How to Pay for Ohio State University: Financial Aid and Student Loan Options

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How to Pay for Ohio State University
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Ohio State University is a top-rated public college in the U.S. with six campuses in Ohio. But while it offers affordable in-state tuition in line with many other public colleges, the average out-of-pocket costs for a typical Ohio State student total $18,099 a year, according to College Scorecard.

While that amount might seem high, current and prospective students have many options for how to pay for Ohio State University. Gift aid such as grants and scholarships can help lower total costs and won’t need to be repaid. Students can also take part in work-study programs. Barring other funding options, students could also consider student loans.

This guide to Ohio State University student aid and assistance will help you find the funds you need to cover your college costs and make informed decisions about your education and financial future.

Costs of attending Ohio State University
Annual in-state tuition and fees $10,726
Annual room and board (on-campus) $12,474
Total cost $23,200
Net cost (after aid) $18,099
Median debt after graduation $21,500
All info current as of Sept. 4, 2018. Sources: Ohio State University and College Scorecard

First, file the FAFSA

If you’re planning to attend Ohio State University, or any other college for that matter, you’ll want to make sure you file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Doing so is the only way to qualify for key federal student aid, such as grants, work-study, or loans.

Federal Student Aid uses the information provided on this form to decide what aid you need and whether you’re eligible, detailing this in a Student Aid Report (SAR). The college then uses the SAR to determine your student aid, which it outlines in your student aid award letter.

The FAFSA is often your key to unlocking other forms of student aid and funding from your state, Ohio State University, and other private entities. Many scholarships and grants will rely on your FAFSA and the information provided therein to evaluate your eligibility for aid. To continue to qualify for as much aid as possible, you’ll need to submit a new FAFSA each year you plan to attend college.

But you don’t have to wait until you’ve filed the FAFSA to see how much aid you could qualify for at Ohio State University. The college provides a net price calculator that projects the aid you could get based on the information you enter, as well as how much you may have to pay out of pocket.

Ohio State University FAFSA code and priority deadline

When submitting your FAFSA, take your time and make sure all your information is entered correctly. Double-check that you’ve included Ohio State University among the schools to which you’d like your FAFSA information forwarded. For easy reference, Ohio State University’s FAFSA code is 003090.

It’s also important to submit the FAFSA early. FAFSA submissions open on Oct. 1 for the following academic year, but Ohio State University students should aim to get the FAFSA in by Feb. 1. This is Ohio State University’s priority deadline for filing the FAFSA. If you miss this deadline, you can still file your FAFSA — you just might miss out on institutional or state student aid for which you’d otherwise qualify.

Another important date that incoming students should keep in mind is Nov. 1. This is the early action date. High school students who apply for college early will know if they’re accepted to Ohio State by the end of January of their senior year.

Applying by this early action deadline is also a requirement for consideration for several valuable Ohio State University scholarships for incoming freshmen. Ohio State admissions open Aug. 1 for the following school year.

Grants for Ohio State University students

Now that you know how to get started applying for Ohio State University student aid, you might be wondering what help is available.

Grants are one such option — and one of the most beneficial forms of student aid you can get. As gift aid that doesn’t need to be repaid, grants are basically free money that you receive to help pay for an education.

Most grants will require you to complete the FAFSA, a separate application, or both to qualify. Here are some of the federal, Ohio state, and institutional grants available to Ohio State University students.

Federal student grants

Your FAFSA will act as an application to federal student grants, though you may need to take some extra steps to become eligible for some grants. Here’s an overview of grants offered or funded by the federal government:

  • Federal Pell Grants are awarded to students based on their demonstrated financial need, with the maximum award set at $6,095 for the 2018-19 school year.
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG) are administered by the Ohio State University financial aid office and given to students with the highest financial need. Award amounts can range from $100 to $4,000 a year, depending on need and available funds.
  • Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grants provide up to $4,000 a year in funding to students working toward a degree and career in teaching. You’ll need to meet certain academic requirements, complete grant counseling, and agree to teach at a school in a high-need or low-income area for four academic years after enrollment ends.
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants are awarded to eligible students with a parent or guardian who died while serving in the military in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Ohio College Opportunity Grant

Beyond federal grants, Ohio State University students might also be able to take advantage of a state grant for college students.

The Ohio College Opportunity Grant is the main program of its kind in the state. Funded and administered by the Ohio Department of Higher Education, it offers up to $1,500 annually to Ohio State University students who are state residents and meet all grant qualifications.

Students who submit the FAFSA by Oct. 1 will be automatically evaluated for an Ohio College Opportunity Grant. This grant is designed for students with a high level of financial need.

Grants from Ohio State University

Students can look into grants set up and funded by Ohio State University itself. Here are some of the grants offered. Students can apply for all these grants by submitting a FAFSA by the priority deadline, Feb. 1.

  • The President’s Affordability Grant is need-based gift aid available to full-time undergrad students with resident status. Students who qualified received up to $1,250 for the 2018-19 school year.
  • The Scarlet and Gray Grant is offered on Ohio State University’s Columbus campus. Students can be considered if they have a demonstrated financial need and are in good academic standing
  • The Freshman Foundation Program (FFP) extends need-based grants to students at the Columbus campus. Eligibility is based on a student’s financial need, academic achievement, and personal history and background. A student can only receive either the FFP grant or the Scarlet and Gray Grant — not both.
  • The Buckeye Affordability Grant is awarded to Ohio residents who attend the main Ohio State University campus full time and have a demonstrated need for student aid.
  • The Room and Board Transition Grant helps second-year students who live on campus at the Columbus campus cover increases in room and board charges. Students must be Ohio residents and have a demonstrated financial need to qualify.

The grants offered to Ohio State University students can differ by campus, so it’s worthwhile checking with your specific campus’ financial aid office for details on grants available there.

Scholarships for Ohio State University students

Like a grant, a scholarship is a form of gift aid — money that you can use for college without worrying about having to repay it. Unlike grants, which are often based on a student’s need for financial aid, there are a wide range of college scholarship out there:

  • Merit-based scholarships are granted to students with high abilities in academics, athletics, or other areas.
  • Need-based scholarships consider a student’s ability to pay for college alongside other criteria.
  • Special-eligibility scholarships may be awarded based on unique requirements, such as area of study, residency, or other school involvement.

Like other forms of Ohio student aid, several agencies and organizations offer scholarships that students can use to help cover college costs.

Here are a few resources you can use to find and apply for scholarships:

  • Use scholarship search sites to find national or state-level scholarships for which you might qualify.
  • Complete the Ohio State University Special Scholarships Application to get consideration for scholarships with a wide range of eligibility criteria. You’ll need a student login to view and complete the application.
  • Review departmental scholarships to find potential programs that you could qualify for based on your major.

Ohio State University’s main campus is in Columbus, but it has several campuses that offer scholarships. Seek student aid opportunities through your financial aid office to find scholarships or programs specific to your campus:

Each scholarship will have its own criteria to qualify and apply, and these can vary widely. Both prospective and current students should carefully review and follow all scholarship instructions to maximize their chances of being considered for these awards.

Ohio State University merit-based scholarships

Ohio State University lists several merit-based scholarships available to students. These include:

  • The Eminence Fellows Program and Scholarship is a full-ride scholarship reserved for Honors Program students with “outstanding potential. The application takes into account academic performance, proven commitment to service and social responsibility, and application essays.
  • The Morrill Scholarship Program from the Office of Diversity and Inclusion offers this diversity-centered scholarship in three-tiered awards, ranging from the value of in-state tuition up to the total cost of attendance. This scholarship is extended to high school seniors with exceptional academic histories who have a history of past diversity and leadership involvement.
  • The Land Grant Opportunity Scholarship is extended to two Ohio residents each year, and covers their full cost of attendance. Students who file a FAFSA by the priority deadline will get automatic consideration for this scholarship.
  • The National Buckeye Scholarship offers up to $13,500 a school year, for a total potential value of $54,000 over four years. It’s only extended to high school seniors who are non-Ohio residents. The students are automatically considered if they apply by the early action deadline and meet academic performance requirements.
  • Ohio State’s Maximus, Provost, and Trustees Scholarships offer tiered awards of $1,000 to $3,000 per academic year to high school seniors with exceptional academic records. Applicants are automatically considered if they meet the early action deadline and meet consideration criteria (top 20% of graduating class and SAT score of 1360 or above).

