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.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1Oberlin College 5/587.81%Oberlin, OH

Oberlin College is a highly competitive, world-renowned four-year liberal arts college and music conservatory located in Oberlin, just southwest of Cleveland, OH. Of 2,900 total students enrolled, 2,300 study Arts and Sciences, while 600 are in the college's School of Music. Arts and sciences degrees are available in 47 majors and 42 minors. The Conservatory of Music offers eight undergraduate majors, with private study available in 20 concentration areas. 175 students are pursuing a double degree. Student-faculty ratio averages 11:1 in the College of Arts and Sciences and 6:1 in the School of Music; 70% of courses have less than 20 students. 30% of Oberlin College students participate in intramural and club sports on campus, comprising 21 varsity teams in the North Coast Athletic Conference, Division 111.

Quick Facts

  • Oberlin was the first college in America to allow African American students in 1835; the school granted the first bachelor’s degrees to women in 1841.
  • U.S. News & World Report ranked Oberlin third among best colleges in the nation in 2013.
  • Oberlin sponsors more than 500 concerts and recitals, 40 theater and dance productions and two operas each year.
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2Kenyon College 5/589.23%Gambier, OH

This private liberal arts institution located near the state's capital city is home to a 480-acre nature preserve. Kenyon's student population of over 1,600 represents more than 44 nations worldwide, comprising a 53% female to 47% male ratio. The institution's most popular subjects include business, education, engineering, law and medicine. Kenyon offers a substantial selection of student organizations and activities, and nearly a third of students participate in intercollegiate athletics. All students live on-campus in residence halls and apartments. Average financial aid packages exceeded $43,000 for the 2014-15 academic year.

Quick Facts

  • About 50% of students receive need-based financial aid.
  • The university's swimming and diving teams have won over 56 national titles.
  • Kenyon offers over 150 international programs through its off-campus study initiatives.
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3The Ohio State University 3/583.5%Columbus, OH

Located in Columbus, OSU's main campus is home to 58,322 students. The university offers over 200 majors, with 475 academic specializations available, with arts and sciences, business and engineering being the most popular undergraduate programs. OSU offers more than 1,000 student organizations spanning the main campus and various regional locations in the state. Estimated tuition and fees for full-time undergraduate students living in Columbus was $10,037 as of autumn 2014, versus $26,537 for non-residents.

Quick Facts

  • U.S. News and World Report ranked OSU 16th among the nation's best public universities.
  • CBS MoneyWatch listed OSU among schools with the "happiest freshmen" in April 2013.
  • The first class graduated from Ohio State University in 1878.
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4Denison University 5/581.95%Granville, OH

Denison was founded in 1831, among the earliest colleges established in the Old Northwest Territory of Ohio. This independent liberal arts college boasts a 10:1 student-teacher ratio, with over 48 courses of study in arts, science and fine arts, including 11 pre-professional programs. 79% of Denison University students are non-residents, with a student geographic distribution across 37 foreign countries. 44% of freshmen students in the class of 2018 ranked among the top 105 of their high school graduating class. Need-based and/or merit-based financial aid is awarded to 97% of Denison students.

Quick Facts

  • Pedestrian-friendly campus was designed by world-renowned architecture firm of Frederick Law Olmsted.
  • Denison has won the NCAC All-Sports Trophy a record-breaking 14 times.
  • Average SAT score of class of 2018 students was 1285.
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5Case Western Reserve University 5/581.13%Cleveland, OH

Case Western Reserve is an independent research-based university located in Cleveland's prestigious University Circle region. CWRU's student body of over 10,000 represent all 50 U.S. states and 91 countries around the world. Case Western offers 95 undergraduate degree choices, 135 graduate and professional degrees, and 140 dual degrees. Popular subjects including Engineering, Arts and Sciences, Law, and Medicine. The majority of students at Case Western are awarded master's degrees, followed closely by undergraduate degrees and doctorates.

Quick Facts

  • CWRU ranks 38th among national universities, according to U.S. News and World Report.
  • Case Western ranks 1st in Ohio, also according to U.S. News and World Report.
  • The university also ranks among the top 25 LGBT-Friendly Colleges and Universities.
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6University of Dayton 4/576.02%Dayton, OH

Located on the banks of the Great Miami River in southwest Ohio, University of Dayton is the nation's premiere Catholic, Marianist institution focused on Arts and Sciences, Business, Health Sciences, Engineering and Law. Focused on holistic personal and academic development, Dayton boasts a small student-teacher ratio of only 14:1 on campus and drives international initiatives out of the classroom to support a range of global causes from aviation to environmentalism and conservation. University of Dayton has produced 107,000 esteemed alumni, worldwide.

Quick Facts

  • Dayton is investing $17 million over the next two years to build and upgrade housing in student neighborhoods.
  • University of Dayton is the No.1 Catholic university in the nation for sponsored engineering research and development.
  • The university ranks #2 nationally for sponsored STEM research at a Catholic institution.
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7Cedarville University 4/570.25%Cedarville, OH

Cedarville was established in 1887 in Cleveland, OH to provide higher education within a Christ-centered framework. As an accredited Baptist university with a total enrollment of 3,620 students, Cedarville offers over 100 available courses of study, each designed to encourage students to apply Biblical principles to their academic endeavors. Cedarville counts nursing, mechanical engineering and early childhood education among its most popular majors. In 2013-2014, the university awarded over 750 degrees to students spanning 49 states and U.S. territories, though 40% of students are Ohio residents.

