12:01 PM

Ohio State joins STARS network to support rural and small-town students

$20 million gift supports new partnership

The Ohio State University is part of a new network of colleges and universities established to help students from small-town and rural America enroll in, succeed at and graduate from college.

The STARS College Network (Small-Town And Rural Students) is backed by a $20 million gift from philanthropist Byron Trott and will build on efforts to create new pathways to college for students who might not otherwise recognize the full range of educational opportunities available to them.

The network also includes Brown University, California Institute of Technology, Case Western Reserve University, Colby College, Columbia University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northwestern University, University of Chicago, University of Iowa, University of Maryland, University of Southern California, University of Wisconsin, Vanderbilt University, Washington University in St. Louis and Yale University.

“We are excited to build on and elevate our long-time commitment to students and families in Ohio’s small towns and rural communities,” said James Orr, vice provost for strategic enrollment management. “This partnership perfectly aligns with Ohio State’s land-grant mission and provides more opportunities for the university to remove barriers and provide a pathway to higher education for students throughout the state.” 

Member institutions are dedicated to trying new programs for students, college advisers and counselors, and access organizations to enroll the nation’s best and brightest, no matter where they live, in a school that is the best for them.

“There is a massive talent pool in our small towns and rural communities that has so much to offer – to our colleges, to society and to future generations,” Trott said. “These smaller communities simply don’t have the resources to help show these students what is possible and help them get there. Collaborative partnerships like STARS not only help to turn the tide – they have a multiplier effect that can catalyze far greater change than any single institution or agency could make on its own.”

Ohio State will be implementing expanded outreach and support throughout the state, especially within the 32 Appalachian counties, to engage rural community students by:

  • Increasing visits by admissions staff to high schools, college fairs and community events.
  • Supporting rural and small-town students and family members through the college search and application process, whether they choose to go to Ohio State or not.
  • Holding on-campus programs for first-generation students and their families, and offering transportation to those in need.
  • Building upon existing programs that help provide a support network for students from small towns and rural areas once they have enrolled.

Ohio State attracts students from all 88 counties to six campuses, allowing the university to prepare more Ohioans for success in work and life. In addition, the university is strengthened by the perspectives and experiences that students from rural and small towns bring to the classroom and the campus communities.

Additional details about Ohio State’s support of the STARS network can be found on the undergraduate admissions website.

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