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    Top 50 Colleges for Older Students 2021

    September 21, 2021 | Staff Writers

    50 Colleges Older Students
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    When you think of the usual college student age range, you think of someone in their late teens and early twenties. However, not all college students are in their early 20s.  Whether they chose to serve in the military, traveled around the world, took care of family, or decided to work before heading off to school, some students wait to attend college until later in life. Nontraditional students are students ages 25 and up who took some time before starting their undergraduate degree and need to find the best colleges for nontraditional students. The number of nontraditional students in college has increased since 2000. Some colleges and academic advisors even have programs specifically tailored to these kinds of students. So what are the best universities for these older students to attend?

    The Top 50 Colleges for Older Students

    1

    University of Texas at Dallas

    • Richardson, Texas
    University of Texas at Dallas

    The University of Texas at Dallas was established in 1961 and offers self-paced online study courses that don’t require enrollment. They also provide evening classes to adapt to any schedule.

    The University of Texas also offers free tuition for students who are 65 or older, and who are enrolled in 6 credit hours, allowing students of any age to get their degrees or take classes and learn more.

    Location: Richardson, TX
    Tuition: $11,804 in state, $31,328 out of state
    Popular Programs of Study: Business, biological sciences, and engineering
    Visit School Website
    2

    University of Utah

    • Salt Lake City, Utah
    University of Utah

    The University of Utah has a variety of flexible online classes and courses designed for continuing education students. Almost 50% of their classes have fewer than 20 students, which means more interaction with professors.

    Location: Salt Lake City, UT
    Tuition: $8,239 in state, $26,177 out of state
    Popular Programs of Study: kinesiology and psychology
    Visit School Website
    3

    University of Massachusetts – Lowell

    • Lowell, Massachusetts
    University of Massachusetts Lowell

    Established in 1894, the University is known for experiential education programs. Classes at the University of Massachusetts have a student-faculty ratio at 20:1. They offer online and hybrid courses for adult students, and academic advisors are willing to meet with continuing education students to help them find educational and professional opportunities.

    Location: Lowell, MA
    Tuition: $12,447 in state, $27,400 out of state
    Popular Programs of Study: Business, engineering, and health care
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    4

    Regis University

    • Denver, Colorado
    Regis University

    Regis University is a private institution with fast-track study programs that take 5 to 8 weeks to complete. They also have programs that allow students to work completely online at their own pace.

    The college offers career placement, tutoring, and financial aid for adult students. The College of Professional Studies was created to help adult learners further their education, and with their 14:1 student to faculty ratio, they are doing just that.

    Location: Denver, CO
    Tuition: $33,710 annually
    Popular Programs of Study: health care and business
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    5

    Ohio University

    • Athens, Ohio
    Ohio University

    Ohio University accepts some relevant professional experience and counts it for college credit; this system allows older students with valuable work experience to get ahead in their studies.

    The school offers consultations with student advisors to help students figure out a workload that works best for them. Their Lifelong & Distance Learning program allows students throughout the world to earn degrees.

    Location: Athens, OH
    Tuition: $11,548 in state, $20,512 out of state
    Popular Programs of Study: Nursing, health care, and teaching
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    6

    Florida International University

    • Miami, Florida
    Florida International University

    This university is top-ranked in the South for minority students, and is one of the largest universities in the country. There is a wide range of hybrid and online classes for continuing education students. Their online courses take 6 weeks to complete, but are very flexible. They offer over 200 bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. Not to mention, the Florida International University has warm weather all year round and close proximity to the beach.

    Location: Miami, FL
    Tuition: $6,496 in state, $18,895 out of state
    Popular Programs of Study: business, social sciences, and psychology
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    7

    University of Alabama at Birmingham

    • Birmingham, Alabama
    University of Alabama at Birmingham

    The University of Alabama offers programs for remote study, and a variety of evening classes. They have an urban location in Birmingham that attracts a number of students.

    Their student-faculty ratio is 18:1, and they provide specialists to help nontraditional students succeed at the college. There is an 85.7% acceptance rate, making it a great fit for adult students.

    Location: Birmingham, AL
    Tuition: $9,280 in state, $21,220 out of state
    Popular Programs of Study: Health care, business, and education
    Visit School Website
    8

    Northwest Nazarene University

    • Nampa, Idaho
    Northwest Nazarene University

    This private university has a College of Adult and Graduate Studies, that works with continuing education students to help them further their education and enjoy their college experience. Over 60% of their classes have fewer than 20 students which makes this college and even better fit for older learners.

