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What Does it Cost to Attend Ohio State University-Main Campus?

The Ohio State University is an excellent public university located in Columbus, Ohio. The school has an active alumni base (maybe you are one yourself!) and strong school spirit, especially when it comes to their sports. As a large research university, OSU offers students a wide array of majors to choose from and enriching opportunities through research, internships, and study abroad. It’s a popular choice and for good reason!


As a public institution, in-state students have the financial advantage, but OSU can be a financially sensible option for any student. Read on to find out what you can expect to pay if your student attends OSU!


Why College Costs are Highly Variable


Before you get very worried about how much your student’s college education is going to cost your family, you should know that most students do not end up paying the “full price” of a college education. Instead, you need to consider what the net cost is going to be to your family in order to make a decision about a school’s affordability.


What factors contribute to your net cost? Students will qualify for different types of financial aid from different sources. You’ll need to look at how these different types of aid, and how likely your student is to qualify for them, will reduce the total cost of an education.


There are three main sources of financial aid:


  • Government aid (from federal, state, and local governments): This form of financial aid is almost exclusively need-based, which means that your income affects your eligibility and award size. It’s also a source of loans.


  • Institutional aid: Most institutions offer both need-based aid and merit-based aid. The size of merit awards and how many students receive them vary based on the institution.


  • Private scholarships: These are awards from nonprofit organizations and corporations. There is a lot of variety in award size and eligibility requirements.


Let’s take a look at how these types of financial aid can reduce your net cost and make OSU more affordable.


Ohio State University’s List Price


You probably won’t see the term “list price” on any college website, but you will see something called the cost of attendance. The cost of attendance is what we call the list price, and it is an average of what students at the school pay for their entire education, including tuition and fees, room, board, and other miscellaneous expenses such as laundry or transportation.


Although most students don’t end up paying the full cost of attendance, it is a good place to start when figuring out what the net cost to your family will be. For the 2016-2017 school year, the total price for in-state students was $25,847, and the total price for out-of-state students was $44,039. As a public institution, tuition and fees at OSU are significantly cheaper for in-state students, accounting for the difference in cost.


As we mentioned, most families do not end up paying the full list price, but there are some families that do. High-income families, where the household income equals or exceeds $175,000, can expect to pay the list price at virtually any institution. However, students who qualify for merit scholarships (as we’ll explore below) can help reduce the net cost to their families at any income level.


What is the Price with Financial Aid?


We hope that you feel some relief knowing that there’s a good chance you won’t be paying full price. But what do families pay on average to send their student to OSU? Across all students, the average net cost for in-state students was $23,302, and the average net cost for out-of-state students was $41,494.


Cost Based on Household Income


Although the above averages are a good start, most colleges offer additional financial support to the families that need it the most. As a result, there are different average net prices associated for household incomes at different levels, which we’ve included in the table below:


Family Income Average Net Price
$0-$30,000 $8,442
$30,001-$48,000 $10,850
$48,001-$75,000 $15,463
$75,001-$110,000 $20,492
Over $110,000 $22,376


What is the Merit Aid Net Price? What is the Average Net Price for Students Without Need?


Not every institution offers merit aid, but public institutions tend to offer some amount of aid to students. If you are close to or above the $175,000 mark, then institutional merit aid is one way that your student can reduce the net cost to your family.


At OSU, more than half of the students without need receive some form of merit aid, or 51.4% to be exact. The average size of the merit award for students without need was $3,687. As a result, this brings down the net price for in-state students to $22,160 and the price for out-of-state students to $40,352.


While it may not seem like much, it’s also true that every little bit helps make college more affordable for your family.

Student Loans and Debt


Even with a combination of need-based and merit-based aid, most students have educational costs that they still need to take care of. A common way that students make up the difference is through loans, and 56% of students at OSU have a loan. The average size of the federal student loan was $4,057.


Student Outcomes


It’s no secret that college is a significant financial investment in your student’s future. While your student is the person most responsible for how their adult life takes shape, schools can provide better or worse environments for student success. At OSU, 81% of their students graduated within 6 years, and after ten years, the average graduate earns about $46,100.


Local Cost of Living Considerations


Although most of your student’s educational expenses are paid to and determined by the school, the local area also determines things like how much public transportation and groceries will cost your student. OSU’s main campus is located in Columbus, Ohio, which has a cost of living index of 90.4. That means that it’s about 9.6% cheaper to live in Columbus than the national average.


OSU requires that all freshmen and sophomores live on-campus unless they can live with their parents and commute to the school, but students can choose to move off-campus starting their junior year. Moving off-campus and splitting rent with friends is a way that some students help reduce the net cost to their families, so here is what the average rent looks like in Columbus:


  • 1 bedroom: $722
  • 2 bedroom: $970
  • 3 bedroom: $1243


Many students also work part-time jobs to cover some of their living expenses, although you shouldn’t expect that your student will be able to cover your remaining net costs with one, especially if they are going to school full-time. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the minimum wage in Ohio is $8.55, and the median hourly wage for people working in restaurants in $9.45 and in retail was $12.46.


Other Ways to Save on College Costs


So far, we’ve looked at how government and institutional aid can reduce your net cost, but OSU offers additional scholarship opportunities beyond what they automatically consider students for. You should take some time to check out their website and see if there are any scholarships that your student would be eligible for and encourage them to apply.


Aside from traditional penny-pinching and encouraging your student to find a part-time job that works with their school schedule, the best way to save on a college education is to help your student find and apply for private scholarships. These scholarships are offered by all sorts of organizations, each with their own requirements.


To get started searching for private scholarships, you can work with your student’s guidance counselor, who may have resources or know of local opportunities that your student qualifies for. You may also want to check if your employer offers any scholarships for students of employees, since there won’t be as many students applying for those awards as there are for more open scholarships.


If your student is a sophomore, then you may want to encourage them to prepare for their junior year PSAT. Doing well on the PSAT can qualify your student to be a National Merit Scholar, and many organizations offer awards to students who become Finalists or Semi-Finalists.


Wrapping It Up


We hope that you’ve found that sending your student to their dream school is a lot more doable than you first anticipated. Through a combination of financial aid from a variety of sources, your student can reduce your net cost significantly and minimize the need to take out any loans.


Curious about your chances of acceptance to your dream school? Our free chancing engine takes into account your GPA, test scores, extracurriculars, and other data to predict your odds of acceptance at over 500 colleges across the U.S. We’ll also let you know how you stack up against other applicants and how you can improve your profile. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account today to get started!


For more information about financial aid and OSU, check out these posts:


What Does it Take to Get into Ohio State University–Columbus?

How to Maximize Your Child’s Merit Aid Eligibility

Parents: 12 Must-Know College Financial Aid Terms

FAFSA, CSS Profile, IDOC, Oh My: A Guide to Financial Aid

Short Bio
Gianna Cifredo is a graduate of the University of Central Florida, where she majored in Philosophy. She has six years of higher education and test prep experience, and now works as a freelance writer specializing in education. She currently lives in Orlando, Florida and is a proud cat mom.