Quick Facts

  • Cedarville was recognized as one of the Midwest's top universities by U.S. News and World Report.
  • The university offers extensive discipleship groups, daily chapels, international missions and study abroad programs.
  • Minor in Bible Studies is required for all programs at Cedarville University.
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8Franciscan University of Steubenville 4/576.36%Steubenville, OH

Franciscan University aims to serve its student population holistically, growing personal skills in wisdom, maturity, strength, purpose and dedication while providing a Catholic-based education that encourages "knowledge—illuminated by faith." With more than 40 available undergraduate majors and online programs, unique offerings include Sacred Music, Catechetics and Humanities & Catholic Culture. Graduate programs span topics in nursing, business, counseling, theology and philosophy. All degree programs incorporate Christ-centered principles to prepare graduates for a life and career rooted in "faith and reason." Though Franciscan is home to thousands of students, the student-instructor ratio averages 15:1, and 50% of students study abroad.

Quick Facts

  • Franciscan University has provided $3 million in merit-based scholarships.
  • The university is home to 17 NCAA Division III varsity teams.
  • More than 575 students at Franciscan University are participants in Missions of Peace trips each year.
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9Baldwin Wallace University 4/568.16%Berea, OH

When it first opened its doors in 1845, BWU was one of the first colleges in Ohio to admit students without race or gender prejudice. This private, liberal-arts-based Methodist college near Cleveland is home to nearly 4,000 students, and offers a variety of online and on-campus undergraduate, graduate, part-time and professional education degrees and certificates. The majority of students at BWU hail from Ohio; other top states represented among the student body are Pennsylvania, New York and Michigan, respectively. 80% of students who earned a bachelor's degree from BWU did so in four years or less. Over 85% of BWU students received financial aid, totaling more than $7 million during the 2014-2015 academic year.

Quick Facts

  • BWU offers 23 Division III intercollegiate athletic programs.
  • 75% of BWU's 187 full-time faculty have terminal degrees in their field.
  • The university offers more than 60 majors to students pursuing traditional undergraduate degrees.
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10Ohio Northern University 5/569.05%Ada, OH

Established in 1871, Ohio Northern University became affiliated with the United Methodist Church in 1899, claiming a place among the nation's top independent liberal arts universities. 80% of ONU students are from Ohio, while the remaining 20% represent 34 states and 25 foreign countries. Creating a supportive learning environment is of importance here, with over 200 student organizations, 23 varsity sports teams and a vibrant arts and culture scene on-campus in Ada, OH. More than 96% of students at ONU receive some form of financial aid.

Quick Facts

  • ONU placement rates for graduates six months after graduation have exceeded the national average, at more than 93%, for each of the past seven years.
  • ONU is designated an Arbor Day Foundation Tree Campus USA, and has implemented numerous sustainability and eco-conscious initiatives involving students and faculty on campus.
  • The University has won both the men's and women's OAC All-Sports Trophies in previous years.
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11College of Wooster 5/575.68%Wooster, OH

Founded in 1866 and known among top universities for its esteemed mentored research opportunities, the College of Wooster offers comprehensive programs that have guided many of its graduates to awards and innovations. Students work with faculty on a mentored research project such as the Applied Mathematics Research Program, Sophomore Research Program or Howard Hughes Medical Institute Summer Research Scholars program in their first year, extending their research through to their senior-year capstone project. Located in Wooster, OH the campus houses over 2,000 students, the vast majority of which are from out-of-state and live on campus. With targeted fundraising efforts aimed at maintaining generous financial aid and scholarship opportunities, typical aid packages at Wooster total more than $33,000, and 18.7% of students are Pell Grant recipients.

Quick Facts

  • Student-teacher ratio at Wooster College averages 11:1.
  • 96% of full-time faculty holds a terminal degree in their field.
  • Wooster has been designated a "Tree Campus USA" and, through efforts currently underway, hopes to reduce its carbon footprint by 36% over the next 10 years.
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12The University of Findlay 4/554.63%Findlay, OH

Known for its world-renowned programs in areas such as equestrian studies, animal science and pre-veterinary medicine, The University of Findlay aims to make comprehensive education accessible to a broader student population by offering a wide variety of unconventional evening, weekend and online classes in addition to on-campus course work. Findlay offers 6o undergraduate degrees and certificates, and nine master's degree options. Of the 4,000 students enrolled at Findlay, nearly two-thirds are pursuing an undergraduate degree, and 1,300 live in residential housing among the university's 73-acre main campus and six satellite facilities. The five most popular majors are animal science/pre-veterinary medicine, pharmacy, business, equestrian studies and biology, respectively.

Quick Facts

  • 100% of students receive some form of financial aid.
  • U.S. News and World Report has ranked UF among "America's Best Colleges" for nine consecutive years.
  • Princeton Review listed UF among the best colleges in the Midwest in 2015.
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13Xavier University 5/571.13%Cincinnati, OH

Established in 1831, Xavier University in Cincinnati incorporates its dedication to the Jesuit Catholic faith into all its programs and education initiatives. The university offers 90 undergraduate majors, available via traditional on-campus, online, or evening/weekend courses, as well as opportunities to study abroad on six continents. Graduate students may choose from a variety of majors and concentrations in areas such as business administration, education and nursing. Xavier boasts a 94% student placement rate in its home city of Cincinnati, OH, where nine of the nation's Fortune 500 companies are located.

