Value Colleges, an independent online guide to the best values in undergraduate and graduate college education, released its rankings of the "50 Best Value Online Graduate Schools of 2015" on Tuesday.

The guide looked to compile online graduate schools that give students the best return on their investment: online colleges that meet an ideal combination of affordability and excellence, with high ROI and low debt.

The ranking was built upon 20-year net ROI, cost of attendance, and national rankings. Information was compiled from payscale.com, US News & World Report, IPEDS, and the schools' own websites.

"The more common the bachelor's degree becomes, the more important it becomes to go further to distinguish yourself on the job market," stated Value Colleges editor Carrie Sealey-Morris. "That means, in most professional fields, a master's degree has become a necessity for advancement. Online programs allow flexible schedules that working adults can negotiate, and convenient content-delivery at home means students will not have to add a drive to campus to their daily commute."

Schools included on the list include (in alphabetical order):

  • Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 
  • Auburn University, Auburn, AL 
  • Boston University, Boston, MA 
  • Central Michigan University-Global, Mt. Pleasant, MI 
  • Columbia University, New York, NY 
  • Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA 
  • East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 
  • Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 
  • George Washington University, Washington, DC 
  • Graceland University, Lamoni, IA 
  • Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 
  • Iowa State University, Ames, IA 
  • James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA 
  • John Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 
  • Mississippi State University, Starkville, MS 
  • Missouri University of Science & Technical University, Rolla, MO 
  • North Carolina A&T, Greensboro, NC 
  • North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 
  • Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL 
  • Pace University, New York, NY 
  • Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA 
  • Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 
  • Quinnipiac University, Hamden, CT 
  • St. Johns University, New York, NY 
  • Saint Xavier University, Chicago, IL 
  • Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, TX 
  • South Dakota University, Brookings, SD 
  • Southern Polytechnic State University, Marietta, GA 
  • Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 
  • Temple University, Philadelphia, PA 
  • Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 
  • University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL 
  • University of California - Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 
  • University of Denver, Denver, CO 
  • University of Houston, Houston, TX 
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 
  • University of Maryland, Baltimore, Baltimore, MD 
  • University of Massachusetts, Amhert, MA 
  • University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 
  • University of Missouri, Kansas City, Kansas City, MO 
  • University of Nebraska - Lincoln, Lincoln, NB 
  • University of Nevada - Las Vegas, Las Vega, NV 
  • University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, CO 
  • University of Scranton, Scranton, PA 
  • University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 
  • University of Texas-Dallas, Dallas, TX 
  • University of West Georgia, Carrolton, GA 
  • University of Wisconsin - eCampus, Madison, WI 
  • Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 
  • Washington State University Global Campus, Pullman, WA

For the numerical rankings and more information, head to Value Colleges' site here.