Well, to begin with, there is no such definition of a good online school. Each school has pros and cons, and this makes compiling a ranking list quite cumbersome. Nevertheless, our approach towards ranking online schools is a simple one; we get our data from unbiased sources and then assess schools based on various factors, which we believe are crucial to a successful educational experience. Furthermore, to add an external perspective to our rankings, we also consider rankings, ratings, and reviews from other major publications.
With numerous colleges across the nation offering online education, it becomes a daunting task to choose the right one to pursue the program of your interest. Our first step was to filter out these colleges using the following two minimum requirements.
• The school must be accredited by a nationally recognized accreditation body.
• The program should be offered in an online or hybrid format.
After filtering out the list, eligible schools were ranked based on important factors such as academic quality, affordability, student-friendly services, faculty credentials, school’s reputation, and online education presence. We believe these factors are important in gauging a college’s overall success.
|Loan Default Rate||20%|
|Percentage of Enrolled Students Receiving Financial Aid (Grants, Loans, & Scholarships)||40%|
|Editorial Team Rating (Student Services, Use of Technology, Faculty Credentials, and The School’s Overall Reputation)||25%|
|Online Education Presence||20%|
|Total Number of Online Programs Offered by the College||60%|
|Percentage of Students Enrolled for Online Education||40%|
The above factors have been explained below for you to understand why we have considered them for our ranking methodology.
The academic quality of a college is one of the most important factors to gauge its success, and seemingly so, it constitutes 30% of our total ranking score. We have based this factor on five components, including acceptance rate, graduation rate, retention rate, enrollment rate, and loan default rate.
Acceptance Rate: Acceptance rate is the number of students accepted into a college as against the total number of applications received. Schools with a highly selective admission process accept fewer numbers. A low acceptance rate emphasizes the fact that the school is stringent about maintaining quality standards.
Enrollment Rate: Enrollment rate is the percentage of students choosing to enroll in a college after their application has been accepted. Higher enrollment points towards the college being a preferred choice among students for the positive learning experience it offers.
Retention Rate: Retention rate indicates the percentage of students continuing with the college to complete a program. A high retention rate means a greater number of students are happy to continue their education with the college as they find the quality of education and faculty support satisfactory.
Graduation Rate: The graduation rate signifies the number of students completing the program within the stipulated time frame. A school with a high graduation rate indicates a supportive online learning environment and an effective teaching pedagogy.
Loan Default Rate: Loan default rate of a school is an indicator of career outcome post-graduation. A school with a low loan default rate can be considered a good choice as students have been able to repay their loans within the stipulated time frame. This is a clear pointer of students being well prepared for career success soon upon graduation.
Affordability is an important factor while considering a school and constitutes 25% of our ranking score. Affordable education can help you graduate with lesser debt, and to decipher this factor, we have considered a college’s net price and percentage of students receiving any kind of financial aid.
Net Price: The net price is the cost you are going to incur to complete the program. A school with a high net price can put a great deal of financial burden on you, so it makes sense to consider the cost while selecting a school.
Percentage of Students Receiving Financial Aid (Grants, Loans & Scholarships): Financial aid helps you pay for college. A high percentage of students receiving financial aid means the college’s financial aid office has been instrumental in matching eligible students to suitable grants, loans, or scholarships. This means you stand a better chance of receiving financial aid.
Our Editorial Team Rating accounts for 25% of our total score and is based on factors such as student services, use of technology, faculty credentials, and a school’s overall reputation. These factors give us a broad idea about the student’s learning experience and the popularity of the school.
Student Services : We have evaluated schools for the student-friendly services they offer, such as placement and career services, online libraries, tutoring, and resource centers. These services signify the college’s commitment to a student’s success.
Use of Technology: Use of technology forms an integral part of an online program. User-friendly apps, online portals, interactive chat rooms add to the learning experience. We evaluated the technology used by a college to enhance the student’s learning potential.
Faculty Credentials: The faculty plays a crucial role in transforming you from a student to a professional. In an online program, it matters all-the-more that the professors have the expertise and experience to effectively mentor students as they must be able to engage learners without in-person contact. We have considered the faculty’s academic background, professional organization memberships, and recognition & awards.
The School’s Overall Reputation:To get an idea of a school’s overall reputation, we have assessed college rankings & ratings and student reviews from respected online publications such as US News, Niche, Grad Reports, and Rate My Professors. By incorporating this outside viewpoint into our methodology, we were able to make the ranking more meaningful and complete.
A college’s experience and expertise in online education constitute 20% of our total ranking score. We have looked-into the following two factors to gauge a college’s strength in online instruction delivery.
Total Number of Online Programs Offered by the College: The number of online programs offered by a college is crucial in determining the climate it sets for learning through the web. We believe, higher the number of online programs offered by a college, the better versed it is to deliver online education.
Percentage of Students Enrolled for Online Education: A school with a high percentage of online student enrollments asserts the fact that the college is well-equipped for distance education, and the faculty has the required experience to deliver online coursework.
To create a firm base for our ranking methodology, we have extracted accurate and updated information from various reliable sources.
• The complete list of accredited schools was gathered from the respective program’s official nationally recognized accrediting body website.
• The National Center for Education Statistics was our source for information regarding Acceptance Rate, enrollment rate, retention rate, graduation rate, loan default rate, net price, percentage of enrolled students receiving financial aid, the total number of online programs offered by the college and the percentage of students enrolled for online education.
• College rankings & ratings and student reviews were sourced from U.S. News, Niche, Grad Reports, and Rate My Professors.
The main purpose behind our rankings is to help you in your search for the best college to pursue the program of your interest. The ranking list can serve as a great starting point and saves you from spending long hours going through scores of college sites.2. What is the guarantee our rankings are fair and unbiased?
Our rankings are completely unbiased and fair as we are a neutral third party who has no direct association with any of the colleges; neither do we have anything to gain from the ranking order of colleges. Our rankings are solely based on data collected from unbiased sources, and to maintain transparency, we clearly publish the factors that are rankings are based on.
At nursingprocess.org, we understand that our rankings can influence a student's decision in making a choice for the right school. We do not promote the schools that have made it to our list; neither do we disregard schools that haven't made it to our list. Although we have tried our best in bringing you a list of the best schools that can simplify your search, there is no one perfect ranking tool or formula to devise a list of the best schools. Our rankings are fair and unbiased, and we are in no way associated with any educational institution and thus have nothing to gain out of the ranking order. To maintain transparency, we have clearly mentioned the factors considered for our rankings for everyone to see, the data for which was collected from reliable sources.
Students: As a student, you are advised to take the rankings as a starting point in your search and make a final decision about your education only after extensive research.
Schools: We understand that the higher education domain is a complex one, and the reputation of a school cannot be reduced to a ranking. We believe that the academic outcome of any program depends on a student's talent and hard work as much as it depends on the college, and rankings of any nature must not be construed as a barometer of a college or program's success. Also, at times unranked schools may have not made it to our list simply because we could not source accurate data to derive a conclusive ranking score.
If you have questions, comments, or corrections about our ranking methodology, please feel free to connect with our staff through the Contact Form.