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Online Colleges in Arizona

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With over 360,000 students enrolled exclusively in online programs, Arizona’s distance learners more than double those of any other state. They account for roughly 13% of the nation’s exclusively online learners. Strong online programs at institutions such as Arizona State University and the University of Phoenix have helped establish Arizona as a go-to source for online education, with particular success reaching out to and enrolling distance students from out-of-state.

But before we look at the very best Arizona has to offer in online schools, let’s start with the state of higher education and online education in particular in Arizona today.


A Brief Overview of Higher Education in Arizona

In 2013, the National Center for Education Statistics reported that Arizona had 87 degree-granting institutions, broken down as follows: 24 public schools, 11 nonprofits and 52 for-profits. The total number of bachelor’s degrees awarded in the ’12-’13 school year at these schools was: 24,843 at public schools, 860 at private nonprofits and 40,593 at private for-profits. These figures beat out 70% of the states, making Arizona a leader in degree-conferring educational institutions.

Tuition-wise, the College Board found that, in the ’15-’16 school year, the average in-state tuition and fees for four-year public schools was $10,650, while the out-of-state average was $27,490.

As for the state’s financial aid efforts, the National Association of State Student Grant & Aid Programs (NASSGAP) reported that Arizona awarded $ 8.283 million in need-based grants for the ’13-’14 school year. Grants make up 2.4% of the state’s total fiscal support for higher education. Efforts to increase state spending per student continue, with a 4.5% boost in funding during the ‘13-‘14 school year.


The State of Online Higher Education in Arizona

Arizona has the highest numbers for online enrollment in the nation. The NCES estimates that at least 48.2% of students enrolled in Arizona’s Title IV institutions are in fully online programs. Of those, 78.5% were reported to be undergraduates and 17.3% were found to be living in Arizona, which makes Arizona far and away the nation’s leader in the total number of out-of-state distance students it attracts.

Arizona’s online programs receive a great deal of support from the Arizona Commission for Postsecondary Education. Under this organization’s umbrella, the Arizona Ready Council strives to increase the number of students graduating from Arizona institutions. The council’s goal is to double the number of students receiving a baccalaureate degree by 2020. This type of support for higher learning in Arizona continues to boost programs both on-campus and online.


Best Online Colleges in Arizona

Below you will find our rankings of the best online four-year programs in Arizona. Our profiles look at how schools approach online education and then list out their services for distance students and their popular, fully online degrees. After reviewing our best of Arizona, explore our state resources, like a database of every college and university in Arizona or our index of popular in-state scholarships.

Want to know what it takes to make our rankings? Check out our distinct approach.

Methodology

To determine the best online colleges in each state, we examined the factors most important to prospective students: Academic quality and reputation, online program strength, and cost and student aid. At the most basic level, we use the following formula to determine the best online colleges: Academic Quality + Online Offerings + Cost and Student Aid = Final Score. Of course, there's more to these calculations than meets the eye. Visit our methodology page to discover the data points that shape our formula and to learn more about the process we use to rank schools.

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Arizona State University - Skysong

1
Arizona State University - Skysong
Scottsdale

An Online Education at Arizona State University - Skysong

Arizona State University–Skysong offers more than 100 distance programs through ASU Online. Students are encouraged to actively participate in course work through ASU’s interactive Blackboard system, which hosts lectures, class materials and discussion forums. Online courses are taught by the same faculty that teach traditional classes on campus.

ASU works hard to ensure that distance learners get the most out of their college experience. Online students can join clubs and organizations created especially for them, and each student has access to a dedicated student support team of enrollment counselors, success coaches and academic advisors. ASU Online supports a generous transfer policy regarding prior college credits, and applies the same tuition rates for all online students, regardless of their location.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • BA Art History
  • BA Business-Global Leadership
  • BS Communication
  • BS Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • BAE Educational Studies
  • BS Information Technology
  • BA Interdisciplinary Studies
  • RN to BSN Nursing

Online Graduate Degrees

  • MA Criminal Justice
  • MED Educational Leadership with Principalship
  • MEng Systems Engineering
  • MS Global Technology and Development
  • MS Information Management
  • MLS Legal Studies
  • MSW Social Work
  • MS Technical Communication

Contact Information

1475 N Scottsdale Road - Ste 315
Scottsdale, AZ 85257
(480) 884-1860

University of Arizona

2
University of Arizona
Tucson

An Online Education at University of Arizona

Online programs at the University of Arizona are designed for part-time students living in Arizona. UA Online offers a variety of fully online undergraduate and graduate degrees, at the same per-unit rate that in-state students receive for classes on campus. Coursework is delivered through Desire 2 Learn
, with 24/7 tech support available through UA’s IT Support Center staff.

