Best Online Colleges in Ohio

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With the nation’s most affordable housing rates, Ohio’s residents who remain in state for college make a wise decision.

According to U.S. News, Ohio ranks 18th in the country for opportunity. The statistic includes its low cost of living, racial equality in education, and moderate poverty rate. Population projections remain relatively stagnant through 2025 while the state anticipates another 300,000 jobs added in the same time frame. Ohio will need a skilled and educated workforce within the next 8 years to meet this demand.

Ohio currently ranks 36th in the United States for the number of college degrees attained by its residents. In 2014, the U.S. Census Bureau announced that 26.6 percent of the state’s population held a bachelor’s or higher degree. The national rate totaled 30.1 percent. It is worth noting that in Ohio, the number of degree holders has risen by 9.6 percent from 1990. Online education may be playing a role as well. Within the age bracket of 25- to 34-year-old residents, 32.3 percent had at least a bachelor’s level degree. Ohio ranks 23rd in the country for that demographic.

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What kind of online degree in Ohio should you get?

Ohio is trying hard to get its population educated. The state’s goals for education include a 65 percent attainment rate by 2025. This means of all residents between the ages of 25 and 64, nearly 2/3 will hold a degree or will have completed some form of specialized training.

To accomplish that level of achievement, the state’s Department of Higher Education launched a series of initiatives including the Transfer to Degree Guarantee (T2DG). This program eases the transfer of credits between postsecondary institutions and from technical training schools to universities. The T2DG resources assist students with amassing credits for advanced placement and military experience as well. As a service to the state, OhioLearns maintains a database of courses, degrees, and certificates available from Ohio colleges and universities.

How much money do people make with an online degree in Ohio?

Average family incomes in Ohio range from $214,800 to $40,000, according to the latest data in 2017. It's likely that the folks on the higher end of the salary range have obtained at least a bachelor's degree, if not an advanced degree.

Earning an online degree is an even better investment in your future. Most people who earn an online degree are adult learners. That means they're attending online classes while they're still holding down a job. Sound familiar? Getting your degree online means you'll have an income throughout the whole process - you might even be able to pay for school as you go! Work hard to earn the degree of your dreams and you might just end up making a three-figure income.

What can you do with an online degree in Ohio?

As you'll soon see, Ohio colleges and universities offer just about any degree you're looking for online. If you're dreaming of becoming a criminologist, there are many Ohio-based online programs for you. Have you always wanted to go into a health profession? There are dozens of options in the field!

If you're still puzzling through which areas fit your passions, perhaps consider a program in one of the top four industries in Ohio. Earning a degree in one of these fields is a shoe-in for a lucrative job down the road:

  • Advanced Energy & Environmental Technologies
  • Aerospace and Aviation
  • Agriculture and Food Processing
  • Bioscience and Bioproducts


What are the best online colleges in Ohio?

The valuable insight from U.S. News and World Report provides key data for evaluating the state’s colleges and universities. Educational statistics from the National Center for Education Statistics’ IPEDS database provide information on retention and graduation rates, enrollment figures, and student-to-faculty ratios.

Along with these figures, factors included the school’s male-to-female ratio, the average accrued student debt, affordability, opportunities for veterans and service members, and career potential after graduation. Collegiate websites share invaluable information about their programs, student services and resources, course catalogs, and admissions requirements. These 25 profiles would not be possible without their assistance.


See our rankings methodology page.

  1. Ohio State University-Main Campus

    Columbus, OH




    The Ohio State Online program defines an online degree as one in which 50 percent or more of its classes will be conducted via computer. Eventually, the university plans to offer several more 100-percent online degrees. Classes run in seven-day modules involving an assigned project or theme, relevant texts and media, active discussion group participation, and mutual feedback between professor and student. New terms start in the fall, spring, and summer, but check registration deadlines with the program adviser.

