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Inside the Best Online Colleges in Vermont

Inside the Best Online Colleges in Vermont

Both first-time and returning students can find a variety of programs to choose from at online colleges in Vermont. Find a list of top-ranked accredited schools and other key information about earning your degree online.

Whether you’re interested in a fully online degree or simply want to add some flexible evening courses to your on-campus schedule, many colleges in Vermont have online learning options. In 2019, more than 10,000 students in Vermont took at least one college class online. No matter where you are in your educational path, you can find a program that meets your needs.

Taking the time to research schools is key to finding an online program that’s tailored to your career goals, learning preferences, and personal schedule. This guide to the best online colleges in Vermont is designed to help you take those first steps and make an informed higher education decision. Read on to find a list of top-rated schools and other essential information and resources that can set you up for lasting success as an online student.

The Top Online Colleges in Vermont for 2023

Cutting through the noise around online schools can be a challenge. This ranking helps you find the online colleges in Vermont that prioritize your education while providing balance in your busy schedule. With flexible online coursework, affordable tuition rates, generous financial aid opportunities, and quality student support services, these institutions represent the best the state has to offer. Whether you’re taking your first college class or returning from a long break, check out today’s best online colleges in Vermont. 

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    Base Methodology for OnlineColleges.me’s 2023 Online College Rankings

    1. Create List of Eligible Schools and Programs

    To be eligible for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on government data provided by The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

    • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
    • At least one program in subject area offered partially or fully online.

    2. Assign Weightings

    After creating the list of eligible schools, OnlineColleges.me data scientists assigned weights and ranked schools based on a mix of affordability, support services, and online program availability metrics. Online program availability and overall affordability metrics received the heaviest weightings.

    Online Program Availability

    • Number of online programs in subject area reported by school to the U.S. Department of Education. Because exact numbers change often and can be difficult to verify, we use a range-based scoring system: 0-5 online programs = 1 star; 6-10 = 2 stars; 11-15 = 3 stars; 16-20 = 4 stars; 21+ = 5 stars. In our design, laptop icons = stars.

    Affordability

    • Cost – Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on tuition and fees per academic year.
    • Students w/ Institutional Aid – Percentage of students who receive financial aid from the school itself.

    Support Services

    • Academic Counseling – Existence of this service on campus or online.
    • Career Placement – Existence of this service on campus or online.

    About Our Data

    OnlineColleges.me’s rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: July 2022

  • Burlington, Vermont
    Public $$$$

    The University of Vermont has a 20-year history of offering online classes, so you can enroll in a degree program with confidence because the school has the experience and cutting-edge tools students need for quality virtual learning. All degree programs are conducted in an asynchronous format, so you’re able to fit your education into your lifestyle, rather than rearranging your other responsibilities around your classes. But you don’t have to worry about missing anything important in your courses because the school’s learning management system allows you to access all of your course content, as well as collaborate with peers and communicate with professors. As a result, online students at the University of Vermont feel like they’re part of a community of learners, so they get the support they need from each other throughout their programs.

    Program Highlights:

    Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

    • Credits: 36
    • Length: Two years
    • Cost: $678/credit in state; $1,720/credit out of state
    • Mode: Partially online
    • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education

    Master of Public Health

    • Credits: 42
    • Length: Two years
    • Cost: $678/credit in state; $1,720/credit out of state
    • Mode: Fully online
    • Accreditation: Council on Education for Public Health

    Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction

    • Credits: 30
    • Length: Two years
    • Cost: $678/credit in state; $1,720/credit out of state
    • Mode: Fully online
    • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education
  • Johnson, Vermont
    Public $$$

    When you enroll in an online degree program at Northern Vermont University, you have access to a host of services that make your education experience a smooth one. For example, you never have to worry about getting the materials you need to do research for your classes because the school offers online library services for distance learners, so you’re able to access electronic resources, as well as borrow print materials remotely and take advantage of the interlibrary loan services. In addition, Northern Vermont University offers advising services designed to meet the specific challenges of distance learners, so you get the individualized attention you need, whenever you need it.

