Online Colleges in Ohio: Rankings & Report

#1: University of Cincinnati


general campus shots

  • Tuition: $553.56 per credit hour (higher than average)
  • Accreditation Status: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission
  • Online Degree Info: http://www.uc.edu/distance.html

What we really liked:
The University of Cincinnati has several online degree programs, with many of them landing in the U.S. News Top 100 for online education. With a special emphasis on healthcare professions, the University of Cincinnati offers a range of Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees for students looking to get started in the industry. In addition, their career services department is fully staffed, so you can be sure there is a smooth transition from school to job.

What we didn’t like:
While the University of Cincinnati has strong scores all around, it didn’t rock our socks off in any one area. With big school resources, we were hoping for a little more innovation in their services and a little more diversity in their online programs. And it’s more expensive than most.

5/5 – Performance Score

With a better-than-average graduation rate, a very strong retention rate, a good portfolio of online programs, and small bonuses for ranking in US News and Money 2014, the University of Cincinnati is an all-around winner when it comes to academic performance.

  • Graduation Rate: 58%
  • Retention Rate: 86%
  • Placement on US News Online Rankings: 87
  • Placement on Money 2014 List: 372
  • Placement on Washington Monthly’s Top Colleges:
  • Total Bachelor’s / Master’s Offerings: 29

4/5 – Response Score

The University of Cincinnati’s responses were useful and informative. For example, their career services department was particularly helpful:

CDC has co-curricular internships which means they are not typically for credit. If you want an internship for credit, you can work through the Division of Professional Practice & Experiential Learn (Co-op) or depending on your major, you might work directly with a head of a particular department head.

We have several online resources such as a career assessment tool, a resume writing and interview practice tool, and career and job assistance videos that you can watch. I also teach one online course for Engineering majors which is a professional development course designed to assist students transition to the world of work.

– University of Cincinnati Career Services Department

But they selectively omitted a few of our questions. Luckily, we were able to supplement their responses with a lot of online research and follow up phone calls. We felt like we got a strong sense of the resources available to students, but we would have preferred a complete response in the beginning.

4.17/5 – Transparency Score

Surprisingly, the University of Cincinnati does not provide faculty bios. We think it’s really important for prospective students to know the credentials and research interests of departmental faculty, especially the ones teaching online courses. Unfortunately, the University of Cincinnati only provides a directory listing.

4.25/5 – Career Services Score

In addition to the typical online resources of a job board, resume review services, and virtual interview prep, the University of Cincinnati operates a co-op program. In fact,

If you want an internship for credit, you can work through the Division of Professional Practice & Experiential Learning. Or, depending on your major, you might work directly with the head of a particular department.

-University of Cincinnati Career Services Department

We were also impressed with their unique, career-oriented online resources, such as career assessment tool, a resume writing and interview practice tool, and career and job assistance videos. Additionally, they also teach online, career-oriented courses such as Professional Development for Engineers. Overall, the University of Cincinnati seems committed to preparing their students for the workforce.

3.75/5 – Financial Aid Score

The University of Cincinnati excels at providing full, four-year scholarship opportunities, including special scholarships for merit scholars and alumni legacy. They also provide a broad base of funding sources:

The University of Cincinnati works with all federal aid programs as well as some state funded programs. The FAFSA is the primary application used by our students to apply for federal funds, though some of our students do choose to use alternative (private) loans instead of federal funding.

– University of Cincinnati Career Services Department

However, most of UC’s standard financial aid services are average or slightly above average. They do not offer a ten month payment plan, and with tuition higher than average, those bills are going to sting a little bit.

#2: Ohio University


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  • Tuition: $240 per credit hour (much lower than average)
  • Accreditation Status: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission
  • Online Degree Info: http://www.ohio.edu/ecampus

What we really liked:
Based on the numbers, Ohio University really concentrates on educating and graduating students. The school’s low tuition rate, coupled with a growing portfolio of online programs, makes it one of our top choices for an online education in Ohio. Drawing upon the resources of a 27,000+ student campus, their financial aid and career services departments offer a host of online resources.

