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ASU Online ranked No. 2 for best online schools

With a wide selection of programs and lower tuition costs, ASU Online earns No. 2 ranking from Best Colleges

ASU Online Graphic

"Sparky, the Sun Devil Mascot, cheers on one of many virtual Arizona State University students." Illustration published on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017.

Some students attend ASU in part for the relatively low in-state tuition, but the students who save the most money may not even step foot on campus.

While ASU has been ranked No. 1 in innovation by US News and World Report, one of the school’s more recent awards was their No. 2 ranking for best online colleges from Best Colleges.

The wide variety of online graduate and undergraduate programs earned ASU the No. 2 ranking, said Quinn Tomlin, head of media relations at Best Colleges.

Tomlin said there is a combination of factors that go into their school rankings.

“Our goal is always to objectively assess the school’s relative quality based on academic outcome, affordability and the depths of opportunities,” Tomlin said.

Tomlin said the rankings are grounded into statistical data, which comes from the National Center for Education Statistics

Despite its high ranking, Tomlin also said that there is still room for improvement for ASU Online.

“It’s really about working on student outcomes,” said Tomlin. “Mainly for ASU, it’s raising graduation rates and lowering the student loan default rates.”

Beyond that, the University's online classes have saved many of its students a lot of money.

With the average age of online university students being 34, ASU online also serves a generally older audience than its on-campus counterpart.

Joe Chapman, the director of surveys for ASU, said the University is cognizant of the older demographic involved in online courses.

“Our audience is mainly working adults with jobs and children who don’t have time to attend online courses,” Chapman said. 

Chapman said the largest target audience for ASU Online is full-time workers, and also said tuition prices for certain majors can be cheaper when taken online versus on campus.

“Tuition per credit hour is $500 compared to $692,” Chapman said.

Chapman said costs vary program-wise and between in-state and out-of-state students.

Chapman also said there is also no discount in tuition for students who take a combination of online and on-campus classes. If a student is an on-campus student, he or she will pay on-campus rates for online classes.

Despite the lower cost per credit hour, Chapman said online students still graduate ASU with the same qualifications as on-campus students.

“The degree itself does not differentiate whether they attended their classes online or not,” Chapman said. “It only says Arizona State University.”

While ASU online has been helpful to students, Chapman said the University is always looking for more ways to improve. 

Chapman also said ASU online recently launched a Success Coaching Center.

“The Success Coaching Center consists of 59 success coaches and seven success coaching managers that are working with our online population to help them overcome life obstacles,” Chapman said.

ASU Online communications and media junior Adriana Bachmann said she has saved money by going to school online.

“It saves you a lot of money in terms of transportation,” Bachmann said.

Bachmann said she decided to try ASU online because of her full-time job.

“Most classes on campus are during the day and I have an 8-5 p.m.,” Bachmann said. “It was going to be impossible to go back and complete my bachelors.”

Bachmann said she has “fallen in love” with online college and has even started working for K-12 virtual schools.

She said she plans on working in marketing or communications for a school or a non-profit once she gets her degree. 

“I love talking to people and I love writing,” Bachmann said. “I want to do something that’s meaningful.”

Reach the reporter at or follow @keegan_kelly on Twitter.

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