The Top 5 Worst Online Universities

Online universities are becoming a more popular option for those who are looking to further their education. Taking classes online makes sense for many people, as it allows them to have a more flexible schedule, save on gas money, and earn a degree to further their career. Many of these online universities have excellent professors and programs built around the needs of their students, resulting in degrees that carry a lot of weight in their fields. Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is not all online universities are created equally. Without research, you could stumble upon the worst online universities.  There are some schools that simply see online classes as an easy way to get more money from a broader range of students. This can lead to many problems, such as disorganized classes, less qualified professors, and an overall lack of support. The old saying that you only get out of it what you put in fits online universities perfectly, but these schools aren’t holding up their end of the bargain. These are the 5 worst online university rankings.

Western Governors University

Western Governors University

Western Governors University has had quite a few unhappy students. In reviews of the school, one complaint repeats itself ad nauseum, the lack of interaction with an actual professor. Students of Western Governors University often feel as if they are paying to teach themselves. There are “mentors” assigned to each student to help them get acclimated to online classes and assist them in any way they need, but the time between questions and answers is less than stellar.

Another big complaint about Western Governors University is the fact that all tests are graded by a third party and returned in around ten business days with either a pass or fail grade. This makes it very difficult for students to be able to ask questions about their tests or to be able to try and explain why one of their answers was what it was, as there is no communication between students and this third party. All these factors add up to Western Governors University having a measly graduation rate of 22%.

University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix

The measure of a university’s worth is how much weight a degree from there carries with prospective employers. A degree from the University of Phoenix carries the weight of a feather. This is because this university has earned a reputation for ridiculously easy coursework, allowing them to pass out diplomas like napkins.

The University of Phoenix has classes with “learning teams”, essentially groups of students working together to finish assignments. This makes it all too easy for some students to breeze their way through coursework, relying on the work of others. This adds to an accelerated education process where they cram a class into a short amount of time. Even professors have complained that they are unable to teach everything they should in the amount of time they are given with a class. The University of Phoenix is not the place for somebody looking for an academic challenge.

Argosy University Online

Argosy University Online

Argosy University is a for-profit institution, which leads to some conflicts of interest that end up hurting students. As a for-profit university, Argosy does whatever they can to get as many students to enroll. Moreover, they give up those precious greenbacks. Most schools offer financial advisers to help students figure out how they can afford school. Furthermore, they help them find out if now might not be the right time to further their education. Argosy Online College ignores this tactic. Instead, it goes for the hard sell right off the bat.

Perhaps the worst aspect of Argosy is their lack of accreditation in many fields which they still offer degree programs in. There was a scandal a few years back with Argosy promising students that their chosen fields would receive accreditation soon, which didn’t happen. A degree from an unaccredited school is worth about as much as the blank paper to prospective employees.

Grantham University

Grantham University

Grantham University is actually a fairly well thought of online university. Their graduation rate of 41% isn’t stellar but is certainly an improvement over many of the universities on this list. Grantham University also has an accreditation, meaning their degrees are actually worth something. The problem with Grantham is, once again, how for-profit schools operate.
The most common complaint amongst Grantham University students is how unreachable faculty and staff are when they need assistance. All these complaints also mention that the staff becomes extremely available to talk to students. However, this happens only once it is time to re-enroll in new classes. Grantham University is a decent option only if you like teaching yourself everything you need to know.

Kaplan University

Kaplan University worst online universities

Once again, a for-profit University makes the list. People complained that Kaplan let everyone in, whether they qualify for secondary education or not. Moreover, they supposedly boosted their grades to keep them enrolled. It feels as though it is all a matter of money. This results in many students leaving the university with a degree that garners little respect and huge amounts of debt.

Still, there are some good things about Kaplan University. Professors are accessible and must answer any student questions within 48 hours. Students are also able to use chat rooms like office hours. They can even do so with each other to go over course materials. The problem that many students have reported is that the classes can be hard to navigate online. This is not a good problem for an online university to have. If you want to play it safe, it is best to enroll in an online university

Updated: February 2018.


  1. I have no clue where the information on Western Governors comes from, but it’s inaccurate. Test scores for most test are received automatically if you choose the option of taking the test at your home online. I can’t speak for the testing center option, but why would you pay for this option when you can take the test in the convenience of your own home? Anyone taking that option shouldn’t even be enrolled in an online school.

    The low graduation rate likely comes from people who are not self sufficient and need everything spoon fed to them. Again, this type of student should never enroll in an online school.

    I am currently a student at Western Governors, and I can say that it has been a great experience so far.

  2. Let me also add that a webcam is provided in the tuition.So again, why would you go to a testing center and wait 10days for your results? Western Governors is very open about all of there policies. They are the anti-Phoenix.

  3. I am also a WGU student and I agree with the blog post, I say it’s great that you have had a great experience THUS far but give it time, it will catch up with you. I waited 9 days for one task to be graded and it was Performance exam. The mentors don’t care at all, the course mentors are joke and refuse to actually help in fact they are not allowed to help you, they only tell you what the Course of study tells you. I hope it works for you, but it didn’t for me.

  4. Well , I went to Univ of Phoenix because back then they were heavily advertised and didnt know of any other online schools that were not diploma mills and honestly I hate the for profit cost , but I did land a 40k job shortly after graduating and a year later 80k job that required a Bachelor’s , so it does help fill that 4 year degree requirement , but the knowledge and hands on is up to you really.

