Best Online Colleges in Ohio

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Many colleges in Ohio are committed to providing an excellent online education to students. As one of the first states in the nation to adopt the Quality Matters assessment that attests to the quality of distance learning programs, Ohio is dedicated to ensuring that distance learners receive a robust online education.

The Ohio System of Universities, the state’s private colleges, and community and technical colleges all offer online degrees. The state also awards significant grant money to students to help defray the costs of a college education. Additionally, Ohio is a member of the Midwestern Higher Education Compact Initiative (MHEC). The MHEC works to ensure that students have affordable online education options, along with increased opportunities for academic success by allowing them to participate in member-university classes in schools from across the Midwest.

It may be difficult for some students to obtain an on-campus college education. For working professionals, or people who cannot afford a traditional campus-based education, a distance program may be a palatable alternative. The online colleges in Ohio offer excellent academic opportunities, available to a wider spectrum of students.

2016 Online Education Trends Report: Learn how online programs are changing the face of higher education.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description

Ohio University

 3/567.2%Athens, OH


Ohio offers one of the largest selections of online degrees in the state. The school’s experiential learning program provides credit to students who demonstrate knowledge they’ve gained from work, volunteering, and other life experiences.

Anyone with an associate degree who meets program requirements can apply. Ohio offers online bachelor’s degrees in applied communication, criminal justice, and more. One of Ohio’s most popular offerings is the school’s RN-to-BSN program. Online graduate degrees are also available in sports administration, organizational communication, civil engineering, and health administration.

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University of Cincinnati

 3/559.56%Cincinnati, OH


UC provides students with 30 degree programs and 40 certificates. Popular bachelor’s degrees include early childhood education, fire science technology, nursing, substance abuse counseling, and medical laboratory science. Master’s programs include:

  • Taxation, Business Administration
  • Drug Development Sciences
  • Educational Leadership
  • Information Technology

Nursing and engineering programs are also offered to graduate students. The university’s remote programs date to 1984, when the school offered distance learning to firefighters. The school also offers an innovative MOOC (massive open online courses) program.

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Ohio State University

 3/583.5%Columbus, OH


All students enrolled in Ohio State’s online programs pay in-state tuition. The college provides special assistance to help military and veteran students succeed. Some of Ohio State’s featured online degree programs include:

  • BS in Nursing
  • Master of Global Engineering Leadership
  • Master of Applied Clinical and Preclinical Research

All online programs are delivered at least 50% online, and Ohio State is working to put more programs 100% online. Program completion time varies by degree and how many credits you take each semester. Ohio State is one of the best colleges in Ohio.

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Wright State University – Lake Campus

 2/542.28%Celina, OH


Wright State’s interactive video courses allow students to feel like they’re part of the classroom. One of the school’s most popular online programs is the RN to BSN nursing degree completion program (BSN), which is structured to allow nursing professionals to advance their careers and take classes while they work. The college also offers a doctoral program in nursing and many other online graduate degrees.

The school will soon offer a master’s in cyber security. Like many colleges in Ohio, Wright State’s online programs are authorized for students in many, but not all states.

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Kent State University

 2/555.05%Kent, OH


Kent State offers more than a dozen online graduate degrees in subjects like user experience design, public relations, and instructional technology. The user experience design master’s is one of the only program of its kind offered in the state.The school also offers online bachelor’s programs in insurance studies, public health, and RN to BSN. A variety of certificate programs are also available. Kent State provides a number of student services for online students, including a 24/7 help desk.

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Tiffin University

 4/538.82%Tiffin, OH

Tiffin offers several bachelor’s programs in the arts and sciences, business, and criminal justice. Tiffin also awards a variety of certificates, including one in Arabic Studies, which is designed for students considering jobs in the military, intelligence community, or foreign affairs. Tiffin also offers online master’s degrees.

Students can enroll in programs six times a year: January, March, May, July, August, and October. Tiffin provides online students with small class sizes so they can get the personal attention they need.

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Ohio Christian University

 3/531.85%Circleville, OH

Ohio Christian online offers associate and bachelor’s programs designed for working professionals. Each program is available entirely online. When students start a program, they are placed in a cohort that moves through the program together, taking one asynchronous course at a time. Online students qualify for state and federal financial aid programs and OCU accepts all applicable military benefits.

OCU awards students credit for prior learning, training, and experience. Students can even get credit for pastoral training they’ve received in the past.

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University of Toledo

 2/543.72%Toledo, OH

Widely considered one of the most innovative, forward-thinking, and best colleges in Ohio, Toledo provides a variety of accredited online degrees. Its 100% online programs are offered at the bachelor’s, graduate, associate, and certificate levels. The school provides special support, with a department dedicated to online students, comprehensive library and research tools, and e-tutoring services.

