The country's seventh most populous state has been occupied since as far back as 13,000 BC. Today, large earthworks and artifacts can still be found throughout the Ohio River Valley. The state as we know it developed over the course of the French and Indian War and the Northwest Ordinance in 1787. Thomas Jefferson formally approved Ohio's boundaries and constitution in 1803. (Through a curious oversight, the state actually wasn't admitted into the union until 1953.) Eight presidents have come from Ohio — William Henry Harrison, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, Benjamin Harrison (grandson of William Henry Harrison), William McKinley, William Howard Taft, and Warren G. Harding — tying it with Virginia. As of 2010, the state has the second-best business climate in the country; it has won three consecutive Governor's Cup awards for business growth and development, and its GDP is nearly $480 billion, making it the seventh-largest in the US. Its primary industries are in manufacturing, biosciences, and financial services. Most important, it has stop quality universities: five of the top 115 colleges in the country are in Ohio, according to US News. As so, online students should think about in-state opportunities before exploring expensive out-of-state schools.
In-state tuition is often applied to public schools offering online programs. Many online programs require some face-to-face time, or more numerous support services at their brick and mortar locations. Intensive study experiences–often on the weekends or in several week long bouts–enable many online students to accelerate their time until graduation. And students looking at online education can drastically expand their educational options if they also look to hybrid degrees (degrees where degrees can be taken partially, or mostly online). Finally, one of the most common stipulations in scholarships is that students be from a certain state or region, often more funds are available to students seeking degrees in-state.
An impressive 37 public schools offer online degrees in Ohio, including associate's degrees all the way through doctorates. The largest of these is Columbus State Community College with 93 degrees, including 80 bachelor tracks, 12 associates, and one master in Applied Politics. Additional areas of study range from business and healthcare, to criminal justice and human resources. Other large providers include the University of Cincinnati (Clermont, Blue Ash, and main campus all offer around 30); Kent State (East Liverpool offering 46); and Cleveland State University, with 11 bachelors, 25 masters, and one doctorate in Nursing Practice. Of Ohio State's 11 online degrees, there are 7 master's across the sciences, including Global Engineering, Plant Health Management, Welding Engineering, and In-agriculture And Extension Education.
There are 19 private universities offering online degrees. Tiffin has 27 total online degrees, including 13 bachelor's and 14 master's degrees in areas like Accounting, Healthcare Administration, Organizational Management, Law Enforcement, Homeland Security, and Psychology. Tiffin's MBA program includes concentrations in HR Management, Marketing, Sports Management, and Finance, among others. Antioch, Union Institute & University, The University of Findlay, University of Northwestern Ohio, and Franklin University all offer a wide range of tracks, as well. Union has the largest undergraduate offerings (14), with extensive studies in business, child development, education, and healthcare; while Franklin has an MBA, MHA, MPA, MS in Accounting, MS in Instructional Design & Performance Technology, MS in Marketing & Communication, and more.
Featured Online Schools
For a variety of reasons, a student may look to move to the state of their online college program whether specifically required by the program or not – be it for a job, location desirability, school benefits, etc. Different states have different policies, however, and some of them can be rather demanding. Ohio's requirements are set by the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) in the Ohio Administrative Code, outlined in Chapters3333-1-10 and 3333.31. These state that to declare Ohio residency, dependent students must have a spouse, parent, or legal guardian who has lived in the state for at least 12 consecutive months or has accepted full-time employment in Ohio by the day of enrollment. In these cases, proof of documentation may include a copy of lease agreement, utilities bill, or a written statement from the employer. There are additional rules for veterans, independent students, and others. Ohio State has a simplified breakdown of these rulesavailable online.
Compared to the rest of the country, tuition at Ohio public 4-year schools is slightly above average, at $10,196. Still, tuition remains lower than several other competing states. Further — and most important — tuition has increased just 3% over the past five years, while the national average is 13%. In some cases, tuition has increased by as much as 50%. This means that a) for all intents and purposes, tuition can be seen as frozen when adjusted for inflation, and, therefore, b) students can confidently project total costs over the course of a degree. This is, of course, a major financial and educational advantage: students in Ohio can focus on academics instead of worrying about if they'll be able to afford a degree. Plus, factoring in the quality of public higher education in the state — Ohio State, for instance, is one of the top-ranked schools in the US — students are getting an excellent value.
