Virginia is for lovers. Lovers of history, lovers of the arts, lovers of opportunity and lovers of education. Online colleges in Virginia know that non-traditional situations can make learning a challenge, but that the leadership and dedication of Virginia are more than sufficient to achieve. As the first colony in the country and the mother of presidents, Virginia has a long history of overcoming obstacles and producing leaders.
Online education in Virginia is some of the best in the country, with a host of awards and recognition to back up their claims. And in the spirit of the state, they are only getting better and better. To help you choose the right school for you we have put together a list of the 21 best online colleges in Virginia. Every school on the list provides online students with exceptional experiences and education and was selected based on its quality, cost and student satisfaction. Whatever your circumstance, a college in Virginia has a program waiting for you.
Here Are the Top 21 Online College in Virginia
#1 Regent University
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $550
- Acceptance Rate: 80%
- What Sets It Apart: High Number of Degree Programs
Regent University is a Christian focused University providing students with the skills needed to succeed academically, professionally, personally and spiritually. This is primarily done through Regent’s core courses that incorporate Christian teachings and theology into the academic curriculum. The University offers distance learners over 60 online degree programs in Virginia at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Classes are offered asynchronously in a condensed 8-week format, allowing students to finish coursework quickly and individually. Regent ranks highly for online education, the school was listed as one of the top 20 best online bachelor’s programs and one of the top 15 best bachelor’s programs for veterans by U.S. News and World Report.
#2 George Mason University (Mason)
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $489
- Acceptance Rate: 69%
- What Sets It Apart: High Graduation Rate
Mason offers over 50 undergraduate fully online or hybrid courses to students, allowing them to customize their education to best meet their needs. The school is the largest public research university in Virginia and as such has an impressive online library and writing center, available to all students. Mason has a high graduation rate of 67% and two graduates have become the recent recipients of the Nobel Prize in Economics. Mason prides itself on being a current, flexible, and adaptable university ever progressing with modern resources and education. Classes are offered to students in January, May, and August.
#3 Liberty University
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $455
- Acceptance Rate: 69%
- What Sets It Apart: Primarily Online Focus
Liberty first began offering online classes in Virginia back in 1985 and now provides students with over 120 online bachelor’s degree programs and are well known for their quality online Early Childhood Education Program. Students are also able to participate in associate, master’s, and doctoral degrees as well as some certificate programs. While most courses are eight weeks long and can be finished completely online, some programs last between 14 to 17 weeks and may require some on-campus involvement. The school has a low student to faculty ratio of 17:1, ensuring individual and personalized attention to students during their learning process. Liberty considers itself primarily an online institution and nearly 90% of undergraduate students are enrolled in some kind of distance education course. Liberty is also a military-friendly university, offering discounts and tuition breaks to students with ties to the armed forces.
#4 Old Dominion University (ODU)
- Cost Per Credit Hour:$355
- Acceptance Rate: 82%
- What Sets It Apart: High Student Satisfaction Rate
ODU has both undergraduate and graduate degree programs offered entirely online. Students have the ability to choose either a synchronous or asynchronous format and are always able to receive online tutoring and 24/7 technology assistance. Old Dominion partners with several community colleges in Virginia, Washington, and Arizona allowing students to transfer up to two years of college-level coursework toward their ODU degree. Student satisfaction at ODU is very high, with 96% of students stating that they were very satisfied with their experience at the institution.
#5 Hampton University (HU)
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $300
- Acceptance Rate: 69%
- What Sets It Apart: Student Aid Focused
Hampton University was founded to provide a quality education to those in need. A historically black college, HU was started around the Civil War era and was designed to allow recently freed slaves access to an education. Online students are able to complete an undergraduate or graduate degree, or simply study a variety of noncredit career and professional development courses, designed for personal enrichment and career advancement. With a 65% graduation rate, it’s clear that Hampton always has the student’s best interest at heart. When education is interrupted for personal, financial or family reasons outside of the student’s control, Hampton offers a generous reentry scholarships to qualifying students to help them return and finish their degree.
#6 Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU)
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $358
- Acceptance Rate: 60%
- What Sets It Apart: Healthcare Emphasis
While bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in a variety of fields are available for students at Virginia Commonwealth University, the school is particularly beneficial for students pursuing an online degree in the healthcare field. US News ranked the school as one of the best for graduate and professional programs, with courses available either entirely online in an asynchronous or synchronous format or in online and in-class hybrid format. All students have access to a career center, writing center, and disability resources. Unfortunately, because of state regulations, VCU is currently unable to offer degrees to students who live in California, Florida, and Massachusetts.
