US News ranks its best online college programs for 2022
American News published his 2022 Rankings of Online University Programs today. This year’s ranking includes more than 1,700 online bachelor’s and master’s programs, an increase from the nearly 1,600 assessed last year.
About 400 institutions have been rated in this general category, and several individual online undergraduate majors are also ranked. From Best Online Bachelor Degree Programs, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University—Worldwide and the University of Florida tied for first. They were followed by:
- the Medical University of South Carolina and the University of Illinois-Chicago, tied for third place,
- Oregon State University placed fifth in this category.
US News uses the following four criteria to rank online undergraduate programs:
- Mobilization (35%): The extent to which online bachelor’s degree programs promote class participation, allowing students to easily interact with their instructors and classmates. The accessibility and responsiveness of the instructor are also taken into account.
- Services and Technology (25%): Use of various e-learning technologies allowing greater flexibility for students to take courses remotely. In addition, special consideration is given to the presence of strong support structures that provide learning assistance, career guidance, and financial aid resources similar to quality on-campus programs.
- University degrees and training (20%): Use of instructors with academic credentials that mirror those of instructors for on-campus programs as well as sufficient resources to train these instructors to teach distance learners.
- Expert opinion (20%): A survey of high-ranking university officials that considers “intangible factors affecting program quality that are not captured by statistics.”
Online masters programs in several different fields are also classified. Their grading methodology is similar to that used for undergraduate programs, but the factors and their weightings vary from field to field. Here are some examples.
The number one in the online ranking MBA was a three-way tie between Indiana University–Bloomington, University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, and University of Southern California. They were followed by Carnegie Mellon University in fourth place and the University of Florida and the University of Washington tied for fifth.
Columbia University was ranked first among computer information technology Masters programs, followed by Johns Hopkins University, Virginia Tech, University of Southern California, and University of Arizona.
Columbia University claimed top marks for Master in Eengineering Programsfollowed by UCLA, Pennsylvania State University and Purdue University (tied for third), and the University of Southern California for fifth.
Clemson University earned the #1 rating among Best Masters in Education Programs Online. It was followed by the University of Florida, the University of Georgia, and the University of Illinois (tied for third place), and Texas A&M University and the University of North Texas ( tied for fifth place).
Ohio State University, University of Pittsburgh and University of South Carolina are all tied for first place in the Masters of Nursing Programs ranking. Rush University finished fourth; Duke University was ranked fifth.
The popularity of online programs continues to be strong, despite the difficult reception that online courses initially received, as many colleges were forced to switch to using them during the pandemic.
“The uncertainty caused by the pandemic may cause more people to consider the merits of an online education,” Liana Loewus, senior education editor at US News, said in a statement. “As students consider what’s right for them and their schedule, they can use the data provided by US News to research their options and make informed decisions about their academic future.”
In fall 2019, approximately 7.3 million undergraduate students enrolled in at least one distance education course at postsecondary degree-granting institutions. More than 3.4 million were enrolled exclusively in online courses, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
The advantages of such a benefit are numerous, particularly for adults, students who work full time and those who have family responsibilities. Despite the fear of many students and faculty that online education generally does not match the quality of in-person classes, students in online programs generally earn the same degree as on-campus students, and the program of an online bachelor’s degree is usually very closely aligned with that of the on-campus program.
In addition to the planning benefits, students can often save thousands of dollars by pursuing an online degree. According to American News, the average price per credit for online programs at the 198 private colleges under its jurisdiction for the 2021-2022 academic year was $513. This cost was well below the average tuition per credit for on-campus programs at ranked private colleges, which was $1,287, for the 628 colleges that reported this information.
In public schools, the average in-state student tuition for an online bachelor’s degree was $333 per credit for the 2021-2022 academic year. Tuition for in-state students studying on campus averaged $385 per credit, among the 283 ranked colleges that provided this information.