The state capital has three universities that offer online degrees — Columbus State Community College, Franklin University, and Ohio State. Columbus State specializes in pre-professional associate degrees (Finance, Business Management, Supply Chain Management, Geographic Information Systems, etc.) and associate-to-bachelor's tracks in a large range of studies (80 total); it has transfer agreements with Indiana Wesleyan University, Franklin University, Florida International, Ohio Christian, Mount Vernon Nazarene College, DeVry, Bowling Green, and more. Franklin, a private school designed for adult learners, offers bachelor and master's degrees; of particular note are an MBA, MHA, MPA, RN to BSN, and several business-related undergraduate degrees. Ohio State offers online course work at their main campus, Mansfield, and Newark, though the largest of these is the main campus, which includes 3 bachelor's, 7 master's, and one online doctoral degree. Mansfield offers a bachelor's in Social Work, and Newark offers a RN to BSN.
Cleveland is home to a number of the state's best colleges and universities. Cuyahoga Community College District, Cleveland State University, Notre Dame College, and Remington's Cleveland campus all offer online degrees . Cuyahoga offers four associate's of applied business in Captioning And Court Reporting, Marketing, Purchasing And Supply Chain Management, and Business Management/International Business. Cleveland State has one of the largest distance education programs in the state, including 11 bachelor's degrees and 25 master's. MEd concentrations are available in Organizational Leadership, School Counseling, Adult Learning And Development, Community Health, Curriculum And Instruction, Educational Technology, and others. There's also an MPH, accelerated MBA, and a range of nursing master's tracks. Notre Dame and Remington are both private schools. offering a range of business degrees, associate tracks, and bachelor's in Criminal Justice, Organizational Management, and Education, among others.
Cincinnati, the third-largest city in the state, has six institutions of higher learning that offers online programs: Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, Union Institute & University, Gods Bible School and College, and three campuses at the University of Cincinnati (main, Clermont, and Blue Ash). The latter offers the largest offerings in the city by far, and — taken together — the largest in Ohio, at 95 total, including associate, bachelor, and master tracks. Unique and notable programs include an RN to BSN, BS in Fire Science Technology, BS in Substance Abuse Counseling, BSHS in Health Information Management Administration, and a wealth of MBA, MEd, MHA, and MPA tracks. Cincinnati State Technical and Community College specializes in pre-professional associate degrees, with 10 programs in areas like Pre-Business Administration, Public Safety Technology, Hospitality Management, Computer Programming And Database Management, and Business Programming And Systems Analysis. Union offers 14 bachelor's degrees (most of which are BS tracks), and Gods Bible School offers 2 associates and 2 bachelors in ministry studies.
Cost of Living: 70.75%
Top Industries: Insurance, Manufacturing, Food & Beverage, Defense
Local Online Degrees: 3
Cost of Living: 78.52%
Top Industries: Manufacturing, Healthcare
Local Online Degrees: 4
Cost of Living: 70.77%
Top Industries: Banking, Industrials
Local Online Degrees: 4
Cost of Living: 77%
Top Industries: Manufacturing, Automative, Green Energy
Local Online Degrees: 2
Cost of Living: 86.83%
Top Industries: Healthcare, Manufacturing
Local Online Degrees: 1
Cost of Living: 69.93%
Top Industries: Aerospace and Aviation, Healthcare
Local Online Degrees: 1
Cost of Living: 82%
Top Industries: Industrials, Healthcare
Local Online Degrees: 2
The Best Online Colleges in Ohio
Online Programs: 27
Founded in 1819 as Cincinnati College, The University of Cincinnati is the second-largest university in Ohio, with an enrollment over 40,000, and one of the fifty largest universities in the country. U.S. News, Washington Monthly, and Times Higher Education all rank the school among the best schools in the region, and Cincinnati receives nearly $500 million a year in research funding, making it 22nd among public universities in the United States. (The Carnegie Foundation categorizes it as an R1.) Further, the Mines ParisTech: Professional Ranking World Universities ranked the school 12th in the U.S. and 37th in the world for the number of alumni now serving as CEOs at Fortune 500 companies. U of Cincinnati is also the largest employer in the city, generating an economic impact of over $3.5 billion per year. The school offers over 100 bachelor's degrees and over 600 total programs of study, ranging from professional certificates to doctoral and master degrees. There are more than 200,000 alumni worldwide.
