2018 Guide to Accredited Online Colleges and Universities in Ohio

The Ohio Department of Education has a lofty goal—for 65% of Ohioans between the ages of 25 and 64 to hold a postsecondary workforce credential by 2025. While it may seem like a challenging feat, the department’s vigorous efforts to increase affordability, accessibility, and attainment have generated significant progress towards its ultimate vision.

An recent exemplary effort by the Ohio Department of Education saw 52,000 of Ohio’s students collectively save $110 million in college tuition, through the College Credit Plus program. The program allowed students who were still in high school to begin taking courses for college credit at a reduced rate and eliminated tuition, helping them cut time and costs put towards their degree before they even graduated.

The department is also supported by Ohio’s GREAT mission, or Global Reach to Engage Academic Talent. The GREAT program seeks to attract more high-achieving students to Ohio’s 200 public and private higher education institutions. The state is also broadly rolling out co-op programs in addition to standing internship programs, making Ohio’s students some of the best prepared, with hands-on training by the time they enter the workforce. For busier students with inflexible obligations, online colleges in Ohio allow ambitious individuals to strive for the best without sacrificing childcare schedules or family time.

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Those efforts seem to be paying off, with employment rates within the state seeing a sharp spike despite a serious decline in 2016. All in all, the rate reflects the general upward trend it has maintained since 2010, making Ohio an excellent state to seek employment in and helping graduates to work within their community after earning their degree.

Ohio’s Online Education Profile

While earning a degree is the dream of many, thousands of would-be students are deterred by on-campus requirements and long hours dictated by a traditional academic schedule. Ohio is working to mitigate those restrictions, with many of the state’s colleges offering a range of degree programs and classes completely online. Eager students are welcome to apply to online colleges in OH for academically challenging curriculums that work well with their schedules.

In fact, Ohio.gov’s eStudent services site has extensive information about all of the programs offered by Ohio schools, making the option of online learning more accessible than ever.

Number/Percentage Ohio National Average
Number of Title IV 4-year colleges 126 56
Number of Title IV 2-year colleges 89 33
Percentage of students enrolled in distance education 23.5% 25.8%
Postsecondary education spending per full-time student $5,365 $6,954
Percentage of adults over 25 with associate degree 8.2% 8.1%
Percentage of adults over 25 with bachelor’s degree 16.4% 18.5%
Percentage of adults over 25 with graduate degree or higher 9.7% 11.2%

Sources: NCES, SHEEO, U.S. Census Bureau – American Community Survey

Average Cost of College Tuition & Fees in Ohio

Number/Percentage Ohio National Average
Average in-state tuition & fees – public 4-year $9,757 $8,778
Average in-state tuition & fees – private 4-year $28,953 $27,951
Average in-state tuition & fees – public 2-year $3,642 $3,038

Source: NCES

Best Online Colleges in Ohio

Ohio offers a variety of secondary institutions featuring rich student life and notable academic programs, each providing students with opportunities for personal development and professional growth. Whether you’re an education major interested in Miami University’s nationally ranked (No.2) undergraduate teaching program or seeking out one of Ohio State University’s many praised engineering departments, the rankings below offer insight that will jumpstart your search for the best online schools in Ohio. With this tool, you can discover online classes in OH that align with your academic and personal interests.


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Ohio’s Higher Education Outlook

By 2018, approximately 60% of Ohio jobs will require postsecondary education, a statistic closely mirroring the predicted national average of 65% by 2020. To help both residents and distant hopefuls looking to call Ohio home, Ohio has established comprehensive programs for all who seek further education. Non-credit programs are available for students who do not wish to obtain a conventional four-year degree, but instead seek to mature their professional skills through isolated courses or a schedule of workshops and seminars.

Of the half a million students enrolled in the Ohio state collegiate system, almost 200,000 attend community colleges that offer two-year programs for students seeking associate degrees and transfer credit. Such institutions additionally offer certificate programs ranging from several months to one year of full-time courses. At the end of such programs, participants earn certifications in vocational occupations and/or various in-demand skills like project management or informational technology.

