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Online Colleges in Ohio

Most Affordable Online Colleges
Article Sources

Sources:

  1. About Us, Belmont College, http://www.belmontcollege.edu/about-us/
  2. Accreditation, The Ohio State University, https://www.osu.edu/osutoday/stuinfo.php#accred
  3. American Factfinder, U.S. Census Bureau, http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/community_facts.xhtml
  4. Center for Instructional Technology Innovation, Central State University, http://www.centralstate.edu/elearning1/welcome.php
  5. Cincinnati metropolican area, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cincinnati_metropolitan_area
  6. Class Schedule, Clark State Community College, https://www.clarkstate.edu/academics/class-schedule/
  7. College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
  8. Columbus metropolitan area, Ohio, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columbus_metropolitan_area,_Ohio
  9. Distance Learning and Outreach, University of Cincinnati, https://www.uc.edu/distance/courses_programs/degrees.html
  10. eCampus, Ohio University, http://www.ohio.edu/ecampus/
  11. eStarkState, Stark State College, https://www.starkstate.edu/estarkstate/
  12. eStudent Services, OhioLearns, https://www.estudentservices.org/catalog/degrees/search?page=1&subjects=all&institutions=CLRK&distance_pct=0&sort_first=0&sort_second=0&paging=5&form_build_id=form-FxK8zFGAIa7AoWIJVumPFF1v69pHsc_quB6J6CcsfaM&form_id=ohiolearns_catalog_degree_form&op=Submit
  13. Greater Cleveland, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greater_Cleveland
  14. May 2015 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates: Ohio, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_oh.htm
  15. Millie Rodriguez, interview with the author, December 2014
  16. North Central State College, http://www.ncstatecollege.edu/cms/distance-learning.html
  17. Ohio Job Outlook to 2020: Employment Projections, Ohio Job and Family Services, http://ohiolmi.com/proj/OhioJobOutlook.htm
  18. Ohio's campuses, Ohio Department of Higher Education, https://www.ohiohighered.org/campuses
  19. Online Programs, Miami University Regional E-Learning, http://miamioh.edu/regionals/academics/elearning/online-programs/academic-programs/index.html
  20. Online Programs, Sinclair Community College, https://www.sinclair.edu/academics/online/
  21. Talent and Education, JobsOhio, http://jobs-ohio.com/why-ohio/workforce-education/
  22. Wendy Lampner, interview with the author, December 2014
  23. State Grants & Scholarships, Ohio Higher Ed, Accessed August 2016, https://www.ohiohighered.org/sgs
  24. Choose Ohio First Scholarship Program, Ohio Higher Ed, Accessed August 2016, https://www.ohiohighered.org/cof
  25. The Ohio War Orphans Scholarship Program, Ohio Higher Ed, Accessed August 2016, https://www.ohiohighered.org/ohio-war-orphans
  26. Ohio EPA Scholarship, The Ohio Academy of Science, Accessed August 2016, http://www.ohiosci.org/oeef-scholarship
  27. Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG), Ohio Higher Ed, Accessed August 2016, https://www.ohiohighered.org/ocog
  28. NEALP HEI Documentation, Ohio Higher Ed, Accessed August 2016, https://www.ohiohighered.org/node/1787
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Ohio is rich in colleges and universities. According to JobsOhio, there are more than 200 higher education institutions in Ohio, which is one of the highest concentrations of colleges and universities on a per-capita basis in the U.S. Many colleges in Ohio, including some of the state's most prominent institutions, now offer distance education options. For instance, the University of Cincinnati offers online degree programs at the associate level through the master's level.

Below is a chart that details the number of online degree programs offered by schools in Ohio:

Degree LevelNumber of Online ProgramsNumber of Colleges
Associate27665
Bachelor's24048
Master's21545

With so many colleges offering fully online programs, you can be certain that it's possible to find the program and courses right for your goals and individual needs. Read on, and we'll explain how.

Affordable Online Colleges in Ohio

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 they reported to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.

If you are interesting in seeing a ranking of Ohio schools based on quality, which factors in other points in addition to affordability, check out the Top Colleges tool.

