According to U.S. News and World Report, Ohio ranks as the most affordable state in the country. Not only does Ohio offer the most affordable housing in the country, it also maintains the 11th most affordable cost of living. The state’s tuition rates are close to the national average, making it an excellent location for students attending college.
Online colleges offer several benefits, including more flexibility and lower costs. Online programs typically include the same coursework as on-campus programs, and diplomas do not usually state whether a student earned their degree on campus or online. Online colleges in Ohio often allow students to create their own schedules, which can be helpful for learners who need to balance academics with job and family obligations. Distance learners also save money on housing, transportation, and other costs.
Ohio is a particularly rich state for online learning. Ohio’s Quality Matters Consortium, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring online course quality, is the largest system of its kind in the country. Ohio universities and colleges offer online degrees in diverse fields such as nursing, education, ministry, and psychology. With 14 online schools in Ohio, students interested in eLearning can find programs and coursework in nearly any field.
Four reasons to find an online college in your state:
- Guaranteed in-state tuition saves you money
- Be a part of a university or college you know and love
- Get a degree from a school employers know and trust
- Be close enough to easily visit when desired
Ranking guidelines for the best online colleges in Ohio:
We selected the online colleges and universities here based on the quality of their programs, types of courses and degrees offered, faculty strengths, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation, including a strong reputation for online degree programs.
Note: In ranking the best online colleges in Ohio, giving attention to the variety of degree programs available at the institutions is of utmost importance. For this reason, a more prestigious school in Ohio may offer one, or a few online degrees, but that may not be enough for that school to rank highly among the best online colleges in the state. In this ranking, we are dedicated to showing who’s leading the way in delivering quality online degree programs in Ohio.
- See who ranks as the best college and university in Ohio today.
- University of Cincinnati and Ohio State University rank among the 100 Best Online Colleges for 2018.
- Ohio State University ranks among the 100 Best Universities in the World today.
The Best Online Colleges in Ohio
1. University of Cincinnati
The University of Cincinnati, founded in 1819, is a space-grant university with over 350 programs of study. The university invented cooperative education in 1906; the successful system became a graduation requirement in many of the university’s 14 academic departments. Over 40,000 students attend this university, roughly 3,000 of which come from outside of the United States.
The University of Cincinnati offers a substantial number of associate, baccalaureate, master and certificate programs via UC Online. Associate’s degrees include health information systems technology and fire service technology. Bachelor’s degree options include sign language interpretation and respiratory therapy. Master’s degree offerings include TESOL and criminal justice. Available certifications include behavioral analysis and animal audiology.
Online student resources include academic advising, online exam proctoring, online tutoring, an online writing lab, disability services, technical support and an extensive online library.
The University of Cincinnati is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
2. Ohio State University
Ohio State University, a public university established in 1870, enrolls more than 66,000 students and has more than 500,000 living alumni. OSU’s first class was taught in 1873, and since then, they have granted nearly 750,000 degrees. Online degree programs are offered to students around the world through Ohio State Online.
Ohio State Online offers one online associate degree, three online bachelor’s degrees, thirteen online master’s degrees, and one online doctorate. Online students can choose from a variety of areas of studies, including engineering, education, nursing, and social work. Ohio State Online is even open to program suggestions from prospective online students who don’t see an online degree program that interests them.
Online courses have been designed specifically for working professionals, allowing students to study at their own pace and earn their degree on their own terms. Ohio State Online offers in-state tuition rates to all of their students, no matter where they live.
Ohio State University is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
3. Ohio Christian University
Ohio Christian University, established in 1948, is a private university affiliated with the Churches of Christ in Christian Union. Over 3,000 students attend the university, with campuses located throughout the state and additional campuses in Georgia. The university boasts a very low student to faculty ratio, just 10 to 1.
Ohio Christian University offers associate, baccalaureate, master and certificate programs online through the College of Adult and Graduate Studies. Online associate’s degrees include business and human services. Online bachelor’s degree options include nursing and criminal justice. Online master’s degree offerings include management and business administration. Available certifications include agribusiness and counseling.
