Best Colleges in Cleveland, Ohio 2023
Cleveland, Ohio boasts a rich history steeped in commerce, making it stand out from other cities. From being a hub of transportation through air, train, and bus, to housing the West Side Market, major sports teams, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame & Museum, the city’s past and present offer a unique blend of excitement and culture that draws people from all over the globe.
If this piques your interest, consider exploring Cleveland’s colleges for your post-secondary education. For those undecided on their field of study, Cleveland offers numerous options, including Cleveland State University in the heart of downtown. Specialized institutes also cater to interests in arts, research, music, and teaching.
Related Programs That Might Interest YouLearn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
Ohio‘s commitment to education extends beyond state borders, as it participates in the Midwest Student Exchange Program. This program facilitates students who reside in participating states to enroll in other participating colleges or universities without worrying about skyrocketing tuition fees. They only have to pay up to 150% of the resident tuition price.
For those who desire a rich college experience, Cleveland could be an ideal destination with its population of slightly under 400,000 which makes it a city that is sizeable yet manageable. Endless options for sporting events, concerts, and historical attractions guarantee that there’s always something new to explore.
The Best Colleges in Cleveland, Ohio ranking is based on four main data points in four categories:
- Affordability (net price)
- Student Satisfaction (retention rate)
- Academic Quality (4-year graduation rate)
- Highest Salary After Attending (the median annual earnings of former students one year after graduation. Only data from students who received federal financial aid is included in the calculation.)
Each data point is ranked with equal weight. Schools received a weighted overall ranking score for each individual point mentioned above–100 being the highest score possible.
In the case of tie-in scoring, the average net price was the determining factor for which school received the higher rank–the lower the net price, the higher the ranking.
All data was gathered from the National Center for Education Statistics website, College Scorecard, Payscale, and school websites.
Best Accredited Colleges in Cleveland, Ohio 2023
1. Case Western Reserve University
Average Net Price: $34,214
Retention Rate: 93%
Graduation Rate: 84%
Highest Salary After Attending: $78,330
Case Western Reserve University is a private four-year university with over 5,500 undergraduate students. This means admissions are fairly competitive. It has a grade of A+ from Niche.com and is ranked #1 in Best Colleges Ohio. While expensive to attend, with its variety of programs and high retention and graduation rates it is one of the best colleges in Cleveland Ohio. At Case Western Reserve University, the most popular majors are Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Computer Science. This university also offers graduate programs. With nearly 6,300 graduate students, more students are enrolled in graduate school than undergrad. Popular programs for graduate studies include Medicine, Social Work, Business, Finance, Law, and Physiology and Pathology. Some of the graduate programs are available to students online or through distance education.
2. John Carroll University
Average Net Price: $25,026
Retention Rate: 87%
Graduation Rate: 76%
Highest Salary After Attending: $60,293
John Carroll University is a private, Catholic institution founded in 1886. This university has about 2,660 undergraduate students. U.S. News and World Report ranked JCU #2 in Regional Universities Midwest and #3 in Most Innovative Schools. Niche.com also ranked John Carroll University and gave the school an overall grade rating of B+. John Carroll University inspires individuals to enrich themselves by developing their curiosity and dedication to learning, and to serve the community in leadership and creative problem solving. Here learners are encouraged to find their passions and pursue those things that excite them. JCU’s liberal arts education is rooted in Jesuit values and will prepare you to live an inspired life, as well as explore different career paths. Students can choose from over 70 different majors, some of their most popular being in Finance, Biology, Communications, and Psychology.
3. Oberlin College
Average Net Price: $34,777
Retention Rate: 87%
Graduation Rate: 87%
Highest Salary After Attending: $47,921
Located just 40 minutes away from Cleveland, Ohio. Oberlin offers its 2800+ students a one of a kind undergraduate education. The school has a long tradition of producing distinguished scholars and musicians. Oberlin’s focus is mainly on undergraduate teaching and hands-on research projects. They also provide study abroad experiences that are culturally immersive, as well as world-class music opportunities. U.S. News and World Report in 2022 ranked Oberlin College #16 in Most Innovative Schools and #39 in National Liberal Arts Colleges. Niche.com awarded OC with a grade rating of A-. Oberlin alumni have gone on to earn hundreds of PhDs for over a century, and their success has spilled over into nearly every industry. Graduates are making an actual difference in the world all around us as they improve lives with their work.
4. Walsh University
Average Net Price: $16,276
Retention Rate: 73%
Graduation Rate: 59%
Highest Salary After Attending: $52,533
Walsh University is a small Catholic, private school located in North Canton, Ohio. It offers some diverse undergraduate degrees and has a fairly competitive acceptance rate with 77% of students being admitted. The most popular majors at Walsh University are nursing, biology, and business. Graduating 60% of students every year, most graduates go on to earn an average salary of $38,100. Walsh University has been recognized by Niche.com ranking #5 in Best Liberal Arts Colleges in Ohio and receiving an overall grade rating of B for their academics and diversity. U.S. News and World Report ranked Walsh #115 in Top Performers on Social Mobility.
