Marion couple pushes college education

News Release Date: 
06.18.12

$275 thousand pledge helps jump start Ohio State Marion tuition voucher program for Elgin, Marion Catholic, Pleasant, Ridgedale, and River Valley school students, more pledges needed

Ann and Art Lowe aren’t seeking publicity.  But they are seeking a better future for their community.  The Marion couple has just pledged over a quarter million dollars to encourage Marion County students to go to college—specifically to The Ohio State University at Marion. 

The Lowes' $275,000 pledge, to be paid over the next ten years, will help fund the popular “GoBuck$” tuition voucher program in Marion County schools.  For the last two years, Ohio State Marion has partnered with the Marion City Schools providing $25 and $50 vouchers for good attendance and achievement from kindergarten through 12th grade.  The Marion City Schools GoBuck$ program is funded through the Columbus Foundation’s George Alber
Endowment.

“Now, through the generosity of the Lowe family, we can begin to have the same positive effect in the county school systems,” said Dr. Greg Rose, Dean and Director of Ohio State Marion.

The Lowe family’s contribution will fund an endowment through the Ohio State University Foundation with the earnings backing tuition vouchers provided to students in the, Elgin, Marion Catholic, Pleasant, Ridgedale, and River Valley school systems.  While the Lowe gift is very significant, it will not be enough to fund vouchers from kindergarten through 12th grade, as currently offered in the Marion City school system.  Initially, the Marion County GoBuck$ program will provide vouchers from 7th to 12th grades.

“This will encourage our middle and high school students to think seriously about attending college,” said Terry Conley, Deputy Superintendent of the North Central Ohio Educational Service Center, who helped coordinate the discussions that led to the Lowe gift. 

“We’re hoping other families will join us,” said the Marion couple.  “If we can double or triple the amount we’re putting into the endowment, we could provide GoBuck$ vouchers for all grades in the county schools.”

The Lowes have already funded a scholarship at Ohio State Marion. 

“We thought we could do more,” said Mr. Lowe.  “We think it is critical for the future of the community to increase college degree attainment and we think this GoBuck$ program is a very practical way to do it.” 

“This is a family affair for us,” said Mrs. Lowe, noting that their daughters, Allyson, 38, and Marian, 35, are solidly behind their parents’ philanthropic efforts.  Allyson is an Ohio State graduate and is currently a professor and chair of the political science department at Carlow University in Pittsburgh.  Marian is a consultant to the health care industry and is currently enrolled in the Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business Executive MBA program. 

“Our family has benefitted tremendously from higher education,” said Ann, “and we want to see our community reap some of the same benefits that we’ve enjoyed.” 

According to the latest U.S. Census data, Marion County’s bachelor degree attainment rate is 11.1 percent.  Ohio’s BA attainment in 2010 for adults 25 and older is 29.3 percent.  The U.S. average is 31.1 percent.  According to the Census figures, average earnings for an individual with a bachelor’s degree are 80 percent higher than for someone with only a high school education. 

“The more kids we can encourage to take advantage of this wonderful university we have in our town, the healthier we’ll be as a community,” said Ann. 

“It’s our civic duty to do something like this—and we hope other families will join us.”

For information on how to contribute to the GoBuck$ program, contact Dave Claborn, Director of Development and Community Relations at The Ohio State University at Marion at 740-725-6360 or by e-mail at claborn.17@osu.edu.