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2021 Most Popular Online Special Education Schools

150 Colleges
$43,879 Avg Salary
$28,500 Avg Student Debt

In 2018-2019, 30,639 people earned a degree or certificate in special education, making the major the #42 most popular in the United States.

With all the programs available today, it can be tough to choose which one is the best for you. Along with traditional schools that require in-person attendence, you can attend one of many reputable online schools. Some programs even offer a hybrid experience. Alternatively, you may choose a trade school that prepares you to enter the workforce with knowledge in a specific field.

The Most Popular Online Special Education Schools ranking is one of many tools that Course Advisor has developed to help you make your educational decision. Our analysis looked at 150 schools in the United States to see which online programs were the most popular for students. To create this ranking we looked at how many students graduated from schools with online programs.

The colleges and universities below are the most popular for special ed majors pursuing an online .

#1

Western Governors University

Salt Lake City, UT

Our analysis found Western Governors University to be the most popular school for special education students who want to pursue an online degree in the United States. WGU is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of Salt Lake City.

Full Special Education at Western Governors University Report

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#2

Grand Canyon University

Phoenix, AZ

Out of the 150 schools in the United States that were part of this year’s ranking, Grand Canyon University landed the # 2 spot on the list. Grand Canyon University is a very large private for-profit school located in the large city of Phoenix.

The average amount in student loans that special ed majors at Grand Canyon University take out is $38,322. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $419.

Full Special Education at Grand Canyon University Report

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#3

Ball State University

Muncie, IN

You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around you if you attend Ball State University. The school came in at #3 on this year’s Most Popular Online Special Education Schools list. Located in the small city of Muncie, Ball State is a public college with a very large student population.

On average, special ed graduates from Ball State take out $28,045 in student loans while working on their degree. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $315, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#4

Liberty University

Lynchburg, VA

You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around you if you attend Liberty University. The school came in at #4 on this year’s Most Popular Online Special Education Schools list. Liberty University is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Lynchburg.

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#5

George Mason University

Fairfax, VA

You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend George Mason University. It ranked #5 on our 2021 Most Popular Online Special Education Schools list. GMU is a very large public school located in the suburb of Fairfax.

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With a ranking of #6, Alliant International University did quite well on this year’s best schools for special education students. Located in the large city of San Diego, Alliant is a private for-profit school with a small student population.

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University of Southern California landed the #7 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best special education programs. USC is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Los Angeles.

The average amount in student loans that special ed majors at USC take out is $84,878. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $989.

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#8

University of Georgia

Athens, GA

University of Georgia landed the #8 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best special education programs. UGA is a very large public school located in the midsize city of Athens.

The average amount in student loans that special ed majors at UGA take out is $23,513. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $262, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

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Pennsylvania State University - World Campus ranked #9 on this year’s Most Popular Online Special Education Schools list. Penn State World Campus is a small public school located in the rural area of University Park.

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#10

University of West Georgia

Carrollton, GA

University of West Georgia landed the #10 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best special education programs. University of West Georgia is a fairly large public school located in the town of Carrollton.

After completing their degree, special ed graduates from University of West Georgia carry an average student debtload of $23,632. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $259, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

Full Special Education at University of West Georgia Report

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The University of West Florida did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for special education students. It came in at #11 on the list. Located in the city of Pensacola, UWF is a public college with a fairly large student population.

Special Ed majors at UWF take out an average of $27,392 in student loans while working on their egree. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $303.

Full Special Education at The University of West Florida Report

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Concordia University, Saint Paul did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for special education students. It came in at #12 on the list. Concordia University, Saint Paul is a moderately-sized private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Saint Paul.

While working on their degree, special ed majors at Concordia University, Saint Paul accumulate an average of around $22,508 in student debt. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $262, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

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Chemeketa Community College ranked #12 on this year’s Most Popular Online Special Education Schools list. Located in the midsize suburb of Salem, Chemeketa Community College is a public school with a medium-sized student population.

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#14

Granite State College

Concord, NH

Granite State College landed the #14 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best special education programs. Located in the town of Concord, GSC is a public school with a small student population.

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Arkansas State University - Main Campus landed the #15 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best special education programs. A-State is a fairly large public school located in the city of Jonesboro.

On average, special ed graduates from A-State take out $19,866 in student loans while working on their degree. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $231.

Full Special Education at Arkansas State University - Main Campus Report

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#16

East Carolina University

Greenville, NC

East Carolina University did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for special education students. It came in at #16 on the list. ECU is a fairly large public school located in the city of Greenville.

After completing their degree, special ed graduates from ECU carry an average student debtload of $24,110. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $250, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#17

Northern Arizona University

Flagstaff, AZ

Northern Arizona University came in at #17 in this year’s edition of the Most Popular Online Special Education Schools ranking. NAU is a very large public school located in the city of Flagstaff.

Special Ed majors at NAU take out an average of $25,260 in student loans while working on their egree. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $281, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#17

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College

Saint Mary of the Woods, IN

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College landed the #17 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best special education programs. Located in the rural area of Saint Mary of the Woods, SMWC is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population.

Special Ed majors at SMWC take out an average of $27,250 in student loans while working on their egree. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $283, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

Full Special Education at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Report

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#19

Central Washington University

Ellensburg, WA

Central Washington University ranked #19 on this year’s Most Popular Online Special Education Schools list. CWU is a large public school located in the town of Ellensburg.

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University of Cincinnati - Main Campus ranked #19 on this year’s Most Popular Online Special Education Schools list. UC is a very large public school located in the city of Cincinnati.

The average amount in student loans that special ed majors at UC take out is $25,000. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $259, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#19

University of Kansas

Lawrence, KS

University of Kansas landed the #19 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best special education programs. KU is a fairly large public school located in the small city of Lawrence.

While working on their degree, special ed majors at KU accumulate an average of around $22,167 in student debt. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $258.

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#22

University of West Alabama

Livingston, AL

University of West Alabama did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for special education students. It came in at #22 on the list. Located in the remote area of Livingston, University of West Alabama is a public school with a medium-sized student population.

The average amount in student loans that special ed majors at University of West Alabama take out is $34,166. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $398.

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Additional Noteworthy Schools

Here are some additional great schools for Special Education students that almost earned our Most Popular Online Special Education Schools award.

Rank College Location
23 Eastern Illinois University Charleston, IL
23 Hamline University Saint Paul, MN
25 Missouri State University - Springfield Springfield, MO
26 Indiana Wesleyan University - National & Global Marion, IN
27 College of Southern Nevada Las Vegas, NV
27 Minnesota State University - Mankato Mankato, MN
29 Bowling Green State University - Main Campus Bowling Green, OH
30 Towson University Towson, MD
30 University of Arkansas at Little Rock Little Rock, AR
30 Dakota State University Madison, SD

View the Most Popular Online Special Education Schools for a specific region near you.

Region
Southeast
New England
Rocky Mountains
Plains States
Middle Atlantic
Far Western US
Southwest
Great Lakes

Special Education is one of 14 different types of programs to choose from.

Related Major Annual Graduates
Teacher Education Grade Specific 100,925
Educational Administration 44,381
Teacher Education Subject Specific 43,516
General Education 31,066
Curriculum & Instruction 18,767

Notes and References

*These averages are for the top 25 schools only.

  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of the rest of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Credit for the banner image above goes to woodleywonderworks.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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