The Buckeye State is growing jobs that demand postsecondary education, and that's great news for students who are considering online colleges in Ohio. Online programs can provide a number of benefits to students: They often are available asynchronously, meaning that students are not required to log on at particular times of day, and students can complete their studies at a time and place that's convenient for them.

Here's an overview of what prospective online college students in Ohio can choose from:

  • Over 100 institutions offer distance learning, evenly split between public and private schools.
  • Of the private, nonprofit online colleges in Ohio, 25-plus are faith-based institutions.
  • Almost 80 colleges offer online associate degree programs, more than 60 offer online bachelor's degree programs, and over 50 offer online master's degree programs.

The state's political and higher education leaders are working to grow the pool of qualified, educated workers by expanding the number of online programs, making them more accelerated, and improving affordability in order to improve student access. One example is Ohio's Three-Year Degree Plan, which can help students earn their bachelor's degree faster — offering potential cost savings and speedier entry into the workforce.

There are numerous online colleges in Ohio to choose from, and selecting the right program can be an intimidating task. We've pulled together information to help make the process easier for you. Explore this guide to find multiple rankings to help you narrow your search, and state-specific resources like grants and scholarships that can help reduce your degree costs.

On this page, we have established several comprehensive rankings of the best online colleges in Ohio. Each school was ranked based on various metrics, using data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Learn the specifics about the factors we chose at the "What Makes a Good Online College?" section of our "About Us" page.

All schools on this page are accredited by at least one official accrediting agency, i.e., the Higher Learning Commission or the Council on Collegiate Nursing Education. See our "What is College Accreditation?" page for more information, or visit the Ohio Department of Education to check whether or not a particular school's accreditation is recognized in the state.


Best Online Colleges in Ohio for 2020-21

Students interested in distance learning can use our ranking of the best online colleges in Ohio to help them find the right school for their needs. We not only display various data points regarding each institution, but we also include information about these schools' online degree programs, academic resources, learning management systems, transfer policies and more. Visit our methodologies page to learn more about how we use official data to evaluate schools.


Ohio University-Main Campus

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is OU like?

Established in 1804 as the first public university in Ohio, Ohio University holds partnerships with several community colleges throughout Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, helping students at these community colleges to transfer to OU or attend both schools simultaneously.

Well-known as a research hub, OU is rated a High Research Activity Institution by the Carnegie Foundation. OU's ranking moved up to the top spot on our list this year of best online colleges in Ohio.

What online programs are at OU?

The university's online bachelor's programs include a number of degree completion programs, and the school goes out of its way to make them accessible. Examples of these programs include the B.S. in Technical Operations Management and the RN to BSN. OU's online courses, found on their eCampus website, are administered through Blackboard. Apart from fully online associate and bachelor's degree programs, distance learners may be able to take in-person classes at an approved community college in their area while participating in OU's online degree completion programs.

What online resources does OU offer?

Through Ohio University's student knowledge center, online students can enjoy access to no-charge writing and tutoring services, counseling and psychological services, and language assistance. In addition, online students can download subject and course guides as well as scholarly articles from the Ohio University Libraries. Eligible online students may also benefit from OU's credit for experience program converting their previous experience into college credit.


Kent State University at Kent

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is KSU like?

Kent State University has remained among the top 3 on our list of the best online universities in Ohio for the second year in a row. It began offering its first online programs more than 15 years ago. Since then, KSU's Office of Continuing and Distance Education was formed to help faculty design, build and teach online courses. Through instruction and resources, the Office creates a vast network of support for its online student body.

What online programs are at KSU?

There are multiple innovative online programs available at KSU, in particular at the master's level. Graduate students may choose to pursue online master's degree programs in subjects such as user experience design, health informatics, or criminology and criminal justice (with an option of four concentrations, including global security and victimology). Coursework is delivered through Blackboard Learn, and students can connect with their professors and peers via a FlashLine email account.

What online resources does KSU offer?

KSU offers a number of online resources to students, including career services, proctored testing, and a Center for Adult & Veteran Services. Handling your finances can be made easier by applying for a FLASHcard, which can operate as a university ID, a library card and a debit card where financial aid can be deposited. KSU students also have access to the career development platform Handshake, a job and internship connection app.


Ohio State University-Main Campus

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is OSU like?