Quick Facts

  • Xavier offers a 12:1 student-faculty ratio.
  • U.S. News and World Report has ranked Xavier one of the nation's best colleges and universities for 16 consecutive years.
  • Students practice more than 15 religions on Xavier University's campus.
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14John Carroll University 5/571.48%University Heights, OH

John Carroll University is a private Jesuit Catholic institution aimed at delivering a high-quality college education, as well as developing leadership and service skills to carry the student through life after college. JCU offers its student body of over 3,700 undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to select a major from more than 60 options in the arts, social sciences, natural sciences and business. Located in a suburb just east of Cleveland, home to the largest park system in the U.S., JCU is in close proximity to a variety of opportunities for students seeking outdoor activities, arts and culture, sports events and more.

Quick Facts

  • John Carroll was named among Kiplinger’s list of top 100 best values in private colleges for 2014.
  • U.S. News and World Report ranked JCU No.7 among universities in the Midwest offering master's programs in 2015.
  • JCU has been included on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for seven consecutive years.
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15Mount Vernon Nazarene University 4/558.42%Mount Vernon, OH

Mount Vernon Nazarene University, founded in 1968 in Mount Vernon, OH, defines itself as a "co-educational liberal arts university with a solid evangelical Christian foundation and mission." Of the 2,100 students at MVNU, the majority are of the Nazarene faith, though the university counts more than 40 other religions in-practice around campus. Education, business and arts & humanities topped the list of most popular areas of study for both undergraduates and graduates during the 2013-2014 academic year. Also in 2013-2014, 92% of undergraduates and 47% of graduate students were awarded a combined total of more than $40 million in financial aid, scholarships and grants, including work study programs.

Quick Facts

  • MVNU ranked No.11 on The Affordable College Foundation’s list of best online Christian colleges for 2015.
  • Educate to Career ranked MVNU among its 2015 index of best value schools.
  • MVNU ranked 13th Best College for Intramural Sports by
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16Ashland University 4/556.84%Ashland, OH

The mission of Ashland University is to encourage not only academic and professional growth, but also spiritual enlightenment. Established 130 years ago in Ashland, OH, this private, liberal arts and sciences institution abides by a foundation of five core values to help its students achieve success: teaching, character formation, academic freedom, moral integrity and individuality. Undergraduates on campus can expect student-faculty ratios as low as 9:1, and may choose from over 70 majors and hundreds of interactive on-campus student organizations and activities. Graduate programs are available at one of eight campus locations, or online, for added convenience. American history & government, applied exercise and seminary are among the majors especially unique to this university.

Quick Facts

  • Ashland was ranked the top private college for teacher education in the state of Ohio by Online Education Database in 2012.
  • Educate to Career ranked Ashland a Top Best Value College in 2014.
  • U.S. News and World Report listed Ashland among the top 200 national colleges and universities in 2012 and 2013.
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17Miami University 3/578.99%Oxford, OH

Founded in 1809, Miami University's faculty is "dedicated to learning and discovery," encouraging the student body to incorporate both academics and co-curricular activities into their experience for all-around success. The Oxford campus of this public university is home to more than 17,000 undergraduate and graduate students, though students may relocate temporarily to one of the university's satellite regional campuses for a semester or a full year of study, depending on their program. Over 120 bachelor's degrees, 60 master's degrees and 12 doctoral programs are offered through MU. Approximately 75% of students receive some form of financial aid.

Quick Facts

  • Miami University – Oxford was named for the Native American Miami tribe, originally inhabiting the Miami Valley of Ohio and now relocated to Oklahoma.
  • The Fiske Guide to Colleges ranked MU among its best and most interesting colleges and universities list in 2015.
  • U.S. News and World Report named Miami University 1st among public universities for its strong commitment to undergraduate teaching in 2015.
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18University of Cincinnati 3/559.56%Cincinnati, OH

University of Cincinnati is a public research university dedicated to providing a well-rounded education in both academia and real-world skill-building. Located in one of Ohio's largest metropolitan city centers, the main campus in Cincinnati is home to more than 43,000 undergraduate and graduate students, the majority of which are Ohio residents. UC offers both undergraduate and graduate programs of study, in subjects including arts & sciences, design & architecture, law, medicine, music and business. Among many "UC Firsts" of global impact, research at this university yielded the first oral polio vaccine, the first electronic organ and the first degree program offered via satellite.

Quick Facts

  • U.S. News and World Report ranked UC among the top tier of best national universities for four consecutive years.
  • UC was recognized among the world’s top ten most inspiring campuses according to Delta Sky magazine in 2011.
  • Forbes named UC among the world's most beautiful college campuses in 2010.
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19Walsh University 4/554.84%North Canton, OH

Walsh University is a Catholic institution, founded by the Brothers of Christian Instruction to incorporate leadership, spirituality and service-based learning into a rigorous independent, coeducational liberal arts environment. The standard curriculum requires volunteer and service-based activities for all students. The 136-acre WU campus in North Canton is in close proximity to a variety of major cities. Home to 3,000 students, from 27 states and 37 countries around the world, WU offers over 60 majors for undergraduates and seven programs for graduates in subjects including nursing, business and arts and sciences. Some students choose to study abroad at Walsh's Rome satellite campus to complete their degree.

