A Guide to Online Colleges in Indiana

| BestCollegeReviews Staff

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The Hoosier State is the sixteenth most populous in the US. Founded in 1816, it was then located on the far reaches of the country's Northwest Territory, where Native Americans had been living since as early as 8000 BC. Europeans arrived in the late 17th century, establishing major trading outposts. That frontier ethic lasted long after Indiana ceased to be on the edge of the American wilderness: throughout its modern history, the state has maintained a blue-collar, largely rural, Midwestern identity, excelling in industry, agriculture, high-skilled manufacturing (Indiana's labor face is among the most well-trained in the country), and, of course, basketball. Still, Indiana has not stubbornly clung to history against present demands. It capital city, Indianapolis, has become on the major urban hubs of the Midwest, second only to Chicago in population and home to three Fortune 500 Companies, the NCAA, and major biotech, life sciences, and healthcare businesses. It's also home to some of the country's preeminent public, private, and community colleges, many of which offer online degree opportunities.

In-state tuition is often applied to public schools offering online programs. Many online programs require some face-to-face time, or more numerous support services at their brick and mortar locations. Intensive study experiences–often on the weekends or in several week long bouts–enable many online students to accelerate their time until graduation. And students looking at online education can drastically expand their educational options if they also look to hybrid degrees (degrees where degrees can be taken partially, or mostly online). Finally, one of the most common stipulations in scholarships is that students be from a certain state or region, often more funds are available to students seeking degrees in-state.

Nine Indiana public schools offer online degrees, including four Indiana University campuses (Bloomington, East, IUPUI, and IUPFW), Purdue University Northwest, Vincennes University, Indiana State, Ball State, and Southern Indiana. IUPUI is the largest of these. Forty degrees are available online — 2 associates, 14 bachelors, 22 masters, 2 doctoral — in a wide range of disciplines: Business, Labor Studies, Communication, Education, Nursing, Music, Public Affairs, and more. Just behind IUPUI, Indiana State offers 34 online degrees, including 15 bachelors, 16 masters, and 3 doctoral tracks. (Highlights include an RN to BSN, BS in Construction Management, MS in Sports Management, MSN, and several MEd concentrations.) Indiana Bloomington and Ball State offer 39 and 24 online degrees, respectively, with 38 masters between them; and Vincennes University and Indiana East offer 19 and 11. (Vincennes offers 18 associate tracks.)

Eight private schools in Indiana offer online degrees: Indiana Wesleyan University, Valparaiso, Anderson, Ottawa University-Jeffersonville, Indiana Institute of Technology, Grace College and Seminary, Bethel College, and Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. Indiana Wesleyan offers 42 online degrees, making it the largest provider in the state, including 8 associates, 12 bachelors, 19 masters, and 3 doctoral tracks; its largest offerings are in Business, Accounting, Health Sciences / Healthcare, Biblical Studies / Ministry, Education, and Nursing. Ottawa Jeffersonville has 29 degrees available online, 17 bachelors and 12 masters, largely in Business and Education concentrations. IIT, with 22 online track, comes in third (4 associates, 10 bachelors, 8 masters), followed SMWC with 15 and Grace College and Seminary. Outside of IWU, only Valparaiso offers an online doctoral track, which is a Post Master's Doctorate of Nursing Practice.

Featured Online Schools

Potential Resident

For a variety of reasons, a student may look to move to the state of their online college program whether specifically required by the program or not – be it for a job, location desirability, school benefits, etc. Different states have different policies, however, and some of them can be rather demanding. Fortunately, Indiana's are relatively straightforward and can be reviewed in detail here. In sum, to be an Indiana resident, the student must have a permanent primary residence in the state and must have lived in the state for at least 12 consecutive months before the first day of scheduled classes. (Dependent students under 21 may list their parent or guardians residence.) If a student does not meet or cannot prove these criteria, a number of other factors can be considered, including: driver's license, state automobile registry, tax returns, place of work, voter registration, et al. Click on the above link for further details and exceptions.

