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With tuition costs rising, even those awarded scholarship may find themselves leaving OU

Scholarships do not guarantee a students ability to pay for rising tuition costs, many may find themselves forced to leave. 

A scholarship can allow a student to afford a college degree — and data shows that’s true for some Ohio University students.

Students who receive a Gateway Excellence award are 10 percent more likely to stay at OU than those who don’t receive the scholarship, according to university data from 2013.

But sometimes that extra money is not enough, and students find themselves packing their bags.

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Jordan Glinsek, a freshman studying graphic design at OU, is one of those students. He receives a $6,000 scholarship each semester, but is still struggling to pay the rising tuition costs.

The cost of attending OU has influenced his decision to attend University of Cincinnati Clermont College, which will charge $2,658 per semester in Fall 2015.  Even after his scholarship, OU will cost $5,741 more per semester, when tuition, room and board are factored in, than UC’s Clermont.

“I chose it because it is close to home, I will be able to commute and it is much cheaper,” Glinsek said. “I hope it will have a positive effect financially, but other than that I don’t think it will change that much, I plan on sticking with my major.”

OU is implementing a new scholarship program, called the OHIO Signature Awards Program, for incoming freshmen, which consists of eight different awards.

Current freshman are able to apply for the awards, and upcoming freshmen are automatically considered. These awards are distributed based on high school GPA, combined SAT scores and ACT composite scores, as well as financial need.

“The new OHIO Signature Awards Program that went into effect this past year has over $2.1 million dollars in additional aid to assist students and to help make their experience at Ohio University more affordable,” said Vice Provost of Enrollment, Craig Cornell.

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The amount given through these new scholarships varies. The OHIO Focus Award, given to students pursuing certain academic programs, can reach $1,000, which is renewable for four years. The amount given under the OHIO Achievement Scholarship, awarded based on academic merit, ranges between $1,000 and $7,000.

According to a retention report published in September of 2014, Ohio University students with higher GPAs and ACT scores are more likely to return for a second year at OU. 

Once students finish their first year, 61 percent of those with less than a 2.0 GPA do not return for their second year. In contrast, only 13 percent of those with a GPA above 2.0 did not return, according to the report.

Retained students can mean money for the university. Not only is state funding tied to graduation rates, but also the report estimates retaining 20-40 students to graduation could generate up to $1.5 million. 

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Losing a scholarship can be costly, but sometimes students have alternatives.

Tiffani Bauer, a senior studying media and social change at OU, lost her $2,500 scholarship after she failed to meet the GPA requirement.

“It wasn’t enough money to where it really affected me much,” Bauer said. “I do receive financial aid through the FAFSA.”

If Chloe Sollars, a freshman studying English and art lost her $4,000 renewable scholarship, “It wouldn’t completely bar me from getting a college education,” she said. “Perhaps I would have to stay home and go to a community college, but that is worst case scenario.”

@chelseasickk

cs117913@ohio.edu

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