Online student resources include an online job board, technical support and an online library with access to over 65,000 books, 3,700 audio and video recordings, 81,000 eBooks, 100 electronic databases as well as several librarians available via email or over the phone.
Ohio Christian University is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
4. Ohio University
Ohio University, established in 1804 and opened to students in 1809, is among the oldest universities in America. It’s the first university established by congressional order. The school has more than 40,000 students in attendance at all of its campuses, 5,900 of whom attend the university’s classes online. Students have over 250 programs of study to choose from at the undergraduate level.
Ohio University offers associate, baccalaureate and master degrees entirely online through OHIO Online. Associate’s degrees include science and business management. Bachelor’s degree options include criminal justice and nursing. Master’s degree offerings include civil engineering and sports administration.
Resources online students have access to include technical support, academic advising, accessibility services, career services, an online writing lab, online tutoring and multiple online libraries with librarians available via live chat, via email or over the phone.
Ohio University is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
5. Bowling Green State University
Bowling Green, Ohio
Bowling Green State University, established in 1910, has a long history in teacher education. Originally a normal school, the university opened in Bowling Green because it was “dry,” meaning it did not have any establishments which served alcohol at the time of its inception. The university consists of eight academic colleges and offers more than 200 degree programs in the arts, science, business, human development, music, technology and, education.
Bowling Green State University offers several online baccalaureate, master, doctoral, specialist and certificate programs. Online bachelor’s degrees include fire administration and quality systems. Online master’s degrees include English teaching and criminal justice. Online doctoral degrees include technology management, while online specialist degrees include education administration. Available online certifications include assistive technology and women’s studies.
Online student resources include online writing consultations, disability services, career services and an online library with access to several academic databases in all subject areas and librarians available via live chat.
Bowling Green State University is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
6. University of Toledo
Founded in 1872, the University of Toledo grew out of a modest vocational school founded by Jesup Scott, a local newspaper editor. After operating for 30 years, the school shut down due to financial shortcomings. It later reopened thanks to the City of Toledo buying it out, which also prompted a change in the school’s academic direction. Its 813-acre main campus is comprised of 18 academic colleges which offer majors in the arts, business, criminal justice, communications and much more.
The University of Toledo offers online associate, baccalaureate, master, doctoral, specialist and certificate programs. Online associate’s degrees include accounting and intermodal transportation. Online bachelor’s degrees include criminal justice and marketing. Online master’s degrees include engineering and education. Doctoral degree offerings include nursing, while specialist degree offerings include early childhood education. Available certifications include virtual education and gerontology.
Online student resources include live online technical support, online tutoring and an online library.
The University of Toledo is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
7. Mount Vernon Nazarene University
Mount Vernon, Ohio
Mount Vernon Nazarene University is a coeducational liberal arts institution with its teachings rooted in the evangelical Christian faith. Established in 1968 and located in central Ohio, MVNU has a student body of approximately 2,300 individuals. The school offers both graduate and undergraduate programs that enrollees can complete entirely online. From finance, marketing, and management to ministry leadership and human resource management, distance learners can pursue an evangelical education without ever needing to visit the school’s main campus. Depending on their selected major, students can earn a degree from this online school in Ohio in as little as 15 months.
All applicants must submit official transcripts and highlight any prior learning experiences, including professional training or military experience. Prospective graduate students need not submit GRE or GMAT scores.
MVNU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
8. Kent State University
Established in 1910, Kent State University operates several satellite campuses throughout the state. It’s among the largest universities in Ohio with more than 40,000 students in attendance and over 300 programs of study.
Kent State University offers associate, baccalaureate, master, doctoral and certificate programs via Kent State Online. Associate’s degrees include computer technology and allied health management. Bachelor’s degrees include insurance studies and public health. Master’s degree options include criminology and health informatics. Doctoral degree programs include nursing, while available certificates include library science and college teaching.
Online student resources include 24/7 technical support, online test proctoring, disability services, career services and an online library with librarians available via live chat, email or over the phone.
