Best Colleges in Ohio

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Sorting and comparing data to find the best Ohio school may seem daunting. With more than 130 colleges and universities in the state, prospective students must consider many factors when deciding where to apply, from tuition costs and job prospects after graduation, to whether to attend a two-year or four-year program. To help in this process, we have applied our rigorous methodology to the latest education data to rank the best colleges in Ohio, including the top four-year and two-year schools.

Four-year institutions in Ohio comprise some of the most reputable public and private schools in the world, reflected in their highly-competitive admissions processes. Career development has been at the forefront of higher education initiatives in Ohio in recent years. According to the Ohio Board of Regents, the state’s public schools are especially concerned with delivering programs that prepare their students to meet the commercial needs of Ohio’s workforce. Since 2012, four-year university programs in business and research have been given particular priority.

Whatever your major, earning a four-year degree in Ohio is a valuable investment. Higher Ed Info reports that, while students enrolled in a four-year degree program at a public institution may be required to invest more than the national average to attend school in Ohio, bachelor’s degree holders earn roughly twice as much as residents with only a high school diploma. Given recent initiatives to promote 4-year degree programs in the state, now is an opportune time to begin your college career in Ohio. We’ve compiled the list of top colleges to get you started.

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Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1 Ohio State University-Main Campus 83.02 82% Columbus, OH

OSU’s main campus in Ohio’s capital has been educating students for nearly 150 years. The Columbus-based institution boasts the largest campus among colleges in Ohio. With undergraduate enrollment at just under 50,000 students, the sprawling campus is put to good use.

OSU is made up of 21 colleges housing dozens of of major options. The school offers undergraduate degrees in fields ranging from accounting to zoology. When they’re not studying, Ohio State students participate in more than 1,000 activities and clubs, including 65 fraternities and sororities. OSU is also the home of the Buckeyes, named after the state tree and a formidable rival across NCAA Division I sports. For students who love athletics, cheering on the Buckeyes is one of OSU’s most popular pastimes. The university is committed to helping students obtain scholarships and financial aid.

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2 Kenyon College 82.07 90% Gambier, OH

Settled atop a picturesque hill in Gambier, Kenyon College’s campus is more than just an academic institution; it’s also a 480-acre nature preserve.

Some of the Ohio College’s most popular programs are centered around environmental science, though the college’s 1,600 enrolled students study a wide variety of subjects. The school offers more than 50 majors, minors, and concentrations to explore, including areas such as African diaspora studies, comparative world literature, and scientific computing. The school’s student-to-faculty ratio is a low 10:1, and classes are never taught by TAs. Students enjoy lessons by professionals who are the best in their fields, and 99% of tenured or tenure-track professors at Kenyon hold terminal degrees.

When students aren’t working, they might be found in one of Kenyon’s libraries, which hold more than a million catalogued items. Life at Kenyon also involves a healthy social aspect, with more than 120 students organizations (including fraternities and sororities), performing arts groups, and plenty of opportunities to join in on community service.

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3 Oberlin College 79.44 85% Oberlin, OH

Located 35 miles west of Cleveland in Oberlin, Oberlin Liberal Arts College and Conservatory of Music was founded in 1833. The historic college was the first co-educational institution in the nation to offer bachelor’s degrees to women, and has been recognized as a longstanding leader in African American education. True to its history, today the college operates under the mission to promote social justice, sustainability, and creative entrepreneurship.

With just under 3,000 students enrolled between the liberal arts college and the conservatory, students learn in a highly-personalized, small classroom environment. At the liberal arts college, the student-to-faculty ratio is just 11:1. Students at Oberlin pursue degrees across 47 academic majors and more than 41 academic minors. A degree from Oberlin is one of the most prestigious available, as the college is widely recognized as one of the best colleges in Ohio.

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4 Cedarville University 75.16 72% Cedarville, OH

Founded in 1887, Cedarville is a Bible-centric, Baptist institution. Priding itself on its religious community, Cedarville’s dedication to religion permeates all aspects of life at the college. In fact, a Bible minor is required for all academic programs.

Just under 4,000 undergraduate, graduate, and online students call Cedarville university home. Working on degrees across 111 fields of study, Cedarville offers some of the nation’s top programs in business, engineering, forensics, debate, and political studies. Beyond traditional academic programs, Cedarville now offers 12 three-year bachelor’s degrees. Students wishing to complete their degree in less time can earn a bachelor’s in biology, English, marketing, finance, nursing, or psychology on the accelerated track. Three-year programs are more than just a fast way to move into your career -- attending college for one less year can save students up to $15,000 on their degree.

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5 Denison University 74.40 86% Granville, OH

Founded in 1831, Denison is one of the oldest colleges in what used to be known as North America’s “northwest territory.” Despite the university’s sizeable campus of 930 sprawling acres and location in the nation’s 15th largest city of Columbia, Denison prides itself in its status as a relatively small school. Just over 2,000 undergraduates are currently enrolled, and students at Denison enjoy an intimate 9:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Classes are taught by highly qualified professors, 100% of whom hold terminal degrees in their field. Just as excellence is expected from faculty, Denison’s students have also exhibited their academic prowess; 80% of incoming freshmen graduated in the top 25% of their class.

Students at Denison have the freedom to choose from more than 50 courses of study or 11 pre-professional programs. One of the best Ohio colleges, Denison does an expert job of preparing students for graduation, and 99% of the university’s graduates are employed or in graduate school.

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6 Allegheny Wesleyan College 71.23 56% Salem, OH

At AWC, spiritual life is a top priority. The college ensures that all students receive a biblical education alongside their academic one, in the hopes of preparing students both socially and culturally to “best communicate God’s truth.” Students at AWC are offered the opportunity to participate in a variety of Christian service opportunities while they’re in school.

Primarily a residential college, AWC’s 45 acres in Salem are home to nearly all of the college’s students. Attending AWC doesn’t mean getting lost in the crowd, however: fewer than 70 students are enrolled at the small college. Students have the opportunity to pursue programs in pastoral ministries, cross-cultural missions, elementary education, or music ministry. For students looking to attend one of the best-value colleges in Ohio, AWC is a great choice.

