Online colleges in Oregon have seen a steady increase in enrollment in recent years, leading to more distance learning options for both in-state students and those residing elsewhere. The state’s key industries offer many career possibilities, and online colleges in Oregon are especially likely to offer programs related to these professions. If you wish to pursue a career in one of the state’s top industries, attending an online college in Oregon can be the first step on the path to a rewarding, lucrative position, even if you live out of state.
In this guide, we explore numerous aspects of online education in Oregon, including tuition rates, scholarship opportunities, and a ranking of the best online colleges in Oregon. We also look at what graduates can expect as they enter the state’s job market, from Oregon’s fastest-growing sectors and highest paying roles to recent unemployment trends. Whether you live in Oregon or just pursue a career there, this guide can help you find an online college in Oregon that fits your goals, schedule, and budget.
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A Brief Overview of Higher Education in Oregon
As of the 2015-2016 academic year, there were 63 degree-granting institutions in Oregon. Of these, 26 were public colleges or universities, 25 were private nonprofit schools, and 12 were for-profit private colleges. In 2016, 236,235 students were enrolled in one of those institutions, making the state’s total student body significantly smaller than the national average of 389,039. Oregon is also home to fewer schools than other states, with most maintaining around 90 postsecondary institutions of any kind. While college enrollment nationwide declined by 5.6% between 2011 and 2016, Oregon’s enrollment during the same time dropped by 8.8%. When compared with states such as Iowa, which saw enrollment reduced by 28.4%, these trends point to Oregon’s relative stability and a higher education system roughly on par with the rest of the country.
- 26 public
- 25 non-profit
- 12 for-profit
As of 2018, the average tuition in Oregon was $5,310 per year for state residents and $10,610 for out-of-state students. By comparison, in-state students at the University of Oregon, the state’s flagship school, paid $11,898 annually, while the university charged $35,478 a year for out-of-state tuition. While tuition rates at Oregon schools are typically more expensive than those in California, it is much cheaper to attend an Oregon institution than almost any school in New England. The state also sponsors a variety of financial aid initiatives to help candidates fund their studies. During the 2015-2016 academic year, Oregon students received $64,224,460 in need-based student aid.
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The State of Online Higher Education in Oregon
Despite an overall decline in college enrollment, online schools in Oregon are experiencing a slow but steady increase in enrollment. In 2015, 29% of all students took at least one course online, while only 22.6% did so in 2012. More students attended a mixture of on-campus and web-based classes than online courses exclusively. In 2015, 59,408 undergraduates took at least one class online, but only 21,699 were pursuing a degree entirely online. Similar to national rates, 60% of candidates enrolled exclusively in Oregon distance education programs were living in the state at the time. Roughly 30% of American students are enrolled in at least one online course, and 55% of distance learners live in the same state as their institution.
One organization is working to promote online learning throughout Oregon. Consisting of representatives from the state’s 17 community colleges, the Oregon Community College Distance Learning Association (OCCDLA) strives to advance distance education through advocacy, organization, and education. Along with digital teaching resources and professional development opportunities for instructors, OCCDLA seeks to expand student access to web-based classes through its unique course sharing model. Other OCCDLA initiatives include an open educational resource bank and emergent technology programs that harness the power of virtual reality and immersive learning methods. As groups like OCCDLA continue to influence and inspire similar projects at the university level, online enrollment in Oregon is expected to increase.
Tuition Breaks for Out-of-State Students
While nearly every institution charges higher tuition rates for out-of-state candidates than state residents, this rule does not always apply to online programs. Many schools charge distance learners one flat rate, regardless of their state of residence. While nonresident online students still pay more at some institutions, there are other ways to reduce tuition costs. Some states — including Oregon — maintain agreements with other states which allow nonresidents to pay lower or in-state tuition rates while attending out-of-state schools.
