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Top Online Schools in US for 2012

The students bearing the busy life schedules are likely to remain in a pell-mell for choosing between the campus-based study and online study. The malleability and flexibility offered by the online education drifts the trend of campus based study to online study.
A wide range of degree programs, diplomas and certificates are being proposed by different online schools and universities. The trend of online schools is seen to be increasing gradually and it does not seem to get stagnant in the short term.

Methodology Adopted for Ranking:

The primary purpose of annual rankings is to develop a comprehensive and standardized approach to rank different schools on the basis of dependable and reliable statistics. The statistics used in the rakings below have been gathered from The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

The ranking has been done by addressing the following factors:

Cost of tuition and books: The cost of higher education plays a vital role in reaching to the final choice of an institution. The rankings have been done by scrutinizing tuition costs of different schools.

For-Profit vs. Not-For-Profit: The stakeholders of ‘for-profit’ schools seek to flourish the profit figures and such schools are usually run by private organizations. Contrary to this, ‘not for profit’ schools are unlikely to include profit making in their primary objectives. However, ‘for- profit vs. not-for-profit’ metric has not been considered in the allotment of rankings to the schools.
Retention Rates: The ‘Retention Rate’ of an institution can be delineated as the percentage of students attending the institution in one fall and readmitting in the same institution in the next fall. Retention Rate provides an idea about the satisfaction of students regarding the quality of education and services provided. High retention rate of an institution may be deemed as a quantification of the high effectiveness of an institution and high student satisfaction.

Repayment Rate: This metric is released by the U.S govt. and it provides information about the percentage of students who payback their loans within allotted time without being defaulted.


Various online schools are offering wide range of educational programs complemented with other online services. Nevertheless, the students may have their curiosity aroused about the top online schools rendering great deals for the students.

Following are the top online schools in US for 2012. The ranking of these online schools has been done by reckoning various factors such as retention rates, repayment rates, approximate tuition fee and final score. This extract is likely to assist the students for making informed decisions to invest in the education.

Rank Online Schools Retention Rate Repayment Rate Approx. Tuition Fee Overall Score Not for Profit? School Detail
1 California University of Pennsylvania 74% 54% $11,914 85.49 Yes Detail
2 Western Governors University 76% 51% $5,870 80.39 Yes Detail
3 Iowa Central College 55% 54% $5,790 79.36 Yes Detail
4 National University 79% 51% $11,088 78.97 Yes --
5 Abilene Christian University 71% 62% $22,760 76.80 Yes Detail
6 Jones International University 89% 49% $11,880 76.24 No Detail
7 North central University 63% 57%   76.21 No Detail
8 Bellevue University 38% 55% $6,150 73.70 Yes Detail
9 Concord Law School 75% -- $9,984 72.37 No Detail
10 University of the Rockies Online -- 52% $12,096 71.44 No Detail
11 Northeastern University 93% 74% $36,792 70.39 Yes Detail
12 City University 30% 59% $15,474 67.34 Yes --
13 Colorado Technical University 84% 39% $10,665 66.96 No Detail
14 Liberty University Online 71% 45% $18,064 62.41 Yes Detail
15 Western International University 67% 35% $10,480 57.96 No Detail
16 Upper Iowa University Online 61% 50% $22,350 56.45 Yes Detail
17 Saint Leo University Online 69% 39% $18,150 56.39 Yes Detail
18 University of Phoenix 52% 44% $10,120 56.38 No Detail
19 Grand Canyon University 25% 52% $16,500 56.29 No Detail
20 Academy of Art University Online 63% 44% $18,050 55.35 No --
21 Bryant and Stratton College Online 73% 23% $15,120 51.87 No Detail
22 Ashford University 36% 45% $16,270 49.86 No Detail
23 Capella University 29% 40% $10,980 46.81 No Detail
24 Walden University* 29% 41% $9,480 45.98 No Detail
25 Colorado Technical University 34% 39% $11,660 44.52 No Detail
26 University of Maryland University College 37% 37% $12,288 42.99 Yes Detail
27 ECPI University 51% 29% $13,550 41.60 No Detail
28 AT Still University -- 33% $24,156 36.27 Yes Detail
29 American InterContinental University 14% 39% $15,465 36.27 No Detail
30 Argosy University Online 33% 37% $19,812 33.10 No Detail

*Walden University data is only for Bachelor Students. 

Effects of Global Recession:

A major factor that gives vent to online education is the global recession. The financial instability of the students is somehow ameliorated by the online education as online learning is likely to offer lesser educational charges compared to campus-based education.

Benefits of Online Education:

There are multiple benefits of online education which boost up the affection of learners for online learning.

Indigenous Requirements: The online learners savor the opportunity of being exempt from indigenous requirements of campus-based education as the location of online learners does not become a bottleneck for earning education.

Self-paced Study plan: The online students also relish the exemption from sturdy and tough study timing schedules which are needed to be followed by campus-based learners.

Maintaining Balance: The online students can also maintain poise between educational, professional and other responsibilities.


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