Key Issues

The Office of Marketing and Communications supports the university's response to important issues in our academic, staff and student communities. Contact our Public Affairs team for more information on these and other key issues.

Ohio State is proud to be a leader in making an excellent college education accessible and affordable for all students. The university’s comprehensive focus on affordability includes freezing in-state tuition for each incoming undergraduate class, expanding financial aid to meet students’ needs, enhancing student success programs and addressing student debt.

In February 2021, President Kristina M. Johnson announced a bold vision that will empower undergraduate students to graduate from Ohio State without the burden of student loans: “We will lead the nation as the first university to offer a zero-debt bachelor’s degree at scale.” The Scarlet & Gray Advantage program, which will scale up within a decade, empowers eligible Ohio State students to earn their bachelor’s degree debt-free. The university launched a small pilot in autumn 2022 to inform plans for the program. Learn more about Scarlet & Gray Advantage.

Other key affordability initiatives include:

  • The Ohio State Tuition Guarantee freezes rates for Ohio students and families, offering certainty about the cost of a four-year college education. For each class of incoming first-year Ohioans, the university sets rates for in-state tuition, mandatory fees, room and board that are frozen for four years.
  • Ohio State controls the cost of tuition and fees to remain affordable. Among Ohio’s selective-admission public universities, Ohio State is the second most affordable for resident undergraduates. Among peers nationally, Ohio State is consistently near the median for both in-state and out-of-state tuition and fees. See current rates.
  • Student debt among Ohio State graduates has decreased for four years in a row. In 2021, less than half (46%) of Ohio State’s bachelor’s degree recipients graduated with debt, and these borrowers graduated with debt of $26,772 on average. For the 2017 graduating class, 53% had debt at the time of graduation, for an average of $28,158.
  • The Buckeye Opportunity Program ensures that financial aid covers the full cost of tuition and mandatory fees for Ohio students who qualify for federal Pell Grants. Overall, Ohio State has increased institutional financial aid by more than $245 million since fiscal 2015 through the Buckeye Opportunity Program, President’s Affordability Grants and Land Grant Opportunity Scholarships.
  • The Affordable Learning Exchange has saved Ohio State students $20 million since 2016 by reducing the cost of learning materials. ALX works to expand the adoption of open educational resources and secure deep discounts on publisher textbooks.

We want all members of the Buckeye community to have the information and support they need to fully understand and take action against hazing, which is defined as “doing, requiring, or encouraging any act, whether or not the act is voluntarily agreed upon, in conjunction with initiation, continued membership, or participation in any group, that causes or creates a substantial risk of causing mental or physical harm or humiliation.”

Read more: What Buckeyes need to know about the new Ohio anti-hazing law (October 8, 2021)

Message from Ohio State President Kristina M. Johnson and Athletics Director Gene Smith (July 1, 2022):

We are excited to welcome the University of Southern California and the University of California, Los Angeles, into the Big Ten, solidifying the conference as the premier league in the country while also expanding Ohio State’s national reach and prominence.

Conference expansion has been in place for years, including Nebraska in 2011 and Maryland and Rutgers in 2014. Adding USC and UCLA to the Big Ten not only gives the conference a larger footprint in the college athletics landscape, but it also facilitates greater collaborations for excellence in academics and research. USC and UCLA are leading research universities that will enhance the Big Ten Conference in the classroom and on the field of competition. The Big Ten is already a powerhouse of engineering – producing more engineers than any other conference in the country. That is critically important for the growth of America, and our region is leading the way. This is our time in the Midwest to continue building on excellence, especially with Intel reshoring here in Ohio. Additionally, more than 25,000 Buckeye Nation alumni live in California, and today’s announcement deepens their connections to our student-athletes who run, pass, swim and play in the sports they love. And we know USC and UCLA share the same ideals about culture and values to which we are strongly committed.

Both schools will become conference members effective August 2, 2024, with competition to begin in all sports in the 2024-25 academic year. Ultimately, the Big Ten is the best home for USC and UCLA athletics as they move into a new world of collegiate sports.

The safety of the Ohio State community is the university’s highest priority. Ohio State is taking multiple measures to keep students, faculty and staff safe both on and off campus. University administrators meet with students and parents regularly to discuss safety, and the university welcomes their ongoing participation in this important conversation. Ohio State has increased the presence of police on campus by hiring and training additional Ohio State University Police Division officers – and worked with the Columbus Division of Police to increase patrols off campus. Additionally, the university has added lighting, license plate readers, security cameras – including at campus garages – and more. In the fall of 2021, President Kristina M. Johnson announced an additional $2 million a year over the next decade to enhance safety and security on and around campus, bringing the annual campus public safety budget to more than $35 million. The university remains fully committed to refining and broadening its holistic approach to addressing crime, including education, community-wide engagement and non-sworn security such as Buckeye Block Watch.

