Beginning a college education—whether in person or online—is one of the most significant transitional events a person goes through in their lifetime. However, it is often the case that many potential students do not know which resources may benefit them during the process of selecting a school. How does one know how to tell if a school is properly accredited, or offers programs at the level at wish they wish to study? The information found on this page is designed to help answer these questions, and to ensure Ohio residents are able to pursue their long-term educational goals with as few interferences as possible.
With the wide variety of online programs being offered throughout Ohio, it can be difficult to decide which programs may be most beneficial to a student. It is common for students to have questions regarding credit transferability, financial aid coverage and number of available programs, so we’ve put together a ranked list of the best accredited online colleges in Ohio and the best affordable online colleges in Ohio. These rankings take into account student graduation rate, availability of online learning options, student-teacher ratio, and other such criteria. Read below to find Ohio’s best online learning opportunities that will help you meet your goals.
Accredited public or private not-for-profit institution
At least 3 online associate degrees or certificate programs (2-year schools)
At least 3 online bachelor’s or master’s degrees (4-year schools)
Annual in-state tuition below $5,000 (2-year schools)
Annual in-state tuition below $25,000 (4-year schools)
Colleges receive a total score based on performance in the following categories:
Average in-state net price for first-time/full-time undergraduates
Count and breadth of online programs available
6-year graduation rate (4-year schools only)
% of beginning, full-time undergrads receiving scholarship/grant aid from the college
Average $ of financial aid students receive directly from the college
Availability of academic/career counseling services
Availability of job placement services for students and graduates
3-year loan default rate
AC Online Peer-Based Value (PBV)*
*PBV is a proprietary metric that compares the cost of a program to the cost of other programs with the same (or a similar) qualitative score. It also compares the qualitative score of the program to the score of other programs with the same (or similar) cost. In short, the PBV calculation denotes the overall value – or ‘bang for your buck’ – of an online degree.
Our college rankings are backed by data collected and analyzed from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, a program managed by the National Center for Education Statistics. Surveying over 7,500 colleges annually, it is among the most longstanding and trusted providers of U.S. postsecondary information.
Most recent “Final Release” data available as of October 2017
|Rank||University||Location||Score||Annual Tuition||# of Online Programs||Financial Aid %||Student-Teacher Ratio||Grad Rate||Credit for Experience||Placement Services||Counseling Services||University Information|
|1||Mount Vernon Nazarene University||Mount Vernon, OH||100.00||$15,845||6||100%||13:1||60%||no||yes||yes|
Being a small Christian school, Mount Vernon Nazarene University sees a student population of around 2,200, with nearly 440 of those students earning their degree online. Through MVNU's online campus, students can complete an associate, bachelor's or master's degree in fields such as business, education, ministry leadership and public administration. Some programs, such as the master's of arts in education, require in-person practicums so coursework is not offered 100 percent online. Similarly, the bachelor of business administration is only offered online to students who have previously completed 56 credit hours, either at MVNU or at a regionally accredited college. Students at MVNU have access to on-campus Christian counseling, IT services, libraries and a center for student success that supports career and academic development. Scholarships and other financial aid are available to specific student groups such as incoming freshmen, transfer students and a host of athletes, musicians and other bright individuals.
|2||Tiffin University||Tiffin, OH||99.03||$21,510||29||89%||15:1||42%||yes||yes||yes|
Tiffin University has 40 online bachelor's and master's degree programs available through accelerated classes. Tiffin's online programs were developed for students who work full-time and are offered in various academic fields such as business, criminal justice, management, psychology and marketing. Courses last seven weeks and there are six possible start dates throughout the year, so students have multiple opportunities to start their program. Online courses at TU are asynchronous so students can do their classwork around their schedule. Classes are powered through the learning portal, Moodle. TU wants to ensure all its online students succeed. As a result, several academic resources are available, such as individual tutoring services, library access and skill-building workshops. Undergraduate online students benefit from a discounted tuition rate and graduate students who are TU alumni also receive a $150 per credit discount. Other financial assistance at TU includes special military tuition rates as well as rates for partnered businesses in Ohio.
