Only Otterbein is ensuring that your family’s income will not be the determining factor in whether you can attend a world-class university.

John Comerford, Ph.D., President of Otterbein

What Otterbein Believes

We believe students and their families deserve clear, honest information about what Otterbein costs. We also believe that what happens for students here — their entire experience — proves that an Otterbein education is not only worth it, it is a better, smarter way to be prepared.

We all know that college is an investment in your future. So let’s explore how much it costs. Let’s also talk about what Otterbein does to make sure most families can afford it.


of traditional first-year students receive merit or need-based aid.

Who Gets Scholarships?

Merit aid is awarded as scholarships and is based on academic performance, demonstrated leadership, and for some academic programs, includes a talent component. Other Otterbein endowed scholarships recognize factors including community service, your chosen academic program, future career interests and other interests or involvement. Financial need is not a factor in merit aid. All scholarships are awarded for full-time study andare renewable for four years as long as academic requirements are fulfilled.

What Criteria are used in Awarding Scholarships?

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  • High school performance (scholarship and leadership)
  • Cumulative GPA
  • Class rank (if your school provides one)
  • Sometimes other criteria, like your application essay and letter of recommendation or other distinguishing factors, are also considered

Who Gets Need-Based Aid?

Need-based aid is awarded as grants, loans or work-study awards. To receive any consideration for need-based aid your family must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (known as FAFSA) at This application is used to determine what type of federal, state or Otterbein need- based aid your family is eligible to receive.

Why Should I Apply for Aid?

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Every family’s situation is different but there are a few important reasons you should file an application at

  • Filing the FAFSA is the only way families have access to federal, low-interest student loans.
  • Otterbein awards need-based aid to families with higher incomes than most public universities do.
  • Class rank (if your school provides one)

What Otterbein is Doing to Keep College Affordable


We are committed to opportunity.
If you want a college education, Otterbein wants to make sure you can afford it.

That’s why Otterbein Institutional Aid remains the single largest source of support in how our families get help in paying for college.

Test Optional Policy
Otterbein has adopted a test optional admission and scholarship policy. Students with high school GPA of 2.75 or lower are encouraged to submit a test score if available. Some academic programs or courses may require an ACT/SAT score, placement score or additional pre-requisite courses for enrollment. For complete information visit

THE OPPORTUNITY SCHOLARSHIPScreen Shot 2020 07 23 At 2 33 48 Pm 300x246 1

Otterbein’s OPPORTUNITY SCHOLARSHIP is a statewide, full-need program that covers the direct cost of tuition, up to the student’s full financial need as determined by the FAFSA.

Awarded to:

  • Ohio residents whose families earn $60,000 or less, or
  • Ohio residents who are federal Pell grant recipient

The scholarship applies after all federal and state aid has been applied, including the federal Direct Student loan. The Opportunity Scholarship does not cover room and board or books.

Students receiving the OHIO COLLEGE OPPORTUNITY GRANT are awarded to tuition without calculating the value of the federal direct student loan into the scholarship.

Awarded to:

  • Ohio residents who are federal Pell  grant recipients and who receive the Ohio College Opportunity Grant.

This NO LOAN TO TUITION program allows students to graduate debt-free, or allows the student loan to support other expenses such as room and board or text books.

What Otterbein Costs

2024-2025 Expenses
Tuition $35,024
Housing and Meals $13,026
Student Fees $524
TOTAL $48,574

Don’t worry,

You’re not going to pay this amount.

Average Net Tuition by Family Income

Some families assume they won’t qualify for aid, so they don’t bother completing the FAFSA. The only way to have access to federal low Interest loans is to complete the FAFSA. Otterbein awards aid to families with higher incomes than most public universities do.

OCOG recipient (<$50,000) $0 $5,500
Pell recipient (<$60,000) $6,773 $5,500
< $100,000, no Pell $10,195 $5,500
> $100,000 $11,761 $5,500
Did not file FAFSA $15,854 N / A

Aid includes all Otterbein merit, talent, and need-based aid, plus state and federal need-based aid.

Otterbein awards more than

$35 million

and GRANTS every year as part of our
commitment to making a 21st century
education affordable.


Students admitted for Fall 2024 who filed the FAFSA received, on average, $4,207 more in Otterbein aid than families who didn't file.

Ask us how!

  • Otterbein’s FAFSA Code: 003110
  • FAFSA applications available online at​: October 2024
  • FAFSA priority filing date for May 1 decision: January 31, 2025

Financial Aid Estimator

You can learn more about what your merit
and financial aid package might be by using Otterbein’s Cost Estimator.

Learn more >

“Affordability was one of the most important factors in my college choice. The benefits of the experience here are so valuable and are definitely worth it. Talking to my friends at bigger schools, I don’t think they got the experience I did.”

– Evan Shelton ’22
Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Major, Wadsworth, Oh

Columbus State Dual Admission Program

If you’re thinking about starting at a community college …
… then Otterbein has programs and partnerships for you to explore.

  • Otterbein’s Dual Admission Program with Columbus State Community College and its Guaranteed Admission Program with any partnering institution means you can earn two degrees for less than half the cost of a single, four-year degree at an Ohio public university.

Two Degrees. Two Campuses. One Student Experience.
Learn more >

Everyday Affordability. Everyday Benefits

If we were to conduct a survey, we’re fairly certain that 100% of parents would say that they wish college were FREE. Trust us, we understand. College is more than a four-year investment — it’s an investment in a student’s whole future. In the meantime, remember that Otterbein offers some great perks to help make day-to-day activities a little more affordable.


  • Washers and dryers in every residence hall. Save $200 a year or more on two loads a week.
  • Otterbein’s nationally recognized Musical Theatre and Dance programs, including concerts, shows and dance performances.
  • Cardinal Athletics featuring 22 NCAA Division III men’s and women’s teams.
  • Otterbein exhibits and art gallery displays.
  • Clements Rec Center including circuit equipment, free weights, basketball courts and indoor track.

Otterbein values talented, promising students who are eager to learn, to lead and to better their world. We offer needed support to help make sure you have the opportunity to become a proud Cardinal.