Best Colleges in Ohio

Considering going to college in Ohio? Discover the best colleges in Ohio, plus the cost of college and admission rates of each school.
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Updated on October 3, 2023
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Did you know that over 380,000 students attend college in Ohio? That's because the Buckeye State is a great place to earn a degree.

Whether you're looking for a liberal arts college in a small town or a major research university in a city, you can find your dream college experience in Ohio.

Check out our list of the top colleges in Ohio to learn more. Then, explore dozens of colleges in Ohio and learn about tuition costs so you can choose the right school for you.

Featured Online Programs

Top 10 Colleges in Ohio

How We Rank Schools

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you can make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering transparent, inclusive, and relevant school rankings.

Our ranking considers factors such as academic quality, cost, and program options. We also evaluated the student experience, including school type and setting. You can use our list to find the college that best fits your needs.

We use datasets from sources like the National Center for Education Statistics to inform the data for these schools. BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site. from our partners appear among these rankings and are indicated as such. All data is current as of the date this article was published. Program-specific information may vary.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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#1 Best Colleges in Ohio

Ohio State University

  • Columbus, OH
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Ohio's best college is also one of its most affordable. Ohio State University is a public, land-grant institution. The state's flagship campus offers multiple merit scholarships to lower the cost of college.

Customize your education with over 200 majors and 500 specializations. Participate in the First Year Experience program to connect with campus life. Or visit nearby downtown Columbus and the many greenway trails that connect the area.

Interested in sports? Ohio State has varsity programs in 36 sports, and it's claimed more than one Big Ten championship.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$10,615
Out-of-state
$32,599
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$11,560
Out-of-state
$36,276
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Medium
Retention Rate
94%
Acceptance Rate
68%
Students Enrolled
61,369
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
94% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#2 Best Colleges in Ohio

Oberlin College

  • Oberlin, OH
  • 4 years
  • Campus

A liberal arts college and conservatory, Oberlin College dates back to 1833. It was the first co-ed and interracial college in the country. Today, Oberlin welcomes 3,000 students and promises to meet 100% of demonstrated financial need.

The 440-acre campus, located in the small town of Oberlin, hosts a world-class art museum and a campus of innovative students. With more than 40 majors and over 175 student organizations, you'll find ways to connect in and out of the classroom. 

And there's always something happening on Oberlin's residential campus, which has themed residence halls and dining co-ops.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$57,654
Out-of-state
$57,654
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$28,827
Out-of-state
$28,827
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Low

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Low
Retention Rate
83%
Acceptance Rate
35%
Students Enrolled
2,658
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#3 Best Colleges in Ohio

Case Western Reserve University

  • Cleveland, OH
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

A private research institution that values hands-on learning, 99% of undergrads at Case Western Reserve University participate in experiential learning. That includes research projects, co-ops, and internships that prepare graduates for diverse careers.

Participate in over 500 student organizations or visit one of the many arts and cultural institutions within walking distance of campus. CWRU calls Cleveland's University Circle home, one of the country's top arts districts.

You'll join 6,000 undergrads who represent over 100 countries around the world. And you'll have more than 100 majors to structure your studies.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$52,448
Out-of-state
$52,448
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$47,920
Out-of-state
$47,920
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Medium
Retention Rate
93%
Acceptance Rate
30%
Students Enrolled
11,465
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
9% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#4 Best Colleges in Ohio

Kenyon College

  • Gambier, OH
  • 4 years
  • Campus

Walk down Middle Path to understand Ohio's top-ranked liberal arts college. Serving as the village green at Kenyon College, the path runs through the 1,200-acre rural campus. And Kenyon also boasts scenic Gothic architecture.

Founded in 1824, Kenyon is Ohio's oldest private college. And Gambier, home to the liberal arts college, offers a small-town feel with zero stop lights. 

Choose from 50 programs for your degree, and gain experience through 190 study-abroad and off-campus programs. You can also join over 120 clubs that keep campus active throughout the year.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$54,720
Out-of-state
$54,720
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
Not provided
Out-of-state
Not provided
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Low

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Low
Retention Rate
89%
Acceptance Rate
37%
Students Enrolled
1,615
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
77% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#5 Best Colleges in Ohio

Miami University

  • Oxford, OH
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Founded in 1809, Miami University is one of the best public colleges in Ohio. It also ranks high on the number of students who study abroad and the four-year graduation rate.

If you're looking for a legendary college town, Oxford is a great choice. Tree-lined streets and restaurants welcome college students. And MU has "the most beautiful campus that ever there was," according to poet Robert Frost. 

As a new student, you'll participate in orientation sessions to connect with fellow students. After choosing a major and participating in experiential learning opportunities, you'll complete a senior capstone to graduate. Students design capstones that take them from the laboratory to art studios.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$12,637
Out-of-state
$32,464
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$12,554
Out-of-state
$30,646
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Medium
Retention Rate
88%
Acceptance Rate
92%
Students Enrolled
18,880
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
15% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#6 Best Colleges in Ohio

Denison University

  • Granville, OH
  • 4 years
  • Campus

Most students at this liberal arts college come from out of state. Denison College receives over 12,000 applications and reports the most selective admission rate among the top colleges in Ohio. 

