Despite its relatively small size, New Hampshire is packed with online higher education opportunities, offering a tight-knit network of community colleges and private institutions. New Hampshire is also ranked 5th in the nation for graduation rate from 4-year public institutions and also the second lowest student loan default rate, indicating a healthy post-graduation job outlook. The state is actively working to provide oversight for quality assurance and expanded e-learning opportunities to out-of-state students through its membership in the New England State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), showing itself to be highly aware of the responsibility to online distance learners and concerned with the quality of its online programs.
But before we dive into our list of best online colleges in New Hampshire for 2017, let’s start with the state of higher education and online education in particular in New Hampshire today.
A Brief Overview of Higher Education in New Hampshire
In 2013, the National Center for Education Statistics reported that New Hampshire had 27 degree-granting institutions, broken down as follows: 12 public schools, 13 nonprofits and 2 for-profits. The total number of bachelor’s degrees awarded in the ’12-’13 school year at these schools was: 5,366 at public schools, 4,025 at private nonprofits and 378 at private for-profits.
- 12 public
- 13 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 $15,160, while the out-of-state average was $26,320.
The University of New Hampshire System is the largest provider of higher education in the state and is comprised of four institutions serving more than 34,000 students. New Hampshire was a leader in increased state funding for higher education in ‘13-’14, leading all other states with a 28.5% increase in state spending per student.
Another leader in the state is the New Hampshire College and University Council, a nonprofit consortium that raises awareness of higher education, coordinates education initiatives and provides a forum for ongoing discussion of issues in higher education. With resources for news, exchange programs and tuition and financial aid, this is a great one-stop site for college bound students. The New Hampshire Community College system offers many online learning resources, including eStart, a 100% online high school and college degree program. The New England Board of Higher Education also offers a Tuition Break program for New England residents entering public colleges and universities.
The commitment to quality control, funding initiatives and community involvement amongst public and private institutions clearly shows that online colleges in NH are making progress in higher education and seeking to expand education opportunities to students across state boundaries.
The State of Online Higher Education in New Hampshire
The NCES estimates that at least 17.6% of students enrolled in STATEs Title IV institutions are in fully online programs. Of those, 13.5% were reported to be undergraduates and 42.2% were found to be living in New Hampshire.
The NCES report also shows that New Hampshire has a higher percentage of online distance learners hailing from outside the state, indicating beneficial conditions to online learners across state-boundaries as well as those living outside the U.S. This is perhaps a result of measures the state has taken to control the quality and oversight of its online programs through regional reciprocity agreements.
New Hampshire has also joined the New England State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), a voluntary agreement that seeks to standardize access to distance education for students across New England. SARA also addresses ongoing challenges in the approval and accreditation process for online programs. Ultimately designed to provide fair access to online courses for all students, this organization is possibly the single most important step forward for online learning in the region.
Best Online Colleges in New Hampshire
Below, you will find our rankings of the best online four-year programs in New Hampshire. 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 the best online schools in New Hampshire, explore our state resources, like a database of every college and university in New Hampshire or our index of popular in-state scholarships.
|Rank||School Name||School Logo||City||Cost||Address & Contact Info||School Links||Acclaim for Online Programs||School Description|
|1||Southern New Hampshire University||Manchester||$$$$$||2500 North River Road|
Manchester, NH 03106-1045
Founded in 1932, Southern New Hampshire University is one of the best online colleges in New Hampshire and among the fastest-growing institutions of higher learning in the United States. This private, nonprofit university currently has more than 200 online degree and certificate programs and serves more than 60,000 distance learners. SNHU offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees online, spanning a variety of fields including accounting, business, criminal justice, finance, liberal arts, psychology, and social sciences. There are six eight-week undergraduate terms and five 10-week graduate terms per academic year. Online classes are accessible through the Blackboard learning management system. Distance learners have access to a host of online education services, including library and writing center access, tutoring services through Smarthinking, and tech support. Additionally, active duty military members and their spouses qualify for significant tuition discounts.
