High-acceptance online schools might be a good fit if you're a nontraditional learner, working part-time, or worried about your GPA or standardized test scores.
These colleges level the playing field for learners on a limited budget or taking a nontraditional path. They accept all or the majority of applicants. Plus, online learning makes it easier than ever for busy working learners to access education on their schedule.
Read on for our list of the top 10 best high-acceptance online colleges in the nation to discover how much they cost and what they can offer you.
Online colleges with high acceptance rates: What to know
High-acceptance schools often have lower graduation rates compared to more elite institutions. That doesn't mean the education they provide is poor-quality, however.
Online colleges may have open admission. That means all applicants with a high school diploma or GED are accepted. Others have less-competitive admission policies with low or no GPA and standardized test score minimums.
These schools' reasoning for these policies may include:
Welcoming nontraditional and working learners
Serving students with fewer economic resources
Reducing bias in admissions
Many of these nonselective schools are academically rigorous but want to extend opportunities to marginalized groups. In other words, they give more people a chance.
Our top 10 online colleges with high acceptance meet these requirements:
Open admission policy or accept a large majority of applicants
Average annual cost at or below national averages
Solid academic reputation
Offers online programs in business, STEM, or healthcare
Below are the top 10 best regionally accredited, high acceptance online schools, in alphabetical order. This information is accurate at the time of publication. Check the school's websites before applying for further details.
A historically Black college founded in 1866 in Jefferson City, Missouri, Lincoln University has an open admission policy. It offers scholarship opportunities to in and out-of-state students. LU's online catalog includes 150 online courses and two fully-online degrees:
MA in higher education
Along with its two fully-online master's programs, LU also teaches a hybrid BSN-RN program that takes two years to complete. Online courses at LU use the Canvas learning platform.
Accreditation: Lincoln University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
Based in San Diego, National University was established as a nonprofit school by former U.S. Navy Capt. David Chigos in 1971. NU has an acceptance rate of 89% and does not require SAT or ACT test scores. The school's online degrees include:
A public college based in Williamsport, Pennsylvania College of Technology has an open admission policy and primarily offers degrees in management, technical skills, and health sciences. The school's online degrees include:
Located in Adelphi, Maryland, University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) was founded to serve nontraditional and returning students. It has an open admission policy. The public state university offers over 90 online degrees, including:
BS in biotechnology
BS in cybersecurity management and policy
MS in cloud computing
MS in instructional technology
UMG students and graduates can access the CareerQuest portal to apply for jobs and internships.
Accreditation: University of Maryland Global Campus is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
Based in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, The University of Southern Mississippi stands out as a research hub. It also promises cheap tuition and an acceptance rate of 96%. Undergraduate applicants must submit ACT or SAT scores.
Online degrees offered at USM include:
BAS in applied technology
BS in industrial engineering technology
MS in human capital development
All USM distance students can access free online writing tutoring. The school's campus is racially diverse, with a student population that is 27.3% Black.
Accreditation: The University of Southern Mississippi is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
Founded in 1913, The University of Texas at El Paso began as a school for mining and metallurgy. UTEP boasts an open admission policy and one of the lowest tuition rates for a four-year institution despite maintaining a solid reputation for research. Online degrees available at the school include:
Established in 1889 in Ogden, Utah, Weber State University offers nontraditional learners low tuition rates and an open admission policy. The school's online degrees include:
BS in health information management
BS in medical laboratory science
MS in radiologic sciences
Online courses at WSU use the Canvas learning platform and mix asynchronous and synchronous learning. WSU's financial aid resources include the Dream Weber program, which covers 100% of tuition for qualified students.
Accreditation: Weber State University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
Established in Youngstown, Ohio in 1908, Youngstown State University features an acceptance rate of 70% and affordable tuition. YSU's most popular programs are in general studies, nursing, and criminal justice. The school also offers a variety of online degrees, including: