Best Online Colleges in Virginia

Explore the best colleges in Virginia that offer a variety of completely online programs for both undergraduate and graduate students. Learn what characteristics to consider when choosing a school and how to get financial aid.

Best Virginia Colleges with Online Programs

In choosing the best schools in Virginia for an online program, you should consider cost, admissions requirements, flexibility and accreditation. The top 20 colleges in Virginia with online program options are listed below.

1. Liberty University

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Lynchburg $22,584 97%

Liberty University began in 1971 and currently has more than 100,000 students and over 500 online programs. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and has supplemental accreditation for many of its online programs. Undergraduate students can choose from 22 certificate programs and 128 degree programs, while graduate students can choose from 37 certificate programs and almost 350 degree programs. Although some programs have special tuition rates, most undergraduate students have a tuition rate of $390 and graduate students have a tuition rate of $565 (full-time).

2. Regent University

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Virginia Beach $18,380 97%

Regent University promotes leadership in both professional and spiritual pursuits and has been providing educational programs since 1978. The school is accredited by the SACSCOC as well as several other agencies, such as those affecting programs in nursing, business and psychology. Students can pursue more than 130 programs online, taking 8-week or 15-week courses. Undergraduate students have a tuition rate of $395 per credit hour and graduate tuition ranges from around $500 to $1,000 per credit.

3. Old Dominion University

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Norfolk $10,560 93%

Old Dominion University is a research-focused institution that engages students, partnering organizations and the community. The school is accredited by the SACSCOC and offers more than 140 programs online, including those in health sciences, business and education. In-state students have a per-credit tuition rate of $356 (undergraduate) or $547 (graduate), while out-of-state students have a tuition rate of $1,028 to $1,383. Undergraduate students who are active-duty members of the military have a tuition rate of $250 per credit hour.

4. George Mason University

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Fairfax $12,462 76%

George Mason University offers an inclusive and innovative community with an emphasis on learning and freedom. The school is accredited by the SACSCOC as well as programmatic accrediting organizations. Students can pursue over 50 hybrid and online programs, including those in education, business and engineering. Tuition rates vary by program and course load, but can be around $380 per credit for undergraduate students and $1,000 per credit hour for graduate students.

5. Virginia Commonwealth University

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Richmond $14,493 81%

Virginia Commonwealth University offers almost 20 programs completely online for undergraduate and graduate students, including those in nursing, sociology and education. The school offers flat-rate tuition to full-time students, with undergraduate students paying $14,596 (in-state) or $35,904 (out-of-state) for the 2019-2020 school year. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and has been providing educational programs since 1838. VCU promotes values such as innovation, freedom, accountability and collaboration through active and engaging learning.

Rank School Name Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
6 Bethel College Hampton $8,420 0%
7 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Blacksburg $13,620 67%
8 Mary Baldwin University Staunton $31,110 100%
9 University of Virginia-Main Campus Charlottesville $17,653 59%
10 James Madison University Harrisonburg $12,016 63%
11 Radford University Radford $11,210 86%
12 Fairfax University of America Fairfax $10,328 17%
13 Norfolk State University Norfolk $9,490 97%
14 Hampton University Hampton $26,702 95%
15 Virginia University of Lynchburg Lynchburg $9,000 100%
16 Bluefield College Bluefield $26,060 100%
17 Shenandoah University Winchester $32,530 100%
18 Virginia Wesleyan University Virginia Beach $36,660 100%
19 University of Lynchburg Lynchburg $39,530 100%
20 Hollins University Roanoke $39,035 100%

All table data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics, tuition represents the 2018-2019 undergraduate school year.

Learn.org's school ranking methodology categorizes and assesses data from schools and other reliable sources, such as the U.S. Department of Education, and weighs the information based on quality, cost, value and other factors critical to students' academic decisions.

Choosing the Right College for an Online Program in Virginia

When you're deciding on a school to attend for your online program in Virginia, you should consider factors such as cost, admissions requirements and flexibility.

Cost

The cost of online programs in Virginia vary based on the degree level, student residency and prior college coursework. Total program costs can be less than $20,000 to more than $90,000. Compare the costs for your school choices, and remember that you can use financial aid for most online programs in Virginia.

Cost Savings and Credit Transfer

Ask your schools about potential cost savings through credit transfers and life experience. Undergraduate programs may allow up to 75% of the curriculum to be transferred in, and some master's degree programs allow up to 50% to be transferred in. If you don't have previous college credits, see if you can earn some credits for your professional experience; some colleges allow students to earn credits and waive courses by passing knowledge assessments or compiling professional portfolios.

Programs Offered

As you narrow down your school choices, confirm that the program you're interested in is available online to you. For example, a master's degree program in education might be offered online to licensed teachers, but require non-licensed students to complete the program on campus. Some programs do require some on-site components regardless of student qualifications.

Residency Requirements

Students in some programs (like nursing and education) are required to complete practicum hours as part of their online program, but may be able to complete those hours near their home. In addition, your program may require you to attend on-campus sessions for things like orientation and networking.

Flexibility

Prior to beginning your online program, it's important to consider your time availability and commitments. Once you've determined how much time you can commit to your program, ask your admissions counselors if the program you're interested in is offered in the format that you need (full-time/part-time). Many online programs allow you to take courses at your own pace, but some programs are available in a specific format and order.

Why Accreditation Matters for Online Programs in Virginia

There are two types of accreditation that can apply to online students in Virginia: programmatic accreditation and institutional accreditation.

Programmatic Accreditation

Programmatic accreditation, also referred to as specialized accreditation, applies to specific programs or academic units. While not all programs have programmatic accreditation, many technical and professional programs do. In some cases, programmatic accreditation is completely optional, and may or may not increase the employment opportunities of graduates (for example, many business programs). In these situations, students are able to receive a quality education in their field and may have an advantage when applying for a position.

