Financial Aid and Student Loans in Ohio

Ohio is home to some of the best universities in the country. However, pursuing a college degree in the state can still set you back financially, ranking 39th out of the 50 states in terms of affordability, averaging $33,440 per year..

The good thing is that Ohio has scholarships, grants, and student loans for its state residents. These financial aid programs can make a college education much more accessible.

To help you out, we have a checklist we recommend for paying for college, and below we’ve rounded out some of the best financing options for Ohio students. Once we’ve exhausted free scholarships and grants, we’ll also look into student loans in Ohio.

What scholarship programs does Ohio have?

Ohio extends scholarship options to its student residents. The state government gives the most, but there are also private and university-funded scholarships.

Scholarships, in general, are merit-based. It means they take academic achievement and extracurricular activities as the basis for selection. Some rely on certain criteria, like military service and specific areas of study.

When it comes to Ohio scholarships, you have plenty of room to explore the ones that suit your needs the best. You can use services like Collegeboard,’s Find Scholarship Feature, or Fastweb. These free resources can help you find local or federal scholarships for which you can qualify.

For starters, here are some of the better ones to look out for:

Choose Ohio First Scholarship

The Choose Ohio First Scholarship (COF) goes to deserving students who pursue innovative areas of study in any Ohio university. It aims to develop the state’s competitiveness with STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, math, and medicine).

The program awards $1,500 annually to COF scholars. Students also have access to supplementary seminars, events, and mentoring.

To be eligible for the COF program, here are the requirements:

  • Must be an Ohio resident
  • Must be an undergraduate student enrolling in an Ohio university
  • Students must be in their first year of college
  • Must be enrolled in a COF-certified field of study
  • Any additional requirements as set by individual COF-accredited institutions

Department President’s Scholarship

The Department President’s Scholarship is a program awarded by the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Ohio. It gives veterans or direct descendants of veterans financial aid annually (one recipient of $1,000 and one for $1,500).

Here are the requirements for this scholarship:

  • The student must be an honorably discharged veteran or the child of one.
  • Must be a resident of Ohio
  • Sponsorship by the Ohio American Legion Auxiliary Unit
  • Must be a graduating or graduated high school senior preparing to enter college
  • An original 500-word essay on a specific topic
  • High school transcript of records
  • Three letters of recommendation each from the clergy, a faculty member, and the community

Lloyd E. Chacey, P.E. Memorial Scholarship

The Lloyd E. Chacey P.E. Memorial Scholarship aims at exceptional students who wish to pursue a degree in engineering or related fields. The Engineers Foundation of Ohio sponsors the scholarship, which has the name of one of their most illustrious officers.

The scholarship awards $2,000 per year and is renewable up to an additional year. The student must apply the money to tuition, fees, and other educational expenses.

Here are the requirements for this scholarship

  • Must be a permanent resident of Ohio
  • A minimum GPA of 3.0
  • The minimum scores in the ACT should be 29 for Math and 25 for English. For the SAT, it’s 600 for Math and 500 for Reading and Composition
  • Must be the first-degree relative of a member of the Ohio Society of Professional Engineers
  • Must be enrolled full-time in an Ohio college or university to earn a degree in engineering or related fields
  • The applicant is proven to be able to complete degree requirements in two or more academic years

Ohio Safety Officers College Memorial Fund

The Ohio Safety Officers College Memorial Fund provides financial assistance to families of firefighters and safety officers killed during active duty. Children of U.S. armed forces killed in the line of duty during select operations designated by the President of the United States are also eligible for the fund.

The scholarship applies only to Ohio residents who must also attend full time or part time at participating Ohio universities and colleges. The fund pays for 100% of all tuition fees at public institutions, or $7,942 at private universities.

What grant programs does Ohio have?

Ohio also awards grants to its student residents who don’t have any means to pay for their college education.

To qualify for grants, you need to demonstrate financial need. You do this with a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Click here to know more about the FAFSA process and how to apply.

Here are some Ohio grants you can check out

Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG)

The Ohio Department of Higher Education awards the Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG). The grant goes to individuals who need financial aid the most, as demonstrated by their FAFSA results.

The total value given by the grant varies depending on the institution and enrollment status. The maximum period is ten semesters, including any other need-based grants awarded by the state.

Here are the requirements for the OCOG

  • Must be an Ohio resident currently enrolled in a participating college, university, or for-profit institution in the state
  • The student must be pursuing an associate, bachelor’s, or nursing degree.
  • Have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of less than $2,190 and a household income of less than $96,000.

What student loan programs does Ohio have?

Ohio has a few state-administered student loan programs you can apply for if you meet specific criteria.

Nurse Education Assistance Loan Program (NEALP)

The Nurse Education Assistance Loan Program gives financial assistance to the future nurses of Ohio. The loan can be 100% canceled upon graduation if the individual agrees to work as a full-time nurse at any hospital in Ohio for five years.

Because it’s a limited fund, the amount awarded varies yearly. To give you some idea of the amount: The program awarded a total of $1,620/year for the 2019-2020 academic year.

NEALP also awards those who want to teach nursing as a full-time faculty member after graduation. In this case, the amount awarded is a minimum of $5,000 per year. In this case, recipients need to be a full-time faculty member teaching a nursing program at an Ohio school for a minimum of four years.

