Ashland University

Ashland University (AU) is a mid-sized private university in Ashland, Ohio, conveniently located a short distance from the cities of Akron, Cleveland, and Columbus. With a motto that says “Accent on the Individual,” AU is favored by homeschoolers because it truly values the individual student. The university offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.

Originally called Ashland College, this institution of higher education was established in 1878 by the German Baptist Brethren Church. Judeo-Christian values are the foundation of the educational and social environment at Ashland. The school’s mission statement reads: “Ashland University, guided by our Christian heritage, is a comprehensive, private university that provides a transformative learning experience, shaping graduates who work, serve and lead with integrity in their local, national, and global communities.”

Based on its excellence in engaging students, its great teaching, its vibrant campus community, and its successful outcomes, Ashland University is ranked in the top tier of colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category for 2017. It has been designated as a “Best Value School” by University Research & Review, a website that lists higher education institutions that offer quality educations at an affordable cost. AU has also been named as a College of Distinction for 2017, according to the Colleges of Distinction 2017 Guidebook.

“We are very pleased to be identified as a College of Distinction and believe that this recognition illustrates some of the things that we do best on this campus,” said AU President Dr. Carlos Campo. “We focus on great teaching as well as placing an emphasis on engaging students both inside and outside of the classroom with exciting living and learning environments, and that is drawing some attention.”

The Ashbrook Center is an independent academic center at Ashland University, dedicated by President Ronald Reagan on May 9, 1983. One emphasis of the center is promoting the study of American history, government, politics, and constitutional interpretation for young people, teachers, and scholars. The Ashbrook Center was established and named in honor of the late Congressman John M. Ashbrook. He was an American Republican politician who represented Ohio’s 17th Congressional district in the U.S. House for 21 years, from 1961 until his death in 1982.

Campus Life

In April 1878, the Ashland Board of Trustees decided to purchase the “most desirable plot in town – 28 acres on the hill.” Today, the university consists of a 135-acre main campus and several off-campus centers throughout central and northern Ohio including Cleveland, Columbus, Elyria, Massillon, Mansfield, Medina, and Westlake.

Living on campus is all about becoming a part of a community. Student housing options at AU give students a sense of belonging and immersion into the campus culture, with exciting on-campus and in-hall activities. Additional benefits such as around-the-clock safety, maintenance, and resources all within five minutes of your residence hall, allow you to focus on academics and develop your lifestyle in a positive environment.

Students are encouraged to connect and engage with faculty, staff and peers through the many involvement, leadership, health and wellness and employment opportunities provided through the Division of Student Affairs. The Campus Activities Board aims to enhance the overall AU experience by providing quality, diverse entertainment including an assortment of social opportunities which support campus unity, friendship, personal growth, learning, and fun.

Ashland University participates in NCAA Division II for athletics. The Ashland Eagles offer ten men’s and ten women’s sports – with the men competing in baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, indoor and outdoor track, soccer, swimming and wrestling, and the women competing in basketball, cross country, golf, indoor and outdoor track, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis and volleyball.

The university recently constructed a $23 million athletic complex that features a 5,200-seat football stadium, a 1,000-seat stadium for track & field and soccer, and a state-of-the-art training facility.


Ashland University is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, and its individual programs are accredited by their corresponding associations. The university features a rigorous liberal arts program that aims to produce well-rounded, thoughtful citizens with the intellectual and moral virtue necessary to lead their communities and families successfully.

Besides most traditional liberal arts majors, Ashland University offers more than 70 undergraduate majors including programs in business, finance, actuarial science, political science, toxicology, environmental science, dietetics, athletic training, digital media, entrepreneurship, and education.

The education program is one of the largest among institutions in Ohio, offering pre-K through doctorate level courses, as well as a bachelor’s plus program for students with a non-education degree who want to teach. Ashland University’s Founders School of Continuing Education even offers an online “Homeschool Success” course for credit.

In addition to its undergraduate studies, AU offers a master of American history and government degree program; a master of fine arts in creative writing degree program; a master of business administration degree program; a master of education degree program; a bachelor of science in nursing program, master’s degrees and a doctorate in theology through Ashland Theological Seminary.

Academic programs are enhanced by an Honors Program and the John M. Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs. Homeschoolers are particularly receptive to the kind of education that offered at Ashland University and at the Ashbrook Center, an education that focuses on the use of primary sources in our classes rather than textbooks.

Student Data

The university’s total enrollment is nearly 6,500 students, which includes graduate programs. AU is home to nearly 2,200 full-time, undergraduate students. Ninety-two percent of these students are from Ohio, while students also come from 27 other states and 31 countries. Fifty-seven percent of the on-campus students are female. The average ACT score for the 2010 freshman class was 22.9, while the average high school grade point average for that class was 3.37. Ninety-five percent of students receive financial aid based on academics, talents, and need.

Homeschool Applicants

With an academic focus and community mindset that meshes well with the curriculum options many homeschoolers prefer, Ashland University offers a great place for homeschoolers to call “home.” And no one understands homeschoolers more than those who live within the homeschool community themselves! Thanks to homeschooling faculty and staff associated with Ashland University’s Ashbrook Center, Ashland is truly a part of the homeschool community.

Homeschoolers who attend Ashland University will find:

  • an admissions office that is happy to work with homeschoolers and will not treat them like second-class students.
  • a very personalized education, much like they are accustomed to at home.
  • a personal relationship with professors.
  • a strong track record with homeschooled students, including a recognition of the strong academic record most bring with them to the collegiate level.

High School Students

Ashland University offers several programs for homeschooled high schoolers, including the following:

  • a monthly webinar on American history for which students from all over the country can log in and participate.
  • a week-long residential summer program in American history called the Ashbrook Academy, designed for rising juniors and seniors. (Participants receive two college credits for their participation.)

Emily Hess, a history professor at Ashland University, told The Free Lance-Star that ten percent of Ashland’s webinars are with homeschoolers, and the university actively recruits students who’ve been taught at home. “Typically, the home-schooled students are among the best prepared students that we get,” she said, “which is one reason we have focused so much of our energy on them.”

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