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Top 10 Online Universities for Senior Year

If you’re looking to get a jump-start on college, dual enrollment and concurrent enrollment courses are a great way to do that. Most dual enrollment programs are open to juniors and seniors, though there is at least one featured in this ranking that is open even to sophomores. It used to be that students were pretty limited in their dual enrollment choices, having to choose between whatever colleges were in easy driving distance from their homes. With the expansion of online education, some colleges have begun to offer dual enrollment courses (and in some cases even dual enrollment associate’s degrees) online.

Some universities only offer dual enrollment to students who reside within their state, while others offer dual enrollment to students across the country. The issue of receiving high school credit for your college courses becomes more complex if you live in a different state than the college in which you are enrolled. So it’s very important to consult both college admissions officers and your high school guidance counselors to ensure you get the most for the time and money you plan to invest. For your convenience we do specify whether or not each of the online dual enrollment programs in our ranking is available to students outside the school’s state. This ranking features both secular and religious colleges. This distinction is not taken into account in our ranking system, and it is left up to each individual to decide whether or not a school is a good fit on that account.

If none of the programs ranked here seems like a good fit to you, don’t despair. These are the current best online options, but you may have great on-campus options near you that will serve just as well. There are many benefits to both modes of dual enrollment, and we will address some of those in the FAQ at the end of the article, along with other issues like financing, the differences between dual enrollment and concurrent enrollment, and whether or not full-time or part-time options are right for you.

#1. Maranatha Baptist University

Website

Maranatha Baptist University--Top Ten Universities for Senior Year

Score: 35

Maranatha Baptist has dual enrollment programs that allow students to complete their first year of college coursework. High school seniors also have access to five fully online associate’s degree programs in Christian ministry, business management, criminal justice, digital media, and humanities. Every student at Maranatha takes Old Testament survey, New Testament survey, English composition 1, English composition 2, and the modern world.

  • Tuition: $175/credit
  • Course Selection: 5 Associate’s Degrees, 34 Courses
  • Transition into Full-time: Yes
  • Available Out-of-State: Yes

#2. Liberty University

School Profile

Liberty University--Top Ten Universities for Senior Year

Score: 35

Liberty University offers high school juniors and seniors both an a la carte program and a selection of eight associate’s degrees. The a la carte program allows students to pick out which courses are most interesting to them, while the associate’s degrees follow a set path. Some of the associate’s degrees offered are in business, criminal justice, paralegal studies, education, information systems, and religion.

  • Tuition: $183/credit
  • Course Selection: 8 Associate’s Degrees
  • Transition into Full-time: Yes
  • Available Out-of-State: Yes

#3. Oregon State University

School Profile

OSU-Top Ten Universities for Senior Year

Score: 30

While there are over 100 online college courses available to high-school students, not all of the courses will be eligible for high-school credit, so students who want double value for time should verify each course with their high school. Students can choose between courses like public speaking, communicating online, introduction to computer science, computer aided design, introduction to microeconomics, geography of the western world, and introduction to public health.

  • Tuition: $309/credit
  • Course Selection: 100+ Courses
  • Transition into Full-time: No Official Path
  • Available Out-of-State: Yes

#4. Florida International University

Website

FIU-Top Ten Universities for Senior Year

Score: 29

FIU offers extensive dual enrollment options both online and on-campus (on-campus dual enrollment is free for Miami students). Dual-enrolled high school students can choose between courses like black popular culture global dimensions, African civilizations, American history, design, beginning drawing, beginning painting, computer data analysis, human growth and development, and principles of macroeconomics.

  • Tuition: $263/credit
  • Course Selection: 89
  • Transition into Full-time: Yes
  • Available Out-of-State: No

#5. Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Website

Indiana University of Pennsylvania-Top Ten Universities for Senior Year

Score: 26

One of the reasons the online dual enrollment courses are so cheap at IUP is that the school offers a 75% tuition discount for dual-enrolled students. There are over 50 courses on the suggested course list, but students interested in other online courses can make a request of their advisor. Among the suggested courses are college algebra, explorations in U.S. history, critical thinking, introduction to philosophy, college chemistry I and II, and cultural anthropology.

  • Tuition: $80/credit
  • Course Selection: 50+ Courses
  • Transition into Full-time: Yes
  • Available Out-of-State: No

#6. Ball State University

Website

Ball State-Top Ten Universities for Senior Year

Score: 22

Ball State is accredited by the national alliance of concurrent enrollment partnerships. Some of the online courses available to dual-credit students are fundamentals of public communication, introduction to computer science and web programming, family relations, human development across the lifespan, rhetoric and writing, calculus, elementary probability and statistics, and linear algebra.

  • Tuition: $117/credit
  • Course Selection: 39 Courses
  • Transition into Full-time: No Official Path
  • Available Out-of-State: Yes

#7. LeTourneau University

Website

LeTourneau-Top Ten Universities for Senior Year

Score: 22

Eligible students who pass at least one dual-credit course at LeTourneau and then become resident students at the Longview campus will earn a $16,000 scholarship. Students dual enrolled at either the Longview campus or online can take courses like general chemistry, western civilization, introduction to environmental science, and human anatomy and physiology.

  • Tuition: $90/credit
  • Course Selection: 33 Courses
  • Transition into Full-time: No Official Path
  • Available Out-of-State: Yes

#8. Auburn University

Website

Auburn-Top Ten Universities for Senior Year

Score: 15

Dual enrollment students at Auburn University (a top 100 public university according to U.S. News) save 66% on tuition compared to the standard tuition. Students can take courses like organismal biology, introduction to anthropology, public speaking, earth and life through time, finite math and applications, calculus 1, introduction to philosophy, aesthetics of acting, and global politics and issues.

