Ohio to make college tuition-free for low and moderate income family

Ohio State University announced an unprecedented offer to make tuition affordable for all Ohio students.

Beginning on its main Columbus campus in the fall of next year, the school will fill any financial aid gaps to ensure that all in-state students who qualify for federal Pell Grants will have the full cost of tuition and mandatory fees covered.

This historic step will expand aid for any qualifying new, existing and transfer students—an estimated 3,500 Ohio residents.

Ohio State’s tuition coverage program will help bring the American Dream closer to many more individuals and families throughout the Buckeye State,” said President Michael V. Drake. “We are thrilled to open our doors even wider to so many more deserving students.”

According to the U.S. Department of Education, about 90 percent of Pell recipients have family incomes of $50,000 or less.This follows a commitment made by Drake in 2015 to invest $100 million in additional need-based aid for students by 2020. The three-year-old President’s Affordability Grant program has provided $60 million in aid to low- and moderate-income students thus far.Ohio State will invest more than $11 million each year in the tuition coverage program, and is working to enhance financial aid for Pell students on its regional campuses, as well.

Current in-state tuition and mandatory fees on the Columbus campus total $10,591 annually for first-year students and $10,037 annually for continuing students. These totals include the university’s instructional, general, student activity, recreational, student union and COTA fees.

The tuition coverage program joins a number of steps taken by Ohio State to ensure greater access to an affordable and excellent education, including:

Creating the Ohio State Tuition Guarantee, which freezes tuition and fees for each incoming class of first-year students for four years.
Freezing tuition and fees for existing Ohio students for five consecutive years.
Expanding the Land Grant Opportunity Scholarship program to cover full cost of attendance and apply to twice as many students (two from each of Ohio’s 88 counties).
Reducing summer tuition and implementing a campus-wide predictive analytics advising tool to improve student outcomes and shorten the path to graduation.
At the national level, Ohio State is a founding member of the American Talent Initiative, a first-of-its-kind partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies, Ithaka S+R and the Aspen Institute to enroll an additional 50,000 low- and moderate-income students at top-performing colleges and universities over the next decade. More than 80 public and private higher-education institutions have joined the initiative since its December launch.

Ohio State is also a charter member of the University Innovation Alliance, a collaboration of public research institutions committed to increasing the number and socioeconomic diversity of college graduates. Its efforts have helped increase low-income graduates by 24.7 percent among participating universities, marking significant progress toward a goal of graduating an additional 68,000 undergraduates by 2025.

“Addressing college costs and protecting college opportunity are defining issues of our time,” Drake said. “Ohio State is fully committed to being a leader in this effort.”

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