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7 The College of Wooster 69.95 76% Wooster, OH

Founded in 1866, The College of Wooster is situated on 240 picturesque acres in Wooster. With enrollment around 2,000, 99% of Wooster’s students live on campus. The entire college is committed to sustainable living, and today Wooster is working towards converting all of its facilities into a sustainable campus.

One of the things that makes Wooster unique among Ohio colleges is the required undergraduate research project, which all students undertake with a faculty member. The project helps students gain marketable skills, like project management, analytical thinking, and creativity. Clearly the concept has been paying off for Wooster’s students; 92% of graduates are employed or pursuing a higher degree.

Students can pursue areas of study ranging from Africana studies to women’s, gender, and sexuality Studies. On campus, they can found participating in over 120 student organizations, rooting for one of Wooster’s 23 NCAA Division III sports teams, or participating in any of the colleges numerous theater programs. More than anything, Wooster prides itself on its vibrant, tight-knit community.

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8 Case Western Reserve University 69.72 78% Cleveland, OH

With an 185-acre urban campus established in 1826 in Cleveland, Case Western enrolls just under 12,000 students between its undergraduate and graduate schools. The school offers 95 undergraduate degrees, 135 graduate and professional degrees, and nearly 140 dual-degree options. Students can also take advantage of the 100 interdisciplinary academic and research centers and institutes on campus.

Students at Case Western’s nine colleges represent every state in the U.S., as well as 91 countries around the world. Outside of studies, students can be found participating in any of the 150 active student organizations on campus, including fraternities and sororities. A third of all of the university’s students are involved in Greek like. One of Case Western students’ favorite pastimes is cheering on the Spartans in any of the university’s Division III sports.

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9 University of Dayton 68.86 78% Dayton, OH

UDayton came from humble beginnings, opening its doors more than 150 years ago to just 14 students. Today, the Catholic university is one of the best research colleges in Ohio, with nearly 8,000 undergraduate students enrolled full time.

Despite the university’s medium size, students still enjoy small classes with a 16:1 student-to-faculty ratio. The University of Dayton prides itself on its excellent academics. Students at the school can pursue undergraduate, graduate, and license and certificate programs in dozens of fields, from accounting to women’s and gender studies.

Located on the Miami river, the University of Dayton emphasizes nature conservation and is working towards becoming a sustainable campus. The university’s efforts are well reflected in its composting program, which is the largest among all universities in the country. Some students at Dayton even choose to carry on that work by pursuing their master’s degree in renewable and clean energy.

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10 Bowling Green State University-Main Campus 67.33 58% Bowling Green, OH

Founded in 1910 and located in Bowling Green, BGSU is home to nearly 20,000 students. BGSU prides itself on more than just academics; the university is committed to providing a secure and welcoming community for all of its students.

Classes across the seven distinct colleges at Bowling Green State are taught by more than 800 full-time faculty members, 80% of whom hold terminal degrees in their subject areas. Students can choose from hundreds of undergraduate degree options in areas such as aviation studies, marine and aquatic biology, Russian education, world music, and more. A total of 54 master’s degrees, 17 doctoral degrees, and 23 certificates are available as well. The expert staff is met by highly motivated students from all 50 states and more than 70 countries around the world.

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11 Art Academy of Cincinnati 66.14 53% Cincinnati, OH

Founded in 1869, ACC has been celebrating art and art instruction for more than 145 years. One of the smallest Ohio colleges and four-year schools in the entirety of the United States, AAC enrolls just 200 undergraduate students and 10 graduate students.

Located in Cincinnati’s “Over-The-Rhine” neighborhood, AAC’s vibrant urban campus provides an inspirational home for the academy’s students. Despite its location in the heart of the city, AAC offers freshman housing just blocks away from campus, and every junior and senior is provided with a studio space during the academic year.

Undergraduate students at AAC can pursue their bachelor of fine arts (BFA) in design, illustration, painting & drawing, photography, print media, or sculpture. Students are also encouraged to minor in art history, creative writing, or film/video/audio. Students hoping to accelerate their education to jumpstart their career can also chose to pursue their associate degree in graphic design. Students who wish to pursue a degree beyond their bachelor’s can earn a master of arts in art education at AAC.

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12 Baldwin Wallace University 65.33 68% Berea, OH

A private, Methodist-affiliated liberal arts college, BWU has been offering students bachelor’s and master’s degrees since 1845. Baldwin Wallace was one of the first academic institutions in the nation to accept students regardless of their gender or race, and that belief in inclusiveness lives on at the university today.

Located on a suburban campus just 20 minutes from downtown Cleveland, Baldwin Wallace University is home to 2,500 full-time undergraduate students, as well as 207 full-time faculty. One of the best colleges in Ohio, students at Baldwin Wallace enjoy small class sizes with a 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio, learning across eight distinct schools and subject areas including exercise science, music performance, entrepreneurship, health coaching, and geology.

Students at Baldwin Wallace are encouraged to take a hands-on approach to their education, with study abroad programs, service-learning opportunities, and internships made readily available to them.

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13 Ohio State University-Marion Campus 64.91 44% Marion, OH

Founded as part of the Ohio State University in 1957, the Marion campus is located in a large, suburban Ohio town and acts primarily as a commuter college for non-residential students.

With an average class size of just 22, the Marion campus serves just over 1,000 undergraduate students with intimate, personalized classes. While many students at Marion are recent high school graduates, OSU Marion is also home to a large population of non-traditional students, and the average student age at the university is 23 years old. High school students may also participate in Marion courses through the post-secondary enrollment option, allowing them to gain college credit before graduation.

Students at Ohio State University enjoy one of the lowest tuition rates among colleges in Ohio, at just $7,000 annually for in-state students. OSU Marion offers students more than 205 majors across 11 schools, allowing students the power of choice as they pursue their degree.

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14 Ohio Northern University 62.93 67% Ada, OH

Located in Ada, Ohio Northern University was established in 1871. Located just 80 miles from the state capital of Columbus, students at Ohio Northern enjoy a suburban, picturesque 342-acre campus. Made of up of five colleges, most of the university’s 3,000 students are part of the college of arts and sciences. Ohio Northern offers students plenty of flexibility in their degree, providing 70 options in programs of study.

