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Affordable Online Associate Degrees

Online associate degrees offer a fantastic way to get a college degree quickly and affordably. In fact, earning an associate degree online in the typical two years or less means a student can enter the workforce faster. These degrees can serve as stepping stones to a bachelor’s degree by allowing students to take a wealth of general education courses that create a firm foundation for further instruction. Because they can be obtained online, and can be cheaper than pursuing a bachelor’s degree out of high school, it’s easy to see why associate degrees are growing in popularity.

Defining what constitutes the “best” online associate program depends largely on the specific needs and considerations of the individual student. For some, a specific degree is necessary to enter a desired profession. For others, a bachelor’s degree is the ultimate goal and the associate degree is a great first step. In that case, the cost of attendance may play a more important role. The following guide breaks down online associate degrees and similar two-year programs, provides an overview of what students can expect, and gives them an idea of what it will take to get to the finish line. Whether a flexible first step to your dream career, or the exact credential you need for success, see how earning an associate degree online can make a difference.

What Are the Highest Paying Online Associate Degrees?

Even though an associate degree typically leads to entry-level work, that doesn’t mean it will result in entry-level pay. In fact, many high paying jobs now require an associate degree to get started. The below table provides insight into some common majors students can pursue through an associate degree program and what they can expect to earn upon graduation. By looking at these impressive wages, it’s easy to see why certain associate degrees are extremely popular—after all, it might only take two years of higher education to earn a wage that’s comparable to or higher than many positions requiring a bachelor’s degree.

Subjects 2014 Median Pay
Registered Nurse $68,450
Paralegal $49,500
Radiologic Technologist $57,450
Web Developer $66,130
Police Officer $61,600
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The Best Online Associate Degree Programs for 2018

Looking for the best associate degree options? The following ranking lists the best online associate degrees available to prospective college students. We carefully prepared the rankings by looking at several characteristics of each school, including tuition cost and availability of online associate degree programs. Interested students can sort through this information to better understand why one school is ranked higher than another.

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Methodology

To find the best colleges of 2016-17 for earning an online associate degree, our researchers and higher education experts collected and analyzed data from every accredited postsecondary institution in the United States. The goal? To see which colleges offered the most notable balances of academic rigor, program availability, student support and affordability for online learning. The specific criteria and scoring metrics for the ranking are as follows:

  • Accredited public or private not-for-profit institution
  • Must offer at least 10 online associate degree programs (2-year schools)
  • Must offer at least 5 online associate degree programs (4-year schools)
  • Annual in-state tuition & fees below $5,000 (2-year schools)
  • Annual in-state tuition & fees below $25,000 (4-year schools)
  • In-state tuition & fees for undergraduate students
  • Count of online associate degree programs available
  • Student-to-faculty ratio
  • 3-year graduation rate
  • Percentage of beginning, full-time undergrads receiving scholarship/grant aid from the college
  • Average amount of scholarship/grant aid students receive from the college
  • Availability of academic/career counseling services
  • Availability of job placement services
  • 3-year loan default rate
  • AC Online Peer-Based Value (PBV)*

*PBV: is a proprietary metric that compares the cost of a program to the cost of other programs with the same (or a similar) qualitative score. It also compares the qualitative score of the program to the score of other programs with the same (or similar) cost. In short, the PBV calculation denotes the overall value – or “bang for your buck” – of an online degree.

Rank University Location Score Annual Tuition # of Online Programs Financial Aid % Student-Teacher RatioGrad RateCredit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1 East Mississippi Community College Scooba, MS 99.41 $2,200 66 66% 13:1N/AYes Yes Yes

Located in rural Mississippi, the East Mississippi Community College (EMCC) equips local students with career technical and associates degrees from one of the following academic divisions: humanities and fine arts; mathematics and science; or social science and business. Career technical programs may also lead to a two-year degree and include studies such as forestry, welding and fabrication, and business technology. Since opening its doors in 1927 in Scooba, EMCC has established campuses at six other Mississippi locations, giving a broader population access to post-secondary education. To make getting a degree easier, all EMCC locations offer fully online classes so that students can study right from home. Currently, EMCC offers more than 450 online classes as a member of the Mississippi Virtual Community College—an online consortium of 15 Mississippi community colleges. All of EMCC's virtual classes are synchronous, meaning students must complete coursework within the allotted timeframe. While EMCC does not offer a clear path to fully online associate degrees, students can take advantage of all available distance learning opportunities to complete their program.

2 Western Wyoming Community College Rock Springs, WY 95.89 $1,992 30 62% 12:1N/AYes Yes Yes

To help students from all backgrounds earn a degree, Western Wyoming Community College (WWCC) aims to become a forerunner in providing distance education throughout the state by forging connections with local communities. Currently, WWCC has 11 outreach centers in southwestern Wyoming offering distance learning assistance to students. Once enrolled, students can take individual classes or earn an online associate degree without having to attend a learning center or campus. Western Wyoming Community College has eight fully online associate programs for students to choose from, offering degrees in fields such as criminal justice, social science, business, and computer information systems. All of WWCC's online classes are conducted in a time-managed (versus self-paced) format, and, interested students living outside of Wyoming can rest easy; WWCC is permitted to offer online education in 35 states, thanks to the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement.

3 Western Texas College Snyder, TX 95.42 $1,950 12 48% 16:1N/AYes Yes Yes

The Western Texas College (WTC), a two-year school located in rural northwestern Texas, prepares students for transfer to a four-year university or for an immediate career start. At Western Texas College, students can earn an A.A., A.A.T. (Associate of Arts in Teaching), A.S., or A.A.S. degree in fields such as mathematics, biology, drama or communications. Western Texas College has several career and technical A.A.S. programs, designed to send graduates directly into the workforce. These programs can be completed in areas such as criminal justice, early childhood education and information technology. For students interested in completing an online associate degree, WTC has a growing list of distance learning classes; however, it does not market 100 percent online programs. For adults or others looking to complete short, non-credit online classes, WTC has more than 300 courses available through ed2go. To help students manage distance learning options, WTC provides access to an online-learning specialist.

4 Arizona Western College Yuma, AZ 94.77 $1,824 14 16% 21:1N/ANo Yes Yes

To "keep up with the Joneses," Arizona Western College offers students an ever-evolving list of online courses and programs delivered through several distance learning technologies. Although the college chiefly serves Arizona's Yuma and La Paz counties, AWC is able to reach more students with online program options. These courses are brought to students through video podcasts, live streaming, interactive learning network, web conferencing and other digital media. The school also employs the interactive television network to provide general education classes via television, though this method is restricted to local students. Students at AWC can complete an associate degree or career technical training in 100 different disciplines and can be set up for transfer to one of Arizona's public four-year universities.

5 Allen County Community College Iola, KS 94.45 $1,824 53 72% 16:1N/ANo No Yes

In 2012 Allen County Community College began offering completely online degrees and students have responded positively, with 90 percent of students recommending virtual education to their peers. Allen has 40 associate degree programs, including a general education program that aligns with baccalaureate standards to facilitate university transfer. Some of the most popular online associate degrees at Allen are in the career and technical education sector, in fields such as business, addictions counseling and early childhood education. Distance learning students can benefit from the same academic counseling and services as on-campus students, with centers such as the college's writing center and library having online access. All of Allen's online courses and programs are not self-paced and the school provides free, online course training five times per year to ensure students' success in their programs.

6 Holmes Community College Goodman, MS 94.35 $2,000 57 38% 18:1N/ANo Yes Yes

Holmes Community College is a participant of the Mississippi Virtual Community College (MSVCC), a platform that connects 15 schools across the state in one digital campus. While HCC offers a wide selection of online classes and programs through the MVCC, students can additionally take courses from any of the other schools within the association and earn a degree from their home campus. Holmes Community College provides an online associate of arts degree that is tailored for university transfer and multiple career and technical programs that can be completed fully online or in a hybrid combination. Career and technical students can earn an associate of applied science degree in criminal justice, paralegal technology, coding technology and medical office technology at accelerated paces to jump into the labor force faster. The school is also active in the community college network, a live-streaming connectivity provider of 24 higher education institutions in Mississippi that allows sites to teach courses, talk, have meetings and produce other seminars.

7 Cincinnati State Technical and Community College Cincinnati, OH 94.30 $3,567 14 9% 13:1N/AYes Yes Yes

Racking up over 200 available online classes, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College has a robust virtual presence meant to help busy adult students reach their academic goals. At Cincinnati State, the average student age is 28 and distance learning is an increasingly attractive time and cost-effect method to education. Currently, the college offers 13 fully online associate degree programs in diverse occupations such as accounting, computer programming, health information technology, hospitality management and public safety technology. Students can also complete the online associate of arts degree to prepare for university transfer—45 percent of Cincinnati State students continue their education post-graduation. Virtual learners at Cincinnati State are supported with the same services and resources as traditional students and are given the opportunity to complete a workshop in online education.

8 Mississippi Delta Community College Moorhead, MS 94.03 $2,490 44 54% 18:1N/ANo Yes Yes

To create easily accessible online education to students living in multiple Mississippi regions, the Mississippi Delta Community College joined the ranks of colleges participating in the Mississippi Virtual Community College (MSVCC). The MSVCC collects all online course offerings from the 15 colleges into one virtual school for students to access, no matter which institution they call home. By taking classes entirely through the MSVCC, students enrolled at the Mississippi Delta Community College can earn their associate degree online and keep receiving academic, career and other support from MDCC. All courses are operated through canvas, where students can also seek tutoring assistance, totally online. To adequately prepare students for online education, MDCC provides a handful of videos, informative documents and an orientation session. Through the MSVCC, students enrolled at MDCC can earn their online associate degree in a host of diverse disciplines.

