Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) was just recognized as one of this country’s Best Online Colleges 2014 by Best Value Schools (BVS), a leading resource for online learning and college affordability information. IWU ranked 2 out of 30 online colleges and universities to make the list. Only the University of Maryland University College was ranked higher than IWU by four points.

Understanding the enduring value of a college education while juxtaposed with the rising and often intimidating cost of that education, BVS is committed to researching and vetting the best colleges students and their families can invest their time and resources in to achieve the dream of a college degree. Their research placed IWU solidly as one of the top schools in the nation to help students reach their goals, receive an excellent education and do so while keeping costs at a reasonable level.

BVS employs a methodology that starts by compiling a list of all the accredited online universities in the country. “Online” is defined as institutions that either a) operate entirely online, b) have established a separate wing or division of their school (such as a “world campus”) for online students, or c) simply offer a large number of their degrees online. They then collect data on seven indicators:

  • Freshmen Retention Rate
  • Six-year Graduation Rate
  • Student-to-Faculty Ratio
  • Number of Bachelor’s Degree Programs
  • Breadth of Subjects Available to Study
  • College Prowler Academics Rating (if available)
  • Percentage of “Excellent” or “Strongly Agree” Student Poll Responses on College Prowler (if available)

Each of the schools was given a score based on its performance and the weight that BVS assigns to each category. The highest possible score is 875 — IWU’s score was 823. In their ranking, BVS states, “IWU is near the top of our list due to its freshmen retention rate of nearly 80%, graduation rate topping 65%, and comfortable student-to-faculty ratio of just 15:1. Attending Indiana Wesleyan University online is a unique experience characterized by significant student collaboration, capped class sizes for an ‘intimate learning experience,’ and customized online college course curriculum designed specifically for adults. IWU insists that online students receive the same treatment and rigor of material as traditional, campus students, with the only difference being where they hold class discussions and how they submit their assignments.

“Students who completed polls on College Prowler overwhelmingly reported that “professors care about their students’ success” and are “passionate about the topics they teach,” that, “there are a variety of interesting courses to take,” and “there are plenty of good online course options,” as well as that “classrooms incorporate new technology effectively.”

Upon learning of the ranking, IWU President Dr. David Wright stated, “When IWU offered its first online class in 1996 for students in our adult education programs, the move was viewed with suspicion in the higher education community. Truth be told, the non-traditional adult education format that IWU had begun in 1985 still was not widely accepted. We were convinced, however, that we could be successful if we kept our focus on the content of our adult programs – both online and onsite – and not on the way our classes were delivered. Quality always was, and still is, the top priority. Our commitment to that goal was rewarded with the release of The 30 Best Online Colleges 2014.”

Other recent IWU rankings and awards:

  • Partnership with Wesley Institute in Sydney, Australia, as part of global Christian outreach initiative
  • IWU professor awarded Fulbright grant
  • Recipient of the 2012 Quality Matters program award for service to online students
  • Ranked #26 of “Best Regional Universities (Midwest)” by U.S. News & World Report
  • Ranked #7 “Best Value School” by U.S. News & World Report
  • Ranked #11 of “Best Colleges for Veterans” by U.S. News & World Report
  • Ranked as a Best Online Bachelor’s Program in Management by
  • Designated as “Military Friendly” by OnlineU
  • Considered one of the most popular online colleges by OnlineU
  • Ranked #3 by on its list of “Best Online Bachelor’s in Marketing Degree Programs”
  • Ranked #15 by the Affordable Colleges Foundation on its list of “Best Online Christian Colleges for 2015”
  • Ranked #15 by on its list of Best Colleges for Older Students
  • Ranked #19 by on its list of “Top 25 Schools for Online Nursing Degrees”
  • Ranked one of the “Top Ten Conservative Colleges” in the U.S. by Young America’s Foundation for five consecutive years
  • Holds the title as the largest adult education program in the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities