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Online Colleges in Ohio

Most Affordable Online Colleges
School Interviews
Wendy Lampner
- Manager of Design & Development Services
"We offer Master's degrees in Public Health, Applied Politics, and Taxation as well as three Master's degrees and five certificates in education."
See entire interview

Introduction

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.

OhioLearns.com 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.

Most Affordable Colleges in Ohio

The following list ranks the 10 schools in Ohio that offer online degrees at the lowest tuition costs. This ranking is based on a number of factors that are important to prospective students such as the actual degree programs that are taught online, and information on tuition fees, accreditation and notable alumni. Tuition figures are sourced from the National Center for Education Statistics and reflect in-state tuition (when in-state tuition is available) for all students, including online students. See our Methodology section for more details on the ranking methodology.

1

Kent State University at Salem

Tuition/Year
$5,664
Graduation Rate
31%
# of Online Degrees
21
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

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.
School Website: 
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2

Youngstown State University

Tuition/Year
$8,317
Graduation Rate
33%
# of Online Degrees
10
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

Youngstown State University has several programs geared towards students wanting to complete their degree online. Their Bachelor of Science programs include: allied health; public health; RN-BSN; and respiratory care. Their master's degree programs include a Master of Arts in financial economics; a Master of Business administration; a Master of Respiratory Care; and Master of Science degrees in criminal justice, criminal justice management and program planning; engineering, management option; and teacher education, early childhood education.
School Website: 
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3

Wright State University-Main Campus

Tuition/Year
$8,730
Graduation Rate
41%
# of Online Degrees
9
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

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.
School Website: 
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4

Cleveland State University

Tuition/Year
$9,686
Graduation Rate
32%
# of Online Degrees
9
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

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.
School Website: 
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5

University of Akron Main Campus

Tuition/Year
$10,260
Graduation Rate
42%
# of Online Degrees
8
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

In addition to 5 online certificate programs in a range of education subjects, the University of Akron has both undergraduate and graduate online degree programs from which to choose. Their online bachelor's degree programs include: RN-BSN; and teaching and training technical professionals. Their online master's degree programs include public health; applied politics; taxation; teaching and training technical professionals; and educational foundations in both instructional technology and assessment/evaluation.
School Website: 
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6

Ohio University-Eastern Campus

Tuition/Year
$4,872
Graduation Rate
26%
# of Online Degrees
11
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

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. Its 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.
School Website: 
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7

Franklin University

Tuition/Year
$11,161
Graduation Rate
15%
# of Online Degrees
45
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

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.
School Website: 
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8

Bowling Green State University-Firelands

Tuition/Year
$4,946
Graduation Rate
13%
# of Online Degrees
24
Accredited
 
School Type
2-Year

About

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.
School Website: 
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9

Akron Institute of Herzing University

Tuition/Year
$12,250
Graduation Rate
30%
# of Online Degrees
16
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

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.
School Website: 
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10

Mercy College of Ohio

Tuition/Year
$12,000
Graduation Rate
68%
# of Online Degrees
4
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

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.
School Website: 
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11

Beckfield College-Tri-County

Tuition/Year
$12,906
Graduation Rate
24%
# of Online Degrees
7
Accredited
 
School Type
2-Year

About

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.
School Website: 
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12

Ohio Christian University

Tuition/Year
$17,720
Graduation Rate
31%
# of Online Degrees
18
Accredited
 
School Type
4-Year

About

Founded in 1948 with the purpose of preparing clergy, Ohio Christian University has expanded to offer associate, 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
School Website: 
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School Interviews

Wendy Lampner

Wendy Lampner, Manager of Design & Development Services at The 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 Rodriguez

Millie J. Rodriguez, Director of Distance Education at 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.

Top Cities For Students In Ohio

Columbus, Ohio

Mean Wage

$45,760

Average Cost of a House

$223,250

# of Employed People

940940

Total Population

1800000

Avg Salary with a Bachelor's Degree

$43,161

Economics

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.

Demographics

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

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.

Cleveland, Ohio

Mean Wage

$45,380

Average Cost of a House

$268,486

# of Employed People

1000000

Total Population

2000000

Avg Salary with a Bachelor's Degree

$49,004

Economics

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.

Demographics

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

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, Ohio

Mean Wage

$45,510

Average Cost of a House

$219,560

# of Employed People

995,170

Total Population

2214954

Avg Salary with a Bachelor's Degree

$51,320

Economics

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.

Demographics

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

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.

Top Ohio Articles
 
Other Ohio 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.


Sources:

  1. Beckfield College Online, http://www.beckfield.edu/online/
  2. Bowling Green State University, Distance Learning, http://www.bgsu.edu/distance-learning/browse-programs.html
  3. Cleveland State University, eLearning at Cleveland State University, http://www.engagecsuonline.com/
  4. Herzing University, Akron Campus, "Akron Online," http://www.herzing.edu/akron/online
  5. Franklin University, Online College Degrees & Courses, http://www.franklin.edu/online-learning
  6. JobsOhio, "Access to Talent," http://jobs-ohio.com/talent/
  7. Kent State University, Kent State Online, http://onlinedegrees.kent.edu/
  8. Mercy College, Mercy College Distance Education, http://www.mercycollege.edu/courses-programs/distance-education
  9. Millie Rodriguez, interview with the author, December 2014
  10. National Center for Education Statistics, "College Navigator," http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
  11. Ohio Christian University, OCU Adult Degree Programs, http://www.ohiochristian.edu/faq/aim-adult-degree-program/online-education
  12. Ohio University, eCampus, http://www.ohio.edu/ecampus/
  13. Ohio Job and Family Services, "Ohio Job Outlook to 2020: Employment Projections," http://ohiolmi.com/proj/OhioJobOutlook.htm
  14. The University of Akron, http://www.uakron.edu/academics_majors/online/degrees.dot
  15. The University of Akron Alma Mater, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Akron#Alma_mater
  16. U.S. Census Bureau, "American Fact Finder: Ohio," http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/community_facts.xhtml
  17. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, "May 2013 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates: Ohio," Occupational Employment Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_oh.htm
  18. Wendy Lampner, interview with the author, December 2014
  19. Wright State University, Distance Education, http://www.wright.edu/distance-education
  20. Youngstown State University, http://web.ysu.edu/de
  21. Youngstown State University, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Youngstown_State_University#Famous_alumni