Otterbein University to Meet Full Tuition Need for Ohio’s Lowest-Income Students

Posted Oct 06, 2022

Westerville, OH—Starting Fall 2023, Otterbein University will provide all new full-time students at the University who receive the Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG) — Ohio’s financial assistance grant for low-income families — with a package of federal, state, and Otterbein scholarships and grants that covers the balance of their tuition costs.

Otterbein is the first university in Ohio to meet the full cost of tuition without the use of loans for the state’s lowest-income students. Otterbein students that receive OCOG typically have family incomes around $30,000.

“Increases in the amount of the federal Pell Grant and the OCOG make this exciting program possible,” said John Comerford, president of Otterbein University. “People often hear that increases in student aid just lead to higher tuition prices,” Comerford said, “but that is not the reality at Otterbein.”

The new loan-free program is an enhancement to the University’s Opportunity Scholarship, which meets unmet need to tuition for families earning $60,000 a year or less, or who are Pell grant recipients. That program includes the Federal Direct Student loans as a part of the aid package.

Jefferson Blackburn-Smith, vice president for enrollment management and marketing, is excited about the new program. “Not only does this create the opportunity for students to graduate debt-free, it frees up resources for students who wish to live on campus,” he said, adding that students wishing to live on campus would have the federal loan program, plus an Otterbein Housing grant to help cover the costs of room and board if they desired.

To be eligible, students must meet Otterbein’s admission standards, and list Otterbein as a college choice when they complete the FAFSA at

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