The Ohio State University Alumni Association

Approaching college head-on

Braden Heyd, one of this year’s President’s Affordability Grant recipients, doesn’t want for things to do.

Leonard Haynes

Film studies major Braden Heyd is one of about 12,000 students to receive help paying for school this year through the President’s Affordability Grant program.

Braden Heyd’s many passions are met with extraordinary energy.

When he walked on to The Ohio State University campus two years ago, two things were crystal clear: He wanted to be as involved as possible, and he wanted to leave with little debt.

Heyd is doing a fantastic job at both.

Braden recently was selected as a recipient of the new President’s Affordability Grant. The grants, awarded to approximately 12,000 students this year, are part of a commitment to access, affordability and excellence in President Michael V. Drake’s 2020 Vision for the university. The film studies major hopes to pursue a career in entertainment, perhaps in casting for a production studio such as Universal Studios or Warner Bros.

You’re involved in a lot at Ohio State. Talk about what you have going on and how you’re paying for college.

At this point, I’m almost entirely funding my tuition through scholarships and grants. Really, the only thing on my plate is rent and textbooks. I interviewed for two jobs this spring and got them both — the information desk at the Ohio Union and working as a peer leader through the office of First Year Experience.

The ones I’m really involved with for philanthropy and service are the Activities Board for the Ohio Union, working as a peer leader in the First Year Experience Program and Delta Tau Delta.

A lot of what you’re involved in seems very unselfish.

I just want to help people because my time here at Ohio State has been amazing, and I want to give that back. Thinking about the fact that I’m halfway through college is sort of scary, but I want to get involved in things to make a big campus feel smaller. As I’m doing that, I want to serve in leadership positions, and the majority of my work is helping people out. It’s self-motivating doing things to help people, especially freshmen, find their passions.

Tell me a little bit about your background and why you decided to go to Ohio State.

My brother was already at Ohio State. And I wanted to go to a college that had the Big Ten feeling. Plus, Columbus is a great city to live in. It was an easy decision. My first few years I found out there are ways to make everything more special rather than being intimidated and overwhelmed. I thought I’d be a number at Ohio State and I’d be dwarfed by the size of the university. That’s the most important thing I try to communicate with everyone coming in: There are so many ways to make this feel smaller.

With everything on your plate, what is it that motivates you every day?

I just recognize how short four years feels because of how quick one year goes, and I want to make the most of every day. I want to get involved in things that allow me to utilize my skillset and help people. I like to get out of bed every morning and have 16-hour days. I work best when I’m busy, so I like to always have something [going on] rather than sitting around bored watching Netflix.

Expand student aid

The President’s Affordability Grant program is part of an initiative to dedicate at least $400 million by 2020 to lower students' costs and improve quality. This fall, it will provide need-based aid to more than 12,000 low- and middle-income students.


An inspiring show of spirit


In Your Words