Ohio State University is among the oldest higher education institutes in Ohio. OSU's ranking on our list of best online colleges in Ohio continues its upward trend, having moved up over the past two years. OSU aims to provide its students with some great financial benefits: all United States residents and graduate students (international or U.S. residents) pay in-state tuition rates and have any on-campus fees waived.

What online programs are at OSU?

Online courses at OSU use the Carmen Courses and Canvas learning management systems, as well as CarmenConnect, a video, audio and chat collaboration tool. A number of the online degree programs at the university are research-focused master's programs, such as bioethics, clinical and preclinical research, or business analytics. However, OSU also features heavily career-focused programs such as welding engineering, a B.S. in health sciences, or school nursing, presenting options for many different kinds of students.

What online resources does OSU offer?

Students enrolled in online math or statistics courses can receive support through the Mathematics and Statistics Learning Center (MSLC). OSU also provides its online learners with digital resources such as citation software via University Libraries. Additionally, the university creates Facebook groups for many of its online programs, giving students an accessible place to get to know their professors and peers.


University of Cincinnati-Main Campus

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is UC like?

A public research university that has been recognized by the National Science Foundation, the University of Cincinnati's research has brought about scientific breakthroughs such as the first oral polio vaccine and the invention of Benadryl. Focused on academic research and experiential learning, UC seeks to constant innovate in order to provide its online students with more options and resources.

What online programs are at UC?

Most online programs offered via UC are fully online and do not involve any on-campus components. They follow an asynchronous format and are taught through the Blackboard learning platform. The first online program ever offered at UC was the Open Learning Fire Science program, and the university has added many other options to its portfolio over the years, such as health information management, early childhood care and education, and substance abuse counseling.

What online resources does UC offer?

UC has quite a toolbox of resources for its online students. Tutorials and IT help can be accessed through the Canopy hub, and unlimited cloud data storage is available for students through "Box at UC." Academic advising and one-on-one learning assistance can be helpful to struggling students, and a bevy of career development resources through the Division of Experience-Based Learning and Career Education can help connect students to potential future employers.


University of Toledo

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is UT like?

In July 1967, the University of Toledo earned the status of a state-funded university by the Ohio General Assembly. Since then, it created an online platform, known as UT Online, and began offering distance learning via the Blackboard learning platform at the associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels.

What online programs are at UT?

UT offers several online programs, including a fast-track early childhood education bachelor's degree, a part-time Master of Science in Engineering with a concentration in General Engineering, and a Doctor of Nursing Practice. There are also various online certificates and endorsements to be earned, most of which focus on education. Many of UT's online courses are evaluated by Quality Matters — a nationally recognized, faculty-driven peer review process — for quality assurance purposes.

What online resources does UT offer?

Students at UT are welcome to use the eLibrary services portal, which can connect them with electronic resources and materials to support their learning and research. They can also benefit from the support of the Ohio eTutoring Collaborative — which offers online tutoring in a wide range of subjects — the UT Counseling Center, and Career Services staff. The University makes available special scholarships to eligible students who are studying for their degrees online.


Bowling Green State University-Main Campus

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is BGSU like?

Established in 1910, BGSU is a public research university that has been recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching for its curricular engagement with the community. It is one of only six universities in the U.S. to earn the Online Learner Support Certification from Quality Matters. With several such honors under its belt, it's no wonder that BGSU has made a strong entry into our rankings for the best online colleges in Ohio this year.

What online programs are at BGSU?

BGSU mostly offers fully online programs that culminate in associate to graduate degrees in disciplines such as allied health, technology, education, and criminal justice among others. Many of BGSU's M.Ed. programs focus on technology and learning, such as:

Students can access their online classes, assignments, and interact with their peers through Canvas, BGSUs learning management system. Online programs at BGSU typically have multiple start dates, with some programs offered as many as six times a year.

What online resources does BGSU offer?

BGSU's eCampus provides students with enrollment support to individualized academic advising. Online students are also eligible for the BG1 Card which they can use to access the OhioLINK library system and other services. As needed, students can receive online one-on-one or group tutoring services in math and stats and specialized academic topics. Students may also volunteer virtually through BGSU's Center for Public Impact and make a positive impact while enhancing their resumes.


Xavier University

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is XU like?

XU, founded in 1831 as a Jesuit Catholic University, has roots in the liberal arts tradition. It is the sixth-oldest Catholic university in the country. XU believes in educating its students "intellectually, morally, and spiritually" which is why all students take classes in theology, philosophy, history, literature, English, mathematics, ethics, science and global languages. XU welcomes students of different faiths with a view to create relationships of peace, dialogue and solidarity among all.

