Ranking Methodology

The onlinecolleges.com Best College rankings are based on a variety of metrics and data from the National Center for Education Statistics. Schools appearing in a Best College list are selected based solely on the methodology noted below and found on the website. All ranked schools—including Ohio University—earned their placement based solely on data.

Onlinecolleges.com Methodology

“Using IPEDS, we generated a list of colleges and universities that met the following criteria:

  • Level of institution is either "Four or more years" or "At least 2 but less than 4 years"
  • Data is reported for all 11 ranking variables listed in the Methodology section
  • At least 1 percent of students are taking at least some of the classes via distance education
  • "Number of programs offered via distance education" was an integer greater than 0


We ranked the resulting 1,813 colleges on 11 criteria, using provisional 2017-18 data from IPEDS:

  • Number of programs offered via distance education
  • Ratio of students participating fully or partially in DE to Total Enrollment
  • Average in-state tuition for undergraduates
  • Total electronic library collections, including digital books, databases, and media
  • Graduation rate
  • Retention rate
  • The availability of any tuition plans (Payment, Guaranteed, Other)
  • Services (Academic/Career, Placement for Completers)
  • Credit offerings (Dual, Life, AP, Military)
  • Percent of undergraduate students awarded federal, state, local, institutional or other sources of grant aid
  • Average amount of federal, state, local, institutional, or other sources of grant aid awarded to undergraduate students


All schools were scored on a 10-point scale for each of the points listed above. Individual data point scores were then multiplied by their respective weights, and the scores were added together, for a maximum possible score of 10 points.”

Schools appearing in the college search tool and in the partner listings at onlinecolleges.com are referred to as “Sponsored Schools” and may compensate onlinecolleges.com to be included in those locations only. While Ohio University may appear in a sponsored advertisement, there is no connection between those appearances and the data-based rankings.