Columbus, Ohio (OH) Colleges and Universities

There are about 50 colleges and universities in Columbus, Ohio. Read about the schools with the most program variety, highest graduation rates, lowest student-faculty ratios and lowest costs to find the school for you.

School Ranking Overview

While the majority of postsecondary institutions in Columbus are private, for-profit schools with a singular focus, students can find a mix of more traditional public and private, not-for-profit schools that offer a variety of programs. This article looks at those traditional colleges and universities to determine which three are the best in each of these specific categories:

  • Most Program Variety
  • Lowest Net Price
  • Highest Graduation Rate
  • Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio

Most Program Variety

The type and number of academic programs a college offers can play an important role when choosing a college. The following three colleges offer the largest program variety in Columbus, Ohio.

1 - Ohio State University - Main Campus

Located in Columbus, Ohio State University is one of the largest colleges in the nation. Ohio State has 175 majors and 240 graduate programs. US News & World Report ranked Ohio State 18th best public school in 2013. In addition, Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center had ten specialties that were nationally ranked in 2013 by U.S. News & World Report.

For 2011-2012, the college awarded around 11,000 bachelor's degrees, 3,000 master's degrees, 1,600 doctoral degrees and four post-graduate certificates, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). For bachelor's degrees, the most popular programs in 2011-2012 were psychology, biology and biomedical sciences, human development, general finance, speech communication and rhetoric, marketing and political science, according to the NCES. The most popular master's degree programs were business administration and management, general education, electrical and electronic engineering, registered nursing and social work.

2 - Columbus State Community College

Columbus State Community College (CSCC), with a main campus in Columbus, is a 2-year college that offers more than 100 academic programs. The college offers certificate and associate degree programs, as well as a variety of online courses. Career technical programs are offered in 55 areas of study. The programs at CSCC prepare students for careers after graduation or for transfer to 4-year colleges. Students can benefit from small class sizes, with class sizes averaging 19 students. The NCES reported that CSCC awarded around 1,360 certificates and 2,222 associate degrees in 2011-2012. The most popular area of study for certificate programs was health information/medical records administration, while the most popular areas for associate degrees were liberal arts and sciences, business administration and registered nursing, according to the NCES. CSCC also has a campus in Delaware and nine off-site learning centers in various suburban neighborhoods.

3 - Capital University

The oldest university in central Ohio, Capital University is a 4-year private university in Columbus, although its main campus is located in Bexley, a suburb of Columbus. Capital University offers around 90 academic programs at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree levels. According to the NCES, the university awarded over 830 degrees in 2011-2012, with the most popular areas of study being registered nursing, business administration and law. Capital University has a student enrollment of around 3,500 students annually. U.S. News & World Report ranked Capital University 30th in its 2013 Best Colleges - Regional Universities - Midwest category.

Lowest Net Price

Students sometimes think they can't afford to pursue a degree because of the cost of attending college. Knowing the cost of different colleges can make finding the right college easier. The NCES determines the net cost by subtracting government or financial aid a student receives from the total cost of attendance. In Columbus, students can find schools with net prices ranging from just under $5,000 to nearly $27,000. The three schools listed below offer the lowest net prices for schools offering traditional programs in the Columbus area.

1 - Columbus State Community College

Columbus State Community College has a net cost of $4,849, making it one of the most affordable colleges in Columbus. The NCES reported that the 2012-2013 tuition rates for CSCC were $3,400 for Ohio residents and $6,800 for out-of-state residents. According to the NCES, 51% of CSCC's students received grant or scholarship aid in 2010-2011, with the average award amount at $4,741. Around 60% were recipients of federal student loans during that year, with average loan amounts at $4,832.

2 - Ohio Dominican University

Located in Columbus, Ohio Dominican University (ODU) has a net cost of $17,513. ODU is a 4-year private school that offers certificates and associate, bachelor's and master's degree programs, as well as evening-only degree completion programs. The 2012-2013 estimated yearly tuition was $28,104, according to the NCES. Students of ODU who lived on campus paid an estimated $40,860 as of 2012-2013, which included tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board and other living expenses. For the 2010-2011 school year, around 68% of the students received grant or scholarship aid, with the average amount received at $13,024, reported the NCES. The 50% who had federal student loans received an average of $7,991.