It's easy to see what attracts so many students to Denison. The 931-acre campus, which includes a biological reserve, offers a charming setting for college. Located in a village of 3,500 people, the campus is just 30 minutes outside of Columbus. 

The college's 2,300 undergrads choose from 65 programs. Plus, Denison moved to test-optional admissions in 2008, prioritizing a holistic review of applicants.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$55,420
Out-of-state
$55,420
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
Not provided
Out-of-state
Not provided
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Low

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Low
Retention Rate
85%
Acceptance Rate
28%
Students Enrolled
2,258
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
16% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#7 Best Colleges in Ohio

University of Cincinnati

  • Cincinnati, OH
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Want to study where a U.S. president and astronaut earned their degrees? William Howard Taft and Neil Armstrong are both alumni of the University of Cincinnati

The public university enrolls nearly 48,000 students. UC's campus in the heart of Cincinnati features historic buildings, cutting-edge laboratories, and green spaces. And you'll have access to the career and creative opportunities available in Cincinnati. 

UC prioritizes experience-based learning. You'll gain valuable experience in the classroom and through co-ops and internships. Or participate in study abroad programs that send students to 50 countries around the world.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$9,723
Out-of-state
$25,057
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$13,224
Out-of-state
$24,966
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Medium
Retention Rate
88%
Acceptance Rate
76%
Students Enrolled
40,826
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
90% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#8 Best Colleges in Ohio

The College of Wooster

  • Wooster, OH
  • 4 years
  • Campus

Want a small liberal arts college with a residential feel? The College of Wooster welcomes 2,000 students, nearly all of whom live on the 240-acre campus. 

Choose from over 100 areas of study to earn your degree. You'll study in Wooster, a city of 27,000 conveniently located between Cleveland and Columbus. 

The private college incorporates individualized senior projects where students partner with faculty mentors. You'll strengthen creative problem-solving and communication skills as you develop your project. And over 85% of Wooster students receive financial aid, with an average award of $50,000.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$53,550
Out-of-state
$53,550
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
Not provided
Out-of-state
Not provided
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Low

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Low
Retention Rate
87%
Acceptance Rate
65%
Students Enrolled
1,924
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
100% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#9 Best Colleges in Ohio

Ohio Northern University

  • Ada, OH
  • 4 years
  • Campus

It's a private Methodist college with an impressive 96% job placement rate. Ohio Northern University offers more than 60 programs to its 3,000 students. With a small average class size, you'll benefit from personalized attention.

You'll attend classes in the small, rural village of Ada. ONU incorporates hands-on learning in every major, with career advising support to prepare for the job market. And the college guarantees that most of its programs can be completed in four years. If it takes longer, you'll finish your graduation requirements with no additional tuition charges.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$33,470
Out-of-state
$33,470
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$29,250
Out-of-state
$29,250
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Medium
Retention Rate
84%
Acceptance Rate
65%
Students Enrolled
2,817
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
28% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#10 Best Colleges in Ohio

Ohio University

  • Athens, OH
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

It's the oldest public university in the state — and it's also one of the most affordable. Ohio University promises the same tuition rate for four years, with no increases. 

Plus, you'll join 24,000 students on a picturesque campus in the rolling hills of Southeast Ohio. The campus in Athens boasts 21 miles of bike paths along with a golf course, aquatic center, and recreation center. Or explore the shops of Athens, ranked among the best college towns in the country. 

You can also choose from over 60 programs offered through OHIO Online

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$12,612
Out-of-state
$22,406
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$9,444
Out-of-state
$17,436
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Medium
Retention Rate
81%
Acceptance Rate
87%
Students Enrolled
25,714
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
87% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

List of All Colleges in Ohio

We've created a complete list of all four-year nonprofit universities in Ohio. You can use the table below to compare data on student population, average net cost, acceptance rate, and number of applicants.

The following school data comes from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) from the 2022-23 academic year. Note that schools with fewer than 500 undergraduates were not included in this list.

