With the coming of corona virus, everyone in devising means of getting life going. So is it with schools, schooling and education generally. So many options are being utilized now to ensure that schooling does not stop completely. One of such methods is going for online learning options. Some are free and some are paid for. What are the online school resources options in the USA? How do states fare in the provision of such resources? These questions and more will be answered as we discuss on state by state basis.
Before we delve deeper into the matter, it is worthy to state this fact. Due to various reasons, free online school resources are not available in every state of the nation. On the other hand, paid online school resource options are available in all 50 states of USA. For example, The Keystone School, and Laurel Springs School are available to all families in any state. So what are the options in each state?
The state of Alabama has and offers many free, full-time online learning options for students. Two examples of such are Alabama Connections Academy and Alabama Virtual Academy. On part-time basis, ACCESS Alabama provides an option. It serves as virtual school in Alabama for high school students. It grants the students an opportunity to take courses that are either not available or are difficult to schedule at their schools. Both the public school and private school students in certain grades can take classes without any charge.
There is no free online school option for students in Alaska. so, middle- and high-school students in Alaskan districts, who need virtual learning options, can enroll in online courses through the Alaska Digital Academy but for a fee. On the alternative, Alaskan students can consider national online learning options also for a fee.
Free online school options exist in Arizona. Students here can choose to attend either Arizona Virtual Academy or Arizona Connections Academy, classes offered here are on full-time basis at no cost. Both are good options and alternatives.
In Arkansas, there are various free, online learning options for students on full-time basis. Prominent among the available options include Arkansas Connections Academy and Arkansas Virtual Academy. Students looking for part-time classes can get same from Virtual Arkansas, which offers online options for any Arkansas student. However, there are limitations to online classes for students in grades K-6. Any students enrolled in any public school in Arkansas can decide to take all or some of the Virtual Arkansas classes. Though you may see some fees listed on Virtual Arkansas’ website for some courses, these are paid by the local school district and not the students or their families.
Many online learning options exist in California for free, full-time classes. They include California Connections Academy and California Virtual Academies. Services offered by this options are somehow different. Though a greater part of the learning is enabled by technology, these online learning programs in California offer in-person field trips and meet-ups as well. Nice options here.
Colorado, like some other states, offers several free, full-time online learning options for students. Colorado Connections Academy and Colorado Virtual Academy are the most prominent. Additionally, Colorado Digital Learning Solutions also offers online courses for middle-school and high-school students on part-time basis. These courses are for a fee. However, students in Colorado traditional public schools and public charter schools may get subsidies for such fees. Another online learning option in Colorado is GOAL Academy. Unlike others, this online school has drop-in centers where students can work and frequent school field trips. In fact, it offers a good blend of virtual and in-person learning experiences.
There is no free online school options in Connecticut. The existing ones are all paid options. These include George Washington University Online High School, The Keystone School, and K12 International Academy. Parents and students here have no option than to go for the any of the available paid options.
Delaware shares the same experience with Connecticut, there are no free online school options. Paid options are available though. These include The Keystone School (K-12), K12 International Academy (K-12) and George Washington University Online High School (9-12). These online private learning options are for both full- and part-time students
The largest number of state virtual schools in the US are found in Florida. Free online learning options exist for any student in Florida through Florida Virtual School. Courses offered are on both full-time and part time basis and are free of charge. Other free online learning options are also available, such as Florida Connections Academy and Florida Online School.
The most prominent here, Georgia Virtual School provides online LEARNING courses FOR high school level students. It equally has some middle-school courses for those interested in them. These options are available at no cost to Public school students for full-time or part-time engagements. For private and homeschool students, there are some state funds to cover tuition. This is limited and it is shared on a first-come, first-served basis. Georgia Connections Academy and Georgia Cyber Academy are other free sources of online learning options in Georgia.
All high school and middle school students in any traditional public or charter school in Hawaii have the option of taking online courses through Hawaii’s e-school. For those parents who would rather like to enroll their student for full-time online classes, there are private providers to hire.
In Idaho several full-time, free online learning options exist for students. Idaho Connections Academy and Idaho Virtual Academy are prominent among them. Those students in grades 6-12 interested in part-time online learning options, may enroll in online classes through Idaho Digital Learning. This option serves students in any type of educational setting – whether public or private. Since fees may apply, parents wishing to enroll their students should check with their local public school or district for adequate information.
