Hero Image The 10 Best Online Colleges in Ohio for 2021

The 10 Best Online Colleges in Ohio for 2021

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The Buckeye State offers ample educational opportunities for students. The options for higher education in this state range from cozy community colleges to Ohio State University, a huge public university that welcomes over 60,000 students annually. There’s also Ohio University, which was established in 1804 and is the state’s oldest university. Ohio University is also home to 45 Pulitzer Prize winners

There are many terrific private universities in Ohio as well, and you may gain access to unique research opportunities at these smaller, privately funded colleges. For example, Case Western Reserve University notes that about 86% of its students engage in research projects during their freshman year. When they graduate, the job outlook is promising, with the average graduate earning a starting salary of between $65,000 to $70,000 per year.

Overall, the Buckeye State has something for everyone when it comes to higher education — including plenty of options for affordable online colleges. For those looking to continue their education online, learning more about the best online colleges in Ohio may be a good place to start.

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Figuring out where to apply? These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online degrees. Consider one of these accredited programs, and discover their value today.

Have Questions About the Best Value Online Schools in Ohio? We Have Answers.

  • How long do you have to live in Ohio to get in-state tuition?

    To qualify for in-state tuition, prospective students must live in Ohio for consecutive 12 months prior to enrollment, according to Ohio law.

  • How fast can you earn a bachelor’s degree online?


    Full-time enrollees can typically earn an online bachelor’s degree in 2-4 years. Some programs offer accelerated courses that enable students to finish their degrees sooner.
  • How many colleges and universities are located in Ohio?

    Ohio hosts 14 public universities with 24 regional branch campuses, 23 community colleges, and 50 independent colleges.


  • Can you get your master’s online?

    Many online colleges in Ohio offer master’s degrees. Popular online programs include the master of business administration, the master of science in education, and the master of science in engineering.


The 10 Best Value Online Colleges in Ohio for 2021

Rank School Location
1 Mount Vernon Nazarene University Mount Vernon, OH
2 Malone University Canton, OH
3 Youngstown State University Youngstown, OH
4 Bowling Green State University-Main Campus Bowling Green, OH
5 Franklin University Columbus, OH
6 Union Institute & University Cincinnati, OH
7 University of Cincinnati-Main Campus Cincinnati, OH
8 University of Toledo Toledo, OH
9 Notre Dame College Cleveland, OH
10 Tiffin University Tiffin, OH

  • Methodology: Here's How We Rank Schools


    At Best Value Schools, we help students of all ages get the best possible value for their education. When choosing the best schools and programs, we prioritize tuition rates, student debt, financial aid opportunities, graduation rates, and the availability of online programs.
    We source unbiased data from government and educational databases like the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for 6,374 schools across the U.S. We organize that data into five weighted categories to compile our school rankings.































    Metric Data Used Percentage
    Academic Quality Full-time faculty percentage, student-to-faculty ratio, student retention and graduation rates 25%
    Affordability Tuition rates, median student debt, and financial aid 35%
    Reputation Admission and enrollment rates 15%
    Program Offerings Number of program options 10%
    Online Enrollment Score Portion of learners taking at least one online course 15%

    You can read more about our comprehensive evaluation process on our methodology page.

In-State Tuition Cost in Ohio

Your educational costs will vary significantly based on the college and program you enroll in and whether you live on campus, among other factors. That said, if you are a resident of Ohio, the average cost to attend a four-year public university in Ohio is about $10,370 per year, which is just slightly higher than the national average of $9,488. 

Meanwhile, students attending a private university will, on average, spend a total of about $53,949 per academic year on school costs, with about $37,200 of it going to tuition and fees.

Out-of-State Tuition Cost in Ohio

You’ll have to be a resident of Ohio for 12 consecutive months to get in-state tuition in this state. 