5. Baldwin Wallace University
Average Net Price: $25,361
Retention Rate: 83%
Graduation Rate: 65%
Highest Salary After Attending: $49,644
Baldwin Wallace University is a university that focuses on educating students in the arts and sciences to help them understand the secret of lifelong learning. The university offers courses that foster intellectual growth and spiritual development. It does this by providing an academic program of excellence with a challenging and supportive environment that encourages students to achieve their full potential. In 2022, the U.S. News and World Report ranked Baldwin Wallace University #3 in Best Colleges for Veterans and #4 in Best Undergraduate Teaching. Niche.com gave the university an overall grade rating of B+ for value, academics, and diversity. Popular majors to pursue at BWU include Sport/Fitness Management, Business, Early Childhood Education, and Nursing.
6. Cleveland State University
Average Net Price: $16,943
Retention Rate: 75%
Graduation Rate: 51%
Highest Salary After Attending: $46,422
Cleveland State University is a public university where over 10,500 undergraduate students study. Because they are a state school and much larger than some colleges in Cleveland Ohio, they have a 90% acceptance rate. Niche.com has given this school a grade of B-, based on high scores for location and diversity but average scores in other categories. Popular majors at this school include Psychology, Medical Technician, Nursing, and Business. This school also has programs for graduate students. Nearly 4,800 graduate students are there and over half of attend part-time. Popular programs offered by this graduate program include Business, Electrical Engineering, Law, and Social Work. A small number of these are available online and through distance education.
7. Kent State University
Average Net Price: $19,117
Retention Rate: 82%
Graduation Rate: 58%
Highest Salary After Attending: $42,837
Kent State University in Kent, Ohio has an enrollment of 21,100 undergraduate students and a total population of 26,597 across the institution. Kent State’s acceptance rate is 87%–making it one of the more selective schools in Ohio. Popular majors to study at Kent State include Nursing, Psychology, and Fashion and Apparel Merchandising. Niche.com ranked KSU #6 in Top Public Universities in Ohio and awarded them a grade rating of B. Kent State University has a lot of success which is shown by their high graduation rate of 65%. The average starting salary of Kent State graduates is $31,000.
8. Ursuline College
Average Net Price: $16,304
Retention Rate: 75%
Graduation Rate: 59%
Highest Salary After Attending: $55,319
Ursuline College was founded in 1871 as a private higher education institution. Today UC is home to more than 600 undergraduate students. Students attending Ursuline College today take advantage of the legacy set forth by its founders, who were remarkably progressive and championed women’s higher education. Ursuline College offers a wide range of academic programs, some of their most popular being in Nursing, Social Work, Rehabilitation/Therapy, and Biology. No matter what academic path you choose, you’re guaranteed to gain a wealth of invaluable experiences at Ursuline.
9. Aultman College of Nursing and Health Sciences
Average Net Price: $22,217
Retention Rate: 70%
Graduation Rate: 63%
Highest Salary After Attending: $59,279
Aultman College is a small private college that has a total enrollment of 355 undergraduate students. It is in Canton, Ohio near Cleveland. With Aultman having such a small student population, students are guaranteed to get more individualized time with professors which can be contributed to the success of the school. The Aultman College acceptance rate is 62%, which is relatively competitive. Many students who apply are seeking to study in these popular fields of study: Nursing, Radiologic Technician and Health Service Preparatory Studies. Aultman College has a lower graduation rate with 25% of students completing their degrees. But of the alumni from Aultman College have gone on to earn a great starting salary of $54,700.
10. Cleveland Institute of Music
Average Net Price: $35,600
Retention Rate: 96%
Graduation Rate: 75%
Highest Salary After Attending: $38,737
The Cleveland Institute of Music is a small, private college with less than 250 undergraduate students. Because it is so small and extremely specialized admissions are fairly competitive. Niche.com has given this school a B+ grade, based on high scores for diversity and student life, but average scores for academics, value, professors, location, and safety. It only offers one major program, so all students study Music Performance. With nearly 150 students, the graduate program at this college is only slightly smaller than the undergraduate program. There are two areas of study for graduate students at the Cleveland Institute of Music – Music Performance and Music Theory and Composition. Both are only offered on campus.
11. Malone University
Average Net Price: $18,965
Retention Rate: 68%
Graduation Rate: 57%
Highest Salary After Attending: $45,525
Malone University is a private Christian university in Canton, Ohio. Over a thousand undergraduate students and over 300 graduate students call Malone University home. The admissions rate at Malone College is around 74%, which makes the school moderately selective. Malone offers many popular majors, most of which enable students to enter the workforce with a $34,600 starting salary upon graduation. Business, Nursing, Zoology, Entomology, Communications, and Kinesiology are the most popular majors at Malone. The U.S. News and World Report ranked Malone University #89 in Regional Universities in the Midwest and #82 in Top Performers on Social Mobility.
