadelphia, PA
Gwynedd Mercy University offers online degrees for all levels of education.

Website

Gwynedd Mercy University is one of the top colleges for an online degree in Philadelphia, PA. This school offers a variety of degrees and certificates at all levels of education. Students can learn everything from educational administration to counseling to applied psychology. Accelerated and completion programs are also available. Many programs also have a pathway to licensure, which is a perfect fit for interested students. Services for this online portal include 24/7 technical support, an online bookstore, an online library, and academic advising.

Types of Degrees Available:
Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate
Cost per credit hour: $490
Student to Faculty Ratio: 11:1
Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Total Points: 8

2. Community College of Philadelphia

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Philadelphia, PA
Community College of Philadelphia offers online associate’s degrees.

Website

A variety of great online associate’s degrees can be found at the Community College of Philadelphia. Most programs at this school are offered 100 percent online with no residency requirements. Students can study English, business, and accounting, all for a relatively low cost. Residency requirements for programs is minimal, ensuring students can focus on their education, not commutes. Services for this school include academic advising, transfer services, office hours, an online bookstore, and an online library.

Types of Degrees Available:
Associate’s
Cost per credit hour: $193
Student to Faculty Ratio: 15:1
Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Total Points: 8

1. Eastern University

St. Davids, Pennsylvania

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Philadelphia, PA
Eastern University offers online degrees for all levels of education.

Website

Eastern University is number one in this list of top colleges for an online degree in Philadelphia, PA. This school confers degrees at all levels of education; certificates and endorsements are also available. Students interested in professional and continuing education will also find courses available for them. Fields of study include nursing, seminary, counseling, education, and business. This school has a full-service online portal, including academic advising, online office hours, an online bookstore, and an online library.

Types of Degrees Available:
Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate
Cost per credit hour: $712
Student to Faculty Ratio: 10:1
Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Total Points: 9

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Career Options for an Online Degree?

Online degrees lead to nearly every position and career available in the United States and abroad. With online education becoming the primary way that working professionals complete their education, it has become easier than ever to compete for high-paying jobs and secure positions in every field.

However, there are exceptions to the rule. Medical and law professionals are still required to complete their education at a physical specialty school. This is to ensure that they have the knowledge and experience required to earn licensure in their field, something that simply cannot be done online.

Is Federal Financial Aid Available for Online Students?

Yes, federal financial aid is available for online students. The United States’ Free Application for Federal Student Aid has no restrictions based on whether a student chooses an online or on-campus program. This is great news for students who are completing an online program, but they need to understand that some restrictions do apply.

The first is that most students who are awarded federal financial aid have declared full-time study status. Full-time status is a factor because it lets the government know that these students, particularly pre-service students, will not have the ability to work full-time in order to pay for their career. This does not mean that it will be impossible for part-time students to earn financial aid, but they may fare better looking at scholarships and grants.

The second is financial need. Students who have parents who pay for their education or who have enough money to pay for their tuition may not be eligible for financial aid. As the name suggests, this type of aid is reserved for students who do not have the money to pay for tuition, and this applies to online students.

The third and final thing that students need to understand is that the application itself plays a large role in the amount awarded. Online students need to be able to demonstrate dedication to completing their degree along with transcripts and acceptance forms to showcase that they have been given a place in a program.

While financial aid can be a difficult process for students, it is well worth it. The majority of online students do receive some sort of financial. If they do not qualify for federal financial aid, there are other options, such as scholarships and grants. Students need only to be focused on finding the money they need for their education.

If an Online Degree Requires an Internship, Must This Be Done Near Campus?

Many online degrees require work experiences, such as an internship or practicum, which can be of concern to students who think that it must be done near campus. This is a problem for out-of-state students who do not have the ability to travel back and forth to a school for this requirement for graduation. However, the good news is that online programs do not require an internship to take place near campus or even in the state in most cases.

Internships are usually completed in a student’s community. They must have a proctor that is approved by the school; the internship must also satisfy the requirements set forth by the program. Other than these two requirements, if a student finds a suitable internship, there is rarely a problem with using that work experience for graduation.

There are some exceptions. If a student is completing an internship for a licensure program, it is possible that the work experience must take place in the state. This is particularly true for nursing and teaching degrees; the state licensing board will only recognize internships that have been successfully completed within the state. Other schools may require the internship to take place in the state for other reasons, such as requiring a student to earn an internship with a company in the state.

These exceptions are rare, but they do exist. In these cases, the programs are usually closed to out-of-state students. But in-state students are not required to complete the internship near campus. As long as the experience is completed within the state, it will satisfy the work experience requirement for the degree.

If a Student Lives Near Campus, Why Should They Consider an Online Degree?