As a member of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, Oregon participates in the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE). This program allows students from member states and territories to pay reduced rates when attending schools in other member states. While out-of-state tuition often costs as much as 300% of resident tuition, students in member states pay only 150%. The average WUE participant saves $9,000 a year. In addition to Oregon, WUE member states include Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, the United States Pacific Territories and Freely Associated States, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
Best Online Colleges in Oregon
Below, you will find our rankings of the best online four-year programs in Oregon. 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 Oregon, explore our state resources, like a database of every college and university in Oregon 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||Oregon Institute of Technology||Klamath Falls||$$$$$||3201 Campus Drive|
Klamath Falls, OR 97601-8801
The Oregon Institute of Technology operates several campuses across the state, including one in Klamath Falls and one in Wilsonville. The school was established in 1947 near Klamath Falls as a vocational rehabilitation center for World War II veterans. Later, it expanded to offer associate and bachelor's degrees to all students. Now, its online campus awards both undergraduate and graduate degrees, plus several degree completion programs.
All of the school's degree completion programs fall within the healthcare field, including dental hygiene, diagnostic medical sonography, echocardiology, healthcare management, radiologic science, respiratory care, and vascular technology. These flexible programs cater to working professionals who already possess some higher education experience, allowing students to work and study simultaneously.
Online college courses include a survey of vascular technology, healthcare management, and dental ethics. Students at Oregon Tech must also take some general education credits, which they can complete at Oregon Tech or transfer in from another institution. The school requires students to complete coursework in communication, humanities, the social sciences, math, and science. The institute holds regional accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Prospective students may apply as freshmen or transfer students. If applicants possess fewer than 24 credits, they apply as freshmen and must submit high school transcripts (or proof of a GED certificate) and SAT or ACT scores. Transfer students should possess a minimum 2.25 GPA in their college-level coursework. Some bachelor's programs also expect students to possess professional experience. For example, the diagnostic medical sonography program requires its students to have previous experience as full-time sonographers.
|2||Corban University||Salem||$$$$$||5000 Deer Park Dr SE|
Salem, OR 97317-9392
A small Christian school, Salem-based Corban University enrolls over 1,100 students at its main campus. In addition, another 1,400 learners study at Corban through its distance learning programs. As one of the best online colleges in Oregon, Corban offers bachelor's degrees in business and psychology. The student-to-faculty ratio at Corban remains low, allowing professors to better focus their attention on individual students. The university also encourages distance students to collaborate with each other through online discussion tools.
Corban's online business program allows students to choose from three concentrations: accounting, leadership and management, and marketing. Psychology students may also choose between specializations in family studies or pre-counseling. The general education curriculum at Corban includes 61 credits of coursework, and students need a total of 120 credits to graduate. Corban holds regional accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
The university grants online students several financial aid opportunities. For example, distance learners who visit campus receive a renewable $500 scholarship. Corban also offers a scholarship that covers the last 10% of students' tuition.
Applicants must hold a high school degree, and those with fewer than 30 credits of college-level coursework should also submit ACT or SAT scores. Corban expects applicants to have a GPA of 2.0 or higher in previous college classes and a minimum 2.7 GPA in high school. Because Corban functions as a Christian institution, the school requires prospective students to "profess faith and live a Christian lifestyle." Thus, applicants must submit a statement of faith and a Christian character reference along with their academic documents.
|3||Oregon State University||Corvallis||$$$$$||1500 S.W. Jefferson|
Corvallis, OR 97331
Oregon State University -- based in Corvallis -- operates as a public, land-grant institution. Over 30,000 students take courses at Oregon State, including more than 6,500 distance learners. Oregon State offers over 50 web-based degrees, as well as an exploratory studies program to help students decide which degrees to pursue. Students can access online advising sessions, academic consultations, and take a course that helps them identify potential careers.
Learners can choose from a variety of topics, including agricultural sciences, economics, psychology, and foreign languages. All degree-seeking students must complete 51 credits of general education coursework and 180 quarter credits overall. Individuals who want to take one or two classes, without necessarily pursuing a degree, can also enroll. Those with bachelor's degrees can complete graduate courses, including classes in business and education.
