Best Value Online Colleges in Kansas 2021

Updated November 29, 2022

By BVS Staff Welcome to our best value ranking of online colleges in Kansas. There are just over 30 different institutions of higher education in Kansas, but only about half enroll a decent portion of students in online courses. Of those online-accessible schools, we're bringing you the 10 "best value." These top 10 colleges all ... is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Online education has ushered a new era in learning. Students can explore more educational opportunities than ever before without geographical restraints. Kansas students can enroll in online programs not offered by local schools, and non-resident learners can take advantage of the state's rich academic offerings.

Some Kansas institutions allow out-of-state online students to pay in-state tuition. Some of these schools include Pittsburg State University, Newman University, and Wichita State University. Paying in-state tuition can significantly reduce the cost of a four-year degree.

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Figuring out where to apply? These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online degrees. Consider one of these accredited programs, and discover their value today.

Kansas institutions follow the residency laws established by the state legislature and the Kansas Board of Regents. Learners pay in-state tuition if they resided in Kansas for at least 12 months prior to their initial enrollment in a Kansas college or university.

With more than 90 accredited colleges, Kansas offers many academic opportunities for students seeking undergraduate and graduate degrees. All state universities and several private colleges offer online options, with many of them offering fully online programs that require no campus visits.

Read on to explore some of the most affordable online colleges in Kansas, including scholarship opportunities and professional organizations.

Top 5 Best Value Online Colleges in Kansas

#1 Ottawa University-Online Ottawa, KS
#2 Washburn University Topeka, KS
#3 University of Kansas Lawrence, KS
#4 Fort Hays State University Hays, KS
#5 Pittsburg State University Pittsburg, KS


How long does it take to earn an online degree?

The time frame varies depending on students' enrollment status and whether the program runs synchronously or asynchronously.

What kinds of degrees can I earn online?

Kansas colleges and universities offer several undergraduate and graduate degrees online in various fields of study.

Do I need to be a resident of Kansas to study at an online school in Kansas?

No. Kansas participates in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement, which allows out-of-state students to enroll in online programs offered by participating schools.

How long does it take to become an official resident of Kansas for college?

A student must show continuous physical presence in the state for a minimum of 365 days prior to the first day of classes.

Best Value Online Schools in Kansas 2021

Online colleges in Kansas rank among some of the most affordable institutions in the Sunflower State. Online students receive the same quality education as on-campus enrollees since only the delivery format differs. The same professors who teach on campus also teach online classes. The schools listed below offer a range of online bachelor's and master's degrees and welcome applications from in-state and out-of-state students.

  1. Ottawa University-Online

    Ottawa, KS



    Ottawa University offers an extensive list of online programs in Kansas. Undergraduate students choose from 19 programs of study in diverse fields like elementary education and healthcare management. Accounting majors can take advantage of a dual program that allows enrollees to complete a bachelor's and a master's in accounting in less time than it would take to earn each degree separately.

    At the graduate level, Ottawa University offers eight online master's programs in human resources and addiction counseling, among others. The university's MBA offers specialized tracks in leadership development, strategic innovation, and more.

    Most of the online programs at Ottawa University maintain flexible formats, with asynchronous and synchronous courses and multiple starting dates. Several programs also feature accelerated coursework with classes following eight-week delivery schedules.

  2. Washburn University

    Topeka, KS



    An online college in Kansas focused on the healthcare field, The School of Applied Studies at Washburn University offers five online-only programs in health science, diagnostic medical sonography, magnetic resonance imaging, health information technology, and radiation therapy.

    Students pursuing the bachelor of health science program can specialize in one of three fields: health services administration, medical imaging, and medical laboratory science. Although the program features required health science classes all online, some specialization courses follow an in-person format.

    The diagnostic medical sonography program prepares students to sit for the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) exam upon completion. ARDMS certification is a recognized credential in the diagnostic medical field.

    The School of Nursing offers an online program for associate-trained registered nurses (RN) who wish to pursue a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN). The RN-to-BSN program comprises 32 credits, follows an eight-week delivery schedule, and can be completed in 18 months. The school also offers an online doctor of nursing practice degree.

  3. University of Kansas

    Lawrence, KS



    An online college in Kansas based in Lawrence, KU offers several online programs at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. The school features many degree-completion programs, developed for enrollees who already hold an associate degree, or otherwise meet general education requirements. Students can enroll in online degree-completion programs in fields like exercise science, respiratory care, and communication studies.

    At the graduate level, KU offers MA and MS programs across 11 fields of study, including pharmacy, social work, and engineering. Students can complete many of the programs entirely online. However, some programs, such as the MA in leadership in diversity and inclusion and the MS in construction management, do have on-campus requirements.

    KU offers two online doctoral programs through the School of Nursing: the doctor of nursing practice and the Ph.D. in nursing. Both programs blend online instruction with in-person requirements.

  4. Fort Hays State University

    Hays, KS



    With diverse online programs at almost every education level, Fort Hays State University stands out from other online colleges in Kansas. The university offers online bachelor's programs in 29 professional arenas including agricultural business, human health and performance, and international business and economics.

