Best Online Colleges in Ohio

By OnlineU Staff | Updated 2/18/2020
2020 Best Online Colleges in Ohio Badge

The seventh most populous state in the country, Ohio is home to over a hundred degree-granting colleges and universities. In 2019, a total of 656,445 students enrolled in postsecondary education across the state, including many that pursued an online education. Our list ranks the best online colleges in Ohio based on annual tuition and mid-career salary, allowing students to weigh the initial cost of going to school with the potential for a future return on investment.

Alumni salaries were provided by PayScale. View our methodology for more details or learn more about OnlineU.

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RankSchool Annual Tuition Mid-Career Salary
# 1 #1 Ohio State University-Main Campus $7,010 $87,000
# 2 #2 University of Toledo $8,213 $81,400
# 3 #3 Ohio University - Main Campus $7,200 $80,600
# 4 #4 Xavier University $40,220 $83,700
# 5 #5 Cleveland State University $9,829 $79,300
# 6 #6 The University of Findlay $14,260 $78,700
# 7 #7 University of Akron $9,042 $77,700
# 8 #8 Wright State University-Main Campus $9,578 $76,900
# 9 #9 Shawnee State University $8,340 $72,800
# 10 #10 Kettering College $14,508 $73,600
# 11 #11 Muskingum University $28,100 $75,400
# 12 #12 Walsh University $15,500 $73,700
# 13 #13 Mount Carmel College of Nursing $10,725 $72,700
# 14 #14 Franklin University $11,940 $69,800
# 15 #15 Defiance College $11,850 $68,700
# 16 #16 Malone University $15,810 $66,700
# 17 #17 Notre Dame College $14,250 $62,400
# 18 #18 Tiffin University $14,260 $60,000
# 19 #19 Union Institute & University $16,350 $55,500
# 20 #20 Ohio Christian University $12,480 $51,200
# 21 #21 Kent State University at Trumbull $6,868 $46,300
# 22 #22 God's Bible School and College $6,000 $42,200
Salary data provided by Payscale Logo

2020 Online Colleges in Ohio Ranking Details

For each school, we conducted manual research to provide prospective students with more details about the schools' online programs. Explore online degrees offered and accreditation information below.

#1 Ohio State University-Main Campus

  • Annual Tuition: $7,010
  • Median Salary: $87,000
  • Locations: Columbus
  • Accreditation: HLC

Ohio State University-Main Campus offers online programs at every level, from certificates to doctoral degrees. Fields of study include healthcare, nursing, education, social work, applied clinical and preclinical research, engineering, and leadership. Distance learners may access their online courses through the CarmenCanvas online learning platform. The university’s BuckeyeLink web portal gives distance learners access to administrative information, including course schedules, grades, and transcripts. Ohio State's online programs are taught by on-campus instructors, allow students to complete coursework at their convenience, and are offered in both part- and full-time formats. Online students receive in-state tuition rates and resources such as academic advising, career services, and tech support.

#2 University of Toledo

  • Annual Tuition: $8,213
  • Median Salary: $81,400
  • Locations: Toledo
  • Accreditation: HLC

The University of Toledo hosts a large catalog of online programs, with certificates, associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees all available. Programs span a range of academic areas, including accounting, business administration, liberal studies, computer network administration, criminal justice, education, general studies, information services and support, nursing, programming and software development, and technical studies. Courses are delivered through the Blackboard online learning platform and are taught by the same instructors that teach on campus. Distance learners receive a variety of services to support their academic journey; access to library services, technical support, and online tutoring are some of the available resources.

#3 Ohio University - Main Campus

  • Annual Tuition: $7,200
  • Median Salary: $80,600
  • Locations: Athens
  • Accreditation: HLC

Ohio University-Main Campus offers a wide variety of online programs across several academic areas, which include applied communication, applied management, criminal justice, human and consumer sciences, psychology, nursing, and business management. Courses are delivered through the Blackboard online learning platform, which is available through the school’s eCampus. Through eCampus, distance learners can check their CatMail student email accounts and access a host of other online services, like academic advising, financial aid, the Student Success Center, veteran services, tech support, the campus directory, and the Testing Center. Upon enrolling, distance learners must take part in an orientation session to become acquainted with the online learning platform.

