As a largely rural, agricultural state, Nebraska is a perfect place to pursue online learning. Nebraska residents have a history of using distance learning to complete coursework, and online degrees make it even more accessible. Online schools in Nebraska offer a variety of undergraduate, graduate, and professional certificate and degree programs, many of which are targeted to meet the needs of the state's agricultural, rural, and military communities.
The Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (Great Plains IDEA), for example, is a collaborative effort of 20 public universities -- which includes the University of Nebraska -- to offer quality online programs in human sciences. Another affiliate program, AG*IDEA, offers online programs in agriculture. The University of Nebraska also offers over 100 online programs through a collaboration between its four campuses and its online high school. Of Nebraska's 41 degree-granting colleges and universities, many feature fully online programs. To enhance the quality and quantity of online course offerings, the Nebraska Digital Learning Association provides professional development and networking opportunities for distance learning professionals.
Efforts to expand online learning in Nebraska are paying off. The federal government reports that in 2012, nearly one-third of students attending Nebraska colleges and universities were taking some or all of their courses online. Online colleges in Nebraska have made education convenient and affordable, offering some of the lowest tuition rates in the country. According to the College Board, the average in-state tuition rate for four-year public colleges in Nebraska was $8,270 in 2017-18, and the out-of-state rate was $20,310.
If you are seeking an online degree in Nebraska, we've got you covered.
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 Nebraska:
Note: In ranking the best online colleges in Nebraska, giving attention to the variety of degree programs available at the institutions is of utmost importance. For this reason, a more prestigious school in Nebraska 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 Nebraska.
The Best Online Colleges in Nebraska
1. University of Nebraska at Omaha
The University of Nebraska at Omaha, a public space-grant university established in 1908, held its first classes in a mansion with only 26 students in attendance. It gained its current name when it joined the University of Nebraska System in 1965. The university has over 15,000 students in attendance and offers a wide variety of majors.
The University of Nebraska at Omaha offers online baccalaureate, master and certificate programs. Online bachelor's degree programs include architectural engineering and sociology. Online master's degree programs include writing and social gerontology. Available online certifications include data management and systems development.
Online student resources include an online job board and an online library with librarians available via email, text message or over the phone.
The University of Nebraska at Omaha is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
See some of The University of Nebraska at Omaha's top rankings on TBS
- 50 Best Online Colleges & Universities 2019
- 25 Online Colleges with the Best Return on Investment
- The 50 Most Affordable Online Four-Year Colleges
- The Best Online Colleges for Military Personnel & Families
2. Creighton University
Creighton University is a private Roman Catholic university founded by the Society of Jesus in 1878. The university is among the largest private Christian universities in the state with over 8,000 students and nearly 1,000 academic personnel. The university contains nine academic colleges, the largest of which is the College of Arts and Sciences. It contains more than one third of the student body.
Creighton University offers online baccalaureate, master, doctoral and certificate programs. Online bachelor's degrees include leadership and healthy lifestyles management. Online master's degrees include business administration and emergency medical services. Online doctoral degrees include healthcare ethics and educational leadership. Online certifications available include lifestyle medicine.
Online student resources include online tutoring, technical support and an online library with librarians available via email or over the phone.
Creighton University is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
See some of Creighton University's top rankings on TBS
- The 25 Best Online Master's in Organizational Leadership Degree Programs
- The 10 Best Online Master's in Business Intelligence Programs
- The 10 Best Online Master's in Negotiation & Conflict Management Programs
3. University of Nebraska at Kearney
The University of Nebraska Kearney, founded in 1905 as an all-female teacher's college, teaches over 900 students in total. It offers more than 40 academic programs, including education, biology and history, spanning four academic colleges. The campus sits on roughly 230 acres of land and includes Frank House, a mansion listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the Museum of Nebraska Art, which houses over 175 years of artistic history.
The University of Nebraska Kearney offers a number of baccalaureate degrees and master's degrees online. Bachelor's degree options include criminal justice and business administration. Master's degree offerings include biology and several topics in education.
Resources available to online students include an online job board, 24/7 live online technical support and an online library.