|3||University of Toledo||Toledo, OH||98.88||$8,052||18||89%||20:1||46%||yes||yes||yes|
For the past 20 years, The University of Toledo has been providing online education through individual courses and full degree programs. Through UT Online, students can earn a degree or certificate that spans the spectrum of academia, from associate to doctorate levels, without the burden of traveling to campus. At least nine online programs are available at each degree level from associate to master, and can be earned in fields such as education, liberal studies, engineering, business and healthcare. Three bachelor's degree options are completion programs, which are designed for students with previous college credit. Some UT Online programs include face-to-face components such as field experiences, clinical placements or student teaching, depending on the field of study. A full list of programs with in-person requirements can be found here. With the exception of California and Massachusetts resident, students living outside of Ohio are permitted to enroll in UT's online programs. Adult, transfer and online students are eligible to receive scholarships allocated for non-traditional students. Roughly 85 percent of new students are awarded a grant or scholarship at UT.
|4||Ohio State University-Main Campus||Columbus, OH||97.90||$9,168||7||79%||19:1||83%||no||yes||yes|
At Ohio State University, several educational opportunities are available to online students, from certificate to doctorate programs. Online classes at OSU allow students to learn course material and complete assignments on their own schedule. Students have access to more than 20 online degree programs. Distance learners can pursue nursing, early education, dental hygiene or social work, to name a few. While associate and bachelor's degrees are available, the majority of OSU's online options are master's degree programs. At OSU, an online degree is defined as having at least 50 percent of the program offered digitally, so certain online programs may include in-person requirements. Such details should be noted in the specific program's requirements and syllabus. Tuition for online learners is a set price, regardless of students' residency. Students can use this resource to find out which programs are available in their state.
|5||Ohio University-Main Campus||Athens, OH||97.85||$10,602||18||80%||18:1||66%||yes||yes||yes|
At Ohio University, students can earn an online degree through OHIO Online, the university's digital campus. Currently, Ohio provides nine bachelor degree-completion programs and five associate programs in an online format. Some associate programs are offered in a “flexible format,” which is a mix of online, print and/or independent learning. OHIO's online bachelor's programs allow students to complete some coursework simultaneously at local community colleges, but students can also complete all courses through OHIO Online. Graduate students have the largest program variety, with 26 fully online degrees and seven blended programs. Online master's degrees can be completed in subjects ranging from education to engineering, while undergrad degrees can be earned in areas such as criminal justice, nursing, psychology and communication. In the 2017-2018 school year, out-of-state online students paid three dollars more per credit than in-state students.
|6||University of Cincinnati-Main Campus||Cincinnati, OH||97.70||$9,332||29||54%||18:1||63%||yes||yes||yes|
The University of Cincinnati gives students the flexibility to complete their education online with more than 80 certificate and degree programs. Distance learning through Cincinnati Online is a popular choice - in the 2016 academic year, nearly 5,500 students chose to earn their degree online at UC. Most distance programs are offered entirely online and are comparable in quality to their campus-based counterparts. Undergraduate degrees are available in a range of disciplines through UC's College of Allied Health Sciences, College of Arts & Sciences, College of Blue Ash, Clermont College, College of Education, Criminal Justice and Human Services, College of Engineering and Applied Science, and College of Nursing. Graduate students can choose from 23 online master's degrees and one doctorate program in health sciences, engineering, education, criminal justice and nursing. UC is authorized to provide online education in all states in agreement with the NC-SARA regulations. Interested students can learn about past online learners' success on the school's Fall Fact Sheet.
|7||Miami University-Oxford||Oxford, OH||97.45||$11,673||8||64%||15:1||81%||yes||yes||yes|
Online learning at Miami University caters to full-time, campus-based students who want flexibility to complete some courses online as well as working professional looking to earn an advanced degree or certificate from anywhere around the world. The eLearning Miami (ELM) department is the gateway to online student resources such as IT services, writing tutoring, library access and Canvas assistance. Graduate students at MU can pursue one of three fully online master's programs in design, educational technology or biology. Four master's degree programs are offered in a hybrid format in the same subjects, plus a creative writing program. Students can also complete a fully online graduate certificate in instructional design, autism disorders or entrepreneurship. Qualifying Ohio high school students can get a jump start on their bachelor's degree by taking online courses at ELM for college credit.