    The online undergraduate programs require enrollees to hold an associate degree from an accredited school or show satisfactory completion of general education coursework. Some programs (such as nursing and social work) require applicants to show completion of prerequisite classes.

    The university offers online master's degrees in business, education, and nursing, among others. Students accepted to the online MBA can choose from 12 specializations including tourism and hospitality management, corporate communications, and management information systems.

    As the only online doctoral degree offered at Fort Hays, the doctor of nursing practice accepts applications from bachelor's- and master's-trained registered nurses.

  5. Pittsburg State University

    Pittsburg, KS



    Like other Kansas online colleges, Pittsburg State University offers online programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Students pursue degrees in several fields including educational technology, nursing, and business administration.

    The online BS in workforce development, designed as a degree completion program, offers concentrations in human resources and supervision and leadership. Associate-trained registered nurses (RN) who wish to earn a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) can enroll in the online RN-to-BSN program. The program takes 12 months to complete when enrolled full time. The program accepts part-time students as well.

    Students can complete all required coursework for the university's online master's programs without any campus visits. Most courses follow asynchronous delivery formats, but students must still submit assignments, research work, and projects within specified deadlines.

    Some of the university's online master's programs hold programmatic accreditation on their own. For example, the MBA is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business and the university's graduate education programs are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.

Accreditation for Online Schools in Kansas

Accreditation is an evaluation process that involves a recognized accrediting agency examining the quality and rigor of a school's academic offerings. Most postsecondary institutions in the United States voluntarily go through this process to demonstrate their commitment to quality education.

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) oversee the accreditation process. Nonprofit, degree-centered public and private colleges and universities typically pursue regional accreditation. Sectarian and vocational for-profit schools often seek national accreditation. ED and CHEA oversee both types of accreditation.

A school's accreditation matters especially for students who plan to apply for federal financial assistance to help fund their education. ED channels funds only through accredited institutions. Additionally, accredited colleges and universities typically accept transfer credits only from equally accredited schools.

The Distance Education Accrediting Commission accredits institutions offering mostly online programs and other forms of distance education.

Most learners choose online programs for their flexibility and affordability. Online programs often feature asynchronous delivery formats and multiple starting dates. The ability to access course materials at any time and from anywhere especially benefits students who must juggle work, family, and personal responsibilities.

Online programs with multiple starting dates mean students need not wait for a fall or spring opening to enroll. Additionally, many online programs offer accelerated delivery schedules, such as eight-week terms instead of regular 16-week semesters. This means students can enroll in more courses during a typical school year.

Online learners save on transportation and other on-campus fees. They can also reap significant savings by enrolling in out-of-state schools that charge online enrollees the same tuition as in-state students. Earning a degree as quickly as possible allows students to enter the workforce sooner. While this may not save money, it means online graduates often start earning a salary sooner than on-campus students.

Professional Organizations for Students in Kansas

Kansas hosts regional chapters of several national organizations that welcome students pursuing a degree in their specific professional arena. Student members enjoy many benefits, including networking and mentoring opportunities, scholarships, and training and internship options. The four professional organizations below encourage membership applications from undergraduate and graduate Kansas students.

Kansas students enrolled in an accounting program can apply for membership in AAA's Midwest Chapter. Members gain full access to the organization's publications and scholarly journals. The organization specifically targets accounting majors who want to work in academia or as researchers in the accounting field. AAA accepts undergraduate and graduate student members.

The Kansas chapter of AAF is one of the organization's largest and oldest chapters. Student members enjoy professional development and networking opportunities as well as discounted pricing on major AAF-sponsored regional and national events and conferences. They can also access an online job board and receive updates on member-exclusive internship and volunteer opportunities.

Students pursuing an education degree at a Kansas institution can apply for membership. KNEA offers several member benefits, including scholarships and professional resources for aspiring educators.

SHRM welcomes students pursuing a degree in human resources or a closely related field such as business administration, industrial/organizational psychology, or labor relations. Student members gain full access to the organization's website, which features information about scholarships, internships, and professional networking opportunities. Members also receive discounts on training and educational materials and exam preparation resources.

The best online schools in Kansas offer several scholarships for students with varying skills, academic backgrounds, and interests. However, private organizations and special-interest nonprofits also administer financial assistance programs reserved for specific student groups. The four scholarships below represent a small sample of the many scholarships available for online students in Kansas.

The American Occupational Therapy Foundation Scholarships

Who Can Apply: AOTF welcomes applications from students pursuing an accredited occupational therapy program at a Kansas institution. Students of an occupational therapy assistant program may also apply.
Amount: $1,000-$5,000

Capitol Federal Education Scholarships

Who Can Apply: The program accepts applications from incoming freshmen with a high school 3.35 GPA or higher. Applicants must be enrolled in a business program at an accredited Kansas institution and live in a Capitol Federal service area.
Amount: $2,500

Kansas Nursing Service Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Students pursuing a nursing degree and enrolled in at least 12 credits can apply. Recipients must commit to working for the scholarship sponsor for one year for every year of assistance.
Amount: $3,500-$4,500

Kansas Teacher Service Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Students pursuing an education degree leading to teaching licensure can apply. Recipients must agree to teach in an underserved Kansas community for one year for every year they receive funding.
Amount: Up to $5,536 per year

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