Kent State University is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
9. Union Institute and University
Union Institute and University, established in 1964, operates campuses in Ohio, California, Florida and Vermont and has over 2,000 students in attendance. The university’s existence came about with the combined efforts of nine colleges and universities and would expand to as many as 22 partner institutions in 1972. Their purpose was to promote socially relevant interdisciplinary research and create a “university without walls.”
Union Institute and University offers online baccalaureate, master and doctoral programs. Bachelor’s degrees include business management and maternal child health. Master’s degree options include literature and organizational leadership. Doctoral degree offerings include humanities and public policy. All Doctoral programs require brief residencies at the university’s Cincinnati campus.
Resources available to online students include online math tutoring, 24/7 technical support over the phone, an online job board and an online library with librarians available via live chat, email, text message or over the phone.
Union Institute and University is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
10. Tiffin University
Founded in 1888, Tiffin University offers degree programs in the arts, science, business, criminal justice, social science and much more. More than 4,000 students attend the university, a respectable number of whom hail from outside the United States.
Tiffin University offers several baccalaureate degrees via Tiffin Online. These degrees include national security, psychology, accounting, organizational management, corrections, justice administration, healthcare administration and information technology.
Resources available to online students include technical support and an online library with librarians available via Twitter, email, text message or over the phone.
Tiffin University is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
11. Malone University
Located in northeast Ohio in the city of Canton, Malone University is less than two hours away from Cleveland, Columbus, and Pittsburgh. This liberal arts school was founded in 1892 as an evangelical Christian institution. Students at Malone can pursue graduate and undergraduate degrees online. Distance learners choose from several majors, including bachelor’s degrees in organizational management and social work or master’s tracks in educational leadership, clinical mental health counseling, and business administration. Faculty deliver courses asynchronously and synchronously depending on the class. In both cases, learners at this online school in Ohio participate by interacting with their instructors and classmates through email, chat rooms, and whiteboard discussions.
More than 90% of students at Malone receive some sort of financial aid, and aid packages may include institutional grants and scholarships for full-time students. The school also offers specific awards to students interested in pursuing careers within the evangelical church.
Malone University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
12. Franklin University
Founded in 1902, Franklin University has campuses throughout Ohio and Indiana. Since its inception, its focus has been on working adult learners. The university created the Community College Alliance, a program created to make transition from a community college to the university simpler in all aspects. The university has over 7,900 students in attendance and offers degrees in business, technology, teaching and much more.
Franklin University offers a wide variety of online baccalaureate and master’s degrees. Online Bachelor’s degree options include psychology, information technology and nursing. Online master’s degree offerings include public administration, human resource management and computer science.
Resources online students have access to include academic advising, technical support, online tutoring, online test proctoring, an online job board and an online library with one-on-one research consultation and librarians available via instant message, email or over the phone.
Franklin University is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
13. Youngstown State University
The local YMCA founded Youngstown State University in 1908, which started as a law school within the Youngstown Association School. It became a state university in 1967 shortly after going public. The university offers its 14,000 students a wide variety of majors from seven academic colleges. These majors include topics in liberal arts, education, business, communication and science.
Youngstown State University offers baccalaureate and master’s degrees online through its eYSU platform. Online bachelor’s degree options include public health, nursing and respiratory care. Online master’s degree offerings include financial economics, criminal justice and engineering.
Resources available to online students include an online job board and an online library with reference librarians available via email or over the phone.
Youngstown State University is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
14. Cleveland State University
Located in the heart of downtown Cleveland, CSU offers both graduate and undergraduate degrees online. From programs in nursing, business administration, and organizational leadership to community health, special education, and adult development, CSU boasts flexible, asynchronous programming that may be especially appealing to professionals who want to continue working while earning a degree. The school delivers course content through the Blackboard learning management system, and many of its programs require no on-campus commitments.
Distance learners attending this online school in Ohio can access several online resources, including Blackboard technical support, the university’s digital library, e-tutoring, and writing coaching. Applicants to undergraduate programs should have a high school GPA of 2.3 or higher and submit their ACT or SAT scores. Graduate applicants must have a bachelor’s degree earned with a minimum GPA of 2.75. Additional admissions requirements may apply depending on the program.