If you do not have 12 months of residency in Ohio but want to attend a school in the Buckeye State, you will have to pay out-of-state tuition, which comes with a much heftier price tag. The average costs for out-of-state tuition in Ohio are about $25,188 annually

Average Cost of Room and Board in Ohio 

Some universities require students to live in the dorms on campus during the first year of college. If you are an out-of-state student, dorm life is a wise way to acclimate to your new surroundings and others attending the school. 
That said, dorm living isn’t cheap. The average cost of room and board in Ohio is about $12,448 per year on average.

Professional Organizations for Students in Ohio



Professional organizations provide access to networking and mentoring, which can help students build a successful career. In fields like business and IT, professional organizations also provide access to field-specific certifications. Online college graduates in Ohio can explore some of the professional organizations below.


  • The Ohio Society of CPAs This group supports its 85,000 members through advocacy, professional guidance, and relevant programming. Aimed at graduates in accounting and business, the organization provides access to networking opportunities, career counseling, and continuing education. Other benefits include access to field-specific content and credentialing.

  • Ohio Information Technology Association This nonprofit advocates for Ohio's IT industry and provides IT professionals and graduates with opportunities to grow their careers. Members gain access to a robust community of professionals, opportunities for continuing education, and resume and portfolio reviews. The organization also hosts annual conferences and networking events.

  • Ohio Education Association Representing more than 120,000 education professionals across Ohio, OEA advances the profession through advocacy and support. Members benefit from the organization's extensive professional network, access to leadership training, and other professional development programs. OEA also provides members with discounts on everything from further education to vacations and movie tickets.

  • Ohio Nurses Association This organization empowers its 170,000 members through leadership and career assistance. Member benefits include free access to continuing education for licensure, scholarship opportunities for professional development, and mentoring activities. ONA hosts an annual convention and schedules events throughout the year that facilitate community collaboration among members.

Scholarships for Students in Ohio

Students enrolled in online colleges in Ohio may qualify for several scholarships. These opportunities are available through individual colleges and universities, professional associations, service organizations, and state and local government agencies. Degree-seekers at online colleges in Ohio can also apply for federal financial aid.

Choose Ohio First Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Current Ohio residents or residents from Ohio returning to the state to attend graduate school may qualify. The scholarship caters to both full-time and part-time students. Applicants must major in a STEM field at one of the qualifying institutions.
Amount: Varies
Deadline: Varies

Ohio Safety Officers College Memorial Fund Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Ohio residents who are the children or spouses of police officers, firefighters, and other safety officers may apply. Applicants may enroll either full time or part time at any participating institution. Applicants must provide documents that verify their relationship to a qualifying officer.
Amount: Full tuition remission for public universities; up to $8,451 per year for private colleges.
Deadline: Varies

Ohio College Opportunity Grant

Who Can Apply: Administered by the Ohio Department of Higher Education, this scholarship helps Ohio residents who demonstrate the highest levels of financial need. To qualify, applicants must file the FAFSA.
Amount: Up to $3,500
Deadline: October 1

Department President’s Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The American Legion Auxiliary of Ohio annually awards two scholarships to Ohio residents who are veterans or direct descendants of honorably discharged veterans. Applicants must submit a copy of a Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Service to qualify. Applications need three recommendation letters, an essay, and a copy of the applicant’s high school transcript.
Amount: Up to $1,500
Deadline: March 15

Community Foundation of Shelby County Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The Community Foundation of Shelby County awards nearly $300,000 worth of scholarships each year to residents of Shelby County. To apply for one of the 170 general scholarships, applicants must submit their high school transcripts, recommendation letters, a list of school and community service activities, and information from their FAFSA.
Amount: Varies
Deadline: March 11 for high school seniors; June 3 for adults, current college students, and qualified high school seniors

The 10 Best Online Colleges in Ohio for 2021



  1. Mount Vernon Nazarene University
    Location

    Mount Vernon, OH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    A private university located in Mt. Vernon, MVNU offers online associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees aimed at working professionals. The school's flexible, accelerated course formats and per-credit, locked-in tuition rates make it one of the most affordable online colleges in Ohio.

