Guide to Ohio State’s Financial Aid & Student Loan Options

Written by: Kristyn Pilgrim
Updated: 3/11/20

If you’re planning on attending college at one of Ohio State’s six campuses, you’ve likely begun searching through the available student loan and financial aid options available. Making sense of what financial aid option is the best for you can be difficult, and with so much info to take in, it can be incredibly confusing.

To help you prepare for the coming semester, we’ve put together this guide on Ohio State’s financial aid and student loan options. After reading through this, you’ll be well prepared to decide what scholarships, loans, and grants to take advantage of.

Ohio State University Cost of Attendance

Tuition and other costs at Ohio State University are in-line with most other public universities. Total estimated costs range from around $22,000 for an Ohio resident living off campus, to nearly $50,000 for an out-of-state resident living on campus. Keep in mind, these estimates are based on full-time enrollment status over the course of an academic year.

Ohio State’s Financial Aid office breaks down the costs of attending college on the Columbus campus as follows:

Incoming Freshmen, ​Ohio r​esident​​: Living on cam​pus
Category Estimated ​Cost
​​​Tuition and fees ​​​$11,084​
​Room and board/living ​​$12748
Books and supplies​ ​​$1082
​Miscellaneous/personal ​$​2,998
​Total Estimated Cost ​​​$​27,912
​Incoming Freshmen, Ohio r​esident​​: Living off cam​pus
Category Estimated ​Cost
​​​Tuition and fees ​​​$11084
​Room and board/living ​$11700
Books and supplies​ ​$1082
​Miscellaneous/personal ​$​3,014
​Total Estimated Cost ​​​$​26,880
​​Incoming Freshmen, Ohio resident​​: Living with parent or guardian
Category Estimated ​Cost
​​​Tuition and fees ​​$11,084​
​Room and board/living ​​$4780
Books and supplies​ ​​​$1082
​Miscellaneous/personal ​​$​4,956
​Total Estimated Cost ​$​21,902
Incoming Freshmen, Non-​Ohio resident​​: Living on campus
Category Estimated ​Cost
​​​Tuition and fees ​​$32060
​Room and board/living ​​$12748
Books and supplies​ ​​​$1082
​Miscellaneous/personal ​​$3832
​Total Estimated Cost ​$49722
Incoming Freshmen, Non-​Ohio resident​​: Living off campus
Category Estimated ​Cost
​​​Tuition and fees ​​$32060
​Room and board/living ​​$11700
Books and supplies​ ​​​$1082
​Miscellaneous/personal ​​$3848
​Total Estimated Cost ​$48690

Ohio State Scholarships

For prospective Ohio State students, there are a variety of different options for scholarships to choose from. Merit-based, special-eligibility, departmental, and external scholarships are all available.

Merit-based Scholarships

Merit-based scholarships for Ohio State students are awarded mostly based on academic achievement. Some also take a look at a student and their family’s financial situation when making a decision, opting to choose more needy students when possible.

The majority of the merit-based scholarships offered by Ohio State don’t have to be applied for specifically, as you are automatically considered for them when you submit your admissions application.

Merit-based scholarships available from Ohio State include:

  • Eminence Fellows Program and Scholarship: This scholarship covers the full cost of attendance for four years, with an additional $3,000 enrichment grant awarded after the first year of successful study.

    To apply for the Eminence Fellows Program and Scholarship, you must apply to the Ohio State University Honors Program, and also fill out the Eminence Application. For more info on applying, see here.
  • Morrill Scholarship Program (MSP): This scholarship is available to both Ohio residents and non-residents, and covers the full cost of tuition.

    The Morrill Scholarship Program (MSP) looks for students who have achieved academic success in high school, and who can contribute to the diversity of the campus.

    To apply for this scholarship, you have to indicate your interest in MSP while filling out your admissions application, and also complete the MSP essay. 
  • Land Grant Opportunity Scholarship for Ohio Residents: This scholarship covers the full cost of attendance, and is awarded based on demonstrated academic merit to Pell-eligible Ohio state residents.

    There is no need to apply directly for this scholarship, as all Ohio residents who apply and file a FAFSA by February 1st are automatically considered. For more information on eligibility requirements, see here.
  • National Buckeye Scholarship for Non-Ohio Residents: This scholarship contributes $13,500 per year towards tuition and fees at Ohio State. 

    To be eligible for this scholarship, you must be a non-Ohio resident who ranks in the top 25% of your graduating class, with an SAT score of 1330 or higher, or an ACT score of 29 or higher.

    You do not need to apply directly to the National Buckeye Scholarship, as all who apply at Ohio State and meet the above criteria are considered.
  • Maximus, Provost, and Trustees Scholarships: These scholarships offer different levels of awards ranging from $1,000 to $3,000 per year to high school graduates based on class rank, ACT, and SAT scores.

Students are automatically considered for these scholarships based on their admissions applications.

Ohio State Special-Eligibility Scholarships

Besides the merit-based scholarships outlined above, Ohio State University offers numerous special-eligibility scholarships.

To apply, simply file the FAFSA and the Special Scholarships Application by February 1st. 

Ohio State Departmental Scholarships

Many scholarships are offered by individual offices and departments at Ohio State. For a directory of the different departmental scholarships available to you, see here.

External Scholarships For Ohio State Students

Remember to look for scholarships from outside groups such as professional, civic, or service organizations, private foundations, churches, nonprofits, and even the military.

Ohio State doesn’t have any specific recommendations on external scholarships to apply to, but does recommend these free resources to make your search easier:

If you are awarded an external scholarship, see here for Ohio State’s processes for disbursing funds.

Grants Available to Ohio State Students

Many grants are offered to Ohio State students from the federal government, the state of Ohio, and Ohio State University. Grants are similar to scholarships in that they don’t have to be paid back, but are typically offered on a financial needs basis only.

Grant options available to Ohio State students include:

Federal Grants

State of Ohio Grants (Available to Ohio residents only)

Ohio State University Grants

Ohio State Work-Study Program

If you’re interested in working part-time while attending Ohio State, consider applying for the Federal Work-Study (FWS) program while filling out the FAFSA. The FWS is a need-based program that offers students on-campus jobs that pay the minimum wage.

Student Loans for Students at Ohio State

Many students end up taking out student loans to help fund their time at Ohio State, in addition to what they may have received from scholarships and grants. Student loans are available from the federal government, Ohio State, and other outside institutions such as banks and credit unions.

Federal Student Loans

Federal student loans available include the following:

Ohio State University Aid Loans

Ohio State University administers the Long-Term University Loan and Short-Term University Assistance loans to help students who face temporary financial difficulties or other extenuating circumstances. 

To be considered for one of these loans, you must contact Buckeye Link at 614-292-0300, or, or the financial aid office to determine if you are eligible. You’ll also be required to meet with a financial coach in the Office of Student Life’s Student Wellness Center.

Private Student Loans

If you’ve exhausted all the above options and still haven’t managed to cover the full cost of attendance at Ohio State, you still have the option of taking out private student loans. Before signing up for one of these, it is recommended that you review all your financial aid information at your campus’s financial aid office to make sure you don’t have any other options. 

For help choosing between the many private student loans out there, Ohio State recommends using the FASTChoice loan comparison tool. 

It’s crucial that you review the terms of each loan before deciding on which to go with, so make sure you do your research.