Federal work-study at Ohio State

Another form of student aid that can help Ohio State University students cover their education costs is the federal work-study program. It allows students to apply for and work at qualified work-study jobs to earn awards in the form of wages.

Federal work-study is a form of need-based aid, and students will be considered for it if they indicate that they’re interested in the program on their FAFSA. If they qualify, they can visit the university work-study job board to find and apply for positions.

If you get a federal work-study job, you’ll earn at least Ohio’s minimum wage of $8.30 and up to $13 an hour. You’ll face a limit on the total hours you can work (and thus what you can earn) in a given semester. Ohio State University limits the hours for all student-employees to 28 hours a week, of which 20 may be through the federal work-study program.

Federal student loans

Another option to consider when deciding how to pay for Ohio State University is to borrow funds through student loans.

The Department of Education offers federal student loans. They don’t require a credit history of any kind to qualify. Federal student loans are also a great option because of their low fixed rates.

Students who meet financial aid eligibility requirements can claim student loans to help cover their costs. Here’s an overview of federal student loans available to current students.

Federal student loan Who can use it? Interest rate (2018-19) Loan fee* Annual loan limit
Direct Subsidized Loan Undergraduate students with a demonstrated financial need 5.05% 1.062% Up to $5,500 a school year
Direct Unsubsidized Loan Undergraduate students 5.05% 1.062% Up to $7,500 a school year for dependent students
Up to $12,500 a school year for independent students
Direct Unsubsidized Loan (for graduate students) Students working toward a graduate or professional degree 6.60% 1.062% Up to $20,500 a school year
Direct PLUS Loan Graduate students or parents of undergraduate students 7.60% 4.248% Cost of attendance, after all other student aid is applied
* Fee rates are for loans disbursed on or after Oct. 1, 2018.

Federal student loans have several features that give you flexibility once your loans are in repayment.

This includes the option to switch to different repayment plans, including income-driven options, to keep monthly costs affordable. You’ll also get access to federal or state student loan forgiveness options, and are guaranteed access to protections that pause payments such as deferment or forbearance.

Ohio State University student loans

Besides federal student loans, some students might be able to borrow funds from their school or state.

Ohio State University has its own limited program to extend some student loans. Specifically, it offers both a Long-Term University Loan and Short-Term University Assistance. Each is designed to address funding needs for students facing a temporary financial setback or other extenuating circumstance. Students can talk to their campus financial aid office to get more details on these loan programs and learn how to qualify.

Nursing students might be interested in the Nurse Education Assistance Loan Program. This program provides loans of up to $1,500 per academic year for students in a qualifying Ohio nursing program.

Private student loans

Another source of funding for Ohio State University could be private student loans. These are loans offered to students by banks, credit unions, and online lenders to help cover educational expenses.

A private student loan can be a good option for some students. For example, they can provide funding to students who have hit federal loan limits but still need to borrow, or if you lose federal student aid eligibility.

Private student loans differ from federal student loans in some key ways. You’ll need good credit to get a private student loan, for example. Yet because college students tend not to have good credit (if they have any credit), most wind up needing a cosigner to qualify for these loans.

Additionally, while some lenders such as Ascent and Discover allow you to defer payments in school, others might not provide that option. Many private loans also carry rates and fees that can be far more than what you’d pay on a federal student loan.

The variance in terms, rates, and features offered on private student loans make it all the more important to shop around and compare lenders. Our roundup of private student loan providers is a great place to start your search.

The bottom line: Paying for Ohio State University

Students who are interested in attending Ohio State University have many resources and forms of student aid they can access to make these expenses more affordable. It will take time, organization, and effort to get student aid and figure out how to pay for Ohio State University — but the payoffs can be big.

Begin your plan to cover your costs by maximizing all forms of aid that don’t need to be repaid, such as grants, scholarships, and work-study. If you have costs left after exhausting these forms of aid, you might consider using federal or private student loans to help cover remaining costs.

Take the time to explore and learn about the student aid options open to you at Ohio State University. You might be able to find ways to make college more affordable, limiting your reliance on student debt and setting yourself up for future success. 

Need a student loan?

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Student Loan Hero Advertiser Disclosure

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.

Advertiser Disclosure

Student Loan Hero Advertiser Disclosure

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.

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