The Top Online Colleges: Forbes 2021 Rankings

Are you looking for the best online colleges for Forbes list? Whether you’re looking to start a new career, improve your current job prospects, or simply learn something new, online learning can be a great way to achieve your goals. However, with so many online colleges and universities to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to start your search.

Fortunately, Forbes has done the hard work for you and compiled a list of the best online colleges in the country. Their rankings are based on factors such as affordability, faculty credentials, graduation rates, and student satisfaction. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the top schools on the list and what they have to offer.

One of the top schools on Forbes’ list of best online colleges is the University of Florida. With over 200 online programs and degrees to choose from, this school has something for everyone. Students can earn degrees in fields such as business, engineering, education, and healthcare, among others. The University of Florida is also known for its affordability, with tuition rates that are lower than many other online colleges.

University of Florida online colleges

Another top school on the Forbes list is Arizona State University. This school has been a leader in online education for many years and offers over 200 online degree programs in fields such as nursing, engineering, education, and business. Arizona State is known for its innovative approach to online learning, with interactive and engaging courses that are designed to keep students motivated and on track. Their faculty is also highly credentialed, with many professors holding advanced degrees in their field.


Forbes provides a comprehensive list of top online colleges that offer students quality education and maximum flexibility in their study schedules.

Top Online Colleges in the United States

The University of Florida and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University are among the top online colleges in the United States, offering various degree programs with curricula designed to cater to busy professionals’ schedules.

Online Colleges with Affordable Tuition Fees

Western Governors University and Liberty University are two of the most affordable online colleges for students who are looking for quality education at a lower cost.

1. Introduction

Online education has become increasingly popular in recent years, and Forbes has been keeping an eye on the growth of this trend. The publication has been rank-ordering the best online colleges since 2013, based on metrics such as student satisfaction, graduation rates, and academic quality. In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look at Forbes’ top online colleges and what makes them stand out.

2. Penn State World Campus

Penn State World Campus has been topping Forbes’ list of best online colleges for years, and for good reason. With over 150 programs to choose from and a strong reputation for academic excellence, it’s no wonder that this institution is a top choice for online students. In particular, Penn State World Campus stands out for its focus on providing students with the same quality of education that they would receive on-campus. This includes a rigorous curriculum, personalized support from faculty and staff, and opportunities for hands-on learning experiences. Overall, Penn State World Campus sets the standard for what online education can and should be.

3. University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign

Although the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign might not be as well-known as some of its Ivy League counterparts, it has earned a reputation as a top-notch institution for online learning. What sets Illinois apart is its emphasis on creating a sense of community among online students. This includes access to a variety of resources and support services, as well as opportunities to connect with fellow students and faculty members through virtual events and social media groups. In addition, Illinois offers a wide range of online programs in fields such as business, education, engineering, and healthcare, making it an excellent choice for students with diverse interests and career goals.

4. University of Florida Distance Learning

The University of Florida has long been recognized as a leading public institution, and its online counterpart is no exception. What makes UF stand out is its focus on innovation in online education. The university offers a variety of cutting-edge tools and technologies to help students engage with course material and connect with their peers and professors. These include live video streaming, interactive simulations, and virtual reality environments. Additionally, UF Distance Learning offers a wide variety of programs across a range of disciplines, including agriculture, arts and sciences, engineering, and journalism, to name a few.

5. Northeastern University Global Network

Northeastern University is known for its focus on experiential learning, and its Global Network program takes this approach to the online space. With a commitment to providing students with real-world experience, Northeastern offers a variety of online programs that incorporate hands-on, project-based learning opportunities. This includes virtual internships, capstone projects, and collaborative assignments with industry partners. Additionally, Northeastern provides students with extensive support services, including academic advising, career coaching, and technical support, to ensure that they have the resources they need to succeed.

6. Arizona State University Online

Arizona State University is a leader in online education, offering more than 200 programs across a wide range of fields. What sets ASU Online apart is its focus on innovation and flexibility. The university is constantly experimenting with new approaches to online learning, such as competency-based education and adaptive courseware, to help students maximize their potential. Additionally, ASU Online offers a variety of support services tailored to the needs of online students, including tutoring, academic coaching, and career services. With its commitment to accessibility and innovation, ASU Online is an excellent choice for students seeking a high-quality education on their own terms.

7. Conclusion

Online education has come a long way in recent years, and these top-ranked institutions are leading the way in providing students with a high-quality, engaging, and flexible learning experience. Whether you’re seeking a degree in business, education, healthcare, or any other field, these schools offer a variety of online programs that can help you achieve your goals. By choosing one of these institutions, you can be confident that you’re getting the best possible education, no matter where you are in the world.


Question 1

What is the Forbes list of best online colleges?

Answer 1

The Forbes list of best online colleges is an annual ranking of American colleges and universities that offer online programs and degrees. The rankings are based on factors like reputation, graduation rates, and student engagement. The list is meant to help prospective students choose reputable and high-quality online programs that can help them advance their careers or achieve their educational goals. The ranking is published yearly on and is widely considered to be one of the most reliable sources of information on online education.

