SR Education Group, an education research publisher, released their 2019 rankings for the best and most affordable online colleges in the United States. Valdosta State University earned top marks in all five of its categories.
SR Education Group’s evaluation of these online colleges is based on manually-researched tuition rates, accreditation data, and PayScale salary data. This ensures accurate rankings.
These are the first online college rankings based on degree-specific return on investment, according to SR Education Group. Most categories are ranked by median salary. If not specified, tuition rates reflect out-of-state prices for each degree level.
At #3 out of 25, VSU’s highest ranking of the five categories is under “2019 Best Online Colleges Offering MPA (Masters of Public Administration) Program.”
According to their site, the SR Education Group ranked VSU third because it’s the “most affordable option” on the list with an annual tuition of $5,274. The second most affordable option is Columbus State University with an annual tuition of $5,418, but it’s ranked 21 on the list.
VSU also has one of the best return on investments listed at $102,200 for an MPA graduate degree. Click here for more information on the MPA program rankings.
At #4 out of 25, VSU’s second highest ranking is under “2019 Most Affordable Online Colleges & Degrees.”
For this category, SR Education Group researched 723 institutions and then ranked 25 of these colleges as most affordable.
Robert T. Smith, VSU academic provost and vice president for academic affairs, said VSU makes sure students can get a thorough education without breaking their budgets.
“We work very hard to keep VSU programs affordable for our students, whether they are online programs or face-to-face programs,” Smith said.
VSU’s undergraduate tuition is priced at $6,780 and graduate tuition is priced at $4,395, totaling $11,175 overall.
Ranked at #1, Georgia Southwestern State University’s undergraduate tuition is priced at $5,970 and graduate tuition is priced at $3,855, totaling $9,825 overall—a $1,350 difference from VSU.
Ranked at #25, Graceland University’s undergraduate tuition is priced at $10,650 and graduate tuition is priced at $4,640, totaled at $15,290 overall–$4,115 more than VSU.
“We are always very mindful that college is expensive, and we want to make sure that we are giving our students the highest quality education experience at a very reasonable price,” Smith said. Click here for more information on affordable online colleges.
VSU ranked nine out of 25 under “2019 Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s Degrees.”
VSU offers 12 online bachelor’s degrees and an annual tuition of $6,780. There is a BAS (Bachelor of Applied Science) in Human Capital Performance, a BBA (Bachelor of Business Administration) in Management, and a BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) in Emergent Media and Communications.
There are five Bachelor of Arts degrees—French (Language and Culture, World Languages and Cultures), Legal Assistant Studies, and Spanish (Language and Culture, World Languages and Cultures)—and four Bachelor of Science degrees—Criminal Justice, Office Administration and Technology, Organizational Leadership, and Psychology. Click here for more information on online bachelor’s degrees.
Just shy of 10, VSU ranked 11 out of 20 Georgia institutions under “2019 Best Online Colleges in Georgia” with an annual tuition of $6,780 and estimated median salary of $67,100.
The number one pick is University of Georgia, ranked there for an annual tuition of $9,552 and estimated median salary of $86,700.
Fort Valley State University is ranked 20 for a low annual tuition of $5,611 and estimated median salary of $54,000. Click here for more information about other online colleges in Georgia.
The last but lowest ranking VSU received was at #20 out of 25 under “2019 Best Online Colleges Offering BFA in Communications.”
While VSU’s estimated median salary for people with a Communications degree is $87,100, VSU’s annual tuition is still the most affordable when compared to other colleges, once again listed at $6,780.
West Virginia University has the highest annual tuition at $30,570 but with a median salary of $98,300. Click here for more information on online colleges offering degrees in Communications.
“Online programs are attractive to students for a variety of reasons,” Smith said. “For many students, there is a major convenience factor; for others, this is simply their preferred mode of learning.”
VSU has many online options to accommodate students. Everyone’s story is unique: One may like online classes due to being located outside of Valdosta while another may like it because it makes their schedule easier to manage.
Anthony Oliveira is a sophomore psychology major and believes online classes sometimes come out of necessity rather than desire.
“I look for an opportunity to get a general education class out of the way while not worrying about any time conflicts with my major classes,” he said. “Online classes usually have a lot of discussion posts, so I expect a lot of writing. Personally, I’d much rather take a class in a physical classroom, however, some classes get filled up quickly and you have to do what you have to do.”
Scot Myers, junior middle grades education major, chooses online classes for the opposite reason. If it gives him more control of his life, he’ll definitely take an online class.
“I took an online class because it not only fit better with my schedule, but it fulfilled a requirement for my major,” he said. “My expectations are that teachers make themselves readily available on a consistent basis through email.”
Sydney Bergquist, a sophomore English major, said online classes are quite helpful given her condition.
“I’m taking online classes because of health issues that I’ve been having so I can have more flexibility with my schedule and not have to physically go to class,” she said.
Written by Tristen Petty, Staff Writer. Photo courtesy of Guide to Online Colleges.
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