Recent safety-related announcements and enhancements:

Ohio State derives strength from its diversity and is proud to bring together outstanding students from a wide variety of backgrounds. DACA students are important members of the Ohio State community and their contributions further our success. The university supports providing these young people with a pathway to earn lawful permanent residence and American citizenship in the country they know to be their home. The Office of Student Life and Office of Academic Affairs provide resources to support DACA students, including a dedicated liaison, with whom all DACA students are encouraged to meet.  

 

Updated: November 3, 2022

The values of diversity, equity and inclusion are foundational to Ohio State and part of our mission, vision and values. We are committed to a safe and welcoming campus, a comprehensive and inclusive education, and a truly anti-racist community for all. Ohio State recognizes and works against discrimination and harassment that too many in our state, nation and world are still experiencing today. Our efforts focus on education, scholarship, research, and numerous programs and initiatives – including the university’s Task Force on Racism and Racial Inequities (report available as of April 28, 2022); the work of Ohio State’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Office of Institutional Equity, and many additional units and offices; a statewide effort led by the Ohio Governor’s Office that urges collective action to address instances of antisemitism on college campuses; and more.

On Tuesday, November 15, 2022, President Kristina M. Johnson sent a message with other university leaders condemning antisemitism, racism and other hateful actions while underscoring Ohio State's commitment to its Shared Values.

The university is aware that on April 6, 2022, the 54th General Assembly of the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) passed a resolution supporting the withdrawal of investments in Israel. Ohio State has an unwavering commitment to free speech and encourages our students, faculty and staff to engage in discussion and debate and respects the right of the USG General Assembly to engage in free expression on issues it believes are pertinent to campus affairs.

Based on the USG bylaws, because no action was taken on the resolution by the outgoing USG executive branch, it represents the opinion of the 54th and outgoing USG General Assembly and not of USG as an organization or the student body. This distinction means that this resolution does not meet the threshold for consideration outlined in the university’s investment policy, and the university will not move forward with any action on this resolution.

Additional background about Ohio State’s investments

Ohio State utilizes a diversified investment strategy to grow the resources available to support our academic mission, such as student scholarships, faculty positions and educational resources. The university follows all applicable laws regarding investments, including state laws specifically addressing this issue. Ohio State’s endowment is not funded with tuition or fees. In fiscal year 2022, the university projects $8.4 billion in revenue and $7.9 billion in expenses.

Updated: April 13, 2022

As Buckeyes, we derive great strength from bringing together people from different backgrounds and learning from their experiences. As a land-grant institution, The Ohio State University takes seriously its role in promoting and supporting public discourse. We are steadfastly committed to protecting the First Amendment right to free speech and expression on our campuses. Encouraging individuals to share their varying thoughts and perspectives enriches the university environment and can allow community members to experience new ideas. Additionally, Ohio Senate Bill 40, which became law in 2020, and the First Amendment of the United States Constitution expressly prohibit state universities from restricting the peaceful exercise of free speech rights.

Regarding demonstrations, Ohio State supports the right of our students, faculty and staff to peacefully express their views and to speak out about issues that are important to them. Freedom of speech and civic engagement are central to our values as an institution of higher education.

Read more at Freedom of expression at Ohio State.

On August 18, 2022, the university adopted an interim campus free speech policy and process. 

Updated: August 30, 2022

Ohio State is deeply concerned about the ongoing violence taking place in Iran and the effect these tragic events can have on our community, especially our international students and scholars. The Office of Student Life and Office of International Affairs have been in touch with our impacted community members to offer them resources and support. The U.S. Department of State best represents the American people through its strong statement of protest and condemnation of the circumstances surrounding the death of Mahsa Amini: Designating Iran’s Morality Police and Seven Officials for Human Rights Abuses in Iran.

Students who need assistance or emotional support should reach out to the Office of Student Life’s Counseling and Consultation Service. Counseling and Consultation Service (CCS) has a list of resources on their website that are available 24/7. You can also access the support and resources provided by the Student Wellness Center, the Student Advocacy Center, the Center for Belonging and Social Change and the https://oia.osu.edu/. Faculty or staff in need of assistance should reach out to Ohio State’s Employee Assistance Program.

Updated: October 4, 2022

Ohio State offers a wide range of evidence-based intervention strategies and resources:

The university's Commission on Student Mental Health and Well-Being conducted a comprehensive analysis of students' current and evolving mental health needs and recommended five areas for improvement and innovation. Ohio State is actively working to implement the commission's recommendations and will continue to explore new resources as well as education efforts for students, faculty and staff.

