Online schools in Kansas offer greater flexibility and affordability than on-campus schools. Students benefit not only from scholarship and grant opportunities, but also in-state or discounted tuition. According to 2017-2018 statistics from College Board, public universities in the Jayhawk State charge approximately $9,000 in annual tuition, while private institutions cost around $23,500. These prices, when coupled with the state’s relatively low cost of living, make Kansas a great place to earn a degree, advance your career, and raise a family. PayScale reports that living costs in Kansas routinely stand below the national average, from 4% in Topeka to 15% in Salina.
Business, healthcare, criminal justice, and education are some of the most common degrees offered by online colleges in Kansas. Distance learners can enroll in fully accredited programs in health management, nursing, organizational leadership, cybersecurity, and early childhood education and teacher preparation. Because many private colleges and universities in Kansas emphasize faith-based education, distance learners may also pursue degrees in areas such as theological studies, Christian leadership, and urban ministry. Online courses usually follow an asynchronous format powered by learning and conferencing platforms like Desire2Learn or Blackboard. Some schools offer accelerated online courses that last seven to nine weeks instead of the conventional 15. These features allow distance learners to create flexible degree plans that fit their schedule and goals.
Four reasons to find an online college in your state:
- Guaranteed in-state tuition saves you money
- Be a part of a university or college you know and love
- Get a degree from a school employers know and trust
- Be close enough to easily visit when desired
Ranking guidelines for the best online colleges in Kansas:
We selected the online colleges and universities here based on the quality of their programs, types of courses and degrees offered, faculty strengths, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation, including a strong reputation for online degree programs. We also consulted our ranking of the best overall online colleges.
Note: In ranking the best online colleges in Kansas, giving attention to the variety of degree programs available at the institutions is of utmost importance. For this reason, a more prestigious school in Kansas may offer one, or a few online degrees, but that may not be enough for that school to rank highly among the best online colleges in the state. In this ranking, we are dedicated to showing who’s leading the way in delivering quality online degree programs in Kansas.
- See who ranks as the best college and university in Kansas today.
- Kansas State University,Fort Hays State University, Virtual College, and Ottawa University rank among the 100 Best Online Colleges for 2018.
The Best Online Colleges in Kansas
1. Kansas State University
Kansas State University is one of the first universities established in Kansas, dating back to 1863. It’s a land-grant and space-grant institution with over 20,000 students enrolled, and more than 100 degree programs. The school is home to a number of research institutions, including the facility which created the laser used in LASIK eye surgery.
Kansas State University’s Global Campus offers a variety of baccalaureate, master’s, doctoral and certificate programs. Bachelor’s degrees include animal science and dietetics. Master’s degree options include chemical engineering and food science. Doctoral degree offerings include financial planning, while certifications include statistics and horticultural therapy.
Online student resources include technical support, academic advising, an online writing center, veterans’ services, stress management services, career and employment services, financial counseling and an online library with librarian live chat, interlibrary services and numerous databases.
Kansas State University is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
2. Fort Hays State University
With more than 11,000 students in attendance, Fort Hays State University is one of the largest members of the Kansas Board of Regents. Over 6,000 students attend the university online, accounting for more than half of the student body. The campus contains a natural history museum and 4 academic colleges offering over 80 degree programs.
Fort Hays State University offers a number of associate, baccalaureate, master and certificate programs entirely online. Online associate’s degrees include applied technology and general studies. Online bachelor’s degree options include majors in business and information technology. Master’s degree offerings available online include counseling and nursing. Online certifications include geoscience and philosophy.
Resources available to online students include military and veteran’s services, technical support, disability services, online tutoring in a plethora of subjects, employment assistance and a vast online library.
Fort Hays State University is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
3. Ottawa University – Online
Ottawa University, established in 1865, is a Christian university with over 7,000 students in attendance, most of which are online. In the past, the university worked closely with the Ottawa Native American tribe to form a school to benefit the Ottawas and their children. The school was originally going to be a boarding school, but war and poor management threatened to ruin the school. The school endured, eventually growing into the university it is now. The Ottawa tribe is still vital to the growth and survival of the university to this day.