Coming from 40 states and 26 countries, Ohio Northern students enjoy small classes and plenty of personalized instruction, with freshman classes totaling at 18 students on average. Ohio Northern students are known for their academic prowess -- 57% of students graduated within the top 25% of their high school class.

For students looking to make school more affordable, Ohio Northern offers some of the most comprehensive financial aid packages among Ohio colleges. In fact, the university provides more than $45 million in scholarships and aid to the 90% of students who qualify for it.

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15 The University of Findlay 62.79 52% Findlay, OH

Established in 1882, the University of Findlay has a long history of educating students in science, health, and equestrian studies. Today that scope has grown significantly, with the university offering 60 undergraduate programs, as well as 10 master’s degrees and multiple doctorate options.

A relatively small-sized university located in a “micropolitan” area, 4,200 students are enrolled at Findlay, and more than 1,000 students call the 73-acre main campus home. The University of Findlay proudly offers students flexibility and accessibility through six off-campus facilities. Students can choose from dozens of associate and bachelor’s degrees, in areas such as animal science, criminal justice, international business, and more. Master’s and doctoral programs are also offered through the College of Business, College of Education, College of Health Professions, College of Liberal Arts, and College of Sciences.

When students aren’t working on their academics, they can be found participating in any of almost a hundred student clubs and organizations, including service clubs, student government, and Greek life. The University of Findlay also offer club sports and intramural students for student athletes to take part in.

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16 Mount Vernon Nazarene University 62.42 54% Mount Vernon, OH

Founded in 1968, MVNU is a relatively new college, located in the quiet town of Mount Vernon. Founded on Christian values and carrying on that tradition today, MVNU enrolls just under 3,000 students, 92% of whom are originally from the state.

Serving both traditional students and adult learners, just over 1,000 of MVNU’s students live on the 327-acre campus. Students can choose from from a handful of majors offered through six separate academic departments. Undergraduate degrees include a bachelor of business administration, an RN to BSN degree, an education degree completion program, and a bachelor of social work. Students can also pursue a ministry certificate program or graduate degrees in business, education, and ministry.

For students seeking a relatively low-cost education, MVNU is one of the most affordable among private colleges in Ohio. Financial aid is also available for qualified students, making the top-tier university highly accessible.

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17 Ursuline College 62.40 52% Pepper Pike, OH

One of the most conveniently located non-urban campuses in Ohio, Ursuline College is located just 13 minutes east of Cleveland. Founded in 1870, Ursuline was the first of the women’s colleges in Ohio, and one of the first in the nation. Today the college still mostly educates women, however 9% of enrolled students are men.

A Catholic college, Ursuline remains closely tied to the Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland, however the college prides itself on diversity and inclusivity and welcomes students of all faiths. More than 1,500 students call Ursuline home, pursuing 30 undergraduate majors and 10 graduate degree programs across four schools: arts and sciences, nursing, professional studies, and graduate studies.

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18 Walsh University 62.16 64% North Canton, OH

Founded in 1958, Walsh University is the home of 3,000 students originating from 40 U.S. states and 35 countries around the world. Growing in popularity, enrollment has risen by nearly 80% since 2002. The Ohio colleges 136-acre suburban main campus serves as the university’s nucleus, but Walsh proudly boasts satellite locations in Akron, Canfield, and Rome, Italy. A foundationally Catholic university, Walsh prides itself on academic programs guided by the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Walsh University offers its students 70 undergraduate majors. Students can pursue bachelor’s degrees in areas of nursing, business, arts and sciences, behavioral and health sciences, and education. The school also offers seven graduate degrees, accelerated degrees, and certificate and endorsement programs. Academic advisement is available for undecided students.

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19 University of Cincinnati-Main Campus 62.07 62% Cincinnati, OH

Tracing its roots back to 1890, UC is a large-scale public research university. More than 40,000 students are enrolled at the school, including 25,000 undergraduate students. The university has produced almost a quarter million Bearcat alumni to date.

Students can choose from more than 300 programs of study, including graduate degrees in business, law, and engineering. Beyond academics, students at the University of Cincinnati participate in more than 300 on-campus organizations, including Greek like and the Racial Awareness Program (RAPP). Notable alumni from the university include the designer of the Golden Gate Bridge and the inventor of the Magic 8-Ball.

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20 Ohio University-Eastern Campus 61.63 34% Saint Clairsville, OH

OUE has been serving Upper Ohio Valley’s students for more than 50 years. Offering both associate degrees and bachelor’s degrees out of its St. Clairsville campus, students at Ohio University Eastern can choose from a range of degrees at one of the best colleges in Ohio.

Students can select courses in applied management, communications, health services, criminal justice, early childhood education, exercise physiology, health services, history, middle childhood education, or social work. The university offers students a range of helpful services, including academic advisement, childcare, and academic and personal counseling. On campus, learners can attend school events such as art gallery exhibitions, theatrical productions, and sporting events. Students can also take advantage of the OUE fitness center, the Great Western Schoolhouse, or the Small Business Development Center.

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21 John Carroll University 61.47 75% University Heights, OH

A private Jesuit and Catholic university, John Carroll is one of only 28 Jesuit universities in the United States. John Carroll offers students programs in liberal arts, science, and business through its two schools: the School of Arts and Sciences, and the School of Business. Mostly undergraduate programs, the university offers 60 distinct majors.

John Carroll was founded in 1886, and the university’s first class was made up of just 76 students. Following the Jesuit tradition that was started at that time, the university is still committed to “learning, leadership, and service in the region and in the world.” Small in size compared to many colleges in Ohio, today John Carroll enrolls almost 3,000 undergraduate students and roughly seven hundred graduate students. Students at John Carroll enjoy small class sizes and personalized learning; the student-to-faculty ratio at the university is 14:1.

