Thursday, March 9, 2017

Top 20 Online Christian Colleges

Online education is a popular alternative to brick and mortar schools because of the flexibility offered. In the past, students seeking a higher education had to go to a physical location for all their classes, sometimes losing out on opportunities to continue working while furthering their education.

In the Christian sphere, schools like Liberty University and Abilene Christian University can offer students the opportunity to attend an online Christian college. Students can go to class on their schedule, working around jobs, children, and other scheduling conflicts. They can also pick a school across the country, or even across the world, and attend it from the comfort of their home.

Since online education got its start, Christian schools are turning to the program to offer bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees for students.

If you have no interest in traditional campus life, or if you want to complete your degree on your own time, an accredited Christian college can still be an option.

All of the Christian colleges on this list provide bachelor’s degree programs and are Christ-centered in their pursuits to offer an online education. In doing this, online Christian colleges offer a unique approach to higher learning. Students will learn important biblical principles that they can take home, to their next job, and to their communities.

The colleges in this list hold high a good Christian character while cultivating academic prestige and a high quality online program. A good Christian college should have full accreditation, a low student-to-teacher ratio, confessional status, and around-the-clock support if the student runs into any issues. Based on those criteria, here are the top 20 online Christian colleges.

#1 – Liberty University

Location: Lynchburg, Virginia
Affiliation: Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia
Cost per credit: $250-570

Liberty University has a strong reputation for online learning with a conservative evangelical setting. It is the worldís largest private nonprofit university and offers a variety of programs with Christian integrity and ease of access. Liberty offers certificates, high school classes, associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, as well as other postgraduate studies.

While enrolled, students at Liberty can take advantage of “Experiential Learning Credits,” which allows work experience to count as credit hours to hasten the student’s graduation. Students also have access to the Online Communities program, which helps them stay spiritually connected while taking their classes.

Classes at Liberty range from 8 to 17 weeks and offer multiple enrollment dates. This gives students more flexibility to find a program that fits into their schedules.

#2 – Regent University

Location: Virginia Beach, Virginia
Affiliation: Non-denominational evangelical
Cost per credit: $395

Regent University was founded by Pat Robertson and therefore it emphasizes the “Moral Majority” and the “Christian Coalition.” Because of this, Regent is known for its government and leadership degrees, though it is also nationally ranked in business and education. The school offers students seven schools of study in which they can earn certifications, associateís, bachelorís, masterís, and doctoral degrees.

Regentís goal is to keep costs low and quality high. It uses a Blackboard-based ìanytimeî access lecture archive. This allows students to plan studies around work and family. The only downside is a student-to-teacher ratio of 30:1. Regent has 10 years of experience in online education.

#3 – Colorado Christian University

Location: Lakewood, Colorado
Affiliation: Interdenominational
Cost per credit: $427

Colorado Christian may offer fewer degree options than Liberty and Regent, but it outclasses competitors with its ìanytime accessî online courses. The school offers 46 degree programs, in which students enjoy a 9:1 student-to-teacher ratio and a ìcohort modelî community that encourages online students to build relationships with their peers.

CCU offers faith-based learning by hiring Christian faculty and affirming biblical inerrancy, the Trinity, the Resurrection, and other Christian staples. It promotes a living faith among students and offers scholarships to “World changers.”

#4 – LeTourneau University

Location: Longview, Texas
Affiliation: Interdenominational
Cost per credit: $350-445

LeTourneau is known for its low-cost, high-quality education both at the schoolís Longview campus and through online classes. The school boasts a 94 percent employment rate for graduates, gives students flexible scheduling, and ease of entry.

Students attend one class at a time and each class lasts about six weeks. LeTourneau offers anytime access to its curriculum while students obtain their associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degrees. The university strives to be bible-based and focuses on vocational training from a Christian perspective.

#5 – California Baptist University

Location: Riverside, California
Affiliation: Southern Baptist
Cost per credit: $511

California Baptist University entered the online education system in 2010 and already climbed the ranks to become a top rated online Christian college. The Southern Baptist standout offers 26 online Bachelor of Arts options, eight Master’s, and two certificate programs. No doctoral programs are offered yet.

CBU’s most popular program is its business degree with 76 percent of online students picking that program. Masterís students have a fast-track option that offers full-time class work and graduation in 16 months. Classes have no more than 25 students and it has a rolling application deadline, allowing new students to begin throughout the year.

#6 – University of St. Francis

Location: Joliet, Illinois
Affiliation: Roman Catholic
Cost per credit: $564

University of St. Francis is ranked 28th in online Bachelor of Arts programs. It offers more than 120 online courses and has over 1,500 students. The university offers rolling application for admission and financial aid, as well as class credits for work experience (up to 33 credit hours). Student enjoy anytime access lecture archives and a 12:1 student-to-teacher ratio.