#7 Bluefield College
- Cost Per Credit Hour:$365
- Acceptance Rate: 98%
- What Sets It Apart: Rolling schedule
Bluefield College knows the importance of online education in Virginia. With 51% of attending students enrolled in online courses and an 11:1 student to faculty ratio, Bluefield puts an emphasis not only on developing student and faculty relationships but also on improving and enhancing online resources and abilities. Bluefield’s online degrees are particularly popular in the fields of business, management, nursing and criminal justice. The school is Christian centered and provides a strong emphasis in its education on Christian values and doctrine, teaching students not only how to succeed academically but also how to incorporate faith into all aspects of life. Classes are taught on a rolling schedule every eight weeks with the same faculty that teaches on campus.
#8 University of Virginia (UVA)
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $435
- Acceptance Rate: 29%
- What Sets It Apart: Research Emphasis
Founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819, the University of Virginia has been rated 26th overall, 3rd in public universities, 10th in research universities and 9th in career readiness by U.S. News and World Report. UVA offers undergraduate and graduate degrees online or in a hybrid format as well as non-degree programs for students interested in self-improvement, personal growth, or career advancement courses. Students may also transfer up to 15 credits toward their degree from another accredited university.
#9 James Madison University (Madison)
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $473
- Acceptance Rate: 61%
- What Sets It Apart: Highly Ranked
Founded in 1908, Madison was ranked in the top ten southern universities in 2017. The school has online undergraduate and graduate degrees available for study at a low-cost high-value ratio that has been called an “impressive balance” by the Princeton Review. Madison in part receives its high ranking because of the resources that are available to students online. These tools include an online library, and online tutoring services specifically for math, science, and writing and more.
#10 Eastern Mennonite University (EMU)
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $1370
- Acceptance Rate: 60%
- What Sets It Apart: Multiple Concentrations
While EMU only currently offers two online degrees, both their business and nursing degree have a large variety of concentrations to choose from, creating a wide variety of diversity and study available to online students. Eastern Mennonite University has a 10:1 student to faculty ratio and does all that it can to help students not only excel but also become part of the EMU community. As a Christian college, students at EMU receive not only a quality but also a Christ-centered education. The university’s mission is to magnify and stand for service, social justice, Christian Discipleship, and peacemaking.
#11 Norfolk State University (NSU)
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $411
- Acceptance Rate: 66%
- What Sets It Apart: Wide Degree Variety
NSU is well known for its strong balance between affordability, quality, and variety. With classes available at only a little over $400 a credit and over a dozen online bachelor’s and master’s degrees to choose from, Norfolk is an obvious choice for online education in Virginia. A historically black school, online classes at Norfolk are offered asynchronously for the greatest convenience.The school puts the interest of the student first and provides traditional and well-known programs as well as some less common degrees that would normally have to be sought on campus. Some of these degrees include a Bachelors in Tourism and Hospitality Management and a Bachelors in Art History.
#12 Longwood University
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $424
- Acceptance Rate: 73%
- What Sets It Apart: Cohort Structure
Founded in 1839, Longwood has been a part of Virginia history since before the American Civil War. Since that time, the school has been providing education, experience, and growth to students throughout the country. Degree programs at Longwood follow a seven-week term and are organized in a cohort structure, where students are put into groups with a pre-determined order of classes. The group of students then complete the courses together from start to graduation. This method creates a camaraderie between students and fosters a community of friendship, education, and collaboration.
#13 Lynchburg College
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $510
- Acceptance Rate: 67%
- What Sets It Apart: High Ratio of Female Students
Founded in 1903, classes at Lynchburg are offered either synchronously or asynchronously for optimal control and flexibility. The student body at Lynchburg is a bit different from most campuses with almost 60% of the student body being female. Completely online programs are only offered to students at the graduate level but hybrid courses can be created for undergraduate degrees, with some classes being offered on campus and some online.
#14 Marymount University
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $975
- Acceptance Rate: 84%
- What Sets It Apart: Healthcare Focus
Founded in 1950, Marymount is a small private Catholic university that specializes in the field of healthcare. As a Catholic institution, student’s education is incorporated and influenced by Catholic ideology and doctrine. Marymount’s mission is to emphasize learning, curiosity, critical thinking, service to others, and the importance of a global perspective. For a student wishing to gain an online education in Virginia with a Catholic perspective, Marymount is a wonderful choice.