What we didn’t like:
We would have liked to see better responses to our inquiries. While a lot of information is available online, the specific responses to our questions were very light, and mostly directed us back to their website.

4.53/5 – Performance Score

  • Graduation Rate: 67%
  • Retention Rate: 79%
  • Placement on US News Online Rankings:
  • Placement on Money 2014 List: 389
  • Placement on Washington Monthly’s Top Colleges:
  • Total Bachelor’s / Master’s Offerings: 12

With a 67% graduation rate and a 79% retention rate, Ohio University scores much higher than average for Ohio schools. Couple that with a strong core of online program offerings, and a moderate bonus for placing on the Money 2014 list, and you have a well performing, highly regarded choice for an online education.

2/5 – Response Score

Unfortunately, Ohio University did not address any of our questions directly. They preferred to redirect our questions to their website, which was very informative but not everything we wanted to know.

But when we called them on the phone, their responses were very helpful. The financial aid representative walked us through the entire process of tuition and payments, and the career services representative outlined all of the services available to online students.

If you have specific inquiries for Ohio University, we recommend calling them, letting them know that you have already reviewed their website, and that you would like additional information from a program expert.

5/5 – Transparency Score

Ohio University had a perfect score on our 6-pronged transparency evaluation. Only 11 other schools scored this high on transparency.

4.5/5 – Career Service Score

As you would expect from a large school, Ohio University had a variety of career services options. Their staff of career counselors offer core services like resume reviews, job fairs, leadership training, and internship/job placement.

We do make career coaching appoints by phone. These are 30 minute coaching sessions that can cover whatever you need, from resume review to a job or internship search.

– Ohio University Career Services

They also have a new online system for connecting job seekers, hiring managers, and alumni that is available to all students.

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4.5/5 – Financial Aid Score

For in-state students, Ohio University is one of the most affordable education options in the state at only $240 per credit hour. In addition to a full staff of financial aid specialists, they also offer a host of scholarships and other forms of assistance. Their payment plan terms are only average, requiring the full balance to be paid off by the end of the semester. With tuition this low, however, that is a realistic option for many people. Still, we would like to see more flexible payment options spread out over a longer period of time.

#3: Malone University


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  • Tuition: $454.33 per credit hour (average)
  • Accreditation Status: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission
  • Online Degree Info: http://www.malone.edu/online/

What we really liked:
From program costs to faculty information, Malone University makes everything easy to find. The school’s performance has been recognized by US News and Money 2014, and they offer a total of nine Bachelor’s and Master’s programs, including a unique course of study with the Malone Management Program. We especially liked how their career services department brokers relationships with faculty, employers, and alumni on behalf of Malone students.

What we didn’t like:
Malone’s responses to our survey were only mildly informative, since they selectively responded to our questions. We would have liked to know more about some of their innovative career services programs.

3.73/5 – Performance Score

  • Graduation Rate: 59%
  • Retention Rate: 63%
  • Placement on US News Online Rankings: 81
  • Placement on Money 2014 List: 280
  • Placement on Washington Monthly’s Top Colleges:
  • Total Bachelor’s / Master’s Offerings: 9

Across the board, Malone was slightly better than average for all performance metrics. They seem to be committed to their online students, offering nine total online degree programs with a speciality in business.

3/5 – Response Score

In many cases, Malone simply didn’t respond to our questions. But when they did, their responses were helpful. For example, when we asked them about ways to pay for school, they pointed us in several directions:

In additional to institutional aid, Malone University also participates in all Federal Title IV financial aid programs and the State of Ohio – Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG). In addition, Malone also offers a variety of on campus employment opportunities and endowed scholarships.

– Malone University Financial Aid Office

Knowing the variety of unique payment opportunities, especially for in-state students, is extremely helpful when calculating the total cost of attending school.

5/5 – Transparency Score

Malone had a perfect score on our 6-pronged transparency evaluation. Only 11 other schools scored this high on transparency.