Oregon State's e-campus offers several resources for online students, including career services, Canvas tech support, and library access. Students can connect with their peers by joining online clubs, including those for women in science and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
OSU runs on an 11-week quarter system, allowing incoming students to choose from four different start dates each year. The school holds regional accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
First-time college students must hold either a high school diploma or an educational equivalent (such as a GED certificate). OSU prefers applicants to send in ACT or SAT scores, although this is not required. Students with at least 24 credits of college coursework may apply as transfer students.
|4||Concordia University - Portland||Portland||$$$$$||2811 NE Holman Street|
Portland, OR 97211-6099
Originally founded in 1905 as a college for Lutheran pastors and teachers, Concordia University still maintains its religious affiliation. As such, the school's undergraduate general education requirements include six credits in spiritual formation. The school continues its original mission to train educators, offering several undergraduate degrees in education. The private university enrolls around 5,500 students at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
The university offers fully online bachelor's degrees in early childhood education, healthcare administration, and homeland security and emergency management. It also hosts a web-based MBA, master of education, and doctor of education. These online programs take advantage of various distance-learning tools, including audio and video lectures, discussion boards, online chats, and streaming voice conversations.
Undergraduate students must earn 31 general education credits and 124 credits overall to graduate with a bachelor's degree. Students enrolled in the healthcare administration program can fast track their education and graduate in as few as 16 months, depending on their previous college-level experience. The school offers up to six start dates throughout the year, depending on the program.
The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities grants Concordia regional accreditation. The school's education programming also holds accreditation from the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practice Commission.
First-time freshman must submit high school transcripts, SAT or ACT scores, two letters of recommendation, and a written essay. The university views applicants who possess more than 12 previously earned college credits as transfer students; these learners do not need to submit entrance exam scores, but they should send in transcripts from higher education institutions. Concordia offers many of its students financial aid, with 98% of incoming freshmen receiving some sort of monetary support from the school.
|5||Linfield College||McMinnville||$$$$$||900 SE Baker Street|
McMinnville, OR 97128-6894
Linfield College -- a private school of about 2,500 students in McMinnville -- was founded as a Baptist college in 1858. In addition to its main campus, the college now features campuses online and in Portland. Although the school continues to honor its Baptist heritage, it does not require students to adhere to any religious requirements.
Students attending this accredited online college in Oregon can choose from several web-based programs. Distance learners pick from 10 bachelor's degrees, 19 certificates, and six minors. Undergraduate programs include accounting, computer information systems, global studies, marketing, and management.
Most of these programs fall within the field of business, but registered nurses can also enroll in the school's RN-to-BSN program. This degree track -- designed for nursing professionals with experience -- helps nurses become community leaders and promote better health within vulnerable communities. The program also boasts a co-admission partnership with other qualified online community colleges in Oregon, through which students can go straight from an associate program in nursing into Linfield's RN-to-BSN program.
Linfield holds regional accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, and its nursing program holds accreditation from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
Linfield accepts applications from recent high school graduates and transfer students. First-time freshmen should submit evidence of a diploma or GED certificate. Most transfer applicants must hold a minimum 2.0 GPA, although RN-to-BSN students need a 2.75 GPA or higher. Incoming students who hold significant work experience may transfer some of that expertise into course credit. They can also apply for credit based on prior life experiences by creating a portfolio or taking qualifying exams.
|6||Eastern Oregon University||La Grande||$$$$$||One University Boulevard|
La Grande, OR 97850
Eastern Oregon University refers to itself as "Oregon's rural university." Based in LaGrande -- a city of about 13,000 in the state's eastern region -- the school is surrounded by vast, open landscapes. The state legislature chartered EOU in 1929, and the school currently serves more than 3,000 students -- more than half of these learners take online or nontraditional courses.
The university offers several programs online, including undergraduate and graduate programing. Students can pursue many topics, including anthropology and sociology, early childhood education, fire services administration, and politics and economics. Learners can also earn a post-bachelor's accounting certificate through web-based courses. EOU offers e-tutoring to distance learners who need extra help in their classes. The university has held continuous regional accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities since 1931.
