Like most states these days, Ohio’s budget for higher education is extremely tight, but the Ohio Board of Regents has set out to create more low-cost pathways to attaining a degree and has prioritized their financial aid budget to encourage students to persist in school.

Ironically, I was planning on highlighting the Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG), which originally boasted need-based tuition assistance to Ohio students from low to moderate-income families to increase their access to higher education. However, it was announced yesterday that Ohio’s Governor, Ted Strickland, eliminated all state financial assistance for career college students.

To understand how this decision affects your financial assistance situation, the Ohio Association of Career Colleges and Schools urges students to contact the financial aid department at your school and monitor for updates.

Note that those students planning on attending taxpayer-supported and private, non-profit schools will continue to receive money from state government, though at reduced levels. State grants and scholarships directly lower students’ out-of-pocket tuition costs and generally do not have to be repaid. Some of the state programs still available to students include:

  • The Ohio Academic Scholarship, which was established to award financial assistance to the state’s academically outstanding high school students and to encourage these students to attend a college or university within their home state of Ohio.
  • The Ohio National Guard Scholarship Program, which provides tuition to Army and Air Guard members attending a two- or four- year public college or university.
  • The Nurse Education Assistance Loan Program (NEALP), which provides financial assistance to Ohio students enrolled for at least half-time study (or accepted for enrollment) in an approved Ohio nurse education program. NEALP provides funding for nurses who intend to serve as instructors or students who intend to serve as nurses after graduation.

What are your thoughts on Governor Strickland’s decision? Will you be affected by the elimination of career college financial assistance? Share your story in the comments.