Affordability at Ohio State

Ohio State is proud to be a leader in creating greater access, affordability and excellence for students — a top focus area of President Michael V. Drake and the university’s Time and Change strategic plan.

By controlling costs, increasing aid for low- and moderate-income families and enhancing programs that support success in and out of the classroom, Ohio State is making an excellent college education more accessible and affordable for Buckeyes everywhere.

Controlling the cost of tuition and fees

Ohio State Tuition Guarantee

The Ohio State Tuition Guarantee offers Ohio students and their families certainty about the cost of a four-year college education. For each class of incoming first-year Ohioans, the university sets rates for in-state tuition, mandatory fees, room and board that are frozen for four years. The second class of students to benefit from the guarantee started during the 2018-19 academic year.

Historic tuition freezes

​Tuition and fees have now been frozen for six straight years for Ohio students who started at Ohio State before the creation of the Ohio State Tuition Guarantee. Students in the class graduating in spring 2019 are paying the same in-state tuition rate as they were when they were freshmen. This is the fourth straight class to experience a four-year freeze.

In 2015-16, Ohio State implemented its first comprehensive cost freeze — including in-state tuition, housing, dining and more — in at least 40 years. This comprehensive freeze was repeated in 2016-17. (Read announcement)

Summer tuition discount

Thanks to a 25 percent discount on summer tuition rates, Ohio State undergraduates saved $9.2 million in summer 2018 compared with fall/spring rates. The summer tuition discount provides students with immediate savings and additional opportunities to complete course work and reduce their time to degree. (Read about summer term)

Eliminating course fees

Ohio State has eliminated 70 percent of all course fees to reduce student costs. This plan, which began in spring 2019, benefits thousands of students across a range of disciplines. Fees that remain cover third-party costs, such as first-aid training, or are in disciplines that rely heavily on laboratories as part of their educational requirements (biology, chemistry and physics).​ (Read more)

Waiving costs for heavy academic loads

Starting in spring 2019, Ohio State will allow students who take heavy academic loads to waive the cost of additional credit hours if they are doing so to complete their degrees or to take advantage of internships or research opportunities. While students can take up to 18 credit hours at the university’s full-time tuition rate, they may take up to a maximum of 21 credit hours per term. For eligible students who obtain the approval of their academic advisors, these waivers would provide savings of more than $400 per additional credit hour. (Read announcement)

In-state tuition for military families

Ohio State has expanded the university’s support of military families by applying in-state tuition regardless of a student’s residency. Prior to spring 2019, Ohio State extended in-state rates to military families in most circumstances, but the intersection of federal rules, state law and university policy created some exceptions that affected about two dozen students each semester. Starting in spring 2019, Ohio State implemented a new policy clarifying that active members of the military, veterans and their immediate family members (spouses and children) are to be granted in-state status. (Read announcement)

Controlling costs

Ohio State has created a tuition guarantee that provides incoming Ohio students with predictability about the cost of a four-year education, frozen tuition repeatedly for existing students and introduced a variety of other cost-saving initiatives.

Financial Aid

Ohio State well exceeded its goal of expanding need-based financial aid $100 million by 2020. Thus far, more than 33,000 Buckeyes and their families have benefitted from programs expanded or created since 2015.

Expanding financial aid for low- and moderate-income students

Buckeye Opportunity Program

The Buckeye Opportunity Program, which began in Columbus in fall 2018 and expanded to regional campuses in spring 2019, ensures that Ohio students who qualify for Pell Grants receive an aid package that covers the full cost of tuition and mandatory fees. The university provides institutional aid to close any gap that remains after Pell Grants, Ohio College Opportunity Grants and other gift aid. Across all Ohio State campuses, the program supports about 4,000 Ohio students per year and is funded through an endowment created from proceeds of the Comprehensive Energy Management partnership. (Read initial announcement | Read expansion announcement)

President's Affordability Grant

​The President’s Affordability Grant program, which was established in 2015, provides additional support to approximately 15,000 low- and moderate-income Ohio students annually at our campuses across the state. The grants of up to $2,250 each year are funded through the university’s efficiency program, transforming administrative savings into direct benefits for students.

Land Grant Opportunity Scholarships

Land Grant Opportunity Scholarships have been expanded in value and in number. In 2016, grants were increased to cover the total cost of attendance (the scholarships previously covered tuition only). In 2017, the number of these scholarships offered to in-state students doubled from 88 to 176. Support comes from the university’s strategic funds. These scholarships support Ohio students who demonstrate academic merit and financial need.

​Completion grants

Completion grants were awarded to 160 students in 2017-18, up from seven in 2011-12. These grants go to those who are very near to graduation and unable to register due to a financial hold on their records. Each grant averaged about $1,000, a one-time amount that allows students who might otherwise drop out to stay in school and complete their degrees.

Making textbooks and technology affordable and accessible

Free or low-cost course materials

The university’s Affordable Learning Exchange supports innovative teaching methods that employ free or low-cost course materials, resulting in savings of $3 million with direct impacts for 12,000 students. By spring 2020, the university anticipates to have saved students more than $10 million through ALX projects.

    Digital textbooks at deep discounts

    In spring 2019, Ohio State began piloting a new strategy to deliver digital textbooks that cost up to 80 percent less than traditional textbooks. An expansion of the CarmenBooks pilot through summer and fall 2019 is expected to save students more than $1 million in the first year. The CarmenBooks program is expected to fully launch in spring 2020. (Read more)

      Learning technology for all students

      Ohio State’s comprehensive, digital learning initiative is providing students with learning technology, coding and app development opportunities. Through the Digital Flagship, the university provided more than 11,000 incoming first-year students with an IPad Pro learning-technology suite. This initiative saved students more than $11 million in technology costs while providing new educational tools and opportunities for career development. The Digital Flagship is supported financially by the university’s efficiency program.


      Ohio State faculty members are teaching in innovative ways that both serve students' educational needs and save them money. These efforts are amplified through the Digital Flagship, which is providing students with the tools and tech training they need to thrive.