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.
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 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 Catholic private university located just outside Chicago, Illinois. The school, founded in 1887, describes itself as a "melting pot" of students from all religions, faiths and philosophies, and now provides a large number of business degree programs online.
Benedictine's online degree programs:
Accelerated MBA's in
- Health Administration
Full MBA Programs in
- Internet Marketing
Master of Public Health
Master of Science in Leadership for Women
Master of Science in Nursing - several specialties
Get information on Benedictine University
Boston University is a very large private school that has, for years, been attended by the children of well-to-do families in the northeast. It has top drawer faculty and facilities, is highly respected by employers and, yes, it's hockey team has recently won the NCAA championship. BU online programs have gradually expanded over the past few years. It has tended to build programs that are masters or certificate programs in sometwhat unique specialties, though it does offer one completion degree in liberal arts at the bachelor's level. BU master's degree programs focus on various areas of business, criminal justice and arts and education, but it has a particularly large meno of online master's degreer in technology. Not surprisingly for a school with BU's reputation, the degree programs are not cheap -- though studying online can save you commuting and/or campus living costs..
Boston University online certificate and degree programs
Bachelor of Liberal Studies, Interdisciplinary (completion degree)
Education & Teaching (Music or Arts Education)
Masters in Business (Banking or Business Continuity)
MS Computer Information Systems in:
- Web Application Development
- Database Management
- Health Imformatics
- IT Project Management
MS International Marketing
MS Insurance Management
Master of Banking & Financial Services
Certificate in Paralegal
Certificates in Project Management (several specialties)
Get information on Boston University
Brandeis is an private school outside Boston founded in the 1040's with a name that's respected, particularly in the northeast. Its alumni include some colorful characters, ranging from social firebrand Angela Davis to Shen Tong, one of the leaders of the 1989 Tiananmen Square uprising in China. Brandeis has top quality accreditation, and offers masters degrees only online.
Brandeis' online masters degrees:
Health & Medical Informatics
Information Tech Development
Get information on Brandeis University
Champlain College is a small private school in Burlington, Vermont that has been teaching students for 126 years. The school was rated 12th among U.S. News & World Report's best baccalaureate colleges in the North in 2009. It has been offering online learning for about 10 years.
Champlain currently offers one masters degree online:
Master Seicnce in Law
Get information on Champlain College
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 and business:
Master of Education in Curriculum & Instruction in:
- Special Education
- Teacher Leadership, Adolescent Literacy, Environmental Education & other specialties
- Environmental Management
- Healthcare Administration & other specialties
Get information on Concordia University
Creighton is a very old (founded 1878) and highly regarded school with one of the strongest reputations for any college or university in the midwest. It is a Roman Catholic institution run by the Jesuits, known as a highly intellectual order within the Church.
Creighton's online programs are all masters degrees:
Master of Public Health Policy & Ethics
Master of Public Health Services Administration
Get information on Creighton University
Not-for-profit private university that has regional accreditation from the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. EU has less than 1,000 campus based students but has expanded significantly into online degrees.
Online programs offered at the bachelors and masters levels in:
Aviation (bachelor's & master's degrees)
Get information on Everglades University
Gonzaga is one of 28 private Catholic schools run by the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. Located in Spokane, Washington, it's known nationally for its quality law school and, yes, its sometimes outstanding basketball team. The schools 92 different degree programs cover a full range of classic liberal arts subjects.
Online degrees offered by Gonzaga are in the business and health categories, and are all at the master's level except for a single certificate program:
Business (MA in organizational leadership or communication)
MA Transmission & Distribution Engineering (also offers a certificate in this specialty)
Get information on Gonzaga University
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 one degree program, delivered in consort with The College Network:
Nursing (LPN to BSN)
Get information on Indiana State University
KENT STATE UNIVERSITY
Kent State is a system of 8 state-funded schools in Ohio, founded in 1910. It offers a variety of online degree programs, though some are delivered partly through video or videoconferencing. Several online degree programs are also offered in health and education. Accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, with it's nursing school accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
Kent State offers two online degree programs:
Master of Arts in Journalism & Mass Communication, Public Relations
Master of Music in Music Education
Get information on Kent State University
Lewis is a Catholic school founded in 1932 that mixes classic liberal learning with values-based education. It has focused on a large number of accelerated learning programs for working adults. It has five colleges, and is the ninth largest private, not-for-profit university in Illinois. Frequently gets high quality rankings from The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report.