Quick Facts

  • Walsh University library features over 200 specialized databases for focused research.
  • 98% of students receive some form of financial aid.
  • U.S. News and World Report ranked Walsh as having one of the best online MBAs for veterans in 2015.
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20Malone University 4/551.41%Canton, OH

Affiliated with the Evangelical Friends Church, Malone University is a Christian liberal arts institution located on a 96-acre campus in Canton, OH. Malone offers over 100 combined undergraduate, graduate and pre-professional programs in majors including the arts, education, nursing, business administration and organizational leadership. The majority of students are undergraduates; 76.3% of incoming freshmen were in the top 50% of their graduating high school class upon admission into the university. Financial aid averaged $26,877 per student for the 2014-2015 academic year.

Quick Facts

  • Malone University was recently recognized by the Templeton Foundation as a leader in character development.
  • Malone was recently named an NAIA Champions of Character Five Star Award winner.
  • U.S. News and World Report ranked Malone among the top colleges and universities in the Midwest in 2011.
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21University of Mount Union 4/562.75%Alliance, OH

Founded more than a century ago, Mount Union aims to provide holistic education in the tradition of the Methodist Church. Centered on academic excellence as well as facilitating "fulfilling lives, meaningful work and responsible citizenship," this private liberal arts institution offers 62 unique majors, with classes available during fall, spring and summer semesters. Mount Union boasts a diverse student body, comprised of over 2,200 students, representing 34 states and 20 countries. Student-faculty ratio is 13:1. Known for placing a high premium on faculty qualifications, full-time instructors at Mount Union have studied at top universities and 90% hold terminal degrees in their field.

Quick Facts

  • Mount Union has been included in the Princeton Review's Guide to 332 Green Colleges for four consecutive years.
  • Forbes ranked Mount Union among the top 21% of national four-year, accredited private and public colleges.
  • U.S. News and World Report ranked Mount Union No.11 among the top regional colleges and universities in the Midwest in 2015; MU has made the list for the past 23 consecutive years.
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22Ohio Wesleyan University 5/565.55%Delaware, OH

Located near Columbus in Delaware, OH, Ohio Wesleyan University combines a globally focused liberal arts education with practical skill-building to prepare students for life after graduation. The OWU campus is home to 1,750 students pursuing one of 87 available majors in subjects ranging from ancient studies to zoology. Athletics are a popular pursuit at Ohio Wesleyan, with 75% of students participating in some form of intramural, varsity or club sports. In 2014-2015, 97% of students received financial aid. OWU offers exclusive "test optional" status to students with a GPA of 3.0 or higher at the end of their junior year of high school, prior to enrollment.

Quick Facts

  • 100% of full-time tenure-track faculty holds a PhD or terminal degree in their field.
  • Total packages of combined merit-based and other financial aid for first-year students average over $34,000.
  • OWU holds nine NCAC all-sports titles and 145 NCAC conference titles – more than any other school in the conference.
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23Otterbein University 5/559.03%Westerville, OH

Founded in 1847 by the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Otterbein holds the distinction of pioneering ideas of equality and inclusion in higher education; it was the first university in the nation to include female faculty and students, as well as having admitted students of color before the Civil War era. Today, OU is home to over 3,000 students from all walks of life, each pursuing one of 74 available majors, 44 minors and 8 graduate programs. Otterbein's campus is located in Westerville, OH, a small suburb on the northeast side of Columbus, where students enjoy personalized attention in classes averaging only 11 students per instructor.

Quick Facts

  • Otterbein ranked 14th among U.S. News and World Report's Guide to America's Best Colleges in 2012.
  • OU was named by its peers a top 10 "up and comer" among Midwest regional colleges in 2011.
  • Washington Monthly recently recognized OU as a Top 50 School for Contributions to the Public Good.
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24Capital University 5/559.02%Columbus, OH

Since 1830, Capital University has established itself as a comprehensive, independent Lutheran institution, providing hands-on learning experiences in and out of the classroom. As the oldest university in the state of Ohio, the campus has evolved rapidly in the city center of Columbus, now the third largest city in the Midwest. Capital's 3,600 students benefit from the opportunity to explore its metropolitan surroundings and the many social and cultural experiences available. CU promotes engagement and networking through more than 100 student organizations and social clubs for both current students and alumni of Capital's various programs.

Quick Facts

  • Capital offers 60 majors and 50 minors in a variety of subjects.
  • Extensive accelerated and continuing education programs are available.
  • Capital's home city of Columbus was recently named one of the "10 best cities to start a career."
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25Wittenberg University 5/568.63%Springfield, OH

Wittenberg is a Lutheran-based liberal arts college in southwest Ohio, offering more than 80 majors, minors and special programs in subjects including humanities, arts & science, business and teacher education. The Wittenberg campus in Springfield is home to 120 student organizations and 23 varsity sports teams, all competing in NCAA Division III. Over 1,920 students are enrolled at Wittenberg, hailing from 40 states and 25 foreign countries, though the majority (72%) are Ohio residents. WU provides annual scholarships and financial assistance in excess of $35 million, and approximately 98% of students receive some form of financial aid.