Geared for self-motivated students familiar with technology, collaboration and communication are a hallmark of distance programs at UA. Students often must complete assignments with their peers using a variety of remote interaction tools, including chat and email. Online learners receive academic and online support through both Student Services and UAccess, the university’s intranet-based management tool.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • BAS Administration of Justice
  • BA Communication
  • BAS Organizational Leadership
  • BA Philosophy
  • BA Psychology
  • BGS Sports and Society
  • BGS Study of American Experience
  • BS Sustainable Built Environments

Online Graduate Degrees

  • MBA
  • RN to MS Clinical Systems Leadership
  • MS Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • MS Engineering Management
  • PhD Nursing
  • MS Systems Engineering

Contact Information

1401 E University
Tucson, AZ 85721-0066
(520) 621-2211

Arizona State University - Polytechnic

3
Arizona State University - Polytechnic
Mesa

An Online Education at Arizona State University - Polytechnic

Arizona State University–Polytechnic offers a spectrum of online programs, including engineering, information technology, web development, business and management. Students access course work through Blackboard and use interactive media and skill assessment tools to complete assignments. Online and on-campus students are taught by the same faculty, most of whom hold terminal degrees.

The school encourages distance learners to use ASU’s social media platforms to communicate and to explore organizations devoted exclusively to online polytechnic majors. Students can also consult a dedicated support team of enrollment counselors, success coaches and academic advisors as needed. The school maintains a flexible credit transferring policy and all students qualify for ASU's universal tuition rate.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • BGS Arts, Media and Entertainment
  • BAS Internet and Web Development
  • BAS Operations Management
  • BSE Electrical Engineering
  • BSE Engineering Management
  • BS Graphic Information Technology
  • BS Information Technology
  • BS Software Engineering
  • BS Technological Entrepreneurship and Management

Online Graduate Degrees

  • MS Construction Management
  • MSE Electrical Engineering
  • MEng
  • MS/MBA
  • MSE/MBA
  • MS Environmental Technology Management
  • MS Industrial Engineering
  • MS Materials Science and Engineering

Contact Information

7001 E Williams Field Road
Mesa, AZ 85212
(480) 727-3278

Arizona State University

4
Arizona State University
Tempe
$480
$11,520

An Online Education at Arizona State University

ASU has fully embraced online learning formats by offering over 80 degree programs that can be completed entirely online. While the majority of courses are hosted on the popular Blackboard digital platform, students will also become acquainted with other collaborative tools such Google Drive for document sharing and Zaption for interactive video creation. Courses are delivered through a blend of asynchronous and real-time schedules, and students are expected to dedicate approximately six hours of study for each online course credit. ASU provides online learners with remote, digital access to services one might only expect find on campus, such as tutoring, bookstore assistance and a librarian who is available to chat 24/7.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • Business - Communication (BA)
  • Criminal Justice & Criminology (BS)
  • Electrical Engineering (BSE)
  • Geography (BS)
  • Information Technology (BS)
  • Political Science (BS)
  • Urban Planning (BSP)

Graduate programs at the master's and doctoral levels can also be earned online. Prospective educators and STEM researchers may find that their fields are widely represented by ASU's online graduate degree offerings.

Online Graduate Degrees

  • Biomedical Diagnostics (MS)
  • Biomimicry (MS)
  • Global Technology & Development (MS)
  • Curriculum and Instruction: Applied Behavior Analysis (M. Ed.)
  • Early Childhood Education - Certification/Endorsement (M. Ed.)
  • Engineering: Modeling and Simulation (MEng)
  • Behavioral Health (DBH)

Those who wish to move their career forward don't necessarily have to enroll in a program that ends with a degree. Students also have 17 fully online certificate programs to choose from.