3 - Ohio State University - Main Campus

With a net cost of $19,082, Ohio State is the third most affordable of the traditional colleges in Columbus offering a variety of programs. The 2012-2013 estimated yearly tuition was $10,037 for in-state students and $25,445 for out-of-state students, the NCES reported. For the 2011-2012 year, around 59% of students received grant or scholarship aid, with the average award amount at $7,526, according to the NCES. Approximately 48% received federal student loans; the average loan amount was $6,930. SmartMoney magazine ranked the university 11th in its nationwide comparison of tuition costs and graduate income, according to 2013 data from the university. The magazine indicated that Ohio State graduates had an average tuition investment return of 179%.

Highest Graduation Rate

The overall graduation rate of a college is the number of students who complete their programs in 150% of the normal time (for instance, six years is the normal time for a bachelor's degree). Knowing a school's graduation rate may help students choose a college. Overall graduation rates for traditional schools in Columbus were about 48% on average for students who graduated in 2011. The following three colleges offer the highest graduation rates among Columbus schools with traditional programs, according to NCES statistics.

1 - Ohio State University - Main Campus

With an overall graduation rate of 80% for students who started taking courses in 2005, Ohio State has one of the highest rates of traditional colleges in the Columbus area. For 2011-2012, Ohio State had a retention rate of 93% for full-time students and 61% for part-time students, according to the NCES. The retention rate represents the percentage of students who started in 2010 and returned in 2011. The college, with a total enrollment of 64,000 students, offers many services to help ensure a student's success, such as tutoring, a writing center, learning centers and the First Year Experience program.

2 - Otterbein University

Located around 15 miles from Columbus in Westerville, Otterbein University is a 4-year college that has an overall graduation rate of 62% for students who started in 2005. Its retention rate for full-time students returning in 2011 was 75%, based on NCES statistics. Otterbein University offers bachelor's and master's degrees, professional practice doctoral degrees and post-master's certificates. Students can choose from 73 majors, 44 minors and five graduate programs. U.S. News & World Report ranked Otterbein University 16th on its list of regional universities in the Midwest in 2013.

3 - Capital University

Ranking a close third in this category among schools with traditional programs, Capital University has an overall graduation rate of 61% for students who began taking courses in 2005. According to U.S. News & World Report, Capital University freshmen had a retention rate of 74% in 2010-2011. The university had an enrollment of almost 2,700 students for the 2012-2013 school year.

Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio

Students often look for schools with small classes and low student-faculty ratios to ensure more one-on-one attention. Among traditional schools in Columbus, the highest student-faculty ratio was 23:1. The schools listed below offer the lowest student-faculty ratios for Columbus, Ohio, colleges and universities offering traditional programs.

1 - Capital University

Capital University offers a student-faculty ratio of 11:1 - one of the lowest among traditional colleges in Columbus. The college reports that it provides students with small classes, and in Fall 2012 more than half of its classes had 19 or fewer students. The university has about 200 full-time and 200 part-time faculty members.

1 - Otterbein University

Otterbein University also offers a student-faculty ratio of 11:1. For Fall 2011, the university had 175 full-time and 136 part-time instructional faculty members, according to the NCES. At that same time, two instructional graduate assistants were employed at the school.

3 - Ohio Dominican University

Ranking third among traditional schools in terms of low student-faculty ratio, Ohio Dominican University offers a ratio of 14:1. In Fall 2011, Ohio Dominican University had around 165 full- and part-time faculty members, the NCES reported. Of the school's full-time faculty members, about 90% have a Ph.D.

Columbus, Ohio Schools at a Glance

School Name Location School Type Degrees Offered Area Ranking
Capital University Columbus, OH 4-year, private not-for-profit Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio
3rd Most Program Variety
3rd Highest Graduation Rate
Columbus State Community College Columbus, OH 2-year, public Less than 1-year, 1- to-2-year certificates; associate degrees Lowest Net Price
2nd Most Program Variety
Ohio Dominican University Columbus, OH 4-year, private not-for-profit Less than 1-year and 1- to-2-year certificates; associate, bachelor's and master's degrees 2nd Lowest Net Price
3rd Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio
Ohio State University - Main Campus Columbus, OH 4-year, public Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees; post-baccalaureate and post-master's certificates Most Program Variety
Highest Graduation Rate
3rd Lowest Net Price
Otterbein University Westerville, OH (15 miles from downtown Columbus) 4-year, private not-for-profit Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees; post-master's certificates Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio
2nd Highest Graduation Rate

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