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News: Ohio State to expand unprecedented affordability commitment

June 1, 2018

University will cover full cost of tuition for Ohio Pell students at regional campuses, extending reach of program set to begin in Columbus

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Low- and moderate-income students at Ohio State’s five regional campuses soon will have unprecedented support to cover the cost of their tuition and mandatory fees.

Starting in spring 2019, the university will commit up to $3 million a year in additional financial aid to meet the tuition and mandatory fee needs of regional campus students who are from Ohio, qualify for federal Pell Grants and have successfully begun their college career. To be eligible, students must have successfully completed the equivalent of at least one semester and initiated or completed a student-success course.

The Buckeye Opportunity Program, which is expected to benefit 3,000 students on the Columbus campus this fall, was announced in September. A pilot expansion of the program, announced today, will support an additional 1,200 students in Lima, Mansfield, Marion, Newark and at the Agricultural Technical Institute in Wooster.

“Our campuses throughout Ohio are vital to the ways we provide ever-increasing access to an affordable and excellent Buckeye education,” said President Michael V. Drake.

“Expanding our tuition-coverage program will help ensure even more Ohio families have the opportunity to advance their lives and communities through higher education.”

Ohio State has committed more than $100 million in additional need-based aid since 2015, well exceeding Drake’s stated goal of reaching that number by 2020. Expanding the Buckeye Opportunity Program to all regional campuses is the latest step in Ohio State’s commitment to providing greater access, affordability and excellence for students and families — a key element of the university’s Time and Change strategic plan.

As regional campuses are open access, the implementation of the program is being customized to ensure its sustainability and to reflect the dynamics of the student bodies.

To participate, Pell-eligible students on regional campuses must be enrolled full time, have completed a full-time course load toward an Ohio State degree, and have successfully completed the University Survey course or be enrolled in the course for spring 2019. The course, required of all undergraduates in the first term of enrollment, is designed to help students assess their interests and plan their progress toward a degree.

Students will receive more information about the Buckeye Opportunity Program and notification about financial aid awards prior to spring semester 2019.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, 90 percent of Pell recipients have an annual household income of $50,000 or less. The Buckeye Opportunity Program will use institutional aid to cover any gap that remains after federal and state aid are applied toward Spring 2019 tuition and mandatory fees at regional campuses.

Contact: Chris Davey, 614-292-5962,