Navigating Ohio State University
Human Resources and Benefits Information
Living in and Navigating Columbus
The capital of Ohio and home to Ohio State, Columbus was recently named one of the Best Places to Live by Money magazine. Columbus is also ranked as one of the country's most creative cities, coming in 3rd in a study by SINGULART.
The nation's 14th largest city, with 2.14 million people in the region, Columbus was ranked 11th among best cities for singles (Money) and as a top city for African Americans (Black Enterprise). The city is a major metropolitan area with national corporations, a vibrant arts community, professional sports franchises, distinctive neighborhoods with diverse housing options, and access to many recreational and cultural opportunities.
Here are some helpful guides to see what Columbus has to offer:
Commuting to Campus
Most individuals who work at Ohio State commute via personal vehicles. Parking on campus requires a parking permit, which is purchased through CampusParc a third-party company that Ohio State has contracted with for the management of all of its campus parking facilities and surface lots. Parking permits are purchased through Workday as a pre-tax monthly deduction from your paycheck. Postdocs are eligible for A, West A (WA), and Buckeye Lot parking permits. To read more about available parking permits, visit CampusParc’s website.
Another option for commuting to campus is using public transportation. The Columbus region is serviced by the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA). All Ohio State faculty and staff can secure a COTA bus pass through monthly, pre-tax payroll deductions, which allow unlimited transit on the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) bus system, with comprehensive service to all points on Ohio State campus from throughout the greater Columbus metropolitan area. It’s important to note that some COTA lines have more predictable, dedicated service than others. The OPA does not recommend this as a primary means of commuting to campus if you live more than a few miles from campus due to the unpredictability and delays that can happen on less frequent bus routes. In general practice, the #2, #102, #31, #32, and #1 have dedicated, more frequent service to Ohio State’s campus than other routes.
- Public transportation and how to get to the University
- How faculty and staff can purchase a monthly COTA bus pass
With so much available in neighborhoods near to campus, walking or biking to campus is also an option much of the year for many students, staff, and faculty.
Renting an Apartment
- Off-campus housing is separate from the university. Apartments off campus are run by private landlords. Some are reputable (trustworthy) and some are not. It is recommended that you have your lease agreement reviewed.
- Some areas around the campus area are safer than others, so we suggest you do not sign a lease (one-year contract) for an apartment before you have an opportunity to see the area and apartment yourself (or had a friend/relative look at it for you).
- Many apartments require tenants to pay for utilities. Ask the landlord about which utilities tenants are required to pay and what they typically cost each month before signing a lease. See more about utilities.
- Resources to find apartments off-campus include:
For international postdocs, OIA also has resource guides for life in the United States and on campus. Some helpful housing-related guides you can find on their website include:
- Renting an apartment in the United States – a guide for international scholars.
- How to find temporary housing
- How utilities as a part of renting an apartment works
If postdocs need temporary housing during the summer months, the Ohio State Summer Conference Housing program is able to provide temporary accommodations in dorm facilities at Ohio State’s main campus in Columbus. This service is only available during the second half of May, June, July, and a portion of August. Postdocs must pay for this service themselves. You can read more about this program on the Summer Conference Housing website. If you would like to use this service, please reach out to the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (email@example.com) so that we can work with our colleagues in the Summer Conference Housing unit to confirm a dorm space for you.
Diverse, Affordable Neighborhoods
Columbus has been ranked as one of the best cities for renters and one of the most affordable places to live well in the United States. As a large metropolitan area, Columbus provides Ohio State students with the ability to live near campus in the University District, in nearby residential neighborhoods or in the surrounding suburbs. The Central Ohio metropolitan area is made up of a variety of vibrant neighborhoods each defined by their own histories, characteristics and personalities. Read more about Columbus neighborhoods.
Getting around Columbus and commuting
All Ohio State employees have the ability to secure a discounted monthly bus pass for unlimited transit on the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) bus system, with comprehensive service to all points on Ohio State campus from throughout the greater Columbus metropolitan area. With so much available in neighborhoods near to campus, walking or biking to campus is also an option much of the year for many students, staff, and faculty. Learn more about COTA.
