Online Schools & Colleges
in Ohio

Strategies & Advice for Choosing the Best Online Education in Ohio

Online programs in Ohio offer the flexibility to continue working while learning. Some schools, such as Ohio State University, offer completely online programs, even in health occupations, while others offer a hybrid mix of online and in-person learning. Even if you’re not sure if earning an online degree is the right choice for you, this page walks you through some of the important questions online students in Ohio should get the answers to before making a college decision, including which colleges and universities offer the best online education in the state.

Best Online Colleges in Ohio

2-Year Colleges

Every online student has different priorities when it comes to finding the right school—a working mom might need to find a program that offers a variety of evening and weekend classes to accommodate her schedule, while a nursing student may want to find an accelerated program to get into the workforce and earn a paycheck as quickly as possible. But beyond flexibility and accessibility, there are quality measures online students should take into account when choosing which college to attend. We help make the search easier by providing a list of the best online colleges in Ohio who offer a combination of top-quality education standards and student support.

Rank University Title Tuition # of Online Programs Expand Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Description
1 Eastern Gateway Community College $3,510 31 19% 22% Yes No Yes
2 Sinclair Community College $3,169 32 16% 44% Yes Yes Yes
3 Columbus State Community College $3,808 37 15% 7% Yes Yes Yes
4 Cuyahoga Community College $3,953 15 9% 4% Yes Yes Yes
5 Stark State College $2,796 27 7% 19% Yes Yes Yes
6 Cincinnati State $3,567 21 12% 19% Yes Yes Yes
7 Clark State Community College $2,912 13 13% 37% Yes Yes Yes
8 Lakeland Community College $4,136 10 11% 14% Yes Yes Yes
9 Rhodes State College $3,845 10 21% 31% Yes Yes Yes
10 Marion Technical College $4,080 7 10% 24% Yes Yes Yes
11 Central Ohio Technical College $4,296 3 12% 12% Yes Yes Yes
12 Southern State Community College $4,232 3 25% 19% Yes Yes Yes
13 Terra State Community College $3,876 6 10% 15% Yes Yes Yes
Rank University Title Tuition # of Online Programs Expand Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Description
1 Ohio State University-Main Campus $9,168 11 54% 85% 80% No Yes Yes

Best known by many for their athletic programs, Ohio State University is also home to some of the top academic programs in the nation. Academically, their health and science departments get the most attention, often considered to be among the best in the nation. Students that don't want to study in a traditional manner can still study toward health and sciences through their online school. Ohio State Online currently offers 3 undergraduate programs: a bachelor's in dental hygiene, health science and nursing. These programs are technically degree completion, so students will need to have previous credit before applying, making these programs ideal for transfer students. To help keep costs low, any students that do enroll 100 percent in distance education will be given Ohio resident tuition. Students looking to get this tuition will need to be sure that the program they're starting is entirely online, or that they already qualify for in-state tuition.

2 Mount Vernon Nazarene University $18,629 15 74% 58% 100% Yes Yes Yes

Mount Vernon Nazarene University is one of the top private, Christian schools in Ohio. While many of the students choose degrees related to ministry, MVNU also offers a wide variety of degrees popular at other institutions. There are 5 online undergraduate degrees offered by Mount Vernon, and their bachelor's of business administration can be further focused in 1 of 4 categories. After, students can pick from 1 of their master's degree programs, some of which can be fast-tracked or dual majored. MVNU designed the majority of their online degree programs with adult learners and full-time workers in mind. Even with a busy schedule, MVNU estimates that students should be able to complete some programs in as little as 15-21 months, and potentially even less if they have already completed some of the required foundational courses. The costs for their online school vary depending on the specific program.

3 Ohio University-Main Campus $11,298 20 75% 69% 82% Yes Yes Yes

Not only does Ohio University have a large on-campus student body, but they also have one of the largest e-learning student bodies in the nation. There are currently over 8,000 students studying through Ohio's undergraduate and graduate programs online, and that number is steadily increasing. So many students enroll in the online school because of its quality ? all 10 of their undergraduate degree programs are held to the same standards as their on-campus counterparts. While out-of-state students will be required to pay more than in-state students, they will not see their tuition or fees increase in the first 12 consecutive semesters of study. Since their online degrees are designed to be completed in 8 semesters or less, most online students shouldn't see an increase in what they pay while they attend Ohio.

