Not so long ago, people generally associated online degrees with for profit colleges and universities. Today, a growing number of nonprofit and state schools have jumped into the fray, in some cases beating the for profit schools at their own game.
Many small schools that were once known only in their own regions have leapt at the opportunity to draw students from all over the country via digital learning. Larger state universities and even nationally known colleges have also been attracted by the benefits of registering considerable numbers of new online students without having to expand their on-campus facilities (once they’ve built the technology for online teaching).
Click to a listing of MBA degrees you can get online from non-profit colleges
The result is a situation where nonprofit schools are competing fiercely with for profit universities, who were once the only teaching institutions that did any advertising. Nonprofit schools like Liberty and the Drexel University have made themselves household names across the U.S. through large marketing campaigns.
For all the publicity they have generated, for profit schools still enroll less than ten percent of all college students in the U.S. They’ve had to fight more and more, however, to maintain their position against dozens and dozens of nonprofit colleges and universities that now operate online degree programs, and which compete with them intensely for students.
What’s A Nonprofit Versus A For-Profit?
Strictly speaking, it’s simple. For-profit schools are operated as businesses. Universities like Phoenix and Capella work to earn a profit from the tuition they take in from students, while non-profit schools, which are generally either private or state-funded public schools, do not make any attempt to earn a profit. For profit schools are often owned by larger companies that need to demonstrate earnings to shareholders, while no-profits don’t have any shareholders. (alternatively, here are lists of religious private schools: Christian Online Colleges, and Catholic Online Schools).
But the simplicity ends there. Professors at private non-profit colleges obviously get paid for teaching, and the administrators of those schools are sometimes paid quite handsomely. Some now operate online divisions that are run somewhat independently of campus operations, and which have high revenue goals for the schools.
If you’re a prospective student, the best and simplest approach is to make sure your chosen school is accredited (keeping in mind that regional accreditation is the best, not national accreditation), that the degree program is targeted at a specific career that interests you, and that you will not be piling up too much debt during your education. Do the math and figure out what the cost will be over the full time it will take you to earn the degree. Without doubt, you will tend to find that accreditation is less of an issue with nonprofit schools
A Different Degree Mix
Generally speaking, the nonprofit schools are a bit more targeted in their online degree offerings than large for profit schools, some of which offer hundreds of different degrees. A few nonprofit schools listed below focus on just one or two online programs they’ve chosen to build a expertise in.
“Nonprofit,” “not for profit” or “private”
The schools on this list tend to call themselves one of these three things. Is there any difference between the categorizations? The answer is: not really. The IRS officially states that “not for profit” describes an organization focused on one particular activity (like a hobby) while “nonprofit” is for an entity created for purposes other than earning a profit. In practice, however, “nonprofit” and “not for profit” are used interchangeably. “Private” colleges, which include the older, better known and most expensive schools, are also nonprofit institutions.
A clear distinction is made with “public” colleges. These are the state or community schools that are supported financially by taxpayer money, administered through state governments
For the sake of transparency, we should note that we are focusing here mainly on the nonprofit schools that have well developed programs and promote themselves nationally. And yes, we do earn a small fee if you inquire for information from one of them. If you have another school you would like to recommend for this list or feel one does not belong here, please feel free to write our editor here
Baker is a private university in Kansas founded way back in 1858. It is the oldest university in Kansas and has the largest MBA program in the Kansas City area. Its online degree programs are largely focused on business:
- Associate of Business
– Bachelor in Business Leadership
– Bachelor of Accounting
Get information on Baker University
Keiser is a Florida-based school with a large online program. It’s a private school with top quality accreditation. It’s nursing and computer science programs in particular have received high rankings and U.S. News & World Report has named it as a quality school for veterans. Kaiser offers a very wide variety of associates, bachelors and master’s programs in areas including:
- Criminal Justice
– Homeland Security
– Fire Science
Get information on Keiser University
Founded in 1971 by Reverend Jerry Falwell, Liberty is a private Christian school that has grown into the largest Evangelical university in the world, with 13,000 undergraduate students and 5,800 post grads on it’s campus in Lynchburg, Virginia. But it’s the online learning program at Liberty that’s truly massive. The school currently educates over 50,000 students every year through distance learning, with over 70 different academic specialties and degrees at the associates, bachelor and masters levels. Liberty is still expanding, with numerous on-campus building projects and degree programs in Religion, English, Ministry, Business, Criminal Justice, Education and Nursing. The Young America’s Foundation ranks the school as one of the 10 most conservative colleges in the United States.
Liberty University offers a wide variety of Graduate Certificates and Masters Degrees in Teaching, Business, Criminal Justice, Marketing and other specialties, as well as many doctorate degrees online.
Get information on Liberty University
INDIANA STATE UNIVERSITY
Indiana’s large public higher education system has gradually built a full scale online learning division.
- Nursing LPN to BSN: Indiana has partnered with The College Network to offer a specialized degree program designed to help LPNs (licensed practical nurses) and LVNs (licensed vocational nurses) get a bachelor of science degree in nursing. The school has no Waiting List, and clinical requirements can be completed with the help of a preceptor in your local area. Must be 21 years of age to qualify.
Get information on Indiana State University
Concordia University of Portland, Oregan is part of The Concordia University System of ten colleges and universities in the United States, which is operated by the Lutheran Church. The Portland school has four colleges and 1,700 students.
Condordia has moved into online learning with master’s degree programs focused heavily on education:
Master of Education in Curriculum & Instruction in:
– Special Education
– Teacher Leadership, Adolescent Literacy, Environmental Education & other specialties
Get information on Concordia University
Nursing Degrees From Non-Profit Schools
THE UNIVERSITY OF SAINT MARY
USM is a Kansas-based private school that was founded back in 1923. It has focus on adult education, and was called the “Best Midwestern College” by The Princeton Review. The per credit fee for its nursing RN to BSN program is affordable.
Get free information on University of Saint Mary’s RN to BSN program
INDIANA WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY
This private university in Indiana was founded in 1920. It has about 15,000 students and a Christian foundation.
Get information on Indiana Wesleyan’s RN to BSN program