#15 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech)
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $1102
- Acceptance Rate: 73%
- What Sets It Apart: Engineering Focus
Best known as Virginia Tech, the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University has been rated in the top 10 percent of universities found throughout the world by OQ World University Ranking. The school has also been called one of the best global universities according to US News and World Report. With an emphasis on engineering, Virginia Tech offers a wide array of engineering options and emphasis, with options like ocean engineering and more.
#16 Averett University
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $1045
- Acceptance Rate: 60%
- What Sets It Apart: Discounts For Adult Learners
Averett University has been rated as one of the top ten liberal arts colleges in the south and one of the top ten colleges for veterans by US News and World Report. Averett has a student to faculty ratio of 14:1, providing small and sustainable class sizes. Perhaps its greatest asset to the online learner, however, is the school’s IDEAL program. Designed for non-traditional students, the program offers tuition discounts and other advantages to both in state and out of state distance participants. Online programs are all offered to students asynchronously.
#17 Shenandoah University
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $895
- Acceptance Rate: 83%
- What Sets It Apart: Synchronous Learning
Founded in 1875, Shenandoah University provides online education to students in a cohort structure. Students meet together online in a synchronous learning style. New cohorts start every August and most programs finish in two and a half years. Shenandoah’s mission is to foster students with the ability to be creative, intellectual, critical, reflective, lifelong learners and to emulated the attributes of ethics and compassion within their community, nation, and the world.
#18 Virginia Baptist College (VBC)
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $220
- Acceptance Rate: Unlisted
- What Sets It Apart: Christian Studies Emphasis
Virginia Baptist College is unique from its fellow universities by having some of the lowest out of state tuition in Virginia and by offering online degrees only within the fields of ministry and Christian studies. The school believes in preparing students for Christian service and leadership and achieving academic excellence in that regard. Virginia Baptist College’s mission is to ready men and women for ministry, both professionally and lay in the way that best suits their Christian beliefs and needs. Classes are offered to distance learners in an asynchronous format for freedom and flexibility. While certainly a unique form of education, for anyone looking for a degree related to the Christian faith, Virginia Baptist College is an excellent choice.
#19 Virginia University of Lynchburg (VUL)
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $342
- Acceptance Rate: 100%
- What Sets It Apart: Self-Help Focus
Founded in 1886 to meet the growing needs of the area to educate and help the African American Community, Virginia University of Lynchburg has always sought to educate and uplift the less fortunate. With a motto of “Self-help and interdependence”, VUL still seeks out students who would benefit most from educational opportunities. As a Christian institution, VUL is committed to Biblical principles and practices, particularly the theology’s belief in self-help and finding the potential in everyone.
#20 Virginia State University(VSU)
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $390
- Acceptance Rate: 80%
- What Sets It Apart: Personal Enrichment Courses
Founded in 1882 as one of the first historically black colleges, VSU offers students online degrees in an asynchronous style. Students have access to many traditional online sources like academic advisement and an online library. What sets VUS apart from its competitors are its personal enrichment classes. These courses are available to anyone simply wanting to gain a greater knowledge in fields such as writing, photography, and more. Virginia State is known as being a military-friendly institution and has also been rated one of the top 20 best colleges for African Americans by ESSENCE magazine.
#21 University of Mary Washington (UMW)
- Cost Per Credit Hour: $503
- Acceptance Rate: 77%
- What Sets It Apart: Honor Code
Originally founded in 1908 as an industrial school for Women, Mary Washington was named after the mother of George Washington. The school has claim to a host of high rankings, boasting 6th in Top Public School in the South, 11th for Best College for Veterans and 16th for Regional Universities in the South by US News and World Report. The school also place 13th in Public Colleges by Forbes and has also received praise from The Princeton Review and other well-known sources. UMW takes integrity and academic excellence very seriously and requires all students to sign a code of conduct known as an honor code. This code promises that students will follow certain academic and living standards during their time at the university.
We know that finding the best school to fit your unique needs is a huge challenge. For that reason, we work hard to develop lists of the best schools based on the characteristics most important for you. Whether that be cost of attendance, student success, resources available, flexibility of schedule, or any other number of important factors, we’ve got you covered. For more information about our ranking process and to find lists of schools based on specific characteristics, check out our methodology page.
If your school isn’t included here, but deserves consideration for a future list, please contact us today!