Cleveland and Northeast Ohio are home to a diverse collection of colleges and universities, from public urban schools, like Cleveland State University, to private small-town colleges, like Hiram College. Learn more about these Ohio institutions of higher learning. Only four-year institutions are included here; see our list of community colleges for two-year schools.
Antioch College, located in Yellow Springs, was founded in 1853 with Horace Mann as its first president. The four-year liberal arts college has been noted over its history for its liberal views towards education and community activism. Classes were suspended in 2008 due to a lack of funds and dwindling enrollment but resumed in October 2011.
Notable alumnae include Coretta Scott King and her sister, Edythe Scott; author Sylvia Nasar ("Beautiful Minds"); actor Cliff Robertson; director and screenwriter Rod Sterling and biologist Stephen Gould.
Ashland University, founded in 1878, is located in Ashland, Ohio, just off of I-71 between Cleveland and Mansfield. The 120-acre campus is affiliated with The Brethren Church and has an enrollment of approximately 6,500 students, 85 percent of whom are from Ohio.
Baldwin-Wallace College, located in Berea, is a liberal arts college with approximately 3,850 undergraduate students. The school, founded in 1845, is affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Among B-W's strengths are its education, music, musical theater, and business programs.
Notable alumnae include OSU football coach, Jim Tressel, and figure skater, Tonia Kwiatkowski.
A satellite campus of northwest Ohio's Bowling Green State University, BGSU Firelands is located in Huron near Cedar Point, about 90 minutes west of Cleveland. The campus, founded in 1968, offers a variety of associate degree programs and a few four-year, bachelors degree programs. Many of the school's 2400 students begin their bachelor's degree program at Firelands and complete their degree coursework at Bowling Green's main campus in Bowling Green, Ohio. BGSU Firelands also offers a Registered Nursing program in conjunction with Lorain Community College.
The Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA), located in Cleveland's University Circle cultural district, was founded in 1882 as the Western Reserve School of Design for Women. The school became the Cleveland School of Art in 1891 and changed to the Cleveland Institute of Art in 1948. The school is consistently ranked among the top ten art schools in the United States.
CIA is also home to the Cinematique movie theater, which hosts a full schedule of independent films on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays and the Reinberger Galleries, which host a variety of art exhibits--most of which are free.
Notable graduates of CIA include Viktor Schreckengost (who also taught at the school for more than 50 years), Dana Schutz, and Robert Mangold.
Case Western Reserve University
Case Western Reserve University, located in Cleveland's culturally rich, University Circle neighborhood, was formed in 1967 by combining the venerable Western Reserve University (founded 1826) with the Case Institute of Technology (founded 1880). Today, the school offers bachelors, masters, and doctorate degrees in a variety of disciplines and is consistently ranked as one of the leading colleges in the state as well as the entire United States.
Notable alumnae include former Ohio Members of Congress Dennis Kucinich and Stephanie Tubbs Jones, former Cleveland Mayor Carl Stokes, and former Miami Dolphins head coach Don Shula.
Cleveland Institute of Music
The Cleveland Institute of Music, founded in 1920, is a Cleveland treasure. Located in the University Circle neighborhood, near Severance Hall, the Cleveland Orchestra, and Case Western Reserve University, the conservatory offers students a Bachelors of Music degree as well as advanced degrees, children's programs, and adult continuing education.
Thirty-five members of the Cleveland Orchestra are graduates of CIM.
Cleveland State University, located just east of downtown Cleveland, is a fully accredited state university, which offers 117 courses of undergraduate and graduate study. CSU is home to approximately 16,000 students, two-thirds of them are undergraduate students. Founded in 1964, the 85-acre campus is a more culturally diverse and more affordable alternative to other area colleges.
Notable alumnae include numerous area CEOs, judges, and business and civic leaders as well as Tim Russert, former NBC Washington Bureau Chief, author, and moderator of NBC's Meet the Press.
The College of Wooster, founded in 1866 by the Presbyterian Church, is located in Wooster, Ohio, about 60 miles south of downtown Cleveland. The college is noted for its independent study program, a course of study that ranks second behind Princeton University according to US News and World Report.
The 240-acre liberal arts college has an enrollment of approximately 1,800 all-undergraduate students. The College of Wooster is also home to the Ohio Light Opera.
Notable alumnae include former White House counsel, John Dean; journalist, Susan Stranahan; and Timothy Smucker, CEO of the J.M. Smucker Co.
Heidelberg University (formerly Heidelberg College) is a private, liberal arts college associated with the United Church of Christ. The school, located in Tiffin, Ohio, sits on 110 acres and features 10 buildings that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Heidelberg, founded in 1850, offers 36 undergraduate degrees, four graduate degrees, and 13 pre-professional programs. The school's junior year aboard program, in conjunction with Germany's Heidelberg University, is the oldest exchange program in the United States.
Hiram College is a small liberal arts college located in Hiram, Ohio, southeast of Cleveland. The school, founded in 1850, has an enrollment of around 1,200 students. Notable alumnae include President James A. Garfield and musician, Michael Stanley.
John Carroll University
John Carroll University is a private, co-educational, Catholic and Jesuit college, located in University Heights, Ohio -- just east of Cleveland. Founded in 1886, the school is consistently ranked by US News and World Report as one of the top ten Midwest regional universities.