The University of Nebraska Kearney is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
See some of The University of Nebraska Kearney's top rankings on TBS
- The 6 Best Online Master's in Art & Art History Programs
- The 10 Best Online Master's in Science Education Programs
- The 30 Best Online Master's in Gifted & Talented Education Programs
4. University of Nebraska - Lincoln
The University of Nebraska at Lincoln, founded in 1869, is a land-grant university. The university is the flagship of the University of Nebraska system. The school developed the “Nebraska method,” a method of studying ecology that brought about a new field of ecology. The university serves more than 24,000 students and offers over 275 degree programs.
The University of Nebraska at Lincoln offers a number of baccalaureate, master's, doctoral, specialist and certificate programs via the Office of Online and Distance Education. Bachelor's degrees include applied science and early childhood education. Master's degree options include agronomy and community development. Doctoral degree offerings include educational leadership, while specialist degrees include P-12 education administration. Certifications available include supply chain management and youth development.
Online student resources include an online library with librarians available via email, text message or over the phone.
The University of Nebraska at Lincoln is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
See some of The University of Nebraska at Lincoln's top rankings on TBS
- The Best Online Colleges for Military Personnel & Families
- The 10 Best Online Doctorate in Educational Administration Degree Programs
- The 10 Best Online Master's in Human & Family Development Programs
- The 20 Best Online Doctorate in Educational Leadership Degree Programs
5. Chadron State College
Founded in 1909, five of Chadron State College's buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places. The college offers over 50 undergraduate-level programs of study as well as a number of graduate programs.
Chadron State College offers baccalaureate and master's degrees entirely online with a handful of hybrid programs also available. Online bachelor's degrees include mathematics and organizational management, while online master's degrees include business administration and educational administration.
Resources available to online students include live online technical support and an online library with access to an array of databases, including Britannica and PubMed, as well as several librarians available via email or over the phone.
Chadron State College is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
6. Bellevue University
Bellevue University, a non-profit university, provides an extensive variety of degree programs. Students are free to suggest programs of study to the university on its page outlining its degree offerings. More than 80% of the student body is over 25 years of age.
Bellevue University offers baccalaureate, master and doctoral programs entirely online. Bachelor's degrees include banking operations management and web technologies. Master's degree options include managerial communication and clinical counseling. Doctoral degree offerings include human capital management.
Resources available to online students include online tutoring via Skype or over the phone, online writing assistance and an online library with multiple librarians available via live chat 24/7.
Bellevue University is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
See some of Bellevue University's top rankings on TBS
- The 50 Most Affordable Online Four-Year Colleges
- The Best Online Colleges for Military Personnel & Families
- The 3 Best Online Bachelor's in Behavioral Psychology Programs
- The 15 Best Online Bachelor's in Graphic Design Programs
7. Peru State College
Peru State College, founded by a group of Methodist Episcopal Church members in 1865, is a public liberal arts school. During World War II, the college trained naval officers drafted into the war to prepare them for deployment. The college nearly closed in 1998, but lawmakers decided to improve it instead.
Peru State College offers online baccalaureate and master's degrees. Online bachelor's degrees include management and psychology, while online master's degrees include education and organizational management.
Resources available to online students include an online library with librarians available via email or over the phone.
Peru State College is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
8. Clarkson College
Clarkson College, founded in 1888 as a two-year nursing school, specializes primarily in the medical field. The college has an affiliation with the Nebraska Medical Center as well as the Episcopal Church. Some of its more prominent majors include nursing, radiology, physical therapy and medical imaging.
Clarkson College offers associate, baccalaureate, master, doctoral, specialist and certificate programs entirely online. Associate's degrees include health information technology. Bachelor's degrees include healthcare business management and medical imaging. Master's degree options include nursing and healthcare administration. Doctoral degree offerings include nursing, while specialist degrees include healthcare education and leadership. Available certifications include health information management and imaging informatics.
Online student resources include an online library with librarians available via email or over the phone.