Pre K-12 Public and Private School System Information
For individuals who will be moving here with their families, one big concern is identifying the best school systems. Below is a list of resources abut the public and private school systems within the region.
Central Ohio Public Schools (K-12)
Central Ohio has a very large number of public-school systems within the greater Columbus region. Visit relocatecolumbus.com for a full listing of the public schools found in the region.
Central Ohio Private Schools (K-12)
There are 91 private schools serving more than 18,000 students in Central Ohio. See a full listing on the privateschoolreview.com.
Pre-K Child Care Services
Ohio State University’s Child Care Program provides early childhood education and care for the children of university students, faculty, and staff. This is a convenient option for individuals who work on campus. Visit the OSU Child care program page for more information.
Determining which school system is the best choice for your own circumstances
The Ohio Department of Education publishes a report card for every public school district and every individual public school within each district. Report Cards are designed to give parents, communities, educators and policymakers information about the performance of districts and schools — to celebrate achievement and success and identify areas for improvement. The information provides clear and easily available reporting on student performance, drives local conversations on school improvement and identifies schools to receive supports for getting better.
To access the report cards system and search for specific public and private schools, visit reportcard.education.ohio.gov.
Dining and Nightlife
Like many large urban areas, Columbus boasts a wide and ever-changing selection of culinary offerings, from ethnic restaurants to farmers markets, food trucks, microbreweries and distilleries, and food-related websites, podcasts, publications and events. Residents and visitors agree that Columbus offers an outstanding, locally-driven culinary experience, with creative chefs and entrepreneurial restaurateurs.
The city and its neighborhoods also offer a vibrant nightlife, providing members of the community with everything from gastropubs and breweries in the Short North, dance clubs, fine dining, and microbreweries in the Arena and Brewery Districts and downtown.
Arts and Music
Filled with music venues, theatre companies, art galleries, an independent music scene, and a world-class symphony, ballet and opera, Columbus has been named one of the nation’s best metro areas for the arts. The internationally renowned Wexner Center for the Arts, located on Ohio State's campus and free to students, faculty, and staff, hosts contemporary art exhibitions and film screenings from prominent artists and independent film makers. The Short North area, just south of campus, hosts Gallery Hop, during which dozens of shops and galleries invite the community in to view works by local artists. The central Ohio area also hosts a wide variety of festivals throughout the year and many other events for our community to enjoy.
Wexner Center | Gallery Hop | Columbus Festivals | CAPA | OSU Department of Theatre Performance Schedule | OSU School of Music Performance Schedule | OSU Department of Dance Performance Schedule | OSU Urban Arts Space Galleries and Exhibitions | Franklinton Fridays
Sports and Recreation
In addition to the Ohio State Buckeyes, Columbus is home to the NHL’s Bluejackets, Major League Soccer’s Columbus Crew and AAA Baseball’s Columbus Clippers.
Gyms and Fitness
The city of Columbus and Ohio State provide a wide array of ways to stay healthy and fit. The recreational facilities at Ohio State, which are some of the best in the nation, are available to all staff and faculty with monthly or annual membership subscriptions. Additionally, postdocs receive discounts to many gyms in the region through the Office of Human Resources.
Hiking and the Outdoors
Columbus is also home to an extensive network of 20 metro parks and metro gardens covering more than 230 miles of trails and 28,500 acres of land in seven Central Ohio Counties with year-round opportunities for hiking.
Resources for International Scholars
The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs works closely with the university’s Office of International Affairs to support international scholars who come to Ohio State for postdoctoral training. Read more about the services and support available to international postdocs on the resources for international postdocs page.
Ohio State’s Research Environment
Ohio State is one of the largest comprehensive university campuses in the United States and has many support structures to support postdocs in their research, scholarship, and teaching. Visit the new and current postdocs page to see the breadth of services, programs, and resources available to postdocs during their training.