Online Colleges in Wisconsin

OnlineSchools.org

Looking for one of the best online colleges in Wisconsin? This guide can help you find the perfect online education. With a college degree, you can qualify for a broader range of occupations, higher-paying positions, or graduate study. By attending an online school in your home state, you may qualify for in-state tuition and scholarships for residents. You may also benefit from the networking opportunities and name recognition that comes with attending a school familiar to employers in your state.

Higher Learning Initiatives in Wisconsin

UW Flexible Option

In November 2013, Gov. Scott Walker launched a new online degree initiative, the UW Flexible Option. This self-paced, competency-based program allows adult learners to essentially start classes at any time and earn credit for material already learned in school or on the job. The program helps more adults obtain degrees so they can fill the gaps in the job market.

The Access to Success Initiative

The Access to Success Initiative, launched by the National Association of System Heads (NASH) and The Education Trust, aims to reduce graduation gaps for minority and low-income students. Wisconsin is one of 22 public higher education systems to accept the challenge.

LEAP: Liberal Education and America’s Promise

LEAP is a 10-year initiative of the University of Wisconsin System that promotes a 21st century liberal education to enhance the economy. LEAP, part of Wisconsin’s Growth Agenda, launched in 2005 to help encourage higher education for a statewide economic transformation.

Popular Degree Programs in Wisconsin

As a state rich in natural resources with a top-ranking school system, Wisconsin boasts strong agricultural and manufacturing sectors. College graduates take on leadership and technology roles in these traditional industries and find stable, well-paying careers in water technology, healthcare, food science, and engineering. The high number of business and agriculture degrees conferred each year by schools in the state reflect Wisconsin’s top rankings in agriculture and industry.

  • Business Management and Administration: This major prepares graduates for leadership roles in business and remains the most popular major in Wisconsin, as it does in many states. Projected 10-year job growth in professional and business services stands at more than 11%. Financial managers, sales managers, general managers, accountants, and marketing specialists rank among the hottest jobs in Wisconsin.
  • Agriculture: Wisconsin stands out for its high number of agriculture majors. Students majoring in agriculture prepare to manage farms or enter leadership and technical positions in the state’s agricultural sector, government, or food science industry. The state ranks #1 for production of cheese and organic oats, corn, and beans and boasts about 1,400 food and beverage companies.

Paying for College in Wisconsin

When exploring higher education options, you must consider the overall costs. This includes tuition and fees and may also consist of food, rent, utilities, books, materials, and transportation. Public schools offer the most affordable options to many state residents. The average in-state rate for tuition and fees at a public college in Wisconsin stands at about $9,000 per year. While online students typically pay about the same tuition as on-campus students, they can reduce costs substantially when it comes to living expenses and transportation. By taking classes online at your own pace, you may also continue to work while finishing your degree.

Tuition Prices

Wisconsin boasts excellent public higher educational opportunities at affordable rates on par with national averages. While it remains a significant expense, tuition does not include other costs, such as room and board, transportation, books, and healthcare. In-state tuition rates coupled with financial aid offers the most affordable option for many students. Combining two years at a community college with two years at a four-year school can provide the least expensive route to a college degree. See below for more information about average tuition rates.

Average Price for In-State Tuition and Fees by Institution Type, 2017-18

  Public Two Year Public Four Year
Wisconsin $4,550 $9,080
U.S. Average $4,234 $9,978

Source: College Board

Employment Outlook in Wisconsin

Wisconsin boasts an increasingly diversified job market based on a foundation of agriculture and manufacturing with an emerging technology sector. In this state, a college degree can really pay off. According to Wisconsin’s Job Center, bachelor’s degree holders earn average salaries of $50,000, higher than the average for all jobs. Bachelor's degree graduates also benefit from a lower unemployment rate of 1.9%. As seen below, Wisconsin’s overall employment rate remains lower than the national average.

Wisconsin classifies jobs with salaries, growth projections, and openings better than state averages as hot jobs. The hottest jobs for Wisconsin college graduates include registered nurses, general and operations managers, accountants and auditors, and market research analysts and marketing specialists. The highest paying jobs include sales managers, computer and information systems managers, and financial managers.

Unemployment rate, August 2018
Wisconsin 3.0%
United States 3.8%

Source: BLS

Annual Mean Wage, May 2017
Wisconsin $46,270
United States $50,620

Source: BLS

Accreditation for Colleges in Wisconsin

A voluntary evaluation process for schools, accreditation is a crucial indicator of program quality that you must consider during your college search. The federal government uses accreditation to determine if a school’s students may qualify for federal financial aid. Institutions may obtain either national or regional accreditation. Regional accreditation remains the more popular designation, and regionally accredited schools typically only accept transfer credits from other regionally accredited schools. Six accrediting bodies administer regional accreditation. Look for regional accreditation by The Higher Learning Commission when comparing Wisconsin schools, including online colleges in Wisconsin.

Accreditation is important for online degree holders since employers may verify accreditation to ensure program quality, especially for professions like teaching and nursing that require state licenses. Graduate schools also prefer applicants with undergraduate degrees from regionally accredited schools. In searching for the right online program, you may also find that some programs hold specialized programmatic accreditation in addition to institutional accreditation.

Scholarships for Wisconsin Online College Students

The state government and a variety of charitable organizations and foundations provide scholarships to students attending online colleges in Wisconsin. Students with financial need who complete the FAFSA qualify for some state programs automatically. Other grants require an additional nomination or completion of a unique application. See below for a selection of grants and scholarships available to college students in Wisconsin.

