The Ohio State University made big news in September when it announced plans to cover the full cost of tuition for Ohio Pell families. Ohio State called its efforts an unprecedented affordability commitment for in-state students. One week later, Terra State Community College announced its own affordability initiative that offers free tuition to 2018 high school graduates who pursue a career in a high-demand job field.
Terra State President Jerome Webster announced the new program in a news conference at the Fremont campus in early October.
According to the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce, 64 percent of Ohio jobs in 2020 will require postsecondary degrees or credentials. However, approximately 45 percent of Ohio high school graduates do not attend college directly after high school.
“Knowing this, Terra State wants to create opportunities, eliminate barriers, and encourage high school graduates in Ohio to enroll in higher education,” Webster said.
Terra State is funding the scholarships through its own foundation and general fund, and is the first community college to take such an aggressive step to assist employers with workforce needs. The scholarship is available to all 2018 high school graduates. Terra State opens new residence halls in the fall of 2018, though housing costs are not part of the scholarship offer at Terra State or Ohio State.
Terra State will cover the cost of tuition for up to an associate degree. The Workforce Demand Scholarship is available to 2018 high school graduates majoring in these academic programs at Terra State:
- Computer Systems
- Digital Media Technology
- Health Information Technology
- Management (business, agribusiness and hospitality)
- Manufacturing Engineering
- Music Technology
- Office Administration
- Robotics-Integrated Manufacturing Technology
Like Ohio State’s assistance program, the Workforce Demand Scholarship will pay the gap between the cost of tuition and general fees and state and federal grants received by the student. The annual cost of tuition and general fees at Terra State is sligjhtly less than $5,000. President Webster estimates as many as 150 students will take advantage of the Workforce Demand Scholarship.
Ohio State University announced it will ensure that all in-state students who qualify for Pell Grants — a key federal program for students with financial need — receive an aid package that covers the full cost of tuition and mandatory fees. According to the U.S. Department of Education, about 90 percent of Pell recipients have family incomes of $50,000 or less.
The university will provide institutional aid to close any gap that remains after Pell Grants, Ohio College Opportunity Grants, and other gift aid awarded to qualified students are calculated. Ohio State will invest more than $11 million each year in the tuition coverage program, using funds generated from an endowment created through proceeds from its newlycreated energy partnership. Ohio State officials estimate 3,500 students will benefit, beginning in fall, 2018. Current in-state tuition and mandatory fees on the Columbus campus total $10,591 annually for first-year students.