Colleges and Universities in Dayton, Ohio

Dayton, Ohio is home to a variety of excellent colleges and universities. With a population of around 140,000 residents, Dayton punches above its weight when it comes to higher education options.

The city’s colleges and universities offer a diverse selection of programs, from associate’s degrees to doctoral programs. Here is an in-depth guide to the colleges and universities that call Dayton home.

Public Universities

Wright State University

Wright State University (WSU) is a public research university located in Fairborn, Ohio, just outside of Dayton. It was founded in 1967 as a branch campus of Miami University and Ohio State University. WSU gained independent status in 1967.

WSU has a student population of over 13,000 students across nine colleges, including the Raj Soin College of Business, College of Education and Human Services, and the Boonshoft School of Medicine. Notable alumni include comedian Dave Chappelle and NBA player Bill Edwards.

Some key facts about Wright State University:

  • Offers over 230 undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and professional degree programs
  • Home to the National Center for Medical Readiness, a cutting-edge disaster preparedness and public health training facility
  • 15 NCAA Division I athletic programs
  • Over 1,550 faculty members
  • Main 557-acre campus located in Fairborn, OH with a smaller Lake Campus in Celina, OH

Wright State’s notable strengths include its engineering, business, education, and medical programs. It provides an affordable education with high job placement rates for graduates.

The university has a diverse student population, including a high number of first-generation college students.

Sinclair Community College

Sinclair Community College (SCC) is a public two-year community college based in Dayton. Founded in 1887 as a YMCA vocational school, it is one of the largest community colleges in the Midwest with over 28,000 students.

Some facts about Sinclair Community College:

  • Offers over 200 associate’s degree and certificate programs
  • Notable programs include health sciences, information technology, business, hospitality management, and public safety
  • Provides workforce development and continuing education courses
  • Features low tuition rates and numerous scholarships/grants
  • Six campus centers located throughout Dayton
  • Diverse student body, including large populations of minority, international, and non-traditional college students

Sinclair is an affordable option for earning an associate’s degree or preparing to transfer to a four-year university. It provides career-oriented programs designed to meet local workforce demands.

The college has transfer partnerships with Wright State University and other four-year schools that provide a seamless transition.

Central State University

Central State University (CSU) is a historically black public university located in Wilberforce, OH. Founded in 1887, it was the first public HBCU in Ohio.

Key facts about CSU:

  • Student body of around 2,000 students
  • Offers over 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs
  • Notable programs include teacher education, business administration, engineering, sciences, and math
  • Member of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) for athletics
  • Home of the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center
  • Designated as an 1890 land-grant university

Central State provides an affordable, HBCU education focused on diversity and inclusion. It attracts many students from the Dayton region interested in its cultural offerings and community.

The university has recently expanded its degree offerings in high-demand fields like healthcare, education, and STEM.

Private Universities

University of Dayton

The University of Dayton (UD) is a private Catholic research university operated by the Society of Mary religious order. Founded in 1850, it is Ohio’s largest private university and one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation.

Here are some key UD facts and details:

  • Over 8,800 undergraduate students and around 3,000 graduate/law students
  • Strong undergraduate engineering, business, and education programs
  • Home of the University of Dayton Research Institute – one of the nation’s top research facilities
  • Over 40 masters and 30 doctoral degree options
  • NCAA Division I athletics including the Flyers men’s basketball team
  • Over 50 student clubs and intramural sports teams
  • Located on a suburban 353-acre campus near downtown Dayton
  • Marianist educational philosophy focused on community, service, inclusiveness

The University of Dayton is ranked among the top-tier of midwestern regional universities. It has a diverse student body drawn from over 40 states and 50 countries.

The school’s alumni network of over 120,000 graduates provides connections across industries. UD is especially respected for its engineering, physical sciences, and sustainability programs.

Kettering College

Kettering College is a small Christian college associated with the Kettering Medical Center hospital system. Initially founded in 1967 as the Kettering Medical center School of Medical Technology, it expanded into a four-year college in 1998.