    MVNU's online programs aim to meet the needs of working students in industries like business, healthcare, and education. The school offers both fast-track and traditional online MBA programs. Options include a healthcare-focused program for individuals working toward leadership roles in the healthcare industry. MVNU offers 120-credit online bachelor's programs in fields like elementary education, ministry, social work, and business.

    MVNU allows students to transfer up to 90 credits from other accredited colleges and universities. Enrollees can complete many of the school's online programs in as little as one year. MVNU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

    • Graduation rate: 58.5%
    • School status: Private
    • Tuition cost: $31,610
    • Number of programs offered: 71
    • Location: Mount Vernon, Ohio
    • Admission requirements: Application, official transcripts, test scores (optional in some cases)
    • Contact: 740-392-6868
    • Program Website
  2. Malone University
    Location

    Canton, OH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Located in Canton, Malone is a private university that offers online degrees for both undergraduate and graduate students. Students can pursue online programs in business, social work, and counseling. The school also offers field-specific specializations in areas such as marketing, accounting, and mental health counseling.

    Course lengths vary from 7-15 weeks to provide working students with maximum flexibility. Undergraduate programs typically require students to complete 124 credits. Malone's graduate programs generally require 36 credits. Students can finish some of Malone's online programs in 16 months.

    Applicants must submit an online application and copies of official transcripts. Graduate programs require recommendation letters. Individual programs may require students to submit additional documentation such as an autobiography or personal statement.

    Malone allows undergraduate students to transfer up to 90 credits. Graduate students may transfer up to 25% of previously completed coursework. Malone is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

    • Graduation rate: 53.2%
    • School status: Private
    • Tuition cost: $32,400
    • Number of programs offered: 83 undergraduate and six graduate
    • Location: Canton, Ohio
    • Admission requirements: Application, official transcripts, test scores
    • Contact: 1-800-757-4067
    • Program Website
  3. Youngstown State University
    Location

    Youngstown, OH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    YSU is a Youngstown-based public university. The school offers online undergraduate and graduate degrees in fields like business, criminal justice, education, and public health. Students can also pursue field-specific specializations in areas such as special education and financial administration.

    Applicants typically need a 2.7 GPA or higher. However, the school's flexible admission policy provides opportunities for students to enroll provisionally. YSU requires applicants to submit relevant test scores, copies of official transcripts, and recommendation letters.

    YSU's online graduate programs take 30 credits to complete. YSU's undergraduate programs generally require 120 credits. Students can complete some programs, like the online master of business administration, in one year. The school maintains a generous transfer credit policy and accepts any coursework that a student has completed at an accredited college or university prior to enrollment. YSU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

    • Graduation rate: 29.4%
    • School status: Public
    • Tuition cost: $9,588
    • Number of programs offered: Over 150 undergraduate programs
    • Location: Youngtown, Ohio
    • Admission requirements: Application, official transcripts, test scores
    • Contact: 330-941-3000
    • Program Website
  4. Bowling Green State University-Main Campus
    Location

    Bowling Green, OH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Located in Bowling Green, BGSU is a public research university that offers distance learning opportunities to both undergraduate and graduate students. The school hosts more than 40 online programs in fields like business, education, nursing, and criminal justice. These programs feature both bachelor's and master's degrees, as well as graduate certificates.

    BGSU's online programs offer flexible start dates and accelerated, seven-week courses in business, public health, education, and other subjects. Distance Campus courses in subjects like English generally last 15 weeks. Degrees available through the e-campus and Distance Campus occur 100% online. Students can complete some degrees through hybrid coursework that include in-person instruction on BGSU's 1,338-acre main campus.

