Ohio’s Top 9 College Towns for 2024

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Ohio has more than just top-tier sports programs and essential farmlands. It’s also a hotspot for education! From Oxford to Granville, the college towns below are buzzing with energy and offer some stellar opportunities to zero in on your professional passion. 

Let’s dive a bit deeper into nine of Ohio’s top college towns to see the colleges and universities that are setting the standard for the Buckeye State.

Beautiful old stone stairwell in Oxford, OH, near the University of Miami campus

1. Oxford – Miami University

Population: 23,035 | Student population: 19,264 | Average 1-bedroom rent: $980

Miami University in Oxford (also known as Miami of Ohio) stands out for its strong focus on undergraduate teaching. The College of Arts and Science is a particular point of pride. Oxford thrives as students fill local cafes and bookstores, creating a lively atmosphere around campus.

The Farmer School of Business is another shining jewel in Miami University’s crown, regularly ranking among the top business schools in the country. Its presence is like a revolving door of fresh ideas and new energy as many students work and live in Oxford during and after their four years.

Apartments near Miami of Ohio | Houses for rent near Miami University

2. Athens – Ohio University

Population: 23,849 | Student population: 24,797 | Average 1-bedroom rent: $930 

Ohio University in Athens is a well known spot for health sciences and communication. The university’s Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine is one of the most respected medical schools in the area. Athens benefits from the influx of aspiring doctors, researchers, and healthcare professionals.

The Scripps College of Communication is also based here, known for its cutting-edge research and strong media programs. This makes Athens a gathering spot for creative minds and innovators that translates into numerous local initiatives and businesses driven by former students.

Apartments near Ohio University | Houses for rent near Ohio University

Ohio State University buildings dotting the Columbus skyline during a clear sunset in Ohio

3. Columbus – The Ohio State University

Population: 905,748 | Student population: 61,677 | Average 1-bedroom rent: $1445

Columbus thrives as a stellar college town to The Ohio State University. Among its flagship programs are business, engineering, and healthcare. With nationally recognized schools like the Fisher College of Business and the College of Engineering consistently ranking among the best in the nation, it’s easy to see why the university and the city are thriving. 

Ohio State University’s impact on Columbus extends far beyond academia. One notable example is the Ohio State University Medical Center, a world-class healthcare institution that provides cutting-edge medical care and drives innovation and research in healthcare. 

Apartments near The Ohio State University | Houses for rent near The Ohio State University

4. Bowling Green – Bowling Green State University

Population: 30,808 | Student population: 17,645 | Average 1-bedroom rent: $619 

Bowling Green State University is celebrated for its arts and comprehensive education programs. The College of Education and Human Development, for instance, trains future educators who often start their careers in local schools. Bowling Green is energized by these contributions, supporting a close-knit community atmosphere.

Additionally, BGSU’s focus on environmental science helps foster a strong sense of environmental awareness in the town. Students and faculty lead various green initiatives through their Green Initiative Fund, making Bowling Green a model for sustainability practices in Ohio.

Apartments near Bowling Green State University | Houses for rent near Bowling Green State University

A sunny fall day in Dayton, OH

5. Dayton – University of Dayton

Population: 137,644 | Student population: 11,971 | Average 1-bedroom rent: $829

Dayton is a top-tier college town fueled by the University of Dayton (UD) and its standout programs. UD’s Engineering School takes learning beyond the textbooks into the workshop, prepping students for real-world challenges in aerospace, mechanical, and electrical engineering. Meanwhile, the Business School churns out savvy entrepreneurs ready to conquer global markets and ensures the local community is always stocked with talented professionals.

But UD isn’t just about hitting the books; it’s a party animal with a heart of gold, shaping the spirit of Dayton. It’s like the cool kid who throws epic bashes and still finds time to volunteer at the soup kitchen. UD’s not content with just staying on campus; it’s out in the streets, sparking innovation and reviving downtown Dayton through projects like the Arcade Innovation Hub.

Apartments near University of Dayton | Houses for rent near University of Dayton

6. Delaware – Ohio Wesleyan University

Population: 41,302 | Student population: 1,339 | Average 1-bedroom rent: $945

Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware is known for its strong programs in politics and international studies. The influx of politically savvy students and events like guest lectures and public debates enrich the community. Delaware enjoys an intellectually stimulating atmosphere thanks to these contributions.

OWU’s impact on Delaware extends to the economy as students volunteer, intern, and work locally. This helps students gain practical experience while supporting local businesses.

Apartments near Ohio Wesleyan University | Houses for rent near Ohio Wesleyan University

Deleware, Ohio on a gorgeous day

7. Cedarville – Cedarville University

Population: 4,257 | Student population: 4,643 | Average 1-bedroom rent: $686

Cedarville University stands out for its pharmacy and nursing programs. The university’s commitment to healthcare excellence brings a number of aspiring professionals to Cedarville, influencing the local health services and clinics. The community benefits from improved healthcare services and educational health programs.

Moreover, the Robert W. Plaster School of Business plays a critical role in the local economy by fostering entrepreneurship among students. Many graduates choose to start their journey in Cedarville, leading to job creation and economic development.

Apartments near Cedarville University | Houses for rent near Cedarville University

8. Granville – Denison University

Population: 5,946 | Student population: 2,321 | Average 1-bedroom rent: $816

Denison University in Granville excels in biology and environmental sciences. Its students are often involved in local conservation projects and groups, like the Dension Wildlife Conservation Club

Denison’s economics and global commerce programs further prepare students to engage with the world as adults. Granville reaps the benefits of hosting international events and student-led businesses, adding to its local charm and global outlook.

Apartments near Denison University | Houses for rent near Dension University

Clear day on the Kent State Campus in Kent, OH

9. Kent – Kent State University

Population: 28,215 | Student population: 26,597 | Average 1-bedroom rent: $1,185 

Kent State University is a beacon for fashion design and aeronautics. The Fashion School attracts budding designers, while its annual fashion show is a highly anticipated community event.

On the flip side, the College of Aeronautics and Engineering offers leading-edge programs that prepare students for careers in aviation and technology industries. The presence of this college influences the many businesses and startups that call Kent home, focusing on innovation and tech-forward solutions.

Apartments near Kent State University | Houses for rent near Kent State University



College towns are qualified as towns or cities with at least one college or university and fewer than 1,000,000 people according to U.S. Census data. Average rental data from Rent.com in May 2024.

This is not a comprehensive list of all of the towns and cities in the state meeting those requirements.

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