#4 Xavier University

  • Annual Tuition: $40,220
  • Median Salary: $83,700
  • Locations: Cincinnati
  • Accreditation: HLC

Xavier University offers online certificate and degree programs across several academic areas, including business administration, coaching education and athlete development, criminal justice administration, health economics and clinical outcomes research, education, nursing, and organizational leadership. Courses are delivered through the Canvas online learning platform and are offered in a mostly asynchronous format. Students will interact with their peers and instructors through a variety of tools, including discussion boards, video conferencing, and email. The university’s Student Hub web portal gives distance learners access to administrative information, including course schedules, grades, and transcripts. Distance learners must take part in an orientation session to become acquainted with the online learning platform.

#5 Cleveland State University

  • Annual Tuition: $9,829
  • Median Salary: $79,300
  • Locations: Cleveland
  • Accreditation: HLC

Cleveland State University (CSU) offers more than 15 online certificates, bachelor's, and master's degrees in fields such as business administration, nursing, organizational leadership, adult learning and development, and education. Courses, which are delivered through the Blackboard Learn online learning platform, utilize a variety of interactive tools to allow for communication between peers and instructors. Online classes at CSU are mostly asynchronous, allowing distance learners to access course materials at their convenience. However, students will still be required to adhere to deadlines. Online learners have access to a host of resources including the library, tech support, and academic support services.

#6 The University of Findlay

  • Annual Tuition: $14,260
  • Median Salary: $78,700
  • Locations: Findlay
  • Accreditation: HLC

The University of Findlay offers an extensive catalog of online programs across more than 10 academic areas, including applied security and analytics, business administration, education, environmental safety and health management, health informatics, and professional communication. Courses are delivered through the Canvas online learning platform. The university’s MyFindlay web portal gives distance learners access to administrative information, including course schedules, grades, and transcripts. Distance learners also receive many of the same resources as on-campus students. These services include access to the library, financial aid, online tutoring, tech support, and dedicated support staff.

#7 University of Akron

  • Annual Tuition: $9,042
  • Median Salary: $77,700
  • Locations: Akron
  • Accreditation: HLC

The University of Akron offers online degree programs in nursing, speech-language pathology, and taxation. Courses are delivered through the Brightspace online learning platform. Student support resources include access to tutoring labs, academic advising, the campus bookstore, the MyAkron student web portal and a student @zips email account, career services, a job database, financial aid planning, technical support, and access to the Bierce Library’s catalog and databases. Distance learners are encouraged to take part in an orientation session to become acquainted with the online learning platform. The University of Akron online degree programs are taught by the same high-quality faculty who teach classes on campus.

#8 Wright State University-Main Campus

  • Annual Tuition: $9,578
  • Median Salary: $76,900
  • Locations: Dayton
  • Accreditation: HLC

Wright State University-Main Campus offers more than 20 online degree and certificate programs across numerous academic areas, including nursing, business, education, literacy, logistics and supply chain management, and cyber security analytics. Licensure programs and over a hundred individual courses are also offered online at Wright State. Classes may be comprised of videos, online lectures, web conferencing, and more. Students submit coursework and communicate with instructors through PIlot, the university’s learning management system. Distance learners have access to the same resources that on-campus students receive; this includes academic services, career counseling, and tech support.

#9 Shawnee State University

  • Annual Tuition: $8,340
  • Median Salary: $72,800
  • Locations: Portsmouth
  • Accreditation: HLC

Shawnee State University offers online degree programs in fields such as health science, curriculum and instruction, mathematics, and nursing. Courses are delivered through the Blackboard online learning platform and span seven weeks. Students may access coursework as their schedules allow, but will still be required to meet deadlines. Distance learners are not required to come to campus at any time; tests are also delivered online. Support resources offered to online students include library services, tutoring, career services, and access to on-campus facilities.

#10 Kettering College

  • Annual Tuition: $14,508
  • Median Salary: $73,600
  • Locations: Kettering
  • Accreditation: HLC

Kettering College opened in 1967 and is affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The main campus is located in Kettering, but the institution offers online degree programs to distance learners. Among the online degrees offered are an RN to BSN and a bachelor’s degree in health sciences; both are degree completion programs with accelerated courses to allow for a faster time to completion. The health sciences degree offers several different emphasis areas: respiratory care, management, education, sonography, and advanced imaging. Distance learners receive access to support services such as library resources, an online bookstore, and online tutoring.

