Online Colleges in Ohio

With numerous public and private institutions of higher learning, including some of the nation's top schools, Ohio can offer the right school for any type of student. Keep reading to learn more about attending online colleges in Ohio, including our Top 10 List of Online Colleges in Ohio, ranked by affordability.

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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. Many colleges in Ohio now offer distance-education options, including some of the state's most prominent institutions. For instance, the University of Cincinnati offers degrees at the Associate's through Master's levels, including a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education and an M.S. in Criminal Justice. Kent State has a robust distance education department, with PC-based video conferencing and web courses. Examples of Kent State's online degree offerings include an Associate of Applied Business in Computer Technology and an M.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication. lists both two- and four-year, public and private higher education institutions that offer full online degrees. As of July 2014, the number of fully online programs they feature at each level is as follows:

  • Online Associate Degrees: 66
  • Online Bachelor's Degrees: 88
  • Online Graduate Degrees: 74

In addition to Ohio-based schools, many national online colleges offer degree programs to students in the state. Many of these schools have featured fully online degrees for several years and boast broader sets of available programs. For example, both University of Phoenix and DeVry University offer extensive lists of online degree concentrations and even have several campuses throughout Ohio.

If you're considering earning a degree in Ohio, you're in good company. JobsOhio says that more than 80,000 degrees are granted each year to Associate, Bachelor and graduate students. The U.S. Census Bureau says that 15.6 percent of Ohioans had Bachelor's degrees in 2012, and 9.1 percent held graduate degrees.

Ohio's workforce was 5,125,850 strong in May 2013, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Their mean annual salary was $43,170. The U.S. Census Bureau indicates that this is slightly less than the earnings for those who possess Bachelor's degrees, which in 2012 was $48,288. Those earnings jumped to $63,109 for those with graduate or professional degrees.

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services reports that the greatest job growth will take place among those occupations requiring Associate degrees, at 14.4 percent; jobs requiring a Doctoral or professional degree should grow by 13.6 percent, and those requiring Bachelor degrees should grow by 11 percent. This is compared to those requiring only a high school diploma, which the department reports is at a much-lower rate of 6.7 percent.

In other words, you'll most likely have better chances of employment and higher wages with a college degree in Ohio. The National Center for Education Statistics indicates that there are 116 institutions at which you can earn a Bachelor's degree in Ohio. With the majority of them offering fully online programs, it's possible to find the program and courses right for your goals and individual needs.

From certification programs to Ph.D.s, online colleges in Ohio offer a wide range of degree options. A prospective student should research available programs to find the one that meets his or her professional goals.

The Top 10 List of Online Colleges in Ohio

The following ten colleges are ranked by tuition costs (lowest to highest) and provide important data for prospective students, such as the number and type of online programs offered, tuition fees, and accreditation.

#1 - Cleveland State University

  • In-state Tuition: $9,499 (2013-2014)
  • Accredited: Y
  • # of online programs: 3 undergraduate, 6 postgraduate
    Notable Alumni: U.S. District Attorney and Common Pleas Judge Dick Lillie, NBC's Meet the Press host Tim Russert, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, 15-term Congressman Louis Stokes, former NBA basketball player Manute Bol

Cleveland State University has been offering online courses and programs for a decade, and currently boasts more than 150 eLearning courses each semester, in addition to complete graduate and undergraduate degree programs, certificates, and general education courses. The university prides itself on offering affordable, quality academic programs in more than 200 fields of study. Cleveland State's undergraduate eLearning offerings currently include certificate programs in bioethics, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Health Science, an RN-to-BSN Completion program, and a Bachelor of Business Administration. CSU's graduate eLearning degrees and certificates include an adult learning and development certificate program and a certificate in bioethics, as well as a Master of Education in Adult Learning and Development, Curriculum and Instruction with Talented and Gifted Learner License, Educational Technology and Organizational Leadership, a Master of Science in Health Sciences, a Master of Science in Nursing-Forensic Track, and the Mobile Accelerated MBA.

