As more people move into higher education, institutions across the country are providing a variety of educational avenues to meet the increasing need. This guide covers higher education across the state of Connecticut, including opportunities, costs, and jobs outlook. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Connecticut maintains 43 universities, of which nine are four-year public institutions, 18 are nonprofit private institutions, and four are for-profit. Additionally, Connecticut is home to 12 public, two-year institutions.
Between the two- and four-year programs, Connecticut schools train students in a variety of professions, including web development and software engineering, business and operations analysis, and personal care and healthcare systems. In addition to lists of the best online colleges in the state and the most affordable online colleges in Connecticut, this page also provides information regarding scholarships and financial aid opportunities for state residents. As you consider a college education, look to Connecticut as a center of educational opportunity.
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A Brief Overview of Higher Education in Connecticut
As of 2016, nearly 200,000 students were enrolled in higher education in Connecticut. College enrollment has fluctuated over the past decade as students face tough financial pressures. Trends in Higher Education states that tuition costs have doubled from the 2004-2005 academic year to the 2017-2018 academic year, across both two- and four-year programs. The University of Connecticut has faced a similar trajectory: between 2007-2008 and 2017-2018, tuition rose by over 60% across the board, with in-state tuition rising from $8,842 to $14,880, and out-of-state tuition rising from $22,786 to $36,948.
- 9 public
- 18 non-profit
- 4 for-profit
In an effort to defray costs, the state of Connecticut provides grants and tuition waivers for undergraduates. The National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs (NASSGAP) records that need-based, in-state grants in 2015-2016 amounted to $29,534,587 in Connecticut, as tuition waivers forgave over $104,000,000 in the same year. Connecticut also provides special grant opportunities for minorities interested in teaching, totaling $252,500 in incentives during 2015-2016. Even with assistance, students in Connecticut face high costs when it comes to a quality education, and no in-state loan forgiveness program currently exists.
Connecticut’s Higher Education System Data and Trends Report elaborates on the evolving student body statewide. While enrollment numbers fluctuate, minority engagement has increased in Connecticut education over the past decade. The number of African-American students has risen consistently from 18,000 in 2008 to around 24,000 in 2017, while the number of students of Latino/a descent jumped sharply from around 16,000 to just over 29,000. Overall, minorities currently amount to 35.2% of all Connecticut’s college enrollees.
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The State of Online Higher Education in Connecticut
In the state of Connecticut, online education is still relatively new: an average of 17.4% students participated in distance learning in Connecticut last year, compared to 29.7% nationwide. Though student enrollment in online colleges in Connecticut is currently low, this area of education grew between 2012-2015 to 17.7%, higher than the national average growth of 11%. These statistics demonstrate the increasing priority of online learning across Connecticut’s institutions and the added attention to incoming distance students. Of those enrolled in distance learning in Connecticut, 58% live in-state, 41% out-of-state, and only 1% outside of the United States.
Tuition Breaks for Out-of-State Students
For potential students searching for online or on-campus colleges in Connecticut, opportunities for tuition assistance exist. Most notably, the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE) provides the Tuition Break program for New England students interested in an out-of-state degree. Also called the Regional Student Program (RSP), this initiative ensures reduced enrollment tuition rates for qualifying residents. The Tuition Break covers 82 public institutions, including two- and four-year schools as well as graduate degree programs. In addition to Connecticut, state residents of Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont can apply.
To qualify for the Tuition Break, you must be a permanent resident of one of the six states listed above. Applicants may also argue proximity to an out-of-state institution as a justifiable reason to enter a specific program, such as living on the border of a qualifying state. Once you have found a degree that fits within the RSP program, you must request to apply for the Tuition Break on your school application. The school will let you know if you have qualified. Program eligibility and availability vary by school. If you are already enrolled in a program, you can also apply RSP status to qualifying majors.