CSU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
15. God’s Bible School and College
Located in Cincinnati, God’s Bible School and College is a Christian school that specializes in two- and four-year degrees. Established in 1900, this small, non-denominational college has only a few hundred students. Available online associate and bachelor’s degrees include ministerial education, intercultural studies and world missions, biblical and theological studies, and church and family ministry.
GBSC also offers two online master’s degrees in ministry and biblical studies. These graduate degrees typically take two years to complete and prepare distance learners to enter the ministry or pursue a master’s or Ph.D. in divinity. Language proficiency in Greek and Hebrew is not required for the master’s in ministry program but is mandatory to pursue a master’s in biblical studies. Each of the seven distance-based undergraduate degrees offered by this online college in Ohio introduce degree seekers to biblical studies, systematic theology, church history, and pastoral theology disciplines.
GBSC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The school also holds accreditation from the Association of Biblical Higher Education.
16. Notre Dame College
Located in a suburb of Cleveland, Notre Dame College was established in 1922 and is affiliated with the Catholic Church. NDC offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees online. Students may also obtain education licensure or continue their education by enrolling in professional development courses. Online degree offerings include business, criminal justice, education, nursing, and psychology. Depending on the program, faculty deliver courses in a hybrid or fully online format. Transfer students may qualify for academic credit for courses completed within the last five years at a regionally accredited college or university.
This online college in Ohio has different admissions requirements depending on the specific degree program. Prospective students should contact their desired department before submitting an application. Additionally, NDC Online belongs to the Quality Matters consortium, which helps ensure the quality of online courses and online components at institutions of higher education.
NDC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
17. Ashland University
Founded in 1878, Ashland University is a private institution with a non-denominational Christian heritage. Distance learners can pursue associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees through this online school in Ohio. Degree candidates interested in criminal justice, communications studies, nursing, and education can find several degree options at Ashland. Ashland also offers some degrees in a hybrid format, including courses hosted by its theological seminary. Students enrolled in hybrid courses take a combination of online classes and face-to-face courses at the university’s Detroit, Cleveland, Columbus, or Ashland campuses.
Ashland offers special online guides for adult and online undergraduate students applying for financial aid. In most cases, Ashland help these learners secure need-based federal funding and/or private education loans.
Ashland is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The school is also accredited by the Association of Theological Schools.
18. Mount Carmel College of Nursing
Located in Columbus, Mount Carmel College of Nursing is a Catholic school that was formed in 1903. With approximately 1,100 full-time students, MCCN hosts one of the largest baccalaureate nursing programs in the state. Learners can pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees online. The school’s online RN-BSN completion program, which represents the only undergraduate option for distance learners, is designed for licensed professional nurses who want to earn a bachelor of science in nursing. Graduate degree offerings include a master of science in nursing education, and learners can also pursue an accelerated adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner post-master’s certification.
Admissions requirements vary depending on the specific program, and degree seekers interested in applying to this online college in Ohio should carefully evaluate admission requirements for their desired major before submitting an application.
Mount Carmel College of Nursing is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
19. University of Northwestern Ohio
The University of Northwestern Ohio is a private university located in the city of Lima. Distance learners can earn several associate and bachelor’s degrees, as well as one master’s degree, entirely online. This online school in Ohio offers many traditional programs, such as marketing, accounting, and business administration. Additionally, distance learners can pursue less traditional degrees, including tracks in sports marketing and management, travel and hotel management, and forensic accounting. Faculty deliver courses in an asynchronous format. Individuals interested in pursuing a graduate-level degree online can enroll in UNOH’s MBA track.
Prospective undergraduate students must submit their ACT or SAT scores and official transcripts. Applicants to the MBA program must have earned an undergraduate degree with a 3.0 GPA or higher; however, students need not submit their GRE or GMAT scores.
UNOH is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
20. University of Findlay
Founded in 1882, the University of Findlay is a private school in northwest Ohio. UF educates a student population of approximately 3,800 individuals, many of whom pursue online degrees at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Master’s degrees in business administration, professional communication, education, environmental safety and health management, and health informatics can be completed entirely online with no on-campus commitments.