#2 - Ohio Christian University

  • Tuition: $17,720 (2013-2014)
  • Accredited: Y
  • # of online programs: 12 undergraduate and 6 postgraduate
    Notable Alumni: Author and leadership coach John C. Maxwell; Rod Parsley, pastor and founder of World Harvest Church; Stan Toler, general superintendent of Church of the Nazarene; and Tom Hermiz, general superintendent of Churches of Christ in Christian Union

Founded in 1948 with the purpose of preparing clergy, Ohio Christian University has expanded to offer Associate's, Bachelor's and Master's degree programs in a wide array of subjects on-site, as well as affordable adult undergraduate and graduate degree programs for adults that require no on-campus visits or residencies, in Business, Criminal Justice, Interdisciplinary Studies, Ministry, Nursing, Psychology, and Substance Abuse Counseling.

#3 - Mercy College of Northwest Ohio

  • Tuition: $11,430 (2013-2014)
  • Accredited: Y
  • # of online programs: 4 undergraduate hybrid programs

Formerly the Mercy School of Nursing, this 4-year Christian college in Toledo was renamed Mercy College of Northwest Ohio in 1994, but retains its focus on the health sciences. Although it offers no distance-only programs, Mercy College offers Distance Education Bachelor Completion programs that offer opportunities for internships, clinicals, service learning, and community-building with peers and faculty as students work to finish their degrees. The college emphasizes that they are not simply online correspondence courses, and online programs are hybrids that involve in-person and online work. Programs include an RN-to-BSN, a Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and a Bachelor of Science in Medical Imaging.

#4 - Kent State University at Salem

  • In-state Tuition: $5,554 (2013-2014)
  • Accredited: Y
  • # of online programs: 7 undergraduate and 14 postgraduate
  • Notable Alumni (from all Kent State University campuses): Comedian and Price is Right host Drew Carey, comedian and talk show host Arsenio Hall, actor Michael Keaton, boxing promoter Don King, singer Chrissie Hynde, guitarist Joe Walsh, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Connie Schultz

Kent State is the second-largest public university in Ohio, and prides itself on being a pioneer of online education, offering its first online programs more than 15 years ago. Its Office of Continuing and Distance Education offers more than 30 degree and certificate programs fully online. Its more than a dozen online certificate programs are in topics including behavior intervention, health informatics and nursing education. Its Bachelor degree programs include a Bachelor's in Insurance Studies, a Bachelor of Science in Public Health and an RN-to-BSN; graduates can find more than a dozen programs in subject areas including Criminal Justice, Education, Health Informatics, Instructional Technology, Journalism/Reporting and Editing, Knowledge Management, Liberal Studies, Library and Information Science, Music Education, Public Administration, Public Health and User Experience Design.

#5 - Bowling Green State University - Firelands

  • In-state Tuition: $10,726 (2013-2014)
  • Accredited: Y
  • # of online programs: 5 undergraduate, 19 postgraduate
  • Notable Alumni (from Bowling Green; campus not noted): Former Israeli Ambassador Daniel Ayalon, Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan, actor Tim Conway, ESPN sportscaster Jay Crawford, CBS News correspondent Steve Hartman, Adobe Systems President and CEO Shantanu Narayen, actress Eva Marie Saint

With several full graduate degrees and undergraduate degree-completion programs available online, Bowling Green State University has been selected by the Ohio Board of Regents as a "Host Center of Excellence for E-Learning," and several of its online programs have been ranked nationally by U.S. News & World Report. It offers Bachelor's degree-completion programs in Liberal Studies, Fire Administration, Learning Design & Technology, RN-to-BSN and Quality Systems. Graduate degrees offered fully online include several areas of education, business, criminal justice and technology management. Certificate/endorsement programs include the fields of education, food and nutrition, scientific and technical communication, and quality systems.