This is a good question and one only a student can answer. There are various advantages to completing an online degree, even if a student lives near campus. Perhaps the ones listed below will help shed more light on the matter.

Online degrees are less expensive than on-campus programs. This holds true even if a student lives in the same city as the campus. On-campus programs have various fees and rates that do not correlate to online programs, meaning that it’s cheaper to attend school online. Alternatively, a student can choose to complete a hybrid program, which is a program that enables students to take half of their coursework online and half on-campus.

Another advantage is flexibility. Online programs can offer everything from accelerated term lengths to asynchronous courses to even part-time and full-time options, something that not all on-campus programs offer. In on-campus programs, students must physically attend class and participate, complete all exams at the school, and may be required to complete team projects and other projects on-campus, all of which takes away from the time they could be spending handling other responsibilities.

The third advantage is the freedom to study when and where a student likes. This goes hand-in-hand with the previous advantage but deserves more discussion. An on-campus student must complete courses on the physical campus. Online students can take their lectures and assignments anywhere they go by downloading the app that accompanies the school’s learning management system. Once they have downloaded it, they can listen to lectures offline, take quizzes, turn in assignments, chat with classmates, and ask their professor questions. This is something that is rarely offered to on-campus students.

There will be, of course, students who would benefit from an on-campus education. These programs were built to give students a firm structure; it also provides a sense of community that can sometimes be lacking in an online program. For students who want both of these features, it may be better for them to complete a campus program as online programs require self-motivated learners to complete the coursework in a fashion that makes sense for them.

Do Online Students Pay Different Tuition Fees Than On-Campus Students?

Most people don’t realize that there is a difference between tuition rates and tuition fees. Tuition fees, which are additional fees that refer to campus facilities, exam requirements and more, sometimes differ depending on the method of degree delivery. This is not always the case, but it is becoming more mainstream.

On-campus students pay tuition fees that help with campus maintenance. This can include facility fees for the library, gym, and other facilities; exam fees, which require a proctor to be present when students take their exams; and more. They may also pay fees for academic advising, the career center, tutoring, and more.

These fees do not correspond to online students. For the most part, they do not attend campus and do not have access to the campus on a regular basis. In fact, this was the biggest reason some schools chose to introduce a new type of tuition structure, which is known as online tuition and fees.

Online tuition rates are specific to online students. The rates, along with the fees, tend to be significantly lower than on-campus fees. This is because students pay fees for the online learning management system, which is the system they use in order to complete their degrees. Students will find that they pay a technology fee, proctored exam fees and other fees but will not pay any campus facility fees.

It should be noted that not all schools use an online tuition fee schedule. Many schools have hybrid or low-residency programs that mean that online students use campus facilities. Therefore, instead of the online fees, students will most likely pay in-state tuition rates and fees for the courses they complete on-campus. Some schools differentiate between online and on-campus fees, but not all do, so it’s important that students do their research and inquire about fees with the school’s financial branch.

Is it Possible to Earn Endorsements and Certificates in an Online Degree?

Yes, it is possible to earn additional endorsements and certificates within an online program and prior to graduation. The types of endorsements and certificates will depend on the field of the degree, the school, and whether the program leads a pathway to advanced certification in that field. While not all schools will provide this, the ones that do may be a better fit for students interested in earning the credentials.

Certificates and endorsements are complements to a degree and to licensure; the two go together, especially if a working professional is required to earn licensure prior to practicing their field. It is normal for students to complete a degree and complete one credential during that degree plan, so online programs have continued this tradition.

Certificates and endorsements are most commonly found in the education, engineering, human resources, business, and nursing fields. Not all of these fields require licensure, but the ones that don’t highly encourage or require certification from a professional association that is within the field.

The pathway to completing certificates and endorsements is relatively straightforward, with one caveat: at the end of the program, students will be required to complete an exam given by the professional association that delivers the credential. This means that students will not only have to graduate but will also need to complete additional exams in order to secure the endorsement.

In the case of a certificate, completing the program and graduating is enough to provide that credential. Professionals will be able to use the certificate, which is backed by a professional association, to compete for jobs in the open marketplace.

Students will note that not all schools will have the certificates or endorsements they are searching for. Online programs do not have as wide of a selection, but more programs are coming online every year. If they have any questions about endorsements or certificates they are encouraged to speak to either the professional association’s contact or directly to the school that they are interested in attending.

An online degree no longer holds the stigma it once had. Now, both employers and potential employees turn to online education to fulfill their dreams of completing their education. This is why it has become more important than ever to have rankings dedicated to the top colleges for an online degree in Philadelphia, PA.

GVC Staff
April 2019
This concludes our ranking of the Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Philadelphia, PA.