    Program Features

    An Associate of Arts in Early Childhood Development and Education, which the school delivers fully online, prepares future teachers in daycare and preschool classrooms. Bachelor’s degrees include a B.S. in Dental Hygiene, B.S. in Health Sciences, and B.S. in Nursing. Students in all three programs conduct their coursework online. The College of Nursing provides a Doctor of Nurse Practice, which ranks as the fifth best program in the United States. Most of the Ohio State Online programs offer a Master’s level degree. Among them are:

    • Plant Health Management
    • Art Education
    • Global Engineering Leadership
    • Agriculture and Extension Education


    Online students should anticipate needing a newer Mac or PC, a high-speed Internet provider, and the Firefox web browser. Java, Flash, and Silverlight plugins will be used, and expect individual degree programs to list their own specifications. The OSU IT Service Desk supports students 24/7 by phone, email, chat, and TDD. The Service Desk also assists students with the online learning management system known as Carmen, which facilitates discussion groups, forums, email, and the use of video software.

  2. Miami University-Oxford

    Oxford, OH




    Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, calls itself an Original Public Ivy because it provides an Ivy League education with a public university’s price tag. With that commitment in mind, the school ranks second overall and first among public universities in the U.S. News and World Report list for “Best Undergraduate Teaching” in 2017. In that same list, Miami has the fourth lowest priced tuition and fees. In addition, the university boasts a 92 percent retention rate year-to-year, and Money Magazine includes Miami as a “Top 10 College for Producing a Fortune 500 CEO Nationwide.”

    Program Features

    All of the accolades benefit online as well as on-campus students, but undergraduates must seek out the Miami Regional E-Campus to obtain their Bachelor’s degrees. These include an RN to BSN program, a B.S. in Commerce, and a B.S. in Health Communication. Miami University undergraduate students can still take the school’s online courses to fulfill their general education requirements. Graduate students, however, have several options for fully- or partially-online degrees, licensures, and certificates without needing to use the Regionals E-Campus. Here are just a handful of them:

    • Master’s in Instructional Design and Technology
    • Master of Educational Technology
    • Master’s level Special Education Licensure
    • Graduate certificate in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)


    Students utilize the Canvas learning management system, also called eLearning Miami or ELM, to take online classes. Whether using a laptop, desktop, tablet or mobile phone, Canvas requires a recent version of Flash, Internet Explorer/Chrome/Safari/Firefox web browser, and high-speed Internet. Exams must be completed without using a mobile phone. The school’s Student Resources page explains more about scheduling eLearning classes, the structure of online coursework, and accessing library materials.

  3. University of Dayton

    Dayton, OH




    The University of Dayton (UD) was recently recognized for its achievements in online learning. In 2017, U.S. News and World Report included the university in its “Top 15 Best Online Education” category for the School of Education. Also in 2017, ranked Dayton the “#1 Best Online Master’s in Early Childhood Education Program” for Early Childhood Leadership and Advocacy.

    Program Features

    The University of Dayton lists a profusion of degrees, licensures, and certificates with the majority in the School of Education and Health Sciences. As a Catholic institution, UD also sponsors the Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation, which offers seven online certificates in ministry. You’ll also find partial online coursework for students in the School of Law. Other fully online programs include:

    • Online MBA
    • M.S. in Renewable and Clean Energy
    • Professional Development through the School of Engineering
    • Online Certification for Environmental Health


    According to the National Center for Education Statistics, UD retains 89 percent of all full-time undergraduate students, and 75 percent graduate within six years. The Center also provides the rate at which graduates default on their student loans. While the national average for 2013 was 11.3 percent, at UD just 2.1 percent went into default. This suggests a university with a strong financial aid program and high success rates for graduates seeking employment. In 2014, Dayton released a report stating 96 percent of undergraduate degree holders had found employment, enrolled in graduate school, or went into a service program.

  4. Ohio University-Main Campus

    Athens, OH




    Information abounds on the Ohio University (OU) website. The Student Knowledge Center, for example, provides links to advising, testing, contact lists, the Blackboard learning management system, email, technical support, registration, course offerings, veteran services, and more resources. The Experiential Learning Program gives students the chance to form a portfolio of prior work, life, and volunteer experiences to submit for credit toward their degree.