Indiana public higher education costs are slightly lower than the national average, $9,120 per four-year university compared to $9,142 in 2015-2016. That's just a 1% increase over 2014-2015, compared to a 3% national average, and 4% increase over a five-year period, compared to the whopping 13% national average. In sum: Indiana residents should count their blessings, particularly when some states' public universities charge in excess of $15,000 for in-state tuition, and some costs have risen over 25% over the last five years. When we consider the quality of public education — the Indiana University state system is a top 25 US News system — those numbers look even better. Further, if history is any indicator, those numbers should stay relatively low and stable: since 2004, public in-state tuition has only risen over $100 year-over-year a few times. In some cases, it's dropped.

The main provider of distance education Indianapolis also happens to be the second-largest provider in the Indiana. IUPUI offers 40 online degrees, including two pre-professional associates, 14 bachelors, 22 masters (the most in the state), and 2 doctoral tracks. IUPUI's associates are unique: an AS in Labor Studies and AS in Histotechnology. Bachelor opportunities range from Business, to Health Sciences / Management, to Mathematics and Communication. Master's degrees include MS tracks in Music Technology and Music Therapy, an MSN, an MPA, an MPA, an MSR (Recreational Therapy and Park And Public Lands Management), and several MEd concentrations. Finally, there's also an EdD in Instructional Systems Technology and PhD in Nursing Science. Within an hour of the city, Bloomington, Indiana East, Anderson, Ball State, Indiana State, and St. Mary-of-the-Woods all offer online degrees, as well; the largest of these being Bloomington and Indiana State with 39 and 34 online tracks, respectively. (Also of note: St. Mary-of-the-Woods offers the second-most online bachelors in Indiana, with 14.)

The Indiana Institute of Technology and IUPUFW offer online degrees in metropolitan Fort Wayne. IIT is the largest and top-10 state provider in the state, with 22 available degrees, including 4 associates, 10 bachelors, and 8 masters. In addition to pre-professional tracks in Business, Criminal Justice, and Health IT, IIT's undergraduate and graduate tracks include specialized degrees in Healthcare, Education, and Business, with MBA concentrations in Accounting, Healthcare Management, Human Resources, General Management, and Marketing. IUPUFW has 5 online bachelors in Nursing (RN to BSN), Information Systems, Women's Studies, and more. Its master's is an MSN in Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner. Just an hour away, Indiana Wesleyan offers 42 online degrees (the most in the state) in Marion, and Grace College and Seminary offers 4 bachelors and 7 masters. To the northwest, Bethel and Valparaiso combine for 7 available tracks.

Southern Indiana University offers 7 online degrees in Evansville, including 3 bachelors in Health Services, Radiologic Technology, and Nursing (RN to BSN); an MSN, MHA, and MBA; and Doctoral of Nursing Practice. An hour away, Vincennes University offers the most associate tracks in the state: 18 preprofessional degrees in Accounting, Business Management, Business Studies, Supply Chain Logistic Management, Law Enforcement, Pharmacy Technician, Health Information Management, Behavioral Sciences, Psychology, and more. Its sole bachelor's degree is in Homeland Security And Public Safety. The next closest option is at Ottawa University in Jeffersonville, which offers 17 bachelors and 12 masters in a wide range of fields: 7 Accounting concentrations, 9 undergraduate Business concentrations, 5 MBA concentrations, and 4 MEd concentrations, among others.

Population: 475,378
Cost of Living: 87%
Top Industries: Federal Government, Manufacturing, Agriculture
Local Online Degrees: 2

Population: 315,685
Cost of Living: 90.1%
Top Industries: Healthcare, Manufactuing, Food Services
Local Online Degrees: 7

Population: 159,498
Cost of Living: 83.8%
Top Industries: Healthcare, Manufactuing
Local Online Degrees: 4

Population: 116,830
Cost of Living: 86.5%
Top Industries: Healthcare, Government
Local Online Degrees: 0

Population: 119,108
Cost of Living: 87.6%
Top Industries: Education, Healthcare, Insurance
Local Online Degrees: 5

Population: 91,364
Cost of Living: 87.7%
Top Industries: Government, Education
Local Online Degrees: 2

Population: 79,329
Cost of Living: 89.8%
Top Industries: Manufacturing
Local Online Degrees: 7

The Best Online Colleges in Indiana

1. Indiana University-Bloomington

Online Programs: 39
Type: Public

Founded in 1820, Indiana has a total enrollment of about 33,000 and is ranked among the top public universities in the country by Forbes, Washington Monthly, and US News, among other top publications. (Kiplinger's Finance ranks Bloomington in the top 50 nationally of value.) Particular programs of note are in Business, and Bloomington's online school offers a BSBA and MBA. Other noteworthy tracks include 2 associates, 15 bachelors, 19 masters, and 3 doctorates in such diverse areas as Healthcare, Political Science, Nursing, Education, Parks and Recreation, Supply Chain Management, Finance, and Labor Studies. To support an intimate and collaborative learning environment, the school's student-to-faculty ratio is 17:1, and 35% of classes have fewer than 20 students. Additional resources include the Canvas learning platform, tech support, library services, and unlimited cloud storage space.

2. Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis

Online Programs: 40
Type: Public

Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis, or IUPUI, was founded in 1964. With an enrollment of about 12,700, has been recognized as a top regional university and 7th overall "Up and Coming School" by US News. Its online presence is extensive: 40 total degrees, including 2 associates, 14 bachelors, 22 masters, and 2 doctorates, making it the second-largest school for distance education opportunities in the state. Undergraduate and graduate tracks cover a wide range of disciplines, with notable programs in Business (BSBA, MBA), Labor Studies, Healthcare (RN to BSN, MSN, and other nursing and administrative degrees), Political Science, Music (Technology and Therapy), and MEd concentrations. IUPUI's student-to-faculty ratio is just 17:1, and over 50% of classes have less than 20 students. All students also have access to the Canvas learning platform, tech support, library services, and unlimited cloud storage space.

3. Indiana Wesleyan University

Online Programs: 42
Type: Private

Established in 1920, Indiana Wesleyan University is a private Christian liberal arts university in Marion, Indiana, with a total enrollment of about 3,200. As one of the fastest growing universities in the country, and ranked among the top schools in the Midwest, Indiana Wesleyan's online school offers 42 degrees, making it the largest distance education provider in the state. These break down as 8 associates, 12 bachelors, 19 masters, and 20 doctorates in areas like Business (including a number of MBA concentrations), Healthcare, Addictions Counseling, Criminal Justice, Nursing, and a number of MEd tracks (Curriculum And Instruction, K-12 Online Learning, Reading, Special Education, and School Administration). IWU also offers online professional certificates and endorsements, and provides a highly collaborative, intimate educational environment with capped classes. As a Christian university, IWU emphasizes religious components in core curricula.

4. Ball State University

Online Programs: 24
Type: Public

Founded in 1918, Ball State University is located Muncie, Indiana. BSU is classified as a high research activity university by the Carnegie Foundation, is a member of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, and has been ranked high regionally by the Princeton Review. The 21,000 student population represents 48 states, 43 countries, and all 92 Indiana counties. There are 24 online degrees available, including 3 bachelors, 19 masters, and 2 doctoral tracks in a wide range of fields like Nursing, Public Service, Interior Design, Journalism, Public Relations, and numerous concentrations in Education. The school boasts a 14:1 student-to-faculty ratio and more than 42% of classes have less than 20 students. Ball State also features immersive learning programs, advising, academic support, tech support, and career planning.

5. Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College

Online Programs: 15
Type: Private

Founded in 1840, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College is a Catholic liberal arts school with a student population of just under 1,000. SMWC is ranked among the top schools in the Midwest and offers 15 online degrees — an impressive number for a school of its size — including an Associate of Accounting and 14 bachelors in a range of areas, such as Business, Accounting, Healthcare Administration, English, Creative Writing, Journalism & Media Studies, Human Services, Criminology, Human Resource Management, and an RN to BSN. With a student-to-faculty ratio of just 8:1, 97% of classes have less than 20 students, allowing for a highly intimate and collaborative educational experience. Online courses deliver in accelerated 8-week blocks and are available year-round for maximum schedule flexibility. Also of note, all students have access to academic advising, online tutoring, and tech support; 95% of students receive some form of financial aid.

6. Ottawa University-Jeffersonville

Online Programs: 29
Type: Private

Founded in 1865, Ottawa University has a total of approximately 7,000 students spread across 7 campuses, including in Jeffersonville, Indiana. There are 29 degrees available online: 17 bachelors in Business and Accounting concentrations like Finance, Entrepreneurship, Communication, Leadership And Management, Global Operations, and Social Enterprise Management; and 12 masters in Education, Business, Counseling, and Human Resources, with several concentrations in each. With a student-to-faculty ratio of 18:1, nearly 70% of classes enroll less than 20 students, encouraging a communal, peer-to-peer learning experience. Further, online courses make use of the Blackboard education platform, which includes group discussion threads, live chat rooms, and dynamic delivery methods. Note Ottawa is a Christian university and incorporates religious concepts and values into each program.

7. Indiana State University

Online Programs: 34
Type: Public

Indiana State University, founded in 1865, is located in Terre Haute and consists of approximately 13,500 students. US News, Washington Monthly, and the Princeton Review have ranked the school among the best in the region. Indiana State is particularly well regarded for its community service commitment: it has been a member of the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll and in 2013 earned the title of Non-profit Leadership Campus of the Year. With 34 online degrees available, ISU is a top-5 distance education provider in the state, including 15 bachelors, 16 masters, and 3 doctoral degrees in a wide range of fields: Business, Nursing, Health Services, Engineering, an MPA, MEd concentrations, DNP, and more. The student-to-faculty ratio stands at 21:1, and courses are designed to encourage a tight-knit educational community and collaborative learning experience.

8. Indiana Institute of Technology

Online Programs: 22
Type: Private

Indiana Institute of Technology is located in Fort Wayne and consists of approximately 7,500 students. Founded in 1930, the school is divided into five academic divisions. There are 22 online degrees available: 4 associates in Business Administration, Criminal Justice, Health Information Technology, and General Studies; 10 bachelors in Business Administration concentrations, Organizational Leadership, and Psychology; and 8 masters in Business Administration concentrations, Organizational Leadership, Engineering Management, and Psychology. The student-faculty ratio is 15:1, and 80% of classes have less than 20 students, allowing for an intimate educational environment. Further, through the Blackboard learning platform, students have access to group discussion threads, live chat rooms, and dynamic delivery methods.

9. Valparaiso University

Online Programs: 5
Type: Private

Valparaiso was founded in 1859 and today consists of approximately 4,500 total students. Washington Monthly, Forbes, the Princeton Review, and Money Magazine have each recognized the school's academics, and US News ranks it among the best in the region and for value, undergraduate teaching, innovation, and veteran services. Online, the school offers 4 masters in Healthcare Administration, Chinese Studies (P-12 teacher track), Humane Education, and an MEd in Humane Education with a concentration in Instructional Leadership. A post-master's Doctorate of Nursing Practice is available, as well. With a student-to-faculty ratio of just 12:1, all courses are designed for maximum collaboration and peer-to-peer studies. All students have access to library services, IT support, and more.

10. Vincennes University

Online Programs: 19
Type: Public

Vincennes University has a total enrollment of about 18,700, and, founded in 1801, it is the oldest public university in the state. With the exception of a bachelors in Homeland Security And Public Safety, its online offerings are 18 pre-professional associate tracks in Accounting, Supply Chain Logistic Management, Law Enforcement Studies, Business Administration, Behavioral Sciences, Information Technology, Computer Programming Technology, Business Management, Funeral Service Education, and more. Vincennes has a student-to-faculty ratio of 16:1, and over 70% of classes consist of less than 20 students to maintain an intimate learning environment. Through the Blackboard platform, students have access to group discussion threads, live chat rooms, and dynamic course delivery, and admissions are rolling for maximum schedule flexibility and to accommodate adult learners.

11. Indiana University-East

Online Programs: 11
Type: Public

Indiana University's East campus is located in Richmond, founded in 1971. With a total enrollment of about 4,700, the school is divided into seven academic divisions and is ranked among the best universities in the Midwest by US News. It offers 11 online bachelors in Business Administration, Criminal Justice, Nursing (RN to BSN), Technical And Professional Writing, Natural Science And Mathematics, Communication Studies, Political Science, and Psychology, among others. Thanks to the school's 16:1 student-to-faculty ratio, nearly 65% of classes include less than 20 students. Through the Canvas learning platform, students can stay up to date with their academic progress, download class materials, and contact fellow students. To accommodate transfer students, up to 64 credits can be transferred into any program from a 2-year community college.

12. Grace College and Theological Seminary

Online Programs: 11
Type: Private

Founded in 1948 in Winona Lake, Grace College and Seminary is a private evangelical Christian institution with a total enrollment of about 2,300. Of the 11 available online degrees include 4 bachelors — in Management, Business Administration, Human Services, and General Studies — and 7 masters in Business Administration, Nonprofit Management, Higher Education, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Ministry Studies, and Athletic Administration, among others. Grace's student-to-faculty ratio is 20:1, and nearly 60% of classes consist of less than 20 students. Grace also offers unique 3-year accelerated undergraduate tracks with an emphasis on applied learning for maximum flexibility, and 99% of students receive some form of financial aid. Additional resources include tech support, career services, academic advising, library services, and more.

13. Anderson University

Online Programs: 2
Type: Private

Anderson University, a Christian liberal arts school founded in 1917, consists of approximately 2,300 students. Among the top ranked schools in the Midwest region by US News, Anderson has also been recognized by Forbes and the Princeton Review. Its online offerings include a Master of Arts in Christian Ministry and Master's of Theological Studies. With a student-to-faculty ratio of just 11:1, nearly 70% of classes have less than 20 students enrolled, allowing for maximum collaboration and peer-to-peer learning. Additional benefits include adult learner options, maximum schedule flexibility, a generous transfer policy, tutoring, academic advising, and more. 81% of Anderson students receive some form of financial aid, and the average need-based scholarship or grant is $15,900.

14. Indiana University-Purdue University-Fort Wayne

Online Programs: 6
Type: Public

Indiana University-Purdue University-Fort Wayne, founded in 1964, has a total enrollment of approximately 12,700. The school offers 6 online degrees: 5 bachelors in Information Systems, RN to BSN, Women's Studies, Psychology, and General Studies; and an MS in Nursing with a concentration in Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner. IUPFW has a student-to-faculty ratio of 17:1, and more than 50% of classes consist of less than 20 students. Nearly half of the university's enrollment are first-generation college students, and 75% of IUPFW students receive some form of financial aid. Through the Blackboard platform, students have access to group discussion threads, live chat rooms, downloadable course materials, and unique delivery methods to support the school's commitment to innovative education.

15. University of Southern Indiana

Online Programs: 5
Type: Public

The University of Southern Indiana, founded in 1965, is a Carnegie Foundation Community Engaged University with a total enrollment of over 9,000 students. Its online offerings include 3 bachelors — in Health Services, Radiologic Technology, Nursing (RN to BSN) — 3 masters — an MSN, MHA, and MBA — and Doctor of Nursing Practice. With a student to faculty ratio of 17:1, over 40% of USI classes are less than 20 students, and all online courses are designed for maximum flexibility, learning collaboration, and innovative education. Online students have access to tech support, proctoring services, academic support services, online student readiness assessment, mobile support, and the Blackboard learning platform. Over 60% of students receive some form of financial aid.

Monitoring the accreditation of a university you are interested in attending is incredibly important. Accreditation ensures your credits can transfer that you can receive Federal financial aid, and most importantly that certain standards of educational quality are during your schooling. The highest accreditation standard for most programs in the United States is provided by regional accreditation agencies. The regional accrediting agency for Indiana is the Higher Learning Commission, one of six regional accrediting agencies responsible for accrediting schools in Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Making sure that a University you're hoping to attend is regionally accredited — or accredited by a real and respected accrediting agency — is one of the most important choices you can make in ensuring the quality of your education.

Three Steps for Securing Financial Aid

  • Submit your FAFSA.
  • Check to see if additional forms are needed at your university of choice.
  • Search and apply for private scholarships.

Through the previous three steps most students find themselves offered some sort of federal grant, work study, private grant, scholarship, or stipend.

Great Indiana Higher Education Resources

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