2017 Guide to Accredited Online Colleges and Universities in New Jersey

The state of New Jersey has one of the mostly highly educated populations of any state in the U.S. It claims the highest concentration of scientists and engineers in the world, with strong technology industries coming out of it. For those seeking to attend one of the online colleges in New Jersey, there are a variety of accredited community and four-year colleges available that offer distance learning. Others from out of state interested in studying at one of the many online schools in NJ will find a variety of fields of study available to them. This page will serve as a resource for those seeking to attend New Jersey online colleges.

New Jersey’s Online Education Profile

The following tables serve as a quick overview of the state of higher education in New Jersey. From them, one can see that the number of universities is smaller than the average state — which is not surprising, considering its land area is roughly 11% of the average across all states. This means that New Jersey actually have an uncommonly high number of universities for its land area, which may explain the high concentration of bachelor’s and graduate degrees.

Looking at the second table, one may see that tuition is particularly high in New Jersey as compared to most states. This is one thing that may encourage one to take online classes in NJ.

General accreditation in the state of New Jersey is handled by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). This association handles accreditation of both brick-and-mortar colleges and online colleges in NJ. Specific programs may find further accreditation through additional organizations, such as an engineering program accredited by Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) or a medical program accredited by Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME).

Number/Percentage New Jersey National Average
Number of Title IV 4-year colleges 43 56
Number of Title IV 2-year colleges 23 33
Percentage of students enrolled in distance education 17.7% 25.8%
Postsecondary education spending per full-time student $5,709 $6,954
Percentage of adults over 25 with associate degree 6.3% 8.1%
Percentage of adults over 25 with bachelor’s degree 22.8% 18.5%
Percentage of adults over 25 with graduate degree or higher 14.0% 11.2%

Sources: NCES, SHEEO, U.S. Census Bureau – American Community Survey

Average Cost of College Tuition & Fees in New Jersey

Number/Percentage New Jersey National Average
Average in-state tuition & fees – public 4-year $13,021 $8,778
Average in-state tuition & fees – private 4-year $34,040 $27,951
Average in-state tuition & fees – public 2-year $4,223 $3,038

Source: NCES

Best Online Colleges in New Jersey

There are many factors that go into selecting the right online university. Not least among these considerations is a combination of academic quality, the number of online offerings, and the combined cost of classes coupled with available student aid. Based on those criteria, the following were deemed the best online colleges in NJ.

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    Higher Education Initiatives in New Jersey

    Those seeking a STEM education can apply to be one of the Governor’s STEM Scholars. This program gives students research opportunities. It is available to students from grade 10 through the doctoral level.

    As of 2015, $180 million was made available to improve higher education facilities across the state. Under present consideration is an amendment which would raise the maximum household income levels necessary for the Educational Opportunity Fund.

    In order to protect students of both distance learning and blended (or hybrid) learning, the definitions for various terms related to online and distance learning have been updated so as to ensure that students fully understand the type of education offered by universities. For those seeking courses in which neither the student nor instructor need be co-located, the term “distance learning” will be used. The phrase “traditional face-to-face learning” describes classes in which all instruction is done in the presence of the instructor. Those combining distance learning and face-to-face learning in the same course are blended (or hybrid) learning. It should be noted that at present there are no 100% online colleges in NJ, though many universities do have individual programs that are offered 100% online.

    Resources for New Jersey

    • New Jersey Council for the Humanities (NJCH): TheNJCH is a grant maker, program provider, and dedicated to bringing quality education in the humanities to the community level. They are committed to harnessing the humanities to further society’s understanding of itself by highlighting the power and beauty of diversity and the many lessons to be learned in the humanities.
    • New Jersey Department of Education, Adult Education – High School Equivalency Office: A special subsection of the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education’s many categories, this resource for adult students aids in the training and verification necessary for those seeking higher education, but in preparation, such as the acquisition of a GED or high school diploma. Test prep, sites, and standards are all available here.
    • New Jersey Council of County Colleges (NJCCC): The NJCCC is the state association for the 19 community colleges in the state of New Jersey, including those community colleges that are online schools in NJ. Here one can find information on all 19 community colleges, including scholarship and awards, programs offered, and professional resources.
    • New Jersey State Library: An affiliate of Thomas Edison State University, the New Jersey State Library provides library services and guidance to libraries across the state. This is an excellent resource for those performing distance learning in pursuit of online degrees in NJ as it is an excellent means of locating libraries and resources as they improve libraries statewide. They also have a talking book and braille service.
    • Office of Career Readiness: Career and Technical Education (CTE) is handled by the Office of the Secretary of State. This office is responsible for vocational and technical training as well as dispersion of funds provided under the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. A variety of resources are available here for those seeking post-secondary vocational training.
    • Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA): HESAA helps students seeking financial aid (or even those who are not) set up a plan for how to acquire their education from a fiscal perspective. HESAA provides information on FAFSA, loans, grants, and scholarships, as well as tools for students.
    • Office of the Secretary of Higher Education: The Office of the Secretary of Higher Education is a good general resource for all those looking to attend college in New Jersey, whether at a brick-and-mortar location or at one of the online colleges in New Jersey. This resource offers news, pending and past legislation, various rulings, and myriad other resources and tidbits.