4/5 – Career Services Score

The close working relationships with faculty, alumni, and employers helps Malone’s career services department score:

Faculty maintain relationships with alumni as does our alumni office. These ongoing relationships are often great networking opportunities that provide current students with internships and future jobs.

– Malone University Career Services Office

We were encouraged by the fact that Malone takes alumni relationships seriously enough to involve both faculty and administration. However, we would like to have more complete information about the variety of scholarships and grants available to students.

4.5/5 – Financial Aid Score

Aside from moderately high tuition rates, Malone College scores very high on every other financial aid measurement. Their six person staff knows how to pay for school, from helping you with FAFSA paperwork to identifying grants and endowed scholarships. One particular strength of Malone’s financial aid department? They told us that “tuition payments are able to be applied over a ten month period.” That kind of flexibility is very helpful when you need it.

#4: Bowling Green State University


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  • Tuition: $303 per credit hour (much lower than average)
  • Accreditation Status: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission
  • Online Degree Info: http://www.bgsu.edu/distance-learning.html

What we really liked:
This is an affordable school with a variety of degree programs. Their financial aid services achieved a perfect score in our methodology, with plenty of staff, payment options, grant opportunities, and a lower-than-average tuition rate. Overall, Bowling Green offers a great value for the price.

What we didn’t like:
Bowling Green missed the mark on a few little things. Their responses to our questions could have been more complete, it should be easier to find faculty bios, and they could offer better career services to online students. Overall, though, Bowling Green is a strong choice across the board.

4.40/5 – Performance Score

  • Graduation Rate: 54%
  • Retention Rate: 70%
  • Placement on US News Online Rankings: 205
  • Placement on Money 2014 List: 359
  • Placement on Washington Monthly’s Top Colleges:
  • Total Bachelor’s / Master’s Offerings: 16

Bowling Green’s graduation rate is only slightly higher than average, but they offer a lot of online programs and boast a strong retention rate. Their placement in the US News and Money 2014 rankings provided a slight boost to their performance score, making it a strong, all-around education option for a student who isn’t sure what they want to study just yet.

2/5 – Response Score

Bowling Green provided responses to our general questions, but they lacked further insight than we could get from their website. The did not respond to our specific financial aid and career services questions. However, their responses about online courses were helpful:

While there are no set class times, there might be weekly chat sessions scheduled and/or course work must be completed in a timely manner throughout the semester.

– Bowling Green University

Still, we would like to know more about their financial aid and career services programs.

4.17/5 – Transparency Score

It’s difficult to find faculty bios on the Bowling Green website. If you want to know particular strengths for faculty and staff, you have to look at the individual program website, then browse faculty names, then click on their bio. So if you wanted to know how many professors specialize in statistics, you would have to conduct your research by selecting a program, then reading each bio individually. Bowling Green could improve how this information is organized and increase their transparency score.

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4.5/5 – Career Services Score

Bowling Green has a strong staff of career specialists, and good integration between alumni and career counselors. Overall, they have a very strong career services department. We would like to see even more online tools for students who can’t attend job fairs or meet face to face with career counselors.

5/5 – Financial Aid Score

When it comes to financial aid, Bowling Green has it all: a full staff of professionals, flexible payment options, low tuition rates, and unique scholarship and grant options. It’s clear that Bowling Green is dedicated to helping its students pay for college.

#5: Hiram College


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  • Tuition: $445 per credit hour (average)
  • Accreditation Status: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission
  • Online Degree Info: http://www.hiram.edu/admission/online

What we really liked:
Hiram College is a small school, with an emphasis on putting traditional majors (like English and Art) online. If you are looking to study one of the liberal arts online, we highly recommend considering Hiram. We also really liked their FAQ for online students.

What we didn’t like:
Overall, Hiram College has slightly lower scores in each category compared to some of the larger state schools in Ohio. But even though their scores aren’t perfect, they are still well above average. In their response to our questions, they addressed this issue, saying that their smaller size provides “more intimate connections with our students.”

