Return to Headlines

OSU Provides Free Tuition to Sixteen CCS Seniors Via Young Scholars Program

May 18, 2021 -- As part of the Young Scholars Program (YSP), sixteen Columbus City Schools seniors will attend The Ohio State University (OSU) tuition-free beginning this Fall. The YSP started in 1988 as an initiative from the OSU President’s office to allow first-generation students from nine major cities in Ohio to go to college. 

“The Young Scholars Program mentors students beginning in the eighth grade,” said Dr. Chila Thomas, Executive Director, Young Scholars Program, Office of Diversity and Inclusion at OSU. “We mentor these students during all four years of high school and for all four years of college at OSU.”

Eighth-grade students selected for the YSP must maintain at least a 3.3 GPA, attend monthly workshops, visit the OSU campus and meet with OSU professors and student leaders during their high school summer breaks. The average YSP scholarship award is about $15,000 for each semester. 

“This is a very intense program for students who demonstrate a scholarly mindset by the eighth grade,” said Jimmie Beall, Middle School Resource Counselor, Columbus City Schools. “We begin cultivating these students early, so they see the prize of going to college is accessible.” 

Graciela Aguirre, a senior at Columbus Alternative High School, is one of the 16 YSP scholarship recipients this year. She wants to go to college to be a pediatric nurse. 

“I’m so excited for this opportunity,” said Aguirre, who has six brothers and sisters. “I can’t wait to live on campus, in a dorm, and go to college full-time.”

Aguirre and her older sister are the first in their family to go to college. Aguirre also received full-tuition scholarships to Denison, University of Dayton, and Otterbein but decided on the YSP program because of the support and mentoring she has already received. 

Fellow YSP recipient Aliyah Smith agrees. The South High School senior admits, finishing her final year of high school during a pandemic was awful. 

“It was just a confusing year because this isn’t how I wanted my senior year to be,” said Smith. “Once I received the tuition scholarship from the Young Scholars Program, it changed everything. A lot of the stress went away, and the mentoring along with my family motivated me to finish the year strong.” 

Smith is interested in medicine and will study pediatrics or pediatric nursing at OSU. 

Trina Phillips, the coordinator of the Young Scholars program at OSU and former CCS teacher, could relate to the high school scholars. She was also working on her Master’s Degree this past year during the pandemic. 

“I would meet virtually every month with Aliyah and Graciela and talk about school work and how to stay motivated during the pandemic,” said Phillips. “We would talk about life, academics, zoom classrooms, just about everything. I always kept these students focused, encouraging them to keep their eye on the prize, which included maintaining that strong GPA and college.”

Congratulations to Graciela Aguire, Aliyah Smith, and all the 2021 Columbus City Schools  Young Scholars Program scholarship recipients listed below.

  • Graciela Aguirre, Columbus Alternative High School
  • Fatimata Barro, Centennial High School
  • Ayoub Benaaouinate, Centennial High School
  • Ja-Kye Carpenter, South 7-12
  • Alaina Craig, Fort Hayes Arts & Academics
  • Chinenye Ekeocha, Centennial High School
  • Nayot Haile, Columbus Alternative High School
  • Jordan Harrison, Whetstone High School
  • Fadania Indequi, Columbus Alternative High School
  • Destiny Jordan, Centennial High School
  • Argyro Katsandoni, Centennial High School
  • Shania Mays, Columbus Alternative High School/Columbus Downtown HS
  • Sierra Price, Independence High School 
  • Lyric Ransom, Columbus Africentric Early College (PK-12)
  • Aliyah Smith, South 7-12 
  • Theodosia Yamano, Whetstone High School