In the state of Ohio, 32% of college students graduate within four years. The graduation rate swells to 55% when students walking the stage within six years are taken into account. Ohio State University boasts the greatest six-year graduation rate at 83.2%, followed by Miami University and Ohio University, reporting rates of 80.8% and 66.4%, respectively. These high graduation rates bode well for the state, which is, to reiterate, pushing to increase the portion of the population with a postsecondary education.

Jobs are expected to increases across all industries, particularly with STEM, management, community, and healthcare occupations.

Higher Education Initiatives in Ohio

The state of Ohio has developed more than 20 initiatives intended to facilitate higher learning by making programs affordable to all. Programs like Choose Ohio First cater to students intending on pursuing a STEM career; aspiring Ohio resident scientists, engineers, and mathematicians are carefully placed in local programs and given financial assistance to help them on the road to graduation. Whether students seek scientific degrees, traditional bachelor’s degrees in other disciplines from online colleges in OH, or a professional trade, there are government programs available to help relieve stress from the process.

State programs like Apprenticeship Pathways and Career-Technical Assurance Guides allow students seeking technical careers to transform their real-world professional experience into academic credit towards a related associate degree. Such initiatives free up student time and finances for other opportunities. Similarly, three-year bachelor’s degree programs leave students more time for study-abroad opportunities and internships to further evolve their professional skills.

Catering to low-income Ohio students who are less likely to have access to academic opportunities and financial resources, GEAR UP Ohio ensures all at-risk communities are aware of their academic opportunities. GEAR UP Ohio pushes such students to receive secondary training of all forms to prevent low-income and minority communities from encountering further economic barriers, as Ohio’s minimal education jobs are expected to continue to decrease in the coming years.

Resources for Ohio

  • ASPIRE Program: Brings free services to those requiring greater assistance to excel in higher education courses. Incarcerated students, as well as adults requesting GED preparation and non-English speakers, may contact ASPIRE for aid.
  • Ohio Association of Community Colleges: The state’s two-year collegiate system includes 23 affordable colleges that allow students to save thousands of dollars per semester. Classes are usually small and close to the student’s residence. Respected online schools in Ohio contribute to this community college network.
  • Ohio Library Agency: The Ohio library network comprises 481 physical branches where students have access to countless books, archives, government publications, and databases. Libraries offer meeting rooms for group study and skills training workshops for career and test prep.
  • Ohio Financial Assistance: The Ohio Department of Education helps all students calculate education costs and devise a plan of payment. Special savings plans, grants, and state scholarships are available through the financial aid department. Government funds received from Ohio financial aid programs may be used towards online schools in Ohio.
  • eStudent Services: Struggling students who find coursework from their online colleges in OH difficult can access eTutoring services through this cooperation between the majority of Ohio’s postsecondary institutions. Students can upload assignments for review and submit coursework questions for a quick, live response.

College Savings Plans

State-sponsored university saving plans are called 529 plans. These accumulated funds can be used to pay for nearly all collegiate expenses, including tuition, academic texts, residential fees, and associated transportation costs. Any U.S. resident over 18 years of age with a valid tax ID or social security number may open a 529 savings plan, growing funds which are not immediately subject to federal taxes and may also be eligible for state tax deductions.

Funds amassed in an Ohio-based 529 savings plan needn’t necessarily be used in an Ohio state school; any student enrolled in an accredited two-year or four-year American university is eligible to utilize received funds. Each Ohio resident may deduct up to $2,000 of 529 funds from their taxable income each year. It is not necessary that the account be directly in one’s name for he or she to receive such tax benefits.

Ohio offers two 529 savings plans for its residents: the Ohio College Advantage 529 Savings Plan and the BlackRock CollegeAdvantage plan—which features greater fees but also an arguably greater reward. Students and their families must educate themselves on the financial policies governing each plan to make an appropriate decision. Online programs often feature tuition fees similar to conventional means of education. Such savings plans can also be used towards obtaining online degrees in OH.