4.20/5 – Performance Score

  • Graduation Rate: 64%
  • Retention Rate: 75%
  • Placement on US News Online Rankings:
  • Placement on Money 2014 List: 503
  • Placement on Washington Monthly’s Top Colleges:
  • Total Bachelor’s / Master’s Offerings: 4

While Hiram only offers four online degrees, they are pretty broad subjects. Of particular note is their Bachelor of Arts in Humanities and Fine Arts. They are the only school in the top five to offer any humanities or arts degrees online. With above average graduation and retention rates, coupled with a bonus from their placement on the Money 2014 rankings, Hiram College ends up with a very strong performance score.

3/5 – Response Score

Hiram provided detailed responses to our general questions and our career services questions:

We have an online job and internship database, recruiters interview on campus, and we work one-on-one with student in their job and internship search process. Since we are a small college, we are able to provide more intimate connections with our students.

– Hiram College Career Services

We would have liked to see responses to our financial aid questions. Luckily, we were able to get a lot of that information from their website. But it would have been a lot more informative to speak with an expert.

4.17/5 – Transparency Score

Most of the information about Hiram’s programs are available on their website. One way they could improve transparency is to include faculty bios, and make them easy to find.

4/5 – Career Services Score

For such a small school, Hiram has plenty of career services resources. With a full staff of professionals, they provide everything from from counseling sessions to job fairs:

“We have an online job and internship database, recruiters interview on campus, and we work one-on-one with student in their job and internship search process.”

– Hiram College Career Services

They also provide unique opportunities through the alumni network:

Hiram College alums are an excellent resource for job shadowing, internship and job referral, and moving to a new area resource.

– Hiram College Career Services

In the future, we would like to see better integration between career services and the alumni groups, as well as more online tools to support all students.

4.25/5 – Financial Aid Score

Hiram’s financial aid department scores slightly above average, with multiple scholarship options and a payment plan to cover an average tuition rate. Students must take at least six credit hours to qualify for financial aid.

High Ranking Programs That Don’t Meet the Minimum Requirements

Some of the schools we surveyed don’t meet the minimum requirements of at least four online programs, but we think they deserve a special mention here.

University of Dayton
Strong overall, with perfect transparency and career services scores. We especially liked that they have one-on-one sessions via Skype for career coaching and resume reviews. However, they only offer two graduate degrees online.

Ohio Dominican University
Only offers graduate degrees online (MBA and M.Ed.). Ohio Dominican provided a thorough response to our questions, with special strengths in career services and alumni connections.

Case Western Reserve University
Exceptionally strong career services, but with only two online programs and extremely high tuition rates, we could not include them in the overall rankings.

Getting a Two Year Degree

While our rankings concentrate on four year Bachelor’s programs, there are 37 schools that offer two year Associate’s degrees in Ohio. Some of these schools exclusively offer Associate’s degrees, and they weren’t considered in our general rankings. Here are a few of our favorites:

Stark State College
If you’re looking to get a basic business education, Stark State College offers several Associate’s Degrees and Certificate programs that help you get started in a field. With specialities like Web Design and Corporate Finance, you can study modern practices without committed to a long-term degree program. In-state tuition begins at $154 per credit hour.

Columbus State Community College
Geographic information systems is more than just putting things on a map. GIS professionals find work with governments, oil companies, transportation organizations, and much more. If you’re interested in pursuing this career path, check out Columbus State Community College’s Associate’s in Geographic Information Systems. They are also part of the Ohio Transfer Module, allowing you to transfer seamlessly to an Ohio state school. In-state tuition begins at $136 per credit hour.

University of Northwestern Ohio
With very specific Associate’s degree programs, the University of Northwestern Ohio can help you with a quick career transition. We especially liked their degree in Medical Office Management, which draws upon classes in technology, healthcare, medical ethics, and business management. Tuition begins at $265 per credit hour.

We have an online system where employers post jobs for students/alumni to view, we post job openings in students’ email, we host career fairs and employer days on campus.

– University of Northwestern Ohio Career Services

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