Non-Profit & Private Online Colleges & Universities
Click To A List Non Profit Colleges Offering Online Degrees
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).
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 Western Governors University, 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 operat 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 (Kaplan, for example,is owned by the Washington Post Company), 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
A note on degree listings: We have listed here the degree types that each school offers online. "Business" means associates or bachelors degrees in business, as opposed to "MBA" degrees, which are all the the master's level. "Social Sciences" generally refers to psychology or other similar degrees. We have separated out criminal justice degrees into a separate category. Likewise, "health science" degrees are a separate category from "nursing," a very specific category that's of great interest to our readers.
Keiser is an unusual case of a school that changed from for-profit to non-profit status in 2011. Established in Florida in 1977, the school has 14 campuses around the world and a very large and well-known online degree program. It has regional accreditation (the best kind) from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and has long pursued a goal of preparing students for real careers. Keiser offers a vast array of online associates and bachelors degrees in these areas:
- Criminal Justice
- Sports Medicine
- Video Game Design
- Biomedical Sciences
- Elementary Education
- Information Technology
- Business Administration
- Social Media Communication
Get information on Keiser University
SAINT LEO UNIVERSITY
St. Leo is a Florida-based, private non-profit school founded in 1889. It has over 16,000 students, and has been called one of the "Top Universities in the South" by U.S. News & World Report. The school has top quality accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. It offers a variety of degrees online, including:
- Associates in Accounting or Business
- Associates in Liberal Arts
- Bachelor of Accounting
- Bachelor of Business
- Bachelor of Criminal Justice
- Bachelor of Psychology
- Bachelor of Human Resources
- Bachelor of Healthcare Managment
Get information on St. Leo University
UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI
UC, which was founded in 1819, is one of the largest universities in the country, with over 40,000 students. It is a public research university that's ranked as a tier I school by US News and World Report Best Colleges. The online degrees if offers include:
- Bachelor of Health Information Management (completion degree)
- Master of Health Administration
- Master of Science in Criminal Justice
Get information on The University Of Cincinnati
Parker is a private non profit school the focuses on degrees in health and related professions. Based in Dallas, it is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and has a research institute studying health and wellness. Online, it offers three degree programs:
- Bachelor of Science, Computer Information Systems
- Bachelor of Science, Health Information Management
- Master of Business Administration, Healthcare Management
Get information on Parker University
Medaille is a private college near Buffalo, NY that's been known locally for many years, but has gained a more national reputation in recent times. It has about 3,000 students, and a long running focus on adult students. The school's online degrees are at the master's level in business, psychology and education:
- MBA, Master of Organizational Leadership
- Master of Science in Education: elementary, literacy, students with disabilities or secondary
- Masters in Psychology
Get information on Medaille
UNIVERSITY OF THE SOUTHWEST
A New-Mexico based institution that has been ranked #13 for Regional Colleges (West) by U.S. News & World Report, University of the Southwest is a small school with an unusually illustrious group of alumni including Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Apollo 13 commander Jim lovell, football star Lynn Swann and humorist Dave Barry. It offers masters degrees online in business, education and mental health:
- MBA in Accounting, Finance, Marketing or Sports Management
- MBA Law Enforcement and Corrections
- Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction: TESOL or Bilingual
- MSEd Mental Health Counselling
Get information on The University of the Southwest
INDIANA STATE UNIVERSITY
Indiana's large public higher education system has partnered with an elearning firm, 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.
- Indiana's online degree program is Nursing (LPN to BSN)
Get information on Indiana State University
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT CHICAGO
A public school with 25,000 students in it's 15 colleges. UIC's business and health and dentistry schools are highly regarded, and it's medical school is the largest in the United States. It's graduate programs that are ranked among the top 50 in the U.S. by U.S. News & World Report. Founded in 1867.
- Bachelor of Science In Nursing
Get information on the University of Illinois at Chicago