9 Kansas City Kansas Community College Kansas City, KS 93.75 $2,190 16 21% 13:1N/AYes Yes Yes

At Kansas City Kansas Community College, 58 percent of students reside locally, but thanks to the school's participation in SARA (State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements) online learners can earn a degree through KCKCC from a vast number of different cities and states. The SARA agreement allows participating colleges and states to offer online education to students seamlessly across state borders. Kansas City Kansas Community College has nine fully online associate degree programs in business, general studies, marketing, accounting, administration and computer systems, to name a few. The online associate of general studies program is built for students intending to matriculate into a bachelor program at a four-year university. In addition to fully online programs, KCKCC provides 10 associate programs that are delivered in combination of distance and face-to-face learning, with more than 50 percent of the program available online.

10 College of Southern Idaho Twin Falls, ID 93.74 $3,760 12 45% 19:1N/ANo Yes Yes

Serving remote regions of Idaho, the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls recognizes the importance of online education for busy students and for students living in distant areas. Students at CSI can take individual distance learning classes or complete a degree program without ever traveling to campus for class. The College of Southern Idaho has three methods of delivering distance education: fully online, via telecommunications, or face-to-face at an outreach learning center. For those looking to earn a wholly online associate degree, CSI offers 18 programs falling under these umbrella departments: social sciences, liberal arts, health sciences, education, business, library and information science. Online classes utilize blackboard, the college's virtual class management system, and students can find technical support online. The college's library is offered in an online database for all students to access.

11 Barton County Community College Great Bend, KS 93.48 $1,984 23 55% 23:1N/AYes Yes Yes

Since 1998, Barton Community College has provided distance education options to students. Barton Community College is a founding member of EDUKAN, a coalition of six Kansas community colleges that share a virtual campus for students to take a class or earn an associate degree online. Through EDUKAN, BCC students can choose to enroll in one of 205 online courses offered by the consortium. Barton Community College also has an in-house virtual campus called BARTonline. Specific to BCC students, BARTonline provides 49 different online A.A., A.S., A.G.S., and A.A.S., degree programs. Some online areas of study include education, pharmacy, political science, dentistry, public safety, chemistry, business, general education and many more. Of BARTonline's 49 programs, 11 are online Associate of Applied Science degrees to prepare students for immediate employment, while the remaining 38 associate programs were developed for student transfer to a higher education facility.

12 Tulsa Community College Tulsa, OK 93.28 $2,103 18 41% 18:1N/AYes Yes Yes

The Tulsa Community College estimates that nearly 27,000 students annually take classes through TCC, due in part to the college's wealth of online learning opportunities for students. The Tulsa Community College offers both 100 percent online and blended (courses that are half online and half in person) options and availability may depend on the student's area of study. For students interested in 100 percent online associate degree options, TCC has 17 programs available with 11 based in business practices. Other online majors include education, information technology, liberal arts and marketing. Students enrolled in an online program at TCC have several resources available to support their unique education needs. These services include tutoring, online class orientation, technical and academic support, and online library access.

13 Tyler Junior College Tyler, TX 92.72 $2,310 16 20% 20:1N/ANo Yes Yes

As one of Texas’ largest community colleges, Tyler Junior College has a wide reaching grasp into the world of online education. With a long list of individual online courses, Tyler Junior College also offers 10 completely online associate degree programs and five hybrid associate programs. A few examples of fully online programs that can be realized include degrees in education, psychology, business, general studies and criminal justice. Hybrid programs involve some element of on-campus attendance in one or more of the required courses. These programs are at least 50 percent online and can earn students an Associate of Applied Science degree in healthcare administration, paralegal, health information technology, medical office management or early childhood development. All of TJC’s online degree programs are accredited and meet the standards for delivery in states other than Texas, who are membered in SARA (State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements).

14 Rose State College Midwest City, OK 92.44 $2,595 18 32% 18:1N/ANo Yes Yes

Students at Rose State College can enroll in online associate programs to enhance their career options or to continue their education at the baccalaureate level. Rose State College has 60 degree programs available, four of which are offered as 100 percent online associate degrees. Students can complete an online Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree in English, business or general studies with the intention to transfer to a four-year program. One Associate of Applied Science degree is offered at RSC in library technical assistance. Online courses are managed through Brightspace, the college’s choice system for disseminating internet education. Brightspace is used in a number of classrooms, not only fully online courses, to supplement lectures and create an easy space to navigate and find class materials.

15 Laramie County Community College Cheyenne, WY 92.34 $1,992 26 43% 14:1N/ANo No Yes

To benefit students living far from campus or who have complicated work schedules, Laramie County Community College has several fully online associate degree options that make receiving an education simpler. Laramie County Community College offers either an Associate of Applied Science, Associate of Arts, or an Associate of Science degree in areas such as cybersecurity, education, government studies, accounting and speech pathology. Nine online associate programs are available in total at LCCC. All of LCCC’s online programs and single course options are transitioning to the learning management system Canvas to function as the virtual classroom for instructors and students alike. Students living across state lines interested in LCCC’s online programs can check to see if their state is part of the SARA online learning agreement. Laramie County Community College is able to provide online education to students living in 36 states.

16 Northwest Mississippi Community College Senatobia, MS 92.27 $2,550 17 28% 25:1N/AYes Yes Yes

At the Northwest Mississippi Community College, distance education programs were created to give students access to education that might otherwise be unavailable to them based on their life situation. While students can enroll in singular online classes, others may choose to earn their degree entirely online. Northwest offers 11 completely online associate degree programs in diverse academics, including marketing, education, criminal justice, social work and liberal arts. Many of these programs offer students the opportunity to transfer to a higher institution to complete a bachelor’s degree. Northwest’s online course offerings are reserved for either alumni or current students and are administered through Canvas, a digital classroom for students to complete assignments, communicate with instructors and access course documents. For any one online class, Northwest estimates students spend eight hours per week per course.

17 Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Perkinston, MS 92.23 $2,300 14 43% 21:1N/AYes Yes Yes

The Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College is recognized as one of the most affordable colleges within the state and is a jumping off point for starting a four-year degree or completing career and technical training. With several learning centers and eLearning opportunities, MGCCC sees 10,000 students annually pass through its physical and virtual doors. Online students at MGCCC have an abundance of courses to choose from, thanks to the school’s participation in the Mississippi Virtual Community College (MVCC). The MVCC is an association of 15 community colleges that combine their online classes and offer them to students enrolled in any one of the schools. Students at MGCCC can choose between 3,000 online classes through the MVCC, or 350 online classes right at home at MGCCC. With so many online classes, students at MGCCC can complete a 100 percent online associate degree in business, education and science among others. Ten fully online associate degree programs are currently offered at MGCCC.

18 Odessa College Odessa, TX 92.13 $3,240 18 22% 19:1N/ANo Yes Yes

Odessa College, located in west Texas, prepares busy students for their futures with versatile online education opportunities. Odessa has nine 100 percent online career and technical education programs that can be earned in computer science, criminal justice, occupational safety, business or office systems. These programs typically equip students to enter directly into a career with a newly minted Associate of Applied Science degree, however students can always choose to continue their education further. Students looking for an online associate degree in either arts or sciences have 15 different program pathways to choose from at Odessa. Half of these programs are specifically designed as transfer programs and are primarily offered in secondary and elementary education. Other online associate degree majors include child development, biology, communication, English and social sciences.

19 West Kentucky Community and Technical College Paducah, KY 92.06 $3,528 11 N/A 18:1N/ANo Yes Yes

Touting a “close to home” motif West Kentucky Community and Technical College can accomplish just that no matter where you live, all through distance education. With more than 20 years of experience in online education, WKCTC is an approved member of SARA (State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements) and is permitted to offer online classes to students living in many states outside of Kentucky. And to make the deal sweeter, all online programs are offered at one tuition price. West Kentucky Community and Technical College currently has eight fully online associate degree programs in computer design, business administration, criminal justice, medical information technology, marine technology and operations management. Students can also earn an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree aimed at preparing students for transfer to a bachelor program.

20 Taft College Taft, CA 91.96 $1,380 13 80% 28:1N/ANo Yes Yes

Taft College located in the southern half of California’s central valley, has 50 associate degree programs, specializing in career and technical education. As a two-year college, many students either choose to continue their education in the California state system or enter the workforce upon graduation. To help facilitate earning an associate degree, Taft offers numerous distance learning courses each semester. These courses are delivered in two formats, either online or offline. While offline courses do not require consistent internet connectivity, all online courses are operated through the web and Taft’s course management system Moodle. While direct pathways to an online associate degree may not be readily available, students at Taft can benefit from a variety of online classes to decrease the burden of traveling to campus.

21 Three Rivers Community College Poplar Bluff, MO 91.56 $4,320 18 17% 21:1N/ANo Yes Yes

The Three Rivers College of Missouri has six physical campus locations throughout the state and a fresh, new online education department. Three Rivers College has more than 100 programs available to students and an increasing collection of online courses to take advantage of that can create flexibility in a student’s busy schedule. Three Rivers College offers hybrid and online classes. Hybrid classes include one to 79 percent of a distance learning component, while online classes have a minimum 80 percent virtual learning component (up to 20 percent of course hours could require face-to-face interaction). Currently, Three Rivers College has two online associate degree programs to choose from in either business administration or general education studies. Both degrees earn a student an Associate of Arts degree in their respective field.