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22 Ashland University 61.26 60% Ashland, OH

Affiliated with the Brethren Church, Ashland was founded as a Christian university in 1878. The main campus in Ashland is easily accessible from Akron, Cleveland, and Columbus, making it a convenient option for students from many of Ohio’s most populous cities.

The private, liberal arts university is made up of four unique academic colleges, offering students the choice of 70 majors. The university is also the home of a graduate college and an online college, making it an easy choice for distance learners and those seeking to further their education.

The university’s motto, “accent on the individual,” pertains to its ongoing focus on individualized academics for every Ashland student. The university prides itself on small classes, academic counseling, and personal career counseling to see students through college and beyond.

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23 Malone University 60.70 62% Canton, OH

Founded in 1892 as the Cleveland Bible College, Malone University came from humble roots. In fact, the university’s first classes took place in a rented house in Cleveland. Today, the Christian liberal arts university sits on a 96-acre campus in Canton, and is associated with the Evangelical Friends Church. The university’s faculty is committed to integrating religious studies with academics.

Made up of four separate academic colleges, Malone offers its students the choice between 41 majors and 42 minors. Options include athletic training, Bible and theology, global and international studies, and much more. The school is recognized as one of the top colleges in the nation for career development, and its online bachelor’s programs have been lauded as some of best among colleges in Ohio. The university has also been recognized for its commitment to educating military personnel and veterans.

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24 Miami University-Oxford 60.42 80% Oxford, OH

Founded in 1809, Miami University was named for the Native American tribe that once settled in Ohio’s Miami River valley. Today the university maintains strong ties to the tribe, who are now settled in Oklahoma.

The public university’s main campus is located in Oxford. Miami also boasts six satellite locations around the state, as well as a European outpost in Luxembourg. Around 19,000 students are enrolled at the university, including 17,000 undergraduate students and 2,000 graduate students. Despite Miami’s relatively large size, the university prides itself on maintaining a “small school” feeling, with students enjoying personalized academics and a cohesive college community.

Miami offers students a selection of 120 academic majors, as well as 73 graduate programs including 13 doctoral degrees. Known as one of the best colleges in Ohio, Miami University is also one of the most affordable, with in-state students paying just $15,000 per year in tuition.

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25 Franciscan University of Steubenville 60.37 78% Steubenville, OH

Founded in 1946 by the Franciscan Friars of the Third Order Regular in the Catholic faith, the Franciscan University of Steubenville is dedicated to teaching students in the veins of Catholic academics, “consecrating itself without reserve to the cause of truth.” The university has committed to helping students grow not just academically, but in their faith.

The 249-acre campus is home to just over 2,000 students, representing 50 states and 15 foreign countries. Students enjoy small class sizes with a 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Courses are taught by highly qualified professors, 81% of whom hold terminal degrees in their field. Students at Steubenville can choose from 40 undergraduate programs and seven graduate programs. Beyond academics, students are treated to confession, daily mass, Eucharistic adoration, and pro-life outreaches.

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Some students enroll in a two-year program as a precursor to a four-year degree, while others are interested in building skills to enter the workforce. Ohio reports that over 199,065 students are currently pursuing two-year degrees in the state of Ohio.

The Ohio Board of Regents recently began pursuing a variety of initiatives designed to promote two-year program enrollment in the state, including Ohio’s “Secondary Career Technical Initiative” for vocational training and a unique “3-Year Degree Plan,” which encourages students to complete a bachelor’s degree in less time. Studies show that Ohioans holding an associate degree may earn $5,000 more per year than those with only a high school diploma. The best of the best are listed below.

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Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1 Lorain County Joint Vocational School District 89.83 85% Oberlin, OH

Lorain County, one of the best community colleges in Ohio, is located in Oberlin and serves the surrounding counties. Lorain JVS offers career development and skill enhancement programs, special interest courses, and online courses to high school and adult-learners. Job training/career development programs are full-time, but can be taken over a period of time and completed at your own pace. Two-year technical programs include allied health sciences, bakery and pastry arts, and collision repair. Lorain JVS offers a unique opportunity for businesses seeking an innovative way to enhance employees’ skills, with custom training courses tailored to specific businesses and industries. These customized training classes can be taught in the office, on-campus, or online. Lorain JVS and the JVS Adult Career Center’s programs were created to help adults entering the job market. Lorain has an online high school where students can earn or complete their high school diploma.

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2 Washington County Career Center-Adult Technical Training 78.63 84% Marietta, OH

Since 1972,The Career Center has offered students two-year programs in cosmetology, business, and medical and industrial career training. Adult learners can choose from eight degree pathways: chemical operator, HVAC, electric, maintenance mechanics, certified medical assistant, administrative assistant technologies, welding, and cosmetology.

The Career Center stands out among Ohio community colleges with its business skills programs, designed to give working professionals the skills for succeeding in the workplace. The Certified Business Professional track provides students with tools for communicating effectively, leading a team, and providing customer service. Students and their employers can build on those core skills by adding courses in relevant areas to their careers, like presentation design, conflict resolution, and team building. The cosmetology program requires 1800 hours of training and a passing grade of 80%. Graduates of the program are eligible for the Ohio State Board of Cosmetology Examination.

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3 O C Collins Career Center 78.29 90% Chesapeake, OH

Collins-CC, based in Chesapeake, has an auxiliary campus in Coal Grove and provides Ohio’s students with hands on career training. Program areas include health, cosmetology, law enforcement, and trade and industry. The student services center provides learners with counseling, academic advisement, scholarship assistance, and social services. A student-based health center, offering free or reduced cost comprehensive medical services is also available. The Collins Stem Academy offers high school juniors and seniors the opportunity to take associate level courses. Then, after graduating high school, many students can earn their degree in a year. Stem programs include exercise science, veterinary science, and nursing.

Collins represents one of the most cost-effective two-year colleges in Ohio, with tuition rates as low as $3600 (including books) per academic year for some programs. Collins offers short term programs and a GED completion program.