UF also offers a doctorate of education, a principal licensure program, and a post-baccalaureate intervention specialist license. Distance learners may complete a bachelor’s in business management or the school’s positron emission tomography program. Resources for learners at this online school in Ohio include tutoring, library access, and tech support. More than 90% of UF students receive financial aid in the form of scholarships, grants, and/or loans. Awards may be need-based or awarded based on academic performance.
UF is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
21. Mercy College of Ohio
Located in Toledo, Mercy College of Ohio offers several online degrees at the associate, bachelor’s, and master’s levels. Programs include a certificate in medical coding, bachelor’s tracks in healthcare administration and medical imaging, and a master of science track in nursing. Additionally, Mercy offers an RN-BSN degree-completion program that presents students with opportunities to participate in internships and clinicals, service learning, and community building with their peers and teachers. Faculty deliver online coursework through the Canvas learning management system. Mercy also hosts online information sessions for each of its programs; these live, online streaming events allow prospective students to learn more about degree tracks and talk with program representatives.
Financial aid, in the form of scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study programs, is available to all learners at this online college in Ohio. Students should contact a financial aid counselor to find the best funding options for their education.
Mercy is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
22. University of Dayton
Established in 1850, the University of Dayton is a private coeducational school with a Roman Catholic religious affiliation. The university offers several online degrees related to teacher education. For example, UD’s department of teacher education, department of educational administration, and Ph.D. program in educational leadership all offer programs for distance learners, awarding certificates, bachelor’s degrees, and master’s degrees.
Individuals pursuing graduate degrees at this online school in Ohio may qualify for graduate assistantships. Faculty award these competitive research- and teacher-based positions based on academic performance. Graduate assistants receive tuition remission and a stipend over the course of the nine-month academic year calendar. UD also offers the Upward Bound program, wherein the university helps Dayton-area high school students prepare for college. This year-round program includes weekly tutoring, college preparation courses, and application assistance at no cost.
UD is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
23. Wright State University
Wright State University, located in Dayton, is a public research university with a student body of approximately 18,000 individuals. Originally a branch of Ohio State University and Miami University, Wright State became an independent institution in 1967. Distance learners at Wright State can earn bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees online.
With emphases in nursing and education, Wright State offers an online RN-BSN nursing degree, a doctor of nursing practice degree (DNP), and master’s programs in advanced curriculum and instruction, education technology, principalship, and superintendency. Degree seekers at this online school in Ohio can also pursue more traditional graduate programs in business administration and information systems. Furthermore, the university offers certificates in instructional design for students preparing to work as course developers or online instructors.
Wright State is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
24. University of Akron
Located in northeast Ohio and founded in 1870, distance learners at the University of Akron can earn certificates in education, a bachelor’s degree in nursing, or master’s degrees in business, education, and health professions. The school’s online RN-to-BSN degree-completion program can be completed in a little as one year by full-time students. Certificates in education assessment and evaluation may be earned by completing only 18 course credits. The certificate in e-learning is designed for students who already hold a bachelor’s degree and want to better understand and utilize distance learning technologies.
Prospective freshmen at UA must submit their high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores; however, they need not provide any letters of recommendation. Furthermore, all new applicants to this online school in Ohio receive automatic consideration for UA scholarships.
UA is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
25. Walsh University
North Canton, Ohio
Walsh University is a coeducational Catholic school in the city of North Canton. The university is home to nearly 3,000 students who hail from 40 states and 40 countries. Founded in 1960, Walsh offers six online degree programs, including a bachelor’s degree in business administration with concentrations in accounting, marketing, and management.
Additionally, learners can pursue a master’s degree in education through tracks in reading literacy or leadership with principal licensure. Online graduate studies also include a traditional master of business administration with specialities in healthcare management, management, and marketing. Faculty deliver the majority of online courses in an accelerated format, with two eight-week sessions offered each semester. Distance learners pursuing a degree at this online school in Ohio can take all classes asynchronously.
Walsh is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.