Frequently Asked Questions: Online Colleges in Virginia

Does Virginia have good online colleges and universities?

Yes. The state offers a wealth of online educational opportunities, such as Liberty University’s  Online Bachelor’s in Accounting and Old Dominion University’s Online Bachelor’s in Health Services Administration. After you graduate, you may want to consider staying in Virginia to complete a master’s degree while you work in one of the state’s many growing fields, like computing or social services. Virginia is rich in graduate school options, including the University of Virginia’s Online Master’s in Data Science and George Mason University’s Online Master’s of Business Administration (MBA).

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

The answer to this question depends on which college you attend. Some schools offer discounted rates for online courses, while others charge an additional fee for online courses to help cover the cost of software licenses, technical support, etc. Virginia became a member of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) in 2014. This means that out-of-state students who live in a SARA-participating state can take online courses from Virginia schools without incurring additional fees.

Why should you choose Virginia for online higher education?

From affordable community colleges to top public research universities, Virginia offers something for every type of online college student. One option that stands out as particularly appealing is Bluefield University, which offers a flat rate of $365 per undergraduate credit for all online students regardless of state residency. The university offers eight undergraduate degree programs, including cybersecurity, business administration, psychology, and human services.

The Cost of Online College in Virginia

How much does an online degree in Virginia cost?

The cost of an online degree in Virginia depends on which institution you attend as well as the type of degree you decide to pursue. For example, undergraduate degrees are usually more affordable than graduate degrees. Also, you’ll probably 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 money on indirect expenses such as transportation, parking, 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 lowest and highest rates for earning an online bachelor’s degree in Virginia below:

  • Most affordable online college in Virginia: Emory and Henry University, $330 per credit
  • Most expensive online college in Virginia: East Coast Polytechnic Institute, $726 per credit

Average College Tuition Costs

Source: Education Data Initiative

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

Typically, you’ll be eligible for in-state tuition rates after you’ve lived in Virginia for 12 consecutive months. Some groups, such as military veterans, tribal members, and graduate fellows, are entitled to in-state tuition rates without meeting this one-year requirement.

Who qualifies for reduced tuition costs in Virginia?

In 2021, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signed the Get Skilled, Get a Job, Give Back initiative (also known as G3) into law. This program makes community college free to low and middle-income students from Virginia pursuing jobs in high-demand fields. Eligibility is determined by filling out the FAFSA. The state also offers the Virginia Guaranteed Assistance Program to residents of Virginia with financial need who wish to attend a public two or four-year higher education institution within the state.

College Financial Aid, Scholarships, and Grant Programs in Virginia

If you don’t qualify for grants from the state of Virginia, there are many other sources of financial support available that can help you cover the cost of college. Some of these programs are based on income, while others are awarded based on factors such as demographics or academic merit. We’ve reviewed a few of the most prominent scholarship options for you below:

Granville P. Meade Scholarship

This scholarship is sponsored by the Virginia Department of Education. It provides financial assistance to students who have achieved academic success while in high school but need monetary support to attend college. The award can be used at any public or private institution of higher learning in Virginia.

Who’s eligible? In addition to the requirements above, students should have a strong academic record. No minimum GPA is required to apply. Virginia high school seniors from public and private high schools (as well as home-schooled students) may apply.

Contact information: [email protected] | 804-225-2071

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Virginia Future Leaders Scholarship

Administered by the Broadband Association of Virginia and sponsored by the Donald A. Perry Foundation and the Virginia cable industry, this scholarship competition is open to Virginia residents only. Applicants must plan to attend (or already attend) an undergraduate two- or four-year program at a Virginia institution of higher learning.

Who’s eligible? In addition to the above, applicants must write an essay about why they are future leaders in Virginia.

Contact information: [email protected] | 804-780-1776

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Horatio Alger State Scholarship

This national scholarship program, funded by the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation and the Horatio Alger Endowment Fund in Virginia, is named after American author Horatio Alger. It’s offered to students who exhibit integrity and perseverance in overcoming personal adversity. Recipients may begin their studies at a two-year institution and later transfer to a four-year institution.

Who’s eligible? High school seniors who have at least a 2.0 GPA, financial need, and Virginia residency.

