Ohio State has plan to write off student loan debt: NPR
Terry Gilliam / AP
Ohio State University has launched an ambitious 10-year plan to raise $ 800 million to eliminate all financial aid loans given to undergraduates.
âIt’s not a free college, it’s not free tuition,â said Kristina Johnson, president of the state of Ohio, âbut can we take one of the biggest universities in the world? countries and develop pathways for our students to graduate debt-free? “
The school, which trains more than 8,000 undergraduates a year, says about half of those students graduate with debt. On average, graduates leave college with about $ 27,000, an amount that matches national averages for students completing a bachelor’s degree.
âWe surveyed our students and they told us that with an average debt of $ 27,000, they are making choices they would not have made otherwise. They’re not going to go to college, serve their community, buy a house, âsays Johnson. “We want people to follow their passions, which they are really interested in, because we know that by doing this they will be the most successful, satisfied, happy and fulfilled.”
Not the first, but maybe the biggest
The debt elimination plan is reportedly costing the state of Ohio about $ 110 million per year, provided to students through scholarships, work opportunities and paid internships. Philanthropy will be the most important component of the initiative, but Johnson said the university is also working with state lawmakers to increase student aid.
The Ohio state decision follows efforts in recent years by other universities, but most have been in smaller, more selective schools, like Amherst College in Massachusetts, and among the ‘Ivy League. Ohio State is one of the nation’s largest universities with over 40,000 undergraduate students.
While there are more than six dozen colleges that offer low-income families a path to a debt-free undergraduate experience, far fewer have made it a policy for all students, regardless of income. In 2018, Johns Hopkins University of Maryland received a $ 1.8 billion donation from former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to replace loans with college scholarships.
The Ohio State initiative appears to be the largest attempt by a state university in this direction. âThe question is: can this be done on a large scale? Johnson said. “This is what excites me enormously. We are going to do it on a large scale.”
The Columbus-based flagship campus also welcomes students from Ohio regional campuses across the state, expanding the promise to affect more students.
The plan would begin with a pilot program for 125 new freshmen next fall, expanded to include all undergraduates over the next decade.