ASU Online vs. In-Person: Which One is Best for You?

Arizona State University (ASU) is a public research university located in the Phoenix metropolitan area. You can earn a degree from the school in the Grand Canyon State in a couple of ways: via the internet and traditionally.

Each one comes with its own set of pros and cons, thus making the selection process complicated.

Students should consider the type of learner they are and their lifestyle when choosing between attending ASU online or on-campus. Online programs are more suitable for non-traditional students like working adults or veterans. Traditional programs are more ideal for high school graduates.

Are you torn between completing a degree from Arizona State University online and in-person because it seems like you can benefit tremendously from any of them? Read on.

Below, we will answer some of the most pressing questions about going to ASU by sitting before your laptop watching lectures or sitting in a physical classroom listening to a professor. By the end of this article, you will have a better idea of which approach is more appropriate for you.


Let’s get things started with a quick comparison of Arizona State University online and on-campus:

Acceptance rate63.80%86.50%
Retention rate49.20%88.00%
Graduation rate63.20%67.10%
Population57,00077,000+ (across all campuses)
Number of programs200+450+
Student-to-faculty ratio8:0120:01
Tuition cost$561 to $1,343 per credit hour$10,710 (in-state),$28,800 (out-of-state)
US News ranking#6 – Best Online Bachelor’s Programs#103 – Best National Universities
ASU: online vs in-person

How Selective are ASU Online and ASU On-Campus?

ASU online and ASU on-campus are both moderately selective. The online school has a 63.8% acceptance rate. On the other hand, the traditional school has an acceptance rate of 86.5%. Since ASU online has a lower acceptance rate, applicants have higher chances of gaining admission into ASU in-person.

Some students apply to online schools thinking that the admissions process at institutions operating on the internet is lax, thus guaranteeing that they will receive acceptance letters from them.

While it’s true that gaining admission into some online colleges and universities is easier than gaining admission into their traditional counterparts, that’s not the case with Arizona State University online.

This is evidenced by the fact that, as mentioned above, the acceptance rate at it is slightly lower than the acceptance rate at ASU in-person.

No matter if you are applying to ASU online or its traditional campus, you must meet the same requirements:

  • Being in the top 25% of your high school class.
  • Having a minimum of 3.00 GPA in competency courses.
  • Getting 1120 on the SAT (1180 if you are an out-of-state student) or…
  • Getting 22 on the ACT (24 if you are an out-of-state student).

Requirements for students fresh from high school and those from other colleges outside the US, homeschooled, already college graduates and veterans or military members are different.

And with more non-traditional students applying to Arizona State University online, things can get complicated for most applicants.

The following are the transfer application requirements to ASU online:

  • Graduated from high school or earned a GED certificate.
  • Attended one or more colleges.
  • 12 or more college or university credits post-high school.
  • In progress toward an associate degree or have completed one.

Here are the requirements for homeschooled students applying to ASU online:

Let’s check out what international students applying to ASU online must meet:

  • A minimum high school GPA of 3.00 for freshmen students or…
  • A minimum college GPA of 2.5 for transferees.
  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited school for applicants to graduate degrees.
  • TOEFL, IELTS or PTE test scores for non-native English speakers.

And here are the requirements for military students applying to ASU online:

  • Prior credit evaluation (signed by academic advisor).
  • Tuition Assistance voucher.
  • Veterans Benefits Administration 22-1995.
  • Veterans Administration Benefits Responsibility form.
  • Veterans Administration Enrollment Activity form.

Are ASU Online and ASU In-Person Accredited?

ASU online is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). It’s also regionally accredited on an institutional level by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS). ASU in-person is regionally accredited by HLC, too.

Whether the college or university on your list is online or traditional, there is one very important step you need to take before sending an application to it. And it’s none other than checking if it’s accredited or not.

This is especially true if you want to earn a degree from an online school.

Worry not if ASU online is on the top of your list. That’s because it’s far from being a diploma mill — here’s an informative article on how to know if a college is a diploma mill.

One proof that ASU online is not a diploma mill is the fact that it’s accredited by a legitimate accrediting body that provides accreditation to various US colleges and universities.