    Program Highlights:

    Bachelor of Science in Holistic Health

    • Credits: 120
    • Length: Four years
    • Cost: $355/credit
    • Mode: Fully online
    • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education

    Bachelor of Science in Accounting

    • Credits: 120
    • Length: Four years
    • Cost: $355/credit
    • Mode: Fully online
    • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education

    Associate of Arts in General Studies

    • Credits: 60
    • Length: Two years
    • Cost: $355/credit
    • Mode: Fully online
    • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education
  • Randolph, Vermont
    Public $$$

    Vermont Technical College offers online and hybrid degree programs, so if you prefer to work entirely online or travel to campus occasionally, you can choose a program that is best for how you prefer to learn. Also, if you want a program conducted completely online, you may still choose an asynchronous format so you can work independently, or a synchronous format if you prefer to take courses with your peers during set days and times. In addition, Vermont Technical College delivers classes through its videoconferencing system, known as Telepresence, which allows students to watch live lectures in one of the school’s 11 special classrooms around the state.

    Program Highlights:

    Associate of Applied Science in Agriculture and Food Entrepreneurship

    • Credits: 60
    • Length: Two years
    • Cost: $613/credit
    • Mode: Partially online
    • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education

    Bachelor of Science in Applied Business Management

    • Credits: 120
    • Length: Four years
    • Cost: $613/credit
    • Mode: Fully online
    • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education

    Bachelor of Science in Nursing

    • Credits: 121
    • Length: Four years
    • Cost: $613/credit
    • Mode: Partially online
    • Accreditation: National League for Nursing Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation

Before you decide on a program, you’ll want to think about the modes of online learning that will work best for you. In the past, online courses were limited in delivery and scope. Today, the growth of online programs has led to unique experiences, customizable schedules, and learning modules to match when, how, and where you learn best.

Fully Online vs. Hybrid/Blended

You can take a fully online course without ever visiting campus for lectures or tests. Participate in classes from the comfort of your home or the nearest coffee shop. These programs are limited to degrees in which you won’t need much hands-on experience to gain the necessary skills.

Hybrid and blended learning, on the other hand, use online elements to support in-person learning. You may do the bulk of your work with teachers on campus and then do some assignments fully or partially online to add some flexibility to your education. Each school uses these terms a little differently, so make sure you understand what the program you’re considering means by hybrid or blended.

The best online colleges in Vermont offer a mix of both types of programs, which we highlight for you here. 

Associate of Applied Science in Agriculture and Food Entrepreneurship at Vermont Tech (Blended/Hybrid)

A new program for fall 2024, the associate degree in Agriculture and Food Entrepreneurship combines online coursework with real-world experiences in the Vermont ag industry. Students learn from over 40 experts and complete an internship to develop expertise in the food chain and livestock management. Upon completion of the program, students can choose to continue their education and complete a bachelor of science at Vermont State University. Concentrations include cannabis cultivation and entrepreneurship.

The program details are still being finalized; classes will be taught by experienced instructors at Vermont Tech’s Randolph Center Campus. Students can sign up to get more information as coursework details are determined and become part of the inaugural class for this exciting new program. 

Bachelor of Science in Accounting at Northern Vermont University (Fully Online)

The accounting program at Northern Vermont University is 100% online, so you won’t have to visit campus to get your degree. Courses include human resource management, business law, global business, strategic management, and survey of economics. Students who complete this accredited online college program in Vermont will be prepared for the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Exam, as well as know how to record financial transactions according to accepted industry standards. 

Take as few or as many courses as you’d like in a year (though of course a slower pace means you’ll need longer to complete the program). Start in the fall or spring. If you’ve completed fewer than 18 credit hours at another college, you’ll need to provide your high school transcripts. 

Asynchronous vs. Synchronous

The words “asynchronous” and “synchronous” are often used in online education. Asynchronous courses are set up for you to complete the lectures and tests at any time before the due date, whether that’s early in the morning, after work, or once the kids are in bed.

Synchronous courses are like traditional on-campus courses in that you must attend at a set time and interact with the professors and class. However synchronous courses still happen virtually. They aren’t as flexible as asynchronous courses but offer real-time feedback for students who thrive with interaction.

Vermont’s online colleges offer a mix of both types of courses. Check out these examples. 

Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity at Champlain College (Asynchronous)

With 24/7 access for students to complete at their convenience, this fully online cybersecurity degree offers students a curriculum designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education by the U.S. National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. It’s the only private college in the U.S. to be designated as a National Center of Digital Forensics Academic Excellence from the Defense Cyber Crime Center Air Force Office of Special Investigations.

Courses include ethical hacking, introduction to Python, wireless networking, and mobile security. Both fall and spring start times are offered. Those who already have their Certified Information Systems Security Professional Certification may be able to transfer their experience into this program for credit. Students new to cybersecurity or those with an extensive background will both find this flexible, 100% online program a fit for their busy lifestyles. 

Juris Doctor Program at Vermont Law and Graduate School (Synchronous)

While some of the courses offered through Vermont Law and Graduate School are asynchronous, many important courses are offered in a synchronous setting. These courses take place virtually on Monday through Thursday evenings from 6:30 to 9:00 pm EST. Students also attend three in-person residencies at the school in the first, sixth, and last (tenth) semesters. These short sessions give students a chance to gain hands-on experience. 

Students choose their pace. The program can be completed in as little as three years and one semester, or students can take longer. Like most law school programs, students must meet certain prerequisites before enrolling. GPA and LSAT scores are considered before students are admitted. Merit scholarships are awarded to 98% of students, with the average scholarship at $29,000.

Part-Time vs. Full-Time

One reason online degree programs are growing in popularity is scheduling. Because of family or work responsibilities, not everyone has the time to dedicate to a full-time program. Part-time programs take longer to complete but require fewer hours each week.

Full-time programs assume you will take at least 9-12 credit hours per semester. Some programs are accelerated, so you can finish faster than if you were taking an in-person, on-campus program. 

These online colleges in Vermont have a mix of both part-time and full-time programs, depending on the focus and goals you want to achieve. Take a look.

Master of Business Administration at Castleton (Part-Time)

You can attend full-time in the MBA program at Castleton, but the school only requires three credit hours per semester to maintain active status. For this reason, attending this 100% online program one class at a time may make sense for busy students. 

Sample courses include the business of media, governmental and not-for-profit accounting, operations management for leaders, healthcare quality improvement and safety, and business experimental design. The full 36-hour program requires you to declare a concentration in one of four areas—accounting, healthcare administration, leading organizational change, or media and communication.

Prospective students must complete an application plus the following:

  • $40 application fee
  • Essay
  • Resume
  • Two letters of recommendation 
  • College transcripts 

The school doesn’t require GMAT or GRE scores. 

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at Norwich University (Full-Time)

This program at Norwich University is designed for you to transfer in at least 30 credits to complete the requirement of 120 credits for a bachelor’s degree. Courses include principles of microeconomics, business law, marketing management, financial accounting, and elementary statistics, including the general education credits the university requires.

Students attending full-time can complete the program in just 18 months. You’ll need to choose a concentration for your degree, including:

  • Supply chain management
  • Cyber security management
  • Financial services management
  • Human resource management
  • Leadership studies
  • Procurement and contract management

Students in this online college program in Vermont attend courses anytime and anywhere they’d like, with materials accessible 24/7 for maximum flexibility (very appealing for students working full-time). This 100% online degree has multiple start dates per year, so you can begin when it works best for you. 

Vermont Online Colleges and Accreditation

It’s critical to confirm that your online college degree program in Vermont is accredited before you begin. Why? Only accredited programs are eligible for financial aid, plus you’ll also want to ensure your degree is recognized by employers and licensure boards when you’re finished. Start by checking with the State of Vermont Agency of Education, which lists all of the accredited schools on its website, along with information on how schools get approved. 