#6 - Franklin University

  • Tuition: $10,681 (2013-2014)
  • Accredited: Y
  • # of online programs: 36 undergraduate, 9 postgraduate
  • Notable Alumni: Author, consultant, and nationally syndicated business columnist Samantha Nolan; Mike Pons, VP and general manager of The Weather Channel Radio Network; Donald L. Robinson, CEO and founder of eSkills, LLC; Scott Martin, first non-commissioned officer to be appointed a Military Fellow on Capitol Hill

Franklin University was founded in 1902 and is Ohio's third-largest private university. From the beginning, Franklin has aimed to meet the needs of adult learners, and was selected by the U.S. Department of Education as one of the first 15 colleges to participate in a pilot program allowing unlimited distance education, and it was one of the original 29 online schools selected to deliver distance education to soldiers. Its wealth of online programs for undergraduates are in subjects ranging from accounting to allied healthcare management, business administration, computer science, criminal justice, financial planning, marketing, nursing, public administration, social media design, web development and many others. Graduate programs include a Master of Public Administration, a Master of Healthcare Administration, an MBA, an M.S. in Human Resource Management, M.S. in Business Psychology, M.S. in Accounting, M.S. in Marketing & Communication, M.S. in Instructional Design & Performance Technology and M.S. in Computer Science.

#7 - Wright State University - Main Campus

  • In-state Tuition: $8,542 (2013-2014)
  • Accredited:Y
  • # of online programs: 1 undergraduate, 7 postgraduate, 1 doctoral
  • Notable Alumni: David Albright, founder of Institute for Science and International Security; astronaut Michael R. Barratt; actress Andrea Bendewald; romance novelist Jennifer Crusie; Air National Guard General John B. Ellington, Jr.; Irene D. Long, chief medical officer at Kennedy Space Center

Named for the famously innovative flying brothers, Wright State can give its students wings with its commitment to research: It's designated by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a research university. Degrees offered fully online are an RN-to-BSN, Master of Science in Nursing (in with concentrations in Nursing Education or Family Nurse Practitioner), M.S. Administration of Nursing and Health Care Systems, Doctorate of Nursing Practice, Master of Science in Human Factors Engineering, Master of Rehabilitation Counseling for Severe Disabilities, Master of Science in Logistics & Supply Chain Management, Master of Science in Information Systems, and Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction.

#8 - Akron Institute of Herzing University

  • Tuition: $10,800 (2013-2014)
  • Accredited: Y
  • # of online programs: 16 undergraduate

Herzing University is a for-profit, career-oriented school with campuses in locations around the country, including Akron, Ohio, as well as in Canada. It was founded as a technical training school, and currently offers diplomas, Associate degree, Bachelor's degree and continuing education programs online, in subjects that include technology, business, healthcare, design and public safety.

#9 - Ohio University - Eastern Campus

  • In-state Tuition: $10,446 (2013-2014)
  • Accredited: Y
  • # of online programs: 4 undergraduate, 7 postgraduate
  • Notable Alumni (from all Ohio State Campuses): Kamil Idris, Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization; Dayton, Ohio Mayor and Ohio Lieutenant Governor Paul Leonard; Jessica Beinecke, Voice of America journalist; Cincinnati Reds/FOX Sports announcer Thom Brennaman; Today show host Matt Lauer; Humorist Erma Bombeck; author Michael Buckley; FOX News President Roger Ailes

Ohio University was established in 1804, making it Ohio's oldest public higher education institution and the first in the Northwest Territory. It stakes its claim as one of the state's first distance-learning institutions, having offered distance learning more than 100 years ago, before it was done online. Still ahead of the curve, Ohio University's distance programs, offered through its eCampus platform, include fully online and hybrid offerings. It's fully online Bachelor's programs include a Bachelor of Criminal Justice, a Bachelor of Science in Applied Management, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Bachelor of Technical and Applied Studies. Online graduate programs include a mix of fully online and hybrid offerings, and some online programs require a few days on campus. Fully online programs include a Master of Social Sciences, Master of Arts in Organizational Communication, Master of Science in Civil Engineering, Master of Science in Electrical Engineering, Master of Engineering Management, Master of Health Administration and Master of Science in Nursing.

#10 - Beckfield College

  • In-state Tuition: $12,546 (2013-2014)
  • Accredited: Y
  • # of online programs: 7 undergraduate (2 Bachelor's and 5 Associate's)

With programs in Kentucky and Ohio, Beckfield College offers online career training and college degrees. Programs include a diploma in Medical Office Technology; Associate degrees in various disciplines of Applied Science; a Bachelor of Business Administration and an RN-to-BSN program. Additionally, several on-campus programs feature online classes.

