For prospective students considering enrolling in a Vermont online college, the state offers a surprising number of options for higher education. Although one of the smallest states geographically and in terms of population, Vermont boasts 24 colleges and universities as of 2016. This includes six public schools (including one, two-year institution), 17 nonprofit schools, and one for-profit, four-year school. Learners can earn associate degrees, diplomas, or certificates by attending a community college of Vermont online.
The following guide introduces prospective learners to online higher education in the state and includes a list of the best online colleges in Vermont. We also cover the cost of tuition for out-of-state distance learners, discuss some of the most affordable Vermont colleges online, and include a list of scholarships for online students in the state. We also look at the overall job outlook for college graduates in Vermont.
A Brief Overview of Higher Education in Vermont
Vermont boasts a healthy higher education system with a variety of options for prospective students considering attending a college or university in the state. Vermont enrolled 44,720 students at degree-granting postsecondary institutions in 2016. College Board data from the 2018-2019 school year shows the amount that students, particularly those who do not qualify for in-state tuition, pay to attend college in Vermont. In-state tuition at four-year public schools in Vermont averaged $16,040 that year, making it the second most expensive state for in-state tuition at four-year public schools in the U.S. after New Hampshire. Vermont students pay significantly more than students in most other states. Tuition at Vermont’s flagship university, the University of Vermont, costs $17,740 per year for in-state students and $41,360 annually for out-of-state learners.
- 6 public
- 17 non-profit
- 1 for-profit
Prospective students can help offset the higher-than-average cost of tuition for higher education in Vermont by taking advantage of a variety of financial aid opportunities, including student loans, scholarships, grants, and work-study opportunities. Data from the NASSGAP annual survey shows that students in Vermont received $20,743,630 in need-based grants, $114,630 in grants without a need component, and an additional $383,060 in non-grant student aid. One challenge facing Vermont colleges and universities includes declining enrollments, particularly for schools located further north in the state. Online education serves as one way to better retain students at schools in Vermont facing this challenge, since student recruitment can go beyond low-population areas. Additionally, students can continue their courses even if they move to a different part of Vermont or even out of state.
The State of Online Higher Education in Vermont
A 2017 online learning survey found that 10,800 students (8,350 undergraduate and 2,450 graduate learners) took one or more online college courses in Vermont. This makes up 24.6% of the total student body, lower than the national average of 29.7%. However, the number of students taking online courses increased by 27.5%, more than the national average rate of 11% growth between 2012 and 2015. This demonstrates that distance education appears to be catching on in the state. In Vermont, 5,830 students, or 13.3% of the study body, take all of their courses online. This includes 3,490 undergraduates and 2,340 graduate students. Of the students taking distance courses, 39.5% live in Vermont, with the rest living out of state. The majority of them — 86.7% — take a mix of on-campus and distance courses.
Tuition Breaks for Out-of-State Students
The cost of tuition for out-of-state students tends to exceed what in-state students pay to receive the same education. Many colleges and universities offer online learners who live out of state tuition breaks or charge them in-state tuition. However, this is not always the case. Thankfully, many out-of-state learners can save on tuition by participating in a regional program organized by the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE).
NEBHE promotes educational opportunities for students living in the New England region. Among other goals, it facilitates regional cooperation and educational resource sharing. One of New England’s oldest educational resource-sharing and cost-saving programs, NEBHE’s New England Regional Student Program (RSP) Tuition Break provides funding for students to attend out-of-state colleges and universities if they pursue a major not offered by a public institution in their state of residency. New England residents who enroll in approved out-of-state academic programs in the six New England states can save substantially on tuition; the average RSP participant saves $7,900 each school year. By participating in the program, residents from each of the New England states can afford to go to school in other states in the region. NEBHE member states include Vermont, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island.
Best Online Colleges in Vermont
Below, we list our rankings of the best online four-year programs in Vermont. Our profiles examine how schools approach online education and then list their services for distance students and their popular, fully online degrees. After reviewing the best online schools in Vermont, explore our state resources, such as a database of every college and university in Vermont 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||Champlain College||Burlington||$$$$$||246 S. Willard St|
Burlington, VT 05401
Champlain, located in Burlington, has more than 50 online associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and certificate programs. There are 11 bachelor’s programs, including a degree in economic crime that prepares students for financial fraud investigations and the Certified Fraud Examiner test. Small online classes of 15 to 20 students ensure a personalized learning experience. Students use the Canvas platform to take accelerated seven or eight-week courses; more complex courses are 15 weeks long.
Students searching for online colleges in Vermont should be aware that Champlain’s online courses usually require the same amount of time as on-campus courses, typically four hours a week, plus 10 to 15 hours to complete assignments. Courses are taught asynchronously, but there are weekly deadlines for discussion responses and assignments. There are two terms per semester, and three semesters each year. A bachelor’s degree usually requires 120 credits. Champlain’s transfer credit program permits eligible students to transfer up to 90 credits toward their bachelor’s degree. Online student services include academic advisors, career advisors, and instructors who take a personal interest in their students.
|2||University of Vermont||Burlington||$$$$$||85 S Prospect St|
Burlington, VT 05405-0160
UVM, located in Burlington, is a leader among online schools in Vermont with programs in health, business, education, engineering, and the environment. There are 30 hybrid and online programs designed for working professionals. Certificate programs include sustainable food systems, craft beer, and cannabis science and medicine. Five online master’s programs lead to health-related degrees or a degree in sustainability. The bachelor of science in health sciences program prepares students for careers in public, environmental, or animal health that are not directly related to patient care. The 120-credit program takes about two years to complete. Students should have at least one year of college, including one semester of life/natural science with a lab, and 30 credits with at least a 2.7 GPA.
The RN to BSN program broadens earnings potential and employment options for nurses. Eight of the nine courses are online; there is one, five-day summer course on campus. Requirements include a cumulative GPA of 2.5. Most nurses complete the program in three years.
|3||Norwich University||Northfield||$$$$$||158 Harmon Drive|
Northfield, VT 05663-1035
Norwich, located in Northfield, was the nation’s first private military college. Norwich University Online enrolls about 1,200 students in certificate, bachelor’s, and master’s programs. There are six online bachelor’s programs including some not offered by other online colleges in Vermont. The bachelor of science in strategic studies and defense analysis is designed for active duty or retired Reserve and National Guard personnel from a U.S. Special Operations Command or NATO Special Operations Forces. Instructors include retired military officers and defense strategy specialists. The online bachelor of science in national security studies program builds on the experience of military combat personnel, law enforcement professionals, and those in the intelligence community. The program helps students transition to a civilian career or further their current career within any of the 18 federal agencies or the U.S. intelligence community.
Programs are designed so students take one course at a time and emphasize relevant content that students can immediately apply in the workplace. Students can transfer up to 90 semester credits and finish their degree in under two years.
|4||Johnson State College||Johnson||$$$$$||337 College Hill|
Johnson, VT 05656-9464
Johnson State is a liberal arts college that emphasizes environmental and social awareness in their associate, bachelor’s, and master’s programs. JSC’s reputation as one of the best online schools in Vermont is due to the cross-disciplinary instruction it delivers. The school offers six online programs, including a bachelor of science in wellness & alternative medicine. JSC was one of the first colleges to build a science-based undergraduate degree program. Course offerings include human anatomy, native American healing, and applied herbal pharmacology.
JSC’s bachelor’s completion program has online and weekend classes at its Johnson campus. Five of JSC’s online programs are taught completely online; the childhood education program has an on-campus requirement during the final year. Online courses, which use Moodle, are structured in seven-week or 14-week formats. Distance learners pay in-state rates for online courses, and part-time students pay a $20 per credit fee; full-time students pay $240 per semester. Students must have at least a 2.0 GPA and be a U.S. resident. Massachusetts residents may not attend.
Most Affordable Online Colleges in Vermont
Below, we list the best online colleges in Vermont, sorted by affordability.
|Rank||School Name||School Logo||City||School Link||Cost|
|1||Johnson State College||Johnson||School profile||$$$$$|
|2||Burlington College||School profile||$$$$$|
|3||Champlain College||Burlington||School profile||$$$$$|
Job Outlook for College Graduates in Vermont
College graduates in Vermont face a very favorable outlook for job openings and salary, thanks to the state’s strong economy. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a very low 2.8% unemployment rate for Vermont. Low levels of unemployment generally make it easier for job seekers to find positions and receive better compensation. This can particularly benefit recent graduates and individuals just starting out in their careers. Workers in Vermont make about as much as professionals in the rest of the country. The state’s mean annual wage for all occupations of $48,840 ($23.48 per hour) sits just slightly below the national average of $50,620 ($24.34 per hour).
Scholarships and Financial Aid in Vermont
Emily Lester Vermont Opportunity Scholarship
Recipients must be a current or former foster care child in Vermont, demonstrate financial need, and attend an accredited associate or bachelor’s program in Vermont.
Vermont State Grange Agricultural Scholarship
The Vermont Student Assistance Corporation provides these funds to Vermont students pursuing an agriculture degree. Applicants must demonstrate academic achievement, leadership, community involvement, and interest in agriculture.
The Vermont State Grange Educational Aid Fund Scholarship
Vermont Grange members enrolled in an accredited school who can demonstrate financial need, community involvement, and academic achievement may qualify.
Roothbert Fund Scholarships
Applicants must live in or hold a permanent address in Vermont (or a few other specified states). The Fund gives priority consideration to applicants who demonstrate “spiritual values” and high academic achievement.
Stephen Phillips Memorial Scholarship Fund
Permanent residents of a state in New England (including Vermont) pursuing a bachelor’s degree at an accredited school with a minimum 3.0 GPA may qualify.
Shaw-Worth Memorial Scholarship
Administered by the Humane Society of the United States, applicants must be a student from a state in New England with demonstrated work and leadership experience on behalf of animals.
New England Board of Higher Education Tuition Break
Permanent residents of a New England state pursuing a degree not offered by a public school in their home state at an approved, accredited out-of-state school may qualify.
New England Employee Benefits Council Scholarship
Undergraduate or graduate students in an accredited program who live in New England or attend college in New England may qualify. The applicant must also demonstrate an academic or career interest in employee benefits.
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.
Vermont John H. Chafee Education and Training Scholarship
Applicants must attend an accredited school, demonstrate financial need, be 21 or younger, and be a current or former Vermont foster child.
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