UNK ranked in top 10% nationally for online master’s programs in education

KEARNEY – The University of Nebraska at Kearney remains one of the best schools in the country for students pursuing an online master’s degree in education.

UNK moved up one position, into a tie for 27th place, in this year’s “Best Online Master’s in Education Programs” rankings compiled by U.S. News & World Report. The list compares 317 public and private institutions from across the country, with UNK landing in the top 10%. Only Creighton University, tied for seventh, ranks higher than UNK among Nebraska schools.

Mark Reid
Mark Reid

“This notable ranking confirms what we all know. UNK has amazingly dedicated faculty who strive to help their students be the best they can be,” said College of Education Dean Mark Reid. “It also indicates the strong support for online courses provided by UNK administration and eCampus.”

“I cannot emphasize enough that this recognition has for multiple years demonstrated that the online offerings in UNK’s College of Education rank among the best of all universities in the entire country,” Reid added.

Released today, the U.S. News & World Report rankings include online and blended graduate programs where “the vast majority” of required coursework can be completed via distance learning. Schools were judged on five categories – engagement, student excellence, faculty credentials and training, services and technologies and expert opinion – with areas such as graduation and retention rates, class sizes, student indebtedness and support services factored.

UNK increased its total score from 86 to 88, with scores scaled from 0 to 100.

In addition to the overall ranking, UNK is one of just 35 schools to earn a spot on U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Online Master’s in Education Programs for Veterans” list. UNK, which ranks 10th, is the only Nebraska school to receive this recognition.

“Veterans and active-duty service members gain the most from distance education that is affordable, accessible and reputable,” Eric Brooks, senior data analyst for U.S. News & World Report, states. “The 2021 Best Online Programs for Veterans rankings measure these factors in consideration of financial benefits available specifically to people with military experience.”

Lori Skarka
Lori Skarka

To be eligible for the veterans-focused list, schools must rank in the top half of the “Best Online Master’s in Education Programs” rankings, be certified for the GI Bill and have at least 10 students with military backgrounds enrolled in these programs. They also must participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program or be a public institution that charges in-state tuition, which can be fully covered by the GI Bill, for all veterans applying from out of state.

At UNK, the Military and Veterans Services Office provides support for veterans and active military members pursuing higher education.

“The U.S. News & World Report ranking is a reflection of our commitment to veterans and military-connected students,” said Lori Skarka, the office’s assistant director. “We’re proud to provide this individualized service and continued support as they strive to achieve their academic goals.”

Nearly 1,200 students, including 20 veterans or active military members, are enrolled in online or blended master’s degree programs through UNK’s College of Education and eCampus. There are more than 30 degree options in areas such as clinical mental health counseling, curriculum and instruction, educational administration, kinesiology and sport sciences, higher education student affairs, instructional technology, physical education, PK-12 reading, school counseling and special education.


2021 Best Online Master’s in Education Programs Top 4
Rank, Institution
1 – University of Florida
2 – Clemson University
3 – University of Illinois
T4 – California State University, Fullerton
T4 – Michigan State University
T4 – University of Georgia

2021 Best Online Master’s in Education Programs in Nebraska
T7 – Creighton University
T27 – University of Nebraska at Kearney
T83 – University of Nebraska-Lincoln
227-296 – Concordia University
Unranked – Midland University