ASHLAND — Ashland University has been awarded $630,000 through the Choose Ohio First (COF) program, as announced by the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) on Monday. COF is an initiative to develop and strengthen the state’s workforce in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

This marks the fourth round of grants for the COF program under the Gov. Mike DeWine-Lt. Gov. Jon Husted administration and creates new scholarship opportunities at 45 colleges and universities across Ohio. The $630,000 for Ashland is its second-largest award, ranks above the state average award this year and raises its total allocation through COF to about $1.85 million.

“Choose Ohio First continues to provide students who stay in Ohio to continue their education with the opportunity to succeed in high-demand STEM fields,” stated Randy Gardner, chancellor of ODHE. “Ashland University has long been a leader in preparing its students for STEM careers while also providing its Choose Ohio First scholars with internships through the university’s many business partnerships.”

For Ashland, this cycle of COF funding will go to scholarships for students in its College of Nursing and Health Sciences (CONHS) over the next five years. Academic programs impacted will include nursing and dietetics. Carrie Keib, dean of CONHS, serves as the project lead, while Denise Reed, director of the dietetics program, will administer the dietetics side.

Previous COF funding has benefitted students in the College of Arts and Sciences, as well as the physician assistant program.

“Ashland University is grateful to Governor DeWine, Chancellor Gardner and the entire administration for continuing to support our students and our state with the Choose Ohio First program,” said Carlos Campo, president of AU. “Ashland has always been an ‘Ohio First’ institution, as nearly all of our graduates stay in our state. So, this program is especially valuable to our student body.”

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