Contact information: [email protected] | 844-422-4200

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Community Foundation for a Greater Richmond

This nonprofit organization oversees 65 scholarship opportunities for students living in the central part of Virginia. Students only need to fill out one application to be considered for all scholarships they’re eligible for. Some scholarships may require additional essays or other materials.

Who’s eligible? While eligibility and application materials vary from scholarship to scholarship, most require residency in one of 44 counties in Virginia.

Contact information: [email protected] | 804-330-7400

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5 Fastest Growing Industries in Virginia

If you still don’t know where you will attend college, you may also be undecided on your major. In that case, one of the most important factors you should consider is which industries are growing the fastest in Virginia — this will make it easier to find a job, and more demand should also help you earn a higher salary.

By examining the state’s Long-Term Occupational Virginia 2018-2028 Projections, we’ve determined that the following five industries will have the highest growth rates in Virginia in the immediate years to come:

Healthcare Support

Virginia’s population grew by 7.9 percent in the last decade, sparking an increased need for healthcare support workers. Within this sector, the most common occupations are home health and personal care aides, nursing assistants, and medical assistants. Other occupations include psychiatric aides, physical therapy assistants, veterinary assistants, massage therapists, and pharmacy aides. The average statewide salary for all jobs in this industry is $30,330.

  • Growth: 21.3%
  • Degree options: Associate in Veterinary Technology, Associate in Nursing, Associate in Dental Assisting, Associate in Clinical Laboratory Technician, Bachelor’s in Health Administration, Bachelor’s in Health and Human Services, Bachelor’s in Pre-Occupational Therapy

Computers and Mathematics

Many top tech companies, like Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics IT, call Virginia home, making it a stalwart state for jobs in the computer and mathematical industry. Within this sector, the most common occupations are software developers, computer systems analysts, and computer user support specialists. Other occupations in this domain include information research scientists, actuaries, and web developers. The average statewide salary for all jobs in this industry is $107,130, which is more than $10,000 higher than the national average.

Personal Care and Service

The personal care and service industry is a broad sector that mostly focuses on consumer quality-of-life services throughout the lifespan. In Virginia, the most common occupations in this sector are hairdressers, child care workers, and recreation workers. Other jobs include funeral attendants, makeup artists, skin care specialists, and gambling service workers. All jobs in this industry have an average statewide salary of $31,230.

  • Growth: 18.9%
  • Degree options: Associate in Cosmetology, Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education, Bachelor’s in Recreation and Leisure, Bachelor’s in Funeral Service Management, Bachelor’s in Animal Behavior, Master’s in Leadership, Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology

 

Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations

Virginia is home to six medical schools and over 60 nursing programs, factors that contribute to its robust healthcare practitioner job market. Within this sector, the most common occupations in Virginia are registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, physicians, pharmacy technicians, and laboratory technicians. Other occupations include dental hygienists, opticians, speech-language pathologists, and athletic trainers. The average statewide salary for all jobs in this industry is $95,870.

  • Growth: 13%
  • Degree options: Associate in Veterinary Medicine, Bachelor’s in Nursing, Bachelor’s in Recreational Therapy, Bachelor’s in Audiology, Master’s in Genetic Counseling, Master’s in Communicative Sciences and Disorders, Doctor of Medicine

Community and Social Service

There are many job openings in Virginia for professionals in the mental health, behavioral health, and substance use fields. Within this sector, the average salary in Virginia is $53,450, which is slightly above the national average. The other most common occupations in this industry are social workers and social and human service assistants. Some jobs in this sector do not require a graduate degree, such as community health workers and career counselors.

Our Research

This list features the best online colleges across Virginia. It includes programs offered by research universities, midsize institutions, and liberal arts colleges. While making our selections, we considered the cost of tuition, the credits needed to graduate, and the coursework delivery format.

To help ensure the quality of these schools, we only reviewed accredited institutions. The schools here are all accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), which holds postsecondary institutions in the south to high standards. SACSCOC prides itself on its core values, which include integrity, accountability, and transparency.

  • 33hours to write this article
  • 90universities and colleges we assessed
  • 155education programs we compared

The Top 50 Online Colleges in Virginia

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