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Ohio Wants More Students To Apply For Federal Student Aid

What is the cost of an education?
Cristina Spano for NPR
Cristina Spano for NPR

Ohio’s education leaders have announced more funding to help young people who want to pursue higher education. The new effort is an attempt to combat the toll the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on the number of students applying for college aid.

Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is how students, their families and colleges determine eligibility for student financial aid.

The number of FAFSA applicants dropped off significantly during the pandemic.

Randy Gardner is chancellor at the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE). He wants potential college students to know that college is more affordable than many people think.

“There is support, there are scholarships," he says. "There's federal and state need based aid. Fill out the FAFSA and give it a shot because we do know that with with higher education attainment comes higher wages, comes lower unemployment and comes a better health care outcomes."

Gardner adds that those outcomes benefit all Ohioans.

Earlier this year the state granted $966,772 to organizations working to boost the number of students who fill out the FAFSA. Learn to Earn in Dayton and the Montgomery County Educational Service Center are two of the local organizations taking part in the effort.

The program will grant an additional $1.8 million in the coming year.

Jerry Kenney was introduced to WYSO by a friend and within a year of first tuning in became an avid listener and supporter. He began volunteering at the station in 1991 and began hosting Alpha Rhythms in February of 1992. Jerry joined the WYSO staff in 2007 as a host of All Things Considered and soon transitioned into hosting Morning Edition. In addition to now hosting All Things Considered, Jerry is the host and producer of WYSO Weekend, WYSO's weekly news and arts magazine. He has also produced several radio dramas for WYSO in collaboration with local theater companies. Jerry has won several Ohio AP awards as well as an award from PRINDI for his work with the WYSO news department. Jerry says that the best part of his job is being able to talk to people in the community and share their experiences with WYSO listeners.