Online Degrees In Vermont (VT)
Vermont has more colleges per capita than any other state in the U.S. schools, with 19 postsecondary institutions tucked within its small 9,216 square miles of space. Schools with the likes of Bennington College, New England Culinary Institute and University of Vermont, make the state an educational destination for students both in and out of state.
Yet the state is, ironically facing a brain drain. With a rapidly aging population, a relatively low rate of college attainment among residents and a high percentage of college graduates leaving the state after graduation, Vermont is struggling to supply its employers with enough trained workers to meet demand.
Vermont colleges that offer online degree programs can help provide needed training to students who otherwise might not be able to attend classes on campus, thereby helping the economy and growing wages. Find out how on this page.
Why Earn an Online Degree in Vermont?
According to a report from the Lumina Foundation, 49.6 percent of Vermonters possess postsecondary credentials. Yet 80 percent of Vermont’s high-growth, high-wage jobs in the 2018-2028 period may require such credentials. The educational attainment gap is already having repercussions in the state, where two-thirds of employers face difficulty filling jobs with qualified workers.
But how should students pursue degrees when about 65 percent of residents live in rural areas, too far from college campuses? And with the nation’s lowest unemployment rate, at about two percent, it’s likely that prospective students are already working, making it difficult to squeeze in time for studies.
Online degree programs in Vermont could be the answer. With online programs, you can complete the program of your choice regardless of location, and most online programs enable you to complete your work on your own time, regardless of your schedule, instead of requiring that you attend classes at designated times.
Plus, annual wages for Vermont workers increase with each level of educational attainment, as shown below:
- High school or equivalent: $31,228
- Some college or associate degree: $35,028
- Bachelor’s degree: $42,267
- Graduate or professional degree: $57,587
Plus, those with postsecondary credentials also have lower unemployment rates, higher civic engagement and better health outcomes.
Featured Online Colleges in Vermont
Need help finding online degree programs in Vermont that fit your needs? If college affordability, fitting college courses into your existing work schedule or concerns about your chances of success attending college for the first time are factoring into your search, we can help. This list of the top Vermont colleges that offer online degree programs considers data such as how many online programs are offered, tuition costs, available student services and more, to help you in your program search.
|Average in-state tuition||$6,970|
|No. of online programs||13|
|% of students in distance education||44|
|Avg. amount of Aid||$3,106|
|Average in-state tuition||$10,944|
|No. of online programs||2|
|% of students in distance education||21|
|Avg. amount of Aid||$8,350|
|Average in-state tuition||$37,834|
|No. of online programs||21|
|% of students in distance education||37|
|Avg. amount of Aid||$29,651|
|Average in-state tuition||$13,896|
|No. of online programs||4|
|% of students in distance education||24|
|Avg. amount of Aid||$6,614|
|Average in-state tuition||$15,936|
|No. of online programs||7|
|% of students in distance education||14|
|Avg. amount of Aid||$16,130|
|Average in-state tuition||$40,910|
|No. of online programs||61|
|% of students in distance education||53|
|Avg. amount of Aid||$16,124|
Top Online Degree Programs in Vermont
Check out this list of the top online degree programs in Vermont, based on data from the National Center for Education Statistics’ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), which is based on the number of online degrees in Vermont colleges (including fully online and hybrid programs).
Quality of Online Education in Vermont
Vermont colleges have a reputation for quality, but what about online programs? The state, experts say, lags in its number of online degree offerings. But as small liberal arts colleges struggle to stay open, in a state where students need more options that fit their busy lifestyles, many existing colleges are expanding their online offerings and keeping quality top of mind.
The first measure of quality you should check for is accreditation. This voluntary review process conducted by independent, national and regional accrediting agencies, considers course rigor, student experience, instructor training and even financial stability for any Vermont colleges that offer online degree programs. Be sure to check any prospective school’s accreditation status before applying.
Additionally, Vermont is a member of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA). States that are members of SARA work together to monitor the quality of education providers in those states thereby enabling students to take online courses across state lines and still receive credit in their home states. Students outside Vermont who are interested in completing an online education in Vermont can rest assured that the quality of the distance education they receive can be consistent with that offered in other member states.
What to Look for in Online Degree Programs in Vermont
Advance Vermont, which is a partnership of state government, education, business and nonprofit leaders working together to increase educational attainment in the state, has identified several barriers to success for students when it comes to completing postsecondary credentials. These include lack of access to required technology, inability to afford college and lack of alignment between the skills employers need and the training students have.
To ensure the best experience, you should consider the following factors:
Program goals and requirements: Does the program lead to a useful credential that aligns with your career goals? What are its online and face-to-face requirements? Do you have, or can you get, the technology (equipment and software) to complete these activities?
Affordability: Unfortunately, 34 percent of Vermonters believe college is not affordable for them. The state is working to change that, with agencies providing help with financial aid forms and identifying financial aid opportunities. Be sure you know all your options before considering a program or ruling it out.