Affordable Two-Year Online Colleges in Ohio

Community colleges in Ohio offer students the chance to earn an associate degree or complete credits that can be transferred to a university to count toward a bachelor’s degree. Whatever degree you’re aiming for, a two-year college may be a way to work toward graduation while keeping your tuition costs lower. For this purpose, here are five of the most affordable community colleges in the state of Ohio.

1

Belmont College

Accredited
 
Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$3,596
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
12.57%
Institution Type
Public

About

Located in Saint Clairsville on the Pennsylvania border, Belmont College offers a variety of online classes through its MyBelmont learning management system. Classes run the gamut from public speaking to human development, and most of the courses offered are for three credits. Belmont has been teaching students in the Ohio Valley for more than 40 years. While many students arrive to earn an associate degree on their way to a bachelor's degree, many come to Belmont to gain workforce skills that can make them better prepared for the changing job market.

School Website: 
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2

Stark State College

Accredited
 
Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$3,686
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
41.77%
Institution Type
Public

About

Located in North Canton just south of Akron, Stark State's online programs focus primarily on business and information technology. The school also offers Associate of Arts degree programs in literature and composition. Stark State also offers a variety of practical online certificate programs for those interested in polishing their skills in banking, bookkeeping, web design, database systems and medical instrument sterilization. Career enhancement certificates help students gain skills in grant writing, accounting and taxation, among other things.

School Website: 
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3

Clark State Community College

Accredited
 
Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$3,359
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
40.90%
Institution Type
Public

About

This Springfield, Ohio, school is part of the OhioLearns consortium that offers its students online degree programs and certificate programs from a variety of two- and four-year schools in the state. All told, 12 associate degree programs are offered online through Clark State this way. This includes programs in nursing, office administration, accounting technology and cybersecurity management. The school offers a handy online class schedule that allows you to choose your field of study, delivery method and time of class to prepare your schedule.

School Website: 
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4

North Central State College

Accredited
 
Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$3,591
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
N/A
Institution Type
Public

About

Located in Mansfield, Ohio, North Central State College offers online associate degree programs in psychology and criminal justice, as well as a flock of online certificates in community health, electrical maintenance and pharmacy technology. North Central is always adding new classes to its eLearning program and is rapidly gaining a reputation for the quality of its online program. Its fully online classes utilize the Canvas learning management system. In addition, the school also offers a variety of hybrid courses that require some face-to-face meetings.

School Website: 
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5

Sinclair Community College

Accredited
 
Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$3,611
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
31.46%
Institution Type
Public

About

Located in Dayton, Sinclair Community College's online associate degree programs focus on business, communications, computer information and psychology. In addition to its 12 online degree programs, it also offers four online certificate programs and eight short-term certificate programs. Sinclair Community College has been in the distance learning business since 1979, when it launched TV Sinclair, a program that offered two videotaped courses that enrolled about 50 students.

School Website: 
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Affordable Four-Year Online Colleges in Ohio

Below are five of the most affordable universities in Ohio. These schools can be a great place for students to earn a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree while keeping the cost of tuition manageable. Read on to learn more.

1

Central State University

Accredited
 
Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$6,246
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
2.88%
Institution Type
Public

About

Central State Univerity's Center for Instructional Technology Innovation leads the way in offering online classes to Central students who don't have the time to travel to campus for school. The classes vary by semester but are likely to include courses on accounting, computer literacy, criminal law, history and hospitality management. The college is continually teaching its faculty about the best way to present material online, and the school has made a commitment to using interactive media to capture the imagination of its students.

School Website: 
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2

University of Cincinnati-Clermont College

Accredited
 
Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$6,052
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
N/A
Institution Type
Public

About

The University of Cincinnati offers a number of online degree programs leading to associate, bachelor's and master's degrees through its various colleges. The university system’s Clermont College delivers an Associate of Arts degree program in health information systems technology. This degree is taught entirely online. However, the program does incorporate a clinical experience. The program prepares students to sit for several certification exams, including the national Registered Health Information Technician exam.