    Program Features

    Ohio University’s eCampus lists eight online Bachelor’s degrees and five online Associate’s degrees. In addition, partnerships with a number of community colleges in Kentucky, West Virginia, and Ohio allow students to easily complete their degree requirements in their home state. The eCampus of Ohio University also lists 23 Master’s degrees, graduate endorsements, and certificates across seven schools and colleges. Just a few of the online Associate’s and Bachelor’s degree programs at Ohio University include:

    • Associate in Arts-Arts & Humanities Emphasis
    • Associate in Science
    • B.S. in Applied Management
    • Bachelor of Criminal Justice


    In addition to the community college partnerships and its main campus in Athens, Ohio University has regional campuses in Chillicothe, Lancaster/Pickerington, Zanesville, Proctorville (Southern region), and St. Clairsville (Eastern region). A number of Blended Graduate Degrees require both online and campus coursework at regional locations. These include a Superintendent Licensure, a Master of Financial Economics, and a Clinical Mental Health Counseling Specialization.

  5. University of Cincinnati-Main Campus

    Cincinnati, OH




    Founded in 1819, the University of Cincinnati (UC) has 12 colleges and 37,000 students. These colleges have offered online degrees, certificates, and online classes since the Distance Learning Program began in 1984. The staff at U.S. News and World Report has taken notice: UC ranks 5th in “Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs” and 11th in “Best Online Graduate Criminal Justice Programs.”

    Program Features

    The Distance Learning Program gives students 38 options for Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctorate degrees. These span the schools and colleges of Education, Criminal Justice, Human Services, Information Technology, Health Sciences, Arts and Sciences, Radiology, Engineering and Applied Science, Nursing, Business, and Pharmacy. UC also provides online certificates for credit or professional development. Undergraduate and graduate certificates cover some of the following areas:

    • Allied Health Sciences
    • Substance Abuse Prevention
    • Health Care Privacy and Security
    • Medical Biller/Coder


    Graduation rates for the undergraduate Fall 2010 cohort reached 67 percent after six years. The retention rate, or the number of undergraduates returning after their freshman year, was 87.9 percent. To put that in perspective, the national rate averages just 64.2 percent. The complete data set includes enrollment statistics, admission criteria, faculty numbers, financial aid expenditures, policies for transferring credits, and the weight given to various application materials.

  6. The University of Findlay

    Findlay, OH




    The University of Findlay (UF) was erected by the Churches of God, General Conference (CGGC) in 1882. Today, UF welcomes students of all faiths to embrace both Christianity and education. Besides its traditional buildings, the campus includes a teaching museum, an equestrian complex, a farm, and the All Hazards Training Center. Widely recognized as a top Midwest university, UF attracts over 4,000 students, including international students from more than 40 countries. The university reaches many of those students through online education.

    Program Features

    The online options at the University of Findlay span the entire spectrum of on-campus options. Students can choose from associate’s bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees. The range includes degrees in PET/CT scanning technology, business degrees, and master’s degrees in education, environmental safety, and health informatics. Here are a few more:

    • B.S. in Business Management (B.S.B.M.)
    • B.S.B.M. in Health Care Management
    • MBA and Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
    • Doctor of Education


    The National Center for Education Statistics lists UF’s retention rate at 80 percent, which means 8 out of 10 first-time freshmen return for their second year. Within the Fall 2010 cohort, 64 percent graduated within six years of initial enrollment. To ease their students’ journey through college, UF provides the Oiler Success Center where students can reach out to staff, academic advisers, and the Director of Career Planning. The Academic Support Center offers tutoring, mentorship, and programs for at-risk students.

  7. Muskingum University

    New Concord, OH




    John Glenn, astronaut, U.S. Senator, and graduate in the Class of 1943, once said of Muskingum, “If you get your start here, you can go anywhere.” Was he correct? Besides producing a famous astronaut, Muskingum sends graduates on to successful careers at dozens of U.S. companies such as Aflac, Colgate-Palmolive, Fifth Third Bank, Lockheed Martin, PepsiCo, and Wells Fargo. Students who want to achieve similar success have embraced the school’s Muskingum Adult Program (MAP) for degree completion.