EOU operates fast-track transfer pathways from partner community colleges. This option helps students who earned credit at specific colleges in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, California, and Texas seamlessly transfer into a bachelor's program at EOU. Students can also take advantage of the EOU and Blue Mountain Community College co-admission program, which allows students to take courses from both colleges at the same time.
Prospective freshmen applying without previous college experience should submit either SAT or ACT scores and high school transcripts demonstrating a minimum 2.75 GPA. Interested individuals may also apply with a GED certificate. Transfer students should possess at least 30 transferable college-level credits earned with a minimum 2.25 GPA. Prospective students may also apply for several institutional scholarships.
|7||Multnomah University||Portland||$$$$$||8435 NE Glisan St|
Portland, OR 97220
Established in 1936, Multnomah University began as seminary to train religious leaders. Today, Multnomah maintains its Christian affiliation, but the school also offers degrees unrelated to biblical studies through its main campus in Portland and online. The school remains small, educating about 400 students each year.
Students at this online college in Oregon can choose from five bachelor's programs in applied psychology, the Bible and theology, business management, healthcare management, and information technology. The IT degree offers specializations in cybersecurity and application development. Graduate students can also earn online seminary degrees. Undergraduate students need 124 total credits to graduate and core coursework in non-biblical majors requires students to take 18 credits of theology classes. Transfer students with a large number of credits can earn their degrees in two years.
The university holds both regional and theological accreditation. The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities grants the school regional accreditation, while the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools accredits its seminary and theology-related programs.
Prospective students can apply as transfer students if they possess at least 24 credits of previous college-level coursework. Incoming freshmen should submit their high school transcripts or a GED score report. Applicants do not need to take entrance exams, but they should submit an academic or professional reference form.
Multnomah aims to make its educational opportunities affordable to students, and about 85% of learners at the school receive financial help from the university.
|8||George Fox University||Newberg||$$$$$||414 N Meridian St|
Newberg, OR 97132
Situated in the Willamette Valley, just south of Portland, George Fox University educates over 4,000 students each year. More than 300 of those learners enroll in online adult degree completion programs. Founded in 1885, George Fox touts its status as the oldest Christian university in Oregon. Quaker pioneers established the school, and George Fox still operates as a Christian-affiliated university teaching the liberal arts, sciences, and professional studies.
This online college in Oregon does not offer traditional bachelor's degrees. Rather, students can enroll in adult programs. These programs operate at an accelerated pace and allow students with previously earned college-level credit to complete their degrees. Most of these programs last 16 months, except for the school's elementary education program, which runs for 20 months. Other online bachelor's programs include management and organizational leadership, healthcare administration, social and behavioral sciences, project management, and an RN-to-BSN pathway. Students typically finish each course in 5-6 weeks, although learners may also take some eight-week general education courses online. George Fox holds regional accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
To apply for these online degree completion programs, candidates must already hold at least 62 credits of college-level coursework (earned with a minimum GPA of 2.75). Applicants should also possess at least five years of professional work experience.
Students may also receive up to 30 transfer credits based on life experiences. The prior learning credit program takes a nontraditional approach to granting transfer credit, allowing students to claim credit through two pathways: professional training submissions and prior learning essays.
|9||Portland State University||Portland||$$$$$||724 SW Harrison|
Portland, OR 97201
Portland State University intructs more than 27,000 students in over 200 programs. PSU also hosts several distance programs, making it one of the best online colleges in Oregon.
Distance learners can choose from nine online bachelor's degrees in subjects including criminology and criminal justice, human resource management, social science, supply and logistics management, and urban and public affairs. Non-degree-seeking students can pursue a range of certificates to help them advance in their careers, such as advanced crime analysis, teaching adult learners, and brew crafting. The school also hosts eight master's programs.
Some degrees use a hybrid format, requiring students to attend a portion of their classes in person. Most of PSU's bachelor's programs function as degree completion programs, meaning students should already hold a certain number of transfer credits before enrolling. Transfer students can complete their bachelor's programs in two years or less, depending on their previous academic experience.
