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.

The Top 50 Online Colleges in Wisconsin

Best Online Colleges in Wisconsin Badge
Intelligent Pick
University of Wisconsin at La Crosse
Best Library Services
University of Wisconsin at Whitewater
Best Alumni Network
University of Wisconsin at Madison
Best for Adult Learners
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Best Christian Institution
Concordia University Wisconsin
Best Master Programs
University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire
Best Career Services
University of Wisconsin at Stout
Most Affordable
University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point
Best DEI Efforts
University of Wisconsin at Green Bay
Best Student Services
University of Wisconsin at Platteville

Viterbo University

University of Wisconsin at River Falls

Cardinal Stritch University

University of Wisconsin at Parkside

University of Wisconsin at Superior

Maranatha Baptist University

Wisconsin Lutheran College

Marian University of Wisconsin

University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee

Lakeland University
Best STEM University
Milwaukee School of Engineering

Marquette University

Northland College

Edgewood College

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 Online Master’s of Business Administration (MBA).

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 a flat rate of $415 per undergraduate credit for all online students regardless of state residency.

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, 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 Wisconsin below:

  • Most affordable online college in Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, $337 per credit
  • Most expensive online college in Wisconsin: Herzing University, $585 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, Wisconsin Technical College, 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

Learn more

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 the child or grandchild of a current member of the

American Legion, the American Legion Auxiliary, or the 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

Learn more

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 seniors who have at least a 2.0 GPA, financial need, and Wisconsin residency.

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

Learn more

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

Learn more

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

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 Wisconsin, the most common occupations in this sector are child care workers, hairdressers, and recreation workers. Other occupations include funeral attendants, makeup artists, animal trainers, and gambling service workers. All jobs in this industry have an average salary of $30,520 in Wisconsin.

  • Growth: 11.7%
  • 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

Computers and Mathematics

Wisconsin is the home of many top tech startups, such as Fetch Rewards and Redox, so it’s no surprise to see this industry growing. Within this sector, the most common occupations are software developers, computer systems analysts, and computer user support specialists. Other occupations include information research scientists, actuaries, and web developers. The average statewide salary for all jobs in this industry is $82,270.

Construction and Extraction

New construction of homes, warehouses, and distribution centers is currently driving the growth of this industry in the Badger State. Within this sector, the most common occupations in the state are construction laborers, carpenters, and construction supervisors. Other construction and extraction occupations include plumbers, pipefitters, and earth drillers. The average annual wage for a construction laborer in Wisconsin is $56,350, which is above the national average.

  • Growth: 9.5%
  • Degree options: Associate in Construction Technology, Bachelor’s in Construction Management, Bachelor’s in Civil Engineering Technology, Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering, Master’s in Construction Administration, Ph.D. in Building Construction

Life, Physical, and Social Science Organizations

Wisconsin is rich in natural resources, with 50 state parks, nine state forests, nearly 15,000 lakes, and thousands of streams. The University of Wisconsin also has an excellent natural resources science program, so it’s no surprise to see this industry is one of the strongest in the state. Jobs include soil and plant scientists, foresters, chemists, biological technicians, and epidemiologists. In Wisconsin, the average salary for jobs in this sector is $68,570.

Community and Social Service

There are many job openings in Wisconsin for professionals in the mental health, behavioral health, and substance use fields. Within this sector, the average salary in Wisconsin is $48,410, with the most common occupations being social and human service assistants. Many occupations in this sector do not require a graduate degree, like community health workers and career counselors.