There is no free online learning option here. The available option, which provides classes for students in grades 5-12 is Illinois Virtual School. They provide supplemental online courses to students. Students going for this option always go through their local schools or register as homeschool students. This is because the local schools and districts pay those fees on behalf of their students.
Indiana offers many free, full-time online learning options for her students. These include Indiana Connections Academy and Indiana Digital Learning School, which are the most paramount.
There are several free, full-time online learning options for students in Iowa. Iowa Connections Academy and Iowa Virtual Academy are well known here. Iowa Learning Online used to be the option for part-time classes for middle- or high-school students in Iowa. Sadly, the current 2019-2020 is the last year that this service will be offered by Iowa Learning Online.
Kansas Virtual Academy and Kansas Connections Academy offer several free, full-time online learning options for students in Kansas. Other service providers, some of whom may also offer part-time classes, with or without fees, are documented by the Kansas State Department of Education a list of online learning providers,
Unfortunately, unlike many other states that have free, full-time online learning options for their students, Kentucky does not have such an option yet. Private options exist though but all charge fees.
Louisiana Virtual Charter Academy is an online charter school that offers free full-time online learning options for Louisiana students in grades K-12. Many private online learning service providers come together under the state’s Supplemental Course Academy program for part-time options. Students in underperforming public schools, public schools without a certain course can access free classes. Those in private schools can do so but on opportunity scholarships. Those students who do not qualify for free classes may also take these courses but for a fee.
Two online charter schools, Maine Connections Academy and Maine Virtual Academy exist here. They provide free online learning schools for Maine students on full-time basis.
Currently, Maryland does not have any free, full-time online learning program for students. However, service providers with paid options, like K12, are available.
There are two free public online learning options for students here. Students may attend these free public virtual schools on either full- or part-time basis. Note that there must be an agreement to that effect from the local school district. Private online learning options are also available ad fees are charged.
Michigan Connections Academy and Highpoint Virtual Academy of Michigan offer several free, full-time online learning options for students. For part-time schooling, Michigan Virtual is the option. It offers part-time online classes for both middle- and high-school students. Usually, fees are charged.
Students living in Minnesota (notwithstanding if they have permanent residency somewhere else) can attend a full-time online school free of charge. The available options include Minnesota Connections Academy and Minnesota Virtual Academy. These free options are for students enrolled in public schools (including charter schools). Paid part-time options are also available for nonpublic school students. More information about full-time and part-time online learning options in Minnesota is available here.
Mississippi does not offer a free, full-time online learning option. However, Mississippi Virtual Public School offers part-time classes in which students can enroll. This service is not free but the fess are paid by the local districts.
Public school students in Missouri have access to individual online courses or free and on full-time basis. This is made possible through MOCAP (Missouri Course Access and Virtual School Program). Any student from kindergarten through grade 12 can take courses online through the Missouri Virtual Instruction Program but for a fee. There is a waiver for such students with certain medical conditions.
Montana at the moment does not have any free, full-time online learning option. However, Montana Digital Academy offers all middle and high school students the opportunity to take online classes on a part-time basis. As applicable in other states, students and their families can get such services from paid online learning options for a full-time option.
Nebraskan families, unfortunately, do not have any free public online learning option. University of Nebraska High School online and other paid options may be available.
Nevada Connections Academy, Nevada Learning Academy, and Nevada Virtual Academy all offer several free, full-time online learning options.
In New Hampshire students in high school and adults can take courses free of charge via Virtual Learning Academy Charter. The available courses can be chosen either on full- or part-time basis.
New Jersey cannot boast of any free, full-time online learning option. Be that as it may, New Jersey Virtual School offers full-time enrollment to students in grades 6-12 for a fee.
New Mexico has several free, full-time online learning options for students. These include New Mexico Virtual Academy and New Mexico Connections Academy. Supplemental online course program is also offered by the state’s Public Education Department. This program is not free as fees are charged. Such charges may be borne by the schools which enroll students, some local districts, or by the families depending on certain factors.
New York is of the US states that do not currently offer free online learning program. Paid online options are available from which parent and students can choose.
