Best Online Schools That Have High Acceptance Rates: Our Picks

Happy young black man on his graduation day.

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High acceptance online schools may be suitable if you are a non-traditional learner, work part-time, or are concerned about your GPA or standardized test scores.

These colleges level the playing field for learners on a budget or taking a non-traditional route. They accept all or most applicants. Additionally, online learning makes it easier than ever for busy working learners to access education on their schedule.

Read on for our list of the top 10 high acceptance online colleges in the country to find out how much they cost and what they can offer you.

Online Colleges With High Acceptance Rates: What to Know

Schools with high acceptance levels often have lower graduation rates than more elite institutions. This does not mean, however, that the education they provide is of poor quality.

Online colleges may have open admission. This means that all applicants with a high school diploma or GED are accepted. Others have less competitive admissions policies with low or no GPA and minimum standardized test scores.

These schools’ rationale for these policies may include:

  • Welcoming non-traditional and active learners
  • Serving students with less economic resources
  • Reduce bias in admissions

Many of these non-selective schools are academically rigorous but want to extend opportunities to marginalized groups. In other words, they give more people a chance.

When applying for college, always make sure that the online school in question is accredited by a recognized institutional accreditor. Accrediting bodies ensure that schools offer quality programs and provide value to students.

Best High Acceptance Online Colleges in 2022

Our top 10 online colleges with high acceptance meet these requirements:

  • Open admissions policy or accept a large majority of applicants
  • Average annual cost at or below national averages
  • Solid academic reputation
  • Offers online programs in business, STEM or health fields

Below are the top 10 regionally accredited online schools with high acceptance, in alphabetical order. This information is accurate at the time of publication. Check the school websites before applying for details.

1. Idaho State University

Average annual cost: $17,410

Based in Pocatello, Idaho since 1901, Idaho State University offers an open admissions policy, affordable tuition, and world-class programs in medical education. ISU online degrees include:

  • BAS in Health Care Administration
  • BS in Medical Laboratory Science
  • Spanish License for Health Professions
  • MA in Health Education

Online courses use the Moodle learning platform. They mix asynchronous and synchronous learning and sometimes require up to five in-person meetings.

Accreditation: Idaho State University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

2. Lincoln University

Average annual cost: $11,583

A historically black college founded in 1866 in Jefferson City, Missouri, Lincoln University has an open admissions policy. It provides scholarship opportunities for in-state and out-of-state students. LU’s online catalog includes 150 online courses and two fully online degrees:

  • MBA
  • MA in Higher Education

Alongside its two fully online master’s programs, LU also teaches a hybrid BSN-RN program that lasts two years. Online courses at LU use the Canvas learning platform.

Accreditation: Lincoln University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

3. National University

Average annual cost: $20,722

Based in San Diego, National University was started as a non-profit school by former US Navy Captain David Chigos in 1971. NU has an 89% acceptance rate and does not require a SAT or ACT test scores. The school’s online degrees include:

Scholarships offered by the school include the Legacy Scholarship, which can halve a student’s tuition fee.

Accreditation: The National University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

4. Pennsylvania College of Technology

Average annual cost: $25,181

A public college based in Williamsport, Pennsylvania College of Technology has an open admissions policy and primarily offers degrees in management, technical skills, and health sciences. The school’s online degrees include:

Penn College offers all online students in-state tuition rates and free access to online tutoring from the Smartthinking service.

Accreditation: The Pennsylvania College of Technology is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

5. University of Maryland Global Campus

Average annual cost: $15,395

Located in Adelphi, Maryland, the University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) was founded to serve non-traditional and returning students. It has an open admission policy. The state public university offers more than 90 online degrees, including:

  • BS in Biotechnology
  • BS in Cybersecurity Management and Policy
  • MS in Cloud Computing
  • MS in Educational Technology

UMG students and graduates can access the CareerQuest portal to apply for jobs and internships.

Accreditation: The University of Maryland Global Campus is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

6. Northwestern Ohio University

Average annual cost: $19,536

Northwestern Ohio University is a private university based in Lima, Ohio. It boasts small class sizes, affordable tuition, and an open admissions policy. UNOH online degrees include:

UNOH does not require standardized test scores for any of its programs. It offers scheduling assistance and financial assistance to military service members and veterans.

Accreditation: Northwestern Ohio University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

7. The University of Southern Mississippi

Average annual cost: $14,032

Based in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, the University of Southern Mississippi stands out as a center for research. It also promises cheap tuition fees and a 96% acceptance rate. Undergraduate applicants must submit ACT or SAT scores.

Online degrees offered at USM include:

  • BAS in Applied Technology
  • BS in Industrial Engineering Technology
  • MS in Human Capital Development

All USM distance learning students can access free online writing tutoring. The school’s campus is racially diverse, with a 27.3% black student population.

Accreditation: The University of Southern Mississippi is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

8. The University of Texas at El Paso

Average annual cost: $9,000

Founded in 1913, the University of Texas at El Paso began as a school of mining and metallurgy. UTEP enjoys an open admissions policy and one of the lowest tuition rates for a four-year institution despite maintaining a strong reputation for research. Online degrees available at the school include:

  • Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences
  • BA in Security Studies
  • MS in Systems Engineering

The school is notable for its 86% Latino student population. It is designated as an institution serving Hispanics.

Accreditation: The University of Texas at El Paso is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

9. Weber State University

Average annual cost: $11,647

Founded in 1889 in Ogden, Utah, Weber State University offers non-traditional learners low tuition and an open admissions policy. The school’s online degrees include:

  • BS in Health Information Management
  • BS in Medical Laboratory Science
  • MS in Radiological Sciences

WSU’s online courses use the Canvas learning platform and blend asynchronous and synchronous learning. WSU financial aid resources include the Dream Weber program, which covers 100% of tuition for qualified students.

Accreditation: Weber State University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

10. Youngstown State University

Average annual cost: $12,225

Established in Youngstown, Ohio in 1908, Youngstown State University features a 70% acceptance rate and affordable tuition. YSU’s most popular programs are in general studies, nursing, and criminal justice. The school also offers a variety of online degrees, including:

  • Online BS in Respiratory Care
  • Online MA in Financial Economics
  • Online MBA

YSU’s online MBA offers a concentration in digital marketing that can be completed in one year.

Accreditation: Youngstown State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Karen O. Fielding