LONDON, Ohio — The College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University will commit an additional $1 million in financial support to its undergraduate students for the 2016-17 academic year.
The announcement was made today by Bruce McPheron, vice president for agricultural administration and dean of CFAES, during the inaugural day of the Farm Science Review agricultural show, which runs Sept. 22-24 in London, Ohio, and is sponsored by the college.
“The need to support our students has never been greater,” McPheron said. “We are going to take a very hard look at what we can do as a college to create a sustainable model that takes into consideration all the complexities of financial support for our students.
“Our goal over the next decade is to cut our student debt significantly. Any impact we can make on reducing our students’ debt translates into more money they can put toward their professional and personal lives.”
College affordability is increasingly becoming an issue of concern for students and their families nationwide. Currently, CFAES students graduate with an average debt of nearly $28,000 for students on the Columbus campus and just over $17,000 for students on the Wooster campus.
Thanks to the generosity of its donors, the college awarded nearly $2.1 million in financial support to undergraduate students on the Columbus and Wooster campuses for the current academic year.
One of those students is Devon Alexander, a senior majoring in agricultural communication from Anna, Ohio. He attributes much of his success in college to the financial support received from CFAES.
“It is because of scholarships that I have been able to breathe a little easier during college and embrace the many opportunities that our university has to offer,” Alexander said. “Most notably, I have felt empowered to ‘pay it forward’ by participating in philanthropic and service opportunities because I am not bogged down with the stress of financing my education. I am very grateful for the individual and industry partners that give to CFAES.”
Educational access and affordability are top priorities for Ohio State under the administration of its current president, Michael V. Drake, who spoke at the Review.
“President Drake’s focus on affordability has really gotten a lot of attention at Ohio State and beyond,” McPheron said. “We share his goal at our college. It was a call to action, and we felt we needed to double down on our efforts. That’s what prompted us to commit an additional $1 million in scholarships for the next academic year.”
McPheron thanked the donors who have made it possible for CFAES to offer financial support to so many students and to significantly boost its commitment for the coming year.
“Our donors continue to step up to help us make college more affordable, demonstrating their generosity toward young people they have never met,” he said. “Thanks to them, we have surpassed our fundraising goal in the current campaign. Additionally, last October we received the largest gift in the college’s history, $7 million from the Delma Roush estate, to support our students.”
McPheron said scholarships accomplish much more than reducing the amount of money students owe upon graduation. They also help to enhance students’ educational experiences and employability through opportunities such as internships and study abroad programs.
“In our effort to make college more affordable for our students, we are focused on three goals: tackling unmet financial need to reduce debt, ensuring that our students progress through their curriculum to graduate in a timely fashion, and helping students prepare for careers through education both inside and outside the classroom,” McPheron said.
Learn more about CFAES scholarships at cfaes.osu.edu/students/money-matters/scholarships.