North Carolina Virtual Public School offers middle school and high school online learning options for students on full-time or part-time basis. Tuition fees may be charged from students enrolled in private schools. North Carolina Virtual Academy and other free, full-time online learning options are available.
North Dakota Center for Distance Education is the only state virtual school. It currently offers paid full-time online learning option for North Dakota learners from elementary through high school students. There may be other paid options available as there is no free option here.
In Ohio, elementary through high school students can enroll in full-time or part-time courses through Northwest Ohio Virtual Academy for free. Though at no cost, such students must register through a school district. Ohio Virtual Academy and Ohio Connections Academy are the other free, full-time online learning options are also available in the state.
Oklahoma offers several free, full-time online learning options for students. These options include Oregon Virtual Academy and Oregon Connections Academy. There are other free and paid options. You can find out more about all the available options in Oklahoma here.
Like Oklahoma, Oregon offers several online learning options for students. These state options are always free and on a full-time basis. The prominent ones are Oregon Connections Academy and Oregon Virtual Academy. Oregon Digital Learning Academy provides such options for students in rural areas on part-time basis. Their services are only for supplemental courses and at no charge to students.
In Pennsylvania, PA Virtual Charter School, Reach Cyber Charter School, and Insight PA Cyber Charter School offer free, full-time online learning courses for students in the state. Those interested in private and paid options can also get them.
In some Rhode Island districts, students in grades 3-12 can enroll in online courses. But, they must register through their local school district. Contact your local public school for more information on tuition and enrollment.
South Carolina has numerous free, full-time online learning options for students. Notable among them are the South Carolina Virtual Charter School, and South Carolina Connections Academy. Virtual SC is another option but it only offers tuition-free online classes courses for students in grades 7-12. These students can be in public schools, private schools or homeschooled. Note that this option recommends a maximum of four classes at any given time, and does not award diplomas.
In partnership with K12 and local school districts, Black Hills Online Learning Community offers free, online learning courses to families and students. Enrolment is only open at certain times of the year and you should ensure to work with such. For part-time courses, the South Dakota Virtual School, in collaboration with the state Department of Education, offers a list of approved providers, which render paid services.
In Tennessee there are many free, full-time online learning options for students including Tennessee Virtual Academy and Tennessee Connections Academy.
Here, Texas Virtual School Network’s Online Schools offer several free, full-time online learning options for students. Those interested in part-time options can still get them through the Texas Virtual School Network.
In Utah, all grades K-12 students, can enroll in full- or part-time in online courses through Utah Online School. All courses offered through this medium are tuition-free. Utah Connections Academy and Utah Virtual Academy are other free online learning options service providers. Another option is My Tech High, which partners with public schools to offer a full-time, personalized, distance education program for students ages 5 to 18.
There is no free full-time online learning option here. However, all students can take part-time courses through Vermont Virtual Learning Cooperative. Who shoulders the responsibility of paying for these courses is dependent on many factors.
Virginia Virtual Academy offers students the option of free, full-time online learning. Virtual Virginia offers part-time classes for students in middle and high school. Fees charged are paid either by the public or private school in which the student is enrolled or the parents if the student is homeschooled.
Washington offers several free, full-time online learning options for students, such as the Insight School of Washington and Washington Connections Academy. You can contact the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction for detailed information on districts with online learning options, some of which may offer free courses. Digital Public School Alliance – WA is also an option to consider.
West Virginia does not offer any free online learning option on full-time basis. However, the West Virginia Virtual School offers part-time online courses. Students who do not have access to courses in their home school can take courses for free, but fees apply for summer online courses, and in some other cases.
Wisconsin offers several free, full-time online learning options for students. These are made available through Wisconsin Connections Academy and Destinations Career Academy of Wisconsin. Wisconsin Virtual School offers part-time classes for middle-school and high-school students in for a fee. Students in public and private schools usually enroll through their schools while homeschooled students enroll directly.
Wyoming offers several free, full-time online learning options for students through Wyoming Virtual Academy and Wyoming Connections Academy. For part-time courses, there are options made available through a variety of other providers.
Hope this will help parents and students in making informed choices. You can check out our article on How to choose the best University to study at as an international student.