    Location: Nampa, ID
    Tuition: $27,950 annually
    Popular Programs of Study: Business, education and health care
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    9

    Augsburg University

    • Minneapolis, Minnesota

    This college is a private school that offers over 50 undergraduate degrees. Among these degrees are 5 that were designed specifically for nontraditional students. They offer courses in hybrid format, allowing students to create a flexible schedule. They have a 12:1 student’ faculty ratio, and modest class sizes.

    Location: Minneapolis, MN
    Tuition: $34,431 annually
    Popular Programs of Study: Business, health care, education, and social sciences
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    10

    St. Joseph’s College – New York

    • New York City, New York
    St. Joseph's College New York

    St. Joseph’s College offers very flexible programs with personalized counseling for prospective students to make sure that the college will meet their needs. They also offer mentoring programs for enrolled students, and have both online and hybrid classes, as well as technical certification for nontraditional students.

    Location: Brooklyn, NY
    Tuition: $24,130
    Popular Programs of Study: Special education, business administration, and psychology
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    11

    University of St. Francis – Joliet

    • Joliet, Illinois
    St. Francis Joliet

    This university is a private Catholic school founded in 1920. They offer online courses for older students, as well as accelerated degree programs for some fields of study. It is one of the few universities in Illinois that offer the largest selection of online courses.

    Location: Joliet, IL
    Tuition: $29,950 annually
    Popular Programs of Study: Nursing, business, and education
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    12

    University of Alabama in Huntsville

    • Huntsville, Alabama

    The University of Alabama in Huntsville has career-training classes for students of all ages. They have online curriculum as well as  hybrid-format classes.

    Many professors offer one-on-one training for students for further help when needed. This University also has a Transitions Orientation program designed to help nontraditional students get ready for the semester.

    Location: Huntsville, AL
    Tuition: $9,128 in state, $20,622 out of state
    Popular Programs of Study: Engineering, healthcare, business, and management.
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    13

    Indiana Wesleyan University

    • Marion, Indiana

    Indiana Wesleyan University is a private Christian school founded in 1920. Over 70% of their students are adult learners, which is why the university offers flexible schedules, and has a variety of options for these older learners.

    Location: Marion, IN
    Tuition: $24,728 annually
    Popular Programs of Study: Nursing, elementary education, and teaching.
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    14

    Lewis University

    • Romeoville, Illinois

    Lewis University has courses specifically for adult students. More than 40% of their students are adult learners, so they understand and are devoted to helping nontraditional students.

    Many of their classes are also available online for added flexibility. They also offer credit for previous relevant work experience. The student-faculty ratio is 13:1.

    Location: Romeoville, IL
    Tuition: $29,040 annually
    Popular Programs of Study: Nursing, criminal justice, and business administration.
    Visit School Website
    15

    Molloy College

    • Rockville Centre, New York

    Molloy college is a private Catholic school that was founded in 1955. They have a continuing education program that features a 6-week online class. They have 20 or fewer students in over 67% of their classes. They will also give up to 30 credit hours for some relevant life experience.

    Location: Rockville Centre, NY
    Tuition: $28, 030 annually
    Popular Programs of Study: health professions and education
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    16

    St. Catherine University

    • Saint Paul, Minnesota

    At St. Catherine University, almost 50% of the student population are nontraditional. ST Catherine University is a private school founded in 1905. They have an Office of Adult Learning dedicated to helping older students. They also offer a number of flexible programs,  allowing adult students to create a schedule that works best for them.

    Location: Saint Paul, MN
    Tuition: $35,514
    Popular Programs of Study: nursing and social work
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    17

    University of St. Thomas

    • Saint Paul, Minnesota

    The University of St. Thomas in Houston is a liberal arts university. It has a 79% acceptance rate, and about a quarter of their students are nontraditional. The student-faculty ratio is 9:1, offering valuable one-on-one interactions with professors. It even have separate housing for nontraditional students for those that choose to live on campus.

    Location: Houston, TX
    Tuition: $30,310
    Popular Programs of Study: Business, management, and health professions.
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    18

    Roberts Wesleyan College

    • Chili, New York

    Roberts Wesleyan College is committed to character development, Christ-centered education, transformational learning and service. They have 87 undergraduate, graduate and adult-degree completion programs. The college has 11 online programs and a doctoral program in Clinical & School Psychology. Redhawks Athletics offers 19 intercollegiate sports.

    Location: Rochester, NY
    Tuition: $30,458
    Popular Programs of Study: Nursing, music,social work, homeland security & applied intelligence and business.
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    19

    Mount Vernon Nazarene University

    • Mount Vernon, Ohio

    Mount Vernon Nazarene University is a private, religious institution that was founded in 1968. They are located in a rural area of Ohio. 81% of classes have 20 students or fewer. Their nontraditional students make up 29% of their total student body, because of this the school offers up to 60 credit hours for life and career experiences.