Ottawa University has a diverse array of online baccalaureate and master degree programs. Online bachelor’s degree programs include finance, education, English and nursing, while online master’s degree programs include human resources, counseling, education intervention and curriculum and instruction.
Online student resources include disability services and an online library.
Ottawa University is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
4. Southwestern College
Southwestern College, a Methodist college established in 1885, teaches over 2,000 students and offers them more than 40 degree programs. The diversity of these programs occurred in part to the college’s absorption of the Winfield College of Music in 1926. In 1994, Southwestern College opened its Professional Studies Center, home to its online program.
Southwestern College offers a diverse array of online baccalaureate, master, doctoral and certificate programs through its Professional Studies Center. Online bachelor’s degrees include strategic leadership and security management. Online master’s degree options include numerous topics in education and business. Online doctoral degrees include education, while certifications available online include Lean Six Sigma and enterprise risk management.
Online student resources include an online writing center, academic success center, technical support, career services and an online library with librarian live chat.
Southwestern College is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
5. Emporia State University
Emporia State University, established in 1863, is one of the oldest universities in the state and one of the universities under the Kansas Board of Regents. The university’s first graduating class consisted of two women, Ellen Plumb and Mary Watson. The university offers more than 80 degree programs across 4 academic colleges and teach over 6,000 students.
Emporia State University offers a variety of baccalaureate, master and doctoral programs online. Online bachelor’s degrees include interdisciplinary studies. Online master’s degree options include business administration and history. Online doctoral degree offerings include a hybrid library and information management program.
Resources available to students online include reading, writing and mathematics tutoring, disability services, technical support, an online job board and an online library with librarian live chat as well as access to several scholarly article and journal databases.
Emporia State University is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
6. Newman University
Newman, a Catholic liberal arts college based in Wichita, ranks among the top Christian online schools in Kansas. The college’s distance education program includes a bachelor’s in business studies, along with master’s degrees in theological studies, theology, business administration, and education. Emphasizing flexibility for working professionals, Newman offers multiple start dates throughout the year and a primarily asynchronous course delivery format with few required class meetings. While the college offers most coursework online, some degrees may include a small number of required campus courses.
Newman supports working students who have been away from college for four or more years through its adult re-entry program. The initiative offers reduced tuition rates for bachelor’s degree candidates, with funding options available for full-time and part-time enrollment. High-need, independent students may qualify for fully subsidized tuition, while low-need students may qualify for reduced tuition.
Newman is regionally accredited from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
7. MidAmerica Nazarene University
MNU, one of the top Christian online colleges in Kansas, offers distance programs in four areas: business, education, counseling, and nursing. Online learners can pursue a variety of associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and certificate programs in subjects including computer information systems, healthcare management, nursing, education, and sexual addictions treatment, with all course materials available completely online.
MNU’s online courses use a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous learning; students attend one weekly virtual meeting that mimics the classroom environment, typically held in the evening. The remaining coursework, such as discussions and interactive online assignments, use an asynchronous format that enables online learners to work at their own pace. MNU requires no campus visits, but candidates in advanced programs, such as the master of business administration or the master of science in nursing, may need to complete practicum experiences in a professional setting, typically in their own communities.
MNU is regionally accredited from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
8. University of Kansas
The University of Kansas is among the largest universities in the state. The main campus sits on Mount Oread. The university has additional campuses located throughout the area. The university includes 5 academic colleges, teaches over 25,000 students and offers 340+ academic programs.
The University of Kansas offers several baccalaureate, master, doctoral and certificate degree programs online. Bachelor’s degree programs include several topics in healthcare. Master’s degree options include business and teaching. Doctoral degree offerings include nursing, while certifications include communication and autism studies.
Online student resources include online tutoring, disability services, academic advising, an online writing center and an online library with the ability to consult a librarian via email, text message or chat.