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4 Madison Adult Career Center 75.09 84% Mansfield, OH

Madison has served adult learners in Mansfield and the surrounding areas for more than 35 years. The career center offers 11 full-time career development programs, including automotive technology, clinical care technologies, and welding technology. Maddison’s other programs include short term courses to further your career. Like other community colleges in Ohio, businesses can work with MACC to create customized career training courses that enhance employee skillsets in specific areas. This includes leadership and industrial training. Students at MACC have the opportunity to engage in hands-on, technical training in modern lab facilities, allowing them to gain “real world” experience. Programs at MACC lead to certification or licensure, and count towards college credit for students who continue their education. Online programs at the school include a certificate in paralegal tutoring. Madison offers personal interest courses in sign-language, landscape design, creative writing, and more.

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5 Lorain County Community College 72.11 30% Elyria, OH

LCCC, founded in 1963, has served students for more than 50 years and is one of the oldest two-year colleges in Ohio. Students at the school can pursue an associate degree in many fields, including business, culinary science, education, social services, math, and professional development. The college offers a variety of workforce training programs and certificate courses.

Lorain County is part of the University System of Ohio, a network of schools that serves more than 600,000 students, pursuing GEDs to PhDs. Because LCCC partners with 12 Ohio universities, students can seamlessly transfer credits to in-state higher education institutions. LCCC has been ranked second among community colleges in Ohio and in the top 50 among two-year colleges nationwide for producing graduates with the highest earning potential. Lorain, one of the best community colleges in Ohio, puts significant weight on student life, boasting a safe campus and 26 clubs and organizations for students to participate in.

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6 Sinclair Community College 69.03 45% Dayton, OH

Sinclair, located in Dayton, serves the Southwest Ohio region and has been educating the state’s high school graduates for more than a century. It’s one of the largest community colleges in Ohio and in the United States, with more than 30,000 students every year. Sinclair has campuses in Dayton and Mason and regional centers spread across the state. The school offers online programs.

Sinclair offers over 220 programs, including airline flight attendant, bakery specialist, and business management. The college specifically emphasizes programs in the career tracks, creating employable graduates in their state. Sinclair students see an average 114% earnings increase after graduation. Students enjoy a low faculty-to-student ratio of 19:1. Over 100 university transfer agreements are in place to help students pursue their bachelor’s and master’s degrees. 3500 students transfer from Sinclair to four-year universities every year.

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7 Warren County Career Center 67.89 84% Lebanon, OH

The Warren County Adult Technical Training Division is designed to provide adult learners with the hands-on skills they need to further their careers or discover new ones. Part of the University System of Ohio, WCCC offers 14 full-time programs, including computer training, cosmetology, industrial technology, and medical health tracks. Warren’s full-time courses lead to certification or college credit.

Warren is among Ohio community colleges that offer part-time courses, which require about 600 hours to complete. Part-time programs are focused on the business and industry sectors that are most likely to help students find employment after graduation.

While WCCC’s main campus is located in Lebanon, Ohio, students in part and full-time programs can take online classes. Warren also offers GED training, ESL, and learning and personal enrichment courses (which are not graded and do not involve tests or homework). Student services include high school advising, adult advising, and career assessment.

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8 EHOVE Career Center 66.97 89% Milan, OH

Located in Milan township, EHOVE was the third vocational school, and one of the first two-year colleges in Ohio. Named for the historic Native American tribes that settled the area, “EHOVE” stands for Erie Huron Ottawa Vocational Education. The school opened in 1968, on what was historically a long stretch of rural farmland, in response to demand for educational opportunities after the completion of the Ohio turnpike led to an increase in population. The school started with just a few programs centering on farm management; today EHOVE offers a total of 17 occupational programs and a wide range of skill and career enrichment courses.

EHOVE offers programs in culinary, electrical technician, firefighter, and medical assistant. The school’s student services center is available to help choose a program and develop a comprehensive career plan to shape academic choices going forward. EHOVE’s School of Practical Nursing was recently recognized as one of the top 10 practical nursing programs in Ohio.

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9 Eastern Gateway Community College 65.60 56% Steubenville, OH

Eastern Gateway, founded in 1968, has produced nearly 60,000 graduates. EGCC offers associate degrees, non-degree programs, and certificates programs, including many stand-alone courses for skill development and career advancement. The school focuses on health, public services, and professional and career programs.

Transfer programs are available to students seeking a higher education. High school students can participate in the college credit plus program; they can earn college credits before they graduate. EGCC serves Columbiana, Jefferson, Mahoning, and Trumbull counties, with campuses in Steubenville, Youngstown, and Warren. Students can take advantage of Eastern Gateway as one of the most affordable Ohio community colleges; average tuition is just $175 per credit hour and costs are significantly less for many programs. Online courses are offered through Blackboard. Adult-learners benefit from the schools Prior Learning Assessment, granting college credit for previous work and life experiences.

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10 Edison State Community College 64.34 40% Piqua, OH

Edison State, chartered in 1973, was the first combined technical and general college in Ohio. Situated on 131 acres in Piqua, the college enrolls more than 3,000 students.

Edison State offers five different degree types, two of which are considered to be bachelor’s transfer programs (the AA and AS degree). The other three degree types have been crafted by the college to prepare students for immediate employment in their field. All associate degrees have computer literacy, communication arts, social and behavioral sciences, natural science, math, and humanities requirements. Programs include accounting, biology, and business management. Edison State offers a significant number of certificate tracks and non-cumulative courses.

One of the best community colleges in Ohio for student experience, Edison has fifteen clubs and extracurriculars students can participate in, including opportunities to study abroad and community outreach programs, like the annual 5k For A Cause.

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11 Northwest State Community College 63.09 38% Archbold, OH

Northwest State offers more than 70 programs to choose from between degrees and certificates, including non-cumulative courses in more than 300 subjects. Students pick from one of the largest selections of majors at community colleges in Ohio, including seven fields in arts, sciences, business, engineering, and nursing. Degree programs include criminal justice, paraprofessional education, and exercise science.

Northwest State was officially made a community college in 1994. The school’s associate degrees make it possible for graduates to transfer to a four-year university; NSCC is partnered with in-state Universities. The college also partners with local businesses in order to create curricula that best correlates to the skills that are most needed in the region. Students at Northwest State are encouraged to participate in a variety of student activities, including networking events, fitness programs, and the college’s five student organizations.