What online programs are at XU?

XU offers fully online degree programs mainly at the graduate level. It offers just one undergraduate program — BA in Organizational Leadership — as an online and hybrid program. Of its nine master's degree programs, the majority are offered in the disciplines of healthcare and education with the exception of the MBA program and the Master of Science in Criminal Justice program.

Student enrolled in XUs online degree programs can access their classes through Canvas typically on an asynchronous schedule.

What online resources does XU offer?

Online XU students undergo an orientation that includes how they can connect with academic and administrative advisors right from the get-go. Students have access to a dashboard that allows them to keep track of their academic calendar, view unofficial transcripts, and add or drop classes among other functions. XU's library offers online research help and tutoring services while other offices provide access to career services, counseling, advising, and more. Students may also participate in live-streamed masses and live meditations.


Ashland University

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is AU like?

Ashland University, founded in the late 19th-century, is a private Christian university that is divided into multiple parts: four academic colleges; the College of Online and Adult Studies; the Founders School for Continuing Education; and Ashland Theological Seminary. Students have the opportunity to pursue a variety of programs and courses in subjects both secular and religious. The school's core values include academic freedom, character development and an "accent on the individual."

What online programs are at AU?

Fully online programs are designed by the College of Online and Adult Studies, and cover popular programs such as business, criminal justice and nursing. On the other hand, Ashland Theological Seminary makes many of its courses available online as well, giving students an opportunity to study subjects such as Christian ministries, Black church studies, divinity or chaplaincy. All online courses at AU are administered through Blackboard.

What online resources are at AU?

AU's online students receive access to the Ohio eTutoring Collaborative, which offers online tutoring in a variety of subjects such as physics, statistics, accounting, chemistry and calculus. Students can also submit drafts of their papers to their tutor for feedback, through this service. In addition, they may benefit from the school's career service center and academic support center, which can help them register courses and track their progress toward graduation.


Tiffin University

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is TU like?

The final new entrant on our list, Tiffin University, was founded in 1888. It's a private nonprofit university with its main brick-and-mortar campus in Tiffin, and other Ohio campuses in Fremont, Toledo and at several sites in Greater Cleveland. It also has a campus in Romania.

More than 80 percent of TU students received financial aid in 2018 through the university's grants and scholarships program, and federal resources.

What online programs are at TU?

TU offers bachelor's and master's degree programs online through its three schools:

  • School of Arts and Sciences
  • School of Business
  • School of Criminal Justice and Social Sciences

Working professionals may pursue graduate-level certificates online in specializations of their interest. Additionally, TU offers an online Ph.D. in Global Leadership and Change. TUs typically offers multiple start dates — January, March, May, July, August, and October — for its programs.

What online resources does TU offer?

Online TU students attend classes through Moodle, a popular learning management system. Students may also access a number of TUs library resources even from afar, including asking a librarian for help with their research. Apart from resume-writing tips and career counseling, TU students can benefit from the University's Dragon Connect program that connects current students to TU graduates and friends who can provide them with mentorship and career advice.


Mount Vernon Nazarene University

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is MVNU like?

Mount Vernon Nazarene University is the official university of the East Central Educational Region of the Church of the Nazarene. This religious university encourages students to be devoted disciples of Christ, in keeping with its Wesleyan-Arminian roots. However, students of different faiths but similar ideals are also welcome, including students who attend from afar by utilizing the school's online programs.

What online programs are at MVNU?

MVNU uses Moodle, an open source learning management system, to administer its online courses. Religious students may be interested in the undergraduate BA in ministry leadership or the graduate Master of Ministry program (which can also be taken as a dual degree program alongside an MBA). Students interested in a more secular topic may want to consider the fast-track MBA program — which can be completed in an 11-month or 15-month format — or the various teaching degree programs, some of which are designed for currently licensed teachers.

What online resources does MVNU offer?

MVNU online students can explore job and internship opportunities through Handshake. They can also gain access to tutorials, writing support, and one-on-one tutoring online via Smartthinking. The school even offers discounts on its summer online courses to help online learners save money on their education.

Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2018-19, National Center for Education Statistics,

Affordable Online Colleges in Ohio for 2019-20

The following is a list of schools in Ohio that offer programs at a low tuition cost. This list was made by comparing the in-state, campus-based tuition that each school reported to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2018-19, National Center for Education Statistics,

Financial Aid Resources in Ohio

If you're an Ohio resident who is considering going to college in your home state, you may be pleased to know that there are a number of state-sponsored financial programs that can help make college more affordable. In addition to the federal financial aid you could be eligible to receive, you should take some time to explore these state aid offerings from Ohio. If you qualify, you could significantly reduce the total out-of-pocket cost of your college education.

What Grants and Scholarships are Available in Ohio? 

Grants and scholarships are types of "gift aid," which means they do not have to be paid back. For students who fit the criteria, these awards can be a wonderful way to help offset the cost of college. Here are a few to consider.

Source: Scholarship directory data is copyrighted material which is reproduced on this website by permission of CollegeXpress, a division of Carnegie Dartlet. Copyright © 2020 by CollegeXpress.

Learn more about how grants work and how to qualify for them by reading the Ultimate Guide to Grants. For similar information about scholarships, see our Ultimate Guide to Scholarships.

Ohio Loans

Ohio's financial aid focuses on scholarship and grant programs rather than state-specific student loans. However, there is a state-sponsored loan program for students in the field of nursing called the Nurse Education Assistance Loan Program. This loan program provides assistance to Ohio students enrolled for at least half-time study in an approved Ohio nurse education program. For most other students, if grants and scholarships aren't enough to cover your tuition, you can use federal or private student loans to bridge the gap. To qualify for federal student loans, you'll need to fill out a FAFSA.

Additional Resources for Financial Aid in Ohio

  • The Forever Buckeyes program offers in-state tuition to anyone who graduated from an Ohio high school and has returned to Ohio to establish residency. Because of the program, these college students are able to waive the year-long waiting period that would normally be required to regain residency.

Costs for Out-of-State Students in Ohio

Ohio can be a great state for college, even for those from other states who might dread the expense of out-of-state tuition. At Ohio State University, where both football and academics are taken quite seriously, out-of-state students have several scholarship opportunities available. Among them are the National Buckeye Scholarship for non-Ohio residents and the Eminence Fellows Program and Scholarship for students in the Honors College.

There are a variety of ways to become an Ohio resident for tuition purposes at Ohio State and to thus receive in-state tuition, the main one being that you need to reside in Ohio for at least 12 months. Ohio State also classifies veterans and active members of the military as Ohio residents for tuition purposes. The university offers a handy questionnaire that can help you sort out whether or not you qualify.

For incoming Ohio resident students, there's some very good news: the Board of Trustees has frozen tuition rates, meaning that there should be no increases in tuition, general fees, or room and board through 2021-2022 as part of the Ohio State Tuition Guarantee.

Best Careers in Ohio

According to "2026 Ohio Job Outlook Employment Projections," published by the state's Department of Job and Family Services, 63 percent of the net job growth during the 2016-26 time period is expected to be for jobs that may require some post-secondary education. For occupations usually associated with having at least a bachelor's degree, the projected job growth rate is 47 percent between 2016 and 2026. The state's data clearly indicate a growth trend for occupations that may need higher education levels.

To support higher educational attainment, the Ohio Department of Education is pursuing a number of initiatives to raise completion rates of college students in the Buckeye State. One of these initiatives is called "Complete College Ohio." This program is tasked with identifying how to improve students' college readiness, reducing the time it takes for them to earn a degree, and creating incentives for completion.

EmploymentEmployment GrowthMedian High School SalaryMedian Bachelor's Salary

Top Ohio Industries

According to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, the state's healthcare and social assistance sector is projected to experience the highest levels of job growth between 2016 and 2026. Well-known Ohio hospitals with outpatient care centers such as the Cleveland Clinic and Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center have created much demand for ambulatory healthcare and hospital careers in Ohio.

With Ohio energy companies spending nearly $7 billion to replace aging pipelines, it's no surprise that natural gas distribution, support activities for mining, and management, scientific, and technical consulting services are also fields full of high-demand jobs in Ohio. Together, the companies Duke Energy, Columbia Gas, Dominion East Ohio, and Vectren — the four major energy companies in the state — not only employ many workers in the fields of oil, gas and petroleum, but also create a lot of demand in the pipeline transportation industry.

*Industry rankings determined by annual mean wage, employment, projected growth and location quotient. Data sourced from the BLS, 2019 data.

