Vermont has three well regarded four-year institutions with online undergraduate offerings: Champlain College, Norwich University and Johnson State College. Each is accredited and considered a Title IV institution. While Norwich and Champlain both offer around six bachelor’s programs each year that can be taken fully online, Johnson State’s online courses are largely intended to support students returning to school to complete their degrees. Regardless of the nature of the programs, all three of these Vermont schools are uniquely committed to supporting a body of online students.
But before we dive into our rankings of the best online colleges in VT for 2016, let’s start with the state of higher education and online education in particular in Vermont today.
A Brief Overview of Higher Education in Vermont
In 2013, the National Center for Education Statistics reported that Vermont had 24 degree-granting institutions, broken down as follows: 6 public schools, 17 nonprofits and 1 for-profits. The total number of bachelor’s degrees awarded in the ’12-’13 school year at these schools was: 3,572 at public schools, 2,557 at private nonprofits and 77 at private for-profits. Six-year graduation rates in Vermont sat at 65.3% as of 2013, the 7th highest rate amongst states.
- 6 public
- 17 non-profit
- 1 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 $14,990, while the out-of-state average was $35,710, the highest average amongst states.
As for the state’s financial aid efforts, the National Association of State Student Grant & Aid Programs (NASSGAP) reported that Vermont awarded $20.4 million in need-based grants for the ’13-’14 school year. Grants make up 22.1% of the state’s total fiscal support for higher education. The state also awarded an additional $491,000 in conditional grants over the same period.
The National Governors Association projected that by 2018, 211,000 jobs in Vermont would require a postsecondary degree, which is an increase of roughly 10,000 jobs from today’s pool of jobs requiring higher education. Vermont’s higher education systems is one of the nation’s most respected, with swaths of out-of-state and distance students eager to enroll in its schools, which bodes well for its strong workforce of educated professionals.
The State of Online Higher Education in Vermont
The NCES estimates that at least 10% of students enrolled in Vermont’s Title IV institutions are in fully online programs. Of those, 54.3% were reported to be undergraduates and 53.5% were found to be living in Vermont.
Vermont became a full member of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) in 2015 ― see the Vermont Business Magazine’s writeup on the matter. This agreement makes it easier for students living in one state to participate in distance learning programs offered by universities in another. SARA is overseen by a National Council and administered by four regional education compacts, including the New England Board of Higher Education which Vermont belongs to.
Best Online Colleges in Vermont
Below, you will find our rankings of the best online four-year programs in Vermont. 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 Vermont, explore our state resources, like a database of every college and university in Vermont or our index of popular in-state scholarships.
Johnson State College
- City: Johnson
- in-state tuition: $10,286
- out-of-state tuition: $21,950
The External Degree Program (EDP) at Johnson State College is designed for incoming transfer students. Applicants should note that they must first have 60 or more college credits to transfer into the online bachelor's programs at JSC. Students can complete their undergraduate studies by enrolling in one of two fully online programs.
Online Undergraduate Degrees
- Professional Studies (B.A.)
- Business (B.A.)
Online courses are held on the Moodle virtual learning platform, where students can sign on to access digital learning materials, participate in academic forum conversations, and work together on class-driven wiki pages. Online courses run for a duration of 7-14 weeks.
- City: Northfield
- annually: $33,371
An Online Education at Norwich University
Norwich University’s flexible learning approach includes asynchronous courses and assignments. The school uses the Blackboard learning management system to facilitate instruction and host course resources, including discussion forums and class assignments. Each student coordinates with a student services advisor who serves as a central resource for registration, textbook purchases, academic advice and more. Library assistance is available through phone, email and chat appointments, and online students have access to a 24/7 technical help desk.
Online Undergraduate Degrees
- Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies
- BS Criminal Justice
- BS Cyber Security
- BS Management Studies
- BS Strategic Studies and Defense Analysis
Norwich University offers bachelor’s degree completion programs online. These are designed for students who have already earned some college credit. All coursework is completed online, and several majors offer students an opportunity to pursue a specialization.
Online Graduate Degrees
- MA Diplomacy
- MA History
- MA Military History
- Master of Civil Engineering
- MS Information Security and Assurance
- MS Leadership
Norwich University’s master’s degree programs require a one-week residency at the school’s Vermont campus, which is usually held in June. This capstone experience includes workshops, student and faculty presentations, networking events and a graduation ceremony.
