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Top Arizona Online Schools & Colleges

Explore the top schools in Arizona with online programs for undergraduate and graduate students. Learn what online programs cost, how to pay for them and how to choose the right school for your online program.

Best Arizona Colleges with Online Programs

To determine the best Arizona colleges that offer programs online, students should look at factors such as cost, flexibility, program length and admissions requirements. Five of the best schools in Arizona with online program options are discussed below.

1. Arizona State University-Skysong

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Scottsdale $10,317 82%

Arizona State University at Skysong is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and offers more than 200 programs online. Undergraduate tuition ranges from $530 to $728 per credit and graduate tuition ranges from $532 to $1,397 per credit hour and these figures include program fees. Undergraduate online program options include bachelor's degrees in communication, economics, information technology, health sciences, management and philosophy. Graduate degree program options include engineering, business, nutrition, psychology, social work and supply chain management.

2. University of Arizona

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Tucson $12,467 92%

The University of Arizona offers over 100 programs completely online and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Tuition varies by selected program, and ranges from $500 to $610 for undergraduate students and from $650 to $1,332 for graduate students (per credit hour). Undergraduate students can choose from programs in education, business, economics, history, informatics and more. Graduate students can pursue degrees or certificates online in areas such as nutrition, accounting, business, information management and nursing.

3. Northern Arizona University

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Flagstaff $11,564 94%

Northern Arizona University was founded in 1899 and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. NAU offers two types of online programs for students: traditional and competency-based.

  • Traditional - Semester-based schedules, tuition is charged per credit hour, more program options (including business, education and math)
  • Competency-Based - Flexible schedule, costs are charged at a flat rate every 6 months, 5 undergraduate degree options and 2 graduate degree options (including nursing and computer information technology)

Traditional undergraduate online students have a tuition rate of $455 per credit hour and graduate students have a tuition rate of $575 per credit hour (in-state); competency-based students have a 6-month cost of $3,000 to $3,750.

4. Prescott College

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Prescott $31,485 100%

Prescott College has maintained accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission since 1984 and offers flexible paths to online students. Students can choose from programs in education, management, leadership, environmental studies and more. Undergraduate online students have a tuition rate of $598 per credit and graduate student tuition can cost around $750 per credit (varies by program). The school offers standard, structured online programs as well as mentored programs (custom curriculum approved by faculty) and accelerated master's degree programs.

5. Arizona State University-Tempe

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Tempe $10,822 96%

Arizona State University at Tempe is part of the Arizona State University system, which collectively offers more than 300 online certificate and degree programs. Students can choose from program options such as biochemistry, business, engineering, communication, education, healthcare and nutrition. Tuition ranges based on the program chosen by students, with undergraduate tuition beginning at $530 per credit hour and graduate tuition as low as $532 per credit hour. Arizona State University at Tempe is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and employs more than 200 distinguished faculty members.

Why Accreditation Matters for Online Programs in Arizona

Accreditation shows that a school or program has met specific quality criteria set by a third party. These criteria can apply to things like curriculum, graduation rates, faculty experience and more. Accreditation applies either to a school (institutional accreditation) or to programs (programmatic accreditation).

Institutional Accreditation

Institutional accreditation can be awarded by a regional or national accrediting organization. Arizona schools with regional accreditation are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Schools in Arizona with national accreditation can be accredited by one of nine organizations, such as the Distance Education & Training Council and the Council on Occupational Education. Although both regional and national accreditation represent a certain level of quality, there are a few key differences that students should be aware of:

  • Transferring Credits - Students who earn credits at regionally accredited schools can usually transfer those credits to any other college or university, but credits earned at nationally accredited schools typically only transfer to other nationally accredited schools.
  • Quality - Regional accreditation typically involves more strict quality criteria. National accreditation may have more relaxed standards for earning accreditation.
  • Tuition Reimbursement - Students at regionally accredited schools can qualify for all tuition reimbursement plans, but students of nationally accredited schools aren't always eligible for tuition reimbursement.
  • Cost - Although costs vary by school, regionally accredited schools are usually more expensive than nationally accredited schools.
  • Admissions - Regionally accredited schools typically have more strict admissions requirements while nationally accredited schools usually have more relaxed admissions policies.

Programmatic Accreditation

Many online and on-campus programs don't need or have specialized accreditation, but some programs do have applicable accreditations. Programs that lead to licensure usually have accreditation, such as nursing and teaching, and some programs in business also have accreditation (although this is not always required). Depending on the area of study, students may be required to graduate from an accredited program to qualify for licensure or employment. In addition, some employers may prefer candidates from accredited programs when applicable (like those in business).

How Much Do Online Programs in Arizona Cost?

Online programs in Arizona have varying costs and are affected by factors such as degree level, area of study and student. The costs of most online programs are broken down into tuition and other direct fees, which are discussed below.

Tuition

Tuition is typically the main cost for any online program and is generally cheaper for in-state students than for out-of-state students. For example, a school may charge $350 per credit hour for in-state residents and $600 per credit hour for students living out of state. However, online programs often have a flat rate for all students, regardless of their state of residency. Tuition is most often charged per credit hour, but some schools offer flat-rate tuition per semester for a varying number of credit hours (for example, 12 to 19 credit hours for the same rate).

The total cost of tuition for an online program is determined by the cost per credit and the number of credits needed to complete the program. The table below summarizes example costs for programs based on the credits needed by students and an estimated average cost per credit for tuition.

