Affordability at Ohio State

Ohio State is proud to be a leader in making an excellent college education accessible and affordable for all students.

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.

In February 2021, President Kristina M. Johnson announced a bold vision that will empower undergraduate students to graduate from Ohio State without the burden of student loans: “We will lead the nation as the first university to offer a zero-debt bachelor’s degree at scale.” The Scarlet & Gray Advantage program, which will scale up within a decade, empowers eligible Ohio State students to earn their bachelor’s degree debt-free. The university launched a pilot in autumn 2022 to inform plans for the program.

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. So far, five classes of students are benefitting from the guarantee, which started in fall 2017.

Historic tuition freezes

​Tuition and fees have now been frozen for seven 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 2023 are paying the same in-state tuition rate as they were when they were freshmen. This is the fifth straight class to experience a four-year freeze.

Summer tuition discount

A 25 percent summer tuition discount has saved students $18.4 million since summer 2018 compared with fall/spring rates while providing opportunities for students to reduce their time to degree.

The summer tuition discount provides students immediate savings and additional opportunities to complete coursework and reduce their time to degree. (Read about summer term)

Eliminating course fees

Ohio State 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.​ (Read more)

Waiving costs for heavy academic loads

Ohio State allows 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. Students can take up to 18 credit hours at the university’s full-time tuition rate, and the waiver allows students to take up to 21 credit hours per term at the full-time rate. More than 450 students took advantage in spring 2019, providing savings of more than $400 per credit hour. (Read announcement)

In-state tuition for military families

Ohio State expanded the university’s support of military families in spring 2019 by applying in-state tuition regardless of a student’s residency. Ohio State's policy clarifies that active members of the military, veterans and their immediate family members (spouses and children) are to be granted in-state status. 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. (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 51,000 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 classes and all campuses, the Buckeye Opportunity Program has benefited approximately 7,700 Pell eligible students from Ohio. Grants are 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 help seniors work toward their degree. These grants go to those who are very near to graduation and unable to register due to a financial hold on their records. Grants average about $860 and for the 2019-2020 academic year, 124 seniors were provided financial aid allowing 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. Students saved more than $1 million in the first year of the CarmenBooks pilot, which has been extended. In academic year 2019-2020, CarmenBooks saved students more than $2 million.


      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.