Ohio State University proposes tuition guarantee program and announces new investments in affordability grants, scholarships



COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio State University will propose the Ohio State Tuition Guarantee. Tuition and fees would increase 5.5 percent for incoming Ohio freshmen in August and then, under the guarantee, be frozen at that level for four years.

This will apply to incoming freshmen only. Tuition and fees will not change for existing in-state students, including current sophomores, juniors and seniors.

This would mark the fifth straight year of a tuition-and-fee freeze for existing students.

Concurrently, Ohio State will significantly expand aid for middle- and lower-income students.

“The Ohio State Tuition Guarantee program provides predictability for the future while our increased focus on need-based aid protects opportunity,” said President Michael V. Drake.

The Board of Trustees will deliberate and discuss these proposed changes at a meeting on July 11. Pending board approval, Ohio State would also:

  • Increase the value of Land Grant Opportunity Scholarships to cover total cost of attendance as was the case from 2006-13. Next year, Ohio State proposes doubling the size of the program to offer two scholarships in each of Ohio’s 88 counties. The program would thus offer 176 scholarships per year to talented Ohio students with financial need.
  • Invest an additional $25 million in the President’s Affordability Grant program, providing more support for 15,000 middle- and lower-income Ohio residents, including 3,000 students at Ohio State’s regional campuses. Entering its third year, this very popular program will have provided a total of $60 million in need-based grants.

These efforts are part of a focus on balancing access, affordability and excellence. Ohio State also continues to be a national leader in this area.

The university is a founding member of the American Talent Initiative, which aims to increase the number of talented middle- and lower-income students at top-performing institutions by 50,000 over the next decade. It is a charter participant in the University Innovation Alliance, a partnership of public universities to ensure more students earn a college degree.

The Ohio State Tuition Guarantee would set resident tuition and fees at $10,591 per year (current tuition and fees are $10,037) through 2020-21 for incoming first-year students at the Columbus campus. The guarantee would be set at $7,553 for the Lima, Mansfield, Marion and Newark campuses and $7,517 at the Agricultural Technical Institute in Wooster.

Current students will continue to pay $10,037 for in-state tuition and mandatory fees at the Columbus campus — the fourth-lowest cost in the Big Ten. Ohio State has the second-lowest resident tuition and fees of the six selective public universities in Ohio.

“We thank the legislature for providing Ohio’s colleges and universities with flexibility to fund high-quality academic programs while increasing predictability and transparency for students,” Drake said.

University investments in access, affordability and excellence are part of a comprehensive strategy to elevate the value of an Ohio State education.

By increasing the value of Land Grant Opportunity Scholarships, the university will help more students graduate debt-free. The $60 million invested in the President’s Affordability Grant program, funded through the university’s administrative efficiency program, brings the university closer to its stated goal of providing a total of $100 million in additional need-based aid by 2020.

Additional tuition and fee proposals include:

  • Increasing the out-of-state surcharge by 5 percent, setting total nonresident tuition and mandatory fees at $29,141 for continuing students and $29,695 for incoming freshmen in the guarantee program. Ohio State would be among the five most affordable Big Ten universities for out-of-state students.
  • Adjusting the new international student surcharge to $2,928 per year, part of $32,623 in total international tuition and mandatory fees for first-year students. Current students would pay existing international surcharge rates: $1,932 for students who began since 2015-16 or $996 for those who began at Ohio State prior to that year.
  • Adjusting room and board, for the first time since 2014-15, by 3 percent each. The most common undergraduate housing and dining plans would total $12,007 for two semesters.
  • Increasing student health insurance by 8.7 percent to cover the cost of the program, with the annual rate at $2,994.
  • Adjusting eight differential fees for master’s and professional programs in individual colleges; the rates are set based on market comparisons and are to be invested back into the quality of these programs.

More information on the Ohio State Tuition Guarantee and additional proposals are below.


Ohio State Tuition Guarantee for first-year students at Columbus campus, cohort entering 2017-18
2016-17 Proposed rate for guarantee (2017-18 through 2020-21) Pct. increase $ increase
Instructional Fee $9,168 $9,718 6% $550
General Fee $372 $372 0% $0
Student Activity Fee $75 $80 6% $5
Recreation Fee $246 $246 0% $0
COTA Fee $27 $27 0% $0
Ohio Union Fee $149 $149 0% $0
Total Tuition and Fees $10,037 $10,591 5.5% $555

The above fees would be guaranteed for four years for all undergraduate students, regardless of residency status.

Other fees, including the non-resident and international surcharge, would not be part of the guarantee program. Based on proposed rates for 2017-18, the total Columbus campus tuition and fee costs for first-year students outside Ohio would be as follows:

* Non-resident tuition and fees: $29,695
* International tuition and fees: $32,623

The university is also planning to eliminate most existing course and technology fees for students participating in the guarantee program, starting in Spring Semester 2018. The first-year students in the first cohort of the Ohio State Tuition Guarantee program would save an average $93 per semester once those fees have been phased out.

Summary of undergraduate tuition and mandatory fees

Continuing students (not in guarantee program)

2016-17 Proposed 2017-18 Pct. Change Difference
Ohio resident $10,037 $10,037 0% $0
U.S. nonresident $28,229 $29,141 3.2% $912
International students
Continuing students who started in 2015-16 or
$30,161 $31,073* 3.0% $912
Continuing students who started prior to 2015-16 $29,225 $30,137* 3.1% $912
Room and board: Rates shown are most common plans
Housing $7,876 $8,112 3.0% $236
Dining $3,790 $3,895** 3.0%** $105**

* Cost reflects changes to base tuition and the out-of-state surcharge. The international surcharge for these students is unchanged.

**The increase does not apply to BuckID cash that is part of some dining plans. The most popular dining plan, Gray 10, includes $300 per year of BuckID cash.