Best Online Bachelor’s of Public Administration: Students Before Profits Award

The Students Before Profits Awards were created to recognize nonprofit colleges and universities offering degrees that put students before profits and education before the bottom-line.  For our ranking of the Online Bachelor’s in Public Administration winners, we chose online Public Administration degree programs from nonprofit colleges and universities, accredited by independent and trusted accreditation boards, with lower than average tuition costs, and have ranked them by affordability.

Pursing a higher education online as opposed to on a college campus has many benefits for the modern students.  Online degree programs tend to be substantially cheaper than their on-campus counterparts.  By eliminating much of the overhead associated with offering a class on-campus, colleges are able to cut costs and pass those savings on to the student.  Many times, these degree programs tend to be the same curriculum as the on-campus curriculum, and if they are different, it’s normally just minor changes to accommodate the change in delivery format.  Online programs also allow students to have a greater degree of control over their course scheduling.  Students who have current work or internship obligations find that online degree programs allow them to pursue their higher education without interrupting their work experience. Students are also able to consider all schools, regardless of their geographical location when deciding what program to choose.

Students looking for a career in the field of public policy should consider earning a Bachelor’s in Public Administration.  This degree program is designed to educate students in the necessary skills, practices, and information needed to succeed in a career in public policy or public administration.  By completing this degree program, students are able to enter into the field of public policy or public administration by gaining employment with governmental agencies, non-governmental agencies, healthcare providers, educational facilities, and human resource management.  This program of study has students taking courses in management, economics, political science, sociology, and much more.  By gaining a degree in Public Administration, students can ensure that they are ready for the challenges and difficulties that may arise during a career in public administration and public policy.

Note that tuition rates listed below are based on cost per credit and individual programs may have additional fees.

 #1. Liberty University

Opened as the Lynchburg Baptist College, Liberty University was established by Jerry Falwell, the Senior Pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church in 1971.  Soon after,  Lynchburg Baptist College was renamed in 1976 to Liberty Baptist College.  The school was later renamed one more time to Liberty University in 1984.  Since its founding, Liberty University has remained a fundamental part of the Lynchburg, Virginia.  The school still retains its rich Christian heritage, the school is open and accepting of all religious denominations.   Liberty University enrolls over 15,000 students at their Lynchburg campus, and enrolls over 100,000 students through its online presence.  This staggeringly high number makes it the world’s larges Christian university.  Liberty University is a private institution.

Program Overview

A minimum of 120 credits are required to complete this degree.

Accreditation: Liberty University’s Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration degree is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Tuition: $46,800

 #2. Upper Iowa University

Through the collection of personal donations and a partnership with the local branch of the Methodist Church, Upper Iowa University was established in 1857.  Elizabeth Alexander, a pioneer, decided to create an institution of higher-learning in the new Iowa territory with her husband, Robert, after settling int he town of Fayette, Iowa.  After gaining  support from the Methodist Church, Upper Iowa University was ready to open its doors.  Located along the Volga River in the town of Fayette, Upper Iowa University still operates with a close relationship to the Methodist Church.  Upper Iowa University is also home to a very successful online program that currently enrolls 6,000 students worldwide.  Upper Iowa University is a private institution.  

Program Overview

A minimum of 120 credits are required to complete this degree.

Accreditation: Upper Iowa University’s Bachelor of Science in Public Administration degree is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Tuition: $51,600

 #3. Arizona State University

Opened as the Territorial Normal School, Arizona State University began accepting students in 1885 in its hometown of Tempe, Arizona.  Having grown massively since its establishment, Arizona State University still maintains its original campus in the heart of Tempe.  Not only does the school operate its original campus in Tempe, it also has added an additional five campuses that dot the metropolitan Phoenix-area.  In 2014, the school underwent a large change.  It adopted the “New American University” model of education.  This model had the school focus on accepting as many students as they could in order to cultivate their individual skills, rather than create a university that boasted its exclusivity.  Due to this philosophy, Arizona State University has grown to become one of the largest in the nation with a student body of 82,000 students.  Arizona State University is a public institution.  

Program Overview

A minimum of 120 credits are required to complete this degree.

Accreditation: Arizona State University’s Bachelor of Science in Public Service and Public Policy degree is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Tuition: $60,000

 #4. Franklin University

Franklin University is home to 8,000 students currently.  Originally known as the YMCA School of Commerce, Franklin University has had a rich tradition and history of providing young adults and adults higher education.  Dating back all the way to 1902, the YMCA School of Commerce provided education to local Ohioans for the next three decades.  Eventually outgrowing its home within the YMCA in 1933, the school was forced to move and dissolve its relationship.  Upon moving, the school received a new name: Franklin University. The school continued to grow over the years, eventually adding an additional campus in Indianapolis in 2009.  Franklin University is a private institution.  

Program Overview

A minimum of 124 credits are required to complete this degree.

Accreditation: Franklin University’s Bachelor of Science in Public Administration degree is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Tuition: $61,256

 #5. National University

From its inception, National University was created to provide students with a greater flexibility and more numerous options when it came to their education.  National University, has always been at the forefront of providing its students with many options for education including night programs, weekend school, and eventually the inclusion of online course.  Founded by David Chigos, Former Lieutenant Commander of the United States, National University has been serving students of all kinds since 1972.  Located originally in San Diego, California, National University later moved to La Jolla, California.  Still maintaining its original campus, National University operates campuses in Florida, Georgia, Nevada, and Virginia. Currently, National University is the second-largest university in the state of California.  National University is a private institution.

Program Overview

A minimum of 180 quarter units are required to complete this degree.

Accreditation: National University’s Bachelor of Public Administration degree is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

Tuition: $74,880



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