PSU holds accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Its business and education schools also hold programmatic accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, respectively.
Individuals applying as transfer students should hold a minimum 2.25 GPA. Freshmen may apply through co-admission, which allows them to enroll simultaneously at PSU and a partner community college. Incoming students may also apply for several institutional scholarships.
|10||Southern Oregon University||Ashland||$$$$$||1250 Siskiyou Boulevard|
Ashland, OR 97520
Ashland-based Southern Oregon University was founded in 1872 by a Methodist pastor. Today, the institution educates more than 6,000 students. It also operates one of the best online colleges in Oregon, offering four undergraduate degrees, two graduate degrees, and two certificate programs to distance learners.
Undergraduate students may pursue degrees in business, business administration, criminal justice, and early childhood development. Business administration students may specialize in accounting or management. Master's students can study business or education, and learners can also opt to earn certificates in business information systems and accounting. SOU holds regional accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
The university operates several of its online undergraduate offerings as degree completion programs. Students with associate degrees or at least two years of college experience may transfer previously earned credits into these programs and graduate in as little as two years. SOU also participates in co-enrollment, allowing students to take classes at SOU and a local community college.
All online distance learners must complete a capstone course. For education students, this means obtaining hands-on experience in practicum and internship settings. Alternatively, business students create comprehensive business plans, while criminal justice students complete major research projects.
Applicants must hold a high school diploma and submit ACT or SAT scores; however, SOU does not list minimum GPAs or entrance exam scores. Transfer students, however, should possess at least 24 credits of college coursework earned with a GPA of 2.25 or higher.
Most Affordable Online Colleges in Oregon
Below you’ll find our list of the best online colleges in OR, sorted by the schools offering the lowest tuition.
|Rank||School Name||School Logo||City||School Link||Cost|
|1||Eastern Oregon University||La Grande||School profile||$$$$$|
|2||Portland State University||Portland||School profile||$$$$$|
|3||Oregon State University||Corvallis||School profile||$$$$$|
|4||Oregon Institute of Technology||Klamath Falls||School profile||$$$$$|
|5||Linfield College||McMinnville||School profile||$$$$$|
|6||Marylhurst University||Marylhurst||School profile||$$$$$|
|7||Corban University||Salem||School profile||$$$$$|
Job Outlook for College Graduates in Oregon
At just under 4%, Oregon’s unemployment rate remains in line with the national average. As in every state, some Oregon industries and professions are more stable and lucrative than others, and drive a greater part of the state’s economy. Oregon actively promotes several key industries, including advanced manufacturing, business operations, food and beverages, forestry and wood products, high technology, and outdoor gear and apparel. In response to these industries’ increased growth, many of the best online colleges in Oregon offer programs and majors that train candidates to take on related careers.
Scholarships and Financial Aid in Oregon
Oregon Community Foundation Scholarships
OCFS provides numerous scholarships for Oregon students who meet specific criteria, from veterans to graduates of certain high schools.
Oregon Opportunity Grant
This grant fund provides aid to thousands of Oregon undergraduates each year. Students must be residents pursuing their first degree full time.
Deceased or Disabled Public Safety Officer Grant
Open to Oregon residents with a parent or guardian employed in public safety who died or was disabled on the job.
Oregon Barber and Hairdresser Grant Program
Open to residents studying cosmetology and related fields at specified Oregon schools.
Oregon Latino Scholarship Fund
Applicants must be Hispanic students who have graduated from an Oregon high school with a 3.0 GPA or higher.
These scholarships are intended for African-American students attending one of seven Oregon universities. Funding amounts vary according to the student’s chosen institution.
Greig Lodge Scholarship Fund
This scholarship is open to students from several Oregon and Washington counties. Candidates with a connection to Nordic culture, heritage, or activities receive preference.
Greenfield Peace Writing Scholarship
This contest requires Oregon high school students to submit an essay about social responsibility.
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