Popular bachelor’s programs include degrees in accounting, criminal justice, management, and marketing. Several degree completion programs are available as well, along with master’s degrees in criminal justice, engineering, and liberal studies. Online students are eligible for many of the same scholarships as on-campus students.

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Baldwin Wallace University

 4/568.16%Berea, OH

Baldwin Wallace, one of the smaller colleges in Ohio with an online program, provides several degrees entirely online. The school also offers hybrid classes that combine online learning with occasional in-person meetings. All of BWU’s online offerings are in education, and include:

  • Intervention Specialist License
  • Leadership in Technology
  • Principal’s License
  • Reading Endorsement

The online programs allow students to continue to teach while they take classes. Master’s programs can be completed in two years.

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Cleveland State University

 2/539.3%Cleveland, OH

Cleveland State’s center for eLearning prioritizes online student needs and ensures student success in the university’s online programs. All distance learners have access to 24/7 Live Chat Support, and they can speak with tutors and advisors when needed as well.

CSU offers a program for registered nurses to obtain a bachelor of science in nursing. Cleveland State also has 11 graduate programs (master’s and certificates) and four undergraduate programs in addition to the RN to BSN.

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University of Cincinnati – Clermont College

 2/524.1%Batavia, OH

UCCC affords students the opportunity to pursue an AAS in health information systems technology. The health information systems technology program combines material from medicine, information management, business applications, and computer technology. All coursework is completed online and incorporates clinical experience, information technology, and management training. Graduates from the program are prepared to sit for a number certifications, including the national Registered Health Information Technician exam offered by the American Health Information Management Association.

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Union Institute & University

 3/525%Cincinnati, OH

Union Institute has more than 50 years of experience with distance learning. Students can complete bachelor’s and master’s degrees completely online. Programs are available in business and leadership, education, health and science, and protection and civil service.

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Malone University

 4/551.41%Canton, OH

Online classes at Malone are taught asynchronously, with flexibility in mind. The university provides support for online students 24/7 through a toll-free phone number and an online chat service. Students also have access to digital library materials and a team of tutors and academic advisors.

Malone offers undergraduate and graduate degrees. Online programs include a bachelor of arts in business management, a master of business administration, and a master of arts in organizational leadership. Malone also provides degree completion programs in organizational management and health services management.

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Franklin University

 3/513.64%Columbus, OH

Many of Franklin’s undergraduate and graduate degrees are available entirely online, giving the school one of the largest selections of programs in the state. The school offers nearly 40 online undergraduate majors, along with nine online master’s programs and two certificates. Popular undergraduate degrees include entrepreneurship, web development, and internet marketing.

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Ashland University

 4/556.84%Ashland, OH

Ashland offers a variety of online programs, including:

  • BA in Criminal Justice
  • RN to BSN
  • Master of Arts in Health & Risk Communication
  • MBA
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice

Additionally, Ashland’s Theological Seminary offers many of its classes online. In its online program, Ashland makes an effort to foster one-on-one relationships between faculty and students. The school is also very committed to honoring each student’s sense of faith and their spirituality. Online students also have the opportunity to pursue internships and global opportunities available to on-campus students.

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Mount Vernon Nazarene University

 4/558.42%Mount Vernon, OH

Mount Vernon Nazarene offers several online degrees, from associate programs to graduate degrees, primarily in business. Students interested in earning a bachelor’s can pursue degrees in:

  • Business Administration
  • Early Childhood Education (degree completion)
  • Public Safety Administration

A master’s degree is also available in business administration (with concentrations in finance, human resource management, healthcare administration, and organizational management). The university accepts up to 40 credit hours of prior learning experiences, ranging from military service to on-the-job training, one of the friendliest policies students will find at a college in Ohio.

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Kettering College

 3/545.28%Kettering, OH

Kettering College is owned by the Kettering Medical Center and chartered by the Seventh Adventist Church. Kettering is unique in its emphasis on health disciplines. The school features several flexible online bachelor’s completion options for health professionals seeking continuing education opportunities.

Kettering’s nursing degree completion offering is perhaps its most popular program. Registered nurses with an associate degree in nursing are eligible to enroll. Students can begin coursework in any semester and enroll part-time or full-time.

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Kent State University at Stark

 2/527.93%Canton, OH

Kent State at Stark offers a bachelor of technical and applied studies. The program is designed for incoming freshman and transfer students alike. Distance learners can pursue one of ten concentrations (including fraud examination and computer technology networking) or they can declare the major without a concentration. The school provides students with resources to help them adjust to distance learning, including tutoring, digital library materials, and access to academic advisors.

