Top 10 Largest Online Colleges

Online colleges provide a convenient way for people to obtain a degree or certification from the comfort of their own home. With the rise of online education, there are now many colleges that offer online courses and degree programs. But which online colleges are the largest?

In this article, we will explore the top five largest online colleges in the United States. These colleges have the highest enrollment numbers in their online programs and offer a variety of degrees and certifications. Let’s take a closer look at what makes these online colleges stand out, and what sets them apart from other online education providers.

If you’re considering an online degree program, it’s important to choose a reputable college with a strong academic reputation. These top five online colleges all have a proven track record of providing quality education to their students.

Top 10 Largest Online Colleges
Top 10 Largest Online Colleges

The Top 3 Largest Online Colleges

There are numerous online colleges, but these three are the biggest in terms of student enrollment.

What to Expect When Choosing a Large Online College

While a large online college may offer more resources and options, it’s important to consider potential drawbacks such as less personalized attention and difficulty in getting into certain classes.

How to Choose the Right Online College for You

Consider factors such as program offerings, accreditation, flexibility, and cost when selecting the best online college for your needs.

Introduction: The Rise of Online Education

Online education has become an increasingly popular option for those seeking higher education over the past decade. With the advancement of technology and the internet, students are no longer restricted to traditional brick-and-mortar institutions. Instead, they can take courses and earn degrees from around the globe with the click of a button. In this article, we will explore the largest online colleges in the English language, examining their enrollment numbers, programs offered, and overall reputation.

What Makes an Online College “Large”?

Determining what makes an online college “large” can be a challenging task. Some may define a large online college as having a high enrollment number, while others may argue that reputation and the range of programs offered are better markers. For the purpose of this article, we will consider a college “large” if it has an enrollment number of over 50,000 students.

The Largest Online Colleges in English Language

1. University of Phoenix
The University of Phoenix has been a household name in the online education sphere for years, enrolling over 200,000 students annually. Founded in 1976, the institution offers a range of programs, including business, education, nursing, and healthcare. However, in recent years, the University of Phoenix has faced criticism over their recruitment practices and high dropout rates.

2. Southern New Hampshire University Online
Another one of the largest online colleges is Southern New Hampshire University Online. The institution enrolls over 130,000 students annually and offers programs in business, education, healthcare, and liberal arts. SNHU has received recognition for its online programs, ranked #75 in the nation for online bachelor’s programs in 2020, according to U.S News & World Report.

3. Liberty University Online
Enrolling over 100,000 students per year, Liberty University Online is the largest Christian university in the world. The school offers degrees in over 160 programs, including business, education, criminal justice, and religion. Liberty University Online has faced controversy, however, due to its conservative views and association with former President Donald Trump.

4. Walden University
Walden University enrolls around 50,000 students annually, offering programs in business, education, healthcare, psychology, and criminal justice. It is known for its commitment to social change and sustainability. Walden is ranked #69 in the nation for online bachelor’s programs by U.S News & World Report.

5. Purdue University Global
Purdue University Global is a newer institution, founded in 2018 after Purdue University acquired Kaplan University’s assets. The online college enrolls over 35,000 students annually, offering programs in business, education, healthcare, legal studies, and more. Purdue University Global is among the top 100 best online bachelor’s programs in the nation according to U.S News & World Report.


Online education has transformed the way we think of higher education, making it more accessible and flexible than ever before. The largest online colleges in the English language enroll hundreds of thousands of students annually, offering programs ranging from business and education to religion and criminal justice. While these institutions have faced criticism and controversy, there is no denying their impact on the online education industry.


1. What are the largest online colleges in the United States?

The largest online colleges in the United States, based on enrollment numbers, are the following: Western Governors University, Southern New Hampshire University, Liberty University, University of Phoenix, and American Public University. These colleges offer a variety of degree programs in fields such as business, education, healthcare, technology, and more.

2. Are online degrees from these colleges respected by employers?

Yes. While it ultimately depends on each individual employer and their policies, online degrees from these colleges are generally respected by employers. It is important to note that the reputation of the college and the program itself also play a role in the value of the degree. Look for colleges with regional accreditation and programs with industry accreditation to ensure a valuable degree.

3. Can I get financial aid to attend these online colleges?

Yes. Most online colleges offer financial aid options such as grants, scholarships, and loans to eligible students. To apply for financial aid, you will need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and meet the eligibility requirements. Contact the college’s financial aid office for more information.

4. Do these online colleges offer fully online programs or do I need to attend on-campus classes?

Most of these colleges offer fully online programs, meaning there is no need to attend on-campus classes. However, some programs may require on-campus visits or internships depending on the field of study. Be sure to check the program requirements before enrolling to ensure it fits your needs.

5. What support services are available to online students?

Online students have access to support services such as academic advising, online tutoring, technical support, and career services just like on-campus students. Some colleges may also offer virtual student organizations and networking opportunities. Contact the college for more information on their support services.

6. How much does it cost to attend these online colleges?

The cost to attend these online colleges varies depending on factors such as the degree program, the number of credits needed, and the student’s residency status. However, online tuition tends to be lower than on-campus tuition. Be sure to check the college’s website for specific tuition and fee information.

7. Are there any scholarships specifically for online students?

Yes. Some colleges may offer scholarships specifically for online students. There are also external scholarship opportunities available for online students. Look for scholarships through professional organizations or scholarship search engines such as Fastweb or

8. Can I transfer credits to one of these online colleges?

Yes. Most colleges accept transfer credits from other institutions, including online colleges. However, the number of credits that can transfer may vary by program and institution. Contact the college’s admissions office for more information on their transfer credit policies.

9. How long does it take to earn a degree from one of these online colleges?

The time it takes to earn a degree from one of these online colleges depends on the program and the student’s pace. Some programs may be completed in less than two years while others may take four or more years. Be sure to check the program requirements and course schedule before enrolling to estimate the time it will take to complete.

10. What is the application process like for these online colleges?

The application process for these online colleges varies by institution, but typically involves filling out an online application, submitting transcripts from previous colleges attended, and paying an application fee. Some programs may have additional requirements such as letters of recommendation or a personal statement. Contact the college’s admissions office for more information on their specific application process.

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