Clarkson College is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
See some of Clarkson College's top rankings on TBS
- The 30 Best Online Nursing Practitioner Master's Programs
- The 25 Best Online Bachelor's in Health Services Programs
- The 50 Best Online Bachelor's in Nursing Programs
9. York College
Established in 1890, York College is private four-year college affiliated with the Churches of Christ. Located in York, just south of Lincoln, this school offers two online graduate degrees: the master of arts in education with a specialization in curriculum and instruction, and the master of arts in organizational and global leadership. Courses are delivered asynchronously with no required class or login times. Distance learners may enroll in this online school in Nebraska as full- or part-time students and can complete degrees in as little as one year.
Prospective students for this online college in Nebraska must hold a bachelor's degree in any discipline from an accredited institution and have a minimum 2.5 GPA. Applicants with a lower GPA may submit a statement reflecting their personal goals and aspirations to be considered with their application.
York College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
When looking for the right school on a budget, affordability drives most choices. Even so, the cheapest online colleges in Nebraska might not be the best option. Prospective students should weigh cost savings with the quality of instruction at a school, along with the school's reputation, to find the best fit for their goals.
The Most Affordable Online Associate Degree Programs in Nebraska
1. Metropolitan Community College
Metropolitan Community College (MCC) is an affordable online college in Nebraska, offering associate degrees to students in the state and throughout the country. MCC offers an open admissions policy and credit for life experiences as well.
MCC offers 21 associate degrees, 12 certificates of achievement, and nine career certificates/special certifications, including:
- Associate degrees in business, accounting, and criminal justice
- Certificates of achievement in financial planning, computer programming, and health information management systems
- Career certificates in global perspectives, general management, and health information technology
Online learners can access course information and assignments through the learning management system Blackboard, which makes announcements, grades, and class schedules accessible. MCC operates on a quarter system, with each quarter lasting 10-11 weeks.
Each degree specifies its own credit requirements, but most require 99-109 credits. MCC only offers affordable associate degrees online, but students should consider transferring credits to another online, four-year college to continue their education. Accelerated courses are also available for online students looking to move through their courses more rapidly.
Online learners can drop by any MCC campus to ask for in-person tutoring help. Additionally, MCC offers college credit for students who have acquired college-level learning through work experience, but those credits rarely transfer to another institution.
Metropolitan Community College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
2. Mid-Plains Community College
North Platte, Nebraska
Mid-Plains Community College (MPCC) has seven locations throughout the state of Nebraska, plus a thriving online campus that educates nearly 16,000 credit- and non-credit-seeking students annually.
Mid-Plains Community College is one of the top affordable online colleges in Nebraska. It offers two associate degrees that students can complete entirely online, along with a transfer track. Online learners looking to transfer into higher education can pursue an associate of arts degree in criminal justice or library technical assistant. Students interested in completing two-year degrees can also take on an associate of science in criminal justice or an associate of applied science in business administration.
Online learners complete at least 30 credits for an associate degree from MPCC. To complete a certificate with MPCC, students must complete 12 or more credits of coursework and maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA.
Students use the information management system Blackboard to communicate with teachers, keep up with classwork, and access tutoring services. MPCC also offers internship opportunities for students looking for practical experience.
MPCC partners with Southeast Community College to provide affordable, program-specific online courses for students interested in earning an associate degree of applied science in radiology technology, surgical technology, or respiratory therapy. MPCC also partners with several four-year universities to allow smooth transfer options for MPCC graduates pursuing bachelor's or master's degrees online.
Mid-Plains Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
3. Southeast Community College
Southeast Community College (SCC) is one of the most affordable online colleges in Nebraska, serving students in the southeast region of the state and nationwide. SCC also features a nationally recognized entrepreneurship center for online learners interested in business.
SCC offers nearly 300 online courses per term, with terms beginning each July, October, January, and March. SCC offers 14 affordable programs students can pursue online, including options in business administration, dental assisting, and human services. Some online programs still require in-person, supervised clinicals, labs, or practicums. SCC also offers online learners access to on-campus services like tutoring, bookstore services, and advising.
An associate degree from SCC requires students to complete at least 60 credits, depending on their major, which typically takes 18-24 months. Most students complete their associate degrees in four semesters, taking 15 credits per term.
SCC is a two-year school and it can only award associate degrees. Still, students looking to pursue bachelor's degrees should explore SCC's transfer program offerings, which include an associate of arts, associate of science, and general studies, all engineered for completion at a four-year school. SCC participates in the state authorization reciprocity agreement, which excludes students in California and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
Southeast Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
4. Central Community College
Grand Island, Nebraska
Central Community College (CCC) has offered affordable online classes to students in Nebraska and beyond for more than 15 years, providing opportunities to complete an associate degree, diploma, or certificate entirely online. CCC is a two-year school, but online learners pursuing bachelor's degrees may participate in the college's academic transfer program.
CCC offers three associate degrees with 22 program specialties and more than 260 online courses. Online learners can pursue an associate of applied science, or undertake a diploma in business technology or quality technology, or earn a certificate in early childhood education, among many other offerings.
Students complete their associate degrees in two years if they maintain a full load of 15 credits per semester for four semesters. They must complete at least 60 credits to earn an associate degree; if they plan to transfer credits, they must maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA and complete 25% of required coursework before transferring.
CCC boasts one of the most affordable online colleges in Nebraska, offering the same rate of tuition for online and in-person students. CCC uses the learning management system Moodle, where students upload assignments, take quizzes, check grades, and interact with the rest of the class. Online classes follow the same schedule as on-campus classes, and most do not require on-campus participation. Some, however, require work either on-campus or at a designated location.
CCC participates in the state authorization reciprocity agreement, which excludes students located in California and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. These students cannot participate in CCC's online classes.
Central Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
5. Northeast Community College
Northeast Community College offers online degrees and certificates in 26 fields and is one of the most affordable online colleges in Nebraska. Students can choose from two associate degrees -- an associate of applied science and associate of arts -- with several focus options, including business administration, social science, and criminal justice. The college also offers an online business diploma and five certificates, with options including business entrepreneurship and office management.
Most Northeast associate degrees require at least 60 credits. An associate degree in nursing requires 72 credits, but students can still complete this program in two years. To complete a business diploma, students take one course every 4-8 weeks for a minimum total of 30 credits. All Northeast certificates comprise at least 16 credits and usually take less than one year to complete.
For students looking to complete a bachelor's degree, Northeast offers an academic transfer program, which aids learners in completing the proper coursework to transfer credits to a four-year institution.
Northeast uses the learning management system Canvas, through which students interact with their instructors, check class information and grades, and participate in discussions. Students participating in Northeast's distance learning program enjoy the same access to college support resources as their on-campus peers, including advising, tutoring, and career services.
Northeast Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
The Most Affordable Online Bachelor's Degree Programs in Nebraska
1. Bellevue University
Bellevue University (BU) has offered affordable online bachelor's degrees in Nebraska for almost two decades, with the most popular majors falling among business and general studies. Bellevue offers online bachelors of arts, science, and applied science in 52 subjects, including psychology, business, and communication.
Bellevue requires a minimum 127 credits and a cumulative 2.0 GPA to complete a bachelor's degree. The university accepts applications on a rolling basis, and it offers some degrees -- like the bachelor of science in business -- at an accelerated pace. Bellevue also features an online, affordable, accelerated communication degree program, in which distance learners engage in a virtual lab and gain workplace experience through their capstones.
Bellevue uses the learning management system Cyberactive, through which students interact with their classmates, complete assignments, and access tutoring and writing support and other online resources. Online classes and programs at Bellevue usually feature several starting points during the year. Students looking to transfer into Bellevue from other accredited universities can do so, and those with associate degrees from community colleges can transfer the entire associate degree without losing any credits.
Bellevue University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
2. University of Nebraska at Omaha
University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO) was founded in 1908 and offers more than 200 affordable undergraduate programs and certificates online. UNO ranks as a Tier 2 college, according to U.S. News & World Report, and it boasts some of the most competitive tuition rates in the region, making it one of the most affordable online colleges in Nebraska.
UNO imposes an Aug. 1 application deadline and accepts about 87% of applicants. It offers six undergraduate programs online with concentrations in 13 subjects. UNO also offers six certificates, including those in data management, gender and leadership, and gerontology. Online students can access helpful online support, including advising and library resources.
The bachelor of multidisciplinary studies accommodates the needs of adult, transfer, and military students. Online learners pick from over 45 areas of study, designing their degrees to suit their individual career goals. This degree grants credit for qualifying learning experiences gained outside the classroom.
A bachelor's degree requires at least 120 hours. UNO uses the learning management system Canvas as a platform for online students to engage in lectures, check grades, and submit assignments. Online tuition rates vary between colleges, but transfer students may benefit from the associate-to-bachelor, program-specific transfer agreement, through which students who have earned their associate degrees from another community college can transfer to UNO without losing any credits.
The University of Nebraska Omaha is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
3. Peru State College
Peru State College (PSC), located in Peru, Nebraska, has served its students for 150 years and boasts a 92% job placement rate within six months of graduation. It represents one of the top affordable online colleges in Nebraska.
PSC offers two undergraduate programs online in business administration and criminal justice. Both degrees offer concentrations: accounting, psychology, and marketing for the business administration program, and criminal justice administration, counseling, and law and society for the criminal justice program.
Through the learning management system Blackboard, students access live and recorded lectures, check grades, and turn in assignments. A bachelor's degree at PSC requires at least 120 credits, offering online sessions over eight- or 16-week terms. Program length depends on each student's course load and pace.
PSC allows transfer students to transfer a maximum of 90 credits from another accredited, four-year university. Of those 90 credits, no more than 66 can come from a community college. Online learners who need tutoring but can't make it to campus can access free online peer tutoring through the Center for Achievement and Transition Services (CATS). Online students enjoy access to the writing center and library resources as well.
Peru State College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
4. Chadron State College
Chadron State College (CSC) was founded in 1911 and is located in Chadron, Nebraska. Chadron represents one of three public colleges in the Nebraska State College System and one of the top affordable online colleges in Nebraska.
CSC offers eight online bachelor's programs with majors in business, mathematics, and psychological sciences. Three of those degrees -- education, family and consumer sciences, and geoscience -- follow a hybrid format, and each offers its own minors and specific study tracks. For example, students in the business program choose between concentrations in business administration and general business.
Students must complete at least 120 credits to qualify for a bachelor's degree. Learners can accumulate credit through experimental credit programs, like internships, but CSC caps how many of these hours can apply to a bachelor's degree. To complete one of the few minors offered online at CSC, online learners must take at least 21 hours of appropriate coursework.
Students engage with their instructors, check grades, and turn in assignments through the learning management system Sakai. Some courses at CSC follow an eight-week format, accelerating the pace at which students complete their bachelor's degrees. CSC does not charge higher out-of-state tuition rates or add on fees, so all students pay the same for their online classes regardless of their states of residency. Transfer students can only transfer up to 70 credits from an accredited university.
Chadron State College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
5. University of Nebraska - Lincoln
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), founded in 1869, is Nebraska's flagship public research university. UNL offers affordable online education in Nebraska and it ranks 129 in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report. It also ranks 87 for best college for veterans.
UNL offers two online undergraduate programs: early childhood education in a mobile society and a bachelor of applied sciences. The university also offers an online certificate in meat culinology and three minor options in business, leadership and communication, and animal science. Online learners must complete 120 credits to finish a bachelor's degree at UNL.
UNL operates on a semester-based academic calendar and is open to transfer students who maintain a 2.0 cumulative GPA. When transferring, students must have completed at least 16 credits of academic courses.
Students can complete most of UNL's affordable online courses entirely online, though some may require in-person elements. Professors teach their courses asynchronously through the learning management system Canvas, which allows students to interact with professors, engage in discussion boards, and check grades. Students accessing UNL's affordable online programs can also access academic advising, orientation and tutorial modules, success coaching, and library resources.
Classes can cost nearly twice as much for out-of-state students as they do for in-state learners, but rates vary by college within UNL.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).