SSU Free Tuition program makes college possible for Wellston native


PORTSMOUTH- Toni Bartlett, a Wellston, Ohio native, knew that Shawnee State University was the perfect choice to further her education when she received a Free Tuition scholarship award. Working towards an associate’s degree in Dental Hygiene and a bachelor’s degree in Health Science, she has big aspirations for her future – Bartlett hopes to use the education she receives at SSU to give back to her community.

“I want to be a hygienist,” she said. “The town where I come from has a lot of poverty. I want to build a clinic to provide dental care for those who might not be able to afford to have their teeth cleaned.”

The Free Tuition program at SSU provides free tuition for qualifying students residing in select counties around the region. The program fulfills SSU’s vision of continuing to provide an affordable higher education for students in the area. Through the university’s Free Tuition program, Bartlett’s dream of helping those in need, all while doing what she loves, is attainable.

“If I did not get free tuition, I would not have gone to college,” she said. “It was even better since SSU was my first choice.”

Adapting to life in college, Bartlett admits she has had to overcome challenges within her degree and pursuing her goals. With the help of her professors and classmates, she has felt herself put on a course for success.

“All of the Dental Hygiene professors are all so amazing and will help me reach my goals,” she said. “The program is difficult, but I love it.”

Through SSU’s Free Tuition program, Bartlett has recognized its value and how it has impacted not only her education, but her life.

“This award has made me more thankful for things that are just given to you,” she said, sharing how her own faith has been strengthened through the process.

To learn more about the Free Tuition program at Shawnee State University, visit

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