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Notre Dame College

 4/536.16%Cleveland, OH

Notre Dame College’s extensive online programs range from hybrid courses to fully online programs. NDC prioritizes small classrooms and the school works to ensure that students succeed in the program. Notre Dame offers online degrees in nursing, criminal justice, education, business, and psychology. Students can pursue one of five bachelor’s degree programs, three master’s degrees, and four certificates.

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Miami University-Hamilton

 2/526.5%Hamilton, OH

Miami University-Hamilton maintains an open admission policy: first-time college students with a high school diploma or GED are automatically accepted.

Miami recently expanded its early childhood education program online. Many students enrolling in this program are already working in the field, and most qualify for special scholarships. The program is designed to facilitate success for nontraditional students, many of whom work while earning their degree.

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Ohio University-Chillicothe Campus

 1/524.04%Chillicothe, OH

Ohio University-Chillicothe uses Quality Matters standards to guide its online curriculums, and the result is one of the finest academic programs in the state. Quality Matters criteria examine accessibility, consistency, and navigation to determine if students can enter, use, and find information within an online course. The university has also created an entire eCampus website to help online learners.

Many useful resources are available at the eCampus, including help with textbooks, forms, a calendar, course offerings, and information about obtaining credit for past learning experiences. Ohio University-Chillicothe also offers special services for veterans, individual advisors for every student, and a technical support center.

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Bowling Green State University

 3/555.25%Bowling Green, OH

Bowling Green offers bachelor’s degrees in business administration, learning design and technology, and quality systems. A master’s degree in criminal justice and four education-related master’s programs are also available. Bowling Green also offers an online Ph.D in technology management. Courses are taught in eight-week increments, and students can enroll in any one of the six terms per year.

The university is also renowned for its commitment to helping active duty military members and veterans, providing resources for financial assistance and creating a welcoming environment.

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The University of Findlay

 4/554.63%Findlay, OH

Findlay offers a BS in business management online. The degree completion program is for students who have taken at least 61 transferable semester hours. Courses are taught asynchronously in eight-week blocks. Most students take two courses per block, for a full-time load. Full-time students can finish the program in six semesters.

Degree concentrations include health care management; business management; environmental, safety, and health management; and emergency operations.

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Hiram College

 5/563.44%Hiram, OH

Hiram’s online degree programs are given the same resources and support as traditional on-campus programs. The school offers two online bachelor’s programs: accounting & financial management and business management. Students interested in accounting can take extra classes to qualify for the CPA exam.

Hiram’s online programs start six times a year: twice in the spring, twice in the summer, and twice in the fall. Students may transfer up to 60 credits. The school is currently developing additional online majors to be added in 2016.

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Miami University – Middletown

 2/518.43%Middletown, OH

Miami University-Middletown offers several helpful resources to online students. Miami uses Canvas for its learning management system, a flexible online platform that allows students to collaborate easily with each other, see notifications through social media, email, or text, and keep track of assignments.

Miami is recognized nationally for its academically rigorous programs taught by credentialed faculty. Distance learners will enjoy small class sizes and a diverse student population.

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More About Online Colleges in Ohio

There are 154 different schools in Ohio that offer online degrees. These schools encompass a variety of types and profiles: some schools feature several different programs entirely online, while others have one or two such programs. Some charge online students the same tuition as residential students; many offer a reduced price. You can find specialty programs, religious schools, master’s degrees and doctoral programs, all online through an Ohio-based college or university. About 10% of postsecondary students in Ohio are enrolled in exclusively online programs.

Browse our list of the best online colleges in Ohio for more insight into distance learning programs in this state.

NCES Report

According to a 2012 NCES report, 9.6% of students enrolled in Ohio’s Title IV institutions were in exclusively online programs. That accounts for just over 70,000 students total.

  • 81.3% of online students were undergraduates
  • 37.1% of online students attended a public university
  • 11.5% of students attending two-year schools are enrolled in online classes exclusively
  • 77.6% of online students live in Ohio

Schools in Ohio offer a few educational benefits that help students get the most out of school. The state government facilitates a collaborative eTutoring program, free for students and schools. Not every school participates, but students using the program have access to remote tutoring services. Using chat room software, document sharing and an online whiteboard, students can connect with tutors and share their homework, assignments and essays. Audio and video software enables students to speak with tutors in real time; students can also post questions in an online discussion box designated for topics that don’t require an immediate response.

Additionally, Ohio recently began a project called Program Share, which permits students within the Ohio University system to enroll in online classes offered at schools throughout the system. This provides students access to more courses than ever before and gives distance learners more flexibility to tailor their class schedules.