22 Pamlico Community College Grantsboro, NC 91.36 $2,304 11 21% 9:1N/AYes Yes Yes

Located in coastal North Carolina, Pamlico Community College is a small two-year college with an annual student enrollment totaling just under 600. Despite its petite stature, PCC has been approved to provide online courses and programs to students throughout North Carolina and in many other surrounding states as part of the NC-SARA agreements. Pamlico Community College has just under 20 academic study programs, with most programs awarding graduates an associate degree. Students at PCC can earn their degree in accounting, general education, welding and environmental science among other available majors. Those looking to continue their education further can earn an associate of arts or an associate of science degree and transfer to a higher learning institution. To make earning an associate degree fit into a student’s schedule, many online courses are offered with the possibility of completing a program entirely online.

23 Northeast Community College Norfolk, NE 91.22 $2,475 14 34% 17:1N/AYes Yes Yes

Providing higher education throughout Nebraska’s northeastern corner for more than 40 years, Northeast Community College is extending its accredited degree programs to even greater distances through online education. Northeast has over 15 online associate degree programs available through Northeast Online and the course management system, Canvas. Students can earn an Associate of Applied Science degree in business with three emphases to choose from, international, general or insurance services. Other online programs at Northeast bestow graduates with an Associate of Arts degree in fields such as behavioral science, agriculture, elementary education, business administration and criminal justice. Students can also opt for an academic transfer concentration to prepare for enrollment in a bachelor program post-graduation. Northeast’s online students have several support services at their fingertips, such as an online tutoring system, library database, academic and career counseling, and advisement.

24 State Fair Community College Sedalia, MO 91.09 $3,288 17 15% 17:1N/AYes Yes Yes

Located in the heart of Missouri, the State Fair Community College enrolls nearly 5,000 students across its eight campuses and in online programs. State Fair Community College’s virtual presence can be felt around campus, as 2,100 students took online classes in 2015, a large chunk of the school’s total average enrollment. Students at SFCC have roughly 260 online courses available to them and two programs offered 100 percent online. Online courses at SFCC can be offered totally online, hybrid, or simply web enhanced, meaning students still attend a classroom most days. Students searching for an online associate degree program can take either SFCC’s Associate of Arts degree (transfer based curriculum) or A.A.S degree in business management programs. State Fair Community College is part of the NC-SARA coalition, enabling the school to deliver online education to students living within 36 states.

25 Trinity Valley Community College Athens, TX 91.05 $960 10 31% 24:1N/ANo Yes Yes

Trinity Valley Community College is a two-year school in east Texas with versatile program offerings both on campus and fully online. Through TVCC’s distance learning department, students can earn an online associate degree completely from home. There are eight online A.A. and A.A.S degree programs at TVCC in academic realms such as management, accounting, liberal arts and sciences, information systems, computer science and legal assistant technology. Students don’t have to complete an entire degree online; they can also choose singular courses to fit into their schedule or relieve the pressures of commuting. Trinity Valley Community College is also part of the Virtual College of Texas. The VCT is an association of community colleges designed to offer more diversity in online education to students. Students enrolled in online programs at TVCC can take classes from another community college through the VCT in order to complete their degree on time.

26 Metropolitan Community College Area Omaha, NE 90.91 $2,385 11 28% 15:1N/AYes Yes Yes

With several branch campuses, learning centers and online programs, Metropolitan Community College is capable of educating more than 26,000 students per year, maintaining small class size in the process. At MCC, students can enroll in hundreds of credit or noncredit courses and complete a slew of degree and certificate programs, all via the internet. Distance education classes can be presented fully online, hybridized, or as web enhanced. Metropolitan Community College currently offers 24 online associate degree programs which fall into one of the following academic divisions: criminal justice, accounting, business, health information management systems, information technology, accounting, computer technology, liberal arts or office technology. Four of MCC’s online degrees are academic transfer programs to facilitate easy matriculation to a higher level institution. These degrees are offered in business, general studies, liberal arts and creative writing.

27 Owensboro Community and Technical College Owensboro, KY 90.59 $3,528 12 7% 17:1N/AYes Yes Yes

Owensboro Community and Technical College is a member of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, giving students access to a consortium of 16 community colleges and a flood of options for earning an associate degree. Students at OCTC can enroll in online associate degree programs through KCTCS Online in two formats: learn on demand and learn by term. The learn on demand program has revolving courses starting every week and are completely online, allowing students to earn a degree in business, arts or computer technology. Learn by term is a traditional online learning environment organized into semesters, offering 140 online programs to students. Distance learning students at OCTC can also earn an online associate degree or take individual courses through the Kentucky Virtual College.

28 Bluegrass Community and Technical College Lexington, KY 90.56 $3,528 15 2% 19:1N/AYes Yes Yes

One of 16 schools in the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS), the Bluegrass Community and Technical College has unique learning opportunities available to students on and off campus. Students can pursue a completely online associate degree directly from BCTC, with 10 programs available in areas such as arts, science, real estate, business, early childhood care and administrative office technology. The fully online A.A.S in teacher preparation degree allows students to begin their careers as teachers at BCTC and then transfer to a higher university for their final two years of study. Students looking for more online education options can search through the KCTCS’s network of online courses and programs, available to students in all 16 community colleges within the system; however, to earn a degree from BCTC, 25 percent of classes must be taken in house.

29 Truckee Meadows Community College Reno, NV 90.32 $2,535 14 19% 20:1N/AYes Yes Yes

Truckee Meadows Community College has several learning facilities in the Reno area and a WebCollege to disseminate all online course offerings and programs. Through TMCC’s WebCollege, students can complete online associate degrees with more than 25 program options to choose from. Students can earn degrees in a multitude of academic branches ranging from education and liberal arts to health sciences and mathematics. Some online programs may require a face-to-face component however, depending on the degree path chosen. Truckee Meadows Community College also offers an Associate of Arts and an Associate of Science transfer degree option for students to pursue their education to the next level. Through a partnership with the University of Nevada Las Vegas, TMCC students have greater access to online courses and can matriculate into UNLV to complete a B.A. in social sciences.

30 Columbus State Community College Columbus, OH 89.99 $3,808 16 16% 20:1N/AYes Yes Yes

With a growing list of virtual class options, Columbus State Community College is the “largest provider” of online courses in Ohio, a good omen for students pursuing distance education at CSCC. Columbus State Community College has 100 percent online associate degrees that run the gamut of program versatility. Students can earn their associate degree, entirely from home, in fields such as graphic design, business, digital photography, marketing, supply chain management and finance. Students living outside of Ohio, who are interested in taking advantage of CSCC’s horde of online courses and programs can relax—CSCC is authorized to provide online education in every state, due to the school’s accreditation and status as a NC-SARA institution. Local students may be interested in taking CSCC’s hybrid classes, a mixture of online and face-to-face learning, as part of their education process.

31 Madisonville Community College Madisonville, KY 89.80 $3,528 12 27% 19:1N/ANo Yes Yes

Madisonville Community College offers students diplomas, certificates and full associate programs from a variety of programs, from medical and emergency services to technology to education. Students interested in online learning can find virtual courses taught by the school’s on-campus professors, in a more convenient format. The school partners with Kentucky Virtual Campus, meaning students have the opportunity to choose from a coursebook of over 1,100 online classes. Madisonville also gives online students access to a virtual library, online bookstore, and support around the clock. Because the school recognizes that continuing education is important, even to those already on their career paths, its Workforce Solutions and adult education programs offer a variety of training and job skills services for students of all ages.

32 Central Texas College Killeen, TX 89.73 $2,790 19 16% 16:1N/AYes Yes Yes

Students who want an online associate degree program with flexibility can take their pick from the programs at Central Texas College. In addition to offering more than 60 career-oriented online associate degree and certificate programs, the school provides a range of scheduling options to help students create a balance between work, home and academics. With a variety of monthly starting dates for courses that last from eight to 16 weeks, students can find a program that fits into their unique schedule. The military-friendly online format will also appeal to students looking to earn their degree while deployed. Although tuition and fees are based on residency, CTC prides itself in its low rates per credit. Students who hope to continue their education after graduation will find it simple to transfer to four-year degree programs because of CTC’s articulation agreements with institutions across the U.S.

33 Stanly Community College Albemarle, NC 89.51 $2,304 10 10% 17:1N/AYes Yes Yes

At Stanly Community College, students can earn a wide variety of diploma, certificate and associate degrees through classroom instruction or a fully online format. Whether students work toward an online associate degree in accounting, information technology or one of several other areas of study, they will receive access to important support services online. For example, students can sign up for free tutoring from the Academic Support Center, schedule an advisor appointment for career counseling advice or log on to online databases at the virtual library. Stanly Community College’s online programs prepare students to find employment after graduation or transfer to a degree program at a four-year institution.

34 Mitchell Community College Statesville, NC 89.34 $2,304 18 10% 16:1N/ANo Yes Yes

Iredell County, North Carolina, is home to Mitchell Community College, one of 58 schools in the North Carolina Community College system. Students can take classes on campus, online or as a hybrid option. Both hybrid and fully online courses are offered in four-, five-, 12- and 16-week formats to help busy students schedule around commitments at work and home. Those hoping to earn online associate degrees in the arts, fine arts, science, and nursing will be happy to know that they are offered the same affordable tuition as students taking classes on campus. Staying in contact with instructors and classmates is also made easy through a variety of communication tools such as email, discussion boards, instant messaging, webinars and Microsoft Office Online. Not to mention, online students have full access to the J.P. & Mildred Huskins Library services and resources.