In addition, some individual programs need accreditation beyond what’s required by the state. Nursing, teaching, and therapy careers are a few examples of programs that must meet both state educational standards and the industry licensure requirements for you to be able to work in those fields. 

By the Numbers: Cost of Online College in Vermont

While program costs vary, the price of an online college degree in Vermont may be lower than attending a traditional, on-campus degree program. This may be due to room and board, additional student activities fees, and other costs.

On average, in-state tuition and fees for a four-year college total $17,593 per year, not including room and board (which brings the total to $30,752). Private college tuition and fees total around $48,300 per year, not including room and board (which brings the total to $63,371). In-state tuition for a public, two-year school averages $6,920 a year. These numbers are for in-state students and could be more for those attending from out of state.

This cost comparison table breaks down the prices between traditional college vs. online college in Vermont for two 12- to 15-credit semesters per year.

School NameOn-Campus
In-State
On-Campus
Out-of-State
Online
In-State
Online
Out-of-State
Northern Vermont University$ 13,423/year$27,511 /year$ 8,520/year$ 8,520/year
Vermont Tech$16,539/year$29,955/year$15,328/year$15,328/year
Vermont Law and Graduate School$49,700/year$49,700/year$44,730/year$44,730/year
Champlain College$44,340/year$44,340/year$ 7,872/year$7,872/year
Castleton University$13,078/year$30,046/year$16,320/year (graduate level only)$ 16,320/year (graduate level only)

* Costs include tuition and required fees of undergraduate programs.

Financial Aid for Online College Students in Vermont

One of the great things about getting an online college degree in Vermont is that you still qualify for financial aid, scholarships, and grant programs – just like students who attend in person. 

How can you qualify for this help? First, fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), starting on October 1 each year. The FAFSA uses your financial information from the previous year to help determine what you qualify for the next year. (For example, in 2023, you use information from 2022 taxes to see how much you’ll get in the 2024-2025 school year.)

Each school also offers scholarships and grant programs you can apply for through the school, although they may use information from the FAFSA to determine eligibility. Reach out to your school’s financial aid office or search their website online for this vital, money-saving information.

Finally, the state offers resources to help students pay for in-person or online college in Vermont. These include over 120 scholarships through the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation

Vermont Careers Poised for Growth

Vermont online college students might know which career to pursue, but data shows some fields are growing faster than others. The chart below shows you which careers are expected to need more skilled professionals in the next ten years, along with how each career pays. 

CareerJob Growth (2020-2030)Annual Mean Wage (2021)
Data Scientists and Mathematical Science Occupations66.7%$116,220
Nurse Practitioners53.1%$ 112,540
Information Security Analysts 40%$ 113,270 (National)
Statisticians40%$ 94,590
Logisticians35.3%$72,220
Music Directors and Composers33.3%$65,080 (National)
Nuclear Medicine Technologists33.3%$84,850 (National)
Philosophy and Religion Teachers33.3%$84,820
Medical and Health Services Managers32.8%$116,600
Operations Research Analysts31.3%$81,420

Sources: Bureau of Labor StatisticsProjections Central

Top College Resources for Vermont Students

State of Vermont Agency of Education

This site features data on students in Vermont, as well as the schools and colleges that have achieved accreditation. 

Think Vermont

Designed to help out-of-state students choose in-person and online colleges in Vermont, this site gives you plenty of reasons to consider an online program in the state, including a scholarship. 

Vermont 211 Guide

While not specific to students, this state resource guide offers information on how to get help with housing, food, medical care, and essential services to stay healthy and secure while attending on-campus or online college classes in Vermont. 

Vermont Student Assistance Corporation

Get advice on how to pay for in-person and online college in Vermont, avoid scams, fill out the FAFSA, and budget for school extras like textbooks and supplies. The site is directed at students, parents, and educators.