Postsecondary education in Delaware is limited to eight public and private colleges and universities, but despite the state’s relatively small size, there is a diverse selection of traditional and online degree programs. The Delaware Department of Education has authorized a number of out-of-state institutions to grant degrees within the state, and there has been an increase of postsecondary school attendance in recent years.
But before we dive into our list of best online colleges in DE for 2016, let’s start with the state of higher education and online education in particular in Delaware today.
A Brief Overview of Higher Education in Delaware
In 2013, the National Center for Education Statistics reported that Delaware had 12 degree-granting institutions, broken down as follows: 5 public schools, 5 nonprofits and 2 for-profits. The total number of bachelor’s degrees awarded in the ’12-’13 school year at these schools was: 4,276 at public schools, 1,927 at private nonprofits and 27 at private for-profits.
- 5 public
- 5 non-profit
- 2 for-profit
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 $11,680, while the out-of-state average was $29,250.
Tuition at public four year colleges and universities in ’14-’15 was higher than the national average. Tuition costs in Delaware have risen 28.4% from ’08-’14. The state has increased higher education funding in ’13-’14 by 6.2%.
As for the state’s financial aid efforts, the National Association of State Student Grant & Aid Programs (NASSGAP) reported that Delaware awarded $14.09 million in need-based grants and $7.89 million in nonneed grants for the ’13-’14 school year. Grants make up 9.7% of the state’s total fiscal support for higher education.
A 2014 report showed that 18% of college-ready students do not apply to college in Delaware and that 27% of those same students from low income families do not apply. In response the governor pledged to reach out to low income families and to offer them appication fee waivers through the Getting to Zero initiative, as well as four initiatives that would help low income families with FAFSA paperwork, applications and personalized follow-up. These actions are meant to greatly up the state’s pool of college bound applicants
Despite rising costs, funding for online colleges in DE is strong and the state is committed to increasing the range of opportunities to students in-state and across state boundaries.
The State of Online Higher Education in Delaware
The NCES estimates that at least 6.9% of students enrolled in Delaware’s Title IV institutions are in fully online programs. Of those, 5.8% were reported to be undergraduates and 59.7% were found to be living in Delaware.
A relatively high degree of online students hail from out-of-state according to an NCES report, while 57.4% of online students reside in state. The Southern Regional Education Board’s Electronic Campus is an excellent resource for adult and e-learners, with degree completion programs and links to funding initiatives.
The Delaware Center for Distance Adult Learning, accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, aids adult students with high school diploma completion, GED prep and College transition and offers partnerships with local community groups.
The University of Delaware and Wilmington University are current leaders in online education in Delaware, and students will find access to over 30 degree programs offered here entirely online. Delaware residents can earn degrees fully online at nine institutions approved by the Department of Education.
Best Online Colleges in Delaware
Below, you will find our rankings of the best online four-year programs in Delaware. 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 Delaware, explore our state resources, like a database of every college and university in Delaware or our index of popular in-state scholarships.
- City: New Castle
- annually: $9,950
WilmU's College of Online and Experiential Learning (COEL) is supported by the web-based learning management system Blackboard, through which asynchronous online and the online portion of hybrid courses are delivered. Methods of contact and feedback between online students and their instructors include discussion boards, email, notes with assignments, phone calls, Skype/virtual chats and web conferencing. Prior to commencing an online course, however, students must complete the prerequisite Online Learning Orientation for Students (DIS095) course. Among the excellent resources WilmU provides its online students, access to advising, tutoring, library resources and 24/7 e-support portal or chat with a live support representative on the phone (1-877-708-2905) are available.
Online Undergraduate Degrees
- Bachelor of Science of Business Management
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN)
- Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Science
- Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
Many of the online undergraduate degree programs offer the option to seamlessly transition into graduate studies as well. Aside from these programs, the school offers dozens of single courses online, which can be put towards a certificate, undergraduate or graduate degree. Fully online graduate programs are offered through the university's Colleges of Business, Health Professions, Sciences and Technology.
Online Graduate Degrees
- Master of Science in Administration of Justice
- Master of Science in Management: Marketing or Sports
- MBA: Healthcare Administration
- MBA: Homeland Security
- MBA: Management Information Systems
- Marketing Management MBA
- Organizational Leadership MBA
All of WilmU is accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association (MSCHE). The RN to BSN program is fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Education (CNNE), and the College of Business is accredited by the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE).
University of Delaware
- City: Newark
- in-state tuition: $12,112
- out-of-state tuition: $29,932
The University of Delaware offers more than 200 courses and several degree programs online or in a hybrid format that combines online and on-campus instruction. Through the convenient course management system Sakai, students connect and communicate with their instructors and peers via audio components, chat rooms, email, guided readings, interactive web activities, threaded discussions, video streamed class lectures, video clips, phone and, occasionally, in person.
Since UD is still in the process of receiving approval to provide distance education in several states outside of Delaware, students should refer to UD's State Authorization page before applying and registering for online classes.
Online Undergraduate Degrees
- Associate in Arts
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN)
In addition to a variety of certificates for subject areas such as Socially Responsible and Sustainable Business and Molecular Diagnostics, a unique online Dietetic Internship is available for graduates of a didactic program in dietetics (DPD) who wish to gain even further knowledge of nutrition and food science. Graduate level individual courses and full graduate degree programs are also offered online.
Online Graduate Degrees
- Master of Business Administration
- Master of Engineering: Mechanical
- Master of Science: Engineering, Electrical, & Computer
- Master of Science in Nursing
- Master of Education: Teacher Leadership
Additionally, the university has a dual enrollment program for high school students who qualify and wish to earn high school or college credits through UD. The university is also a member of the Southern Regional Electronic Campus, an organization that retains an online catalogue of thousands of web-based courses offered by colleges and universities throughout the southern region of the U.S.
Most Affordable Online Colleges in Delaware
Below, you’ll find all of the online schools in Delaware sorted by their tuition rates.
Scholarships and Financial Aid in Delaware
Caesar Rodney Rotary Scholarship
This scholarship is for Delaware residents who attended Padua Academy, Cab Calloway, and Howard High School. To be eligible, students must be enrolled in a college or university in Delaware. The award amount is determined yearly by Caesar Rodney Rotary Board of Directors. Funds are administered by the Delaware Community Foundation.
Citibank (Delaware) National Academy of Finance Scholarship
Available to students who graduated from the National Academy of Finance program at Howard or Dover High School. Three one-time awards per year are granted to eligible students. Funds are provided by the Delaware Community Foundation.
Diamond State Scholarship
For Delaware high school seniors who rank in the upper quarter of their graduating class. A minimum SAT score of 1800 and minimum GPA of 3.0 is required. The award amount is $1,250 per year for up to 4 years. Funds are provided by the Delaware Higher Education Commission.
The Gold Scholarship is available to out-of-state students entering Delaware State University as freshmen. Selection is based on outstanding academic performance.
Helen H. Bennett Scholarship
For Delaware college freshman who are pursuing a master’s degree program and intend to work in a school-oriented library in Delaware. This scholarship program is provided by the Delaware Community Foundation.
Herman M. Holloway Sr. Memorial Scholarship
For Delaware high school seniors who rank in the upper half of their graduating class and have a minimum SAT score of 1350. Award covers full tuition, fees, room, board and books at Delaware State University. Funding is administered by the Delaware Higher Education Commission.
John Burton Community Service Scholarship
Open to graduating high school seniors who reside in the Delaware school districts of Delmar, Laurel, Seaford, or Woodbridge. To be eligible, students must be recommended for outstanding community service by a high school counselor or teacher. Funds are administered by the Delaware Community Foundation.
Philip L. Bartlett Scholarship Fund
This scholarship is available to students attending the University of Delaware. Applicants must demonstrate financial need. The award amount is determined annually by the Board of Directors of the Delaware Community Foundation.
This scholarship is available to residents of Delaware who have a minimum GPA of 2.5, demonstrate significant financial need, and are enrolled full time at an undergraduate degree program in Delaware or Pennsylvania. Funding is distributed by the Delaware Higher Education Commission.
Delaware State University provides this scholarship to out-of-state freshmen. Selection is based on above-average academic performance. Recipients of the Silver Scholarship may also be eligible for other awards from DSU.