12:26 PM

Land grant scholars choose Ohio State

A commitment to access and affordability is helping The Ohio State University bring in a new class of Buckeyes.

Bella Natole graduated from Bellevue High School. She will begin classes as a first-year student at Ohio State in August. Her interest in the university was a family affair.

“My sister is four years older than me. When I was a freshman in high school, she was a freshman in college and she went to Ohio State. So that was kind of my first time seeing Ohio State, and I just fell in love with it,” she said.

Natole said the decision to switch from a school with a student body of about 600 students to one with about 60,000 was not a difficult one.

“I think I expected myself to be intimidated, but when I got there, it just felt more comfortable than anything,” she said of Ohio State. “It was more exciting than intimidating, which was really cool because when you come from a small town, you expect to be a little nervous about those things.”

Financial aid also contributed to her decision. Natole is the recipient of a Land Grant Opportunity Scholarship. Two students from each county in Ohio are eligible for the award each year and the scholarship covers the full cost of attendance, including tuition and fees, room, board, books and other costs.

Natole found out she received the scholarship while she was applying for other grants and scholarships.

“I was actually filling out some other scholarship forms at the time, stressing over how many I had to do, and so I got on to my financial aid [site] and I looked at it. I probably read it a thousand times,” she said. “It’s probably the best thing that ever happened to me. I was just so excited when I got accepted into Ohio State but [the scholarship] was just incredible.”

Natole comes to Ohio State with the goal of becoming an optometrist. For Derek Michaelis, the engineering program is the draw.

The Bowling Green native attended Otsego High School. Like Natole, he’ll start his career at Ohio State in August. Michaelis represents Wood County as a Land Grant Opportunity Scholar.

He said the financial aid made a difference in his decision to come to Ohio State. He had been considering another Big Ten school.

“[They] didn’t give me anything in scholarships,” he said, so making a choice after receiving a full ride from Ohio State “wasn’t hard at that point.”

Natole and Michaelis are among the 42,000 Buckeye families to benefit from the university’s expanded financial aid programs. Since 2015, the university has devoted more than $150 million to increase support for low- and moderate-income Ohioans.

Michaelis is an Eagle Scout and a member of his local 4-H club and county Junior Fair Board. He said the scholarship support will help him continue his passion for volunteer work.

“It will give me a lot more time to focus on my academics but also I will be volunteering in other activities as I find them,” he said.