Kent State University Awarded $1.2 Million for Choose Ohio First Scholarships

 The Ohio Department of Education recently awarded Kent State University $1.2 million to support Choose Ohio First scholarships. This funding will support learners pursuing associate degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields and expand options for students seeking two-year degrees at the University's Regional Campuses and its College of Applied and Technical Studies.

According to a recent press release from the Ohio Department of Higher Education, Choose Ohio First scholarships assist learners pursuing STEM degrees and certificates, as well as those focusing on education degrees and certificates with an emphasis on STEM. The overarching goal of the Choose Ohio First (COF) program is to strengthen the state's workforce of skilled professionals in STEM fields.

"When I talk to employers across the state, their No. 1 issue is finding people with the right skills to fill their jobs. It's important that we're creating more opportunities for Ohio's students to earn STEM skills and stay right here in our state after graduation, and that's what this program does," said Lt. Governor Jon Husted in the release. "Since I created the scholarship in 2008, there have been 17,678 Choose Ohio First students and (this) announcement opens that opportunity to hundreds more."

According to Lique Coolen, Ph.D., M.B.A, assistant to the provost for special projects and professor of biological sciences, who serves as program lead for Choose Ohio First at Kent State, the scholarships are a boost to students and our communities. 

"We are excited and grateful for the support for our students in this impactful program," Coolen said. "The goal is to provide students enrolled in these programs with affordable higher education and career opportunities in Ohio and fill the statewide need for professionals in jobs in healthcare, information and engineering technology."  

Kent State has received generous support from Choose Ohio First in previous years. Kent State's Choose Ohio First program currently supports students in various baccalaureate degree-granting STEM majors. The new award provides scholarships to students starting after May 1, 2024, in Associate of Applied Science or Business Degree programs in Healthcare, Information Technology, and Engineering Technology to be educated toward jobs of high and growing need in Ohio.  

Peggy Shadduck, Ph.D., vice president for Regional Campuses and dean of the College of Applied and Technical Studies, highlighted the alignment of Choose Ohio First with Kent State's commitment to learners and local workforce development and economic growth across Northeast Ohio.  

“This program supports workforce development and economic growth of the state and the regions where our Regional Campuses are located," Shadduck said. "This funding helps us bridge the gap between education and the workforces in our regions."

The Choose Ohio First program began in 2008 to increase the number of Ohio students enrolling in and successfully completing STEM programs at Ohio's public and independent colleges and universities. Higher education institutions are vital engines for workforce vitality in the state, and the Choose Ohio First program provides support that will advance the economic growth of each region in the state.  

For more information about Kent State University's Choose Ohio First, visit

For more information about the Ohio Department of Education's Choose Ohio First, visit

POSTED: Friday, February 16, 2024 08:39 AM
Updated: Wednesday, April 10, 2024 02:45 PM