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12 Lakeland Community College 61.83 45% Kirtland, OH

Located in Kirtland, Ohio, Lakeland was the first college in the state created as the result of the people’s votes. The college serves just over 13,000 students. Lakeland’s courses are designed to be flexible, offering classes during the day and evening. Online courses are offered and taught through the Blackboard Learning Management System. Degree programs include early childhood education, dental hygiene, culinary arts, and parks and recreation management.

With the formation of the Holden University Center at Lakeland in 2011, students can pursue their bachelor’s and master’s degree. The school has a network of partner universities that enables students to obtain higher education. One of the most affordable among community colleges in Ohio, Lakeland is a great choice for pursuing your associate’s or bachelor’s, learning the necessary skills to switch or jumpstart your career, or just to keep your brain active.

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13 Rosedale Bible College 59.09 38% Irwin, OH

Rosedale is an evangelical, two-year college giving students the opportunity to grow academically and in their faith. Anabaptist/Mennonite beliefs embedded into all of the college’s offerings. Rosedale offers one associate degree in Biblical studies with eight concentrations. Concentrations include bible, education, general studies, missions, music and worship, pastoral studies, theology, and youth ministries. Two co-curricular, Bridge internship are offered, providing students with intensive training in leadership and spiritual formation.

Among the offerings at Rosedale are programs in ministry, pastoral studies, education, theology, and music. Students enjoy learning in a small-classroom environment, with class sizes ranging between 15 and 20 students. Rosedale is cheap compared to private two-year colleges in Ohio, with tuition around $14,000 annually. Located in rural Rosedale and just a short drive from Columbus and Springfield, Rosedale Bible College is a convenient option for Ohio’s students.

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14 Zane State College 54.97 29% Zanesville, OH

Zane State offers courses during the day, night, and weekends. Many courses at the college are available online. Students can work towards associate degrees that prepare them for fulfilling careers in many fields, including business, engineering, health, natural sciences, and public service. An associate degree from Zane is easily transferable, making it convenient for students who wish to go on to complete their bachelor’s degree at a University. Beginning your academic journey at Zane and finishing at a university saves students an average of $10,000 per year on their college education.

For students hoping to gain a professional certificate from one of the best community colleges in Ohio, Zane offers over 40 options, designed to jumpstart your career. Zane State has certificate programs that are earned in a year or less, including accounting and bookkeeping, lease operations, architectural drafting, and land measurement.

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15 Cuyahoga Community College District 50.63 24% Cleveland, OH

At Cuyahoga, students are engaged in more than 140 academic programs and 1000 courses. With the ability to pursue associate of arts, associate of science, associate of applied business, and associate of applied science degrees, students graduate from Cuyahoga prepared to start their careers or transfer to a four year institution to earn their bachelor’s degree.

Cuyahoga offers one-year certificate programs and workplace skill training programs, quickly providing students with the tools they need. Serving traditional students, adult learners, and seniors, Cuyahoga also has options in non-cumulative enrichment programs to keep your brain active and help you develop new skills and expertise. The college offers a range of online courses to maximize flexibility for students. Students receive scholarships averaging $800 from the school, and grants and student loans are always available. Cuyahoga is one of the most affordable Ohio community colleges.

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16 Washington State Community College 50.51 15% Marietta, OH

WSCC, founded in 1971 and located in Marietta, Ohio, offers students the opportunity to explore more than 50 associate degree and certificate programs across nearly 20 fields. Degree programs include business management technology, automotive and industrial technology, nursing, and cyber security. Certificate programs include accounting, automotive service, and pharmacy technology. Washington State enrolls nearly 2000 students, allowing for small, personalized classes and a faculty-to-student ratio of just 17:1. Education at Washington State is accessible: the school offers distance education programs and day, evening, and night courses.

Like many two year colleges in Ohio, Washington State partners with four-year institutions, including Marietta College, the University of Rio Grande, and Franklin University, to ensure credits are easily transferred into a bachelor’s degree program. Washington State also offers a comprehensive dual enrollment program, allowing high school students to earn college credit before their graduation.

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17 Southern State Community College 49.94 44% Hillsboro, OH

Southern State, chartered in 1975, has campuses spread across Southern Ohio. Southern State is one of the best community colleges in Ohio and one of the first community colleges in the state to develop a transfer program. Many students attend SSCC to fulfill general education requirements before proceeding to earn their bachelor’s. SSCC’s transfer programs include terminal associate degree programs and certificate programs. The college offers an AA and AS online. The available distance learning programs are in business management, entrepreneurship, and office information technology.

Southern State has a range of workforce development programs, workshops, and non-cumulative courses. Area residents can take advantage of the peace officer training academy, the truck driving academy, and over 22 other programs. Anyone over the age of 22 can earn their high school diploma for free. SSCC also offers GED prep and college prep courses, and students in any program have to opportunity to be placed in local internships for more hands-on experience.

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18 Columbus State Community College 48.23 29% Columbus, OH

Columbus State offers programs across 55 academic areas, including business, health, public service, human service, and engineering technologies. Students at Columbus State can choose from two-year associate degrees, preparing them for an immediate start to a successful career. Students may also opt to earn their associate of arts or associate of science degrees, which act as transfer programs. Columbus State offers a range of short-term and certificate programs to help improve skills, prepare students for promotion at work, or transition into a completely different career. The college participates in dual enrollment programs, allowing high school students to attend classes and graduate with college credit.

Columbus State has been educating Central Ohio’s students for more than 50 years, with campuses located in Columbus and Delaware, and five regional training centers in Central Ohio. Columbus State boasts accessibility among Ohio community colleges. The college also offers a wide range of online programs.

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19 Chatfield College 47.31 51% Saint Martin, OH

Chatfield, located in St. Martin, is a private liberal arts institution that is part of the Ursuline Education Network and following in Catholic tradition; a second campus is located in Cincinnati. The college provides students with the opportunity to earn their associate of arts degree at a small college in a nurturing environment with the feeling of a tight-knit community.