12. The University of Akron
Average Net Price: $17,945
Retention Rate: 73%
Graduation Rate: 40%
Highest Salary After Attending: $43,796
The University of Akron is a public university in the United States. Established in 1870, it is one of the oldest universities in Ohio. In addition to its main campus in Akron, the university has regional campuses and study centers located in Cleveland, Columbus, and Wooster. As a metropolitan research university, the University of Akron is widely regarded as one of the nation’s premier institutions. The university has adapted to the needs of various communities by combining teaching, research, and service. In addition to traditional academic objectives, the school has shifted towards a STEM-centered approach, prioritizing fields like engineering, business, technology, and healthcare.
13. Cleveland Institute of Art
Average Net Price: $35,626
Retention Rate: 78%
Graduation Rate: 60%
Highest Salary After Attending: $42,779
The Cleveland Institute of Art is another small (fewer than 650 undergraduate students) private college. Niche.com has graded them with a B-, based on high scores for diversity but low scores for the campus, as well as average scores in other categories. They have ranked #110 Best Colleges for Design in America as well. Students at the Cleveland Institute of Art major in Industrial and Product Design, Illustration, Animation/Video Graphics/Special Effects, and Health Professions, as well as over ten more areas of study. Niche.com has also ranked the Cleveland Institute of Art as #41 for Most Liberal Colleges in America and #90 of 746 Best Colleges for Art in America.
14. Lake Erie College
Average Net Price: $21,000
Retention Rate: 63%
Graduation Rate: 53%
Highest Salary After Attending: $44,237
Lake Erie is a private college with an enrollment of 726 undergraduate students. Students can study Nursing and Health Sciences, Social Work, and Teacher Education. With their strong focus on student centered learning, Lake Erie is quickly becoming one of the top schools in the area. The admissions process for Lake Erie is somewhat competitive with a 70% acceptance rate. This may be because of the small atmosphere of the school and a large number of applicants. Lake Erie graduates are ready to take on the world. Lake Erie provides world-class academics and state-of-the-art facilities to create the best education. The school remains among the most affordable public universities in America.
15. The North Coast College
Average Net Price: $20,553
Retention Rate: 57%
Graduation Rate: 60%
Highest Salary After Attending: $34,388
The North Coast College is a tiny private college in Lakewood, Ohio with only 109 total students enrolled. The average class size is only 12 people. North Coast College offers degree and certificate programs in three different fields. Popular degree programs include Visual and Performing Arts, Business, Management, Marketing, Journalism, and Related Support Services. NCC is a two-year college where the highest degree offered is an associate’s degree.
16. Notre Dame College
Average Net Price: $19,353
Retention Rate: 63%
Graduation Rate: 40%
Highest Salary After Attending: $43,634
Notre Dame College is sometimes confused with the University of Notre Dame. Notre Dame College is a much smaller private Catholic school. It has fewer than 1,470 undergraduate students but does maintain a high acceptance rate. Niche.com gave it a C grade for their high diversity but average academics, athletics, and value. Popular majors at Notre Dame College include Nursing, Business, Political Science/Government, and Early Childhood Education. Notre Dame College has fewer than 120 students enrolled in graduate studies. Popular programs include Special Education and Teaching as well as Educational Administration. All of the graduate programs offered by this school are available online and through other forms of distance education. All graduate students are considered to be attending part-time.
Further Reading: Cheapest Online College Rankings
List of Colleges in and Near Cleveland, OH
|COLLEGE||LOCATION||DISTANCE FROM CLEVELAND|
|Bryant & Stratton College Cleveland||Cleveland, Ohio||1 mile from Cleveland center|
|Cleveland State University||Cleveland, Ohio||1 mile from Cleveland center|
|Case Western Reserve University||Cleveland, Ohio||4 miles from Cleveland center|
|Cleveland Institute of Art||Cleveland, Ohio||4 miles from Cleveland center|
|Cleveland Institute of Music||Cleveland, Ohio||4 miles from Cleveland center|
|Chancellor University||Seven Hills, Ohio||6 miles from Cleveland center|
|University of Phoenix Cleveland Campus||Independence, Ohio||6 miles from Cleveland center|
|Bryant and Stratton College Parma||Parma, Ohio||8 miles from Cleveland center|
|John Carroll University||University Heights, Ohio||7 miles from Cleveland center|
|Notre Dame College||Cleveland, Ohio||8 miles from Cleveland center|
|Ursuline College||Pepper Pike, Ohio||11 miles from Cleveland center|
|Baldwin Wallace College||Berea, Ohio||12 miles from Cleveland center|
|Rabbinical College Telshe||Wickliffe, Ohio||12 miles from Cleveland center|
|Bryant and Stratton College Eastlake||Eastlake, Ohio||16 miles from Cleveland center|
|Kent State University at Geauga||Burton, Ohio||27 miles from Cleveland center|
|Lake Erie College||Painesville, Ohio||27 miles from Cleveland center|
|Kent State University at Kent||Kent, Ohio||28 miles from Cleveland center|
|Hiram College||Hiram, Ohio||30 miles from Cleveland center|
|University of Akron Main Campus||Akron, Ohio||29 miles from Cleveland center|
|Oberlin College||Oberlin, Ohio||31 miles from Cleveland center|
|Herzing University Akron Campus||Akron, Ohio||33 miles from Cleveland center|