Top Universities for Online Courses 2019

There are lots of “best of” lists at the end of every year, and we have a new favorite for 2019! In an article dated December 17, 2019, Inside Higher Ed (the online news resource for college and university professionals) published the top 100 colleges and universities that had the most students who took at least one online course in fall 2018. That’s quite a mouthful, but simply, the number of online courses is booming. More classes are being added each semester, and thousands of students are flocking to the listed colleges. Is it time you did too?

Simply, online education is still growing:

The proportion of all enrolled college students who took at least one online class continued to rise, edging up to 34.7 percent in fall 2018 from 33.1 percent the previous year. The rate of increase appears to be slowing ever so slightly, although online education remains the main driver of growth in postsecondary enrollments.

Inside Higher Ed

Inside Higher Ed distilled this information from IPEDS, or the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System. The National Center for Education Statistics releases this compiled data each year. Many online college websites use IPEDS (including Smart College Visit on our college search site, You’re also free to look up the data yourself!

online courses

Fall 2018?

You might question the “fall 2018” part of this list. To clarify, IPEDS data is compiled and released almost a year after it is gathered. It takes time to sort through it all! So this list might seem “old,” but in reality, it’s new information for the higher education world.

You might also think the schools with the most number of online students aren’t necessarily the “best” schools out there. However, schools with thousands of online enrolled students are going to have streamlined processes and well-designed classes. Sometimes the delivery method complements the material.

RELATED: 5 Survival Tips for Taking Online College Courses

Both high school students and college students should have a look at this list. Is there an online opportunity that would work with your current class plan? Can you get some easily-transferable credits out of the way?

Top 10 Online Colleges By Enrollment

The top ten universities, and their online enrollments, are:

  1. Western Governors University (121,437)
  2. Southern New Hampshire University (96,912)
  3. Grand Canyon University (70,295)
  4. Liberty University (64,006)
  5. University of Maryland – University College (48,432)
  6. Walden University (50,360)
  7. American Public University System (46,088)
  8. University of Central Florida (10,269)
  9. Ivy Tech Community College (15,010)
  10. Florida International University (11,785)

For the next 90 colleges and universities, see the Inside Higher Ed article.

Are you taking any online classes through your school or another school? Do you have plans to? Tell us about it on Facebook or Twitter!

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