If you or someone you know is an imminent danger to themselves or someone else, go to the nearest ER or call 911. If you are thinking of harming yourself or if you are worried about someone else and need advice about what to do, call the suicide prevention lifeline at 614-221-5445 or 800-273-8255 (TALK) or reach the Crisis Text Line by texting 4HOPE to 741741.

Updated: May 10, 2022

Statement from Ohio State President Kristina M. Johnson (April 8, 2022):

Inclusion and equity are core values for The Ohio State University, and we strive to create and maintain an institution at which all individuals can fully participate and feel valued.

By embracing our differences across backgrounds, identities and perspectives, we enhance student learning and create an environment in which all members of our community are able to share ideas freely and work toward creative and collaborative solutions. This open-minded exploration is a hallmark of an Ohio State education, and we oppose any effort that would deny young people the ability to develop these skills and perspectives. If denied these opportunities, students will be ill-prepared for future learning at Ohio State or elsewhere.

Beyond these core values, we have a fundamental responsibility as a land grant university to attract and retain the best and brightest students, faculty and staff to fuel our local economies. This has long been a shared priority with our partners in government and industry who work together to grow and attract businesses. In order to continue this momentum, the state must foster a welcoming environment for current and future citizens, and HB 616 runs contrary to these efforts.

Ohio State continues to monitor COVID-19 and monkeypox in close collaboration with city, state and federal leaders. For guidance related to public health, the university maintains and updates the Safe and Healthy Buckeyes website. Prior to the start of the 2022-23 academic year, students also received additional information related to various public health resources.

 

A June 22, 2022, message shared by Ohio State President Kristina M. Johnson regarding resources for establishing and advancing shared dialogues is available here. A university statement shared on July 8, 2022, is included below.

Ohio State remains deeply committed to the health, safety and well-being of our students, faculty, staff, patients and communities and is closely examining the decision from the Supreme Court and changes in state law. If necessary, Ohio State and the medical center will make adjustments to services, course offerings or resources to be in compliance with the law, while continuing to provide exceptional patient care, medical training and conducting innovative research that improves people’s lives. Additionally, we will continue to support the university community through existing resources including the Student Counseling and Consultation Service and our Employee Assistance Program.

During times of change, public universities such as Ohio State play an important role in facilitating dialogue. Consistent with our mission, vision and values, we will look for opportunities for dialogue and engagement while continuing to rely on our shared commitment to considerate discourse.

Additional frequently asked questions are below.

Q: What is the current law restricting abortion in Ohio?

A: Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe vs. Wade, a previously stayed Ohio law went into effect, restricting abortion once a fetal heartbeat has been detected. There is an exception to save the life of the mother. On Wednesday, September 14, 2022, a Hamilton County judge granted a temporary restraining order blocking this Ohio law. The order restores the prior state law allowing access to abortion up to 20 weeks into pregnancy.  

Q: How will this impact the university?

A: The university and Wexner Medical Center will continue to comply with state law and make any adjustments as needed.

Q: Are changes to abortion access in Ohio impacting pregnancy care at the Wexner Medical center?

A: Long-standing Ohio law already prohibited state institutions from performing elective abortions. Ohio State is committed to providing exceptional patient care while following state law, which currently provides exceptions for ectopic pregnancy or when the mother’s life is endangered.

Q: Will there be a change in clinical services offered at the Wexner Medical Center or Student Health Services?

A: The Dobbs ruling did not change clinical services offered at the WMC or Student Health Services at Ohio State. Long-standing Ohio law already prohibited state institutions from performing elective abortions.

Q: Will there be any changes to the availability or offering of contraception or emergency contraceptives from the Wexner Medical Center or Student Health Services?

A: No, this does not impact the prescribing of contraceptives.

Q: Will employee or student health insurance coverage change?

A: Before the Dobbs ruling and the Ohio Heartbeat Bill becoming law, long-standing state law prohibited state funds to be used for elective abortions. In compliance with the law, Ohio State’s employee insurance and funded graduate student health insurance plans have not and do not cover elective abortions. More information about student health insurance coverage is available here: https://shi.osu.edu/posts/documents/22-23-1098-special-combined-brochure.pdf. More information about what is covered in Ohio State’s employee insurance plan is available here: https://hr.osu.edu/wp-content/uploads/medical-spd.pdf

Q: How are changes affecting medical student training, specifically OB/GYN resident training?

A: We intend to continue offering the full spectrum of training in reproductive care for those residents who do not opt out of the requirement.  In order to ensure we are meeting national accreditation standards on this topic, we are exploring ways for our trainees to do that outside of the State of Ohio. We are also closely following the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Medical Association, Association of American Medical Colleges and other professional organizations as they review any potential changes in training requirements.

