Putting education within reach

September 7, 2011

Students First, Students Now included all outright and deferred gifts and pledges toward student aid, helping thousands of students stay in school.

With so many economic challenges these days, many students struggle to remain in school. To ensure access to higher education remained open for qualified students, Ohio State stepped up to lend a hand. Through Students First, Students Now—a university-wide initiative created by President E. Gordon Gee—students could receive scholarships, loans, or emergency funds.

Launched on January 1, 2009, with a goal of raising $100 million, the program well surpassed that figure, totaling $116 million at its conclusion on June 30, 2011. Thanks to many Ohio State friends and supporters, the funds helped countless students continue their pursuit of a higher education. Meet one of those students, Taneesha Thomas.

“The Students First, Students Now initiative increased private scholarship donations by nearly 20 percent,” Gee said. “That is a remarkable number, and we must continue to do more to ensure access to education for Ohio State students. Our land-grant mission calls for us to be the keystone to the American Dream for talented young people, regardless of their families’ financ\ial circumstances.”

Designed to generate significant new funding for student support, Students First, Students Now included all outright and deferred gifts and pledges toward student aid. Figures show that, from 2008 to 2011, the number of students enrolled on the Columbus campus receiving Pell Grants increased 38 percent and those filing the Free Application for Student Aid rose 22 percent.

As Ohio State’s enrollment increases, private support will continue to be a vital resource for student funding. By helping qualified students financially, the university will continue its tradition of graduating students who are prepared to make an impact on our world.

Students First, Students Now by the numbers:

29,100: number of undergraduate students receiving financial aid
$13,200: average need-based aid per student (including loans, work-study, scholarships, and grants)
$13,500: average debt from undergraduate loans upon graduation.