    Location: Mount Vernon, OH
    Tuition: $24,650
    Popular Programs of Study: Business, public administration, and education.
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    20

    Bethel College – Indiana

    • Mishawaka, Indiana

    This college is a private institution for adult students with and without previous college experience. Degrees offered, include nursing, behavioral and social sciences, Christian leadership, business, interdisciplinary studies and organizational management. These innovative academic programs are designed to meet the needs of adult learners and offer convenient evening and online classes, seven-week course sessions, tutoring and computer support, personalized academic advising and credit opportunities for prior learning assessment.

    Location: Mishawaka, IN
    Tuition: $26,590
    Popular Programs of Study: Business, health professions, and liberal arts.
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    21

    Campbell University

    • Buies Creek, North Carolina

    This University is a private Baptist school. Over 60% of their classes have fewer than 20 students, and the student-faculty ratio is 16:1. They offer seven degree programs that are completely online, and take only 8 weeks to complete. They also have various hybrid programs. This university accepts transfer credits from other schools for continuing education students.

    Location: Buies Creek, NC
    Tuition: $28,820 annually
    Popular Programs of Study: business administration, science technologies, and social sciences.
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    22

    The Evergreen State College

    • Olympia, Washington

    The Evergreen State College is a public liberal arts and sciences university. More than 40% of students are adult learners. Students can earn credit for professional experience and choose daytime or evening and weekend classes. Instead of letter grades, students receive narrative evaluations from faculty.

    Location: Olympia, WA
    Tuition: $6,800 in state, $25,000 out of state
    Popular Programs of Study: liberal arts, environmental and biological sciences, public administration
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    23

    Spring Arbor University

    • Spring Arbor, Michigan

    This university was founded in 1873; it is a private university affiliated with the Free Methodists. There is a 15:1 student-faculty ratio. They have a Weekend College, and also offer several degrees available completely online.There are 18 different sites in Michigan and Ohio for convenience.

    Location: Spring Arbor, MI
    Tuition: $25,510
    Popular Programs of Study: teacher education, social work, and psychology.
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    24

    Eastern University

    • St. Davids, Pennsylvania

    Eastern University is a private Christian university. They offer a number of online classes, and have several programs designed specifically for adult undergraduate students. They also have fast-track programs to allow advanced and motivated students to finish earlier. The school has a 67% acceptance rate, and 86% of their classes have fewer than 20 students.

    Location: Saint Davids, PA
    Tuition: $30, 590
    Popular Programs of Study: Early childhood education, business administration and management, and psychology.
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    25

    Concordia University Wisconsin

    • Mequon, Wisconsin

    Concordia University is a private college that was founded in 1881. They have a 11:1 student-faculty ratio. They offer 70 plus majors in 6 academic schools with an average class size of 18. Classes are offered online or in-person to adapt to each student’s unique circumstance. They also offer accelerated in-person classes for adult education at any one of their 9 local area locations.

    Location: Mequon, WI
    Tuition: $27,100 annually
    Popular Programs of Study: Business, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Education, Computer Science, and Sport & Entertainment Business
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    26

    Baker University

    • Baldwin City, Kansas

    Baker University is a private Christian university founded in 1858. They have an acceptance rate of over 75% with over 70% of classes that only have 20 students or less. They are proud of their small class sizes and have an 11:1 student-faculty ratio.

    Location: Baldwin City, KS
    Tuition: $30,080
    Popular Programs of Study: business, education, and leadership
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    27

    Trevecca Nazarene University

    • Nashville, Tennessee

    This University was founded in 1901 as a private Christian college. They have developed several programs that can be completed online, and  even have some programs like Information Technology and Management and Human Relations that are part of their Adult Studies department. Over 67% of their classes have fewer than 20 students.

    Location: Nashville, TN
    Tuition: $23,748 annually
    Popular Programs of Study: Business, education, and health professions.
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    28

    University of Illinois at Springfield

    • Springfield, Illinois
    University of Illinois at Springfield

    This University offers adult students the opportunity to get credit for prior life experiences that count toward earning their degree. The student-faculty ratio is 14:1 allowing for more quality interactions with professors.

    Loation: Springfield, IL
    Tuition: $11,413 in state, $20,938 out of state
    Popular Programs of Study: business administration, psychology, and computer science
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    29

    Guilford College

    • Greensboro, North Carolina

    Guilford college is a private institution. It advisement services specifically for adult students, allowing for a personalized education. They offer credit for relevant life experience, and over 63% of their courses have fewer than 20 students.

