The Board of Trustees Academic Affairs & Student Life Committee met Thursday to announce updates on the Time and Change Strategic Plan, including expansion of financial aid, and the establishment of the Sustainability Institute at Ohio State.
The Buckeye Opportunity Program, which was developed in order to help close the gap in tuition and fees between financial aid in the form of scholarships and grants, is expanding to all Ohio State campuses, now benefitting 900 additional students and their families.
“If you are now a student from an eligible family in the state of Ohio, through this program you will not see a base tuition and fee bill while you’re in your four-year progression,” Bruce McPheron, university executive vice president and provost, said.
The Buckeye Opportunity Program was delayed for regional campuses intentionally. McPherson said students on regional campuses who already pay a discount in tuition — which is 70 percent of Columbus campus tuition — carry a full course load during their first semester and are eligible for the difference in tuition if they maintain a good academic standing.
“If they complete that load and remain in good academic standing and have completed a course, the first-year experience course on student success, then Pell-eligible students are eligible for the same coverage of the tuition gap between financial aid and tuition charges,” McPheron said.
If students on the regional campuses transfer to the Columbus campus, that status carries with them. If they stay where they are, it still applies.
The Board also discussed the establishment of the Sustainability Institute at Ohio State. Created in January, the Sustainability Institute supports and integrates sustainability through activities across the university.
“This is a place that has an intellectual aggregate in the areas of sustainability,” McPheron said. “Science is really quite notable, so as we went through the process of actually creating this institute, it emerged, not only out of discovery theme investments, but also out of existing expertise on our faculty.”
More than 600 faculty have reported working with some area of sustainability science.
“We have 74 different academic programs, undergraduate and graduate degrees that have at least one sustainability learning outcome listed,” McPheron said. “We have somewhere in the neighborhood of a thousand courses that are either on the topic or include elements of sustainability.”