Notable alumnae include Bob Dickenson, the former president and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines; Tim Russert, former NBC News Washington Bureau Chief and moderator of Meet the Press; Anthony Pilla, S.J., former Bishop, Diocese of Cleveland; Brigadier General Carter Ham, Commanding Officer in Mosul, Iraq; and Tim Donahue, the CEO of Nextel.
Kent State University is located Kent, southeast of Cleveland. The school, founded in 1910, has approximately 29,000 undergraduate students at its main and seven regional campuses. The 1000-acre main campus houses more than 100 academic buildings and 35 residence halls. Notable programs at Kent State include the school of fashion design, world music program, and degrees in chemical physics and world music.
Famous alumnae include Drew Carey, Chrissie Hynde, Cleveland Browns player Joshua Cribbs, Rocker Joe Walsh, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Connie Schultz, and Arsenio Hall.
Lake Erie College, located about 30 minutes east of Cleveland in Painesville, is a small liberal arts college with an enrollment of approximately 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Originally a women's college, Lake Erie now has approximately 40 percent male students.
The college offers degrees in more than 40 disciplines. The school is particularly noted for its equine studies program. Facilities include the George M. Humphrey Equestrian Center, located five miles south of the campus in Concord Twp. The center is comprised of 85 acres, with barns that accommodate up to 100 horses and a 1,000 seat arena.
Malone University, now located in Canton, started as Cleveland Bible College on Euclid Avenue in Cleveland (pictured at left.) The school was forced to relocate in 1956 when the city's interbelt highway was built. They chose to move to Canton and became Malone College, named after the school's founders. The school, now Malone University, is affiliated with the Evangelical Friends Church (Quakers), but the school's more than 2,600 students represent a broad range of Christian denominations.
Malone University offers 50 majors in four colleges as well as an online school. The university has been recognized for the last six years by "US News and World Report" magazine as one of the top schools of its size in the Midwest.
Notre Dame College, in South Euclid, is a private Catholic liberal arts college. Founded in 1922 as a Catholic women's college, the school went co-educational in 2001 and today nearly half of the more than 2,100 students are male. The school, which sits on 53 acres, offers 29 majors in nine colleges.
Oberlin College is a private liberal arts college, located about an hour west of downtown Cleveland. The college was the first US college to admit African-American students and is the oldest continuously operating Co-educational college. The school continues its heritage of academic excellence combined with social responsibility.
Notable alumnae include author Tracy Chevalier, poet Carl Dennis, former Ohio Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher, musical theater lyricist John Kandar, singer Liz Phair, feminist and abolitionist Lucy Stone, and author and playwright Thornton Wilder.
Founded in 1969, The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute offers two-year associate degrees in a variety of farm-related subjects. The school, located just outside of Wooster, offers 28-degree programs, including nursery management, floral design, crop management, swine production, agricultural business, and livestock science.
Coursework for these two-year degrees will also transfer to OSU's Columbus campus towards a four-year bachelor's degree if the student maintains at least a 2.0 GPA.
Tiffin University's main campus is located in the small north-central Ohio town of Tiffin. In addition to the 110-acre main campus, Tiffin University has central satellite locations in Cleveland as well as Cincinnati, Fremont, Columbus, Toledo and Lima, Ohio. The private co-ed university, founded in 1888, currently has more than 4,900 students and offered degrees in 25 areas of study. They are most noted for their arts and science, business administration and criminal justice programs.
Notable alumnae include Ohio state representative, Sandra Williams.
The University of Akron, founded in 1870, is located in the heart of the "Rubber City." The school, best known for its College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering offers 300 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The sprawling city campus has an enrollment of over 23,000 students and continues to expand.
Notable alumnae include former Cleveland Browns quarterback, Charlie Frye; former Republican National Committee Chair, Ray C. Bliss; and Miami Dolphins defensive end, Jason Taylor.
Ursuline College is a small, private Catholic college, located about 30 minutes east of downtown Cleveland in Pepper Pike, Ohio. Created in 1871 as a women’s college, today the college is women-focused but not exclusively women, and around 9 percent of its 1,400 students are men.
Located in Alliance, about 70 miles south of downtown Cleveland, the University of Mount Union (formerly Mount Union College) is a private, four-year liberal arts college associated with the United Methodist Church. The co-ed college, founded in 1846, has an enrollment of around 2,200 students and offers 55 majors in a variety of disciplines.
Notable alumni include Ohio Congressman Ralph Regula.
Walsh University (formerly Walsh College) is a private four-year liberal arts school affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church. Located in North Canton, Walsh University sits on 136-acres and has an enrollment of around 2,900 undergraduate and graduate students. The university, founded in 1951, has satellite campuses in Medina, Canfield, Springfield Township, and just outside of Rome, Italy.
Youngstown State University, founded in 1908, is located on 140 acres in downtown Youngstown. The school has an enrollment of approximately 12,000 undergraduates and program highlights include the engineering, American studies, and music programs.
Noted alumnae include former Cleveland Browns owner, Carmen Policy; astronomer, Thomas Bopp (of the Hal-Bopp comet); and musician Sean Jones.