|8||Bowling Green State University-Main Campus||Bowling Green, OH||97.40||$9,096||17||71%||20:1||54%||yes||yes||yes|
Bowling Green State University offers 100 percent online degree programs through the school's eCampus. BGSU's online programs were created for unconventional students who may need to work full-time or have other commitments that bar them from attending class in person or at traditional times. BGSU's programs are offered in seven-week time periods, at six different start dates per year, at a pace twice as fast as a traditional college semester. Four Bachelor of Science degrees are available in business administration, allied health, quality systems and management. For graduate students, 11 programs are provided in addition to eight certificate and endorsement programs. Online degrees at BGSU offer the same quality education as on-campus programs and are offered in states that are part of the NC-SARA agreements.
|9||Wilberforce University||Wilberforce, OH||97.20||$12,020||24||67%||8:1||24%||yes||yes||yes|
Founded in 1865, Wilberforce University is among the nation's top five oldest historically black colleges. Today, enrollment at this small private college reaches around 500 students. Wilberforce has 23 undergraduate programs in majors such as biology, English, computer science, communications and sociology. The programs award graduates with either a BA or BS degree. For adult learners aged 23 or older, Wilberforce provides the Credentials for Leadership in Management and Business (CLIMB) program to help atypical students complete their degree. The CLIMB program allows adults to take classes online, in the evenings, or in a blended format to complete a bachelor degree within 18 months. Prior to enrollment in CLIMB, students must already have completed a minimum of 45 university credits, with at least a 2.0 GPA. Through CLIMB, students can complete one of four degree tracks: criminal justice, information systems, health and humanities or organizational management.
|10||Kent State University at Kent||Kent, OH||96.86||$10,012||11||78%||21:1||52%||no||yes||yes|
The second largest university in Ohio, Kent State University has eight campuses based in Ohio, six facilities in other states and four international learner centers, serving more than 40,000 undergraduate and graduate students. To make learning at KSU even more accessible, Kent State Online provides more than 25 online degrees, plus a handful of certificate programs. Undergraduate students can earn an associate degree online in office technology, environment management or computer technology. At the bachelor level, five online programs are available. Two of them -- nursing and respiratory care -- require students to have already completed an associate degree. The remaining programs in public health, insurance studies, and technical and applied sciences don't require prior college credit to enroll. Graduate students can complete their master's degree in a mix of different practices such as art education, latin, business, translation and public administration. Online classes at KSU employ Blackboard Learn as a digital classroom system, and support for using the technology is offered online.
|11||Youngstown State University||Youngstown, OH||96.18||$7,847||11||59%||17:1||33%||yes||yes||yes|
With 13,000 students, Youngstown State University prides itself on being just the right size to keep students from “getting lost in the crowd”. The university offers more than 115 undergraduate and 40 graduate programs, providing plenty of options to choose from. Through YSU's distance education department, students can complete a bachelor or master's degree online, with six programs available at both levels. Five of the online bachelor degrees are completion programs for students with an associate degree. The online B.S.A. in public health can be completed in eight semesters. Graduate students can earn their master's degree online in fields such as business administration, respiratory care and financial economics. At YSU, more than $7 million is awarded annually to students through the university's scholarship opportunities, including between $500 to $1,000 for online graduate students with a GPA of 3.5 or higher.
|12||Urbana University||Urbana, OH||96.03||$22,012||3||81%||20:1||34%||yes||yes||yes|
Urbana University claims the honor of being the first university in Ohio to provide degree-completion programs through distance learning opportunities. The university estimates an enrollment of 1,800 students, of which more than 250 choose to study either online or through an outreach center. Urbana provides nearly 40 certificate and degree programs, and one online MBA program with a concentration in healthcare. The degree is designed for working individuals, where students can take one class per semester to finish the program within 32 months. The online MBA program is structured into four, 12-week semesters per year, and students are required to complete nine courses. In 2014, Urbana University became part of Franklin University and in 2017 was officially recognized as a branch campus.
|13||Gods Bible School and College||Cincinnati, OH||95.83||$6,000||3||69%||11:1||35%||yes||yes||yes|
Founded in 1900, God's Bible School and College provides online degree programs centered around religious studies, ministry and church practices. The school offers nine online degree programs from the associate to master's degree level, as well as single online courses viewed through the lens of Christianity. Online students can complete an Associate of Arts degree in bible and theology, ministerial education, general studies or intercultural studies and world missions. At the bachelor level, students can earn their online Bachelor of Arts degree in church and family ministry, ministerial education, or biblical and theological studies. Master's of Arts degrees can be earned in ministry and biblical studies. God's Bible School and College is accredited by both the Higher Learning Commission and Associate of Biblical Higher Education.