Support for students: What services does the school offers to support its students’ success? Some schools intentionally keep class sizes small to enable more one-on-one interaction. Many offer tutoring, counseling, mentoring, career advisement and more for online students.
Top Occupations in Vermont
As you consider which online degrees in Vermont to pursue, it may help to consult this list, developed with information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, of the top occupations in Vermont.
Number of Workers
|Office and Administrative Support Occupations||37,310||$41,230|
|Sales and Related Occupations||27,730||$40,360|
|Food Preparation and Serving Related Occupations||26,280||$31,930|
|Educational Instruction and Library Occupations||25,400||$56,940|
|Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations||19,930||$80,980|
|Transportation and Material Moving Occupations||18,740||$37,760|
|Business and Financial Operations Occupations||15,000||$70,610|
|Construction and Extraction Occupations||14,320||$46,750|
|Healthcare Support Occupations||13,390||$33,990|
|Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations||11,720||$48,860|
|Community and Social Service Occupations||10,540||$44,580|
|Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance Occupations||10,540||$34,140|
|Home Health and Personal Care Aides||7,230||$32,590|
|Computer and Mathematical Occupations||6,760||$76,230|
|Personal Care and Service Occupations||6,650||$36,150|
Top Metropolitan Areas in Vermont
Vermont earns high marks on economic indicator reports for its low unemployment and great quality of life. Those quality-of-life measures come largely from its recreational opportunities. With everything from fall foliage tours to gorgeous mountain and pastoral scenery, to hiking and biking trails and skiing opportunities, it’s no wonder that outdoor recreation/tourism jobs are on the rise in Vermont. To address this, colleges such as Middlebury College, University of Vermonth, Champlain College and Northern Vermont University are creating curricula that focus on outdoor education, outdoor recreation and tourism.
The Vermont Department of Labor also reports that some of the biggest employment gains around the state over the last year have been in mining, logging and construction; manufacturing; education; and health services.
Here’s what the employment projections say for Vermont’s major metropolitan areas:
Burlington: Vermont’s most populous city, is home to outdoor recreation manufacturers such as Burton Snowboards and Skida Headwear & Accessories, and production occupations and positions operating manufacturing machinery are growing rapidly. Green jobs, particularly jobs in solar energy, are growing considerably as well, as are health care positions at all levels. Additionally, the iconic red barns tourists are used to seeing in Vermont are indicative of a major economic driver: agriculture.
Southern Vermont: With four hospitals within its boundaries and several other major hospitals nearby, health care is a booming industry in Southern Vermont. Also, eight colleges are located in Southern Vermont, making education a major industry of job growth. Manufacturing is a key industry here too; it’s home to The Orvis Company, G.S. Precision, Against the Grain Gourmet, Mack Molding, Chroma Technology and many more. The food-and-beverage industry also is one of the region’s biggest employers; this region is known for its maple syrup and dairy products, and companies such as Maplebrook Farm and Grafton Cheese are based here.
Scholarships and Financial Aid in Vermont
Affordability has been shown as a primary factor in Vermont’s relatively low college attainment rate. To address this, many Vermont colleges that offer online degree programs are taking it upon themselves to lower tuitions. For example, Northern Vermont University Online expanded its online program offerings with a live hybrid model that combines online delivery with real-time interaction with teachers and fellow students, all at a reduced cost. Castleton lowered its graduate tuition and fees in 2018. And Champlain College recently slashed the tuition rates for its online undergraduate programs in half.
Additionally, several programs are available for Vermont students who need help affording college.
New England Regional Student Program: Vermont students are eligible for more than 1,000 undergraduate and graduate programs with tuition reduction.
Vermont Incentive Grant: This need-based grant provides between $1,000 and $12,300 per year, depending on need and college costs, to accepted or enrolled full-time undergraduate/certificate program students.
Vermont Part-Time Grant: This need-based grant is available to part-time undergraduate or certificate students, with award amounts varying by need.
The first step for obtaining these and other financial aid awards is filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is used to make decisions about federal and state need-based grant amounts.
Tests You May Need to Take
Each of the online degree programs in Vermont that you apply for can have different admission requirements, and some may include entrance exam scores from the ACT or SAT. A great many colleges in Vermont have no test requirement; for instance, they are recommended but not required at Vermont Technical College and the College of Saint Joseph. Meanwhile, other schools such as Champlain College and Northern Vermont University require no test scores for admission. Check with your prospective school about its requirements.
