Best Public Colleges in Ohio 2024

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Public colleges and universities account for almost 75 percent of all undergraduate students in the U.S. The best public colleges in Ohio provide broad access to reputable degree programs, affordable tuition, and sprawling educational communities.

10 Best Public Colleges in Ohio

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  1. Ohio State University
  2. University of Cincinnati
  3. Miami University
  4. Ohio University
  5. Kent State University
  6. Bowling Green State University
  7. University of Akron
  8. Cleveland State University
  9. University of Toledo
  10. Wright State University
  1. Ohio State University
  2. University of Cincinnati
  3. Miami University
  4. Ohio University
  5. Kent State University
  6. Bowling Green State University
  7. University of Akron
  8. Cleveland State University
  9. University of Toledo
  10. Wright State University
  1. University of Toledo 97%
  2. Wright State University 96%
  3. Cleveland State University 91%
  4. Miami University 89%
  5. Ohio University 89%
  6. Kent State University 87%
  7. University of Akron 85%
  8. University of Cincinnati 85%
  9. Bowling Green State University 79%
  10. Youngstown State University 78%
  1. Ohio State University at Newark 29 to 1
  2. University of Cincinnati Clermont College 23 to 1
  3. Kent State University at Ashtabula 22 to 1
  4. Kent State University at Stark 22 to 1
  5. Kent State University at Salem 21 to 1
  6. University of Toledo 21 to 1
  7. Miami University Middletown 21 to 1
  8. Kent State University 21 to 1
  9. Ohio State University at Lima 20 to 1
  10. Bowling Green State University 19 to 1
  1. Miami University $13,253
  2. Ohio University $12,840
  3. University of Akron $11,880
  4. Cleveland State University $11,610
  5. Ohio State University $11,018
  6. Kent State University $11,000
  7. Bowling Green State University $10,776
  8. University of Cincinnati $10,099
  9. Wright State University $9,784
  10. Youngstown State University $9,196
  1. University of Toledo $14,758
  2. Wright State University $14,298
  3. University of Cincinnati $13,224
  4. Central State University $13,200
  5. Miami University $12,806
  6. Kent State University $11,766
  7. Kent State University at Stark $11,766
  8. Ohio State University $11,560
  9. Ohio State University at Lima $11,496
  10. Ohio State University at Mansfield $11,496
  1. Ohio State University at Lima
  2. Ohio State University at Marion
  3. Ohio State University at Mansfield
  4. Ohio University – Chillicothe
  5. Ohio State University at Newark
  6. Kent State University at Salem
  7. Ohio University Southern Campus
  8. Miami University Hamilton
  9. Kent State University at Ashtabula
  10. Kent State University at Stark
  1. Ohio State University at Marion
  2. Ohio State University at Lima
  3. Ohio University – Chillicothe
  4. Kent State University at Salem
  5. Kent State University at Ashtabula
  6. Ohio State University at Mansfield
  7. Kent State University at Stark
  8. Ohio University Southern Campus
  9. Ohio State University at Newark
  10. University of Cincinnati Clermont College
  1. Ohio State University 57%
  2. Central State University 59%
  3. Youngstown State University 78%
  4. Bowling Green State University 79%
  5. University of Cincinnati 85%
  6. University of Akron 85%
  7. Kent State University 87%
  8. Ohio University 89%
  9. Miami University 89%
  10. Cleveland State University 91%
  1. Wright State University 14 to 1
  2. Shawnee State University 14 to 1
  3. Miami University Hamilton 15 to 1
  4. Cleveland State University 15 to 1
  5. Miami University 16 to 1
  6. Ohio University 16 to 1
  7. University of Akron 16 to 1
  8. Ohio University Southern Campus 17 to 1
  9. Youngstown State University 18 to 1
  10. Ohio State University at Mansfield 18 to 1
  1. Central State University $4,842
  2. University of Cincinnati Clermont College $5,230
  3. Miami University Hamilton $5,747
  4. Miami University Middletown $5,747
  5. Ohio University Southern Campus $5,774
  6. Ohio University – Chillicothe $5,774
  7. Kent State University at Salem $6,651
  8. Kent State University at Ashtabula $6,651
  9. Kent State University at Stark $6,651
  10. Ohio State University at Lima $8,295
  1. Youngstown State University $6,453
  2. Miami University Hamilton $7,406
  3. Miami University Middletown $7,406
  4. Bowling Green State University $8,017
  5. Ohio University $9,444
  6. Shawnee State University $10,156
  7. Cleveland State University $10,419
  8. University of Akron $10,610
  9. Ohio State University at Lima $11,496
  10. Ohio State University at Mansfield $11,496

Colleges and Universities in Ohio

Ohio offers over 120 colleges and universities for students to earn their associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree. The largest school in the state, Ohio State University, a public institution, serves almost 55,000 students. This university has five regional campuses, which have graduated alumni like writer Harlan Ellison and Wikipedia cofounder Larry Sanger. The majority of Ohio’s schools, however, are private.