Here are some key facts about Kettering College:

  • Specializes in health science degrees including nursing, radiology, physician assistant studies, and health professions
  • Student population under 1,000, with an 8:1 student-faculty ratio
  • Offers over 20 degree and certificate programs at associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s level
  • Clinical experiences at Kettering Health Network medical facilities
  • Part of the Adventist higher education system
  • Affordable private school option with total costs under $30,000 a year

Kettering College offers an intimate educational setting focused on healthcare career preparation. Its programs take advantage of being embedded within a major hospital system.

Graduates have excellent job placement rates in fields like nursing, radiology technology, and PA studies.

Community and Technical Schools

Miami Valley Career Technology Center

The Miami Valley Career Technology Center (MVCTC) provides career-focused education to high school students and adult learners in the Dayton region. It was established in 1971 and serves over 23,000 students annually from 15 partner high schools.

Key details about MVCTC:

  • Offers 30 career tech programs in fields like healthcare, IT, engineering, business, and human services
  • High school students split time between their home school and MVCTC
  • Adult education options including short-term job training and certifications
  • Nursing assistant, emergency medical technician, and IT certifications
  • Partnerships with local colleges for college credit options
  • Main campus in Clayton, OH with satellite centers in Englewood and Vandalia

MVCTC provides affordable, hands-on career training targeted to high-demand jobs. It allows high school students to get a head start on their future career. The school has an excellent job placement rates for its graduates.

Dayton School of Medical Massage

The Dayton School of Medical Massage provides training and certification for careers in massage therapy and other medical massage fields. The school has specialized in medical massage training since its founding in 1988.

Key information about Dayton School of Medical Massage:

  • Diploma and certificate programs in comprehensive massage therapy, clinical massage therapy, sports injury therapy, and anatomy & physiology
  • Approved by the State Medical Board of Ohio
  • Excellent exam pass rates on licensing exams (MBLEx, NCBTMB)
  • Small class sizes with around 25 students per year
  • Expert instructors combines lecture, labs, and clinical experience
  • Continuing education courses also available

This school offers an accelerated, affordable pathway to starting a massage therapy career. Graduates are well-prepared to pass licensing exams and meet Ohio requirements to become a Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT).

Miami Valley Mechatronics

Miami Valley Mechatronics provides specialized technical training related to industrial robotics, automation systems, and advanced manufacturing. The school works closely with local employers like Honda to offer relevant programs.

Key training programs at Miami Valley Mechatronics include:

  • Mechatronics technician training
  • Industrial robotics
  • Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs)
  • Automation processes and technology
  • Manufacturing skills like welding, machining, and hydraulics
  • Short-term certificates and diploma options
  • Classes held at both the main campus and employer facilities
  • Students can earn certifications from Snap-On and Mastercam

This school offers an education closely tailored to in-demand technical jobs in advanced manufacturing and robotics.

Coursework combines classroom learning with extensive hands-on labs and shop experience. Students gain skills applicable across a variety of local employers.

Affordability and Financial Aid

The Dayton area features both affordable and more costly higher education options. Public options like Sinclair Community College and Wright State University offer very low in-state tuition rates and numerous financial aid opportunities.

Private schools like the University of Dayton have higher sticker prices but also provide substantial need and merit-based financial aid to the majority of students.

Here are some tips for finding affordability:

  • Start at a community or technical college to complete general eds and prereqs at low cost
  • Attend an in-state public university as a state resident
  • Apply for federal and state financial aid by completing the FAFSA
  • Look for scholarships using tools like FastWeb or local scholarship databases
  • Consider work-study programs to earn money during school
  • Search for tuition assistance or reimbursement through employers

Choosing the Right School

With so many options, how do you determine which Dayton area college is the right fit? Here are some factors to consider in your selection process:

Types of Programs/Degrees

  • What major or program do you want to pursue? Does the school offer it?
  • Do you want vocational training, an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, or graduate studies?
  • Does the school have strengths in your desired field? Check program rankings.


  • What is the annual tuition and total estimated cost of attendance?
  • Does the school offer scholarships, financial aid, or tuition discounts you may qualify for?
  • Weigh costs against potential career earnings and loan repayment ability.

