Forever Buckeyes program encourages permanent residency in Ohio

Daniel Moore

Out-of-state students who graduated from an Ohio high school now have the option to lower their tuition rates for the fall semester. 

The Ohio Board of Regents established the Forever Buckeyes program to extend in-state resident tuition rates to all Ohio high school graduates, even if they have left the state. President Lester Lefton announced Tuesday the provision would be effective immediately. 

Why should I care?

Any Kent State student who is currently paying out-of-state tuition rates but graduated from an Ohio high school can now be eligible for in-state tuition rates.

“By adopting the Forever Buckeyes program this fall, we want to help students in this category stay focused on the path to graduation and encourage future Kent State students by eliminating financial barriers to achieving quality higher education,” Lefton said.

The state approved the law Sept. 29 and allowed public institutions to wait until the spring semester to start the program, because it was made effective in the middle of the semester. Lefton, however, chose to make the lower rates available for the fall. 

University Registrar Glen Davis said this means Kent State is playing catch-up.   

“We are trying to identify all students who may possibly be eligible for this,” Davis said. 

The law states students have to prove they graduated from an Ohio high school and re-established permanent residence in the state, as well as submit an application to qualify for the lower rate. Davis said his office is currently writing potentially eligible students and telling them what they need to provide.

“We have a small list of students who we already know graduated from an Ohio high school,” he said. 

The larger list, he said, consists of graduate students who typically aren’t required to list their high school for admittance. Students not only have to provide high school information but residency documentation as well, he said.  

To complement the law, Davis said, the state added a new residency provision which eliminated the requirement for a 12-month waiting period for the student to be considered a resident. Ohio high school graduates still must provide documents proving they have re-established residence, he said. 

Kent State 2011-2012 tuition rates (based on 11 or more semester hours)

Out-of-state: $17,306

In-state: $9,346


“The basic way a student would do that would be a copy of a lease agreement,” Davis said. “If they’re living with parents, or others, they provide a letter from that person that they in fact have an appropriate address.”

Before any student applies, Davis said, he wants them to make an informed decision because not all students may benefit from lower rates.  

“(We want students) to check with Financial Aid and the Bursar’s Office before opting for this,” he said. “The reason that’s so important is because financial aid is based upon a student’s cost of attendance.”

Because of the tuition decrease, a student’s financial aid could drop proportionally, he said. 

“That’s what makes it tricky to (implement the law) mid-year, once all those things have happened,” Davis said. “From a university’s perspective, that’s what makes it a rather large job.”


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Mark Evans, director of Student Financial Aid, wrote in an email he will make sure students are aware of the best option for them. However, he said, he doesn’t foresee any problems with the new policy. 

“As of right now, I am not aware of any circumstances where a student would be negatively impacted,” Evans said. 

Davis said the applications are available on the Registrar’s website, along with more explanation on the residency provision. Students that choose to wait until spring semester to apply must do so by Dec. 15. 

Kent State joins the University of Akron and Youngstown State, both of which operate on semester schedules, in choosing to implement the law early.

Contact Daniel Moore at [email protected].