Contact Information

University Drive and Mill Avenue
Tempe, AZ 85287
(480) 965-9011


Acclaim for online programs

  • #8on U.S News and World Report's Best Online Bachelor's Programs
  • #4on U.S News and World Report's Best Online MBA Programs
  • #3on U.S News and World Report's Best Online Graduate Business Programs (Excluding MBA)
  • #2on U.S News and World Report's Best Online Graduate Criminal Justice Programs
  • #23on U.S News and World Report's Best Online Graduate Education Programs
  • #14on U.S News and World Report's Best Online Graduate Engineering Programs
  • #74on U.S News and World Report's Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs

Northern Arizona University

5
Northern Arizona University
Flagstaff
$362
$5,000

An Online Education at Northern Arizona University

NAU is an academic institution that has fully adopted online learning technologies; they offer dozens of undergraduate and graduate degree programs that can be earned completely online. However, student who yearn for a traditional classroom environment still have the option to take blended courses, which combine online learning with classroom meetings that are available at over 30 campus locations. NAU is particularly flexible when it comes to online course scheduling and pacing. Most coursework is delivered in an asynchronous format, allowing students to sign on at any time of the day or night to participate in classes. Undergraduates may also opt to personalize their degree track with the Self-Paced Option, which enables students to complete coursework without set class schedules.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • Applied Science - Administration BAS
  • Comparative Cultural Studies BA
  • Health Sciences - Allied Health BS
  • Interdisciplinary Studies - Criminal Justice B
  • Parks and Recreation Management BS
  • Public Administration - B
  • Small Business Administration - BA
  • Sociology - B

Online graduate degrees provided at NAU are only offered at the master's level. This college places a particular emphasis on the development of future school professionals by offering 12 online Master's of Education degree programs.

Online Graduate Degrees

  • Administration MADM
  • Early Childhood Education MED
  • Educational Technology MED
  • Educational Leadership - Community College/ Higher Education MED
  • Mathematics Education (MS)
  • Nursing - Generalist (MS)
  • Science Teaching (MA)

Out-of-state students enrolling in NAU's online degree programs have the unique opportunity to save over 35% on tuition by applying for the World Wide University (WWU) discount program. Non-residents who reside within 75 miles of Arizona's border may also be eligible for the Good Neighbor Policy tuition rate, which allows qualifying students to earn up to 6 credits at the lower, in-state tuition rate.

Contact Information

1900 S. Knoles Dr, Babbitt Administrative Center
Flagstaff, AZ 86011-4132
(928) 523-9011


Acclaim for online programs

  • #131on U.S News and World Report's Best Online Bachelor's Programs
  • #100on U.S News and World Report's Best Online Graduate Education Programs

Ottawa University - Phoenix

6
Ottawa University - Phoenix
Phoenix
$480
$11,520

An Online Education at Ottawa University - Phoenix

Students can work toward an undergraduate minor, undergraduate degree or graduate degree by attending classes held fully online through OU. This university sets itself apart with its remarkably low online student-to-faculty ratio of 4:1, a small classroom size that enables students to get more personalized learning assistance. The Blackboard learning management system is a digital hub where students can access course lectures, academic files, quizzes, surveys, discussion forums and other digital classroom collaboration tools. Prospective students are invited to test drive the Blackboard system by signing into a sample online course. Online coursework is delivered through an asynchronous schedule, giving students the opportunity to sign on at any time within a 24-hour period to participate in class.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • Bachelor of Arts in History
  • Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics
  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
  • Bachelor of Science in Data Science and Technology
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
  • Bachelor of Arts in Human Resources
  • Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education

The majority of OU's online graduate degree offerings are provided by the Angell Snyder School of Business or the School of Education.

Online Graduate Degrees

  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Arts in Human Resources
  • Master of Arts in Education: Curriculum and Instruction
  • Master of Arts in Education: Education Intervention
  • Master of Arts in Education: Education Technology
  • Master of Arts in Education: Educational Leadership

Contact Information

10020 North 25th Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85021
(602) 371-1188


Acclaim for online programs

  • #111on U.S News and World Report's Best Online MBA Programs
  • #78on U.S News and World Report's Best Online Graduate Business Programs (Excluding MBA)

Most Affordable Online Colleges in Arizona

Below you’ll find the online schools in Arizona sorted by lowest tuition rate.