Find college admissions consultants in your state.

Tuition at these schools varies greatly, with costs as low as $7,000 at God’s Bible School and College, and as high as $56,000 at Kenyon University. The state is also home to nearly 40 higher education institutes with religious affiliations, offering plenty of options for students aiming to blend their faith with higher education. Although tuition costs in Ohio are higher than the national average, Ohio provides several loan forgiveness programs to those pursuing careers as public defenders and prosecutors, dentists, nurses, primary care physicians, and mental health providers. Many of these programs require individuals to work in shortage areas around the state for a certain time period in order to qualify.

If you’re someone with a wide variety of interests, Ohio might just be the place for you. In The Buckeye State, individuals can visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, take a trip through Amish Country, attend a professional sporting event, and hike waterfalls in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. It seems this state has something for everyone, including those pursuing a higher education degree.

Learn more about the numerous excellent degree paths and career prospects available in Ohio.


What are Ohio’s Colleges & Universities?

Ohio’s Best Overall

What is the difference between public and private colleges?

Public and private colleges and universities operate under different business models. Public colleges and universities are owned by the state and receive both state and federal funding to operate. Private colleges and universities are private companies with private funding. If you’re looking at the pros and cons of private vs. public colleges, consider that many public colleges provide diverse course offerings, influential professors, and an excellent return on your investment.

Public colleges are schools that receive most of their funding from tax revenues. As a result, the cost of a bachelor’s degree at a public university is often lower than the equivalent cost at a private college — especially for students attending a public school in their home state. Attending a college in-state is usually the cheapest option. Private universities and colleges can be very competitive with their funding opportunities, so do not simply believe that private colleges are always going to be more expensive. According to National Center for Educational Statistics, the average annual cost (tuition, fees, room and board for full-time students) at a public university was slightly over $20,000. In contrast, private universities cost, on average, nearly $43,000 annually. But in the end, the cost of college comes down to each student’s academic and financial situation.

Ohio's Best Public Colleges Badge
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This list is composed entirely of public colleges and universities that offer bachelor’s degrees. We’ve identified 25 public universities in Ohio. To be included in our list of the best public colleges in Ohio, shcools must receive direct funding from the state, be fully accredited, and offer a broad range of bachelor’s degress.

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Best Public Colleges in Ohio 2023

  1. #1

    Ohio State University

    Columbus , OH
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    57%

    Graduation

    88%

    Student body

    56K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1320/29

    Career Outlook for degree at Ohio State University

    Cost of Degree: $12,485
    Expenses: $17,700
    Starting Salary: $52,119
    Salary after 4 years: $66,526
    Cost Recoup Time: 10 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
  2. #2

    University of Cincinnati

    Cincinnati , OH
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    85%

    Graduation

    73%

    Student body

    34K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1225/26

    Career Outlook for degree at University of Cincinnati

    Cost of Degree: $12,334
    Expenses: $16,990
    Starting Salary: $52,903
    Salary after 4 years: $61,429
    Cost Recoup Time: 10 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary

    University of Cincinnati’s Online Degrees

    BBS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Public Health
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Interdisciplinary Studies
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: None Reported
    BS in Respiratory Therapy
    • Required Credits: 50
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Nursing
    Degree Concentrations
    • RN-BSN
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: None Reported
    BS in Radiation Science Technology
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BAS in Technical and Applied Studies (BTAS)
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Health Information Management
    • Required Credits: 52
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Law & Paralegal Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Early Childhood Education (ECE)
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Pre-Occupational Therapy
    • Required Credits: 52
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Communication
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 57
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Fire Science & Emergency Management
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: None Reported
    BS in Substance Abuse Counseling
    • Required Credits: 60-120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Information Technology
    Degree Concentrations
    • Networking and Systems
    • Software Application Development
    • Cybersecurity
    • Game Development and Simulation
    • Data Technologies
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: None Reported
    BS in Health Sciences
    • Required Credits: 59
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  3. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    87%

