SSU making college possible through free tuition


PORTSMOUTH-Shawnee State University has been making college possible since its beginning. In 2022, with the help of the Friends of Shawnee Scholarship, SSU started providing free undergraduate tuition for qualifying students with demonstrated financial need.

“Learning that I could earn my degree without taking on debt was just incredible news,” Lizzy Miller, a freshman from Chillicothe High School, said. “I was 100% worried about how I was going to pay for college. Now, that’s no longer a concern.”

Miller is studying to be a nurse.

“I knew I wanted to come to Shawnee State,” she said. “I’ve heard so many good things about the nursing program here. I’m excited about this first year of college and what it means for my future.”

Like Miller, Rachel Music, a student from Raceland High School says the cost of college played a big role in her decision-making process. A future radiologic technician, Music said she learned of SSU’s new free tuition for Pell-eligible students from her high school guidance counselor.

“This really made my choice easy,” she said.

Students from Scioto, Pike, Lawrence, Adams, Jackson, Ross, Gallia, Brown, Vinton, and Highland counties in Ohio, and Boyd, Greenup, and Lewis counties in Kentucky who qualify for Federal Pell Grant assistance are eligible for free tuition consideration. The program is for first-time undergraduate students entering SSU who have a high school grade point average of at least 3.0 and an ACT score of at least 18. Qualifying students must also attend college full-time. College Credit Plus students who earned college credit while in high school are eligible.

“Making a high-quality college education accessible and affordable is what Shawnee State has always been about,” SSU President Jeff Bauer said. “In addition to the free tuition program, we have expanded scholarships and offer a tuition guarantee that locks in a student’s tuition for four years.”

To learn more about Shawnee State University’s Free Tuition program, visit

This feature was originally released in the Shawnee Magazine 2022 issue. To view the full magazine online, visit

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