|2||Dartmouth College||Hanover||$$$$$||207 Parkhurst Hall|
Hanover, NH 03755-3529
Tracing its roots to pre-colonial America, Dartmouth College is an Ivy League institution located in Hanover, New Hampshire. The college currently serves about 4,300 undergraduate and 2,000 graduate students each year. Among Dartmouth’s many offerings is its master’s of public health degree (MPH), which can be completed almost entirely online; however, this two-year program does require three brief residential periods each year. This type of program format combines the flexibility of online learning with valuable in-person experiences. Dartmouth’s MPH emphasizes the importance of understanding the health care system, using evidence to advocate for change, and adopting scientific methods to serve the interests of patients. Students are required to complete a capstone project, with written and oral presentations, and an internship. Degrees can be further customized by choosing from a variety of electives, including design & improvement of clinical microsystems and practical approaches for today’s health care ethics challenges.
|3||Plymouth State University||Plymouth||$$$$$||17 High Street|
Plymouth, NH 03264-1595
Located in central New Hampshire, Plymouth State University utilizes an “integrated clusters” model, which allows students to create custom degree programs and study various disciplines. This model also emphasizes working with businesses and organizations outside of the university to develop real-world projects. PSU is one of the top online colleges in New Hampshire. The school offers master's degree programs in a range of topics including library media, online instructional design, and business administration. Students seeking to fulfill accreditation requirements can opt to pursue more than a dozen graduate certificates. Online courses are accessible through the Moodle learning management system; classes may also utilize virtual class meetings, Mahara (an e-portfolio system), Kaltura (a video repository), and Smart Boards (interactive white boards). PSU also provides distance learners with technical support 24/7.
|4||University of New Hampshire||Durham||$$$$$||105 Main St., Thompson Hall|
Durham, NH 03824-3547
The University of New Hampshire’s main campus is located in Durham and serves more than 13,000 undergraduate and 2,000 graduate students. This research institution focuses on helping the state of New Hampshire through economic development, cultural outreach, continuing education, and applied research activities.
Students interested in pursuing a career in law at an online school in New Hampshire may be interested in UNH’s online law degree program, which gives students the opportunity to study either intellectual property (IP) law or international criminal law and justice (ICLJ). Both programs offer master’s and LLM degrees. Students in the IP track focus on patent law, while those in the ICLJ track learn about developments in the globalization of commerce, terrorism, human rights, and criminal law. UNH also offers master's degrees in business administration, social work, and educational studies, along with a doctoral program in nursing.
|5||Rivier University||Nashua||$$$$$||420 South Main St|
Nashua, NH 03060
Founded in 1933, Rivier University started as an all-women's college and became co-educational in 1991. The school is a Catholic institution of higher education and its Christian values inform its curriculum. Rivier now serves more than 2,500 students and focuses on giving students a comprehensive academic experience that covers multiple disciplines.
With its rolling admissions, multiple start dates, and affordable tuition rates, Rivier University in Nashua sets itself apart as one of the best online colleges in New Hampshire. The university offers online bachelor's degrees in individual studies, psychology, business administration, nursing, and public health, along with several master's and doctoral degree programs. In most bachelor’s degree programs, students can transfer up to 90 credit hours, while master’s degree programs may accept up to nine transfer credits.
|6||Granite State College||Concord||$$$$$||25 Hall Street|
Concord, NH 03301-3471
Granite State College, founded in Concord in 1972, has been educating nontraditional students for decades by offering weekend and evening classes. Today, it is among the top online colleges in New Hampshire; more than 77 percent of all students at GSC take online classes at some point in their undergraduate or graduate academic careers. Many degrees, including bachelor’s of science degrees in psychology, digital and social media, and technology management, can be earned completely online. GSC has four start dates throughout the year and offers six-week intensive courses. Most bachelor’s degree programs accept up to 90 transfer credits. New distance learners can attend live online webinars or access a self-paced tutorial to learn how to use Moodle, which is the online classroom learning system used at GSC. The university also offers active duty tuition discounts to members of the U.S. military.
|7||Colby-Sawyer College||New London||$$$$$||541 Main St|
New London, NH 03257-7835
Based in New London, the main campus of Colby-Sawyer College is located in the Lake Sunapee region and has exceptional views of the surrounding forests, lakes, and mountains. In addition to its on-campus programs, Colby-Sawyer offers two programs that can be completed entirely online: an RN to BS in nursing and an associate degree in liberal arts. The average completion time for the nursing program is between two and three years, but it can be completed in as little as 16 months by motivated full-time students. Alternatively, Colby-Sawyer’s associate degree introduces students to the liberal arts and sciences and helps them develop competency in writing and mathematics.