    Graduation

    68%

    Student body

    23K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1115/23

    Career Outlook for degree at Kent State University

    Cost of Degree: $11,373
    Expenses: $18,390
    Starting Salary: $39,853
    Salary after 4 years: $49,600
    Cost Recoup Time: 12 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
  4. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    85%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    14K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1110/22

    Career Outlook for degree at University of Akron

    Cost of Degree: $12,427
    Expenses: $15,930
    Starting Salary: $44,856
    Salary after 4 years: $53,971
    Cost Recoup Time: 11 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary

    University of Akron’s Online Degrees

    BS in Organizational Supervision
    • Required Credits: 62
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Criminology And Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Emergency Management And Homeland Security
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Public Communication
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Public Relations
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Sociology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Nursing: RN to BSN
    • Required Credits: 31
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  5. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    91%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    13K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1055/21

    Career Outlook for degree at Cleveland State University

    Cost of Degree: $12,254
    Expenses: $18,567
    Starting Salary: $45,244
    Salary after 4 years: $55,983
    Cost Recoup Time: 11 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
  6. Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    97%

    Graduation

    55%

    Student body

    15K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1097/23

    Career Outlook for degree at University of Toledo

    Cost of Degree: $11,311
    Expenses: $19,482
    Starting Salary: $48,660
    Salary after 4 years: $59,810
    Cost Recoup Time: 10 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
  7. Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Acceptance

    96%

    Graduation

    44%

    Student body

    8K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1089/21

    Career Outlook for degree at Wright State University

    Cost of Degree: $10,224
    Expenses: $15,256
    Starting Salary: $44,667
    Salary after 4 years: $54,956
    Cost Recoup Time: 10 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
  8. #11

    Youngstown State University

    Youngstown , OH
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    47%

    Student body

    10K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1075/21

    Career Outlook for degree at Youngstown State University

    Cost of Degree: $9,585
    Expenses: $14,566
    Starting Salary: $44,830
    Salary after 4 years: $53,144
    Cost Recoup Time: 10 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary

    Youngstown State University’s Online Degrees

    BS in Criminal Justice
    Degree Concentrations
    • Generalist Track
    • Required Credits: 57
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: None Reported
    BS in General Studies
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 28
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSAS in Applied Science
    Degree Concentrations
    • Allied Health
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  9. #12

    Central State University

    Wilberforce , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    59%

    Graduation

    23%

    Student body

    4K

    Career Outlook for degree at Central State University

    Cost of Degree: $7,596
    Expenses: $13,600
    Starting Salary: $27,126
    Salary after 4 years: $34,878
    Cost Recoup Time: 12 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
  10. #13

    Shawnee State University

    Portsmouth , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Graduation

    37%

    Student body

    3K

    Career Outlook for degree at Shawnee State University

    Cost of Degree: $9,341
    Expenses: $17,304
    Starting Salary: $39,489
    Salary after 4 years: $48,883
    Cost Recoup Time: 11 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Shawnee State University known for?

    Shawnee State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  11. Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Graduation

    20%

    Student body

    3K

    Career Outlook for degree at University of Cincinnati Clermont College

    Cost of Degree: $6,364
    Expenses: $15,411
    Starting Salary: $37,071
    Salary after 4 years: $44,724
    Cost Recoup Time: 10 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is University of Cincinnati Clermont College known for?

    University of Cincinnati Clermont College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    University of Cincinnati Clermont College’s Online Degrees

    BTAS in Technical And Applied Students
    • Required Credits: 60
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  12. #15

    Miami University Middletown

    Middletown , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Graduation

    19%

    Student body

    1K

    Career Outlook for degree at Miami University Middletown

    Cost of Degree: $6,670
    Expenses: $15,411
    Starting Salary: $44,464
    Salary after 4 years: $54,120
    Cost Recoup Time: 9 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Miami University Middletown known for?

    Miami University Middletown’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  13. #16

    Kent State University at Stark

    North Canton , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Graduation

    33%

    Student body

    2K

    Career Outlook for degree at Kent State University at Stark

    Cost of Degree: $6,995
    Expenses: $15,411
    Starting Salary: $34,487
    Salary after 4 years: $42,418
    Cost Recoup Time: 11 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Kent State University at Stark known for?