Quick Facts

  • For the third consecutive year, Wittenberg implemented a tuition freeze for the 2015-2016 academic year.
  • Wittenberg earned fourth place in the nation in a recent month-long social media campaign, #MyTopCollege, hosted by Forbes.
  • Wittenberg ranked among Fortune’s list of the top 25 colleges in America for return on investment in 2014.
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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.

    Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
    1Mercy College of Ohio 3/566.1%Toledo, OH

    With campuses in Toledo and Youngstown, Mercy College of Ohio is a Catholic institution centered on providing professional experience and building skills for careers in healthcare-related industries. Total student enrollment numbers just over 1,000, the majority being residents of the surrounding community of Lucas with an average age of 28. As of 2013, popular programs included the pre-licensure B.S. in nursing, the A.S. in nursing and the B.S. in healthcare administration, respectively. With a variety of convenient learning options available via evening and off-campus classes, 57% are considered part-time students.

    Quick Facts

    • Mercy offers individual scholarships unique to its Youngstown and Toledo campuses.
    • Mercy offers unique course delivery such as distance education, transitional education and College Credit Plus Program options.
    • Financial aid opportunities are available specifically for Veterans via the university's Service Men and Women and Veterans Group.
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    2The Ohio State University – Mansfield 2/541.63%Mansfield, OH

    Ohio State University's Mansfield campus is known for its 640 acres in the woods of northeastern Ohio. Personalized attention is key here at the Mansfield campus, with small class sizes and highly qualified, expert faculty. This location offers affordable housing, both on- and off-campus. Available associate, bachelor's and master's degrees at OSU Mansfield are centered on providing accessibility and convenience to working students, with a variety of options for part-time day or evening classes. Students may also begin their degree here at the Mansfield campus and easily transfer to the Columbus location to complete the program off-site.

    Quick Facts

    • 97% of full-time faculty holds a doctorate or terminal degree in their field.
    • OSU Mansfield has partnered with many local businesses to develop the Mansfield Campus Business and Industry Internship Program, which provides practical experience to local students.
    • Tuition averages $7,140 for two-semesters of full-time study.
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    3The Ohio State University – Marion Campus 2/542.8%Marion, OH

    Ohio State University's Marion location aims to deliver the same high-quality professional education that defines the school, with an expanded global focus. Opportunities unique to the Marion campus include community outreach, service-based learning and study abroad programs. While some degrees require substantial course work at other OSU campuses, the majority of courses in criminology and criminal justice, engineering, life sciences and sociology may be completed exclusively at this location. Of its 1,243 students, the majority reside in Marion County. 679 students received Marion campus scholarships and over 84% of OSU Marion students were awarded some form of financial aid in 2014.

    Quick Facts

    • The Marion campus features nine degrees which can be completed entirely at this location.
    • The average ACT score of incoming first-year students is 22.1.
    • Campus-based scholarship awards total $1,100,000 annually.
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    4The Ohio State University – Newark Campus 2/539.21%Newark, OH

    Touted as a "small campus with big possibilities," OSU's Newark location is a renowned research-based institution with six undergraduate programs including business, English, education, history, psychology and social work. Newark campus initiatives are centered on building collaborative research between students and faculty, ultimately advancing global research efforts as well as academic and professional opportunities for students. OSU Newark's 225-acre complex is home to a student body of 2,396. The majority of students receive financial aid, some through the university's Next Generation Challenge, which raised more than $21 million for scholarships as of 2012.

    Quick Facts

    • OSU Newark hosts more than 50 student groups and organizations on campus.
    • 76 of OSU Newark's faculty hold PhDs in their respective fields.
    • The Ohio State University and Central Ohio Technical College partnership ranked among the 2015 Military Friendly Schools list.
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    5University of Northwestern Ohio 2/556.18%Lima, OH

    Founded in 1920 as a private, not-for-profit institution, the University of Northwestern Ohio provides education and professional training for business, corporate and technological careers; with associate, bachelor's and master's degrees in majors like business, applied technologies, health professions and occupational professions. Students at UNOH are part of a co-educational learning environment, where foundational course work is required of all students in practical subjects like communications, social & behavioral sciences and university studies. Home to over 60 available programs spanning its five academic divisions, UNOH offers added flexibility in the form of online degrees and accelerated degree-completion options.

    Quick Facts

    • UNOH distributes more than $14,000,000 in financial aid and scholarships each year.
    • No out-of-state tuition charges are applied at UNOH.
    • Bachelor's degrees may be completed in 3.5 years, depending on individual requirements.
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    6Kent State University at Tuscarawas 2/522.81%New Philadelphia, OH

    The Tuscarawas campus of the Kent State University system is located on 170 acres in New Philadelphia. Of the 280 programs available through Kent State's various campuses, 28 associate and bachelor's degrees can be completed exclusively at Tuscarawas. Fall 2014 enrollment at KSU Tuscarawas totaled 2,301, with an average age of 25. More than $400,000 in scholarship funds are available to students each year. This university hosts highly qualified faculty while keeping class sizes small, and is consistently recognized for its Kent State University Honors Program, as well as other campus-funded research initiatives.

