Program provides tuition money for Ohio State Marion
BY KURT MOORE • The Marion Star • October 30, 2010
MARION - Cheerleaders and officials from The Ohio State University at Marion visited Benjamin Harrison Elementary School on Friday as Marion City Schools distributed the first vouchers awarded under the Go Buck$ program.
Ohio State Marion has agreed to provide tuition vouchers of $25 and $50 per quarter to Marion students who meet attendance and achievement criteria set forth by the school district. Hypothetically, if a kindergartener received both vouchers this quarter and continued to do so through 12th grade, the student could earn $3,300 towards tuition at the college.
The program was announced in August. City schools spokeswoman Becky Gilliam said so far about $150,000 in vouchers have been awarded district-wide.
Harrison principal Leah Filliator estimated she handed out about 200 $25 vouchers for attendance, given to students who didn't miss more than three days, and about 100 $50 vouchers to students in grades 3 through 5 who had no detentions during the first nine weeks. She said she organized the assembly so that the students would appreciate the importance of the vouchers.
"I think it's a great way to get kids thinking about college," she said. "We can't start early enough. They understand they are getting free cash."
The district is targeting attendance in an effort to improve Marion City Schools' attendance rate of 92.8 percent, just below the state benchmark of 93 percent. Schools get to define how they want to award achievement.
GoBuck$ is a pilot program that organizers hope will help prevent students and families keep cost from being a deterrent to seeking a college degree. Ohio State Marion's manager of communications and marketing, Wayne Rowe, shared his story about growing up poor in the mountains of Kentucky and going on to college despite the cost.
He told the students not to let others tell them they can't afford to go to college.
"You tell them, 'I can get the money to go to college,'" he said. "I know coming from the mountains of Kentucky, if I can do it you can do it too."
Tuition at Ohio State Marion is between $2,034 and $2,226 if a student carries 12 or more credit hours.
GoBuck$ is in addition to other financial aid opportunities including the George Alber Trust Scholarship, awarded to any Marion County resident or graduate of a high school in Marion County who attends Ohio State Marion.