Best Online Colleges in Connecticut
Below, you will find our rankings of the best online four-year programs in Connecticut. 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 CT, explore our state resources, like a database of every college and university in Connecticut 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||St. Vincent's College||Bridgeport||$$$$$||2800 Main St|
Bridgeport, CT 06606-4201
St. Vincent's College is an online college in Connecticut focused on health careers. The school offers three different types of distance learning courses including online, hybrid, and e-enhanced. Two degrees are offered entirely online: the RN to BSN Completion Program for registered nurses and the Bachelor of Science in Radiological Sciences for radiologic professionals. Students interested in healthcare management can also earn a certificate online. The college has a relationship with St. Vincent's Medical Center and St. Vincent's Health Services, and students have the chance to practice their skills in multiple simulation laboratories that mimic the hospital setting. In addition to the skills laboratories at the Bridgeport campus, all students have access to the Campus Ministry, student organizations, and The Sister Marie Burns Student Learning and Career Services Center, which provides academic support, tutor referrals, career workshops, and the online career services system.
|2||Quinnipiac University||Hamden||$$$$$||Mt Carmel Ave|
Hamden, CT 06518
Founded in 1929, Quinnipiac University in Hamden is a private college with a student body of approximately 9,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students. As one of three Connecticut colleges providing online classes, Quinnipiac began offering distance education courses in 2001. The school delivers its coursework through Blackboard, and learners can take advantage of around-the-clock technical assistance.
Quinnipiac offers undergraduate degrees in business administration, health science studies, and RN-to-BSN education. Options at the master’s level include studies in business analytics, organizational leadership, public relations, and instructional design, in addition to an RN-to-MSN program. Doctoral students can pursue degrees in occupational therapy or nursing practice. The university also offers certificate programs in areas of healthcare compliance, social media, user experience design, and special education.
Quinnipiac focuses on working professionals, ensuring all online degrees offer the flexibility students need. Professors teach courses asynchronously to allow learners to complete coursework according to their schedules. While most programs do not require visits to campus, some may require a visit to Hamden for orientation.
Recognizing many students need financial assistance, the school provides a financial planning pathway, one-to-one counselling about financial resources, and opportunities for discounts through corporate partnerships. As a recognized military-friendly school, Quinnipiac also offers several military benefits. The school maintains regional accreditation through the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, and several departments hold additional programmatic accreditation.
|3||University of Bridgeport||Bridgeport||$$$$$||126 Park Avenue|
Bridgeport, CT 06604-5620
The University of Bridgeport serves nearly 5,500 students each year. Established in 1927 as a private institution, the school provides education to students from all 50 states and over 80 countries.
This Connecticut college offers online courses, with online bachelor’s degrees in dental hygiene, general studies, professional studies, psychology, and RN-to-BSN studies. At the master’s level, online learners can pursue an MBA or a degree in analytics and systems, dental hygiene, global development and peace, or human nutrition. The school also offers two online doctoral programs in educational leadership and health sciences.
As an early adopter of distance education, UB began providing online degrees in 1997 and was the first school in Connecticut to offer an online master’s degree. All classes use a asynchronous format to help degree seekers juggling personal and professional responsibilities focus on academic growth. The school emphasizes personalized learning, ensuring students receive regular feedback from instructors and one-to-one advising each semester.
UB delivers its courses through the Canvas learning platform and most programs allow students to complete all their coursework entirely online. Distance learners can access digital journal articles, books, and class resources through Wahlstrom Library’s online library services.
Tuition varies by program, but UB charges a flat fee rate per course, regardless of whether students live in-state or not. Students can access coursework at any time and receive round-the-clock technical support if they need help accessing materials, installing special exam software, or engaging with their peers and professors through discussion boards.
|4||University of New Haven||West Haven||$$$$$||300 Boston Post Rd|
West Haven, CT 06516
Located on Long Island Sound, the University of New Haven serves approximately 6,500 students annually through its undergraduate and graduate degree paths. Established in 1920, the school maintains a campus just outside the city. The online learning department offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees, with options including homeland security and emergency management, criminal justice, emergency management, environmental engineering, investigations, and public administration. The investigations master’s degree is the first program of its kind to be offered through distance learning.