Online Programs: 27
Tiffin University, established in 1888 and located in northern Ohio, has an enrollment of approximately 4,300. (Additional campuses are in Cleveland, Toledo, and Fremont; the university offers study abroad course work at the University of Bucharest in Romania). Undergraduate programs are divided into three colleges — Arts and Sciences, Business, Criminal Justice and Social Sciences; popular programs include Communication, Cyber-Defense and Information Assurance, English, Government and National Security, History, and Professional Music. Tiffin's graduate school offers master's degrees in business (with numerous MBA concentrations in Finance, Sports Management, HR, International Business, etc.), education, the humanities, criminal justice, creative writing, and psychology, among others. Distinguished alumni have gone on to careers in professional sports, business, politics, and the arts. In addition to accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, Tiffin holds three specialized accreditations.
Online Programs: 11
Founded in 1870, Ohio State University is the third-largest campus in the country, with a student enrollment over 60,000. (In addition to its flagship campus in Columbus, satellite campuses are located in Lima, Mansfield, Marion, Newark, and Wooster; the school supports a robust online learning community, as well.) The school's flagship school is located in Columbus, but there are additional campuses in Lima, Mansfield, Marion, Newark, and Wooster, in addition to a burgeoning online distance learning hub. As the state's only public school member of the Association of American Universities, Ohio State has been listed alongside universities like UNC, UVA, UI Champaign, and Michigan as a "public ivy." US News, Forbes, Washington Monthly, the Academic Ranking of World Universities, and the Times Higher Education World University Rankings all rank it among the very best schools in the region, with particular programs of note in political science, architecture and design, education, public affairs, nursing, and business, according to the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg Businessweek. Its 475,000+ alumni include Fortune 500 CEOs, members of the Forbes 400 list of the world's wealthiest individuals, and recipients of the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, and Medal of Honor.
Online Programs: 13
The University of Findlay is a private university affiliated with the Churches of God General Conference. Founded in 1882, current enrollment stands at more than 2,700 undergraduate and nearly 1,000 graduate students. The 15:1 student-to-faculty encourage an intimate, collaborative learning environment, and the editors of Ohio Magazine recently named Findlay one of the state's "best hometowns." Both US News and Princeton Review rank the school as one of the best in the Midwest region, with the latter including Findlay on its list of “A+ Schools for B Students." There are nearly 60 undergraduate degrees available, 9 master's degrees, and a doctoral of pharmacy and physical therapy. Among its most notable undergraduate programs include business, education, pre-veterinary medicine, nuclear medicine technology, and environmental safety and occupational health management. Findlay's bachelor's in equestrian studies program is nationally recognized. Distinguished alumni can be found in business, politics, professional sports, and the arts.
Online Programs: 6
Miami University, established in 1809, is located in Oxford, Ohio, with a student enrollment of approximately 24,000 (most of which are undergraduates). Classes at Miami did not begin until 1824, but the school remains the 10th oldest in the country and second in the state. US News, Forbes, and Washington Monthly rank the school among the best in the Midwest region, and Miami is considered one the original "public ivies." Also of note: Newsweek listed Miami as one of the top 20 most beautiful campuses in the country, and Robert Frost called it "the most beautiful campus that ever there was." There are more than 100 majors, 48 minors, and two co-majors offered to undergraduates, plus 50 master's tracks and 14 doctoral degrees. Distinguished alumni include President Benjamin Harrison, Prime Minister Chung Un-chan, U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, Pulitzer prize-winning poet Rita Dove, and numerous business executives, academics, journalists, and artists.
Online Programs: 93
Columbus State Community College, established in 1963, has a enrollment of over 26,000. The Columbus main 70-acre campus is near downtown, and the school has additional campuses in Dublin, Gahanna, Westerville, Groveport, Marysville, Grandview, Grove City, Delaware, Reynoldsburg, and southwest Columbus; the school also has one of the largest online distance education programs in the state, which accounts for nearly half of CSCC's enrollment. CSCC offers 55 unique associate degrees across Business & Marketing, Computers & Interactive Media, Construction Sciences, Engineering & Skilled Trades, Health & Medical, and Human & Public Services. For students interested in continuing course work toward a bachelor's degree, the college provides extensive transfer support, including preferred pathway partners and transfer agreements. (Partners include Ohio State, Ohio University, Miami University, Ohio Wesleyan, and more.) Columbus State also offers career services, counseling, disability services, advising, and tutoring.
