The Choose Ohio First Scholarship Program at the University of Cincinnati is designed to increase the number of students who major and graduate in the STEMM disciplines. Our objective is to provide an innovative learning environment with emphasis on academic excellence, support, guidance and professional development. Students majoring in the STEMM disciplines of science, engineering, math and medicine, or students majoring in education who are eager to become leaders in the science and math education of young children are encouraged to apply.
The purpose of the Choose Ohio First Scholarships (COFS) is to encourage students, who are residents of Ohio, to pursue careers in science and technology or to become science or math teachers. The concept is that generally graduates with a higher education degree achieve higher paying jobs, (or may create start-up businesses), which in the end, pay more taxes and re-pay the state in this long-term investment in its citizens.
In order to distinguish this program from other scholarships, the state required the program drafters to create “Unique and Innovative” programs for the students which might assist them in achieving their degrees. To this end, not all students who apply to UC in a science or technology discipline are qualified to receive a Choose Ohio Firstscholarship. Similarly the scholarship programs may differ from one Ohio institution to another in terms of students and majors eligible for a scholarship. While UC won the most awards (6 programs) and the highest dollar amount ($10 million over five years) in the state, due to the innovative and unique qualities of the awards the scholarships are only available to specific areas. [UC is also a sub-contractor for three additional COFS programs.]
Also please note that scholarships generally come in two forms. One type (in our case primarily for graduate students or upper class undergraduate students) is a merit based scholarship where we are focusing on attracting the brightest students to come to UC. This might include attracting Ohio residents who are graduates of universities outside of Ohio to bring them back to Ohio.
The second type of scholarship is designed as a need-based program where we are attracting students, for example, who may be female, minorities, first time in the family college attendees into a traditionally white male dominated field like engineering.
For incoming freshmen, we will examine the materials provided on the application such as high school grade and ranking, SAT or ACT scores, etc., then look at the degree and major the student has an interest in and also the FAFSA report. From this we will determine if there is a Choose Ohio First scholarship which might apply. Normally for graduate students a more complex review of their resume, undergraduate grades and work, graduate entrance exams, career goals along with recommendations of faculty are considered.
Scholarships range from $4,100 to $4,500 annually for 4 years and may be used as part of the stipend for graduate students.
As you can see this is a very complex process and the scholarships are not available to just anyone who has an interest in science or technology. These programs were specifically designed to meet the criteria which the Ohio Board of Regents has stipulated. Also, it is difficult to put into a few paragraphs the details of each scholarship when the original proposal is a lengthy document.