The University of Kansas is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
9. Pittsburg State University
Pittsburg State University, founded in 1903, has more than 7,000 students in attendance, roughly 20% of whom are from outside of the country. The university offers more than 230 degree programs across 4 academic colleges: arts and science, business, education, and technology.
Pittsburg State University’s online program awards a variety of baccalaureate, master’s and certificate programs online. Bachelor’s degree options include workforce development and nursing, master’s degree programs include engineering and technology and certifications include multiple topics in education, including TESOL and autism spectrum disorders.
Resources available to online students include an online writing center and an online library with librarian live chat and a wide variety of journal and scholarly article databases.
Pittsburg State University is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
10. Baker University
Baldwin City, Kansas
Baker University, the oldest university in Kansas, is a Methodist university founded in 1858. It contains four academic schools, has more than 3,000 students in attendance and has one of the largest MBA programs in the Kansas City metropolitan area. The university was intended to be an academic safe haven amidst the remnants of the Civil War.
Baker University has several online associate, baccalaureate, master and certificate programs. Associate’s degrees include business, bachelor’s degree options include criminal justice and mass media, master’s degree offerings include liberal arts and organizational leadership, and certifications include marketing and online teaching.
Resources available to online students include an online library with access to a wide variety of online journals and scholarly article databases.
Baker University is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
11. Barclay College
Barclay is affiliated with the Religious Society of Friends and is one of the top Christian online schools in Michigan. The college offers four online bachelor’s degrees: biblical studies, business management, Christian leadership, and psychology. The biblical studies program offers an academic perspective on the Bible, covering topics such as hermeneutics, church history, and systematic theology.
The Christian leadership degree prepares graduates for service positions with the church or ministry, combining knowledge in theology, Bible studies, and general leadership. The business management program offers a Christian approach to general principles of business, including marketing, finance, human resources, and leadership. The psychology program offers a broad overview of various psychological theories and approaches, including abnormal psychology, social psychology, and family systems. All four programs include a liberal arts core that introduces fundamental topics in the humanities, along with a Bible studies core that covers topics in interpretation methods and Pauline epistles.
Barclay is nationally accredited from the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE).
12. Central Christian College of Kansas
Associated with the Free Methodist Church, Central Christian is one of the top online colleges in Kansas, offering professionally focused online degrees at the associate and bachelor’s level. The school hosts two associate programs: a general associate of arts and an associate of arts in criminal justice that prepare students to begin a career immediately after graduation.
At the bachelor’s level, students select from five programs: healthcare administration, organizational leadership, psychology, business administration, or criminal justice. All programs use a flexible, asynchronous delivery format that requires no set login times and enables students to complete work when it fits into their schedule. Central Christian also offers all courses completely online, making it possible to complete a degree without ever visiting campus. Online students receive a generous selection of support services, including personalized academic advising and library resources.
Central Christian is regionally accredited from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
13. Ottawa University – Kansas City
Overland Park, Kansas
OU maintains campuses around the country, along with a significant distance education program that offers dozens of online degrees at the bachelor’s and master’s levels. The school’s affiliation with the American Baptist Churches USA frames courses in a spirit of Christian ethics, but few of OU’s degrees focus on religion.
The college’s 7,000 students pursue programs in three major areas: business, arts and sciences, and education. Some of the school’s uncommon academic offerings include school business operations, population health and healthcare, actuarial science, learning technologies, and addictions counseling. All programs use a fully online, asynchronous format, with no required class meeting times and no campus visits. Online learners also receive individualized support from academic advisers, who assist with enrollment, course selection, and offer connections to other school resources.
OU is regionally accredited from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
14. Sterling College
One of the top Christian online colleges in Kansas, Sterling’s distance education program offers bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice administration, education, history, and organizational management, along with a master’s degree in sports ministry. All programs feature a fully online format, and the school’s undergraduate degrees offer accelerated course options that allow full-time students to graduate in two years.