    Location: Greensboro, NC
    Tuition: $34,090 annually
    Popular Programs of Study: business, homeland security, and psychology
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    30

    Saint Martin’s University

    • Lacey, Washington

    Saint Martin’s is a private Catholic institution. They have an 89% acceptance rate, and a student to faculty ratio of 12:1. They offer a bachelor’s degree in psychology completely online, as well as a continuing education program. There are evening and weekend classes available to fit any schedule.

    Location: Lacey, WA
    Tuition: $33,194 annually
    Popular Programs of Study: Business, psychology, and engineering.
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    31

    University of Montana

    • Missoula, Montana

    The University of Montana has a scenic campus with lots of opportunities for outdoor adventures. The acceptance rate is approximately 94%. The school offers distance learning courses, and some degrees online, making it a good fit for nontraditional students.

    Location: Missoula, MT
    Tuition: $6,389 in state, $23,845
    Popular Programs of Study: Business, social sciences, and visual and performing arts.
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    32

    College of Saint Scholastica

    • Duluth, Minnesota

    The College of Saint Scholastica is a private Catholic institution located in a suburban setting. There is a 14:1 student-faculty ratio. The school boasts one of the largest nursing programs in Minnesota with evening, weekend, and online classes available. They also have advisors on site to help adult students.

    Location: Duluth, MN
    Tuition: $33,994 annually
    Popular Programs of Study: Health professions, business, and biological sciences.
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    33

    CUNY Baruch College

    • New York City, New York
    Cuny Baruch College masters in psychology

    CUNY Baruch College was founded in 1919. It has a student-faculty ratio of 16:1, providing one-on-one interactions with professors. The school is located in New York City, and thereby has an urban feel. They also have a Division of Continuing and Professional Studies to help nontraditional students.

    Location: New York, NY
    Tuition: $7,301 in state, $17,771 out of state
    Popular Programs of Study: Finance, accounting, sales and marketing operations.
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    34

    Cornerstone University

    • Grand Rapids Charter Township, Michigan

    This University is a private Protestant institution with an acceptance rate of almost 69%. They have Professional & Graduate Studies programs that meet one evening a week, making them easy to incorporate into busy schedules. They also offer accelerated, online, and hybrid courses.

    Location: Grand Rapids, MI
    Tuition: $26,100
    Popular Programs of Study: Psychology, accounting, and social work.
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    35

    University of Colorado – Denver

    • Denver, Colorado

    The University of Colorado in Denver offers two-year and four-year degrees. They have classes online, and in hybrid format. The department of Continuing & Professional Education programs give adult students access to resources to help them graduate.

    Tuition: $10,404 in state, $29,334 out of state
    Popular Programs of Study: Business, registered nursing, and biological sciences.
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    36

    Kennesaw State University

    • Kennesaw, Georgia

    Kennesaw State University offers hybrid and online classes to all students. They have an Adult Learner Program that helps nontraditional students find success. The program has been at KSU for 25 years, so they are experienced in helping older students. The program includes tutoring, transition services, advisement, and financial aid programs.

    Location: Kennesaw, GA
    Tuition: $6,932 in state, $19,828 out of state
    Popular Programs of Study: Business, education, and social sciences.
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    37

    Ursuline College

    • Pepper Pike, Ohio

    Ursuline College is a private, women’s college affiliated with the Catholic Church. They take pride in their small classes, with over 93% of their courses having fewer than 20 students. They offer online, hybrid, and accelerated classes to help adult students complete their degrees. They created the Ursuline College Adult Program to assist older students with at least 30 hours of college credit obtain their degree.

    Location: Pepper Pike, OH
    Tuition: $28,520 annually
    Popular Programs of Study: Health professions, business, and psychology.
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    38

    Montana Tech

    • Butte, Montana

    Montana Tech of the University of Montana is a public institution. They have over a 90% acceptance rate, and offer online classes, allowing flexible schedules for adult students. Their professors strive to assist nontraditional students in their endeavor to further their education.

    Location: Butte, MT
    Tuition: $6,797 in state, $20, 512 out of state
    Popular Programs of Study: Engineering, business/commerce, and nursing.
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    39

    University of Michigan – Dearborn

    • Dearborn, Michigan

    The University is located on historic land that the Ford Motor Company donated. With a Return to Learn program that helps nontraditional students earn a degree, UM Dearborn offers some of the best degrees for adults returning to college. They offer online courses, and have flexible schedules. For students interested in taking classes on-campus, their student-faculty ratio is 15:1.

