2022 Top Public Colleges and Universities in Ohio

Public colleges and universities are often the most affordable option for students pursuing higher education, but it's not just affordability that makes these institutions attractive. Public colleges and universities also rank highly among the best institutions in many states, Ohio included.

Public institutions receive state and federal funding. Although they generally have larger class sizes than private institutions, they also tend to offer a wide variety of academic programs, diverse student bodies, and prestigious research opportunities.

2022 Best Public Colleges and Universities in Ohio

  1. #1

    Ohio State University-Main Campus

    Columbus, OH

    Graduation Rate

    86%

    Enrollment

    61,391

    Format

    Online, In person

    A public institution located in Columbus, Ohio, Ohio State University-Main Campus offers multiple programs. The school's accredited degrees help graduates launch or advance professional careers. Learners benefit from academically rigorous programs at an affordable price. Students can enroll in nationally ranked programs. The amount students pay per credit on average is unknown. Degree-seekers at the accredited school may qualify for federal financial aid, including the Pell Grant. Enrollees receive an average aid award of $ 8176, making the average tuition cost after aid $ 18706. Degree-seekers choose from academic and technical programs at the school. Students complete fundamentals courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. Ohio State University-Main Campus holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

  2. #2

    Ohio Technical Center at Vantage Career Center

    Van Wert, OH

    Graduation Rate

    100%

    Enrollment

    74

    Format

    In person

    Ohio Technical Center at Vantage Career Center hosts a total of 8 certificate programs, offering varied professional education to Ohio students. Learners complete a rigorous curriculum to prepare for careers and further studies. Degree-seekers gain skills necessary to succeed in professional roles. Experiential learning opportunities let learners apply their knowledge in real-world contexts. The postsecondary institution maintains accreditation, signifying high-quality academic programs. Data on the school's average cost per credit is unavailable. Learners enrolled in a program at the accredited institution can receive federal financial aid. Prospective degree-seekers can learn about residency and practical experience requirements through the school's website. The postsecondary institution holds accreditation from the Council on Occupational Education.

  3. #3

    Buckeye Joint Vocational School

    New Philadelphia, OH

    Graduation Rate

    88%

    Enrollment

    102

    Format

    In person

    Buckeye Joint Vocational School offers 8 certificate programs from its Ohio campus. Students often earn a credential in weeks or months, rather than years. These professional credential programs serve students looking to complete their education quickly and enter the workforce. The program develops specialized skills that can make students more marketable for new jobs. The school holds accreditation from the Council on Occupational Education. Buckeye Joint Vocational School's admissions department is available to answer questions about the application process. After finishing a program, graduates pursue careers in their field.

  4. #4

    Eastern Gateway Community College

    Steubenville, OH

    Graduation Rate

    19%

    Enrollment

    25,648

    Format

    Online, In person

    Located in Steubenville, Ohio, Eastern Gateway Community College educates students as a public institution. With both academic and technical programs, this school can help learners reach their educational goals. Students prepare to contribute to their field by completing courses. Applicants may qualify for a standardized test score waiver. A waiver makes it easier to apply. The school provides support such as tutoring and career services. The amount students pay per credit is unknown at this time. Learners at the accredited school qualify for federal student aid programs. The school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  5. #5

    Polaris Career Center

    Middleburg Heights, OH

    Graduation Rate

    86%

    Enrollment

    201

    Format

    In person

    Polaris Career Center hosts 13 certificate programs, offering professional training to students throughout Ohio. For students who need to earn a credential quickly, most certificate and diploma programs last weeks or months, rather than years. The programs at this school enable students to earn their credential quickly and enter the workforce immediately upon graduation. The program focuses on specific skills for career preparation. The school holds accreditation from the Council on Occupational Education. Students should contact Polaris Career Center's admissions office for additional information about the application process. Graduates pursue careers in their field after completing a program.