School Website: 
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3

Miami University-Hamilton

Accredited
 
Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$5,173
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
24.79%
Institution Type
Public

About

Miami University has been offering eLearning options through its regional campuses since 1999. Associate, bachelor's and master's degree programs are all available online, including a Bachelor of Science in commerce, a bachelor's in liberal studies, a bachelor's in nursing and a master's in criminal justice. Associate degree programs are also available in prekindergarten education and applied business. In addition, the Hamilton regional campus offers dozens of online classes, from the sciences (geology and geography, for instance) to the arts (music and art).

School Website: 
GO
4

Miami University-Middletown

Accredited
 
Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$5,173
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
31.97%
Institution Type
Public

About

Like other schools in the Miami University system, Middletown offers classes and programs through the Regional E-Campus system. Through fully online programs, students can earn degrees ranging from the associate level to the master’s level. The university aims to create flexible and interactive courses taught by the same faculty members who teach campus-based courses. The online classes feature small class sizes of one instructor per every 25 students. Also, the university explains that students of their online courses have an equal or higher completion rate than on-campus students.

School Website: 
GO
5

Ohio University-Southern Campus

Accredited
 
Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$4,872
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
N/A
Institution Type
Public

About

Through their eCampus, Ohio University offers more than 380 online classes. Classes are listed in a dynamic online catalog that quickly shows students how many total students are allowed in each class and how many students have already registered. Online students at Ohio University have access to free online tutoring in subjects such as math and English. Ohio University's Southern Campus has been in operation for more than 50 years. The school offers associate, bachelor's and master’s degree programs that are available fully or partially online.

School Website: 
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College Accreditation in Ohio

Students who work for countless hours studying and taking tests to get through college want to know their degree is from a valid institution. Accreditation from an organization recognized by the Department of Education ensures that a school’s degree programs meet common educational standards and are valid.

In Ohio, one organization is responsible for accrediting the state's major college systems, as well as community colleges and technical schools:

  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

The HLC is one of six regional accrediting bodies in the U.S. and accredits colleges and universities in 19 different states. Students who are concerned about accreditation can check with the Department of Education's website to see how their institution is accredited.

School Interviews

Colleges and universities around the country are adding new online degree programs and improving their current offerings. To find out what Ohio educators are doing to better deliver education to their students, we interviewed several educators from different online colleges in Ohio.

Wendy Lampner
I expect online learning will continue to evolve to be much more flexible and personalized as technology continues to rapidly advance.

Wendy Lampner

Manager of Design & Development Services

University of Akron

Q. Can you tell us a little about the online programs offered at The University of Akron?

We offer Master's degrees in Public Health, Applied Politics, and Taxation as well as three Master's degrees and five certificates in education. Our online programs deliver the same quality content as our traditional courses. Our programs are taught by highly qualified faculty who use advanced technologies such as Brightspace, Panopto, Cisco WebEx, and Articulate Storyline to provide a high level of interaction with fellow students and with the instructor.

Online students at The University of Akron have access to all of the support services that are available to all students, including academic advising, career services, our library's vast online assets, e-tutoring, financial aid and help-desk support.

Q. What advice would you give to students interested in an online degree program?

Students interested in pursuing an online degree should be sure that they are prepared. This includes having the time to commit, being self-disciplined and being willing to interact regularly with your classmates and the instructor.

Students must also have access to a computer with reliable internet access and should be capable of using computers for basic activities such as creating files, completing online research, and communicating online.

Completing an online degree does offer flexibility to complete assignments at different times of the day, however, most students do report that the time commitment is equal to or even greater than the time it would take to complete the degree in a face-to-face setting.

Q. How do you anticipate online learning might evolve in the coming years?

I expect online learning will continue to evolve to be much more flexible and personalized as technology continues to rapidly advance. This includes increasing hybridization of learning, such that face-to-face classes include significant online learning components, and conversely many online courses include key synchronous learning opportunities.