Q: How are changes affecting recruitment of employees (physicians) and medical students?

A: The inconsistency of laws across the country is a topic of concern among some who are exploring new jobs, residencies and medical schools. We are working with these candidates to help them understand Ohio law and make decisions that are best for them.

Q: Will there be any changes related to the Office of Institutional Equity and Title IX in the handling of reports such as sexual assaults?

A: No. There are no planned changes to Office of Institutional Equity or Title IX processes due to the Dobbs ruling.

Ohio State is dedicated to sustainability, combating climate change and aggressively addressing the university’s carbon footprint. In 2022, President Kristina M. Johnson announced that Ohio State would develop a more aggressive plan that would achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2040 — 10 years earlier than the existing plan, and using a more proactive standard than the current “carbon neutrality” goal.

Already, Ohio State has reduced carbon emissions by 30% since 2015 by improving energy efficiency, greening its power supply and other means. The university continues to make progress through a comprehensive approach to sustainability that includes:

  • Installing energy conservation measures in dozens of university buildings, such as upgraded heating and cooling systems. Among other improvements, Ohio State has converted approximately 123,000 light fixtures to LED technology, installed smart meters in nearly 300 buildings and designed energy efficiency plans for each building on the Columbus campus. Since 2015, the university has improved the energy efficiency of Columbus campus buildings by nearly 12%.
  • Converting the university’s vehicle fleet to alternative fuels. Currently the university has more than 150 electric, hybrid or compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles. Ohio State plans to convert its entire fleet of CABS buses to CNG by 2026.
  • Developing energy production and conservation measures, along with energy efficiency improvement projects, that will continue to reduce the university’s carbon footprint. This includes the Combined Heat and Power Plant (CHP), which requires less carbon-intensive fuel use than the traditional approach of having separate systems for power and heat.
    • The CHP and related projects will support the Columbus campus as the university expands its academic, research and medical space. The university’s existing natural gas-fueled heating facility, the century-old McCracken Power Plant, cannot efficiently meet the Ohio State's increasing heating demand.
  • Building the Energy Advancement and Innovation Center, where university and private sector researchers will work on the next generation of smart energy systems, renewable energy and green mobility solutions.
  • Diverting 40% of waste from landfills through recycling, composting and other aspects of Ohio State’s zero-waste initiative. In 2022, Ohio State expanded composting in residence halls, research labs and among Buckeyes living off-campus that will further advance progress.
  • Decreasing water usage. In fiscal year 2022, the university used 390 million fewer gallons of potable water than in fiscal 2015.
  • Planting trees and otherwise improving the university’s canopy. In 2021, the university planted 1,000 trees – the largest single planting in five years. 
  • Establishing an Ohio State-centric set of sustainable design standards to build and operate better performing facilities and create a more sustainable physical environment. The Sustainable Design and Construction Policy, established in 2021, helps to ensure accountability while creating a sustainable culture focused on design and construction. 

Additional background about Ohio State’s investments

The university’s investment pool supports Ohio State’s core mission by providing a stable funding source outside of tuition and tax dollars. In fiscal 2022, the endowment generated $259 million to support student scholarships, faculty positions, research and the patient-care mission of the Wexner Medical Center. Based on economic trends, the university has been actively transitioning our investments in the energy sector in recent years to wind down illiquid investments in oil and gas exploration and production. We have made no new investments in these areas since 2014. At the same time, we continue to consider and have made commitments to managers who are investing in the sustainable energy transition including renewables infrastructure and battery technologies. Additionally, Ohio State affirmed our investment approach in the energy sector in 2018 following a formal review, which found that divestment would not advance sustainability on our campuses and could reduce annual support for student scholarships, faculty positions and other academic priorities.

Updated: November 14, 2022

Ohio State has always been and always will be an institution that celebrates diversity and stands for dialogue and diplomacy over violence. Our thoughts are with everyone impacted by this war. Students, faculty and staff are working together to help Ukrainian refugees as well as those still in the country. The Office of Academic Affairs and the Office of International Affairs have partnered to provide centralized academic and support resources webpage for the campus community. There is a guide for donations, including a list of organizations vetted by the New York Times, information about resources for immigration, cybersecurity and general support for all members of the Ohio State community, as well as information about academic events from a variety of colleges to help provide context for the ongoing situation. Read more:

Stay Informed

In the fall of 2021, the Office of Marketing and Communications led the development of Ohio State News Alerts — an email and text information system to provide timely updates to the university community. Faculty, staff and students can set their preferences to receive these messages via text, email or both. These updates contain information about safety, health, traffic and more. Family, friends and loved ones can also sign up for Ohio State News Alerts.