  6. #6

    University of Cincinnati-Main Campus

    Cincinnati, OH

    Graduation Rate

    71%

    Enrollment

    39,263

    Format

    Online, In person

    Located in Cincinnati, Ohio, University of Cincinnati-Main Campus enrolls students as a public institution. The school's academic and technical programs help learners reach a variety of professional goals. During a bachelor's degree, undergraduates take lower-division and upper-division coursework. Enrollees also complete general education credits. Upper-division courses emphasize advanced concepts in the major. Enrollees receive support in the form of tutoring and career services. The school charges a per-credit fee of 631 for its programs. Learners at the accredited institution qualify for federal financial aid programs such as the Pell Grant. University of Cincinnati-Main Campus is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  7. #7

    Mahoning County Career and Technical Center

    Canfield, OH

    Graduation Rate

    90%

    Enrollment

    93

    Format

    In person

    A top public school in Ohio, Mahoning County Career and Technical Center hosts a wide seletion of professional programs. Learners seeking to earn credentials faster choose from 7 certificate programs at the school. Students receive specialized training and take core courses. The programs feature rigorous curricula. Students pursue jobs in related fields upon graduating from a certificate. To help pay for school, the institution awards 83% of students financial aid. Students can receive federal financial aid at this accredited institution. The school's admissions department can answer any questions about the application process. The institution holds national accreditation from Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges.

  8. #8

    Career and Technology Education Centers of Licking County

    Newark, OH

    Graduation Rate

    78%

    Enrollment

    323

    Format

    In person

    Serving students of all backgrounds, Career and Technology Education Centers of Licking County is a public school based in Ohio. Candidates can study on campus in Newark or via distance education. Enrollees can choose from 17 certificate programs. Students in programs build specialized skills for professional careers. Learners can complete certificate and diploma programs far faster than traditional four-year bachelor's degrees. Diplomas and certificates can lead to professional and academic opportunities. Common professional outcomes include increased job opportunities and higher salary levels. A diploma or certificate can also preapare students for an associate or bachelor's degree. Some schools let students transfer diploma or certificate credits toward another degree.

  9. #9

    Warren County Career Center

    Lebanon, OH

    Graduation Rate

    80%

    Enrollment

    188

    Format

    In person

    A top choice for students seeking professional eduation in Ohio, Warren County Career Center hosts 19 certificate programs. Students can usually complete a credential program in a period of weeks or months. These short-term credential programs enable students to gain skills quickly, spending a relatively short amount of time in school. Students gain a variety of new skills that can make them more competetive in the job market. The school is accredited by the Council on Occupational Education. Warren County Career Center's admissions department can help students with questions about the application process. Upon graduating from a program, students often pursue their careers immediately.

  10. #10

    Tri-County Adult Career Center

    Nelsonville, OH

    Graduation Rate

    84%

    Enrollment

    28

    Format

    In person

    Tri-County Adult Career Center hosts 6 certificate programs, offering professional training to students throughout Ohio. Enrollees complete a rigorous curriculum emphasizing both theory and practice. Degree-seekers prepare to succeed in professional roles. The school's focus on experiential learning pushes learners to apply lessons in real-world contexts. The institution undergoes regular evaluations to maintain its accreditation status. The school's average cost per credit is unknown. As an accredited institution, learners enrolled in the school qualify for federal financial aid. Prospective degree-seekers can learn about program requirements through the college's website. The postsecondary institution is accredited by the Council on Occupational Education.

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Why Choose a Public College or University in Ohio?

There are many reasons a student may choose a public college or university. Public colleges and universities typically have larger student bodies, which leads to a larger number of student clubs and activities. Public institutions also tend to have more diverse student bodies, more affordable tuition, and more program options than many private schools.

Conversely, some students may prefer private institutions due to smaller class sizes and a more close-knit community.

According to 2020 data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), there are 60 public colleges and universities in Ohio. Ohio also has reciprocity agreements with Kentucky, Indiana, West Virginia, and Michigan. This allows some students from these states to enroll in public colleges and universities in Ohio and pay the in-state tuition cost.