    Kent State University at Stark’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

  14. Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Graduation

    29%

    Student body

    <1K

    Career Outlook for degree at Kent State University at Ashtabula

    Cost of Degree: $6,995
    Expenses: $15,411
    Starting Salary: $36,454
    Salary after 4 years: $42,711
    Cost Recoup Time: 11 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Kent State University at Ashtabula known for?

    Kent State University at Ashtabula’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  15. Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Graduation

    19%

    Student body

    2K

    Career Outlook for degree at Miami University Hamilton

    Cost of Degree: $6,704
    Expenses: $15,411
    Starting Salary: $42,273
    Salary after 4 years: $53,457
    Cost Recoup Time: 9 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Miami University Hamilton known for?

    Miami University Hamilton’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Miami University Hamilton’s Online Degrees

    BS in Commerce
    Degree Concentrations
    • Small Business Management
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BAS in Health Communication
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Health Information Technology
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  16. Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Graduation

    19%

    Student body

    1K

    Career Outlook for degree at Ohio University Southern Campus

    Cost of Degree: $6,004
    Expenses: $15,411
    Starting Salary: $40,709
    Salary after 4 years: $52,523
    Cost Recoup Time: 9 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Ohio University Southern Campus known for?

    Ohio University Southern Campus’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  17. Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Graduation

    31%

    Student body

    <1K

    Career Outlook for degree at Kent State University at Salem

    Cost of Degree: $6,995
    Expenses: $15,411
    Starting Salary: $34,841
    Salary after 4 years: $41,051
    Cost Recoup Time: 11 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Kent State University at Salem known for?

    Kent State University at Salem’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  18. Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Graduation

    30%

    Student body

    2K

    Career Outlook for degree at Ohio State University at Newark

    Cost of Degree: $8,944
    Expenses: $14,918
    Starting Salary: $41,941
    Salary after 4 years: $50,448
    Cost Recoup Time: 10 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Ohio State University at Newark known for?

    Ohio State University at Newark’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  19. Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Graduation

    18%

    Student body

    1K

    Career Outlook for degree at Ohio University – Chillicothe

    Cost of Degree: $6,004
    Expenses: $15,411
    Starting Salary: $40,709
    Salary after 4 years: $52,523
    Cost Recoup Time: 9 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Ohio University – Chillicothe known for?

    Ohio University – Chillicothe’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  20. Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Graduation

    15%

    Student body

    <1K

    Career Outlook for degree at Ohio State University at Mansfield

    Cost of Degree: $8,944
    Expenses: $14,918
    Starting Salary: $33,377
    Salary after 4 years: $43,061
    Cost Recoup Time: 11 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Ohio State University at Mansfield known for?

    Ohio State University at Mansfield’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  21. Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Graduation

    15%

    Student body

    1K

    Career Outlook for degree at Ohio State University at Marion

    Cost of Degree: $8,944
    Expenses: $15,411
    Starting Salary: $32,162
    Salary after 4 years: $42,938
    Cost Recoup Time: 11 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Ohio State University at Marion known for?

    Ohio State University at Marion’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  22. Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Graduation

    24%

    Student body

    <1K

    Career Outlook for degree at Ohio State University at Lima

    Cost of Degree: $8,944
    Expenses: $15,411
    Starting Salary: $31,286
    Salary after 4 years: $43,416
    Cost Recoup Time: 11 years
    Paid back at 15% of annual salary
    What is Ohio State University at Lima known for?

    Ohio State University at Lima’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

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Ohio’s Best Public College in Your Area of Interest

2021 Ranking Archive

Many of our 2022 undergraduate focused rankings look considerably different than 2021. That’s because we took a fundamentally different apporach. For 2021 we utilized our Concentrated Influence algorithm, designed to take away the size advantage larger schools have when we rank their faculty and alumni’s academic influence. Concentrated influence highlights smaller schools that are proportionally as successful as larger universities at cultivating influential alumni and faculty.

  1. University of Cincinnati
  2. Ohio State University
  3. Ohio University
  4. Bowling Green State University
  5. Miami University
  6. Cleveland State University
  7. Kent State University
  8. University of Toledo
  9. University of Akron
  10. Ohio State University at Mansfield

Check out our directory of public colleges throughout the U.S. for a look at the top public colleges in every state.

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