With an associate of arts degree comes the opportunity to transfer into a bachelor’s degree completion program, an opportunity that many of Chatfield’s students take advantage of. Students may choose to concentrate their studies in liberal arts, human services (criminal justice, social work, community health work), early childhood education, or business. Unique among community colleges in Ohio, Chatfield offers a comprehensive pathway to nursing program for students who aspire for careers in the medical field. The Phi Theta Kappa and Julia Chatfield honors societies are on-campus.

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20 North Central State College 46.74 26% Mansfield, OH

North Central State is a public, two-year institution located in North Central Ohio, offering more than 50 programs between associate pathways and certificate tracks. North Central prepares students for work in the fields of health, business, public service, and engineering. The school’s roots are in the business and manufacturing sectors, and the school still offers some of the best programs in those fields among two-year colleges in Ohio.

Despite North Central’s status as the largest public college in the area, students still enjoy small class sizes, allowing for a personalized and supportive learning environment. Students at North Central represent an even mix of traditional students and non-traditional students, and on average 95% of graduates from the school find employment after graduation. Students looking for more than just academics are invited to participate in any of the college’s social, religious, political, and athletic clubs. Students may utilize the school’s student services resources, including childcare, personal consulting, and academic advisement.

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21 Cincinnati State Technical and Community College 45.71 35% Cincinnati, OH

At Cincinnati State, students have the opportunity to choose from over 130 associate degree and certificate programs. Fields include business, technologies, health and public safety, engineering, information technology, humanities, and sciences. Five Bachelor’s Bound degrees are offered, including an Associate Of Arts, Associate Of Science, pre-business administration, pre-engineering, and pre-nutrition science.

CSTCC offers one of the most comprehensive co-op programs among community colleges in Ohio. The college places more than 2400 students in co-op jobs every year. CSTCC has campuses in Clifton, Harrison, Evendale, and Middletown. The school is accessible through a wide range of distance learning programs, with more than a hundred courses available online. CSTCC offers an easy transfer option, with 45% of graduates going on to pursue their bachelor’s degree at one of the college’s partner institutions. The Overlook Cafe, located at the Clifton campus, is staffed by students of the school’s Midwest Culinary Institute.

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22 Remington College-Cleveland Campus 45.49 57% Cleveland, OH

Remington College serves students with one goal: to prepare them for success in entry-level employment. Students at Remington receive hands-on skill training and can select from a wide range of subjects, including business, health care, cosmetology, massage, IT, criminal justice, process tech, electronics, and graphic design. The school offers online associate and bachelor’s programs.

Remington works with local businesses to ensure students have the opportunity to learn the areas most in-demand skills. Local employers play a role in curriculum, often reviewing courses and facilities to help ensure students’ education is relevant and up to date. The level of care for students often differentiates Remington from other Ohio community colleges. The school is involved in the local community, providing students and faculty with opportunities volunteer. Career services include help with employment applications and resumes, professional development, and networking. Remington has other campuses across the Southern U.S.

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23 James A Rhodes State College 45.03 26% Lima, OH

Rhodes State is a public college that serves Allen County. It’s located in the rural town of Lima, Ohio, and was founded in 1971. It’s largely a commuter campus. Rhodes State has many pathways that are degree-granting, leading to career preparedness. Other programs are geared towards transfer students. Students may enroll in non-degree certificate programs, designed to give graduates hands-on training for their chosen careers. The school offers online learning.

The college enrolls nearly 4000 students, with class sizes at a 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Rhodes State offers more than 70 programs across 10 fields, the most popular tracks include health, business, management, marketing, and engineering. One of the most affordable among the best community colleges in Ohio, tuition at Rhodes State is less than $5000 per year for in-state students. Notable alumni include politicians Mona Losh, Thomas Riggenbach, and Al Solomon.

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24 Terra State Community College 43.66 29% Fremont, OH

Terra State, located in Rutherford B. Hayes’ hometown of Fremont, Ohio, is a public, two-year commuter school. Students can enroll in just one class at a time or take an entire course load; Online courses and degree programs are offered. Many students at Terra State work towards their associate degrees, which are available in the fields of applied business, applied science, arts, science, or technical studies. Associate programs include architectural construction, computer informations systems, and health information. Certificate programs are also available. Credits earned at Terra are easily transferable to four-year colleges, allowing students to pursue their bachelor’s degree.

Terra provides students with hands-on training in some of the most modern facilities among two-year colleges in Ohio. Students enjoy up to date curriculum that provides them with all of the necessary skills to be successful in their careers.

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25 Bowling Green State University-Firelands 43.66 31% Huron, OH

Located in Huron, Ohio, Firelands is one of seven junior colleges that are part of Bowling Green State University. Firelands includes three academic departments in applied sciences, humanities, and natural and social sciences. Unlike other community colleges in Ohio, there are nine bachelor’s degree programs available at Firelands. There are also fifteen associate degrees students can earn at the college, spanning across 22 unique areas of study. Firelands offers certificate programs in bookkeeping, business application, and management, among others. Because of university partnerships, students to complete their first two years of a bachelor’s of science in nursing at Firelands. The school offers accredited BGSU credits, easily transferred to a four-year institution.

The school has 15 student organizations. Intramural sports are available in basketball, volleyball, flag football, ping-pong, and pool. Firelands produces theater plays annually and hosts concerts, comedic events, lectures, and other special events.

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If you’re thinking about applying to one of the best colleges in Ohio, continuing reading to learn more about living in the Buckeye State.

The state of Ohio occupies nearly 45,000 square miles in the Midwestern territory of the U.S., spanning a variety of regions and climates, from cold winters on the northern border with Lake Erie, to humid summers near the Appalachians in the south. The area’s abundant swamplands, forests and other natural resources have yielded several major nature preserves and state parks. Sports fans of all kinds will be happy here, as this state boasts major-league teams in every national sport.

Compared to the national cost of living, Ohio seems to be a well kept secret; Columbus, the state’s most populated city, is 9.5% below the national average. To give an understanding of this diverse landscape, we have profiled the state’s five distinct geographical regions, northwest, northeast, central, southwest and southeast, each offering unique characteristics for prospective residents. Northwest and northeast Ohio cover the Huron-Erie Lake Plains and Glaciated Allegheny Plateaus, including a small Amish colony in the northwest-central territory. Southern Ohio comprises the Till Plains, Allegheny Plateaus and Interior Low Plateaus, or Bluegrass Section of the state.