    College Savings Plans

    There are two 529 college savings plans available in the state of New Jersey: one sold exclusively in the state to residents and another sold nationwide. Residents of New Jersey seeking further education can enroll in New Jersey’s NJBEST 529 College Savings Plan. Whether a student intends to attend one of the online schools in NJ, a brick-and-mortar school, or either distance learning or on-location out of state, this option is a strong performer that is exclusively available to New Jersey residents. Residents and non-residents alike are eligible to enroll in the Franklin Templeton 529 College Savings Plan. While both plans are managed by Franklin Templeton, the NJBEST plan has a higher interest rate and lower minimum contribution levels.

    It should be noted that there are a variety of states that allow for both residents and non-residents to invest in their 529 College Savings Plans and at varying rates of return or investment minimums. If one plans to attend a New Jersey online school, it is worth perusing the various options available either within the student’s home state or more broadly. A list of plans available to residents of each state is available through Morningstar.

    Educational Nonprofit Organizations in New Jersey

    Accrediting Bodies in New Jersey

    When selecting which university to which one wishes to matriculate, one of the most important factors is to be sure that the school is properly accredited. There are a variety of accrediting bodies, both nationally and internal to the state. There are also accrediting bodies for general education and for specific areas of study, such as medicine, law, engineering, et cetera. Accreditation helps ensure the quality of one’s education, both for the student and for the employer after graduation. The following are a few of the accrediting bodies operating in New Jersey one might want to consider before attending online colleges in NJ:

    • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE): TheMSCHE is an accrediting body serving Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and disparate other geographical regions. Formerly part of the Middle States Association, the MSCHE is recognized by the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Education to conduct accreditation for institutions of higher education in those regions it serves.
    • Distance Education Accrediting Commision: The Distance Education Accrediting Commission is a private, non-profit body providing accreditation for all types of distance learning across the U.S. While they do not have a strong presence, online schools in New Jersey, it is still an excellent resource for those students residing in New Jersey hoping to engage in distance learning.
    • Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools: The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools provides accreditation to non-degree-granting institutions within the state of New Jersey, as well as Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia. This organization specializes in career, technical, and vocational training institutions.

    More information on accrediting bodies and accredited schools can be found at the website for the U.S. Department of Education.

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      Job Outlook for New Jersey

      The state of New Jersey has a world-class civil and electronic infrastructure and a deep talent pool of educated citizens. This creates a wealth of overlapping opportunities. transportation infrastructure and leader status in information technology help create a hub for innovation—is it any surprise as the home state of Edison and Einstein? Much of this energy goes into life sciences, pharmaceuticals, financial services, and manufacturing, all of which have active support from the state for growth.

      Top Industries in New Jersey

      Industry Description
      Life Sciences The state of New Jersey is a global leader in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. The state has three “Innovation Zones” to encourage collaboration and help deliver discoveries from lab to market rapidly.
      Information Technology New Jersey ranks #2 for information and communication technologies. The state provides a variety of incentive grants, workforce training grants, and more to maintain a well-educated workforce for the technology industry.
      Financial Services With Jersey City’s Exchange Place, nicknamed “Wall Street West,” New Jersey is bustling with investment and banking services. Its lower costs and first-class infrastructure help make it a strong contender on the national stage.

      Top Employers in New Jersey

      Top Employers Number of Employees
      Wakefern Food Corporation 35,000
      Barnabas Health 21,000
      United Parcel Service (UPS) 19,243

      New Jersey by the Numbers

      Per capita income:

      • State: $36,582
      • US average: $29,979

      Median household income:

      • State: $72,093
      • US average: $55,775

      Gross Domestic Product:

      • State: $581.7 billion
      • US: $18.57 trillion