Here are the requirements for applying for the NEALP:

  • Must be a U.S. Citizen and resident of Ohio
  • Enrolled or will enroll in an approved nursing program at any Ohio college, university or vocational institution
  • An EFC sufficient to demonstrate financial need

Federal student loans

Prospective Ohio students can receive federal financial aid assistance by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid(FAFSA). 

Private co-signed student loans

There are many private student loan opportunities for those who need additional assistance on top of federal student loans. Many banks, credit unions, and dedicated lending companies offer private student loans, but almost all require a co-signer.

No co-signer student loans in Ohio

Funding U began because we identified thousands of students who were unable to qualify for a private student loan because they didn’t have an eligible co-signer. While we’re no longer the only provider of such loans, we offer no co-signer student loans to career-focused students currently enrolled full time in college. The requirements for receiving a loan are dependent upon the GPA of the student and the graduation rate of the institution they attend. To learn more about our no co-signer student loans click here.

What schools does Funding U lend to in Ohio?

Generally speaking, Funding U’s no co-signer loans go to students at eligible four-year, non-profit, undergraduate degree-granting universities. We do not lend to for-profit schools, two-year schools, graduate schools, or trade schools. Our eligibility requirements are based on models that aim to predict how likely a student is to graduate. Because of that, we have minimum GPA requirements that students must meet and minimum six-year graduation rates that schools must reach to be eligible. To find out more about how we determine our eligibility, click here.

Below is a table listing all of the schools in Ohio that Funding U currently lends to, with additional details on which grades we now lend to, based on the school’s six-year graduation rate.

School NameFreshman
6 yr
Grad Rate
Allegheny Wesleyan CollegeNoNoYesYes6489
Antioch CollegeNoNoYesYes6658
Antioch University-MidwestNoNoNoNo
Art Academy of CincinnatiNoNoYesYes6369
Ashland UniversityNoNoYesYes6177
Baldwin Wallace UniversityNoNoYesYes6478
Bluffton UniversityNoNoYesYes5461
Bowling Green State University-Main CampusNoNoYesYes5677
Capital UniversityNoNoYesYes5878
Case Western Reserve UniversityNoYesYesYes8592
Cedarville UniversityNoYesYesYes7284
Central State UniversityNoNoNoNo2347
Cincinnati Christian UniversityNoNoYesYes5451
Cleveland Institute of ArtNoNoYesYes6489
Cleveland Institute of MusicNoYesYesYes7590
Cleveland State UniversityNoNoNoNo4570
Columbus College of Art and DesignNoNoYesYes6279
Defiance CollegeNoNoNoNo3960
Denison UniversityNoYesYesYes8591
Franciscan University of SteubenvilleNoYesYesYes7787
Franklin UniversityNoNoNoNo3020
Gods Bible School and CollegeNoNoNoNo3796
Heidelberg UniversityNoNoYesYes5067
Hiram CollegeNoNoYesYes5870
John Carroll UniversityNoYesYesYes7886
Kent State University at KentNoNoYesYes6080
Kenyon CollegeNoYesYesYes8793
Kettering CollegeNoNoNoNo3572
Lake Erie CollegeNoNoNoNo4961
Lourdes UniversityNoNoNoNo3467
Malone UniversityNoNoYesYes5770
Marietta CollegeNoNoYesYes5667
Miami University-HamiltonNoNoNoNo2864
Miami University-MiddletownNoNoNoNo2869
Miami University-OxfordNoYesYesYes8091
Mount Carmel College of NursingNoNoYesYes6767
Mount Saint Joseph UniversityNoNoYesYes5371
Mount Vernon Nazarene UniversityNoNoYesYes5979
Muskingum UniversityNoNoYesYes5175
Notre Dame CollegeNoNoNoNo4267
Oberlin CollegeNoYesYesYes8691
Ohio Christian UniversityNoNoNoNo2565
Ohio Dominican UniversityNoNoYesYes5062
Ohio Northern UniversityNoYesYesYes7282
Ohio State University-Main CampusNoYesYesYes8494
Ohio University-Main CampusNoNoYesYes6480
Ohio Wesleyan UniversityNoNoYesYes6778
Otterbein UniversityNoNoYesYes6281
Pontifical College JosephinumNoNoNoNo3077
Rabbinical College TelsheNoNoNoNo2957
Shawnee State UniversityNoNoNoNo3268
The College of WoosterNoYesYesYes7585
The University of FindlayNoNoYesYes6181
Tiffin UniversityNoNoNoNo2964
Union Institute & UniversityNoNoNoNo1175
University of Akron Main CampusNoNoNoNo3973
University of Cincinnati-Main CampusNoNoYesYes6886
University of DaytonNoYesYesYes7990
University of Mount UnionNoNoYesYes6475
University of ToledoNoNoNoNo4774
Urbana UniversityNoNoNoNo2558
Ursuline CollegeNoNoNoNo4471
Walsh UniversityNoNoYesYes5974
Wilberforce UniversityNoNoNoNo1838
Wilmington CollegeNoNoNoNo4968
Wittenberg UniversityNoNoYesYes6272
Wright State University-Lake CampusNoNoNoNo4475
Wright State University-Main CampusNoNoNoNo3965
Xavier UniversityNoYesYesYes7384
Youngstown State UniversityNoNoNoNo3777

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