Lewis offers masters degrees online in organizational leadership and technology security:
MA Organizational Leadership - Higher Education
MA Organizational Leadership - Nonprofit Management
MA Organizational Leadership - Organizational Management
MA Organizational Leadership - Public Administration
MA Organizational Leadership - Training & Development
MS Information Security - Technical
MS Information Security - Managerial
Get information on Lewis 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 Aeronautics, 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 over 105 degree programs online in these specialties:
Arts & Religion (41 different degrees in all areas of ministry, divinity and pastoral leadership)
Business (Associates and bachelors degrees)
Nursing(RN to BSN, associates and masters degrees)
Education & Teaching (24 different online degree programs)
Computers & IT
Criminal Justice (Associate & bachelor degrees)
Get information on Liberty University
LOYOLA UNIVERSITY NEW ORLEANS
Loyola New Orleans is a Catholic (Jesuit) university with five different colleges and 2,600 undergraduate and 2,200 grad students. Ranked #8 in US News & World Report's "Great Schools Great Prices" category and #7 as being the "Best Master's University in the South," Loyola is open to students of all faiths. It's one of 28 schools in the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities
Loyola offers Masters Degrees only online:
Nursing (MSN bridge program)
MS Nursing, Health Care Systems Management
Criminal Justice Administration (forensics, cyber forensics or justice administration)
Get information on Loyola University New Orleans
LUBBOCK CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY
A private school affiliated with the Churches of Christ, LCU was founded in 1957 and now has just under 2,000 students. It has quality regional accreditation from the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges.
LCU offers two masters degrees online:
MS Clinical Mental Health CounselingBusiness
MS Human Services
Get information on Lubbock Christian University
NEW ENGLAND COLLEGE
NEC is a small private liberal arts school in rural Henniker, New Hampsire, that has a bit less thatn 2,000 students. It was founded in the 1940's for returning soldiers who were going to school on the famous G.I. Bill. The school is attended, generally, but kids from fairly well-off families in the northeast, and thus has a network of alumni in the Boston and New York business communities.
New England College offers a series of masters degrees online, with a strong focus on business:
Master of Science, Management in:
- Health Care Administration
- Marketing Management
- Project Management
- Real Estate Management
- Strategic Leadership
- NonProfit Leadership
- Operations Management
Master of Arts in Public Policy
Get information on New England College
NEW ENGLAND COLLEGE OF BUSINESS & FINANCE
An unusual private school sponsored by a banking consortium, which delivers 100% of its degree programs online, even though it was founded in 1909 (it was originally called The American Banking Institute). It's actually the only bank-sponsored college in the U.S. that is an accredited degree-granting institution. The school has a particularly strong focus on completion bachelor degrees. For a private school, tuition is very affordable. An associates's degree costs a flat fee of $17,500, while a bachelor's is $35,000. Those rates drop significantly, however, if you work for a company that is a partner of the school:
Bachelor in Digital Marketing
Bachelor in International Business
Master of Business Administration
Master in Healthcare Management
Master in Business & Ethics Compliance
Master in Finance
Also certificate programs in several Accounting specialties and in Human Resources
Get information on New England College of Business & Finance
NEW YORK CHIROPRACTIC COLLEGE
This college is a non-profit corporation that confers degrees in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, Applied Clinical Nutrition, Diagnostic Imaging, and Clinical Anatomy and Life Sciences. It is located in rural Seneca Falls in upstate New York, and was founded in 1919. The school has grown over the years, partly by merging with other health schools. It offers bachelor's and masters degrees, and is one of the better known schools for alternative health, particularly in the northeast.
The school's online program focuses on two master's degree programs in health physiology and clinical nutrition:
Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition
Master of Science in Human Anatomy and Physiology Instruction
Get information on New York Chiropractic College
Well-known old private school in Boston that has always had a unique approach to mixing formal education and job experience for all students. Northeastern has been rated in the top 15 of best colleges in the U.S. by U.S. News & World Report. It's D'Amore-McKim Business School offers a series of graduate degrees online in various specializations, including some unique cutting-edge areas.
Northeastern currently offers online MBA & MS programs including:
Master of Science Finance
Master of Science Taxation
MBA High Technology Management
MBA Innovation Management
MBA Healthcare Management
MBA Operations and Supply Chain Management
Get information on Northeastern University
Private military school that's operated in Vermont since way back in 1819. The school offers an unusual mix of liberal arts, civil engineering and military science programs. Over 100 army generals have come out of the school. About 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students total.