35 Jefferson Community and Technical College Louisville, KY 89.34 $3,528 12 N/A 18:1N/AYes Yes Yes

In addition to enrolling in day, evening and weekend classes, students at Jefferson Community and Technical College can earn fully online associate degrees in art and science. JCTC students also have access to hundreds of distance learning classes offered through the 16 schools in the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS). Learn by Term courses are synchronous, so all online students work together at the same pace. For greater flexibility, Learn on Demand courses are asynchronous, with new self-paced courses starting every week. Plus, JCTC graduates can transfer to a bachelor’s degree program at one of the nearly 200 participating schools in Kentucky.

36 Maysville Community and Technical College Maysville, KY 89.20 $3,528 10 8% 16:1N/AYes Yes Yes

Students who want to earn an online certificate or pursue a fully online associate degree need look no further than Maysville Community and Technical College. Because the school is part of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS), students can access courses from 16 different institutions, all of which are the equivalent of those taught in a classroom and offer the same affordable tuition rates. The MCTC Library houses e-Journals, e-books and streaming videos plus technical support is available 24/7. Graduates of the nursing and interdisciplinary early childhood education programs can seek employment right away, while students armed with associate degrees will find it easy to transfer to any four-year Kentucky college for a bachelor’s degree.

37 Dakota College at Bottineau Bottineau, ND 89.07 $3,301 10 30% 8:1N/AYes No Yes

Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, and Associate of Applied Science degrees at Dakota College at Bottineau are delivered in three formats: online, on-campus and blended learning. Career and Technical (CTE) degrees, in specialties such as bookkeeping, child development and recreation management, are available for students who want to enter the workforce immediately after graduation. Transfer degrees, on the other hand, are also available for those students who want to go on to earn a bachelor’s degree at another institution. Regardless of which on-campus or online associate degree program at DCB a student chooses, students are awarded access to a quality, affordable education that includes one-to-one attention and remote technical support.

38 Cerro Coso Community College Ridgecrest, CA 89.06 $1,288 11 4% 26:1N/AYes Yes Yes

At California’s Cerro Coso Community College, students can take classes at two on-campus locations or right from their computer. In fact, there are 18 accredited online associate degrees and 17 online certificate programs that prepare students either for entry-level employment in in-demand careers or a four-year program at another institution. The robust selection of 160 individual distance education courses are delivered using real-time interactive TV, online and hybrid formats. Regardless of format, all classes at CCCC are accredited and promote direct engagement among students, their peers and instructors. CCCC supports all students, providing virtual learners with the same resources, including free online tutoring, technical support and career counseling.

39 Northwest Iowa Community College Sheldon, IA 89.00 $4,410 10 30% 12:1N/AYes Yes Yes

Northwest Iowa Community College offers a variety of online associate degree programs and more than 750 individual online courses. Students also have the option to participate in a blended program, which offers a mix of online and on-campus courses, or they can partake in hybrid classes, which combine virtual learning with scheduled face-to-face instruction. Online courses are presented in four-, eight-, 12- and 16-week formats, and because the school is part of the Iowa Community College Online Consortium (ICCOC), students can access shared virtual courses from any of the seven-member schools to receive NICC credits. Support services, like access to online tutoring 24 hours a day through the Smarthinking app, are available for online learners. In addition, students receive virtual access to a robust collection of journals, reports, newspapers and textbooks from the school library.

40 Somerset Community College Somerset, KY 88.87 $3,528 12 9% 20:1N/AYes Yes Yes

Somerset Community College, a member of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS), allows students to enroll in courses from 17 schools. KCTCS Online courses have two delivery formats: Learn by Term and Learn on Demand. Each of these delivery formats offers a broad range of virtual courses and online associate degrees. The more than 700 Learn by Term courses have set start and end dates and require students to stick to the same schedule. Learn by Demand courses, on the other hand, are fully online, self-paced classes that begin each week, an ideal option for those who require flexibility due to work and family commitments. Because the virtual learning program is so large, there are plenty of support services for students, including the SCC online bookstore,Student Service Center and the virtual library.

41 San Jacinto Community College Pasadena, TX 88.79 $2,136 13 2% 18:1N/ANo Yes Yes

San Jacinto College is an accredited school open to Texas residents looking for a traditional face-to-face learning environment as well as those who prefer the flexibility of online learning. A wide array of individual courses, degrees and certificates in areas of study including business, education and health sciences are offered online through the Blackboard system and a variety of multimedia components. Blended courses, which combine classroom learning with web-based content, are also available. All classes in an online associate degree at SJC are taught by the distinguished San Jacinto College faculty. Students are assigned an email account and receive access to Microsoft Office 365 products. In addition to three campus libraries, SJC provides online library access to texts, journal articles and other resources as well as chat, text, email and phone contact with onsite reference librarians.

42 Gateway Community and Technical College Florence, KY 88.40 $3,528 14 8% 16:1N/AYes Yes Yes

Because a busy schedule shouldn’t interfere with a quality education, Gateway Community and Technical College offers affordable traditional and online associate degrees to Kentucky residents and those who take advantage of GCTC’s online program. Online courses are available in five-, eight-, 10- and 12-week options that are accessible 24/7/365. Through the 2/8/2 program, students can earn an accelerated, fully online associate degree two classes at a time within two years. The program is also designed to transfer to four-year bachelor’s programs at colleges in Kentucky. In addition, as a member of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, GCTC provides access to all shared online courses in the system. The Center for eLearning at GCTC offers resources for online learners, like free tutoring, free Gateway Library services and counseling.

43 Guilford Technical Community College Jamestown, NC 88.38 $2,016 13 3% 20:1N/AYes Yes Yes

An affordable diploma, certificate or associate degree is within reach with enrollment at Guilford Technical Community College in North Carolina. Whether students prefer traditional face-to-face classes or a 100 percent online associate degree program, GTCC provides a stellar accredited education and student support. Completing a Two-Week Online Readiness Workshop, offered throughout the year, qualifies students for the eDegree option. It includes priority registration and access to Associate in Arts courses designed to transfer to a four-year institution. Other degrees, such as the Associate in Applied Science and Associate in General Education, prepare students for in-demand careers. GTCC delivers all online classes through Moodle, and several GTCC scholarships are available for both online and on-campus learners.

44 Fayetteville Technical Community College Fayetteville, NC 88.37 $2,304 16 1% 19:1N/AYes Yes Yes

With more than 200 technical, general education and continuing education focus areas, Fayetteville Technical Community College offers a stellar education to people in the Piedmont. FTCC provides the resources students need for a career in the workforce or a four-year bachelor’s degree program. With partnerships with military, corporate and leading industries, FTCC sets their students up for success. Goal-oriented students seeking flexible class scheduling can enroll in one of 16 online associate degree programs in areas such as criminal justice technology, intelligence studies and hospitality management for the same affordable tuition as on-campus degrees. Rolling monthly start dates and student services, such as 24/7 access to NetTutor Online Tutoring Service, help attract 42,000 students to FTCC each year.

45 Wake Technical Community College Raleigh, NC 88.24 $2,304 12 1% 18:1N/AYes Yes Yes

Since 1993, Wake Technical Community College has been serving students in and around Raleigh, NC. Currently the largest community college in the state, Wake Tech offers a multitude of degree and certificate programs. In addition, the school offers affordable online associate degrees, including an Associate in Arts, Associate in Fine Arts, Associate in Science and an Associate in Applied Science. Wake Tech’s online program uses Blackboard and Moodle and was designed to provide flexibility and affordability to students outside the environment of the traditional classroom. The Individualized Learning Center (ILC) serves Wake Tech students at five campuses as well as online, providing tools for success, such as tutoring and workshops.

46 Forsyth Technical Community College Winston Salem, NC 88.16 $1,848 10 N/A 10:1N/ANo Yes Yes

Whether students prefer a career-focused diploma, certificate, degree or a college transfer degree, Forsyth Technical Community College has a multitude of fully online and on-campus options to meet their needs. Areas of study for an Associate in Applied Science degree cover a broad range of professions, including financial services, emergency management and criminal justice technology. Traditional and online associate degrees in the arts target students who are planning to earn a bachelor’s degree after graduation. Valuable work experience is available through work-based learning internships, which also earn students college credit. For those students preparing for careers in the global economy, the Study Abroad program places them in countries like China, Denmark and West Africa.

47 Central Georgia Technical College Warner Robins, GA 88.12 $2,040 12 2% 15:1N/AYes Yes Yes

Personal and academic success for all students is a high priority at Central Georgia Technical College, which offers degrees and certificates in the Peach State’s most competitive industries. As part of the school’s distance learning program, students can take one or more virtual courses toward an online associate degree. Classes such as general studies, business and health science are delivered in three formats: fully online, telepresence audio/video-conferencing and hybrid. Depending on the hybrid course, students may either spend the majority of time online or choose how much time to spend online and in the classroom based on preference through the innovative BlendFlex method. Study skills workshops and tutoring are offered on campus, while virtual tutoring is delivered via the Smarthinking app.

48 Amarillo College Amarillo, TX 88.03 $1,008 16 10% 19:1N/ANo Yes Yes

Amarillo College in Texas, with 143 degree and certificate programs, enrolls more than 10,000 students annually. The school’s Distance Education Program offers online associate degrees in business administration, criminal justice, general studies, psychology and radiation therapy as well as a Mortuary Science Certificate. The academic quality of online courses is equal to on-campus classes, and all credit hours can be transferred. While distance learning instructors may conduct classes through telecourses or interactive video, instructional settings can vary. Courses are offered completely online, as a hybrid (50% online/50% in classroom) or in an enhanced online delivery (more than 50% online). All students can access resources such as the Amarillo College Legal Clinic, Counseling Center. and Career Services.