4 University of Cincinnati-Main Campus $9,322 31 76% 72% 58% Yes Yes Yes

With over 44,000 students and roughly 250,000 alumni, the University of Cincinnati can give future graduates a network to find the right job, particularly in the busy Cincinnati area. Because not all students are able to commute to campus, UC offers 15 entirely online bachelor's degree programs. It's worth noting that 5 of these programs are degree completion, meaning students will need transfer credit or prior school credit ? but these degrees can be earned in less than 4 years. With affordability being an important factor for many incoming college students, the University of Cincinnati has created a structured tuition cost for each individual program through their online school. Students will need to check their desired program to find out how much the tuition will be. Regardless of the cost, Cincinnati also offers financial aid, and the majority of their online students receive some form of financial aid.

5 Xavier University $35,920 19 69% 71% 99% Yes Yes Yes

Founded on the Jesuit method, Xavier University has found success in placing students after graduation, boasting that 98% of their student body is employed or furthering their education after earning a degree. Xavier has found the same success with their online program as 98% of those graduates end up in the same position. A big reason their online program is so effective is their network of mentors. Every online student has access to a professional mentor, many of which have their own professional network to help connect graduates with opportunities. It's worth noting that the online school at Xavier currently does not offer any undergraduate programs ? however, all 8 of their master's degree programs are considered among the best in the state. Students that are earning a bachelor's degree soon and want to continue their education will want to see what Xavier has to offer.

6 Bowling Green State University-Main Campus $9,096 22 76% 56% 69% Yes Yes Yes

Located in northwest Ohio, Bowling Green State University is home to over 19,000 students. Their success is largely due to their effort to maximize the first year of all their programs, giving students more exposure to their field early on. This method extends to their online campus where students can complete one of four entirely online bachelor's degrees, each designed to give students early exposure to their field. The majority of the courses offered in their online programs last 7 weeks, helping students get more flexibility with their online studies while still pacing themselves to graduate in 4 years. Along with these entirely online courses, there is also one blended program ? a bachelor's in liberal arts ? that is 50% online and 50% on campus. Courses through this program last the traditional 16 weeks. The time it takes to complete any of these programs can be reduced with transfer credit.

7 University of Toledo $8,052 19 94% 47% 92% Yes Yes Yes

One of the largest and top funded schools in Ohio, the University of Toledo is constantly looking for ways to improve education for their students. With the growth of distance education, Toledo has made their presence in online education known. They currently offer 25 different undergraduate programs through the online school, all of which can be completed entirely online. This is one of the largest assortments of entirely online undergraduate programs offered by a single institution. Students are also able to take some of the courses on-campus and may be required to spend time earning in-person experience if they are looking to get certification. Transfer students looking for a place to complete their undergraduate education can benefit from Toledo's transfer and adult student scholarships and awards. To be eligible, transfer students must have already completed 12 or more credit hours at an accredited institution.

8 Baldwin Wallace University $30,776 3 60% 69% 99% Yes Yes Yes

Although the school has been around since 1845, Baldwin Wallace University has been going through a lot of change recently. Along with expanding the number of academic programs offered and introducing new ways for students to study, Baldwin Wallace officially changed from a college to a university just 6 years ago. The name change was meant to reflect the growth of the school, both in terms of size and prestige. The online programs offered through BW are a reflection of this growth as they're constantly adding more online options while maintaining their high standards for education. There are currently 4 programs offered entirely online through BW as well as one hybrid program. The cost of earning an education can be easily reduced with the vast majority of Baldwin Wallace University students receiving financial aid. Of those, 96% of transfer students earned some form of aid in 2017-2018.