Top IndustriesEmploymentProjected GrowthAverage Salary
Ambulatory healthcare services3,939,3607%$61,859
Petroleum and coal products manufacturing2,131,1303%$62,352
Hospitals; state, local, and private4,312,2606%$60,328
Computer and electronic product manufacturing2,793,4602%$59,744
Electrical equipment, appliance, and component manufacturing2,422,3001%$58,904
Pipeline transportation1,494,8805%$69,941
Oil and gas extraction2,203,8405%$66,385
Monetary authorities-central bank1,066,8905%$72,616
Chemical manufacturing2,966,5903%$60,938
Paper manufacturing2,291,1101%$58,554

Let's take a closer look at some of the best jobs to have in Ohio by examining the job market at three different metro areas in the state.

Best Jobs in Columbus

Columbus, OH Metro Area

Total Population
Median salary for high school grads
Median salary with a bachelor's degree
% of the population enrolled in college or grad school
Median rent

Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital, and OhioHealth Grant Medical Center are several of the major hospitals in Columbus that hire surgeons and internists as residents after graduation, training them to pursue some of the highest paying jobs in Columbus.

Columbus is also home to multiple companies that employ student interns who hope to work as software developers, computer information systems managers or computer systems analysts. Companies such as Cardinal Health, L Brands, and Nationwide Insurance work in very different fields from one another, but all use computers and software to organize information, analyze trends and keep their businesses running smoothly.

Best CareersMinimum EducationAverage SalaryEmployment
Software Developers and Software Quality Assurance Analysts and TestersBachelor's degree$98,320830
Computer and Information Systems ManagersBachelor's degree$157,260310
Computer Systems AnalystsBachelor's degree$91,870890
Physicians, All Other; and Ophthalmologists, Except PediatricDoctoral or professional degree$236,350240

*Career rankings determined by annual mean wage, employment, projected growth and location quotient. Data sourced from the BLS, 2019 dataset.

Best Jobs in Cleveland-Elyria

Cleveland-Elyria, OH Metro Area

Total Population
Median salary for high school grads
Median salary with a bachelor's degree
% of the population enrolled in college or grad school
Median rent

Healthcare systems in the Cleveland area such as MetroHealth and the Cleveland Clinic are embracing advanced practice healthcare providers such as nurse practitioners and nurse anesthetists -- some of the highest-demand jobs in Cleveland. These systems are working to move these advanced practice nurses into provider roles so they can be more independent when caring for patients.

Finance students can also find interesting opportunities for great jobs in Ohio, even before graduation. In 2018, the Cleveland Clinic Investment Office enrolled Master of Finance students from Case Western Reserve University in a real-world case competition. The students developed financial models and presented them to the office's Chief Investment Officer, gaining a peek inside what it's like to work as a financial manager at KeyBank, Huntington Bank, or other banks in Cleveland.

Best CareersMinimum EducationAverage SalaryEmployment
Nurse PractitionersMaster's degree$101,4301,500
Nurse AnesthetistsMaster's degree$161,930710
Software Developers and Software Quality Assurance Analysts and TestersBachelor's degree$87,0109,240
Industrial Production ManagersBachelor's degree$106,8402,510
Financial ManagersBachelor's degree$150,5405,010

*Career rankings determined by annual mean wage, employment, projected growth and location quotient. Data sourced from the BLS, 2019 dataset.

Best Jobs in Cincinnati

Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN Metro Area

Total Population
Median salary for high school grads
Median salary with a bachelor's degree
% of the population enrolled in college or grad school
Median rent

As the seventh largest economy in the Midwest and home to multiple Fortune 500 companies, it's no surprise that money is a big focus in Cincinnati — both earning it and keeping track of it. Financial managers and personal financial advisors are high demand jobs in Cincinnati, with people and companies alike needing professionals to manage their money and help them make good decisions in regards to handling it.

In addition, computer system analysts are needed to fill several high demand jobs in Cincinnati. Companies such as itelligence North America and IBM, as well as universities like the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University, depend on these types of professionals to keep their operations running smoothly.

Best CareersMinimum EducationAverage SalaryEmployment
Industrial EngineersBachelor's degree$91,2604,120
Financial ManagersBachelor's degree$136,3405,660
Personal Financial AdvisorsBachelor's degree$116,5101,840
Computer Systems AnalystsBachelor's degree$95,0205,290

*Career rankings determined by annual mean wage, employment, projected growth and location quotient. Data sourced from the BLS, 2019 dataset.