Otterbein University Offers Full Tuition Aid to Students from Families Impacted by Pandemic-Related Job Loss

Posted Jun 01, 2020

If you’re thinking you should put a college education on hold, please don’t.  
If you’re wondering if it’s worth it, it is.  
If you need help, let us try. 

That’s the message from Otterbein University as it announced its newest initiative, a scholarship to meet the full tuition needs of new student applicants whose families have experienced a job loss related to the COVID-19 shut-down. 

“This new scholarship recognizes the economic disruption facing so many families in the wake of this pandemic and their college-bound students who suddenly see their dreams at risk,” said Otterbein President John Comerford.  

With the unemployment rate in the state of Ohio exceeding 16%, and national surveys indicating as many as 20% of college bound high school seniors are reconsidering their college plans, Otterbein’s leadership made a commitment to assist prospective students with their college aspirations. 

“We are already providing scholarships and emergency funds for our currently enrolled students, but we knew that we also needed to do something for new students whose plans for college have been derailed,” Comerford said. “Otterbein is a college of opportunity, and that’s exactly what these scholarships will provide to students who are facing sudden hardships because of this pandemic.” 

Otterbein will award these scholarships to a limited number of new undergraduate applicants, whether first-time or transfer, whose families have experienced a Covid-19 related job loss. Applications are due by June 30, 2020. 

This additional scholarship will cover the difference between the student’s Expected Family Contribution (which may be revised due to lower family income) and tuition after all Otterbein, state and federal aid, including the federal Direct Student Loan, has been applied. The additional scholarship is for the 2020-21 academic year, but may be renewed if the family is still experiencing a Covid-19 related job loss in future years.  

In order to qualify, students must:  

  • Apply now through June 30, 2020. 
  • Present a documentation of a Covid-19 related job loss.  
  • Submit the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to Otterbein.  
  • Meet Otterbein admission standards. 
  • Enroll as a full-time, undergraduate degree-seeking student.  

Otterbein has already implemented programs to assist current students who are affected by COVID-19 related expenses and hardships, working with more than 700 currently enrolled students to provide emergency funding from federal and university sources. 

“Otterbein is unwavering in its commitment to access and affordability and has long cared about helping families navigate the reality of unexpected circumstances,” said Jefferson Blackburn-Smith, Otterbein’s vice president for enrollment management. 

Special funding announced in April provides immediate relief for currently enrolled students coping with the widening financial ramifications of this global pandemic. Students are eligible for support if their family’s finances have been impacted, if they are experiencing a Covid-19 related illness or if they accrue unexpected expenses due to the pandemic. 

“We want families to know that Otterbein is here to help. If your family has experienced COVID-19 related job loss, Otterbein is here to help,” he added. “And if, for some reason, this particular scholarship isn’t your pathway to an Otterbein education, our Admission team will do its best to find another program that will help you.” 

Blackburn-Smith agrees, adding, “This crisis is painful enough. A student’s education, future and goals shouldn’t have to be cancelled, too. Otterbein University’s Student Financial Services team is ready to work with each of our families to support their student’s education.”  

See President Comerford’s announcement at

For more information on the Otterbein Student Relief Scholarship for COVID-19, visit