Regional Spotlight

Northwest Ohio
  • Major Cities: Toledo, Bryan, Defiance, Findlay, Lima
  • Attractions: Toledo Museum of Art, Cedar Point, Fallen Timbers Battlefield Memorial Park
  • Cost of Living: Findlay
  • Popular Schools: University of Findlay, University of Northwestern Ohio
  • Population: 1,000,000
  • Unemployment: 5.7%
  • Climate: Humid – temperate
Northeast Ohio
  • Major Cities: Cleveland, Akron, Canton, Youngstown
  • Attractions: Cleveland Metropark, Quicken Loans Arena, Mentor Headlands Beach
  • Cost of Living: Cleveland
  • Popular Schools: Ashland University, Baldwin Wallace University, Case Western Reserve University
  • Population: 4,335,920
  • Unemployment: 5.7%
  • Climate: Temperate
Central Ohio
  • Major Cities: Columbus, Dublin, Newark, Delaware
  • Attractions: Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio State Fair, Nationwide Arena, Wayne National Forest
  • Cost of Living: Columbus
  • Popular Schools: Ohio State University, Ohio Wesleyan University, Denison University, Kenyon College
  • Population: 1,994,536
  • Unemployment: 4.4%
  • Climate: Temperate
Southwest Ohio
  • Major Cities: Cincinnati, Dayton, Hamilton
  • Attractions: Kings Island, Cincinnati Zoo, United States Air force Museum
  • Cost of Living: Cincinnati
  • Popular Schools: University of Cincinnati, Ohio State University, Ohio University
  • Population: 2,155,137
  • Unemployment: 4.8%
  • Climate: Humid – temperate
Southeast Ohio
  • Major Cities: Youngstown, Warren, Zanesville
  • Attractions: Appalachian Mountains, Old Man’s Cave, Ohio River Museum
  • Cost of Living: Youngstown
  • Popular Schools: Washington State Community College, Ohio University-Zanesville Campus
  • Population: 565,773
  • Unemployment: 6.6%
  • Climate: Temperate

Residency

Given the broad range of educational opportunities, inspiring surroundings and affordable cost of living, establishing residency prior to enrollment is a smart goal for students certain they want to attend school in the state. Residency criteria vary depending on the age of the student and the requirements of individual colleges and universities.

For Minors:

The resident status of minors depends on their parents. An individual’s parents must live in Ohio; the student must also provide proof they reside in the parent’s household. If the parents are divorced or separated, the minor must currently live with a parent living in Ohio to obtain resident status. If one parent lives in the state and the other lives out-of-state, the minor cannot claim residency in Ohio if living with the out-of-state parent. If the individual is under age 18 prior to college enrollment, their parents must show proof of resident status, and the minor must prove they intend to reside permanently in the state in order to establish local residency themselves.

For Adults:

The following criteria must be met in order to prove residency in Ohio for the purpose of tuition as an individual 18 or older:

  • You must physically reside in Ohio for at least 12 consecutive months preceding school enrollment.
  • You must also establish proof of intent to make Ohio your permanent residence, including full-time, self-sustaining employment in the state.
  • You must be able to provide proof you are not receiving and have not received financial support from a non-resident for the past 12 consecutive months of residence.

Additional Resources for Ohio College Students

College Savings

Education Nonprofits

Higher Education News

Official State Links

Best Colleges in Ohio of 2016
Rank School Location
1 Oberlin College Oberlin, OH
2 Kenyon College Gambier, OH
3 Ohio State University Columbua, OH
4 Denison University Granville, OH
5 Case Western Reserve University Cleveland, OH
6 University of Dayton Dayton, OH
7 Cedarville University Cedarville, OH
8 Franciscan University of Steubenville Steubenville, OH
9 Baldwin Wallace University Berea, OH
10 Ohio Northern University Ada, OH
11 College of Wooster Wooster, OH
12 The University of Findlay Findlay, OH
13 Xavier University Cincinnati, OH
14 John Carroll University University Heights, OH
15 Mount Vernon Nazaren University Mount Vernon, OH
16 Ashland University Ashland, OH
17 Miami University Oxford, OH
18 University of Cincinnati Cincinnati, OH
19 Walsh University North Canton, OH
20 Malone University Canton, OH
21 University of Mount Vernon Alliance, OH
22 Ohio Wesleyan University Delaware, OH
23 Otterbein University Westerville, OH
24 Capital University Columbus, OH
25 Wittenberg University Springfield, OH
Best Community Colleges
1 Mercy College of Ohio Toledo, OH
2 Ohio State University - Mansfield Mansfield, OH
3 Ohio State University - Marion Campus Marion, OH
4 Ohio State University - Newark Campus Newark, OH
5 University of Northwestern Ohio Lima, OH
6 Kent State University at Tuscarawas New Philadelphia, OH
7 Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute Wooster, OH
8 Kent State University at Geauga Burton, OH
9 Kent State University at Stark Canton, OH
10 Ohio University - Lancaster Campus Lancaster, OH
11 Ohio University - Eastern Campus Saint Clairsville, OH
12 Remington College - Cleveland Campus Cleveland, OH
13 Ohio University - Zanesville Campus Zanesville, OH
14 Kent State University at Trumbull Warren, OH
15 Allegheny Wesleyan College Salem, OH
16 Kent State University at Salem Salem, OH
17 Washington State Community College Marietta, OH
18 Kent State University at East Liverpool East Liverpool, OH
19 University of Akron Wayne College Orrville, Oh
20 Bowling Green State University - Firelands Huron, OH
21 Kent State University sat Ashtabula Ashtabula, OH
22 Northwest State Community College Archbold, OH
23 University of Rio Grande Rio Grande, OH
24 Ohio University - Southern Campus Ironton, OH
25 Ohio University - Chillicothe Campus Chillicothe, OH