    Location: Dearborn, MI
    Tuition: $11,524 in state, $23,866 out of state
    Popular Programs of Study: Business, engineering, and psychology.
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    40

    University of Memphis

    • Memphis, Tennessee

    The University of Memphis was founded in 1912. Almost half of their classes have 20 or fewer students. They have developed the Adult and Commuter Student Service that works closely with adult students to provide resources, scholarships, and advisement.

    Location: Memphis, TN
    Tuition: $8,903 in state, $13,275 out of state
    Popular Programs of Study: Business, education and health professions.
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    41

    CUNY Queens College

    • New York City, New York

    This college has an Adult Collegiate Education program to assist nontraditional students. Through this program, students can earn credits from previous life experience. They also offer affordable child-care services for students with children, making it a good school for older students.

    Location: Flushing, NY
    Tuition: $6,938 in state, $17,408 out of state
    Popular Programs of Study: Psychology, accounting, and economics.
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    42

    Wichita State University

    • Wichita, Kansas

    This University was founded in 1895 and has a 95% acceptance rate. They have a Returning Adult Student Organization to help support adult students complete their degree. They offer a number of online degrees, as well as other opportunities like internships, co-ops, and continuing education programs.

    Location: Wichita, KS
    Tuition: $7,267 in state, $16,697 out of state
    Popular Programs of Study: Health professions, business, and engineering.
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    43

    CUNY Brooklyn College

    • New York City, New York

    CUNY Brooklyn College is flexible with students, and determined to help all students finish their degrees. They offer programs specifically for adult learners, and have a student-faculty ratio is 16:1, allowing for interactions with instructors.

    Location: Brooklyn, NY
    Tuition: $6,835 in state, $17,305 out of state
    Popular Programs of Study: Business administration, psychology, and accounting.
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    44

    Old Dominion University

    • Norfolk, Virginia

    Old Dominion University created the College of Continuing Education & Professional Development specifically for nontraditional students. Their goal is to provide students with high-quality educational opportunities. They have over an 80% acceptance rate.

    Location: Norfolk, VA
    Tuition: $20,115 annually
    Popular Programs of Study: Health professions, business, and social sciences.
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    45

    Marian University

    • Indianapolis, Indiana

    Marian University is a private Catholic institution that was founded in 1851. They have modest class sizes, with a 13:1 student-faculty ratio. Over 63% of classes have fewer than 20 students. Its flexibility makes it one of the best online colleges for working moms. Marian University has online and accelerated degree programs for working adults.

    Location: Indianapolis, IN
    Tuition: $30,500 annually
    Popular Programs of Study: Registered nursing, business administration, and management science.
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    46

    Mount St. Joseph University

    • Cincinnati, Ohio

    This is a private school affiliated with the Catholic Church. They have an acceptance rate of almost 87%. The student-faculty ratio is 11:1, which allows students to have quality interactions with professors. They recognize that nontraditional students have busy schedules, and strive to offer flexible learning options for them.

    Location: Cincinnati, OH
    Tuition: $27,500 annually
    Popular Programs of Study: registered nursing and business administration
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    47

    University of Indianapolis

    • Indianapolis, Indiana

    The University of Indianapolis is a private Methodist college. Over half of their classes have fewer than 20 students, and their student-faculty ratio is 11:1. They have a School of Adult Learning to serve nontraditional students, and also offer classes online that may give credit for previous professional experience.

    Location: Indianapolis, IN
    Tuition: $26,290 annually
    Popular Programs of Study: Nursing, business administration, and psychology.
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    48

    Point Park University

    • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    The Point Park University offers online programs, evening classes, and weekend classes. Almost a quarter of their students are nontraditional. Point Park University has a 70% acceptance rate. They also have smaller class sizes; 73% of their courses have fewer than 20 students.

    Location: Pittsburgh, PA
    Tuition: $28,250 annually
    Popular Programs of Study: Drama and theatre arts, business administration, and dance.
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    49

    Northeastern Illinois University

    • Chicago, Illinois

    At Northeastern Illinois University, almost half of the students are nontraditional. They have a Weekend Institute for Professional Development. They offer evening, hybrid, and online courses allowing students to have flexible schedules. Their student-faculty ratio is 16:1.

    Location: Chicago, IL
    Tuition: $10,318 in state, $18,992 out of state
    Popular Programs of Study: Business, liberal arts and sciences, and social sciences.
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    50

    Rockford University

    • Rockford, Illinois

    Rockford University is a private university founded in 1847. Over 80% of their classes have fewer than 20 students. Their modest class size and student faculty ratio of 10:1 allows for personalized interactions with professors.

    Location: Rockford, IL
    Tuition: $28,330 annually
    Popular Programs of Study: business, health professions, and education.
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