    Quick Facts

    • Student population is 58% female and 42% male.
    • State-of-the-art facilities on campus comprise more than 200,000 combined square feet.
    • KSU Tuscarawas is the only locally owned regional campus in the state of Ohio.
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    7The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute  32.49%Wooster, OH

    The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute provides associate degrees in agriculture, horticulture, environmental sciences, business and engineering technology. In addition to featuring specialized agricultural education, OSUATI encourages applied learning and practical experience to create self-reliant and productive students. Among the most unique aspects of pursuing an education at OSUATI are the intensive internship and practicum opportunities, designed to provide hands-on experience to students before graduation. OSUATI boasts retention rates of 65% and 50%, for full- and part-time students, respectively.

    Quick Facts

    • Community College Week ranked ATI No.1 in the nation in 2012 among two-year colleges that award agriculture degrees.
    • Upon graduation, 92% of students have been hired or accepted into graduate school within six months.
    • ATI is the associate degree-granting division of the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
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    8Kent State University at Geauga 2/520.35%Burton, OH

    This branch of Kent State University comprises the Geauga campus and Regional Academic Center, located in Burton, 30 miles east of Cleveland. KSU Geauga offers six associate degrees and seven bachelor's degrees to its student population of more than 2,800. Here, students may complete programs in subjects like business accounting technology, nursing and arts & sciences. Additional programs are available through partial completion at other campuses. KSU Geauga offers the convenience of day, weekend, online and evening course work to accommodate individual student needs.

    Quick Facts

    • Geauga averages fewer than 25 students per class on campus.
    • This location boasts a 40% savings in tuition and costs over its counterpart located in Kent.
    • Geauga promises the same high-quality faculty and resources at half the cost of a four-year university in Ohio.
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    9Kent State University at Stark 2/527.93%Canton, OH

    With a student population of over 11,000, the Stark campus is the largest of all seven regional Kent State University locations. As the only public university in Stark County, the 200-acre campus provides the academic excellence Kent State is known for while retaining its community college charm. Students may complete associate, bachelor's and master's degrees in subjects ranging from biology to computer technology. While this location offers a variety of site-specific degrees, additional programs are available to start at Stark and complete at other Kent State University campus. 62% of students are from Stark County, and 82% of students receive some form of financial aid.

    Quick Facts

    • KSU Stark student-faculty ratio is 17:1.
    • 23 is the average age of full-time students at KSU Stark.
    • There are 121 full-time faculty and 170 adjunct faculty at Stark, the majority holding a terminal degree in their field.
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    10Ohio University-Lancaster Campus 1/525.14%Lancaster, OH

    This location of Ohio University comprises the Lancaster campus and Pickerington Center, dedicated to providing accessible, affordable educational opportunities to residents of Central Ohio. Home to nearly 2,600 students, OU Lancaster offers a variety of majors and minors including management, education and technology. An institution that celebrates diversity, minorities represent significant percentages of the student body at the Lancaster and Pickerington locations, though the majority of first-year students are from surrounding Appalachian Ohio. 72% of students receive financial aid from more than $261,000 in scholarships awarded annually.

    Quick Facts

    • Retention rate was 61% as of 2011 at the Lancaster campus.
    • 91% of the freshmen class are under 25 years of age.
    • Freshmen ACT composite scores averaged 21.2 as of 2013.
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    11Ohio University-Eastern Campus 1/541.67%Saint Clairsville, OH

    The Eastern Campus of Ohio University provides undergraduate course work and career training to students in the Upper Ohio Valley, primarily to the community and local workforce in this region of the state. Students may pursue one of two associate degrees and 13 bachelor's degrees, in subjects including arts and humanities, science, history and social work. Though among the smallest campuses within the Ohio University system, the Eastern Ohio location offers the same prestige as the main OU campus, delivering a rigorous curriculum taught by highly qualified faculty via traditional, part-time and online formats.

    Quick Facts

    • Eastern Campus grounds are home to several historical buildings that were in operation before the school was founded on this site.
    • OU participates in the College Credit Plus program, helping those in high school to complete college credits prior to enrollment.
    • Over 250 programs may be started at regional OU campuses and finished at the university's main location.
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    12Remington College-Cleveland Campus  54.66%Cleveland, OH

    Remington's Cleveland Campus offers practical career training to prepare students for employment in local, high-demand industries. RC Cleveland offers diplomas, associate and bachelor's degrees in subjects including nursing, criminology, healthcare and cosmetology. As a non-profit institution focused on professional skill-building, RC Cleveland offers more than 30 programs via traditional delivery methods, with some also available online. Faculty have practical experience in their respective areas of expertise, and many hold terminal degrees in their field.

    Quick Facts

    • Textbooks and course materials are included in tuition costs as part of the university's all-inclusive pricing system.
    • Students must maintain minimum GPA requirements to qualify for externship opportunities, depending on individual majors.
    • Students may take advantage of admissions, academic, student finance and career services teams via the university's support resources.
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    13Ohio University-Zanesville Campus 1/531.5%Zanesville, OH

    The Zanesville Campus of Ohio University offers 13 complete bachelor's degrees and five associate degrees, as well as career training, to students in Zanesville and Cambridge, OH. Commuter students comprise the majority of the roughly 2,000 degree seekers; student-faculty ratio is 16:1. Though this campus is among the smallest locations within the Ohio University system, Zanesville offers the same global focus as Ohio University, with the feel of a tight-knit community and more personalized instruction. Over 86% of students received some form of financial aid during the fall 2013 semester.

    Quick Facts

    • Average class size is 22 students.
    • 115 full-tuition scholarships are awarded each year.
    • In addition to complete degrees available entirely at Zanesville, students may complete the first two years of more than 150 additional degree programs, before transferring to the Athens campus.
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    14Kent State University at Trumbull 2/516.26%Warren, OH

    Located east of Akron and south of Cleveland, Kent State University’s Trumbull campus is home to 2,799 students, 100% of whom commute to this location. Founded as a small teacher-training program in 1954, Kent State Trumbull has expanded to include associate degrees and bachelor's degrees in business, science and the arts, among other subjects. Of the total student population on campus at this location, 53% are from Trumbull County, nearly 13% represent a minority and the average age is 27. Student-faculty ratio is 29:1.

    Quick Facts

    • Females outnumber males on campus at 54.8%.
    • Students may begin one of over 280 programs at Trumbull and complete their program at an alternate Kent State campus.
    • Trumbull is located just 22 minutes outside of Youngstown and Sharon, PA.
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    15Allegheny Wesleyan College 1/537.5%Salem, OH

    As an educational institution in the conservative Wesleyan tradition, Allegheny Wesleyan aims to bring awareness to the following four core areas: spiritual advancement, scholastic achievements, service activities and social advantages. AWU offers a Bachelor of Arts in various majors related to ministerial, missionary, music ministry and Christian education initiatives. Of the total student population on campus at this location, 53% are from Trumbull County, nearly 13% represent a minority, and the average age is 27. Average student-faculty ratio is 29:1.

    Quick Facts

    • AWU holds regular revivals during both its spring and fall semesters.
    • The university is home to a variety of Christian-based educator resources, including chapel services, prayer meetings and Christ-centered convention assemblies.
    • The university's own Allegheny Publications makes class transcripts and current university publications available to students on campus.
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    16Kent State University at Salem 2/524.22%Salem, OH

    Located on 100-acres, the Salem campus of Kent State University is a sister facility to the nearby East Liverpool location. Together these two campuses within the Kent State University system are home to more than 3,500 students. With over 20 degrees available, students may choose from a variety of majors including accounting, justice studies and arts & science. Students may also begin a degree here before completing their course of study at the university's main campus. Salem offers a variety of social clubs, student activity groups and academic and social resources for on-campus students.

    Quick Facts

    • Salem and East Liverpool campuses work together to provide professional training and continuing education to career-minded students.
    • For 90 years, KSU's Honor Program has non-degree-granting supplemental programs to students demonstrating academic excellence above and beyond their standard responsibilities.
    • Salem and East Liverpool campuses were founded in Columbiana County mining territory —Salem for Iron Ore and East Liverpool for clay.
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    17Washington State Community College  16.72%Marietta, OH

    Located in Marietta, Washington State Community College promotes "a short-term solution to a long-term goal," encouraging students to strive for excellence in both educational and professional pursuits. With more than 60 degrees and certificates available, students may choose from a variety of majors in fields including arts & sciences, business, engineering & industrial, health sciences and public service. Students may also begin a degree here and easily transition into a four-year program. WSCC offers a variety of day, evening, weekend, online and blended course formats to meet individual student needs.

    Quick Facts

    • WSCC offers childcare options for on-campus students.
    • Resume assistance and career placement services are available to students approaching graduation.
    • WSCC regularly hosts AmeriCorps members to lead activities and workshops on campus.
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    18Kent State University at East Liverpool 2/517.02%East Liverpool, OH

    The East Liverpool campus of Kent State is the highlight of the city's burgeoning Downtown University District, featuring breathtaking views of the Ohio River. With its sister campus at Salem, these two sites within the Kent State University system are home to more than 3,500 students annually. More than 20 degrees are available, including majors in communication, horticulture and psychology. Students may also complete the first two years of a degree here before transferring at the university's main campus. On-campus student clubs and organizations at East Liverpool span a variety of interests, from American sign-language to human services technology. Students are encouraged to establish their own student group, complete with downloadable fundraising and registration forms via the university website.

    Quick Facts

    • A variety of professional training and continuing education services are available to Salem and East Liverpool students.
    • KSU's Honor Program has been awarding non-degree-based recognition to students demonstrating academic excellence above and beyond their standard responsibilities for 90 years.
    • Both East Liverpool and Salem locations were founded in clay and iron ore mining territory, respectively, in Columbiana County in Ohio.
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    19University of Akron Wayne College  6.95%Orrville, OH

    The University of Akron's Wayne College serves the counties of Wayne, Medina and Holmes, to produce highly qualified members of the local workforce and dedicated citizens in their respective local communities. Despite a name change from Wayne General and Technical College in 1990, this college remains a pioneer of career training programs in engineering and science technology, business technology and public service technology, among many other majors. As of spring 2014, student enrollment totaled 2,161, the majority hailing from Wayne County. Nearly two-thirds of the college's 29 full-time faculty hold doctoral degrees in their respective fields.