9 Ashland University $19,448 4 72% 57% 94% Yes Yes Yes

Over the past 140 years, Ashland University has grown from a small college to a university that offers education at all levels. Along with the growth of their campus, student body and educational options, Ashland has extended into the digital space with their online school. Students studying toward an online degree at Ashland can choose from 5 bachelor's degree, 3 associate degree and 4 master's degree programs. All of their online degree programs can be completed entirely online or through a hybrid of on-campus and online courses. One unique aspect of their online undergraduate nursing program is that it can also be completed in an accelerated format. Through the accelerated format, nursing students will complete 64 credit hours over the span of just 15 months. Along with their courses, students will be required to gain clinical experience to become a certified nurse. This program is designed for students that have already earned a bachelor's degree in another field.

10 The University of Findlay $31,436 6 73% 56% 100% Yes Yes Yes

Founded with Christian faith in mind, the University of Findlay has garnered a reputation for having some of the top health and science programs in the region. While many students choose to pursue their education traditionally, Findlay makes it easy for online students to earn their degree as well. Their main online undergraduate degree program is their degree completion, meant for transfer students with at least 61 credits. Students in this program can choose to complete their degree in 1 of 4 fields: business management, emergency operations, health care management and environmental safety and health. Along with their undergraduate degree completion, Findlay online offers different degrees at every level, as well as some licensing and certification. All of these programs can be completed online, unless clinical hours are required. Every online student also gains access to Findlay's extensive online library to help with their studies. Findlay also offers online tutoring, tech support and access to their experience faculty and staff.

11 Walsh University $27,220 10 78% 55% 99% Yes Yes Yes
12 Cleveland State University $9,636 10 87% 42% 45% Yes Yes Yes
13 Cedarville University $27,910 7 69% 71% 99% No Yes Yes
14 Kent State University at Kent $10,012 10 85% 58% 79% No Yes Yes
15 Muskingum University $26,200 5 77% 54% 99% Yes Yes Yes
16 University of Dayton $40,940 6 60% 77% 94% No Yes Yes
17 Youngstown State University $7,847 10 67% 38% 62% Yes Yes Yes
18 Franciscan University of Steubenville $25,220 7 79% 75% 99% No No Yes
19 University of Akron Main Campus $8,618 10 96% 45% 62% Yes Yes Yes
20 Gods Bible School and College $6,000 4 - 39% 67% Yes Yes Yes
21 Malone University $28,524 9 73% 52% 100% Yes No Yes
22 Ohio Dominican University $30,500 7 52% 44% 99% Yes Yes Yes
23 Wright State University-Main Campus $8,730 17 95% 41% 62% No Yes Yes
24 Union Institute & University $12,240 19 - 19% 29% Yes Yes Yes
25 Notre Dame College $27,600 13 90% 37% 99% Yes Yes Yes
26 Tiffin University $22,800 40 76% 44% 91% Yes Yes Yes
27 Mercy College of Ohio $11,880 3 58% 47% 21% No No Yes
28 Case Western Reserve University $45,592 7 35% 81% 81% No Yes Yes
29 Wilberforce University $12,020 30 38% 29% 74% Yes Yes Yes
30 Urbana University $22,452 3 92% 31% 85% Yes Yes Yes
31 University of Northwestern Ohio $9,622 9 - 31% 28% No Yes Yes
32 Ohio Christian University $10,468 19 - 30% 47% Yes No Yes
33 Franklin University $11,856 44 - 16% - Yes No Yes

How Can I Find Which Online Colleges Offer the Degree I’m Looking for in Ohio?

The most accurate way to explore the programs each college offers is to check the school’s listing of online programs.

Students can also use the Ohio Department of Higher Education’s OhioLearns database to search for online degrees, programs, and courses available in Ohio.

Which Online Schools in Ohio Will Accept My Transfer Credits or Work/Life Experience?

Whether returning to college, transferring schools, or entering college for the first time, prospective students in Ohio should check if their prior learning experience will gain them any credits toward their degree.

  • Transferring Credits from Other Colleges or Military Learning

    Students with credits from other accredited colleges can likely transfer some credits to their new program, but each school has its own transfer policy. Students can use Transferology to get an idea of how their credits may be transferred and applied.