I believe we are already entering the early stages of significant advances such as the ability to link many learning platforms and resources, including open courseware, social media, and other innovative technologies, to enable students to select or design their own learning pathways with timelines that meet their unique learning styles and circumstances. I anticipate we will soon offer adaptive learning models in which students continuously test their comprehension or skills and receive immediate feedback, making it easier for students to customize their learning pathways so they can more quickly achieve learning goals. I believe we will soon be able to track students' progress in real-time and present an always up-to-date transcript of their learning progress.

Finally, I think the technology will even get smarter such that it will be able to analyze how well learners are doing on tests and will start to recommend content that is leading to more student success. I believe we will be able to capitalize on these advanced technologies to increase access, retention, learning, and success after graduation while also reducing the overall cost of education.


Millie J. Rodriguez
This is the direction education is moving. If you’re not on the train, you’d better get on or you’re going to be left behind because this is the future.

Millie J. Rodriguez

Director of Distance Education

Youngstown State University

Q. Can you tell us a little about the online programs offered at Youngstown State University?

We have four Bachelor degree programs. Two of those are in Applied Science: one is Allied Health and one is Public Health. We have an RN to BSN completion program as well as a Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Care program which is also a completion program. For [the completion programs], we work with community colleges to bring [students’] credit in and get them that Bachelor’s degree.

Then, we also have Master’s degrees online. We have six right now with a couple others in the works. We have a Financial Econ degree, Business Administration, Respiratory Care, Criminal Justice, Engineering Management and one in Teacher Education/Early Childhood Education. So those are our current online offerings at Youngstown State.

Q. What advice would you give to students interested in an online degree program?

Probably the number one thing I share with prospective students is to really evaluate whether distance learning is right for you. It’s not something where you can be a passive learner. You have to be an active learner in the environment, or you won’t be successful in the program.

If you’re the type of learner who likes to sit in the back of the classroom and watch other people raise their hands, ask questions and then get answers that way, distance learning is probably not the right modality for you. But if you like to be an active learner – if you’re self-motivated – then distance learning is appropriate for you.

And certainly from a convenience perspective, online degrees have many benefits. If you work full-time, if you have a family or if you’re running the kids around after school, then this is probably a good modality for you. You can sit down once [the kids] are in bed and earn your degree in the evenings and on the weekends.

We don’t like to lead students into a path of online learning if it’s not right for them. We try to be candid and upfront and explain the process as well as the expectations. Certainly, our programs are very interactive. They’re not correspondence courses by any means.

Q. How do you anticipate online learning might evolve in the coming years?

One of the things I see is that [online learning] is now a part of K-12. When students come out of K-12, they already know and expect a certain amount of online learning as part of their curriculum.

I really do think it’s going to be more mainstream than it is even now, and universities need to stay on top of it because students coming in are going to be more educated in the modality than, in some cases, even faculty. Training faculty is going to be huge in terms of keeping up in the coming years.

This is the direction education is moving. If you’re not on the train, you’d better get on or you’re going to be left behind because this is the future.

Financial Aid in Ohio

If you're an Ohio resident who is considering going to college in your home state, you'll be pleased to know that there are a number of state-sponsored financial programs to help make college more affordable. This includes grants and scholarships, which are types of gift aid, meaning they do not have to be paid back.

In addition to the federal financial aid you could be eligible to receive, take some time to explore some of these state aid offerings from Ohio. If you qualify, you could significantly reduce the total out-of-pocket cost of your college education.

Ohio Scholarships

Although there aren't a lot of Ohio scholarships that apply to a broad range of students, there are some prominent awards that Ohio students should be aware of. For students who fit the criteria, these awards can help offset the sticker price of college. Here are a few to consider.

As Ohio's most prevalent scholarship program, more than 28,000 Choose Ohio First scholarships have been awarded to scholars enrolled in 49 Ohio public and private institutions. This award is geared toward students who are interested in studying science, technology, engineering, mathematics or medicine (STEMM).

  • Application deadline:  Varies by institution
  • Award amount:  Varies by institution, but usually $1,500 and up
  • Number of scholarships awarded:  Varies
  • Renewable: Yes
  • Minimum GPA:  Varies, but usually above 3.0
  • Merit vs. need-based: Merit
  • Ethnicity: All
  • Academic status:  Must be pursuing an undergraduate degree in a STEMM major
  • Residency required: Yes

This program awards tuition assistance to the children of deceased or severely disabled Ohio veterans who served in the armed forces during a period of declared war or conflict.