To be included in our ranking of the best colleges for online degree programs, all colleges had to meet the following five criteria:
- Be an accredited U.S. institution
- Offer either 2- or 4-year degree programs
- Have at least 1 percent of students taking at least some of their classes via distance education
- Be active in the 2015-16 school year
- Report data for all 15 specific ranking variables included in our methodology
We then ranked the remaining 2,169 colleges and universities and scored each on a 100-point scale on these specific. Our data points include:
- The in-state tuition and fees for full-time undergraduates, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
- Percent of undergraduate students awarded federal, state, local, institutional or other sources of grant aid, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
- The average amount of federal, state, local, institutional or other sources of grant aid awarded to undergraduate students, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
- Full-time Retention rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
- Percent of students participating fully or partially in distance education to total enrollment, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
- Graduation rate within six years, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
- No. of degree programs offered via distance education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
- Percent of students working and not enrolled 6 years after entry, College Scorecard, 2013-14
- Open admissions policy for all or most entering first-time undergraduate-level students, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
- Flexibility and student services, based on whether the school offers the following services, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
- Dual credit
- Credit for life experience
- Advanced Placement credit
- Academic and career counseling
- Job placement services for graduates
- Offers credit for military training
Featured Online Colleges in Vermont Methodology
Some state pages have a list of featured schools instead of rankings. This happens when not enough schools meet the criteria described in the best schools Vermont methodology above — the number of schools is too small for us to do a credible and statistically significant ranking. Because there are still some schools that do meet the criteria, we’ve chosen to highlight them in a featured schools list.
- College Navigator: Vermont, Institute for Education Studies, National Center for Education, accessed August 28, 2019, https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=VT&pg=1
- May 2018 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, March 29, 2019, https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oessrcma.htm
- “Vermont’s outdoor recreation businesses hiring, state offering incentives to move,” Vermont Bix, August 8, 2019, https://vermontbiz.com/news/2019/august/08/vermonts-outdoor-recreation-businesses-hiring-state-offering-incentives-move
- Grants — VT State, Federal & College Grants, Vermont Student Assistance Corporation, accessed August 28, 2019, https://www.vsac.org/pay/student-aid-options/grants
- Tuition Break for Vermont Residents, New England Board of Higher Education, accessed August 28, 2019, https://nebhe.org/tuitionbreak/find-a-program/vermont/
- Mark Lieberman, “Online Tuition Too High? Cut It in Half.” Inside Higher Ed, April 17, 2019, https://www.insidehighered.com/digital-learning/article/2019/04/17/champlain-college-slashes-undergraduate-online-tuition-half
- Sylvia Plumb, “Northern Vermont University Online expands programs and lowers tuition,” VT Digger, June 11, 2019, https://vtdigger.org/2019/06/17/northern-vermont-university-online-expands-programs-lowers-tuition/
- Charlotte Albright, “Vermont Joins Agreement to Facilitate Interstate Online College Courses,” Vermont Public Radio, June 19, 2015, https://www.vpr.org/post/vermont-joins-agreement-facilitate-interstate-online-college-courses#stream/0
- Local Area Unemployment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, August 16, 2019, https://www.bls.gov/web/laus/laumstrk.htm
- Vermont, Rural Health Information Hub, June 7, 2019, https://www.ruralhealthinfo.org/states/vermont
- QuickFacts: Vermont, U.S. Census Bureau, July 1, 2018, https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/VT
- Think VT website, Vermont Department of Economic Development, accessed August 28, 2019, https://www.thinkvermont.com/
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- SoVermont careers, SoVermont website, accessed August 28, 2019, https://sovermont.com/sovermont-careers/
- Anne Wallace Allen, “Economist: Low supply of workers is pushing up Vermont wages,” VT Digger, May 21, 2019, https://vtdigger.org/2019/05/21/economist-low-supply-workers-pushing-vermont-wages/
- “Castleton to Deliver Full Online Programs,” Castleton, a Vermont University, May 22, 2018, https://www.castleton.edu/news-media/article/castleton-to-deliver-full-online-programs/
- NVU Online, Northern Vermont University, accessed August 28, 2019, https://www.northernvermont.edu/nvu-online
- Online and Distance Education, The University of Vermont Continuing and Distance Education, accessed August 28, 2019, https://learn.uvm.edu/academic-interest/online/
- Tom Cheney, “Increasing Postsecondary Attainment: A Civic and Economic Imperative,” Advance Vermont, accessed August 28, 2019, https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&ved=2ahUKEwiF3vb266PkAhUBLKwKHQuSCpkQFjABegQIBRAC&url=https%3A%2F%2Flegislature.vermont.gov%2FDocuments%2F2020%2FWorkGroups%2FHouse%2520Commerce%2FBills%2FH.533%2FWitness%2520Testimony%2FW~Tom%2520Cheney~19-0873%2C%2520Advance%2520Vermont%2520State%2520Attainment%2520Goal~3-14-2019.pdf&usg=AOvVaw2qhBzuOsXqyO-OHWNn5fXg
- Vermont’s progress toward the goal, A Stronger Nation, Lumina Foundation, February 2019, http://strongernation.luminafoundation.org/report/2019/#state/VT