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.
For this year’s college rankings, our analysts carefully reviewed statistical data from multiple sources for more than 7,500 postsecondary institutions so that you could easily evaluate schools based on what matters most to you. For each school, we applied the eligibility criteria outlined below, then ranked schools and programs based on four ranking factors.
Eligibility Criteria for All Postsecondary Institutions:
Must be a not-for-profit institution
Must be regionally or nationally accredited
Must offer at least one online program1
Must be located in a state (schools in US territories and Washington DC were not considered)
Dozens of data points were used to calculate a weighted score for four ranking factors: quality, affordability, flexibility and program (in order of significance). To determine quality, which was the most important consideration for all AS Online rankings, the most impactful data points were acceptance and graduation rates; for affordability, tuition2 and grants; for flexibility, part-time enrollment offerings; and for program, degrees conferred in that program area.
Some of our nursing program rankings used exam pass rates from NCLEX
How to Read Our Rankings Tool:
A dash indicates IPEDS data was not available
Annual in-state tuition is displayed unless stated otherwise
1 Our Best Vocational Programs rankings included data for both online and campus programs.
2 Both annual in-state and out-of-state tuition rates were used in our methodology; however, our Rankings Tool currently only displays annual in-state rates.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
Regional Accreditation: Quality colleges and universities in Ohio are accredited by the regional accreditation agency, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The online programs highlighted in this guide are all accredited by this agency.
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
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:
Ohio Safety Officers College Memorial Fund: The children and/or spouses of Ohio safety officers who died in the line of duty are eligible for this scholarship, as are the spouses and children of some fallen soldiers.
Ohio War Orphans Scholarship: Children of fallen soldiers or severely injured veterans are eligible for this scholarship, which may pay up to 84 percent of their tuition at a public college or over $6,000 of their tuition at a private college.
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.