The master of arts in sports ministry trains candidates to minister to Christian athletic organizations, meeting the spiritual and physical demands of athletes. This interdisciplinary program combines elements of exercise science, ministry, and theology, featuring courses such as history and theology of sport, coaching methods, and ministry administration. The sports ministry degree also contains a substantial hands-on component: candidates complete a pre-practicum, a practicum, and an internship, gaining significant practical experience in a professional sports ministry environment.
Sterling is regionally accredited from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
15. University of Saint Mary
Based in Leavenworth, USM is a small liberal arts college that serves a study body of around 800. The school’s small size enables it to offer small class sizes and individualized student attention, and this translates to USM’s distance education program, which places the institution among the best online schools in Kansas.
USM offers four online degrees: a bachelor of science in nursing, a bachelor of science in information health management, a master of science in nursing, and a master of business administration. The undergraduate nursing program is a completion degree, which requires applicants to hold a current RN license. The information health management program trains candidates to organize and maintain medical information, preparing graduates for management roles in healthcare organizations. The nursing master’s program offers nurse educator and nurse administrator concentration options. The MBA has six concentration options, including leadership and organizational health, finance, and marketing.
USM is regionally accredited from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
16. Wichita State University
Wichita State University, a public research university established in 1895, is one of the largest universities administered by the Kansas Board of Regents. Formerly a Christian university, the City of Wichita purchased the school in 1926. The school offers over 200 areas of study spanning 6 academic colleges to its more than 15,000 students.
Wichita State University offers a number of associate, baccalaureate and master degrees online. Online associate’s degrees include humanities and mathematics. Online bachelor’s degree options include nursing and criminal justice. Master’s degree offerings available online include aging studies and instructional design.
Resources available to online students include online test proctoring and an online library with librarian live chat and several electronic databases.
Wichita State University is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
17. Friends University
Friends University is a non-denominational Christian university founded in 1898. The Davis Administration Building, the university’s main hall, was originally supposed to be for Garfield University, but was later donated to the Quaker Religious Society of Friends by a local businessman after Garfield University closed in 1893. The university offers a variety of degrees to over 2,500 students.
Online bachelor’s degrees include human resources, computer information systems and organizational leadership, while online master’s degrees include teaching, business administration and health care.
Online student resources include an online job board, writing help via email and an online library with access to scholarly articles, journals, ebooks, CDs and DVDs.
Friends University is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
18. Kansas Wesleyan University
Affiliated with the United Methodist Church, KWU is a private Christian college that enrolls around 850 students annually. Though small in size, the school wins praise as one of the best online colleges in Kansas, offering four distance education programs: a bachelor of arts in emergency management, a bachelor of arts in criminal justice, an RN-to-BSN program, and an MBA.
KWU provides all coursework completely online, but students can also combine campus courses for a blended format that still offers flexibility. The emergency management program, which is the only degree of its kind in the state, trains candidates to protect lives and property, with three available concentration options: homeland security, business continuity, and non-governmental organizations. KWU also offers a minor in unmanned aircraft systems, aviator or non-aviator, through a partnership with Kansas State Polytechnic.
KWU is regionally accredited from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
19. Tabor College
Tabor, one of the smaller online schools in Kansas, serves just under 600 students from a campus in Hillsboro and through a distance education program. This Anabaptist college offers a wide selection of online degrees at the associate, bachelor’s, and master’s levels.
The school’s associate degrees include urban ministry, Christian studies, and business administration. Bachelor’s programs include business administration, Christian ministries, nursing, and criminology. Tabor also offers master’s programs in business leadership, ministry entrepreneurship and innovation, nurse education, and nursing executive leadership. Many degrees use an intensive format, in which students take one eight-week course at a time, enabling candidates to complete their degree faster. All of Tabor’s programs are taught through a Christian moral framework, which helps develop students’ academic and professional knowledge, as well as their sense of Christian service.
Tabor is regionally accredited from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).