- City: Burlington
- annually: $31,350
Champlain College uses the Canvas system to provide students with digital access to dozens of fully online bachelor's and master's degree programs. This platform features innovative tools for academic interactions, such as discussion forums and audio/video web conferences. Each course lasts for seven weeks on an asynchronous basis, so students are welcome to sign on anytime day or night. Class sizes are limited to 15-20 students, ensuring a high level of engagement with instructors. CC recommends students spend approximately 10-15 hours each week on coursework.
Online Undergraduate Degrees
- Health I.T.
- Cyber Security
- Computer Forensics
- Management Information Systems
- Economic Crime Investigation
- Software Development
Prospective graduate students are not expected to submit GRE or GMAT scores when applying to Champlain. Generally, a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 is expected to be considered for admission.
Online Graduate Degrees
- MS in Health Care Administration
- MS in Law
- MS in Digital Forensic Management
- MS in Digital Forensic Science
- MS in Mediation & Applied Conflict Studies
- MS in Executive Leadership
- M.Ed in Early Childhood Education
Champlain College seeks to create a supportive environment for online learner success, specifically with remote student services like academic advising, tutoring, a math lab, and a writing center. Students can learn more about these support resources by calling 888-545-3459.
Most Affordable Online Colleges in Vermont
Below, you’ll find the best online colleges in VT (Vermont), sorted by affordability.
Scholarships and Financial Aid in Vermont
C.V. Starr Scholarship
The C.V. Starr scholarship is open to Vermont residents attending Vermont Technical College. Recipients are selected based on financial need and academic achievement. Maximum award is $1,000.
Don and Peg Arnold Scholarship
Provided by the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation, this scholarship is for Vermont students from any of the 8 towns served by Shoreham Telephone Company (Benson, Castleton, Cornwall, Hubbardton, Orwell, Shoreham, Sudbury, and Whiting). Recipients are selected based on academic excellence, financial need, and involvement in community or school. The award is $5,000, and may be renewed for 4 years.
E. Dante Bogni Scholarship
The Vermont Student Assistance Corporation provides this scholarship to Vermont high school students who have shown a commitment to caring for the elderly in their communities. Applicants must be graduates of Montpelier or Spaulding High School. A letter of recommendation and a personal essay is required. The maximum award is $15,000.
Southern Vermont College provides this scholarship to incoming freshmen based on strong academic performance. To be eligible, students must have a GPA between 2.8 and 3.2, a 900+ SAT and a 19+ ACT score. The award is renewable annually if recipient maintains a 2.5+ GPA.
Frank M. and Olive F. Gilman Foundation Scholarship
Provided by the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation, this scholarship is for students graduating from a high school in Orange County or Windsor County. Selection is determined by financial need, letter of recommendation, and application essay. Approximately 95 students receive this scholarship each year.
People’s United Bank Scholarship
Administered by the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation, the People’s United Bank Scholarship is available to Vermont residents who are pursuing a degree at a college or university within the state. Recipients are selected based on academic achievement, letter of recommendation, application essay, and financial need.
Presidential Scholarship from Southern Vermont College
Southern Vermont College’s Presidential Scholarship is available to incoming freshmen who have participated in a community service organization. A GPA of 3.3+ and an SAT score of 1100+ (21+ ACT) are required. The award ranges from $9,000 to $11,000 per year for 4 years.
Presidential Scholarship from Sterling College
Sterling College’s Presidential Scholarship is available to incoming freshmen and transfer students who have taken part in a community service or learning activity related to the environment, or have undertaken a personal lifestyle change that has benefitted the environment. A minimum 3.0 GPA is required.
Southern Vermont College Opportunity Grant
The SVC Opportunity Grant is available to incoming freshmen at Southern Vermont College. Applicants must have a GPA in the range of 2.3 to 2.5, and an SAT score of 800+ (ACT 16+). Recipients are selected based on academic merit. The award ranges from $5,000 to $7,000.
Southern Vermont College’s Transfer Scholarship is open to incoming students who completed at least 24 college credits at a previous institution. A GPA of 2.7+ and a demonstration of financial need is required. The award ranges from $6,000 to $10,000 per year for 4 years.