    BGSU allows students to transfer any coursework completed at an accredited institution. The school also enables students to earn up to 30 academic credits from prior work, volunteer work, or other non-academic experiences. BGSU's flexible curriculum and affordable tuition make it an excellent option among online colleges in Ohio. The school is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

    • Graduation rate: 54.5%
    • School status: Public
    • Tuition cost: $12,088
    • Number of programs offered: Hundreds of undergraduate programs, with 40 online
    • Location: Bowling Green, Ohio
    • Admission requirements: Application, official transcripts
    • Contact: 419-372-2478
    • Program Website
  5. Franklin University
    Location

    Columbus, OH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Franklin University is a Columbus-based private university. The school offers online degrees in business, information technology, communications, and public and social sciences. Franklin maintains an affordable, flexible curriculum that accommodates working professionals.

    The school's online programs feature 100% asynchronous instruction. Students can complete coursework toward bachelor's and master's degrees, as well as certificates. Franklin hosts specialty degrees in data, health, and business analytics. Online IT degrees in cybersecurity, web development, and instructional design meet the needs of working students.

    Online bachelor's degrees at Franklin typically require 124 credits. Students can finish many of the school's online master's degrees in two years or less. The school requires a 2.75 GPA for admission to its online graduate programs.

    Franklin allows undergraduate students to transfer up to 94 credits towards their degree. Prospective graduate students may transfer up to 12 credits. The school accepts transfer credits from formal instruction at accredited institutions, work experience, and industry certification training. Franklin is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

    • Graduation rate: 33.2%
    • School status: Private
    • Tuition cost: $9,577
    • Number of programs offered: 60 online programs
    • Location: Columbus, Ohio
    • Admission requirements: Application, official transcripts
    • Contact: 1-877-341-6300
    • Program Website
  6. Union Institute & University
    Location

    Cincinnati, OH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Located in Cincinnati, Union is a private institution that has offered distance learning opportunities since the 1960s. The school hosts online degrees in business, education, health services, and criminal justice. Students can pursue degrees at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. Union also features online certificate programs in fields like literature, health and wellness, and social justice.

    Courses at Union start every eight weeks, offering flexibility for working students. The school's bachelor's degrees generally require 120 credits. Master's degrees, like the master of business administration, require 36 credits. Union also offers an interdisciplinary doctoral program in four concentrations.

    Union allows students to transfer up to 90 credits from qualifying, accredited institutions. Enrollees can also earn credit for prior professional experience thanks to Union's partnerships with several business and civic organizations. The school's generous transfer policies make it one of the best value online colleges in Ohio. Union is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

    • Graduation rate: 58%
    • School status: Private
    • Tuition cost: $545 per credit hour ($6,540 for 12 credit hours per semester)
    • Number of programs offered: 7 Bachelor’s programs, 3 certificate programs, and 8 master’s programs 
    • Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
    • Admission requirements: Application, official transcripts, test scores
    • Contact: 1-800-861-6400
    • Program Website
  7. University of Cincinnati-Main Campus
    Location

    Cincinnati, OH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    UC is a public research university located in Cincinnati. The school offers nearly 100 online degrees and certificate programs. UC features flexible course schedules that enable students to study anywhere and at any time, including during active military service. UC hosts online programs at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels.

    UC offers both seven-week and 14-week online courses. Classes run entirely asynchronously. Undergraduate students typically need 60-120 credits to graduate. Most master's degrees require students to complete at least 30 credits. Enrollees may take courses in UC's online programs either full time or part time.

    UC requires a 2.5 GPA for admission to undergraduate programs. Graduate programs require a 3.0 GPA. Applicants to UC's online programs must submit copies of official transcripts and recommendation letters. Additional requirements vary by subject. UC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

    • Graduation rate: 66%
    • School status: Public
    • Tuition cost: $11,000
    • Number of programs offered: Over 300 undergraduate programs
    • Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
    • Admission requirements: Application, official transcripts, test scores
    • Contact: 513-556-6000
    • Program Website
  8. University of Toledo
    Location

    Toledo, OH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Located in Toledo, UT is a public university that offers more than 50 online degrees and certificates. The school provides online students with an affordable experience through its locked-in tuition guarantee. Students can pursue bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees.

    UT hosts online programs in fields like business, educational technology, nursing, and criminal justice. The school also features online degrees in the liberal arts. Undergraduate students generally complete 120 credits to graduate. The school's online master's degrees require students to complete around 30 credits.

    UT allows students to transfer up to 90 credits of previous coursework toward their degree. The school also enables students to earn up to 30 credits for prior work or volunteer experience. This makes the school one of the most affordable online colleges in Ohio. UT requires at least a 2.0 GPA for admission. Most programs maintain additional GPA requirements. UT is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

    • Graduation rate: 41%
    • School status: Public
    • Tuition cost: $5,728.32
    • Number of programs offered: More than 270 degree programs
    • Location: Toledo, Ohio
    • Admission requirements: Application, official transcripts, test scores
    • Contact: 1-800-586-5336
    • Program Website
  9. Notre Dame College
    Location

    Cleveland, OH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    NDC is a private, Catholic college located in South Euclid. The school offers career-focused online programs in business, criminal justice, and education. NDC hosts fully online and hybrid degrees with in-person components. Students may pursue online degrees at the associate, bachelor's, and master's levels.

    NDC's online programs feature synchronous instruction. The school offers both eight-week and 16-week online courses. Undergraduate students generally need 65-85 credits to graduate. NDC's online master's degrees require students to complete 30 credits. Learners typically take 1-4 years to complete their online degrees.

    The school allows students to transfer coursework completed in the last 10 years to their NDC online degree. Some programs accept up to 90 transfer credits from accredited institutions. Most of NDC's online programs require at least a 2.5 GPA for admission. The school also asks applicants to submit copies of their official transcripts along with their application. NDC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

    • Graduation rate: 33.7%
    • School status: Private
    • Tuition cost: $30,650
    • Number of programs: Majors available in 30 disciplines; options for associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees
    • Location: South Euclid, Ohio
    • Admission requirements: Application and official transcripts
    • Contact: 1-877-632-6446
    • Program Website
  10. Tiffin University
    Location

    Tiffin, OH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Located in Tiffin, TU is a private university that hosts online degrees created for working students. The school offers more than 40 online bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees. Students in TU's online programs specialize in business, criminal justice, education, and health sciences. The school also offers online degrees in the humanities.

    TU offers fully online, asynchronous classes that provide flexibility for working students. The hybrid doctoral program in global leadership and change includes three in-person events. Online classes begin at six times throughout the year. Students can complete many of TU's online programs in 18 months.

    The school allows students to transfer up to 90 credits towards their degree. TU's online programs require at least a 2.5 GPA for admission. Applications to TU's online master's programs must include transcripts, a resume or CV, and a personal statement. The school remains one of the few online colleges in Ohio that does not require students to submit test scores for admission. TU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

    • Graduation rate: 3.8%
    • School status: Private
    • Tuition cost: $460 per credit hour for online students 
    • Number of programs: 39 majors available
    • Location: Tiffin, Ohio
    • Admission requirements: An official copy of your high school transcript or GED certificate and an official copy of your ACT or SAT test scores; a minimum unweighted, cumulative high school GPA of 2.25 for all coursework
    • Contact: 1-800-968-6446
    • Program Website

Sean Jackson picture

Sean Jackson

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Sean Jackson is a creative copywriter living in Florida who covers education topics for Best Value Schools, Graduate School Hub, and others. He’s had work published with Realtor.com, theScore, ESPN and the San Francisco Chronicle. In his free time, Sean likes to play drums, fail miserably at improv and spend time at the beach

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Angelica Leicht

SCHOOLS EDITOR

Angelica Leicht is the schools editor at Best Value Schools who oversees our college rankings, school profiles, and other higher education coverage. She previously served as an education reporter at Kearney Hub, and an editor at the Dallas Observer and Houston Press. Her writing has appeared in Affordable Colleges Online, Bankrate, The Simple Dollar, and elsewhere.

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