St. Francis offers degree specialities in Business Administration, Health Care, Organizational Leadership, Education, Management, Nursing, and Social Work. The university is a premier adult education option and the average student age is 39. The school is Christian, but not conservative, because it places emphasis on academic prestige more than Christian culture. Teachers and students are not required to sign confessional statements.

#7 – Indiana Wesleyan University

Location: Marion, Indiana
Affiliation: Wesleyan Church
Cost per credit: $417

Indiana Wesleyan University offers more than 80 online degree, certification, and endorsement programs and offers accessible online programs for adult learners. IWU online students are assigned a personal Academic Advisor who will provide information, resolve problems, and provide advice on how the student can achieve his or her goals.

IWU offers a Spiritcare program that introduces them to the person and community of Jesus Christ. The school offers Christ-centered support for online students, as well as resources and services that are all about God.

Courses at IWU often include several types of learning materials, from videos and audio podcasts to virtual tours, case studies, and interactive web-based activities.

#8 – Dallas Baptist University

Location: Dallas, Texas
Affiliation: Baptist
Cost per credit: $775ñ785

Dallas Baptist University offers online student three undergraduate certifications, 20 graduate certifications, three associateís degrees, 17 bachelorís degrees, and 58 masterís degrees. Students can chose to take classes exclusively online, or opt for a hybrid program where some classes are held on campus.

While classes aren’t cheap, students often say that the cost is equal to the quality education they receive from DBU. Unlike some schools on this list, DBU only offers a “guided” curriculum model where classes may involve group collaboration, timed exams, and “windows” where the student can access required materials. Students donít have to log in to the class at certain times, so there is some degree of flexibility.

Campus ministries include weekly chapels and monthly forums that push for deeper faith and learning. Online student should expect classes to include Christian principles and a Christian worldview.

#9 – Benedictine University

Location: Lisle, Illinois
Affiliation: Roman Catholic
Cost per Credit: $488

Class sizes at Benedictine University online are limited to 20 people and feature anytime-access archives, along with around-the-clock technical support. The online programs are less liberal arts driven and more vocational. Benedictine offers four certificate degrees, one associate’s degree, two bachelor’s degrees, 18 graduate degrees, and one doctoral degree.

The school’s strategy is to establish a strong core of degree programs in Business, Education, and Nursing. Should the school choose to expand its online degree offerings, it will be a force to reckoned with in the field of online Christian colleges.

#10 – Grand Canyon University

Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Affiliation: Interdenominational
Cost per credit: $350-$550

Grand Canyon Universityís online program offers a full-time faculty devoted solely to online students. The schoolís classes are eight weeks long and many fulfill four credit hours, rather than the typical three. High schoolers can take dual-credit classes alongside adults who are earning their bachelorís, masterís, and doctoral degrees. Adults are offered continuing education, evening, and hybrid classes that fit their schedule.

Degree programs offered at GCU include majors in psychology, counseling, ministry, performing arts, nursing, engineering, and others. The university is mission-minded and offers community outreach projects, student mission trips, and ìserve the cityî day.

#11 – Union University

Location: Jackson, Tennessee
Affiliation: Southern Baptist
Cost per credit: $600 for Winter or Summer, $880 for Spring and Fall

Union University is a contender in the online Christian college marketplace. It is Christian and sticks to its Southern Baptist roots, but it is also tolerant of different Christian denominations. Union offers five accredited fully-online graduate programs in the fields of Christian Studies, Education, and Nursing. The latter is the main attraction for students seeking a graduate degree.

Along with the graduate programs, Union offers several undergraduate degree programs, online certificates, and three doctoral programs, which are mostly online. Union University would be an excellent choice for someone in the Nursing field, as well as general Christian studies majors.

#12 – Biola University

Location: La Mirada, California
Affiliation: Non-denominational
Cost per credit: $962

Biola offers students a Christian standing and academic prestige, making it an excellent choice, depending on the major you want to pursue. Biola is considered one of the best schools in the world for Christian worldview and apologetics training. It is a recent entry into the online Christian education world, but it is an excellent option.

Biola Universityís online courses feature a 16:1 student-to-teacher ratio and offers several certificates and 11 degree options through its Arts & Sciences, Education, and Intercultural Studies schools. The premiere degree offering is a Master of Arts in Apologetics. The school would be a great option for missions and ministry-minded students.

#13 – George Fox University

Location: Portland, Oregon
Affiliation: Evangelical Friends (Quakers)
Cost per credit: $487+

George Fox University is ranked by Forbes as the third-highest-rated Christian school in the country. It brings the same level of prestige to its online program. GFU offers several undergraduate courses online, though there is no primarily online bachelorís degree yet. Still, the university offers a Bachelor of Arts in Online Management and Organizational Leadership. The degree is a hybrid fast-track option that offers a degree in 16 months and complements a general core or associateís degree.

While George Fox’s online presence is strong, it is qualified better as a “distance learning” school, rather than offering pure online degrees. This is because online degrees through GFU still require one or two in-residence classes or meetings.