Online Programs: 46
Kent State University at East Liverpool, with a history dating back to 1803, was permanently established in 1965. Today, administered alongside Kent State University at Salem, the East Liverpool campus school offers certificates, associate, and bachelor's degrees in over 17 areas of study, including Business Management Technology, Nursing, Criminology and Justice Studies, Psychology, Technical and Applied Studies, Accounting Technology, Physical Therapist Assistant, and Occupational Therapy Assistant, among others. For interested students, East Liverpool also offers tracks designed for transfer into an advanced degree at Kent's main campus. The university offers a range of resources, from advising and counseling, to career services, financial aid, library services, tech support, tutoring, and the CARE team.
Online Programs: 6
Mount Vernon Nazarene University is a private Christian liberal arts school, established in 1968, with additional campuses in Columbus-New Albany, Mansfield, and Newark for graduate and professional studies students. The school's enrollment stands at just 2,300, and a 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio encourages an intimate, collaborative learning environment. MVNU offers 100 bachelor's and master's programs across six schools: Arts and Humanities, Business, Education and Professional Studies, Theology and Philosophy, Nursing and Health Sciences, and Natural and Social Sciences. The most popular undergraduate majors are in Business, Nursing, Education, Biology, and Social Work; popular graduate programs are available in business, education, and ministry, and the professional track includes a BBA with five concentrations. (Many of these are offered online for flexibility.) MNVU has been ranked among the top 50 Christian universities in the country, as well as a "Top 5 percent Best Value School" by Educate to Career.
Online Programs: 37
Established as Fenn College in 1923, Cleveland State University is a public university with a student enrollment of approximately 17,300. Offering 70 undergraduate majors, 27 master's degree programs, two post-master's degrees, six doctoral degrees, and two law degrees, the school is divided into ten colleges: Law, Graduate Studies, Education and Human Services, Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, Sciences and Health Professions, Honors College, Urban Affairs, Business, Nursing, and Engineering; particular programs of note include software engineering, the CPA track, communications, and city management and urban policy, which US News ranked 2nd in the country. Distinguished alumni include congressmen, two Ohio Supreme Court Justices, Carl B. Stokes (the first African American mayor of a major U.S. city), and numerous other politicians, businessmen, journalists, and professional athletes.
Online Programs: 36
Blue Ash College is a satellite campus of The University of Cincinnati, the second-largest university in Ohio and one of the fifty largest universities in the country. U.S. News, Washington Monthly, and Times Higher Education all rank the university among the top schools in the Midwest region, and Cincinnati receives nearly $500 million a year in research funding. As a professional / pre-professional school, Blue Ash offers a diverse range of nearly 50 different associate and certificate programs in healthcare, social sciences, technology, business, arts and sciences, and education. (An online bachelor's in Radiation Science Technology is available, as well. Many students choose to transfer their Blue Ash degrees into a bachelor's program.) The school also places an emphasis on experiential learning opportunities through internship programs and study abroad courses. Student services include tech support, academic advising, counseling, career services, on-campus employment, veteran resources, and more.
Online Programs: 32
Established in 1872, The University of Toledo is a public research university with an enrollment of just over 23,000, the sixth-largest in the state. Still, even with its large student population, Toledo maintains a 19:1 student-to-faculty ratio and median class size of 25, encouraging a dynamic, collaborative educational setting. The school offers over 300 undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs across over a dozen colleges, including Arts & Letters, Business and Innovation, Education, Engineering, Health and Human Services, Law, Medicine and Life Sciences, Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Nursing, and Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, among others. It is ranked among the best schools in the region by US News and Princeton Review, with particularly well-regarded programs in business, engineering, law, and occupational therapy. Of the school's 100,000+ alumni, graduates have gone on to careers in technology, politics, business, journalism, academia, sports, film and television, and the arts.
Online Programs: 32
UC Clermont College, established in 1972, offers nearly 60 associate degrees and certificate programs, plus a Bachelor of Technical and Applied Studies (BTAS) in Applied Administration, designed for students who already hold a technical associate degree. Areas of study include Business, Law & Technology; English, Languages & Fine Arts; Math, Computers, Geology & Physics; Science & Health, and Social Sciences. With a 14:1 student-to-faculty ratio and average class size of 21, programs are built to support an intimate, collaborative learning environment that promotes individualized instruction and peer-to-peer education. UC Clermont's core values are open access, lifelong exploration, teaching and learning scholarship, community, leadership, diversity, and sustainability. The school also offers an array of student services, including tutoring, financial aid, tech support, veteran resources, advising, and more.