#11 Muskingum University

  • Annual Tuition: $28,100
  • Median Salary: $75,400
  • Locations: New Concord
  • Accreditation: HLC

Muskingum University offers several specialized online certificate and degree programs in fields such as nursing, information systems, and occupational therapy. Courses are delivered through the Blackboard platform and are taught by experienced instructors. Through the web portal, distance learners can check on assignments and grades, submit work, and access discussion boards to chat with their peers. Resources for distance learners include personal advising, academic services, and the opportunity to earn credit for previous work or life experience.

#12 Walsh University

  • Annual Tuition: $15,500
  • Median Salary: $73,700
  • Locations: North Canton
  • Accreditation: HLC

Walsh University offers online degrees and certificates across many subject areas, including accounting, communication, cybersecurity, healthcare administration, nursing, business, education, interdisciplinary studies, and organizational development and leadership. Online programs, offered through Walsh’s Digital Campus, are accessed through the university’s MyWalsh web portal. An independent, Catholic university, Walsh aims to develop the mind, body, and spirit of its students. All students, whether attending on-campus or online, are provided with individual attention, small class sizes, and an advisor that will help guide them throughout their program.

#13 Mount Carmel College of Nursing

  • Annual Tuition: $10,725
  • Median Salary: $72,700
  • Locations: Columbus
  • Accreditation: HLC

Mount Carmel College of Nursing offers distance learners the opportunity to earn a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree completely online. Among the programs offered are an RN to BSN, a master’s degree in nursing education, and a doctoral degree in nursing practice. The university's online catalog also includes certificate programs in nursing. Courses are delivered through the Canvas online learning platform, which is available through the university’s myMCCN web portal. The portal also allows distance learners to retrieve grades, transcripts, and other institutional information. Distance learners have access to many resources, such as the MCHS eLibrary, free tutoring, and an online writing lab.

#14 Franklin University

  • Annual Tuition: $11,940
  • Median Salary: $69,800
  • Locations: Columbus
  • Accreditation: HLC

Franklin University offers more than 50 online undergraduate and graduate programs in a variety of fields, including business administration, accounting, healthcare management, communications, public administration, social sciences, and information technology. Franklin's online courses are delivered through the university’s myFranklin web portal, which also gives distance learners access to administrative information, including course schedules, grades, and transcripts. Remote students have access to many online resources, such as ordering ebooks via the campus bookstore's website, academic advising and tutoring, and the library and its databases.

#15 Defiance College

  • Annual Tuition: $11,850
  • Median Salary: $68,700
  • Locations: Defiance
  • Accreditation: HLC

Defiance College offers an online bachelor’s degree in nursing. The program is offered in two formats: 100% online RN to BSN and 1+2+1 BSN degree. The fully online RN to BSN completion program is intended for associate degree or diploma nurses who have their RN licensure. The 1+2+1 program allows students to spend their freshman year on campus, earn their associate degree in nursing as a sophomore or junior at Northwest State Community College, and complete their senior year online. Individual courses are also offered online in both fully online and hybrid formats. Courses are delivered through the Moodle online learning platform. Distance learners have access to the Pilgrim Library, academic support services, career development, financial aid, and more.

#16 Malone University

  • Annual Tuition: $15,810
  • Median Salary: $66,700
  • Locations: Canton
  • Accreditation: HLC

Malone University offers a variety of online certificates, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees across several academic areas, including business administration, organizational management, nursing, marketing, social work, education and teaching, and organizational leadership. Online courses, which are delivered through the Moodle online learning platform, offer a high level of communication between students, instructors, and peers; chat rooms, online discussion, and whiteboards are some of the tools used for interaction. Affiliated with the Evangelical Friends Church, Malone’s programs integrate Christian principles into students’ academic experience.

#17 Notre Dame College

  • Annual Tuition: $14,250
  • Median Salary: $62,400
  • Locations: Cleveland
  • Accreditation: HLC

Notre Dame College offers online degrees and certificates across several academic areas, including business, criminal justice, education, psychology, nursing, and national security and intelligence studies. Programs at Notre Dame College Online are offered in both fully online and hybrid formats. They are designed for working adults and are delivered in a mostly synchronous format. Affiliated with the Catholic church, courses at NDC incorporate principles of Catholicism with a liberal arts education. Distance learners receive a dedicated support team consisting of enrollment counselors, tuition planners, a transcript team, online advisors, and more.