    Program Features

    The 18 bachelor’s degree programs offered by MAP include categories in business, education, health, criminal justice, nursing, and information systems. Graduate students work toward an MA in Education, MA in Teaching, MA in Educational Leadership, or Master of Information Strategy, Systems and Technology (MISST). Several Professional Development programs run year-round with some limited to a summer session. The programs available year-round include:

    • Gifted Intervention Specialist Endorsement
    • Reading Endorsement
    • Professional Development


    The Experiential Learning Credit applies a student’s prior experience to his or her degree requirements. These experiences may include certifications and licensures, transcripts from earlier college attendance, work history, achievement tests, and volunteer work. Students with an experiential learning portfolio save tuition expenses and finish their degrees in a shorter timeframe.

  8. Mount Vernon Nazarene University

    Mount Vernon, OH




    Students pursuing online education at Mount Vernon Nazarene (MVNU) turn to the Graduate and Professional Studies (GPS) Program. The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page of the school’s website lists time commitments for each degree option. For example, a B.S. in Social Work lasts 26 months, while a Master of Ministry requires approximately 11 months. Other topics in the FAQ include credit for prior learning, accreditation, military benefits, financial aid, and student services.

    Program Features

    The Graduate and Professional Studies Program provides a wide variety of online options for associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. In addition, students  can attend online Professional Development Workshops for Educators. A few associate’s and bachelor’s level programs include:

    • B.A. in Ministry Leadership
    • B.A. in Public Administration
    • A.A. in General Studies
    • B.A. in Early Childhood Education


    According to U.S. News and World Report, MVNU maintains a 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio, and more than 70 percent of classes are capped at 20 students. Of all applicants for the Fall 2015 semester, 78 percent were accepted. The school’s annual retention rate from freshman to sophomore year is 78 percent. Of all graduates, 58 percent finish their degree within six years.

  9. Malone University

    Canton, OH




    When the Christian Workers’ Training School opened in 1892, founders J. Walter and Emma Malone could not have imagined a day when students took classes electronically. In 2017, adults eager to complete their Bachelor’s or Master’s degree rely on Malone University to work around their busy schedules. With flexible class times and 24/7 access to learning material, an online degree from Malone makes sense.

    Program Features

    Malone University serves everyone from professionals in the workforce to stay-at-home parents, young adults to mature students, and graduate students to military veterans. One route for degree completion is the Accelerated Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Management. This fast-track degree can be completed in as few as 12 months. Currently licensed RNs studying for the B.S. in Nursing wrap up their coursework in 14 months even though only one class is taken each semester. When it comes to graduate programs, you can choose from the following online options:

    • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership
    • Master of Science in Educational Leadership
    • MBA


    The number of first-time students who return for their second year, known as the retention rate, tops out at 78 percent. The national average for retention rates at all postsecondary public schools is just 64.2 percent, and for private universities, the rate is 70.2 percent. The graduation rate for first-time students who enrolled in Fall 2010 is 53 percent. The comparable national rate is 59 percent. Both figures consider a span of six years from first semester to graduation.

  10. Bowling Green State University-Main Campus

    Bowling Green, OH




    As a large public university, Bowling Green (BGSU) hosts nearly 18,000 students. Of those 18,000, 21 percent of undergraduates and 35 percent of graduates take some or all of their courses through eCampus, the distance learning program. In July 2017, Money Magazine included BGSU in its annual list of “Best Colleges for Your Money.” The Economist ran a 2015 comparison among public universities for return on investment, and BGSU ranked first in Ohio.

    Program Features

    Online offerings at BGSU include four Bachelor’s degrees, ten Master’s degrees, and eight Certificates and Endorsements. The eCampus is organized into 7-week online classes and classes are on a rolling 6-week start schedule. This means you can fast-track your degree. A few of your options for bachelor’s degrees include:

    • B.S. in Allied Health
    • B.S. in Business Administration
    • B.S. in Management and Technology
    • B.S. in Quality Systems


    BGSU has got you covered with tech support. The Technology Support Center for the eCampus handles chat and phone calls Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Technical requirements for eCampus students can be found through the FAQ page, which also answers questions about financial aid, faculty, and how distance education works.

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