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Financial aid changes: need-based aid increases as merit scholarships decrease


Graphic by Denny Check | Managing Editor for Design

Graphic by Denny Check | Managing Editor for Design

Ohio State merit-based scholarship funding is expected to decrease next academic year as some funding is reallocated to need-based financial aid.

The money awarded for the National Buckeye, Maximus, Provost and Trustees scholarships is decreasing in the fall by 5 percent, with that difference, $2 million, being redirected to need-based financial aid, said Diane Corbett, executive director for student financial aid, in an email.

The decrease in merit funding will only affect incoming freshmen. Merit scholarships are awarded as block amounts that are distributed over four years, so current scholarship holders will retain the level of financial aid with which they started.

“We took care to ensure that no (current) student feels penalized by applying the 5 percent reduction to the incoming class,” Corbett said in an email.

For example, Casey O’Connor, a third-year in accounting, will retain her $12,000 Provost Scholarship at the level it was originally awarded, but a member of the class of 2020 with the same scholarship will receive the award for $11,400.

O’Connor said she has mixed feelings about the shift in funding.

“Having a scholarship has really helped me afford (OSU), but I’m also all for need-based aid,” she said.

Cam Snyder, a third-year in strategic communication, holds an $8,000 Trustees Scholarship, which is set to drop to $7,600 for incoming freshmen. He said he likes the increase in funding for need-based aid, but he still has concerns about the decline in merit-scholarship funding.

Snyder said it seems unfair that an incoming freshman won’t receive as much as he did “for the same list of accomplishments.”

All four scholarships had either increased or stayed the same since the 2012 academic year, according to the data provided by Corbett.

All scholarships, except the Provost Scholarship, will remain above 2012 levels despite the cuts.

Going forward, the university’s plan is to maintain the merit scholarships at the new levels, though Corbett said this will be re-evaluated as part of the budget analysis for fiscal year 2018.

Tuition has yet to be set for next year, though the January Board of Trustees Meeting minutes showed that a freeze on undergraduate in-state tuition was listed as “recommended.” Costs listed as “under evaluation” included out-of-state tuition, housing, dining and program-specific fees.

The target number of students to receive merit scholarships for the incoming freshman class is 3,262, Corbett said. There are 12,575 total undergraduates with merit scholarships this year.

Corbett said the university hopes to maintain that target number of students for the following year, up from 12,000 aided this year.


  1. Am just seeking for financial help for university for my cousin who is. In first yr offering public administration but since I am currently not working I see no hope of her progressing yet she is very determined focused girl.
    She was orphaned from age of 3 my desir e is to see her complete her studies

  2. I thought money for these need-based scholarships was coming from somewhere else, some donation or money we received from selling something off???

  3. Another example of redistributing wealth. Let’s take it from the people who merit it and give it to those who have not earned it. I thought OSU’s mission was to create scholars, not be another entitlement dispensary.

  4. I do not see why I as a scholar should suffer when other students, who booze every night and spend so much time studying in unmarketable fields, need financial support. College shouldn’t be for everyone, and I see no reason why I should subsidize other students.

    In the same manner, I would ideally not have others subsidize me. Instead of scholarships, the university needs to cut funding to administrative staff and wasteful gimmicks and let us keep our money in our pockets. The scholarship apparatus is broken and wasteful, as paper pushers decide on who gets what based on arbitrary university policy which cannot account for the difference between a communications and a STEM degree.

  5. So as tuition continues to rise uncontrolled and support for students will decline. I’m not a fan of needs-based support since everyone who gets admitted should be considered on their own merits. Direct those merit based scholarships to those who have the greater need (the teacher’s kid not the surgeon’s.)

    My BS in Math cost about $7500 (September, 1981 – June, 1985). I made enough working in the summer to pay for tuition the following year. Adjusting for inflation, that same BS from OSU should cost a state resident less than $20,000, increasing at an average rate of less than 3%. A student could work in the summer and earn enough to continue his/her education. But tuition for four years at OSU is now twice that. A student cannot get a summer job and earn $10K doing anything legal; new engineers barely get paid $1000 a week. The resident student entering this fall planning to graduate in 2020 is going to need roughly $45K plus room & board, books, etc. That is outrageous.

    Focus on the problem. Quit hiding from tough choices. Let go of a few of those extra bureaucrats you’ve hired over the last 35 years who add nothing to student learning. Improve academic advising to ensure that students finish in 4 years (my sons were each misdirected into classes they didn’t need or that guaranteed an additional year.) And last, try to avoid alienating large chunks of your alumni. Donations are down. The student campaigner who called last month told me “we’ve heard that a lot” when I told him why I wouldn’t be donating any time soon.

  6. Are you insane? Something has to be left to merit alone. Those same teachers kids can get the same merit based scholarships by getting above a 34 on the college boards and being in the top 3 percent of their class. I am a teacher. And my kid got the Maximus scholarship. Because he worked really hard, took 10 AP classes, got a 34 on his ACT as a sophomore and retook it trying to get a 36 because he wanted more.

    The kids whose parents did not go to college can do the same. That’s why it is called merit. No one is getting disqualified because their parents went to college or because they are not the right color or gender or because they have too much money.

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