A new study by Onlinecolleges.com finds Rutgers University-New Brunswick is the top college for online programs in New Jersey, beating out 45 other accredited colleges and universities in the state for the title.

Editor Ian Sentelik says they looked at details such as the number of programs offered, the percentage of students in the program, tuition costs, as well as what kind of resources the schools offered, dual credit, credit for life experience and electronic library collections.

He says online college programs are very beneficial for three reasons. One is the flexibility. This is a great alternative for people who work while they are in school, if you have a family or if you have a family member you need to take care of on a daily basis.

Also, time is a factor says Sentelik. A lot of online programs have the ability to have you "stack your work, where you can be doing the work at anytime that is convenient for you and therefore it can help you get through a program faster."

Online programs can also be beneficial if you want to attend school out-of-state. You wouldn't have to move. Sometimes the tuition costs for an online program is more comparable to an in-state student even if you're out-of-state, says Sentelik.

There are, however, some degrees where there are not many online program options, especially if you're looking for something more vocational or technical where you have to be doing work with your hands.

But Sentelik says, even with that, there are advances being made. For example, with beauty and cosmetology, the wigs, heads and beauty equipment may at the school but there's a way to work with them through an interface, even remotely.

In years past, people with online degrees used to be regarded as people who did not receive a good education. But Sentelik says all that has changed.

With the internet such an integral part of people's lives, and with video chat and websites full of information, he says it's become easier to get an online education.

"Since online degrees are gaining much more respect, you probably won't see a college turn down a transfer of credits to maybe a bachelor's degree simply because you have an online associates degree."

Here are the top 10 colleges and universities that stood out in the statewide study:

1. Rutgers University-New Brunswick

2. Ocean County College

3. Stevens Institute of Technology

4. Rowan University

5. Stockton University

6. Caldwell University

7. Ramapo College of New Jersey

8. Seton Hall University

9. New Jersey City University

10. Berkeley College-Woodland Park

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