  • Credit for Prior Learning Outside of a Classroom

    Many colleges and universities in Ohio award academic credit for prior learning. Students can earn credit by exam or through CLEP testing at schools such as Cleveland State University, Kent State University, and University of Cincinnati. Other Ohio colleges, like Bowling Green State University, Ohio University, University of Northwestern Ohio, and University of Toledo permit students to create portfolios demonstrating their prior learning experience. These portfolios are reviewed by faculty to determine whether the student has knowledge and experience equivalent to the courses in question.

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How Much More Do College Grads in Ohio Make?

Like most other states, Ohio’s job market supports the belief that a college education helps you make more money. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics provides salaray data and mibimum degree requirements for occupations around the nation, and in Ohio, jobs that require higher levels of education also pay more, on average.

Mean Annual Salary for All Occupations in Ohio, by Minimum Degree Level Required:

No Formal
High School
$31,719 $41,820 $55,584 $73,079 $75,700 $116,347

Earning a bachelor’s degree in Ohio could mean a significant pay increase; on average, careers that require a bachelor’s level education pay nearly 60 percent more than positions that require no formal education, and 40 percent more than jobs that require a high school diploma. But the most significant jump is for doctoral degree holders, whose jobs pay, on average, $40,000 more per year than those that require a master’s degree.

As of August 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics also reported that Ohio had an average unemployment rate of 4.5 percent, which is higher than the national average of 3.9 percent. Students may be able to combat unemployment by earning a college degree.

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The Impact of Accreditation for Online Colleges and Universities in Ohio

Accreditation establishes a quality threshold for colleges and universities, and it signals to prospective employers and schools that you received your education from a reputable source. Accreditation is important for all students, but online students should pay special attention to a school’s accreditation status to ensure the value of their degree.

Paying for Online College in Ohio: Tuition & Financial Aid

While tuition costs continue to rise, the Ohio Undergraduate Tuition Guarantee Program mitigates these increases for students. According to this 2013 policy, public colleges may increase tuition costs only if they freeze the new tuition cost for at least four years.

Take a look at the following answers to frequently asked questions to learn more about how to navigate paying for college in Ohio.

What are Ohio’s requirements to qualify for in-state university tuition?

To gain residency status, most students must have lived in the state for at least 12 months prior to enrollment, and they must have given up their residency status in their home state. The University of Toledo offers a Residency Predictor that applicants can use to determine whether they qualify for in-state tuition. University of Cincinnati offers special tuition rates for qualifying students from Kentucky and Indiana as part of a tuition reciprocity program.

Are Online Credits More Affordable in Ohio Than Other Places?

According to a recent study by the College Board, Ohio’s average tuition costs for public four-year programs are more expensive than 31 of the 52 U.S. states and territories profiled. This means that Ohio’s average tuition is slightly higher than the national average. Online tuition costs in Ohio range from $240 per credit (Ohio University) to $545 per credit (Union Institute & University). So how does this stack up against other online colleges and universities nearby?

Tuition Costs Per Online Undergrad Credit, 2018-2019

$429 to $515 per credit

Slippery Rock University (Pennsylvania)

$322 to $328 per credit
$417 per credit
$530 per credit

Bluefield State College (West Virginia)

$365 per credit

Though rates may vary, it’s important to keep in mind these do not include additional fees. Be sure you understand all the incidental charges a college will add on top of this per-credit rate to get the full picture of your total online education cost.

How Can I Get Help Paying for Online College in Ohio?

The first step to funding an education in Ohio is to submit a Free Application for Federal student Aid (FAFSA). While the federal government has a deadline of June 2019, Ohio colleges and universities request students submit the FAFSA by October 2018 to obtain state financial aid. Even if a student does not qualify for federal aid, they may still qualify for state aid.

Additional scholarships and grants exist outside of federal and state aid in Ohio, including:

Online Education & Adult Education in Ohio

Adult education primarily serves individuals who want to develop new skills to advance their career, and often times, enter college. Adult and continuing education programs are often offered through career or community centers, but some colleges and universities in Ohio also offer these programs, such as the University of Toledo’s College of Adult Lifelong Learning.

Some other useful adult education programs and resources include’s adult education & training directory, Ohio Department of Higher Education’s workforce training and adult education guide, and Ohio’s Aspire campuses and programs.

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