Comprehensive Report Reviews and Analyzes Online Degree Programs Offered by Top Performing California Colleges and Universities

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A new study conducted by is first resource for prospective online students that uses variables important to students and qualitative data obtained through interviews with administration from several schools. Key findings include online students can receive in-demand degrees from non-profit universities and colleges with traditional campuses.

News Image, a website dedicated to exploring the experience and tangible outcomes of online degree programs offered by traditional colleges and universities, has announced their findings on the state of online education in California.

Online education from for-profit institutions has grown in size and visibility and have given online education a negative reputation. However, there are 36 respected California colleges and universities that replicate their learning outcomes and student experience in the online environment. These California schools’ degrees are also considered high value with some tuition per credit hour rates as low as $162 like at CSU East Bay.

As online education has grown, so have the number of groups and reports that rank schools and programs. Most of this analysis is flawed because it does not take into consideration factors that are important to online students or uses numbers that represent the results for online and on-campus students. has performed the first analysis of California’s online education system that accounts for these factors and combines quantitative data with qualitative data acquired through several interviews with members of administration at different institutions. These interviews explore themes around the student experience, commitment to online education, and technological innovation.

The top ten California schools that offer online education are:
1. Brandman University
2. California Baptist University
3. California State University East Bay
4. California State University Chico
5. Hope International University
6. National University
7. California State Dominguez Hills
8. Touro University
9. California College San Diego
10. Golden Gate University

The research from proves that there are California schools that offer online degrees of the same high caliber available on-campus. Students can pursue popular degrees online in subjects like business and nursing. Some schools, like CSU East Bay, also offer niche majors like hospitality and tourism. Online students at CSU East Bay, Brandman University, and CSU Chico can choose to walk at commencement ceremonies and receive the same diplomas and transcripts as their on-campus counterparts. Administrations also aim to provide comparable support services to online students and to foster a sense of community among current students and alumni.

Not only do most of the schools primarily rely on the same full-time faculty teaching on-campus to teach online courses, but some of them, like CSU East Bay, provide training to their faculty so they can adapt to the online learning environment. CSU East Bay’s Steve Andrews, Marketing Manager for the College of Business and Economics and a marketing professor, explains that they establish the goals for each class and “the coursework is pretty much the same between an on-campus and online class. The syllabus is similar, and only the way [it is] deliver[ed] is different.”

Some of the schools are not newcomers to teaching students who are not able to attend classes on their bricks-and-mortar campus. For example, CSU Chico began offering distance education almost 50 years ago.

“We had a mission, even back in the 60s, to serve people in our region. We used to send people in cars up into the mountains, and over the course of a couple of weekends, they would teach a three unit class in a local town,” says Jeff Layne, Director of Distance and Online Education at CSU Chico.

While there are similarities across California colleges and universities, there are also nuanced differences, especially in terms of what populations they serve. Approximately 25% of the student body at Brandman is either a veteran or an active member of the military. CSU Chico focuses on serving their regional population, and CSU East Bay is seeing growing interest from other regions in the state.

The complete rankings, reviews, and interviews can be found here:

About is the first resource and guidebook created for prospective online students that blends data analysis with qualitative feedback from the staff and faculty of accredited colleges and universities. Rather than creating another flawed ranking system, aims to identify the nuanced strengths and details of each school so students know which institution is the best fit.

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Melanie Jones
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