TBS | Best Open Enrollment Colleges Online

Marisa UpsonHolland Webb, MA
by
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Updated June 18, 2024
Edited by
Open enrollment policies remove barriers to higher education and make college accessible. Find out if an open-enrollment school is right for you.

Are you ready to discover your college program?

College is stressful, but the application process doesn’t have to be. In fact, colleges with open enrollment accept most applicants who graduated high school or passed the GED test — regardless of GPA and test scores.

Open enrollment — also known as open admissions — reduces the barriers to higher education and allows students to more easily gain admission to community colleges and some four-year colleges. If you’re concerned about qualifying or want to bypass the competitive nature of college admissions, an online college with open enrollment may be for you.

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Understanding Online Colleges With Open Enrollment

Many online colleges use open enrollment instead of more selective or competitive processes. First implemented in the 1970s to reduce discrimination, open enrollment increases educational access by removing restrictive measures that might prohibit some learners from attending school. Community colleges and other two-year institutions most often offer open enrollment.

In practice, open enrollment typically means eliminating most admission criteria, such as standardized test scores and minimum GPA requirements. Most online colleges with open enrollment require only a high school diploma or GED certificate for admission.

Benefits of Open Enrollment

Open enrollment provides college applicants with access to education by eliminating traditional admissions criteria they may not meet. For example, some prospective students don’t meet minimum GPA or standardized test score requirements at selective schools.

Other applicants face even greater barriers to higher education, which open enrollment can help them overcome. These include being in prison and lacking access to financial aid.

Once enrolled, students may find that open-enrollment colleges offer less competition and more support, giving them a chance to graduate with a higher GPA. Learners who choose an online open-enrollment college for their bachelor’s program could also increase their chances of graduating with a four-year degree.

Online Colleges With Open Enrollment

#1 TBS | Best Open Enrollment Colleges Online

Miami Dade College

  • Location-markerMiami, FL
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$1,987
  • Out-of-state$7,947
  • Retention Rate0%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled44,002
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment82%
  • AccreditationYes
#2 TBS | Best Open Enrollment Colleges Online

Florida International University

  • Location-markerMiami, FL
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$6,168
  • Out-of-state$18,566
  • Retention Rate91%
  • Acceptance Rate64%
  • Students Enrolled55,687
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment65%
  • AccreditationYes
#3 TBS | Best Open Enrollment Colleges Online

University of Maryland Global Campus

  • Location-markerAdelphi, MD
  • 4 year
  • Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$7,344
  • Out-of-state$11,976
  • Retention Rate52%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled55,323
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment93%
  • AccreditationYes
#4 TBS | Best Open Enrollment Colleges Online

Purdue University Global-Indianapolis

  • Location-markerWest Lafayette, IN
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$10,080
  • Out-of-state$13,356
  • Retention Rate75%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled43,458
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment100%
  • AccreditationYes
#5 TBS | Best Open Enrollment Colleges Online

Utah Valley University

  • Location-markerOrem, UT
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$5,368
  • Out-of-state$16,450
  • Retention Rate66%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled41,262
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment56%
  • AccreditationYes
#6 TBS | Best Open Enrollment Colleges Online

Florida State College at Jacksonville

  • Location-markerJacksonville, FL
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$2,095
  • Out-of-state$7,947
  • Retention Rate0%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled20,717
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment78%
  • AccreditationYes
#7 TBS | Best Open Enrollment Colleges Online

St Petersburg College

  • Location-markerSt. Petersburg, FL
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$1,943
  • Out-of-state$7,774
  • Retention Rate0%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled24,543
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment76%
  • AccreditationYes
#8 TBS | Best Open Enrollment Colleges Online

Southern California University of Health Sciences

  • Location-markerWhittier, CA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$11,459
  • Out-of-state$11,459
  • Retention Rate0%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled1,564
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment95%
  • AccreditationYes
#9 TBS | Best Open Enrollment Colleges Online

Indian River State College

  • Location-markerFort Pierce, FL
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$2,496
  • Out-of-state$9,360
  • Retention Rate0%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled14,461
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment66%
  • AccreditationYes
#10 TBS | Best Open Enrollment Colleges Online

National University

  • Location-markerSan Diego, CA
  • 4 year
  • Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$13,320
  • Out-of-state$13,320
  • Retention Rate64%
  • Acceptance Rate55%
  • Students Enrolled18,631
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment80%
  • AccreditationYes

At TheBestSchools, we use trusted data from the U.S. Department of Education to evaluate schools without bias. Our ranking methodology helps prospective students from various backgrounds find the best fit. We consider key factors like academic quality, online offerings, and affordability so every type of student can find the best fit for them.

This ranking is from 2024. Learn more about how our formula works on our ranking methodology page.

What Are the Different Types of College Enrollment?

Colleges and universities may have various enrollment policies besides open enrollment, including regular, rolling admissions and early decisions. The following sections outline these and other common enrollment policies.

Rolling Admissions

Schools that practice rolling admissions accept applications at any time throughout the year. Many online colleges use this option. Individual policies vary by school, but in most cases, you can apply anytime within a specified window and receive a decision within several weeks.

Open-Door Policy

Schools with open-door policies do not have strict admission requirements, such as standardized test scores and minimum GPAs. Some versions of the policy also eliminate reference requirements — you only need a high school diploma or equivalent.

Early Evaluation

Like early action, early evaluation may require you to submit your application by November for the following year. The school reviews your application in advance and lets you know if your chances for acceptance are good, fair, or poor. You may benefit most from this policy if you have a clear sense of where you want to attend.

Early Action

While standard admission policies usually require you to submit application materials on or before Jan. 1, early action policies have earlier deadlines — usually sometime in October or November. You receive a decision much earlier than standard applicants, too. If you have a clear sense of where you want to attend, you may benefit most from this policy.

Early Decision

Early decision is similar to early action, but it requires a binding commitment from you to attend the institution. This means you cannot apply to other institutions. Many large, prestigious institutions, like those in the Ivy League, use this policy to attract and retain learners with a clear top choice.

Regular Decision

Most colleges and universities use regular decisions, including those with open enrollment. Online colleges that adhere to this policy place no restrictions on the number of other schools you can apply to. You can use this method to broaden your options and financial aid prospects. Most regular decision application deadlines are in January, with admission decisions following in late spring.

Deferred Admission

Deferred admission means you were accepted to the college but want to delay your enrollment for a year. You might choose this option if you want to travel, earn more money before going to college, or complete an internship. Also called a gap year, it gives you a break from the pressures of academics.

Frequently Asked Questions About Open Online Enrollment

The right time to enroll in college depends on your needs and interests. Some students enroll immediately after high school graduation, while others prefer to gain professional experience before attending college.

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