    Quick Facts

    • Student-faculty ratio averages 20:1 with an average class size of 18 students.
    • The Wayne College campus is located on 160 acres in the northern part of Orrville, OH.
    • Structures on campus house more than 150,000 square feet of state-of-the-art learning facilities.
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    20Bowling Green State University-Firelands  13.1%Huron, OH

    Just seven short miles from Cedar Point Amusement Park and "Vacationland," BGSU's Firelands campus is conveniently located west of Cleveland and east of Bowling Green. Fifteen associate degrees and certificate programs are available in 22 areas of study including applied sciences, humanities and natural & social sciences. Nine bachelor's degrees may be completed at BGSU Firelands, though students may choose to begin one of 200 additional undergraduate and graduate degree options here, and then transfer to an affiliated site. Of BGSU's 57 full-time faculty, 98% hold a master’s degree and 47% hold a doctoral degree in their field of expertise. BGSU Firelands currently serves nearly 2,400 students and hosts more than 15 on-campus student organizations.

    Quick Facts

    • Student-faculty ratio averages 18:1.
    • 37% of students are considered "non-traditional", or over the age of 25.
    • The University established an Office of Campus Sustainability to promote on-campus and global green initiatives.
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    21Kent State University at Ashtabula 2/512.38%Ashtabula, OH

    The Ashtabula arm of Kent State maintains Kent State's academic reputation, while incorporating the feel of a small-town liberal-arts community. Students may complete one of 27 available associate and bachelor's degrees at Ashtabula; professional completion programs and certificate programs are also available. Business, applied science, the arts and technical study are among the list of majors at this campus. Of Ashtabula's total student enrollment, 85% of all students received some form of financial aid, including $200,000 in scholarships awarded during the 2014-2015 school year.

    Quick Facts

    • The KSU Ashtabula campus student-faculty ratio is 15:1.
    • Ashtabula offers 'Experience Learning' opportunities including internships, lab work and study abroad programs.
    • KSU's academic calendar includes a spring semester, fall semester and four summer sessions of varying lengths.
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    22Northwest State Community College  18.26%Archbold, OH

    As a public two-year university, Northwest State Community College offers degrees and certificate programs in subjects like arts and sciences, business technologies and nursing. In addition, NSCC's community college designation allows the institution to also offer associate of arts and associate of science programs that easily transfer to a four-year degree program at partnering universities. Non-credit courses are also offered in over 300 subjects at NSCC. Of NSCC's student enrollment of 4,576, 72% of degree-seeking students receive some form of financial aid.

    Quick Facts

    • NSCC offers over 70 degree and certificate programs to choose from.
    • 85 online classes are offered through the NSCC virtual classroom.
    • 85% of alumni continue to live and work in Ohio's surrounding six-county area.
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    23University of Rio Grande 4/539.3%Rio Grande, OH

    As a student-centered institution, University of Rio Grande combines a liberal arts education with practical career training. URG offers over 120 programs, comprising certificate, associate, bachelor's and master's options in majors like arts & sciences, health & behavioral sciences and professional & applied studies. Located in southeastern Ohio, the URG campus is home to over 2,400 students from 15 states and 23 countries. Student-faculty ratio is 15:1 and average class size is 14 students. Over 96% of students at Rio Grande receive some form of financial aid.

    Quick Facts

    • URG offers 11 co-ed sports on its campus.
    • Nine fraternities and sororities are present on campus, as well as various other academic and social clubs for students.
    • The 190-acre campus comprises state-of-the-art facilities and breathtaking views.
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    24Ohio University-Southern Campus 1/522.09%Ironton, OH

    This location of Ohio University is committed to providing accessible, affordable higher learning opportunities to Southern Ohio residents, preparing them for careers ranging from arts and humanities to law enforcement. Respect, inclusion, community and excellence comprise the cornerstone principles of OU Southern's dynamic values system. Students may choose from over 30 degrees and certificates, as well as various course work designed for professional study. The Southern campus is part of Ohio University's regional campus system, serving a total of more than 10,000 students each year.

    Quick Facts

    • OU's Southern campus was established in 1956.
    • This campus caters to both first-time adult students as well as those returning to the classroom.
    • Diversity, inclusion and international awareness are key missions of OU Southern's doctrine.
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    25Ohio University-Chillicothe Campus 1/524.04%Chillicothe, OH

    As the first regional campus in the state of Ohio, OU's Chillicothe campus has brought high-quality education and professional training to students in the south central region of Ohio since opening its doors in 1946. Chillicothe offers more than 20 academic programs and over 250 majors leading to associate, bachelor's and master's degrees. Available programs are kept relevant to the needs of the local labor force in Chillicothe and surrounding areas, preparing graduates for lucrative employment and sustainable job opportunities. Numerous grants and merit scholarships are made available to Chillicothe's student body of 2,400 students.

    Quick Facts

    • The current on-campus student body is 63% female and 37% male.
    • Chillicothe was founded in 1946 as the first regional college campus in Ohio.
    • This campus combines high-quality instruction with a friendly, small-town feel.
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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

    Regional Spotlight: 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

    Regional Spotlight: 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

    Regional Spotlight: 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

    Regional Spotlight: 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


    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.

    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

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    Official State Links