Governor’s Dairy Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Wisconsin students who can demonstrate involvement in the dairy industry and plan to continue working in this field may apply. Applicants must enroll in a program that takes two years or less to complete.
Amount: Up to $2,500

Apply Here

Horatio Alger Endowment Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Students in financial need who show the determination to overcome adversity may apply. Applicants must demonstrate community involvement and an adjusted gross family income of $55,000 or less.
Amount: Up to $10,000

Apply Here

Indian Student Assistance Grant

Who Can Apply: By completing the FAFSA, Wisconsin students of at least one-quarter Native American heritage may receive this grant and qualify for additional matching grants.
Amount: $250-$1,100

Apply Here

Kohler Foundation Scholarships

Who Can Apply: Sheboygan County residents who demonstrate outstanding leadership or artistic merit may apply. Contact your high school counselor for more information.
Amount: Up to $100,000

Apply Here

Minority Undergraduate Retention Grant

Who Can Apply: By completing the FAFSA, Wisconsin minorities attending tribal, independent, or Wisconsin Technical College institutions may qualify.
Amount: Up to $2,500 per year (after first year)

Apply Here

Talent Incentive Program Grant

Who Can Apply: Students who complete the FAFSA and demonstrate financial need may qualify if nominated by their financial aid office or school counselor.
Amount: Up to $1,800 per year

Apply Here

Wisconsin Academic Excellence Scholarship

Who Can Apply: High schools in Wisconsin may nominate seniors with the highest GPAs for this scholarship. Recipients must attend a participating school in Wisconsin. Contact your high school counselor for more information.
Amount: $2,250 per year

Apply Here

Wisconsin Grant

Who Can Apply: By completing the FAFSA, students enrolled in the University of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Technical Colleges, or tribal institutions may qualify if they demonstrate financial need.
Amount: Up to $3,150

Apply Here

Wisconsin Grant - Private Non-Profit

Who Can Apply: By completing the FAFSA, students enrolled in private nonprofit colleges in Wisconsin may qualify if they demonstrate financial need.
Amount: Varies

Apply Here

Wisconsin Women's Alliance Foundation Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Wisconsin women age 25 or older enrolled in an accredited college, university, or technical college may apply. This foundation considers each applicant’s goals, work history, and community activities.
Amount: Up to $1,000

Apply Here

Resources for Students in Wisconsin

  • College Goal Wisconsin: This nonprofit organization helps Wisconsin students and their families complete the FAFSA so they may access federal and state financial aid.
  • Transfer Wisconsin: Students planning to transfer to the University of Wisconsin or a Wisconsin Technical College System campus can use this resource to learn about articulation agreements and find out how their credits transfer.
  • Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction: This state office provides free resources and incentives to prospective college students in Wisconsin, including a variety of talent search programs, scholarships, and grants.
  • Wisconsin’s Private Colleges: Students seeking to attend a private school in Wisconsin can access information on college requirements, the application process, scholarships, and career services through this online resource.
  • University of Wisconsin Colleges Online: Through this site, University of Wisconsin online students can access resources, including counseling services, accessibility services, safety resources, policies, and emergency grants.

Online Schools in Wisconsin

Concordia University-Wisconsin

Mequon, WI


  • Graduation Rate: 59%
  • Average Net Price: $22,146

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Lakeland University in Wisconsin

Plymouth, WI


  • Graduation Rate: 46%
  • Average Net Price: $20,568

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Marian University

Fond Du Lac, WI


  • Graduation Rate: 51%
  • Average Net Price: $18,579

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Maranatha Baptist University

Watertown, WI


  • Graduation Rate: 45%
  • Average Net Price: $18,871

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Ottawa University-Milwaukee

Brookfield, WI


  • Graduation Rate: 40%
  • Average Net Price: $18,157

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Cardinal Stritch University

Milwaukee, WI


  • Graduation Rate: 43%
  • Average Net Price: $17,632

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University of Wisconsin Colleges

Madison, WI


  • Graduation Rate: N/A
  • Average Net Price: N/A

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University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

Eau Claire, WI


  • Graduation Rate: 65%
  • Average Net Price: $13,521

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University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

Green Bay, WI


  • Graduation Rate: 51%
  • Average Net Price: $13,307

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University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

La Crosse, WI


  • Graduation Rate: 70%
  • Average Net Price: $13,978

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University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Milwaukee, WI


  • Graduation Rate: 43%
  • Average Net Price: $16,882

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University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh

Oshkosh, WI


  • Graduation Rate: 50%
  • Average Net Price: $13,823

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University of Wisconsin-Parkside

Kenosha, WI


  • Graduation Rate: 30%
  • Average Net Price: $11,571

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University of Wisconsin-Platteville

Platteville, WI


  • Graduation Rate: 52%
  • Average Net Price: $13,609

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University of Wisconsin-River Falls

River Falls, WI


  • Graduation Rate: 54%
  • Average Net Price: $13,502

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University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

Stevens Point, WI


  • Graduation Rate: N/A
  • Average Net Price: N/A

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University of Wisconsin-Stout

Menomonie, WI


  • Graduation Rate: 52%
  • Average Net Price: $14,403

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University of Wisconsin-Superior

Superior, WI


  • Graduation Rate: 35%
  • Average Net Price: $12,219

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University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

Whitewater, WI


  • Graduation Rate: 58%
  • Average Net Price: $13,136

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Viterbo University

La Crosse, WI


  • Graduation Rate: 53%
  • Average Net Price: $16,562

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