More Ohio colleges pause race-based scholarships over SCOTUS ruling

Public universities in Ohio like Ohio State University are putting race-based scholarships on hold to align with the Supreme Court's ruling on affirmative action last year.

These decisions also come after the Ohio Attorney General's office informed schools that such scholarships could constitute racial discrimination.

More public universities in Ohio are pausing race-based scholarships in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling against affirmative action in college admissions last June.

Earlier this month, Campus Reform reported that Ohio University had paused its race-based scholarships to consider if its policies are aligned with the court’s ruling. The school’s decision also comes after the Ohio Attorney General’s office notified state schools that such scholarships could also constitute racial discrimination.

Additional schools like Ohio State University, Youngstown State University, Kent State University, Cleveland State University, the University of Akron, and the University of Toledo have also placed their race-based awards on pause, according to the Ohio Capital Journal. Several days later, the BG Independent News reported that Bowling Green State University would also follow suit as well.

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A spokesperson for Youngstown State told Campus Reform that the university is “reviewing the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court and guidance from the state of Ohio and is evaluating any potential impact to its policies and procedures.”

“Updates will be made, as necessary, to continue to remain in compliance with all state and federal laws,” the YSU spokesperson concluded.

Similarly, Benjamin Johnson, a communications official at Ohio State, told Campus Reform that the school is “in the process of updating scholarship criteria to ensure compliance with the law and have begun reviewing all potentially relevant scholarships.”

While he did not give specific numbers for race-based scholarships, he did say that “In Fiscal Year 2024, we expect to distribute approximately $448 million dollars in total financial aid.”

A spokesperson for Ohio University, Dan Pittman, told the Ohio Capital Journal that $450,000 in scholarships have recently been put on pause by the school.

“The review is to ensure language in the gift agreements remains lawful,” he stated. “If deemed necessary, the University will work with donors to make revisions to language in the agreements.”

Toledo’s Tyrel Linkhorn also informed the Ohio Capital Journal that the university “has paused the distribution of scholarships that consider race as a part of their award criteria following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the use of affirmative action in higher education admissions.”

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Linkhorn continued to state that 6% of Toledo’s scholarships, worth around $500,000 total, will be affected.

“The University and The University of Toledo Foundation are actively working with donors to explore potential revisions to scholarship agreements so we can continue to support our donors’ goals in a way that fully complies with the Supreme Court decision,” Linkhorn noted.

Campus Reform has also contacted Ohio University, Bowling Green State University, Kent State University, Cleveland State University, the University of Akron, and the University of Toledo for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.