COLUMBUS, Ohio – New scholarships funded through the Choose Ohio First program will boost Ohio’s efforts to strengthen the state’s workforce in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The scholarship will support an estimated 3,400 students pursuing STEM degrees and certificates. The scholarship was announced by Lt. Gov. Jon Husted and Ohio Department of Higher Education Chancellor Randy Gardner after the award total of $28 million – to be awarded over the next five years – was approved by the state controlling board.
“We are fighting for and winning some of the largest economic development projects in the country, but we need to be able to supply companies with an educated, trained workforce,” Husted said. “Choose Ohio First scholarships help keep our kids and grandkids right here in Ohio to further their education in STEM without racking up student loan debt.”
This new funding marks the fourth round of grants for the Choose Ohio First program under the Gov. Mike DeWine-Husted administration. It will create new scholarship opportunities at 45 colleges and universities across the state, including several schools that are new to the program.
“I commend the DeWine-Husted Administration for continuing to grow the Choose Ohio First program as those colleges and universities new to the program see its benefits,” Gardner said. “This funding exemplifies the state’s ongoing commitment to preparing students for successful careers in the STEM fields while meeting the growing demand for a STEM workforce across the state.”
The Choose Ohio First scholarship program began in 2008 in an effort to increase the number of Ohio students enrolling in and successfully completing STEM programs at Ohio’s public and independent colleges and universities.
The latest COF awards are part of a focused strategy to increase enrollment and completion in STEM fields to strengthen Ohio’s talent pipeline in STEM occupations and related industries. ODHE is also promoting the use of COF funds to assist students to obtain credentials and certificates in STEM areas, including STEM teacher education.
Community colleges, independent four-year colleges and universities, and public four-year universities are receiving funds.
Gardner said this range of school participation demonstrates the commitment of Ohio’s higher education community to respond to student interests and the state’s economic needs. Students who receive a COF scholarship are required to participate in a work-based learning opportunity such as a STEM internship, co-op, or research to help them transition effectively to the STEM workforce after graduation.