Ohio State launches Ohio Scholarship Challenge

News Release Date: 
02.01.13

Goal is to raise $100 million for scholarships for Ohio students,
part of $500 million campaign goal for student aid

Columbus, Ohio – As part of its deep commitment to Ohio’s college students and their families, The Ohio State University is launching a new fundraising campaign that will support students from all 88 Ohio counties. “The Ohio Scholarship Challenge” seeks to raise $100 million in general undergraduate scholarship funds for Ohio State students at all campuses.

“This is a tangible demonstration of the university’s abiding commitment to its historic mission of ensuring financial access to an extraordinary education,” said Robert H. Schottenstein, chair of The Ohio State University Board of Trustees. “Fulfilling that mission is essential to creating a strong and vibrant society.”

Ohio State has been named one of the nation’s best higher education values by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, and the university continues to seek innovative financial strategies to help students earn a college degree. The Ohio Scholarship Challenge is part of the university’s larger effort to raise $500 million in private funds for student financial aid and scholarships.

The program’s concept and early refinement was the work of The Ohio State University Foundation Board of Directors, which helps to guide the university’s comprehensive fundraising efforts. John B. “Jay” Gerlach Jr., chair of the Foundation Board, credits board member James Klingbeil with bringing the program to fruition.

“Ensuring that the best and brightest students have the ability to attend Ohio State is an essential principle of the Foundation Board’s work, and there is no greater champion for student scholarships and financial aid than Jim,” said Gerlach.

E. Gordon Gee, president, The Ohio State University, underscored the Foundation Board’s critical role.

“I am deeply grateful to the Foundation Board, and especially to Jim and Sally Klingbeil, for their uncommon vision for this new scholarship challenge and for their passion and drive in making it a reality,” said Gee. “Ohio State is and must remain the front door to the American Dream for Ohio’s talented young people, regardless of their families’ financial circumstances.”

Through the Challenge, the university seeks individuals, organizations and groups to donate and/or raise undergraduate scholarship funds for students from their area. Gifts may be given as either current-use or endowed scholarships. As an incentive through the But for Ohio State campaign, the university will match the new endowment payout for four years for donors who accept the Challenge.
“This program gives our friends and supporters in cities and towns across Ohio the opportunity to directly support students in their communities,” said Michael Eicher, senior vice president for advancement and president of The Ohio State University Foundation. “It underscores and will extend the university’s commitment to student success.”

Scholarships funded by the Challenge are transferrable between majors and portable between campuses, so that a recipient keeps the scholarship regardless of major or campus attended. Scholarships are renewable for up to four years as long as the student remains in good standing at Ohio State.

The fundraising effort is co-chaired by Ohio State head football coach Urban Meyer and head men’s basketball coach Thad Matta, and they will be assisted by other volunteers from across Ohio.

“When I was a graduate student here, financial aid is what made the difference for many Buckeyes. It still makes the difference,” said Meyer. “This is an important campaign. It is important to the university and it is important to Ohio. Ohio State is committed to providing competitive student aid packages, and The Ohio Scholarship Challenge is one way to increase the amount of aid available to students each year.”

Ohio State head men’s basketball coach Thad Matta agrees.

“The Ohio Scholarship Challenge is an exciting campaign for a lot of reasons,” says Matta. “It’s about helping Ohio State students and future students from across the state. The campaign reaches all of Ohio’s 88 counties, and like our basketball team, it will continue until the goal is reached.”

Nearly three quarters of all Ohio State undergraduates receive some sort of financial aid, including scholarships and grants, loans and part-time employment. Ohio State invests a significant amount of resources to assist students. In the current 2012-13 academic year, it is spending a total of $128 million on scholarships and grants. That figure is $20 million more than in the previous year and $32 million more than two years ago.

Gifts to The Ohio Scholarship Challenge support the university’s But for Ohio State fundraising campaign. In October 2012, the university launched a $2.5 billion university-wide campaign to raise funds for five priority areas: placing students first, elevating faculty and the academic enterprise, creating modern learning environments, emboldening our research agenda, and driving high-impact innovation.

To learn more about giving to the Ohio Scholarship Challenge, see: http://www.giveto.osu.edu/Challenge.