Guide to Online Schools Releases 2012 Top Online Colleges Rankings

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Guide to Online Schools, a leading education portal, announces its pick of the Top 30 Online Colleges available to students in 2012. Over 200 accredited online schools were evaluated using a number of standardized school metrics from the U.S. Department of Education and internal data.

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Given the country's heightened economic awareness, many individuals are looking to attend online programs to obtain higher degrees, as the classes offer a more flexible schedule and no commuting time.

SR Education Group's flagship site, Guide to Online Schools, has released its third annual list of the top online universities. As one of the few education portals to actively calculate the rankings of online schools, the data presented in their list is significant to many institutions and students. This year, the list has been expanded from a list of 20 to the top 30 best online universities, but still includes loan repayment rates and average rate of student retention when tabulating final scores.

Other metrics used to determine rankings include whether or not the school was a for-profit or non-profit university, cost of tuition, student reviews of schools, and whether or not the school was regionally accredited (only regionally accredited schools were included in the rankings). A number of statistics were gathered from The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), part of the U.S. Department of Education.

Topping the list for a second straight year was California University of Pennsylvania Online, followed by Western Governors University, Iowa Central College Online, National University, and Abilene Christian University. Other schools that were featured, but just below the top five were Jones International University, Northcentral University, and Bellevue University. Notably, several colleges moved around on the list compared to last year's 2011 study. Jones International University, for instance, improved four spots, while Colorado Technical University - Online, slid five places.

Some perennial mentions include Abilene Christian University, Capella University, Colorado Technical University, Iowa Central College Online, Jones International University, Liberty University, Saint Leo University Online, Walden University, and Western Governors University which have appeared in the top rankings for three years running.

Given the country's heightened economic awareness, many individuals are looking to attend online programs to obtain higher degrees, as the classes offer a more flexible schedule and no commuting time. Despite gaining popularity, however, distance learning still carries with it certain negative stigmas and many people are wary of enrolling. SR Education Group hopes to alleviate these fears by making the online schooling process more transparent. Jimmy Lin, SR Education Group spokesperson, says of the rankings, "By focusing on the criteria that matter to students, we've uncovered a lot of schools that offer exceptional value for their cost."

Guide to Online Schools is one of the top education portals on the Web, offering extensive information on distance learning, careers, reviews written by actual online students, and pages where students can directly contact schools to get more information. To see the full list of rankings, visit Guide to Online School's 2012 Top Online Colleges Rankings.

SR Education Group is based in Kirkland, Washington. For more information, please contact Alan Handford, 425-605-8898 or email alan(at)sreducationgroup(dot)org.

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