The Scarlet & Gray Advantage program will empower eligible Ohio State students to earn their bachelor’s degree — debt-free — freeing them to pursue a vibrant future without the burden of student loans. Beginning with a small pilot program in autumn 2022, we will continually scale the program over the next decade.

Components of the program

Scholarships and grants

Through scholarships and grants, students of all backgrounds and income levels can attend Ohio State and experience all that the university has to offer. Ohio State is taking immediate steps to expand scholarship support, creating paths for even more students to pursue their dreams and goals.

Work opportunities

Students will be active participants in achieving their debt-free degree. Through a mixture of paid internships and job opportunities with employers throughout the country, students participating in the Scarlet & Gray Advantage program will gain valuable experience while earning money toward their debt-free education.

Career development

Students in the Scarlet & Gray Advantage program will have access to career development and leadership programs that will set them up for success. Programs will assist students in building a strong professional foundation, from their first job to ones down the road.

Financial literacy

Helping our students understand personal finance can prepare them for future success. Participating students will engage in financial literacy programs that will benefit them as they start their careers and through a lifetime of decisions.

Help students access a vibrant future

By supporting the Scarlet & Gray Advantage program, you are providing pathways for students to reach their goals and achieve their educational and life dreams. You can champion these Buckeyes to go further, discover more and change the world.
Stained glass in rotunda at Ohio Stadium

Debt-free degree to offer scholarships, work opportunities, grants and financial literacy

Learn more about the Scarlet & Gray Advantage program, our plans for funding this life-changing program and a pilot that will help the university create a debt-free bachelor’s degree.

FAQs

Undergraduate students at all Ohio State campuses will be eligible to participate when the Scarlet & Gray Advantage program is fully launched. Students typically will join the program as new first-year students. The program will serve students of varying income levels, both from Ohio and out of state.

Ohio State will use a pilot, starting in autumn 2022, to determine how the Scarlet & Gray Advantage program scales up over the next 10 years. The pilot will include 125 new, first-year students who will start at Ohio State that semester. For other students, the university continues to support students through existing scholarships and grants, work opportunities and programs on financial literacy and other topics.

Students in the Scarlet & Gray Advantage program will avoid college debt through a combination of scholarships and grants, paid internship and work opportunities, and financial contributions from their families. These elements will enable students to cover the cost of attendance, including tuition and fees, housing and dining, books, travel and daily living expenses.

The Scarlet & Gray Advantage program pilot will include 125 new, first-year students who will start at Ohio State in autumn semester 2022. The pilot will include Ohio students and U.S. non-resident students. Details about the pilot, including the selection process for participants, will be shared before the coming school year. For existing students, the university continues to provide support through existing scholarships and grants, work opportunities, and programs on financial literacy and other topics.

Students who participate in the Scarlet & Gray Advantage program will be able to graduate debt-free by taking advantage of federal, state and university scholarships and grants, paid internship and work opportunities, and educational programs. Students will need to complete a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) annually and commit to actions such as graduating on time, pursuing paid internship and job opportunities, and participating in financial literacy programs.

No. The Scarlet & Gray Advantage program will rely on the active participation of students interested in a debt-free bachelor’s degree. The university will continue to meet a portion of students’ needs through scholarships and grants, and students will be expected to contribute to their education. The program is designed to help students avoid loans, not to forgive debt.

The university offers a variety of scholarships and grants, work opportunities and programs about financial literacy and other topics. These are some of the affordability programs expanded in recent years:

  • Ohio State Tuition Guarantee: The university freezes tuition, mandatory fees, housing and dining rates for each incoming class of in-state students. This guarantee lasts four years for each class.
  • Summer Tuition Discount: Ohio State offers a 25% discount on summer tuition rates compared with autumn/spring rates for Columbus campus students.
  • The Buckeye Opportunity Program: In-state students who qualify for Pell Grants receive a scholarship and grants package that covers at least the full cost of tuition and mandatory fees.
  • The President’s Affordability Grant: ​Ohio State provides grants of up to $2,250 per year to approximately 15,000 low- and middle-income Ohio students annually.
  • Affordable Learning Exchange: The university’s textbook affordability program helps instructors develop and use free or low-cost course materials. The Affordable Learning Exchange has saved students more than $20 million since 2016.

Prospective students can learn more about financial aid opportunities through Undergraduate Admissions. Current students can find resources, including the ScholarshipUniverse tool for locating opportunities for possible matches, through Student Financial Aid.

Ohio State already offers strong programming to support students interested in financial literacy and career coaching, and the university is evaluating how to expand these options as part of the Scarlet & Gray Advantage program.

Existing students can take advantage of programs such as:

  • Scarlet and Gray Financial, a financial literacy and peer-to-peer coaching program housed in the Student Wellness Center, which is part of the Office of Student Life.
  • Buckeye Careers, which offers services including career coaching and preparation programs. Buckeye Careers is part of the Office of Student Life.
  • Handshake lists job, internship, co-ops and career opportunities available for Ohio State students.

Many other programs exist throughout the university, and students are always encouraged to also investigate options that may be available through their academic programs.

In 2020, less than half (47%) of Ohio State’s bachelor’s degree recipients graduated with debt, and these borrowers graduated with debt of $27,133 on average. Because of existing affordability initiatives, these numbers have been declining in the past few years. For the 2017 graduating class, 53% had debt at the time of graduation, for an average of $28,158.

Ohio State is raising $800 million for undergraduate scholarships over the next decade, including $500 million in endowments. The university has created a $50 million program to match private donations that create new endowments or support existing ones for undergraduate scholarships.

Learn more about opportunities to give through the Ohio State University Foundation.