As one of the best online colleges in Connecticut, New Haven ensures all learners – regardless of whether they study on-campus or online – can access student services. The institution provides financial aid resources to make it possible for learners to complete a degree without taking on significant debt. Degree seekers also have access to one-on-one academic advising services at the end of each semester.
Recognizing the importance of a streamlined learning environment, New Haven uses Blackboard to manage course content, encourage discussion, administer examinations, send and receive assignments, and post grades and updates. Students have around-the-clock access to IT support. New Haven maintains accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges alongside department- and program-specific accreditation. New Haven is approved to provide distance educations to individuals in all U.S. states and territories. Students hoping to get a better sense of what this university offers can check the school’s Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube platforms.
Most Affordable Online Colleges in Connecticut
Below you’ll find another listing of online schools in CT, ranked by their tuition rate.
|Rank||School Name||School Logo||City||School Link||Cost|
|1||Charter Oak State College||New Britain||School profile||$$$$$|
|2||Albertus Magnus College||New Haven||School profile||$$$$$|
|3||St. Vincent's College||Bridgeport||School profile||$$$$$|
|4||University of Bridgeport||Bridgeport||School profile||$$$$$|
|5||Sacred Heart University||Fairfield||School profile||$$$$$|
|6||Quinnipiac University||Hamden||School profile||$$$$$|
Job Outlook for College Graduates in Connecticut
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports positive job outlook percentages for graduates in Connecticut. The unemployment rate reported for 2018 falls between 4.5% and 4.3%. These numbers are below the pre-2008 crisis level, which hovered around 5%.
Mean annual wages by occupation as listed by the BLS for the state of Connecticut indicate a variety of jobs on the rise. Agricultural and food science technicians, farm workers, and construction top the scientific and manual labor areas. The need for teachers of K-12 and post-secondary education is also expected to increase, particularly in areas of business, administration, and the sciences. Healthcare education, chiropractic services, and oral surgery and orthodontia constitute the leading opportunities in Connecticut health systems.
Scholarships and Financial Aid in Connecticut
Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists
Applicants must be enrolled as a junior or senior in college with a declared major in journalism, and maintain a minimum 2.5 GPA.
Roberta A. Willis Scholarship
Originally the governor’s scholarship, this newly renamed merit- and need-based scholarship applies to successful enrollees in a Connecticut public institution, ranked in the top 20% of their class, and have an SAT score of at least 1210, or an ACT score of at least 27.
Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut Scholarship
For juniors and seniors in college, this scholarship is for students of horticulture or a related biological field, with a minimum 3.0 GPA.
Connecticut Community Foundation Scholarships
Applicants must be residents of one of 21 participating towns in Connecticut and must plan to attend a U.S. college full-time for an associate or bachelor’s degree.
Connecticut Rising Junior Accounting Scholarship
Must attend a business school with an accounting major, be of sophomore or junior status, with a minimum 3.0 GPA.
Carter Mario Injury Lawyer Scholarship
Designed for promising students graduating from a Connecticut high school, applicants must have been accepted to a four-year college, with a record of community involvement and a minimum 2.5 GPA.
Connecticut Architecture Foundation Scholarship
For full-time bachelor’s or master’s students in a NAAB-accredited architecture program in the U.S., applicants must display exemplary design talent.
Alma Exley Scholarship
Designed to support a minority student interested in pursuing a career in public school education. Applicants must be of junior or senior status in college or enrolled in a teacher prep program.
Rotary Club of Salisbury Scholarship
Providing a series of scholarship opportunities for residents of the northwest corner or tri-state area, the Salisbury Scholarships are designed for graduating high school seniors, and healthcare professionals interested in going back to school. Applicants must be enrolled in a two- or four-year college program, with a record of community involvement.
Connecticut Library Association Scholarship
For students interested in higher education, this scholarship assists incoming master’s students in a library science program. Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree, be in good academic standing, and enter an ALA-accredited program.
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