HLC is the one responsible for the accreditation of Arizona State University online. It’s one of the seven regional accrediting bodies in the US recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

The other six are:

  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
  • Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) Western Association of Schools and Colleges

It’s not just any accreditation that ASU online has — what it has is regional accreditation. Compared to national accreditation, regional accreditation is considered more prestigious. Going to a regionally accredited school comes with a few benefits, and they include:

  • Education that meets or surpasses standards for quality.
  • Trouble-free transfer of credits from one accredited college to the next.
  • Eligibility for financial aid in the form of grants, work-study programs, loans, etc.
  • Degree that’s better received and trusted by employers.

Besides ASU online, HLC has also accredited ASU on-campus. With both ASU online and on-campus regionally accredited, you can have the best possible college experience, degree and career opportunities.

What are ASU Online and ASU In-Person Known For?

The business program offered by ASU online was named the best in the nation in 2021 Best Online Programs ranking by US News. On the other hand, the school’s psychology program is named the second best. ASU in-person’s most popular programs include business, management, engineering and visual arts.

What’s really nice about Arizona State University, online and traditional alike, is that it offers various degree programs. As a matter of fact, it has more than 200 online majors and more than 400 on-campus majors.

It’s true that you can take any program you like from ASU online and ASU in-person — you can rest assured that you will end up with a legitimate degree that’s respected and valued by employers as both schools are regionally accredited.

However, it’s a good idea to opt for any one of the programs that either of these schools are best known for.

For instance, according to US News, the best online business program is offered by ASU online. Any employer who is aware of this ranking will surely pick you over other applicants for successfully completing the school’s business program.

The same is true if you have earned any of ASU online’s high-ranking online programs.

Here are some other programs available at ASU online that made it to US News’ rankings:

  • Best Online Master’s in Business Programs (Excluding MBA) – number 3
  • Best Online Bachelor’s Programs – number 6
  • Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans – number 4
  • Best Online Bachelor’s in Business Programs – number 1
  • Best Online Bachelor’s in Psychology Programs – number 2
  • Best Online MBA Programs – number 6
  • Best Online MBA Programs for Veterans – number 4
  • Best Online Business Analytics MBA Programs – number 2
  • Best Online Finance MBA Programs – number 2
  • Best Online General Management MBA Programs – number 1
  • Best Online MBA Programs in Marketing – number 1
  • Best Online Master’s in Criminal Justice Programs – number 7
  • Best Online Master’s in Criminal Justice Programs for Veterans – number 10
  • Best Online Master’s in Engineering Programs – number 10
  • Best Online Master’s in Engineering Programs for Veterans – number 6
  • Best Online Master’s in Civil Engineering Programs – number 5
  • Best Online Master’s in Electrical Engineering Programs – number 2
  • Best Online Master’s in Industrial Engineering Programs – number 12
  • Best Online Master’s in Engineering Management Programs – number 6
  • Best Online Master’s in Education Programs – number 15
  • Best Online Master’s in Education Programs for Veterans – number 6
  • Best Online Master’s in Educational Administration Programs – number 1
  • Best Online Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction Programs – number 1
  • Best Online Master’s in Instructional Media Programs – number 1
  • Best Online Master’s in Special Education Programs – number 3

What are the Demographics at ASU Online and ASU In-Person?

At ASU online, 28% of students are aged between 21 and 25, while 27% of its students are aged between 26 and 30. On the other hand, at ASU in-person, 29% of students are aged anywhere from 18 to 19, while 31% of its students are aged anywhere from 20 to 21. Most of its students are traditional ones.

Traditional college students are defined as those between 18 and 23 years of age.

If you are younger than 18 years old or older than 23 years old, you are considered a non-traditional student. You don’t fit the mold if you skipped attending college after graduating from high school, attend college part-time or work while in college.

arizona state university

Most of the students enrolled at Arizona State University online are between 21 to 30 years old. On the other hand, the majority of students going to ASU in-person are between 18 and 24 years old.

So, in other words, a large percentage of the population of ASU online consists of non-traditional students.