Educational Nonprofit Organizations in Ohio

  • Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education (NEO): NEO has placed almost a quarter-million students in postsecondary learning institutions. They aim to construct bridges between talented students and growing corporations. NEO has helped hundreds of Ohio students obtain the internships and corporate relationships of their dreams.
  • Education at Work: As a less conventional nonprofit committed to educating Ohio’s students, Education at Work employs college students and gives them tax-free tuition assistance in addition to their wages. Education at Work hopes to help students eliminate their student debt while teaching them corporate skills.
  • College Now: This organization helps to serve low-income families and children by assisting them in searches for scholarships and academic mentoring. They further provide financial aid counseling and instruction for adult learners looking to attend postsecondary institutions later in life.

Accrediting Bodies in Ohio

In selecting an institution of higher education, particularly when selecting online colleges in OH, it’s important to seek out accredited schools to ensure one receives a quality education. Entities called accrediting agencies establish academic and procedural standards against which they judge postsecondary institutions. When universities and vocational associations meet accreditor criteria, they are considered accredited by the respective accrediting body. Unaccredited organizations are not necessarily held to any national or regional standard, and students cannot guarantee they are receiving high-quality standardized instruction. The Department of Education (DEP) does not directly distinguish schools as accredited, but accrediting agencies must be recognized by and registered with the DEP.

Online Ohio colleges are also subject to accreditation procedures. If a student has chosen to pursue an online degree in Ohio, they should ensure the online schools are accredited by reputable agencies. Regionally-accredited universities have been verified by local organizations that are responsible for their specific jurisdictions; this is the most common form of accreditation. When choosing online colleges in OH, look for accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC)—the chief body responsible for awarding the title of ‘accredited’ to institutions in the Ohio area.

  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC): By power of the U.S. Secretary of Education, the HLC, (formerly known as the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools), formally recognizes local institutions as high-quality organizations of higher learning. It accredits both four-year institutions and facilities offering programs of at least one year in length in 19 central states, including Ohio online colleges.
  • The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE): The NCATE is a decades-old accrediting agency responsible for ensuring American institutions responsible for guiding future educators are held accountable for their quality of instruction and teacher preparation. Nearly 700 colleges of education have received NCATE’s mark of approval, including, but not limited to, Ohio State University.
  • Committee on Accreditation for the EMS Professions (CoAEMSP): CoAEMSP offers accreditation to Ohio online schools providing emergency medical education classes. Institutions are assessed against certain criteria set to ensure students have access to high-quality instruction, faculty, and administrative resources as they learn to treat ill patients in their most vulnerable moments.

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Job Outlook for Ohio

The state of Ohio regularly analyzes job growth projections, comprising public information available to driven individuals for academic and career planning. Students planning on attending online colleges in OH may also find it helpful to consider the state’s analysis on Ohio’s job outlook across sectors. The state of Ohio expects to add 455,000 jobs to its bustling economy between 2012 and 2022. A significant portion of additional jobs are expected to emerge from the healthcare and education sectors. Though manufacturing is currently Ohio’s most productive industry, it is expected to falter in the upcoming years as automobile production slows. Online colleges in Ohio help residents and potential Ohio inhabitants plan or reroute their careers from the comfort of their homes, without minimal interference to their daily lives.

Top Industries in Ohio

Industry Description
Manufacturing Employing 12.4% of the population and contributing to 17% of the GDP, manufacturing is an essential component of the state’s economy. Ohio produces significant amounts of America’s steel, rubber, and plastic products.
Transportation & Trade General Motors, Ford, Honda, and Chrysler have a prominent presence in this northern state. Ohio exports its manufactured transportation equipment to over 200 countries. This flourishing sector employs almost 20% of Ohio’s residents.
Business Services Business services is a generic term describing intangible sold commodities such as those offered by medical, logistical, and financial industries. Such services encompass 13% of Ohio’s GDP, with the most notable business services providers being Cleveland Clinic, Ohio State University, and J.P. Morgan.

Source: Ohio Development Services Agency

Top Employers in Ohio

Top Employers Number of Employees
Wal-Mart 50,500
Cleveland Clinic 49,050
Kroger 43,850

Source: Ohio Development Services Agency

Ohio by the Numbers

Per capita income:

  • State: $44,876
  • US average: $29,979

Median household income:

  • State: $49,429
  • US average: $55,775

Gross Domestic Product:

  • State: $608.1 billion
  • US: $18.57 trillion