Snapshot of Ohio Cities

Following are details about Ohio's major metropolitan areas, including economic and demographic information and interesting facts about living in these areas. All economic data comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the 2014 Cost of Living Index published by The Council for Community and Economic Research. Demographic data comes from the U.S. Census Bureau and the latest Labor Force Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Facts for Online Learners originate from each region's Chamber of Commerce website and Wikipedia.

There are an estimated 1.8 million residents in the Columbus metropolitan statistical area, and the region employed 940,940 people in May 2013, who earned a mean annual wage of $45,760. The Cost of Living index for this area is 91.9, with home prices averaging $223,250.

The city of Columbus is the capital of, and the largest city in, Ohio, and it is the 15th largest city in the U.S. It had 787,033 residents in 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and supplied 4.4 percent of the state's labor force in May 2014, as reported by the BLS.

Fun Facts for Online Learners
Named for Christopher Columbus, the city of Columbus has a reputation for discovery: It is home to the Battelle Memorial Institute, which is the world's largest private research and development foundation, as well as the Chemical Abstracts Service, the world's largest clearinghouse of chemical information. Many major corporations call Columbus home, including Nationwide Mutual Insurance, American Electric Power, L Brands, Big Lots, Wendy's, White Castle and Cardinal Health. In 2012, "BusinessWeek" placed Columbus on its list of the 50 best cities in America, 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.


The Cleveland - Elyria metropolitan statistical area is home to more than 2 million people. In May 2013 this region employed 1 million people at a mean annual wage of $45,380, making this a promising locale in which to earn an online degree and begin a career. The Cost of Living index for this area is 99.1, with home prices averaging $268,486.

One of Ohio's most populated cities, Cleveland is the second-largest city in Ohio and the 45th largest city in the U.S. Cleveland proper is home to 396,815 residents, and the Cleveland - Elyria region supplied 6.6 percent of the state's labor force in May 2014, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Fun Facts for Online Learners
The "Cleveland Plus" region of Northeast Ohio has a diverse $170 billion economy, with its pace of growth in scientific and biomedical research and development growing faster than that of the U.S. Long the butt of jokes, Cleveland's cleaned up its act and is considered a city on the rise, and 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 - Wilmington - Maysville

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in May 2013, there were 995,170 people employed in the Cincinnati-Middletown metropolitan statistical area, and their mean annual wage was $45,510. The Council for Community and Economic Research list housing prices for this area at $219,560.

Cincinnati is the 28th largest city in the U.S. and the third-largest city in Ohio. The total population, according to the 2010 Census, was 2,214,954. The BLS says that Cincinnati comprises 5.4 percent of the state's total workforce.

Fun Facts for Online Learners
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.

Helpful Resources

As with traditional degree programs, enrollment requirements for Ohio online colleges differ from school to school. Individuals interested in pursuing an online degree should consult with an admissions counselor for help with the application process. Most national online schools have counselors available to instantly chat with prospective students online. For details on available programs and entry requirements, request information from one of the colleges below.


JobsOhio, "Access to Talent,"

U.S. Census Bureau, "American Fact Finder: Ohio,"

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, "May 2013 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates: Ohio," Occupational Employment Statistics,

Ohio Job and Family Services, "Ohio Job Outlook to 2020: Employment Projections,"

National Center for Education Statistics, "College Navigator,"

Cleveland State University, eLearning at Cleveland State University,

Ohio Christian University, OCU Adult Degree Programs,

Mercy College, Mercy College Distance Education,

Kent State University, Kent State Online,

Bowling Green State University, Distance Learning,

Franklin University, Online College Degrees & Courses,

Herzing University, Akron Campus, "Akron Online,"

Wright State University, Distance Education,

Ohio University, eCampus,

Beckfield College Online,

View Online College Courses in Ohio Below

This list also contains online colleges that accept students from Ohio.

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