|14||University of Akron Main Campus||Akron, OH||95.77||$8,618||8||61%||19:1||40%||yes||yes||yes|
The University of Akron has eight online programs available, including certificates. The RN to BSN program is the only available online bachelor's degree and is reserved for current licensed RNs with a GPA of 2.7 or higher. The program is fully online with three start dates per year. For graduate students, five degree programs are offered online and through distance education with varying admission prerequisites. The master of public health program enables students to take six core classes via teleconference, online or face-to-face on Saturdays. The M.A. in speech-language pathology program is operated as a cohort and requires students complete 400 practicum hours in-person. Graduates of this program have seen a 100 percent pass rate on the Praxis exam. The University of Akron's distance learning initiatives in teleconferencing has created an intricate web of live instruction connecting students at Ohio high schools, UA and several other universities.
|15||Wright State University-Main Campus||Dayton, OH||95.47||$8,730||10||66%||22:1||41%||no||yes||yes|
Named for the Wright Brothers of aviation, Wright State University provides one bachelor, one doctorate and an army of master's degree programs available for online completion. Online courses at WSU are conducted through Pilot, a customized learning management system by BrightSpace, that allows students and instructors to access class at anytime and from anywhere. Through WSU's distance education department, graduate students can earn their master's degree online in diverse fields including business, education, rehabilitation counseling and nursing. Undergraduate nurses can take their RN career further by completing the online bachelor of science in nursing program, and nurse practitioners can earn their doctorate online through a partnership with the University of Toledo. Online learners have technical, academic and career services available, the same as on-campus students. Prospective students living outside of Ohio should check to see if WSU is authorized to supply online education in their home state.
|16||Franciscan University of Steubenville||Steubenville, OH||94.90||$23,470||7||99%||14:1||71%||no||no||yes|
Founded by Franciscan Friars in 1946, the Franciscan University of Steubenville remains a steadfast Catholic university with 20 friars on campus today and more than 400 alumni serving as Catholic priests. Faith is present in the university's degree programs, both on campus and online. Franciscan University has 100 percent online undergraduate and graduate degree programs available in theology, education, philosophy, catechetics and business. There are six online programs total, four at the master's level and two associate. High school students can also get in on the online education action through the Franciscan Fast Track program. During the fall, spring and summer semesters, high school sophomores ages 16 or older can take online courses from a small selection offered by the university. Web courses are operated through Blackboard and incorporate recorded lectures from on-campus faculty, podcasts, webinars and discourse between instructors and students. Online programs are offered at a single tuition price for in-state and out-of-state residents and students taking a minimum of five credits are eligible for financial aid assistance.
|17||Cleveland State University||Cleveland, OH||94.78||$9,636||9||40%||18:1||32%||yes||yes||yes|
With fully online degrees, blended options and certificate programs, online students at Cleveland State University have a multitude of pathways toward earning their degree right from home. All of CSU's online classes are delivered through Blackboard Learn and are formatted to be asynchronous, allowing students to do their assignments on their time. Classes also adhere to the criteria for online learning set by Quality Matters, ensuring that students learn everything they need straight from their web course. Undergraduate students can earn a bachelor degree in nursing, business administration or organizational leadership fully online as a degree-completion program. To enroll in the nursing program, students must be active Ohio RNs. Graduate students can pursue one of seven fully online master's degrees, two blended programs and a series of online certifications. As an example, CSU's online accelerated MBA program can be completed in one year and tuition includes an Apple iPad and cellular data throughout a student's matriculation.
|18||Ohio Christian University||Circleville, OH||93.38||$16,470||15||49%||12:1||33%||yes||no||yes|
Ohio Christian University was founded in 1948 as an institution dedicated to the education of Christian church leaders and members. Since then, the university has evolved to provide education to traditional undergrads, as well as adult and graduate students. Today, OCU provides first-time undergraduates with unique online learning opportunities through OCU Online Plus. With OCU Online Plus, high school graduates can select a BA degree in business, political science, history or English that can be completed either fully online or blended with face-to-face instruction. The “plus” aspect encourages students to complete an internship, study abroad or go on a Bible retreat for credit toward their degree. For busy adults students, OCU has more than 30 associate, bachelor and graduate online degree programs that can be completed within two years. Many adult students receive tuition breaks including employer reimbursement, federal aid and military discounts.
