Ohio State plans to launch a new project dedicated to getting rid of something many college students are familiar with — student debt.
The Scarlet & Gray Advantage program will introduce a pilot program in the autumn semester of 2022 for undergraduate students pursuing a debt-free bachelor’s degree, according to a press release . University spokesperson Chris Booker said students in this program will be able to avoid college debt by obtaining scholarships, grants and participating in paid internships to pay for their cost of attendance, dining and housing.
“The program will rely on the active participation of students interested in a debt-free bachelor’s degree,” Booker said.
Booker said in an email this program has been a priority for University President Kristina M. Johnson.
“President Johnson announced a commitment in her 2021 State of the University Address for Ohio State to be a national leader on affordability by offering students the opportunity to earn a zero-debt bachelor’s degree within a decade,” Booker said.
Details about the pilot program and how to apply will be available once the upcoming school year nears, according to the Scarlet & Gray Advantage website .
All incoming undergraduate students will be eligible for the program once it is fully launched, according to the website.
“The upcoming pilot program will help determine how the program is structured as it scales up in subsequent years. The pilot will be focused on incoming first-year students, and no decision has been made at this point about subsequent years,” Booker said.
Booker said the program will help students outside the classroom through university-provided job opportunities. He said these opportunities will give students experience for future careers as they also earn money toward their education.
Nora Raicevich, a first-year in health sciences, said the program would give her the ability to participate in more on-campus activities, rather than working to earn money for tuition.
“Being able to get my degree debt-free would allow me to participate in the little things that I wouldn’t have the chance to if I had to pay for my education,” Raicevich said.
Over the next decade, the university plans to raise $800 million in donations to expand undergraduate scholarships for students in this program, according to the press release.
Molly Donohue, a first-year in biology, said participating in this program would allow her to get more involved in working in a lab and getting firsthand experience in her major before entering the industry, freed up of the responsibility of getting an additional job that is unrelated to her major.
“Learning about how this program is going to work gave me a sense of relief, knowing that I found an opportunity to help me with the accomplishments I want to achieve,” Donohue said.