The university will give each of the 2,000 second-year students living on campus $2,000 next year.
The Ohio State Office of Student Life will be conducting a pilot project where first-year students living on campus can choose to live in residence halls for a second year and receive a $2,000 stipend in return.
The university Board of Trustees approved the program pilot, which will cost the university $4 million in cash reserves, in an April meeting.
Molly Ranz Calhoun, associate vice president for Student Life, said the pilot is for a larger program that would be available to every sophomore when OSU enforces the live-on requirement for second-year students.
The university hopes to have programs and housing to accommodate every second-year student at Ohio State by 2016, a point that was discussed at the August Board meeting where a $396 million North Campus renovation plan was approved.
The stipend is intended to be used for things like study abroad programs, unpaid internships and research assistant positions.
Shelly Hoffman, assistant vice president for media relations, said in an email that the pilot program will be paid for “through cash reserves.”
Hoffman said no further details about the funding of the plan were available.
The way each student spends the money will be different, and students can use the money at any time while they are at OSU, Calhoun said.
Students who wish to use the money for an unpaid internship or an unpaid research assistant position will work with a faculty member to design a plan to decide how many hours they will work and what their hourly wage equivalent would be. Then the students would use the stipend as if they were getting paid for their internship or research position.
The stipend could also be used toward paying for study abroad or service learning programs, Calhoun said.
Shelbie Krontz, a first-year in biochemistry, is planning to live on campus for her second year and said “something like that would be a really nice perk.”
Matt Arnott, first-year in mechanical engineering, agreed and said the stipend would motivate him to live on campus a second year.
“I’m planning on staying on campus and that would definitely make me more willing,” he said.
As an additional component of the program would pair each second-year student with a faculty mentor, Calhoun said, who would help students decide how to use the money and spend time within the students’ residence hall.
Participating faculty would “come in the evenings and they would hang out (with the students) and they’d go to dinner with them and help them be engaged,” Calhoun said.
Each participating faculty member would have about a one to 20 ratio with the students, and Calhoun said the program would require the participation of 10 percent of the faculty.
Calhoun said the purpose of the program is to combat a “sophomore slump,” keep students involved and graduation rates high, expand existing programs and create new ones to prevent upperclassmen students from dropping out.
“We have extensive programs for first-year students, in terms of keeping them engaged, getting them involved in the university, and introducing them to all kinds of student organizations,” Calhoun said.
Some first-year students do not receive this kind of support, and as a result, “we lose a lot of students that second year,” Calhoun said.
While keeping second-year students in residence halls is one component of engaging them on campus, Calhoun said having a program to go with that is important.
She said the stipend program will “help build the students as global citizens, get them involved and keep them involved in whatever it is they are doing.”