49 Foothill College Los Altos Hills, CA 87.92 $1,395 11 7% 26:1N/ANo Yes Yes

More than 160 associate degrees and certificates are available through the affordable classes at Foothill College, including individual online courses and a variety of fully online associate degrees and certificates. The school uses Canvas, an online learning course platform, to deliver classes according to a set schedule with the same start and end dates for the entire class. Foothill College strives to make services applicable to on-campus and online students. For instance, to better reach online learners at Foothill College, academic advising is available via telephone and video conferencing. Students can also access an extensive media collection of online resources from the Career Services Library.

50 Ozarks Technical Community College Springfield, MO 87.76 $3,420 13 6% 21:1N/AYes Yes Yes

Ozarks Technical Community College, Missouri’s third-largest community college, offers 40 different degree programs. The college targets two types of students: those who want to transfer to a bachelor’s degree program and those ready to go straight into the workforce as nurses, welders and other in-demand professionals. OTC Online offers several fully online associate degrees, including an Associate of Arts, Associate of Applied Science and an Associate of Interdepartmental Studies. Their online program also offers hybrid degrees, such as Dental Assisting, Biological Clinical Science and Hearing Instrument Science. For over a decade, instructors have been engaging students with high quality, online courses using the Canvas Learning Management System (LMS). The Online Student Success department ensures students receive the resources necessary for a quality education.

The Best Online Associate Degree Programs at 4-Year Schools for 2018

Rank University Location Score Annual Tuition # of Online Programs Financial Aid % Student-Teacher RatioGrad RateCredit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1 Colorado Christian University Lakewood, CO 99.74 $20,435 7 98% 15:136%Yes Yes Yes

Colorado Christian University serves thousands of students with a broad range of traditional and online associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees as well as certificates and post-baccalaureate educator licensing. Students can choose from 12 associate degree programs, 10 of which are fully online and two are hybrid. Areas of study include biblical studies, criminal justice, healthcare administration, and marketing and sales. Located in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain Region, CCU is a member of the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities. The school offers virtual and face-to-face courses and programs to appeal to busy students who benefit from the flexibility and self-pacing of distance learning. All courses are accredited, and most are presented through Blackboard, a web-based format for online learners that encourages peer and instructor interaction. Students can even receive prior learning credit for life experience.

2 University of Delaware Newark, DE 98.88 $10,900 5 67% 16:182%No Yes Yes

For prospective students seeking affordable tuition prices and flexible scheduling, the University of Delaware has a variety of options. The school, located in Newark, Delaware, has a distinguished faculty that serves students on campus and nationwide through its distance learning program. More than 20,000 students attend UD, including thousands of virtual learners enrolled in more than 20 online associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. Students can earn the popular Associate in Arts Online degree after completing 60 credits, which equates to about half of the school’s Bachelor of Arts requirements. The distance learning format combines premier learning technologies and an outstanding education with the convenience and flexibility of online learning. Canvas is the University of Delaware’s choice for course management, and classes are delivered via video, audio, interactive activities and online discussions.

3 Wayland Baptist University Plainview, TX 98.86 $11,880 5 91% 10:133%Yes Yes Yes

For students seeking a private Christian education, Wayland Baptist University, located in Plainview, TX, has 13 campuses spread across six states in the U.S. as well as in Kenya, and its accredited online programs can reach students virtually anywhere. Students have hundreds of degrees to choose from on campus and online, from the online Associate of Applied Science to the Doctor of Management degree. Whether attending WBU virtually or on campus, all courses meet the same high standards. There are four 11-week online terms offered each year, and class e-books and other textbooks are available from the online Wayland University Store.

4 Davenport University Grand Rapids, MI 98.54 $14,472 9 92% 11:142%Yes Yes Yes

Davenport University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, has a global reputation for its academic programs. The school offers 50 two-year and four-year degree programs to students in the state as well as just about anywhere else via its online international campus. Whether pursuing an online associate, bachelor’s, master’s degree or certificate, DU offers students plenty of affordable options. In fact, fully online residents of states other than Michigan can receive a 33% tuition discount in the undergraduate degree program. Asynchronous courses are delivered 100% online using Blackboard, while Real-Time Virtual Learning courses combine synchronous and classroom learning. DU supports virtual learners by providing a number of resources, including online tutoring and an easy-to-use online bookstore.

5 University of Toledo Toledo, OH 98.40 $8,052 8 89% 20:146%Yes Yes Yes

University of Toledo, home of the Rockets athletic teams, serves more than 20,000 students each year. In addition to providing traditional degree programs, the school, established in 1872, has a comprehensive distance learning program. The university began offering online courses in 1998, and now students can earn online associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees as well as certificates in a broad range of fields. Students hoping to earn a two-year degree can pick from either paralegal studies or general studies, which allows for an easy transfer to a four-year program while also serving students who want to earn a degree but may not have selected a career path. Not only are the accredited courses taught by tenured faculty, the UT Online Learning Ventures department is solely dedicated to serving online students. In addition, students can access the eLibrary, eTutoring services, and 24/7 technical support.

6 Campbellsville University Campbellsville, KY 98.24 $22,342 6 97% 13:141%Yes Yes Yes

More than 4,000 students attend Campbellsville University each academic year. The school, located in Campbellsville, Kentucky, was established in 1906 as a private Christian school. Students can choose from traditional and online undergraduate and graduate programs. The distance learning department at Campbellsville University offers four online associate degrees, including the Associate of Science in Christian Studies, along with several bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Courses provide extended access to Campbellsville University’s experienced faculty in an innovative format and cost the same as face-to-face classes. Active military enrolled in undergraduate programs may be eligible for military tuition discounts on top of some of the most affordable tuition rates in Kentucky.

7 Northwood University-Michigan Midland, MI 98.10 $21,950 6 89% 14:153%Yes Yes Yes
8 Bethel University McKenzie, TN 97.98 $9,600 8 70% 17:130%Yes Yes Yes

Bethel University, located in Tennessee, is a leader in Christian education and offers licenses, certificates and degree programs, including more than 100 undergraduate study areas. Students can choose to earn an associate degree in the arts or in science face-to-face or 100 percent online in as little as 12-19 months. The school’s College Start program, geared toward students who want to eventually earn a bachelor’s degree, provides a transferable associate degree in a flexible environment. College credit may even be awarded for life or work experience outside the program. Students near and far also have access to EBSCO, the online library, through the Virtual Campus portal, which helps provide reliable information for online research.

9 Hawaii Pacific University Honolulu, HI 97.41 $20,930 11 89% 13:140%Yes Yes Yes
10 Tiffin University Tiffin, OH 97.37 $21,510 8 89% 15:142%Yes Yes Yes
11 University of the Incarnate Word San Antonio, TX 97.07 $24,900 6 99% 13:140%Yes Yes Yes

Since 1881, the University of the Incarnate Word has been dedicated to providing students with a quality education on all levels that is based on the Judeo-Christian tradition. As a result of this effort, the school has received high marks for its online associate degrees: In fact, SR Education Group named it 25th on its list of top online schools that offer degrees on the associate’s level. Students interested in these programs can enroll in associate degrees in areas such as general studies,business administration, and information technology. In addition, the University of the Incarnate Word helps students who are serving the country by offering associate degrees tailored to specific branches of the military, including the Army, Navy, and Air Force.

12 University of Alaska Fairbanks Fairbanks, AK 96.84 $5,376 9 46% 11:137%Yes Yes Yes

Students who are interested in earning online associate degrees in business, education, or technology can find the programs they need at the University of Alaska Fairbanks to train for a new career or lay the framework for a higher-level degree. For example, business students can earn associate’s degrees in applied accounting or applied business, where they learn the realities of the business world while getting the practical skills they need to be successful. Similarly, the University of Alaska Fairbanks has a degree in early childhood education designed to train students to get a job teaching in a nursery school, Head Start program, or kindergarten class of a public or private school. Also, the university has an information technology associate’s program that prepares students to become IT professionals in the public and private sectors. The school also has associate’s degrees available in paralegal studies and the arts.

13 University of the Cumberlands Williamsburg, KY 96.67 $19,640 5 100% 15:143%No No Yes

The University of the Cumberlands has been offering degree programs that are based on the tenets of Christianity for more than 125 years. Today, students who want to earn online associate degrees can get the same Christian-based education that students have enjoyed on campus for over a century. From business to criminal justice to religious studies to psychology, the University of the Cumberlands online degrees have the same faculty and curriculum as traditional programs, along with the flexibility of taking synchronous or asynchronous courses that best fit into students’ lifestyle. For example, students who want to use the school’s Christian education to serve the community can earn an associate’s degree in missions and ministry, while people who want to help people in a social service context can study human services. Also, there are associate’s degrees in criminal justice, psychology, and business administration.

14 Western Kentucky University Bowling Green, KY 96.41 $9,140 8 43% 18:150%No Yes Yes

When students earn online associate degrees from Western Kentucky University, they get a number of services designed to help them succeed in their programs, as well as their careers. For example, the school provides pre-admission orientation through its Online Learning 101 program, which familiarizes students with the Blackboard learning management system that classes are delivered through, and provides answers to students’ frequently asked questions about distance education. Western Kentucky University also has a Student Resource Portal that includes a writing and math lab, access to technical support, and research guides. With these tools provided, students can enroll in the school’s interdisciplinary studies and early childhood education associate’s degree programs and have confidence that they will have everything they need to be successful.

15 Ferris State University Big Rapids, MI 96.36 $10,556 9 67% 16:149%Yes Yes Yes

Ranked one of the best online schools by U.S. News & World Report, Ferris State University has programs available for those who want to enter a variety of careers. While the school does not offer online associate degrees, there are several undergraduate certificates available that can put students on the fast track to entering their chosen career, or help them lay the foundation to earn a bachelor’s degree and beyond. For those who want to enter the health care field, the school has online programs in cancer information management, gerontology, long term care, vascular ultrasound, and lean health care. People who want to learn business acumen that can be applied to any field they enter can get a certificate in human resource management, international business, leadership and supervision, project management, and small business management. Also, those who want to land marketing jobs can enroll in business-to-business, direct, and digital marketing certificate programs.