|19||Mercy College of Ohio||Toledo, OH||92.42||$11,100||3||32%||6:1||65%||no||no||yes|
A historically Catholic university, The Mercy College of Ohio has grown its educational offerings throughout the years to include several distance learning programs. Mercy currently provides six online programs within the field of health care. Active registered nurses can complete their bachelor of science in nursing degree entirely online and RNs ready for the graduate level can earn their master's degree. The MSN program can be completed in six, eight-week semesters and requires a practicum, which can be done at a facility near the student's home. Other available online programs include two bachelor degree completions in medical imaging and health care administration. While Mercy is authorized to provide online education in most states, some programs are unavailable in certain states. Students can check Mercy's out-of-state authorization page for more info about what the college can offer in their home state.
|20||University of Northwestern Ohio||Lima, OH||92.39||$9,364||8||24%||26:1||44%||no||yes||yes|
The University of Northwestern Ohio gives students the opportunity to earn an associate, bachelor's or master's degree 100 percent online. UNOH has an MBA program, 10 bachelor of science and 11 associate of applied science degree programs available for online study. Students can major in fields such as accounting, business administration, marketing and health care administration. To gain admittance into one of UNOH's online programs, students must have at least a 3.0 GPA, as online education requires students be independent, self-reliant learners. By logging into UNOH's virtual college, students can attend class whenever they want and have access to all class materials. Tuition for all online undergraduate programs is one rate for all residencies and includes the same services provided on campus, such as library resources, advising and private tutoring.
|21||Franklin University||Columbus, OH||90.51||$11,136||37||N/A||15:1||15%||yes||no||yes|
Franklin University is a college designed to accommodate the needs of unconventional, adult students. Franklin has more than 20 learning centers in Ohio and out-of-state locations in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Indiana and Illinois. With Franklin's online degree programs, students can earn an associate, bachelor's, master's or even doctorate degree 100 percent online. The university offers more than 70 online degrees, hailing from the following departments: health care, accounting and finance, business administration, management and leadership, technology, social sciences, marketing and communications. The online programs at Franklin are instructed by the same quality faculty that teaches on-campus courses and students can log into their virtual classroom from wherever and whenever. Franklin's degree programs are transfer-friendly, allowing up to 94 credits to go towards a bachelor program, 12 to a master's degree and 24 credits towards a doctorate degree. To afford college, students have state and federal aid options, as well as a large variety of scholarships through Franklin that award $13 million annually.
|22||Union Institute & University||Cincinnati, OH||89.89||$11,760||13||N/A||10:1||42%||yes||no||yes|
Since 1964, The Union Institute and University has been paving the way for adult education programs. Understanding the demands of full-time working adults, Union provides a variety of online degree programs plus academic centers in Ohio, Florida and California. Students can complete a bachelor program online in disciplines like education, business and leadership, health and science or protection and civil service. Students can choose from among 12 programs, with online classes beginning every eight weeks. Bachelor's programs require at least 120 credits to graduate, which can be earned entirely through Union, via transfer credits or through credit for work or life experience. Some online programs demand a senior capstone or practicum, such as student teaching or field work, that requires students travel to a site to complete. Online adult students can be enrolled either full or part time.
