Best Colleges in Cleveland, Ohio


The city of Cleveland, Ohio, has a rich history as a center of commerce. Today, it not only boasts being a hub of transportation via air, train, and bus, but it is the home of the Historic West Side Market, three major sports teams, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame & Museum. This blend of history and fun draw a rich mixture of people from all over the world to Cleveland. If this sounds intriguing to you, then Cleveland’s colleges may be the right places for you to look for your post-secondary education.

If you are not sure which area of study you would like to pursue, yet, Cleveland has options, including Cleveland State University, right downtown. If you are searching for something in the arts, research, music, or teaching, you can also find specialty institutes right in the city to serve your educational needs and interests.

The state of Ohio wants to help students who would like to attend school from out of state, too. It participates in the Midwest Student Exchange Program, which allows students from participating states to pay no more than 150% of the in-state tuition at another participating state’s colleges or universities. See if you could take part in this program by visiting

Cleveland’s population is just under 400,000 people, so it is large, but not overwhelmingly so. If you are looking for a place where there is always a sporting event to attend, a concert to enjoy, or history to learn, then Cleveland is a strong candidate in your search for finding a college education.

Colleges and Universities in Cleveland, Ohio Fast Facts

  • Degrees awarded in Cleveland (2017) = 13,139
  • Median in-state public tuition (2017) = $9,636
  • Median out-of-state tuition (2017) = $13,687
  • Largest schools by number of degrees awarded = 1.Cuyahoga Community College District, 2. Cleveland State University, 3. Case Western Reserve University

Source: DataUSA

Ranking Methodology

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 a 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 ScorecardPayscale, and school websites.

Best Colleges in Cleveland, Ohio

1. Case Western Reserve University


Score: 100

Average Net Price: $35,316/year
Retention Rate: 92%
Graduation Rate: 82%
Highest Salary After Attending: $74,600/year

Case Western Reserve University is a small, private, four-year university with less than 5,000 undergraduate students. This means admissions are fairly competitive. It has a grade of A+ from and is ranked as #2 in Best Colleges Ohio. gave it high scores for academics, value, and diversity, but much lower scores in athletics, campus, dorms, and campus food. 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. Popular majors for students at Case Western Reserve University are Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Computer Science. has ranked Case Western Reserve University #15 of 518 Best Colleges for Nursing in America, #27 of 20 Best Colleges for Chemistry in America, and #28 of 687 Best Colleges for Accounting and Finance in America.

This university also offers graduate programs. With nearly 6,700 graduate students, more students are enrolled in the graduate school than the 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.

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2. Cleveland State University


Score: 99.0

Average Net Price: $16,926/year
Retention Rate: 70%
Graduation Rate: 42%
Highest Salary After Attending: $41,300/year

Cleveland State University is a large public university with over 17,000 undergraduate students. Because they are a state school and much larger than some colleges in Cleveland Ohio, they have a 90% acceptance rate. has given this school a grade of B, based on high scores for location and diversity but average scores on other categories. They have ranked Cleveland State University #8 in Top Public Universities in Ohio. Popular majors at this school include Psychology, Medical Technician, Nursing, and Business. has ranked Cleveland State University #77 of 1,607 Best College Locations in America, #262 of 668 Best Public Universities in America, and #324 of 1,385 Best College Food in America.

This school also has programs for graduate students. They have almost 4,300 graduate students, over half of whom are studying 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.

3. Cleveland Institute of Art


Score: 98.8

Average Net Price: $34,119/year
Retention Rate: 86%
Graduation Rate: 60%
Highest Salary After Attending: $36,600/year (within 6 years)

The Cleveland Institute of Art is another small (less than 650 undergraduate students), private college. has graded them with a B-, based on high scores for diversity but low scores for campus, as well as average scores in other categories. They are ranked #33 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. has also ranked the Cleveland Institute of Art as #35 of 159 Best Colleges for Film and Photography in America and #40 of 449 Best Colleges for Art in America.

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4. Cleveland Institute of Music


Score: 98.8

Average Net Price: $37,695/year
Retention Rate: 93%
Graduation Rate: 51%
Highest Salary After Attending: $40,100/year

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. 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. The Cleveland Institute of Music has been ranked #15
of 138 Best Colleges for Music in America. It only offers one major program, so all students study Music Performance.

With nearly 200 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.

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5. Notre Dame College


Score: 98.3

Average Net Price: $21,106/year
Retention Rate: 65%
Graduation Rate: 36%
Highest Salary After Attending: $42,600/year

Not to be confused with the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame College is a small, private Catholic school. It has less than 1,300 undergraduate students, but does maintain a high acceptance rate. gave it a C- grade, due to scoring high in diversity but low in most other categories, and very low on campus and student life. Popular majors at Notre Dame College include Nursing, Business, Political Science/Government, and Early Childhood Education. It has been ranked #244 of 1692 in Most Conservative Colleges in America. has ranked Notre Dame College #475 of 1,583 Most Diverse Colleges in America and #624 of 1,407 Best College Athletics in America.

With less than 170 students enrolled in graduate studies, the population of graduate students is much smaller than undergrads at Notre Dame College. 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.

6. Cuyahoga Community College District

Score: 97.5

Average Net Price: $5,047/year
Retention Rate: 59%
Graduation Rate: 14%
Highest Salary After Attending: $27,000/year

Cuyahoga Community College is one of the best universities in Cleveland, Ohio, for students looking for a program that is affordable and flexible. It is a two-year public college with over 7,000 undergraduate students. gave it a grade of C+, based on high scores in diversity, location, and safety, but low or average scores in all other categories. The most studied majors at Cuyahoga Community College are Liberal Arts and Humanities, Nursing, Business, EMT Paramedic, Hospitality and Tourism Management, and Information Science.

7. Remington College Cleveland Campus

Score: 97.3

Average Net Price: $20,119/year
Retention Rate: 54%
Graduation Rate: 47%
Highest Salary After Attending: $26,800/year

Remington College Cleveland is one of a half dozen campuses in the Remington College system. This small, private, trade school has less than 700 undergraduate students. Its grade given by is a C, based on low scores for all categories. Popular majors at Remington College Cleveland include Cosmetology, Dental Assisting, Medical Assisting, HVAC/Refrigeration Engineering Technician, and Medical Insurance Coding.

8. Bryant & Stratton College Cleveland

Score: Honorable Mention – no retention rate given

Average Net Price: $16,207/year
Retention Rate: not available
Graduation Rate: 6%
Highest Salary After Attending: $24,100/year

Bryant & Stratton College Cleveland is another school that is part of a more extensive network of campuses. It is a for-profit college with just over 100 undergraduates. has given it a grade of C+, based on high scores for safety and location but low and average scores for everything else. Popular majors at Bryan & Stratton College Cleveland include Business, Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement Administration, Medical Assisting, and Medical Secretary.

Further Reading: Cheapest Online College Rankings

List of Colleges in and Near Cleveland, OH

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


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