  • Tuition: $378/credit
  • Course Selection: 55+
  • Transition into Full-time: No Official Path
  • Available Out-of-State: Yes

#9. University of Florida

Website

University of Florida-Top Ten Universities for Senior Year

Score: 19

While the University of Florida unfortunately does not allow dual enrollment for students outside the state, even online, dual enrollment is completely free for residents of the state. Students fortunate enough to live in the state can take courses like economic issues: food and you, discovering the universe, programming fundamentals 1 & 2, chemistry for the liberal arts, and analytic geometry and calculus.

  • Tuition: Free
  • Course Selection: 35 Courses
  • Transition into Full-time: No Official Path
  • Available Out-of-State: No

#10. University System of Georgia

Website

University System of Georgia-Top Ten Universities for Senior Year

Score: 14

High school students who qualify can start dual enrollment with the University System of Georgia as early as sophomore year. Students can choose between courses like environmental science, principles of chemistry, world literature, mathematical modeling, college algebra, calculus, American government, introduction to sociology, and introductory geosciences.

  • Tuition: $159/credit
  • Course Selection: 29 Courses
  • Transition into Full-time: No Official Path
  • Available Out-of-State: No

What are the differences between dual enrollment and concurrent enrollment?

Dual enrollment just means you are taking college courses while you are also enrolled in high school. Those courses don’t necessarily take the place of high school courses. They can do so, but you have to verify each course with your guidance counselor to make sure. Most dual enrollment programs allow for students outside the state to take courses.

Concurrent enrollment programs are often limited in availability to students from the state where the college is located. This is because each state has slightly different high school graduation requirements and standards. These programs are designed to be integrated with the public high schools in the state, and often take the form of partnership between high schools and colleges. Some of the courses may be offered online, but many are offered in the high school classroom, taught by teachers who have been certified as adjunct professors for the university.

Why should I take college courses early?

There are many reasons. Taking college courses in high school, if they can replace high school class credits, is extremely efficient. Killing two birds with one stone is a great reason. Another good reason is that taking college courses in high school can help ease your transition into college. You’ll already have a handle on how classes work and what kinds of things college professors expect from you. Much is made of the potential for you to get a jump start and finish college early, and that’s certainly a good reason. But another good reason is that it allows you to take a lighter course load your first year if you want. Or it gives you flexibility down the road to take a lighter load during more difficult years when you have lots of classes with higher levels of difficulty.

Is there financial aid available for dual enrollment students?

The answer to this question can get a little complicated. The short answer is, sometimes. See, dual enrollment programs are most of the time not covered by federal financial aid. Universities often provide tuition discounts, and some offer scholarships. Florida public universities provide dual enrollment programs for free, but they are only available to students who live in Florida. If you are looking to enroll in a college in your state, then your chances of receiving some form of discount or financial aid is really good. If you are looking at public universities out of state, or private universities, then the availability of financial aid varies wildly from school to school.

Full-time vs. part-time dual enrollment

Some universities offer full-time dual enrollment options for excellent students. These allow for students to take college courses exclusively and skip their last year or two of high school classes, while still graduating from high school. Whether or not this is a good fit for you depends on your priorities. If you decide to make getting college done rapidly the priority, then it might be a great choice. If you would rather stay involved in your high school, continue to participate in sports and after school activities, and spend time with your friends, then it might not be a good fit. This decision really comes down to each individual, their priorities, and their academic capabilities. College courses might seem easier than high school in a lot of ways, especially online. You decide when you do your homework, listen to lectures, and work on projects. However, the downside is that you don’t have as much accountability. College professors mostly teach adults and aren’t going to yell at you for turning a paper in late. They’ll just assess the grade reduction and move on. You might get an official warning if you are failing a class in the middle of the semester. But aside from that, you are pretty much left to your own devices. It’s on you to seek out help either from the professor or in the form of tutoring.

Methodology

Tuition

Our highest priority in this ranking was tuition. This is primarily because even discounted college courses are expensive for the average person or family, and financial aid isn’t guaranteed. So affordable tuition is the most important element of accessibility with these programs. The highest costs we saw were $600/credit. So we used that as a cap and awarded one point for every $50/credit less than $600 that a program cost.

Under $600=1 Point
Under $550=2 Points
Under $500=3 Points
Under $450=4 Points
Under $400=5 Points
Under $350=6 Points
Under $300=7 Points
Under $250=8 Points
Under $200=9 Points
Under $150=10 Points
Under $100=11 Points
Under $50 =12 Points

Number of Courses and Associate’s Degrees

This was an important factor because a wider selection of courses and associate degree programs increases the chances that the school offers courses and programs relevant to a student’s interests. We awarded one point for every five courses offered and two points for each associate’s degree program offered.

Pathway to Full-Time Enrollment

Some schools offering dual credit courses and associate’s degrees also offer an easy pathway to full-time enrollment for students who succeed in the program. This means if you choose to go to that school, you don’t have to go through the whole admissions process all over again, and your courses will easily integrate with whatever degree you choose to pursue.

We awarded five points for schools that make this available to their dual enrollment students.

Program Available Out of State

Because this is a ranking of online universities, and one of the major features of online programs is the ability of students to take them from anywhere, we decided to award five points to universities with the flexibility to offer their dual enrollment programs to high school students outside their own state.

BCS Staff
June 2019

Related:

This concludes our ranking of the top 10 best online universities for senior year.