Pros and Cons of Attending a Public College or University in Ohio

Pros

Public colleges and universities typically have lower tuition rates than private institutions.Public colleges and universities have large student bodies with dozens of clubs and activities to get involved in.Public institutions tend to have more diverse student bodies.

Cons

Public colleges and universities may not have as much financial aid available as private institutions.Public colleges and universities often have larger classes and less individualized attention than private universities.Public institutions have more courses and electives, but students may not get their top-pick classes because of a larger student body.

Nonprofit vs. For-Profit Universities in Ohio

A nonprofit university does not seek to earn a profit. Instead, it reinvests its earnings back into the school. A for-profit university, on the other hand, has owners or shareholders and its main purpose is to make a profit. For-profit schools mainly get their funding from tuition, while public and private nonprofit schools are funded through state and federal programs, donations, and endowments.

There are 33 private for-profit institutions in Ohio, according to NCES. Prospective students can also choose between 69 private nonprofit and 60 public nonprofit colleges and universities.

There are many pros and cons of for-profit and nonprofit universities. For example, for-profit universities have higher acceptance rates, while nonprofit schools typically offer more support services to students.

All public universities are nonprofit. However, private schools can be either nonprofit or for-profit. You can find out whether a school is nonprofit or for-profit by looking it up on NCES' College Navigator tool.

How Much Does It Cost to Attend a Public College or University in Ohio?

According to NCES, the average in-state tuition for Ohio's public four-year colleges in 2019-20 was $9,902, and the average out-of-state tuition was $24,830. This compares to an average of $34,009 per year for tuition and fees at private nonprofit Ohio colleges. The average cost of room and board in Ohio was $12,486 for students at public four-year schools.

In addition to tuition and room and board, students should consider the cost of books and supplies, a computer or laptop if required, and transportation costs to and from school. These are all part of paying for college.

Now let's look at Ohio's most and least expensive public colleges and universities. Among the least expensive is Bowling Green State University, which charged $12,547 in in-state tuition and fees during the 2021-2022 academic year. Miami University charged $16,704 in in-state tuition and fees during the same year.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Public Colleges and Universities in Ohio

How many public colleges and universities are there in Ohio?

There are 40 public four-year higher education institutions in Ohio, according to NCES. They include Bowling Green State University, Kent State University, Ohio State University, Shawnee State University, and the University of Toledo. Ohio is also home to 20 public two-year colleges and 65 private nonprofit four-year schools.

What is the most expensive public university in Ohio?

One of the most expensive public universities in Ohio is Miami University. The in-state tuition and fees are $16,704 per year. Miami University claims to provide an Ivy League-quality education at a public school price. The school says that students receive an excellent return on their investment. The school has 19,000 students at its Oxford campus.

What is the least expensive public university in Ohio?

One of the least expensive public universities in Ohio is Bowling Green State University. The in-state tuition and fees were $12,547 in 2021-2022. BGSU claims to prepare its students for a lifetime of career growth, leadership, and engaged citizenship.

The 1,338-acre campus has 119 buildings and more than 800 full-time faculty members. And the school has over 18,000 students with a 19-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio.

What is the biggest public university in Ohio?

The biggest public university in Ohio is Ohio State University, with about 61,370 graduate and undergraduate students and a student-to-faculty ratio of 19-to-1. The school is recognized for its top-rated medical center and a leading research center and cancer hospital.

Ohio State University is a land-grant university with campuses throughout the state. However, the main campus is near the state's center in Columbus.

Is a public college or university right for me?

Only you can decide if a public or private institution is right for you. Think about the pros and cons of public universities vs. private universities. Also consider the characteristics of the individual schools you're interested in.

You should narrow down your choices first by making a list of the schools that offer the major you're interested in. If the list is still long, narrow your choice down to a geographic area or limit it to online schools if that is your preference. Once you have narrowed your list down to no more than 10 or 12 schools, start looking at how much each school costs and how likely you are to get financial aid.