16 Presentation College Aberdeen, SD 96.02 $17,500 8 100% 10:140%Yes No Yes

Presentation College provides holistic education based on Catholic principles. As a result, those who want to earn online associate degrees can take courses with a curriculum that addresses students’ spiritual, socio-cultural, environmental, physical, and emotional needs. For example, students who enroll in the school’s radiologic technology associate’s degree program take courses in medical terminology, radiologic science procedures, radiation physics, image analysis and quality improvement, and radiographic pathology in order to learn the basics of the profession. Also, the program offers elective courses in areas such as Christian ethics, natural science, college composition, social science, and algebra in order to give students a well-rounded perspective on the field.

17 Indiana Wesleyan University Marion, IN 95.71 $24,102 16 43% 15:171%Yes Yes Yes

IWU Online, which is run by Indiana Wesleyan University, provides several distance learning programs, including online associate degrees, along with resources—such as an academic advisor and Off-Campus Library Services—to help students meet their educational goals. Armed with these tools, students can earn degrees in different areas, such as business-based degrees in accounting, business, and computer information technology. Also, Indiana Wesleyan University offers associate-level degrees in early childhood education, general studies, and criminal justice. In addition, in keeping up with the school’s evangelical Christian values, students can earn an online associate’s degree in Christian ministries if they want to train for entry-level pastoral positions at churches and para-church organizations.

18 Idaho State University Pocatello, ID 95.48 $4,910 5 51% 15:131%Yes Yes Yes

Idaho State University offers online degree programs from its eISU Course Delivery system, where students can take synchronous and asynchronous classes, as well as gain access to professors, other students, and course materials. Students who want to earn online associate degrees from the school can find programs through the Division of Health Sciences and the College of Business. For example, aspiring health care professionals can earn associate’s degrees in fire services administration and emergency management, which provide an understanding of how the field works and the skills that are needed to obtain a leadership position. Those who want to learn business principles that can be used in any industry can enroll in Idaho State University’s business associate’s degree program.

19 Great Basin College Elko, NV 95.13 $2,535 18 44% 16:114%Yes Yes Yes

Accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, Great Basin College has been offering degree programs that foster academic freedom and responsibility since 1967. This tradition can be found in its distance learning programs as much as it can be found on campus, so students enrolled in online associate degrees take courses that allow them to explore and share ideas, while receiving instruction based on high standards of scholarship. Students can enroll in associate’s degree programs in several areas, such as accounting, early childhood education, graphic communications, human services, computer programming, and entrepreneurship. There are also associate’s degrees available in English, arts, land surveying/geomatics., and social science.

20 University of Alaska Southeast Juneau, AK 95.07 $5,376 6 61% 12:112%No Yes Yes

Those who enroll in University of Alaska Southeast’s online associate degrees not only learn the academic principles of the discipline they choose—they also receive instruction that helps them build vital career skills such as collaboration, problem solving, and communication abilities. In addition, students benefit from small class sizes and professors who are experts in their field. The University of Alaska Southeast offers associate’s-level degrees in business, health, science, and arts disciplines. Specifically, there are programs in arts, business administration, health information management, and science. In addition, the school offers a fisheries technology degree program, which is designed for students who want to work for hatcheries, as well as government agencies and private companies. People in this program take coursework on fishery management techniques, oceanography, small business management, the law and economics of fisheries, and fisheries in Alaska.

21 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA 94.80 $20,300 11 82% 18:150%Yes Yes Yes

Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, Liberty University has been providing liberal degree programs rooted in evangelical Christian principles since it was founded in the 1970s. By combining these principles with the fundamental knowledge students need, the online associate degrees the school offers trains people to pursue their careers while adhering to Christian ideologies as they work. In addition, Liberty University has a history of providing distance education for the last thirty years, so students can enroll in programs with the confidence of knowing that the school understands the needs of online learners. Available programs on the associate’s level include areas such as accounting, paralegal studies, criminal justice, psychology, information systems, and early childhood education.

22 Weber State University Ogden, UT 94.74 $4,326 5 60% 21:143%Yes Yes Yes

Weber State University’s distance education programs can be found on WSU Online, where students can enroll in courses, access the Canvas learning management system, and receive career advising. In addition, students who need extra help with their coursework have access to the online tutoring, math, and writing centers, as well as software tutorials. With all the assistance Weber State University provides, students interested in online associate degrees have all the tools they need to successfully complete their programs so they can begin their careers or move on to advance their education. For example, the applied science associate’s degree program includes diverse coursework that covers subjects such as medical terminology, pathophysiology, quality improvement, health care privacy and security, and health information systems. In addition, the school offers associate’s degrees in computer science and general studies.

23 Limestone College Gaffney, SC 94.66 $23,000 5 96% 18:136%No Yes Yes

Limestone College allows students who want to study arts or science on the associate’s level to get their education through completely online programs. For example, the school’s liberal studies associate’s degree gives students a well-rounded education by exposing them to humanities, physical and social sciences, and mathematics courses. The school’s web development and database associate’s degree prepares students for technology jobs by providing courses on Internet graphics, web development tools, scripting, and microcomputer applications.In addition to providing online associate degrees, the school offers online bachelor’s-level degree programs in areas such as criminal justice, health care administration, law, marketing, information technology, and liberal studies. Also, Limestone College is a military friendly school that helps to make it easier for active servicemembers to earn their degrees online by allowing them to receive credit for their military service and ensuring they don’t have to duplicate work they have already completed.

24 Baker College of Flint Flint, MI 94.65 $8,280 11 82% 19:19%Yes Yes Yes

Recognizing that working adults who want to enroll in a degree program have specific needs, Baker College of Flint offers flexible online associate degrees through its Baker Online system. From business to culinary arts to health care to automotive to technology, the school has numerous degree programs available to prepare for their chosen career. For example, those who want to enter the health care field can enroll in the school’s nursing, physical therapist assistant, respiratory care, and medical laboratory technician programs. Similarly, students who want to get under the hood of an automotive career can get training through Baker College of Flint’s autobody technician and automotive services technology associate’s degree programs, while food enthusiasts can get their job prospects cooking by earning degrees in culinary arts, food and beverage management, and baking and pastry. In addition, the school has accounting, veterinary technology, paralegal, cardiac sonography, and interior design associate’s degrees.

25 Columbia College Columbia, MO 94.43 $6,582 8 22% 32:141%Yes Yes Yes

Students who earn online associate degrees are managing busy lives, so they need to know that they can easily fit their studies into their schedule. Columbia College delivers this convenience by offering six online sessions each year, which allows students on the associate’s level to earn their degrees in less than two years, depending on what they’re studying. Some of the associate’s degree programs available include areas such as general studies, arts, fire service administration, computer information systems, business administration, criminal justice administration, and human services. In addition to flexible schedules and an assortment of degree options, Columbia College also offers career services where students can get assistance finding internships and full-time positions, developing resume writing and interviewing skills, and exploring options for higher-level degree programs. In addition, the school offers academic advising services to online students.

26 Vincennes University Vincennes, IN 94.11 $4,752 22 17% 16:135%Yes Yes Yes

Vincennes University, which is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, was the only college in the entire state of Indiana when it opened its doors in 1801. Now, students don’t have to live in Indiana to take advantage of the education Vincennes University provides, as the school offers several online associate degrees in a variety of disciplines. Some of the available online programs Vincennes University offers on the associate’s level include behavioral sciences, law enforcement, computer programming technology, funeral service education, family and consumer sciences, business management, and accounting. Although students enjoy the convenience of taking their coursework without coming to campus, they are required to complete certain tests and assignments at a location with a proctor.

27 Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale, FL 93.86 $16,056 14 78% 12:168%Yes Yes Yes

When they founded Keiser University in 1977, Evelyn Keiser and Dr. Arthur Keiser had aspirations of providing convenient education options to adults who wanted to train for a career. This dedication allowed the school to grow to 18 campuses around Florida over the years, but students don’t have to be located in the state to take advantage of its career-based education. Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale provides several online associate degrees, including programs in homeland security, paralegal studies, health services administration, accounting, criminal justice, and information technology. Also, Spanish-speaking students can enroll in medical assisting science, general studies, and medical administrative billing and coding associate’s degree programs that are conducted in that language.

28 Bismarck State College Bismarck, ND 93.83 $2,808 17 25% 14:1N/AYes Yes Yes

BSC Online is Bismarck State College’s learning system where students interested in distance education can enroll in courses and complete all of their assignments through the Blackboard program. It has become a common way for students to take courses, whether they are enrolled in online associate degrees or they are taking individual online classes for their traditional degree program. In fact, about two-thirds of the students at Bismarck State College have taken at least one class through BSC Online, while 44 percent of the school’s students are completing their entire degrees online. On the associate’s level, some of the online degrees offered by the college are in business administration, power plant technology, cybersecurity and computer networks, human services, and criminal justice.

29 Crown College Saint Bonifacius, MN 93.17 $23,080 6 99% 18:151%Yes No Yes

Crown College., which is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, was founded in 1916 to provide Christ-centered education to its students. To that end, the school promotes ministry, prayer, and service along with the quality coursework that students need to be successful in their careers. Whether students enroll in a traditional program on campus or online associate degrees, students are able to integrate their faith with their academic content. In addition, online students have the same opportunities to collaborate with their peers as their on-campus counterparts. When students enroll in Crown College’s Christian ministry, general studies, and business associate’s degree programs, they get the chance to connect with their professors and other students in order to get the most out of their educational experience.