  • Application deadline:  July 1
  • Award amount:  Up to 88% of tuition and general fees at public institutions, or an annual award amount of $5,112 for private colleges and universities
  • Number of scholarships awarded:  Varies
  • Renewable: Yes
  • Minimum GPA: 2.0
  • Merit vs. need-based: Merit
  • Ethnicity: All
  • Academic status:  Must be enrolled in full-time undergraduate study at an eligible Ohio college or university
  • Residency required:  Yes

This scholarship is for undergraduate students who are admitted to a college or university in Ohio. Candidates must be committed to careers in environmental sciences or environmental engineering. The scholarship application includes recommendation letters as well as proof of inclination toward an environmental science or engineering career.

  • Application deadline:  Spring 2017
  • Award amount: $2,500 for students earning a bachelor’s; $1,250 for students earning an associate
  • Number of scholarships awarded: Not specified
  • Renewable:  No
  • Minimum GPA: 3.0
  • Merit vs. need-based:  Merit
  • Ethnicity: All
  • Academic status:  Must be in final year of study in an Ohio undergraduate program
  • Residency required:  Yes

Learn more about how to research scholarships and make your applications shine by checking out the Ultimate Guide to Scholarships.

Ohio Grants

Although Ohio only has one major grant program, it is a significant one that helps those who have the most financial need in the state. This program, in combination with federal aid, makes it possible for many Ohio students to attend college who might otherwise have thought it impossible.

This grant awards money to Ohio residents who demonstrate the highest levels of financial need (as determined by the results of the FAFSA). No separate application is required.

  • Application deadline:  Varies, up to $2,832 for students in private, nonprofit institutions
  • Award amount:  October 1

Learn more about how grants work and how to qualify for them by reading the Ultimate Guide to Grants.

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.

Featured Cities in Ohio

Below are descriptions of some of the largest cities in Ohio. These places can be a great location for online students to live while working toward earning their degree. You will see relevant data points for online students on each city, such as average salaries, student population and average rent, as sourced from the 2015 American Community Survey (census.gov).

Columbus, OH Metro Area

Total Population

1,972,375

Median salary for high school grads

$28,897

Median salary with a bachelor's degree

$51,514

% of the population enrolled in college or grad school

29.4%

Median rent

$833

Fun Facts

Named for Christopher Columbus, the city of Columbus has a reputation for discovery. For instance, it is home to the Battelle Memorial Institute, which is the world's largest private research and development foundation. Columbus has earned distinction not only because of its excellent business environment, but also for its quality of life, thanks to attractions such as the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, the Ohio State Fair (one of the largest state fairs in the country), and numerous arts and cultural festivals throughout the year.

Cleveland-Elyria, OH Metro Area

Total Population

2,064,483

Median salary for high school grads

$28,651

Median salary with a bachelor's degree

$50,087

% of the population enrolled in college or grad school

27.1%

Median rent

$744

Fun Facts

The "Cleveland Plus" region of Northeast Ohio has a diverse $170 billion economy. Cleveland is considered a city on the rise. For instance, the city was named by Forbes as one of the 15 U.S. cities with emerging downtowns. It is home to Playhouse Square, the second-largest performing arts center in the U.S.

Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN Metro Area

Total Population

2,139,466

Median salary for high school grads

$29,985

Median salary with a bachelor's degree

$52,116

% of the population enrolled in college or grad school

26.7%

Median rent

$751

Fun Facts

Because it was the first major city founded after the American Revolution, as well as the first major inland city in the country, Cincinnati prides itself on being the first purely American city. It retains its history in its city architecture, which includes one of the world's largest collections of Italianate architecture, as reflected in the Music Hall, Cincinnatian Hotel and the Shillito Department Store. Students attending Cincinnati's colleges find plenty to do here: There's the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens, the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal, the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, numerous festivals and open-air markets, and the Great American Ballpark.

 
Article Sources