There are dozens of online schools, and hundreds of degree programs offered within those schools, which causes us to question how these programs take off to literally become the “best” degree programs available.  Many factors go into developing this type of degree program, including accreditation, cost, and options offered.  New schools rarely garner this type of attention that is given to schools that have had years of opportunities to make a name for themselves. 

Developing online degree programs that appeal to the masses is difficult to do during a time in which people are not experimenting with different degrees.  However, our economy has shifted in such a way that many students are looking at alternative degrees that make better sense in this economic time.  No longer are students wishing to delve deeper into English degrees or Political Science degrees, but instead are looking at degrees which will guarantee them a career, such as Criminal Justice or Health Administration.  Schools which offer degree programs in these types of majors are more appealing to students, especially if they offer more specialized degrees within their fields.

A factor for many students is also the cost of enrollment.  With college costs skyrocketing, it is no surprise that online colleges have had to raise their prices as well.  However, a few schools that are accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council have managed to keep costs low for many of their degree programs.  Charging around $500-600 per course hour for undergraduate degrees and a little over $600 per hour for graduate degrees, these schools offer degrees at competitive rates, thereby attracting students to their programs.  The amount of grants and scholarships offered within these schools often makes a difference as well.  However, many new schools do not have the means to provide such scholarships at their onset, which helps to explain how the best online degree programs are usually in schools that have been in existence for a few years. 

The options within most schools are slowly expanding to offer students the opportunity to explore different undergraduate degrees as well as forms of Masters Degrees.  MBAs are becoming increasingly popular within the business world, as more and more executives are attaining degrees via online universities in order to get a pay raise.  Similarly, Ph.D.s are becoming popular as well within health industry degrees and other business related degrees.  Schools that offer the best degree programs for students in both undergraduate and graduate degrees are often those that are the top rated within their field.  Appealing to a wide array of the population is one way to improve in ranking and to continue on a solid course.