30 Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology Okmulgee, OK 93.02 $3,465 5 62% 15:11%Yes No Yes

Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology is dedicated to building a stronger workforce through education programs, including online associate degrees, which train students to have expertise in a variety of fields. In fact, through the school’s Workforce and Economic Development office, OSUIT works closely with employers to determine what skills are needed and how the school’s degree programs can fill those needs. This emphasis on creating a strong and capable workforce can be seen in the school’s online associate’s degree programs. For example, the information technologies program arms students with knowledge of network support management, computer logic, hardware systems support, and operating systems so graduates can succeed in technology careers.

31 Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus University Park, PA 92.98 $16,572 5 33% 16:185%Yes Yes Yes

Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus serves the most students face-to-face of all the 24 Penn State campuses. More than 1,000 student organizations make the main campus in University Park, PA, a hotbed for activity and interaction. Penn State University Park teaches a large, diverse group of undergrads and mixes old with the new with historic buildings and modern facilities. The campus is located in a small college town nestled in the area nicknamed “Happy Valley.” Two associate’s degrees are offered on-site: Letters, Arts and Sciences and Workforce Education and Development. For people who can’t commit to attending class in-person or wish for more flexibility in learning, the World Campus lists six online associate degrees that can be earned exclusively digitally. The financial aid office can help students wade through the options available to them. In addition to federal aid, financial assistance may also be given to military and unemployed workforce, if eligible.

32 Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City Oklahoma City, OK 92.50 $2,770 9 24% 16:1N/AYes Yes Yes

Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City offers traditional, online and hybrid higher education studies in both popular and unique fields. Students can earn exclusively online associate degrees in police science, public service, health care management, business management and surveying technology. More than half of students take at least one online course. On-campus, OSU-OKC offers both Associate of Applied Science and Associate of Science degrees in agricultural science, health sciences, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields, liberal arts and more, many of which are the only ones of their kind in Oklahoman higher education. The campus boasts a wellness center and farmer’s market for health-conscious studiers. Students can search the student life calendar to find events and organizations that suit their interests and schedule. The handy net price calculator can help new students figure out how much money they will need for school at OSU-OKC. The school also offers special assistance to military families.

33 South Texas College McAllen, TX 92.46 $2,330 16 1% 24:1100%No Yes Yes

South Texas College emphasizes quality education for a lower cost, as it was ranked No. 1 for affordable colleges in the valley. About 72 percent of students take advantage of financial aid options through federal aid, state grants, work-study programs, scholarships, loans and veterans benefits. On-campus, students can earn their associate’s degree in a number of fields, including math and science, nursing and health, business and technology, liberal arts and social and behavioral sciences. Earn online associate degrees from South Texas in almost 20 majors through exclusive online learning, or take online courses in addition to in-person classes to meet specific educational or scheduling needs. South Texas College also offers dual-credit courses for eligible high school students that allows them to earn college credit early and continuing education for adult learners. The college has five campuses and two higher education centers to better serve the Texas population.

34 Southwestern Assemblies of God University Waxahachie, TX 92.23 $18,570 8 64% 14:133%Yes Yes Yes

Southwestern Assemblies of God University strives to provide a learning environment that leads students to their calling while sticking to its Pentecostal roots. SAGU encourages Spirit baptism according to Pentecostal theology and development of individuals’ spiritual gifts. The school also promotes social, emotional and physical wellness to honor God through the body. In terms of academics, the university offers degrees earned on-campus in a variety of subjects, including addition counseling, religious studies, business administration and music, to name a few. Students can earn online associate degrees and save while doing so through a limited-time tuition grant, which gives a 15 percent discount on degrees earned 100 percent online. The university connects learners with live-streamed events and recorded video on SAGUtv, which covers chapel, seminars and special events. Students can get involved on campus through intramural sports, which include glow-in-the-dark dodgeball, ping-pong, ultimate frisbee and sand volleyball.

35 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide Daytona Beach, FL 92.18 $8,040 5 35% 14:158%Yes Yes Yes

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide provides online learning focused on aviation, aerospace, engineering and business. Students can earn online associate degrees from six majors, Aeronautics, Aviation Business Administration, Aviation Maintenance, Engineering Fundamentals, Logistics & Supply Chain Management and Technical Management. The university’s online undergrad programs have 12 terms with a number of start times, and each session last nine weeks. Embry-Riddle, a private, not-for-profit university, can accommodate recent high school grads, transfer and international students, military and veterans who need more flexibility for their learning environment. The school lists a cost and tuition breakdown and net price calculator so that prospective students can easily figure out the cost for their degree choice. Active-duty military, National Guard and Reserve benefit from discounted tuition rates, which are also offered to their spouses and children. Eligible veterans can use the GI Bill to fully pay for their tuition.

36 Peirce College Philadelphia, PA 92.05 $13,200 5 84% 13:1N/AYes No Yes

Peirce College offers a flexible learning environment by offering online and on-campus courses, so that students can earn degrees by attending solely on-campus, strictly online or a hybrid combination of both. Online associate degrees can be obtained in six fields, Business Administration, Criminal Justice Studies, General Studies, Health Information Technology, Information Technology and Paralegal Studies. To get the level of flexibility many students take advantage of, a computer and Internet access are required. Peirce College partners with Comcast to offer affordable laptops and Internet so pursuit of higher education goes unencumbered. Through the same program, adult learners who need to brush up on their computer skills can do so in-person, in print or online. Students may also take advantage of academic counseling through workshops and events, tutoring and special services for disabled people. There are a handful of student organizations to choose from that can keep learners engaged outside of the classroom.

37 Gulf Coast State College Panama City, FL 91.86 $2,042 5 31% 19:1N/ANo Yes Yes

Gulf Coast State College, situated by the Florida Gulf Coast in the Panhandle, prepares its students for the workforce and continued learning. The college offers only one online associate degree in Liberal Arts, General Option. The Associate in Arts degree (AA) gets students started toward earning a bachelor’s degree, which would be earned after transferring to a four-year institution. The program is the equivalent of freshman and sophomore university learning. However, Gulf Coast’s Panama City, FL, campus offers a whole host of associate’s degrees through face-to-face learning, and the North Bay campus offers a small handful of options. These majors range from biology to early childhood education to radiography. The college does offer a hybrid higher education setting in which students can choose to take some classes online and attend others in person. Gulf Coast State College has ample resources for active-duty military, veterans and their spouses, including scholarships, tuition breaks and more.

38 St Petersburg College Clearwater, FL 91.85 $2,483 15 26% 22:1N/AYes Yes Yes

St. Petersburg College provides a well-rounded education in a variety of in-demand studies. Associate’s degrees are available in fields such as studio arts, music industry recording arts, business administration, elementary education and biomedical engineering technology. Several Associate of Arts (AA) degree plans, including degrees in journalism and mass communications and the Education AA, are the precursor to transferring to a four-year college and earning a bachelor’s degree. Online associate degrees with Associate in Science include business administration, digital forensics and computer investigations and web development, among others. All AA degrees can be completed through online, on-campus or hybrid learning. St. Petersburg, located in St. Petersburg, FL, has 12 campuses or education centers spread throughout the Tampa Bay area. Students can take advantage of being so near the beaches or, on campus, visit the planetarium, theater, music center, museum of art and gallery for their fill of arts and culture. The college is home to numerous clubs and organizations, some of which are campus-specific.

39 Jackson College Jackson, MI 91.47 $3,864 9 22% 18:1N/AYes Yes Yes

Jackson College focuses on getting its students workforce-ready or transferred qualified to continue their studies at a four-year college. The campus sits on 400 acres in a more remote, rural location south of Jackson, MI. The college’s online associate degrees that can be earned exclusively online are Associate in Arts, Associate in General Studies, Accounting and Business Administration. Three sonography associate’s degrees can be completed mostly online. Other select classes may be offered digitally for various majors. A larger number of degrees are offered on-campus or as hybrid learning in business and computer technology, health sciences, human services, liberal arts, science, engineering and mathematics and skilled trades and agriculture fields. Jackson College accommodates learners in all walks of life, including high schoolers who want to get ahead on their higher education through dual-enrollment courses, adult learners, guest students enrolled at other colleges or universities, veterans and international students. The financial aid office breaks down the tuition and other costs as well as supplying information on scholarships, loans and the like.

40 University of Maine at Augusta Augusta, ME 91.40 $6,510 8 33% 16:112%Yes Yes Yes

University of Maine at Augusta offers a sprinkling of online associate degrees. These include business administration with several concentration choices, justice studies and rehabilitation therapy, to name a few. Information and Library Science is a web-based degree, and individual online courses contribute to a hybrid learning system that offers a little more flexibility to the traditional on-campus student. The Augusta, ME, campus, centered on a greenspace, is the most populous campus, which features a civic center for basketball competitions and within it the fitness center, nature trails, a cafe and computer lab. The university offers counseling services with a clinical counselor, who can help students on their path to success by addressing personal issues before they affect school work. Visit Student Financial Services to nail down tuition and other costs and apply for financial aid.

41 Miami Dade College Miami, FL 91.39 $2,483 8 23% 20:1N/AYes Yes Yes

Miami Dade College. possesses a diverse student body, with Hispanics making up 71 percent of enrollment. The college, which has nine campuses, is centered on the Miami area. Obtaining online associate degrees is simple through the school’s Virtual College. Accounting technology, criminal justice technology and marketing management are three of eight Associate in Science degrees available online. The Associate in Arts online program leads the way to earning a bachelor’s degree. In addition, hundreds of online courses help to enhance traditional students’ education through a hybrid learning method. For on-campus learning, the Honors College reaches out to high-achieving students for a more rigorous study. Those accepted are eligible for the Honors College Fellows Award, which pays in-state tuition, fees and books. Miami Dade College also offers continuing education programs for adults who take noncredit courses to better their professional skills.

42 Colorado Mountain College Glenwood Springs, CO 91.34 $3,750 5 2% 13:1N/AYes Yes Yes

Colorado Mountain College provides a quality higher education within the beauty of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. The main college, located in Glenwood Springs, CO, takes pride in being one of nine postsecondary schools in the U.S. to receive the 2017 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School’s sustainability award. The school plans to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 12.5 percent every five years. In terms of its education, online associate degrees are open to students interested in the programs Associate of the Arts, Associate of General Studies, Early Childhood Education (AA or AAS) or Paralegal. Colorado Mountain College has 11 campuses in the mountainous region. Each campus offers a variety of associate’s degrees in the fields of anthropology, chemistry and social work, to name a few. The college encourages internships, which offer hands-on experiences to students, making them workplace-ready. The college’s students take on less debt than most others in Colorado. One of the methods of getting this higher education at a lower cost is by attending in-district, the cheapest way, or in-state, second cheapest.

43 College of Southern Nevada Las Vegas, NV 91.14 $2,535 18 12% 22:1N/AYes Yes Yes

College of Southern Nevada focuses on providing a basis of higher education that can lead to additional studies. Students attending on-campus can pick from more than 100 associate’s degrees, and online degree-seekers can choose from 20 online associate degrees from accounting to communications to psychology. Most of these degrees are Associate in Arts (AA) degrees, which set students up to further their education and obtain a bachelor’s degree through a different college or university. The college’s Canvas online learning system features chat, discussion board, online group projects and document sharing, so students are only a click away from their instructors and classmates. “Smarthinking” is a free, online tutoring tool provided by the school, and online librarians are available for research assistance. The College of Southern Nevada, which boasts eight campuses around the Las Vegas valley, provides access to the sprawling city life and is within driving distance to various outdoor recreation areas like Lake Tahoe and Death Valley National Monument.

44 Florida State College at Jacksonville Jacksonville, FL 91.09 $2,095 8 14% 23:1N/AYes Yes Yes

Florida State College at Jacksonville features nine campuses or college centers for learning centered in the Jacksonville, FL, area. On-campus degrees include an assortment of fields, from automotive service management technology to aviation maintenance to fire science technology, for example. Associate in Arts degrees will qualify students for the UNF Connect program, which makes it simple to transfer to the University of North Florida for a bachelor’s degree. Eight online associate degrees offered by the college include accounting technology, business administration, computer information technology, criminal justice technology, early childhood management, industrial management technology, office administration and supply chain management, which are all in the Associate in Science format. Florida State’s Financial Aid office helps students assess their financial needs and options for assistance. Financial Aid TV offers videos on a variety of frequently asked questions and how-tos. The college is one of the top 25 most affordable public, four-year institutions in the U.S.

45 Daytona State College Daytona Beach, FL 90.87 $3,134 7 16% 20:1N/AYes Yes Yes

Daytona State College counts seven locations within its higher-education system, all located along the Atlantic Coast. Through the college, nine online associate degrees can be obtained 100 percent online, with one degree in computer information technology offered partially online. The online Associate in Arts degree allows students to work toward a bachelor’s degree transfer program from Daytona State College or a Florida public college or university. Earn an Associate in Arts or Associate in Science on-campus from a variety of majors, including industrial maintenance technology, interior design, nursing, computer programming and environmental science technology, to name a few. The Daytona Beach, FL, campus features an aquatic center, a fitness center, athletic programs and intramural sports for students to stay active. Opportunities to hone in on and develop leadership skills can be obtained through Co-Curricular Activities or by joining one of the student-led clubs and organizations. Daytona State College prides itself on being a tobacco- and smoke-free campus. This includes a ban on cigarettes as well as vaping through e-cigarettes.

46 SUNY Empire State College Saratoga Springs, NY 90.79 $6,170 11 77% 15:116%Yes No Yes

SUNY Empire State College is a New York based college with over 30 locations across the state. An accredited school, SUNY specializes in non-traditional forms of studies. For students that don't want to study on a New York campus, SUNY has multiple campuses across the world, as well an extensive distance learning program. Because of their emphasis on a non-traditional education, many students find that the online associate degrees offered by SUNY are a good fit for their schedule. By studying toward a 4-year associate degree online, students are able to continue working and supporting their family while furthering their education, giving them a chance to advance through their career or switch career fields entirely.

47 Clarion University of Pennsylvania Clarion, PA 90.68 $6,820 5 20% 18:154%Yes Yes Yes

One of the goals of Clarion University is to give students an education that prepares them for their professional career. With this in mind, they’ve structured all their academic programs to teach students everything they need to know to jump into a career right after graduation. This is also reflected in their online school where students can study toward degrees at every level. For example, the online associate degree options give students a general knowledge of a specific field, helping them move forward with their career or make a jump to a new career. These associate degrees are also ideal for students that may want to continue their education in the future but are currently looking for something to help them improve their job outlook right now.

48 Indian River State College Fort Pierce, FL 90.12 $2,496 5 10% 26:1N/ANo Yes Yes

Ranked as one of the most affordable colleges in the nation, Indian River State College wants to give students the chance to support their community. One way they do this is by giving students the real-world knowledge and experience they need to begin a career somewhere in the area, helping students get local jobs and helping the community grow. A popular way this is done is through the virtual campus, an online learning option offered by IRSC. There are multiple online associate degree options offered by IRSC, all of which offer practical knowledge and application to everyday work. The online associate degree programs can be completed entirely online, ideal for students that aren’t able to regularly commute to a campus because of a busy schedule.

49 University of Northwestern Ohio Lima, OH 90.09 $9,364 13 24% 26:144%No Yes Yes

For nearly 100 years, the University of Northwestern Ohio has been teaching students from across the nation. The school was founded with the entrepreneurial spirit in mind, so their curriculum is meant to foster this type of thinking in students. The same can be said about UNOH’s online degrees which are available to students across the country. All online degrees were designed with non-traditional students in mind, so these are an excellent fit for students that are working or are too busy to commute to campus for scheduled classes. The online associate degrees offered by UNOH give students the flexibility to study at their own pace while still teaching them the professional skills they need to succeed.

50 Hobe Sound Bible College Hobe Sound, FL 90.04 $5,200 5 62% 12:145%No No No

Hobe Sound Bible College is a Christian school centered around Wesleyan tradition. One of the main goals of HSBC is to foster Christian values in students, particularly servant-leadership. With this in mind, the degree programs not only teach students the curriculum in their field, but they also help students learn how to become leaders in their communities. These same values are applied to their online school where students can earn a degree at their own pace. Students that do end up earning an online associate degree from HSBC are instilled with the same values as students that study on-campus, only they get to take classes that fit their busy schedules. After graduating with an online degree, students will be ready to provide for their communities as a servant and a leader.

What Are the Most Popular Associate Degrees to Earn Online?

There are numerous online associate degrees for prospective college students to choose from, although certain topics seem to be more popular than others. Luckily, many of these popular subjects are available online. That may be one reason the number of associate degree seeking students taking online courses rose from 18.2 percent in the 2003–2004 school year to 33.9 percent in the 2011–2012 school year. With the popularity of associate degrees catching on across the nation, that percentage is likely even higher today. For more information about these popular subjects, check out the below chart.

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How Long Does It Take to Earn an Associate Degree Online?

An online associate degree usually takes two years, or the same amount of time as a traditional, on-campus associate degree. However, as with a traditional associate degree program, online curriculums can be modified so students can complete them at their own pace. That means for one student, the associate degree takes three years; but for another student, it might take as little as 18 months. The following timeline provides a good approximation of the time required for the typical associate degree program available through distance learning.

Are Online Associate Degrees Cheaper?

Online associate degrees can be cheaper than associate degrees from brick-and-mortar schools. No, tuition might not be cheaper, but certain expenses can be avoided. On the other hand, these savings can be somewhat offset by costs not normally associated with a traditional on-campus degree. The following discussion addresses some of the costs that students enrolled in an online associate degree program can avoid, or must pay, compared to a traditional program.

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Can You Get Financial Aid for Online Associate Programs?

Students entering an online associate degree program can expect the same financial aid opportunities as anyone attending a traditional one. The only condition is that the online program must be accredited by an organization recognized by the United States Department of Education. The accreditation requirement is extremely important, as students who attend a non-accredited school will be ineligible for any financial aid from the state or federal governments. They will almost certainly be ineligible for most scholarships, grants and fellowships as well. In other words, students who choose a school that is not accredited can expect to pay high rates out of pocket, with no financial aid to help them.

For most students, their financial aid awards will include private scholarships, school-based scholarships, state-based financial and federal-based financial aid. Even though these financial aid dollars come from different sources, they almost all require the student to complete the FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Also, the bulk of many students’ financial aid awards will be loans and grants from the federal government. More information about federal financial aid can be found at Federal Student Aid.

How Can I Find the Best Online Associate Programs?

Defining what constitutes the “best” program depends largely on the specific needs and considerations of the individual student. For some, a specific degree is necessary to enter a desired profession. For others, a bachelor’s degree is the ultimate goal and the associate degree is a stepping stone. In that case, the cost of attendance may play a more important role.

Obviously, choosing the best associate program involves consideration of any number of factors. The following rankings examine several factors that are important to students, to help them sort through the various options and find the best associate programs based on what matters most to them.

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