Colby-Sawyer’s distance learners have access to library and career services, online tutoring through NetTutor, and technical support. Online courses are accessible through Moodle, allowing students to view course content, online discussions, and assignments at any time. All online students pay the same tuition rate, regardless of their state of residency.
|8||Franklin Pierce University||Rindge||$$$$$||40 University Drive|
Rindge, NH 03461-0060
Located in the small town of Rindge along the southern border of the state, Franklin Pierce University has an average class size of 17 students per instructor, ensuring that students receive personalized instruction. The university was founded in 1962 and currently serves more than 2,000 undergraduate and graduate students. FPU is consistently ranked among the top online schools in New Hampshire and offers several associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees, as well as many certificate programs. Degrees range from education and health care to human services and business administration; coursework is designed to help working professionals advance in their careers. Online classes are hosted by the Canvas learning management system. Additionally, 100 percent FPU’s students receive some form of financial aid to support their studies.
|9||New England College||Henniker||$$$$$||98 Bridge St|
Henniker, NH 03242
New England College's main campus is located in Henniker, New Hampshire, which is a 90-minute drive from Boston. The school is committed to experiential learning practices that promote civic engagement and social responsibility. NEC currently serves about 2,700 students, more than half of which are enrolled in online courses. NEC’s online programs are made available through a partnership with University Alliance Online. Students can earn both associate and bachelor’s degrees online, without ever having to attend campus. NEC’s degree programs are available in a variety of fields including accounting, business administration, criminal justice, health care administration, human services, liberal studies, psychology, and sociology. Transfer students can apply for admission in either the fall or spring semester and can transfer up to 90 credits. Active duty service members of the U.S. military are eligible for tuition assistance.
Most Affordable Online Colleges in New Hampshire
Below, we’ve posted a second listing of the top online colleges in New Hampshire, this time ranking schools according to their tuition rates.
|Rank||School Name||School Logo||City||School Link||Cost|
|1||Granite State College||Concord||School profile||$$$$$|
|2||Colby-Sawyer College||New London||School profile||$$$$$|
|3||Plymouth State University||Plymouth||School profile||$$$$$|
|4||Rivier University||Nashua||School profile||$$$$$|
|5||Southern New Hampshire University||Manchester||School profile||$$$$$|
|6||Franklin Pierce University||Rindge||School profile||$$$$$|
|7||New England College||Henniker||School profile||$$$$$|
Scholarships and Financial Aid in New Hampshire
The Addition Scholarship is open to New Hampshire students between the ages of 17 and 23, and to graduate students. Recipients are selected based on financial need, academic performance, and factors such as community service or school activities. Provided by the NH Community Foundation.
The Bartlett Scholarship is open to New Hampshire students between the ages of 17 and 23, and to graduate students. Recipients are selected based on financial need, academic performance, and factors such as community service or school activities. Funds provided by the NH Community Foundation.
Berry Nursing Scholarship
The Berry Nursing Scholarship is open to New Hampshire students who are pursuing a career in nursing. Recipients are selected based on financial need, academic performance, and factors such as community service or school activities. The scholarship is administered by the NH Community Foundation.
Dunkin’ Donuts Scholarship
Provided by New Hampshire’s Dunkin’ Donuts franchises, this scholarship is available to New Hampshire high school seniors. Recipients are chosen based on merit and financial need. Applicants should demonstrate a commitment to volunteer or community service, and a GPA of 3.25+ is required.
Mary Felicia Falzarano Scholarship Fund
This scholarship is open to New Hampshire high school seniors or graduates who are pursuing education at a vocational/technical college or other post-secondary institution. Recipients are selected based on financial need. Average award ranges from $250 to $1,500 per student. Funding provided by the NH Community Foundation.
New Hampshire Scholarship
The New Hampshire Scholarship is open to Saint Anselm students who have a strong academic record and demonstrate financial need. The maximum award is $5,000 per year for 4 years. Recipients must maintain a GPA of 2.5+ to renew the award each year.
The Presidential Scholarship is open to freshmen entering Saint Anselm College. Recipients are selected based on academic merit and demonstrated school or community leadership. Students who receive this scholarship are invited to join the Honors Program. Maximum award is $17,000 per year for 4 years.
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