The State of the University Address presented on Thursday by President Kristina M. Johnson of The Ohio State University, her first, included several important announcements.
Several dealt with various investments into research and researchers totaling some $750 million over the next ten years. This includes the physical improvements such as the Ohio State Innovation Center on the former West Campus, a $1.8 billion Wexner Hospital, and a just-opened science building on the Wooster campus.
Practically, however, the most transformative direction announced was the goal of providing a debt-free education to all OSU undergraduates over the next decade. This would make The Ohio State University the first to undertake such a monumental undertaking.
Focusing on a theme of building opportunities for all citizens, Johnson emphasized the need to help graduates manage the cost of an Ohio State education. In 2019-2020, 47% of Ohio State graduates carried an average of $27,000 in student debt. That debt can prevent students from continuing their education, buying a home or starting a business, and it’s a burden she wants to eliminate.
“Over the next decade, we are going to make sure our undergraduates leave Ohio State debt-free,” she said. “This is well within our reach, and we will lead the nation, as the first university to offer a zero-debt bachelor’s degree at scale.”
Currently, tuition is $11,518 annually at the Columbus campus and $8,237 at OSU Mansfield. Out-of-state students pay $33,502. Room and board adds another $13,026 in Columbus, with varying rates at regional campuses based on offerings.
Johnson concluded on a note of high aspiration. “We can take on the great challenges in our society – the great challenges in science – the great challenges in engineering, the arts, the humanities, the law and in every other field we encompass, and make a real difference,” she said. “We can converge across disciplines, colleges and industries around the most pressing and most interesting problems; become a force for equity, justice and the American dream; educate young leaders more than ready to take over for us in building a better world; and redefine what it means to be a great land-grant university in the 21st century, in service to the common good.”
Source: Ohio State News; Photo: Creative Commons License