20 Online Colleges and Universities That Offer the Best Return On Your Investment

damircudic/iStock via Getty Images
damircudic/iStock via Getty Images / damircudic/iStock via Getty Images

College tuition prices have skyrocketed in recent decades, and the trend shows no signs of reversing any time soon. To save money, many students opt to earn their degrees from home. Online universities are often cheaper than traditional schools, and the smaller tuition doesn't necessarily equal less value. These online colleges all offer significant returns on investment (ROI).

To determine the online schools that deliver the biggest ROI, Online U looked at the cost of tuition, average student debt levels, and post-grad salary data of 325 accredited institutions. They found that the University of Virginia's online program, which charges $14,640 per year, gives students the biggest bang for their buck. It's followed by Northeastern University, which costs $16,230 to attend virtually. Excelsior College and Capella University—which both offer distance learning exclusively—also made the top of the list.

Attending one of the country's top schools often means taking on a debilitating student debt. In 2020, the average cost of undergrad tuition and fees for private college was $34,059. At many prestigious schools, tuition exceeds $70,000. While some online learning programs cost just as much as in-person school, there are plenty of affordable options for cost-conscious student looking for a quality education.

If you don't need to earn a full degree, you can use online schooling to learn a new skill for a few hundred bucks—or in some cases, at no cost at all. After reading the list of high-value schools below, check out the most fascinating courses you can take at home.

  1. University of Virginia
  2. Northeastern University
  3. Excelsior College
  4. Capella University
  5. SUNY Empire State College
  6. University of Alaska Anchorage
  7. Roger Williams University
  8. Thomas Edison State University
  9. Rider University
  10. Colorado State University Global
  11. Drexel University
  12. University of Maryland Global Campus
  13. Concordia University - Saint Paul
  14. Saint Joseph's University
  15. Brandman University
  16. Bellevue University
  17. Miami University-Oxford
  18. Western Governors University
  19. American Public University System
  20. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide

[h/t Forbes]