Here’s the student demographics at ASU online according to age:

Under 204%
21 to 2528%
26 to 3027%
31 to 3517%
36 to 4010%
41 to 456%
46 to 504%
51 and over4%

Now, let’s take a look at the student demographics at ASU on-campus age-wise:

Under 180%
18 to 1929%
20 to 2131%
22 to 2420%
25 to 2912%
30 to 344%
35 and over4%

People who are already working, members of the military, veterans and others who are non-traditional students enroll at Arizona State University online because the classes come in an asynchronous format.

Simply put, students taking online degrees at ASU can return at any given time during the course, which consists of prerecorded videos and lectures.

They can also return at any given time after the course in order to review content, watch a lecture all over again or simply brush up on materials in preparation for the final exam.

Needless to say, if you are enrolled at ASU online, you can complete your degree at your own pace. The amount of time you will spend in front of a computer will determine the time it will take for you to earn your online degree.

Thanks to ASU online’s asynchronous learning, students enrolled in the various programs available can attend to their coursework and have time for their jobs and/or families, too.

It’s exactly because of this why students who do not classify as traditional students can benefit tremendously from attending college via the web.

On the other hand, traditional classes are more suitable for students fresh from high school.

Related Article: Is Oregon State University Online a Good School?

Costs of Going to ASU Online and In-Person

ASU online tuition can cost anywhere from $561 to $1,099 per credit hour. It will depend on various factors. They include the online program, load and transfer credits. On the other hand, ASU on-campus tuition can cost $10,710 for in-state students and $28,800 for out-of-state students.

Based on a US News article, the average cost of going to an online school amounts to $282 per credit hour.

This means that the cost of attending ASU online is more expensive than what’s considered the average cost.

So, in other words, you will have to spend $6,732 to $13,188 per semester, since one semester is usually worth 12 credit hours of classes. But, as mentioned earlier, various factors can affect the cost of going to ASU online.

How much you will pay per credit hour at Arizona State University online will depend on which online degree you are about to earn. The following are the cost per credit hour of going to ASU online according to the degree:

DEGREECOST PER CREDIT HOUR (with program fees)
Undergraduate$561 to $661
Graduate$543 to $1,343
Certificate$543 to $1,099
ASU Online Fees

Besides the type of degree you wish to get your hands on, the program you want to complete also has an impact on the cost of being an online student at ASU. For instance, the school’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) costs $474 per credit hour (without program fees).

The cost of tuition for attending traditional classes at Arizona State University depends on whether the student is a resident of the state of Arizona or from a different state.

Public colleges and universities in the US have two different sets of tuition costs.

One is cheaper and is exclusive for students residing in the same state as the school. The other is two to three times more expensive. Students from other states are the ones charged with it since they are from families who haven’t paid tax dollars to the state.

Here’s a breakdown of the estimated cost of attending ASU in-person for one academic year:

Initiated fees$633$633
Room and Board$8,878$8,878
Loan fees$72$72
On-campus ASU expenses

Just Before You Apply to ASU

Students who wish to apply to Arizona State University have two options.

First, they can attend the school in the traditional manner — at ASU, students can choose between 7.5-week or 15-week semesters.

Second, they can earn their degrees from ASU via the internet, without stepping foot on the campus.

Whether online or on-campus, the programs offered by ASU require hard work to be completed successfully. However, online degrees from ASU are more flexible schedule-wise, thanks to the school’s asynchronous learning.

It’s for this reason exactly why ASU online is perfect for non-traditional students, such as working adults, college transferees or graduates, military personnel and veterans.

Through ASU online, they can get their hands on their degrees without having to turn their backs on their jobs, families or whatever it is that’s keeping them from fitting the mold.

Attending Arizona State University online is also suited for students who can complete their coursework without relying heavily on their professors and succeed better when operating on their own.

On-campus learning at the Arizona-based institution, on the other hand, is ideal for traditional students, such as kids fresh from high school, because it enables them to experience a more structured and active learning approach and also help them develop extracurriculars and interpersonal skills.

Read Next: University of Arizona vs Arizona State

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.

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