#18 Tiffin University

  • Annual Tuition: $14,260
  • Median Salary: $60,000
  • Locations: Tiffin
  • Accreditation: HLC

Tiffin University offers an extensive catalog of online certificates and degrees in fields such as health and wellness, business, the humanities, criminal justice, education, and psychology. Courses are delivered through Moodle and allow students to access material at any time. TU's online programs provide opportunities for distance learners to interact with their instructors and peers; chat rooms, discussion forums, and direct messaging are some of the tools utilized to communicate. Distance learners have access to the library, peer tutoring, online writing tools, and more.

#19 Union Institute & University

  • Annual Tuition: $16,350
  • Median Salary: $55,500
  • Locations: Cincinnati
  • Accreditation: HLC

Union Institute & University offers more than 25 online certificate and degree programs in fields such as business management, health & wellness, creativity studies, counseling, history & culture, psychology, social work, and organizational leadership. Courses are delivered through the university’s web portal, CampusWeb. Through CampusWeb, distance learners can access the university’s writing center, tutoring services, the IT help desk, eForms, and university offices. A nonprofit university, Union also offers hybrid courses that allow distance learners to blend online and traditional classroom instruction.

#20 Ohio Christian University

  • Annual Tuition: $12,480
  • Median Salary: $51,200
  • Locations: Circleville
  • Accreditation: HLC

Ohio Christian University offers more than 50 online degrees and 10 certificates across several academic areas, including accounting, biblical studies, business, Christan ministry, criminal justice, emergency management, history, human services, interdisciplinary studies, information technology, political science, psychology, data analytics, and substance abuse counseling. Courses are delivered through the university’s myOCU web portal and are asynchronous, allowing students to access the material at any time. Distance learners are placed in a cohort of peers and move through their programs together. The online programs include weekly assignments and communication between other students and facilitators. Students with previous work or life experience may be able to earn credit for prior learning.

#21 Kent State University at Trumbull

  • Annual Tuition: $6,868
  • Median Salary: $46,300
  • Locations: Warren
  • Accreditation: HLC

There are many online programs available at Kent State University at Trumbull, including undergraduate degrees in technical and applied studies, computer technology, environmental management, and office technology. Courses can be accessed through Blackboard Learn, a learning management system that hosts all assignments and discussion forums. Through its website, the university gives distance learners access to administrative information, including course schedules, grades, and transcripts. Kent State Trumball offers an extensive list of student support resources, including academic advising, career services, tutoring services, and counseling. All students also receive Microsoft Office for free.

#22 God's Bible School and College

  • Annual Tuition: $6,000
  • Median Salary: $42,200
  • Locations: Cincinnati
  • Accreditation: HLC

God's Bible School and College offers online undergraduate and graduate degree programs across five academic areas: biblical and theological studies, ministerial education, church and family ministry, intercultural studies and world missions, and general studies. Courses can be viewed through the university’s web portal, which also gives distance learners access to administrative information, including class schedules, grades, and transcripts. Students in need of assistance can utilize the R. G. Flexon Memorial Library’s online services, as well as the Student Success Center, counseling services, and academic advising.


Overview of Online Colleges in Ohio

Ohio hosts a range of colleges and universities, including private liberal arts schools, public research universities, and for-profit institutions. Specifically, Ohio’s public education sector is comprised of 14 universities — including 24 regional campuses — 23 community colleges, and over 70 adult education and training centers. Ohio State University (OSU) is the state’s largest school. Many of these four-year schools offer distance learning programs, which are ideal for students who prefer to learn at their own pace, work full or part-time while attending school, or take classes around their busy schedule.

Enrollment in online higher education has been steadily increasing in The Buckeye State. According to the Distance Education State Almanac, the number of students taking at least one online course at an Ohio institution has increased by 60.3% for undergraduate programs and 56.9% for graduate programs from 2012-2019. In fact, over 15% of Ohio students were enrolled in exclusively online schools in 2019.



Many of these four-year schools offer distance learning programs, which are ideal for students who prefer to learn at their own pace, work full or part-time while attending school, or take classes around their busy schedule.

Given that it is the seventh-highest state for college enrollment, The Ohio Department of Education has several initiatives to make attaining a higher education degree easier for students. These include implementing federal programs targeted at increasing access to higher education — such as GEAR UP — and other state-specific plans. For instance, Ohio Transfer 36 is a statewide initiative that guarantees core education credits can transfer between Ohio's public universities and community colleges.