All Colleges in Ohio
School Total Student Enrollment Avg. Annual Net Price Acceptance Rate Number of Applicants
Ashland University 4,174 $20,342 72% 4,565
Baldwin Wallace University 3,220 $28,705 77% 4,229
Bluffton University 745 $21,247 96% 1,105
Bowling Green State University 16,920 $20,485 79% 17,447
Capital University 2,617 $24,439 72% 4,370
Case Western Reserve University 12,201 $38,279 27% 38,701
Cedarville University 4,960 $25,462 65% 5,435
Central State University 5,434 $10,194 89% 3,814
Cleveland Institute of Art 584 $33,395 70% 693
Cleveland State University 14,385 $15,719 85% 11,570
Columbus College of Art and Design 972 $29,238 91% 776
Denison University 2,416 $38,267 22% 12,220
Franciscan University of Steubenville 3,656 $25,310 67% 2,456
Franklin University 8,044 $18,989 100% N/A
Heidelberg University 1,086 $20,053 71% 1,801
Hiram College 1,018 $19,384 93% 1,896
John Carroll University 2,922 $30,496 82% 4,310
Kent State University 25,854 $19,046 88% 20,369
Kenyon College 1,885 $43,044 34% 8,116
Kettering College 832 $16,398 34% 587
Lake Erie College 906 $22,678 54% 1,085
Lourdes University 1,136 $22,634 60% 1,082
Malone University 1,199 $21,571 78% 1,395
Marietta College 1,198 $22,895 83% 2,467
Miami University 19,107 $23,031 88% 30,367
Miami University Hamilton 2,268 $10,580 100% N/A
Miami University Middletown 1,269 $13,405 100% N/A
Mount Carmel College of Nursing 766 $15,006 63% 82
Mount St. Joseph University 2,027 $17,506 54% 2,127
Mount Vernon Nazarene University 1,941 $23,391 85% 1,070
Muskingum University 2,117 $19,682 86% 2,690
Notre Dame College 1,444 $20,151 79% 3,116
Oberlin College 2,992 $46,462 35% 11,066
Ohio Christian University 1,600 $20,490 100% N/A
Ohio Dominican University 1,276 $21,881 52% 2,186
Ohio Northern University 3,015 $27,398 54% 6,625
Ohio State University 60,540 $19,582 53% 65,189
Ohio State University at Lima 818 $13,086 100% N/A
Ohio State University at Marion 900 $13,377 100% N/A
Ohio University 24,145 $20,207 87% 24,978
Ohio Wesleyan University 1,410 $27,311 52% 5,324
Otterbein University 2,458 $22,661 84% 3,762
Shawnee State University 3,297 $13,313 100% N/A
The Christ College of Nursing and Health Sciences 866 $18,370 71% 380
The College of Wooster 1,967 $28,976 56% 7,251
Tiffin University 3,044 $25,636 83% 4,195
University of Akron 13,465 $14,667 83% 12,282
University of Cincinnati 41,155 $20,149 86% 29,025
University of Dayton 11,674 $30,590 74% 18,864
University of Findlay 4,869 $24,069 86% 3,609
University of Mount Union 2,130 $23,259 76% 3,521
University of Toledo 15,545 $17,654 92% 12,575
Ursuline College 950 $14,502 85% 610
Walsh University 2,309 $20,032 73% 2,659
Wilberforce University 656 $14,070 45% 4,100
Wilmington College 1,046 $24,528 88% 1,963
Wittenberg University 1,299 $22,912 94% 2,998
Wright State University 9,678 $15,650 95% 7,162
Wright State University Lake Campus 1,294 $11,585 100% 660
Xavier University 6,114 $31,619 85% 14,836
Youngstown State University 11,071 $11,900 81% 7,481
Source: NCES

What Is the Cost of College in Ohio?

Cost of College in Ohio in 2021
Institution Type Average Tuition & Required Fees
Public 4-Year (In-State) $10,049
Public 4-Year (Out-of-State) $26,213
Private 4-Year $35,352
Public 2-Year (In-State) $4,416
Public 2-Year (Out-of-State) $7,888
Source: NCES

Cost of Living in Ohio

Ohio has a lower cost of living than the national average. According to data from 2023, the cost of living in Ohio is 94% of the national cost of living. And housing costs are just 80% of the national average.

The state's affordable cost of living benefits college students. Lower housing costs, for example, can mean borrowing fewer loans to cover living expenses.

College students also benefit from Ohio's economy, which is the seventh largest among U.S. states. A strong economy can help graduates transition into the job market and put their degrees to work.

Frequently Asked Questions About Colleges in Ohio

How many colleges are in Ohio?

Ohio has over 60 four-year nonprofit colleges and universities. These schools enroll more than 380,000 students. Ohio's largest college is Ohio State University, which enrolls over 60,000 students on its main campus.

What is the No. 1 ranked college in Ohio?

Ohio State University is often considered a top college in Ohio. The state's flagship public institution charges a net price of just under $20,000 per year. Ohio State reports that it receives over 65,000 applications every year, admitting around half of applicants.

Other top-ranked colleges in Ohio include liberal arts colleges like Oberlin and Denison and private institutions like Case Western Reserve University.

What is the hardest college to get into in Ohio?

Ohio's most selective college is Denison University, a liberal arts college with around 2,400 students. In fall 2022, Denison received over 12,000 applications and admitted just 22% of applicants. Case Western Reserve also reports selective admissions, with a 27% acceptance rate in fall 2022, according to NCES.