New online college program rankings show rise in digital

A new annual ranking from U.S. News & World Report shows a rise in the number of programs at higher education institutions to move online.
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U.S. News & World Report released its 2022 online program rankings on Tuesday, ranking 160 more programs than last year. The all-time high in online programs submitted by colleges and universities for the annual rankings could serve as another indicator of a boom in online learning following the coronavirus pandemic.

The consumer news outlet pulls the programs that make its annual list from a pool of online submissions, which also significantly increased between the 2021 and 2022 editions. Colleges and universities submitted 1,733 programs this year — based on programs launched during the 2019-20 school year — up from 1,510 programs last year.

U.S. News has ranked online degree-granting programs since 2013, but the increase in the number of programs submitted between 2020 and 2021 was larger than what was typical in recent years, Eric Brooks, principal data analyst at U.S. News, said in an emailed statement to EdScoop.

The factors that make up the rankings include how well programs use technology to provide student services and engage with students, as well as instructors’ credentials.


The rankings, which colleges and universities often use in their marketing materials, include degree-granting programs from regionally accredited schools. U.S. News ranks online bachelor’s degree programs and master’s degree programs in business, business administration, computer information technology, education, engineering, nursing and criminal justice. The rankings do not consider programs moved to a hybrid or online format due to the pandemic or credential programs like certificates, which continue to rise in popularity as the health crisis continues.

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