Online Programs: 3
Founded as Western Reserve Eclectic Institute in 1850, Hiram College is a private liberal arts school with an enrollment of about 1,300, with students from 35 states and 30 foreign countries. US News ranks the Hiram among the best schools in the region, and Washington Monthly ranks it 67th among liberal arts schools in the country. It has also been ranked by Princeton Review and Forbes, and features in Loren Pope's Colleges That Change Lives. Hiram offers 32 majors, 38 minors, and pre-professional programs in such diverse areas as Accounting and Financial Management, Biomedical Humanities, Economics, Environmental Studies, Management, Political Science, Pre-Medical Studies, Theatre Arts, and more. Interdisciplinary studies are also an essential aspect of the school unique "12–1–3" curriculum; all students must take at least one course in creative methods, interpretive methods, modeling methods, experimental scientific methods, social and cultural analysis, experiencing the world, understanding diversity at home, and ethics and social responsibility. Distinguished alumni include President James Garfield, poet Vachel Lindsay, numerous academics, politicians, social activists, and artists.
Online Programs: 4
Malone is a private liberal arts school in Canton. Founded in 1892 as Cleveland Bible College, the school maintains a close relationship with the Quaker Church and is affiliated with the Evangelical Friends Church. With an enrollment of approximately 2,600 from 33 states and 17 countries, Malone boasts a student-to-faculty ratio of 14:1 and average class size is just 22, encouraging an open and intimate learning environment that emphasizes individualized instruction. US News ranks Malone among the best schools in the region, and particular programs of note include Computer Science, Nursing, Communications, Pre-Medical Sciences, Zoo and Wildlife Biology, Music (performance, production, ministry, and education) Education, and Business Administration. (Note that Malone also offers 80 areas of concentration.) All degrees may incorporate Christian values and concepts. In addition to accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, Malone holds specialized accreditation from six other specializing bodies.
Online Programs: 3
Franciscan University of Steubenville is a private Catholic university, established in 1946. Enrollment is approximately 2,700, and the student population is 97% Catholic, with the highest number of students in majoring in theology, catechetics, and philosophy of any Catholic university in the country. With a student-to-faculty ratio of just 15:1, all students receive top-tier, individualized instruction and benefit from a tight-knit, intimate educational community. The university offers 41 undergraduate programs, 34 minors, 6 special minor programs, and 7 graduate degree programs in a wide variety of studies including English Literature, Communications, Biology, International Business, Social Work, Philosophy, Political Science, and more. Associate degrees are available in Accounting, Business Administration, Child Development, General Studies, and Theology. US News, Forbes, and The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College all rank the school among the best colleges in the region.
Monitoring the accreditation of a university you are interested in attending is incredibly important. Accreditation ensures your credits can transfer that you can receive Federal financial aid, and most importantly that certain standards of educational quality are during your schooling. The highest accreditation standard for most programs in the United States is provided by regional accreditation agencies. The regional accrediting agency for California is the Higher Learning Commission, one of six regional accrediting agencies responsible for accrediting schools in Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
Making sure that a University you're hoping to attend is regionally accredited — or accredited by a real and respected accrediting agency — is one of the most important choices you can make in ensuring the quality of your education.
Three Steps for Securing Financial Aid
- Submit your FAFSA.
- Check to see if additional forms are needed at your university of choice.
- Search and apply for private scholarships.
Through the previous three steps most students find themselves offered some sort of federal grant, work study, private grant, scholarship, or stipend.
Great Ohio Higher Education Resources
- The Ohio Department of Education's website includes resources for parents, students, administrators, and teachers, alike.
- The Ohio Education Resource Center is a collaboration of six state universities and four research organizations offering research, education resources, and policy analysis.
- Students interested in Northeast Ohio educational opportunities check out the NOCHE.
- The OACHEoffers resources for the 32 counties of Appalachian Ohio.
- And the SOCHE is a regional consortium of 22 colleges and universities in southwest Ohio.
- For a primer on financial aid in Ohio, visit the Attorney General's Student Loan Center site.
- For information on 529 plans, check out the Ohio Tuition Trust Authority's College Advantage page.
- The OASFAA is an excellent resource for general inquiries and news updates.
- Established in 1967, The GAR Foundation supports Greater Akron residents with financial aid opportunities.
- Students interested in community college options can click here.
- Also check out the Ohio State Board of Career Colleges and Schools.
- The Inter-University Council of Ohio (IUC)represents Ohio’s 14 public universities. Check out the site for news on educational reform, public policy, and more.