The Worst Online Colleges in 2024

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Online colleges are a great way to get a university degree from the comfort of your home, whether an undergraduate or graduate. It also gives you the freedom to learn whenever and wherever you want. However, just like traditional universities, there are good and bad ones.

Decent online colleges have a high graduation rate and employment prospects when you graduate. Subpar online colleges are the opposite, and they have a subpar education quality, a tainted reputation, and some charge exorbitantly.

This article will educate you on the worst online colleges in the world. You’ll understand what they are and why they’re on the list.

1. Devry University

DeVry University is one college you shouldn’t consider for an online degree. First, tuition is wildly expensive at $514 per credit hour for the quality of education you’ll get there. Even students who attended the college claim it’s subpar, and most end up withdrawing anyway.

Aside from the high tuition fee and subpar education method, DeVry also has a long history of feuds and lawsuits. As recent as 2022, the US government discharged over $71 million in student loan debt because of the college’s deceptive enrollment process.

2. Colorado Technical University

The Colorado Technical University doesn’t have an affiliation with the state of Colorado. It’s a private online university with 22,000 students and has a 22% graduation rate. The college charges $340 per credit, among the lowest on this list. However, you can find hundreds of online colleges that’ll give you better value for money.

Also, recently, in 2020, the US Department of Veteran Affairs suspended its G.I Bill Reimbursement eligibility due to shady enrolment and advertising practices. The college got out of the mess, but it’s still among the institutions on the FTC’s notice of penalty offenders.

3. American Intercontinental University

American Intercontinental University is another college that entered this list partly due to its deceptiveness, especially with how it advertises tuition. You get to pay $345 per credit unit but study 180 of them in your degree. However, students praised its educational quality, and you can hit gold if you’re ready to navigate the challenge.

What you should be worried about is your job prospects if you’re going for an undergraduate degree. The college has seen almost similar scandals as Colorado Technical Technical University, which coincidentally is owned by the same company, Pordeceo Education Corporation.

4. Strayer University

Strayer University charges its 28,000 students $508 per credit hour, among the highest on this list., but it only graduates 16% of its students. This low graduation is the teaching method–tutors monitor rather than educate the students.

This technique doesn’t work with many students, hence the low graduation rate. Some students also report that the online coaches or aids supposed to help them on their academic journey have been unresponsive, which makes navigating an already challenging learning environment harder.

5. Capella University

Capella University’s graduation rate is higher than Strayer’s at 21%, but the overall education quality isn’t much of a difference. The college has 13,000 students and charges $350-$415 per credit hour. However, the college has 180 credit hours per degree, meaning you’ll pay considerably more than all the other colleges on this list to get your degree.

Capella University’s incompetence stems from its inconsistency. Some degrees are worthwhile, have good professors, and issues get addressed quickly. However, others are the stark opposite, and you’ll get a bad experience trying to study for a degree in these programs.

The college also has a lengthy history of scandals and lawsuits, which has hampered its reputation. Some of those that stand out include the 2006 U.S. Department of Education compliance lawsuit, class action lawsuits, and even alleged fraud on student loans.

6. University of Phoenix

The University of Phoenix claims it lets you save time and money on your college degree. However, you’ll need to pay around $398 per credit hour at the college. While this fee isn’t even the most expensive on this list, it doesn’t match the quality of education or the college’s prestige.

Its graduation rate is 27%, which is impressive compared to others on this list. However, it’s also on the FTC’s list of colleges under investigation, and it seems like it has always been under some sort of investigation.

7. American Public University

The American Public University System might look like an elite institution from the outside, but its stats and the reviews it gets from some students say otherwise. It has an 18% graduation rate, which is incredibly low. The college also charges $385 per credit hour, which is incredibly low for the quality of education that it claims it offers.

Employers underrate the degree from the APU, and it’s not just worthwhile wasting your time attending it. It’s on the FTC’s Notice of Penalty Offences in the Higher Education Marketplace.

How to Choose the Right Online College?

You don’t have to attend the best online colleges in the world, although it’s a plus if you can. However, you only need to look for one with the qualities to give you a top education. It isn’t hard to choose an online college if you know where to look, and here are some tips to help you choose the right one.

1. Accreditation

Accreditation is one of the first things to look for. Each country or region has regulatory bodies–you should know the one for your location. A college with accreditation from the regulatory body in your country means it’s under observation by the federal government. However, you should know that accreditation doesn’t necessarily mean the college’s good, and you’ll need to do more.

2. Admission Requirements

The admission requirements determine whether or not you’re eligible to be admitted. They can also give you a decent insight into the standards. If a school has competitive admission requirements, it only admits competent students.

The potential for networking and the graduation rate would be high. However, schools with low requirements accept almost everyone, and there have been accusations that some online colleges admit students who didn’t finish high school.

3. Check Reviews

The second option is to check reviews. There are many online forums where students talk about their experience at a particular online college, and they represent what you should expect. You can also speak to students who’ve attended the institution to get an insight. Getting a realistic outlook from students and alumni is one of the best ways to know a college’s quality.

4. School Fees

You should also research the college’s fees and ensure it’s competitive. Online colleges are usually cheaper than conventional universities but also expensive. Therefore, it’s best to spend it on quality. You should also research financial aid and whether or not you’ll need to pay out-of-state tuition.

5. Know your Major

You should also decide on your major and confirm that the university offers it. Better still, you can opt for a college that’s known for the quality it produces in your field. You should also confirm whether or not the institution offers their degree entirely online, so you won’t be caught unawares with university appointments.

6. Confirm that the school has decent Online Services.

Another essential aspect many students skip is the quality of online student services. Don’t be fooled by the quick response you get during your application because most online schools, especially private ones want to admit as many as possible for the money. It’s best to confirm that the school has decent helpline services so you can reach out if you need help.

Those are some of the imperfect online colleges in the world. All these colleges charge tuition that doesn’t represent their education quality and is simply a hassle. You can find hundreds that are better and are more respected.

It’s imperative to research any college that you want to attend. Some aren’t on this list and are more efficient at some programs than others. If you conduct adequate research before choosing a college, selecting one that matches your academic goals will be easy.


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