|Rank||University||Location||Score||Annual Tuition||# of Online Programs||Financial Aid %||Student-Teacher Ratio||Grad Rate||Credit for Experience||Placement Services||Counseling Services||University Information|
|1||Cincinnati State Technical and Community College||Cincinnati, OH||100.00||$3,567||28||9%||13:1||N/A||yes||yes||yes|
|2||Columbus State Community College||Columbus, OH||98.34||$3,808||41||16%||20:1||N/A||yes||yes||yes|
|3||Sinclair Community College||Dayton, OH||96.88||$3,169||15||34%||16:1||N/A||yes||yes||yes|
|4||Clark State Community College||Springfield, OH||96.37||$2,912||13||5%||14:1||N/A||yes||yes||yes|
|5||Edison State Community College||Piqua, OH||96.02||$3,610||6||16%||17:1||N/A||yes||yes||yes|
|6||James A Rhodes State College||Lima, OH||95.65||$3,845||7||25%||14:1||N/A||yes||yes||yes|
|7||North Central State College||Mansfield, OH||95.01||$3,016||3||11%||13:1||N/A||yes||yes||yes|
|8||Cuyahoga Community College District||Cleveland, OH||94.77||$3,953||23||2%||21:1||N/A||yes||yes||yes|
|9||Lakeland Community College||Kirtland, OH||94.17||$4,136||5||15%||17:1||N/A||yes||yes||yes|
|10||Central Ohio Technical College||Newark, OH||94.15||$4,296||4||8%||15:1||N/A||yes||yes||yes|
|11||Eastern Gateway Community College||Steubenville, OH||93.83||$3,510||17||18%||18:1||N/A||yes||no||yes|
|12||Stark State College||North Canton, OH||93.80||$2,796||13||11%||21:1||N/A||yes||yes||yes|
|13||Terra State Community College||Fremont, OH||93.20||$3,999||3||18%||16:1||N/A||yes||yes||yes|
With the constant development of technology, many Ohio schools have made a point to utilize these advancements to allow for greater accessibility to collegiate-level learning. Ohio State University, for example, offers nearly 20 fully online academic programs that can lead a student to earning a degree at the associate, baccalaureate, or graduate level. Many four-year Ohio institutions—like Ohio University—have developed transfer agreements with community colleges in their area, and accept online credit just as readily as they would traditional credit.
The difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition rates varies from state to state, but it is not uncommon for out-of-state students to be paying more than double what in-state students are charged. Ohio residency is most often dictated by the length of time a student has lived in the state, with a required minimum of 12 months. Exceptions to this rule may also be made when considering a potential student’s marital dependency or background in the armed forces. As a comparative example, tuition rates for the 2015-2016 school years are as follows:
$3,642—Public, two-year institution
$9,757—Public, four-year institution
$7,409—Public, two-year institution
$24,354—Public, four-year institution
Source: U.S. Department of Education, 2017
It is most often the case that a student who is not living in Ohio, or has not lived in Ohio for longer than twelve months, will be paying out-of-state tuition prices. Students new to living in Ohio may be eligible to qualify for in-state tuition rights if they are holders of an Ohio driver’s license, qualify to vote in the state of Ohio, or meet other such parameters. If a student grew up in Ohio or has lived in Ohio for longer than twelve months, they can expect to be charged at a cheaper rate.
Depending on which state a student is coming from, however, there may be other avenues to securing in-state tuition rights. If a student lives in one of the ten states that partner with the Midwest Student Exchange Program and plans on attending a qualifying school, they will not be charged more than 150 percent of Ohio’s typical in-state rates. Partnering states include Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Wisconsin.
1.Students who have lived in the state of Ohio for longer than twelve months are eligible for in-state tuition rights, but that does not mean students coming from out-of-state do not have options.
2.A student living in one of the ten states partnering with the Midwest Student Exchange Program could benefit from researching which schools honor this agreement.
The best part about applying for many forms of financial aid is that it is free. FAFSA—or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid—is one of the most widely utilized financial coverage options that is accepted throughout the country, annually providing more over $120 billion dollars for American students. Outside of federal aid, students may also benefit from regionally funded scholarship and grant programs. The Ohio Department of Higher Education provides a number of links for students planning on pursuing a post-secondary education and are interested in receiving some form of financial coverage. In addition to applying for different forms of financial aid, students and parents may also consider reviewing a 529 savings plan to better prepare for future academic pursuits.
In order to qualify as eligible to receive financial coverage, Ohio students must meet certain criteria specified by federal parameters. One of the most important of these stipulations requires students to maintain satisfactory academic progress throughout the course of their education, which is decided by a student’s overall GPA. Depending on which form of financial coverage a student is applying for, they will also be required to meet a certain credit count per-semester.
Most often, a student is required to maintain a 2.0 GPA or higher to receive aid.
If a student exceeds 150 percent of the required credit for a declared program, they will be exempt from financial aid coverage.
Students must satisfactorily complete 67 percent of their attempted courses. This requirement is reviewed on an annual basis.
While most institutions throughout the state of Ohio offer scholarships specific to their school, students may also choose to apply for state-funded and nationally-funded grants and scholarship programs. In order to apply for some of these funding options, students may be required to first complete the FAFSA form.
There are a number of scholarship types that students can be considering when looking into financial coverage. Scholarships and grants funded at the state level offer the benefit of lowering overall tuition cost for an academic program, and are available to students studying in that state. These programs often provide funding with a specific goal in mind. The Choose Ohio First program, for instance, was developed in hopes of increasing accessibility to STEMM, allowing Ohio residents to play a larger role in technological and scientific development. Grants typically differ from scholarships in that they are often more dependent on federal and state funding and are tend to be need-based, relying on income as opposed to personal merit. The Pell Grant is a common choice for students coming from low-income backgrounds, as it is offered and more than 5,000 institutions operating throughout the United States.
Additionally, all postsecondary schools have at least some scholarship programs that are merit-based instead of need-based. Whether a student is eligible for one of these programs is usually more focused on academic background than family background. Ohio State University’s National Buckeye Scholarship for Non-Ohio Residents is an example of a merit-based scholarship, and is only available to students whose academic excellence has put them in the top 25 percent of their graduating class.
The best way for a student to find available scholarships or grants, though, is to be researching what is available and accepted at their institution of choice. Each institution’s financial aid department will have plenty of information regarding the different financial coverage options that are utilized at that school.
Each form of financial coverage may have slightly different requirements for the application process. In the case of merit-based scholarships—such as the Ohio Distinction Scholarship—students who are already meeting the necessary qualifications may only be required to fill out the necessary application, along with providing proof of meeting the program’s requirements. Other forms of coverage, especially those funded at the state-level, may require the student to apply for FAFSA prior to applying for their scholarship of choice. The best way for a student to be certain that they are covering their bases when applying for a scholarship or grant is to be regularly corresponding with their school’s financial aid department.
Many students new to college may be interested in pursuing a degree online, but also may not have had any experience learning in a virtual format. Because taking online courses is a unique and specialized experience, many of these students often have similar questions. Below are some of the questions that are most often asked by students interested in pursuing an online education.
The majority of collegiate institutions are willing to honor transferable college credit, but there are a number of criteria a course must meet to be accepted. One of the most important points of information a school looks at when evaluating transfer credit is the accreditation of the school from which the credit is coming. As a general rule, credit coming from a regionally accredited school is more likely to be accepted than credit from a nationally accredited school. Utilizing the U.S. Department of Education’s accreditation database is an excellent way to tell which schools are accredited by which agencies, further allowing students to research which agencies are more respected.
Students planning on transferring credit from one Ohio institution to another are in luck. The Ohio Transfer to Degree Guarantee helps to ensure that all students studying in the Ohio area are able to move their credit around seamlessly. This is particularly beneficial for students studying at the associate level who are interested in furthering their education with a four-year degree.
As an online learner, a student has the benefit of attending a program that is in any other state without the hassle of relocating. The primary drawback to this style of learning is that it is more difficult for these students to qualify for in-state tuition rights. If an Ohio resident were to register as an online student with an Ohio school, however–particularly one that may not be in the student’s immediate area–will allow for both in-state tuition and the comfort of working from home.
Enrolling in an in-state online program also gives Ohio residents the benefit of specialized financial aid options. The Ohio College Opportunity Grant, for instance, is specifically available to Ohio residents who come from backgrounds of heightened financial need. Applying for scholarship while also being granted in-state tuition rights can result in the most affordable academic career possible while studying in Ohio.
As state above, it is always important to check a school’s accreditation before considering attending. The reason regional accreditation is preferred to national accreditation is because regional agencies have fewer schools to check for satisfactory quality–fewer schools means heightened scrutiny on each academic program. National agencies have a greater number of schools to be maintaining, causing schools of lower quality to develop less beneficial programs.
It is also important for a student to weigh in what their own personal goals may be. If a student is interested in pursuing an online degree at a cheaper rate, they may be happier attending one of Ohio’s community colleges, like Clark State Community College. However, students who are more focused on working through a four-year program right away may be interested in a school like Ohio University, which offers a number of its bachelor’s degrees in distance learning formats.