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
Prospective students who want to attend a Vermont online college can pursue associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees online at Champlain College in Burlington. A small, private college established in 1878, Champlain takes a career-driven approach to education that gives students the professional experience they need. The school focuses primarily on educating working professionals, offering degrees the market demands. One of the first schools to offer online degrees, more than 3,000 online students now take courses at Champlain. It holds accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
Champlain's degrees cover fields such as accounting, software development, economic crime investigation, cybersecurity, digital forensic science, healthcare administration, and information security operations. Champlain also offers more than 25 online undergraduate certificates in technology, business, and healthcare and 12 online certificates for graduate students. The strength of its cybersecurity and digital forensics programs are nationally known. Champlain holds designation as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education from the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency. It also holds the designation of a National Center of Digital Forensics Academic Excellence from the Air Force.
Champlain's academic year includes three semesters: spring, summer, and fall. Online programs break semesters into two terms. Courses in most undergraduate programs last seven weeks, while master's and graduate certificate courses take eight weeks. Some programs offer courses that last the full semester. Champlain keeps distance courses small, with an average of 15-20 students per class. This allows students to interact with classmates and instructors. Most distance learners receive academic credit towards their degrees for prior training and work experience, reducing the amount of time and money it takes to graduate.
|2||University of Vermont||Burlington||$$$$$||85 S Prospect St|
Burlington, VT 05405-0160
Vermont's small size limits the number of schools offering online degrees, but some excellent possibilities exist. One option is the University of Vermont, located in Burlington. A public university known for its prestigious research programs, UVM's commitment to delivering high-quality liberal arts education dates back to 1791. UVM's goals include making programs accessible through increased affordability and academic support.
The school offers various online programs, including undergraduate and graduate degrees and certificates in the following fields: healthcare, business and leadership, education, science and technology, and environment and sustainability. Distance students can pursue a registered nurse to bachelor of science in nursing, a master's in public health, a master's in leadership for sustainability, and a health sciences degree completion program. UVM's accelerated online master of public health lets students earn their bachelor's and master's in public health in just five years. Certificates are available in areas like ecological leadership, the business of craft beer, cannabis science and medicine, and speech language pathology. UVM also offers a variety of credit and non-credit online courses to adult learners through its continuing education program.
All online courses are available asynchronously, meaning students do not need to log on at a specific time. Instead, they complete coursework at their own pace, as long as they meet instructors' deadlines. Distance learners enjoy access to the UVM library, financial aid assistance, and academic advising. Degree-seeking students may qualify for financial aid, including Stafford loans. Non-degree-seeking students can apply for grants through the Vermont Student Assistance Program. Also, UVM's Osher Foundation Reentry Scholarship supports students who return to school after taking an extended break from their studies.
|3||Norwich University||Northfield||$$$$$||158 Harmon Drive|
Northfield, VT 05663-1035
Students who want to take online college courses in Vermont can find many opportunities through Norwich University in Northfield. Norwich offers bachelor's, master's, and graduate certificate programs to distance learners. Those who want to take individual courses can enroll in the school's continuing education program and earn non-credit certificates in teaching, public procurement, and leadership. These certificates often count as professional development or continuing education credits.
Founded in 1819, as the first private military college in the U.S., Norwich combines a liberal arts education and experiential learning. The school aims to foster in-depth thinking, leadership, and public service. A pioneer in distance education, Norwich began offering online courses in 1998. Today, 1,200 students take its distance courses. Faculty members receive specialized training in delivering online education and learn how to give students individualized support and mentorship. Norwich caps enrollment at 16 students per class to promote one-on-one interactions and high-quality discussion.
Resources for online learners include support from a student services adviser, a technical help desk, a dedicated distance librarian, and career and professional development services. Active duty and military veterans receive a tuition discount.
Norwich's bachelor's degree completion programs in subjects like national security studies, management studies, and cybersecurity invite students with at least 30-60 credits to apply. Learners can transfer up to 90 credits toward bachelor's programs. The school's master's programs do not require a GRE or GMAT, and most programs take 18 months to complete. Master's degrees cover fields like diplomacy, international relations, and strategic studies -- and include the option to add a concentration.
|4||Northern Vermont University||Johnson||$$$$$||337 College Hill|
Johnson, VT 05656
Established in 1828, Northern Vermont University is a public, nonprofit university in Johnson, with accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. The Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges recognizes NVU's Johnson campus, the base for the school's distance education programs, as the premier public liberal arts campus in Vermont.
NVU boasts affordable tuition for its distance education degrees. All online students pay the same tuition rate. NVU's six fully online bachelor's programs cover fields like accounting, business administration, psychology, and wellness and alternative medicine. The school also offers two self-designed degrees in interdisciplinary studies and professional studies, as well as a 90% online early childhood education bachelor's degree. The self-designed degrees let students tailor programs based on their interests and goals.
Faculty members with real-world professional expertise give students one-on-one attention and mentoring. NVU admits no more than 22 students per class so students receive individualized attention and can engage with classmates and instructors. Distance learners also enjoy access to research librarians, academic advisers, and other support staff.
NVU welcomes transfer students and accepts as many transfer credits as possible. Learners even receive academic credit for life experience, which helps them graduate more quickly and save money on tuition. A rolling admissions policy and nine start dates each year make it convenient to begin a program. Students can choose to take either seven- or 14-week courses.
Most Affordable Online Colleges in Vermont
Below, we list the best online colleges in Vermont, sorted by affordability.
|Rank||School Name||School Logo||City||School Link||Cost|
|1||Northern Vermont University||Johnson||School profile||$$$$$|
|2||Burlington College||School profile||$$$$$|
|3||Champlain College||Burlington||School profile||$$$$$|
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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