Location/Campus Environment

  • Is the campus in an urban or suburban setting?
  • Do you prefer a small or large student population?
  • Are extracurriculars, athletics, Greek life important?
  • Check out the dorms, cafeteria, library, fitness center, etc.

Student Profile

  • Look at demographics like gender balance, racial diversity, age distribution, etc.
  • Does the student body reflect your comfort zone and interests?
  • Consider the study body’s economic and social background.

Academic Quality/Outcomes

  • Graduation rates, retention rates, and average GPA/test scores
  • Student-to-faculty ratio and average class size
  • Job placement rates and average starting salaries for graduates

Campus Culture/Vibe

  • What are the attitudes, values, and general personality of campus?
  • Does it align with your preferences – more conservative, liberal, preppy, artistic, studious, party-focused?
  • Talk to current students to get an insider perspective.

Choosing a college is a big decision. Weigh all the factors that are most important for your needs and preferences. Campus visits can also give you a gut check about how comfortable you feel at a given school.

Notable Alumni

The Dayton area colleges and universities have produced many notable alumni making an impact in their industries. Here are a few of the famous graduates from Dayton schools:

University of Dayton:

  • Erma Bombeck – Author and humorist
  • Dan Patrick – Sportscaster for NBC Sports
  • Nancy Cartwright – Actress, voice of Bart Simpson
  • Don Novello – Comedian known as Father Guido Sarducci
  • Charles Geschke – Co-founder of Adobe Systems

Wright State University:

  • Rita Dove – Pulitzer Prize poet and former U.S. Poet Laureate
  • Shaniece Craft – WNBA basketball player
  • Lester Lyles – Retired U.S. Air Force General
  • Drew Pasteur – ESPN sports statistician
  • Anka Schiro – NASA aerospace engineer

Sinclair Community College:

  • Tyra Patterson – Community activist, exonerated after wrongful murder conviction
  • Mark Henry – WWE professional wrestler
  • Michael B. Coleman – Mayor of Columbus, OH
  • Evelyn Lundberg Stratton – Former Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court

Central State University:

  • Edwin Moses – Olympic gold medalist in track and field
  • Kwame Kilpatrick – Former mayor of Detroit
  • Ken Morrow – 4-time Stanley Cup winner in the NHL
  • Rolland Lawrence – Former NFL defensive back

Kettering College:

  • Lori Woodson – CEO of Beaumont Health, Michigan’s largest healthcare system
  • Michael Lingenfelter – Author and TV host for Travel Channel’s Food Paradise
  • Kay Winzenz – Former Chief Nursing Officer of University of Iowa Healthcare


Dayton’s higher education offerings equip students with the knowledge and credentials to build exciting careers. The diversity of schools provides options well-suited to any interests and background.

From short-term technical certifications to advanced graduate degrees, Dayton colleges offer affordable, quality education connected to local workforce demands.

Students benefit from hands-on training informed by area industry partners. This unique ecosystem helps graduates launch their careers with a powerful foundation rooted in Dayton.

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  • Start out going east on E 3rd St toward S Patterson Blvd in downtown Dayton. Turn right to merge onto S Patterson Blvd. Take I-75 N ramp on the left to Cincinnati. Merge onto I-75 N and drive for about 5 miles. Take exit 50A for Siebenthaler Ave toward N Fairfield Rd. Turn left onto Siebenthaler Ave. The destination will be on the right.
  • Begin at Riverscape MetroPark in downtown Dayton and head north on S Patterson Blvd. Take the I-75 N ramp on the left toward Cincinnati. Merge onto I-75 N and drive approximately 5 miles. Use the right 2 lanes to take exit 50A for Siebenthaler Ave. Turn left onto Siebenthaler Ave. Continue on Siebenthaler Ave for half a mile and the destination will be on your right.
  • Start at the Dayton Art Institute in downtown Dayton. Head east on E Monument Ave toward S Patterson Blvd. Turn right onto S Patterson Blvd. Take the I-75 N ramp on the left to Cincinnati. Merge onto I-75 N and drive for 5 miles. Take exit 50A for Siebenthaler Ave toward N Fairfield Rd. Turn left onto Siebenthaler Ave. 117 E Siebenthaler Ave will be on the right just past Danner Ave.