Want to know what it takes to make our rankings? Check out our distinct approach.

Methodology

Our list of the most affordable online colleges is based on in-state yearly tuition, or annual tuition rates if a school does not differentiate between in-state and out-of-state students. Tuition rates are based on a full course load each semester or term. All colleges on the list offer at least one bachelor's degree completion program available entirely online. Those institutions with the lowest tuition are ranked highest, providing prospective students with a true list of the most affordable online colleges in their state.

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Northern Arizona University

1
Northern Arizona University
Flagstaff
$362
$5,000

Arizona State University

2
Arizona State University
Tempe
$480
$11,520

Ottawa University - Phoenix

2
Ottawa University - Phoenix
Phoenix
$480
$11,520


Scholarships and Financial Aid in Arizona

Arizona Excellence Award

Deadline: May 1, 2016
Scholarship Amount $48,000 See Scholarship

The Arizona Excellence Award is a multi-tier scholarship for out-of-state students entering the University of Arizona. To qualify for the maximum amount of $48,000 (distributed as $12,000 per year), applicant must have a 3.0 GPA with a 1300 SAT (critical math and reading) or 29 ACT score.

Baird Foundation Scholarship

Deadline: October 15, 2016
Scholarship Amount $50,000 See Scholarship

Awarded to ten freshmen per year by the University of Arizona. Candidates are nominated by their high school – interested students should talk to their high school counselor for more information. Applicants must be residents of Arizona, and must be admitted to the UA Honors College.

Gammage Scholarship

Deadline: February 15, 2016
Scholarship Amount $4,000 See Scholarship

This award is for freshmen entering Arizona State University. To be eligible, students must be finalists or semifinalists in the National Merit, National Achievement, or National Hispanic competitions. A minimum GPA 3.0 is required.

Leadership Scholarship

Deadline: January 8, 2016
Scholarship Amount Amount varies See Scholarship

For resident or non-resident freshmen entering Arizona State University with a GPA of 3.25+. Applicants must be nominated by a high school counselor, and must demonstrate leadership ability.

National Merit Finalist Scholarship

Deadline: February 1, 2017
Scholarship Amount Amount varies See Scholarship

Administered by the College of Nursing & Health Administration at Arizona State University, this award is for students studying a nursing-related field. Applicants must be a National Merit Finalist or Honors student with a GPA of 3.25+.

President’s Scholarship

Deadline: March 1, 2016
Scholarship Amount $5,000 See Scholarship

Applicants may be sophomores, juniors or seniors at Arizona State University. A minimum GPA of 3.25 is required, as well as demonstration of financial need, and evidence of community service involvement.

President’s Scholarship

Deadline: rolling
Scholarship Amount Amount varies See Scholarship

The Arizona State University President’s Scholarship is a subcategory of the New American Scholars Award program. Selection is competitive, based on academic achievement. Applicant must be a freshman and a resident of AZ, enrolled at ASU full time.

Provost’s Scholarship

Deadline: rolling
Scholarship Amount Amount varies See Scholarship

The Arizona State University Provost’s Scholarship is a subcategory of the New American Scholars Award program. Selection is competitive, based on academic achievement. Applicant must be a freshman and a resident of AZ, enrolled at ASU full time.

Sun Devil Scholarship

Deadline: March 1, 2016
Scholarship Amount $5,000 See Scholarship

This scholarship is for incoming or currently enrolled students at Arizona State University. It is awarded to multiple students each year. Applicants must demonstrate academic success and a commitment to community service, and must be in need of financial assistance. Minimum GPA 3.0.

University Scholarship

Deadline: rolling
Scholarship Amount Amount varies See Scholarship

The University Scholarship is a subcategory of the New American Scholars Award Program. Selection is competitive, based on academic achievement. Applicant must be a freshman and a resident of AZ, enrolled full-time at Arizona State University.

Wildcat Excellence Award

Deadline: May 1, 2016
Scholarship Amount $32,000 See Scholarship

The Wildcat Excellence Award is a multi-tier scholarship for Arizona residents entering the University of Arizona. To qualify for the maximum amount of $32,000 (distributed as $8,000 per year), applicant must have a 3.0 GPA with a 1300 SAT (critical math and reading) or 29 ACT score.


Higher Education Resources in Arizona