For college options in other locations, view OnlineU's best online college rankings by state or best online colleges by degree level.

Careers in Ohio for Online Graduates

Ohio's average employment rate for 2021 is on par with the national average, at 5.07%. However, with its labor participation rate steadily increasing, Ohio's economy has been slowly recovering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sectors that have added the most jobs over the past year include leisure and hospitality, transportation, and professional and business services.

Despite Ohio's history of being a manufacturing hub, the state's economy has developed to include several other industries, from healthcare and retail to educational services. The Cleveland Clinic, an internationally renowned medical center, and Wal-Mart are two of Ohio's largest employers. Other popular employers include the financial institution, J.P. Morgan Chase, and Honda Motor Co.


Popular Employers in Ohio

These employment trends may reflect the level of educational attainment in Ohio. A significant proportion of early and mid-career professionals — 34.4% — hold a bachelor's degree, which is often necessary for careers in business, education, and healthcare. Additionally, despite having a median household income of $56,602, which is lower than the U.S. average, it is important to note that Ohio is relatively cheaper to live in than other states. In short, college-educated individuals can find steady career opportunities in Ohio and the opportunity to earn a living wage.

Interested in learning about employment outcomes for alumni of online programs? OnlineU studied ten popular online colleges across the country and found strong career results.

Cost of Online Ohio Colleges

The affordability of higher education varies considerably in Ohio depending on the university or college, but the median annual tuition for our top online schools is $11,895. Across 846 schools nationwide, the cost of an online bachelor’s program is approximately $13,919.

Tuition fees also vary based on a student’s residency status. Like in most parts of the country, in-state residents benefit from lower tuition fees. However, tuition reciprocity agreements between Ohio and other states qualify certain students for lower fees.



The affordability of higher education varies considerably in Ohio depending on the university or college, but the median annual tuition for our top online schools is $11,895.

While online students typically pay less than their on-campus peers, those planning to attend OSU — the state's largest school — should note that out-of-state online learners must pay a significant surcharge. This additional expense is in place to close the fee gap between out-of-state learners who attend OSU in-person and those who take all their classes online. Out-of-state distance learners who hope to keep their college expenses low should consider applying to other educational institutions in the state.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

Students pursuing online degrees at Ohio educational institutions are eligible for multiple types of financial aid, including grants and scholarships from both the state and federal governments as well as colleges and universities in the state. Ohio residents may also be able to take advantage of federal work-study programs, whether they are online or in-person learners. These programs allow students to work part-time while attending school and reduce their college expenses.

Students interested in applying for financial aid should begin by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This form allows federal, state, and university departments to determine whether students are eligible for assistance.

Students may also consider the following state- and university-funded scholarships only available in Ohio:

Ohio College Opportunity Grant

This grant is available to Ohio residents who demonstrate substantial financial need based on FAFSA results. Applicants must be enrolled in an associate, bachelor's, or nursing program. Only applicants with a maximum annual household income of $96,000 are eligible to apply. Awards amounts vary.

OHIO Excellence Awards

Ohio University is one of the state's premier educational institutions. The school offers need- and merit-based awards to undergraduate students transitioning from high school and current enrollees, including graduate students. The goal is to benefit both in-state and out-of-state students as long as the applicant demonstrates their financial need and academic excellence. Awards range from $2,000-$12,840.

Ohio War Orphan & Severely Disabled Veterans' Children Scholarship

This scholarship offers financial assistance to the children of deceased or disabled Ohio veterans who served in the armed forces during a war or other declared conflict. Ohio residents enrolled full-time in an accredited state university or college can apply if they have at least a 2.0 GPA. The scholarship is awarded through the Ohio Department of Education, covering up to 84% of tuition fees at public universities and $7,532 annually at private universities.

Nurse Education Assistance Loan Program

This award is designed to aid individuals hoping to work in Ohio's well-developed healthcare sector. The Ohio Department of Education awards an annual loan of $1,620 to state residents enrolled full- or part-time in a nursing program. Recipients who serve as full-time nurses for at least five years in Ohio are even eligible for loan forgiveness.

This website offers school details to prospective students as an informational resource. The appearance of a school listing on this website should not be interpreted as an endorsement of the school by this site.

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