Other accredited programs may be necessary, or preferred, by their industries and employing organizations. For example, students interested in pursuing careers in education or nursing typically need to graduate from accredited programs to qualify for licensure in their fields. Students should review the standard paths for entry into their intended careers to find out if they need to enroll in an accredited program.

Institutional Accreditation

Institutional accreditation affects a school as a whole and can be provided by a regional accrediting agency or a national accrediting agency. Either type of institutional accreditation means a school has met quality standards set by an outside party, but there are some key differences between the two. Institutional accreditation (regional or national) is required for students to qualify for federal financial aid.

Regional National
Quality Schools must meet higher quality standards Quality standards are less strict
Transfer Credits Credits from schools with regional accreditation can transfer to any other accredited school Credits earned at schools with national accreditation only transfer to other nationally accredited schools
Admissions Many of these schools have more strict admissions criteria These schools often have more relaxed admissions requirements
Tuition Reimbursement Graduates can typically qualify for corporate tuition reimbursement Not always eligible for tuition reimbursement

Financial Aid for Online Programs in Virginia

Students of online programs in Virginia can qualify for a slew of financial aid options, many of which are listed below. Students interested in using financial aid should fill out the FAFSA, which is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This free online tool enables students to see some of the types of aid that they can qualify for and send their application results directly to their school choices from the application itself.

Scholarships

Scholarships are offered by countless organizations, including schools, corporations, nonprofits and government agencies. Students can find various scholarships through their school and online.

  • Granville P. Meade Scholarship - High school seniors who are preparing to enter a Virginia college program can qualify to earn $2,000 per year for 4 years.
  • SREB-State Doctoral Scholars Program-Dissertation Award - Students pursuing a PhD with the intent to become college faculty can apply to receive this one-time $20,000 scholarship.
  • Leo Bourassa Scholarship - Undergraduate and graduate students who are pursuing the field of water resources can qualify to receive $1,000 or $3,000.
  • Innovation in Sales Technology Scholarship - Students can apply to receive 1 of 5 $2,000 awards by submitting an essay or video expressing interest in sales and technology.
  • Ted G. Wilson Memorial Scholarships - Undergraduate students who are pursuing programs in engineering or construction can apply for this $1,500 award.
  • Yount, Hyde & Barbour Scholarships - Undergraduate and graduate students who are pursuing a degree in accounting can apply for this annual $3,000 award.

Work Study

Work study programs are offered by some employers as well as the government. The federal work study program is available to students of participating schools and allows students to earn part or all of the cost of their programs by working part-time.

Student Loans

Most students with student loans utilize government loans because they are income-based and have flexible repayment options. Student loans can also be obtained through some private lenders, but these should be used as a last resort. Government loans have nationally-set income rates and are regulated by the government.

Loan Forgiveness and Repayment

Some graduates are able to have some (or all) of their student loans forgiven or repaid. The federal government offers loan forgiveness for many graduates who work in public-service positions and make regular loan payments for around 10 years. In addition, many companies now offer loan repayment to employees as incentives.

Career Options for Graduates of Online Programs in Virginia

Graduates of online programs in Virginia can pursue a multitude of career options, some of which are listed below.

Registered Nurses

Registered nurses work under the supervision of physicians, delivering patient care and providing patient education. Registered nurses are required to complete an undergraduate nursing program and obtain licensure (RN license).

Computer and Information Systems Managers

Computer and information systems managers direct and coordinate activities related to computers and information systems, such as technology needs and network security. They typically need a degree in information or computer science and several years of related experience.

Operations Research Analysts

Operations research analysts help companies and organizations solve various programs using advanced analytical and mathematical methods. Most operations research analysts have a bachelor's degree in operations research, engineering or a related field, but some employers prefer candidates with a master's degree for higher-level positions.

Computer Hardware Engineers

Computer hardware engineers design, build and test different computer components and systems, which can include networks, processors and circuit boards. Many of these engineers have a bachelor's degree in fields such as computer engineering, computer science or electrical engineering.

Graphic Designers

Graphic designers develop visual representations of various ideas in order to inform and excite consumers. They typically have a bachelor's degree in a field such as graphic design and usually have a portfolio of their work to present to potential employers and clients.

Accountants and Auditors

Accountants and auditors review and prepare financial records and reports, ensuring that the financials of an organization are efficient and accurate. They typically have a bachelor's degree in accounting or a similar field and licensure (when applicable).

Mathematicians and Statisticians

Mathematicians and statisticians use various statistical and mathematical techniques to analyze data and solve problems in engineering, business and other fields. Those working in government usually need to have a bachelor's degree while those working for private organizations typically need a master's degree or doctoral degree in a field such as mathematics, statistics or other qualitative fields.

Job Title Mean Salary (2018, Virginia) Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028, national) Typical Education for Entry
Registered Nurses $69,790 12% Bachelor's degree
Computer and Information Systems Managers $173,290 11% Bachelor's degree
Operations Research Analysts $104,980 26% Bachelor's degree
Computer Hardware Engineers $119,500 6% Bachelor's degree
Graphic Designers $60,540 3% Bachelor's degree
Accountants and Auditors $85,640 6% Bachelor's degree
Mathematicians $121,240 26% Master's degree
Statisticians$87,70031%Master's degree

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Strayer University

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    Popular programs at Strayer University:

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  • Colorado Christian University

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    Popular programs at Colorado Christian University:

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    Central Christian College of Kansas responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Central Christian College of Kansas:

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    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

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  • Walden University

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  • Liberty University

    Liberty University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Liberty University:

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