Question 2

What are the criteria for colleges to be considered for this list?

Answer 2

Colleges and universities are considered for the Forbes list of best online colleges based on several criteria, including student satisfaction, graduation rates, academic quality, and the reputation of the institution. The ranking also gives weight to factors like student engagement, accessibility, and overall value. Colleges that offer a variety of programs and degrees are also given high marks, as are schools that provide excellent support and resources to online students. Additionally, Forbes uses data from sources like the National Center for Education Statistics and PayScale to ensure that the rankings are accurate and up-to-date.

Question 3

What are some of the best online colleges that have been ranked on Forbes’s list?

Answer 3

There are many colleges and universities that have been ranked on Forbes’s list of best online colleges. Some of the top-ranked schools include the University of Florida, Penn State World Campus, Arizona State University, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. These schools are known for their quality online programs, strong reputations, and commitment to student success. Other well-regarded institutions on the Forbes list include the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Creighton University, and the University of Georgia. While the ranking is by no means exhaustive, it does provide a good starting point for students who are looking for high-quality online education options.

Question 4

Can I trust the Forbes ranking of best online colleges?

Answer 4

Yes, you can trust the Forbes ranking of best online colleges. Forbes is a respected and reputable publication with a long history of producing accurate and reliable rankings and lists. The Forbes ranking of best online colleges is based on a rigorous and objective methodology, which takes into account a wide range of factors that are relevant to students seeking online education. While no ranking system is perfect, Forbes has a reputation for using data-driven analysis to produce rankings that are both thorough and trustworthy. Students can use the Forbes list of best online colleges as a starting point to explore their options and choose the program that is right for them.

Question 5

What are the benefits of earning an online degree?

Answer 5

Earning an online degree has several benefits, including flexibility, convenience, and affordability. Online programs allow students to study and complete assignments at their own pace, which means they can balance their studies with other responsibilities like work and family. Online degrees are also often more affordable than traditional on-campus degrees, as they don’t require students to pay for room and board or commute to campus. Additionally, online degrees are increasingly respected by employers and can help students advance their careers or increase their earning potential. Overall, earning an online degree can be a smart investment for students who are looking to further their education without sacrificing their current obligations.

Question 6

Can I earn a degree faster by studying online?

Answer 6

Yes, it is often possible to earn a degree faster by studying online. Online programs typically allow students to complete coursework at their own pace, which means they can earn credits more quickly than they would on a traditional on-campus program. Additionally, many online programs offer accelerated options that allow students to complete their degrees in less time than they would on a traditional program. However, the speed at which students can earn a degree will depend on several factors, including the program requirements, the amount of time that students can commit to studying, and their prior educational and work experience.

Question 7

Do online degrees have the same value as traditional degrees?

Answer 7

Yes, online degrees have the same value as traditional degrees, provided that they are earned from a reputable and accredited institution. Online degrees are increasingly respected by employers and can help students advance their careers or increase their earning potential. Many traditional colleges and universities now offer online programs, which means that the quality of online education has improved significantly in recent years. However, it is important to do your research and choose a program that is right for you. Students should look for accredited programs that are well-regarded in their field and offer the support and resources they need to succeed.

Question 8

Can I transfer credits earned from an online program to a traditional on-campus program?

Answer 8

Yes, most colleges and universities will accept transfer credits earned from an online program, provided that the program is accredited and the credits meet the institution’s transfer criteria. However, not all schools are the same, so it is important to check with your institution to see what their policy is on transferring credits from online programs. Additionally, some programs may have more stringent requirements for transfer credits than others, so it is important to research the program beforehand and ensure that it will meet your needs and goals. In general, however, transferring credits from an online program to a traditional on-campus program should be possible if the programs are comparable and the credits meet the institution’s requirements.

Question 9

Can I get financial aid for an online program?

Answer 9

Yes, many online programs are eligible for financial aid, just like traditional on-campus programs. The federal government offers a variety of financial aid options, including grants and loans, that can be used to cover the cost of tuition and other expenses associated with earning an online degree. Additionally, many colleges and universities offer their own financial aid programs that are specifically designed for online students. These can include scholarships, grants, and work-study programs. To be eligible for financial aid, students will need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and meet the eligibility requirements set by the federal government and their institution of choice.

Question 10

Are online programs easier than traditional on-campus programs?

Answer 10

No, online programs are not necessarily easier than traditional on-campus programs. In fact, online programs can be just as challenging, if not more so, than traditional programs. While online programs offer greater flexibility and convenience, they still require students to complete coursework, take exams, and meet other program requirements. Additionally, online programs may require students to be more self-disciplined and organized than traditional programs, as they must manage their study time and complete assignments on their own. Ultimately, the difficulty of an online program will depend on several factors, including the program requirements, the student’s experience and skills, and the amount of time and effort they are willing to devote to their studies.

Leave a Comment