Online colleges are programs that offer college degrees using the internet, typically in specialized or vocational fields of study. They include:
- American InterContinental University
- Argosy University
- The Art Institute Online
- Ashford University
- Capella University
- Colorado Tech Online
- Excelsior College
- International Academy of Design and Technology
- Kaplan University
- South University
- Walden University
- Westwood College
- University of Phoenix
Another approach is taken by "StraighterLine", which offers basic courses (such as pre-calculus) which are recognized for credit by a few schools, but from there students can transfer the credits to many other schools. This can greatly reduce the cost of college education and enable many to obtain college degrees when it would be unaffordable otherwise. Accredited "partner colleges" that accept StraighterLine courses include Charter Oak State College, Fort Hays State University, Lake City Community College and Potomac College.
A Washington Post article about the company explains:
- The site offers students as many general-education courses as they care to take for a flat monthly fee, plus $39 per course. ... But the company has been forced to battle for academic credibility. It cannot earn accreditation because it is not a school. Instead, it has struck deals with several "partner" colleges that accept StraighterLine courses for credit, which students can then transfer elsewhere. StraighterLine courses also are approved by the American Council on Education, another pathway to transfer credit.
One student explained the cost advantage:
- "My school, I believe it's $830-something for one credit. Here, for four credits, I paid $100."
Another student will complete his education at a cost of less than $20 per credit by obtaining transfer credits from Excelsior College, an online university.
Credit Transfer Policies
Every college has a different policy about accepting transfer credits, and some states have laws requiring state colleges to accept credits from in-state community colleges. In New Jersey, the legislature passed such a law as the Lampitt Bill, and there is even a website facilitating obtaining full transfer credit.
- Capella offers masters degrees and PhDs through online education.