Best Colleges in Cleveland, Ohio 2023

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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 draws 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.

Related Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

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 https://www.mhec.org/programs/midwest-student-exchange-program.

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.


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 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 Accredited Colleges in Cleveland, Ohio 2023

1. Case Western Reserve University

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Score: 100

Average Net Price: $34,214
Retention Rate: 93%
Graduation Rate: 84%
Highest Salary After Attending: $78,330

Case Western Reserve University is a small, 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. Popular majors for students at Case Western Reserve University 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.

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2. John Carroll University

Score: 99.8

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

Score: 98.8

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

Score: 98.5

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

Score: 98.3

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

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Score: 97.3

Average Net Price: $16,943
Retention Rate: 75%
Graduation Rate: 51%
Highest Salary After Attending: $46,422

Cleveland State University is a large public university with over 10,500 undergraduate students. 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. They have almost 4,800 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.

7. Kent State University

Score: 97.3

Average Net Price: $19,117
Retention Rate: 82%
Graduation Rate: 58%
Highest Salary After Attending: $42,837

Kent State University, located in Kent, Ohio, is a highly recognized public university. It 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%. Those students who graduate from Kent State typically go on to earn a starting salary of $31,000.

8. Ursuline College

Score: 96.8

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. Along with your studies, there are a lot of opportunities for leadership development and building skills that will be useful for the future.

9. Aultman College of Nursing and Health Sciences

Score: 94.8

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 located in Canton, Ohio in the Cleveland Area. 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

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Score: 93.8

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.

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11. Malone University

Score: 92.8

Average Net Price: $18,965
Retention Rate: 68%
Graduation Rate: 57%
Highest Salary After Attending: $45,525

Malone University is a private Christian university located in Canton, Ohio. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 1,123 and a total graduate enrollment of 349. 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. These popular majors include Business, Nursing, Zoology, Entomology, Communications, and Kinesiology. 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

Score: 92.5

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. The University of Akron is widely considered one of the nation’s premier metropolitan research universities. The University has grown and evolved to meet the needs of local, regional, and global communities through a combination of teaching, research, and service. In addition to meeting traditional academic goals such as teaching students how to think critically and creatively, the school has also become a STEM-centered institution focusing on areas such as engineering, business, technology, and healthcare.

13. Cleveland Institute of Art

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Score: 91.5

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 (less 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.

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14. Lake Erie College

Score: 91.0

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. The school has a variety of programs for students to choose from, such as 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’s world-class academics and state-of-the-art facilities have prepared their students for success in the real world. The school is among the most affordable public universities in America, and graduates go on to have a starting salary of $31,200.

15. The North Coast College

Score: 90.8

Average Net Price: $20,553
Retention Rate: 57%
Graduation Rate: 60%
Highest Salary After Attending: $34,388

The North Coast College is a small, private college in Lakewood, Ohio. The school has 109 total enrollment, with an average class size of 12. North Coast College offers a variety of degree and certificate programs in three different fields. Popular degree programs include Visual and Performing Arts, Business, Management, Marketing, Journalism, and Related Support Services. The North Coast College (NCC) is a two-year college in California that strives to provide high-quality education for its students. The student-faculty ratio at NCC is 6-to-1, meaning that there are six students for every one faculty member. The highest degree offered by the school is an associate degree.

16. Notre Dame College

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Score: 90.5

Average Net Price: $19,353
Retention Rate: 63%
Graduation Rate: 40%
Highest Salary After Attending: $43,634

Not to be confused with the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame College is a small, private Catholic school. It has less 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. With less than 120 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.

Further Reading: Cheapest Online College Rankings

List of Colleges in and Near Cleveland, OH

COLLEGELOCATIONDISTANCE FROM CLEVELAND
Bryant & Stratton College ClevelandCleveland, Ohio1 mile from Cleveland center
Cleveland State UniversityCleveland, Ohio1 mile from Cleveland center
Case Western Reserve UniversityCleveland, Ohio4 miles from Cleveland center
Cleveland Institute of ArtCleveland, Ohio4 miles from Cleveland center
Cleveland Institute of MusicCleveland, Ohio4 miles from Cleveland center
Chancellor UniversitySeven Hills, Ohio6 miles from Cleveland center
University of Phoenix Cleveland CampusIndependence, Ohio6 miles from Cleveland center
Bryant and Stratton College ParmaParma, Ohio8 miles from Cleveland center
John Carroll UniversityUniversity Heights, Ohio7 miles from Cleveland center
Notre Dame CollegeCleveland, Ohio8 miles from Cleveland center
Ursuline CollegePepper Pike, Ohio11 miles from Cleveland center
Baldwin Wallace CollegeBerea, Ohio12 miles from Cleveland center
Rabbinical College TelsheWickliffe, Ohio12 miles from Cleveland center
Bryant and Stratton College EastlakeEastlake, Ohio16 miles from Cleveland center
Kent State University at GeaugaBurton, Ohio27 miles from Cleveland center
Lake Erie CollegePainesville, Ohio27 miles from Cleveland center
Kent State University at KentKent, Ohio28 miles from Cleveland center
Hiram CollegeHiram, Ohio30 miles from Cleveland center
University of Akron Main CampusAkron, Ohio29 miles from Cleveland center
Oberlin CollegeOberlin, Ohio31 miles from Cleveland center
Herzing University Akron CampusAkron, Ohio33 miles from Cleveland center

Sources:
niche.com
collegefactual.com
collegesimply.com
univstats.com
studentinfo.remingtoncollege.edu
Wikipedia.org

Related Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.