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University of Akron offers new full scholarship for NE Ohio students

People walk along the University of Akron campus on Wednesday, March 1, 2023.
Ryan Loew
Ideastream Public Media
People walk along the University of Akron campus on Wednesday, March 1, 2023.

First-year students from Northeast Ohio at the University of Akron could be eligible for a full scholarship to cover their tuition and fees beginning with the 2024-25 school year, the university announced Monday.

Students from Summit, Stark, Medina, Portage, Cuyahoga and Wayne counties will be eligible for the Making Akron Possible, or MAP, grant, so long as their gross family income is $50,000 or less.

First-year students will first need to complete the Free Application for Student Financial Aid, commonly referred to as FAFSA, and accept any other scholarships and grants offered to them before the MAP Grant comes in to cover the difference.

“At The University of Akron, the commitment to making education affordable is unwavering,” vice provost for enrollment management Steve McKellips said in the release. “Each year, UA students collectively receive more than $260 million in financial assistance, with more than 86% of undergraduates benefitting from some form of financial aid to reduce their tuition costs.”

The University of Akron’s “priority deadline” for submissions through the FAFSA application is Feb. 1, 2024 (the FAFSA will be available starting in December), so, the first class of students to receive the benefit will be fall 2024 freshmen.

McKellips said in a statement provided by a spokesperson that the university has offered other grant programs in the past like MAP with "differing levels of success."

"It is essential for an institution to continuously re-evaluate its efforts to make sure it is helping those who need the resources the most," McKellips said. "...However, in looking at it more comprehensively, we decided that we had to do better for our local communities, so we developed this program that would more closely follow the needs of the students we are poised to serve the most directly to help make a college education more attainable."

When asked about how the grant will be paid for, McKellips said the university is providing a discount to the students who are eligible for MAP, reducing their overall tuition bill to zero after other scholarships they receive. That essentially means the university is not providing any additional money, just potentially reducing the amount of revenue it receives in the case of MAP students.

"This is an investment in our local communities," he added.

Conor Morris is the education reporter for Ideastream Public Media.