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Ohio State president announces debt-free degree initiative

The initiative, dubbed the Scarlet & Gray Advantage, will begin as a pilot program with 125 students next year.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio State University will launch a new initiative that will allow students to graduate with a four-year degree debt-free through a series of increased scholarships, grants and paid internships.

The initiative, dubbed the Scarlet & Gray Advantage, will begin as a pilot program with 125 students next year. The program will cover tuition, room and board fees and books.

Once the program is fully implemented, it is expected to cost $100 million a year. The university said it plans to raise $800 million over the next 10 years to pay for the undergraduate scholarships.

Students who participate in the program must commit to graduating within four years and be involved in financial literacy instruction and career counseling.

President Kristina Johnson emphasized this is not free tuition or free college.

Ohio State will also expand its network of paid internships so students have more opportunities to earn money, develop job skills and prepare themselves once they graduate.

Johnson believes there will be enough jobs to go around, even with the current pandemic-driven employee shortage. That is one of the details Johnson expects to be ironed out during the pilot next year.

Johnson said just under half of Ohio State students graduate with debt, with an average of about $27,000 based on last year's class.

Those who are interested in learning more about the new program can click here.

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