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Our Research

This list features some of the best online schools in Wisconsin. 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.

We helped ensure the quality of these programs by only including schools that are approved by regional accreditors, such as the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The HLC consists of voluntary professionals that are committed to reviewing and improving postsecondary institutions in the north central United States. It bases its evaluation on several factors, including school objectives, integrity, academic performance, and the ability to improve.

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.

Online College Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

The Top 50 Online Colleges in Wisconsin

Best Online Colleges in Wisconsin Badge

Cardinal Stritch University

University of Wisconsin at La Crosse

Maranatha Baptist University

University of Wisconsin at Madison

Herzing University

Marquette University

University of Wisconsin Oshkosh

University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point

University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee

University of Wisconsin at River Falls

University of Wisconsin at Whitewater

University of Wisconsin at Platteville

University of Wisconsin at Stout

Viterbo University

University of Wisconsin at Parkside

University of Wisconsin at Superior

University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire

Lakeland University

University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

Wisconsin Lutheran College

Marian University

Concordia University Wisconsin

Milwaukee School of Engineering

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Frequently Asked Questions: Online Colleges in Wisconsin

Does Wisconsin have good online colleges and universities?

Yes. The state offers a wealth of online educational opportunities, such as the University of Wisconsin—Stout’s Online Bachelor’s in Cybersecurity and Maranatha Baptist University’s Online Bachelor’s in Educational Studies. After you graduate, you may want to consider staying in Wisconsin to complete a master’s degree while you work in one of the state’s many growing fields, like computing or social services. Wisconsin is rich in graduate school options, like Marquette University’s Online Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Carroll University’s Hybrid Master’s of Business Administration (MBA).

That said, there are many excellent online college programs available in other states as well. If you’re open to attending a school that’s located in another state, check out our guide to the best accredited online colleges. In addition to showing you the top 30 options in the entire United States for remote learning, this guide offers expert advice on how to choose a college and complete the application process.

Do online college credits in Wisconsin 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. Wisconsin became a member of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) in 2016. This means that out-of-state students who live in a SARA-participating state can take online courses from Wisconsin schools without incurring additional fees.

Why should you choose Wisconsin for online higher education?

From affordable community colleges to top public research universities, Wisconsin offers something for every type of online college student. One option that stands out as particularly appealing is Marian University, which offers affordable online degree programs for nursing, health and human services, paralegal studies, and business administration.

The Cost of Online College in Wisconsin

How much does an online degree in Wisconsin cost?

The cost of an online degree in Wisconsin 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 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 Wisconsin below:

Most affordable online college in Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, $337 per credit

Most expensive online college in Wisconsin: Cardinal Stritch University, $560 per credit

Average College Tuition Costs

Source: Education Data Initiative

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

Typically, you’ll be eligible for in-state tuition rates after you’ve lived in Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin?

The Wisconsin Grant provides financial assistance to Wisconsin residents enrolled at least half-time in undergraduate degree or certificate programs at select schools in the state, including the University of Wisconsin system, Wisconsin technical colleges, and tribal institutions. Awards are based on financial need as determined by the FAFSA.

College Financial Aid, Scholarships, and Grant Programs in Wisconsin

If you don’t qualify for a Wisconsin Grant, 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:

ISL Midwest Senior Scholarship

Sponsored by the Iowa Student Loan Liquidity Corporation, this scholarship is for high school seniors from the states of Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. There is no financial need, minimum GPA, or class rank requirements necessary to apply. The scholarship recipients are randomly drawn from all eligible entries, and winners can use the funds at any college/university in the nation.

Who’s eligible? In addition to the criteria above, applicants or their parents need to register for the scholarship competition online.

Contact information: [email protected] | 855-811-9849

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Schneider-Emanuel Scholarship

Established in 1968, this scholarship is sponsored by the American Legion of Wisconsin. It’s open to Wisconsin high school seniors who also meet specific criteria related to the American Legion. It can be used at any degree-granting college or university in the United States.

Who’s eligible? Applicants must be a current member or the child or grandchild of a current member of the American Legion, American Legion Auxiliary, or Sons of the American Legion. Additionally, applicants must have participated in one or more American Legion activities and have at least a 3.0 GPA.

Contact information: [email protected] | 608-745-1090

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Horatio Alger State Scholarship

This national scholarship program, funded by the Horatio Alger Endowment Fund and Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation in Wisconsin, 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 juniors who have at least a 2.0 GPA, financial need, and Wisconsin residency.

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

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Community Foundation of Southern Wisconsin Scholarships

A nonprofit foundation located in Wisconsin, this organization administers 240 scholarships for high school and college students from the state. You only need to fill out one application to be considered for all scholarships you’re eligible for.

Who’s eligible? Eligibility for each scholarship is different, but most look for financial need, academic performance, extracurricular activities, volunteer/community service, or other talents.

Contact information: [email protected] | 608-758-0883

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Top 5 Fast-Growing Industries in Wisconsin

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 Wisconsin — this will make it easier to find a job, and more demand should also help you earn a higher salary.

By consulting the U.S. Department of Labor’s Long-Term Occupational Projections (2020–2030), we’ve determined that the following five careers have some of the highest projected growth rates in Wisconsin:

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 Wisconsin, they earn an average salary of $121,210.

Physician Assistants

Physician assistants (PAs) are one of the most in-demand health professionals. They work under physicians to support patient care, and they 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 PA salary in Wisconsin is $121,630.

Personal Care Aides

As Wisconsin’s population ages and chronic and acute medical conditions become more prevalent, the state is in increasing need of personal care aides to assist patients, often older adults or disabled people, with tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and bathing. In Wisconsin, personal care aides make an average annual salary of $29,310.

Substance Use Disorder, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors

Wisconsin, like most states in the U.S., is experiencing a mental health and addiction epidemic. There is a growing need to provide more professional support around substance use disorder, behavioral issues, and mental health. In Wisconsin, counselors in this field earn an average salary of $54,330.

  • Growth: 18.5%
  • 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

Industrial Engineers

Industrial engineers work in many different fields, from healthcare to finance. They focus on maximizing efficiency and eliminating waste. Unlike some other types of engineers (nuclear, chemical, etc.), industrial engineers can typically enter their careers with only a bachelor’s degree. In Wisconsin, industrial engineers earn an average annual salary of $84,600.

  • Growth: 14.9%
  • Degree options: Bachelor’s in Industrial Engineering, Bachelor’s in Industrial and Systems Engineering, Bachelor’s in Operations Research, Bachelor’s in Supply Chain Management, Bachelor’s in Manufacturing Engineering

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