17:07 PM

In testimony to lawmakers, President Drake highlights Ohio State’s affordability efforts

University’s input part of Joint Committee on College Affordability

As Ohio lawmakers consider strategies to reduce the cost of attending colleges and universities, Ohio State President Michael V. Drake is highlighting the university’s leadership in this area.

This week, Drake provided written testimony to the General Assembly’s Joint Committee on College Affordability demonstrating the impact of several programs and initiatives.

“We have committed $100 million in additional need-based aid for Ohio students and families since 2015 — well exceeding our stated goal of reaching that number by 2020 — with an expected impact for almost 32,000 Buckeyes,” he wrote. “At the same time, we have introduced a number of affordability efforts unprecedented in our university’s history.”

These efforts include:

  • The Ohio State Tuition Guarantee, offering incoming students and their families certainty about the cost of a college education by setting rates for in-state tuition, mandatory fees, room and board that stay frozen for four years. Tuition and fees have now been frozen for existing Ohio students for six straight years.
  • The President’s Affordability Grant program, providing financial support of up to $2,250 to approximately 15,000 low- and moderate-income Ohio students annually.
  • The Buckeye Opportunity Program, beginning this fall on the Columbus campus, which covers any gap in the full cost of tuition and fees for Pell-eligible, in-state students; the program will expand to qualifying students at each of Ohio State’s regional campuses in the spring.
  • Land Grant Opportunity Scholarships, which were expanded last year to cover the total cost of attendance; the number of scholarships will double this year to 176.

Drake pointed lawmakers to analysis from the Chronicle of Higher Education that rated Ohio State No. 1 among flagship universities with the lowest percentage increase in tuition and fees in the last 10 years.

Additionally, a 25-percent summer tuition discount enacted in 2017 has saved students $2.4 million while the university’s Affordable Learning Exchange, which supports low-cost or open-educational course materials, has resulted in savings of $3 million.

Ohio State’s completion grant program, meanwhile, has benefited 160 students, up from seven in 2011-12. These grants go to seniors who are very near to graduation and unable to register due to a financial hold on their records, helping those who might otherwise drop out of school reach their degrees. Drake also described Ohio State’s work as a leader in national efforts with other colleges and universities, including the American Talent Initiative and University Innovation Alliance.

The committee has met three times this year to gather information from leaders of higher education throughout the state and the Chancellor of Higher Education. A final report and recommendations to improve affordability will be issued at a later date.

“Access, affordability and excellence are vital to our land-grant mission to serve communities throughout our state,” Drake wrote.

Click here to read Drake’s letter in full.