  5. This article and the way it is titled “5 worst online schools” is led by a few dissatisfied unmotivated people. Nobody said it would be easy, sorry. In many respects online schools are more difficult because someone is not holding your hand and you are actually tested for what you know (regionally accredited). I didn’t receive a paper back until 9 days later? this makes a bad school? more like you forgot to check, it never happened to me and I graduated! Trying to ruin a reputation on something so petty is disgusting. Low graduation rates with self motivated schooling says a lot of people thought they could slide just because it’s online, sorry if anything the requirements are higher as it is an online and regionally accredited. Quit blaming everyone else for your own problems.

  6. Um, this article is stupid. First of all, how can these be the worst online schools when these are the most experienced online schools with some of them pioneers of distance education? How is it that some of these same schools are listed in other articles along with top online schools? It’s to the point where these articles have no credibility whatsoever. If you are haters, so be it. Online schooling is here to stay. Even the best colleges are starting to realize this is the way to go. Please! Americans are finding ways to work full-time and earn degrees… it only makes sense.

  7. Where in the world did you get your information? I’ve been a student at WGU since 2009. I started with the undergrad program in Business Management and have progressed into the MBA program. I couldn’t have been more satisfied with my experience. I have had the pleasure of working with 5 different student mentors. They were all fantastic! The course mentors are also great to work with. The biggest complaint people have with the university is that they REQUIRE you to pass the assessments at a “B” level. They expect their graduates to be competent in the areas in which they are earning their degrees. The entire point of the WGU system is to display competence. It took me 2.5 years to graduate from the undergrad program from scratch. I had gained 8 years of experience in the quality control field while working on a government project. This real world experience allowed me to display competency an very quickly pass multiple classes.
    In a 2011 survey of nearly 4,000 graduates, conducted by Lighthouse Research and WGU:
    97 percent of employers rate WGU graduates equal to or above their counterparts who graduated from other colleges and universities.
    99 percent of employers rate WGU graduates’ preparation for the workforce as good or excellent.
    98 percent of employers rate WGU graduates’ ability to analyze or solve problems at or above their counterparts.
    81 percent of employers say they would recommend hiring WGU graduates to business associates and affiliated companies.
    81 percent of employers say WGU graduates need little or no additional training to effectively perform their jobs.

  8. As a current Student with WGU.. I find the negative comments unfounded. The Mentors and the Entire Staff have been nothing but helpful.

  9. Funny thing about this list. WGU comes out and tells you that the learning is self paced. It is not instructor led. They also tell you that you will have mentoring sessions. All of this is true and WGU gets a bad rep for that?

    University of Phoenix is a joke. Plagiarism is the norm, teachers don’t teach, they facilitate the start and finish of the class and the curriculum is a joke ( I am about to graduate with a worthless degree from U of P).

    The bottom line is you get what you put into the education. Some people put in minimum effort and get it back. Others do the work and self teach themselves the material. Regardless, when you get into the job market you either know it, or you don’t. THe paper is just the foot in the door.

  10. I am a recent grad from WGU. This blog is uninformed and has no merit when it comes to the review of WGU. I went in with my eyes wide open knowing it was up to me to make this happen. It worked very well. If you need someone to hold your hand this is not for you but why criticize if the failure is on you?

    I could not be happier with the education and the delivery.

    One thing too is the graders are employed by WGU. Task Stream is the mechanism but the graders are from WGU. I think the longest I waited was 5 days once. All other times they were graded in less than that time. In one case, within 20 minutes.

    As with anything, your attitude is a big predictor of success.

    I decided to continue on with WGU for my MBA precisely because of the quality of education. Getting tired of seeing these uninformed criticisms.

  11. Our methodology for this piece was primarily via online comments/reviews for each of the programs described. While this is an imperfect measurement, it surely is “fair” as we allowed students, peers, and potential employers to assist in creating the list.

  12. As most of the comments on here, I concur that the article is unfounded and obviously just rehashed stuff and opinionated. I’ve been with Grantham for a while and have nothing but good things to say about them. I have never had a problem getting in touch with my academic adviser nor the counselor that first signed me up many moons ago. Yeah…I still talk to her. I’ve taken classes with other colleges and universities (both online and in the class), and these are just as challenging, if not MORE challenging. For one, you have to be more self-disciplined to actually do the work because you have nobody looking over your shoulder and no one to cheat with. I have also found the professors and teachers less forgiving on grading. Also, before I forget. Let me mention about accreditation because I’m sure someone will comment on it. Grantham is nationally accredited. Got it. My credits are 100% transferable to Bellevue University, a regionally accredited school. However, I am moving right into the Master’s program at Grantham because I enjoy it so much.


  1. […] Yes, I appreciate some concern for the welfare of grad students, but nonetheless take a moment and think about the arrogance on display here. This anonymous denizen of Harvard Yard is assuming that Harvard professors are so much better than everyone else that merely their taped presence can improve upon the teaching of a living, breathing human trained anywhere else** – that someone who’s as accessible as the pope or Thomas Pynchon can teach you more than someone you can talk to during every class for the entire semester (and in office hours if that’s not enough). The Western Governors University experience suggests otherwise: […]

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