#14 – Saint Mary’s College of California

Location: Moraga, California
Affiliation: Catholic
Cost per credit: $778

Degrees at Saint Mary’s College don’t come cheap, but they aren’t nearly as expensive as comparably prestigious schools. While online students may miss out on the schoolís beautiful campus, they can enjoy the same learning and professors as their on-campus counterparts.

Saint Maryís began online classes in 2009-2010. The school offers small classes, a small online student body, and anytime access to online class archives. Students can pick from several bachelor’s and master’s degrees which are structured on the same academic calendar as on-campus classes. Because of this, students can not complete classes on their own time but instead must complete exams and assignments on a deadline.

#15 – Gardner-Webb University

Location: Boiling Springs, North Carolina
Affiliation: Baptist State Convention of North Carolina
Cost per credit: $373-394

Gardner-Webb University’s online courses mirror the on-campus schedule class-for-class, but online students don’t have to attend any on-campus classes to complete their degree. The school is Baptist-related, but doesnít adhere as strictly to the Christian worldview of Biola or the denominational-emphasis of Liberty University.

GW features a Blackboard-based anytime access lecture archive, so students can fit their education into their schedule. Nearby nursing students can take advantage of the university’s hybrid post-doctoral Nursing degree and other students can participate in the hybrid “Goal-Degree Completion Program,” which allows them to earn up to 60 credit hours online toward the completion of an undergraduate degree or to turn an associate’s into a bachelor’s degree.

#16 – Marylhurst University

Location: Marylhurst, Oregon
Affiliation: Catholic
Cost per credit: $437

Marylhurst is a broadly Catholic school without any particular faith requirements for students or professors. The school reaches nontraditional and adult education students by a lack of SAT or ACT score requirement. Because of this, Marylhurst is excluded from ranking agencies like U.S. News & World Report.

Marylhurst offers students the option to shorten their bachelorís program by up to 45 credit hours if they take a Prior Learning Assessment. This can help the student earn their bachelor’s in as little as 2 Ω years. Courses are offered as five-week intensives and are offered sequentially one at a time. The schoolís online program is designed to offer efficiency and effective students. Many students opt into the accelerated MBA program, where they can earn the degree in 18 months.

#17 – Charleston Southern University

Location: Charleston, South Carolina
Affiliation: Southern Baptist
Cost per credit: $490 (undergraduate) and $460-625 (graduate)

Charleston Southern University offers online bachelor’s degrees in Nursing, Education, Technology, and several Human Resource tracks. The school also offers masterís degrees in Organizational Management, Education, Nursing, and Criminal Justice. A nationally recognized MBA program is also a possibility.

Charleston requires all faculty to sign a Christian doctrine statement saying they agree with the Southern Baptist schoolís point of view on Christianity.

#18 – Toccoa Falls College

Location: Toccoa Falls, Georgia
Affiliation: Christian Missionary Alliance
Cost per credit: $285

Toccoa Falls is an independent, non-profit institution known for its great pricing, online experience, and its adherence to Christian values throughout all its programs. Toccoa Falls is primarily a Bible college, but it is devoted to ministry-minded students who want a Bachelor of Arts degree in Nonprofit Business Administration. The school has six degree options and a Bible Certificate.

Other degree options include associate’s degrees in Business and General Studies, as well as bachelor’s degrees in Ministry Leadership, Organizational Leadership, and Youth Ministry. The class schedule is on a semester basis, though it has an open enrollment policy.

#19 – Abilene Christian University

Location: Abilene, Texas
Affiliation: Churches of Christ
Cost per credit: $675-775

Abilene Christian University is known best for its master’s programs in Human Resource Development and Conflict Resolution. However, it also offers several educational master’s degrees and graduate level certifications. ACU offers online summer courses for undergraduates, but complete bachelor’s degrees require on-campus classes. Only master’s degrees can be completed online.

Students interested in social work or education should seriously consider Abilene. The university’s master’s program uses a trimester schedule of three terms per year. Students take one or two classes at a time, which last eight weeks. Resident students participate in summer, winter, and spring break mission trips. Abilene is a proud member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.

#20 – Trinity International University

Location: Deerfield, Illinois
Affiliation: Evangelical Free Church of America
Cost per credit: $365

Trinity International University is recognized for its global-Christian culture, as well as its affordable online classes. TIU’s degrees incorporate a general education core that includes courses like ìFoundation of Christian Thinking and Living,î ìCritical Thinking and Writing,î and ìNew Testament and Old Testament Foundations.î

TIU offers three fully-online bachelor’s degrees in Business, Psychology, and Christian Ministries. The university’s courses are six weeks long and typically offer three credit hours upon completion. They are sequential, allowing students to complete up to 10 modules per year. The Christian university allow students to take classes online and on-campus to complete their degree. Consider Trinity International University if you are looking into ministry or are considering seminary after your bachelor’s degree.

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