Norwich offers a variety of master's degree programs online:
MBA (Finance, General, Project Management, Organizational Leadership)
Civil Engineering (Structural Engineering, Construction Management & others)
Military (Masters in Diplomacy, History & Military History)
Master of Public Administration
Get information on Norwich University
NOVA SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY
Private university based in Florida that was established in 1964, and has grown rapidly into an institution with over 18,000 students. It's 18 colleges offers degrees in over 250 majors.
Nova's online degree programs focus on computers and education:
Computers & IT (Graduate certificates, master's and doctoral degrees in Information Security, Technology in Education, Management of Information Systems & more)
Education & Teaching (Master's degrees in Computing Tech in Education, Teaching Math or Reading and K-12 Technology Integration)
Get information on Nova Southeastern University
One of the oldest public universities founded in the U.S. (1810), in Athens, Ohio, OU is a massive school serving over 25,000 students. The university has colleges of journalism, communication, educaton, fine arts and more, and has produced a large number of famous business leaders, journalists and athletes.
Offers online master's degrees in these specialties:
Get information on Ohio University
OUR LADY OF THE LAKE UNIVERSITY
A small Catholic university in San Antonio. Offers a technology degree program that is certified by the National Security Agency.
Offers several master's degree online:
MBA Health Care Management
MS Information Systems & Security
MS Nonprofit Management
MS Nursing (nursing education or administration)
MS Social Work
MS Organizational Leadership
Get information on Our Lady of the Lake University
Private university founded in the 1880's, with schools of architecture, business administration, science and health, engineering & textiles, liberal arts, and design & media.
Offers two graduate degrees and one certificate program online:
Master of Science Disaster Medicine & Management
Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Practices
Get information on Philadelphia University
PORTLAND STATE UNIVERSITY
The public university system of Oregon, with over 26,000 students, PSU has colleges of business, education and more, and has been cited as one of the best colleges in the western U.S. by the Princeton Review. It has focused its online degree efforts on one criminal justice degree program.
Portland State offers a completion degree in criminal justice designed to get students a full degree in a year, in many cases:
Criminal Justice(Completion bachelor of science degree in criminology and criminal justice)
Get information on Portland State University
Regis is one of the 28 associated Catholic, Jesuit schools in the U.S. Located in Denver, it has about 14,000 students and is comprised of three colleges: Regis College, the College for Professional Studies, and the Rueckert-Hartman College for Health Professions. The school has a long tradition of encouraging community service by students. Noted alumni include comedian Bill Murray.
Regis' online degree programs are all at the bachelor's and master's levels. The school is particlularly strong on business and computer technology distance learning programs:
Business if Science in Accounting, Finance,
MBA Health Industry Leadership, Finance, Marketing or Operations Management
Bachelor in Computer Information Systems, Computer Networking or Computer Science
Master of Nonprofit Management
Get information on Regis 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.
UIC offers online degrees and one online certificate program focused on nursing:
Nursing (RN to BSN & grad certificate in patient safety)
Master of Science In Health Informatics
MS In Patient Safety Leadership
Get information on the University of Illinois at Chicago
UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND
A private non-profit school with campses in Biddeford and Portland, Maine. Has about 3,000 students and was founded in 1939. Operates a nursing school program in Israel.
The university's online learning program is 100% focused on education and teaching degrees:
Education & Teaching (Masters degrees in educational leadership, inclusion education, K-12 literacy and certificates in several teaching specialties)
Get information on the University of New England
Utica College is one of several small but respected private colleges in upstate New York. It started in the 1930's as an extension of Syracuse University, but is today an independent school with about 2,500 undergraduates and 500 grad students. Its health sciences school is particularly well-known.
Utica College has a mix of online degree programs in nursing, business and security:
Nursing RN to BSN
Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity (two specialties)
Master of Business Administration - Fraud Management
Master of Science - Health Administration
Master of Science - Economic Crime Management
Master of Science - Cybersecurity
Get information Utica College
WESTERN GOVERNORS UNIVERSITY
Western Governors is an unusual, 100% online private, non-profit school that receives funding from state governments, corporate grants and student tuition, but which is not a public school or a profit-making entity. 19 state governors in the west were involved in it's founding in 1999. The school has grown rapidly since then, with extremely affordable online degree programs. It targets students who don't have access to a traditional college campus, and those with modest incomes, first-generation college students, minorities and students in rural areas. Tuition rates are very low - a flat rate of less than $3,000. per term for most degree programs, $3,250. per term for MBA study, and about $4,250. per term for a nursing bachelor degree program (the school has done a great job of NOT raising it's tuition rates over the past five years or so).
Western Governors has about 50 online degree programs at the bachelors and masters levels, and several certificate programs in education:
Computers & IT
Education & Teaching
Get information Western Governors University