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Ohio State offers free tuition to early childhood teachers

Benjamin Johnson
March 24, 2016

Program will benefit families and children across Columbus

The Ohio State University’s new Teacher Preparation Pipeline Scholarship program will allow 100 early childhood educators in Columbus to obtain a bachelor’s degree for free. The five-year program is a partnership between Ohio State, the city of Columbus, Columbus State Community College and Action for Children.

Housed within Ohio State's College of Education and Human Ecology (EHE), the bachelor's degree in early childhood education will lead the 100 educators to a more advanced career in teaching, the opportunity to research new innovations in education and the ability to continue developing professionally as a teacher.

Cheryl Achterberg Cheryl Achterberg


"The partnership will provide opportunities for individuals who may not otherwise have the opportunity to further their education," said Cheryl Achterberg, dean of the College of Education and Human Ecology at The Ohio State University. "It also benefits children in local Columbus classrooms who will gain more engaged and prepared educators."

Ohio State President Michael V. Drake and Mayor Andrew J. Ginther announced the partnership on March 24 at the Reeb Avenue Community Center. The scholarship program will benefit Ohio State’s Early Head Start Partnership, a nationally recognized initiative that provides education, health and community support to children and families in at-risk neighborhoods.

Michael V. Drake


“The Early Head Start Partnership is a great example of the incredible work that can be done when we work together,” said Drake. “We are bringing together a team of the leading minds from higher education, government, community programming and child care agencies to ensure the most vulnerable children in our community have every opportunity to succeed in life.”

“Studies show that children who have access to quality early childhood education are more likely to thrive,” said Ginther. “I am thrilled at the opportunities this partnership with Ohio State provides to our teachers now and to our children in the future.”

Joining Drake and Ginther at today’s announcement were White House Domestic Policy Council Deputy Assistant to the President for Education Roberto Rodriguez, Linda Smith, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Early Childhood at the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Congresswoman Joyce Beatty, Columbus City Council President Zach Klein and Councilmember Elizabeth Brown, and Executive Director of Action for Children Erik Karolak.

Ohio State’s 2020 Vision calls for a commitment to access, affordability and excellence. Ensuring that children are ready for kindergarten and that current and prospective teachers have access to higher education speaks to that commitment, said Drake.

Over the next five years, Ohio State will provide $3.9 million in scholarships to preschool and child care teachers who already have an associate degree and wish to earn their bachelor’s degree. Graduates of the scholarship program must commit to teaching in Columbus for at least three years.

The university's Early Head Start Program is one of only a handful of university-led partnerships in the country.

Led by EHE’s Schoenbaum Family Center at Weinland Park, the program aims to ensure that children in Columbus receive a healthy and enriching start in life and to create family stability by assisting in the healthy development of infants and toddlers throughout Franklin County.

Application information

Are you interested in applying for one of the College of Education and Human Ecology’s 100 scholarships for early childhood educators? Please contact Jo’Vanna Zanders at or 614-292-2825 to receive the application announcement.