Young Scholars Program

Young Scholars Program

The Ohio State University Office of Diversity and Inclusion Young Scholars Program (YSP) is a comprehensive pre-collegiate and collegiate student success program designed to enhance the academic, personal, and career development of its Scholars.

About the Young Scholars Program

YSP is an exceptional opportunity for academically talented, first-generation students with high financial need to advance their goal of pursuing higher education. Founded in 1988, YSP serves students from the nine largest urban public school districts in Ohio. They are located in Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Lorain, Toledo, and Youngstown. Prospective Young Scholar students are recruited from the Big Eight urban school districts as defined by the Ohio Department of Education, plus Lorain, the Ohio school district with the largest population of Hispanic/Latino students:

  • Akron Public Schools
  • Canton City Schools
  • Cincinnati Public Schools
  • Cleveland Metropolitan School District
  • Columbus City Schools
  • Dayton Public Schools
  • Lorain City Schools
  • Toledo Public Schools
  • Youngstown City School District

Scholars must meet all program requirements, including qualifying as low-income and being the first in their family to receive a bachelor's degree. Scholars must complete a rigorous college preparatory curriculum, with high academic achievement to be eligible for the scholarship. Scholars in good academic standing receive a robust financial aid package from The Ohio State University, consisting of federal and state grants, work-study, and the Young Scholars Award.

Old photos of YSP students from 1980s through 2000

The Young Scholars Program began in 1988 as a result of numerous studies conducted by The Ohio State University on the pattern of declining enrollment as well comparatively low retention and graduation rates among Black students at Ohio State.

In 1987, Myles Brand, Vice President and Provost of the Office of Academic Affairs, headed a task force of faculty, staff, and students who were charged with developing a plan to reverse these trends and to increase the diversity of Ohio State's student body, faculty, and staff. Recognizing the challenge they were faced with as part of a growing national and statewide dilemma, the task force, under the direction of President Edward Jennings, developed the Action Plan: Recruitment and Retention of Black Students at The Ohio State University.

Through this plan, the university began taking a national leadership role in attempting to address problems associated with the recruitment and retention of Black students. The plan drew on a variety of strategies that had been developed on smaller scales both at Ohio State and at other institutions. The Action Plan was comprehensive, interconnected, and innovative both for its long-ranging implications and for the full involvement of faculty, students, administrators, alumni, and community members. A key component of the plan was the implementation of the Young Scholars Program.

Our Scholars receive:

  • Pre-college preparation through intensive college advising
  • Group and one-on-one academic coaching and mentoring
  • College planning tools and resources
  • Academic, leadership, and social engagement at The Ohio State University
  • Guided major and career exploration
  • An opportunity to attend a world-class research university with a generous scholarship

In particular, YSP seeks to:

  • Enhance the academic preparation of Scholars for success at The Ohio State University.
  • Increase the numbers of first-generation, low income targeted underrepresented students at The Ohio State University.
  • Complement instruction offered during the academic year.

Connecting multiple levels of education, each year, YSP assists over 1,000 students state-wide, including 700 students in grades 8-12 and 350 undergraduate students, serving as a stepping stone for success at Ohio State and beyond.

What YSP Means to Me

Making a Difference

"YSP has given many first generation students, including myself, an opportunity to make a difference not only in our own lives but also the lives of our loved ones and our communities. Since the 6th grade, I have been a part of this program. I knew then that I had to work diligently in order to obtain my scholarship. Little did I know upon my initial induction, YSP cares about our academic achievements, personal development and well-being.”

Opening Multiple Doors

"What the Young Scholars Program has done for me and my fellow scholars exceeds description. It is because of this program that I will be attending the Ohio State University this upcoming fall tuition free. This program has opened multiple doors for me and has truly been the stepping stone I needed to complete my career goals. The Young Scholars Program is by far the most rewarding program I have ever been apart of and I would be at a loss without it.”

Affording Me Opportunities

"Young Scholars has afforded me opportunities that I never thought possible. I am a strong believer in this program. It is important that it keeps giving younger generations the same opportunities. I am a graduating Senior in Visual Communication Design, I have traveled to Brazil and in April, Taiwan and Tokyo. I would not be here at The Ohio State University if it were not for the Young Scholars Program.”

Reaching My Dreams

"The Young Scholars Program has not only supplied me with a future education, but also with the confidence and integrity to strive for my dreams, no matter how big or radical they may be. And for that, I can not thank them enough!”