Program Previous Education Credits Needed Cost Per Credit Total Program Tuition
Bachelor's Degree High School/GED 120 $500 $60,000
Bachelor's Degree Associate's Degree 60 $500 $30,000
Master's Degree Bachelor's Degree 36 $700 $25,200

Other Fees

Other fees for online programs in Arizona can include course materials fees, student services fees, registration fees, online learning fees and more. The specific fees vary by school, program and course, but typically add up to several thousand dollars over the course of a program. Fees are usually charged by semester, and may look like this:

Fee Cost (per semester)
Program/Course Fees $1,000
Technology Fees $100
Registration Fees $50
Student Services Fees $50

How to Get Financial Aid for Online Programs in Arizona

Arizona online students can qualify for several types of financial aid from private and government sources. The first step to obtaining aid is filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or the FAFSA. The FAFSA is completely free and shows students some of the types of aid that they may qualify for. In addition, students can find other sources of aid through their selected school and state and federal governments resources (such as the U.S. Department of Labor's CareerOneStop).

Scholarships

The first type of aid that students should look for is scholarships because they are monetary awards that do not have to be repaid. Scholarships can be obtained based on numerous criteria such as the area of study, GPA scores, essay contest results, ethnicity and other characteristics. Scholarships can be found through resources such as the Arizona Foundation and Phoenix Public Library's College Depot.

Vegetarian Resource Group College Scholarship

This scholarship awards two $5,000 scholarships and one $10,000 scholarship to high school seniors who have promoted vegetarianism and are enrolling in a college or university program.

Taco Bell Live Mas Scholarship

Up to $25,000 is awarded to high school seniors enrolling in colleges and universities; requires a video submission with application.

Delta Sigma Theta Educational Scholarship

This scholarship awards between $1,000 and $3,000 to Arizona students of African descent who have a GPA of at least 3.0.

Spirit of Giving Scholarship-Vitalant Scholarship

Arizona residents who are graduating from high school and serving as leaders on their school's blood drive group can qualify for $1,000.

AICPA Legacy Scholars

This scholarship program awards up to $10,000 to students enrolled in accounting programs; several scholarships are available.

Association for Career Technical Education of Arizona Scholarship

Between $500 and $2,500 is awarded to students enrolled in career and technical programs (including teacher preparation).

Work-Study

Work-study is a type of financial aid that requires students to work part-time during their online program. Students can earn part or all of their program costs, often working in fields related to their subject of study.

Student Loans

Student loans are available from the government and private lenders, but students should only use private loans as a last resort. Government loans are income-based and offer flexible repayment options to students. Government loans also typically offer lower interest rates.

Loan Forgiveness

Students who pursue work in qualifying roles (such as teaching and other public-service careers) may qualify to have some of their loans forgiven after working for around 10 years and making qualifying payments during that time.

Loan Repayment

Graduates may be able to have some of their loans repaid by employers. Many companies now offer loan repayment to new and qualified existing employees.

How to Choose an Arizona School for Your Online Program

When deciding which school in Arizona is right for your online program you should consider several factors, some of which are discussed below.

Type of School

The type of school that you choose may or may not affect your experience while completing your program. Private schools are usually smaller, meaning you may have a more individualized experience, and public schools are usually larger, which means you might have access to more resources. The reason for this is that public schools receive public funding, which also usually results in lower tuition rates for students.

Online Format

Most online programs are presented in an asynchronous format, which means that you can access your class and assignments at your convenience. However, some courses and programs have synchronous formats, which require students to log in at specific times for things like lectures and exams. While asynchronous courses are certainly more flexible, they require you to have better time management and self-drive than courses with more synchronous components.

Accreditation

When choosing a school, keep in mind that if you plan to use financial aid, the school needs to be accredited. Also, you should review the requirements for your career path to see if you will need to attend a program with programmatic accreditation. Getting a license in some fields is dependent on attending an accredited program.

Credit Transfers

If you have previously completed some college coursework, look for schools that accept most or all of those courses as transfer credits. Transferring in previous credits will save you time and money on your online program. In addition, even if you aren't planning on future programs, you should consider how your online program credits will be treated if you return to school in the future. It's generally a good idea to attend a school with regional accreditation because the credits you earn there can be transferred to any school later on.

Flexibility

Online programs are often flexible, allowing students to study at their desired pace. Conversely, some programs are only offered as full-time or part-time, sometimes running in a specific course order and structure. As you narrow down your choices, ask your admissions counselors about the flexibility of your desired program to make sure it will fit with your schedule.

Faculty

It's important to have faculty that is both experienced and available. Faculty with experience may be able to provide better insight and assistance as you move through your program. In addition, having easy access to faculty can be the difference between success and failure in online programs. Ask your admissions counselors if your faculty will respond to inquiries within an hour, day or week.

Salary Info for Graduates of Online Programs in Arizona

Graduates of online programs in Arizona are just as qualified as graduates of on-site programs, and can pursue roles in a slew of fields. Depending on their chosen program, graduates can work in fields such as business, healthcare, mathematics, education and more. The table below summarizes some of the fastest-growing careers in Arizona with both national and state average earnings for 2018.

Job Title Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028, national) National Mean Salary Arizona Mean Salary
Operations Research Analyst 26% $88,350 $76,760
Interpreter and Translator 19% $55,230 $46,100
Web Developer 13% $75,580 $70,450
Cost Estimator 9% $69,710 $66,410
Management Analyst 14% $94,390 $85,890
Veterinary Technician 19% $35,560 $33,910
Information Security Analyst 32% $102,470 $93,960
Nurse Practitioner 28% $110,030 $110,750
All Occupations 5% $51,960 $49,290

All salary and outlook data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics