Our Research

This list features some of the best online schools in Arizona. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions. We included liberal arts colleges and research universities as well as small, midsize, and large institutions. Next, we compared this comprehensive list to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications like the U.S. News & World Report among others to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

Our list includes only accredited institutions, ensuring they meet the national standard for post-secondary education and higher learning. The majority of programs listed are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Several receive accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on College. A few are also accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission.

We evaluated each school on tuition costs, admission, retention and graduation rates, faculty, and reputation as well as the student resources provided for online students. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

The Top 5 Online Colleges in Arizona

Best Online Colleges in Arizona Badge
01
Intelligent Pick
The University of Arizona - Online
01
Most Innovative
ASU Online
01
Most Customizable
Northern Arizona University
01
Most Flexible Start Dates
Arizona Christian University
01
Best for Hands-On Learning
Prescott College

Frequently Asked Questions: Online Colleges in Arizona

Does Arizona have good online colleges and universities?

Arizona’s online bachelor’s and graduate degree programs are some of the strongest in the country. For instance, in 2022, U.S. News & World Report ranked Arizona State University’s (ASU) online bachelor’s degree program No. 6 in the country and University of Arizona’s (UA) online bachelor’s degree program No. 7 in the country. At the graduate level, many online programs at institutions in Arizona rank in the top 10 nationally, with ASU’s online master’s in educational administration earning the No. 1 spot. The state of Arizona is truly a leader in high-quality online postsecondary education.

Do online college credits in Arizona cost more than in-person classes?

The answer to this question depends on which college you attend. Some colleges offer discounted rates for online courses regardless of where you live, whereas others charge an additional fee for online courses to help cover the cost of software licenses, technical support, etc. The three colleges in Arizona that offer online bachelor’s degrees — ASU, UA, and Northern Arizona University — all charge the same online tuition for in-state and out-of-state students, and this tuition is comparable to or less than the on-campus fee.

Why should you choose Arizona for online higher education?

Arizona has online bachelor’s and graduate degree programs that consistently rank at the top of nationwide comparisons. In particular, ASU and UA offer a range of undergraduate and graduate programs that have been singled out for their strength. This tells you that as an online student, you will get a flexible education that does not sacrifice anything in the way of quality.

The Cost of Online College in Arizona

How much does an online degree in Arizona cost?

The cost of an online degree in Arizona depends on which institution you attend as well as the type of degree you choose to pursue. For example, undergraduate degrees are usually more affordable than graduate degrees. Also, you may find yourself paying more for your degree if you major in a STEM field rather than the humanities.

Regardless of the cost per credit, you should also consider that you may be able to save a lot of money on indirect expenses, such as transportation and housing, by earning your college degree online.

To give you a sense of exactly how much you should expect to pay for your online education, we’ve listed the current rates for earning an online bachelor’s degree in Arizona below:

  • Most affordable online college in Arizona: Northern Arizona University, $455 per credit
  • Most expensive online college in Arizona: Arizona State University, $541 per credit

Average College Tuition Cost

Source: Education Data Initiative

How long do you have to live in Arizona to get in-state tuition rates?

To be considered an Arizona state resident for education purposes, you must be able to prove you lived in Arizona continuously for at least 12 months immediately preceding the semester in which you are applying for in-state tuition. It’s worth noting that all of Arizona’s online bachelor’s and graduate degree programs currently charge in-state and out-of-state students the same tuition.

Who qualifies for reduced tuition costs in Arizona?

The state of Arizona offers several ways to reduce your tuition costs. One is through the Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP), which caps graduate school tuition in Arizona at 150% of in-state tuition for students from the 16 states in the western U.S.

Arizona residents with unmet financial need are also eligible for the Arizona Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership (AzLEAP), which provides up to $2,500 of aid to students enrolled at a college or university in Arizona. The grant is based on demonstrated financial need, so it’s important to file your FAFSA application early and accurately. FAFSA will also show you if you’re eligible for Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, and other financial aid awards.

College Financial Aid, Scholarships, and Grant Programs in Arizona

In addition to the AzLEAP, there are a number of other programs available that can help you cover the cost of college. Some of these programs are awarded based on financial need, whereas others are awarded based on factors such as demographics or academic merit. We’ve reviewed a few of the most prominent financial aid options for you below:

Flinn Foundation Scholars

The Flinn Scholarship is a highly competitive, merit-based program for Arizona high school students who plan to attend a public university in Arizona. Less than 2% of applicants receive this award. The scholarship covers the full cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board at an Arizona public university — a value of $130,000 or more. It also includes a three-week summer seminar, study abroad opportunities, mentorship, membership in a university honors college, and more.

Who’s eligible? U.S. citizens or green card holders who have lived in Arizona for at least the past two years and who have at least a 3.5 GPA, rank in the top 5% of their graduating class, and participate and demonstrate leadership in their extracurriculars.

Contact information: [email protected] | 602-744-6802

Learn more

Arizona Community Foundation Scholarships

The Arizona Community Foundation is a hub for Arizona-specific scholarships and funding opportunities. It allows students across the state of Arizona to apply for more than 100 scholarship awards online using one general application. Once you submit your application, the Foundation matches you with all the scholarships you’re eligible for.

Who’s eligible? Arizona residents enrolled (or soon to enroll) in an Arizona college or university. Specific requirements differ by scholarship, and the Foundation matches you with the scholarships you’re eligible for.

Contact information: [email protected] | 602-381-1400

Learn more

Arizona Business and Professional Women’s Foundation Scholarship

This scholarship funding supports working women over the age of 19 who are returning to school at a community college in Arizona to advance their employment and earning potential. Recipients of the scholarship are required to attend at least one Arizona Business and Professional Women’s Foundation event per year.

Who’s eligible? Women ages 19 and older who are Arizona residents, work full-time, and are returning to school at an Arizona community college to enhance their job opportunities or advance their current careers.

Contact information: [email protected]

Learn more

The Arizona Society of CPAs Scholarship

The Arizona Society of CPAs is the leading association of certified public accountants (CPAs) in Arizona and offers scholarships to students studying to become CPAs. Scholarships of $2,000 per year are available for students majoring in accounting or a related field at a public or private university in Arizona.

Who’s eligible? Aspiring CPAs majoring in accounting at the bachelor’s or graduate degree level at a university in Arizona.

Contact information: [email protected] | 888-237-0700

Learn more

5 Fastest Growing Industries in Arizona

If you’re still in the process of assessing your college options, it’s possible you’re still undecided on your major. When selecting a major, one of the most important factors to consider is your future employability. Thinking about which industries and careers are growing the fastest in Arizona can make it easier to find a job, and being in demand should also help you earn a higher salary.

By consulting the most recent data from the Department of Labor’s Long-Term Occupational Projections 2018–2028, we’ve determined that the following five careers have the highest growth rates in Arizona:

Occupational Therapy Assistants

Occupational therapy assistants (OTAs) support occupational therapists in their patient care, helping people regain the ability to carry out their daily activities. OTAs typically have at least an associate degree and earn an average yearly salary of $65,510 in Arizona.

  • Growth: 57.1%
  • Degree options: Associate in Occupational Therapy Assistance

Physician Assistants

Physician assistants are one of the most in-demand health professionals. They work under physicians to support patient care and must complete extensive education and medical training. They are not as highly compensated as physicians, but they still make six-figure salaries. The average annual physician assistant salary in Arizona is $113,850.

Nurse Practitioners

Nurse practitioners (NPs) are advanced practice registered nurses who specialize in diagnosing and treating patients, with an emphasis on preventative care and health education. They are quickly becoming many Americans’ preferred primary care professionals. NPs tend to be well-compensated; in Arizona, they earn an average salary of $117,480 per year.

Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors

Arizona, like most states in the U.S., is experiencing a mental health and addiction epidemic. The state’s population is expected to grow substantially in the next decade, and with that growing population comes a growing need to provide more professional support around substance abuse, behavioral issues, and mental health. In Arizona, counselors in this field earn an average salary of $49,330 per year.

  • Growth: 41.4%
  • Degree options: Bachelor’s in Clinical/Medical Social Work, Bachelor’s in Psychology, Bachelor’s in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling, Master’s in Clinical/Medical Social Work, Master’s in Clinical Psychology, Master’s in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling

Medical Assistants

Medical assistants perform a range of administrative and selective clinical duties to support physicians. They schedule appointments, maintain medical records, oversee billing and insurance coding, and sometimes take patients’ vitals, draw blood, and administer medication as directed. In Arizona, they earn an average salary of $35,670 per year.