Guide to Online Schools Releases 2013 Top Online Colleges Rankings

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More than 215 accredited schools were evaluated based on cost, repayment rate, retention and reviews

“In today’s environment of rising costs in education, it’s more critical than ever that students are empowered to make smart choices. That’s why our rankings combine objective measures of quality with data on cost and student reviews."

SR Education Group's flagship site, Guide to Online Schools, released its annual list of the top online universities today. For the first time ever, SR Education Group broke out the rankings into subcategories based on non-profit, for-profit and best associate and certificate programs, providing more tools for students who are researching and evaluating online colleges.

“Our purpose in publishing rankings of online schools is to help students look at the value and fit of a range of schools,” said Sung Rhee, CEO at SR Education Group. “In today’s environment of rising cost in education, it’s more critical than ever that students are empowered to make smart choices. That’s why our rankings combine objective measures of quality with data on cost and student reviews to create a fuller picture of the online education landscape.”

Guide to Online Schools evaluated online colleges on tuition costs, loan repayment rates, average retention rates, and student reviews. To be considered for the rankings, a school must offer at least 10 baccalaureate or advanced programs that can be completed online and be nationally or regionally accredited. Each school was then given a score and a ranking based on these criteria.

The top-ranked school on the 2013 list of Top Online Colleges is Western Governors University (WGU), followed by South Dakota State University, California University of Pennsylvania Online, Dakota State University and National University. Western Governors University rose to the top of the list from the number two spot last year.

“WGU offers high-quality, affordable degree programs designed to meet the needs of busy working adults,” said Patrick Partridge, chief marketing officer at Western Governors University.             
“All of our programs and curriculum are created in collaboration with employers to ensure that when our students graduate, they are prepared for their careers. The university consistently earns high marks from employers as well as graduates. And, 96 percent of graduates surveyed in 2012 said that they would recommend WGU to others. We’re very pleased to be at the top of the Guide to Online Schools’ top online college rankings. These ratings help prospective students know that if they enroll at WGU, they will earn a degree that is respected and valued.”

“Online education has become more convenient and often more affordable for many students. As the industry changes and evolves, we want to shed light on the student experience at these colleges and universities,” said Kimberly Wetter, marketing manager for Guide to Online Schools.

“That’s why, unlike other college rankings, we factor in the thousands of student reviews available on our website. We believe they are a strong indicator of satisfaction and value. When combined with cost information, we are confident that our rankings identify the online colleges that truly offer exceptional value for their fees.”

Guide to Online Schools is one of the top education portals on the Web, offering free, extensive information on distance learning, careers, reviews written by actual online students, and webpages where students can directly contact schools to request more information. To see the full list of rankings, visit

About SR Education Group
SR Education Group is based in Kirkland, Washington. The company’s mission is to be the most authoritative online resource for students seeking a school that best suits their career aspirations and budget. They are passionate about making quality education attainable for everyone and believe that objective information about education, careers, and educational financing should be free and easily accessible. For more information visit

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Renee Gastineau
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